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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

Has Lindsay Lohan converted to Islam?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Short answer: probably not. Lindsay Lohan was recently spotted carrying a copy of the Qur’an as she left a children’s daycare where she’s serving her court-ordered sentence of community service. As the article at The Daily Mall helpfully points out, […]

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Merry Milad and Happy New Year

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year, Milad al Nabi is closer to the New Year than Christmas! By the Fatimid calendar, Milad (or Mawlid) is today, 3rd January 2015 – which fittingly also coincides with the perihelion of the Earth. However you reckon the […]

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Vote now in the (delayed slightly) Brass Crescent Awards!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Voting in this year’s Brass Crescent Awards is now underway, after a few months’ delay. Here’s the explanation from the official site: We would like to sincerely apologize for the delay in this year’s voting. The reason for the delay […]

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My first day of wearing rida to school

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Zainab Jamali is a teenaged Muslim American girl in Los Angeles. As a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community, she recently took her misaq (an oath marking the symbolic passage to adulthood) on the hand of the community’s spiritual leader, […]

Ramadan is coming – or has already arrived

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ramadan Mubarak! By the lunar Fatimid calendar, today (Saturday 28th June) is the 1st of Ramadan. The Mecca-centric calculations of The Fiqh Council of North America (affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America) also concur with the lunar calendar […]

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 […]

Video: (muslim) Mehdi Hasan interviews (atheist) Richard Dawkins at the Oxford Union

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is an excellent debate between the most emphatic atheist of our time, Richard Dawkins, and political journalist Mehdi Hasan. Hasan is brilliantly prepared for the debate and treats Dawkins with utmost respect, but methodically defends belief and religion as […]

Two Bohras come to aid of Frenchwoman attacked in Mumbai

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the past two months I’ve traveled to India three times, to attend the funeral and other events after the passing of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (ra). This quite shocking story happened in the Fort area of Mumbai, which is quite […]

Amidst the grief, solace in the succession of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Durriya Badani The forty day period of mourning has now elapsed, but the profound sadness at the loss of the beloved head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, a spiritual mother and father, His Holiness, […]

The Day of Elevation – 27th Rajab

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

We are almost done with the holy month of Rajab al-Asab, which as I noted a few years ago is a herald for the impending arrival of Ramadan. Today is the 27th of Rajab, which means last night was the […]

11 after 9-11: a look backwards

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It’s Patriot Day, the anniversary of Black Tuesday, the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 (9-11). Eleven years later, I still feel the need to say something about it, suggesting that on some level I am still not “over it” […]

does the hijab protect women from harassment?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The image above is a billboard in Tehran which makes a clumsy case for wearing the hijab – it “protects” the woman like a candy wrapper from the attention of men. The degrading analogy of a woman as a piece […]

The Final Fast

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As per the Fatimid calendar, it is the 30th of Ramadan, and my final fast has begun. I spent the night engaged in ibadat – praying Nisf al-Layl and the tahajjud, doing tasbih (also known as dhikr) and Qur’an, praying […]

Laylatul Qadr 1433 is upon us

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Once again, the apex of Ramadan is upon us – the Night of Power, Laylatul Qadr. The Holy Qur’an describes this night in just five verses – We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power; And what […]

Running To Stand Still

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Aamer H. Jamali. Halfway. What an incredibly loaded word. On the one hand, it emobdies a sense of accomplishment as we realize that it is all downhill from here. On the other hand, we […]

my plans and Allah’s plans

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taher Suratwala. On my commute home this week, I passed a warning sign that read “503 traffic deaths this year”. That is just for the short stretch of road on my daily trip. I […]

A Muslim for Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have long argued that as muslims, we must avoid allowing ourselves to declare an allegiance in politics. The Democrats have never seen Muslims as anything other than yet another swing vote to be courted when convenient, and in the […]

I Speak for Myself volume 2 available for pre-order

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The second volume of I Speak or Myself is now available for pre-order on Amazon: The book, like its predecessor, is a collection of essays from American Muslims, in this case men. I am honored to be a contributor to […]

Winners of the 8th Annual Brass Crescent Awards!

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The winners are announced – head over to BrassCrescent.org and check them out! Congratulations to all winners, runners-up, and nominees!

The days are long, the days are short

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Taher Suratwala. This week marks the beginning of Ramadan, a month of fasting. I have been dreading the impending fast full of long, long summer days, the absence of coffee and missed summer lunches. […]

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, […]

Big Bin – the Royal Clock Tower of Mecca

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been meaning to post these photos for months, but recent events reminded me of it, even though of course this has absolutely nothing to do with the death of Osama bin Laden. These are photos of the Abraj al-Bait […]

The 5 stages of muslim-american emotion over bin Laden’s death

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

When my wife told me of Osama bin Laden’s death this morning after i stepped out of the shower, news she had picked up from Facebook (all our Californian friends who were actually awake during President Obama’s live speech last […]

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 […]

Muslim Women Do That

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Barack Obama, natural-born citizen

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here is the law of the United States (Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Section 1401) on what constitutes a “natural born citizen”: The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth: (a) a person born […]

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.

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 […]

Who fears the global Caliphate?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Dean Esmay. There has been some talk in religious and political circles lately raising fears that recent explosions of protests against dictatorships in the Middle East and the overthrow of dictators like Hosni Mubarak […]

a agnostic Jew reads the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great, great TED talk by Lesley Hazleton, who in the course of researching an upcoming biography of the Prophet Mohammed SAW decided to undertake a reading of the Qur’an. It is a marvelous (and brief) talk, only […]

(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 […]

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 […]

a hajji gives thanks

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I returned from Haj a few days ago, and the totality of the experience is still beyond my ability to pithily summarize beyond “It was fine.” I’ve many photos to sort through and some journal entries to look over which […]

I, Pilgrim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If you’ve wondered why I’ve been even more distracted of late, it is in preparation for the most important trip I’ve ever made in my life: “Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying):  Associate not […]

Map of mosque controversies in the US

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Note: I am going to make a conscious effort to stop using the word “mosque” in my writing from here on out. Few people realize that the word mosque is not an Arabic term but probably has colonial – and […]

Statement on Free Speech by American and Canadian Muslims

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am proud to co-publish and add my name as a signatory to this statement upholding the principle of free speech and denouncing those who would threaten violence in the name of Islam. If you would like to add your […]

7th Annual Brass Crescent Awards – nominations

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 the Thousand and […]

observing Eid, unobserving 9-11

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Apologies for my long hiatus here – I spent the last third of Ramadan and Eid day (which we observed on Thursday) in Houston with family, blissfully immersing myself in the rhythms of worship. I’d already decided I wouldn’t have […]

my contribution to the moonsighting debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

My friend Wajahat Ali is hosting the GOATMILK DEBATE series, and asked me to contribute against the motion that “muslims should adopt monsighting for Ramadan”. The initial entry, in favor of the motion, was posted earlier by Irfan Rydhan and […]

The dog days of Ramadan

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Depending on your reckoning, Ramadan is now about a third of the way complete. The fasting tends to get easier over the course of the month, because we physically acclimate to the routine, and also because the days get somewhat […]

my final word on Park51

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The controversy over Park51 has long since passed the realm of tragedy and now is well into farce. This story has displaced far more pressing issues like the floods in Pakistan, the lingering environmental disaster in the Gulf, and of […]

Inside the Ground Zero Mosque

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Two American muslims, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq, have begun a 30-day roadtrip across America, in a goal of visiting 30 mosques in 30 days in 30 states during Ramadan. They just started since yesterday was day 1 of Ramadan […]

Halal at Whole Foods: Saffron Road

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Just in time for Ramadan – next week, Whole Foods will be carrying the new Saffron Road line of certified halal food products! You can even get a coupon for a free entree online. The entrees include chicken biryani, chicken […]

The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This guest post is an excerpt from the memoir, The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson. THE BUTTERFLY MOSQUE A Memoir by G. Willow Wilson PROLOGUE In the upper reaches of the Zagros Mountains, the air changed. The high altitude […]

discussing Park51 on the radio

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

If all goes to plan, I’ll be a guest on NPR Los Angeles’ To The Point program this afternoon, hosted by Warren Olney. The topic will be “Religious Tolerance and the Mosque at Ground Zero”. Should be fun. UPDATE: Here’s […]

