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City of Brass

City of Brass

Bio

Aziz Poonawalla is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, and currently lives in Verona, WI with his wife and two children. City of Brass is his weblog, which was founded in 2002 under the name UNMEDIA. Aziz is actively involved in projects throughout the Islamic blogsphere (aka "the Islamsphere") including the communal discussion portal Talk Islam and the annual Brass Crescent Awards.

The name City of Brass refers to the Story of the City of Brass in the
Thousand and One Nights, and the poem by Rudyard Kipling of the same
name:

Here was a people whom, after their works, thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion;
And in this palace is the last information respecting lords collected in the dust.
-- Thousand and One Nights, Story of the City of Brass


IN A land that the sand overlays, the ways to her gates are untrod,
A multitude ended their days whose fates were made splendid by God,
Till they grew drunk and were smitten with madness and went to their fall,
And of these is a story written: but Allah Alone knoweth all!
-- Rudyard Kipling, The City of Brass (1909)

Did the GOP win or lose in NY-23?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

IN yesterday’s election in New York’s 23rd district, the Republican Party lost a seat it has owned for 120 years. This was because the GOP candidate, Dede Scozzafava, was excommunicated by the Tea Party conservatives and forced out of the […]

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Abdullah runs off; Karzai certified

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Afghanistan residential challenger Abdullah Abdullah decided (correctly) over the weekend that the planned run-off election between him and incumbent President Karzai would be subject to the same abuses and lack of transparency as the original election, and thus withdrew his […]

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Hiatus

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

City of Brass will be on a short hiatus starting today and all through next week. I am sure most of the blogsphere will not even notice, but for anyone who does actually stop by here to read what I […]

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poll: the public wants the public option

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Aside from the August recess of Congress, there has been strong support for the so-called public option all along: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded […]

Karzai vs Abdullah, round 2 – run-off in Afghanistan to proceed Nov 7th

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is fantastic news – there will be a run-off election in Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s election commission Tuesday ordered a Nov. 7 runoff in the disputed presidential poll after a fraud investigation dropped incumbent Hamid Karzai’s votes below 50 percent of […]

miracle Qur’an baby or child abuse?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is deeply disturbing to me: Quotations from Quran start appearing on the body of a 9-month boy named Ali from Kizlyar, Dagestan, his parents claim. Birthmarks in form of Arabic scripts have been appearing on the baby’s body since […]

Is Ayatollah Khamenei dead or in a coma?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Take this with a heavy dose of salt, as it may more reflect wishful thinking on the part of the American Enterprise Institute (which is neocon central), but there are supposedly rumors in Tehran that Khamenei has died: Rumors that […]

deadly bombing in Karbala

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

No, Iraq is not a “success” – Three homemade bombs exploded without warning in the midst of crowds who had stopped to gather for evening prayers Wednesday in southern Iraq’s Shiite holy city of Karbala, and the police and government […]

talking turkish tolerance: links delight

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Further to my friend Joshua Trevino’s previous essay on religious tolerance in Turkey, there’s a related piece in the Washington Times which also provides more detail on how state secularism is driving Christian faiths to extinction and suppressing Islamic identity […]

Obama approves 13,000 more troops to Afghanistan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

without any fanfare – this was not announced via press release. In an unannounced move, President Barack Obama is dispatching an additional 13,000 US troops to Afghanistan beyond the 21,000 he announced publicly in March, The Washington Post reported. The […]

Liberté, fraternité, but not égalité: a note from Istanbul.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by my friend Joshua Treviño. The American relationship with religion in public life is not as simple as the phrase “separation of church and state” implies. The American concept of liberty is deeply rooted in […]

Obama takes troop reduction in Afghanistan off the table

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

John McCain: “I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a – you know, try to please all ends of the political spectrum,” McCain told CNN chief national correspondent John King. “And, again, I have great sympathy […]

Deserve this! The Nobel Peace Prize Agenda for Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama is now a Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize. There’s enough in that statement alone to drive rightwing conservatives insane. And insane they certainly are, as others are ably and gleefully documenting. The general gist of the response […]

