Islam · Sociology

Prophet Muhammad’s Model of Integration for the U.S. and the Ummah

I had the pleasure last Saturday of breaking the fast with the Clear Lake Islamic Center, the Muslim American Society, and other members of their communities at an annual Ramadan gathering in Seabrook, Texas. I was invited by my friend Dr. Mohamed Shalaby, who asked me to speak on Prophet Muhammad’s model of integration and how…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad’s Model of Integration for the U.S. and the Ummah

Book Reviews

Muslim Marine Reviews: Islam, Race, and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora

By Tayyib Rashid Dr. Craig Considine should be applauded for his effort to learn, understand and educate the public about Pakistanis in diaspora and advancing his relentless pursuit to build bridges of understanding, and tolerance. In doing so Dr. Considine adds another brick to the foundations of inter-racial peace in American society. Islam, Race, and…… Continue reading Muslim Marine Reviews: Islam, Race, and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora

Philosophy · Poems · Work

Words For Our Wounded World – “Where Epics Fail”

Yahia Lababidi is an Egyptian immigrant and Muslim in Trump’s America. His new book – Where Epics Fail – is a work of hope, peace and healing for our wounded world. Where Epics Fail, to be published by Unbound (UK), is a collection of 800 aphorisms composed over the last ten years. Unbound is the world’s first crowd-funding…… Continue reading Words For Our Wounded World – “Where Epics Fail”

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

News

Rice University News and Media Introduces “Islam, Race, and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora”

Rice University News and Media has written the first news article about Islam, Race, and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora. This book is due to be published on July 11, 2017. Many of the young Pakistani men that I interviewed in Boston and Dublin see Pakistan, their country of origin, as being alien to them, but at the…… Continue reading Rice University News and Media Introduces “Islam, Race, and Pluralism in the Pakistani Diaspora”

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

History · Islam

Sapelo Island, Georgia – The First Muslim Community in the United States?

“Islam is a new religion to the United States.” You might hear some citizens utter this statement while trying to push the idea that Muslims do not belong in American society. History, however, tell us that Muslims may have reached modern-day America as far back as the 12th century. Other, more concrete evidence reveals that small Muslim communities emerged around…… Continue reading Sapelo Island, Georgia – The First Muslim Community in the United States?

History · Islam · Work

One Picture Alone Shatters the Myth that Islam Is a New Religion in America

One picture alone shtters the myth that Islam is a new religion in American society. This is the short story of Yarrow Marmood (pictured). He was allegedly born in the late 17th century in West Africa, but other estimates put his birth in the 18th century. Specifically, he was said to have been brought in bondage…… Continue reading One Picture Alone Shatters the Myth that Islam Is a New Religion in America

Islamic State

ISIS’s Attacks on Christians in Egypt Makes One Question – What Religion Does ISIS Really Follow?

In late April, Pope Francis intends to visit Egypt despite rising tensions in the region that have caused violence and bloodshed between Christians and Muslims. Francis’ visit is an endeavor to show support and solidarity for the beleaguered Egyptian Christian minority community which continues to be targeted by fanatics and increasingly made to feel vulnerable…… Continue reading ISIS’s Attacks on Christians in Egypt Makes One Question – What Religion Does ISIS Really Follow?

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

Irish · Irish Diaspora

What Saint Patrick’s Day Means to Me

As we prepare to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, I reflect back upon my family’s migration from Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, and what Irish identity means to me. As Irish President Michael D. Higgins said in a recent address, the Irish are a migrant people. We have brought our wit, our charm, our knowledge, and our cultural…… Continue reading What Saint Patrick’s Day Means to Me

Islamophobia · Racism

Attacks on Sikhs Prove Islamophobia is More Than “Rational Disagreement” With Islam

Let me explain to you why it is hypocritical to say that Islamophobia is a simple result of “rational disagreement” with the tenets of Islam and not the distrust of people who look different from “normal” Americans. Consider this CNN story which documents another hate crime perpetrated by Islamophobic individuals. Again and again, we are witnessing how…… Continue reading Attacks on Sikhs Prove Islamophobia is More Than “Rational Disagreement” With Islam

