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 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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Innovative upcoming online course on Islamophobia

A very interesting online happening is coming up soon: An online course on the rife (or should I say "ripe"?) phenomenon of Islamophobia and strategies for combating it.It looks like a very timely and innovative initiative. I'm sure people from many walks of life would find this enlightening and helpful.  Please check it out and consider supporting it, as I intend to.From the announcement that I received: What must we know about Islamophobia? And how can we fight it?Register now for … [Read more...]