Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What Makes a Muslim Radical?

From Foreign Policy.com

Ask any foreign-policy expert how the West will know it is winning the war on terror, and the likely response will be, “When the Islamic world rejects radicalism.” But just who are Muslim radicals, and what fuels their fury? Every politician has a theory: Radicals are religious fundamentalists. They are poor. They are full of hopelessness and hate. But those theories are wrong.

Based on a new Gallup World Poll of more than 9,000 interviews in nine Muslim countries, we find that Muslim radicals have more in common with their moderate brethren than is often assumed. If the West wants to reach the extremists, and empower the moderate Muslim majority, it must first recognize who it’s up against.

Monday, November 20, 2006

176 Newspapers to Form a Partnership With Yahoo

From the New York Times

A consortium of seven newspaper chains representing 176 daily papers across the country is announcing a broad partnership with Yahoo to share content, advertising and technology, another sign that the wary newspaper business is increasingly willing to shake hands with the technology companies they once saw as a threat.

And most importantly...

“There has been a big question asked for a while as to how newspapers will navigate the online future,” said William Dean Singleton, vice chairman and chief executive of MediaNews Group, one of the members of the consortium. “I think this is the answer to that question.”


bismillah, originally uploaded by elif ayse.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

US is top purveyor on weapons sales list

From the Boston Globe

WASHINGTON -- The United States last year provided nearly half of the weapons sold to militaries in the developing world, as major arms sales to the most unstable regions -- many already engaged in conflict -- grew to the highest level in eight years, new US government figures show.

According to the annual assessment, the United States supplied $8.1 billion worth of weapons to developing countries in 2005 -- 45.8 percent of the total and far more than second-ranked Russia with 15 percent and Britain with a little more than 13 percent.

Arms control specialists said the figures underscore how the largely unchecked arms trade to the developing world has become a major staple of the American weapons industry, even though introducing many of the weapons risks fueling conflicts rather than aiding long-term US interests.

The report was compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Book Review: Mecca and Main Street

Review for the Washington Post by writer Steven Simon.

Abdo's description of the neo-traditionalism of this community is fascinating. She depicts a typical "enclave culture," a religious community that sees itself as beleaguered and is therefore preoccupied by boundaries -- between us and them, male and female, real Muslim and impostor. Defections as well as intrusions fuel the community's sense of danger, as do the glittering vulgarity and the "anything goes" gusto of American society. Jarringly, Abdo at times seems less a reporter than an advocate of a cloistered worldview, as when she puts down Irshad Manji, a Muslim dissenter, as a self-promoting phony. Nonetheless, Abdo's account of the struggles within Muslim organizations on college campuses suggests how the community as a whole may resolve its intramural conflict: by finding a middle way between traditionalist hardliners and those who want to preserve their Muslim identity without isolating themselves, much as modern Orthodox Jews and evangelical Protestants have done in secular universities.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Muslim’s Election Is Celebrated Here and in Mideast

From the New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 9 — Keith Ellison wore his religion lightly on the campaign trail, mentioning it only when asked.

But Muslims across America, and even overseas, celebrated his election Tuesday as the first Muslim in Congress, representing Minnesota’s Fifth District in the House of Representatives, as a sign of acceptance and a welcome antidote to their faith’s sinister image.

“It’s a step forward; it gives the Muslims a little bit of a sense of belonging,” said Osama A. Siblani, the publisher of The Arab American News, a weekly in Dearborn, Mich., a state with one of the heaviest concentrations of Muslims. “It is also a signal to the rest of the world that America has nothing against Muslims. If we did, he wouldn’t have been elected.”

Mr. Ellison’s success was front-page news in several of the Arab world’s largest newspapers and high in the lineup on television news programs.

Friday, November 10, 2006

For U.S. Muslims, it's the American way

From the International Herald Tribune

CHICAGO: Amid copies of the Koran and Arabic calligraphy, a small American flag sits on a table in a corner of Ahmed Rehab's office at the Council on American-Islamic Relations here.