Islamophobia

Islamophobes and Their Safe-Spaces Enhancing Dialogue in an Age of Polarization

Muslim “no-go zones” came up as a topic of conversation in my recent lecture to the Good Shepherd Episcopalian community in Kingwood, Texas, not far from Rice University, where I teach a course called “Muslims in American Society.” Early in my talk, an older white Christian man interrupted me. He claimed that “no-go zones,” or…… Continue reading Islamophobes and Their Safe-Spaces Enhancing Dialogue in an Age of Polarization

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

Islam · Islamic State

As ISIS-Affiliate Attacks Egyptian Christians, Remember Prophet Muhammad’s Covenant on the Sinai Peninsula

A Washington Post article has caught my eye. It is titled: “Christians flee Sinai Peninsula in fear of Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate.” According to the Post: “Hundreds of [Coptic] Christians are fleeing Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula as the Islamic State affiliate there has increasingly targeted the community in recent weeks, according to witnesses, clergy and…… Continue reading As ISIS-Affiliate Attacks Egyptian Christians, Remember Prophet Muhammad’s Covenant on the Sinai Peninsula

Islamophobia

The Racialization of Islam and Attacks On Non-Muslims

Islamophobia is real. An event like “2 Indian-Americans Shot, Mistaken for Arabs” reminds us that Islamophobic sentiments are currently produced through a racialization that includes a combination of “old racism” (skin color and ancestry) and “new racism” (culture and religious background). The shooter in this event linked imagined features of “Muslim-ness” to people who are not…… Continue reading The Racialization of Islam and Attacks On Non-Muslims

Politics

Fact-check – “Radical Islamic Terrorism” Poses a Very Small Threat to America

President Trump tweeted yesterday that “The threat from radical Islamic terrorism is very real, just look at what is happening in Europe and the Middle East.” His comment suggests that “radical Islamic terrorism” is the greatest threat to the United States and that his administration will take steps to eradicate this danger from the world. The tweet…… Continue reading Fact-check – “Radical Islamic Terrorism” Poses a Very Small Threat to America

Politics

Alexandre Bissonnette: Another White Supremacist Terrorist Described as a “Lone Wolf”

“Lone wolf.” “College student.” “White man.” “Shooter.” “Far-right.” “Suspect.” These words have been deployed to describe Alexandre Bissonnette (pictured), who recently killed six Muslims inside a mosque in Quebec. His social media activities show that he trolled refugees, supported Trump and other far-right nationalists, and fancied himself as a Christian crusader. One word in particular…… Continue reading Alexandre Bissonnette: Another White Supremacist Terrorist Described as a “Lone Wolf”

Islamic State · Politics

Trump’s “Muslim Ban” – Another Victory For ISIS

By now you have heard the news of President Trump’s “Muslim ban,” which puts a freeze on refugee arrivals and visa requests from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The ban is outlined in an Executive Order, ironically titled “Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which plays right into the hands of…… Continue reading Trump’s “Muslim Ban” – Another Victory For ISIS

Politics · Religion

Religious Pluralism and Common Sense on Trump’s Inauguration Day

Harris Zafar, a public speaker, writer and national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, visited Rice University hours before Donald Trump took the presidential oath of office. Speaking in front of thirty-five students in “Sociology of Religion,” a course which I guide, Zafar immediately noted the symbolic timing of his visit. There he stood,…… Continue reading Religious Pluralism and Common Sense on Trump’s Inauguration Day

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

Islamophobia · Politics

Islamophobia and Catholicophobia – Everything Old is New Again

100 years ago, Americans talked about Catholics the way they talk about Muslims today. That is the title of a new article by German Lopez of Vox. Time and time again, polls and surveys have found that the majority of Americans have unfavorable views of Islam. Consider the following: 1) Muslims are viewed by the…… Continue reading Islamophobia and Catholicophobia – Everything Old is New Again

Politics

The Burqa – To Ban or Not to Ban?

How much of a threat can fully veiled Muslim women pose? Yasmeen Aftab Ali poses this question at the beginning of her new article in Pakistan Today. In recent years, countries such as France, Bulgaria, Egypt, Chad and Morocco have banned the burqa on the grounds that it poses a “security concern” or that the…… Continue reading The Burqa – To Ban or Not to Ban?

