Muslim scholars denounce extremism again; will Islamophobes pay attention this time?

For those folks who keep wondering (because they aren’t paying attention) where the “moderate Muslims” are, here they are again: More than a hundred Muslim scholars and leaders from around the world released an open letter addressed to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Wednesday, telling the self-proclaimed caliph, in no uncertain terms, that the… Continue reading Muslim scholars denounce extremism again; will Islamophobes pay attention this time?

Is the Islamic State “Islamic”? Why does it matter?

One part of President Obama’s address that seems to have stuck in some craws is the bit where he compared “The Islamic State” to “The Holy Roman Empire”: Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.… Continue reading Is the Islamic State “Islamic”? Why does it matter?

The Shabak: another minority at risk from IS

A lot of attention has rightly been focused on the danger that the Yazidi community has been under since IS swept through northern Iraq (many of those who were trapped in the mountains around Sinjar have gotten to freedom, but many others have been killed or forced to convert to Islam), but this discouraging story… Continue reading The Shabak: another minority at risk from IS

On the Yazidis

Since we’re now bombing northern Iraq in part to try to save them, it’s worth knowing more about them. This National Geographic piece (via Lance Mannion) is a pretty good start: The Yazidi religion is often misunderstood, as it does not fit neatly into Iraq’s sectarian mosaic. Most Yazidis are Kurdish speakers, and while the… Continue reading On the Yazidis

Another IS offensive leads to another humanitarian crisis

The Islamic State and its allies have defeated the Kurdish peshmerga and taken control of the Mosul Dam, north of Mosul itself on the Tigris River, as well as Sinjar, a town to the west of Mosul that is home to many of Iraq’s Yazidi people. They now also control the Batma and Ain Zalah… Continue reading Another IS offensive leads to another humanitarian crisis

Oh, bubonic plague. That’s nice.

China has apparently “sealed off” an entire city (Yumen) of 30,000 people, and put 151 of them in quarantine, after a man died of bubonic plague. It turns out that the plague still kills a whole bunch of people, mostly in the Congo region of Africa. Also, it turns out that 60 people in the… Continue reading Oh, bubonic plague. That’s nice.

Fun with headlines, Al Jazeera edition

A predictable, but still terrible, story out of Iraq: Again, this is disgusting but probably expected. IS is so extremist, they were bound to wind up here eventually. Ideology aside, you can’t assume goodwill on the part of a demagogue who runs what amounts to a religious cult, preaching sacrifice and tradition to his followers… Continue reading Fun with headlines, Al Jazeera edition