Interfaith

The Hope in Shared Spaces of Prayer

Photo by Dan Rosenstein via Unsplash In the West Bank city of Hebron, Jews and Muslims share an ancient shrine known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. Abraham (or Ibrahim in Arabic) is believed to be buried at this sacred site. So too are Sarah, Isaac,…… Continue reading The Hope in Shared Spaces of Prayer

Interfaith

Introducing the Abrahamic Family House

Sally Mousa sent me an article last week that really warmed my heart and soul. The title of the article is “UAE vision of interfaith harmony takes shape in Abrahamic House of Fraternity.” Reporting for The National, Arthur MacMillan provides the details. Officially known as the Abrahamic Family House, the complex (pictured above) will be…… Continue reading Introducing the Abrahamic Family House

Activism · Interfaith

Meeting With Worldwide Leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

It was an absolute pleasure and honor to spend time with His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya community. On October 26th, 2018, alongside Professor Emran El-Badawi of the University of Houston, we discussed a range of issues, including the Constitution of Medina, embracing humanity, and peace-building. I will never forget…… Continue reading Meeting With Worldwide Leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Film-work · Interfaith

True Story of Muslims Protecting Christians Nominated For An Oscar

Picture this. Al-Shabab gunmen, based around northern Kenya, open fire on a bus and ask dozens of passengers on board to identify the Christian passengers. The Muslims on board refuse and decide to instead shield their fellow Christians. Some Muslims even offer their hijabs so the women can not be identified by their religion. As…… Continue reading True Story of Muslims Protecting Christians Nominated For An Oscar

Interfaith · Islam · Talks

Video: Lessons From Al Andalus – Leading in a Pluralistic Society

On December 31st, I had the opportunity to speak on “Lessons From Al Andalus – Leading in a Pluralistic Society” for IslamInSpanish at the 2nd National Latino Muslim Convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. I focused on the period of “Islamic Spain” and how Al-Andalus’ pluralistic vision is an important…… Continue reading Video: Lessons From Al Andalus – Leading in a Pluralistic Society

Interfaith

Peacekeeping Vs. Peacemaking: What’s the Difference?

Back in 2008, I had the opportunity to meet with Judea Pearl, the father of Daniel Pearl. Following the murder of his son, Judea reached out to people across the United States hoping to counter religious extremism and build bridges of understanding between people of different faith communities. I asked Judea if he could tell…… Continue reading Peacekeeping Vs. Peacemaking: What’s the Difference?

History · Interfaith

Why a Muslim Holds the Key to the Holiest Church in Christendom

During the Caliphate of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, Muslims started to expand northwards into the lands of the Byzantine Empire. The majority of the Christians in the region were Monophysites, who had a more monotheistic view of God that was similar to what the new Muslims were preaching, as Lost Islamic History notes. “They welcomed Muslim…… Continue reading Why a Muslim Holds the Key to the Holiest Church in Christendom

Interfaith

Top Allies of Pope Francis Denounce Islamophobic Views of Some U.S. Christians

The Independent published an important piece on Pope Francis’ effort to combat Islamophobia and promote the dialogue of civilizations between Muslims and Christians. Two people close to Pope Francis – Antonio Spadaro and Marcelo Figueroa (a Protestant) – wrote a joint article in La Civiltà Cattolica, a journal published by Jesuit priests in Rome and…… Continue reading Top Allies of Pope Francis Denounce Islamophobic Views of Some U.S. Christians

Interfaith

Muslims and Catholics Are More Alike Than You Think

Since he took his position as the Holy Father in 2013, Pope Francis has consistently encouraged Catholics to engage with Muslims as a means to build bridges of interfaith understanding. His call, however, appears to have fallen on deaf ears. According to a 2016 study by The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, only 14% of…… Continue reading Muslims and Catholics Are More Alike Than You Think

Interfaith · Islam

The Growing Movement to Inform the World of Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants With Christians

Forbes just published an article by Melik Kaylan which caught my attention and the attention of some of my colleagues. Kaylan refers to The Covenants Initiative, a body of scholars in the West which is spearheading a movement to promote Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants with the Christians of his time. These Covenants have been well documented…… Continue reading The Growing Movement to Inform the World of Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants With Christians

