Omid Safi

Omid Safi is a Professor of Islamic Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in contemporary Islamic thought and classical Islam. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion, the largest international organization devoted to the academic study of religion. In 2009, he was recognized by the University of North Carolina for mentoring minority students in 2009, and won the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010. Omid is the editor of the volume "Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism," which offered an understanding of Islam rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious and ethnic pluralism. His works "Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam," dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, and "Voices of Islam: Voices of Change" were published 2006. His last book, "Memories of Muhammad," deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has forthcoming volumes on the famed mystic Rumi, contemporary Islamic debates in Iran, and American Islam. Omid has been among the most frequently sought speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in The New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN and other international media.

All Stories by Omid Safi

Palestine Vote at the United Nations–and why the United States is on the “Wrong Side of a Worldwide Revolution of Values” (MLK)

November 30, 2012

In looking at the final tally of votes for Palestine at the UN (138 for, 9 against, and 41 abstaining), I realize that on this issue, the United States (and Canada) are on the wrong side of a worldwide revolution of values, as Dr. King taught us.

Saudis say No to the Prophet Muhammad, Yes to Paris Hilton

November 27, 2012

The Saudis make a great deal of their honorific as the “Caretaker of the two Noble Sanctuaries” in Mecca and Medina.   One has to wonder about a kind of Care that says no to the legacy of Muhammad, bulldozes it, and invites Paris Hilton in its place.

Blood of the Innocents: Martyrdom of the Prophet’s Family, then and now

November 24, 2012

The real question is not just what Imam Hossein did in the month
of Muharram of the year 680 on the plains of Karbala in Iraq, but rather
what are we doing today.

Resist the temptation of Black Friday.

November 23, 2012

We are told, hundreds of time every day, to buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have.
Resist….  Boycott Black Friday.     

Why America is losing support in the Middle East—and how to get it back

November 21, 2012

We have a fragile truce now.
Truce is not the same thing as peace.
Peace (salam, shalom) has to be grounded in justice.
Let us march purposefully, compassionately, boldy, towards a just peace.

Four Points about the Israeli assault on Gaza

November 15, 2012

Here are four facts that are being deliberately and willfully neglected in the current coverage of this Israeli assault.   

The enduring legacy of “Southern Strategy”

November 13, 2012

A new publication brings out the full context of the chief Republican strategy for using racism and “states' rights” as a veiled way of driving Southern Whites to the Republican Party. 

Obama is no progressive: A letter from Birmingham Jail to the President

November 13, 2012

The great love for the President is intertwined with a great disappointment so far in the policies of President Obama.  Now is the time to act.

What Now? Our Redemption of the American Dream

November 7, 2012

And as for us, the citizens of this nation, I hope that we can shatter the messianic dream of a one-man Hope and Change operation.    There are no messiahs.    No one person, not even one as brilliant, eloquent, and cosmopolitan as the President, will redeem the American Dream.   That responsibility is up to all, each and every single one of us, all of us.

Justice, Poverty, and Sandy

November 2, 2012

The immediate response to crisis, any crisis, has to be immediate, un-mediated compassion.  Yet we are getting to the point where we have to ask some difficult moral questions from our own selves in light of Sandy.

Illuminated Hearts, Sacred architecture, and mirrors

July 24, 2012

The surface of the pool reflects the building when it is still.    And so it is with our hearts.   When we achieve peace and tranquility in our own hearts, then our hearts become mirrors for God.

What goes through our hearts at the sight of a murderer?

July 23, 2012

As I kept watching my own emotions come and go, I wondered: 
what am I experiencing as I see the first live images of this killer?
What goes through my own heart?
Is it Anger?
Is it Pity?
Is it Compassion?

First (religious) response to the insane shooting in Colorado

July 20, 2012

There are difficult questions to be asked about this senseless act of violence, and we will ask those questions later.   For now, let us mourn, let us pray, let our hearts be shattered for now.

“Shame on you, Michele [Bachmann]!”: The new McCarthyism

July 19, 2012

Chief Republican strategist:    Michele Bachmann “this is downright vicious and reaches the late Senator Joe McCarthy level.”

Bachmann, Kevin Bacon, and the Witch Hunt against Muslims

July 18, 2012

Senator McCain, in refuting Bachmann's witch hunt:  “This is about who we are as a nation and who we still aspire to be.”

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