Conspiracy theories and “mainstream” criticism of Islam in American politics

I listened to a very stimulating discussion of the underlying nature of conspiracy theories, on both ends of the political spectrum, on the invaluable Against the Grain podcast today.Against the Grain, Tuesday Jan 8, 2013: "What's the Matter with Conspiracy Theories?": From the assassination of JFK to a wide range of theories related to the attacks of September 11, 2001, conspiracy theories seem natural to the left. But should they be? Anarchist historian Peter Staudenmaier discusses the … [Read more...]

Egyptian secularists and the “Innocence of Muslims” brouhaha

There's a fascinating piece on the Columbia Journalism Review's "Behind the News" blog exploring some rather unexpected culprits involved in the "Innocence of Muslims" controversy in Egypt. It documents how, contrary to what many assume, the proverbial charge was not lead by the usual, Islamist suspects, but rather by secular and Coptic Christian media outlets aligned with the Mubarak regime (ones that in some cases have a sordid history of disseminating gross misinformation about the Islamic … [Read more...]

Fasting during pregnancy

[This was originally an extended postscript on last week's post, "Yuletide musings on the Ramadan shutdown," but I think the topic warrants its own post and these long postscripts on tangents are distracting. When I have a chance, I'll try to beef it up by adding some links to studies. For now, here is the earlier comment, unedited.]This is a bit of a tangent, but I have to say that I think it's disgraceful how--in this day and age, when new evidence comes out every day showing the serious … [Read more...]

Yuletide musings on the Ramadan shutdown

A belated Merry Christmas to those playing with new toys today.Growing up a Muslim in Boston, I always resented how agonizingly bored I found myself every Christmas Day, with seemingly every business establishment but the local movie theater and occasional Chinese restaurant conspiring to deny me anything whatsoever to do. (See my 2005 post, "The Grinch: The Misundersood Mujahid," for more.)Today, at the age of 40, with family--and, ahem, broadband, even if NetFlix cruelly let me down … [Read more...]

Why is Apple denying Americans information about their governnment’s drone attacks?

If you care about the health of American democracy and/or the large numbers of civilians being regularly killed through drone attacks in South Asia, please spread the word about the outrageous decision by Apple, Inc. to block an app mapping drone attacks from the AppStore.Please use to the action alert on Roots Action to let Apple know that this is unacceptable. And get the word out."Apple Censors Drone War"  (Roots Action): Apple Inc., which has received over $9 million in Pentagon … [Read more...]

Tackling the elephant in the room of doctrinal exclusivism: Thoughts from a Muslim on Brian D. McLaren’s “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road”

This post is part of an inter-faith discussion on Brian McLaren’s new book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?, hosted at the Patheos Book Club.Reading Brian D. McLaren's Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World--which I was invited to review as part of its Patheos Book Club discussion-- has been an enriching experience for me. I found it a profound, thought-provoking and unexpectedly creative m … [Read more...]

Haroon Mughal shows how it done on CNN

Haroon Mughal was on CNN yesterday eloquently providing some much needed context to the sensationalistic images of Muslim unrest over the "Innocence of Muslims" hate film that we're seeing ad nauseam at the moment on the news.He did a wonderful job. So nice to see an articulate Muslim injecting some insight and balance into cable news discussions of the Muslim world.It's always easy to nitpick from the other side of the screen and I doubt I'd be anywhere near as articulate in such a … [Read more...]

New investigative report on H. Rap Brown

The digital news outlet that serves American Muslims Illume has just published an exhaustive and thought-provoking investigative report by Obaid H. Siddiqui on the disturbing case of Imam Jamil Al-Amin (a.k.a. H. Rap Brown). It chronicles the persecution of this civil rights icon, now imprisoned.The procedural irregularities and demonstrated bias by the authorities during his trial and incarceration remind me of the internationally acclaimed political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. Something's … [Read more...]