Interfaith · Islamic State

Faith in Humanity Restored: Muslims Rebuild Church Destroyed by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq

Here is a heartwarming story published by Charles White for metro.co.uk. Muslims have rebuilt a church that ISIS destroyed in Mosul, Iraq. The Chaldean church was left in ruins after Kurdish and allied forces pushed ISIS out of al-Arabi in Mosul. The church, which was attacked on many occasions by ISIS, is in full communion…… Continue reading Faith in Humanity Restored: Muslims Rebuild Church Destroyed by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq

Interfaith · Islam

The Spirit of Ramadan – When the Prophet of Islam Opened the Door of His Mosque For Christians

Ramadan is almost here. In preparation for my talk on Prophet Muhammad’s relations with Christians at The Islamic Institute/Blue Mosque in Houston on Friday, I prepared this short post on how people can understand the true spirit of Ramadan. Last year, a young Protestant man in college sent me an e-mail with some questions about Christian-Muslim…… Continue reading The Spirit of Ramadan – When the Prophet of Islam Opened the Door of His Mosque For Christians

History · Interfaith · Islam

When a Priest Recognized the Prophethood of Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad’s relations with Christians is a topic that I have dedicated a lot of time to researching. I have focused on two primary issues: 1) the Covenants of the Prophet with the Christians of his time, showing how these Covenants stand for religious pluralism and civic national principles, and 2) the visit of the Christians of Najran…… Continue reading When a Priest Recognized the Prophethood of Muhammad

Interfaith

Pope Francis Calls on Christians to “Cross Over to the Other Side” to Meet Muslims

How do Christians engage with Muslims? For some Christians, there is no engagement at all. Polls have actually found a correlation between a lack of engagement with Muslims and Islamophobia among Christian Americans. Other Christians in the United States and around the world engage with Islam in an energetic way. Pope Francis is one such…… Continue reading Pope Francis Calls on Christians to “Cross Over to the Other Side” to Meet Muslims

Interfaith

This Is Islam, Too: New Movie on Muslims Protecting Christians in Kenya Bus Ambush

Picture this. Muslim gunmen spray a bus with bullets, killing two passengers in northern Kenya. The gunmen are part of al-Shabab, a militant group based in East Africa. After opening fire, the militants asked the 62 Muslims on board the bus to identify the Christian passengers. The Muslims refused to reveal their identities, telling the…… Continue reading This Is Islam, Too: New Movie on Muslims Protecting Christians in Kenya Bus Ambush

Interfaith · Islam

Turkey Restoring Tomb of Abyssinian Christian King, Who Sheltered Prophet Muhammad’s Companions

Have you ever heard of King Najashi, a Christian, of the Kingdom of Abyssinia (also known as Aksum)? The Daily Sabah notes: “King Najashi, also known as Armah, was the ruler of the Kingdom of Aksum from 614-631. The Empire was a trading nation situated in modern-day Eritrea and Ethiopia, existing from approximately 100-940 AD……… Continue reading Turkey Restoring Tomb of Abyssinian Christian King, Who Sheltered Prophet Muhammad’s Companions

Interfaith · Politics

Trump’s Benediction Incomplete Without Islam

Like many of you, I watched the Inauguration. The one thing that stood out most to me is the benediction, or blessing, after President Trump took the oath of office. A rabbi spoke first, followed by a reverend and then a bishop. Judaism was represented and Christianity too. These religious leaders talked about God, a…… Continue reading Trump’s Benediction Incomplete Without Islam

Interfaith

Christians and Muslims Gather at the Table of Coexistence, Friendship, and Fellowship

“Treat others how you would like to be treated.” That is the Golden Rule. As I have discussed in the Huffington Post, Jesus and Muhammad lived by this Rule. The legacy of Christ and the Prophet teach Christians and Muslims to overcome animosity and bigotry in favor of generosity and coexistence. It is in this spirit that…… Continue reading Christians and Muslims Gather at the Table of Coexistence, Friendship, and Fellowship

Interfaith

Faith Leaders in Berlin Protect the “Grey Zone” After Christmas Market Attack

“The world is falling apart.” A lot of people have used these words over the last few days. The attack in Germany and the utter destruction of Aleppo are just two examples that we see on a daily basis. Amidst the darkness, let me send you some words of encouragement. Do not let the misery and fear corrupt your mind,…… Continue reading Faith Leaders in Berlin Protect the “Grey Zone” After Christmas Market Attack

