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Author: Maya Bohnhoff

... is a professional writer, editor, recording / performing artist, and Baha'i. She lives in San Jose, CA.
Media: Mirror of the World

Media: Mirror of the World

“Islamophobia is the accepted form of racism in America. Leaders … show us that you can take a potshot at Muslims and get away with it.” — Arsalan Iftikhar, human rights lawyer. February 4 on Fox News’ The Five, in the aftermath of President Obama’s speech at a Baltimore mosque, three of the show’s five hosts that evening jumped in to interrupt a fourth (Juan Williams) as he was remarking on “the spike in attacks, hate crimes against Muslims in the United States” and on…

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Sam Harris, Reza Aslan and Hiding the Ball

Sam Harris, Reza Aslan and Hiding the Ball

There’s an interesting volley in the ongoing feud between Sam Harris and people who question his crusade against Islam. During a discussion at the Harvard Science Center, Harris made the claim that Muslim violence is different than any other religious violence. He maintained that when any other religionists commit violent acts, they are individuals committing violent acts unrelated to their faith’s doctrines and “articles of faith”. Islam’s articles of faith were uniquely different. He used as an example the brutality perpetrated against Muslims by…

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To the World’s Religious Leaders

To the World’s Religious Leaders

In 2005 The Universal House of Justice, the elected body charged with the administration of the Baha’i global community,  wrote in the introduction of the book “One Common Faith”: “At Riḍván 2002, we addressed an open letter to the world’s religious leaders. Our action arose out of awareness that the disease of sectarian hatreds, if not decisively checked, threatens harrowing consequences that will leave few areas of the world unaffected. The letter acknowledged with appreciation the achievements of the interfaith…

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On Every Page: Bill Maher and the Qur’an

On Every Page: Bill Maher and the Qur’an

  I read an article on Thinkprogress.com recently that asked the question “Has Bill Maher Finally Gone Too Far?” with regard to his animosity toward Muslims and Islam. I personally think the answer must be “yes”, if for no other reason than that he is taking significant heat from other self-identifying liberals, progressives and atheists. In the article, Maher is quoted as saying, “The Qur’an absolutely has on every page stuff that’s horrible about how the infidels should be treated.” I’ll cut…

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A Hero Goes into the West — from my personal blog

A Hero Goes into the West — from my personal blog

I was shocked and saddened to hear that one of my greatest heroes is dying. I have experienced Oliver Sacks as a being of great wisdom and compassion. His work has been a blessing and an illumination to me as both as a writer and a human being, and has gifted me with many deep insights into the human spirit that have informed my own craft. Dr. Sacks has written extensively about conditions that impact the way affected individuals experience the world—migraine, sleeping sickness,…

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Los Angeles marks Education is Not a Crime Day

Los Angeles marks Education is Not a Crime Day

LOS ANGELES, 3 March 2015, (BWNS) — Over 1100 people gathered at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, 27 February to honor those Baha’is who have been denied the right to higher education in Iran. “Education is Not a Crime – Live 2015” was a major event for the “Education is Not a Crime” campaign launched in November 2014 by Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker who was himself imprisoned in Iran in 2009. The campaign…

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Bahá’í Imprisoned and Tortured in Yemen

Bahá’í Imprisoned and Tortured in Yemen

NEW YORK, 16 January 2015, (BWNS) — In a betrayal of justice, authorities in Yemen have indicted Hamed Kamal bin Haydara, a Yemeni national, of being a spy for Israel and converting Muslims to the Baha’i Faith. These charges come at the start of the second year of his imprisonment.  Throughout this time, Mr. bin Haydara has been held without charge and has endured various forms of torture as well as intense psychological abuse. Mr. bin Haydara’s wife, Elham, told…

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My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

My Friend Mycroft, Part Three: Mycroft on Religion

Having discussed the role of science in the life of humanity, my atheist forum friend Mycroft turned to the subject of religion. The points of view were thus: Mycroft=science is a savior; Me=science is a tool for the exploration of reality Mycroft wrote: “The major organized belief systems are incoherent. Half of mosaic, christian, and muslim theology over the last millennia is devoted to the task of belatedly producing some kind of consistency—often by declaring something impossible a “mystery”, or adding afterthoughts.”…

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My Friend Mycroft, Part Two: Science as Savior

My Friend Mycroft, Part Two: Science as Savior

Echoing anti-theist spokesman Sam Harris, my forum friend Mycroft remarked that: “… a whole branch of science is devoted to the biological and societal reasons for human conditions, the balance of selfishness and altruism, greed and reciprocal behavior, dogma and tolerance, etc.” This is so. There is, indeed, a branch of science dedicated to finding a biological explanation for everything we are and do. Sam Harris has a PhD in this discipline. But the observation begs the question: In what way…

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My Friend Mycroft, Part One: Spiritual Exploration

My Friend Mycroft, Part One: Spiritual Exploration

Once upon a time, I had a forum friend who called himself Mycroft (a reference to Sherlock’s allegedly smarter older brother). He was an atheist (still is as far as I know) and we spent pleasurable hours discussing belief, certitude, faith, reason and other subjects of interest to both of us. Well, at least I found the discourse pleasurable. I’m pretty sure Mycroft found it frustrating at times because I refused to “color inside the lines” of religion that he…

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