Friday, September 29, 2006

Zaytuna Minara Program - Dayton, OH


A two-day intensive workshop taught by:
Imam Zaid Shakir
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

NOVEMBER 4th & 5th, 2006
Dayton, Ohio

Crowne Plaza Hotel
33 East Fifth Street
Dayton, OH 45402
(937) 224-0800

- Saturday & Sunday, 10:00am to 6:00pm
- $80 per person ($50 for students, student ID required)
- Price includes copy of "Agenda to Change Our Condition"
- Meals, accommodations, and transportation not included
- No children under age 10, childcare is not available

Limited capacity, register early
For info: visit
e-mail minara@zaytuna
or call (510) 582-1979

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kocatepe Camii - Turkey

Inside Kocatepe Camii, originally uploaded by rogiro.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Qur'an Explorer: Recitation and Translation

A wonderful resource. This interactive Web site has definitely helped me this month with my recitation. Insha'Allah it is beneficial for all of you as well.

Please click here to access the site, insha'Allah.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand, originally uploaded by Schlegel.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A struggle over Europe's religious identity

Written by Dr. Tariq Ramadan

PARIS A few sentences spoken by Pope Benedict XVI were sufficient to touch off a firestorm of impassioned reaction. Throughout the Muslim world, religious leaders, presidents, politicians and intellectuals joined their voices with protesting masses angered by a perceived insult to their faith. Most did not read the pope's speech; others had relied on a sketchy summary according to which the pope had linked Islam and violence. But all railed against what they saw as an intolerable offense.

Whatever the judgments of these scholars and intellectuals, one would have hoped that they adopt a more reasoned approach in their critical remarks, for two reasons.

First, the reverence that Muslims have for the Prophet Muhammad notwithstanding, certain groups or governments manipulate crises of this kind as a safety valve for both their restive populations and their own political agenda. When people are deprived of their basic rights, it costs nothing to allow them to vent their anger over Danish cartoons or the words of the pontiff.

Iran's proud but discreet Jews

From the BBC

Although Iran and Israel are bitter enemies, few know that Iran is home to the largest number of Jews anywhere in the Middle East outside Israel.

About 25,000 Jews live in Iran and most are determined to remain no matter what the pressures - as proud of their Iranian culture as of their Jewish roots.


"Because of our long history here we are tolerated," says Jewish community leader Unees Hammami, who organised the prayers.

He says the father of Iran's revolution, Imam Khomeini, recognised Jews as a religious minority that should be protected.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Swimming in the Mystic’s litanies
Drinking from the wine of Divine Love in the ocean of epiphanies

Salvation and sanctification, paths not found through me
A guiding Way led only by The One, transcendent is He!

The Creator, The Unique, placed in the Chosen One an eye to see
The Light bestowed through he who ascended on the luminous steed
It Is for you Oh seeker, established by the Decree!

So be not fooled by the modern’s dead heart,
One hardened and extinguished by spiritual sobriety,
One finished without a new start

And flee from the one that materialism seizes
He is mired in its teases, veiled by insidious spiritual diseases

For The One, beyond limits, cannot be fathomed
Nor sought without a soul outstretched, ransomed

So swim in the ocean that contains no shores,
Be soothed by its waves that cause no sores

Cry a mighty thanks and weep in fear, it is a must, as the end nears
Let pour and be not ashamed of your abundant tears,
For it is a shame that one squanders her Ramadan in these waning years

God bless him and give him peace! Ya Lateef!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Putting a Different Face on Islam in America

From the NY Times

In a class on Islamic history at the Hartford Seminary some years back, the students were discussing a saying ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad that translates roughly as, “Whenever God wants the destruction of a people, he makes a woman their leader.”

The professor, Ingrid Mattson, suggested that the phrase should be analyzed in its historical context when Islamic societies consisted largely of tribal raiding parties. A male Saudi student contended that all such sayings were sacred and not to be challenged, the argument growing so heated that he stormed out of the classroom. Professor Mattson stood her ground, as was her style.

Now she is challenging convention again. This month, Professor Mattson, a 43-year-old convert, was elected president of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest umbrella organization for Muslim groups in the United States and Canada, making her a prominent voice for a faith ever more under assault by critics who paint it as the main font of terrorism. She is both the first woman and, as a Canadian, the first nonimmigrant to hold the post.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We cannot afford to maintain these ancient prejudices against Islam

From The Guardian

Jesus had told his followers to love their enemies, not to exterminate them. It was when the Christians of Europe were fighting brutal holy wars against Muslims in the Middle East that Islam first became known in the west as the religion of the sword. At this time, when the popes were trying to impose celibacy on the reluctant clergy, Muhammad was portrayed by the scholar monks of Europe as a lecher, and Islam condemned - with ill-concealed envy - as a faith that encouraged Muslims to indulge their basest sexual instincts. At a time when European social order was deeply hierarchical, despite the egalitarian message of the gospel, Islam was condemned for giving too much respect to women and other menials.

