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...]

3 Simple Ways to Warn Children About Online Extremism

The Internet is familiar. And it's all too easy to search for the wrong person, group and idea. So how can Muslim parents talk to their children about extremist groups looking for young recruits? A mother of two teenagers, I warn my children, weekly and then monthly, about the dangers of extremists trolling the digital world. At the end of one of my talks, my eldest said, "I have a future here." … [Read more...]

Islam Is Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Part Three

Prophet Muhammad once said: "God will continue to assist the servant, so long as His servant helps others." This is civic involvement. A concept I learned from my parents, and then an American scholar known as Shaykh Hamza Yousef. On a recent lecture tour, I showed a video clip of Yousef explaining the need to return to the attribute of mercy. Yusuf talks about the need to learn the Prophetic … [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...]

The Pakistan I Thought I Knew: Part Three

A frequent traveler to Pakistan, I had always known and seen different variations of Islam. Those who choose the Sunni (orthodox) way. Those who adopt the history and traditions of the Shia. Or the Sufi, known as mystics and/or New Age-ers, of Islam. Even among these three broad groups, there are add-on practices and born-again preachers in Pakistan, who have redefined Islam--a religion revealed … [Read more...]

3 Things I Said On The Radio About Radicalization

The Spy Museum in Washington, DC is a true adventure. Through dark hallways, you'll find real and make-believe characters (read James Bond)--all of whom lived a mysterious and under cover life to protect this great nation. Given my work with the U.S. Government, I was invited to a radio interview to talk about faith and the myriad of threats we face today. "We don't often have a Muslim woman … [Read more...]

Tashfeen Malik, The Female Terrorist We Should Have Known

Every time a woman participates in a terrorist attack, analysts and authorities (and curious journalists) look back. We search for clues, trying to find the 'tipping point' to explain how and when a seemingly normal-looking (girl or) woman turns rogue. In San Bernardino, when Tashfeen Malik gunned down 14 people, the media began to look for new ways to understand female terrorists. Some … [Read more...]

Paris, The City Under Siege

I can't imagine being in Paris right now. A city besieged by fear, grief, and uncertainty as the police search for the perpetrators of last Friday's multi-pronged terror attack. For some, Paris is a city idolized by love stories and by-chance-meetings in cafes or the Eiffel Tower. For me, Paris is a troubled city. On three separate trips, I can only remember being mistaken for an Arab; my … [Read more...]

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