All posts tagged: ISIS

The Exodus and Apocalypse All in One Human Flow

What does a world look like in which there are now 258 million migrants and refugees, representing 3.4% of the global population, or, one in every 300 people? To gain some kind of mental image, let’s begin with the extraordinary new documentary film from Ai Weiwei, Human Flow, filmed in 23 countries and 40 refugee camps. This film is sweeping, immersive, and artful at moments, drawing us in with its use of high-altitude drone cameras looking down at a beautiful cobalt Mediterranean, across which a boat overflowing with orange life preservers gradually pulls into harbor at the island of Lesbos. As the director Ai Weiwei helps the passengers unload, he speaks with a young man from Iraq, a country that now has 4 million displaced people, internally and externally. An Greek aid worker comments to the director that in a single recent week (during the period of the film’s shooting, 2015-2016), some 56,000 refugees arrived in Greece, with another 5,000 drowned en route. The film moves on to Iraq, with another high-altitude shot, this one …

Thinking Clearly About Islam

In his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis argues against the notion that Islam is violent by nature: Faced with disconcerting episodes of violent fundamentalism, our respect for true followers of Islam should lead us to avoid hateful generalizations, for authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Qur’an are opposed to every form of violence. (§253) Francis’ comments here are extraordinary. Not only does he bring up the topic of Islam (something rarely done in earlier Church documents), he also seems to speak on behalf of Muslims by identifying “authentic Islam” and the “proper reading of the Qurʾan.” While recognizing the Holy Father’s good will, one might ask whether such things are really matters for a non-Muslim to determine. Indeed one wonders in any case if it is reasonable to conclude that Islam is opposed to every form of violence. Most Muslims, for example, would say that at least defensive jihad, or resistance to occupation or oppression by violent means, is licit. But then Pope Francis is not the only one who is eager …