Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"I don't want a lot of gab from a bunkshooter in my religion" by Carl Sandburg

I don’t want a lot of gab from a bunkshooter in my religion.
I won’t take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth and never cherishes any memory except the face of the woman on the American silver dollar.
This is an excerpt from Carl Sandburg's poem To a Contemporary Bunkshooter. It was first published in collection entitled Chicago Poems in 1916. I first heard it on an audio cassette book. Here is a performance I found on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Review: Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do by Robert Boston

I am a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Robert Boston (Twitter) is the latter organization's Director of Communications, and he is the author of numerous books. His latest is Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a talk he gave in Augusta, GA, and I enjoyed his company at lunch before the talk.

Support Steven Salaita, Academic, Activist and Target of Zionists

On Corey Robin's blog, I learned that the University of Illinois Chancellor has rescinded an offer of employment to Professor Steven Salaita.
In the meantime, do something for Steven Salaita. Write a note to University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise (best to email her at both and, urging her to rescind her rescission. ... read more ...
Professor Salaita has a website (not working when I wrote this), a Twitter account and a Goodreads author page.

Another way of supporting Professor Salaita is to read and promote his books. I own The Uncultured Wars: Arabs, Muslims and the Poverty of Liberal Thought. Consider buying or sending other books for me to review or submitting a review yourself.

The most recent publication I found was an essay entitled "Normatizing State Power: Uncritical Ethical Praxis and Zionism" in The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent, edited by Piya Chatterjee and Sunaina Maira.

Updated 2014-08-06: Mohammad Fadel of the University of Toronto published the letter he sent. There is a petition for people to sign.

Updated 2014-08-07. Electronic Intifada reports that Professor Salaita was "fired," not that his job offer was revoked. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has issued an action alert with suggested measures you can take. Illinois AAUP Committee. A Statement on Steven Salaita and UIUC.

Updated 2014-08-09. Rather than update with each important article, I'm simply going to give you the link to all Corey Robin's posts tagged Steven Salaita and Electronic Intifada posts tagged Steven Salaita.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Download for Free: The Case for Sanctions Against Israel, edited by Audrea Lim

Leading international voices argue for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
In July 2011, Israel passed legislation outlawing the public support of boycott activities against the state, corporations, and settlements, adding a crackdown on free speech to its continuing blockade of Gaza and the expansion of illegal settlements. Nonetheless, the campaign for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) continues to grow in strength within Israel and Palestine, as well as in Europe and the US. ---- read more & download eBook or buy paperback
I don't have a Kindle and I'm not sure how to use an .epub file, so I used to convert the .epub file to a PDF.

Verso Books is an excellent publisher!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Heaven's Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance by Harris Irfan

Ziauddin Sardar, editor at The Critical Muslim, wrote a review of Heaven's Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance by Harris Irfan. The Independent (UK) published it on July 17, 2014. The book has a companion website.
Things changed when the "rocket scientists of Deutsche Bank", Goldman Sachs, HSBC and other big boys arrived on the scene. They saw Islamic finance as an opportunity for quick profit. Muftis and Mullahs were hired at footballers' salaries to make some of their product "Sharia compliant", and bankers such as Irfan to sell them to an unsuspected Muslim public. Soon we had products such as sukuk (the equivalent of interest on bonds), hilah contracts (which substituted bank charges for interest) and Islamic finance became embroiled in hedge funds, derivatives and other dubious instruments justified in the name of Islam. read more ...
Updated August 7, 2014:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Perils of American Muslim Politics

Abdullah Al-Arian and Hafsah Kanjwal wrote The Perils of American Muslim Politics, which Jadaliyya published on July 10, 2014.
These broader shifts across the United States political establishment showcase an increasing tendency within American Muslim activism—particularly since 9/11—to reorient its engagement with policy-making circles (including government, think tanks, private institutions, and media) in a way that risks becoming reappropriated and rearticulated for a new political reality. Read more ...