Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

English flagItalian flagKorean flagChinese (Simplified) flagPortuguese flagGerman flagFrench flagSpanish flagJapanese flagArabic flag
Russian flagGreek flagDutch flagBulgarian flagCzech flagCroatian flagDanish flagFinnish flagHindi flagPolish flag
Romanian flagSwedish flagNorwegian flagCatalan flagFilipino flagHebrew flagIndonesian flagLatvian flagLithuanian flagSerbian flag
Slovak flagSlovenian flagUkrainian flagVietnamese flag      

Following is a post from guest blogger, Dr. Hesham Hassaballa. Visit his blog at


It was truly a remarkable sight to see the president of the United States give his first interview as president to an Arabic news channel. After 8 years of a Bush Administration that alienated much of, not only the Arab and Muslim worlds, but the larger global community, it was so refreshing to hear the president say, “My job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world, that the language we use has to be a language of respect.” After having a president who talked about “Islamofascists,” it was invogorating to hear President Obama say, “My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.”


There is much to be hopeful about an Obama presidency with respect to the Muslim world. Throughout his 17-minute interview with Al Arabiya television, President Obama repeatedly spoke about a mutually respectful relationship with the Muslim world; about listening, rather than dictating; about extending a hand of friendship to willing partners on the other side. This is something that has been sorely lacking for the last 8 years. Finally, we have a president who understands that the best way to achieve security for the United States is to drain the swamps in which the scourge of terrorism breeds – swamps of poverty, oppression, lack of opportunity, and despair. I think he will find a very gracious and enthusiastic response from the Muslim world to his open hand of friendship.


But he must use the good will that he, I believe, has already fostered with the Muslim world to tackle one of the most important priorities: a final and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. If peace can be achieved in the Holy Land, you will see the “new religion” of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world melt away like ice cream in the summer. Yet, some may question whether a just peace can actually be achieved while keeping Israel as a “strong ally.” This is a false choice.


Anyone who is truly a friend to Israel, who is truly committed to Israel’s peace and security, would not be – through either his actions or inaction – goading Israel toward continued war and confrontation with the Palestinians. By working toward finally achieving peace between Israel and Palestine, President Obama would be the best friend Israel has ever had. It is possible to be pro-Israel and pro-peace at the same time; these are not mutually exclusive. In Barack Obama, I think we finally have a president who understands this.


There are some aspects of concern when it comes to Obama and the Muslim world. Many Muslims across the globe are still quite angry that he did not speak out more forcefully against the civilian carnage of the Israeli attack on Gaza. Many have seen this as silent complicity in Israel’s actions in the Strip. In addition, as reported by the New York Times, it seems that the president intends to adopt a tougher stance in Afghanistan, focusing more on attacking Al Qaeda and less on development (leaving that to NATO allies).


All in all, however, I think the president’s actions in reaching out to the Muslim world as he did is a most welcome change in the tone, face, and conduct of America. True, it may simply be a calculated strategy of giving the Muslim world a few kind words, such as “respect” and “listening,” to assuage the anger and disillusionment of the Bush nightmare, but I believe the president is genuine in his effort to reach out to the Muslim world. And, as President Obama himself said, “Ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words, but by my actions and my administration’s actions.”


So, we will have to wait and see what happens; but I have the audacity to hope that he means what he says,  and that we will see a new era of friendship and respect between America and the Muslim world under President Obama. And that is precisely why Al Qaeda is freaking out in their caves.


Hesham A. Hassaballa is a Chicago pulmonologist and writer. He is the author of the essay “Why I Love the Ten Commandments,” published in the award-winning book Taking Back Islam (Rodale). He is also co-author of The Beliefnet Guide to Islam (Doubleday). On a freelance basis, he has written for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers around the world. A writer for, Dr. Hassaballa is also a columnist for Religion News Service and Deputy Director of Illume Magazine. Visit his blog at


Copyright 2009, Religion Transcends.


Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply