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Muslims often say – with a twinge of pride, I’ve noticed – that there is no clergy in Islam. Well, there is no pope and each mosque is fairly independent; that said, the more conservative ones in this country do their best to import a good imam from Egypt or elsewhere. Also, Iran’s constitution calls for the supremacy of the…
16 September 2014

Things Not As They Seem

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The above title could be said about much of life. As St. Paul writes, “We see through a glass darkly.” Here I want to discuss current events in the Mideast, first in Egypt, and then the issue of the Islamic State. Looking through the eyes of western media outlets and consulting insider sources yield quite a different picture. Consulting the…
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 A couple of weeks ago Duke University Arabic professor Mbaye Bashir Lo attended Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque of Niamey, Niger. Originally from Sudan, he’s doing research on militant Islam in West Africa this summer. What he heard the preacher say startled him: “These are troubling times: there is killing everywhere, and certainly, these are signs of the end…
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If you’re like me and plan to enjoy a cup of coffee tomorrow morning, we will be in the company of 1.6 billion others across the globe. Coffee is one of the most traded commodities on the planet – at more than $100 billion a year! Still, 70 percent of that coffee was hand picked and processed by small farmers…