Muslims

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“It is time for honor to die, so that the people may live.”

Here’s my latest on the Huffington Post.  Please click here to read the full article.

First the bad news: a fracture in the Middle East is looming. There is a fracturing of states along sectarian lines that has been funded and instigated by a variety of men around the Middle East and beyond. There is a radicalization both of dictators and their violence, on one side, (Sisi far worse than Mubarak, and Assad the ophthalmologist committing massive war crimes), and religious extremists on the other, with their crucifixions and intent on destroying states and kingdoms as such. This has made for impossible choices to most innocent Middle Easterners who may retreat into sectarian safe havens that only guarantee more fracturing and violence.

There is a hidden root to this negative spiral, and that root is men’s

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/15/us-iraq-usa-security-idUSKBN0EQ0UH20140615

Graham last week said American air strikes in Iraq will be needed to halt the advance of militants.

His comments about Iran broach an even more sensitive topic – putting the United States in potential collaboration with a country it suspects of developing nuclear weapons and supporting its own militant groups in places like Lebanon.

Iranian officials, closely allied with Maliki and watchful over the Shi’ite population centered in southern Iraq, have also been alarmed at the sudden seizure of territory by the ISIL.

 

The logic of intending to bomb a country like Iran in one part of the year, and then contemplate an alliance in the next year to defend Baghdad really needs to be defined and exposed. On one level, it is perfectly reasonable. if a year ago, allies Israel and Saudi Arabia were convincing us that Iran is the primary mortal threat, then we decide to …

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Syria’s Christian Conundrum

by mgopin on June 8, 2012 · 6 comments

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by Hind Kabawat, CRDC Senior Research Analyst and Expert on Conflict Resolution

This article was originally published by CNN here.

One of the most perplexing aspects of the Syrian revolution is the deep ambivalence felt by so many of the country’s Christians when faced with the prospect of freedom after four decades of authoritarian dictatorship. Some Christians have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of democratic change and a more open civil society, but many have not.

As a Christian, this provokes a great deal of sadness in me and others who are committed to transforming Syria into an open, democratic, inclusive, secular and religiously tolerant society. But the problem is that many, if not most, Christians in Syria do not believe that this will be the outcome of changing the regime.

On the contrary, they believe the present regime — corrupt and repressive as it has been — is the …

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Recent sputterings of a peace process between Israel and Palestine, the termination of Israel’s settlement building freeze causing a demise of said peace process — again — has produced a loud, global yawn. What else is new in this endless conflict? Negotiations cannot succeed without a vision, and there is no widely shared vision of peace among these people that could truly spur their politicians forward.

The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of the past that create brutal behavior in the present. One way forward may be to suspend skepticism for just a moment, to free the mind to build a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved. Armed with this imaginative exercise it might become easier to lobby for practical ways forward.

Let’s imagine the following: official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza

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The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of war, the mutual recriminations of the present, the painful memories of a lost past, and the unreasonable fantasies of a world where one’s enemies magically disappear. Sometimes the way forward is to free the mind to build a different world, a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved.

Let’s imagine the following: a full peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital, a shared civil regime for the quarter mile of the Holy Basin in the Old City of Jerusalem that is overseen by Israeli and Palestinian Jews, Muslims and Christians, and a way for every Palestinian refugee camp’s residents to be awarded citizenship and compensation in a variety of countries including Palestine itself.

The first …

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Trying to figure out why I am always trying to clean up messes that I did not create, messes that I predicted. So here we go again with the dance of clashes that others crave. I will be on Al Hurra at 4 because there are demonstrations happening in response all over the world.

The Obama administration has said that it is concerned about the proposed burning of the Koran by a US church group.

On Tuesday, the White House said that it supported recent comments from General David Patraeus, the chief commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, that the torching could put US troops in the country at risk.

“It puts our troops in harm’s way, any type of activity like  that that puts our troops in harm’s way would be a concern to this administration,” Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said.

A Church group in

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This will be a long, hard fought battle that will leave Muslims quite weary, but it has been engaged before and successfully won. Just ask Catholics a hundred years ago, or Jews two hundred years ago. This will require persistence, coalition building, compromise, honesty, an evolution in communication skills, and patience above all. But I believe that history demonstrates that Americans of common sense generally win in the long run. I believe we are just witnessing the second wave of organized hatred that comes from political opportunists (who often wear religious garb). It will exhaust itself in embarrassment as it reaches absurd limits. Critics of Islam with legitimate gripes, such as Wafa Sultan, will begin to distance themselves from hatreds they did not intend to unleash, as everyone learns, in every generation unfortunately, that nothing good comes of hate, and the mob is not controllable.

While a high-profile battle rages

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Great article on the Islamic Center controversy in Manhattan. It has hard to think of a better example of the tragic nature of crucifixion than the shadow cast on Imam Rauf, and Daisy Khan, two of the most visionary and progressive Muslims that I know. Alas, it is in the context of legitimate New York feelings, mourning, that is stirred recklessly by politicians and ideologues with other agendas. Arthur Miller, The Crucible, understood this so well. It is exactly why all abuses in Israel devolve into emotional and manipulative appeals to the Holocaust. Legitimate feelings, illegitimate persecutions. The story of humanity.…

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Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:

The lonely man of peace

lonelymanofpeace

By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER

21/01/2010

This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.

Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …

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The TE’A Project

by mgopin on November 20, 2009 · 7 comments

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I just attended a phenomenal performance by The TE’A Project which uses interactive theatre to inspire audiences to cross the barriers of race, class, culture and religion in America’s communities. It combines story collection, theatrical performance, and facilitated dialogue in a process that makes it possible for us to engage imaginatively with the barriers of social and cultural differences that divide us.

The performance I watched was called “Under the Veil” – Being Muslim (and non-Muslim) in America, Post 9/11.” It was based on stories collected from individuals living in New York and explored the theme of being young and Muslim in America today. It was excellent. Check out the schedule of performances to catch this phenomenal show!

The website also includes videos and streaming television about their project. Learn more at:  http://teaproject.com

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