What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armies

Author Steve Tibble’s message is that much of the crusader narrative is simplistic caricature. But it can’t erase facts

What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armiesAs imperial enterprises went, it was a stunning performance. Coming from apparently nowhere, an extensive Islamic empire was born in the century following the Prophet Muhammad’s 632 death. Arab armies swept out of the remote Arabian peninsula to conquer the Middle East and North Africa, subsequently crossing the straits of Gibraltar to Spain and establishing…

Poverty often at the root of racism, hate

Teaching critical thinking skills is vital in promoting honest and respectful dialogue. Yet schools are underfunded

Poverty often at the root of racism, hateEarly-20th-century electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz said, “There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he stops asking questions.” Steinmetz is right. Asking questions is vital in seeking truth and finding wisdom. Many things are happening in the world where the narrative perpetrated simply doesn’t make sense. We’re told, for example,…

Religious ignorance is on the rise but we can combat it in our schools

Ignorance is the surest path to misunderstanding. And if it’s not addressed, misunderstanding quickly descends into intolerance

Religious ignorance is on the rise but we can combat it in our schools“Amen and awoman.” This was how a U.S. congressman concluded a prayer recently in the House of Representatives. No doubt he meant to be inclusive of both men and women. However, he sounded ridiculous. That’s because the word “amen” comes from Hebrew and means “so be it.” Amen has nothing to do with gender. This…

Trump defies the fundamentals of faith

Trump has blatantly contravened many of the commandments. He exhibits none of the qualities God teaches and which we should value

Trump defies the fundamentals of faithBy Dominic Covvey and David Zitner Contributors Both of us were raised in religious traditions, one as a Christian and the other as a Jew. The Bible has definitely affected our lives. One of us was more affected by the Old Testament, the other by the New. One even studied in a monastery, immersed in…

Not kosher: growing market segment faces questions

Kosher certification goes beyond just food safety or dietary regimes. Its symbolic and religious virtues are critical to the currency of this category

Not kosher: growing market segment faces questionsCanada’s largest kosher meat packer has had its licences suspended, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This could spell trouble for consumers of kosher meat products and particularly the Jewish community. Ryding-Regency Meat Packers, a Toronto-based company, has been in operation since 1983. The company, which also operates under other names, had its…

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gap

I have to do all I can for peace and truth, even posting my Middle-Aged Middle Eastern Guy rap on YouTube

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gapSometimes you need to risk appearing foolish to speak a very deep truth. As a person of Middle Eastern ethnicity, I’ve long felt a tie to all peoples of that area of the world. As I watch the news, I see a horrible conflict between the Christians, Muslims and Jews of this region. Perhaps it’s…

We can escape the heart of darkness and violence

In Christchurch, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and elsewhere, we've seen what hate brings if we don't find common ground

We can escape the heart of darkness and violenceOne of Charles Dickens’ most beloved books is A Tale of Two Cities. The novel focuses on several characters, including Dr. Alexandre Manette, who was imprisoned in the Bastille in Paris, France, for 18 torturous years. His long-held desire was to join his daughter, Lucie, a brilliant physician who lived in London, England, and had…

Canada helps preserve memory of Holocaust by buying Hitler’s book

Canadians need to be reminded that conflicts and human tragedies sometimes come perilously close to home

Canada helps preserve memory of Holocaust by buying Hitler’s bookWise politicians realize that the people, also known as taxpayers, are always concerned about how their money is spent by government. The cost of a policy, program or item can be large or small, but every penny – or nickel, in this era – must be used responsibly and prudently. This brings us to the…

The arc of the moral universe will bend toward justice

Amidst acts of nationalism and racism, it can be difficult to see the fundamental goodness of humanity – but it’s there

Nov. 9 marked 80 years since Kristallnacht, loosely translated as “the Night of the Broken Glass.” On this horrendous night, rampaging Nazis destroyed Jewish businesses, synagogues, homes and other properties in what was then German territory. There were many deaths and arrests of innocent people in this precursor to the Holocaust. It would nice to…

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significance

Even in the depths of suffering, there is still reason to hope for the future. Even if we are in despair today, we can embrace the joys of the past

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significanceRussian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.” It should be no surprise that the writings of Dostoyevsky had a profound influence on Viktor Frankl, the Austrian Jewish psychiatrist, as he faced life in Nazi concentration camps. Dostoyevsky endured horrendous suffering in…