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...]

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...]

Leave no arms merchant behind

Johann Hari has sharp piece on the OBL assassination and US foreign policy. Here's a choice excerpt: Flawed US policy keeps Osama's message alive - Analysis, Opinion - Osama Bin Laden is dead, but US foreign policy is still giving him what he wanted. The US is bleeding cash. The angry, fighting people in Afghanistan today are -- according to leaked CIA reports -- overwhelmingly "a tribal, localised insurgency" who "see themselves as opposing the US because … [Read more...]

The Arab Street is owed an apology!

Most of the time I post stuff about Denmark, it tends to be bad news--of course, if you're a Muslim observer of Danish politics there's often been, sadly, pretty good reason for that--so I thought I'd try to atone a bit by translating this very thoughtful and topical piece by a Danish pundit on the lessons of the Arab Spring. One could quibble about a few small things (e.g., identifying Saudi-funded establishments as "ultra-orthodox"; their claim to orthodoxy is rather … [Read more...]

An inspiring green initiative in Abu Dhabi, of all places

Here’s what I intended to share, before that Thailand thing sidetracked me. Regular readers of my blog know that I don’t have many good things to say about the petro states of the Persian Gulf--e.g., my post on Khaleeji Consumption Disorder and other postcolonial malaises--but once in a blue moon something genuinely forward-thinking gets done in the Khaleej, too. A case in point is the Masdar city under development in UAE (Masdar means “source” or “root” in Arabic). It is a bold and fascinating e … [Read more...]

Local activism from abroad

This is quite random (not to mention old, as it's dated Nov 3, 2008), but having a background in ICT4D I found this report on a technology blog intriguing. It goes without saying that the Internet allows people to keep in touch in radically new ways while on the go and Skype is so widespread that its very name has become a handy verb for millions of Internet users, but who would've thought you could use the Internet to volunteer in a political campaign back home while sitting on another … [Read more...]

Report on the Arabic Blogosphere

Dustin over at His Peace Upon Us, a thoughtful and recommended new Christian blog dedicated to dialogue between Christians and Muslims, reports on  a very interesting study of the Arabic-language Blogosphere.  Its title is "Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent" and its authors are Bruce Etling, John Kelly, Robert Faris, and John Palfrey. Dustin writes:The Berkman Center for Internet Study and Security did a massive study on the … [Read more...]

Past thoughts on nonviolence

Am still mulling over Gorenberg's piece, but while those wheels make their glacial turns in my head, here's a snippet I wrote last year on this subject in reaction to one of Mark Steyn's trademark artful-but-intellectually-wanting rants against Muslims. My thinking has evolved somewhat since then, but it raises some concerns that I think remain valid. Akram's Razor - "The resurrection of Willie Horton in the age of Islamophobia ":Then there's how baldly … [Read more...]