Yemen’s al-Qaida branch, called al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is the most dangerous and sophisticated offshoot of the terror group Osama bin Laden founded in Afghanistan in 1988. AP Photo/Hani Mohammed

Al-Qaida is stronger today than it was on 9/11

Bin Laden's extremist group had less than a hundred members in September 2001. Today it's a transnational terror organization with 40,000 fighters across the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
Left: Robert Smith. Right (clockwise from left): Beyonce Knowles-Carter, Jay-Z, LeBron James and Nicki Minaj. Reuters, USA Today

Could black philanthropy help solve the black student debt crisis?

A recent gift by billionaire Robert Smith to pay off the student loans of 2019 graduates of Morehouse points to the potential of America's black elite to pay off all black students' college loans.
Honduran migrant Vicky Chavez with her daughter Issabella on May 31, 2018 in the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, where she sought protection from deportation in late 2017. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

More Central American migrants take shelter in churches, recalling 1980s sanctuary movement

The number of migrants living in churches has spiked recently in anticipation of threatened immigration raids, but churches have long protected refugees in an act of faith-based civil disobedience.
Slavery is not so far removed. Anderson and Minerva Edwards met in the 1860s as enslaved laborers in Texas, had 16 children and lived into their 90s in a cabin a few miles from the plantations they once worked. They are photographed here in 1937. U.S. Library of Congress

If Germany atoned for the Holocaust, the US can pay reparations for slavery

Old injustices don't simply disappear with time – they tear a nation apart.
The Muslim pilgrimage known as the hajj is both a religious mandate and a symbolic act of unity with Muslims worldwide. Reuters/Ahmad Masood

The Muslim Hajj: A spiritual pilgrimage with political overtones

Millions of Muslims will convene in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Aug. 9. The annual five-day pilgrimage, known as the hajj, is required of all Muslims who can physically and financially make the journey.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signing a bill that virtually outlaws abortion in the state. Hal Yeager/Alabama Governor's Office via AP

Women have been the heart of the Christian right for decades

Conservative Christian women have played key roles in the anti-abortion movement for decades, but their contributions are often overlooked in language that focuses on men.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File

What Israel’s new election reveals about the struggle over Jewishness

Young Haredim men, who are strictly observant Jews, have long been exempted from Israel's compulsory military service. A disagreement over stopped Netanyahu from forming a government.
Pope Francis recently made it mandatory for clergy to report sexual abuse to church superiors. AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

The Catholic Church is tightening rules on reporting sexual abuse – but not swearing off its legal privilege to keep secrets

Pope Francis is trying to address gaps in the regulatory processes of the Catholic Church. But clergy can still decide whether, and to what degree, to share information.

More Analysis and Comment

Just a thought

Clothing played a central role in constructing a unique black Muslim identity. Black Muslim women used their dress to challenge American beauty standards, which typically holds thin young white women as the ideal beauty. Kayla Renée Wheeler

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