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You Still Can't Write About Muhammad

Asra Q. Nomani writes in The Wall Street Journal on Sherry Jones's new historical novel, "The Jewel of Medina" about Aisha, the young wife of the prophet Muhammad. Random House has pulled the book for fears of a political and extremist nature. In a statement, Random House said: "We stand firmly by our responsibility to support our authors and the free discussion of ideas, even those that may be construed as offensive by some. However, a publisher must weigh that responsibility against others that it also bears, and in this instance we decided, after much deliberation, to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House Inc, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the book." Over at the Guardian, you can read more about the controversy.
posted by Fizz on Aug 12, 2008 - 140 comments

Al-Jazari's Elephant Clock and other Islamic Inventions

Al-Jazari is the best-known Islamic inventor of the Middle Ages, famous for his waterclocks and automata. The wonderful History of Science and Technology in Islam has articles on him as well as other subjects. A medieval manuscript of Al-Jazari's masterwork, a book generally known in English as either Book of Knowledge of Mechanical Devices, can be perused in its entirety in flash form. It includes 174 illustrations. If you want to see working copies of his most famous automaton, the Elephant Clock, you can go either to the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai (Flickr pictures), the Musée d'Horlogerie du Locle in Switzerland (Cabinet of Wonders post about visiting the museum) or Institute for the History of Arab-Islamic Science in Frankfurt (article about the institute from a feature in Saudi Aramco World magazine called Rediscovering Arabic Science).
posted by Kattullus on Aug 6, 2008 - 13 comments

Persia

Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran. "A glorious past inspires a conflicted nation."
posted by homunculus on Aug 4, 2008 - 35 comments

What Muslims Really Think

Who are Muslims? Gallup has conducted a poll "in 40 predominantly Muslim nations and among significant Muslim populations in the West. It is the first set of unified and scientifically representative views from 1.3 billion Muslims globally." They'll be parsing and interpreting this data for years, but for the time being, they've offered some of their key results online and in print. See also, the Muslim-West Facts Initiative. (via) [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Jul 28, 2008 - 37 comments

freedom

On a sunny May morning, six plainclothes police officers, two uniformed policemen and a trio of functionaries from the state prosecutor's office closed in on a small apartment in Amsterdam. Their quarry: a skinny Dutch cartoonist with a rude sense of humor. Informed that he was suspected of sketching offensive drawings of Muslims and other minorities, the Dutchman surrendered without a struggle.

"I never expected the Spanish Inquisition," recalls Gregorius Nekschot, the cartoonist.
posted by plexi on Jul 24, 2008 - 111 comments

Islamic Banking - a compelling mix of religion and finance

While western banking institutions continue to reel from the credit crunch, Islamic banking, with assets approaching one trillion dollars, is growing at roughly 20% pa by offering Sharia compliant - and only Sharia compliant - financial products. But compliance to Sharia law in matters financial is not easy (previously). [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jun 6, 2008 - 44 comments

NYT Op-Ed labels Obama "muslim apostate"

An opinion piece by Edward N. Luttwak in the May 12 Sunday New York Times declares that Obama is an apostate under Islamic law (Sharia), and thus that an Obama Presidency would compromise US relations with the Middle East. This Sunday, Clark Hoyt, the NYT ombudsman, was sorry.
posted by flotson on Jun 2, 2008 - 56 comments

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Come, take a ride and look at some of the Islamic Art of the past. Or, you could call it Art of the Islamic World if you're so inclined. If not, then how about taking into account some of the major milestones of Islam throughout the centuries, from past till present (more examples here), including the art of Calligraphy and Architecture. Not to mention the Arab world's contribution to music, both old and new. [Previously mentioned, here, here, here, and here, with a wonderful comment from nickyskye as usual]
posted by hadjiboy on May 29, 2008 - 28 comments

Not Just a (Fundamentalist) Mormon Thing

Plural marriage, less publicized, in other faiths: polygamy among Black Muslims in Philadelphia; Rastafarianism; Judaism. Polyandry in Tibetan Buddhism. [more inside]
posted by msalt on May 29, 2008 - 30 comments

The Rebellion Within

The Rebellion Within: An Al Qaeda mastermind questions terrorism.
posted by homunculus on May 27, 2008 - 55 comments

The Jihad Will Be Televised

NewsFilter: Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID - Conn.) strikes a decisive blow against another Islamic terror front group: YouTube.
posted by digaman on May 19, 2008 - 96 comments

"It is easy to take parts of any holy book and make it sound like the most inhuman book ever written"