Interfaith

When People of Faith Meet Around Their Scriptures

You know I’m a proponent of interfaith studies. I’ve studied Islam as a Catholic for over 12 years now. One thing I’ve realized is the importance of studying together – like actually sitting down with someone outside of your specific tradition. Go over the texts together. Interpret together. Dissect controversial passages together. Break bread together.…… Continue reading When People of Faith Meet Around Their Scriptures

Interfaith · Islam

Why This Christian Is An “Islamic Apologist”

Leftist. Liberal. Progressive. Communist. People hurl these terms at me on an hourly basis via social media. They are overused and misused so much that they no longer have any meaning to me. I do not self-identify myself with any of these labels. Placing me into these categories is nonsense. I am none of these things,…… Continue reading Why This Christian Is An “Islamic Apologist”

Interfaith

Why This Christian Studies Islam

People often ask me, Why do you study Islam if you are a Christian? Here is my answer: I am hungry for meaning, wherever it might be found. I do not care if it is in a desert of Arabia or a small village in France. I want to bridge the perceived worlds, through meaning-making.…… Continue reading Why This Christian Studies Islam

Interfaith

10 Great Prophet Muhammad Quotes on Christians

“If a monk or pilgrim seeks protection, in mountain or valley, in a cave or in tilled fields, in the plain, in the desert, or in a church, I am behind them, defending them from every enemy; I, my helpers, all the members of my religion and all my followers, for they [the monks and…… Continue reading 10 Great Prophet Muhammad Quotes on Christians

Interfaith

Pluralism and the Najran Christians: How Prophet Muhammad Went Beyond Toleration

Last week I gave a presentation in front of a group of undergraduate and postgraduate students at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The title of my lecture was “Religious Pluralism in Islam: Analyzing Prophet Muhammad’s Covenants with Christians”. The Prezi is available here. As is the case with academic presentations, there was a short question…… Continue reading Pluralism and the Najran Christians: How Prophet Muhammad Went Beyond Toleration

Interfaith

Pluralism in the Prophet’s Covenants: A Christian Perspective on Interreligious Solidarity Against Discrimination

Countries in the so-called “Western world” often depict themselves as the true torchbearers of democratic principles and religious freedom. In setting themselves up in the binary of the “Western world” versus “Islamic civilization,” Western leaders suggest that Muslims worldwide are less tolerant and accepting of religious minorities. Such an argument is a gross misrepresentation of Islamic…… Continue reading Pluralism in the Prophet’s Covenants: A Christian Perspective on Interreligious Solidarity Against Discrimination

Interfaith

The Irony of Spray Painting “Jesus” on Mosques

Racist Islamophobes (yes, Islamophobia is racism) are active in California. Here’s the latest incident according to CNN: One mosque had “Jesus is the Way” spray-painted across the front. Another mosque was defaced and left with a fake grenade in the driveway. Both acts of vandalism took place in the same California city, about an hour west…… Continue reading The Irony of Spray Painting “Jesus” on Mosques

Interfaith

What Trump and His Supporters Can Learn From Muslim Leaders

Support for Donald Trump is surging across the United States. This is particularly troubling because in recent weeks, he has called for banning Muslim immigration, shutting down mosques, spying on Muslims, making Muslims carry ID badges, and a few other blatantly Islamophobic things. It’s like Hitler, American-style. Clearly, Trump and his supporters (maybe not all of…… Continue reading What Trump and His Supporters Can Learn From Muslim Leaders

Interfaith

A Conversation on Humanity Between Jesus and Muhammad

Jesus: Peace be with you, Muhammad. Muhammad: And may the peace and blessings of our Lord also be with you, my brother. Jesus: Say, my friend, how do you feel about people who claim to follow our teachings, but who fight and bicker with each other over religion? Muhammad: Well, Jesus, it’s unfortunate. Your followers…… Continue reading A Conversation on Humanity Between Jesus and Muhammad

