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 -
“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 -
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
. 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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
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 -
The Modern Art Iraq Archive
(MAIA) is a resource to trace, share, and enable community enrichment of the modern art heritage of Iraq. Explore the works by artist, browse through related textual materials, or add your own images or stories to the archive.
posted by sciurus
on Mar 2, 2011 -
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]
posted by shivohum
on Jan 14, 2011 -
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]
posted by reenum
on Aug 10, 2009 -
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.
posted by Artw
on Jun 9, 2009 -
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!
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]
posted by surfdad
on Sep 8, 2008 -
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. "
posted by infini
on Aug 25, 2007 -
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?
posted by laz-e-boy
on May 23, 2007 -
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."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy
on Feb 22, 2007 -
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."
posted by naxosaxur
on Jul 3, 2006 -
is an intriguing and rather pretty website detailing contributions of a thousand years. Make sure to see the timeline
sections. Their new "weblog
" seems to be shaping up to be interesting too, have a rummage.
posted by Mossy
on Mar 6, 2006 -
Apparently. Strange BBC piece on Christian Texans converting to Islam. I have a hard time believing these people don't eat pork.
posted by mosessmith
on Feb 2, 2006 -
My cell was 8 ft by 6 ft, the same size as the detainees’ cages at Guantanamo. It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to have a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched. It didn’t matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite US military academy. It didn’t matter that my religious beliefs prohibited me from being fully naked in front of strangers. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been charged with a crime. It didn’t matter that my wife and daughter had no idea where I was. And it certainly didn’t matter that I was a loyal American citizen and, above all, innocent... I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim.James Yee: An American in chains
It's OK to demonize the 'Other' if the Other is a Muslim.
posted by y2karl
on Oct 9, 2005 -