A Saudi national has made a short film intended to illustrate how all religions can be depicted as preaching violence. The Daily Telegraph reports that "Schism" is Raed al-Saeed's answer to Geert Wilder's "Fitna".
posted by Flackjack47 on Apr 14, 2008 - 102 comments

gastronomic convergence

The Mexican kitchen's Islamic connection :"When Mexico’s leading writer, Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz, arrived in New Delhi in 1962 to take up his post as ambassador to India, he quickly ran across a culinary puzzle. Although Mexico and India were on opposite sides of the globe, the brown, spicy, aromatic curries that he was offered in India sparked memories of Mexico’s national dish, mole (pronounced MO-lay). Is mole, he wondered, “an ingenious Mexican version of curry, or is curry a Hindu adaptation of a Mexican sauce ?” How could this seeming coincidence of “gastronomic geography” be explained ?"
posted by dhruva on Apr 9, 2008 - 53 comments

Indonesia bans YouTube and MySpace

As a result of the Dutch film Fitna, Indonesia has blocked several websites including MySpace and YouTube. This follows hot on the heels of a new bill which could see people face six years of jail time or a 1 billion rupiah fine for being caught sending out porn, “false news” or racial or religious slurs on the Web. The Indonesian government will start censoring the Internet next month with specialised software. Very disappointing for a country which had a reasonably free press.
posted by BobsterLobster on Apr 8, 2008 - 43 comments

The Muslim Jesus

The Muslim Jesus, an ITV documentary on google video. 45 minute run time.
posted by snsranch on Mar 8, 2008 - 6 comments

A Summit of 57 State Leaders doesn't happen every day.

Leaders and Representatives of 57 Islamic countries (one exception is Mr. M. of Pakistan) and other dignitaries (including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon are meeting in Dakar, Senegal from March 8th-14th (link to flash video) for the 11th summit of the organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC "combine their efforts and speak with one voice to safeguard the interests and secure the progress and well-being of their peoples and of all Muslims in the world." Topics to be discussed at the summit also include brokering a peace deal between Chad and Sudan . Some of Dakar's residents1 (2, both in French) are not happy about the summit. [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Mar 8, 2008 - 14 comments

Don't stop talking.

Qantara (meaning bridge in arabic) is a German based website looking to have dialogue with the Islamic world. Turkey is carrying out a radical revision of Islamic texts trying to define modern Islam. Through dossiers and dialogue and slideshows Qantara is helping this debate.
posted by adamvasco on Feb 26, 2008 - 9 comments

Islamic Courting

Back in May, an Egyptian professor found a loophole to allow an unmarried female to be alone in the presence of a man. All she has to do is breastfeed him 5 times. Radā is a technical term from Islamic jurisprudence meaning "the suckling which produces the legal impediment to marriage of foster-kinship". Now the good people over at Haase & Martin have come up with their own way to get under that burka.
posted by gman on Feb 15, 2008 - 55 comments

Perceptions of headscarf survey

A recent poll (PDF) asked for reactions to the same model dressed in two different ways: in a plain shirt with her hair down, and in a blue head scarf of the style of some Islamic women. Perhaps understandably, the survey respondents felt the scarfed image was more traditional and more religious. But some of the other perceptions are less obviously predictable. (via crooked timber)
posted by Rumple on Jan 29, 2008 - 45 comments

"Many-Rule" is kind of vague.

ResetDOC asks: "What is democracy?" [more inside]
posted by anotherpanacea on Jan 16, 2008 - 8 comments

Blogging the Qur'an.

Blogging the Qur'an The Guardian's Madeleine Bunting and cultural critic Ziauddin Sardar will blog a different verse or theme of the Qur'an each week. Bunting says its one of the most difficult books she's ever read, which is what a lot of non-muslims tend to think. The idea has been mooted before by those of a very similar political hue. Others are already blogging the the Bible.
posted by MrMerlot on Jan 9, 2008 - 22 comments

The death of an icon for Islam in Senegal

Serigne Saliou (article in French) Mbacké, the leader of the Mourides (academic link), a prominent Islamic brotherhood in Senegal (and Harlem, NY , died a week ago today. Arguably the most influential person in Senegal, he had been the the last living son of the Mouride founder Chiekh Amadou Bamba. Thousands of peoplehave traveled Touba, the Mouride capital, to pay their respects. [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Jan 5, 2008 - 8 comments

Make me a Muslim ...wait, what ?

Make me a Muslim. The recently aired three episodes show takes a glamour model who wants to experience being completely hidden under a dress ,a skin therapist looking for meaning of life, a taxi driver that strongly feels islam is threatening UK lifestyle, a school teacher who wants to learn, an interracial interreligion couple and a flaming gay hairdresser tired of shallow party life. Take this colourful bunch and have two imams, a preacher and a converted woman lead them through an "islamic lifestyle" experience. You can watch the results here , I guess at least for a while.
posted by elpapacito on Dec 26, 2007 - 59 comments

Have you got a receipt for that inflammatory literature...

