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City of Brass Archives

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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) […]

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 […]

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. […]

Previous Posts

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Eid Mubarak!
By the Fatimid calendar, today is Eid al Fitr, 1436! I've explained my position on the calendar vs. moonsighting debate in detail - and this year there is a lot more divergence on the date than usual. Crescentwatch nicely ...

posted 7:53:00am Jul. 17, 2015 | read full post »

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