Do Unto Others . . . ? Not so much.

Imagine for a minute that you live in a country where Christians are a small minority and Muslims are a majority. Would you want to be forced to resolve business disputes according to Shari’a law even though you don’t believe in it, and clearly don’t have any friends in a Shari’a court? Many Christians face [Read More…]

Activists versus Dialogue at the Parliament.

“Would the fundamentalists have shown up for a pluralistic conference that respects multiple viewpoints anyway” This was a recent posting I saw regarding the Parliament of the World’s Religions failure to engage Christian conservatives as well as many other groups. It makes a big assumption: that conservative religious groups aren’t interested in dialogue, which really [Read More…]

How to Stop ISIS Recruiting

At the Council for Foreign Relations lunch there was a vigorous and useful discussion about the need to amplify the voices of peaceful and socially conscious Islam so as to drown out the shouts of the extremists. Since I promised to report: 1. Wood spoke the classic language of hard power and soft power. While [Read More…]

Buddhist and Muslim Dialogue for the Earth

The word sacred has two related dimensions. One dimension of something sacred is that it connected to God, or whatever is the object of religious devotion, reflection, and faith. The second related dimension is that something sacred is worthy of veneration. And this second dimension is where we get into trouble when we talk about [Read More…]

ISIS and Religious Terror: To Report is not to Support

“By publicizing the views of ISIS as Islamic you are helping their cause.” That was more or less the accusation being made at the Council of Foreign Relations lunch at the Parliament of the World Religions. The target of the accusation was Graeme Wood, the journalist whose excellent article in the Atlantic on the Islamic [Read More…]

Mecca to Roseburg, Two Sides of the Same Hopeless Fatalism

Congress needs to get off its knees and back to work. Another shooter, another group of young people turned to corpses, and another group of American politicians feeling terrible sorry and praying for the families of the deceased. And as it turns out, more proof that American Christian congressmen are really no different from Saudi Muslim [Read More…]

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…]


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