Online resources on Islam and gender

Came across a valuable resource on Islamic tradition and women.  It is the Muslim Sexual Ethics page at Brandeis University’s Feminist Sexual Ethics Project (a name sure to make aunties choke on her chai). The site concisely and rigorously summarizes traditional Islamic views and textual sources on the following topics: Marriage Contracts Divorce Understanding a Difficult Verse (Qur’an 4:34) Veiling Same-Sex Sexual Activity Honor Killings Islam and Slavery Men, Women, and Human Beings in the Qur’an The Islam page’s lead… Read more

Unproven dogmas: Technological innovation and the benefits of free markets

An article in the New Scientist reports on physicist Jonathan Huebner’s rather counterintuitive claim that the rate of technological innovation today is actually quite slow compared to the past–he thinks we experiencing the least innovation, measured in technological breakthroughs per billion people, since the 17th century–and that we may be approaching a "dark age" of technological innovation. As a non-scientist, I am certainly in no position to judge his claim (which will no doubt be submitted to the most withering… Read more

Muslim organizations waking up to discrimination in mosques

An intriguing paper entitled "Women Friendly Mosques" was recently published and is being widely promoted within the North American Muslim community (e.g., CAIR is distributing it from its website).  I see  it as a very positive development and a sign that the concerns–"grievances" might be a more apt term–of many Muslim women who’ve been understandably alienated by mosques and organizations run by clueless men are finally getting the attention they deserve within mainstream Islamic organizations which until relatively recently had… Read more

The Science of “Star Wars” & Lucas embraces the Dark Side

Now for some lighter fare.  Here’s a delightful article in the National Geographic that explores the scientific plausibility of the various "Star Wars" worlds. A similiar piece appeared in, of all places, Forbes that discusses the science of Star Wars technologies.   It appears that light sabers are, alas, particularly unrealistic. While we’re at it, if you want a stimulating (if occasionally profane) rant about George Lucas’ waning artistic powers, here it is.  The fighting Yoda, he writes, is a "methed-out… Read more

What is Akram’s Razor?

Akram’s Razor represents my rather tardy foray into the exciting and occasionally narcissistic world of blogging. What’s “Akram’s Razor?” you might ask. The simplest answer is that “Akram” is my middle name–I sometimes go by this name among Muslims–and that I aspire to slice through the layers of  misunderstanding and misinformation on these topics like, you guessed it, a razor. But I like to think there’s something more profound to it than that. The title is a play on words… Read more

Should Muslim women be on Mt. Everest?

It appears that two Iranian women have become the first Muslim women to scale Mount Everest. This impressive feat will no doubt be heralded around the Muslim world, and for good reason. But do many of us really have the right to be proud of them? Everyone will applaud and take great pride in their accomplishment. And we’ll all cite this as an example of how liberated Muslim women are, contrary to all the slanders against Islam that one hears… Read more

Anti-Semitism and Messianic Doublestandards

Some interesting doublestandards are on display in an overwrought diatribe about the US government’s alleged association with Islamic fundamentalists on Daniel Pipes’ CampusWatch from July 2004. In it, an anonymous "professor of Islamic studies at a leading U.S. university" blasts the U.S. Institute of Peace for associating itself with two American Muslims leaders that he deems, with the flimsiest of proof, extremists. Like many neocon attacks on the Muslim community since 9/11, this plays fast and loose with the facts… Read more