Archbishop: Iraqi Christians face ‘premeditated ethnic cleansing’

Max Strasser Life in Iraq isn’t easy (and hasn’t been for a while), but it’s still rare to find community leaders imploring Iraqis to leave their home country. But that’s exactly what Archbishop Athanasios Dawood of the Syriac Orthodox Church is doing. "I say clearly and now — the Christian people should leave their beloved … Continue reading

The End of Christianity in the Middle East?

The brutal bombing of a church in Baghdad may be the final straw for this 2,000 year old minority community. BY EDEN NABY, JAMSHEED K. CHOKSY Screaming "kill, kill, kill," suicide bombers belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant organization connected to al Qaeda in Iraq, stormed a Chaldean church in Baghdad on … Continue reading

How political Islam is winning the war for talent (and gaining a competitive edge)

By Lara Setrakian In 2009 the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Mehdi Akef voluntarily stepped aside — the first time a top leader in the movement had voluntarily resigned before reaching death’s door. His message, as Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment describes it, was that ‘we old guys need to step aside — I’m … Continue reading

Air Force Academy Now Welcomes Spell-Casters

By Noah Shachtman Just a few years ago, the Air Force Academy was considered such an evangelical hothouse that the place got sued for its alleged discrimination against non-Christians. Today, the Academy is boasting of its thriving pagan community — and its friendliness towards spell-casters. … Read More>>

‘We can send religion to the scrap heap’

Sam Harris says that science can show us the best ways for human beings to thrive – and we can then junk religion forever Most people say that science can tell us facts about the world but not about moral values. Do you disagree? Questions of right and wrong, good and evil, are questions about … Continue reading

The Bill O’Reilly Fallacy

Reuel Marc Gerecht   After recent conversations with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg and others who are of a more conservative bent, I started to reflect on Western scholarship and American conservative commentary on Islam. Western historiography of Islam provides a treasure-trove of sympathetic and hostile criticism of the Middle East’s last-born, earth-shaking faith. A huge … Continue reading

Ayaan Hirsi Ali debates whether Islam is a religion of peace, wins in a rout

By David Kenner Intelligence Squared hosted some intellectual heavyweights on Oct. 6 to debate the motion: "Is Islam a religion of peace." Those who took part included Maajid Nawaz, the founder of the counter-extremism Quilliam Foundation, who argued in favor of the resolution, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Dutch MP and critic of Islam, … Continue reading

Be wary of the righteous rationalist: We should reject Sam Harris’s claim that science can be a moral guidepost

By John Horgan Say what you will about Sam Harris, the man’s got guts. In The End of Faith (W. W. Norton, 2005) and Letter to a Christian Nation (Knopf, 2006), Harris, a neuroscientist, rejects the notion that science and religion can coexist. We can’t believe in science, Harris says, and still believe in supernatural … Continue reading

Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan Spar Over the Peacefulness of Islam

by Walter Owen  On the day a Federal District Court judge told the would-be Times Square bomber that she hoped he would spend his life sentence thinking about whether “the Koran wants you to kill lots of people,” Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan took the stage at the 92nd Street Y to debate the question, … Continue reading

The Lessons of Ayodhya

By Paul R. Pillar  The verdict by an Indian court concerning disputed land in Ayodhya that was the site of both a 16th century mosque and, Hindus say, the birth of the Hindu god Ram was an earnest effort to recognize the claims and religious sensitivities of both sides.  The core of the ruling was … Continue reading

Moscow’s mosque controversy

By Joshua Keating Incredibly, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the city of Moscow, which is about one-fifth Muslim, has only four mosques. The planned construction of a fifth, with approval of the city government, has angered some citizens:  More than 1,000 people from the district have signed a petition against the mosque’s construction, arguing … Continue reading

“Pimping for Terrorists”

By Jerry Gordon Background The eruption of mega-mosque conflicts across America has raised numerous questions, in more than a dozen cases, about who is funding these multi-million dollar projects. And, in addition, whether there could be any Muslim Brotherhood connections and any possibility of their raising funds for foreign terrorist groups like Hamas. "Money continues … Continue reading

Berlin’s Hindu Community Dreams of a Grand Temple

By James Angelos in Berlin James Angelos The Sri Ganesha Temple in Berlin is currently located in a drafty barn-like building with a leaky roof. But the Hindu community dreams of building a suitably grand temple for their gods. Now construction work has officially begun, even though believing that there will be enough money to … Continue reading

Vatican bank investigated for money laundering

By Joshua Keating In yet another scandal for the Catholic Church, Italian authorities are investigating the Vatican Bank on suspicion of money laundering:  The Bank of Italy investigation was prompted by two wire transfers which the Vatican Bank asked Credito Artigiano to carry out, the Bank of Italy said. The Vatican Bank did not provide … Continue reading

Where Does the Mosque Backlash Fit Into the History of American Tolerance?

By Barry Gewen   Amid all the controversy surrounding the Ground Zero Islamic center and mosque, the most memorable comment I’ve seen was made by a New York State assemblyman named Henry Meigs. “The constitution of this state,” Meigs said, “guarantees equally the religion of all. The Jew, who believes the blessed Savior an imposter; … Continue reading

The burqa ban: it’s complicated

Posted By Blake Hounshell Is Nicolas Sarkozy’s so-called burqa ban, as my FP colleague David Rothkopf writes, an expression of rising intolerance in France? Perhaps. Coupled with his expulsion of more than 1,000 Roma, it sure looks like le président is trying to use a cultural wedge to shore up his flagging popularity. Still, I … Continue reading

Pope visit: Cardinal drops out after calling UK ‘Third World’

Cardinal Walter Kasper, a senior aide to the Pope, has pulled out of the Pontiff’s visit to Britain after saying the country resembled a “Third World country” where “aggressive new atheism” is rife. By Nick Squires in Rome and Martin Beckford German Cardinal Walter Kasper was quoted in an interview with Focus magazine: ‘When you … Continue reading

Portland Newspaper Apologizes for Peaceful Portrayal of Islam

Editors at the Portland Press Herald spent Saturday apologizing to their readers, not for a factual inaccuracy or other error but for running a prominently placed photograph of Portland-area Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan on Sept. 11. "We sincerely apologize," editor and publisher Richard Connor wrote in a 700-word mea culpa. Connor described calling … Continue reading

France’s real threat from within

Posted By David Rothkopf By a vote of 246 to 1 the French Senate voted Tuesday to excise the word’s liberaté, égalité, and fraternité from the country’s soul. With the vote to ban the wearing of burqas in public, France took a step back into the Dark Ages. Furthermore, the country revealed a deep seated … Continue reading


By Lawrence Wright  When a dozen cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammed appeared in the conservative Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, in September, 2005, there was only a muted outcry from the small Danish Muslim community, and little reaction in the rest of the Muslim world. Six months later, however, riots broke out and Danish embassies were burned; … Continue reading

Tone Shifts as Mosque Protests Follow 9/11 Memorial

By Betwa Sharma  NEW YORK (Sept. 11) — The ninth anniversary of 9/11 was commemorated in Lower Manhattan with a solemn ceremony of reflection and remembrance, but the focus and tone shifted as demonstrations for and against a planned Islamic cultural center and mosque got underway nearby. The Rev. Terry Jones said he had "totally … Continue reading

Inside America’s Mosques

From tie-dyed hippies to hard-line radicals, they’re not all the same — and they’re not what you think. BY AKBAR AHMED The ninth anniversary of 9/11 is almost upon us, and the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States is as fraught as ever. Witness Florida pastor Terry Jones, whose planned "International Burn … Continue reading

Imam Warns of Retaliation if Ground Zero Islamic Center Is Moved

Speaking on Larry King Live on Wednesday night, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader behind the controversial plans to build an Islamic center only a few blocks from the site of New York’s Ground Zero, said that moving the center’s location would signal to Muslims around the world that Islam is under attack. "If … Continue reading

Free Exercise of Religion? No, Thanks.

