It has occurred to me that the fact the title of my last entry ("Rejecting a "Mahdi" vs. rejecting the idea of the Mahdi") refers to the Mahdi while the link leads to a Harun Yahya-affiliated website concerning not the Mahdi but rather the Promised Messiah (i.e., the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (as)–a belief shared in some form by Muslims and Christians alike) might cause some confusion, or at least cause the reader to wonder whether I know the… Read more

Apparently, there are some who believe that the noted (and, in my estimation, vastly overrated) anti-Evolution polemicist Harun Yahya is the Mahdi.  I don’t know whether HY himself has made this claim, though it seems unlikely that people would be promoting him as such without his tacit approval. What I find most interesting about this is not that he may have made this claim, but rather how vicerally so many Muslims react against the very idea. For the record, I… Read more

In his latest entry in Fall of Icarus, Zahir laments the palpable ignorance, prejudice and condescension of a "60 Minutes" report on American doctors working in Pakistan after the earthquake. The transcript includes a self-deprecating comment by one of the doctors that highlights in a lighthearted way how, as outsiders who don’t speak local languages or know local culture, they were inevitably out of their depth on the ground in Pakistan:When they were dropped off here, Chris Summers was surprised… Read more

There’s an unsung hero in the Muktaran Mai case, and it’s not the usual suspect.  Saleem H. Ali writes in The Daily Times ("A Maulvi that mattered") about how  Mai’s village religious leader Maulvi Abdul Razzaq courageously spoke out from the pulpit at Friday prayers against the heinouse crime committed against her, supported her personally, and even urged her to seek justice when she was waivering.  At a time when this woman was suicidal (the article notes that she tried… Read more

Another great article on the recent unrest in France in CSM:"Next French Revolution:  a less color-blind society" by Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor Read more

Some stimulating observations by Junaid Quadri about the coronation of an Afghani-born Muslim woman as Miss England. Junaid reports how one rather benighted "leader" in the UK went so far as to more less declare the woman a kafir.  Now, I think beauty pageants are silly, demeaning spectacles devoid of redeeming features–the explanation provided by another Muslim contestant that her involvement was motivated by the noble objective of proving the existence of "attractive British Iraqi girls" is really a classic–but… Read more

Another delightful and engrossing article, on Ramadan TV shows in the Middle East, from the good folks at the Christian Science Monitor. The article explores some of the interesting ways that TV shows are combatting extremism and terrorism. One passage really highlights how problematic and contradictory America’s role is in the great Global War on Terror (GWOT). In recent years, Ramadan miniseries have triggered controversy, frequently angering the US, Israeli, and various Arab governments, or as in the case this… Read more

For over a week now, Paris has been rocked by riots by "disaffected youths" (more specifically, young Frenchmen of North African and West African descent) in some of its suburbs–in French banlieu, or suburb, means "ghetto"–after 2 youths died (and one is in serious condition) after seeking refuge in an electric transformer in order to escape the police (who’d caught them trying to break into a backyard shed).  Upon getting the news over a week ago, scores of angry youths… Read more

From AP newswire "Cheney Adviser Resigns After Indictment":WASHINGTON – The vice president’s chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the CIA leak investigation, a politically charged case that will throw a spotlight on President Bush’s push to war.The article also notes:Democrats suggested the indictment was just the tip of the iceberg. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the case was larger than Libby… Read more

The excellent media watchdog group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) recently ran an eye-opening article on American stinginess in foreign aid, "The World’s Most Generous Misers: Tsunami reporting misrepresented U.S. giving".  It’s particularly interesting to see how much the mainstream media have not only downplayed the uninspiring realities of American foreign aid, but have gone so far as to create a myth of prodigal American generousity. The need to provide upbeat entertainment, err, "news" leads journalists to just make… Read more

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