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?

Politics · Religion

The Christian Double Standard on Religious Violence

Imagine…. Imagine if people blamed Christianity for this act of violence. Imagine if people searched frantically through the Bible in the hope of digging up verses which could have justified this action (which is entirely possible). Imagine if people used this attack to pass legislation banning all Christians from entering the country. Imagine if people…… Continue reading The Christian Double Standard on Religious Violence

Islam

A Christian Perspective on Jihad

Note: Linda Sarsour, the American Muslim activist, is under attack because she made a reference to the term jihad in a speech at ISNA. Here is an article which explains the concept of jihad to a Christian audience. The article was first published at The Huffington Post. Politicians and anti-Muslim activists frequently take to audiences…… Continue reading A Christian Perspective on Jihad

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

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

Islam

The Other Al-Andalus – When Muslims and Christians Flourished Side By Side in Sicily

I sometimes think about the glories of “Islamic Spain,” or Al-Andalus. Starting around 711 and ending in 1492, Muslim rulers maintained a spirit of convivencia, a Spanish term meaning “living in togetherness” or “coexistence”, which allowed for an unprecedented level of interfaith engagement on the European continent. While Al-Andalus may represent the pinnacle of cooperation among Muslims, Christians…… Continue reading The Other Al-Andalus – When Muslims and Christians Flourished Side By Side in Sicily

Film-work

Video: A Christian View of Prophet Muhammad

This short video/documentary that I made is based on my recent Huffington Post article titled “Why a Christian Can View Muhammad as a Prophet”.

Religion

About Those Violent Verses in The Bible

“The Religion of Peace.” I’ve heard that phrase in discussions about the essence of Christianity. Islam, on the other hand, is frequently depicted as “the religion of violence.” Watch FOX News and you will know what I mean. Islam equals violence, jihad, terrorism, barbarism, ISIS, and the rest of it. Christianity is rarely, if ever, portrayed…… Continue reading About Those Violent Verses in The Bible

Work

Why a Christian Can View Muhammad as a Prophet

As an advocate of interfaith dialogue, particularly between Christians and Muslims, I’m often faced with the issue of conversion. People ask me, “If you admire Prophet Muhammad so much, why don’t you convert to Islam? Why don’t you accept him as “the seal”? I see these questions popping up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds…… Continue reading Why a Christian Can View Muhammad as a Prophet

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

Politics

Tashfeen Malik Vs. Robert Dear – Both Kill in God’s Name, But Only One is a “Terrorist”

So, “news” comes out that Tashfeen Malik, an attacker from San Bernardino, pledged allegiance to ISIS and its so-called “caliph.” This is now “breaking news.” CNN flashes “terrorism” right across its homepage. Go figure. And yet just one week or so ago, Robert Dear, the Planned Parenthood attacker, killed in the name of Christianity. Dear…… Continue reading Tashfeen Malik Vs. Robert Dear – Both Kill in God’s Name, But Only One is a “Terrorist”

Interfaith

Islamic Veneration of the Virgin Mary

Interfaith

Love and Goodwill in the Bible and Qur’an

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”

Irish

Who is the Real Saint Patrick?

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, which means that you might wear green, sport a shamrock, and perhaps drink a pint of Guinness. This expression of “Irish identity” is driven mainly by our materialist culture and the obsession that we need objects to represent our perceived identities. What’s unfortunate is that the real Saint Patrick is not…… Continue reading Who is the Real Saint Patrick?

Politics

A Comparison Between the Founding of America and the Rise of the Islamic State

When Christopher Columbus, the 15th and 16th century conquistador, arrived in modern-day Haiti, he read aloud a proclamation designed by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. The document was referred to as “the Requirements.” Here is one version: I implore you to recognize the Church as a lady and in the name of the Pope…… Continue reading A Comparison Between the Founding of America and the Rise of the Islamic State

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

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

Politics

What Does Akbar the Great Teach Us About Tolerance in Islamic History?

Note: 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. Below is passage from my article Finding Tolerance in Akbar, the Philosopher King, published in April 2013. You can also watch my short…… Continue reading What Does Akbar the Great Teach Us About Tolerance in Islamic History?

