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City of Brass

City of Brass

June 2009 Archives

the moral arc of the universe: a thought experiment

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Via Eric Martin at American Footprints – a brilliant thought experiment that clearly illustrates the vapidity of the call by Republicans such as John McCain upon President Obama to intervene more forcefully with rhetoric about the events in Iran: But […]

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Iran: If scholars and politics collide

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Haroon Moghul. Events over the last few days have deeply concerned me. Watching the Grand Ayatollah at the top of the Islamic Republic deliver a sermon in which he made no meaningful concessions to […]

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Michael Jackson and the muslims

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Michael Jackson’s passing is almost as fittingly mysterious and dramatic as was his life. Everyone has their own MJ stories about how his music played a role in their lives, but tlooking back it seems like there were two of […]

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muslim pseudoscience: prostration

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It took a profound atheist like Douglas Adams to recognize and succinctly state what should be obvious to any believer: “proof denies faith“. The essence of faith is to believe, and proof essentially makes the process of belief irrelevant. Thus […]

Iran 3.0: slower, please

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Two questions worth asking: What if the Green Revolution fails? And what if it succeeds? If it fails, I argued that we still have to engage Iran, just like we continued to engage China after Tiananmen Square. Doing otherwise will […]

Baharestan is Tehran’s Tiananmen?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: Another eyewitness claims to have been at Baharestan Square and saw no violence, though the scene was “tense”. At this point it is impossible to know what to believe. We have to wait for the mainstream media to do […]

What if the Green Revolution fails?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A remarkable thing happened yesterday at President Obama’s afternoon press conference – he took a question from an Iranian, relayed via Nico Pitney at the Huffington Post. Pitney solicited questions via the Iranian Farsi-language social networking site Balatarin and invited […]

The Next Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The fact that Iran could “promote” its own democracy should be enough of a refutation in and of itself to the neoconservative agenda. – LOG true indeed, even if the Green Revolution falters. In the end, the seeds of the […]

ya Neda! ya Hussein! Tehran is Karbala, now

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Supreme Leader of Iran, last week: The race has endedwhoever has voted for these candidates will receive divine reward.they all belong to the statethey have gotten closer to god by voting, they havethere were 40 million votes for the […]

Why do we care so much about Iran?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Something that struck me about the Green Revolution in Iran is how invested the world is in it. It touches on all the right narratives: telegenic, courageous youth facing off against dour mullahs on the streets, straight out of the […]

live transcript and word cloud of Khamanei’s friday khutbah (sermon)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

An enteprising Iranian blogger offers a translation in real time – partly his own and partly from the government-controlled channel Press TV – of Ayatollah Khamanei’s friday sermon. The transcript is repeated below with a word cloud I generated from […]

video debate on Iran by Reza Aslan and Eli Lake

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Bloggingheads has posted a debate between Reza Aslan and Eli Lake on the Green Revolution that was quite informative. I am embedding the debate below, it’s amazing how much more informative a video debate can be sometimes than just reading […]

Iran doesn’t need Obama to speak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

John McCain, who at one time joked about bombing Iran in song, now has joined the Republican chatterwagon calling for President Obama to Do Something to help the Green Revolution in Iran along. It seems that the Republicans, who were […]

New America prefers the Old Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier I mentioned how neoconservatives are rallying to push the narrative that Ahmadinejad may have legitimately won the Iranian election, with the assumption that Ahmadinejad is preferable as a foil for their agenda and Israeli interests. Now, it seems that […]

thoughts and prayers for the Hassaballa family

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Hesham Hassaballa, who writes for Beliefnet and was a guest author here on City of Brass, has suffered a tremendous personal tragedy: June 7 will forever be burned in my memory. June 7 became my personal 9/11. I played the […]

Would an Ahmadinejad victory be good for Israel?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There are always those who prefer to see world events through the narrow lens of their own political interest rather than universal principles of freedom and justice. Case in point: the extremists running Israel, whose entire narrative about Iran is […]

The Green Revolution in Iran doesn’t need US political fertilizer

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama pointedly did not comment on US preferences for the Iranian election during his Cairo speech, and was careful not to make any official statement of suppoort for reformist candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi over the weekend. Vice president Biden […]

Iran Election: The Green Revolution will be Twittered

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The events in Iran over the weekend have been dramatic and surreal. This is literally history in the making, and the course of the decades ahead turns on the actions of the men and women in the streets of Tehran, […]

