A New Book on Islam, Women, and Counter-Terrorism

  Twenty years of research on women, Islam and terrorism is captured in a new book and written as a collection of stories. I traveled to numerous cities and countries in the Muslim world, including Western countries, to answer this oft-repeated question: If Islam is a loving and peaceful religion, why do some Muslim women kill? What are the reasons why some women and girls join violent … [Read more...]

A Muslim Artist Showcases Islam As a Peaceful, Loving Religion

A Muslim artist in New York city uses calligraphy, watercolor, ceramics and glass to showcase Islam's rich history and artistic expression. Through art, Mohsin uses vivid colors to send a powerful message: Islam is a peaceful religion that values science, philosophy, and and the arts, of course. "One of my goals in life is to be a bridge between various communities and societies," he told … [Read more...]

A Shooting in San Bruno Raises Questions About Safety in America

On Tuesday afternoon, a shooting in San Bruno, California is raising questions about safety in America. Again, an active shooter is at large and has proven how easy it is to perpetrate a deadly attack against a civilian target. This time, around lunchtime, the attacker gunned down several people at 901 Cheery Avenue, the address of the YouTube office.  It's too early to tell who is responsible. … [Read more...]

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Talks About Women’s Rights In A Recent Interview

  In a recent interview, the new Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, says he is making key reforms which includes women's rights. The interview, co-hosted by "CBS This Morning" and "60 Minutes" contributing correspondent Noah O'Donnell, talked to the Crown Prince about a number of key issues, including the detention of more than 200 princes, billionaires and prominent Saudi … [Read more...]

Why The Definition of Terrorism Is Important Today

The definition of terrorism is important and should not be confused with criminals, shooters, hate crimes, and more. This month's serial bombings by Mark Anthony Conditt in Austin, Texas, which happens to be my hometown, raised questions on whether to call the violent acts 'domestic terrorism' or not. In a recent interview for IPT News, I was asked to comment on why words matter: why should we … [Read more...]

Is It Safe To Travel To The Muslim World?

When is it safe to travel to the Muslim world and where can I go are common questions. News of the Muslim world give the illusion that most Muslim countries are spiraling out of control with frenzied conflicts and/or the possibility of terrorist attacks. One commentator lists at least 20 different conflicts in which Muslims are involved which is a high number. But there is a greater truth: the … [Read more...]

Is America Safe Now That The Austin Bombing Suspect Is Dead?

  The Austin bombing suspect is dead, thanks to a tremendous law enforcement effort, but America is not yet safe from future attackers, serial killers, school shooters and other violent individuals.  The one important question that authorities did not answer is why.   Why did 23-year old Mark Conduit, a young white man from the peaceful town of Pflugerville, terrorize his home town and … [Read more...]

Who Is the Mystery Serial Bomber in Austin?

A serial bomber has gripped the city of Austin, Texas, the fourth time this month as the latest bomb blast injured two men in a residential area and has left residents on edge while law enforcement agencies are scrambling to identity the mystery bomber. Austin is my hometown city. It is where I spent my childhood and young adult life. It's a peaceful place known for music aficionados, pristine … [Read more...]

An Inside Look At A New Book Titled Snowfall in Kashmir

Kashmir is an active conflict. As I have written in my book and numerous articles, the place I call "Wonderland" is unsettling and unpredictable. The valley of death is also described as Paradise on earth. My first visit to Kashmir helped me see the conflict through the eyes of women and their men. The brief periods I spent in Kashmir tormented me for years to come. I never thought I would fall … [Read more...]

Ignorance of Islam Is Incomprehensible Today

Ignorance is not bliss. It is the hotbed of misunderstanding, misapprehension and mistakes. Recently, I presented a lecture on Islam at a Homeland Security Conference to emergency managers, law enforcement officers, and military men and women. Speaking about Islam as a religion of peace, mercy and understanding is a heavy responsibility, and each time I do so I grapple with the fear of … [Read more...]

What The Fatwa Is Going On: What Scholars Are Saying Against Extremists

Extremist ideologues have ignored hundreds of fatwas against violence, arbitrary killing, and senseless war. Instead, they honor fatwas to legalize their right to kill; their right to enslave innocent women; and their right to govern and take land with force. Undoubtedly, this is dangerous to the Muslim youth and damaging to Islamic scholarship.  To counter the extremists, moderate muftis have … [Read more...]

WTF: So What The Fatwa Is Going On?

Who has the right to issue a fatwa, an Islamic ruling, is an important question that is confused by born-again scholars and unlearned authority figures. Today, there are thousands, if not millions, of Muslim scholars issuing legal edicts on wide-ranging subjects. What’s troubling is that hardliners as well as violent extremists are rendering fatwas, many of which declare war or death on an … [Read more...]

The 5 Most Misunderstood Words with Islam And What They Mean

Nearly two decades after 9/11, words associated with Islam are often linked with terrorism. In August, at a homeland security conference, I delivered two talks on Islam to law enforcement agencies and defined the historical root of the top 5 words in the Muslim vocabulary that is still misunderstood, misplaced, and misused in the West. Even some Muslims don't know how to explain their faith to … [Read more...]

Why Muslim Girls Marry Older Men

Young Muslim girls continue to marry older men, sometimes twice their age, and this outdated cultural tradition lives on in select countries and communities. This ugly phenomenon is certainly not new. Though it seems out-of-place in the West and in Muslim countries that are progressive on paper only.  What I don't understand is why and how this custom continues to take place when there … [Read more...]

Life in Kashmir: Can You Imagine Living In A Place Without The Internet?

Most people I know would go crazy if they had to live in a place without full-time access to the Internet. But this is exactly what is happening in Indian-occupied Kashmir, where local residents--especially in the southern region--are constantly threatened with media blackout, Internet shutdowns, and curfews in the name of "national security." That's a buzz word for "chasing terrorists." Yes, … [Read more...]