The Truth About Muslims.
, one of those rare historians who can really write (his books From the Holy Mountain
and White Mughals
have gotten rave reviews), takes on Bernard Lewis and gives some fascinating information about the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims through the centuries:
Fletcher also stresses the degree to which the Muslim armies were welcomed as liberators by the Syriac and Coptic Christians, who had suffered discrimination under the strictly Orthodox Byzantines: "To the persecuted Monophysite Christians of Syria and Egypt, Muslims could be presented as deliverers. The same could be said of the persecuted Jews.... Released from the bondage of Constantinopolitan persecution they flourished as never before, generating in the process a rich spiritual literature in hymns, prayers, sermons and devotional work."
posted by languagehat
on Dec 14, 2004 -
Converting to which
Islam? Most of the new Muslims I read about in the usual media feel impelled to join the "orthodox" Sunni
(if not outright Wahhabi
) variety, as if there is no other. But, as many of you no doubt already know, a non-negligible minority of the world's Muslims are Shi'ite
, whose biggest "Twelver"
branch was made famous by this Ayatollah
To further refute the image of "monolithic" Islam,within the Shia minority are a minority known as "Seveners"
, whose biggest branch
is run by this gentleman
, whose conception of Islam
as "a thinking, spiritual faith, one that teaches compassion and tolerance"
seems more congenial to the self-selected strata inclined to, oh, post to MetaFilter, perhaps especially to "Secular Humanist" atheists like me. (I'll bet some of you can even relate to his divorce
.) Further reading from these links (perhaps with Google's help) should further belie much of the dumbed-down propaganda "mainstream" Americans are spoon-fed about Islam, showing the kaleidoscopic nature of one of today's One True Faiths. (And then there are the almost Zen-like Sufis
, and ....)
posted by davy
on Dec 7, 2004 -
Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900-1945 During the years 1900-1945, the question that motivated Muslims and some Japanese was whether Japan could be the "Savior of Islam" against Western imperialism and colonialism if this meant collaboration with Japanese imperialism. Even during the 1930s, when there was little hope left for prospects of democracy and liberalism in Japan (for that matter in Europe as well), the vision of a "Muslim Japan" was so compelling to many Muslims in Asia and beyond, even among black Muslims of Harlem, as a means for emancipation from Western hegemony/colonial reality that it justified cooperation with Japanese intelligence overseas. Okawa Shumei, the major intellectual figure of Pan-Asianism, the "mastermind of Japanese fascism" in the Tokyo trials, who justified Japan's mission to liberate Asia from Western colonialism by war if necessary, saw Islam as the means. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the relationship transformed into a major Japanese military strategy as the Japanese government began to implement its Islamic policy by mobilizing Muslim forces against the United Kingdom, Holland, China and Russia in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
Alternately, The Fukuwaza Doctrine
posted by y2karl
on Nov 12, 2004 -
The power of nightmares.
I just saw the first episode of this, the BBC's midweek / BBC2 / largely unadvertised television series. This first episode dealt with the rise of neoconservatism
from it's roots as a political "solution" to the perceived failure of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society (a) (b) (c)
and the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism from Sayyid Qutb
through and past the assasination of Anwar Sadat
. More biased liberal information on the show here
. I urge you to beg, borrow, steal or download this series / Commie propaganda.
posted by seanyboy
on Oct 20, 2004 -
in the Low Countries. Since there's nothing interesting going on here in the US right now, let's enjoy a moment of EU fun. (y2-length post inside).
posted by jfuller
on Oct 3, 2004 -
wants to play basketball. She is also a muslim, and wishes to observe traditional muslim attire for a woman of the faith. Intolerance ensues.
(A link from my local paper to an Orlando Sentinel story, in that this woman is from Oregon.)
posted by Danf
on Sep 24, 2004 -
Cat Stevens on NatSec watchlist.
"A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam
- formerly known as singer Cat Stevens
- was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, federal officials said... Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. 'He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,' Murphy said, and would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday."
posted by mwhybark
on Sep 21, 2004 -
A View from the Eye of the Storm.
An Arab intellectual in Europe ponders on the Muslim world and comes to some interesting conclusions. Israel is a sideshow. Iran is the most dangerous country in the world.. in the long run the only way for us (the West) to win the war of terror is to force the problem nations to reform both politically and culturally.via Steven Den Beste weblog
posted by stbalbach
on Jun 25, 2004 -
Mutilation of victims and Muslim law The ruling by Sheik Omar Abdullah Hassan al-Shehabi specifies two circumstances in which the desecration of an infidel -- a non-Muslim -- is permitted. One is retaliation "when the enemy is disfiguring Muslim corpses or when it otherwise serves the Islamic nation." The other is when mutilation will "terrorize the enemy" or "gladden the heart of a Muslim warrior."
posted by swerdloff
on Jun 13, 2004 -
CIA Warned of Attack 6 Years Before 9-11
Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA warned in a classified report that Islamic extremists likely would strike on U.S. soil at landmarks in Washington or New York, or through the airline industry, according to intelligence officials.
posted by Postroad
on Apr 16, 2004 -
An interesting article by the ultra-prolific Niall Ferguson obliquely raises the question: wouldn't Europe (and the world) be happier if Islam still had a hold on the West? Al-Qaeda's longings for Andalusia and the Algarve apart, the truth is that Southern Spain (until 1498) and Portugal (until 1297) were very happy under Muslim rule. Isn't it sad that the three great monotheistic religions, plus the great atheist belief, can't live together anymore? [ NYT registration required. Via Arts and Letters Daily.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Apr 8, 2004 -
Rwandans turn toward Islam.
