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City of Brass

City of Brass

May 2009 Archives

the God of the philosophers

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At Talk Islam, Willow asks, (of my atheist friend Razib) [how] would you boil down the idea of the ‘god of the philosophers’ in layman’s terms? And explain how, in theory, this god is ideologically and functionally different from a […]

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rape at Abu Ghraib? Obama vs Taguba

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A British newspaper, The Telegraph, is claiming that the unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib include images of rape and sexual abuse of men and women, as Seymour Hersh alleged a few years back. What makes this claim more credible is […]

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the two Michaels: Totten and Yon

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Michael Totten and Michael Yon are two independent journalists who travel to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Middle East hot spots (notably Lebanon) on their own dime, embed with the military, and strike out on their own with local guides, They […]

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muslim holidays in prison versus school

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One thing missing from the arguments of most poliitical opponents of Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court is actual data – such as her legal written opinions from decades of serving on the bench. The SCOTUS Blog has done […]

the myth of the white muslim’s burden

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by G. Willow Wilson, in response to this discussion thread at Talk Islam. The reason I don’t like discussions about the situation of white Muslims as a community, or the power relationships between white converts […]

North Korea nukes? a paper tiger

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the span of two days, North Korea has test-fired five (short-range) missiles and performed a nuclear detonation test. This is of course a serious matter, especially since the city of Seoul is essentially adjacent to the border and would […]

Bush on Iraq War: “This confrontation is willed by God.”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am speechless. In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in […]

Sonia Sotomayor and empathy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the key traits that President Obama said he was looking for in a Supreme Court Justice was “empathy” – an ability to weigh the outcomes of decisions on the average man and woman, a pragmatic assessment of the […]

Move over Mikael: Paris Hilton to make Islam chic

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

First Michael Jackson, now Paris Hilton? As Nicole Ritchie might say, Islam is hot. It should be noted that according to at least one pundit, Paris Hilton’s embrace of Islam might well be as revolutionary for the faith as Malcolm […]

About those photos… (part 2)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. This is the concluding part of a two-part series.. In the previous post, I took up some of Aziz Poonawalla’s defense of Obama’s decision to resist the release of photos showing past […]

Memorial Day: those left behind, and those who return

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Memorial Day is one of tose holidays in which sometimes the real significance gets lost in the formality. It’s important to honor the sacrifices made by our armed services personnel for our sakes, though not just one day out of […]

onwards, Sufi Soldiders: Islamist vs Islamist in Somalia

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The total deterioration of Somalia continues – with plowshares turned into swords: Their shrines were being destroyed. Their imams were being murdered. Their tolerant beliefs were under withering attack. So the moderate Sufi scholars recently did what so many other […]

Interview with Shahed Amanullah at Washington Post

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Washington Post has a fantastic profile and interview of my friend Shahed Amanullah, founder of altmuslim.com and my partner in running the anual Brass Crescent Awards for the Islamic Blogsphere. I particularly liked these two answers: Eight years after […]

more on the Newburgh Four; MANA press release

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Some more information has come to light about the four bumbling bronx would-be jihadis, who bonded at a Newburgh, NY mosque before embarking on their pathetic plot. In a nutshell, these are men with extensive criminal histories prior to their […]

fruitless in Wisconsin

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Sometimes, the Associated Press writers have a subtle sense of humor: Man in ape suit sought for trying to steal bananas By Associated Press May. 21, 2009 6:06 p.m. | Fond du Lac – Fond du Lac police continue a […]

discourse on the nature of doubt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the context of a critique of President Obama for his speech at Notre Dame, Daniel Larison engages in a theologic examination of the nature of doubt, invoking the doubt of the apostle Thomas. In response, E.D. Kain at LOG […]

About those photos… (part 1)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. A few days ago, my friend Aziz Poonawalla published a couple of posts — “Obama is right not to release the prisoner abuse photos” and “release the prisoner abuse photos — but […]

TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s speech on security and values

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here is the complete transcript of Obama’s speech at the National Archives about the need to balance security and values. The word cloud shows the word “People” as most prominent, followed by Guantanamo and Security. This fits with the president’s […]

the bronx bombers’ bumbling

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Some thoughts on the foiled plot to bomb synagogues in the Bronx: The perpetrators were muslim. They were also black, and converted to Islam in prison. I hear Rod’s complaint but I think he’s being a bit politically correct in […]

Iran as Amalek: Netanyahu pulls an Ahmadinejad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The threat is painted in stark terms: a rogue nation, flouting international law and human rights of its minorities, with nuclear capability, led by an ultra-nationalist leader who invokes religious symbolism and who makes existential threats against its regional neighbor, […]

Amalek and Jihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Jonathan Edelstein. The topic is especially relevant today, because Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just made explicit his view that Iran represents a modern-day Amalek, so it is worth understanding just what the theologic […]

VIDEO: The Third Jihad trailer and 30-min preview

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As I mentioned yesterday, the Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles intends to screen the film The Third Jihad at the Museum of Tolerance. In the interest of free speech, I am embedding the trailer and also a 30-minute short […]

text SWAT to 20222 to donate $5 for Pakistan relief

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier I mentioned a few ways you can donate to various relief agencies working for Pakistani refugees in the Swat valley and other areas affected by the ongoing warfare with the Taliban. Now comes the most innovative initiative for fundraising […]

never again? Simon Wiesenthal Center to screen Islamophobic film “The Third Jihad”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve argued in the past that muslims and jews in the West should make common cause in fighting against prejudice and tolerance – and in doing so, lead by example in terms of demonstrating the value of tolerance and respect […]

