I live on the outskirts of Chapel Hill (across the tracks, literally). It's been a heartbreaking time for everyone here, a frightening time for many Muslims (and those who might "look Muslim") in the region, and also a time of stirring, heartfelt solidarity and shared mourning. At a vigil at UNC Wednesday night, which was so full I couldn't hear the words from the stage but so hushed we could hear one another breathe, it was the perfect American ordinariness of the victims' family photos that brought me to tears. It's also the American ordinariness of the killer's images and attitudes that scares and saddens me. People have been quick to interpret these horrible slayings. Here are a few thoughts on how the world looks from here.
Snowflakes fell as the three students were laid to rest Thursday afternoon. Surely this is Allah's message that He was listening to Deah's prayer three years ago.
A Cuban Mosque represents not only the place of prostration for the Cuban Muslims and those Muslims who visit Cuba, but also a monument for basic human rights. These are values that history has proven are not only very hard to obtain and protect, but also easily lost.
Atheism is not a belief system or a doctrine. It is simply a rejection of irrational beliefs. Those who treat it as anything more, as Craig Stephen Hicks may have, should be condemned by all -- no excuses.
Accompanying others selflessly is not the result of a state of enlightenment, nor is it a constant, deep emotion. It is a decision we make, a path we undertake consciously and with perseverance.
The many problems that Muslim masses and Islamic countries have been grappling with, coupled with the terrorism perpetrated by radical Sunni Muslims, have given rise to the idea that Islam as a religion cannot be reformed, and that Islam's basic tenet is problematic.
The anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States isn't just rising, it's really high. An unwillingness and indifference on the part of individuals and institutions to put it in check is a large part of the problem.
It's all too predictable that some Muslims, as tragically disturbed and misguided as alleged Chapel Hill killer Craig Stephen Hicks seemingly is, will take matters into their own hands. That's one thing I'm afraid of. But I'm also afraid of the opposite -- that Muslim communities around the US will be terrorized into cowering timidity.
The United Arab Emirates has embarked on an all-out effort to broaden its regional influence and achieve global acceptance of its autocratic definition of terrorism that encompasses all non-violent, legitimate expressions of political Islam.
Only 0.6% of the population in the United States is Muslim. Most of us in the 99% haven't even held a Quran in our hands. Yet, remarkably, we are a country full of Islamic experts; many of whom are self-professed Christians.
Since the end of the nineteenth century, the movement for a critical reflection on the foundations and interpretations of Islam has lost momentum, impeded by the predominance of a sclerotic, Arabo-centric Islam based on an obsolete worldview and often dismissive of non-Arab Muslims.
I am sure some readers found the images of Mohammed offensive, but so what? Offense is taken, not given, readers who are attacking the magazine now are failing to understand any sort of context to which the cartoons represent.
Instead of connecting us to ourselves in deep ways, much of our spirituality shames us for being human and often compels us to lie to ourselves about our true nature. That is not connection.
The first women's mosque of America just opened its doors. As an American Muslim woman, it gives me great pride and joy. Truthfully, I have never felt welcome in my mosque. So when I heard of the women's mosque my immediate response was that of relief and belonging.
Since a substantial minority of Republicans actually believe that the president is a Muslim, he can't be the one to challenge them on this issue. Muslim-baiting will not end until a Republican leader steps forward and takes on the likes of Jindal or Palin or Bachmann.
No one is suggesting that Christians are just like the Islamic State. But Obama did suggest that Christianity is like Islam; both faiths have the capacity to be exploited by extremists.