Syria’s civil war has been going on for more than two years. Seventy thousand people have been killed, most of them civilians. The situation seems to call for a robust international response. Yet as the United States learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, any large-scale military intervention in the Islamic world is more than likely to fail. But pressure is building for the United States to act, especially in the aftermath of what appears to be the use of chemical weapons by the regime.
At his 2009 inauguration, President Obama pledged to close Guantánamo within a year. Many of those imprisoned there have been held for more than a decade without facing any charges, and in recent months, an increasing number of desperate detainees have engaged in hunger strikes to call attention to their plight.
Pope Francis’s choice of title and his actions in his first days as pope indicate that he places humility and compassion for the marginalized at the heart of his ministry—“servant leadership,” in today’s church parlance.
Catholics at both ends of the ideological spectrum look to a new pope for encouragement. And from the moment he made his first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter’s, Francis seems to have given nearly everyone a reason to cheer. But whatever the direction in which the new pope steers the church, U.S. Catholics struggling to make a life of faith in what is admittedly a vertiginous moral and cultural landscape will continue to take surprising turns, confounding the usual categories.
The Catholic Right’s False Nostalgia
As a method of war, unmanned drones are illegal and unconstitutional. But the two presidential candidates have each indicated a commitment to the continued use of drones for programmed unilateral killing of selected individuals in Muslim society.
Lebanon is one of the few Middle Eastern countries where large Christian and Muslim populations coexist in a secular state. But how long can this remain so?
As the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, President Mohamed Morsi has been looked upon by Washing with apprehension. But he has same well-founded words for the United States in how it should approach relations with Egypt and the Middle East.
Diplomacy Still the Least Bad Option
New Violence Threatens Christianity's Ancient Roots
The bishops’ case for the universality of their cause would have been more persuasive if they had mentioned the rise of “anti-sharia” laws in the United States.
Report from Iran
What the Arab Spring Means for Christians in the Middle East
Ten years after the terrible devastation of September 11, we live in sacred time. All time is sacred, the imprint of a timeless, eternal God—the traces of God’s mysterious presence in the toil and stress, the joy and struggle of history.
The plight of Afghan women
A Muslim goes to Mass in Azerbaijan
Letter from Iran
Undoubtedly, in the killing of Osama bin Laden, a certain kind of justice was done, and the relief and satisfaction felt by many of the families of those murdered at bin Laden’s direction cannot be denied. Yet questions about the circumstances of bin Laden’s death remain.
There was much in Obama’s speech announcing the killing of Osama bin Laden—and in the scenes of chanting and jubilant flag-waving across the country that followed—that ought to give Christians, and not only pacifists such as myself, great pause.
Never before have people in the Middle East mobilized in such vast numbers to shake off the chains of autocracy. Whether Egypt and Tunisia succeed in creating genuinely democratic societies remains to be seen—but already we can identify important lessons.
In August, two Islamic TV networks were ordered by the Lebanese government to discontinue their broadcasts of an Iranian movie about Jesus. At the time, a Maronite bishop claimed the film denies the Christian story of Jesus. That remark captured a central problem of Christian-Muslim relations.
Whatever one’s political commitments, facing the question of Iraqi civilian deaths as honestly and objectively as possible is both an intellectual and a moral imperative.
Lisa Sowle Cahill’s middle way
‘Three Faiths’ at New York’s Public Library
Let us contemplate the joys of being in the political opposition when unemployment in your state tops 10 percent.
Not all Muslims think alike
Yesterday's anti-Catholicism & today's Islamophobia
The prospect of giving Afghanistan a functioning and competent democratic government and a new and functional army is slight. That was what the counterinsurgency doctrine drafted by Gen. Petraeus was supposed to do. It has rarely succeeded.
In The Flight of the Intellectuals, a study of the Swiss Muslim thinker Tariq Ramadan and Ramadan's admirers in the Western press, Paul Berman shows he's in over his head.
A selection of articles from Commonweal on Benedict XVI.
The European Union doesn’t know where it stands at the moment. NATO thinks it knows and is gambling.
Hint: It's not Islam
The great religious battle of our time is not the one being waged between believers and unbelievers. Yes, that's an important and certainly a noisy conflict. But more significant than that struggle is the clash occurring within religious traditions.
The necessary challenge of interreligious dialogue
Iran honors an unlikely scholar
From a new book about St. Francis and the Sultan.
Letters from the September 11, 2009 issue.
What is it about Afghanistan, possessing next to nothing that the United States requires, that justifies such lavish attention?
For some Muslims, it is the worst kind of torture.
When Islamic moderates speak, who listens?
Remembering Islam’s long history of peaceful coexistence with non-Muslim cultures
Looking east—what Catholics are learning.
The lessons of Regensburg.
What was the pope really saying in his controversial remarks at Regensburg?
Executing this man would be a calculated distraction, a delusion, and a crime.