The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization. By Christopher Hitchens A recent blizzard of liberal columns has framed the debate over American Islam as if it were no more than the most recent stage in the glorious history of our religious tolerance. This phrasing of the question … Continue reading

Petraeus vs. the Pastor

Why aren’t politicians speaking out against the would-be Quran-burner who’s endangering our troops? By Fred Kaplan Gen. David PetraeusRepublicans are usually eager to trumpet their support for the troops and the war against terror. So why aren’t they condemning the Florida pastor who plans to lead his congregation in a Quran-burning bonfire on Sept. 11? … Continue reading

Mosque Notes

Washington Diarist By Leon Wieseltier Collective responsibility. One of the most accomplished Jewish terrorists of our time, Baruch Goldstein, came from the Jewish universe in which I was raised. When he committed his crime, there were a few former and present citizens of that universe, a revered rabbi of mine among them, who demanded a … Continue reading

The New York Times Laments "A Sadly Wary Misunderstanding of Muslim-Americans." But Really Is It "Sadly Wary" Or A "Misunderstanding" At All?

By Martin Peretz   September 4, 2010 | 9:23 pm Of course, this first sentence presumes that the Times in its olympian wisdom has a more accurate view–one it could describe as both "shrewdly knowing" and "sensitively knowing"–of this group and its beliefs than ordinary metropolitan mortals. The newspaper has done a poll of New … Continue reading

Creep the Faith

The broadening backlash against American Islam. By William Saletan Rick LazioTwo months ago, Rick Lazio, the leading Republican candidate for governor of New York, challenged his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, to investigate a proposed Islamic community center two blocks from Ground Zero. When Cuomo replied that the issue was religious freedom, Lazio insisted that his … Continue reading

The Living And The Dead In The Holy Land

By Martin Peretz   As I pointed out several times in the last few days there are in Israel haredim—those who tremble before the Lord—who are murder-inciting Zionists. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is one of them, although his followers seem not to go the way of his sermons. Thank God. Another ripple in his life is … Continue reading

The Mosque Is In Trouble, Very Big Trouble

By Martin Peretz Nancy Pelosi who always has her ear to the ground for a simple-minded explanation of an intricate matter has demanded to know whose money is behind the campaign against the Ground Zero mosque. Maybe she can’t imagine anything other than a grand conspiracy: maybe Glenn Beck or David Koch, maybe Sarah Palin … Continue reading

Evolutionary psycho-logy: Commandeering genetics to explain why Obama really is a Muslim

By Gary Stix  Okay, here’s one for the annals, something that is going to make it even more difficult for evolutionary psychology to get the respect the field thinks it deserves. A controversial academic from the London School of Economics has recently penned a blog post for Psychology Today called "If Barack Obama Is Christian, … Continue reading

The Imam Speaks

Feisal Abdul Rauf defends his plan for an Islamic center near Ground Zero. By William Saletan Imam Feisal Abdul RaufImam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, is traveling through the Middle East at the request of the State Department. As part of this ambassadorial tour, he has given … Continue reading

The Taliban And Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

By Martin Peretz I was for the American involvement in Iraq. And I am for the American involvement in Afghanistan, more or less and so-so, not (I readily admit) a responsible position. Perhaps out of naivete. Perhaps out of nostalgia for the good the United States brought with it in most of its foreign entanglements. … Continue reading

Man Already Knows Everything He Needs To Know About Muslims

By Jonathan Chait . The Onion has a story today entitled, "Local Man Knows Everything He Needs To Know About Muslims": Local man Scott Gentries told reporters Wednesday that his deliberately limited grasp of Islamic history and culture was still more than sufficient to shape his views of the entire Muslim world. Gentries, 48, said … Continue reading

Baptisms for the Dead – bad for your back

You really do learn something every day in this job. When I first came across this story, entitled "LDS Church sued for baptism for the dead injury", about a man suing the Church of Latter-day Saints (AKA the Mormons) for injuring his back while performing around 200 "baptisms for the dead", my first thought was, … Continue reading

From the Dept. of It Just Doesn’t Matter

By John McWhorter Who cares whether one in five people think Barack Obama is a Muslim? Yes, that’s even more people than a couple of years ago, based on results from a Pew Research Center poll last week. But even so, though this misconception is a personal insult to a president many of us think … Continue reading