The Hijacking of British Islam (PDF) has been widely reported in the British media. However, it appears that the story is not all it seems. Newsnight (A television news program) has unearthed evidence that receipts for extremist literature supposedly bought from mosques were faked. Despite this new evidence, The Policy Exchange stand by the report.
posted by seanyboy on Dec 13, 2007 - 32 comments

Fundamental differences of Culture

A few months ago, a British Schoolteacher in Sudan allowed a class of hers to vote on a name for a teddy bear. The class of seven year olds decided - with a majority of 20:3 - to name the stuffed toy Mohammad. Last week, she was arrested for this 'crime' after several of the parents complained, and has been sentenced to 15 days in prison and will be deported. However, that isn't good enough for the thousands of people that marched on martyrs square today and demanded that she instead be killed for this crime. [more inside]
posted by Brockles on Nov 30, 2007 - 253 comments

Political correctness drives me around a twist.

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]
posted by miss lynnster on Nov 26, 2007 - 6 comments

When novelists attack

Shame on him for saying it, and shame on us for tolerating it. In an article in Monday's Guardian, the writer Ronan Bennett argued that the lack of a popular outcry against Martin Amis' remarks about Islam (covered previously) represents a cultural failure that ought to shame us. Yesterday, Christopher Hitchens and Ian McEwan wrote attacking Bennett and defending Amis. Perhaps they ought to have deployed a slideshow.
posted by hydatius on Nov 22, 2007 - 48 comments

Symmetry. Shakespeare. Islamic medicine. Creative writing challenges.

Symmetry. Shakespeare. Islamic medicine. Creative writing challenges. Four podcast series from University of Warwick.
posted by Wolfdog on Nov 18, 2007 - 2 comments

Ahhh, I'm glad we've got that bridge-builder kid on board. Wait - *what* did he say?

Turkish-German singer Muhabbet (Murat Ersen) is on the books as a veritable poster child of German immigration, what with singing integration-promoting songs with the German and French foreign ministers and all. [mp3, youtube]

Well until today, at least. Because according to journalist Kamil Taylan [in German; robot English], also a German of Turkish descent and co-author of a documentary investigating the death of Theo van Gogh, Ersen was quoted as saying: "Theo van Gogh was lucky he died as swiftly as he did - I would have locked him up in my basement and tortured him first", adding, "Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserves to die, as well". [in German; robot English]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2007 - 19 comments

The kid can sing.

Five year old boy sings the Koran. So beautiful.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 28, 2007 - 53 comments

Can't we just go Dutch?

If European and North American societies are morally responsible (print-friendly) for safeguarding free speech, should we also take financial responsibility for its proponents' safety (pf)? Hitchens seems to think so.

Today's moral dilemma is brought to you, of course, by the West's favourite Voltairian nightmare: prominent Islam critic, former Dutch MP, and scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 9, 2007 - 17 comments

"Thank you for inviting me to Islam, Osama."

Pat Condell is back. This time with a response to Osama Bin Laden's invitation for all westerners to adopt Islam to end the war in Iraq. He's trying to be teh funny, but makes a couple of good points. See more of his entertaining and sometimes enlightening (kinda) vids here.
posted by snsranch on Sep 16, 2007 - 16 comments

There's no laugh track, al hamdu lillah!!!

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]
posted by miss lynnster on Sep 15, 2007 - 30 comments

"Radical Islamist. Hot new fad on the planet."

The Official Berkeley Breathed Website [warning: ComicSans] announced that the weekly "Opus" comics for August 26th AND September 2nd* "have been withheld from publication by a large number of client newspapers across the country, including Opus' host paper The Washington Post." The reason? Making jokes aout Islam. And just the week before, Opus was thoroughly ridiculing the late Jerry Falwell. BB recommends catching his missing strips in the Salon.com comics section. But it being the Internet, somebody has already found and posted tomorrow's "Opus". Let's hear it for Fatima Struggle!!!
Berkeley Breathed is no stranger to controversy. Even his latest children's book, "Mars Needs Moms", was declared "Politically Incorrect". He is no stranger to me, either, although my last email exchange with him was over 3 years ago and I had nothing to do with this recent interview at MSNBC.com.
*Comic strip trivia: Most newspapers have their Sunday comics printed weeks in advance; that's why Kudzu ran Sunday strips two weeks after the dailies ended when Doug Marlette died.
posted by wendell on Aug 25, 2007 - 48 comments

