Pre-Islamic Christian Monastery on Arabian Gulf Island Open to Public

A 1,400-year-old monastery that was one of the most significant archaeological finds in the United Arab Emirates opened to visitors on Saturday. The site at Sir Bani Yas island in Abu Dhabi dates back to around 600AD, and is the only pre-Islamic Christian site in the region. It was built by a community of 30 to 40 monks and is understood to have been established by pilgrims travelling from India.

The remains, which also include a church, chapel and tower, were unearthed in the 1992 during an archaeological study.

However only now are they becoming opening to the public – with excavations to continue as the tourists visit.


Muslims Become Integral to American Seminaries (reference to CCME!)

For decades, religious diversity in American seminaries meant the admission of students from different Christian denominations. Then Jews began to attend and even founded prominent seminaries, notably Hebrew Union College, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Yet with the notable exception of the MacDonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary, few American seminaries have historically developed programs focusing on the study of Islam. The Muslim population had been dramatically underrepresented. Only in the past decade have these trends begun to change, with a greater emphasis on both teaching Islamic studies in Christian and Jewish institutions and the increasingly prominent idea that it is time for Muslim Americans to found a seminary of their own.


This Christmas, Give the Gift of Knowledge About Islam

by Haroon Moghul

I love books. I have hundreds, as I suppose any aspiring academic should. I need to move out of Manhattan, because I can’t afford an apartment large enough to house all these books. (Ask my wife: There aren’t enough walls left and my attempt to shelve books on the ceiling has, one lawsuit later, failed.) If you ever invite me to speak at your library, mosque, Mediterranean cruise, church, temple, workshop, tropical resort or university, and you can’t give me an honorarium, an gift certificate will find its way into my heart in a non-surgical and non-disgusting way.


Is Islam ‘Worse’ Than Any Other Religion?

recent Pew Center poll reports that 18 percent of Americans think President Obama is a Muslim. The politicized misinformation campaign behind that suggests an attitude behind the numbers—the notion that Obama’s purported Islamic faith makes him untrustworthy and a threat to our national security—underlies a troubling pattern. Consider Pastor Terry Jones’ aborted “Bonfire of Korans,” Newt Gingrich’s remarks comparing organizers of lower Manhattan’s Islamic cultural center to Nazis, and Oklahoma’s pre-emptive strike against Shariah law and you can see why the term “Islamophobia,” so in vogue after 9/11, has re-entered the national lexicon.