A Danish court rules that truth is not a defense to its hate speech law and fines Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe $1,000 for commenting that "Of course Lars Hedegaard [President of the Danish Free Press Society] should not have said that there are Muslim fathers who rape their daughters when the truth appears to be that they make do with killing their daughters (the so-called honour killings) and leave it to their uncles to rape them." Hedegaard had tried to explain that he was speaking in the context of an epidemic of honor violence within Muslim families when he said "They rape their own children"; he faces his own set of charges. (via Volokh Conspiracy) [more inside]
"Latino converts to radical Islam have been connected to terrorism cases in this country with increasing frequency — and officials are trying to understand why."
In stark contrast to the recent results of the Torontontian mayoral results, last week, Calgary, the third-largest "municipality" in Canada, elected the country's first Muslim mayor, Naheed Nenshi. [more inside]
The 99 (previously), the Islamic-inspired superheroes which have met both praise and somewhat batshit controversy, are crossing over with the DC Universe.
A snippet of the full interview between Soledad O'Brien and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is in charge of the Cordoba Initiative which plans to build a cultural center, including a mosque, two blocks from ground zero with accompanying article. Five surprises to come from the interview, post-interview debate on Anderson Cooper, and iReporter Kathi Cordsen reacts.
Bean Pie, my Brother? The Muslim Bean Pie is a sweet, custard pie made from eggs, sugar, and beans (usually navy or pinto beans). [more inside]
"This is an Islamic country - if you're caught drinking or they smell alcohol, you will be lashed." But people drink anyway.
A Muslim American soldier battles on friendly ground. 'In his 23 months in the Army, Klawonn has consistently earned among the highest physical training scores in his unit. He's at the top in weapons qualifications and is the only one in his battalion to be invited to try out for the Special Forces. But the thing that stands out most, says Capt. Christopher Arata, his commander, is Klawonn's impossibly clean record. Not one reprimand. Never even late to a morning formation.' 'You watch your words and actions, censoring anything that could be interpreted as anger. You do so even as you try to ignore the names piled on you. Sand monkey. Carpet jockey. Raghead. Zachari bin Laden. Nidal Klawonn. But the hardest to shake off -- the name that cuts deepest, especially for a man who defied his family and community to become a U.S. soldier -- is this one: Terrorist. "To be looked upon by the people you serve with, by people you've trusted your life with, as the enemy," Klawonn says, sitting in his barracks a month after receiving the note. His voice trails off as he struggles to describe the anger he feels. "It's not right." [more inside]
Malaysian Catholic newspaper Herald was recently involved in a major lawsuit against the Malaysian government, stating that their constitutional rights were violated when they were stripped of their license to publish in East Malaysian indigenous language Kadazandusun. The ruling was overturned, amidst support by state ministers and protests by the Government, the Islamic Opposition party, and Muslim activists - some of whom have spent the past week attacking churches and convents through firebombs, Molotov cocktails, paint, and bricks thrown at glass. [more inside]
The Interfaith Youth Core was started in 1998 by a group led by Rhodes Scholar Eboo Patel. Propelled by his experience growing up as a Muslim in the United States, and encouraged by the Dalai Lama, Patel seeded an organization dedicated promoting global pluralism. His story is detailed in his acclaimed autobiography, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He keeps a blog at the Washington Post, and is a fellow at the Ashoka Foundation.
Back in 2004, the Chicago Tribune published an investigative series about the state of Islam after 9/11. [more inside]
Abdelrahman Zeitoun is a Syrian American businessman who spent the days after Katrina paddling around New Orleans in a canoe, saving elderly people and feeding stranded pets. His efforts were brought to a halt when he was detained by the Bush administration on suspicion of being a terrorist. [more inside]
Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian-American poet and activist now based in New York, writes about being a Muslim immigrant and also a woman challenging conventions. Spotted by Russell Simmons for Def Poetry Jam, she has performed pieces about love in the time of war, exoticising beauty, and a touching ode to her father, among many others. Suheir has just produced and released her first feature film Salt of This Sea, up for the Cannes Films Festival and possibly an Oscar, and recently performed in Ramallah for the 2009 Palestinian Festival of Literature.
