Concessions vs. compromises with “folk religion”

Was reading about theology when I should be updating some technical specifications for the IT project I'm working on when I came across some intriguing observations about Christian faith and its tensions with popular practice that I think could be fruitfully applied to Islam. Try substituting "Sufism" for "folk religion" in the quotes and you'll get a sense of how concerns the excesses of "popular" religion are both natural and legitimate yet simutaneously prone to … [Read more...]

The Grinch: A Misunderstood Mujahid

Growing up a Muslim in Boston in the 70s and 80s and with little contact with the broader Muslim community, I had BIG issues with Christmas.Unlike a lot of Muslims, my beef with Christmas wasn't theological.  I don't accept the line that to joining Christians in celebrating their holiday is to engage in or condone  shirk (idolatry), as do many Muslims.  Nor was it philosophical or ethical.  To the contrary, I always liked Christmas in principle, finding it a noble and inspiring holiday that r … [Read more...]

The joys of interfaith (and intra-faith) dialogue

No irony or sarcasm is meant by that title.  When it works, it really is a joy. Last night, I participated in an interfaith dinner between local young Muslims and young Christians enrolled in a pastoral studies program at The Falls Church, a beautiful Episcopal church that happens to be right next to  one of the nexi  of Muslim life in northern Virginia, Halalco.    An aside:  Halalco is the first modern, professionally-run Islamically themed department store--as … [Read more...]