"I am proud to be American, and I really mean that," said Rehab, who as executive director of the council's Chicago branch spends his days handling civil rights complaints from fellow Muslims. "I'd rather be a Muslim in America than anywhere else."

At first glance, such patriotism appears paradoxical. The United States led the invasion of Iraq and passed the Patriot Act. It was here that the war on terror was dubbed a war on "Islamo-fascists." But, for now at least, the violent backlash is in Europe, not America.

Indeed, the Sept. 11 attacks of five years ago have galvanized efforts by a small but growing elite of Islamic intellectuals and young activists to find their voice and carve out an identity that is as American as it is Muslim.

The Ottoman Legacy - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Altra memoria, e non basta ancora., originally uploaded by giuli@.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Muslim Airport Workers Protest in France

From the Washington Post

PARIS — One was a security agent once praised for finding a weapon in a piece of luggage, another handled baggage and a third delivered mail. All are practicing Muslims who worked at the main Paris airport — until their security clearance was revoked.

They are among 72 people who had security badges taken back — and lost their job — over the past 18 months, caught in a campaign by French authorities to guard Charles de Gaulle airport against the risk of terror.

The three are among 11 people who have gone to court challenging the loss of their security clearance. A hearing in the case is set for Nov. 10.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Beliefwatch: School Veil

From Newsweek

Nov. 13, 2006 issue - There's a new fashion on college campuses, but it's not one you'll find at Abercrombie any time soon. It's the higab, the traditional Muslim headscarf that denotes modesty and reverence to God, and it's being worn by increasing numbers of young Muslim American women.

By most accounts, they are the American-born children of the estimated 4 million Muslims who immigrated to the United States over the last 40 years. The irony: many of those parents abandoned their Islamic cultural identities to assimilate into American society. "We're seeing more young women wearing the higab whose mothers don't wear it," says Hadia Mubarak, former president of the Muslim Students Association. Mubarak says that young Muslim Americans who grew up here are not facing the kinds of identity crises their parents did. "These kids are comfortable in their American identity because that's the only culture they've known, so it's easier for them to embrace the outward manifestations of Islam."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Felicitous Ascension by Means of Knowing

"He who knows himself knows His lord."
- Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and give him peace)

From the Web site Living Islam


Know Your Lord

According to Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (may God ennoble his countenance)

On the subject of knowing the Lord of the universe, al-Nu`man bin Sa`ad said: "I was in the city of Kufa, visiting the Prince and Commander of the Believers, Ali bin Abi Talib, when Nawf bin Abdullâh came to see him and said: 'O Amir al-Mu'minin, there are forty Jews at the door requesting to see you." 'Ali replied: 'Let them in.' When the visitors stood before him, their spokesman said: 'O `Ali, describe to us your Lord who is in the heavens, how is that, how was He before, when was He; and what is He.'

Ali immediately straightened up his sitting posture, and he replied, 'Hearken to me and do not worry! You need not to ask anyone else beside me about this subject! Imam Ali then added:

'My Lord was there first, and nothing ever existed besides Him. He did not commence from what or was intermingled with what! His attributes cannot be fixed or limited. He is not an apparition that can be pursued or delimited, nor is He veiled to be contained. He did not issue from what was not, and thus He is not an occurrence.

Exalted and most glorious is the Creator and Maker of everything, Lord of the universe, Whose divine majesty is most awesome and beyond having to explicate His essence to His creation, and instead, we say (as He described Himself, Qur'an 57:3) that He was there from the beginningless beginning, and He is the eternal without end. He is not subject to changes, nor is He affected by what He causes to change.

How can He be described by an occurrence He created, and how can His divine being be limited to the best fathom of the greatest rhetoricians of all times. He did not emerge from something else that can lead one to assume His manifestation, nor did He emanate from anything else that brought Him into being. He is without how, and He is closer than one's jugular vein, and yet, He is beyond description in the widest perceivable realms.