Moderate Muslims Are Not the Answer

Reuel Marc Gerecht The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait recently underscored a view about Islamic militancy versus the West that is widely held on both the left and right and should be challenged. To quote Mr. Chait: It is precisely because radicalism is so pervasive and powerful within the Muslim world that it is so vital … Continue reading

The Maskings of a Mosque

By Martin Peretz The folk who planned the mosque at the World Trade Center could not have expected but that their project would be much resented, not just in New York but across America. And so it happened: as soon as it became clear that the municipal elite, spearheaded by Mayor Bloomberg who hasn’t a … Continue reading

The Subversive Theology of Imam Rauf

By Todd Gitlin The fervent mosque-haters have this much right: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Sufi leader of the Cordoba Initiative that plans to build an Islamic center on Park Place near the site of the World Trade Center, is subversive. But what he wants to subvert is not the United States of America. What … Continue reading

State Department compares Park 51 Imam to Shirley Sherrod

By Josh Rogin  The State Department’s top spokesman cautioned reporters Tuesday not to take snippets of edited remarks on the Internet by the "Ground Zero mosque" imam and use them to brand him a radical, lest they repeat the mistakes made by the media in calling former USDA official Shirley Sherrod a racist based on … Continue reading

America’s First Muslim President

Muslim Americans helped elect George W. Bush, but now they’re leaving the Republican Party in droves. It didn’t have to be this way. BY SUHAIL A. KHAN I’ve been involved in politics for well over two decades, so you can imagine how proud I was when I learned that my newly retired mother had signed … Continue reading

Trapped at Ground Zero

By Ramzy Baroud. The controversy over the right of Muslim Americans to build community center and mosque a short distance from the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is both strange and outright inappropriate. It should never be necessary for law-abiding Americans to justify exercising their right to freely practice their own religion. … Continue reading

Greetings, 18 Percenters!

Let’s meet the knucklehead Americans who think Barack Obama is a Muslim. By Jack Shafer. Shall we set ourselves on fire at the news spat out by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life today that 18 percent of Americans recently polled believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim? Shall we pour gasoline … Continue reading

Obama Stands On Principle, Defends Muslim Rights

By Jonathan Chait. The Park51 controversy is bound to blow up now that President Obama has weighed in. I’ve written a lot on the substance of it. The only new argument I’ve seen recently comes from Rick Hertzberg, who explains why the Auschwitz-Nun incident cited by the ADL and other opponents of Park51 doesn’t hold … Continue reading

The Mosque and the "Two Americas"

By Isaac Chotiner.  Ross Douthat’s studiously non-judgemental column in today’s New York Times discusses what he calls "Islam and the Two Americas." According to Douthat: There’s an America where it doesn’t matter what language you speak, what god you worship, or how deep your New World roots run. An America where allegiance to the Constitution … Continue reading

Mosque flap swirls around Obama

The White House on Saturday struggled to tamp down the controversy over President Barack Obama’s statements about a mosque near Ground Zero — insisting Obama wasn’t backing off remarks Friday night where he offered support for a project that has infuriated some families whose loved ones died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Obama’s comments placed … Continue reading

Obama Strongly Backs Islam Center Near 9/11 Site

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG WASHINGTON — President Obama delivered a strong defense on Friday night of a proposed Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in Manhattan, using a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan to proclaim that “as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their … Continue reading

Burying Molière (And reburying him)

BY STEVE MOYER Last year, on the fiftieth anniversary of Albert Camus’s death, French president Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the Nobel Laureate’s body be exhumed, brought to Paris, and placed in the Panthéon. This temple on the Left Bank, located near the Sorbonne, serves as the resting place for many of France’s greatest writers and thinkers. … Continue reading

Polygamist Leader May Face Tougher Case in Texas

By Sanjiv Bhattacharya (Aug. 12) — Utah will have to wait in line before it gets a chance to retry polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. First he’s going to a state where prosecution has been more vigorous. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he believes the case against Jeffs is stronger in Texas, where he will … Continue reading

American Values and the Ground Zero Mosque

By Todd Gitlin The case of the “Ground Zero Mosque”—that is, for those who’ve been on Mars for the last few weeks, the Islamic Cordoba House that is to include a mosque, along with an auditorium, a swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores, and restaurants, though it is not to be built at Ground Zero, … Continue reading