Copenhagen dreaming II: global warming as opportunity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the second part of my series in anticipation of the upcoming Copenhagen conference. The previous post in this series was a defense of the scientific method. So, what do I think about global warming? The consensus is a […]

the economic Stimulus: behind the curtain

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ryan Lizza has a superb profile of Larry Summers, President Obama’s brilliant economic adviser, in The New Yorker. Lizza is one of my favorite political writers and he uses the profile on Summers as a backdrop for the larger story […]

Copenhagen dreaming: In defense of the scientific method

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As the Copenhagen conference on the successor to the Kyoto Protocol draws near, I want to lay some meta-thoughts out about the scientific method which I think are important, as a context for my general support of the theory of […]

Pakistan’s identity: Media Matters

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Manas Shaikh. One of the major factors leading to the collapse of the Soviets was their bad handling of the media. Few are worse off than those whose minds are images of others- even […]

nuevo-conservatism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The topic of conservatism’s intellectual decline is one I’ve been talking about a lot recently; I’ve been remiss in not mentioning the recent piece on that topic in the WaPo by Steven Hayward. He makes a number of points, but […]

Answering Ahmadinejad on the Holocaust

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Katie Couric interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a classic example of how he changes the subject away from his own controversial statements. I don’t think Ahmadinejad is a particularly evil man, just a typically corrupt and cynical […]

Sarah Palin on Islam and China

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been bluntly critical of Sarah Palin before when I felt it warranted, but I’ve never had anything but respect for her formidable intellect and political saavy. I think she’s easily the most credible challenger to President Obama in 2012 […]

word cloud and transcript: Sarah Palin on common-sense conservatism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the text and word cloud of the speech by Sarah Palin while in Hong Kong on September 23rd, for the CLSA Pacific Markets Conference. Note the dominant topic (in the cloud) in her speech is obvious, and hardly […]

Obama’s foreign policy record: beyond the waters’ edge

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Whatever happened to the Bush-era adoration by Republicans of the wise adage by Senator Arthur Vandenberg in the Truman era, that “politics stops at the water’s edge” ? Well, that is a naive question, of course. The only real theme […]

Obama’s Cheshire Smile

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is eerie – Barack Obama’s amazingly consistent smile, culled from the official US State Department photo set on Flickr of Barack and Michelle Obama meeting various dignitaries and heads of state last week at the UN: I find this […]

The 6th Annual Brass Crescent Awards

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

in partnership with Shahed Amanullah of altmuslim.com, I am pleased to announce that the 6th Annual Brass Crescent Awards are now underway! What are the Brass Crescent Awards? They are named for the Story of the City of Brass in […]

photos from the “Islam on Capitol Hill” jummah prayer

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

These photos are being sent to me live by a friend who is attending the event on Capitol Hill. She reports that there were a small number of protestors in a line further behind, but they seem to have bailed […]

video: Katie Couric interviews President Ahmadinejad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last night, Katie Couric interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on CBS. I think this could have been a good thing, but ultimately was totally meaningless. Couric is not a seasoned interviewer like Barbara Walters, in terms of getting the “big […]

Should conservatives embrace Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story” ?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I admit to not having ever seen a Michael Moore movie, though from what I understand his film Roger and Me was probably his defining film, one that predated the Bush era and thus was more balanced in its critiques. […]

Gender as the Focal Point of Cross-Cultural Dialogue

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Asma T. Uddin, Editor-in-Chief of AltMuslimah.com. Louise Cankar, an assistant professor of sociology at Marquette University, recently published a book in which she argues that, while anti-Muslim suspicion existed prior to 9/11, 9/11 created […]

Obama on Letterman: Remarkable.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I rarely catch late night television, so it was a bit of a surprise to me that President Obama was on Dave Letterman’s show last night. I much prefer the Letterman format of keeping a guest around instead of shooing […]

troops in Afghanistan: too many or not enough?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The McChrystal Report saga continues its inexorable trend towards the pre-ordained conclusion. At the beginning of September, the report had not yet been made public, but there seemed to be a concensus that Gen. McChrystal really understood the need to […]