Yeh Hum Naheen

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 - 26 comments

Rage against the Machine

Meet Shakeel Bhat (aka Islamic Rage Boy), a term given to him by two US Bloggers, which some have found offensive, while others amusing.
posted by hadjiboy on Aug 11, 2007 - 36 comments

Science and Islam

Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement. "Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong."
posted by homunculus on Aug 7, 2007 - 19 comments

Raving Mad: Satan vs Allah

Satanist Rave Shut Down outside Tehran. Iran's drive to enforce Islamic morals netted revellers from Britain and Sweden after police swooped on a "satanic" concert organised over the internet. Police arrested 230 people and seized drugs, alcohol and 800 illicit CDs after raiding the event in Karaj, 12 miles west of Tehran. Those arrested included young women in skimpy and "inappropriate" clothing, officers said.
posted by domdom on Aug 6, 2007 - 58 comments

Turkey votes today

Secular or islamic society? Kemal Atatürk - the Father of modern day Turkey - is watching closely and so is it's secular minded military. Is the country inching closer to Islam or Democracy? A 90% (!) turnout of the 42 million voters is to be expected for this important decision. Al Jazeera has a insightful special covering the event.
posted by homodigitalis on Jul 22, 2007 - 44 comments

Sinner or Saint?

Reintroducing Yvonne Ridley
posted by hadjiboy on Jul 22, 2007 - 19 comments

Iranian man stoned to death for adultery after serving 11-year prison sentence

Iranian man stoned to death for adultery after serving 11-year prison sentence. Unsuccessful, unofficial investigation here. Amnesty International pleads for life of his partner.
posted by shivohum on Jul 20, 2007 - 44 comments

Confessions of a former jihadist

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.
posted by lifeless on Jul 3, 2007 - 42 comments

Fight Knight

Sir Salman Rushdie versus the Republic of Pakistan. Rushdie is not one to shy from confrontation (previously) - he's a grand master of the fine art* of the literary feud, sparring with notables including Germaine Greer, John Updike, John Le Carre and (briefly) Martin Amis.
posted by WPW on Jun 19, 2007 - 62 comments

The only solution is dissolution?

Anti-Cultural Relativism Wednesday: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is on tour these days. With this article in the LA Times and this legal problem in Malaysia, the tolerant of the tolerant, the problem of the Islamic East in peaceful coexistence with Secular West appears increasing less solvable. Examining the other side of the argument only seems to confirm this.
posted by ewkpates on Jun 6, 2007 - 38 comments

"We bring peace" .... Right, sure ya do...

A group of Mennonites at the University of Waterloo has come under fire for inviting a fundamentalist Iranian cleric to speak at a religious-studies conference. Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, who has openly supported human-rights violations in Iran, once lovingly declared: "If anyone insults the Islamic sanctity, Islam has permitted for his blood to be spilled, no court needed either." While Iranian-Canadians are up in arms, academic dean Jim Pankratz defends the invitation: "We really do believe it's important to talk to those who take opposing, even hostile, views." Persian bloggers see it quite differently.
posted by Menomena on May 24, 2007 - 20 comments

US Muslims more peaceful than their fellow citizens?

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 - 63 comments

Yezidi woman stoned to death in "honour killing"

A teenage girl was stoned to death for loving the wrong boy. Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year old Yezidi girl who lived in Northern Iraq, fell in love with a Sunni Muslim boy, and possibly converted to Islam. For this she was stoned to death in a public "honour killing" which was recorded on video and spread on the internet (warning: graphic and disturbing. YouTube took theirs down.) 23 Yezidis have been killed in retaliation. [Via Disinformation.]
posted by homunculus on May 4, 2007 - 265 comments

NO ONE Expects the Fashion Inquisition!

The crackdown on fashion in Iran is not limited to just women. You're under scrutiny as a man if you look "too western." Meanwhile, in the west, retailers are realizing there's a demographic they can market to even if it might be an affront to French fashion. If you're not a Muslim, what are your rights in an Islamic state?
posted by Eekacat on May 4, 2007 - 44 comments

Gabba Gabba Allah Hu

"I felt Islam was so black and white and there were no grey areas. These Muslim kids, who are punks, they are in these grey areas." ~ Michael Muhammed Knight.
Behold Taqwacore: a new movement of Islam-influenced punk rock which has its origins in the pages of a controversial novel.
posted by moonbird on Apr 28, 2007 - 32 comments

The Spy of the Heart

The Spy of the Heart - The story of an American's exploration of Islamic spirituality within the turmoil of Afghanistan. Full book (PDF) available free onsite.
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 16, 2007 - 5 comments

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