Interfaith

The Christians of Najran and the Spirit of Ramadan

A young Protestant man in college recently sent me an e-mail with some questions about Christian-Muslim relations. He told me that he was interested in witnessing Muslims in worship, and more specifically he wanted to take part in an iftar, or the breaking of the fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The young…… Continue reading The Christians of Najran and the Spirit of Ramadan

Interfaith

Prophet Muhammad Wouldn’t Think I’m a “Loser” Because of My Christian Faith

Recently I had an eyebrow-raising Twitter interaction with a young Muslim man who was upset that I have not converted to Islam. Frustrated with my Christian identity, he tweeted me the following Qur’anic passage: “And whosever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad Wouldn’t Think I’m a “Loser” Because of My Christian Faith

Interfaith

A True Blueprint for an Islamic State

Interfaith

Book Review: Christians and Muslims Should Embrace “The Jihad of Jesus”

I turned on the television the other day to hear a Christian American say: “Our enemy is Islam and our enemies are Muslims!” Disturbed by his tone, I shifted to my computer, where I opened the Internet only to see an equally alarming message from a British Muslim: “Islam must crush Christianity, the false religion!”…… Continue reading Book Review: Christians and Muslims Should Embrace “The Jihad of Jesus”

Interfaith

Islamic Veneration of the Virgin Mary

Interfaith

Love and Goodwill in the Bible and Qur’an

Interfaith · Religion

An Interfaith Response to the Call For an “Islamic Reformation”

By Shaykh Dr. Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri and Dr. Craig Considine Ms. Ruth Dudley Edward’s recent article “We should support the Pope’s crusade against Islamism” concerns us as Muslim and Christian scholars respectively. The premise of her argument is that Islam needs a “reformation” in order to make Muslims more peaceful. Edward’s draws inspiration from Ayaan…… Continue reading An Interfaith Response to the Call For an “Islamic Reformation”

Interfaith

Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad Followed “The Golden Rule”

Published on Huffington Post (4/24/2015) Christianity and Islam are often painted as mortal enemies that will be forever fighting in a war for religious supremacy. Christians and Muslims would be wise to remember that Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad are kindred spirits. By turning to their teachings, we can see that these two prophets are…… Continue reading Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad Followed “The Golden Rule”

Interfaith

Irish Imam Promotes Dialogue and Goodwill Between Christians and Muslims

Non-Muslims worldwide frequently call upon Muslims to condemn “Islamic terrorism” and enter into dialogue with Christians and Jews. The issue is not that Muslim leaders do not denounce extremist violence or speak highly of Judaism and Christianity, it is just that non-Muslims typically do not hear their calls for non-violence and interfaith dialogue because of…… Continue reading Irish Imam Promotes Dialogue and Goodwill Between Christians and Muslims

Interfaith

A Must Read: “Six Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of His Time: The Primary Documents”

John Andrew Morrow​’s book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World is truly one of my favorite books ever. It has inspired me in ways that I never thought that a book could. It’s one of those reads. Six Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of His Time:…… Continue reading A Must Read: “Six Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of His Time: The Primary Documents”

Interfaith

A Message to Pakistani Muslims Who Attack My Fellow Christians

I woke up yesterday to some horrific news. Muslims attacked a Church during mass in Youhanabad, a predominantly Christian-populated area of Lahore, Pakistan. 14 Christians were killed and more than 70 were injured. Both Christianity and Pakistan are close to my heart. I’m a Catholic American of Irish and Italian descent. I’m also a scholar who researches the Pakistani…… Continue reading A Message to Pakistani Muslims Who Attack My Fellow Christians

History · Interfaith · Religion

Prophet Muhammad’s Example of Anti-Racism

Published on Huffington Post (February 23rd, 2015) Relations between different ethnic and religious groups in the Middle East, US, and EU are deteriorating at a rapid pace. Across these three areas, Muslims are pitted against non-Muslims and black and brown people are pitted against white. What is needed now more than ever is a role…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad’s Example of Anti-Racism

Interfaith

Muslims in Libya Forget Muhammad’s Letter to Christian Monks at Mt. Sinai

*Note: This article, published in the Huffington Post on October 20th, 2013, is relevant in light of the recent attack by Muslims in Libya, where 20 Coptic Christians were killed because of their religious background. While the article is placed in an Egyptian context, it can easily apply to the situation in Libya.  One issue often discussed on…… Continue reading Muslims in Libya Forget Muhammad’s Letter to Christian Monks at Mt. Sinai