Outreach

Rumi, Jesus, and the Power of Interfaith Outreach

NOTE: Excerpt from my article Rumi and Emerson: A Bridge Between the West and the Muslim World Rumi not only respected Christian teachings, but he also greatly admired the life and values shared by Jesus. In essence, for Rumi, all religions were more or less equally beautiful because they all sought the divine truth: I am…… Continue reading Rumi, Jesus, and the Power of Interfaith Outreach

Outreach

“The Enemy of One Religion is the Enemy of All Religions” – An Interview With Muslim Scholar John Andrew Morrow

I recently conducted an interview with Dr. John Andrew Morrow, scholar of Islam and author of the book The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. This interview was a follow-up to my review of his book, which you can read at “New Book Sheds Light on Prophet Muhammad’s Interfaith Views.” The…… Continue reading “The Enemy of One Religion is the Enemy of All Religions” – An Interview With Muslim Scholar John Andrew Morrow

Outreach

A Catholic American Praises Prophet Muhammad at an Islamic Centre in Dublin, Ireland

*Note: This is the text of a speech I gave during the 4th Annual Peace Walk and Peace Conference at the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre Ireland in Blanchardstown, Dublin on 26 January 2014. A special thanks to my friend Dr-Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri for inviting me and organizing this beautiful event. A report from Al-Mustafa can be found at Report…… Continue reading A Catholic American Praises Prophet Muhammad at an Islamic Centre in Dublin, Ireland

Religion

Pope Francis: Christians Must Build Bridges of Dialogue

During Mass today in the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on an Old Testament reading from Samuel (1:24). In the passage, David had the chance to kill King Saul, but he chooses, as the Holy Father noted, “a different path: the path of dialogue, to make peace.” Francis’ message encourages Christians to build bridges of dialogue,…… Continue reading Pope Francis: Christians Must Build Bridges of Dialogue

Interfaith

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad

The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World by Dr. John Andrew Morrow claims that although there are theological differences between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, Muslims are nonetheless advised by Muhammad to respect and embrace Christians and Jews. The covenants of the Prophet of Allah, as Morrow notes, paint a clear picture…… Continue reading The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad

Commentary

Nelson Mandela and the Power of Forgiveness

Nelson Mandela, the South African liberator of hearts and minds, has passed away to his Creator. What inspires me most about his life is his capacity to forgive: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your…… Continue reading Nelson Mandela and the Power of Forgiveness

Religion

Pope Francis challenges students to “live, not just exist”

Here are a few messages which Pope Francis relayed to students from Rome’s universities: “You must live, not just exist… Please don’t look at life from the sidelines, accept challenges… You must not be spectators but protagonists… Don’t be mediocre, bored or like everyone else… You can’t live without facing challenges… Don’t stand on the…… Continue reading Pope Francis challenges students to “live, not just exist”

Politics

A Radical Christian in U.S. Congress

U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (Texas) recently suggested that the U.S. should judge its foreign policy decisions based on a literalist interpretation of prophecies and stories in the Bible. Scriptural literalism in any religious tradition blatantly denies cold-hard facts such as evolution and encourages naive absolutism in the face of scientific inquiry, among other issues. Interpreting the…… Continue reading A Radical Christian in U.S. Congress

Religion

US Catholics Question America’s Assent to Militarism

Long overdue in the American church is a reasoned and deep discussion of U.S. militarism, the proper use of force, the state’s responsibility to protect and defend, and the role of people of faith in all of this. To this point, Catholic teaching has had little effect in distinguishing us from any other segment of…… Continue reading US Catholics Question America’s Assent to Militarism

Religion

Young Palestinians restore Basilica of Gethsemane in Jerusalem

The Basilica of Gethsemane, also known as the Church of All Nations, has been restored back to its original splendor by a group of young Palestinians, five of which are Muslim. The Custody of the Holy Land, the Franciscan group responsible for the restoration, could have given the project to foreign experts but they chose Palestinians…… Continue reading Young Palestinians restore Basilica of Gethsemane in Jerusalem

Religion

Greed and Attachment to Money Cause Evil, Pope Francis Says

Source: Catholic News Service By Carol Glatz Money by itself isn’t a problem, but greed and an attachment to money cause evil and destroy families and relationships, Pope Francis said. “Money is needed to bring about many good things,” he said in his morning Mass homily Oct. 21, “but when your heart is attached (to…… Continue reading Greed and Attachment to Money Cause Evil, Pope Francis Says

Outreach

Pope Francis: Lampedusa is Center of ‘Globalization of Indifference’

Source: Washington Post By Akbar Ahmed To understand the pope’s approach, method and message, take a look at his visit to the island of Lampedusa. The small island in the Mediterranean has become a battleground of the larger ideas that are in conflict in Europe. It has been visited by rightwing leaders who denounce immigrants…… Continue reading Pope Francis: Lampedusa is Center of ‘Globalization of Indifference’

Quoted · Religion

Comments by Pope Francis Emphasize Bridge Building with Muslims

Here is a collection of quotes from Pope Francis directed towards Muslims. This post will be updated as Pope Francis continues to speak about dialogue, common ground, and mutual respect between Christians and Muslims worldwide. On dialogue “Turning to mutual respect in interreligious relations, especially between Christians and Muslims, we are called to respect the…… Continue reading Comments by Pope Francis Emphasize Bridge Building with Muslims