Editor Marty Halpern looks back at the career of George Alec Effinger (part 1, part 2, part 3), a prolific author best known for his work set in the Budayeen, a walled city in a future Islamic state, teeming with gangsters, hustlers and transsexual prostitutes, many of them habitual users of plug in personality modules. The noirish tone and exotic technology of the Marîd Audran books (When Gravity Fails, A Fire In The Sun, The Exile Kiss) made Effinger one of the leading lights in the cyberpunk movie, and spawned a videogame - a rare attempt at a graphical adventure from Infocom - and an RPG setting. Sadly Effinger faded from prominence after that, and he suffered from a number of health and financial setbacks before passing away in 2002. His work has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity of late, with the Marîd Audran books coming back into print in 2007, a long with a collection containing The Wolves of Memory, Effinger's personal favourite amongst his novels.
Obama speaks in Cairo: "I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." Text is here. He quoted the Koran and highlighted a subject he avoided during his campaign - his own family's ties to Islam, his youth in Muslim Indonesia and even Chicago's Nation of Islam. An early roundup of US right wing reaction, and US left wing reaction, and the Middle East.
Chances are, if you live in a cosmopolitan urban centre, you'll have noticed how young muslimahs are growing ever more adventurous in their fashion choices. But taking the veil is no simple matter: the aspiring hijabi will need tips on how to tie her headscarf, as well as ideas on how to stay covered up and stylish all year round. Modesty is clearly no barrier to urban cool, as Elenany's see-them-want-them graphic-print dresses prove, although this year, certain trends are off limits. (previously)
A Quiet Revolution Grows in the Muslim World "In many of the scores of countries that are predominantly Muslim, the latest generation of activists is redefining society in novel ways. This new soft revolution is distinct from three earlier waves of change--the Islamic revival of the 1970s, the rise of extremism in the 1980s and the growth of Muslim political parties in the 1990s. Today's revolution is more vibrantly Islamic than ever. Yet it is also decidedly antijihadist and ambivalent about Islamist political parties. Culturally, it is deeply conservative, but its goal is to adapt to the 21st century. Politically, it rejects secularism and Westernization but craves changes compatible with modern global trends. The soft revolution is more about groping for identity and direction than expressing piety. The new revolutionaries are synthesizing Koranic values with the ways of life spawned by the Internet, satellite television and Facebook. For them, Islam, you might say, is the path to change rather than the goal itself."
"Let them arrest me". Vehemently anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders was scheduled to travel to London tomorrow to attend a screening of his controversial short film Fitna (wiki, mefi). Yesterday however, the UK's Home Secretary notified Wilders that his presence in the UK would pose a "serious threat to [...] public security" (PDF), presumably intending to refuse his entry into UK. Wilders plans to board the flight anyway, daring British authorities to arrest him. [more inside]
India, as she is today, was carved out of British India, in 1947 when the left and right hand sides of the country became the new nation of Pakistan (East and West) respectively. While the history of Islamic influence and subsequent tolerance and intolerance goes back centuries to the first advent of the Mughal invasion, it has been said that the post Independence troubles of the modern nations of India and Pakistan stem from this sundering. In 1971, war brought forth Bangladesh from the former East Pakistan on India's eastern border. The Partition, as this holocaust is known, embedded in current day Indian memory, history, culture, movies, books, TV serials and music, was an unimaginable horror of slaughter and bloodshed. This separation was not in the plans of the Mahatma, and it is said he was assassinated by Hindu fundamentalists for letting it happen. What future awaits the Hindus and Muslims who have lived side by side for hundreds of years?
