Eastern Christmas and Egypt's President

From Web Exclusives

Egypt’s Coptic Christians follow the Julian calendar in celebrating Christmas on January 7th of each year. For the second consecutive year, Egyptian president Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi surprised them with an exceptionally kind gesture, once again personally attending their Coptic Christmas Eve mass and . . . . Continue Reading »

Did Muhammad Perform Miracles?

From Web Exclusives

On Thursday, August 27, 2015, the first part of Iran’s most expensive movie trilogy, “Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah,” opened nationwide in Iran. It took more than eighty months for this movie to be completed. Its primary goal, according to its director Majid Majidi, “is to reclaim the . . . . Continue Reading »

What Can an Old Quranic Parchment Really Show?

From First Thoughts

Birmingham University has announced that it possesses what could be the world’s oldest fragments of the Muslim Holy Quran. We cannot be certain yet whether it is the oldest, as we have other sets of old Qur’anic manuscripts, such as those investigated by IRCICA in Turkey and the palimpsest ones found in the Great Mosque of Sana’a, Yemen, in 1972. But using radiocarbon dating, the Birmingham researchers suggest that this parchment fragment, written on sheep or goat skin, may date to sometime between 568 and 645. This could place this parchment within the first three decades of Islam, taking us back to the days of Muhammad or his immediate followers. Continue Reading »

Can Islamists Reject Violence?

From First Thoughts

In the 1970s, the radical Islamist organization al-Gamāʿah ­al-Islāmiyah (Islamic Group) stormed onto the scene in Egypt, calling for Egyptians to return to the correct form of Islam by waging jihad and applying Shari’a. However, on July 5, 1997, the Gamāʿah did something extraordinary in the history of radical Islam. It issued “Initiative to Stop the Violence,” a formal statement declaring its renunciation of all violence. Continue Reading »

What Makes ISIS Appealing?

From First Thoughts

With widespread news about ISIS selling kidnapped women and girls as sex slaves, smiting necks of non-Muslims or expelling them from their homes, one would assume that everyone on the planet views ISIS as wicked. Yet not only in the Muslim-majority countries, but also in Europe, Australia, and even the U.S., ISIS has drawn support. The group is obviously successful in continually recruiting Muslim men, women, even children as its members. What in the world makes these individuals love ISIS? Here are three possibilities. Continue Reading »