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he's got stones

Beliefs about Saddam -- some Iraqis find it difficult to believe that their former ruler can die. "How can we really be sure he's gone for good?" asked Hassam Sahar, 45, an engineer. "We can't trust the U.S. and Britain. They left once before." Some believe that Saddam has links to the occult [audio file] ranging from a djinn kept in a stone to magic practiced by his mother, which are based in folk islam [google cache 1 2 3] Western occultists, too, have something to say about Saddam.
posted by e^2 on Aug 3, 2003 - 3 comments

an unveiling

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 - 16 comments

Islamic Medical Manuscripts

Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing An "immensely popular" medieval Islamic natural history text (with simurghs, yew trees, constellations and much more). Found at the Islamic Medical Manuscripts collection, which has more great visuals in the Medical Monographs section.
posted by mediareport on Jun 19, 2003 - 12 comments

Shazia Mirza: a female standup comedian who is, in fact, a devout Muslim

Did You Hear the One About the Suicide Bomber?
After Sept. 11, Shazia Mirza became famous by telling a single (some think abominable) joke. It's a funny thing, being a devout Muslim female comic.
posted by y2karl on Jun 14, 2003 - 33 comments

How Not to Help Amina Lawal.

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 - 12 comments

Mullah, can you spare a euro?

It started in November of 2000, with Iraq wanting to switch to the Euro for oil payments. Following recent events, Muslims at large are thinking about dropping US currency for the Euro. With a large US presence now in the Middle East, this event may never occur.

Related Stories
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1554.htm
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/euro/comment/0,9236,940790,00.html
posted by CrazyJub on Apr 21, 2003 - 9 comments

The Burqa vs. the Wonderbra?

A Sexual Clash of Civilizations? Using data from the World Values Survey, two researchers argue that Samuel Huntington's theory of a clash of Islamic and Western civilizations completely ignores the role of sexual tolerance as an indicator of a democratic society. An interesting point to ponder when Islamic countries and Christian Right activists have teamed up to lobby the United Nations against the expansion of gay rights and family planning.
posted by jonp72 on Apr 11, 2003 - 20 comments

Sayyid Qutb

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 - 10 comments

Blowback: The Cost And Consequences of American Empire plus War And Conflict In The Post-Cold War, Post-9/11 Era

Chalmers Johnson 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 - 15 comments

How Do You Say ASSALAMU ALAIKUM in Gaelic?

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 - 14 comments

Jack Chick weighs in on September 11th.

If you're already familiar with the work of Jack Chick, the creator of those amusingly offensive evangelist comic books, you probably know not to take him too seriously -- after all, the threat of being thrown into a giant lake of fire by an angel isn't particularly frightening. Still, when his new tract starts with an image of the smoldering twin towers, and ends with the words, "Bob, now I know that Allah doesn't really love me or even care about any Muslim. But Jesus, the Son of God, does," it's difficult not to worry that this time he's bitten off more than he can chew.
posted by tweebiscuit on Jan 2, 2003 - 33 comments

forget cola wars. this is a cola jihad.

`Papa, I agree not to drink Coke, but you have to give me something.'
so what do you do when the populace calls for a tall glass of fizzy sugar water, but the primary suppliers are bonified infidels? you make your own...

and you call it Mecca-Cola.
posted by grabbingsand on Dec 31, 2002 - 29 comments

Billboards of Tehran

By their billboards ye shall know them: the Tehran street advertising collection. See Western luxuries, goofy icons and hardline Islamist and reformist propaganda compete for Iranian minds. Watch out for those changing Iranian ad standards, though. [via hoder]
posted by mediareport on Dec 28, 2002 - 8 comments

Dhimmi, Goyim, and alike

Bat Yeor is a researcher of the life of dhimmi (non-Muslims) under Islam. How do other religions treat the 'infidels'? Judaism has the goy, but what's his rights? What about Christianity? Hinduism? Shinto? How has the legal view of the minorities developed in socio-political systems informed by different religions?...
posted by bokononito on Dec 2, 2002 - 6 comments

Conservatives dispute Bush on Islam

Conservatives dispute Bush on Islam Bush critics, we are told, though they support him believe his statements about Islam are basically political and that Islam is not a peace-loving religion. Though I am not sure on this issue, I do not think citing a passage or two in this or that holy scripture is sufficient to apply to any religion, since what it does (or has done) differs often from what it's stated position is. In this article I find myself torn between disliking in general anything that right-wing conservatives utter and also disliking anything that Bush has to say! My shortcoming, no doubt.
posted by Postroad on Nov 30, 2002 - 43 comments

Beauty kills?

