Countering Violent Extremism: Weapons are not Enough

Alliance for Peacebuilders
April 2016

cve1In this day of transnational actors, we must do the hard work of persuading hearts and minds.  The tools of rhetoric are needed to stamp out the ideologies of extremism.  There is not state to bomb.  The extremists are among us, having believed that violence is the answer.  What drives them?  How can we persuade them to think differently? Get a PDF booklet on the power of storytelling from the Alliance for Peacebuilders.

Muslim Leaders Gather in Morocco to Discuss Religious Minorities

Religion News Service
January 21, 2016


Imam Magid is the Executive Imam of America's second largest mosque and received a medal earlier this year from the King of Morocco for his role in restoring historic Jewish cemeteries in Morocco. Photo courtesy of All Dulles Area Muslim Society

Imam Magid is the Executive Imam of America’s second largest mosque and received a medal earlier this year from the King of Morocco for his role in restoring historic Jewish cemeteries in Morocco. Photo courtesy of All Dulles Area Muslim Society

Imam Muhammad Magid and more than 300 religious and political leaders from Muslim-majority nations — including Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran — are expected to attend the forum, billed as the first major effort of its kind in the Muslim world since the Charter of Medina, written in 622 C.E. as the first constitution of the Muslim world. An example of the charter’s principles is Article 17: “No Jew will be wronged for being a Jew.”

Jesus and ISIS: Five Commands for the Road to Peace

Peace Catalyst International
March 4, 2015

Rick Love, president of Peace Catalyst International gives several important guidelines for Christians to keep in mind as they consider how to respond to the brutality of groups like ISIS. Rick is not a pacifist but e is a follower of Jesus who wrestles deeply with Jesus teachings and example. For an audio podcast of much of this same material listen to Rick here


What the Atlantic Left Out About ISIS According to Their Own Expert

Think Progress
Feb 20, 2015

ISIS photo

Rick Love says of this article,

“An important, nuanced, and well written article about ISIS vs mainstream Islamic Theology.”

“There are numerous Islamic texts “that advocate a more kind of pacifist, less violent, and, in fact, an even tolerant and open-minded [religion that is] accepting of, let’s say, non-Muslims.” But he concluded that the texts ISIS pulls from still exist within the Islamic tradition, thus making them Islamic.”

Islam and the “Islamic State”: What Does the Quran Really Teach about Christianity?

The Witherspoon Institute - Public Discourse
February 19, 2015


“I choose to defend Islam not because I’m embarrassed or want to be politically correct, but because I love my religion. This understanding of Islam is not a “cotton candy” view of my faith, as some may naively suggest. Rather, the verses in this article get to the heart of Islamic belief. I share them with the hope that perhaps members of IS or those who are considering supporting their cause might read them and realize how un-Islamic their behavior really is.

“In a strange twist of fate, IS has become the greatest enemy of Islam in our modern world. What might have been a noble endeavor to establish Islam and provide social and economic justice for all has been marred with transgression against humanity. ” Saba Ahmed

What The Atlantic Gets Dangerously Wrong About ISIS And Islam

Think Progress
February 18, 2015


Graeme Wood entitled “What ISIS Really Wants,” which claims to expose the foundational theology of the terror group ISIS, also called the Islamic State, which has waged a horrific campaign of violence across Iraq, Syria, and Libya over the past year. The article is deeply researched, and makes observations about the core religious ideas driving ISIS — namely, a dark, bloodthirsty theology that revolves around an apocalyptic narrative in which ISIS’s black-clad soldiers believe they are playing a pivotal role.

Despite this, Wood’s article has encountered staunch criticism and derision from many Muslims and academics who study Islam.  The core issue, they say, is that Wood appears to have fallen prey to an inaccurate trope all too common in many Western circles: that ISIS is an inevitable product of Islam, mainly because the Qur’an and other Islamic texts contain passages that support its horrific acts.

Panel Discussion- What ISIS Really Wants

The Diane Rehm Show
February 18, 2015


I stumbled into an excellent panel discussion based on Graeme Wood’s article in the Atlantic on the Diane Rehm Show today.

  • Bernard Haykel professor of near eastern studies, Princeton University
  • Ambassador James Jeffrey former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey.
  • Graeme Wood contributing editor, Atlantic Magazine
  • Akbar Ahmed chair of Islamic studies at American University, former Pakistani high commissioner to the U.K.

As is the case with most panel discussions there will probably be things with which (more…)

What ISIS Really Wants

the Atlantic
March 2015

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The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.


Saudi scholar says Muslim women do not need to veil their faces

National Public Radio
December 17, 2014

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Ahmad Aziz Al Ghamdi. He’s a religious scholar, the former head of the religious police in Mecca, a group officially known as the Committee for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice

But norms are changing as global culture is beamed into the kingdom through social media and satellite television.

Hilali-Khan English translation of the Qur’an may promote extremism

The Malaysian Insider
December 1, 2014


In researching English translations of the Qur’an, I came across this article.  Technically, there are not “translations” of the Qur’an, but rather interpretations. Any translation interjects a certain degree of bias, that is part of the reason people are compelled to make new translations of Bible and the Qur’an.

The Hilali-Khan is the most widely distributed English translation in the world and officially recognized by the Saudi government.  However, a forum in Malaysia has “called out” the translation as promoting extremism.

This widely available translation, called the Hilali-Khan, made Muslims think that Islam was a religion hostile to other faiths, said academic and progressive Muslim thinker Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa.

The seeds of the “Allah” controversy, the custody battles between Muslim and non-Muslim spouses and the spread of anti-Christian feelings in Malaysia can be traced to a certain translation of the Quran, a recent forum on Muslim extremism in Kuala Lumpur was told.

The “Allah” controversy is where some Muslims teach that Christians should not use the word Allah to refer to God.