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City of Brass

City of Brass

January 1970 Archives

Dump Daschle – Howard Dean for Health and Human Services

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Tom Daschle, President Obama’s pick to run the sprawling Department of Health and Human Services, also has some tax issues: Daschle filed amended tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 to reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of […]

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Qur’anist reformers under persecution in Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There is a school of Islamic interpretation called Qur’anism that I hadn’t heard of before, which adopts a Qur’an-centric approach to religious practice with a liberal mindset towards reform and political freedom. Naturally, they are being persecuted for it – […]

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PREDICTION: Michael Steele will win RNC Chair

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Twitter is THE source for following the RNC Chair vote right now. And in a shocking upset, Mike Duncan and Michael Steele are tied in the second round of voting. You can follow the debate in real time via twitter […]

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Hajj: a near-death experience

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is a guest post by my friend Aamer Jamali. Having recently returned from Hajj, I am bombarded by that well meaning question by all of my friends and loved ones… “How was it?”  Unfortunately, all I can answer […]

is evolution sufficient?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Partly because I just went to Africa and flew over (but did not have a chance to actually visit) the Great Rift Valley (also known as the Cradle of Mankind), I’ve been thinking a bit about evolutionary theory of late. […]

What the GOP voted against

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via Clammyc at Daily Kos, here is a partial list of what the House Republicans voted unanimously against in refusing to support the stimulus package that passed without them. An increase in the maximum benefit under the former food stamp […]

Blago gone: impeachment is “bleeping golden”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is official – by unanimous vote, Rod Blagojevich is no longer the Governor of Illinois. In fact he has been barred from seeking public office in the State of Illinois forever. The Chicago Tribune has a fantastic live-blog of […]

Obama Obama! hindi song

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is wonderful and weird. I think it’s wonderful because it is so weird. Perhaps we are seeing the rise of Obollywood?

Obama’s Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and East Timor genocide

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Gary Farber sounded the alarm last month about President Obama’s nominee for National Intelligence Director, Denis Blair, who was complicit in genocide in East Timor during the Clinton Administration. Unfortunately, no questions were asked about East Timor during Blair’s confirmation […]

democracy promotion and liberal interventionism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Further to the debate at Talk Islam earlier, I think that it is critical that the broader foreign policy principle of democracy promotion not be discredited by the imperialism-lite of the neoconservative movement.Liberal interventionism is not a purely military effort, […]

Liberal Intervention: A Talk Islam Debate

posted by G. Willow Wilson

Guest post by G. Willow Wilson. Over at TalkIslam, we’ve been having an ongoing debate about the merits of liberal military intervention around the world. The debate was sparked by an entry about the Shabab Islamist group, which is growing […]

conservatism v2.0: replacing Kristol at the New York Times

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Bill Kristol’s year-long stint as columnist at the New York Times has ended. His last column, entitled “Will Obama Save Liberalism?“, begins with the line: All good things must come to an end. Jan. 20, 2009, marked the end of […]

Obama and Ummah: healing 1400 year-old wounds

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following anecdote is written by my friend Aamer Jamali, via email a few weeks ago (prior to the Inauguration). I have his permission to reprint it here. Of all the things to remember about my Hajj trip (and there […]

Gaza and anti-semitism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am frustrated, because in the past few weeks I’ve received various email forwards from many people I respect that are laden with anger and frustration at Israel’s campaign of collective punishment in Gaza. These are intelligent, tolerant people – […]

Princess Palin wants $11 million

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I don’t begrudge Sarah Palin this at all: Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin wants to write a book and is looking to Robert Barnett, the same high-powered DC attorney who represented Barack Obama and both of the Clintons while they were […]

high expectations and healthy skepticism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Obama’s inauguration speech certainly set a high bar. Can his Administration live up to it? Or the expectations of Obama’s supporters? President Obama himself has been careful not to promise the moon, but rather emphasized that the job ahead is […]

Obama and oversight

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m not a big fan of the “100 day honeymoon” period for new presidencies – if anything, the tone on day one is probably predictive of the entire term. In that regard, I don’t have a lot to complain about […]

Belief-o-Matic results

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Belief-o-Matic quiz here at Beliefnet is a really interesting resource that I think deserves some attention. I took the quiz, as did several others at Talk Islam (muslims and non-muslims alike), and we are discussing the results from the […]

defending Geert Wilders

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Incendiary Dutch politician Geert Wilders will be brought to trial for comparing Islam to Nazism: Geert Wilders made headlines in March 2008 for his short-film Fitna, which juxtaposed shots of the 9/11 attacks on the US with quotations from the […]

censoring Obama in China

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am a huge fan of the China Rises blog written by Tim Johnson, Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers. Johnson has a great catch about how Chinese censors reacted to the following paragraph in Obama’s speech: “Recall that earlier […]

celebrating Obama in Kenya

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Having just returned from my trip to Kenya, I saw firsthand how Obama’s Kenyan roots are a matter of national pride there. Obama’s face graced the papers almost every other day, and our taxi driver proudly told us he was […]

Draft order to close Guantanamo Bay

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The ACLU has obtained a copy of the draft order to close Gitmo. I am embedding the document (PDF) below. Publish at Scribd or explore others: Other Academic Work obama Gitmo The ACLU will have an analysis soon. UPDATE: The […]

