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City of Brass

City of Brass

Nation-Building Archives

The Nation of Islam is keeping the peace on the streets of Baltimore #BlackLivesMatter

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

No news agency is bothering to cover how thousands of peaceful protestors are expressing their right of free speech in Baltimore, over the killing of Freddie Gray. Instead, the big story is the violence of the few rather than the […]

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13 years after 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I honestly don’t have much left to say that I have not said already. But it is worth at least remarking on this, the anniversary of the attacks, that the global challenges facing the world today have almost nothing to […]

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a victory for toilets and holograms: Narendra Modi is India’s new Prime Minister

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As predicted by everyone, Narendra Modi has won the election and is India’s new Prime Minister. Some essential background on the Indian elections here, by John Oliver on HBO (because American news media FAIL): Modi won with substantial support of […]

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the silver lining to the Iraq War

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here’s an article by a defense industry analyst that goes out of its way to avoid mentioning who and what political party was responsible for the Iraq War while assidously making the case that said war has paralyzed American military […]

Obama still wants to close Guantanamo #Gitmo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

From today’s press conference: 8:15 AM PT: Bill Plante of CBS asks about the Guantanamo hunger strike. Obama says he still wants to close it. “It’s not necessary to keep America safe. It’s expensive. It’s inefficient. It hurts us” with […]

Iraq War retrospective: not convinced by Colin Powell at the UN #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Feb 5th 2003, Colin Powell gave a speech at the United Nations that supposedly laid out the case for WMD in Iraq and the argument for invasion. After the war began and WMDs were not found, this speech destroyed […]

Iraq War retrospective: How does attacking Iraq solve the problem of terrorism? #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following post was written in late October 2002, after my earlier post about the Bali bombings, where I was still trying to work out just how the Iraq War would be related to terrorism. As the post makes clear, […]

one liberal’s case for war and subsequent repudiation #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. I began realizing how wrong I was the day of the invasion. One of my main reasons for supporting the war — after initial skepticism — was Iraq’s alleged stockpiles of chemical, […]

Iraq War retrospective: the liberal case for war #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The debate over the Iraq war was not polarized according to liberal/conservative fault lines, but stretched across them. In fact, many liberals found themselves reluctantly swayed by the arguments for war, especially after Kenneth Pollack’s book <a href="The Threatening Storm: […]

Iraq War retrospective: the Bali bombings #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following post was written shortly after the Bali resort bombings, which killed over 200 people, of which 88 were Australian tourists, 38 Indonesians, and 27 citizens of UK. At the time, the case for war against Iraq was in […]

10 Years after Iraq: a retrospective #iraq10

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Precisely ten years ago, the Iraq War began, as limited strikes against Iraqi palaces in an attempt to initially “kill the head of the snake” and killing Saddam Hussein. These attacks were unsuccessful and so on March 21st, whose 10-year […]

Chris Christie defending Muslim Americans

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is just an amazing video from last year of Chris Christie, governor of Jew Jersey (and likely contender for the Republican nomination in 2016): Suhail Mohammed is an Indian-born American Muslim lawyer who was appointed as a judge by […]

Why Muslim Americans should vote for Barack Obama – 10 reasons #MuslimVOTE

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Arguably, the outcome of the Presidential Election tomorrow in the United States matters to every person in the world, not just Americans. As a supporter of Barack Obama, I have laid out my own personal reasons for supporting Barack Obama. […]

if the Supreme Court says no to Obamacare, time to say yes to Medicare for All

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If the Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) today, then I for one am not too worried, even though I’m a liberal supporter of the bill and the President. The reason is simple: it will be proof […]

“The veil is on my face, not my mind” #Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Sometimes, Twitter’s forced succinctness produces the most insightful commentary: Almost fell over when a niqabi in Luxor told us she voted for Hamdeen Sabahi. “The veil is on my face, not my mind,” she said. #Egypt — Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) […]

Mubarak, Facebook! and shukran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, Facebook goes public, and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange at 11:00am Eastern time (the truly addicted stockwatchers may want to bookmark this). Amidst all the noise about IPOs and investments and whatnot today, I think it’s […]

the post-Osama world, Year One

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s the one-year anniversary of the successful killing of Osama bin Laden. Having gone through the requisite 5 stages of emotion over the act long ago, I find that looking back at it now, it feels as though little has […]

#Tahrir Square on #Jan25Two in pictures

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the one-year anniversary of the uprising in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, the heart of the Arab world and the pulse of the Arab Spring. Thousands and thousands of people are thronging the square. Below are some images from the […]

Letter from a Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther King, Jr.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this letter while incarcerated on a charge of parading without a permit. It was in response to prominent white religious leaders of the Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches, and Reform Judaism, […]

a humble suggestion for balancing the budget and eliminating the national debt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

