A lot of the criticism directed at Occupy Wall Street–even from the Left–concerning their lack of a concrete platform or unified message at this point is very wrong-headed when you think about it. That expectation is elitst (and, depending on your politics, quite hypocritical), as it assumes that a democractic movement is only legitimate if it's run from the top down. Democracy is supposed to be about citizens debating and building a national consensus, not obeying orders from activists who… Read more

There's a great guest post on Imam Suhaib Webb's website with advice for new Muslims.  12 Tips for the Convert Muslim The tips are deceptively simple and very profound.  And many of suggestions are ones we all would do well to remember, myself most of all. I love #9 ("Find Muslim friends and avoid severing ties") in particular. So balanced and wise, yet accessible. Here it is in its entirety: 9. Find Muslim friends and avoid severing ties “On the… Read more

 Self-described agnostic Jew Leslie Hazleton–who blogs at The Accidental Theologist–reflects thoughtfully on her encounter with the Quran. Not your typical TED fare. I loved her quip that the Quran is very flexible and open, except to those whose minds are inflexible and closed. So true, profound and admirably succinct.   Read more

There's a wonderful post on Imam Suhaib Webb's website on the need for the Muslim community to recognize that, as important and noble as traditional family roles are, there is an infinity of ways that Muslim women may achieve their spiritual potential and serve their Lord. Here's an excerpt from Maryam Amir-Ebrahim's Wifehood and Motherhood are Not the Only Ways to Paradise: Allah (swt) did not create women for the sake of wifehood or motherhood. This is not our first… Read more

I don’t care how irrelevant it is it, I simply must share this delightful photo. The Law has finally caught up with the Seven Dwarfs. Amish jailed by Kentucky judge over warning triangle fine non-payment (The Guardian, 16 September 2011): Eight Amish men have been jailed by a judge in Kentucky for non-payment of fines after refusing to fix reflective orange warning triangles to the back of their horse-drawn buggies. The unusual suspects, whose mugshots have been published online, were… Read more

Wajahat Ali has posted (after, characteristically, spearheading the drafting of) a statement signed by a number of prominent Muslims–plus myself– on the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedyon HuffPo called "A Muslim American Declaration." Please check it out. I think it came out very nicely. Read more

Here’s a some interesting news about a technology project in India. What I find most interesting is the way the technology (an iris scanner) could challenge age-old hierarchical social relations that subordinate the individual to the group. Here’s an excerpt from Scanning 2.4 Billion Eyes, India Tries to Connect Poor to Growth (The New York Times, Sept 9, 2011)": Across this sprawling, chaotic nation, workers are creating what will be the world’s largest biometric database, a mind-bogglingly complex collection of… Read more

It’s hard to tell from the repugnant posturing of most of their would-be presidential candidates, but not all Republicans have embraced Muslim-baiting demagoguery. Here, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie eloquently and touchingly defends his appointment of Sohail Mohammed despite the fact that he is, gasp, a Muslim. That’s principled leadership. Too bad it’s so conspicuously absent in Washington these days. My favorite line is, "I’m tired of the crazies." Amen to that. Read more

Via Haroon Mughal, I came across an interesting post on Little Green Footballs–a pro-Israeli blog that was long the premier hangout on the Blogosphere for Islamophobes but which now seems occupy some nebulous middle space in the debate on Islam; the insane extremes of Muslim-baiting has reached truly makes for strange bedfellows–on Pamela Geller's latest racist Freudian slip. It concerns a picture of a group of attendees at a youth camp affiliated with the Norwegian Labor Party like the one… Read more

FAIR has an excellent analysis of the rush in the MSM to declare the shocking terror attack in Norway the work of Muslims. From "Seeing 'Islamic Terror' in Norway": Right-wing terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik reportedly killed 76 people in Norway on Friday, by all accounts driven by far-right anti-immigrant politics and fervent Islamophobia. But many early media accounts assumed that the perpetrator of the attacks was Muslim. [MORE] It's a very useful round-up that you should read.Now, given the… Read more

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