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City of Brass

City of Brass

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Transcript: President Obama’s remarks during White House Iftaar

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

These are the remarks by President Obama last night during the White House Iftaar dinner. Inshallah I’ll get an invite one of these years President Obama again reiterated the commonality and the inclusion of Muslim Americans as part of teh […]

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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 […]

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Regarding Obama-Osama confusion…

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I think we can issue a blanket amnesty for anyone who got the two names mixed up yesterday, though FOX News probably took the cake for sheer magnitude of the error:

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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 […]

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 […]

The politics of mosques

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I’ve been visiting my parents this weekend in Chicago and immersing myself in Ramadan at our masjid – there’s a serenity and a rigour to arriving at the masjid two hours prior to sunset, reading the Qur’an, engaging in communal […]

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, […]

Obama buys books for the girls

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

While in Iowa today, President Obama went book-shopping: “Well, this used to be my favorite place,” Obama told the owner of Prairie Lights, an independent downtown bookstore, as she showed him around. He had mentioned the shop in his speech, […]

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. […]

Obama crosses forward; Republicans in Retreat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Last week, President Obama attended the House Republican retreat in Baltimore by invitation to interact with the opposition caucus and try to seek some common ground. It’s a remarkable event because he also directly answered questions from the Representatives. He […]

Republican tactics vs strategy

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Daniel Larison – no admirer of liberalism or Obama or Democrats, mind you – has been running against the tide of late by arguing that the Republicans do not stand to gain as much in the mid term elections this […]

Is the Massachusetts Senate race a referendum on Obama’s first year?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today, Massachusetts votes for a Senator to replace Ted Kennedy in a special election scheduled on the eve of President Obama’s first anniversary in office. The expectation is, to put it bluntly, that Republican challenger Scott Brown will probably defeat […]

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 […]

doing business with Iran

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The seizure of mosques and a skyscraper yesterday was ostensibly because the rental income from the skyscraper was being sent to a bank in Iran which is allegedly used by the Iranian government to fund its covert (and denied) nuclear […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Obama’s Cairo speech transcript and word cloud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

(UPDATE: I argue that American Islam is the key to the new beginning that Obama is seeking. Also, see ongoing discussion of the Cairo speech at Talk Islam, including substantive critiques.) “A New Beginning” – 4th June 2009, Cairo Egypt […]

Obama gets it half right: America is a muslim country

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The anticipation is mounting for President Obama’s speech to the muslim world tomorrow in Cairo, Egypt. Obama himself gave a round of interviews to various media prior to departing Washington, to help promote the speech and do some expectaions management […]

When Barack met Bibi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Israeli prime minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama for two hours today, according to various news reports, to discuss middle east peace. The outcome? President Obama reiterated support for a two-state solution, whereas Netanyahu toed the Likud […]

“The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I posted the full transcript of Obama’s remarks to Turkey’s Parliament earlier but wanted to highlight a few passages that I think were particularly significant. For one thing, Obama strongly affirmed US support for Turkey’s EU membership: The United States […]

TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s remarks to the Turkish people

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Below is the full transcript to President Obama’s speech in front of the Turkish Parliament. I’ve emphasized some key points but its worth considering the speech as a whole in terms of tone and the clear respect that Obama displays […]

POLL: 48% unfavorable towards Islam, 10% still think Obama is muslim

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama is visiting Turkey, which looks to be the occasion of his promised “major address” in a muslim-majority country. In some sense it’s a “safe” choice, as Turkey is seeking EU membership and clearly is trying to position itself […]

Obama Obama! hindi song

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is wonderful and weird. I think it’s wonderful because it is so weird. Perhaps we are seeing the rise of Obollywood?

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 […]

Obama and Ummah: healing 1400 year-old wounds

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following anecdote is written by my friend Aamer Jamali, via email a few weeks ago (prior to the Inauguration). I have his permission to reprint it here. Of all the things to remember about my Hajj trip (and there […]

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 […]

“I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear…”

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Inauguration Day, President Obama will take the oath of office using his full name. Q: Do you anticipate being sworn in as Barack Obama or Barack Hussein Obama? Obama: I think the tradition is that they use all three […]

one million repeat donors: people-powered politics

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Further to my earlier post about how Obama’s $150 million September serves to utterly vindicate the vision of Joe Trippi and Howard Dean, comes this interesting observation by Al Girodano about the donor base: With an average contribution of $86 […]

$150 million: a Palin September, the Perfect Storm

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is simply beyond adjective and superlative and entering into utterly transcendent territory: Obama raised $150 million in September: Barack Obama raised more than $150 million in September, a stunning and unprecedented eruption of political giving that has given him […]

Powell: So what if Obama were muslim?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I have been saying this as far back as February during the primaries – the correct response to the “Obama muslim” smear was not just to deny it, but also to ask, “so what?” Colin Powell rises to the occasion […]

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As I predicted yesterday, Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for President. I think that Powell cuts right to the heart of the matter here: “We have two wars. We have economic problems. We have health problems. We have education […]

Powell endorsement imminent?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Colin Powell is going to be on Meet The Press on Sunday morning, and speculation is rife that he will endorse Barack Obama: Retired Gen. Colin Powell, once considered a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), now may […]

Obama tax cut calculator

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is pretty handy, in terms of cutting through the misinformation campaign by the McCain camp in trying to argue that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class: a tax cut calculator. According to our family data, we will […]

Obama’s Rovian strategy?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Is the Obama campaign pursuing a Karl-Rove-inspired campaign strategy? This piece at the Christian Science Monitor argues yes, because Obama has opened campaign offices in Michigan college towns: What does an office in this extremely left-leaning college town – as […]

Obama Derangement Syndrome

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Every presidential candidate comes in for their share of partisan bile from their opponents’ more rabid supporters. The generic term for this is X Derangement Syndrome (example, BDS for Bush, etc) and to some extent it is a manifestation of […]

Why I am supporting Barack Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am a liberal. That is to say, I believe that in addition to the tyranny of governments, there also the tyrannies of economics, of prejudice, and of religion. I believe that Liberalism is the route by which the indovidual […]

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 […]

Brian McLaren endorses Obama

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Brian McLaren is a Christian pastor who approaches faith and politics from within the compassionate tradition of Christianity, focusing on the Prophet Jesus’ AS example of charity and taking care of the poor, etc for his inspiration rather than judgment […]

First debate: yawn

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There were really only two audiences for this debate – the people who know they are voting for McCain or Obama, and the people who haven’t decided yet. The former are essentially totally unmovable in their opinion, however much they […]

Obsession

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The movie Obsession is a polemic for the modern age, the digital equivalent of a Jack Chick tract, only directed at muslims rather than Catholics. The movie is somewhat ironically named, because if anything it reflects the obsession that the […]

Obama speech word cloud

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I plugged the text of the speech transcript into wordle and got this result: The main theme of the speech is clear from the cloud: the promise of America. It’s worth noting that Obama uses that word to refer to […]

The Obama speech

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Magnificent. I don’t think even the most cynical observer or committed Republican partisan could watch that speech all the way through and not be moved. It was simple, yet soaring; it was idealistic, but gritty; it was about him, but […]

Previous Posts

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community
This happens almost every day in Pakistan - fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder fellow Muslims in cold blood. This time, the target wa

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 wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly

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

Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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