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...]

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...]

Are you doing your part to support the few media that support us?

If you didn't catch it, the leading progressive political magazine in America, The Nation, recently came out with an amazing collection of articles on the War on Terror, Muslim integration and Islamophobia. It's a scrumptious feast of the kind of sharp, insightful analysis that's so consistently absent from coverage of these vital issues in the Corporate Media.Among the articles in the July 2-9, 2012 issue of The Nation are:“Fear and Loathing of Islam” by Moustafa Bayoumi. In the US tod … [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...]

Stop what you’re doing and listen to Obama’s Cairo speech

For those wondering where to find it, I just listened to the audio for President Obama's historic speech in Cairo on NPR's website (from which you can download it, as well, if you don't have a connection fast enough for streaming audio). NPR also has the transcript, too, but their version isn't print-friendly. WaPo's transcript is much better for that purpose. And HuffPo has the video. So much to parse and ponder. Aside from the from-a-sitting-President-shockingly … [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...]