My work has been published in TIME, America, Commonweal, Sojourners, Busted Halo, Huffington Post Religion, On Faith, Indianapolis Star, Loyola Press blogs, and other outlets. Below is a near-full list of my published work.
(Click the title of the piece to read it in full on the site where it was originally published.)
‘No One is a Stranger’: The Jordanian Model for Muslim-Christian Relations
Commonweal: October 13, 2015
Excerpt: “[In the remarks of Jordanian family who addressed Pope Francis,] there was no acknowledgment of peaceful co-existence in the past, of the centuries of tolerance during which Christian communities thrived under Muslim rulers. There was no mention of the tolerance that today is typical of Jordan. There was simply implicit condemnation of Islam and the unchallenged characterization of the country as a ‘hostile environment…'”
Five Things to Do When an Anti-Muslim Hate Rally Comes to Town
Sojourners: October 12, 2015
Excerpt: “If the community does choose to take it to the streets, participants should heed the words of Jesus and Muhammad who encouraged their followers not to mimic the actions of their persecutors, but instead to respond to hostility with kindness and gentleness. Patiently bearing wrongs and responding with “what is better,” the Qur’an says, will turn one’s enemy into a close friend (Qur’an 41:34).”
Ignatius and Islam: Uncovering interfaith intersections
National Catholic Reporter: July 17, 2015
Excerpt: “Islam and Ignatian spirituality remind us that our existence is made meaningful by this: praising and glorifying God through a life of service to God and others. That’s why I was so thrilled with the title of Pope Francis’ encyclical. Laudato Si’ means “praise be to you” in the medieval Umbrian dialect of Italian spoken by St. Francis of Assisi, who had his own personal encounter with Islam through a meeting with the Muslim Sultan al-Kamil in Egypt. The title made me smile because it could have easily have been named Alhamdulillah — another ubiquitous Arabic term meaning “praise be to God,” the equivalent for our Hallelujah.”
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Trust the Latest Poll on American Muslims
Co-authored with Nathan Lean in Huffington Post Religion: July 7, 2015
Excerpt: “Though the public may not see it, the problems with this poll are numerous: CSP has a history of fabricating fear about Islam and Muslims; the survey’s questions and answers are loaded with bias; and its creators and proponents falsely claim that its findings represent the views of all American Muslims.”
Muhammad Cartoons Are Offensive, But Not for the Reason You Think
Time: June 19, 2015
Excerpt: “AFDI’s Muhammad ads make Muslims, the demonized group, actually look like the demonizer. The group’s latest campaigns contribute to these misperceptions and the more general climate in which Muslims are depicted as an existential threat and therefore treated as such.”
This piece drew the attention of Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, the anti-Muslim activists I discuss in the piece. Spencer wrote a post on his blog attempting to discredit me, which Geller and other Islamophobic websites also shared. The article also garnered positive attention in the media, with Al-Jazeera and a New Hampshire radio show quoting from the piece extensively.
Walking the Via Dolorosa: Young People in Solidarity–Until the End
Huffington Post Religion: February 13, 2015
Excerpt: “In their diverse efforts to help those in their community and abroad, and in the face of physical danger, misunderstanding, or prejudice, these young people chose to take up the heavy crosses of others.”
Why We Need the Islamic Call to Prayer at American Universities
Huffington Post Religion: January 26, 2015
Excerpt: “Since Duke’s decision not to broadcast the call to prayer from its chapel steeple — prompted by Islamophobic rhetoric and threats against Duke’s Muslim community — the national discussion around the incident has centered around questions of pluralism and religion in the public space. But what was missed in those debates was the meaning and purpose of the adhan: encouraging deeper mindfulness among those who hear it.”
(This piece received over 6.5 thousand ‘likes’ and 520 shares on Facebook. It is likely my most widely read piece.)
Pope Francis’ Holy Land Visit: Spotlight on Christians in Jordan
TIME.com: May 23, 2014
Excerpt: “Though much has been written about Christians in neighboring Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, less attention has been paid to the vibrant Christian community the pope will meet in Jordan. As the world anticipates his trip to the kingdom, Pope Francis—and all those following his visit—should know three things about Christians in the kingdom.”
The Spirit on the Ground: Pope Francis’ Mass in Amman
dotCommonweal, Commonweal magazine’s blog: May 30, 2014
Excerpt: “Pope Francis’ final plea was echoed in a few short Arabic words written on the hats worn by almost everyone in the stadium: “That you may be one.” Usually, the statement is used to connote Christian unity, a desire for the reunification of the many Christian denominations. But here, it was used to signal more than that: interreligious unity. Pictures of the Muslim king and the Catholic pope, worn on the shirts of many attendees, were inscribed with these words, which Francis took as the motto for his trip to the Holy Land.”
Wait, I thought that was a Muslim thing?!
dotCommonweal: February 13, 2014
Excerpt: “My time spent living in Jordan and touring Israel/Palestine has revealed that some of these stereotypically “Islamic” things are also quite Christian. These unexpected points of contact between Christianity and Islam may help Christians appreciate our own diverse religious heritage, and develop a better understanding of a people and a religion that often seem utterly ‘other’.”
Muhammad’s Letter to Me
On Faith: January 6, 2014
Excerpt: “Which attitude—hospitality or hostility—is Islam’s true disposition toward Christians? What does the religion say about how to treat Christians?”
“In Our Time”: Pope Francis Moves Beyond Nostra Aetate
dotCommonweal: 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, 2013
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: October 13, 2013
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: 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: 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.”
Birds of Pray
Loyola Press’ “People for Others” blog: December 13, 2012
Excerpt: “Like many people, I had spent most of my life trying to guide the course without letting God in to help. I found myself flapping incessantly, trying to keep myself from falling, while ignoring the wind. Like the bird, I needed to learn to hold out my wings steadily, to trust the wind, to trust God.”
“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.
Learn from the Wise: 3 Minute Retreat
Excerpt: “He knew from his own spiritual journey that by letting us explore religious questions on our own (with supportive guidance, of course), we would develop stronger faith lives than if he simply spoon-fed us theology. During a time when I too was struggling with my Catholic faith, I was comforted that he gave me the license to question, doubt, and explore.”
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.
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.
Y-Press tackles the candidates
(Radio.) A commentary about my chance interview with then-Senator Barack Obama.
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.