Thursday, November 30, 2006

should muslims in north america be more involved in the issue of darfur?

blatantly swiped from the Ihsan blog: Should Muslims in North America Be More Involved in the Issue of Dar Fur? originally posted by Ayman H Fadel.

My perception is that we are not taking the issue of the suffering of Muslims in Dar Fur in Sudan seriously enough. I have a number of theories, but I'm more looking for feedback on this issue:

1. Are there significant efforts North American Muslims are making to improve the situation there?
2. We are not making significant efforts because:
  1. Fur (the primary ethnic group suffering in the area) are not well-represented among North American Muslims.
  2. A general discounting of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Muslim U.S. citizens should be more concerned about preventing harm the U.S. government is causing before preventing foreign governments from doing harm.
  4. North American Muslims doubt that there is a true humanitarian crisis and suspect there is a plot to weaken the country of Sudan.
  5. There is genuine concern, but really there is no good solution given the demographic, geographical and political circumstances. Therefore there is limited action.
  6. We are concerned, but we are having difficulty cooperating with other North American organizations involved in this issue.

My own guess is that there is a combination of most of these factors in our underinvolvement. I personally believe that the best option is a strengthening of the African Union's involvement rather than the United Nations. In fact, an Associated Press report dated November 16, 2006 reports on moves towards such measures. But I am not an expert in this, and the primary United States-based advocacy organizations such as SaveDarfur have, to my understanding, called for a United Nations peacekeeping mission because the African Union is not able to undertake such a large mission.

Islamic Society of North America Statement of May 2, 2006
http://www.isna.net/index.php?id=35&backPID=1&tt_news=707

Links from Islamic Relief
http://irw.org/pdfs/Darfur.pdf
http://www.irw.org/news/pressreleases/20041012

Other Resources
University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog
http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2006/11/us_involvement_.html
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Podcast "Voices on Genocide Prevention"
http://blogs.ushmm.org/index.php/COC2/ (this link is not working as of the time of writing, but I've subscribed to this podcast through iTunes for almost a year.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

on covering islam and muslims

Here is a talk on Google Video by Dr. Sherman Abdul-Hakim Jackson On Covering Islam and Muslims. which wrestles with the issue of who gets to speak authoritatively for Islam and the Muslim community. Other bloggers have mentioned this before but I found out about this from Hood over at the Islamic Law etc. blog in the entry I Don’t Know is on third…. The authority crisis revisited.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blacks Still Vulnerable In American Society

While this post does not relate to Islam per se, it does speak on the status of Blacks in the American social context and how far Blacks still have to go in order to achieve equality. And while authors like McWhorters would perhaps argue this is a case of Blacks wanting whites to like them, I would have to disagree. Michael Richards actions were inexcusable. Anyway, read the post here.

an old but timely boondocks strip from 2003

Caesar and Huey are hanging out by a tree and Huey says out loud:
Moderate, Reasonable Leftists argue that even though we may not support the war, what's happened has happened and there's no point in dwelling in the past. [pause] All of those people, mind you, are still mad at OJ

RIP: Rasul Madyun

Rasul Madyun, assistant Imam at Masjid Muhammad and a great young community activist passed away on Monday, November 20, 2006. He was 30. His funeral will be at Masjid Muhammad in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Insha Allah.

Needless to say, his death comes as a shock.

Rasul was a good man and a fine example of a Muslim inolved in the betterment of American society and working with youth. I will Insha Allah be writing about him and sharing some of my reflections since that time at my blog in a couple of days

May Allah have mercy upon him

UPDATE: Rasul Hasan Madyun: 1976-2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

arab racism against black africans

From The Nigerian Village Square: Arab racism against Black Africans

Who are Muslims in America?

After following a recent series on NPR about Muslims in America, I found myself wondering what new definition of a Muslim in America would become. The overarching theme of the series was the tenuous link between Islam and September 11th. As American interest in Islam peaked after 9/11, I found myself thinking, "Is this an insult or a compliment? Are they curious about Islam because they think the terrorists represent Islam, or are they interested because they don't?"

The profile for the "American Muslim" thus became one of a middle eastern or south asian person. Blackamerican Muslims had long been established in America, but somehow that Islam was, and perhaps still is, viewed as "different." The Black Muslim has different values, different perspectives on gender, culture, and resistance, and holds different political views than the typical bomb-setting nationalist arab.

