What Bill Maher, Sam Harris and many others like them fail to realize is that religion as it is practiced is a product of a wide array of factors, the official texts being only one of them. People of any faith are more shaped by the norms of their cultural context, interpreting their religious texts to comport with those norms rather than the other way around.
Last winter, as I reported in Pakistan, there was one question people shot back at me in every interview: "Why doesn't the media cover anything good?" Now, Pakistanis say they finally have something to celebrate: Malala -- and her good news on front pages in America and beyond.
While Maher's points were vastly generalized and his analysis incomplete, there was still some validity to them. In modern America, we are so wed to the ideas of fairness and sensitivity that we can sometimes become blind to the obvious.
There are indeed a myriad of unique problems within the Muslim world, which is in a deep crisis. Yet, there are also countless Muslim leaders, intellectuals, clerics, philanthropists, and others, facing these problems, and trying to stand-up to illiberal phenomena in their communities and societies.
Ultimately, if the American public buys into these claims, it will only add to the discrimination of Latinos. It will tie the plight of Muslims to Mexicans, and categorically implicate Latinos in the War on Terror; it will also become a license for greater brutality at the border.
Up here in the clouds, on a plane from Denver (well, Fort Collins) to New York, there is no change in political atmosphere as of yet, although I did p...
The bonds forged by interpersonal contact can last a lifetime, and hearing, in person, about the lived religion of an often-maligned group like American Muslims creates advocates for equality and dialogue. A lifetime of exposure to prejudicial narratives can be dispelled by one hour of personal contact.
This may well be Obama's last chance to change the widespread perception of being weak and indecisive, and restore America's image as the indispensable global leader because only the US can lead the battle against ISIS to a successful conclusion.
For all of the great work Bill Maher does by adding an unapologetically liberal voice to sensitive topics, his recent heated debate with actor Ben Affleck and author Sam Harris has put Bill at odds with many liberals. The biggest problem with Bill's stance is that he seems content to shout into the wind.
I have a problem with two arguments in this whole debate on the rise of ISIS and Islamic extremism. One says Islam is not the problem and the other says Islam is the problem. Both fail to look at the roots of extremism.
Unfortunately, the ignorance to Islam that Megyn Kelly demonstrated interfered with her ability to hold a rational and just interview. Indeed, what is fair and balanced about inviting an anonymous puppet and taking his word as gospel, without any countering voice?
The poem "The Golden Journey to Samarkand," by James Elroy Flecker, has no doubt launched countless journeys to the ancient Silk Road city in southern Uzbekistan.
There is a saying of the Prophet, "There will come a time when holding firmly onto religion will be like holding onto hot coals (Al-Tirmidhi)." Facing pressures both internal and external to Islam, it feels that time has come.
We often boast of the uniqueness of our system. We are not a totalitarian society that crushes the individual out of existence and tramples over his/her rights and freedoms. But there are questions we need to ask ourselves.
This eye opener book is definitely a must read for all Muslim women to acknowledge the true meaning of veil and the main reasons to wear the veil in the Islamic world.
Uzbekistan is an amazing place with very friendly people. Enjoy Tashkent, explore the city by foot and make an effort to meet some of the locals.