What if we simply abolished our entire active duty military? Well, not entirely of course. In a nutshell, we abolish the active duty standing Army and Air Force, fold the JSOC (SEALs and Marines) back into the Navy proper, and […]

Transcript and word cloud of Obama’s “Moment of Opportunity” #mespeech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Courtesy of the White House, complete transcript of President Obama’s speech on the Arab Spring and the Middle East / North Africa (MENA), as prepared for delivery: I want to thank Hillary Clinton, who has traveled so much these last […]

Obama’s Arab Spring and MENA speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, President Obama will deliver a major foreign policy address aimed not just at Americans but also at the Arab world (the Middle East and NOrth Africa, commonly abbreviated MENA). The themes are likely to touch upon the Arab Spring, […]

Mission Accomplished: Obama got Osama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid […]

Photos and Video of Secretary Clinton at US Islamic World Forum Gala Dinner

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The full transcript of Sec. Clinton’s remarks are in my previous post – here are some photos and a few short video segments of her talk.

Transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks at the US – Islamic World Forum

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I was incredibly honored to meet Madame Clinton last night, introduce myself, shake her hand, and I think even give her the correct URL to the blog, though that last bit is a bit sketchy. I was frankly overawed by […]

Qaradawi: monster or moderate? both.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last week I posted the transcript of Yusuf al Qaradawi’s sermon at Tahrir Square in Egypt, a sermon notable for its embrace of political moderation and Egyptian nationalism. Qaradawi made his appeal not just to muslims, but to all Egyptians, […]

the khutbah (sermon) of Yusuf al Qaradawi in Tahrir Square

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Dr. Yahya Michot, professor at Hartford Seminary with the collaboration of student Samy Metwally, has prepared a complete translation along with an introductory analysis of Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi’s khutbah (sermon) in Tahrir Square on February 18, 2011. Here is the […]

a No-Fly zone over Libya NOW

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via @SultanAlQassemi Al Jazeera breaking: Multiple reports confirm that military airplanes are bombing protesters in Tripoli. #Libya In President Obama’s Cairo speech, he said, Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of […]

VIDEO and TRANSCRIPT: Obama remarks on Egyptian revolution and Hosni Mubarak

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Video is also at C-SPAN here. Scroll down for the transcript. Also see Democracy Arsenal on how well the President’s handling of the Egypt situation has been, overall. There are naysayers however like Daniel Larison and Joshua Trevino. Here is […]

(UPDATED) no-Mubarak Mabrook to Egypt after all! (and no more to Omar)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE 2 President Mubarak has indeed resigned! And he has handed power over not to Suleiman, but to the Army: Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has resigned from his post, handing over power to the armed forces. Omar Suleiman, the […]

Endgame in Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Far from dying down, the protests in Egypt have only grown – there’s a million marching upon Mubarak today: About 1,000,000 people have gathered for the planned “march of a million” in the Egyptian capital, calling for Hosni Mubarak, the […]

State of the Union word cloud – 2010 compared to 2011 (and analysis)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

2010 State of the Union speech (transcript): 2011 State of the Union speech (transcript): Looking at the cloud from last year, we see that they are someone similar. Both speeches show an emphasis on “people” and “jobs”, but there’s more […]

Obama should not fire McChrystal – here’s why

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lt. General Stanley McChrystal is being summoned to Washington DC today because of a pending article in Rolling Stone magazine where he and his aides trashed the civilian leadership of the war, including Obama, Biden, and others. McChrystal has apologized, […]

droning on towards failure in Afghanistan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In an opinion piece in the NY Daily News, John Nagl argues that though things seem grim in Afghanistan, we can still “win”, for three reasons: The war in Afghanistan is winnable for three reasons: because for the first time […]

Afghanistan’s trillion dollar curse: lithium

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The New York Times reports that a small team of American geologists and military personnel have discovered vast reserves of precious metals and minerals in Afghanistan, which profoundly transforms the destiny of this battered nation overnight: The previously unknown deposits […]

I am beginning to notice a disturbing pattern

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s something strange going on… Recall that at the height of the health reform fight, after Senator Brown was elected in MA and the Democrats looked like they were on the verge of total failure. It looked like Obama’s signature […]

Confessions of an Obama-bot

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama has been riding high the past few weeks, moving forward on his agenda from health care to nuclear arms reduction to the prospect of appointing another judge to the Supreme Court. However, there’s a dark lining to this […]

Obama donates Nobel Peace prize money to charities

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As promised, President Obama has donated the money he was awarded from his Nobel Peace Prize to charity. The White House released a list of the charities chosen by the President to receive funds from the $1.4 million award money. […]

Groundhog Day, Daniel Pipes, and Bombing Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ah, it must be Groundhog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray wakes up every day to the same day, where everything happens over and over again. In real life, conservatives argue for bombing Iran as if the Iraq war or […]

