Tagged with Syria

The Road from Damascus: How an Evangelical Syrian Spoke at Harvard’s Commencement

The Road from Damascus: How an Evangelical Syrian Spoke at Harvard’s Commencement

This article was first published at Christianity Today on November 7. Following Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria and establishment of a “safe zone” in coordination with Russia, the beleaguered nation faces another refugee crisis. According to the United Nations, 6.7 million Syrians have registered with their High Commission for Refugees. Turkey hosts the largest share, … Continue reading

Christians Killed on Syria’s Front Lines

Christians Killed on Syria’s Front Lines

This article was first published at Christianity Today, on October 11. Three Christians have been killed in Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria, reported In Defense of Christians (IDC), citing their sources on the ground. In Qamishli, a Syriac Christian and his wife died, while in Ras al-Ain an additional Syriac Christian civilian … Continue reading

Syrian Christians to US: ‘Don’t Abandon Us Now’

Syrian Christians to US: ‘Don’t Abandon Us Now’

This article was first published by Christianity Today on October 8. Not long after the defeat of the Islamic State in the area, Syrian Christians warn that US military withdrawal from the Kurdish-controlled region, announced yesterday by President Donald Trump, will expose them to danger. “The expected military invasion [by Turkey] and the possible confrontation … Continue reading

What Next for Syria?

What Next for Syria?

The conflict has turned a corner as the Syrian government regained control of Damascus and begins pushing into rebel-held areas. LobeLog interviewed Josh Landis of Syria Comment to ask him what happens next. The full interview is worth reading, but here are a few excerpts on competing regional policies. Turkey: Idlib was one of the … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Russia, Air and Chemical

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Russia, Air and Chemical

God, For the first time in two years, Aeroflot returned to Cairo. Russia had suspended all air travel following a terrorist attack on a tourist carrier, and security precautions still prevent direct flights to the popular Red Sea resorts. Let it not happen again, God. But as Russian-Egyptian relations return to normal, give discernment in … Continue reading

The Genesis of Salafi-Jihadism

The Genesis of Salafi-Jihadism

Did you know that not all Salafis are jihadis? Often in popular understanding they of the long beard are the chief perpetrators of religious violence and terrorism. Many are, but it does not have to be so. Another popular version of Salafism adopts political quietism, believing Islam commands them to obey the ruler — almost … 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

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

Islam, Jihad, and Syria

Islam, Jihad, and Syria

Two days ago I shared my new article at Christianity Today contrasting Muslim and Christian polls about eschatology. As ISIS surged in the Middle East, it activated also Christian visions of Armageddon. But it is good also to look at the raw material. This article by Josh Landis contains many interesting tidbits on how Syria … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Falling Short

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Falling Short

God, Egypt was almost happy. Perhaps she was a little. The national soccer team came close to reclaiming its heritage as ‘best in Africa’, but fell short in the final. But so also seemed many of Egypt’s actors this week, for good or for ill. A women’s labor strike at a textile factory abandoned the … Continue reading

Why Aleppo Fell

Why Aleppo Fell

I can’t pretend to know the answer to why Aleppo fell, but Juan Cole tells us only part of it did. The more populous section, says the University of Michigan professor, may well have been glad to see the rebels go. There had been 250,000 Sunni Arabs of a more religious mindset and from a … Continue reading

Christian TV Helps ISIS Survivors

Christian TV Helps ISIS Survivors

This article was published at Christianity Today on January 7, 2016. Last spring, a 10-year-old Christian girl famously forgave ISIS for driving her family from their home in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. Myriam’s video interview with Christian broadcaster SAT-7 went viral, witnessed by more than 3 million people on television and social media. When Myriam … Continue reading

The Return from Syria

The Return from Syria

Writing for Carnegie, Mukhtar Awad writes a long but thorough history of Islamist radicalization since the movement to oust Morsi as president. Towards the end he issues a warning that might not be on everyone’s radar: The eventual return of Egypt’s many itinerant jihadists—probably several thousand—is another factor that will likely increase jihadists’ recruitment of … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Regional Balance

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Regional Balance

God, Help Egypt to honor her neighbors, near and far. Help her to satisfy commitments, repay debts, and work for peace. Help her toward a wise and sovereign foreign policy. Egypt is alive economically because of Saudi aid. Egypt supports their offensive in Yemen. Saudi Arabia desires the fall of Syria’s Assad. Egypt backs Russian … Continue reading