Has Ramadan begun yet?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This year, there’s been more divergence than usual about the beginning of Ramadan, since the visibility of the moon has been very poor (especially in the Western Hemisphere). You can get a sense of the problem from calculated visibility maps […]

Q&A with Sharif el-Gamal about Park51, NYC

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As promised earlier in the week, here are the interview questions and answers from Sharif el-Gamal, CEO of SoHo Properties and lead developer of the Park 51 project. I am sincerely grateful to Sharif for taking the time to answer […]

Manchester Muslims donate to Christian Community Centre

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lost in all the noise and recrimination of modern Islamophobia about mosques and minarets and burkas and whatnot, is the simple fact that the vast majority of muslims, jews and christians are neighbors, and members of the same civic fabric, […]

Superheroes and Islam

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a fantastic 18-minute talk by Naif al-Mutawa, discussing superheroes inspired by Islam: (via Ezra Klein) Related – the official website of The 99. Also, this image is too subversively cool not to share, but it’s unknown who actcually […]

An interview with Park51

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The controversy over the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” project (which is not actually at Ground Zero, and of which the mosque aspect is only a tiny piece) continues unabated, with Sarah Palin entering the fray calling upon all “peaceful muslims” […]

PHOTO: Mike Tyson at Mecca

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I had no idea that Mike Tyson was a muslim until I heard last week that he had traveled to Mecca for umrah (the minor pilgrimage, identical to the Hajj except that umrah can be performed anytime during the year […]

what mosque at Ground Zero? why all Americans have a stake in Cordoba House

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

When we speak of national tragedies like 9-11, we often focus on the word “tragedy” and neglect the word “national”. The measure of a national tragedy is how it affects everyone in the nation, often in different ways. For the […]

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, […]

the shared source

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The second excerpt from the book Between Allah and Jesus is up at Beliefnet and it continues the debate between the characters Isa (a Sunni muslim), Evan (a evangelical Christian), and Father Hereema (A Jesuit priest). The dialogue continues the […]

the Word of God

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have been asked why I am engaging in this dialogue with Robert about the book, Between Allah and Jesus, which if you think about it is really a book written by a Christian intended for a Christian audience, in […]

my letter to the editors at Reason.com about Draw Muhammad Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Below is the text of an email I sent to Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, urging them to make public all the nearly 200 entries to the Draw Mohammed Day contest at Reason magazine. If they consent, I will also […]

Draw “Mohammed” Day

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Since today is apparently “Draw Mohammed Day“, conceived as an expression of the right of free speech in our society, as a response to that tiny minority of muslims worldwide (and essentially negligible minority of muslims in the United States), […]

Jesus AS and the Qur’an

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The first excerpt from the book, Between Allah and Jesus, is now posted at Beliefnet by the author (Peter Kreeft) and is a conversation between the muslim character ‘Isa and his evangelical Christian colleague Evan about whether and where Islam […]

Child Brides in Saudi Arabia?

Usually, nothing coming out of Saudi Arabia surprises me. Yet, this story shocked me to the core. According to a report by CNN, a Saudi judge recently refused to annul the marriage of an “eight-year-old girl to a 47-year-old man.” […]

Previous Posts

Has Lindsay Lohan converted to Islam?
Short answer: probably not. Lindsay Lohan was recently spotted carrying a copy of the Qur'an as she left a children's daycare where she's serving her court-ordered sentence of community service. As the article at The Daily Mall helpfully ...

posted 9:52:36am May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

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

posted 2:06:45pm Apr. 28, 2015 | read full post »

G. Willow Wilson's Ms. Marvel nominated for Hugo Award - and needs YOUR support
Few people outside the fandom of science fiction and fantasy probably are aware of the Hugo Awards, but in a nutshell, they are the single most prestigious award for SF/F, launched in 1953 during the Golden Age of sci-fi. These are the Academy ...

posted 9:34:01am Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community
This happens almost every day in Pakistan - fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder ...

posted 8:22:26am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Proof denies faith
On Reddit, someone posted the following question: "What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?" I think this is precisely the ...

posted 9:33:46am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

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