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“I believe strongly that art and culture can have a profound impact in healing misunderstanding and in fostering trust even across great divides. This is the extraordinary purpose, the special mandate, to which this Museum is dedicated… I think it is accurate to say that in Muslim societies the pursuit of artistic and cultural excellence […]

via Prince Amyn Aga Khan: “…art and culture can have a profound impact in healing misunderstanding and in fostering trust even across great divides.” — Ismailimail

Jesus on a Pony

A few months ago a friend started building a cabin in Sundance, Utah.  What if French monks built a monastery in Utah four hundred years ago, he thought, what would it look like?  And then what if someone came in and converted it into a ski lodge?

Regardless, his idea turned out incredibly cool.

And of course he needed a window for it.

I found a great early French rendering of the Flight into Egypt, and adapted it to the space he had for the window.  The infant Jesus had a look on his face which reminded me immediately of O. Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief”, so we nicknamed his window “Jesus on a Pony”.  It was fun to build, and we took photos of the steps along the way.

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Some Windows

Crazy Quilt 03

A while ago I started working on a very cool project, a number of windows for two homes right next to each other. The designer on the project is one of my favoritest people in the world, and her clients are always very creative and lots of fun.

The lower home of the two is primarily for the owner’s son, and there were some nice shapes to work with. We had to fill an oval and five narrow rectangles – the oval was about 2′ wide by 3′, and each rectangle was roughly 1-1/2′ wide by about 7′ tall. The designer directed me to allow for some view from the room but people outside couldn’t look in, and she wanted me to do something for the suite of five which lent itself to that number specifically. So, being the sideways thinker, I wanted to do a sun window and the five seasons.

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The design on the bottom clear pieces and color areas is made of interlaced circles etched and fired into the glass. The central sun is based on medieval sun illustrations with 13 spokes instead of the typical 12 or 16 (because I have to be different), and I used over 20 different kinds of glass that were mouth blown, very unusual, or re-purposed from much older windows.

The suite of five windows is based on five seasons associated with Feng Shui. Each window incorporates the Feng Shui symbol for the season, the traditional animal and colors, and a cool petroglyph drawn from Utah rock art. The ridge line in the sky scene on each window is the ridge line visible across the valley from the home, and each sky is etched with the alchemical symbol for the season and mother rede lines from an astrolabe (I included those because this home is for the son, and I thought the mother rede lines would help him remember his mom always had her eyes on him).

For the mom’s home, she wanted something which made waking up a fun experience. The designer asked me to come up with something which both hearkened to the owner’s family roots and brought in the arts-and-crafts flavor throughout the home. So I started thinking along the lines of a crazy quilt, but on steroids – using fabric patterns inspired by William Morris and his contemporaries.

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We used several different techniques and painting styles, mouth blown and flash glass, and whatever else we could think of to get the feels of the many differing textiles chosen.

What a fun project! And did I mention this designer is one of my favoritest people?

Nigerian Christians and Muslims gathered on 19 August to open the International Centre for Inter-Faith Peace and Harmony (ICIPH). The centre is located in Kaduna, where more than 20,000 people have died in various conflicts over the last three decades. Amid a growing number of interfaith initiatives in Nigeria, the new centre has a unique […]

via Nigerian Christians and Muslims open historic peace centre — A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice: News and Views

Awe-inspiring performances in a close match-up between Americans Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, and Russian Aliya Mustafina, are a cross-section of faith, race and nationality DE JANEIRO, Brazil — In a world awash in religious and sectarian tensions, the three Olympic victors in the women’s all-around gymnastics competition delivered a multi-faith mosaic on the medals […]

via Olympic women’s all-around champions: A Christian, a Jew and a Muslim — A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice: News and Views

At the centre of one of the Earth’s harshest environments, on the border of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, two cookbook authors have found “a profoundly human place”.

via BBC Travel: Afghanistan’s enigmatic food secret — Ismailimail

Fethullah Gulen

Imam Fethullah Gulen

I try really hard not to be political.

 

Around my kids, I try to encourage them to think for themselves, and not to mimic someone else’s opinions.

 

And although sometimes the rhetoric can be difficult to stomach (and it’s completely coincidental this thought comes to mind as the RNC and DNC conventions are going on), I am very grateful for the democratic process at large. We are fortunate in the US to have a voice in governing ourselves – sometimes it is entirely true that the shrillest voices are heard over the most reasoned, still if we do not like the people voted into power we can always vote them out next election cycle.

 

This is also a blessing for which many, many Muslims around the world are thankful. “Having a voice in your own governance is truly a gift from Allah,” an instructor from one of my Islamic theology classes told me. “The Prophet taught that consensus is the best way to make decisions in a community, and democracy gives us that opportunity.”

 

Whether or not I agree with the person speaking, whatever he or she has to say, I am always very grateful I live in a country where they have the right to say it – and that I have the right to say my piece, too. And then we can vote on it and live with, enjoy, or endure the results of our voting until the next election!

 

I was excited as Turkey revamped their government and constitution years ago, securing their right to self-governance. I have been very concerned at the actions of their president as he veered away from the Turkish constitution (setting up his on extra-constitutional “courts” and judges, declaring illegality through fiat rather than the rule of law, and more).

 

And with his reactions to the badly reasoned, poorly planned, and failed coup recently, the president of Turkey has placed himself soundly with some very bad company. He has trampled the constitution of Turkey, and is holding the US ransom in the fight against ISIS for all the world, in his efforts to punish one man. A man the Turkish president blames for the failed coup, but a man who has spent every moment of his adult life in inviting people to support the rule of law, exercise their democratic rights, and in all situations to act peaceably, lawfully, and with respect for authority.

 

He is a man the US House Committee on Foreign Relations considers possibly the most important moderate Islamic voice in the international fight against ISIS and the terror that group incites.

 

His name is Fethullah Gulen. A man of peace and learning.

 

And this is his reaction to the Turkish president’s accusations – “Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force. I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly.”

 

Not the sentiments of a coup mastermind, but a God-loving man of peace.

 

Read the rest of Fethullah Gulen’s comments here.

 

In this country, he deserves a voice too.

 

 

FOCUS has delivered vital food supplies provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to 327 households, or 1,547 individuals in the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan

via Focus Humanitarian Assistance delivers emergency food assistance to isolated communities in the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan — Ismailimail

FOCUS has delivered vital food supplies provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to 327 households, or 1,547 individuals in the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan

via Focus Humanitarian Assistance delivers emergency food assistance to isolated communities in the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan — Ismailimail

The Eco-Soap Bank aims to raise $30,000 in contributions to continue to provide necessary hygiene and sanitation to rural Cambodian communities for this year.

via Samir Lakhani, Founder Eco-Soap Bank, Cambodia — Ismailimail

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