Muslim rioters force cancellation of Miss World beauty contest: Lagos not favourite in race for Mr.Gay Africa comp.
posted by dash_slot- on Nov 22, 2002 - 34 comments

Stop making excuses for Muslim Extremists

Stop making excuses for Muslim Extremists Still licking my mefi wounds that I received last week when I posted a NY Times article discussing the recent rise of crime in France, in which the author states that a recent immigrant was murdered solely for his North African heritage, and also reports that the mayor of Paris was also attacked in the same week - yet the author does not bother to mention that the attacker was a Muslim who 'didn't like homosexuals'. Has anyone else noticed how the media is downplaying the role of Muslim extremism since 911 ?
posted by Kaslo on Oct 29, 2002 - 68 comments

"God's boys on both sides of the Atlantic"

"God's boys on both sides of the Atlantic" It began back in February. Now, 6 letters, 350+ intellectuals later, the great debate rages on, though apparently and regrettably now censored in Saudi Arabia. Pity.
posted by Voyageman on Oct 27, 2002 - 11 comments

Bin Laden Unmasked?

Bin Laden Unmasked? Robert Fisk [ducks] reviews a '215 page treasure trove' written by an Al Jazeera journalist and published in Beirut. It contains a 'wealth of information' about the elusive billionaire and his followers. He communicates over the Internet - no surprise there - but the book gives some clues as to the site used: al-Nidaa, 'The Calling'. Can you find it? The words of Mullah Omar are apparently distributed on site called the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan', wild goose chase? You decide.
posted by grahamwell on Oct 23, 2002 - 5 comments

The shockwaves from Bali ripple outward.

The shockwaves from Bali ripple outward. John Sidel explains the likely impact on Indonesia, whilst Clive James and Germaine Greer discuss the impact on Australia. Thanks to Miguel for the two lost links. The Independent leader which caused such offence is here. For many, for whom 9/11 was remote, Bali is close and personal.
posted by grahamwell on Oct 17, 2002 - 57 comments

Elephant in the living room: A radical Islamic Nuclear Pakistan

Elephant in the living room: A radical Islamic Nuclear Pakistan (NYT reg. : name-metafilter password-metafilter) "Hard-line Islamic parties did unexpectedly well in Pakistan's election last week, and Pervez Musharraf's hold on power may be slipping. Do I need to point out that Pakistan is a lot bigger than Iraq, and already has nuclear weapons?...These guys [Bush Adm]want to fight a conventional war; since Al Qaeda won't oblige, they'll attack someone else who will [Iraq]. And watching from the alley, the terrorists are pleased. " -Paul Krugman, once again forced to state the obvious; the US is, effectively, helping with Al Qaeda's goal of radicalizing Islamic populations. In parts of Pakistan, they call Musharaff "Busharaff", and Nick Kristoff notes "Even in Kuwait, where Yankees have the best possible claim on Arab gratitude, a significant minority of men and women regard us as worms" and that "The most common name given to Pakistani boys born after 9/11 in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province reportedly was Osama." What does this have to do with a war in Iraq? Well.........
posted by troutfishing on Oct 15, 2002 - 36 comments

Islamic saints.

