Just now, I came across a Wikipedia article MMORGS (massively multi-player online role-playing games) that really blew me away.  [As usual, I’m amazed at how useful Wikipedia is.  Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that people contribute to and maintain anonymously and without being paid.] Aside from the occasional shoot-em up game with my friend and sometimes unnervingly intense gamer Arman [*], I rarely play computer games.  It’s been quite a while since I played any computer games with any regularity. … Read more

An incredible turn of events recently befell a dear friend of mine that is an eerie mix of tragedy and triumph. Rafi, a family friend for many years (like my father, he’s an American who converted to Islam in the 1950s, and they’ve known each other since) was at the hospital for an urgent kidney transplant operation, when Marian–his younger and to all appearances healthy wife–collapsed before his eyes, felled by a brain hemorrhage.  This was only a short time… Read more

Spanish journalist  Mariano Aguirre has written a new piece in OpenDemocracy.net on Michael Ignatieff (see my previous entry) with a hardhitting discussion of the problematic aspects of  American democracy promotion efforts.  Aguirre raises some legitimate concerns about the failures of the American political system today  and whether we really are in a position to preach about democracy to other countries, much less impose our model of it on them. He also highlights the way democracy promotion is being used to… Read more

It’s interesting to see Christian leaders reminding Muslims and other Americans about what’s really going on in the Middle East today, contrary to the neverending stream of sensationalistic headlines blaming the world’s problems on Islam and Muslims.  These leaders understand that Israel continues to wage its undeclared war against the rights, security and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and that this fact is at the heart of some of the terrorism problems that the world faces.  The Presbyterian Church… Read more

The question in the title refers to Western, especially American, perceptions of the Middle East and the Muslim world.  I don’t accept the assumption, but I’m sure to many Americans, doped up as we all are these days on the decontextualized and historically illiterate soundbytes of the mainstream media, the unethusiastic reaction (to say nothing of resistance) of Muslims around the world to American policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere seem not only exceedingly ungrateful, but downright irrational. It is… Read more

From "Breaking the silence: the Catholic Church in Argentina and the ‘dirty war’" by Horacio Verbitsky  in OpenDemocracy.net:Among the horrors of Argentina’s military rule that “disappeared” up to 30,000 citizens from 1976-83, the complicity of senior figures in the Catholic hierarchy is becoming known thanks to the investigations of writer Horacio Verbitsky. openDemocracy publishes an exclusive extract from his new book, “The Silence”.While the systematic cruelty reported here is chilling, what I find most interesting is how these practices were… Read more

My wife Shabana has written with eloquence and profundity about "being an immigrant".    My favorite part:Such is the lot of being an immigrant. It’s not all about "seeking/finding a better life" and making truckloads of money. Some of it is about giving up some life. Read more

An  evangelical website speculates that King Abdullah of Jordan might be the Anti-Christ.  Another example of how Christians are allowed to interpret their scriptures in the most apocalyptic terms–terms which pretty much eagerly promise Muslims, Jews and other heathens a bloody end–but neocons and even mainstream observers feel they have the right to police Muslims’ theological beliefs.   Another interesting thing about the worldview laid out in that article is how it explicitly justifies from the outset all that Israel… Read more

Rep. Tom Tancredo has not only refused to retract his "bomb Mecca" comments, but has upped the ante, declaring that his shrill, prejudiced anti-Muslim rhetoric is justified by the supposedly widespread extremism of "moderate Muslims". While part of his chutzpah can no doubt be ascribed to his own churlishness and to the extreme political climate prevailing within the GOP, to write this off as simply the result of his prejudice is naive.  It would be political suicide for any politician… Read more

The saga continues, alas. Apparently, total agreement with (or silence concerning) Muqtedar Khan’s inconsistent politics is now part of the Shahadah, and some people appear committed to browbeating me into recanting my heresy (last posting: "The Last Word on Muqtedar Khan and PMU"). Someone who signed on at July 26, 2005 12:13 AM as MMamdani wrote a nasty comment (read it in its entirety here) that, as eager as I am to move on, requires a response : Akram, you… Read more

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