Islam Day in Hawai’i – Aloha Akhbar!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Given my recent trip, I admit that I am looking for pretty much any excuse to write about Hawai’i. Earlier I mentioned how the diversity of the muslim community on the islands was in some ways a negative. I should […]

When Barack met Bibi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Israeli prime minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama for two hours today, according to various news reports, to discuss middle east peace. The outcome? President Obama reiterated support for a two-state solution, whereas Netanyahu toed the Likud […]

release the prisoner abuse photos – but not right now

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier, I argued that President Obama was right to change his mind, regarding the release of new photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. My good friend Hussein Rashid took issue with my position, arguing that a […]

an appeal on behalf of the people of Swat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is an urgent appeal for donations on behalf of the refugees of the Swat Valley, by Zeenat Ahmed, of the Center for Dialogue, Peace and Action (CDPA). Mrs. Ahmed is a well-known Pakistani activist whose family has been […]

Obama is right not to release the prisoner abuse photos

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is indeed a reversal of policy and campaign promises: President Obama said Wednesday that he would fight to prevent the release of photographs documenting abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by United States military personnel, reversing his position […]

journalist Amira Hass arrested in Israel

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I view the freedom of the press as a sub-category of the general principle of freedom of speech, and believe that a free press is not only a sign of a healthy democracy, it is a prerequisite. Only with a […]

torture is terror

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The recent electoral losses of the Republican Party have indeed been good for conservatism, if for no reason other than the sprouting of new, fascinating conservative blogs run by principled and thought-provoking voices like Daniel Larison, Rod Dreher, and the […]

Obama Administration to continue to deny Tariq Ramadan a visa

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I remain optimistic about Obama’s upcoming foreign policy address in Cairo – if he approaches it with the same frankness and honesty as his speech on race in Philadelphia, then I think it will be a historic event indeed. Actions […]

Pope Benedict XVI succumbs to dhimmitude

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This image is going to blow a lot of jafi’s minds. After all, we are supposed to Fear the Scarf! And also anything crescent-shaped. Or even colored green. It’s all about Shari’a! On a more serious note, Hussein Rashid discusses […]

Walk like an Egyptian: Obama goes to Cairo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s long-anticipated foreign policy address, from the venue of a major muslim capital, has been finalized – he will deliver his speech in Cairo on June 4th. In many ways this was the obvious, “safe” choice, though my personal […]

Phil Carter appointed as Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great step forward for civil rights and detainee policy – as well as a well-deserved achievement by a fantastic blogger: The Obama administration has chosen a lawyer and Iraq War veteran who has denounced U.S. detention policy […]

Michael Savage barred from the UK, plans to sue

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The UK has released a list of various unsavory persons it will bar from entry into the UK. About half are muslim extremists, there are also some skinheads… and right-wing insane radio nutcase Michael Savage. Predictably, this infuriated him, and […]

Obama and Africa policy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Africa always seems to get less attention than it deserves, which is remarkable given how enormous it is, in terms of sheer geography and population. I bitterly complained earlier how muslims worldwide favor injustices by Jews on muslims in the […]

Bibi Netanyahu: an existential threat to the Jewish state

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama has publicly stated his desire to see the creation of a Palestinian state by the end of his first term. There’s substantial progress from the Palestinian side – Hamas has announced it will cease rocket operations and says […]

Angels and Demons and muslim assassins

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I haven’t yet read the Dan Brown thriller Angels and Demons, so I was unaware that there was a muslim stereotype present in the book until I read this news report, which makes minor mention of some changes to the […]

Texas Republicans debate “motives” of American muslims

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is yet more evidence of an ingrained Islamophobia among the core GOP faithful that is both ugly and yet sadly predictable. At a Republican meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, the idea that muslim citizens of the United States are […]

the misogyny of the Ummah

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I often find fault with the way in which Yasmin Alibhai-Brown makes her arguments in the pages of the Independent, but I have to concede that on the merits, her main arguments are usually sound. Her latest essay is a […]

Muslims Against Torture

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following statement of principles, A New Muslim Statement Against Torture, is reprinted from Religion Dispatches. It came about as a direct result of the general failure of the muslim-American community to join the national dialouge condemning torture when president […]

the conservative, secular case for gay marriage

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over at The Secular Right (one of the intellectual niches that the non-ideological Right has fractured into after the implosion of the conservative movement over the past few years), John Derbyshire makes what he calls a “secular case against gay […]

sky gods

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In an unrelated post at Talk Islam, my friend (and staunch atheist) Razib of GNXP blog made an off-hand reference to “sky gods”. This is a term that atheists often use, in the context of dismissing belief in the divine. […]

Pakistan’s constitutional Islamism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ali Eteraz has a lengthy, lucid article on the root of Pakistan’s problem – namely, that it’s 1973 constitution has made it an Islamist state rather than a democratic one. Eteraz provides a lengthy historical background and context for how […]

Iranian nuclear program: assessment and policy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Eric Martin at American Footprints points to this great, detailed assessment of the Iranian nuclear program (PDF) by the American Foreign Policy Project. Here’s a key excerpt: Although we often hear it said or implied that Iran is clearly pursuing […]

The Specter of Souter’s retirement

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The news just broke¬†last night that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire. Souter was appointed by George HW Bush and proceeded to drive conservatives insane by refusing to bend to the right-wing agenda. Instead he has been what I […]

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posted 9:34:01am Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community
This happens almost every day in Pakistan - fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder ...

posted 8:22:26am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Proof denies faith
On Reddit, someone posted the following question: "What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?" I think this is precisely the ...

posted 9:33:46am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, ...

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils ...

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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