The Quran, Jews & the Bible

Since I figure it might interest some people, I’m going to reproduce a comment I made on another blog (which I highly recommend) in reaction to an insightful posting by the Velveteen Rabbi on the Quran.  My contribution wasn’t particularly erudite or articutle.  I was just trying to throw some light on how the Quran treats Jews and how there is an interesting interaction within Islam with the Tanakh (i.e., the Hebrew Bible) and Jewish tradition.  Since the audience is… Read more

Today, God is “twice hidden” from most of us

I’m grateful to the Velveteen Rabbi for passing on this truly inspiring pearl of wisdom from Rodger Kamenetz about the modern spiritual condition: At the dawn of the Enlightenment, as modern ideas challenged faith everywhere in Europe, one rabbi, Nachman of Bratzlav, diagnosed our contemporary spiritual condition. He called it "second degree hiding." He said: Not only is God’s face hidden from us, but it is hidden from us that God’s face is hidden from us. We too live in… Read more

Chinese tourists: Asia’s new ‘ugly Americans’

Chinese tourists: Asia’s new ‘ugly Americans’ (Christian Science Monitor) Read more

The Brick Testament

Ever wonder how some of the most dramatic stories from the Bible story would look if recreated in Legos?  Yes, Legos.  Behold, the Brick Testament! I’m still not sure whether this is mockery or homage, but I must confess it’s strangely entertaining (and it’s definitely quite helpful for refreshing your memory on some key stories).  And those looking just for entertainment can fast forward right to the lively parts (e.g., various massacres, rapes, and dismemberments ). The captions on some of… Read more

Why European women are turning to Islam

I’m not one of these Muslims who measure Muslim "success" or Islam’s validity by conversion rates, but I found this article enlightening: "Why European women are turning to Islam" by Peter Ford.The death of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian convert who blew herself up in a suicide attack on US troops in Iraq last month, has drawn fresh attention to the rising number of Islamic converts in Europe, most of them women.This subject is close to my heart, as my mother… Read more

The Terminator gets dissed by his home town

According to this article (which is in Danish, I’m afraid), a tiff has broken out between Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Austrian city of Graz over his refusal to oppose the death penalty.  When he refused to halt a high-profile execution recently, the city turned against their most famous native son and took his name off a stadium that had been christened in his honor.  I suspect this is a reflection of the deepseated European discomfort with that great American pasttime,… Read more

State Department back in charge

One of the most radical, and bone-headed, early policy moves by the Bush Junior administration in Iraq was to make the Pentagon responsible for the reconstruction of Iraq rather than the traditional candidate, the State Department.   It was a intensely ideological move that flew in the face of common sense and precedent. Well, this has been such a failure that even W has had to say uncle and return the reins to State. "Pentagon Flunks Rebuilding 101" by William Fisher Read more

The radicalism of this “conservative” administration

Two items from the ever informative Inter Press Service News Agency illustrate how extreme and un-"conservative" the Bush Junior administration really is: "Israelis Grow Troubled by Bush Priorities" by Jim Lobe.The policy of "regime change" in Syria obsessively promoted by the zealots dominating this administration is so irresponsible and disconnected from reality that even Israeli hardliners like Sharon think it dangerous.  Israel’s not exactly known for moderation on Syria, but they know a recipe for regional chaos when they see… Read more

The Grinch: A Misunderstood Mujahid

Growing up a Muslim in Boston in the 70s and 80s and with little contact with the broader Muslim community, I had BIG issues with Christmas. Unlike a lot of Muslims, my beef with Christmas wasn’t theological.  I don’t accept the line that to joining Christians in celebrating their holiday is to engage in or condone  shirk (idolatry), as do many Muslims.  Nor was it philosophical or ethical.  To the contrary, I always liked Christmas in principle, finding it a… Read more

Men bloggers are from Mars; women bloggers, Venus

Reading Shabana’s blog–which is so much more lively, varied and, as one friend put it, "real" than mine–I wonder if I should make an effort to talk about more than politics and (psuedo?) intellectual topics.  Whether that would be a positive thing is no doubt open to debate (perhaps my already humble visit levels would evaporate were I to try to expand my repetoire much). I suspect it’s partly a gender differerence.  Men are socialized to share less about themselves… Read more




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