Originally appeared in The New York Times.
BANGUI, Central African Republic — This nation is flirting with genocide. Two barely organized groups — one Christian, one Muslim — have been fighting for control in the last year, and in some areas have tried to hunt each other to extinction. C.A.R. is splitting in two, with Muslims in the north and Christians in the south. Much of the capital is already empty of Muslims.
And yet casting the conflict in religious terms is a poor way to understand it. The war was caused not by sectarian differences, but by political and economic grievances, the products of systematic neglect of Muslim areas by the government once run by François Bozizé, a general backed by Chad and France. Religious divisions mapped onto, and exacerbated, senses of longstanding economic and political injustice. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: New York Times, Africa, Central African Republic, religion
I interviewed and profiled Sam Harris in The Atlantic.
Filed under: Atlantic Monthly, religion
1 November 2012 • 7:47 pm
I debated an Egyptian cleric on Salafi TV: a report for The Atlantic.
Filed under: Atlantic Monthly, Egypt, religion
A report for The New Republic.
Filed under: New Republic, Egypt, religion
29 September 2012 • 6:37 pm
At The Boston Globe, I have a piece about the different ways in which the West (the U.S., really) and the Muslim world (and Europe) approach blasphemy.
Filed under: Boston Globe, law, Middle East, religion
At the Boston Globe Ideas section, I wrote about the history of Timbuktu.
Filed under: Boston Globe, history, religion
29 January 2012 • 1:13 pm
Originally appeared in The Daily.
God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World
by Cullen Murphy
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 320pp.
“Inquisition” is among the least cuddly words in the English language — an odd state of affairs, when you consider that some of its linguistic cousins are perfectly lovely. The ultimate Latin root means simply to ask a question, and its English relative “inquisitive” is something we typically laud children for being. But to be the object of any sort of inquisition, whether headed by a hellbent bureaucrat or a man in a scarlet cassock, is very bad news for you indeed, with a guarantee of psychological discomfort and strong hint of the physical sort as well.
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Daily, books, history, religion
6 December 2011 • 4:44 pm
I visited Nag Hammadi for the IHT and found an Egyptian Wild West.
Read my story here.
Filed under: International Herald Tribune, New York Times, Egypt, religion