Perhaps you saw or read about the debate that comedian (why doesn't he stick to comedy?) Bill Maher had the other day about Islam.
Maher has essentially no use for any religion, and he's an equal opportunity disliker, so he disses Islam along with other faiths, even though he seems to have a profoundly (and often misguided) small understanding of any of them.
At any rate, the columnist Nicholas Kristof, who was on the panel with Maher debating Islam, felt called to write this piece about his experience to help Maher understand Islam better and especially the various ways that violent extremists misuse Islam.
It's worth your time to give it a read if you haven't already elsewhere.
Among Kristof's other points: "The caricature of Islam as a violent and intolerant religion is horrendously incomplete."
In the same vein, I was pleased to run across this piece in the Chicago Tribune by a Muslim leader from that area, Junaid M. Afeef, pleading with fellow Muslims to be leaders in the effort to stop terrorism and to reclaim Islam from the radicals.
He poses this difficult question: "What will it take to wake up the Muslim leadership of our mosques to the reality that our young people are vulnerable to extremist ideologies?"
The world needs more voices like Afeef's and Kristof's, and fewer like Maher's, though sometimes it takes a Maher to provoke sensible voices into speaking what they should have been saying all along.
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A KINDER, GENTLER CHURCH?
A sort of interim document from the synod on family issues now underway at the Vatican urges a different tone, de-emphasizing strict adherence to doctrines that stress discipline, NCR reports. One more example, if you ask me, of the Francis effect.
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P.S.: It's not too early to stock up on one or more of my books to give to Halloween trick-or-treaters or to save for Christmas gifts. The latest is Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans. Before that was They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust, co-authored by Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn. For an autographed print version of the Woodstock book, e-mail me at email@example.com and I'll tell you how we can arrange that. The e-version of that book is extra cheap from Amazon here.