Islamic State atrocities, including systematic rape of captive Yazidi women and girls, have prompted debates over Islam and slavery. Simplistic claims that Islam accepts or forbids slavery ignore complex issues of interpretation and implementation. They also obscure both the lasting impact of slavery on Muslim sexual ethics and the troubling ways that only some violence merits notice or condemnation.
With the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, some are panicking in despair, while others have visions of a dramatically realigned Middle East. Both views are overreactions, since the deal itself is quite limited in scope, and the impact of 35 years of history and politics cannot easily be erased.
The radical actors of the Muslim world, in destroying the troublesome symbols of free thinking, are destroying their own cultural vitality and dynamism. In truth, their Islamist culture of death has resulted in a death of Islamic culture. The urgent task for Islamic pluralists is to lift the shadow of violence from the Islamic culture and recall Muslims to their traditions of an empathetic civilization that feels another's sorrow and does not need an enemy for its sustenance.
Today, on International Volunteer Day, we celebrate the contributions of volunteers all over the world to improving our communities, whether those efforts are focused locally, nationally, or globally. 62 million Americans volunteered last year, that's close to 25 percent of the population over the age of 12!
As the fight against ISIS/ISIL continues, and so do our campaigns to fight terrorism around the world, we are bound to be reminded that we are not in a war against Islam. But why is it that when I turn on the news, listen to people discuss Islam or look at images of Muslims in popular culture, it damn sure feels like we are.
We recently decided to have an extended email conversation addressing the Islamic State (ISIS) in Faisal's home country of Iraq, being called an "Uncle Tom" by white people, the existence -- or non-existence -- of a "moderate" Islam, and the one key factor needed to bring about a true Islamic reformation.