Nevertheless, the interest in American Muslims did turn to converts. How could anyone willingly turn to Islam, one might ask. But the question was not directed towards the Blackamerican Muslim; he, afterall, seems right at home with Islam. For the white male or white female, Islam is as alien as shintiism, or so it would seem.

It, therefore, did not surprise me when I found the NPR series to include no significant reference to Blackamerican Muslims. Despite being the majority, despite a significant history that traces back further than Columbus, and despite significant contributions in both the social and scholastic arenas, the interest in the Blackamerican Muslim has faded.

Who are they? Where are they? If Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, then the majority of those new Muslims will be Blackamerican, and if Americans are concerned about Islam's growing presence in this country, is it not about time they directed some attention towards the people they so earnestly try to ignore?

Ask any Blackamerican if he has a Muslim in his family. Many will answer yes. Some might even be able to tell you a little about Islam. It has become an inseparable part of Black America, just as Blackamericans have become inseparable from Islam in America.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

say hello to kameelah

Blogger is acting up so some glitches have turned up when I tried to add Kameelah as a contributor for Third Resurrection. But in the meantime, you can check out her blog, Kameelahwrites. She is currently writing from Johannesburg and in her profile she writes:
born and raised in east palo alto, CA, i am a dash of eclectic smarts, a pinch of unapologetic sarcasm and a sprinkle of grace all wrapped up quite nicely in a 5 foot 1 hijabi package. raised on gil-scott heron and nasheeds. i am a beautiful shade of brown, certified black person (ask me how to get your certificate!), green-tea drinker, rad. vegan, political organizer, community researcher, artist, teacher, writer, renewed marxist and professional smarty pants.

Friday, November 10, 2006

ancient black astronauts and extraterrestrial jihads

Recently over at Hawgblawg, Ted Swedenburg has written a couple of entries on "Islamo-futurism". In Fun^Da^Mental's "786 All Is War": "Sufi surfing on boards of steel" Ted goes over the surreal and futuristic lyrics of Aki Nawaz. And in More on Islamic sci-fi/futurism he gives a heads up on Yusuf Nuruddin's recent article in Socialism and Democracy called "Ancient Black Astronauts and Extraterrestrial Jihads: Islamic Science Fiction as Urban Mythology". (Hopefully the article or a discussion of its contents will eventually be available online).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The "New Passing"

Hot discussion going on over at my blog over the merits of black converts playing up their non-black heritage in the Muslim world and/or marrying non-blacks in order to lighten up their families and (hopefully) allowing their children to "pass" into non-blackness to avoid racism

Link: The New 'Passing'

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

keith ellison won!

November 8, 2006 10:24 a.m. EST

Nidhi Sharma - All Headline News Staff Writer
Minneapolis, MN (AHN) - Democrat Keith Ellison has been elected as the nation's first Muslim member of Congress on Tuesday after winning the Minneapolis-area district.

Ellison, who is also Minnesota's first nonwhite representative in Washington, admitted to having mixed feelings about being the first Muslim congressman.

"I wasn't trying to make any kind of political statement about my identity or anything when I ran," he said.

"I think the most important thing about this race is we tried to pull people together on things we all share, things that are important to everyone. We all need peace, and this Iraq policy is dangerous to our country," said Ellison, who is in favor of troop withdrawal from Iraq.

"I don't believe in abandonment of Iraq, I just don't think that we're going to have a military solution," he said.

However, Ellison, who is black, says his main aim is to help others understand that Muslims have much to contribute to America.

He also added that Muslims should know they are "welcome to the table of American politics."

The AP reports that Ellison will focus on promoting peace, setting up universal health care and fighting for middle class economic justice by increasing the minimum wage and addressing college affordability.

The Detroit, Michigan born leader also boasted about uniting labor, minority communities and peace activists during his election campaign.

"We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists," he said. "We brought in everybody."

previous stories on third resurrection:
the lessons of keith ellison
keith ellison plays defense
ellison: the best hope
keith ellison and the nation
will minnesota send the first muslim to congress?

Friday, November 03, 2006

borat and ali g

A non-rhetorical question from Planet Grenada:

What is the difference between a white person in blackface and Sascha Baron Cohen, the English/Jewish comedian behind the characters of Borat and Ali G who presumably come from Muslim cultural backgrounds? (Borat is from Kazakhstan). I have a gut reaction but I'm really not trying to be rhetorical. That's an actual question. Does Sascha Cohen cross the line which seperates edgy and conscious cultural representation from a minstrel show?