The Dars Ladies

Shabana wrote a wonderful, brilliant piece about "The Dars Lady" phenomenon among older Pakistani women (does it happen in other communities too?).    Read more

Tarawih in French

Islam Online has an interesting article on French Muslims entitled "Young French Muslims Want Tarawih in French".  It reports that some 2nd and 3rd generation French Muslims–who are mostly of North African descent–are calling for Tarawih prayers (the special nightly prayers during Ramadan in which the whole of the Quran is recited) in French. I’d like to get more information on this, as I find it hard to imagine that people are really calling for salat to be done in… Read more

Mind-boggling corruption by neocon cronies

There’s a really sickening and eye-opening article in The American Conservative explosing the incredible corruption and financial mismanagement that occured under the CPA in Iraq.  Billions of dollars have literally disappeared into thin air. This is how we spread democracy and rule of law?  And what of this administration’s much vaunted "executive" management style?  How could all this money be floating around without even the most basic security and accounting measures being in place? Meanwhile, fools on Capitol Hill continue… Read more

For the rich, it’s a small world after all

There is an embarrassingly elementary fallacy that undermines so much otherwise learned analysis of the so-called War on Terror, American/Muslim relations, and  international affairs in general:  Observers ignore the many powerful class interests that are shared among elites around the world regardless of which side they inhabit of cultural, political, religious or geopolitical fault lines.  Few journalists peddling the Clash of Civilizations worldview bother to explore how, thanks to similar relationships between them and with their surrounding societies, the wealthy… Read more

Reality check for Karen Hughes (and Bush Junior)

Karen Hughes, Bush Junior’s PR flack to the the Muslim world, recently had a rude awakening in Ankara when she was grilled by Turkish women activists on the Iraqi occupation and American militarism in general. Despite its brevity, the article (Glen Kessler, "Turks Challenge Hughes On Iraq Female Activists Decry U.S. Policy", Washington Post, 29 September, 2004) is quite enlightening and sums up the problem with so much Beltway debate and analysis on the Middle East and the Muslim world.Hughes,… Read more

Ramadan memories

Ramadan is upon us and American life continues to whiz along at its "normal", hectic pace, quite indifferent to the fact that this is supposed to be a time of quiet reflection and prayer for Muslims. This is the time of year I always wish I were in a Muslim-majority country.  Like a Jew who ends his Passover Seder meal with the prayer, "Next year in Jerusalem!"  I vow to myself everyday during Ramadan, "Next year in a simpler place… Read more

Misplaced priorities over Sania Mirza

My wife Shabana wrote an article in alt.muslim a few days ago about the doublestandards and problematic attitudes on display among manyof Sania Mirza’s critics. Read more

Jews, Muslims, black magic & pornography

One of the less obvious advantages of maintaining a blog or any other website is getting to psychoanalyze your visitors (albeit anonymously). In the Information Technology business, this is know as  "web traffic analysis" or "search engine optimization" (the two areas are slightly different, but related).  While web servers cannot tell who its visitors are–they don’t know visitors’ identities or email addresses–they do log generic information about visitors.  A variety of mostly excruciatingly dull information is gathered about visitors’ computer… Read more

New meaning to “white wedding” in India

Every now and again, societies deconstruct.  I think that societies experience "Freudian slips"" in a manner not unlike people. My wife Shabana was doing a web search and stumbed across a sobering (though, sadly, not all that surprising) new business model in India (see her blog entry on it):  Renting out  people (preferably "tall, light-skinned men") to masquerade as relatives at well-to-do people's weddings.Amrit Dhillon writes in The Times that the Best Guests Centre in Rajasthan  …offers three categories of… Read more

Lessons learned from the PMU Experiment

Below is an article by me on the PMU that ran today in alt.muslim.com. In it, I try to lay out my longstanding concerns about PMU in a balanced manner. ———————————- Lessons Learned From The PMU ExperimentBy Svend White,  September 26, 2005 http://www.altmuslim.com/perm.php?id=1555_0_25_0_C The Progressive Muslim Union is going through a rough patch.  A series of defections of prominent supporters that started in July (Muqtedar Khan, Michael Knight, Laury Silvers, and others) culminated in August with the collective resignation -… Read more