A NY Times
story (reg. req.) describes how Islam has become the fastest-growing religion in Rwanda, partly because people are disgusted with the priests and nuns who helped with the killing ten years ago, partly because Muslims saved many people at that time.
Muslim leaders credit the gains to their ability during the 1994 massacres to shield most Muslims, and many other Rwandans, from certain death. "The Muslims handled themselves well in '94, and I wanted to be like them," said Alex Rutiririza, explaining why he converted to Islam last year.
Food for thought for those who think of Islam
as a "religion of violence
posted by languagehat
on Apr 7, 2004 -
After about 8.30am, we decided to try to make our way back to the shrine of Imam Al-Hussain (S) so that we could hear the Maqtal (story of his death) being read out. On our way there, as we were opposite the shrine of Al-Abbas (S) coming from the Baghdad Road, a loud explosion went off. It came from the direction of the Imam Al-Hussain (S) shrine. Suddenly the crowd of people started running and were coming towards us. We had no option but to turn back with them, or be trampled on. After about 2 minutes, another explosion went off, it seemed closer. We had stopped by now to see what was happening and after about 3 minutes, we started moving forward again. A few seconds later another bomb went off, this was the closest yet. We walked into one of the hotel lobbies, fearing anything could go off next to us. It was like an air raid, you thought bombs were being dropped. There was smoking rising above both shrines and there was a lot of shouting and screaming. People were running in all directions, desperately clinging on to each other. We stepped out to see what had happended but then another bomb went off. This was the biggest one and it shook us. Glass from the nearby buildings started raining down and we ran for cover. A lot of smoke and dust clouded over the area and we done a head count to make sure we were all together. Shiite Account of Visitation ('pilgrimage') to Holy Shrines of Iraq
is how Juan Cole
titled this first person account.
posted by y2karl
on Mar 15, 2004 -
spokesman of spanish police announces muslim men of moroccan, indian and spanish nationality were arrested this evening. goodbye and thank you, jose maria aznar.
posted by coyroy
on Mar 13, 2004 -
The Jihadi Who Kept Asking Why
- An unlikely group of onetime religious jihadists have recently stepped into the midst of the debate on Saudi Arabia's future. They belong to a larger circle of liberals, intellectuals, professors, former Wahhabi scholars, judges and even women who are discussing subjects in the media that were taboo before 9/11 -- questions about terrorism, about Wahhabi discrimination toward Muslims of the Shiite and Sufi sects (whom they consider apostates), about alcohol, about AIDS, about the rights of women to drive and work. The ex-jihadists are fluent in Islam and, more important, in the lingo of the underground terrorists, and they've surfaced from the extremist subculture with a message for the Wahhabi official clerics, the royal family and even their complicit American allies: Wake up. It's you who created us. We are not an aberration.
From The Agonist
--where the editorial comment this is an absolutely excellent article and a must read
is quite indisputable. From entering Salafiyya
in Google comes the fascinating polemic The Salafi Cult. better known as the Khawarij
posted by y2karl
on Mar 7, 2004 -
(warning, the image in the link is graphic and disturbing and is from Yahoo News, sorry about the lameness of the source)
Ashoura Day is a Shiite Muslim holiday that commemorates the 7th century death of Saint Imam Hussein.
Its "celebrated" by cutting oneself or others with swords and knives and is primarily aimed at children though many adults get into it as well. I'm all for cultural tolerance but this strikes me as pretty blatant child abuse.
For an in depth examination of what the Ashoura commemoration means, check out The Connotations of Ashoura
posted by fenriq
on Mar 2, 2004 -
Alhamdullah. "I do say that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person," the president replied. "I also condition it by saying freedom is not America's gift to the world. It's much greater than that, of course. And I believe we worship the same god."
Apparently, this is causing no small amount of controversy in the Christian God-believing circles. I was always under the impression that it was commonly accepted that Jews
, and Muslims
were all working for the same Guy
. So, Bush finally says something that's not completely stupid, and he gets all kind of hell
for it. Great.
posted by majcher
on Nov 24, 2003 -
The new Islam.
Husam Tammam and Patrick Haenni in Le Monde
(English version) describe the new forms of Islamic culture taking shape in Egypt. I follow the Islamic world fairly closely, but this was news to me. Does it herald an Islam that can live with the rest of the world (and vice versa)?