Politics

Prominent Organization Lists Trump as Threat To Human Rights

Human Rights Watch, a prominent American-founded international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, has recently published an article on the threat that President-elect Donald Trump’s administration poses to human rights. The organization said in a 687-page report: “Donald Trump’s election as US president after a campaign fomenting hatred and intolerance, and the rising influence…… Continue reading Prominent Organization Lists Trump as Threat To Human Rights

Outreach

9 People Who Defended The Rights Of Muslims In 2016

I am honored to be among the individuals and communities recognized by Mvslim for taking a stand against Islamophobia in 2016. Mvslim is an ambitious forum created by millennials that are transforming our world today. They inspire the next generation to aim for the extraordinary. Tamim Mobayed, a Mvslim contributer, wrote: Irish American Dr Craig obtained his…… Continue reading 9 People Who Defended The Rights Of Muslims In 2016

Quoted

Tolerance Is a Vital Part of the Islamic Faith

An important article in The News International was published today. It touches on whether Muslims should greet Christians with Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The author of the piece, Aijaz Zaka Syed, was taken aback by the convoluted logic that Muslims are “aping the West” by sending warm greetings to Christians. Syed claims that the…… Continue reading Tolerance Is a Vital Part of the Islamic Faith

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

Outreach

A Letter After the Christmas Market Attack in Berlin

I received this message on Instagram after the Christmas Market attack in Berlin, Germany. [Dear Dr. Considine], I do not know if you read messages/reply to them. I just want to talk to someone who is educated enough (and obviously you are) on what I am going to say. I am a Muslim living in Berlin…… Continue reading A Letter After the Christmas Market Attack in Berlin

Islam

Praise of Prophet Muhammad Among Noteable Non-Muslims

If you follow my social media you know that I post regularly on the life of Prophet Muhammad. I have published a peer-reviewed journal article on his relations with Christians, and I have published extensively on his legacy in outlets like Huffington Post, Middle East Eye and Mvslim (also see the search results of “Prophet…… Continue reading Praise of Prophet Muhammad Among Noteable Non-Muslims

Islam · Islamic State

Persecution of Christians Totally Inconsistent With Islamic Teachings

Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon, as I wrote on Monday, has key lessons for our time. In the Sermon the Prophet of Islam provides an anti-racist stance that echoes Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Muhammad, like King, left humanity with a message of peace and goodwill. While history bears witness that Islamic…… Continue reading Persecution of Christians Totally Inconsistent With Islamic Teachings

Islam

Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon Has Key Lessons For Our Time

Writing for the Daily O, Moin Qazi claims that Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon, delivered on the ninth day of Dhu al-Hijjah in the tenth year of hijrah (632 AC), has key lessons for our time. In the sermon, the prophet of Islam stressed universal human values such as sacredness of life and property, equality, justice,…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon Has Key Lessons For Our Time

Islamophobia

What If “Moderate” Trump Fans Were Asked To Condemn Islamophobia?

Before you read any further, note this: I understand that not all Trump fans condone Islamophobia, understood broadly as a set of assumptions by which an individual or group holds and promotes anti-Islam or anti-Muslim sentiments. Here is a case in point – some of my friends voted for Trump. Do I think they are…… Continue reading What If “Moderate” Trump Fans Were Asked To Condemn Islamophobia?

Islamic State · Islamophobia · Politics

Trump’s Win is a Victory For ISIS

Yesterday, an Uber driver named Maurice dropped me off at Rice University, where I teach a course called “Muslims in American Society.” “Everyone should take that class,” Maurice told me, “It’s more important now than ever.” Maurice said that Muslims are good people, “just like you and I.” We proceeded to talk about the victory…… Continue reading Trump’s Win is a Victory For ISIS

Work

Islam in the 2016 Presidential Election

“Even before the beginning of the current election campaign cycle, the rhetoric that has been espoused by presidential candidates, at least in contemporary times, has been relatively unabashed in regards to the way that Muslims are spoken about on the campaign trail. Muslims have often been used as political pawns in a struggle for politicians…… Continue reading Islam in the 2016 Presidential Election

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

Islam · Music

Hip-Hop’s Muslim American Influence

Here is another excellent blog post by four students in my “Muslims in American Society” course at Rice University. “Learning about the influence of Islam in hip-hop is important for a multitude reasons that impact both people in and out of the Muslim American community. Firstly, it highlights the contributions that Muslims have made to…… Continue reading Hip-Hop’s Muslim American Influence