In a state of unhealthy denial, Christians were projecting subterranean disquiet about their activities on to the victims of the Crusades, creating fantastic enemies in their own image and likeness. This habit has persisted. The Muslims who have objected so vociferously to the Pope's denigration of Islam have accused him of "hypocrisy", pointing out that the Catholic church is ill-placed to condemn violent jihad when it has itself been guilty of unholy violence in crusades, persecutions and inquisitions and, under Pope Pius XII, tacitly condoned the Nazi Holocaust.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Defining Today's Moderate Muslim

From the Los Angeles Times

Who is a moderate Muslim?

Is it Maher Hathout, the Los Angeles Muslim leader who has promoted interfaith relations and women's equality but denounced Israel as a brutal apartheid regime?

Is it Tashbih Sayyed, a journalist based in Alta Loma, Calif., who praises Israel's behavior toward Palestinians as tolerant and criticizes Muslims for corrupting Islam?

The question has come under intense debate since 9/11 as the public struggles to distinguish peaceful Muslims from Al Qaeda terrorists, and is at the heart of two Southern California skirmishes over who represents moderate Islam.

Very interesting part too...

"When we say we want moderate Muslims, what we are really saying is that we want Westernized Muslims who have the same kinds of sensibilities we have," Firestone said. "But that's not realistic. It's a false but human assumption that moderates must agree with us on most issues."

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Radicals are not worthy of Muslim faith

From the Sun-Sentinel newspaper

The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, recently issued a decree to its supporters: Kill at least one American in the next two weeks "using a sniper rifle, explosive or whatever the battle may require."

Well, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, I am an American, too. Count me as one of those you have asked your supporters to kill.


You say that the word of God is the highest. Yes, it is. But you are not worthy of it. You have abandoned God and you have started worshipping your own satanic egos that rejoice at the killing of innocent people. You don't represent Muslims or, for that matter, any decent human being who believes in the sanctity of life.

Many among us American Muslims have differences with our administration on domestic and foreign issues, just like many other Americans do. But the plurality of opinions does not mean that we deprive ourselves of the civility that God demands from us.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Is fear a force that gives us meaning?

From Radio OpenSource

In this hour we’ll examine the post 9/11 culture of fear. How it is perpetuated, how we react to it and what in the world we should really be bracing for. FDR once told us, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” but is fear now the force that gives us meaning? Do your fears originate from color-coded threat alerts and ever-growing terrorist cells? Or are your fears the fears of car accidents, bad diagnoses, escalating crime rates in the neighborhood? How does America identify with fear? What purpose is fear serving?

Included Guests:
  • Daveed Gartenstein-Ross: Conterterroism consultant and contributing expert to the Counterterroism Blog

Extra Readings on our culture of fear:

Station Charon: The Enduring Power of Fear
To live in America is to be beset by fear, anxiety and insecurity, to be surrounded by potential harm, enemies and evil intent.

Robert Jay Lifton: Giving Meaning to Survival, The Chronicle Review, September 28, 2001
The greatest danger in our present situation would be to resort to extreme measures to deny our vulnerability and reassert a sense of superpower invulnerability.

SunniPath: Fall Semester Registration

"The ability to participate in classes when one does not have the ability to be physically present is pioneering… the format is innovative… I encourage all of the Muslims to avail themselves of these most valuable and badly needed services."
Imam Zaid Shakir

To register, click here

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Democrat seeks to be first Muslim Congressman

From Reuters

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A Minnesota state legislator who advocates a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was favored to become the first Muslim in Congress, a day after he won his Democratic primary race.

State Rep. Keith Ellison, a lawyer who made little mention of his Muslim faith during the campaign and who is considered an eloquent orator, would also become the state's first black congressman if he wins the general election in November to represent a solidly Democratic district.

"In this election, we had people who say 'shalom.' We had people who say 'as-salaamu aleykum.' We had people who say all the words of greeting to each other in peace, because peace must be the guiding principle of our nation," the 43-year-old Ellison told his raucous victory party in Minneapolis on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Stari Most o'r de

Stari Most o'r de, originally uploaded by Gasyth.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

IDF commander: We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon

From the Israeli newspaper Haaretz

"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.

