Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All-American Muslim – Thoughts and Response

The new reality show, All-American Muslim, featured on the TLC channel, has caused something of a stir amongst American Muslims, particularly with Blackamerican Muslims, who continue to feel misrepresented, if not completely excluded from the narrative of Islam in American. While I do sympathize with many of the shows detractors for the obvious and above reasons, I think it’s equally important for Muslim Americans in general, and Blackamerican Muslim in particular, to come to grips with the true realities of piety amongst rank-and-file Muslims.

Read the full article here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Required Reading: Towards Empowering the Common Muslim

Towards Empowering the Common Muslim

The subject of religious literacy has been paramount on my mind for the past several years. Having stepped up on the minbar, I have had an opportunity to observe the Muslim community, if not from a bird’s eye view, at least from a few inches above the crowd. And one issue that seems to stand out clearly is the need for Muslims to have a foundation in religious literacy. Even just a few days ago, a young student approached me with a candiness I had to admire. He professed that on one hand, he wished to come to know and love the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم but that his main issue was that he was not clear on who the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم was and by proxy, what his Sunnah was. His courage to admit such a difficult quandry is as praiseworthy as it is insightful, for the young brother’s admission is far more common that we as a community might like to admit.

It is my hope in presenting Dr. Jackson’ short work here on the subject of af’al al-Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم that it may help aid those who are looking for a foothold in the long ascent of coming to know and love the Best of Creation صلى الله عليه و سلم. I will also continue to update this article with as many of the direct sources as I can find and make them available so check back from time to time.

Read the full article here.

Philadelphia, 14th of Sha’ban, 1432AH.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

cornel west and sherman jackson on a "prophetic" islam in america

some interesting comments from suad abdul khabeer

my name is still not khan

more info on the ongoing story (hat-tip to islamicate)

An Open Letter from MPAC About Honoring 'My Name is Khan' APRIL 18, 2010
Response from My Name is Not Khan Collective April 26 2010
Further Response (w/ signatures)

For some other perspectives you might want to check out the review roundup on Sepia Mutiny

mooz-lum, coming soon!

Please visit  Iamnotamoozlum.com

Pulled between his strict Muslim upbringing by his father and the normal social life he's never had, Tariq Mahdi enters college in a state of confusion. New relationships with Muslims and non-Muslims alike challenge his already shaken ideals, and the estrangement with his mother and sister troubles him. Slowly, he begins to find himself with the help of new friends, family and mentors, but when the attacks of 9/11 happen without warning, he is forced to face his past and make the biggest decisions of his life.
Should be an interesting film. The cast includes Danny Glover and Nia Long. And it is apparently an expanded version of a short film I've included on the blog before.

Myspace: MOOZ-lum
YouTube: Making "MOOZ-lum"
Examiner: 'Mooz-lum' a movie, not a person

times square vendor was a senegalese muslim

I first saw this fact mentioned over at the Goatmilk blog, but I think it bears repeating. (Especially since I just saw some random conservative talking head use the recent incident to defend profiling and bigotry). The vendor who brought the smoking truck in Times Square to the attention of police was a Muslim from Senegal.

The Examiner: Times Square terrorism attempt thwarted by Muslim vendor
Democracy Now!: Muslim Vendor Gets No Credit in Helping to Foil Times Square Bomb Plot

consequences of muslims targeting civilians

Consequences of Muslims Targeting Civilians by Imam Zaid is not a response to the attempted Times Square bombing as much as it is a historical reflection on the principle of civilian immunity in warfare. And even though I generally like what Imam Zaid Shakir writes and he made some important points here, I think in some respects the article almost inverts a common Western/Christian fallacy by comparing Western/Christian reality with Islamic ideals. One would probably need to write a whole book to do this topic justice, but the piece would have been enriched by a few more examples of the idealistic parts of the Christian Peace tradition (if only to locate it is a minority view) and some of the more pragmatic Islamic views on civilian casualties.

mos def and k'naan on austin city limits

Austin City Limits: K'Naan/ Mos Def (Full episode)

I once wrote a poem about how Black musical forms would continually change and evolve so that by the time the next new thing came out, present-day cutting edge hip-hop would be considered ancient history; associated with elevator music and museum pieces. I even threw in a line about Yo! PBS Raps which apparently has started to come true.