Islam

Muslim Women at Rice University Explain Why They Do – And Do Not – Cover

Three students in my “Muslims in American Society” course at Rice University wanted to learn more about why young Muslim women do – and do not – cover. To explore this issue of covering the students interviewed four of their peers. Here is a passage from one of the four interviews: When I come to…… Continue reading Muslim Women at Rice University Explain Why They Do – And Do Not – Cover

Islam · Islamic State

Islamic Teaching Does Not Justify ISIS Persecution of Christians, Study Says

Islamic teaching does not justify the Islamic State’s (ISIS) persecution of Christians, based on a study on Prophet Mohammed’s previously untranslated writing. Rice University professor Dr. Craig Considine, who authored a study on Prophet Mohammed’s writings from 622 to 632 AD, says the writings indicate that Christians who lived in Arabic communities were protected. Considine says…… Continue reading Islamic Teaching Does Not Justify ISIS Persecution of Christians, Study Says

Islam · Sociology

Breaking the Monolith of Muslim Identity: Experiences of Muslim Women

The “monolith” of Muslim identity is a dangerous misconception when applied to Muslim women. By suggesting that all Muslims experience their identity in similar ways, the unique experiences of Muslim women are erased from the conversations regarding identity. Instead, their experiences and identity formation should be appreciated through the “double disadvantage” they hold as their…… Continue reading Breaking the Monolith of Muslim Identity: Experiences of Muslim Women

Sociology

Race is a Social Construct, Not a Biological Reality

You’ve seen it on my page before – “race is a social construct and not a biological reality.” Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah of NYU is a leading thinker on this subject, and he concurs: “The way we talk about race today is just incoherent. The thing about race is that it is a form of…… Continue reading Race is a Social Construct, Not a Biological Reality

Islam · Islamophobia

The Sum of Our Fears – Islamophobia, Faith and Non-Violence

By John Smelcer and Craig Considine Sometime between 622 and 632 A.D., during what is called “The Medina Years,” the Prophet Muhammad decreed a series of covenants specifically addressing Christians in the region… For the most part, these covenants have been neglected or forgotten in the Western world, although religious scholars have been aware of their…… Continue reading The Sum of Our Fears – Islamophobia, Faith and Non-Violence

Quoted

Quoted in “Two Cases of Terrorism”

A new Barbados Today article by Suleiman Bulbulia of the Barbados Muslim Association discusses my blog post titled “Why Celebrating Columbus Day Is like Celebrating ISIS.” He wrote the following. Terrorism in all its forms must be condemned. Whether by a group of radicals, fanatics or fundamentalists or by a group of men and women in uniforms.…… Continue reading Quoted in “Two Cases of Terrorism”

Publications · Quoted

From Islamic History, Lessons on Religious Freedom

Rice Magazine (Summer, 2016: p. 19) wrote a short piece on my research paper on Prophet Muhammad’s covenants with Christians. Author Amy McCaig wrote: “Prophet Muhammad believed that freedom of religion and civic rights were important components of a ‘Muslim nation,’ according to a new analysis of the prophet’s covenants with Christians. Research by Rice…… Continue reading From Islamic History, Lessons on Religious Freedom

Islam · Islamic State · Islamophobia

Jihad: Striving for Peace

Students in my “Muslims in American Society” course at Rice University have produced some excellent material to counter the Islamophobia industry. Here is the latest peace on dismantling the idea that “jihad means violence.” I highly recommend that you read the entire blog. A few passages to get you started… “I think all of us recognize…… Continue reading Jihad: Striving for Peace

Islamophobia

Unpacking Islamophobia: History, Politics and Industry

Students in my “Muslims in American Society” course at Rice University are writing blog posts over the course of the semester. Small groups have been assigned on students’ areas of interest including Islamophobia, jihad, Christian-Muslim relations, Islam and hip-hop, and Muslims in the 2016 presidential election. Here is the first blog post titled “Unpacking Islamophobia:…… Continue reading Unpacking Islamophobia: History, Politics and Industry

Islam · Video

Video: The Legacy of Imam WD Mohammed

Imam Wazir Ali and Imam Qasim Ahmed came to guest lecture in my “Muslims in American Society” course at Rice University. Earlier in the week, I covered the rise of the Nation of Islam and the life of Elijah Mohammed as well as Malcolm X. Naturally we had to move on to the legacy of Imam…… Continue reading Video: The Legacy of Imam WD Mohammed