Commentary · Religion

Letter to Pope Francis on Child Sex Abuse Scandal

Dear Pope Francis, I have had the utmost admiration for you. Your new leadership in terms of interfaith relations, especially with Muslims, is such a breath of fresh air. You are such a welcoming leader. We can see it in your beautiful smile. We can see it in your everyday actions. You have made us…… Continue reading Letter to Pope Francis on Child Sex Abuse Scandal

Interfaith · Religion

Christians Cannot Be Anti-Jewish or Anti-Muslim, Pope Francis Says

Pope Francis continues to impress on the interfaith scene. His latest remarks on anti-Semitism among Christians should only strengthen the bonds between Christians and Jews. In a speech today in front of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, Pope Francis said that due to the common roots shared with Jews, “a Christian cannot be…… Continue reading Christians Cannot Be Anti-Jewish or Anti-Muslim, Pope Francis Says

Religion

A Jihad of the Pen: Review of Qasim Rashid’s “The Wrong Kind of Muslim”

Published on The American Muslim (June 22nd, 2013) Several weeks ago, my friend and kindred spirit Qasim Rashid sent me a digital copy of his highly anticipated book The Wrong Kind of Muslim: An Untold Story of Persecution and Perseverance. I started reading it one early morning in my flat in Dublin, Ireland, thinking I…… Continue reading A Jihad of the Pen: Review of Qasim Rashid’s “The Wrong Kind of Muslim”

Religion

Reclaiming the Beard on Behalf of Christianity

Cathie Adams, former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, stated recently in her speech “Radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood” that a beard is a sign of a man’s Muslim identity. In the speech, which is posted online by the Far North Dallas Tea Party, Adams can be heard saying that Grover Norquist, a…… Continue reading Reclaiming the Beard on Behalf of Christianity

Film-work · Religion

Finding Pluralism in Akbar the Great (A Short Documentary)

Akbar the Great is an extraordinary figure in history. Who is he? What did he stand for and what can we learn from his legacy? These are some of the questions which are touched upon in this short documentary. *Feel free to watch/write a review in the comments section. Thank you.* Reviews: “I have tears of…… Continue reading Finding Pluralism in Akbar the Great (A Short Documentary)

Religion

Watch a calm and authoritative voice outline the basic principles of Islam

With so much misunderstanding surrounding Islam in countries like the United States, it is imperative to have calm and authoritative voices who can speak clearly to the American people in hope of educating them on this subject. Thankfully, Americans have my mentor Ambassador Akbar Ahmed of American University to speak to them in a very…… Continue reading Watch a calm and authoritative voice outline the basic principles of Islam

Religion

U.S. President George Washington – A Friend of Muslims in His Midst

By Craig Considine George Washington’s birthday, celebrated annually on Febr. 22nd, is an opportunity to reflect upon his exemplary character and the example he set for future generations of Americans. While much is known about Washington’s military service and political career, less is known about his attitude towards religious freedom and his relationships with Muslims.…… Continue reading U.S. President George Washington – A Friend of Muslims in His Midst

Religion

U.S. State Department report means the battle for tolerance and understanding goes on

A new report carried out by the U.S. State Department found that discrimination against Jews and Muslims is on the rise around the world. This is discouraging news for those who are involved in efforts to improve relations among members of the Abrahamic tradition. The report, which is called the International Religious Freedom Report, concludes that…… Continue reading U.S. State Department report means the battle for tolerance and understanding goes on

Religion

Be a good Christian, forget Hollywood scandals and help the homeless

I like Pope Francis more and more with each passing day! On May 18, the Pope raised the issue of the “moral crisis” plaguing the hearts and minds of Christians around the world. To explain the crisis, Pope Francis used the state of homelessness as an example. He stated to a huge international audience in St. Peter’s Square:…… Continue reading Be a good Christian, forget Hollywood scandals and help the homeless

Religion

An Anecdote to Negative Stereotypes of Islam

Go on a journey into the heart of Islam’s mystical side – Sufism. Explore the roots of Sufi music, art, poetry, etc. Sufi music is particularly thrilling and attracted me to study more about Islam. I highly recommend this short piece from Channel 4. The presenter takes the audience to Sufi shrines of the Virgin…… Continue reading An Anecdote to Negative Stereotypes of Islam

Religion

Huffington Post user warns of the coming rapture

About three weeks ago I wrote a poem for the Huffington Post Religion called “Allah or God, It Doesn’t Matter to Me.” While the poem did not receive a ton of attention, a few Huffington Post users left their thoughts, of which one stood out more than the others. Alongside posting several biblical passages which…… Continue reading Huffington Post user warns of the coming rapture