The CIA whines to Obama about being subject to rule of law

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is expected, but pathetic nevertheless: Seven former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency asked President Obama on Friday to shut down the new Justice Department inquiry into past abuses during interrogations of terrorism suspects, arguing that it “will seriously […]

the final fast of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

???? ?????? ?? ??? ?????! Today is the final fast of Ramadan. Unlike last year, it looks like almost everyone will be celebrating Eid al Fitr together on Sunday, a happy convergence of the Ummah. But talking about Eid is […]

Baucus bill follies: the public option is anti-progressive

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been reading Tyler Cowen, Ezra Klein, and the League on the matter of the Baucus bill and am frankly bothered by the way in which progressives seem to be losing sight of the main goal of health care: to […]

Islam on Capitol Hill?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On of my favorite lines from Shakespeare is Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5: Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale […]

Do doctors support health care reform? IBD says no, NEJM says yes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE 031810: Fox News falsely claimed that NEJM has a new poll indicating that doctors no longer support health reform; this is false. See here for details. There’s an alarmist poll out from Investors Business Daily that makes the shocking […]

A letter to President Bush about torture

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Andrew Sullivan has written a lengthy letter to President Bush that calls upon him to acknowledge his role in authorizing torture. It’s a masterpiece and lays out the case against torture in President Bush’s own words, and makes a powerful […]

towards a “realist” foreign policy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s a new foreign policy group in town called the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, and they have written a letter to President Obama urging him to “focus US strategy more clearly on Al Qaeda” instead of explicit nation-building. […]

China’s Uyghurs: forbidden to fast

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As I alluded in my earlier primer on the oppression of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, China, the Chinese authorities are engaged in what amounts to a cultural genocide against the Uyghur people. One of the ways this is done […]

Radio Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Every year, the profile of Ramadan observances by muslims in the West is raised higher, and invariably reflects the amazing diversity of the muslim community. As a recent Pew Research Center poll found, the more Americans learn about Islam and […]

9-11 as an outlier

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier, I posted my thoughts about whether terrorism was still a threat, noting that in one sense the answer was obviously yes, but asking whether 9-11 was the outlier it seemed to be. My post was intended to provoke a […]

convictions in the liquid bomb plot… finally

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

And so, the anniversary of 9-11 is upon us again. The most important question we can ask ourselves on this day is, what is the likelihood of this happening again? It seems that the answer to that question, at least […]

Laylatul Qadr and 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The past few years, the anniversary of 9-11 has coincided with Ramadan. As I wrote last year, 9-11 usually elicits a defensive posture in muslim Americans, because of the lingering suspicion and distrust by our fellow citizens. But with the […]

9-11 reflections: Is terrorism still a threat?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The obvious answer to the question is yes – and that goes for before as well as after 9-11. In many ways, 9-11 distorts the picture because it was the single largest casualty count of any terrorist attack in history […]

transcript and word cloud: President Obama’s remarks on health care reform

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the full text and word cloud of Obama’s remarks to the joint session of Congress about health care reform on September 9, 2009. It’s kind of funny that the official transcript from the White House actually includes the […]

terror mail: the Eid Stamp

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Mayor of Clarksville, Tennessee sent out an email recently, urging “all patriotic Americans” to protest that singular threat to Western civilization, the Eid Stamp: Mayor Johnny Piper did not add any comments of his own to the e-mail, The […]

the Afghanistan strategy – not enough civilians?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The 34-page McChrystal report detailing the Afghanistan strategy has been released to the public and can be viewed online. The broad, specific goals for the Afghanistan campaign are listed as: The U.S. broad strategic goal in Afghanistan is to disrupt, […]

Israel: the one-state solution

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As I’ve argued before, the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will entail only two of Democracy, Greater Israel, and Jewishness. In terms of the settlements policy, it seems that Israel has essentially picked the first two. President Obama’s insistence that […]

transcript and word cloud: President’s remarks to the nation’s school children

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

These are the prepared remarks for President Obama to deliver to the nation’s school kids tomorrow. The real controversy, in my opinion, is why it has been almost 20 years since a President spoke directly to kids in school. As […]