Religion

Opening up Islamic spaces

Excerpt from Mustafa Akyol’s article The Vatican, Christianity and Islam in Hurriyet Daily News (14/9/2013) In today’s super-dynamic and super-creative world, behind which we are already lagging, there is a risk for us, Muslims, if we go toward the other direction: The strict boundaries that supposedly protect our faith could turn into an obstacle to…… Continue reading Opening up Islamic spaces

Work

So What if a Christian Writes About Muhammad

Some critics find it odd that I am a Christian who writes about Muhammad. Haters see my articles as odd and even worse – sacrilegious – because I give praise to the founder of Islam, a religion often portrayed as “evil” around the world. However, as you will see in these articles, there is nothing…… Continue reading So What if a Christian Writes About Muhammad

Politics

Egyptian Muslims Forget Muhammad’s Letter to Christian Monks

Published on the Huffington Post One issue often discussed on news sites and blogs over the last several days is the many attacks on Egypt’s Christian communities. Several outlets have reported that violence by Mohammad Morsi supporters has left dozens of Christian churches, Coptic-owned businesses and properties burnt. Fears of widespread sectarian strife seem to…… Continue reading Egyptian Muslims Forget Muhammad’s Letter to Christian Monks

Film-work · Religion

Mysteries of the “Lost Gospels”

Before I fall asleep each night I watch a documentary from You Tube or elsewhere. Generally I put on something related to history, but I do not limit myself to any particular area, theme, or time period. Last night I watched “Secret Lives of Jesus Christ: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” The documentary…… Continue reading Mysteries of the “Lost Gospels”

Religion

Jesus Jihad

My recent Huffington Post article “A New Perspective of “Jihad” in Christianity and Islam” sparked a good amount of controversy in the interfaith and anti-Muslim blogosphere. In a follow up post, I focus solely on what I call the “Jesus Jihad,” or the Christian struggles which are noted in the New Testament. The following excerpts…… Continue reading Jesus Jihad

Commentary

How to Respond to the “Islamophobia Industry”

About two weeks ago I finished an article that compared the concept of “jihad,” which literally means “to struggle” in Arabic, through the lens of Christianity and Islam. The article, which the Huffington Post Religion published, caused uproar in the “Islamophobia industry” for its attempt to build bridges between Christians and Muslims. Unfortunately, interfaith dialogue…… Continue reading How to Respond to the “Islamophobia Industry”

Religion

A New Perspective of “Jihad” in Christianity and Islam

Published on Huffington Post Religion (August 5th, 2013) Politicians and anti-Muslim activists frequently take to audiences and websites to criticize the term “jihad” as a form of Islamic supremacism, oppression, and violence. Muslim extremists, on the other hand, argue that “jihad” refers to a “holy war” against non-Muslims. Viewing the term “jihad” though these frameworks…… Continue reading A New Perspective of “Jihad” in Christianity and Islam

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

Interfaith

“The Golden Rule” is Central to the Teachings of Many Religions

If I missed a “golden rule” from another major religion, please leave it in the comment section so I can add it to the list. The picture above is Norman Rockwell’s “The Golden Rule,” which I also discussed in a post on a Pakistani Muslim friend of mine in Boston. Christianity: “All things whatsoever ye…… Continue reading “The Golden Rule” is Central to the Teachings of Many Religions

Interfaith

Finding Tolerance in Akbar, the Philosopher-King

By Craig Considine for Huffington Post 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…… Continue reading Finding Tolerance in Akbar, the Philosopher-King

Outreach

Pope John Paul II Always Kept the Door Open for Muslims

Writing in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (1994), Pope John Paul II calls Islam one of the great monotheistic religions and requests that Christians respect the beliefs of Muslims based on the following passage in the Declaration of Nostra Aetate: “The Church also has a high regard for the Muslims, who worship one…… Continue reading Pope John Paul II Always Kept the Door Open for Muslims

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

Outreach

After bombings, Bostonians must remember its founding fathers’ “model of Christian charity”

Boston’s anti-Muslim backlash, which I touched upon in the Huffington Post Religion, in the aftermath of the marathon bombings reminds me of John Winthrop, one of Boston’s founding fathers, and his famous sermon “A Model of Christian Charity.” Winthrop’s sermon, delivered in 1630 aboard the Arbella ship before English Puritans settled in what they called New…… Continue reading After bombings, Bostonians must remember its founding fathers’ “model of Christian charity”

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

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?

Family

Why Saint Constantine is Important to Me

Many of you might notice how the pronunciation of Considine, my last name, sounds like the surname Constantine. In fact, the surname Considine is the Anglicanized version of the Gaelic surname Mac Consaidin, which in the Gaelic language literally means “Son of Constantine.” The origins of the Irish surname Considine dates back to at least…… Continue reading Why Saint Constantine is Important to Me

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