History · Interfaith · Religion

The 8 Most Important Interfaith Monuments in the World

The following short collection lists eight of the most important monuments in the world in terms of interfaith dialogue and interfaith relations. By the term “monument” I refer to a building or structure created to commemorate a person, event, or social bond which has significance in regards to improving relations between the Abrahamic faiths. The eight monuments documented here…… Continue reading The 8 Most Important Interfaith Monuments in the World

Interfaith

Sign the Petition to Save Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai, Egypt

Saint Catherine’s Monastery is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. It is also famous for being the home of Prophet Muhammad’s covenant with Saint Catherine’s Christian monks in which he guarantees their protection and freedom under his rule. Saint Catherine’s “is a UNESCO-Designated World Heritage Site. It has been a destination for international visitors…… Continue reading Sign the Petition to Save Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai, Egypt

Interfaith

More Details Emerge In Case To Destroy Saint Catherine’s Monastery

Last week I blogged about the possible closure of Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt, which Ahmed Ragai Attiya, a retired Egyptian army general has pushed for. Saint Catherine’s is considered to be the only monastery in the world to serve as both a church and a mosque. It is also famous for being the home…… Continue reading More Details Emerge In Case To Destroy Saint Catherine’s Monastery

Interfaith

Prophet Muhammad’s Covenant with Christians to be Destroyed with Destruction of St. Catherine’s Monastery

In the ancient monastery of Saint Catherine’s at Mount Sinai in Egypt, there is a covenant of Prophet Muhammad’s in which he guarantees protection and other rights to the Christian communities of his realm. But a retired Egyptian army general says he has filed a court case pushing for Saint Catherine’s to be demolished, thus…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad’s Covenant with Christians to be Destroyed with Destruction of St. Catherine’s Monastery

Interfaith

Pope Francis and King of Jordan Oppose “Clash of Civilizations,” Call For “Culture of Dialogue”

His Majesty King Abdullah on Monday held talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican, focusing on bilateral relations, peace efforts and issues relating to dialogue and Islamic-Christian coexistence, according to a Royal Court statement. During the meeting, the King voiced Jordan’s keenness on enhancing its relations with the Vatican as both sides are partners in…… Continue reading Pope Francis and King of Jordan Oppose “Clash of Civilizations,” Call For “Culture of Dialogue”

Interfaith

Christians & Muslims Stand Together Against New Forces of Extremism & Destruction

Source: Catholic News Agency The Holy Land’s bishops have said that Christians and Muslims need to unite against extremism, stressing that people of all beliefs are at risk. “Christians and Muslims need to stand together against the new forces of extremism and destruction,” the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land said in an…… Continue reading Christians & Muslims Stand Together Against New Forces of Extremism & Destruction

Interfaith · Politics · Religion

John Andrew Morrow’s Spiritual Journey into Islam and the Life of Prophet Muhammad

This interview with Dr. John Andrew Morrow, Islamic scholar and author of the new book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World (Angelico Press, 2013), is a follow-up to my review “New Book Sheds Light on Prophet Muhammad’s Interfaith Views.” In his response, Dr. Morrow brings us on his journey…… Continue reading John Andrew Morrow’s Spiritual Journey into Islam and the Life of Prophet Muhammad

Interfaith · Politics

The Pope: Christian and Muslim Refugees Must Share Their Belief in God

Just days after I wrote about Pope Francis’ speech on ending the “culture of indifference” towards Muslim refugees, the Holy Father emerged today with an equally powerful comment on how Christians and Muslims should lean on each other and share their belief in the “One God.” Vatican Insider reports that during a gathering at the…… Continue reading The Pope: Christian and Muslim Refugees Must Share Their Belief in God

Interfaith

What Studying Muhammad Taught Me About Islam

Published on Huffington Post Religion Muslims worldwide have recently joined together to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. This day is an opportunity for Muslims and non-Muslims, such as myself – a Catholic – to reflect upon the life and legacy of the prophet of Islam. In this short essay, I want…… Continue reading What Studying Muhammad Taught Me About Islam