CSID Ramadan Iftaar Dinner on Sept 16 featuring Seyyed Hossein Nasr

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I was forwarded the following general invitation from the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, for an iftaar dinner featuring Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr as the keynote speaker. Nasr is a true heavyweight scholar, originally from Iran, now […]

Obamaphobia: The President is indoctrinating our schoolchildren!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: transcript of President Obama’s prepared remarks now available. This video is from 1992, right before the election. That wasn’t President Bush Sr.’s only address to schoolchildren, either – a few years earlier, he also made a 15-minute appeal to […]

Iranian Baha’i and Saudi Shi’a

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

With all the attention paid to by the global muslim community towards Uyghurs, Iranians, Rohingya, and other oppressed yet largely unknown muslim minorities, it’s easy to forget that there are examples much closer to the muslim mainstream, but which receive […]

Freej: veiled grandma superheroes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan is pan-Arab television’s holy land – a month-long sweeps, where the post-fasting masses hunger for entertainment. As a result, there is intense pressure to compete and innovate for new programming. One of the recent hits is Freej, the first […]

transcript: Obama Iftar at the White House

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last night, President Obama hosted a traditional Ramadan dinner (iftar) at the White House, as has become customary with all Presidents since Bill Clinton. The guest list included many members of his cabinet, Congressional lesgislators, as well as prominent muslim-Americans […]

Losing Afghanistan: the McChrystal report

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the major problems with the Bush Administration and its conservative Republican stalwarts regarding the Iraq War was the “stay the course” dogma which seemed immune to any attempt at an honest evaluation of the war’s goals or purpose. […]

Muslim-Americans answer the call to service

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Back in February, President Obama issued a national call to service to help mobilize ordinary citizens to come together and engage in civic projects in service of their fellow citizens and the nation. The focal point for this self-driven community […]

modern conservatism is like Islam…

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

…in that it is being hijacked by extremists who are not representative of the mainstream, but who inexplicably seem to be in control of the PR department. For better or worse – this is what the face of conservatism today […]

Yahoo buys Maktoob

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is an interesting development – Yahoo has bought the Arabic-language portal Maktoob.com: The global internet giant said on Tuesday it has entered into a definitive agreement with Jordan-based Maktoob Group to acquire Maktoob.com for an undisclosed fee. Maktoob Business […]

sleepwalking through Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The first week of Ramadan is often the hardest, posing the greatest challenge (both mental and physical) of integrating Ramadan into our lives. While it would be easy to claim that we simply “turn on Ramadan” like a light switch, […]

Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy dies, health reform must live

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is sad news indeed, if not entirely unexpected, to hear of Senator Ted Kennedy’s passing. The man was a titan, a political legend, whose inspiration as a classical liberal champion was the role model for an entire generation of […]

Be thankful this Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha M Raja. If you believe that the more thankful you are then you will receive more, then this Ramadan is a good time to fundamentally change the way we live. The past 25 […]

the AARP’s amazing press release

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This press release by the AARP, in response to ongoing Republican mischaracterizations and fear-mongering about health reform, particularly a recent diatribe by RNC Chairman Michael Steele, is a masterpiece of snarky fact-checking. See below for the full text, with the […]

Michael Jackson’s death panel – self-homicide?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am trying to avoid Michael Jackson-related news as much as possible, but this was too astonishing to ignore: The affidavit, in its “statement of probable cause,” quotes Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office officials as saying the pop star’s body […]

Ramadan Message from President Obama (video and transcript)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama has issued a Ramadan Message, on behalf of his Administrration and the American people, to muslims worldwide. The video and transcript follow. Also at the White House blog, the Ramadan Message is available, translated into a number of […]

Ramadan mubarak!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As sunset creeps westward across the globe today, Ramadan follows – already the vast majority of the muslim world has already fallen into night, including India, Indonesia, and China. It is the verge of sunset in the Middle East as […]

Receiving Ramadan, the esteemed guest

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha M. Raja. Ramadhan arrives like a guest, an esteemed guest. Families prepare to receive the guest in many ways. Houses get cleaned, talk of fasting and prayers are abound, preparation to go to […]

Tweeting the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan is an opportunity for me to reacquaint myself with the Qur’an. This is really an admission of failure on my part, as I really should be familiar with the Qur’an year-round rather than need Ramadan to renew my commitment […]

