Washington wants race-based visa restrictions

The US is pushing for a new visa system for visitors from the United Kingdom that that allows for special screening of Britons of Pakistani background.U.S. Seeks Closing of Visa Loophole for Britons - New York Times American officials, citing the number of terror plots in Britain involving Britons with ties to Pakistan, expressed concern over the visa loophole. In recent months, the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, has opened talks with the government here on how to curb the … [Read more...]

Down-home American parallels with Muslim conspiracy theories

These days, Islamophobes dwell lovingly on every example of conspiracy theories among Muslims. Nearly a decade ago, Daniel Pipes devoted a whole book (The Hidden Hand: Middle East Fears of Conspiracy) to it. Sociologically indefensible, neocolonial junk scholarship like Ralph Patai's The Arab Mind (whose best use, said Brian Whitaker in The Guardian, is as a "door stop"; see this review by Lee Smith in Slate, as well) is steadily making a comeback, especially among neocons. In an … [Read more...]

Iran, where the fashion police are much more than a metaphor

The New York Times has an article on the surreal and utterly anachronisic phenomenon in Iran of "fashion police" who stop and even issue citations to women for inadequately modest dress. In Iran, Tactics of Fashion Police Raise Concerns - New York Times: Only days after Iran’s annual crackdown on immodest dress began in mid-April, with teams of police officers stopping women in major squares and subway stations to warn them about their attire, the security authorities came under f … [Read more...]

A child’s hug

What is it about the hug of a small child that makes it so electric? It's practically a high. … [Read more...]

Shabana in Anthropology News

Guess what eerily familiar name I came across in the latest issue of the newsletter of the American Anthropology Association, Anthropology News?  None other than my dear wife, who has penned a piece entitled "American Muslim Women on Campus".  She'd mentioned it to me, but being senile I'd completely forgotten about it. Which is a rare benefit of a dodgy memory--all positive experiences are unexpected blessings, mana from Heaven. It's a summary of her research on American … [Read more...]

NYT: Latino immigrants injecting new “Protestant” ways into American Catholicism

An interesting NYT article on the influence of Latino immigrants on Catholicism in the US.  What I find fascinating is the fact that they should be introducing Pentecostal-style charismatic practices into American Catholic services, given that these are in essence US "exports" that have accompanied the spread of American-style Evangelicalism into the rest of the the Western Hemisphere.Study Says Hispanics Alter U.S. Catholicism - New York Times The influx of Hispanic immigrants to the … [Read more...]

ISRA Mawlid conference in Atlanta next month

Good news for fellow Southerners (if this Yankee may be forgiven for describing himself as such), written up in that festive,  multi-hued desi style. Insha'Allah, I'll be there. ---------------------------------------         The Islamic Studies And Research Association   I     S     R     A     Presents On Friday, Saturday, Sunday, May 25, 26, 27, 2007  The 10Th Annual International … [Read more...]

In a time of crisis, a professor teaches the ultimate lesson

An inspiring story emerges from the darkness hanging over Virginia Tech.  The Holocaust survivor who saved a classroom | csmonitor.com When the sound of gunfire neared his solid mechanics lecture inside Virginia Tech's Norris Hall, there was confusion, according to reports from student witnesses. They dove under desks, darted to the windows. But, students say, Librescu headed for the door, blocking the gunman from entering. As shots rang out, he stood there. That act of courage gave his … [Read more...]