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

Quoted

Cited in “Loyalties to Islam, America Not Mutually Exclusive”

A new Duluth News Tribune article by M. Imran Hayee cites a few passages from my blog post titled “Documents Show Prophet Muhammad and US Founding Fathers Were Kindred Spirits.” Hayee wrote the following: On April 6, an Arab Muslim student from the University of California, Berkeley, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, was removed from a flight when he alarmed a fellow…… Continue reading Cited in “Loyalties to Islam, America Not Mutually Exclusive”

Politics

America as a “Christian Nation” Doesn’t Ring Historically True

“America is a Christian nation” is one of the Christian right’s favorite slogans. Consider Ben Carson, a radical Christian and frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He believes that the United State’s founding documents prove that the American nation was founded upon Christian principles. What is worrying is that Carson is not alone in his beliefs. Televangelists,…… Continue reading America as a “Christian Nation” Doesn’t Ring Historically True

Sociology

Ethnic Vs. Civic Nations: A Comparison Between England, Ireland, and the United States

Jonathan Freedland’s article in the Guardian on English identity discusses the differences between the “ethno-nation” which is defined by “blood and soil” and the “civic nation” which is defined by egalitarian values and democratic institutions. These two types of competing national identities are also discussed in my PhD dissertation which focuses on the experiences of young first- and second-generation Pakistani…… Continue reading Ethnic Vs. Civic Nations: A Comparison Between England, Ireland, and the United States

Politics

Americans Should Reflect More Tolerance in Light of Miss America Crown

This morning I woke up to an e-mail from my father which noted how an Indian American had just won Miss America 2013. In addition, on my Facebook feed I clicked on a story that read “Miss American crowns 1st winner of Indian descent; racist tweets follow.” Clearly many Americans were disturbed and even angry…… Continue reading Americans Should Reflect More Tolerance in Light of Miss America Crown

Sociology

When a “Spic” sings God Bless America

Racism and ignorance feed off each other like no other. Here’s a classic case. During the 2013 M.L.B. All Star game, many Americans took to Twitter to share their raw emotions (see more of those feelings here) over a “Spic” and “Mexican” singing God Bless America. The singer, Marc Anthony, was born in NYC, which makes…… Continue reading When a “Spic” sings God Bless America

Outreach

Pluralist working towards making interfaith cooperation a norm in U.S.

A great interview with Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel is up on Real Clear Religion. Patel, who wrote a nice review of Akbar Ahmed’s documentary Journey into America, which I directed, is one of the most important leaders in the U.S. today for his impressive work in promoting pluralism and interfaith dialogue. RealClearReligion: What is…… Continue reading Pluralist working towards making interfaith cooperation a norm in U.S.

Pictures

Is this the most important quote in American history?

Commentary

Reflecting on the state and future of American exceptionalism

In the face of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, or whatever you call hate in modern America, I am still optimistic about the future of the United States. From day one, the mission of America has been progress, progress, progress. We need thoughtful writers and bridge builders to keep it going. There are thousands and thousands of…… Continue reading Reflecting on the state and future of American exceptionalism

Sociology

Americans Should Turn Their Minds to Jesus, Not Darwin, on Easter

Easter Sunday is an appropriate time for Americans to reflect upon the direction of their societies. Should America become a place that embodies the teachings of Jesus or Darwin? Akbar Ahmed weighs in: “A debilitating tension between Darwin and Jesus lies at the heart of American identity. It is not so much about how society…… Continue reading Americans Should Turn Their Minds to Jesus, Not Darwin, on Easter

Commentary

Commentary: It’s anti-American to care about the President’s religion

The United States is not and never has been a ‘Christian nation’.  America’s Founding Fathers explicitly designed the country on pluralist grounds and encouraged Americans to accept people of all religious backgrounds. This is why the actions of a junior high school teacher named Linda White of Mississippi are so anti-American.  White told her students…… Continue reading Commentary: It’s anti-American to care about the President’s religion

Personal

Personal: My challenge as a Catholic American

It has been challenging for me – a young Catholic working in interfaith dialogue – to watch the escalation of conflict between Muslim communities the world over and the United States. Observing this escalation as an American citizen has been equally difficult because religious tolerance is at the heart of my definition of American identity.…… Continue reading Personal: My challenge as a Catholic American

Work

Work: My latest article on Founding Fathers and Islam in Common Ground News Service

One Film 9/11 and Journey into America continue to receive attention.  Read my latest article, ‘What would America’s Founding Fathers say about Islam?’, in Common Ground News Service: Americans and Muslims worldwide shouldn’t be surprised when they see that the writings of America’s Founding Fathers reveal an open perspective and absolute acceptance of Islam and,…… Continue reading Work: My latest article on Founding Fathers and Islam in Common Ground News Service

Sociology

Darwin vs. Jesus

By Akbar Ahmed A debilitating tension between Darwin and Jesus lies at the heart of American identity. It is not so much about how society originated and evolved, but whatdefines and motivates it. The core principles of the Darwinian thesis and Christianity are diametrically opposed and cannot coexist simultaneously in one society without causing severe friction. Darwin represents…… Continue reading Darwin vs. Jesus

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

Politics

A quote for the Christian-American right

In a treaty with the Islamic nation of Tripoli initiated by George Washington, completed by John Adams, and ratified by the US Senate in 1797, the Founding Fathers declared that … the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion… So, for the love, please spread this around, especially…… Continue reading A quote for the Christian-American right

Sociology

What Happens When You Google “American”?

‘American’; ‘Native American’; ‘Fat Americans’; ‘Stupid Americans’; ‘American funny’; ‘American people’. Is this what really comes to mind when people think about American identity? Is this an adequate representation of what it means to be an American? Is this how we see ourselves or how other people see us? Click on the image below to…… Continue reading What Happens When You Google “American”?

Commentary

Personal: My declaration on the 4th of July

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, amongst these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness’. – Thomas Jefferson I’m proud to be an American if we adhere to this framework both on the domestic front and…… Continue reading Personal: My declaration on the 4th of July

Film-work

Speaking with Hamza Yusuf on American Identity

Location: Hamza Yusuf’s home, California Date: November 2008 Topic: American identity and Muslims in the USA Project: Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam Principal investigator: Akbar Ahmed Filmed by: Craig Considine © Akbar Ahmed

Film-work · Politics

Noam Chomsky Defines American Identity as Myth and Fear

Location: Noam Chomsky’s office, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Date: October 2008 Topic: American identity (with some focus on Muslims in the USA) Project: Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam Principal investigator: Akbar Ahmed Filmed by: Craig Considine © Akbar Ahmed