Trekkies [*], rejoice!  New TOS ("The Original Series", for the unitiated) episodes are being made by fans and are available for free download.  It’s called "Star Trek: New Voyages" [this is a site hosted by Wired;  the real site loads painfully slowly, but it’s worth the wait if you can do something else in the meantime], about which Wired saysThe original Star Trek set out on a five-year mission that network execs cut short in 1969. Now a new confederation… Read more

Recently, Shabana and I spent some quality time with some good friends who’d rented a cabin at Deep Creek Lake, near the West Virginia border of Maryland (not too far from the famed Morgantown, for whatever that’s worth). Our friends had an eclectic collection of MP3’s in rotation in the iPod, from Billy Bragg to Rachid Taha.  One classic in particular got me nostalgic (not for its era, which is before my time–though only just barely, as I was born… Read more

I feel like one of those holy yet strangely unpopular people who circulate long lists of beloved foods and products that might contain an ingredient which sometimes contains an additive that can be produced using something that is sometimes derived from a pig.  Sometimes ignorance is really bliss and you wish people would just let you wallow in your ignorance. So it’s with a heavy heart that I share the sad tidings that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, sheesha smoke… Read more

My better half just blogged insightfully about the intersection of money, class and gender among North American Muslims. Some excerpts:The most high-profile second-generation American Muslims of immigrant origin tend to be high-income, upwardly mobile, elitist. And very fashion-conscious.As a result, their notions of "modesty" are pricey ones. These notions are pretty specific. The clearance aisle at KMart does not cater to these notions of modesty. Heck, Marshall’s doesn’t. Sears doesn’t. Yes, you can tell meri haisiyyat (my status) from the store-names… Read more

Finally rented "Kingdom of Heaven". It was a gorgeous, lovingly filmed pageant, with great production values, stirring battle scenes, convincing acting and exotic backdrops. Unfortunately, the plot was pretty thin and at times dull.  Also, as much as I like Orlando Bloom, his boyish persona just didn’t measure up in this role, especially opposite the august Ghassan Massoud (Saladin) or Marton Csockas (who plays his rival and the story’s villain).  The Independent   noted cattily that, far from being a… Read more

After my father’s conversion to Islam in the late 1950s, my grandmother, a devout Catholic, never questioned his right to make that choice.  Granted, she worried till the her final days for his immortal soul, but she never viewed him as less American or a part of the family for leaving the Church.  I think more than a mother’s love was at work there–I think it was the result of an intuitive understanding of religious faith and the spiritual and… Read more

It looks like those estranged siblings, Ethiopia and Eritrea might be going to war again. God only knows why. It’s comical in a morbid sort of way, as these two nations were long held up as examples for the rest of Africa because of their regimes’ eager embrace of American neoliberal orthodoxy and supposed commitment to democracy.  Now, they’re increasingly tyrranical, poor, and fighting over dirt because their leaders–who once were close associates–are in a spat.  Thousands of people have… Read more

In the West, there are many who identify themselves as Sufi but not Muslim. Kabir Helminski questions whether Sufism can be disconnected from the Islamic faith and tradition in which it developed over the centuries in  "What is Truly Universal Spirituality". Read more

If you haven’t already seen it, you need to see “The March of the Penguins” documentary, which chronicles the incredible and moving life of the Emperor Penguin in Anartica.  This story of love, sacrifice and survival in the coldest and most inhospitable place on the globe is stunningly beautiful and touching.They say there are no atheists in foxholes.  I doubt there are too many in movies showing this wonder-filled film.Try to rent (or, better yet, buy–quality films like this need… Read more

It’s that time of year to vote for your favorite Muslim blogs. Read more

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