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NSA spies on mainstream muslim US citizens

In one of the most damning Snowden leaks yet revealed, Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain show that the NSA targets prominent Muslim-Americans under the FISA secret court program. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has in response issued a denial that any Americans were targeted for exercising their constitutional rights via its tumblr.
posted by p3on on Jul 9, 2014 - 91 comments

Isis declares caliphate in Iraq and Syria

The militant Sunni group Isis has said it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria. This is not the first border we will break, we will break other borders," its spokesman warns. Standing on a border sign he threatens to "break the borders" of Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 30, 2014 - 160 comments

Knowledge as Politics by Other Means: An Interview with Wael Hallaq

Throughout the last three decades, Wael Hallaq has emerged as one of the leading scholars of Islamic law in Western academia. He has made major contributions not only to the study of the theory and practice of Islamic law, but to the development of a methodology through which Islamic scholars have been able to confront challenges facing the Islamic legal tradition. Hallaq is thus uniquely placed to address broader questions concerning the moral and intellectual foundations of competing modern projects. With his most recent work, The Impossible State, Hallaq lays bare the power dynamics and political processes at the root of phenomena that are otherwise often examined purely through the lens of the legal. In this interview, the first of a two-part series with him, Hallaq expands upon some of the implications of those arguments and the challenges they pose for the future of intellectual engagements across various traditions. In particular, he addresses the failure of Western intellectuals to engage with scholars in Islamic societies as well as the intellectual and structural challenges facing Muslim scholars. Hallaq also critiques the underlying hegemonic project of Western liberalism and the uncritical adoption of it by some Muslim thinkers. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 9, 2014 - 6 comments

For them, every valley and desert was home.

Travel was always desirable to them / And they visited every continent … They considered travel and homeland synonymous / For them, every valley and desert was home. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 8, 2014 - 7 comments

Jedi is not the 2nd most popular religion in any state? How disapointing

The second-largest religion in each state
Christianity is by far the largest religion in the United States; more than three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians. A little more than half of us identify as Protestants, about 23 percent as Catholic and about 2 percent as Mormon. But what about the rest of us?
posted by davidstandaford on Jun 5, 2014 - 104 comments

Open defecation solves the child mortality puzzle among Indian Muslims

“Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, the child mortality rate for Hindus is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don't. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle. In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor – open defecation.” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jun 5, 2014 - 33 comments

40 Maps of the Middle East

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on May 6, 2014 - 8 comments

Mali's Ancient Manuscripts

Bonfire of the Humanities. "Nobody goes to Timbuktu, right? Patrick Symmes did, to discover what happened when jihadi rebels set out to burn one of the world’s finest collections of ancient manuscripts. Bouncing around by truck, boat, and boots, he got an intimate look at West ­Africa’s most mythic locale." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Apr 21, 2014 - 12 comments

"...said to be the messianic leader of an apocalyptic Islamic sex cult."

Step inside this surreal world where religious piety meets psychedelic softcore porn, led by the world’s foremost Islamic creationist. "Followers of Harun Yahya (1, 2, 3) wear drag make-up and practice a “sexed-up, Disney version of Islam” that helps promote conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision of a modern, Muslim Turkey."
posted by artof.mulata on Apr 6, 2014 - 27 comments

Bulldozers poised to target Mecca birthplace of Muhammad

Saudi Arabia's royal family are planning to demolish a library sitting on the remains of Prophet Muhammad's birth home to make way for the imam's residence and a presidential palace. The Saudi royal family are adherents of Wahhabism, a radical branch of Islam; by their beliefs, they have destroyed many Islamic heritage sites as they consider the preservation of relics of Muhammad's life to be akin to idolatry.
posted by divabat on Feb 22, 2014 - 62 comments

"Do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction."

The General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment has issued a fatwa banning Muslims from participating in a Mars colonization effort, citing pervasive risk for no "righteous reason." The Mars One project (previously) has penned a remarkably erudite reply.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Feb 21, 2014 - 49 comments

July 30, 762 to February 13, 1258

In two weeks of blood and fire, one of the greatest intellectual and cultural legacies the world had ever seen came to an end. Crushed under the hooves of a mighty foe (in one case literally), a dynasty, an empire, a city, and a library all disappeared. It was perhaps the swiftest and most complete collapse of a civilization ever, still felt to this day. Now, how about for some context? [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Dec 13, 2013 - 39 comments

In Egypt, a campaign to promote an ‘Egyptian Islam’

In Egypt, a campaign to promote an ‘Egyptian Islam’ “This is the new regime trying to create an official Islam, a state Islam, which doesn’t exist within the Islamic tradition,” said Emad Shahin, a professor of public policy at the American University in Cairo. “It’s providing a religious justification to tolerate the killing of possibly thousands of people, and it is sending alarming signals into many segments of society. This is exactly what you call fascism.” [more inside]
posted by Golden Eternity on Oct 9, 2013 - 20 comments

Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here

Inspired by her father's struggle against fundamentalism in Algeria in the 1990s, Karima Bennoune interviewed hundreds of people of Muslim heritage from dozens of countries who also work for social reform. She hopes their stories will counterbalance oversimplified narratives about majority Muslim nations. Bennoune's website provides an excerpt from the book, and she is interviewed on Open Democracy (transcript).
posted by audi alteram partem on Sep 6, 2013 - 3 comments

Enigma popstar is fun / She wear burqa for fashion

A new Lady Gaga song called Burqa has leaked online. Its production is pretty interesting. Its lyrics are... controversial, to say the least. "Lady Gaga bas a burqa problem," writes Jezebel. "You can't just ornament yourself in other cultures (especially not if those cultures are specifically targeted for violence and harassment in your home country)." Other criticisms abound on The Atlantic and Autostraddle. A blog called Racist Little Monsters has popped up to collect pictures of fans posing in self-made burqas [warning: nsfw language abounds]
posted by Rory Marinich on Aug 8, 2013 - 236 comments

Who gets to speak, where, in front of whom, and about what  

Why the controversial (and somewhat backfired) Lauren Green interview of Reza Aslan is is about more than just Fox News idiocy.  
posted by Artw on Jul 31, 2013 - 162 comments

Rupert Everett, Really Into Dead Victorian Dreamboats

In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer ( 2 3 4 5 ), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 4, 2013 - 52 comments

The EDL almost felt ignored.

"I’m not saying the Left embraces or even excuses away these clerics, but this strange reticence across the Left not only allows them to fester, but has other consequences."
posted by marienbad on Jun 18, 2013 - 42 comments

Welcome to America's Thirty Years War.

Why did an American counterterrorism agency map the entire Muslim world as a terror zone? And why was their map 500 years out of date.(via)
The United States is not at war with Islam,” President Obama said last week at the National Defense University, in a speech that declared an end to America’s “wartime footing” in the fight against terrorism.
Meanwhile two weeks ago "Asked at a Senate hearing how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, 'At least 10 to 20 years.' . . . A spokeswoman, Army Col. Anne Edgecomb, clarified that Sheehan meant the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today - atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted.
posted by adamvasco on Jun 2, 2013 - 45 comments

the land of milk, meatballs and solidarity

This is why we can't have nice things. Swedish SAP ousts substitute member of the governing board, over issues stemming from his role as chairman of the Swedish Islamic Association. Media outlets are found to have been fast and loose in their reports concerning the member. [more inside]
posted by xcasex on Apr 23, 2013 - 13 comments

The limits of religious belieb

A Norwegian television comedy show recently staged a stunt where a street stall in Oslo offered Justin Bieber tickets to teenagers in return for ostensibly converting to Islam on camera. [more inside]
posted by acb on Apr 18, 2013 - 76 comments

In a circle, in lines, in turning

Dhikr (or Zihr) is a islamic devotional act involving the remembrance, the chanting, and repeating of the names of God. Though this often happens in silence, the Sufi tend to have ritualized group ceremonies ranging in style from the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi to the fervid dancing of the Chechen.
posted by fizzzzzzzzzzzy on Apr 8, 2013 - 15 comments

Worth scrolling down for the owl

Racial Misprofiling When "Arab" stock photos go terribly wrong (SLTumblr)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 6, 2013 - 71 comments

Not Talking About Pakistan

Part I
Questions about Pakistan are now a fact of living here, no different from damp weather or calls from salespeople. Some I deflect, and others I frame around my own terms.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 5, 2013 - 12 comments

A Mosque Among The Stars...

Islam & Science Fiction is exactly what it sounds like: interviews with authors, art, and more on Muslims and the future. They've also released a book that you can grab for free, A Mosque Among The Stars
posted by artof.mulata on Jan 5, 2013 - 26 comments

Amid democratic reform, ethnic cleansing

The Rohingya have lived in Burma for generations, as a Muslim minority in a predominantly Buddhist country. The government does not recognize them as citizens. Burmese Buddhists have referred to them as "illegal Bengalis", "viruses", and terrorists. In 2012, over 100,000 Rohingya were forced out of their homes during a violent conflict with Buddhists of the Rakhine ethnic group. The displaced Rohingya now live in refugee camps that they're not allowed to leave. With insufficient food provided, refugees resort to scavenging for grass and plants to survive. [more inside]
posted by problemspace on Jan 1, 2013 - 37 comments

"we are all actors trapped in the plot of history, playing roles most of us haven’t chosen."

