Its God’s Will. The Hajj Tragedy and Dialogue

If your religion teaches you that under some circumstances you have no moral responsibility for the loss of life of people who entrust themselves to your care, those who do business with you need to know “buyer beware.” “It was God’s will.” Those were the words pronounced by the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia. It [Read More...]

Ahmed’s Clock, It Will Happen Again

We need to get out of the weeds of blame in the Ahmed Mohamed case, and over his sudden celebrity as well. He is a story, but not the story we need to understand. But we’ll start with him. In the week of September 11th the case of Ahmed Mohamed of Irving rocketed, in 48 [Read More...]

Fear of Death in Farmersville

Thus far the Islamophobia in Farmersville Texas, spurred on by a Christian pastor named David Meeks and others without name, hasn’t resulted in shed blood and has thus created little sense of outrage or concern at a national level. As a nation we are as comfortable with overt bigotry against Muslims today as we were [Read More...]

Muslims on the Rise? Misreading the Pew Report

AHHHHHH! The Muslims are coming the Muslims are coming. I’d barely seen the headlines before a reporter from Houston called me to comment. A new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts says “that the number of Muslims would exceed the number of Christians in the world by 2070!” At least that was the headline for NPR, [Read More...]

The Danger of Islam?

Well, I’ve been bombarded this week with email about the danger of Islam and Islamism. The recent Atlantic Monthly article that asserts unequivocally that ISIS is “Islamic, very Islamic” has stirred up the Islamophobes and given justification to their fears. Let’s start with some facts. Yes, both the Qur’an and traditions of the prophet valorize [Read More...]

Iconoclast or Jackass

It really depends. One of my favorite characters in fiction, Commissioner Brunetti in Donna Leon’s novels, is an ardent humanist. Faced with claims that sacred symbols and institutions trump human need Burnetti says, “nothing is sacred but humans.” I resonate with this belief. As do many other Christians. And the reason is obvious. The claim that people, [Read More...]

Outrage and Anxiety

A couple of weeks ago there was a brief outbreak of good ole American outrage here in Texas. It was well behind the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, but of course this is Dallas, where Milan 2012 is only now being seen on the streets and in the malls. First a couple of protesters decided [Read More...]

Civil Dialogue

The problem with the columnists, commentators, politicians, pundits, and pastors is that they honestly believe that they are the linchpins of civilization. It is amazing how quickly the intelligensia of the left and right moved from an attack on a satirical magazine by militant Islamists to the end of civilization as we know it. The [Read More...]

Speaking the Same Language

I was recently asked by a reporter to discuss why it is that Christians, Muslims, and Jews have so much tension between them. A complex question – but one for which at least one answer is emerging. We do not speak one another’s language, and indeed increasingly refuse to do so. Christians learn about Muslims and [Read More...]

Dialogue in Context – Israel/Palestine

A few days ago I received a number of emails concerning the speech the President of Israel gave at Kafr Qasim. These were emails from Jews both in Israel and the US. They saw his willingness to acknowledge injustices against Israeli Arabs and pledge to protect their rights as equal citizens of Israel as a [Read More...]