I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear again…

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Blame this on Chief Justice Roberts – Obama had a do-over today: WASHINGTON – After the flub heard around theworld, President Barack Obama has taken the oath of office. Again.Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama on Wednesdaynight […]

Willow on American Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend (and accomplished writer) G. Willow Wilson spent several years living in Cairo after converting to Islam. In her Journal at Talk Islam she relates her observations about the differences in how Islam is lived in breathed in Cairo […]

WhiteHouse.gov: open government

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Change came to the virtual White House as well as the physical one yesterday – WhiteHouse.gov has re-launched in true Obama fashion by featuring a blog as its centerpiece and promises to publish legislation and executive orders online for the […]

Obama to Ummah: message to the muslim world

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I posted President Obama’s inauguration speech video and transcript earlier, but I just want to highlight the part where he directly addressed the muslim world: We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are […]

transcript: President Obama inauguration speech (with word cloud)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(click to enlarge)This is the transcript of President Obama’s inauguration speech. I have edited out the applause lines and made other cosmetic changes for clarity. My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for […]

video: President Obama’s inauguration speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Part 1 of 2: Part 2 of 2:

Great speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

now, Mr. President – get to work. UPDATE: here’s video of President Obama’s inauguration speech (in two parts) from YouTube. And here’s the transcript and word cloud.

Obama and MLK: from Founders to Freedom Riders

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Barack Obama strove to avoid race as a defining issue for his campaign. Part of this was pragmatic; running as an explicitly “Black” candidate would have hurt his electability beyond the racial silo, not because of racism per se but […]

Good news in the Islamic world, 2008

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is easy to focus on the negative, but sometimes it is important to remind ourselves of the good news for a change. To that end, Juan Cole has compiled a list of ten good news stories from the Islamic […]

The inauguration: a secular Hajj

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Ali Eteraz calls the Inauguration a “secular hajj” for America: The theological comparison isn’t far-fetched. Emerson, Whitman, Dewey, and Rorty all suggested that politics is America’s civil religion. This makes the constitution the country’s holy text. The division […]

The Judeo-Christian debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Razib has started an interesting debate on the meaning and value of the concept, “Judeo-Christian” – his initial post attracted a vigorous discussion, a response from Ross Douthat at The Atlantic, and lively discussion at Talk Islam. Frankly […]

We Shall Not Be a Party to Their Counsel

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is a statement of principles written by Richard Silverstein of the blog Tikkun Olam and other American Jewish writers (many of whom contributed to the landmark collection of essays, A Time to Speak Out) regarding the ongoing Israeli […]

Al Jazeera in Gaza – journalism 2.0

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As Israel’s war against Gaza rages on, the foreign media must watch from the sidelines. Israel has barred access to the Gaza strip for journalists and human rights monitors, as part of an attempt to impose political control on the […]

flying while brown

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Having just returned from an overseas trip, I am particularly sensitive to the issue of racial profiling of muslims by airlines. Or more colloquially, “flying while brown”. There are any number of innocent things you can do on a plane […]

Democracy, Jewishness, and Greater Israel: pick two

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The idea of the state of Israel is one I support wholeheartedly. A nation for the Jewish people, a homeland where they can engage in the same right of self-determination and chart their own destiny. However, this right and this […]

The USA will elect a black man President when Hell freezes over

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’m sure that was the pessimsitic sentiment in some circles. Such naysayers were proven wrong, of course – or at least, mostly wrong: WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (UPI) — Portions of the frostbitten United States are feeling the coldest air so […]

Back from Mombasa

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s difficult to leave Africa – literally, our flight kept getting delayed and we barely made our connection to Amsterdam. But also in a philosophical sense, it is hard to leave, because some piece of Africa stays with you. This […]

Gaza: Basic Facts and Better Coverage

posted by G. Willow Wilson

As I discussed in an earlier post, free media and unbiased media are not the same thing. Current coverage of the situation in Gaza by American press is a perfect example of this discrepancy. But an op-ed by Professor Rashid […]

Fasting…yet Sad As Well

Typically, it is quite difficult for me to fast outside of the month of Ramadan…I love my coffee WAY too much (it’s now decaffeinated, though). But, there are a few days during which I am happy to do so. Two […]

Islam and the Environment: A Conversation

posted by G. Willow Wilson

Recently at Talk Islam, we’ve been having a discussion about the Islamic attitude toward environmental conservation. It started when blogger Umar Lee, an anti-conservationist, posted this entry at his blog. When Talk Islam blogger Thabet called Lee’s attitude “ignorance dressed […]

Free Speech, Consensus, and Bigotry

posted by G. Willow Wilson

This is a guest post by Muslim comics writer and essayist G. Willow Wilson. One of my literary heroes, Neil Gaiman, is an ardent supporter of free speech. In this entry of his blog, he discusses an issue that has […]

Saudi Arabia’s Iran Obsession

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(This is a guest post by my friend and Islamsphere scion Ali Eteraz) I woke up this morning and found a comprehensive Middle East peace plan being offered by Saudi Arabia in the pages of the Washington Post. Putting aside […]

Previous Posts

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Eid Mubarak!
By the Fatimid calendar, today is Eid al Fitr, 1436! I've explained my position on the calendar vs. moonsighting debate in detail - and this year there is a lot more divergence on the date than usual. Crescentwatch nicely ...

posted 7:53:00am Jul. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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