Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Hate and Fear System by Nadeem Mazen

In the Vol 1, Issue 2 (Fall 2007) issue of Ascent magazine, there's a wonderful 2 page article entitled "The Hate & Fear SystemTM" by Nadeem Mazen. It's in the form of an advertisement, full of buzz-words and the latest marketing gimmicks.

I hope that a poster can be made out of it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review: Nadia's Hands by Karen English

Nadia's Hands by Karen English, illustrated by Jonathan Weiner. Bodys Mills Press. 1999. ISBN 1-56397-667-6. 32 pages, hardcover, over-size.

Nadia has the duty of being the flower girl in a wedding, and two fears threaten her performance of this duty. The first is the fear of her friends' mocking her should she do something wrong or embarrass herself during the ceremony. The second is the fear of what the schoolchildren will do on Monday when they see the orange mehndi on her hands.

Her fears almost overcame her, but when she saw her extended family's happiness at her appearance, she was able to refocus and complete her task as the flower girl. She was able to accept her hands as her own.

The book is well-written and beautifully illustrated.

I'm always surprised at the rivalries among little girls in children's literature, because I never remember as a little boy having these suspicions about the boys my age. With that reservation, I do like this book, and I'm eager to read it aloud to some children and see if they like it as well.

The book is available from Astrolabe.

Kidsville News

Great content for kids!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Amnesty International Action to Close Guantanamo

Read about the case of Maher Rafat al-Quwari, who has been cleared for release, but, being a Palestinian without residency in any country, has no place to go. The Amnesty International case report also includes information about the conditions of his imprisonment and his complaints of abuse while in Northern Alliance and U.S. detention.

Also see the National Religious Campaig Against Torture:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Defense of Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Of course, Reverend Wright is not a Muslim, but equating black liberation theology with anti-Americanism demands a response, most particularly from the various Christian churches.

I'm including here some videos from Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ's YouTube account.

The first is from Rev. John Thomas, President of the United Church of Christ, at Dr. Wright's Retirement Celebration Morning Service Sunday February 24, 2008.

Pastor Gaye of Trinity United Church of Christ in St. Petersburg, FL speaks in response to attacks in the media on Candidate Barack Obama regarding remarks made by his Pastor Rev. Wright.

Pastor Otis Moss,III of Trinity United Church of Christ response to clips of Rev, Wright. More than just a sound bite.

There were also some segments on NPR radio's Fresh Air program of March 31, 2008.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Adventures of Amir Hamza: Lord of the Auspicious Planetary Conjuction

The Adventures of Amir Hamza (Modern Library) (Hardcover)by Ghalib Lakhnavi (Author), Abdullah Bilgrami (Author), Hamid Dabashi (Introduction), Musharraf Ali Farooqi (Translator).

From Amazon:

I acquired this book from the Georgia library system in December 2008, and I finally finished it on April 20, 2009. The book is 900 pages. I enjoyed it for the first 400 pages, but it seemed so repetitive after awhile. I guess I began, as an ostensibly responsible adult, to feel guilty spending time reading it and not spending time doing my work. The material seems much more suited to oral storytelling or movies. At the same time, by conservative American and Muslim standards, it's somewhat racy for the Harry Potter age young readers who might not feel that guilt of spending all the time required in reading the book.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Diane Rehm-Interview with Robin Wright, author of "Dreams and Shadows"

After listenting to the interview I downloaded from, I wrote the following letter to the Diane Rehm show. I've added the hyperlinks for the blog.

When are we going to hold "veteran reporters" like Robin Wright and Thomas Friedman accountable for the distorted ideas of Middle Eastern peoples they've fed the American people for 30+ years? These distorted ideas so saturate the American public's mind that it could not resist the Bush administration's infomercials selling "Operation Iraqi Freedom." In your interview, why could you not ask, "Why have your writings of 30+ years completely failed to give us a real idea of the peoples of the region?"

Regarding the specific interview, there's two points I think which illustrate to me your timidity in this interview. Number 1, when a caller challenged her assertion that the main problem in Palestine is Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel, you allowed her to completely sidestep the question. Number 2, the idea that Abdolkarim Soroush is the "Martin Luther of Islam" is so cliche. Put "soroush iran martin luther" into a search engine and see what comes up: a bunch of U.S. media outlets repeating a phrase with no understanding of Islam's theological traditions or the historical Martin Luther. Ms. Wright's explanation that he's the first to claim that belief is invalid without a conscious (and hence free from coercion) choice is a distortion of historical Muslim theology and perpetuates the notion that, without Euro-American influence and intervention, Muslims would not be able to come up with the simplest foundations of a functioning society. Also, it's a distortion of European history, since Martin Luther's differences with the Catholic Church did not involve the relationship between free will and belief, and in fact some "Protestant" groups, particularly Calvinists, placed more limitations on free will than the Catholic Church ever did.

Having said this, Ms. Wright's book purportedly highlights Muslims' initiatives. I'm just hoping that the ignorance in her reporting over her career is a function of the system of reporting and editing and broadcasting and that her book will demonstrate a deeper understanding of the region's peoples, not just repeating the words of people she meets at the airport Marriots of these countries.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Dr. Mohammed Asmal - Cousin Marriages and Congenital Defects

Taken at face value, the recent statement by British Minister Woolas about the worrisome rate of congenital defects in British Pakistani newborns and its association with the practice of cousin marriage would seem to be a statement of concern for the public health of his constituents. ...

First Freedom First Simulcast About Religious Liberty

First Freedom First simulcast on March 26, 2008. Check the web site to find the theatre closest to you.

Rabbi Friedman's Interview with Jews On First about Obsession

Rabbi Joan Friedman, a professor of Religion and Jewish Studies at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, did an interview with Jews on First about the distribution of the movie "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" and the appropriate Jewish response to Christian Zionists. The link for the full article is

My brief 10 minutes on the Jews on First web site led me to be thankful that this organization exists and to think about ways we Muslims could foster a dedication to truth regardless of the perceived public relations benefit.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Recommendation: Exhibit "Breaking the Silence"

I heard Mr. Oded Na'aman, a member of Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika),, on Dr. Nadia Ali's show "Just Peace" on Atlanta, GA, USA's WRFG 89.3 FM.

Mr. Na'aman served in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and his organization's exhibit's purpose is to show that Israel cannot combine security, occupation and morality.

The exhibit is in Boston until March 16, 2008.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Recommendation: Islamic Inheritance Blog

The web site is operated by my friend, Ahmed Shaikh. I knew Ahmed from our time as students at Indiana University. He currently practices law in California, and he specialized in helping Muslims plan their estates, which from my experience Muslims in the U.S. are generally not doing well. I encourage you to visit his site, read the "Journal", and if you're in California, give him a call and see if he can help you.

The article in the first link above is a good example of information you can get from the "Journal." It is about why you should not play loose with your payroll, because the one thing you can't mess with in the U.S. is the IRS.