A Message To The Army: You Just Can’t Kill Anyone

A month ago, there was a siege in a village. A contact, who will remain unnamed for security reasons, gave me a horrific account of the military madness that took place in the pristine valley of Kashmir.  They did it again. They shot four boys in our neighborhood. One was fifteen-years old. Oh God, I thought. He is too young to die. He belongs to someone. I could not (did not want to) … [Read more...]

A Special Keynote Address: The Path to Ijtihad or Critical Thinking

Last week, I was honored to present at The Homeland Security and Emergency Management Conference in New Mexico. Set in historic Albuquerque, the conference venue and the audience could not have been more perfect--hundreds of law enforcement officers, emergency managers, and government officials, all working together to keep our country safe. As a keynote speaker, I was invited to talk about … [Read more...]

Looking Back: The Orlando Shooter Defiled Islam

Earlier this summer, on June 12th, a man stormed into the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida and killed 50 people and wounded 53 others. The killer was identified as Afghan American Omar Mir Seddique Mateen and his target was the LGBT community. That the horrific incident happened during Islam's holy month of Ramadan, when thousands of American Muslims were fasting from dawn to sunset as they … [Read more...]

Can We Engage Muslims To Counter Violent Extremism (CVE)?

Years ago, winning the 'hearts and minds' of Muslims worldwide was Washington's solution to disrupting and defeating terrorism. The 'hearts and minds' campaign was intended to do many things, which included motivating Muslims to 'take back Islam.' Some Muslims viewed the campaign with skepticism; others distrusted and denounced it. Today, the new terminology in the world community is CVE or … [Read more...]

The Women of Kashmir Survive the Spoils of War

For years, I lived Kashmir. I dreamt of the women featured in this book. For awhile, they were like family. I knew intimate details of their lives. Even though I was their American guest, they gave me more than stories to be recorded in a book. They gave me a slice of modern history--the untold histories of women, the survivors of a 60-year-plus conflict. The women of this book form a community … [Read more...]

Honoring the AFPAK Women For Speaking Up

It has been said that women are half of any society. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, women are the primary caretakers of their families. Women nurture their communities and countries. And yet, many women across the Islamic world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, lag behind. Too often, they are isolated and insular. The common image of women in the AFPAK region is that they are abandoned and/or … [Read more...]

3 Things I Have Learned From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Once, I visited Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Montgomery, Alabama. It humbled me in so many ways. Over the years, I've read and listened to Dr. King's speeches. I've collected books about him and continue to watch movies that mention the historic civil rights movement. (The Butler is a moving story about the civil rights movement told through a White House butler.) So many people today … [Read more...]

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