Religion

Pope Francis refers to Revelation 3:16, calls out “lukewarm Christians without courage”

“So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:16 Here’s a look at Pope Francis’ meaningful words about how many of today’s Christians are too “wrapped up in [their] petty things, [their] jealousies, envy, careerism, in going ahead selfishly.” According to the…… Continue reading Pope Francis refers to Revelation 3:16, calls out “lukewarm Christians without courage”

Religion

The Function of Prayer

Note: I took this picture during Mawlid in Dublin, 2013 Prayer, both obligatory and spontaneous, is an immense spiritual treasure to be tapped. It inspires peace, purity and tranquility, and instills a continuous awareness of and feeling of closeness to God. It amazingly reduces the hustle and bustle of life to tame proportions…. [P]rayers tend…… Continue reading The Function of Prayer

Outreach · Religion

My challenge to the media: Burn the Quran Day or One Film 9/11?

I pose a challenge to media outlets around the world: Will they continue to focus on sensational stories which only exacerbate tension and hatred between groups, or will they instead provide coverage to events and initiatives which work to build bridges across the divide? I use Pastor Terry Jones’ “Burn the Quran Day” and my…… Continue reading My challenge to the media: Burn the Quran Day or One Film 9/11?

Religion

My Favorite Hebrew Phrase

One of the best phrases in the human language: “Tikkun olam (Hebrew: תיקון עולם or תקון עולם[1]‎), meaning “to heal a fractured world.”

Religion

Where Do You Search When You’re Searching for Him?

“I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not. I went into the ancient temples of idolatry; no trace of Him was there. I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not. With set purpose I fared…… Continue reading Where Do You Search When You’re Searching for Him?

Religion

Most beautiful mosque in “Muslim world” crumbles

The Great Mosque of Aleppo, also called the Ummayad Mosque, is crumbling because of the war in Syria. The BBC is reporting that its minaret has fallen to the ground and now lays ruined in a pile of rubble. In my opinion it doesn’t matter if Assad’s troops or the “rebel forces” destroyed it. The…… Continue reading Most beautiful mosque in “Muslim world” crumbles

Religion

Allowing Others to Love, Akbar the Great

You can read more about the life of Akbar the Great in my Huffington Post Religion article, “Finding Tolerance in Akbar, the Philosopher-King”

Religion

Akbar the Great’s Legacy and Religious Freedom

Akbar the Great, ruler of most of South Asia in the 16th and early 17th century, rejected bigotry and made unprecedented moves to help non-Muslims feel at peace in his Mughal empire. In reflecting more closely upon his character and conduct, we can see how Akbar’s actions are antithetical to current discrimination and violence against…… Continue reading Akbar the Great’s Legacy and Religious Freedom

Religion

Tribal Islam: America’s new drone target

Members of Islamic tribes often live in remote areas of the world, with ancient codes of honor and revenge. Muslim scholar Akbar Ahmed says they’re now being traumatized by American drones, a technology he calls “mysterious, distant, deadly, and notoriously devoid of human presence.” Source: interfaithradio.org

Religion

How Islam Saved Judaism

Had Islam not come along, Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance and Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult, writes David J. Wasserstein for the Jewish Chronicle. Continue reading

Religion

The Muslim Jesus

Note: Here’s an article by Alayna Ahmad, which was recently published on the Huffington Post Religion page. Below the article, I’ve also posted an ITV documentary on “The Muslim Jesus.” Islam is a deeply monotheistic religion and thus forbids any partners or associations with God. Although all prophets including Jesus were mortal and gifted in…… Continue reading The Muslim Jesus

Religion

Akbar the Great a Pioneer in Interfaith Dialogue

Akbar the Great, ruler of the Mughal Empire during the late 16th and early 17th century, was a true pioneer of interfaith dialogue. Akbar’s desire to build interfaith bridges is clear in a letter he wrote in 1582 to King Philip II of Spain” “As most men are fettered by bonds of tradition, and by imitating…… Continue reading Akbar the Great a Pioneer in Interfaith Dialogue

Religion

Celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem

Today is Palm Sunday, the last Sunday before Easter and the beginning of the most holy week in the Catholic tradition. On this day we commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. The New Testament notes that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Jewish crowds gathered to greet him by waving palm branches and by…… Continue reading Celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem

