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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

Merry Christmas, Isa Nabi milad mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is Christmas Eve, and it is time to put the Christ back in Christmas. The title “Christ” is derived from a greek word, Khristos, which means “to anoint” – anointing being the process of pouring perfume, oil or water […]

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Message to Muslims of the world from Pope Francis

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Pope Francis has sent a message of goodwill to Muslims worldwide. The text is available in multiple languages including French and Arabic on the Vatican website. Unfortunately, some Muslims tend to view this sort of gesture in a cynical way. […]

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Easter in the Qur’an: Jesus AS was raised to Heaven and will return

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Happy Easter to my Christian friends! Fundamentally, Easter is the day that Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ. As I’ve noted before, in Islam there is no direct analogue to Easter, but there are some very important points of agreement. […]

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Pope Francis! The new Pope is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina #HabemusPapam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The new Pope has been announced as (former) Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina. He has chosen the name Francis, the first to do so. Congratulations to all the world’s billion Catholics, be they practicing, lapsed or anywhere in between. […]

The Pope resigns

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is astonishing news – Pope Benedict has informed his brethren at the Vatican that he will be retiring due to “advanced age”. I honestly thought that this was a hoax until I saw it was making early morning headlines […]

honoring Jesus as a Muslim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Merry Christmas! In honor of the Prophet Issa AS, on this day where my Christian cousins in faith celebrate the life and Message of the Lord, I will share this excerpt from a new piece by my friend Haroon Mogul […]

musing about morality and faith

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A dear friend wrote something quite moving on Facebook, to which I’d like to respond publicly (keeping their privacy, of course). They wrote, Over the past week, I have heard many people blame the shooting in Connecticut on (among other […]

the new Exodus: Christians flee the occupation of the Holy Land

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The narrative among Islamophobes and other partisans is that Islamic intolerance and Palestinian terrorism has forced Christians out of the Holy Land, but the reality is quite different, as reported by CBS’ 60 Minutes: The report is only 15 minutes […]

Liam Neeson is (not) converting to Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Yes, it’s true that famed Irish (and Catholic) actor Liam Neeson said the following while filming a movie in Istanbul: The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then […]

The Israeli Iftaar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It looks like Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, was one of the attendees at the White House Iftar a couple days ago, which is pretty cool in its own right. But now comes word that Ambassador Oren […]

the shared source

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The second excerpt from the book Between Allah and Jesus is up at Beliefnet and it continues the debate between the characters Isa (a Sunni muslim), Evan (a evangelical Christian), and Father Hereema (A Jesuit priest). The dialogue continues the […]

the Word of God

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have been asked why I am engaging in this dialogue with Robert about the book, Between Allah and Jesus, which if you think about it is really a book written by a Christian intended for a Christian audience, in […]

Jesus AS and the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The first excerpt from the book, Between Allah and Jesus, is now posted at Beliefnet by the author (Peter Kreeft) and is a conversation between the muslim character ‘Isa and his evangelical Christian colleague Evan about whether and where Islam […]

Islam’s appeal is a post-racial identity in a still-racial world

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Apologies for the lack of posts this month – I am in Stockholm attending my annual conference. Since Stockholm isn’t Hawai’i, I am here alone, which means I am overly diligent about attendance to compensate for missing my wife and […]

Noah’s Ark found again

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Take this one with a grain of salt – a team of Turkish and Chinese evangelicals have claimed to find the remains of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey. On Tuesday, a group of Asian Christian evangelicals held a […]

Who was the real St. Patrick?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Since the holiday has basically become a secular celebration of Irish culture, and an excuse to turn the Chicago River green for a few hours, ol’ St Pat has become something of a global icon. But […]

Malaysia’s Monopoly on Allah

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over the course of the past week, nine churches in Malaysia have been firebombed, by muslim extremists who object to the Christian community’s use of the word “Allah” in their prayers. The dispute came to a head on Dec 31st […]

Liberté, fraternité, but not égalité: a note from Istanbul.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by my friend Joshua Treviño. The American relationship with religion in public life is not as simple as the phrase “separation of church and state” implies. The American concept of liberty is deeply rooted in […]

another incident of domestic terrorism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: my mistake. This incident occurred last year in 2008. I’ve edited the text below accordingly. My point in highlighting it is twofold: 1. to illustrate that domestic terrorism is a real concern, and 2. that its not just muslims […]

Bush on Iraq War: “This confrontation is willed by God.”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am speechless. In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in […]

discourse on the nature of doubt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the context of a critique of President Obama for his speech at Notre Dame, Daniel Larison engages in a theologic examination of the nature of doubt, invoking the doubt of the apostle Thomas. In response, E.D. Kain at LOG […]

sky gods

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In an unrelated post at Talk Islam, my friend (and staunch atheist) Razib of GNXP blog made an off-hand reference to “sky gods”. This is a term that atheists often use, in the context of dismissing belief in the divine. […]

Easter in Islam: Christ is risen and will return

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Easter is celebrated to varying degrees in the Islamic world, ranging from outright illegal in Saudi Arabia to being openly celebrated in some of the Gulf States and the Far East. A natural question is, just where does Islam diverge […]

Pastor Joel Osteen warns about pork

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Pastor Joel Osteen gives an amazing sermon about pork and shellfish. He made changes to his own diet, not just for health reasons, but also to honor God: It’s a compelling and educational lecture about why pigs and shellfish are […]

Belief-o-Matic results

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Belief-o-Matic quiz here at Beliefnet is a really interesting resource that I think deserves some attention. I took the quiz, as did several others at Talk Islam (muslims and non-muslims alike), and we are discussing the results from the […]

The Judeo-Christian debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Razib has started an interesting debate on the meaning and value of the concept, “Judeo-Christian” – his initial post attracted a vigorous discussion, a response from Ross Douthat at The Atlantic, and lively discussion at Talk Islam. Frankly […]

and the light shineth in the darkness

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Andin their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Lawthat had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidanceand light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: aguidance and an admonition […]

Christianity and Islam: evangelism as marketing

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s an interesting discussion at Talk Islam about the basic difference in message tone between Christian evangelists trying to convert muslims and Islam’s appeal to potential converts who are presently Christian. In a nutshell, I invoke the Mac vs PC […]

The imminent Hajj: journey to Arafat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Hajj begins today. Millions of pilgrims gathered in Mecca are donning ehram and leaving for the journey to the Plain of Arafat today. Tomorrow, the pilgrims gathered upon Arafat will pray all day, while standing and facing towards Kaaba. […]

Christians do takfir on Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Takfir is what excommunication is called in Islam – the process of declaring someone to be outside the faith. This is a pernicious concept because it is usually used by self-appointed guardians of the faith to try and impose their […]

Muslims and modernity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At Talk Islam, a great discussion has ensured (as tends to happen over there) about analogizing between Islam and other religions, especially when talking about “reformations” or about labels. Abu Noor points out, those both within and without Islam that […]

Listen Islam: podcasts

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over at Talk Islam there is a new feature called Listen Islam, which features podcasts between bloggers in the Islamsphere (and beyond) about various topics related to Islam. There are already two great podcasts posted, the first by myself and […]

Can you be a muslim and a christian?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is unusual, to say the least: A Seattle Episcopal priest who claims to be both Christian and Muslim has been restricted from public ministry and will be defrocked unless she “reclaims” Christianity by next April, the Episcopal Church announced.…Redding, […]

Brian McLaren endorses Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Brian McLaren is a Christian pastor who approaches faith and politics from within the compassionate tradition of Christianity, focusing on the Prophet Jesus’ AS example of charity and taking care of the poor, etc for his inspiration rather than judgment […]

Previous Posts

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Eid Mubarak!
By the Fatimid calendar, today is Eid al Fitr, 1436! I've explained my position on the calendar vs. moonsighting debate in detail - and this year there is a lot more divergence on the date than usual. Crescentwatch nicely ...

posted 7:53:00am Jul. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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