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…

London murders wound us all

The killings demand empathy for the victims, but also renewed commitment to freedom of faith

London murders wound us allThe news from London, Ont. regarding a murdered Muslim family is horrifying. It is chilling even to write about a driver deliberately ramming his pick-up truck into a father, mother, grandmother, daughter, and son – leaving only the young boy alive but bereft of his family. The police-reported motivation behind the crime should make it…

Quebec, France poised to reject diversity, pluralism

Freedom of religious expression is a human right

Quebec, France poised to reject diversity, pluralismAccording to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practise, worship…

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,…

Why some women fought back against Boko Haram atrocities

The Islamist group has killed tens of thousands and displaced more than 2.3 million people since 2009

Why some women fought back against Boko Haram atrocitiesThe world reacted with shock and horror when 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. Some of the girls managed to escape, others were rescued by military forces, but many were coerced into serving the group’s terrorist agenda, some acting as suicide bombers. While the mass abduction in the small Nigerian town…

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…

Remembering the lives lost on Flight PS752

On the anniversary of the tragedy, the University of Alberta remembers the colleagues and friends who were lost

Remembering the lives lost on Flight PS752Russ Greiner’s artificial intelligence lab is made up of 15 or so grad students, post-docs and others who hold cheerful, heartfelt meetings, and why wouldn’t they? It’s a cohesive group made up of more friends than colleagues. And the one person most responsible for that cohesion during the 2019 iteration of the team was master’s…

The beauty of secularism

The beauty of secularismIt’s disturbing to learn that someone in the same profession was murdered while walking home from work. Samuel Paty, who taught a curriculum similar to mine, was beheaded by an extremist outside of Paris on Oct. 16. Paty presented material in previous weeks as part of a study of freedom of speech that some found…

Can we save humanity?

The world’s problems are many, and the solutions require abrupt shifts and great sacrifice. But change is essential

Can we save humanity?The world is in crisis. After touching on some of the problems, I’ll list possible policy responses and suggest why humanity so far has failed to implement them. Time is short but I believe that at root, our obstacles are political, not lack of scientific knowledge. Problems Global warming and related extreme weather events, rising…

The high cost of ineffective anti-terror measures

When will politicians consider the safety of the people to be more important than avoiding criticism?

The high cost of ineffective anti-terror measuresOn Nov. 29, 2019, two people were fatally stabbed and three injured by convicted terrorist Usman Khan. The attacker was shot dead by the City of London Police, after members of the public restrained him. Khan was convicted in 2012 of planning a terrorist attack. He was released from prison in 2018 after serving six…
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