Saturday, October 17, 2009

from Edward Said's Covering Islam

There is from the beginning of the introduction to the Vintage Edition (1997) of Edward Said's Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (1981) :

There also seems to have been a strange revival of canonical, though previously discredited, Orientalist ideas about Muslim, generally non-white people -- ideas which have achieved a startling prominence at a time when racial or religious misrepresentations of every other cultural group are no longer circulated with such impunity. Malicious generalizations about Islam have become the last acceptable form of denigration of foreign cultures in the West; what is said about the Muslim mind, or character, or religion, or culture as a whole cannot now be said in mainstream discussions about Africans, Jews, other Orientals, or Asians.

Rachel Maddow Exposes Anti-Islam Extremists in Congress

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quote from "Good Night, and Good Luck"

I recently watched the film "Good Night, and Good Luck" (2005) and highly recommend it (watch a clip from Edward Murrow's speech in the film here). This is a quote that I find particularly relevant in an age where Muslims are the new threat (the green scare if you will) and fear-mongering McCarthy-like figures and methods are becoming more common:

No one familiar with the history of his country, can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating. But the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the Junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been confusing the public mind as between the internal and the external threats of communism. We must not confuse dissent from disloyalty. We must remember always, that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another, we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, we will remember we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who dared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Sen. McCarthy's methods to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom wherever it still exists in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the Junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his, he didn't create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck.

GOP House members call for investigation of Muslim political activity

This foul witch hunt may be the most despicable domestic political event of the year.

Article in by Glenn Greenwald:


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Has Ghazali anything to say to us?"

"To sum it all up, I have to some extent found, and I believe others can find, in the words and example of Ghazali a true ihya' [quickening, revivification, bringing back to life, causing to live] -- an ihya' from the dark, dead coldness of atheism, or, more accurately, "without-Godness"; an ihya' from enervating, debilitating, and crippling sinfulness; an ihya' from lifeless and spiritless intellectualism; an ihya' from the tepidity and listlessness and uncaring of social and moral mediocrity."

pg. 51 of R.J. McCarthy's introduction to Deliverance from Error

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Article by Shaykh Hamza in "The Best American Spiritual Writing 2008"

I didn't know Shaykh Hamza's "Why Holocaust Denial Undermines Islam" was included in The Best American Spiritual Writing 2008

"Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf says Holocaust denial is a case of tragic gullibility. Writing in The Best American Spiritual Writing 2008, he says historical facts become accepted as reliable because they are based on multiple sources of evidence, not conspiracy theories.

"We are all entitled to our own opinions," he writes, "but not to our own facts."

Yusuf suggests that Holocaust denial unknowingly undermines truth claims of other historical events. Ultimately, though, it's not about assessing history. It's a measurement of pain. Yusuf writes: " … In order to validate our own pain, we deny the pain of others."

He nominates a more honest, compassionate approach — mutual acknowledgment of collective suffering.

"Perhaps in acknowledging that immense past of Jewish suffering … Muslims can help the Jewish community to understand the current Muslim pain in Palestine, Iraq and other places. In finding out about others, we encourage others to find out about us."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Contextualizing the Developlment of Islamic Theological Schools

This relates to something Dr. Jackson really emphasizes in his introduction to Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering in the development of schools of creed within human history. I found this passage is the beginning of an article "Currents and Countercurrents" by R.M. Frankf that I'm reading for a class on Imam Gazzali with Professor Everett Rowson:

"Philosophical and theological traditions, systems and subsystems, are generated within particular cultural and social milieux and their histories are necessarily bound to the histories of these broader contexts. Certain fundamental givens of the historically common world are inevitably taken for granted and incorporated at some level. In some cases this takes place on the explicit basis of tradition or of religious belief while in others it occurs simply because of the way the world presents itself "naturally" and so manifestly so. "Language is Being's house and in its dwelling man resides."

...I don't think I fully understood the last line though..perhaps how we are so shaped by the worldview of our language?

A warning we should heed by Abdal Hakim Murad

Article in the Guardian UK today about the economic system