Religion

Pope Francis I must address concerns of Catholics in Pakistan

Hundreds of Pakistani Catholics recently lost their homes and livelihood in a widespread arson attack in the predominantly Catholic neighborhood of Joseph Colony, Lahore. In response to the attack, Rohan Emmanuel, a Pakistan writer, wrote in The Express Tribune of the Vatican’s unfortunate silence on the plight of Pakistani Catholics and other Christian communities in…… Continue reading Pope Francis I must address concerns of Catholics in Pakistan

Religion

Celebrating Saint Patrick

Today is the feast of Saint Patrick. It is a day to give thanks to God for the gift of Christianity and for the example of so many women and men who have been lights in the darkness for us, who have brought the faith to the ends of the earth, and who continue to…… Continue reading Celebrating Saint Patrick

Religion

A Different Way to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day

The life of Saint Patrick, the humble man from Britain who escaped Roman slavery and brought Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, is celebrated annually on March 17. Despite Saint Patrick’s successful Christian missionary work and his designation as the primary patron saint of Ireland, the day we commemorate his life has become associated…… Continue reading A Different Way to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day

Religion

Pope Francis I, Akbar the Great, and the Jesuits

The Jesuits, members of a religious order of Christianity founded in the 16th century, have entered the public spotlight after the election of Pope Francis I, himself a Jesuit. In reading more about the their philosophy, I stumbled across an interesting story about one of their missions to the court of Akbar the Great of…… Continue reading Pope Francis I, Akbar the Great, and the Jesuits

Religion

Prophet Muhammad and George Washington Agree on Treatment of Prisoners of War

In a recent Huffington Post article, Dr. Faheen Younus of the University of Maryland wrote about Prophet Muhammad’s philosophy and philanthropy towards prisoners of war. In summary, Dr. Younus suggests that “in Islam, the idea of equal benefits for the prisoners of war is not a joke — it’s a reality and a legacy.” To…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad and George Washington Agree on Treatment of Prisoners of War

Religion

Short biography of Sambo Anderson

Excerpt from Washington Was a Friend of Muslims in the Huffington Post – Religion The most interesting story regarding Washington’s slaves is that of Sambo Anderson. Mary Thompson suggests that Sambo, whose name was common in modern northwestern Nigeria and southern Niger during the 18th century, was likely a descendent of the West African Hausa…… Continue reading Short biography of Sambo Anderson

Religion

George Washington was a friend of Muslims

This article was first published in the Huffington Post – Religion It is possible that Washington’s friendship with Muslims is a result of his adherence to the rational principles of Deism, which emphasize a belief in God and not necessarily a belief in religion. Others might argue that it is his Christian faith that encouraged…… Continue reading George Washington was a friend of Muslims

Film-work · Religion

Video of giving alms to the homeless in Dublin during Lent

One of the three penitential principles of Lent is almsgiving, or making voluntary contributions to those in need. In my celebration of this solemn observance, I recently walked around Dublin and carefully gave away money to those who need it more than I do.

Religion

Next Pope’s chance to improve relations with al-Azhar University

An opportunity for interfaith bridge building arises in light of a recent statement from Al-Azhar University, one of the most important centers for Islamic learning in the world. Al-Azhar hopes that Pope Benedict XVI’s successor will work towards repairing relations between Muslims and Catholics “based on mutual respect and understanding.” Relations between al-Azhar and the Vatican have…… Continue reading Next Pope’s chance to improve relations with al-Azhar University

Religion

Celebrating Ash Wednesday

Today I celebrated the beginning of Lent (Ash Wednesday) at St. John’s Lane Church in Dublin. I’ve decided to give up all forms of meat during this holy period. Here’s a bit of information on the importance of Ash Wednesday and the holy season of Lent. Source: Catholic Online Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of…… Continue reading Celebrating Ash Wednesday

Religion

Does the next Pope tackle these issues?

Source: Truthdig First, the church has to address the abuse scandal that has been devouring the institution from the inside. Step one is to release every document, no matter how embarrassing or costly, relating to child abuse and the protection of criminal priests. The Vatican has to throw open its doors and establish an independent,…… Continue reading Does the next Pope tackle these issues?

