January 16, 2019

Our country is mired in the grips of obdurate ideological warfare. The ongoing government shut down. Polarized political parties whose main goal seems to be stopping anything the opposite party puts forward. Different ideological groups — left and right, woke and unwoke, the religious right vs progressives vs atheists — who view opposite groups as dangerous, criminal and downright evil. Fellow citizens viewed not only with hostility but the conviction that should their beliefs and ideals be realized it would… Read more

August 13, 2018

I embraced Islam in China some 30 years ago. The Chinese Muslim community embraced me with open arms, laying a foundation of fond memories, and a life long interest in the Chinese Muslim community. More important, I learned from them three invaluable lessons. The Many Ways of Being Muslim The first was that there is not just one way to be Muslim. I learned this from a soccer team from XinJiang who I met in a hole-in-the-wall halal restaurant in… Read more

July 18, 2018

The Qur’an (as always) has a verse for the Trump-Putin situation. Loosely translated it says:  Don’t make friends and protectors of those who fight you because of your beliefs (Surah 60, verse 9).  Now, to be sure, this verse is talking about people who fight you over matters of religion, but it applies equally here. Russia has not been an ally of the US since World War II, and we were only allies then because Germany made the titanic mistake… Read more

June 6, 2018

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of Jack Philips, the baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple who had been long time clients of his bakery because he felt to do so was a violation of his Christian morals. It’s not the first time in recent years that I’ve disagreed with the Supreme Court. My thoughts about the issue remain unchanged. Creating classes of people you can discriminate against because of your religious convictions… Read more

June 6, 2018

The story of the Qur’an begins in Ramadan, 610 AD. Muhammad, who was not yet the Prophet Muhammad, was in the habit of meditating in a cave high on the hillsides surrounding Mecca. On one such occasion, the angel Gabriel came to him and told him to read. Muhammad replied that he could not read. Gabriel pressed him tightly and then commanded him again to Read, and Muhammad again said that he could not read. Gabriel pressed him against, and… Read more

May 22, 2018

“It was in the month of Ramadan that the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So any one of you who is present that month should fast, and anyone who is ill or on a journey should make up for the lost days by fasting on other days later. God wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for… Read more

May 10, 2018

The Public Religion Research Institute’s 2017 American Values Atlas, published last week, revealed that for the first time a majority of American Muslims support the legalization of gay marriage. It is a slim majority: 51% favor legalization while 34% reject it and 15% are undecided. But it’s a significant reversal from just three years ago when a Pew Research Center study found that 52% of the community rejected the legalization of gay marriage, 42% supported it, and 6% were undecided. The… Read more

April 18, 2018

By now you’ve probably heard about the two black men who were arrested while waiting for a business associate at a Philadelphia area Starbucks and the ensuing protests. The Qur’an tells us, “You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly- if… Read more

March 24, 2018

We can argue whether Mark Anthony Conditt is a terrorist or not. Certainly his 3 week bombing spree across Austin terrorized the city. But so did Charles Manson’s killing spree and Jack the Ripper’s. Serial murder is not necessarily an act of terrorism, though it obviously can be. The US Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit… Read more

March 20, 2018

Six months ago, I began driving for Lyft. It didn’t take me long to learn that if you hope to make a decent hourly rate, you need to drive smart. That means driving during peak hours prioritized by Lyft — commute times and Friday and Saturday night – when there were also likely to be rate surges due to higher demand. It also meant maintaining a 90% acceptance rate and meeting Lyft rides-per-week goals to earn bonuses. Even so, it… Read more

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