Internet is "new battleground for Israel's image"

From the Columbia Journalism Review Daily

Alarmed at what it perceives as a pro-Lebanese bias in the [mainstream media] and in cyberspace, the Israeli Foreign Ministry itself has called up a different sort of reserve force — Jewish activist and student groups — in an organized effort to win the PR war.

An appeal in the form of an emailed letter, signed by Amir Gissin, the Director for Public Affairs at the Israeli Ministry, identified the Internet as "the new battleground for Israel's image." He must have in part been referring to the almost overnight proliferation of blogs from Lebanon, which seem to be spontaneous and unsupported by any Lebanese ministry. The outpouring of first-person accounts coming out of Lebanon via newly constructed blogs and mass emails has managed to give a human and sometimes charismatic face to a country oft beleaguered by war but unable until now to disseminate with speed and savvy Lebanese narratives of what is happening in that country.

Gaza's darkness

From the Israeli newspaper Haaretz

Gaza has been reoccupied. The world must know this and Israelis must know it, too. It is in its worst condition, ever. Since the abduction of Gilad Shalit, and more so since the outbreak of the Lebanon war, the Israel Defense Forces has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Look Who's Fair and Balanced

From the Columbia Journalism Review Daily

The summer of 2006 marked an important milestone for Arab media. Israel and Hezbollah were locked in a bitter conflict that would claim the lives of more than 150 Israelis and an estimated 1,000 Lebanese -- a third of them children. Each day brought brutal new images of civilian casualties.

On American television, leading journalists, such as CNN's star presenters Anderson Cooper and John Roberts, regularly referred to Hezbollah as "terrorists" or a "terrorist militia," without bothering to attribute the label to Israeli or U.S. sources. But on the news broadcasts of the Arab world's dominant all-news channels, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, such polarizing language was rarely heard.

The irony, of course, is that Al-Jazeera was condemned by the Bush administration for using terms like "martyr," "aggression" and "terrorism" in describing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Arab journalists should be "unbiased" like their colleagues in America, was the constant refrain from Washington.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Looking for light

Looking for light, originally uploaded by Farhang .

Man in Zanzibar

Man in Zanzibar, originally uploaded by housden photos.

Young people recall Sept. 11, their generation's day of infamy

An insightful article from the Mercury News

I don't intend on creating a false dichotomy regarding reaction or impact, but I think it's interesting to contrast the effect of Sept. 11, especially the images of and associated with that heinous event that were broadcast into middle and high school television sets across the country, on youth identity-formation of both Muslim-Americans and Americans of other faiths. I really wonder what the effect of having televisions in classrooms had on shaping America's national consciousness regarding the attacks as opposed to the less image-driven "day of infamy" — Dec. 7, 1941.

The impact on non-Muslim Americans (people of other faiths):

For today's teenagers and college students, that somber September morning brought their adolescent lives into sharp focus.

``Everyone was super freaked out,'' said Julie Hopper, who was an eighth-grader in Santa Cruz that day. ``There were all these rumors about other attacks in San Francisco, and my aunt worked at the Pentagon, and I didn't really know what was happening with her until later, when my mom found out that she was OK.''

Hopper, now a freshman at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, said that Sept. 11 definitely sparked her interest in foreign affairs: She plans to major in political science and is eager to take a world religion class to learn more about Islam.

The impact on Muslim-Americans:

Many young Muslim Americans say they felt the impact personally because the 19 hijackers were all Arab men, 15 of them from Saudi Arabia. At school, some students were harassed. Others saw their local mosques vandalized.

And for the first time, many young Muslim Americans had to explore their own feelings about Islam and cultural identity.

Faith's friction

From the St. Petersburg Times

Tampa woman who lost eight relatives in the attacks converts to Islam as tensions simmer from the memories and new terror plots. But she presses on.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

'Gaza is a jail. Nobody is allowed to leave. We are all starving now.'

From the UK paper The Independent

Gaza is dying. The Israeli siege of the Palestinian enclave is so tight that its people are on the edge of starvation. Here on the shores of the Mediterranean a great tragedy is taking place that is being ignored because the world's attention has been diverted by wars in Lebanon and Iraq.

A whole society is being destroyed. There are 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned in the most heavily populated area in the world. Israel has stopped all trade. It has even forbidden fishermen to go far from the shore so they wade into the surf to try vainly to catch fish with hand-thrown nets.

