Is Sex Slavery Legal in Islam?

Is Sex Slavery Legal in Islam?

In my recent post about al-Azhar and the doctrine they spread around the world, one reader offered this question in the comments: Someone I know wrote an article about Islam recently and made the statement that, according to his knowledge, official Islam has never condemned the action of ISIS soldiers in raping Yazidi women. He … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Eid Precaution

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Eid Precaution

God, As Muslims celebrate, keep their joy. As Egyptians observe, keep them safe. In Egypt and around the region, security is stepped up in prevention of extremist attacks. The pilgrimage, a time of piety for many, is a time of advertising for others. May the eid pass peacefully, God. May peace come in their supplication. … Continue reading

An Iraqi Refugee Leads Us Home

An Iraqi Refugee Leads Us Home

Abu Rafi surveyed what once was a familiar scene. Displaced from Qaraqosh, Iraq by the marauding ISIS forces, his family of ten fled to Kurdistan where he secured a two bedroom apartment. Now with ISIS in retreat, he traveled back to see the wreckage. Their home was robbed and burned. They used to host many … Continue reading

The Coptic Church in Japan

The Coptic Church in Japan

There may be three million Christians in Japan, one percent of the population. They now have a Coptic Orthodox Church among their options. Egypt’s Pope Tawadros arrived on August 26 to consecrate Japan’s first Coptic Orthodox congregation, the Church of St. Mary and St. Mark. Tawadros hailed the cooperation between Japan and Egypt, especially the … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Trump Trial

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Trump Trial

God, They started out friendly. Probably they still are. But the American president played an unexpected wild card, with developments still uncertain. The US cut its military aid. Trump has repeatedly praised Sisi, who has returned the admiration. But even so his administration followed an Obama pattern in holding back some aid pending better progress … Continue reading

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Fatal Mistake

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Fatal Mistake

In his recent article for Foreign Affairs, Eric Trager says the Brotherhood miscalculated at Rabaa, and in post-Morsi policy in general. It certainly hasn’t worked out well for them, but I have one small quibble, perhaps: Indeed, from the moment of Morsi’s July 3 overthrow, the Brotherhood’s leaders understood that they were in a kill-or-be-killed struggle … Continue reading

Rethinking Political Islam, but then What?

Rethinking Political Islam, but then What?

The first part of the title is the name of a very good explanatory piece in The Islamic Monthly. It also is the name of a new book by Shadi Hamid and Will McCants, collecting analysis from Islamists published individually at Brookings. The trouble is, this article leaves me with more questions. First the good stuff: In … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: New Proposals

Friday Prayers for Egypt: New Proposals

God, Egypt is debating significant changes. Give her the wisdom to walk the right path. Some have proposed the constitution be amended to allow the president a six-year term. Others say leave the constitution alone, and implement it. Some have proposed the marriage age be lowered to 16 to legalize longstanding practice. Others say there … Continue reading

God in the Little Things, For Us

God in the Little Things, For Us

For the first time in my life, I locked the keys in the car. Worse, it was borrowed. All the movie tricks with wire hangers came into my mind, but none seemed like they’d work. I was stuck. Stuck an hour away from home. With two of my kids, picking them up from camp. One … Continue reading

“Why Call for Having a Church Now?”

“Why Call for Having a Church Now?”

From Open Democracy, a translation of local sheikhs in Upper Egypt who led a campaign against the construction of a church in their village. In late February 2017, a major international conference hosted by Al-Azhar concluded with the issuance of an important declaration affirming Muslim and Christian religious institutions’ commitment to the principle of equal … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Ag, HR

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Ag, HR

God, Egypt used to be a breadbasket. Now she imports her food. But vegetables are still desired abroad, if only they would accept them. Several nations have put a ban on Egyptian agriculture, wary of pesticides. Egypt had been hoping for boom harvest sales, having recently devalued the currency. Now they may face a domestic … Continue reading

A Primer on Salafism III

A Primer on Salafism III

Salafism is often wrongly criticized. But it can be rightly criticized also. The first post in this series emphasized how it is often a popular (meaning of the people) expression of Islam. The first essay here shows how this happens, though I think it errs in conclusion. The second doesn’t even err, because it doesn’t … Continue reading

A Primer on Salafism II

A Primer on Salafism II

  If you have been introduced to Salafism in the news or in often critical analysis, two figures are generally named. The first is Ibn Taymiyya, who you won’t likely know much about but may understand he is the source of all Muslim things violent. The second is Mohamed ibn Abdel Wahhab, and you may … Continue reading

A Primer on Salafism

A Primer on Salafism

Muftah recently published a special collection of essays on Salafism, under the premise that the popular, conservative, and terrorism-linked interpretation of Islam is often misunderstood and unfairly judged. I agree, though there are certainly aspects to judge thoroughly. Six essays were provided –  most helpful, some mixed, and one awful. I’ll provide excerpts to save … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: More Reform

Friday Prayers for Egypt: More Reform

God, Two more price categories are now set for increase: Water, by up to 50%, and bus tickets, the same. Subsidies are being slashed across the board, and inflation is rising. The government has implemented procedures to help the poor, who are many. The economy is struggling, and has been imbalanced for a long time. … Continue reading

What the Azhar Believes

What the Azhar Believes

I recently attended a gathering at al-Azhar University, where the World Organization of Azhar Graduates presented with Egyptian Radio about the work and need to spread “Ashari, Wasati” Islam, and define the parameters of true religion. This is done, they said, to help combat terrorism and extremist interpretations of Islam. That is all well and … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Base, Council

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Base, Council

God, Terrorism is defeated neither by force nor ideology. Yet they dare not be neglected. Egypt took a step in both directions this week. God, give her success. A military base was inaugurated toward the Libyan border. And the president formalized an anti-extremism council, with representatives also from the Azhar and Orthodox church. May the … Continue reading

Hijabs, Burkinis, and Assumptions

Hijabs, Burkinis, and Assumptions

A quick word to not judge by appearances, or to make assumptions about religious values. Our family took a vacation to the Red Sea recently, at a hotel with a healthy mix of European speedos and Egyptian burkinis. It was quite the contrast. From what we could tell, everyone behaved respectfully and enjoyed themselves. While … Continue reading