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.
To my Muslim family, you know Ramadan starts on June 18 this year. Many in the West believe it's a month when we abstain from food and drink during daytime. That's true. But in reality, Ramadan is about abstaining from all carnal desires, not just food. It's a spiritual flight requiring us to follow certain protocols.
Do I believe that most mosques today would let recovering alcoholics and drug addicts speak to their congregations? Probably not. Do I think there is a problem with that? Yes, definitely. Our failure to engage diversity in our communities, inclusive of diversity in terms of life experience, leaves us potentially stunted in our individual and communal growth.
For those who missed my last reflection, I had started to discuss the profound impact the 100th chapter of the Quran, Al 'Adiyat, had on me. At a time when I felt quite isolated and confused, I found solace in it like I had never found in the Qur'an before and it helped me to read the Quran in an entirely different way. It helped me to understand the human condition, my own condition, in a deeper way.
If we are at war, it's not a war against Islam. It's a war against hatred in all its forms, including anti-Muslim hatred. We cannot win this war by returning hate for hate, as Angelou so wisely noted. We must fight this war by employing our most powerful weapons: empathy, hospitality, and acceptance of religious diversity.