Both Mos Def and K'Naan are Muslim.

claim that all terrorists are muslims ignores history

The American Muslim: Claim that all terrorists are Muslims ignores history - updated 4/7/2010 by Sheila Musaji is a pretty extensive and varied set of links on non-Muslim religious violence and/or terrorism.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

sufi rapper: the spiritual journey of abd al malik

In the middle of... Sufi Rapper The Spiritual Journey of Abd al Malik about a French-born African Muslim who follows a spiritual path.
Sufi Rapper

Here is an excerpt

the sunni beard


the war before - safiya bukhari

I've blogged about Safiya Bukhari before (see: black cats who became muslim and imprisoned intellectuals) and have been curious to find out more about her for a while so I'm especially excited to add The War Before to my reading list.

islam on the rise in brazilian favelas

why they want to do us harm

This essay is the unedited version of a response Imam Zaid wrote to a question posed by Helen Thomas to the White House press corps, “Why do they want to do us harm?” Thomas never got an answer so “In These Times” posed the question to several respondents. The edited version along with other responses can be viewed at:


To a large extent, “they” are simply a microcosmic mirror image of the extremist violence perpetrated by a hegemonic state dominated by elites that have reserved the right to use high-tech military machinery to systematically decimate countries, rip apart their social fabrics and directly or indirectly kill hundreds of thousands of people as has happened in Iraq.

In that country, “they” might be the relative of someone who died of typhoid or diarrhea from drinking sewage-contaminated water because “we” thought it a noble stratagem of war to destroy Iraq’s sanitation system during the 1991 Desert Storm operation. “they” might be someone whose home was blown away during the “Shock and Awe” campaign that inaugurated the current war in March, 2003. Maybe “they” never recovered from the shock and have been transformed by insensitive bombs into insensitive killers. Maybe “they” were brutalized and humiliated at Abu Ghraib. Maybe “they” know of Abeer Hamza al-Janabi, the 14 year-old Iraqi girl who was gang raped by a company of American soldiers, who proceeded to murder her and her entire family, including her 6-year old sister, Hadeel, and then burn their bodies to hide the evidence of their heinous crime.

Perhaps “they” are from Afghanistan, and want to do us harm for the reasons mentioned above. Maybe the callousness “they” display towards life is a reflection of the callousness we displayed when we built the “Jihad” movement to repel the Soviet invaders of that land during the 1980s, and after accomplishing that mission walked away leaving the country to endure almost a decade of murderous anarchy that culminated in the rise of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Perhaps the alienation “they” display is a pathetic parody of the Mujahideen “we” created.

Maybe “they” are not from Iraq or Afghanistan. Maybe “they” are rotting in a slum in Casablanca or Cairo, or festering in a classroom in Lagos or Lahore and have seen gruesome images generated by the wars we are prosecuting in Muslim lands. Perhaps “their” anger is combined with the angst generated by globalized economic forces “they” cannot understand. In some cases, those same forces may have rendered irrelevant their lives and their religion, the two sources of meaning in the world “they” thought “they” had inherited from “their” forefathers. Under such circumstances, “they” are easy prey to skilled recruiters who promise “them” both meaning and a free pass to Paradise by encouraging “them” to mindlessly strike out at what “they” are led to believe is the source of “their” misery.

