Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“You are no longer a blessing in his life”


via Faiza and the IC mailing list :)

I 'dig' John Gray

I've been reading and listening to the British philosopher John Gray lately. I first heard of him from Abdal-Hakim Murad who quotes him in a number of his Contentions and articles (Imam Zaid quotes both Murad and Gray here)

Check out some of John Gray's lectures on itunes university like 'The Crisis of Global Capitalism, Ten Years On;' 'Gray's Anatomy: Thoughts on Politics, Religion, and the Meaning of Life;' There's also a video 'John Gray on Globalization' (I haven't watched that yet - but that actually was a lecture here in NYC); and there's another lecture on 'Utopian Hope and Apocalyptic Religion' relating to his book Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia which I just finished last night alhamdullilah and recommend :)

elan: Focus on Muslims in America at CAIR NY Annual Banquet


Miss USA 2010, It’s Complicated


via Janan

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dr. Jackson in conversation with Dr. West: Embracing The Good/Bad of America and Self-Authenticating Islam


via Dasham Brookins

Classes for next semester :) (updated)

These are the classes I'll be taking Fall 2010, God willing:

Approaches to Metropolitan Studies (with Neil Brenner)

A broad and interdisciplinary introduction to the field of urban studies, surveying the major approaches deployed to investigate the urban experience in the social space of the modern city. Explores the historical geography of capitalist urbanization with attention to North American and European cities, to colonial and postcolonial cities, and to the global contexts of urban development. Major topics include urban politics and governance; suburban and regional development; urban social movements; urban planning; the gendering of urban space and racial segregation in urban space.

Introduction to Black Urban Studies (with Nikhil Singh) [I saw his book at a bookstore today: Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy]

Introduces students to the tools of cultural criticism and theory, with particular emphasis on black culture, urban environment, and black people’s relationships to a variety of social and cultural institutions and practices. The latter may include the mass media, class and poverty, the police, urban development, education, music, art, and sports.

Sociology of Religion: Islam and the Modern World (with Ali Mirsepassi)

This course is designed to explore the role of religion in modern societies. We will examine religion as an important social institution and also as a cultural system. We will study canonical and contemporary theories of religion. The focus of the course, however, will be Islam. We will look at the cultural context and historical construction of Islam, as well as the different social contexts within which Islam has evolved. We will examine the relationship between Islam and modernity, including secular ideologies, gender politics, and modern democracy. We will pay particular attention to the role that Islam plays in the everyday life of those who practice it, who are affected by it, or who struggle with it as their tradition. Our goal is to study Islam not as a fixed object or authentic tradition but as a social and cultural phenomenon subject to change, contestation, and critique. Texts may include Mernissi, Islam and Democracy; Arkoun, Re-Thinking Islam; Fernea, In Search of Islamic Feminism; and Armstrong, Islam.

and Elementary French Level I

"Plan B: Skip College"?


Poem by Imam Zaid: Our Hearts Are Calling


John Gray: from 'Why the 'War on Terror' Cannot Be Won'

It has become part of western discourse to link terrorism with Arab culture and an Islamic cult of martyrdom. However, Islam is a religion, not a culture, and most of the people who live in the 'Islamic world' are not Arabs. Terrorism in Indonesia cannot be explained by cultural attitudes attributed - in a manner that when applied to other groups would rightly be condemned as racist - to Arabs. Suicide terrorism is not a pathology that afflicts any particular culture nor has it any close connections with religion. [...] The idea that wars are conflicts of civilizations - which emerged in the course of an American dispute about multiculturalism rather than as an attempt to understand international relations - is not supported by facts. [35] [...] The decisive conditions in producing long-term, large-scale terrorist violence are not cultural or religion, but political. Where these conditions exist, anyone can become a terrorist. [...]

The danger of Islamist terrorism is real, but declaring war on the world is not a sensible way of dealing with it. Except in a few countries - such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq - terrorists pose a security problem rather than a strategic threat. There is no clear enemy against which war can be directed or any point at which victory can be announced. As has often been noted, disabling terrorists is a type of police work that requires support from their host communities. It is not facilitated by futile wars in Islamic lands or by discriminatory policies targeting Muslims in western countries. While concentrated military action may sometimes be effective - as in the destruction of training bases in Afghanistan - conventional military operations are usually counter-productive. Enhanced security measures and continuous political engagement are the only strategies that have ever brough terrorism under control.

-Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia by John Gray, pg. 175-179

Stephen Walt: Talking (in) Turkey


"Why Dubai's Islamic austerity is a sham – sex is for sale in every bar"


via Wajahat