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Young Muslim girls continue to marry older men, sometimes twice their age, and this outdated cultural tradition lives on in select countries and communities.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...]

The Violence in Myanmar And The Growing Silence Of Aung San Suu Kyi

Millions of Muslims have been forced out of their homes, and the world is still waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi to help end the military operations against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. Among those who oppose Suu Kyi is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the veteran South African Anglican leader and fellow recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. But it’s not certain that even a reputed leader will have much impact … [Read more...]

3 Reasons Why the Conflict in Kashmir Should Not Be Ignored by Anyone

The Kashmir conflict has raged on for more than 70 years and cost thousands of lives as well as put the entire South Asia at risk of war, which is why the conflict in Kashmir should not ignored by anyone. The conflict in the valley of Kashmir is a human tragedy. Nuclear-armed countries India and Pakistan have proven incapable of finding a viable political solution to an ancient conflict. And … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

The Story of Mughli, A Mother Who Died Searching For Her Son

An enlarged black-and-white photo hangs in my home office. When I see her, I am reminded of why I write about women inc conflict. Many years ago, I had written a post about Mughli, a woman in Indian-held Kashmir who never stopped looking for her son. I write about women in war because women like Mughli deserve to be known. When a mother like Mughli loses a child, she no longer wants to live.Women … [Read more...]

The Revolutionary Who Changed Me

The Revolutionary I am convinced that one teacher can change the life of a student forever. We met in class at a private Methodist college, Southwestern University, set in small-town America with a candle factory, vintage shops and one main grocery store. In 1993, I chose to take a class on Latin America, a region of the world I still know nothing about except for the location of Brazil and … [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...]

If You Knew Me You Would Care

The remarkable book by Zainab Salbi, the founder of Women for Women International, is captivating with glossy images of women from around the world, their stories laced through the pages in graphic imagery and heartfelt words. Through the portraits of the women, photographer Rennio Maifredi shows us the women's stories "through the road map of their faces and the light of their … [Read more...]

Do No Harm

A migrant worker from the Philippines smiles at me. She is washing dishes in my sister's home in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, a wealthy Gulf country with pristine water and manmade islands. The servant is named Annie and looks to be about thirty-five years old. She is dressed in a plain button-down shirt and jeans, her thin black hair pulled back in a tie as she puts away one dish at a … [Read more...]

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