Devil’s advocate: Pat Robertson and Haiti’s curse

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s really no better term for Pat Robertson than “Christian extremist” – there’s not much point in going over his long history of public outbursts of intolerance, racism, and hatred, except in noting that ordinary Christians (and evangelicals in particular) […]

Red Cross donations online or via SMS for Haiti

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The situation in Haiti is utterly horrific. If you want to help by making a donation, there’s no better way than the Red Cross’s International Response Fund, which has the economies of scale to ensure that every dollar you give […]

Rotten in the state of Denmark: Chindia at Copenhagen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been meaning to comment on the Copenhagen conference, since the perspective from the Indian press is probably quite different from that in the US media. According to the papers here, Obama forced his way into a private meeting between […]

word cloud and transcript: Obama’s Nobel speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

These are the remarks by President Obama in Oslo, Norway at the acceptance ceremony for his Nobel Peace Prize. Click to enlarge the word cloud – which features “America” quite prominently, interestingly enough. Democracy Arsenal highlights two passages in particular […]

Shariahland

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The problem with Afghanistan is that it isn’t like any war we’ve fought before, not even counter-insurgencies. It’s fundamentally an attempt to deny a haven for Islamic violent extremists (IVEs) to create a model society – “Sharialand”, for want of […]

146 years after Gettysburg

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the 146th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address – November 19th, 1963. Readers may be interested in this word cloud I generated of the text of the Address: Here’s the full transcript of the Gettysburg Address (the “Nicolay” copy).

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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, […]

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. […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Are Somali pirates like terrorists?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Everyone is talking about pirates, and it’s not even September 19th yet! Last Sunday’s dramatic rescue of the captain of the Maersk Alabama was just the latest chapter in a saga that as far as the public attention span is¬†concerned, […]

Mayor Karzai signs pro-rape bill in Afghanistan, scapegoats the Shi’a

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In an explicit bid to appease hard-line Islamists, Afghanistan’s “president” 1 Hamid Karzai has signed a bill into law that essentially legalizes rape of a woman by her husband: Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in […]

smart power: Obama’s video to Iran provokes fear

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke extensively of “smart power” in her description of how America’s foreign policy would seek to engage the world. Obama’s video message to Iran, on the occassion of Nowruz, is destined to become a case […]

horror and hope of Zimbabwe: Roy Bennett

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Joe Trippi. I’ve talked about Roy Bennett and his imprisonment for weeks, talked about his courage, about Roy really being the heart and soul of the MDC opposition to Mugabe in Zimbabwe, and rejoiced […]

global warming as a muslim issue, redux

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Further to my earlier post on the topic, we are having a healthy debate at Talk Islam about whether global warming should be a “muslim issue”.

Taliban’s Mullah Omar changes the rules

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is an interesting development: The militants active in North and South Waziristan agencies have been directed by Mulla Omar to immediately stop their attacks on the Pakistani security forces.  In a letter to the militants, who have forged a […]

Ayman Nour released from prison in Egypt

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Excellent, if surprising, news for democracy and political reform in Egypt – dissident and one-time opposition party candidate for President against Hosni Mubarak, was released quite abruptly from prison yesterday: Mr. Nour, a charismatic political leader who challenged the governing […]

The Taliban win: Shari’a for Swat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s no other way to interpret this news, except simply as “the terrorists have won” in the full sense of the word: Pakistan’s government has agreed to restore sharia, or Islamic law, in the Swat valley and neighbouring areas of […]

liberal interventionism vs imperialism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At Talk Islam, I have (another) healthy debate with Abu Noor about the Iraq War, pragmatic liberal intervention, and imperialism. We end up debating the merits of interventionism a lot over at TI, don’t we?

Pakistan releases AQ Khan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It is true that Osama bin Laden is the most wanted terrorist alive. But someday, a terrorist attack will occur that will make OBL’s lifetime achievements pale in comparison, because it will use a nuclear weapon. When thta day comes, […]

Obama’s Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and East Timor genocide

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

democracy promotion and liberal interventionism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

Liberal Intervention: A Talk Islam Debate

posted by G. Willow Wilson

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

censoring Obama in China

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

celebrating Obama in Kenya

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

Draft order to close Guantanamo Bay

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

Obama to Ummah: message to the muslim world

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

Great speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

Saudi Arabia’s Iran Obsession

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

Tennessee coal mine disaster

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Talk about a lump of coal in your stocking for Christmas: A disaster that occurred early Monday morning has ruined the holidays for some residents of Knoxville, Tennessee. A retaining wall at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston coal-fired power plant […]

the shoe-thrower is sorry

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If this is sincere, then good: An Iraqi journalist arrested after throwing his shoes at George Bush, the US president, has reportedly sent a letter to the Iraqi prime minister to apologise for the incident and seek a pardon. A […]

