Beliefnet
City of Brass

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 collapsed,
spewing 2.6 million cubic yards of fly ash across Tennessee.

According to the TVA, 400 acres of land are submerged 6-feet deep in
the toxic substance
. The sludge that burst out of the holding pond for
power plant waste ripped an entire home from its foundations and
flooded 11 other homes in the area.

Fortunately,
no injuries related to the disaster have been reported so far. However,
the situation is expected to worsen. Fly ash is a highly toxic
substance that contains mercury, lead, and arsenic. A report from last year also states that fly ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste

It’s shocking just how dangerous coal mining really is. Not just for the miners but also for the public at large. Compared to nuclear energy, coal is worse in every respect. The design of modern nuclear reactors is nothing like the old style Three Mile Island or Chernobyl type. Modern pebble-bed reactors are physically incapable of melting down, and produce useful energy byproducts like pure hydrogen as well, There’s a great article in Wired about how the Chinese are aggressively pushing small-scale pebble bed reactor technology, which if deployed on a large enough scale could make coal mines obsolete.

2008_christmas_special

Andin their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Lawthat had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidanceand light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: aguidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah. (al-Maaida, 5:46)

On this day, I pray salawat for the Prophet Jesus AS, and pay my respects to my Abrahamic cousins in faith who revere him. I also think that this day is the high tide for the season, which is one that spans religious boundaries and has come to mean goodwill and fellowship for all, irrespective of creed. I am not a cynic about Christmas, finding even value in the commercialism (as a symptom of the underlying human emotions of love and cheer).

Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee– chosen thee above the women of all nations. (al-Imran, 3:42)

Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of aWord from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held inhonour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) thosenearest to Allah; (al-Imran 3:45)

Jesus was indeed a light unto mankind. In many ways, in fact, Christmas is all about Light, spiritually and literally. This season, we are all aglow, from within and also recipients of light from above. I think it fitting, therefore, to share the following segment from Northern Exposure,

Enjoy this clip. It is worth your time. And Merry Christmas, everyone!

On behalf of both altmuslim.com and City of Brass,
we’d like to thank the nearly 1000 people who voted in the Fifth Annual
Brass Crescent Awards. Voting was very close in most categories, and we
would like to be the first to congratulate our winners and Honorable
Mentions, as well as extend our thanks to all the nominees and voters
for helping make this celebration of the Islamsphere a success. We also
would like to thank everyone (including the nominees) who linked to us
and helped publicize the Brass Crescent Awards.

The winners in each category are as follows:

BEST BLOG: Tariq Nelson

BEST DESIGN: The Manrilla Blog (Marc Manley)

BEST FEMALE BLOG: The Muslimah (Umm Layth)

BEST GROUP BLOG: Muslim Matters

BEST HUMOR BLOG: Maniac Muslim (Hamzah Moin)

BEST NEW BLOG: Lucky Fatima

BEST NON-MUSLIM BLOG: Informed Comment (Juan Cole)

BEST POST OR SERIES: Female, Muslim, and Mutant (Broken Mystic)

BEST WRITER: Rickshaw Diaries (Baraka)

BEST ASIAN BLOG: Islam in China (Wang Daiyu)

BEST SOUTH ASIAN BLOG: Teeth Maestro (Awab Alvi)

BEST EUROPEAN BLOG: Indigo Jo (Matthew Smith)

BEST MIDEAST BLOG: Black Iris (Naseem Tarawneh)

Check out the official Brass Crescent Awards website for the runner-up Honorable Mentions in each category, as well as category descriptions.

We also would like to thank our judges’ panel:

and a special thanks to our sponsor, Kube Publishing.

This was a great year for the Awards and we look forward to a great year of blogging ahead, for next year’s Awards!

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