This entry, both with the hijab [veil] and the nashid [religious chant], into consumerism and syncretism with non-Arab models, has led to an implicit questioning of the old puritanism of the 1970s and 1980s - and above all a questioning of the principle of the ideologisation of religion. The change is important: we could trace similar patterns in the Islamic economy, increasingly affected by the ups and downs of international finance; or in Islamic charity, which has been rethought, within a framework of neoliberalism, as a security net to replace the state's withdrawal from this area (a withdrawal the Islamists have widely supported).
(Via Path of the Paddle
posted by languagehat
on Oct 9, 2003 -
The Bombay(Mumbai) blasts.
Why detonate two car-bombs in Bombay? Destabilize the economy creating a climate for terror.
Terror attacks have become commonplace
in parts of India. The US condemned the Bombay attack- Powell called Indian officials. But, it seems like India should do more before if it wants broader US support. As the WSJ editorial page put it- "We think India could have helped build even closer U.S. ties had it decided to send troops to Iraq. The U.S. has driven a wedge into the center of Muslim terrorism with its occupation of Iraq, and it is looking to see who its friends really are." What is the lesson from all of this to the Indian government? What would you do if you were running India?
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy
on Aug 28, 2003 -
Qur’an in Aramaic? Virgins become raisins, veils become belts.
"Luxenberg’s chief hypothesis is that the original language of the Qur’an was not Arabic but something closer to Aramaic. He says the copy of the Qur’an used today is a mistranscription of the original text from Muhammad’s time, which according to Islamic tradition was destroyed by the third caliph, Osman, in the seventh century. But Arabic did not turn up as a written language until 150 years after Muhammad’s death, and most learned Arabs at that time spoke a version of Aramaic."
posted by four panels
on Jul 29, 2003 -
The Hidden Dangers of Letter Campaigns.
A series of email petitions
have been circulating over the past year, to prevent the execution of Amina Lawal, a 30 year-old woman found guilty by an islamic court in Northern Nigeria of adultery. Even signature-collecting websites have been set up by local Amnesty chapters (see for example this Spanish A.I. site
But this isn't helping - and is indeed damaging the cause of Amina Lawal, according to BAOBAB, a Nigerian group supporting Women's Human Rights:
...It turns out that letters and petitions, even the few that aren't just chain-letter foolishness, may do more harm than good and that the situation in Nigeria is at once far more complex and less dire than it seems from the outside. There are ways to help, starting with understanding what is really going on...
Good intentions, it seems, aren't good enough if one has little knowledge of what one is campaigning against or for.
posted by talos
on May 16, 2003 -
The New York Times Magazine (yes, I know the link disappears in a week or two, sorry) published a fascinating article about , "The Philosopher of Islamic Terror."
An Egyptian born in 1906, he veered toward radical Islamic fundamentalism by the 1950's, but had much company in Egypt in this endeavor. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a precursor to Al Qaeda, and became the editor of their journal. Nasser imprisoned him and eventually executed him. In prison he wrote powerful works which described in his view a diversion in society between human nature and human reason, with human reason having so overwhelmed human nature as to lead to mankind's potential downfall.
The answer was a return to human nature through a ritualistic adherence to the teachings of God, as described by Muhammad. Rather than separate science and reason from religion, he sought to combine them as taught in the Koran, thus providing real freedom for mankind. For a liberal Episcopalian (me) these are difficult ideas, but they are nevertheless compelling not only to the poor and uneducated Muslims but more importantly to the intelligentsia. They explain the pain of modern existence, especially to those raised on the Koran. The author describes Qutb as the Islamist's Marx. Scary - religion and philosophy carry much greater power than Marx's mere economics and philosophy. Western media portray Islam as mostly a fringe group drawing power from economic poverty and the power imbalance between the West and most Muslim countries. This article shows that, at least at its heart, the movement draws upon a powerful philosophy which for many answers their agony of modern existence, regardless of their economic status.
posted by caddis
on Mar 23, 2003 -
is an provocative proponent of the American Empire
theory, indeed. Here are excerpts from his Blow Back: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire
I heard Johnson interviewed on Episode II, War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era
of The Whole Wide World
The Cold War and its central conflict - the physical and ideological battles between the United States, the Soviet Union and their proxy states - imposed a certain logic and consistency on the world. Take that away and add the bloody wars in the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East in the ‘90s as well as the terror attacks and warnings of more recent times and you get a very confused picture of a world at war. Is this breaking storm in Iraq about oil, democracy, freedom, empire, culture, water, diamonds, modernizing Islam or nation building in the Middle East? Some, one or all of these things?
It was an excellent program and well worth your listen, either by RA now or mp3 later. (From listening to the radio)
posted by y2karl
on Mar 13, 2003 -
How Do You Say ASSALAMU ALAIKUM in Gaelic?
Plans have been announced in the Irish Republic to translate the Koran, Islam's most sacred text, into Irish. The ambitious project aims to bring Ireland's Gaelic-speakers and Muslim communities closer together, Leslie Carter of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin said.
posted by turbanhead
on Mar 11, 2003 -