Islamic saints. The linked article, while a bit disapproving ("There can be little doubt that Muhammad would be displeased if he could see what passes for Islam in much of the Muslim world today"), gives a good description of the cult of saints and their tombs in popular Islam. [More inside.]
posted by languagehat on Oct 6, 2002 - 8 comments

Reliquaries

Reliquaries are containers built to hold objects of special religious significance, such as the foot of a saint, or the skull of a king. The art of European reliquary making reached it's zenith in the Middle Ages when craftsman created fantastic objets d'art for cathedrals and monasteries in the form of caskets, bodily appendages, and freestanding holders built to visually display occasionally gruesome bits of the venerated individual. The layperson had access to reliquaries as well, typically in the form of small lead crosses worn around the neck, containing pieces of bone or one of the ubiquitous fragments of the True Cross. Reliquaries are not unique to the Christianity, but can also be found in Buddhist and Islamic tradition.
posted by MrBaliHai on Oct 6, 2002 - 27 comments

Salman Rushdie defends fellow writer Michel Houellebecq,

Salman Rushdie defends fellow writer Michel Houellebecq, the autonomy of the literary text and its right to be considered on its own terms with characters of every sort.
posted by semmi on Oct 4, 2002 - 18 comments

Falwell calls THE Mohammed a terrorist.

Falwell calls THE Mohammed a terrorist. But it's not the first time he's offered this sick, and truly twisted opinion. On his site we find this gem. How long will it take for his people to give up, and step back to let the snipers have a better shot?
posted by Dome-O-Rama on Oct 4, 2002 - 48 comments

"I asked who was playing. A Moroccan group, said the cabbie. He told me its name. Did I want to know what it was singing? Certainly. It was a plea to Israel from the Arab people. The chorus was, 'We have the same father. Why do you treat us this way?' Who might the father be? I asked. 'Ibrahim,' he said. 'The song is called Ismail and Isaac,' after his sons."
posted by artifex on Sep 24, 2002 - 8 comments

Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi seems to think that for any type of fundamentalist religion women are like canaries in the coal mine for the dangers to follow. Female genital mutilation would certainly seem to be a pretty good pointer to get out of the mine, if you ask me. She points out the hypocrisy of the "post-modern veil" and politicians who criticize the Moslem notion of propiety without acknowledging the West's notions of female attire is similarly veiled. I'll grant her that. But, I'd rather wear some smart eyeliner than a head full of burka. I wonder if the propensity of Western couples to have the man drive is anything like the Saudi propensity to disallow women from driving, only with a Western middle class less restrictive enforcement policy? Do the spinsters in Saudi Arabia have sex? And how? And with whom? Why are sexual minorities in 26 Middle Eastern Countries outlawed? What are the reproductive & sensual habits of the Islamist Fundamentalist?
posted by filchyboy on Sep 24, 2002 - 51 comments

The "merger" of the Egyptian Zawahiri's Islamic Jihad and the Saudi Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda in 2001, based on the foundation of Qutb's book "Milestones", provide outlet for those who have no other way of expressing their objections to the authoritarian regimes of the countries they live in, and the reach of American power in the Middle East.
posted by semmi on Sep 17, 2002 - 19 comments

How many more terrorist cells are out there? Living less than half an hour from Lakawanna, where a group of men trained by Al Queda were just arrested, I'm rather nervous.
I couldn't help but be reminded of another another recent thread when MSNBC reported that the men were turned in by the local Muslim community.
posted by Kellydamnit on Sep 13, 2002 - 19 comments

London Muslims to CELEBRATE 911

London Muslims to CELEBRATE 911 Is it cool to be angry? Do I care? I'm VERY angry about this. Maybe someone will celebrate 911 by flying an aircraft into Finsbury Park Mosque. There must be a limit to the progressive tolerance of other cultures and religious nuts. I think Londoners might reach it very soon. We seem to have our own Taliban. The time might be right for a radical secularism. What do you think?
posted by terrymiles on Sep 8, 2002 - 146 comments

The unofficial Islaam News Page.

