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City of Brass

City of Brass

Stranger than Fiction Archives

Siri knows about Milad #creepingsharia

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ask Siri today the following question and you will get the following answer: (via Ayesha Mattu on Twitter – try it yourself!)

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Madonna is studying the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am surprised no one else caught this – From an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Reddit, pop queen Madonna let this interesting tidbit drop: This seems to be a natural progression for her. Her early music was heavily influenced […]

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Bishnu Shrestha and the 40 thieves (and one khukuri)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a khukuri, a curved Nepalese-style blade issued as standard equipment to members of the Gurkha, which are famed Nepali units of the Indian Army (and the British Army of India before Independence): In 2010, a retired Indian Gurkha […]

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The Pope resigns

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is astonishing news – Pope Benedict has informed his brethren at the Vatican that he will be retiring due to “advanced age”. I honestly thought that this was a hoax until I saw it was making early morning headlines […]

Curiosity Rover lands on Mars – magnificent!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last night I returned from masjid at just the right time to tune into the live stream of the final ten minutes of the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars. The description of how the rover landed is astonishing […]

Islam and Star Wars Day: Allah is the Force

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Jumah Mubarak, and May the 4th be with you! Today is Star Wars day, the day we remember with fondness the three greatest movies of our childhood and tolerate three others that were loosely related. The Jedi order has always […]

Captain Jack Sparrow was (based on a real) muslim pirate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier I’d linked to an amusing graphic making the case that Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean fame was possibly a crypto-muslim. As it turns out, though, Suhaib Webb has a much more indepth analysis of the real […]

extrajudicial killing, Batman and the Joker

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Should Batman kill the Joker? There is actually an ethical debate about this, which is quite relevant to our own national security debate over the question of extrajudicial killing. I was in favor of the targeting of radical cleric Anwar […]

supersocial versus supernatural beliefs and human agency

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

At his Gene Expression blog, Razib writes about what atheism and autism have in common. Something he said struck me: humans live in a universe of other actors, agents, which we preoccupy over greatly. Additionally, we can conceive of agents […]

Noah’s Ark found again

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Take this one with a grain of salt – a team of Turkish and Chinese evangelicals have claimed to find the remains of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey. On Tuesday, a group of Asian Christian evangelicals held a […]

Who was the real St. Patrick?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Since the holiday has basically become a secular celebration of Irish culture, and an excuse to turn the Chicago River green for a few hours, ol’ St Pat has become something of a global icon. But […]

A temple in Turkey – the origin of Revelation?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This amazing archeaological find has the potential to rewrite our understanding of human history: a literally prehistoric temple complex in Turkey which, at 11,500 years old, is the oldest known human structure in existence: They call it potbelly hill, after […]

The Na’vi march for Palestine

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This type of story is why I created a “stranger than fiction” category on this blog in the first place – these are images of a Palestinian rally against the Separation Wall, in which the Palestinians dressed up as Na’vi […]

Shakespeare as political analyst

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ll freely admit that I hold in mild contempt anyone who dare not acknowledge Hamlet as the very pinnacle of Shakespeare’s work. While most of the Bard’s tales are worthy of the label masterpiece in their own right, Hamlet stands […]

this new year’s eve, an eclipse upon a blue moon

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a symbolic New Year’s eve indeed. The hopelessly pedantic will argue that the decade ends next year but the overwhelming common sense consensus is that tonight marks the end of the first decade of the 21st century of […]

airline “security” after Detroit flight 253

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I didn’t really hear the news about the Nigerian muslim who tried to blow up Detroit-bound Northwestern flight 253 until I arrived at the airport and read about it in discarded newspapers while waiting for 5 hours in transit in […]

The Geminid Meteor Shower peaks tonight

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The Geminids are coming tonight! “It’s the Geminid meteor shower,” says Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “and it will peak on Dec. 13th and 14th under ideal viewing conditions.” A new Moon will keep skies dark for a […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Madison, WI – terrorist target?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I live in the Madison area, and had absolutely no clue that any of this drama was playing out until I overheard someone talking about it the next morning: A pilot who allegedly stole a Cessna plane from a Canadian […]

Will George Clooney convert to Islam?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Along with the entire nation of Pakistan, I’m fascinated by this story: He is Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor. She is an outspoken poet and journalist born into Pakistan’s greatest political dynasty. What, then, could spark a bigger media circus than […]

Obama mail

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s email address is the new status symbol in Washington DC – and the circle of who knows his email address is very, very selective indeed. There’s a great article in the NYT about Obama’s email, which includes this […]

is evolution sufficient?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Partly because I just went to Africa and flew over (but did not have a chance to actually visit) the Great Rift Valley (also known as the Cradle of Mankind), I’ve been thinking a bit about evolutionary theory of late. […]

I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear again…

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Blame this on Chief Justice Roberts – Obama had a do-over today: WASHINGTON – After the flub heard around theworld, President Barack Obama has taken the oath of office. Again.Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama on Wednesdaynight […]

Fisher-Price “Dawah Doll” brings the deen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Awesome. Parents are outraged about the messages they’rehearing from a doll. It’s Fisher-Price’s “Little Mommy Real Loving BabyCuddle and Coo” doll. Some people claim they can hear it mumble “Satan is king” in one track; then clearly speak “Islam is […]

self-inflicted wound: was Ashley Todd the final nail?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The story was sensational, and suspiciously stereotypical in invoking racial prejudices and conservative dogma about liberals’ irrationality. Sure enough, it was also a hoax: Ashley Todd, of College Station, Texas, confessed to making up the story about an attacker scratching […]

Can you be a muslim and a christian?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is unusual, to say the least: A Seattle Episcopal priest who claims to be both Christian and Muslim has been restricted from public ministry and will be defrocked unless she “reclaims” Christianity by next April, the Episcopal Church announced.…Redding, […]

Yikes, Ike … Remembering Rita

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the Gulf Coast region – especially my family there and all the friends I accumulated over the 9 years I spent living there before moving to Wisconsin in June 2007. It […]

Previous Posts

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 »

Ramadan Pearls 01 - criterion
It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur'an was first bestowed from on High as a guidance unto Man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as a ...

posted 3:36:22pm Jun. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Why orthodox muslims should celebrate the gay marriage ruling
The news that the Supreme Court has struck down barriers to same-sex marriage nationwide is truly a victory for civil rights. While homosexuals haven't faced the same sustained, institutionalized violent terrorism that black Americans suffered, ...

posted 9:29:00pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan is coming - the Muslim remembers
In about a week, I move from Wisconsin to Los Angeles, so I will no longer be the Sheikh in the North beyond the Wall. However, even moving to (LA) Kings' Landing doesn't stop Ramadan. “Oh, my sweet summer child," Old Nan said quietly, ...

posted 5:30:43pm Jun. 02, 2015 | read full post »

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