Thursday, July 31, 2008

Aslam Abdullah-Living with the Crimes of Individual Muslims

The editor of The Muslim Observer wrote an important piece that highlights the necessity of improving the standards of operations of Muslim institutions. While individual Muslims cannot be prevented from these actions, wherever possible Muslim institutions must not support the perpetrators and must support the victims.

Film: Uzair by Hena Ashraf

Updated March 13, 2015: The full film is now available for free online.
Uzair from Hena Ashraf on Vimeo.

The Muslim Observer (Volume 10, Issue 30, July 18-24, 2008) reviewed a short film by Hena Ashraf entitled Uzair.

I've received a copy, and I'm writing this after watching it once. It is the first fictional movie piece I've reviewed on this blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Taskheel Comics-The 99

Professor Faiza wrote an article about Tashkeel Comics, publisher of The 99, in the June 11, 2008 Washington Post, p. A14. I have subscribed to both the Arabic and English versions from, although there is now a North American distributor for the English print version.

In sha Allah, I'll get a chance to read them soon!

Washington Post Article about Blood-Money in Saudi Arabia

Faiza Saleh Ambah, whose articles I generally recommend, wrote an informative article entitled "Saudis Face Soaring Blood-Money Sums."

I posted this comment on the Washington Post web site:
Several of the comments display a misunderstanding of the qisas ("retaliation") system prescribed by shariah. While richer criminals certainly have the means to pay larger amounts of blood money, it is the discretion of the victim's family to exact punishment, accept the money or forgive. In addition, as the article clearly states, the Saudi state can impose additional punishments, and certain types of crimes (usually attacks on public order and safety, such as the 9/11 attacks and armed robbery) are not subject to the qisas system and are instead crimes which the government is responsible for handling.

There are always flaws in any system of criminal justice because human beings who implement them are flawed. As the article discusses, some people in Saudi Arabia are comparing the blood money amounts among tribes and lineages in a type of “competing with the Jones” way.

I think one positive feature of the qisas system is that the victim's family has more say in the disposal of the case. I know a friend in Knoxville who was tormented by the return of his brother’s murderer from prison to live on his same street. Perhaps if his family had gone through the process of deciding the murderer’s fate, then he would not have this continued pain. I don’t know.

It would be interesting if there were any studies comparing the psychological and social "outcomes" of criminal justice for victims of crimes in different countries.

Washington Post Article About Muslim Women in France, Indicators of Piety

Good article in the Washington Post about Muslim women in France.

I hope the author would reconsider the following passage:
Most French Muslims are hardly pious practitioners of their faith. A 2006 survey by the CSA polling agency found that although nearly nine in 10 Muslims observe the holy month of Ramadan, only 17 percent go to mosque regularly. Separately, the CSA poll found that 91 percent approved of equality between the sexes.
Although I'd agree that observance of the fast of Ramadan is an indicator of Muslim piety, neither mosque attendance nor belief in inequality between the sexes is an indicator of Muslim piety.

Of course, I have never lived in France, and the religious environment in the United States is no doubt different.

From Idaho to Iran-Idaho Public Television Video

I originally wrote:
A heartening short video about an Iranian advocate for protecting the Caspian Sea, Hamid Amirebrahimi, talks about the efforts which lead to the Caspian Sea Programme.

The video was produced by Marcia Franklin, the producer of the hour-length Idaho Public TV documentary From Idaho to Iran, which can be purchased on DVD.
I've purchased the DVD, it arrived, and I've watched it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bravery and Honesty are the Unitarian Universalist Way

I'm reproducing here a speech I heard read at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta on Monday, July 28. I attended to express my condolences and show my support to the congregation after the shooting of church members in a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, TN. I found the text reproduced in a comment at the web site.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations-Hearing, United States House Judiciary Committee

On Wednesday 07/25/2008, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held hearings under the title of Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations. Transcripts are available now. I suspect video and/or audio will become available shortly.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández

The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández is an episode of the PBS show "P.O.V." about U.S. marines' killing of U.S. citizen Esequiel Hernández Jr in 1997 in his hometown of Redford, TX.

Recently, President George W. Bush has again deployed military forces for border duty. This documentary is emotionally compelling and timely. The people who call for a "secure border" have no idea what it would actually take to do so, and even then it would not stop the flow of drugs and workers.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wide Angle: Heart of Darfur

United States's Public Television show Wide Angle aired an episode July 1, 2008 entitled Heart of Darfur. After watching the episode, I also encourage you to check out the resources on the web site. In particular, there is a coalition of human rights groups in different Arab countries which is trying to advocate for an end to the atrocities in Darfur. I've also added the book Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir and Damien Lewis to the Muslim Media Review wish list.

Slingshot Hip Hop-North American Screenings

Visit, a site promoting Palestinian hip hop, for more information.

OCTOBER U.S. SCREENINGS - more details coming soon
Boston Palestine Film Festival
Minneapolis Film festival
San Francisco Palestine Film Festival
Los Angeles Palestine Film Festival
Arabian Sights, Washington DC

RIDM - Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal
November 13-23
Montreal, Canada

November 13-23
Denver, Colorado

Human Rights Watch Report on Abuse of Domestic Labor in Saudi Arabia

The summary of the report "Saudi Arabia: Domestic Workers Face Harsh Abuses" has been translated into several languages. This reading is not for the faint of heart.