The unofficial Islaam News Page. Suddenly, everyone's a journalist- but are they credible? What's "unofficial Islam" anyway? Depends who you ask.
posted by sheauga on Aug 12, 2002 - 5 comments

Kinder, gentler minders

Kinder, gentler minders in Kabul? President Hamid Karzai has re-opened the Department of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Department head Mohammad Wazir Razi Kabuli promises no beatings or jailings for violating Islamic tenets, as was common under the Taliban Ministry of Virtue and Vice. Instead, "propaganda" will be used influence the people of Afghanistan. However, when asked what would happen if, for example, a woman was caught wearing makeup in public, Kabuli said "It's too early to talk about that."
posted by mr_crash_davis on Aug 12, 2002 - 11 comments

Man hijacks al-Qaida Web site.

Man hijacks al-Qaida Web site. He offers it to the FBI to use for intelligence gathering, but the FBI stumbles around for a week trying to find somebody with the technical abilities to take advantage of the site. By then, the site's militant Islamic visitors had discovered the ruse. Go figure.
posted by TBoneMcCool on Jul 30, 2002 - 24 comments

It can be stately and elegant, beautiful and swirling or square and modern. It makes a surprising variety of intricate pictures. Why is the written word honored so highly in Islamic art? Find out by diving into the gorgeous world of Arab Calligraphy. Here's a friendly portal to help. Take time to linger over a language that took a different path. (Bonus for font freaks inside)
posted by mediareport on Jul 26, 2002 - 10 comments

The Family Policy Network

The Family Policy Network is suing the University of North Carolina for "forcing freshmen and transfers to study Islam against their will." The flap is over an assigned reading that includes of 35 passages from the Qur'an. The FPN claims that the students' First Amendment Rights are being violated. Does anyone else this find this very bizarre?
posted by Bag Man on Jul 24, 2002 - 54 comments

The Burqa Incident.

The Burqa Incident. British freethinker Sarah Lawrence dresses in a burqa to make a point at the US Libertarian Party Conference, and causes a hotel-wide security alert. Looks like one of those systemic sense-of-humour failures that conspire to spiral out of control these days. But isn't it a bit worrying when even Libertarian Party officials start threatening to report their own conference speakers to the FBI for suspicious dress sense?
posted by ntk on Jul 21, 2002 - 17 comments

A Peace to End All Peace:

A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin. Ever wonder how the Middle East got so screwed up to start with? It all happened in an eight year time span, 1914-1922. The destruction of the Ottoman Empire laid the foundation for over half of the current conflicts in the world. Coupled with Huntingtons' Clash of Civilizations, this book does more to explain WTF went wrong.
posted by Mack Twain on Jul 20, 2002 - 13 comments

His name is Hussein al-Attas. He is 24 years old. Ten months ago, federal agents arrested him at the mosque where he worshipped and took him away.

His name is Hussein al-Attas. He is 24 years old. Ten months ago, federal agents arrested him at the mosque where he worshipped and took him away. He has been locked in solitary confinement ever since, his only companion a Spanish-speaking prisoner on the other side of the wall, to whom he speaks through the air-conditioning vent."

Deborah Hastings of the Associated Press tells us the story of The man who gave a ride to Zacarias Moussaoui, and his descent into indefinite federal detention.
posted by mr_crash_davis on Jul 13, 2002 - 16 comments

It's the Law in South Dakota: Convert to Islam, Lose Your Child

It's the Law in South Dakota: Convert to Islam, Lose Your Child Citing a woman's conversion to Islam as a sign of "bizarre behavior" that made her unfit to be a mother, a South Dakota judge removed her 5-year old son Trevor and gave temporary custody of him to his grandparents. "My wife and I are very concerned about Trevor's safety," explained Conrad Rederth, the child's grandfather. "Trevor's mother has engaged in some bizarre behavior, including wearing Muslim garb and declaring herself a Muslim." (Via alt.muslim)
posted by laz-e-boy on Jul 12, 2002 - 63 comments

"Well, of course I hate you because you are Christian, but that doesn't mean I want to kill you."

