Published work

“In Our Time”: Pope Francis Moves Beyond Nostra Aetate
dotCommonweal, Commonweal magazine’s blog: December 8, 2013

Excerpt: “He asks that Christians should “avoid hateful generalisations” about Muslims, explaining that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence” (253). Francis is telling Catholics how they should understand and interpret Islam, discrediting some Catholics who argue that Islam is an inherently violent religion, and also appears to be a subtle way of undoing the damage caused by remarks about Islam made by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in 2006.”

“Why I Say Allahu Akbar”
Busted Halo: October 22, 2012

Excerpt: “I say ‘Allahu Akbar’ in moments of fear, weakness and discouragement: when it seems that the gulf of misunderstanding between Christians and Muslims vastly outmatches any attempt I could make to bring people together; when Muslims set fire to churches in Egypt and when Christians burn down a mosque in Missouri; when my own passion for my work feels deficient; when I feel disconnected from family and friends at home and wonder if I have enough love to go around. I say, “God is greater,” to remind myself that the all-Powerful One is bigger than the differences we create between us; that God surpasses my own selfishness and inadequacy.”

“The Church Francis Wants”
dotCommonweal, Commonweal magazine’s blog: October 13, 2012

Excerpt: “Over the past fifteen years, the Catholic Church here has observed Lent and Easter according the Orthodox calendar. Adopting the Orthodox date for Easter is an example of a concession that Catholics have made to further Christian unity in the region. The Easter celebration example illustrates that Catholics, if they truly want the Christian unity that Pope Francis and so many talk about, must be ready to make compromises. And they must understand that a more unified church does not necessarily mean a more uniform one. A realistic Christian unity will be characterized by diversity in worship and practice.”

“‘Mercy-ing': A Starting Place for Vatican-Azhar Dialogue”
dotCommonweal, Commonweal magazine’s blog: September 26, 2013

Excerpt: “Many people today do not see Catholicism and Islam as bastions of mercy. Hardline stances unforgiving tones—which make headlines more often then acts of mercy done in quiet—do little witness to the message at the core of our religions. By intentionally talking about the importance of mercy and by exploring its manifestations in one another’s faiths, the Roman pontiff and al-Azhar’s Grand Imam can remind us of our common heritage, bring us back to the core of what we profess, and spark conversations at the community level. Francis and al-Tayyeb should encourage dialogue between individuals, communities and mosques, dioceses and Islamic associations.”

“What an Islam expert isn’t”
dotCommonweal, Commonweal magazine’s blog: September 14, 2013

Excerpt: “Most Catholics will remember the hysterical opposition to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque back in 2010. But what any may not realize is that one of the opposition’s principal organizers is considered by some influential Catholics to be the church’s chief expert on Islam.”

“Finding Jesus at Georgetown”
The Washington Post, On Faith: Guest Voices, June 26, 2013

Excerpt: “This is why embracing religious diversity—creating a home for the glorification of God—is necessary for a Catholic and Jesuit university like Georgetown. Our rootedness in a belief in the Incarnation impels us not to close ourselves off from non-Christian religions, but rather throw open the doors (of our chapel as well as Muslim prayer room) to welcome in God-tinged humanity.”

Intrareligious dialogue within the Church: Co-written with Chris Duffner
The Indianapolis Star, Faith and Values Section, June 22, 2013

Excerpt: “Dialogue carried out in respect and charity is fruitful for the life of the Church, even if, at first, uncomfortable.”

“Still Waiting for Obama to act”
The Washington Post, On Faith: Guest Voices, January 25, 2013

Excerpt: “In the midst of celebrating at the White House and National Mall during the last few months, I kept thinking back to my interview with the president and the optimism I had felt, and I was unable to ignore the ways President Obama’s administration had disappointed me on issues connected to Muslim populations.  Despite his promise to build bridges with the Muslim world in his speech in Cairo in 2009, I fear too many bridges have been burned, both domestically and abroad.”

“After Vatican screening of ‘Muslim Scare’ video, a call for dialogue”
The Washington Post, On Faith: Guest Voices, November 1, 2012

Excerpt: “The video claims that engagement and evangelization are at odds. But as a devout Catholic, I don’t see it that way. …For me, dialogue with the Muslim community during my years at Georgetown University hasn’t pushed me towards conversion nor pulled me away from my tradition. It has actually made me a better Catholic.” Read more.

Dialogue deepens–not weakens–woman’s faith
The Indianapolis Star, Faith Forum section, August 11, 2012

Excerpt: “This kind of dialogue challenges the assumption held by many believers who feel that engaging with people of other faiths forces us to sideline aspects of our practice, water down our doctrines, and drop our distinct identities. But the dialogue in which I participate and promote doesn’t ask us to compromise on or abandon our differences; it thrives on the sharing of them.” Read more.

“Jesus Among Muslims: How interfaith exploration made me a better Catholic”
America, Faith in Focus section, February 20, 2012

Excerpt: “Islam, a faith not my own, became the medium through which I came to love the faith of my childhood.  But I think immersion into any other religious tradition would have helped me in the same way: raising questions and presenting alternative viewpoints that allowed me to reflect back on Catholicism with new perspective and a curiosity to learn more.” Read more.

Y-Press articles
For six years, I reported for Y-Press, a youth media organization in Indianapolis.  Written from a youth perspective, my Y-Press pieces range in topic from the legacy of the Rwandan genocide, Muslims’ perspectives of Barack Obama’s candidacy, and political and social activism in the United States. A link to most of my print articles can be found here.  Links to my radio and audioslideshow pieces can be found below.

My interview with Obama in Indianapolis in Spring 2008.

Y-Press tackles the candidates
April, 2008

(Radio.) A commentary about my chance interview with then-Senator Barack Obama.

Muslims for Obama
August 27, 2008

A multi-media piece covering American Muslims’ opinions of President Obama at the first-ever Democratic Muslim Caucus in 2008.

What is the most pressing youth issue?
August 27, 2008

A radio ‘vox-pop’ polling young people about what issue concerns them most in the 2008 presidential election.

What Kids Can Do: Freelance work
During 2010, I was a freelance writer for What Kids Can Do, a non-profit organization that promotes the ideas and work of young people by supporting the organizations, projects, and adults that serve them.  I produced a multi-media series about summer learning, in addition to short articles highlighting successful youth-driven organizations across the country.

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