Finally, “they” may be ignorant of both the deeper currents of world affairs and the deeper meanings of “their” religion. “they” probably have no idea of just how inconsequential spectacular violence is to the advancement of their cause. “they” probably have never stopped to reflect on how that violence is used by neo-fascist pundits and politicians to advance a climate of fear and misunderstanding that makes it more likely that even ordinarily well-meaning Americans will support policies that will lead to more bombing, maiming and murdering of Muslims –and eventually others- all around the globe. For this small minority, “their” obsession with Islam as a political ideology probably renders “them” totally oblivious to the religious message of Islam as an historical world religion that advances the sanctity of life, especially the life of innocent, noncombatant peoples, the refinement of the spirit and patient, dignified, principled resistance when confronted with the savage vagaries of “their” fellow humans.

malcolm x assassin granted parole after 40 years

Alternet: Malcolm X Assassin Granted Parole After 40 Years

Actually, Thomas Hagan has been spending large chunks of time outside of prison on work release for a while now isn't the most interesting part of the story. What is most surprising to me is that he apparently converted to Islam.

my name is not khan

Dear Concerned Muslim American Community Member:

As Salaamu Alaykum. In February of this year, a new Bollywood film, My Name is Khan, opened in U.S. theaters. Although it is claimed that the film promotes tolerance and understanding, My Name is Khan presents our diverse and dynamic American Muslim community through a "Good Muslim/Bad Muslim" lens that does an injustice to our community and reproduces racist stereotypes about African Americans. For a cogent review of the film, please read Su'ad Abdul Khabeer’s article “Khan Breaks New Stereotypes (but Reinforces Old Ones)” featured on Altmuslim.com.

Despite the problematic depictions of Muslims and non-Muslim African Americans in My Name is Khan, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has decided to honor this film by awarding it the prestigious Voices of Courage & Conscience Media Award at the 19th Annual MPAC Foundation Media Awards on May 1, 2010. This is particularly alarming because of MPAC Foundation’s stated goal of honoring media and artists committed to positive portrayals of Islam and Muslims, promoting diversity and social justice issues, and inspiring action. Yet, it is precisely because of the trust many Muslim Americans have placed in MPAC that we cannot let this kind of dehumanization and historical erasure go unchallenged.

Yesterday, April 14th 2010, a letter was sent to MPAC's Executive Director, Staff, and Board of Directors by a collective of concerned American Muslims to express disappointment with their choice and urged the MPAC Foundation Board to rescind the award. Please see the attached letter to review the detailed critique of the film, the reasonable demand made of MPAC, and the list of Original Signatories. MPAC’s leadership has stated its willingness to seriously consider the letter’s contents and the support it garners. If you would like to add your name to the list of Signatories, please email your name and organization (or location) to MyNameIsNOTKhan2010@gmail.com. We will periodically update MPAC with the extended list of new signatories.

We have been informed that the MPAC Foundation Board will be convening within a couple of days to make a formal decision on their response to the film critique and the reasonable demands, which we believe to be both morally and ethically correct. Leading up to the Board decision, we invite like-minded individuals to contact the MPAC Los Angeles Office to express their concerns with MPAC Foundation's decision to honor My Name is Khan and for them to reconsider their actions. You can contact MPAC by calling (213) 383-3443 during business hours (PST), or email the MPAC Communications Director at Communications@mpac.org. Our expectation is that the force of our collective voices will empower MPAC to make the choice that reflects their broader organizational goals and legacy––to rescind the Award. Insha’Allah, this will also present an opportunity for some much needed consciousness-raising around issues of race, class, media and civic engagement in the Muslim American community.

FiamanAllah y Pa’lante,

Su’ad Abdul Khabeer
Princeton University

Arshad I. Ali, Ph.D.
UCLA Graduate School of Education

Jihad Saleh Williams, MPA
Congressional Muslim Staffers Association

Sunday, November 29, 2009

African American Muslims and Their Social Purgatory

Please check out the provocative post over at The Manrilla Blog!!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ramadan Mubarak

Just want to wish every a blessed month! May Allah accept all your fasting!

ma'a salaamah.