What Does Islam Say About Mercy?

  One of the most meaningful messages I have received from Muslim scholars is the concept of God's mercy and His forgiveness. There are numerous words in Arabic for mercy, although two words that appear frequently in the Quran are: Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, which mean "The Most Gracious" and "The Most Merciful." In my line of work, as a Muslim woman countering violent extremism, I explain that … [Read more...]

If Islam Is A Loving, Peaceful Religion, Then Why Do Muslims Kill?

It's an oft-repeated question: If Islam is a loving, peaceful religion, then why do some Muslims kill? For nearly 20 years, as a researcher first then a counter-terrorism analyst, I have tried to answer this question. I traveled to over 70 countries to meet people in their homes, offices, and prisons to offer an answer to a complex question. What's the answer to radicalization? We've been asking … [Read more...]

Understanding Islam

In 2005, I had an experience that changed my life when I was asked to explain the history of Islam and modern-day conflicts to hundreds of U.S. military Captains. I was invited to Maxwell Air Force Base by the Commandant and asked to deliver a lecture on why Muslims are fighting each other in the Arab world.  Why are Sunnis and Shias battling each other?  What caused the split? And how do their … [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...]

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...]

Must See Why This 3 Minute Video Went Viral: Worship God With Love, Not Terror

A Kuwaiti singer launches a powerful song with striking images of smiling faces and terrorists-in-distress to convey one simple message: God is Greater. Than those who destroy humanity. God is Greater. Allah Akbar.  The song is a call for understanding, love and mercy. Posted online by the Kuwaiti telecommunications giant Zain TV, which operates across West Asia, the advertisement has had … [Read more...]

The Meaning of Religion and Why It Matters Today

Three days into the month of Ramadan, one of Islam's holiest months, and I'm reminded of the strength of faith. CNN seems to think so too with its new series on religion.  A month into the show, The Believers that takes a deeper look at the power of believing in a higher being and living for a greater purpose. Narrated by an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar on religions, Reza Aslan … [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...]

Discovering Oman: A Peaceful Muslim Country

  Last winter, I sailed the Arabian sea onto the port of Muscat. When I was not giving terrorism lectures on the ship, I would step off the Seabourn and discover a world enshrined in mystique. Through the bazaar, you can smell the rich woody scent of frankincense and an array of spice stored in baskets.  Muscat sits on the Straits of Hormuz at the most easterly port of the Arabian … [Read more...]

Islam Is Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): Part Four

As I learned more about my faith, I began to look deeply at the profiles of violent extremists. The oft-repeated question of ‘why Muslims kill' forced me to look beyond the push and pull drivers of violent extremism.I had to humanize the boys and girls—who would become adult terrorists—to respond to the ‘why.’At work, I continued to remind other analysts and operators that most Muslims are not … [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...]

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