Rendezvous with Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the last day, in which I can indulge my body and my mind in their petty habits and frivolities. Today is the last day in which being simply human suffices as an excuse not to seek transcendence towards […]

‘Twas the night before Ramadan, and all through Kabul… #afghan09

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

… the voters are stirring, and speaking their will. The word democracy refers to a process, not an outcome. The outcome in this case is largely known; President Hamid Karzai is projected to win easily, even if his main challenger […]

birthers now claim Obama born in 1957?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is just laughable – the right-wing World Net Daily, which boasts of “over 200 exclusive reports on the eligibility issue”, has issued a breathless report that Obama’s actual year of birth was 1957, not 1961 as was previously thought […]

the public option: some liberal skepticism on health insurance reform

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Over the weekend, the liberal blogsphere had a bit of a freak-out with news that Obama seemed to be dialing back his support for the “public option” – a non-profit insurance provider which would compete with the private insurers. The […]

Governor Palin proclaimed April 16, 2008 as Healthcare Decisions Day in Alaska

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I called Sarah Palin a flat-out liar in my previous post because I believe she is too intelligent to believe that Obama’s reform agenda really includes “death panels” which would coerce euthanasia on senior citizens. The purpose of Palin’s deliberate […]

Sarah Palin is lying about death panels

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Palin still insists that death panels are a reality: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin refused to retreat from her debunked claim that a proposed health care overhaul would create “death panels,” as the growing furor over end-of-life consultations forced a […]

The Domestic Crusaders by Wajahat Ali to premiere in NYC on 9-11-09

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is a press release by my friend Wajahat Ali, who is a blogger, journalist for Altmuslim, and also a budding playwright. His first play, The Domestic Crusaders, has received rave reviews from critics and artists alike (including Emma […]

CIO Vivek Kundra – did Obama get scammed? (UPDATE: No.)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(NOTE – Om Malik spoke to Kundra personally and it is clear that Dvorak’s piece was badly sourced and flat-out wrong. scroll down to the updates) This is pretty disturbing – John Dvorak has done some digging into the background […]

Bugs inside a new box of Raisin Bran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This video was sent to me by my friend Taha Raja, who has contributed guest posts to this blog. He bought a box of Kellog’s Raisin Bran at WalMart and was shocked to find live bugs crawling around inside the […]

Paula Abdul named to Obamacare death panel

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Mike Licht breaks the news – it’s time to start singing “Cold Hearted“: Entertainer Paula Abdul has been named to the Death Panel mandated under the new U.S. Healthcare Reform bill. We have been unable to confirm either of the […]

Sarah Palin, queen of the Deathers

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve gone on enough about the nuttery (and yes, racism) of the Birthers who are besieging the last remnants of sanity in the Republican Party. It’s only fitting, therefore, that the wackiness continue with the rise of Deathers, who insist […]

the “bad speech” dilemma – does intolerance lead to violence?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Asma T. Uddin. “A woman who loses her chastity is worthless,” lectures the sermon-giver at Asra Nomani’s mosque in Morgantown, West Virginia. Nomani carefully jots down this statement in her notebook, right alongside the […]

apology to Daniel Larison

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Daniel takes rightful issue with an off-hand comment of mine, that he was putting a “positive spin” on Birther nonsense: As Aziz and other long-time readers must know, I am not normally in the business of providing positive spin for […]

the last Sturgeon Moon before Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The last full moon before Ramadan rises tonight. It puts me in mind of the song “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas – especially the refrain, Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon Or […]

Happy Birther Day, President Obama!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: I owe Daniel an apology for my unintentional implication below. Also, I lay out my argument for why Birthers are primarily racist in that post as well. President Obama is 48 years old today, and the lunatic “Birther” movement […]

linking Afghanistan and Pakistan?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am engaged in some rethinking of our Afghanistan policy, and trying to look at Obama’s proposed strategy with a fresh outlook. This is more challenging because I am generally a fan of Obama’s policies rather than a critic. As […]

An ideal husband

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by G. Willow Wilson. Asra Nomani’s recent essay in Marie Claire, My Big Fat Muslim Wedding, lays out a scenario that has become familiar to everyone in the post-9/11 world: despairing Muslim woman is forced […]