"Well, of course I hate you because you are Christian, but that doesn't mean I want to kill you." What a great quote. Sorry, I just couldn't resist. (NY Times)
posted by mrhappy on Jul 12, 2002 - 23 comments

Baby bomber

Baby bomber Why? I mean really. Why?
posted by jackspot on Jun 28, 2002 - 53 comments

Muslim woman to challenge ban on veil in driver's license photo

Muslim woman to challenge ban on veil in driver's license photo Another example of how the fundamental structure of American society is built upon Christian monothestic values. Should she be accomodated and if so what does that do to the relevance of picture IDs? Further, what if it's against someone's religion to even have their picture taken at all?
posted by fooljay on Jun 28, 2002 - 65 comments

"Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives..."

"Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives..."
The Rev. Jerry Vines slams Islam while speaking to delegates at the Southern Baptist Convention this week. The group's newly-elected president, the Rev. Jack Graham, refused to denounce the comments since "his statement is actually a statement that can be confirmed." Hmmm... since when is 'demon-possessed' an emperical statement?

Anyone want to guess what the reaction would be if a Muslim leader denounced Jesus with this much venom?
posted by Dirjy on Jun 14, 2002 - 47 comments

Catholics, Jews, Muslims - all three feel suddenly embattled and isolated

Catholics, Jews, Muslims - all three feel suddenly embattled and isolated [nyt reg req] "This is a rare moment in history, like a planetary alignment: three world religions simultaneously racked by crisis....this confluence is highly unusual but not without precedent... — from 800 to 200 B.C., a period of tremendous violence and upheaval on many continents.... We could use this suffering to create wonderful new religious systems, as the Buddha did, or we could retreat into the spiritual barbarism of hatred ." Perhaps Karl Marx was right that religion, like opium, results only in illusion and false hope.
posted by Voyageman on Jun 13, 2002 - 14 comments

A cup of joe a day might be funding the next suicide bomber.

A cup of joe a day might be funding the next suicide bomber. Caribou coffee is owned in majority by an Islamic bank. A bit of every sip goes to opposing "the illegal occupation of Palestine".
posted by clevershark on Jun 11, 2002 - 51 comments

A blasphemy trial out of the 17th century

A blasphemy trial out of the 17th century "Let's be clear. Criticising the precepts of modern Islam and the resultant actions of its adherents is not racist. Philosophically, it is the precise opposite of racism. It is an intellectual position arrived at through a consideration of ideas, rather than a cruel and irrational prejudice based upon the colour of someone's skin." Rod Liddle discusses the upcoming prosecution of French writer Michel Houellebecq for a comment he made about Islam in an interview. Some interesting points here about the wider context, in which Houellebecq has been attacked for the beliefs of the fictional characters he creates.
posted by jonpollard on May 29, 2002 - 23 comments

Saudi Arabia considers allowing women into legal profession.

Saudi Arabia considers allowing women into legal profession. Justice Minister cautions that "female lawyers would not be allowed to attend court...Women would instead be asked to write out their arguments, which would be presented on their behalf by men."
posted by mediareport on May 11, 2002 - 26 comments

Paul Wolfowitz, leading US Hawk, says insightful, intelligent things about Islam, expresses sympathy for Palestinian suffering at a pro-Israel rally. The crowd doesn't appreciate his point. (Transcript here.) Rumsfeld says "No more Crusaders!" Bravo, DoD-- stay on message! See a pattern?
posted by sheauga on May 10, 2002 - 17 comments

Unlikely Allies Bound by a Common Hatred. "Herr von Laden is an example for our children." The bridge between radical Muslims and the neo Nazis in Europe and the United States. In 1991, German neo-Nazis tried to form a "Condor Legion" to fight alongside Iraqis against the U.S.-led international coalition. More recently, members of the European far right have journeyed to Baghdad to express solidarity with Saddam Hussein.
posted by semmi on Apr 29, 2002 - 15 comments

An Algerian defendant tells a court of his transformation from an irreligious drug dealer on the streets of Germany to an Afghanistan-trained militant, and the psychic journey of some young Muslim slackers in England to become fighters for Al-Qaeda (NYT).
posted by semmi on Apr 24, 2002 - 14 comments

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