Blind Muslims with guide dogs. Dogs are usually considered unclean, but one U.K. imam carried out research and determined that a dog in service to, or trained by, a person could be allowed in a mosque. [more inside]
An article by Johann Hari (a remarkable columnist) in today's Independent about the substantial Heavy Metal movement in the Muslim world inserted a flicker of hope into my normally gloomy outlook on the current situation. I know that in my youth I used Heavy Metal (old school) as a hammer to tell my parents, my teachers and the world in general that I was different from them and did not accept their rules, judgements and values. If that is happening in Tehran, Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan then I'm with the kids. Go Metalheads! Rock the Mullahs! Tarantist look and sound the part but the listing on their YouTube page of 'Home town - Tehran/Los Angeles' is a bit worrying. How the hell do they work that gig? [more inside]
slyt: Two perpetrators of a poetic internet theology flamewar recite aloud, with hilarious, barbed, awesomely dorky results. Brother of Few Words vs Yasir Qadhi.
Rachida Dati, France's Minister of Justice, faces a difficult position after a judge annulled a Muslim marriage because of lies over the wife's virginity. [more inside]
Fitna, a Koranic term translated as 'strife', shows footage of the attacks on the US in September 2001, and images of the bomb attacks on London and Madrid. Geert Wilders, Dutch politician and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), has called his just-released Fitna a ‘respectable film’. He admitted that Muslims may not be happy with it, but emphasised that he had always stuck to the facts. He said he believes that the film is also ‘one thousand kilometres within the framework of the law’. [more inside]
God's Waiting Room is a British documentary about the daily struggles of Haji Taslim Funerals, the first European Muslim Funeral Directors, and how they work to honor the requirements of ancient faith while cutting through the red tape of modern death. [more inside]
CBC Television's sitcom Little House on the Mosque, starring Carlo Rota of 24, has been mentioned before on the blue and grey. Reviews have actually been pretty positive, the ratings have been good, and now you can decide for yourself whether the "brou-ha-ha" was worth it (all 8 episodes linked inside). Don't think a sitcom can possibly capture Muslim life accurately? Well, maybe Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days can do a better job for you. It's pretty fascinating viewing, either way. [more inside]
We have lost on the way the lesson of living together, We are now even scared of each other. They are others whose faces are on your hands, Your hurts are a deep sea -- our wounds are deep. The stories that are being spread in our names are lies, This is not us. Words of a Pakistani pop song Yeh Hum Naheen [This is not us] hitting the charts, attempting to spread the message that all muslims are not terrorists, story via Salon. "Produced and written by a British Muslim, Waseem Mahmood, at the request of his two sons, "Yeh Hum Naheen" offers a welcome counterpoint to the images of troops storming the Red Mosque, or fundamentalist mullahs preaching jihad. But the key to the song's success lies neither in its production values or deft depictions of average Pakistanis going about their daily lives, but in its heartfelt expression of pain. "
"Americans need to educate themselves, from elementary school onward, about what their country has done abroad. And they need to play a more active role in ensuring that what the United States does abroad is not merely in keeping with a foreign policy elite's sense of realpolitik but also with the American public's own sense of American values. Because at their core, those values are sound. That is why, even in places where you'll find virulent anti-Americanism, you'll also find enormous affection for things American." An article by Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist
I was a fanatic...I know their thinking. If a British former muslim jihadist is to be believed, "the engine of [their] violence" is not western foreign policy, but certain fundamental tenets of islamic theology. Hassan Butt's previous MeFi appearance was two years ago (before he left the jihadist network in February 2006). Also, a video and transcript of a 60 Minutes interview.
Surprising findings in Pew study of US Muslims. The interweb is all atwitter over some of the findings of a Pew Research Center study of the attitudes of Muslim-Americans (the most comprehensive one done yet). While most of the findings should be welcomed (US Muslims are well off, appreciate being here, have non-Muslim friends, shun extremism, etc.), there is one troubling statistic: 6% of US Muslims - and 15% of US Muslims under 30 - believe that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "often or sometimes justified". Sounds bad, but what happens when you ask the same question of non-Muslim Americans? Turns out that 24% of all Americans agreed - four times the 6% of US Muslims who share that view. So are US Muslims more peaceful than their non-Muslim neighbors?
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole.
Wake County, NC: Solomon Kamil invited to speak at a public school in Raleigh tells the students to shun Muslims "You may be excited that you found the 'tall, dark, and handsome man' you have been looking for. His sweet words and attention may blind you regarding the power, importance, and influence of his culture and Islamic faith."
