When in doubt give your wife coffee

Gleaned while slowly, tenderly, nursing a big cup of joe in a bookstore:"[Today's coffee craze, with a Starbucks on every corner is] nothing compared to the popularity it enjoyed in the Middle East during the 1500s.  In Turkey, a woman could divorce her a man who did not provide enough coffee."(The Greatest Stories Never Told, page 31.) In our case the scenario somehow doesn't seem all that farfetched, as Shabana's as much of a caffeine fiend as me. Never get between either of us … [Read more...]

Random Platitudes dissects the cartoon row

A Danish academic has provided a series of really informative and insightful posts on the historical backdrop to the cartoon controversy (e.g., Random Platitudes - The "Cartoon Row" dissected -- part 1) .  He gets into detail about recent Danish history and shows the real (and underreported) politico-cultural context to this truly bizarre turn of events.  And, unlike most of the Danish blogs providing intelligent analysis on the matter, he writes in English.Grab a cup of … [Read more...]

Go Lady Caliphs!

I have a heretical admission to make, given that March Madness is underway. Now that I no longer live in Boston and now that professional sports teams are gangs of spoiled prima donnas lacking any local roots and/or loyalty to their "hometowns", it's pretty hard for me to identify enough with a team to get terribly worked about about its success or failure (of course, my indifference lifted briefly during the Red Sox' historic triumph over the Curse of the Bambino at the 2004 World … [Read more...]

Polygamy in American life

I came across some interesting articles on polygamy on the occasion of  the controversial HBO series "Big Life" (which concerns a polygamous marriage in Utah).  One journalist who normally covers economics has written a limited defense of polygamy ("I do, I do, I do, I do: The economic case for polygamy") in Slate.  Among other things, he argues that, as counterintuitive as it may be, polygamy can increase some women's bargaining strength with prospective … [Read more...]

Aqoul: How to be a Muslim reformer

'Aqoul has succinctly summed up everything that's ridiculous about the mainstream media's approach to Muslims and Islamic reform (not to mention its love affair with non-entities and self-hating reactionaries) in "How to be a Muslim reformer".  It's dead-on. … [Read more...]

Dutch thought police target immigrants

The Dutch are challenging the Danes' claim to having Europe's most xenophobic and prejudiced immigration policies.  A new Dutch policy forces would-be immigrants to take an offensive and politically correct quiz (see Holland launches the immigrant quiz - Times Online ) that is clearly designed to provoke Muslims into disqualifying themselves by expressing illiberal attitudes that aren't necessarily a sign of religious extremism and which are hardly unique to them. It doesn't sound like the … [Read more...]

A beastly crime of anti-Semitism in France

Ilan Halimi, 23, was kidnapped, tortured over a period of 2 weeks and left for dead, naked, by a gang of French kidnappers-- a young, multi-ethnic group of Muslims and non-Muslims that, with great understatement, refered to themselves as "the Barbarians"--in Bagneux, France.  (See WSJ article ) Halimi was Jewish and the perpetrators' behavior leaves little doubt that anti-Semitism played a major part in this truly ghastly crime.  As more details come out, the … [Read more...]

A fun list of Muslim inventions

Independent Online Edition > Science & Technology From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new exhibition opens, Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and identifies the men of genius behind them … [Read more...]