With an authorization looming in Congress for our ongoing war against the so-called Islamic State, a muddled conversation has sprung up about the group’s relationship to mainstream Islam, its relationship to American and European policy in the region, and the military and political measures needed to counter it. Graeme Wood interviewed scholars and activists to shed light on what ISIS is trying to accomplish and why. His resulting story—a long tour through the theology, history, and practice of this particularly brutal offshoot of Salafist Islam—is alarming, not least to Wood himself.
(RNS) Deah Barakat took my class “Islam in the Modern World” at North Carolina State University a few years ago. He was curious about Islamic history and contemporary spiritual and political movements, and he was great in class discussions. I’ve taught thousands of students in the last 11 years here, but Deah stood out for his enthusiasm, kindness, calm demeanor, and obvious charisma. Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha were the very best of people.
The vast majority of Muslims in France hail from former colonies in Africa. Of all of the relationships, the one with Algeria is the most fraught.
(RNS) Ostensibly, the horrific attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris was because of the publication’s satirical images of the Prophet Muhammad. But to view the assault as simply about images of Muhammad is to accept a long-standing narrative about Muslim sensitivity to portrayals of Muhammad, which plays into conceptions of Muslims as superstitious savages.
Hagar’s story has often been read as if it explains some inevitable animosity among the Abrahamic faiths. We should try reading it differently.
Juan Cole tells the backstory of the revolutions in North Africa, exploring events in the context of their cultural setting. His conclusions are optimistic yet grounded in realism.
The story of Pentecostalism and social change is now familiar. What's surprising is how closely it echoes trends in modern Islam.
Before the jihadists fled Timbuktu in February, they burned the city's ancient manuscripts. Except all the ones the residents hid.
The prospects for genuine democracy in Egypt are more remote than ever. But there are other models of Islamic politics in the region.
I agree with everyone everywhere: Fox News's "why would a Muslim write about Jesus???" interview of Reza Aslan was pretty lousy stuff, yet he handled himself quite well, and good for him for selling more books because of it. All correct. Yet I'm puzzled by what both Aslan's on-air defense and many subsequent commentators imply: that academic/professional credentials inform a person's writing to the exclusion of personal convictions.