Archive for January 2011
NPR: A primer on following Egypt’s protest on Twitter
NY Times Yearning for respect: Arabs find a voice by Anthony Shadid
CNN: ‘We are witnessing today an Arab people’s revolution’
Interesting article written by Abdal-Hakim Murad.
Here’s a snippet:
The new generation will be well-advised to take some courageous steps. Firstly, it needs to acknowledge that furiously anti-Western readings of Islam are unlikely to serve Muslims in the dangerous context of modern America. It is already clear to many that Mawdudi and Qutb were not writing for 21st century Muslim minorities in the West, but for a mid-twentieth century struggle against secular repression and corruption in majority Muslim lands. They themselves would probably be startled to learn that their books were being pressed on utterly different communities, fifty years on. Yet our tradition has been diverse in its response to the scriptures, and other, less ideological readings of our tradition are readily available. As Sachiko Murata notes:
“The fact that so many interpretations of Islam have now been narrowed down to fit into ideological frameworks is simply a reflection of modern Muslims’ ignorance of the Islamic tradition and their sense of impotence in the face of the impersonal forces of modernity. It says nothing about the rich resources of the tradition itself.[xxiii]
As well as ‘de-ideologising’ Islam, we need to turn again to the founding story of Islam for guidance on the correct conduct of guests. An insulting guest will not be tolerated indefinitely even by the most courteous of hosts; and pulpit broadsides against Western culture have to be seen as at best discourteous. A measured, concerned critique of social dissolution, unacceptable beliefs, or destructive foreign policies will always be a required component of Muslim discourse, but wild denunciations of Great Satans or global Crusader Conspiracies are, for Muslims here, not only dangerous, but are also discourteous – scarcely a lesser sin. This must be made absolutely clear to organisations who visit communities with a view to offering funding from totalitarian states.”
Read the full article here
Will this be the domino effect?
Here’s a link to some great photos.
Call to Prayer: Some protesters take time off to pray during the demonstration in Cairo.
The great Lesley Hazleton, over at the wonderful blog “The Accidental Theologist,” just wrote a great review of “The Domestic Crusaders.” Sharing it at Goatmilk.
Katie Couric, no longer quite America’s sweetheart, made news recently when she came up with what she called “a crazy idea”: what if there were a kind of Muslim Cosby Show? Would that help counter bigotry and make American Muslims real to the 60% of non-Muslims who have somehow avoided ever even meeting anyone Muslim?
Nutty, naïve Katie? Maybe not. Because I know just the man for the job. That is, if the Cosby Show were at least a couple of notches sharper and funnier.
Katie, meet Wajahat Ali. Waj, for short.
His new play, The Domestic Crusaders, has just been published in book form by McSweeney’s — a guarantee of cutting-edge cultural significance — and it’s dynamite. The good kind of dynamite.
The title itself is sharp-edged, an ironic cut at George W. Bush’s use of Crusader imagery for the American invasion of Iraq. On the surface, the play follows a day in the life of a Muslim Pakistani American family. There’s the parents, eager to preserve cultural identity while still trying to blend in; the grandfather indulging in what seems to be a well-earned old age; and three children, all in their 20s and none — horror in the mother’s eyes! — yet married: the daughter a law student in white hijab and designer jeans; the elder son defiantly secular; the younger med-student son gravely, calmly observant.
The play opens with the mother singing along to Tom Jones as she prepares lamb biryanis (warning from experience: do not read this play unless you have lamb biryanis within easy reach, because by the act of the first act all you want to do is reach for one, or two, or three). From this moment on, you’re laughing even as you’re being drawn deep into the multiple paradoxes of what’s been called the hyphenated existence (think American Jews or Mexicans or Koreans or Irish or add-your-ethnic-background-here), where language, culture, religion, and politics bump up against each other and then bounce off in unexpected new combinations. Read the rest of this entry »
You can hear the story here: http://www.npr.org/2011/01/17/132942453/Whats-The-New-Civil-Rights-Movement
Today is the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Martin Luther King, Jr federal holiday. And in honor of Dr. King, host Michel Martin talks with a diverse group of provocative intellectuals to try to answer the question: What is America’s next civil rights challenge. Joining the discussion are Gustavo Arellano, columnist for the OC Weekly, Kai Wright , editor of ColorLines.com, and Wajahat Ali, a lawyer and a playwright who wrote the critically-acclaimed play called “The Domestic Crusaders.”
MICHEL MARTIN, host:
I’m Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.
But first, we’re thinking about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on this, the 25th anniversary of the first Martin Luther King Day holiday. And we wanted to think about the question, what is America’s next civil rights battle? So we’ve gathered a diverse group of panelists.
Joining us, Wajahat Ali is a writer, lawyer and playwright who wrote the critically-acclaimed play called “The Domestic Crusaders.” It’s about a day in the life of a Pakistani-Muslim-American family in the wake of 9/11.
Also with us, Kai Wright. He’s a journalist who reports on race, sexuality and health. He’s the editor of Colorlines.com and the author of “Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay, and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York.”
And Gustavo Arellano. He’s a syndicated columnist who writes the column “Ask a Mexican” for the OC Weekly. He’s also published a book by that name and he’s also a frequent contributor to our weekly Barbershop segment. Welcome to all of you. Thank you all so much for joining us.
Mr. WAJAHAT ALI (Playwright, “The Domestic Crusaders”): Thank you. Thank you.
Mr. KAI WRIGHT (Author, “Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay, and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York”): Thanks for having us.
MARTIN: Now, we were speaking earlier with Lonnie Bunch, the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. And one of the reasons we’ve called each of you is that you’re all young and none of you was alive at the height of the civil rights movement of the ’60s. Or at least, you know, you weren’t grown. You weren’t grown folks.
So, I wanted to ask each of you if that movement is something that has some direct meaning to you now. Some lived meaning to you now. And, Gustavo, I’ll just start with you.
Mr. GUSTAVO ARELLANO (Columnist, OC Weekly): It absolutely does. Just reading the battles of the civil rights movement, through the whole epic, really, of starting from the South up to the North, through Chicago, on the West Coast, it’s absolutely amazing. And as a reporter who has the social activist bent into him, it’s inspiring to see the tales of the common folks, or the common man and woman going out there and bravely confronting stereotypes, bravely confronting racism, bravely confronting all the hate that was out there, such vicious hate.
And more importantly, for me, as a child of Mexican immigrants and as somebody basically Mexican, to me it was amazing to see all those coalitions, all those groups, all these people fighting for those same struggles. A lot of the legal fights especially, that’s what I’m more familiar with, housing covenant fights, the school desegregation fights, most of the important legal victories originally started with Mexican-American families fighting for those rights.
And the NAACP and those amazing lawyers like Thurgood Marshall, Loren Miller, seeing these cases and later on citing them as precedent for the much more famous cases that the rest of the United States rightfully remembers.
MARTIN: Wajahat, what about you?
Mr. ALI: You know, just coincidentally, we were at the NBC studios a half hour ago and we saw photos of the marches and protests put on by Martin Luther King and it still resonates with, I think, all groups here in America. It’s iconic. It’s the vision and it’s the reality of forcing America to live up to its ideals. And to ensure that America really, you know, keeps to its promise of having those freedoms and democracies and civil liberties for all people regardless of your religion or gender or race.
We could look to that generation and we could look to that multicultural coalition that existed in that time and it gives kind of a road map for the present and for the future.