During our May student trip to Sarajevo, Amra, one of our discussion facilitators, laughed, cigarette dangling from her lips, as she likened the city to a femme fatale—alluring, but with a dark side. It was, we soon learned, an apt description for a lovely and complicated city, one that has been simultaneously strengthened and scarred by its history. Our group, which included fourteen students from Notre Dame was drawn to Sarajevo to study “Religion, Identity, and Peace and the Periphery of Europe.”
Can Captain America be Black? Marvel’s recent Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, tackles this question head-on. The story picks up from the blockbuster . . .
The January 6 insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, DC, is just the beginning. It came as advertised; it was televised; and the perpetrators are promising more to come. We are now transitioning to an administration the rioters have been programmed to view as illegitimate. Combining their sense of disenfranchisement with deep feelings of being disrespected for generations, the rioters place us in danger of seeing the insurrection transformed into an all-out insurgency.
The second caliph of Islam, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab (r. 634-644 CE), is reported to have said that even if a dog were to die on the banks of the Euphrates River, he would be held accountable. Other reports say he spoke of a camel or sheep, or perhaps the Nile instead of the Euphrates. These details don’t change the meaning. As the leader of the fledgling Muslim community, it was ‘Umar’s responsibility to provide for the sustenance and care for all beings, even the very least of them, to the farthest stretches of his authority.…
The ship of capitalism set sail centuries ago. Its goods have reached the four corners of the world. The sands of the desert have become the silicon for microchips. Technology has changed the world, most certainly for the better, but pandemics remind us of our precarity. Are we going too fast? Can we build more resilience into our global system? Can its fruits be better shared among all? On the shores of Oman, at the crossroads of Africa and Asia, we were reminded of these questions, as we experienced a different rhythm of life, where, for a few days, strangers became like family, and we saw the possibility of a different world.
Over the course of the next few weeks and months, the Ansari Institute will engage in online conversations on questions relating to the human condition and to global affairs. Our conversations will include local and global partners, students and educators, and journalists and educators, as we explore how religion can serve as a force for good in the world.