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...]