May God watch over Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post from Fatemeh Fakhraie. (June 13th, 2009). In the U.S., several university commencements were held today. Outside my window, college graduates and their families are celebrating and looking forward to their futures. Iran is not celebrating […]

Iran votes for hope and change

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a historic day and potentially a turning point for the future of the Middle East – Iran is voting. If you want to play political junkie, stay tuned to Twitter, where you can follow #IranElection tweets out of […]

it’s official – H1N1 Swine Flu is now a pandemic

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Well, it’s officially a pandemic now: The World Health Organization today declared the global outbreak of the novel H1N1 influenza virus to be in Phase 6 — a full-scale pandemic. The announcement essentially warns WHO’s 194 member nations to expect […]

James von Brunn, terrorist

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The shooting at the Holocaust Museum yesterday was a chilling reminder that domestic terrorism is real, and was just the latest in a disturbing trend of increased political violence from right-wing extremists. What these fanatics have in common is a […]

Muslim Voices Festival in New York

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This week in New York City, the Muslim Voices Festival is going on until June 14th – it’s a huge artistic celebration of muslim artists and cultures and if you happen to be in town, make sure you check it […]

international attitudes towards abortion

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Razib, writing as David Hume at the Secular Right blog, has looked at the data on international attitudes towards abortion and made some intriguing observations, notably: 1) It is clear that religion correlate with opposition to abortion in […]

murderer of Suzanne Tamim sentenced to death

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is good news: Suzanne Tamim shot to fame in an “American Idol”-style TV show, a green-eyed Lebanese beauty whose pop songs about love’s agony mirrored her troubled life. Now, the man reported to be her secret lover _ a […]

moving beyond pro-life and pro-choice in the abortion debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lets get my personal opinion out of the way: I am generally in suppoort of Roe vs Wade because I think it does a good job of providing a simple, algorithmic solution to the messy lack of moral and ethical […]

Mosque graffiti vandalism in California: “We will kill you all”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A good gauge of the success of President Obama’s Cairo speech is what sort of people hated it. Al Qaeda was freaked out, as were the Islamophobe industry here in the US (and that’s not the first time, nor the […]

American Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the opening to his Cairo speech, President Obama said that he brought not just the goodwill of the American people as a whole with him, but also “a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in [our] country: assalaamu alaykum“. […]

Obama Cairo speech reaction – video and audio MP3

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The transcript of Obama’s Cairo speech doesn’t do it full justice – nor does it convey how the speech was received by the audience. This is why video and audio of the speech are critical in evaluating whether the speech […]

Obama’s Cairo speech transcript and word cloud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(UPDATE: I argue that American Islam is the key to the new beginning that Obama is seeking. Also, see ongoing discussion of the Cairo speech at Talk Islam, including substantive critiques.) “A New Beginning” – 4th June 2009, Cairo Egypt […]

Obama gets it half right: America is a muslim country

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The anticipation is mounting for President Obama’s speech to the muslim world tomorrow in Cairo, Egypt. Obama himself gave a round of interviews to various media prior to departing Washington, to help promote the speech and do some expectaions management […]

in NYC robbery, Mohammed spreads Islam at the point of a gun

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is one of those amazing stories of the raw power of simple piety and compassion: Storekeeper Mohammad Sohail was closing up his Long Island convenience store just after midnight on May 21 when — as shown on the store’s […]

abortion and moral ambiguity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The abortion debate is utterly irreconcilable because the basic disagreement – whether a fetus is as “valuable” as an already-born and breathing human being – amounts to an arbitrary line drawn in the sand. For pro-lifers, it is at conception, […]

Muslim drive-by shooting of soldiers in Arkansas

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I expressed some concern earlier that the high rate of conversion to Islam by violent criminals in prison is going to lead to an increase in the share of criminal acts by muslims by definition. These criminals’ conversion to Islam, […]

another incident of domestic terrorism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: my mistake. This incident occurred last year in 2008. I’ve edited the text below accordingly. My point in highlighting it is twofold: 1. to illustrate that domestic terrorism is a real concern, and 2. that its not just muslims […]

The case for a VAT

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Megan McArdle lays out the grim outlook for the future, pointing out that tax revenues are plummeting, spending is up, and our national credit rating is in danger. Looking at the landscape ahead, especially the challenges that we as a […]

Tiller, terror, and apologetics

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A couple of weeks ago, President Obama tried to turn the page on the abortion debate during his speech at Notre Dame. This weekend, the page was turned firmly back to the status quo, with the murder of Dr. George […]

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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 wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly

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, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

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 down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

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

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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