Shahid C. pointed out  this amazing massive indoor artficial ski slope (replete with a working lift) in UAE. When I lived in Doha, Qatar, the biggest mall, The City Center, had a small ice skating rink in the middle (in which you’d almost never see Qatari girls).    Doha being a rather quiet place the the mall being basically oval-shaped, a common social activity for foreigners there was to walk in circles around that rink. Read more

The world is peppered with peoples that claim descent from the "Lost Tribes" of Israel (see  this link for the seemingly never-ending parade of contenders) that were exiled over two and a half millenia ago by Assyria’s King Nebuchanezzar.  As one site puts it:Scholars have claimed to discover their descendants in North and South America, England, China, Japan, Burma, Africa, Arabia, Persia, Central Asia, and Siberia, among other places. And then there are the various New Age and/or Afrocentric identity… Read more

As’ad AbuKhalil’s comparison of The Economist and The Washington Post coverage on Jordan is like an exquisite haiku.  What more needs be said?  This really sums everything up. Read more

According to this article, rightwingers in the blogosphere have coined a new insult, fisking, after Robert Fisk.   The author explains that it is used to refer to the process of getting your arguments systematically demolished. If anything, it should be a badge of honor, a label bestowed for fearless analysis and eye-opening insight.  Such is the abysmal, know-nothing caliber of so much American debate on the Middle East that the name of one of the greatest commentators on the region… Read more

At the risk of sounding like one of these pro-"War on Terror" cavemen who cheer on every escalation or outrage against a hated foe and while I don’t condone the abuse of prisonners in any way, I can’t help but chuckle at this news item. According to the state-run al-Iraqiyya TV, Saddam got punched several times by court clerks after he mouthed off to them about Shiah beliefs.  He was being questioned about his brutal suppression of the Shiah uprising… Read more

Check out the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Guantanamo Action Center.  This article in The Washington Post on suicide attempts in Guantanamo (one individual appears to have been so desperate that he made the attempt while his lawyer was visiting) makes for depressing reading.  Subhanallah. Blood-thirsty bigots in Washington and in "patriotic" corners of the media will no doubt spin this as a cynical PR ploy by those cunning, fatalistic Moslem fanatics to deceive  the world rather than an example of… Read more

No irony or sarcasm is meant by that title.  When it works, it really is a joy. Last night, I participated in an interfaith dinner between local young Muslims and young Christians enrolled in a pastoral studies program at The Falls Church, a beautiful Episcopal church that happens to be right next to  one of the nexi  of Muslim life in northern Virginia, Halalco.    An aside:  Halalco is the first modern, professionally-run Islamically themed department store–as opposed to a… Read more

Speaking of SunniPath, we happened to have dinner with a Shiah friend and his wife last night and I was shown some  statements posted on there concerning the Shiah tradition that really saddened me. While I don’t always agree with SP, I’ve always been impressed by the profundity and knowledge of its contributors, and can only pray that I one day attain a fraction of their erudition and insight.  So I was quite surprised when I saw a posting that… Read more

Shabana has written a fresh and thoughtful analysis of her concerns about’s view of Tariq Ramadan, orthodoxy and reform in general.   It’s really been making the rounds, Masha Allah.  Even SunniPath picked it up (which I think is a credit to them).  Be sure to check it out. Read more

On a side note, I think it would be interesting to explore the extent to which these beliefs about Harun Yahya might as Mahdi might conflict with his interpretations of biological evolution.  If you can interpret all these ahadith so figuratively–I haven’t reviewed their site closely, but I’m assuming they’re doing some fancy footwork to set the stage for HY being the Mahdi and/or Promised Messiah–I wonder why you can’t interpret the Quranic narrative on Adam & Eve to allow… Read more

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