WISE Conference 2009 – part 2

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Dilshad A. Ali. Returning home from any conference, there is a time of decompression and processing, as I am doing at my home in Virginia. I just wrapped up three intense days at the […]

away for a bit

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ll be out of town this week, but hopefully will have a guest post or two to fill in the time. Until then, don’t forget to check out Talk Islam for ongoing discussion and links – it’s the best place […]

a Chinese-American reader comments on the Uyghur

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following was a comment left by reader Gerald of Atlanta on my previous post. I am reproducing it in its entirety. UPDATE: I misidentified the reader as an Uyghur, actually he is descended from Chinese Hui muslims. I apologise […]

Karzai’s competition: Dr. Abdullah Abdullah

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the frustrating things about Afghanistan is that it’s such a mess that our expectations for the democratic process were quite low. It seemed a given that Karzai would cruise to re-election unopposed, and while that may not be […]

American Muslims Call on Chinese Govt’ to Protect Religious Freedom

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is a press release issued by a group of muslim Americans regarding the oppression of the Uyghur in China. I am a signatory to the release and the forthcoming petition. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 23, 2009 Media contact: […]

A Million Bullets

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At Read Islam, Conrad reviews A Million Bullets: The Story of the British in Afghanistan by James Fergusson. Here’s Conrad’s introduction: This is the first major account on the British operations in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan to be written […]

transcript – Pastor Rick Warren’s address at ISNA 2009

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is an exclusive transcript of Pastor Rick Warren’s remarks at the 2009 Islamic Society of North America conference that concluded a few weeks ago, kindly provided to me by his staff and reprinted with their permission. I think it’s […]

VIDEO: Shari’a in the USA

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Behold – a shocking video exposé of impending Islamist takeover in the United States! Amerabia is nigh! Aieeeeeeee! (really, the last minute is the important part) Now, I’m tempted to mock this mercilessly as I did with the Dawah Doll, […]

the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century – 22 July 2009

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This Wednesday, the majority of mankind is for quite a show – the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century. As the NASA graphic at right (click to enlarge) makes clear, the path of the eclipse traverses half the globe, […]

VIDEO: Obama at NAACP, “the pain of discrimination is still felt in America.”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s speech to the NAACP was equal parts encouragement and tough love. I found this passage to be refreshing, in that it broadens the reality of discrimination and thus implies common cause: “I understand there may be a temptation […]

human shields in Gaza for the IDF?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the central rationalizations for the permissibility of “collateral damage” in warfare is that the enemy uses “human shields” – that militants are deliberately hiding among civilian populations so as to force the attacker to kill innocents if they […]

goodbye Walter Cronkite; hello, Jon Stewart

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Walter Cronkite’s passing away is an occassion for remembrance of a storied career and a true giant of journalism. It is not, however, the end of an era – the era of men like Cronkite ended a long time ago. […]

Women’s Islamic Initiative in Equality and Spirituality Conference (WISE)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Dilshad D. Ali. In 2006 I received an invitation from Daisy Khan, founder of the American Society for Muslim Advancement to attend the first ever Women’s Islamic Initiative in Equity and Spirituality Conference (WISE) […]

Laylatul Me’raj – The Night of Ascent

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is the holy month of Rajab al Asab in the Islamic calendar,a month that holds a great deal of meaning for muslims. In particular, the 27th of Rajab is significant because this is when, according to muslim lore, the […]

China blogging suffers a blow

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Tim Johnson is leaving McClatchy’s China Rises blog. Tim shares some personal highlights: In my day job, writing news stories for McClatchy, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to travel nearly everywhere in China. As I look at the map, I see […]

translation of Rafsanjani’s speech, links

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s a running translation from another blogger of Rafsanjani’s sermon, along with a compilation video of the reaction in Tehran: The moazzen is saying the azan. Rafsanjani just got introduced to the podium. Sound of loud chants we can’t make […]

Rafsanjani’s big day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A few weeks ago, the post-election friday sermon by Supreme Leader Khamenei gave a preview of the Iranian regime’s response to the Green Revolution. Khamanei starkly warned the protestors that they, not the regime, bore responsibility for what would happen […]