A Lost Map On The Tramway In Istanbul
In Turkey, there lives a mysterious minority known as the “secret Armenians.” They have been hiding in the open for nearly a century. Outwardly, they are Turks or Kurds, but the secret Armenians are actually descendants of the survivors of the 1915 Genocide, who stayed behind in Eastern Anatolia after forcibly converting to Islam. Some are now devout Muslims, others are Alevis –generally considered an offshoot of Shia Islam, even though that would be an inaccurate description by some accounts–, and a few secretly remain Christian, especially in the area of Sassoun, where still there are mountain villages with secret Armenian populations. Even though Armenian Gypsies wouldn’t strictly qualify as Secret Armenians, they share many traits with the latter, including reluctance or fear to reveal their identity even to fellow Armenians.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 15, 2012 - 15 comments

Niza Yanay - the ideology of hatred: the psychic power of discourse

"The Ideology of Hatred": An interview with Niza Yanay - "Once we understand how hatred operates as an apparatus of power relations, and particularly how the discourse of hatred is motivated and mobilised in national conflicts, serious questions about misrecognition, veiled desires and symptomatic expressions arise. These questions have, to a large extent, been left unaddressed in studies of hatred between groups in conflict." [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 15, 2012 - 13 comments

Small Steps Hiding Big Dreams

The Art of Presence. Despite so many threats to their freedom, Arab women continue to stage a thousand small revolutions in their everyday lives.
posted by bardophile on Oct 28, 2012 - 8 comments

Nothing is black and white here

[There] is a glaring contradiction in the fact that Gunung Kemukus, a mass ritual of adultery and sex, is going on in the middle of Java, the demographic heart of the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Of course, the ritual isn’t Islam as most would recognise it. Instead, it’s emblematic of Indonesia’s – and especially Java’s – syncretic mix of Islam with earlier Hindu, Buddhist and animist beliefs. But what is truly surprising is that even while Indonesia undergoes a steady shift towards more orthodox Islam, the ritual on Gunung Kemukus is exploding in popularity. It’s a quintessentially Indonesian contradiction.
posted by barnacles on Oct 12, 2012 - 4 comments

"I played so much tragedy and woe on stage that in the end, the woe is on me as well."

When Satire Conquered Iran: [NYR Blog] Molla Nasreddin, an early twentieth-century Azerbaijani magazine that “attacked the hypocrisy of the Muslim clergy, the colonial policies of the US and the venal corruption of the local elite, while arguing repeatedly for Westernization, educational reform, and equal rights for women.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 22, 2012 - 10 comments

Circumcision in Germany is now illegal

A German court has ruled that male circumcision is "bodily harm" and that a child's right to "physical integrity" trumps parental or religious rights. Jews and Muslims have reacted strongly to the decision, with some going as far to allege anti-Semitism. Intactivists are generally pleased.
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 27, 2012 - 493 comments

'consider the Geneva Conventions against protecting civilians in wartime “no longer relevant.”'

Last year, Wired reported that 'The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”' (previously) The FBI pledged reform, but the materials appeared to be deeply embedded. After the President ordered a review, the FBI 'purged' the documents from training materials. Earlier this year Wired reported that 'U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 25, 2012 - 42 comments

Read No Evil

Dalal al-Mutairi, the senior book censor for the Kuwaiti government, sits down for a chat about her job and what it entails.
posted by reenum on May 15, 2012 - 38 comments

"My body is not obscene; veiling it is."

[All links NSFW] In solidarity with Egyptian women's rights activist Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (previously), 14 women have posed for the Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar [pdf] for release on International Women's Day. #NudePhotoRevolutionary
posted by troll on Mar 7, 2012 - 44 comments

'Nobody wants to be on the list of the FBI or the NYPD or whatever.'

NYPD monitored Muslim students all over the Northeast, reading their blogs, even sending an agent on a City College rafting trip. A 'secret' police report is here.
posted by xowie on Feb 19, 2012 - 61 comments

Interpol supports death penalty for tweets

Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari was arrested in Kuala Lumpur and deported to Saudi Arabia for at the behest of Interpol. Mr. Kashgari faces the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for a series of tweets insulting the prophet Muhammad, including 'I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you I will not pray for you.' (BBC, Al Jazeera) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Feb 12, 2012 - 59 comments

States Target Foreign Law

There are several groups trying to pass bills in different states to ban the application of foreign laws in a US court, especially Sharia law. These groups are almost all using model legislation drafted by anti-Muslim activist David Yerushalmi.
posted by reenum on Feb 8, 2012 - 97 comments

"The Enemy", wear thin?

"Muslim-American Terrorism in the Decade Since 9/11" (PDF) is a report by Professor Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina, published by the Triangle Center for Terrorism and Homeland Security. The TCFTHS is a collection of experts in the "Research Triangle" of North Carolina, associated with Duke, UNC and NC State and RTI, the independent research institute dedicated to aggregating and marketing the research resources of these three institutions. [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Feb 8, 2012 - 23 comments

I don't feel any guilt.................. because in this case...