Modest, yet fashionable. It may be February, but you'd best get an early start finding the perfect modest swimwear. Onesies are probably best left the domain of christian harlots. A two-piece is right out. How about a four-piece? The fine folks at Haşema and Ahiida can hook you up with the hottest styles this season. After a refreshing swim, why not go for a jog?
A television report tracks Muslim extremism in the United Kingdom. See also, part 2 and part 3. (YouTube) (via Digg)
Beachwear and modesty are generally considered mutually exclusive, leaving only the most modern of Muslim women out in the cold, so to speak. However, an Australian company has tackled the issue with their own line of made-for-the-sun attire specifically catering to a Muslim woman's need for propreity in matters of apparel. Even lifeguards are getting in on the act. I must be frank, until I read a couple of news articles, I thought this was a hoax site.
"A Christian man is weak compared to a Muslim man." Violence and war between Christians, Muslims, and Jews is a long-standing fact of life. Even St. Francis joining the Fifth Crusade as a peacemaker, would not change the course of history. "He was repulsed by the sacrilegious brutality of the Crusaders." Stories of personal persecution abound. However, there are also some small glimmers of hope and understanding that don't get much notice. Although such efforts are just specks in a sandstorm, maybe they are a start.
Pope Benedict XVI makes his usual Sunday address during Italy's National August Holiday and about two-thirds in points out that "excessive activity" can lead to "hardness of heart", specifically recommending taking time out for prayer. It becomes the highlight of the speech, gets picked up all over, by Reuters and AP, and suddenly he's the Patron Saint of Slackers. Huh? Maybe that's why it's called The Protestant Work Ethic. Meanwhile, Americans are 'giving up' on vacations (voluntarily?) and in parts of Turkey a Muslim Protestant Work Ethic is emerging. And whatever happened to the Hacker Ethic?
The practical future of the country formerly known as Iraq. [NewsFilter, but a significant acknowledgement of something long-in-coming.]
Keep your balls in check: The Saved Sect Website calls for Muslims to stop supporting The World Cup, as "[...]soccer plants the seeds of nationalism, and is therefore part of a 'colonial crusader scheme' to divide Muslims and cause them to stray from the vision of a unified Islamic identity."
While the nonpartisan Pew Research Center normally focuses on US domestic issues, such as the recently and narrowly failed flag-burning amendment, the Pew Global Attitudes Project takes a wider view with reports such as The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other and 16-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey, with results that are parts obvious, non-obvious, foreboding, hopeful and contradictory in how the two societies seemingly feel about themselves and each other. [mi]
The Muslim Brotherhood The Muslim Brotherhood Are they Islam’s version of the KKK or something much different? According to Robert Baer’s books on his experiences as a CIA agent in the middle east, the followers of the brotherhood are the one’s really responsible for the Lockerbie 747 terrorist attack, attacks against the embassies in Lebanon and Kenya, and very possibly 9-11. What is the history of the brotherhood and why have they been overlooked for so long? Britain seems to be taking an interest in them lately, what do they know that the U.S. refuses to acknowledge? Funded by the Saudis, supported by Iran, supporters of Hamas; by going after Al-Qaeda is the west on a wild goose chase that may end up with their own defeat? And finally, is this part of a secret war that Iran has waged against the U.S. since the embassy takeover after the Shah was forced to leave back in the late 1970’s? And finally, what does the Muslim Brotherhood have to say about all this?
Muslim heritage is an intriguing and rather pretty website detailing contributions of a thousand years. Make sure to see the timelineand events sections. Their new "weblog" seems to be shaping up to be interesting too, have a rummage.
Seeing Only Evil: An Interview with Retired CIA Agent Robert Baer, Author of See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War Against Terrorism.
Redneck Muslims? Apparently. Strange BBC piece on Christian Texans converting to Islam. I have a hard time believing these people don't eat pork.
Muslim world goes apeshit over Danish cartoon. Saudi Arabia and Libya have withdrawn their ambassadors to Denmark, which issued safety warnings to its citizens travelling in Muslim countries after threats by militant Islamic groups and a boycott of Danish goods