Blogger Peter Guo (@amoiist) arrested in China, twitters it

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I just saw a re-tweet from Rebecca MacKinnon that Chinese blogger Peter Guo has been arrested by authorities in China. Amazingly, it seems he managed to twitter his arrest while in custody, by using his phone while the police were […]

an Uyghur primer: the roots of discontent

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The oppression of the Uyghur in China’s Xinjiang province has been getting a surprising amount of media coverage. The first reaction most people have upon hearing about the Uyghur is to ask, “who?” so it’s worth reviewing some basic information […]

On Hadith and righteousness: a debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A few years ago, blogger Yursil had an interesting and provocative post about hadith and the theological methodology of the Salafi and Wahabi sects of Islam: The opposite of Taqlid is the approach taken by the Ahl ul Hadith (People […]

Tricky Dick Cheney and the Shadow Government

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

For years, critics of the Bush Administration have noted that Vice-President Cheney wielded enormous power that was essentially beyond any oversihgt by Congress or the Judiciary. His infamous declaration that he was a “fourth branch of Government” was an attempt […]

Obama’s speech in Africa: transcript and word cloud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama made the following address to the Parliament of Ghana on July 11th. It lays out in detail Obama’s approach to Africa as a whole, and I think provides a framework for moving forward that will result in genuine […]

“Eurabia” is hate speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the pet projects of the Islamophobe industry is to issue dire warnings about how the tide of muslims in Europe is rising and threatening to wipe out European culture. There have been numerous factual rebuttals to this propaganda, […]

The Iranian crucible: Islam + Democracy = ?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Several thousand Iranians marched on Tehran University today in protest of the election, on the anniversary of a student protest in 1999: The demonstration is taking place on the 10th anniversary of a student uprising that, at the time, posed […]

The Uyghurs and the Ummah

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Color me unsurprised – the plight of the Uyghurs hasn’t received much attention from the muslim world: A leading Uighur rights activist has criticised Muslim-majority countries for not speaking out against decades of alleged repression and persecution from the Chinese […]

The Myth of Secular Inevitability: Iran, Islam, America, Israel and Palestine

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Haroon Moghul. Not surprisingly, in the days since Iran’s election fiasco, Western media have attempted to fit the events inside the Islamic Republic into a convenient framework. I call this the myth of secular […]

Republican Town Hall on health care reform in Houston

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taha Raja, who recently attended a “town hall” meeting on July 30th, 2009 about health care reform hosted by Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas, Senator John McCain of Arizona, and Senator Mitch McConnell […]

The Uyghur uprising in China

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Horrific repression of the Uighurs (or Uyghurs, depending on how you transliterate their name from Mandarin) in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang: Several hundred people were arrested after a protest, in the city of Urumqi on Sunday, turned violent. […]

The Sarah Palin Chronicles 2012: quitting is winning

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Republican primary for the Presidential nomination in 2012 has begun in earnest this week. While Newt Gingrich has been the most active until now in laying the groundwork for his run, mostly by knee-kerk opposition to everything Obama does, […]

Pirates of the Mediterranean

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via Richard Silverstein of Tikkun Olam blog, the Israeli military has boarded and forcibly confiscated the crew and cargo of a humanitarian ship bound for Gaza, carrying medicine, toys and other supplies, in international waters. The list of passengers taken […]

Michael Jackson and the Nation of Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As a kind of corollary to the drama over Michael Jackson’s alleged conversion to Islam, there have long been rumors that Jacko was somehow affiliated with the Nation of Islam, led by controversial firebrand Louis Farrakhan. The NOI connection was […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

AIRlift on May 1st

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend, the writer G. Willow Wilson, is the author of the comic book series AIR which has been getting rave reviews and recognition. But AIR is more than a book, it’s also a cause! I’ll let Willow explain: Whacky […]

Islamic finance and magical money

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great article in the London Review of Books about Islamic finance, in the context of the global banking crisis. I found this excerpt particularly insightful:  One of the central differences between the Islamic and conventional approaches to […]

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