Another honor killing that isn't about honor, and even less about Nietzsche. By MeFi's own resident psychiatrist.
posted by Taft on Feb 5, 2012 - 85 comments

Bollywood's Soft Power

What might help defeat Muslim extremists in Pakistan for good? Bollywood!
posted by reenum on Feb 2, 2012 - 11 comments

"a killing spree of staggering proportions"

Amnesty International believes that Iran has executed at least 600 people in 2011 in what it calls "a killing spree of staggering proportions". [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jan 22, 2012 - 67 comments

Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'

Rethinking the Idea of 'Christian Europe'. Kenan Malik's essay is awarded 3 Quarks Daily's Top Quark for politics & social science by judge Stephen M. Walt: "Soldiers in today’s culture wars believe 'European civilization' rests on a set of unchanging principles that are perennially under siege—from godless communism, secular humanism, and most recently, radical Islam. For many of these zealots, what makes the 'West' unique are its Judeo-Christian roots. In this calm and elegantly-written reflection on the past two millenia, Malik shows that Christianity is only one of the many sources of 'Western' culture, and that many of the ideas we now think of as 'bedrock' values were in fact borrowed from other cultures. This essay is a potent antidote to those who believe a 'clash of civilizations' is inevitable—if not already underway—and the moral in Malik’s account could not be clearer. Openness to outside influences has been the true source of European prominence; erecting ramparts against others will impoverish and endanger us all."
posted by homunculus on Dec 19, 2011 - 87 comments

Warning: May Contain Learning

All-American Muslim is a reality show on TLC which takes a look at life in Dearborn, Michigan--home to the largest mosque in the United States--through the lens of five Muslim American families. The participants are depicted dealing with lives far more familiar than extreme. But some are unhappy with the very existence of the series. Citing pressure from far-right wing groups, the home improvement chain Lowe’s has pulled its advertising from the show. Online, boycotts of the store, and other methods of protest, are multiplying. Meanwhile the controversy has put the show, as well as the little known group that takes credit for the Lowes advertising pull (the Florida Family Association), on the national media map.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 13, 2011 - 205 comments

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy

Nudity in Islamic countries; the case of the Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (nsfw). #NudePhotoRevolutionary
posted by - on Nov 18, 2011 - 34 comments

Something Tells Me To Stop With the Al-Qaeda. I Ignore It

Frank Miller is a giant among comic book creators. He gave us The Dark Knight Returns, which rewrote the book on Batman and comics in general. He also gave us seminal versions of Daredevil, Batman, and Wolverine. His Sin City and 300 books are a triumph of design, if not subtlety. Lately, though, he's taken a different path. He recently released Holy Terror, which in 2005 was to have featured Batman, but now features a renamed stand-in fighting Al-Qaeda. It has been nearly universally panned as a piece of ugly, anti-Muslim propaganda. Last week, Miller blasted the "Occupy" movement on his blog, describing the participants as, "louts, thieves, and rapists," who, "can do nothing but harm America" and pointing to the looming threat of Al-Qaeda.
posted by Legomancer on Nov 14, 2011 - 227 comments

Love is stronger than hate

After an Islamist party won * the first post-revolutionary election in Tunisia, the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo* ran a 'Sharia Hebdo' issue lampooning the result. The prophet Mohammed was named 'guest editor' of the issue and put on the cover proclaiming '100 lashes if you're not dying of laughter'. In response, their offices were promptly firebombed, destroying all their equipment. A week later, from its temporary home in the offices of the daily newspaper Libération, what is Charlie Hebdo's message? Love is stronger than hate. (Guardian story)
posted by Anything on Nov 8, 2011 - 374 comments

"I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

Salman Rushdie, Unafraid

Looking back on the past, Haaretz interviews Salman Rushdie, who discusses the upcoming film adaptation of Midnight's Children, analyzes the Arab Spring, and reflects on the controversy caused by the publication of The Satanic Verses: "British Airways refused to accept Rushdie as a passenger, fearing the plane would be blown up in midair. A Pakistani film portrayed the writer as a pro-Israel alcoholic who murders Muslims. British censorship prevented the film's screening, but Rushdie, always a fierce advocate of freedom of expression, demanded that it be shown." Previously on MeFi: Rushdie (2, 3); Haaretz.
posted by reductiondesign on Oct 24, 2011 - 27 comments

"We'll do to you what we did to the Jews."

Just over five months after the ban came into force, the Guardian reports on the impact of France's so-called burqa ban on niqab-wearing women.
posted by hoyland on Sep 19, 2011 - 194 comments

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