Mugabe says, “Zimbabwe is mine”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Robert Mugabe is not going quietly: BINDURA, Zimbabwe (AFP) — President Robert Mugabe declared Friday that “Zimbabwe is mine” and vowed never to surrender to calls to step down, as his political rival threatened to quit stalled unity government talks. […]

Are muslim Americans morally complicit in Guantanamo?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

We are having a fascinating debate at Talk Islam, relating to whether muslims in America are morally culpable for the actions of our nation when those actions result in the deaths of innocent muslims. The argument is that muslims are […]

Col. Theoneste Bagosora, the butcher of Rwanda, jailed

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The architect of the Rwandan genocide has been jailed: A UN-backed tribunal has convicted Theoneste Bagosora, a former Rwandan army colonel, of organising the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Two other former military officers were also convicted by the International Criminal […]

President Bush ducks thrown shoes

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

To be honest I find this rather insulting and pathetic: An Iraqi reporter set off pandemonium Sunday by hurling two shoes atPresident Bush during a news conference that was the centerpiece of hissecret good-bye visit. Bush was cool under fire […]

Pakistan arrests Mumbai suspects; Malaysia lets some go

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Mumbai terror attacks were arguably India’s 9-11 – an attack on the nation as a whole instead of just isolated targets of opportunity. That makes these two stories an interesting pair – first, Pakistan has arrested suspects accused of […]

Hillary Clinton’s Foggy Bottom

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Hillary Clinton will be Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. This is significant for many reasons, not least of which because Hillary is perfect for the job and is supremely qualified for it. Arguably, the more important reason will […]

India lands on the moon

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is truly a historic achievement for India and the world: India’s first unmanned lunar probe has landed successfully on the moon, a milestone for the country’s 45-year-old space programme. The moon-landing on Friday is part of a two-year mission […]

Nixon and China redux: Only Obama can go to Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A young woman votes in the second runoff of the Iranian Parliamentary elections this past April (via Faith Today). Iran is not our enemy. The reaction from Iranians to Obama’s election has been one of cautious optimism and anticipation: Iranians […]

Obama’s judgement

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There’s a great anecdote by Joe Klein about Obama’s meeting with General Petraeus in Iraq that I think speaks very well of Obama’s judgement and leadership, especially with regard to military matters: Obama had a choice at that moment. He […]

Obama will not leave Iraq. (good.)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve long argued that no Democratic president will fully withdraw from Iraq. There’s been plenty of evidence of Obama’s intentions in that regard; the latest is this exchange from Joe Klein’s recent interview with Obama: [Q] Lets go back to […]

Obama McCain Debate II: the best question

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I confess that I wasn’t really watching the debate because I had any interest in what McCain would say. I already know who I am voting for and I already know where McCain stands on all the issues, except for […]

Biden and Palin

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Overall, I think that Biden and Palin did well. Biden met expdectations, and Palin exceeded them. However, neither one really did much to change the overall narrative, which has been trending in Obama’s favor. Palin’s basic objective was to avoid […]

fiscal crisis explained by stick figures

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This powerpoint of unknown authorship has been making the rounds of Wall Street brokers, so Barry Ritholz embedded it online in Google Docs for all to share (click it to begin slide show): One thing worth noting, and emphasized in […]

Remembering Mohammed Mosaddeq

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Mosaddeq was the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, a political moderate who was overthrown from power in a CIA-directed coup, after daring to nationalize the Iranian oil industry. Al Ahram Weekly tells the story, and points out how our […]

Previous Posts

The Fourth and the First
This evening, just prior to sunrise, members of my mosque in Los Angeles gathered round to raise the flag of the United States of America. Due to fortuitous timing, just as the flag was unfurled, a squadron of planes flew overhead in formation, ...

posted 12:38:00am Jul. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 04 - angels
He who has fasted for Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, and is in the discomfort of heat and struck by thirst, will have his face wiped and be given the good news by a thousand angels whom Allah has entrusted to him until he breaks his fast; at ...

posted 8:16:29am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

ibadat in Ramadan - process as piety
There are a lot of articles written during Ramadan about what Ramadan means, about what we as Muslims should be "getting out" of Ramadan, what the benefits of Ramadan should be. But I think that these sorts of articles miss the point of ibadat. ...

posted 10:20:36am Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 03 - mystery
Know that the goal in fasting is for the veil of appetite and anger to be lifted from the heart's eye so that the heart may see the mystery of the dominion of heaven and earth. (The Easy Roads of Sayf al-Din, as translated by William Chittick ...

posted 8:57:01am Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls 02 - non-existence
Fasting leads to non-existence, for, after all, the joys are there. God is with those who patiently persevere (2:249) (Jalaluddin Rumi, compilation The Essential Rumi) ...

posted 8:47:33am Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

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