Not a single glaring of anyone of His entire creation combined is ever hidden to Him, nor the sequence of any uttering or a sound is ever veiled to Him or is unperceived by Him, and neither is a single progression of any toddler obscure to His divine knowledge, and nor is the stretch of the tiniest step taken by any of His creation in a dark gloomy night, or at any depth or layer of this world not visible by Him. The brilliant moon in its fullness does not veil His magnificent effulgent presence, nor can the radiant sun and the full gamut of its rays brighten and make His presence more luminous. The orderly changing stretches of the nights and what they bring, and the prolongation and shortening of the daylight hours are within His knowledge, for He alone has the knowledge of what He wills to exist, and the wisdom behind their alterations.

He is the omniscient Lord Who is full of knowledge of every space, time, sequence, duration and term. The time allotted for the existence of His creation is predetermined solely by Him, and boundaries are not His attributes. He did not create things from preexisting matters nor from elements that were known before Him; rather, He created everything from inception, He made their nature perfect for their respective needs, and He fashioned everything and rendered it its best complementary form. Exalted is He in His glory, for there is nothing that can prevent or limit His reach, nor can anything interfere in His will. He does not benefit from the obedience of His creation, and He is swift in answering their prayers. The countless myriads of angels in the heavens as well as the two earths are subservient to Him.

His knowledge of the annihilated beings and past souls is as intricate as His knowledge of the ever-expanding universe and changing lives. His knowledge encompasses everything in the highest heavens and what is in the deepest layers of the earth. He knows everything. He distinguishes the multitude of sounds He created, and each of them stands distinct from the others before Him. Languages do not preoccupy Him. He is the All-Hearing Lord and without the extremities of a body, and He alone manages the entire universe, and He is the All-Seeing Lord, the Living, and the sole Sustaining power behind the entire existence. Glory be to Him, He spoke to Moses with words without the need for limbs or tools, nor lips nor through the vibration of a uvular sound. Exalted is He beyond ascription of mechanical attributes. He who alleges that our Lord is limited is indeed ignorant of the Creator who is worshipped in the heavens and on earth. The one that imagines Him contained within boundaries will live his life confused and mixed up.

Instead, it is God Almighty, Allah, who encompasses everything. Therefore, if you are troubled, and if you have gone to the extent of asking questions to describe the Merciful Lord, seeking an explanation beyond what He already revealed about Himself, inquiring in excess of the manifest proof of His sovereignty, then describe to me the archangels Gabriel, Michael, or Israfîl. How can you? Thus, if you are incapable of describing the created (angels), then how can you describe the Creator? What you can understand is limited to recognizing the attributes and the essence of perceived matters, but when it comes to describing the One Whom no slumber nor sleep can seize, you will surely fail. To Him belongs what the two earths, the heavens and all what they embody, and He is the Lord of the magnificent throne.'" (Also narrated by al-Nu'man and Ishaq)

• Also on this subject, Ahmad bin Abi al-Hawwâri narrated that `Ali bin Abi Tâlib, may God ennoble his countenance, said: "I would not be happy if I had died as an infant, and if I entered paradise without experiencing this life and growing up to know my Lord."

• Ali bin al-Hussain narrated that his grandfather Ali, may God be pleased with both of them, said: "Among people, the most true in their advice, and the unsurpassed in their knowledge of who is God, are those who have the most love and reverence for the people of Lâ ilâha il Allah (Surely there is no god other than Allah)."

• Yahya Ibn Abi Kathâr narrated that the companions once asked `Ali, God bless his countenance: "Should we guard you?" He replied: "One is best guarded by his own destiny."

From: Hilyat-ul Awliya, Abu Na`im al-Asfahani
The Beauty Of The Righteous And The Ranks Of The Elite

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Muslims, the Veil, and the West

From the NPR program The Diane Rehm Show

Since top British politicians called the Muslim veil a mark of separation, new debate has exploded over whether Muslims should assimilate more or Western cultures should better accommodate their customs.

Guests include:

Karen Dabdoub, executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations in Cincinnati, Ohio

Mona Eltahawy, commentator; director, Progressive Muslim Union of North America

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and author of "Piety & Politics" (Harmony Books)