How one woman's Hajj journey can inspire social justice
How one black woman in Mecca can inspire millions to stand against misogyny and racism
The modern relevance of the hajj is reflected in the symbolic actions of one woman: Hagar, the African servant slave of Abraham and Sarah, who historians estimate lived between 1930 BC and 1840 BC. But, how, exactly, can one black slave living in Biblical times transcend history and inspire social justice and gender equality today?
The answer lies in a simple exploration of hajj rituals. One of the key obligatory practices, the saee, involves a two mile run between two hills. In doing the saee, each pilgrim – man and woman – is asked to step into the sacred footsteps of Hagar, who according to some traditions, was the daughter of an Egyptian king and an early follower of Abraham.
Continue reading on Muftah
A deep and skeptical look at my 'Israeli Birthright' trip
The story of my “Birthright” trip to Israel, and what I learned looking at Israeli society from the inside, probably requires a little preface about who I am and how I came to go on the trip. I should also probably warn you that this isn’t a recounting of a fun-packed vacation, but is instead a “carefully programmed propaganda exercise,” in the words of activist Noam Chomsky’s email to me, meant to revitalize Zionism among young adult American Jews, get us to like and support Israel, and ignore the oppression of Palestinians.
Continue reading on Exposing Truth
Special report on Iraq's Christians: Iraq's Christian militias not unitied against extremists, politics fuelling differences
Every day, Safaa Elias Jajo travels between Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan and Alqosh, a town on the Ninawa Plain. Jajo is the head of a militia made up mostly of Iraqi Christians, who are fighting against the extremist group known as the Islamic State, and Qosh is inside the only part of this area that didn't fall to the extremist group. From the front lines Jajo keeps a telescope trained on what is happening in the formerly Christian-majority areas that the Islamic State, or IS, group now controls.
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