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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 leads educational tours to Turkey every summer, through Illuminated Tours: http://www.illuminatedtours.com

All Stories by Omid Safi

Turbulence: tranquility through the storms

By Omid Safi — April 26, 2014
Turbulence in flight, and in life, often leaves us nauseous. And yet beyond that turbulence, there is a calm. There is serenity. Can we access it?

What to call acts of terrorism committed by group of Muslims? Islamic? Islamist? Or something else?

By Omid Safi — April 19, 2014
By accurately labeling the terrorism associated with 9/11 as "Al-Qaeda terrorism", we avoid the dangers of legitimizing the terrorist organizations or demonizing an entire religious or ethnic block of humanity.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum at World Trade Center legitimizing claims of Al-Qaeda?

By Omid Safi — April 7, 2014
For the 9/11 Memorial Museum to use the language of “Islamic terrorism” is to bestow upon Bin Laden and al-Qaeda the religious legitimacy that they desperately craved—and do not deserve.

What a real apology from Abu Eesa should look like

By Omid Safi — March 13, 2014
Here is what a real apology from Abu Eesa should have read like.

It is Muhammad’s Birthday! Rumi’s take on Muhammad as the Prophet of Love

By Omid Safi — January 13, 2014
To celebrate the Prophet Muhammad's birthday, here is a short poem from Rumi, honoring the Prophet as the Mother of the Path of Love: "Love is the path of my Prophet…. This love gave birth to me!"

2013: The top 14 Muslim news stories of the past year

By Omid Safi — December 30, 2013
2013 was a bloody, difficult, unraveling year for many Muslims around the world. May 2014 be a year that sees the discomforted comforted, the orphans cared for, the hungry fed, the naked clothed, the homeless provided with shelter. May there be a widening of the circle of compassion, may there be a real peace rooted in justice, and above all else, may all of us be participants in making it so.

A birthday prayer

By Omid Safi — December 12, 2013
I am reminded that all of us are born through some one else's pain, and raised through sacrifice. From the very beginning, love and suffering go hand in hand. And it remains that way. I give thanks for the love, and give thanks for all who sacrifice every day.

Israeli Racism and African immigrants: perverting Biblical teachings on immigrants

By Omid Safi — October 21, 2013
The treatment of Palestinians and African refugees is surely a serious challenge to the rosy depiction of Israel as a robust democracy. It also reflects a profound perversion of Jewish ethics and Biblical teachings.

How To Keep Malala from Being Appropriated: 5 points on Malala, Obama, and Jon Stewart

By Omid Safi — October 12, 2013
It is vital for Muslim reformers to have and maintain a holistic sense of justice in which one speaks simultaneously against both abuses of Muslim extremists and Western colonial powers. As for Malala, it means simultaneously to speak against the misogynist policies of the Taliban AND the violence inflicted on the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan by American drones.

Beyond #WhiteHouseIftar: 6 points towards a principled action of solidarity

By Omid Safi — July 26, 2013
Here are six concrete points and strategies to help us continue a principled and constructive conversation about #whitehouseiftars. In the last thirty years, we as Muslims have had intense conversations about our multiple and overlapping identities as Americans and as Muslims. What kind of America we want to belong to? An America that is an Empire, or a land of liberty and rights? If it is the latter, words will not suffice. We need to be participants in making that a reality.

The Racism of New York Times’ “Muslims are not ready for Democracy”

By Omid Safi — July 5, 2013
What is perhaps most frustrating about the NY Times' "mental deficiency" language vis-a-vis Muslims and democracy is that this language is simply a continuation of a colonial apologia where Western countries colonizing and occupying, Muslim (and other) countries justified their lingering oppression by stating that these countries “were not ready to rule themselves”, “lacked the mental qualifications needed for self-governance”, etc. This colonial—which is to say, unjust and oppressive—worldview must be exposed and dismantled before we can embrace a more holistic and humanistic paradigm.

7 observations on North Carolina’s anti-democratic, anti-Muslim, anti-women legislation

By Omid Safi — July 3, 2013
Late-hour, sneaky, and anti-democratic measures sponsored by North Carolina Republicans have brought together two measures that would seem to have nothing in common with another: politics of the abortion debate, and marginalizing Muslims.

15 Must-see sites in Iran: highlights from an unexpectedly beautiful land

By Omid Safi — June 30, 2013
This photo-essay offers a survey of unexpectedly beautiful destinations in Iran. With all this aesthetic temptation, who wants to go to Iran? Thousands are willing and eager to go. Now let's see if the governments (United States and Iranian) are ready to catch up to the good will of their people.

“Not Conducive to the Public Good”: American Islamophobes barred from the UK

By Omid Safi — June 26, 2013
American Islamophobes are deemed to be "not conducive to the public good" by the British Government. Right on! This is not even about Islam and Islamophobia. It is about the type of society that we wish to live in, and whether we are to be a society of citizens ruled by law and mutual respect, or to live in an environment characterized by fear and paranoia.

Beyond the Berlin Wall: “Mr. Obama: Tear Down All These Walls.”

By Omid Safi — June 20, 2013
President Obama poetically stated: "No wall can stand against the yearning of justice," Yes indeed! Mr. President, tear down all these walls. Mr. President, tear down the segregation wall in Palestine/Israel. Mr. President, tear down the wall along the American-Mexico border. Mr. President, tear down these walls.
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