Islam and Peace

Islam and Peace

"Even though you are of the earth in form, still, you are the fine
spiritual thread made of the very substance of Certainty.

You are the trusted guardian of the treasury of the Light of God.
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!

Know that when you have bound yourself to selflessness, you will
escape from attachment to self-ness [ego].

And then you will leap away from the bonds of a thousand traps.
Come, at last, to the Source of the source of your own self!
~~ Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (N.D.)

These words of the great Islamic Persian poet Rumi are but one of countless examples of the beauty that has sprung from Islamic culture. Unfortunately, we do not often hear Rumi’s words on the evening news, nor the words of Hafiz, Saadi, or other great Islamic poets. We hardly if ever hear of Sufis on the evening news at all, or of the countless Muslim mothers and fathers who worry over the well-being of their children, and of their own fates. We hear often of “Islamic” terrorists, but we seldom hear that by far most of those who die at the hands of terrorists are themselves Muslims. Nor do we hear about the countless threats that Islamophobia and bigotry visit upon innocent American Muslims every day.

I had planned to post a different, more intellectual blog this week, but the events in Orlando have given me pause. Once again, people who know essentially nothing of substance about Islam or Muslims take to the airwaves and are given a platform upon which to voice their ignorance. Meanwhile friends and families grieve, politicians argue, and the talking heads offer explanations.

It is certainly not my intention to idealize Islam or Muslims, anymore than I wish to idealize Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or the members of any other faith group. I do not wish to see any of them demonized, either. Given that I teach courses on Islam and other world religions, I have more background and ready information on a number of related topics than most. For this reason I'm making myself available to answer questions about Islam, Islamophobia, and related issues and for general discussion.

If you have questions about Islam, or would like to learn more, and are interested in an informed discussion of these topics, I hope you will join me on Saturday, June 18, 2015 at 1:00pm PDT (4:00pm EDT). I will be hosting a free, live community conversation/webcast for the Depth Psychology Alliance during which listeners will participate as we discuss Islam, and Islamophobia in America and Depth Psychology. If you have questions about Islam or Islamophobia, or would like to join in constructive conversation on these issues, please join us – and please forward this post to your favorite social media outlets and to interested friends!

Click here to register for this free event

James Newell, Ph.D.
is an educator, coach/counselor, performing songwriter, and board member of the Depth Psychology Alliance. James earned his doctorate in History of Religions from Vanderbilt University and teaches courses in world religions for Central Michigan University’s Global Campus as well as courses in Islam for Excelsior State College, Thomas Edison State University, and American Public University. James also holds a master’s degree in counseling and theology from the Vanderbilt Divinity School. James’ counseling orientation is Jungian, and his goal is to educate and empower others to do their own depth work, individually and collectively. James continues to pursue his own artistic passion through music, having begun his musical career as a teenager working with such legendary musicians as John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others.

Works Cited

Rumi (N.D.) Ghazal 120. Dar-Al-Masnavi. Retrieved from: