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An Open Letter to Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

I will start out politely, with the traditional As-salaam-u alaykum, peace be to you, and I will even use the title you have given yourself, and I will try to keep this note brief, for I can only imagine the press of your days, what with trying to manage a nascent state, and a fractious staff, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Francis in Sarajevo

On Saturday, June 6, Pope Francis ­visited Sarajevo, the ­capital of partitioned Bosnia-Hercegovina. Although treated by international media as a typical papal tour, the event strengthened the potential of the Croat Catholic hierarchy in Bosnia to serve as agents of peace and reconciliation. This . . . . Continue Reading »

A Feminist Qur'an?

Feminist Edges of the Qur’an by aysha a. hidayatullah oxford, 288 pages, $24.95 M odern developments in the study of the Qur’an began in Western academia in the mid-late twentieth century with scholars like ­Fazlur Rahman. Leading thinkers in this field such as Riffat ­Hassan, Azizah . . . . Continue Reading »

Nostra Aetate Fifty Years On

It was, on the face of it, a minor theological gesture, yet it brought about one of the greatest revolutions in religious history. Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Church’s 1965 statement of relationships with non-Christian faiths, declared that “the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or . . . . Continue Reading »

Holy Warriors

In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire by robert g. hoyland oxford, 320 pages, $29.95 Amedieval Islamic tradition recounts that the Prophet Muhammad once told his companions after they returned from a battle: “You have come from the Lesser Jihad to the Greater . . . . Continue Reading »

Did Muhammad Perform Miracles?

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 »

The Most Objectionable Part of the Bible

We all hear about the supposed “God of Wrath” in the Hebrew Bible, and the supposed “God of Love” of the New Testament. Those who draw that distinction don’t know their Bibles very well. For the Hebrew Bible celebrates human sexual love, underwritten by the Hebrew Bible’s God, in its . . . . Continue Reading »

Evangelicals in the World of Islam

The author of this book, a professor of history at the University of Delaware, is an academic of diverse interests, having published volumes on the maritime communities of colonial Massachusetts and the origins of fervent Protestantism in the American South. She is also married to a retired Pentagon official who survived the terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001.

Who Was Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab?

ISIS is only the latest (and certainly most barbaric) interpretation of a current in Islamic thought known as Salafism—an originalist approach to Islamic law and creed that relies exclusively on a narrow reading of the Qur’an and the hadith. In Saudi Arabia, these ideas were first introduced by a man living at the end of the eighteenth century: Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab.

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