The not-so-strange resilience of Takfarism

Check out the article by Sheikh Habib Ali Al Jifri, "Why is there no serious effort to counter takfir ideology?"I'm glad to see this article being run in a prominent Emirati newspaper, as the Gulf is at the heart of this problem. One hopes that's a sign of some sympathy for real reform, as opposed to shrewd geopolitical optics.Unlike in the case of most thorny social or political problems, I think this question can be answered very simply, for it stares us in the face: The reason … [Read more...]

Amazon, leading the way…back to the 19th Century!

Check out Simon Head's "Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers"  on Salon.com. It's  chilling and eye-opening.It's an expose of truly revolting labor practices at Amazon that deserves to be discussed widely. And not merely because people ought to know what this iconic and powerful corporation subjects its employees to, but also because that brutish treatment is quite likely a taste of things to come elsewhere in the economy. This mad … [Read more...]

CSM cover story on American Muslims

Given all the attention that Islam and Muslims get today and all anxiety that exists over their relationship to America, I'm often surprised how little attention is paid to the American Muslims as a community and subculture.For all the provincialism and resentment that reigns in many quarters towards America's increasing ethnic and religious diversity, I think it's fair to say that Muslims are set apart these days by the extent to which they are widely assumed to be intrinsically *foreign*. … [Read more...]

The scourge of Veil Porn

Collage of covers of books on Muslim women, with all veiled.

I have a complicated take on veils (by which I mean actual veils, not the headscarves often poetically referred to as such).I think them neither religiously mandated nor ultimately healthy for society. While some women certainly choose it freely and while I concede that veils play a more complex role in some places (especially environments where women lack the relative physical security that Westerners can take for granted), I think the veil's primary function in most, for lack of a better … [Read more...]

Fox News in all its glory

I'm hard pressed to recall a case where the abject imbecility of contemporary Islamophobia is not only captured in a short video clip, but demolished in a single sentence. Watch John McCain inadvertently slap down the air-headed Brian Kilmeade on Fox News on the significance of "Allahu Akbar."Journalists are often required to cover and discuss a wide range of disparate topics, so I don't blame them for occasionally getting important facts wrong. That doesn't let them off the hook for … [Read more...]

The pros and cons of White House iftars in the Obama era

An interesting debate is going on in Muslim corners of the Blogosphere and social media over the ethics and merits of Muslims attending White House iftars in the Obama era, with its militarism and lawlessness .As is usually the case, Sheila Musaji has already neatly laid out the issues  involved in The American Muslim, so I'll just send you there for the details.I happen to consider both Omid and Shahed dear friends, but I find myself agreeing with Omid here.At the same time, I don't … [Read more...]

Jabba the Turk?

o-LEGO-STAR-WARS-JABBA-THE-HUT-PALACE-570

Lego (about which I occasionally blog lovingly) has been accused of racism for alleged similarities between its Jabba the Hut lair set and famous Turkish mosques.Lego Accused Of Racism Amid Claims Jabba's Palace Resembles Istanbul's Hagia Sophia Mosque (HuffPo):  A Turkish community in Austria has accused Lego of racism amid claims a model from its Star Wars range resembles a renowned mosque.The model in question is Jabba’s Palace – a dome topped structure housing the slobbering Star … [Read more...]

Amitabh Pal on nonviolence in Islam

Listened to a very stimulating interview from a year or so ago with The Progressive Managing Editor Amitabh Pal on his book,"Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today. The interview touches on a variety of countervailing evidence to the customary assumption that Islam and Muslims are intrinsically predisposed towards violence--unlike, ahem, the wide-eyed pacifists that populate American society--so the book looks really promising. Amitabh Pal interview on The … [Read more...]


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