Religion

Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester Rejects Bigotry, Stands by Muslim Friends

I am happy to hear that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, rescinded an invitation to Robert Spencer, a writer whose views on Muslims and Islam are eerily similar to those of Nazis towards Jews and Judaism. After a further review of Spencer’s background, a spokesman for the diocese, Raymond Delisle, said in a…… Continue reading Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester Rejects Bigotry, Stands by Muslim Friends

Religion

This video will renew your faith in humanity

Religion

George Washington Was a Friend of Muslims

George Washington’s birthday, celebrated annually on Febr. 22nd, is an opportunity to reflect upon his exemplary character and the example he set for future generations of Americans. While much is known about Washington’s military service and political career, less is known about his attitude towards religious freedom and his relationships with Muslims. Looking closely at…… Continue reading George Washington Was a Friend of Muslims

Religion

Prophet Muhammad Sculpture at U.S. Supreme Court Shows Respect for Islam

Since the events of 9/11 the Prophet Muhammad has been in the news the world over for all the wrong reasons.  Examples of this include the Prophet (PBUH) being mocked in political cartoons as a terrorist and depicted as a child killer, rapist, and adulterer in films such as The Innocence of Muslims. The Prophet…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad Sculpture at U.S. Supreme Court Shows Respect for Islam

Religion

Debunking the Myth of Sharia Law as a Threat to the US

Anderson Cooper – Do you think the mosque in Murfreesboro wants to institute sharia law in the United States? Akbar Ahmed – Anderson, I want you to ask yourself this question, and I’m sure your mathematics is better than mine.  If every Muslim in the United States of America – it’s about 2% of the…… Continue reading Debunking the Myth of Sharia Law as a Threat to the US

Religion

A List of Muslims and Islamic Groups Condemning Terrorism

It’s a bit outrageous to have to explain to people that all Muslims aren’t terrorists or terrorist sympathizers. In the U.S. in particular, people are always asking ‘Where are the moderate Muslims speaking out against terrorism?’  Well, the reality of the situation is that the list of Muslims or Islamic groups that have condemned terrorism…… Continue reading A List of Muslims and Islamic Groups Condemning Terrorism

Religion

Religion: The Salfyo Costa of Egypt shatters myths about Salafis

While they do perhaps share some broad conservative values, Salafis aren’t a monolithic group. Many people I’ve spoken to, however, have suggested that all Salafis are enemies of ‘Western civilization’ and should therefore be feared.  These are two sentiments which were echoed in a recent New York Times article, ‘Don’t fear all Islamists, fear Salafis’.…… Continue reading Religion: The Salfyo Costa of Egypt shatters myths about Salafis

Religion

Sufism’s Neoplatonic Roots in Ancient Greece

Aristotle, not Plato, is the dominant figure in Muslim philosophy, and few Muslims are familiar with the name of Plotinus, who was more commonly called ‘the Greek Master’ (al-Sheykh al-Yaunani).  But since the Arabs gained their first knowledge of Aristotle from his Neoplatonist commentators, the system with which they became imbued was that of Porphyry…… Continue reading Sufism’s Neoplatonic Roots in Ancient Greece

Religion

Politics: Culture of dependency between American Islamophobes and ultra-religious Muslims

From Moustafa Bayoumi’s Men Behaving Badly: ‘The Islamophobes in the United States and the ultra-religious right in Muslim-majority countries need each other to survive. Each confirms to the other the need for his own existence. To the Islamophobes, all Muslims are extremists. The provocations Islamophobes produce are designed to elicit the very images we see.…… Continue reading Politics: Culture of dependency between American Islamophobes and ultra-religious Muslims

Religion

Religion: (Chart) Number of Muslim protestors from ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film

Religion

Gandhi’s Views on the Prophet Muhammad

Published in ‘Young India’ (1924):  ‘I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life.…… Continue reading Gandhi’s Views on the Prophet Muhammad

Religion

Ralph Waldo Emerson quoting the Qur’an

Quoted · Religion

The Difference Between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs

Religion

Religion: JFK’s speech on religious freedom

Note: A quote from a speech that JFK gave on September 12, 1960, before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association.  My comment is that I would have liked to see other references to Muslims, Hindus, etc, as there were certainly non-Christians and Jews living at this time in the United States. I believe in an America…… Continue reading Religion: JFK’s speech on religious freedom

Religion

Religion: A ‘modernist’ Muslim for all those who think they’ve never existed

Saiyid Ahmad Khan was the founder of Islamic modernism, that is, the development in Islamic thought which bears comparison with the development of higher criticism and modernism in Christian thought. He was deeply concerned that Islam should make sense in the light of Western science; he was no less concerned that Muslims should be reconciled…… Continue reading Religion: A ‘modernist’ Muslim for all those who think they’ve never existed