Many people are being killed by Israeli incursions that occur every day by land and air. A total of 262 people have been killed and 1,200 wounded, of whom 60 had arms or legs amputated, since 25 June, says Dr Juma al-Saqa, the director of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City which is fast running out of medicine. Of these, 64 were children and 26 women. This bloody conflict in Gaza has so far received only a fraction of the attention given by the international media to the war in Lebanon.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ishak Pasha Sarayi

Ishak Pasha Sarayi, originally uploaded by becklectic.

Turkey, 30 km from Iranian border.

Tell Disney and ABC to stop playing partisan politics with 9-11

From the advocacy organization Media Matters

As Media Matters for America has pointed out —- and nearly everyone from 9-11 Commission members and members of Congress to prominent conservative pundits and executives at ABC has already acknowledged -- Disney-owned ABC's upcoming "docudrama" The Path to 9/11 is a fabricated, inaccurate, and misleading portrayal of the events leading up to 9-11, one which Disney and ABC deceptively marketed as a documentary-style film based on the 9-11 Commission report.

It has become apparent in recent days that Disney's production is rife with factual errors, inaccuracies, and omissions, and it relies on scenes that even those involved in its production readily admit are fabricated. The movie's premise, reportedly, joins the cause of right-wing conservatives in blaming former President Bill Clinton for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while simultaneously letting President Bush off the hook.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Young American Muslims Seek Identity in Islam

From World Politics Watch

Sadullah Khan, Executive Director of Religious Affairs at the Islamic Center of Irvine in California, notes that the search for an identity plays a large role in the American Muslim experience.

"It is the search for a relevant identity, the greater awareness of global issues, their greater freedom to have access to a broader perspective on the world and on religion and spirituality that leads them to be more adventurous and participate in more 'Islamic' activities on campuses," said Khan.

Khan also noted that there are differences between the younger generation and older generation of Muslims in America. The parent's generation was Muslim not necessarily out of choice or conviction, he explained, but primarily because of culture. In contrast, he said, the American Muslim youth practice and view Islam more as civilizational than merely cultural.


Coexistence, originally uploaded by light guard.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

9/11 Leaves Its Mark on History Classes

From the NY Times

There is growing interest in the history of terrorism, of Muslims in America, of international cultural conflicts and exchanges. The history of foreign policy is being rethought, some historians said, with less emphasis on the cold war and more on post-colonial politics. The Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis from 1979 to 1981 seem like significant turning points in ways that they had not before.

“For historians, history is never set in stone,” said Joanne Meyerowitz, a professor of history and American studies at Yale who edited “History and September 11th” (Temple University Press, 2003), a collection of essays. “It’s written and rewritten in each generation. The events of the present, of the contemporary age, always help us reframe the events of the past. And the events of the past always help us to reframe the age we’re living in.”

A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb

Newly published book by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, Scholar-in-Residence of the Chicago-based Nawawi Foundation

A Muslim in Victorian America: The Life of Alexander Russell Webb

Webb was a central figure of American Islam during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A native of the Hudson Valley, he was a journalist, editor, and civil servant. Raised a Presbyterian, Webb early on began to cultivate an interest in other religions and became particularly fascinated by Islam. While serving as U.S. consul to the Philippines in 1887, he took a greater interest in the faith and embraced it in 1888, one of the first Americans known to have done so. Within a few years, he began corresponding with important Muslims in India. Webb became an enthusiastic propagator of the faith, founding the first Islamic institution in the United States: the American Mission. He wrote numerous books intended to introduce Islam to Americans, started the first Islamic press in the United States, published a journal entitled The Moslem World, and served as the representative of Islam at the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago. In 1901, he was appointed Honorary Turkish Consul General in New York and was invited to Turkey, where he received two Ottoman medals of merits.

In this first-ever biography of Webb, Umar F. Abd-Allah examines Webb's life and uses it as a window through which to explore the early history of Islam in America. Except for his adopted faith, every aspect of Webb's life was, as Abd-Allah shows, quintessentially characteristic of his place and time. It was because he was so typically American that he was able to serve as Islam's ambassador to America (and vice versa). As America's Muslim community grows and becomes more visible, Webb's life and the virtues he championed - pluralism, liberalism, universal humanity, and a sense of civic and political responsibility - exemplify what it means to be an American Muslim.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Young U.S. Muslims Strive for Harmony

From the Washington Post

"The natural trend of immigrant communities," he said, is that "the first generation comes, establishing itself. Then the next generation has a different set of issues, figuring out who they are and how they fit in."

The terrorist attacks accelerated that process. "There was this pressure on the Muslim community to grow up in a year, when it's a 20-year process."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dune Walking - Emirati style

Dune Walking, originally uploaded by JakeBrewer.