Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Fed? Ron Paul’s Not a Fan.

On Thursday, House Republican leaders announced that Representative Ron Paul of Texas, the outspoken Republican libertarian who ran for president in 2008, will become the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the Fed. His position on the central bank is captured in the title of his 2009 book, “End the Fed” (Grand Central Publishing).

A Bastion of Religion Sees Rise in Secularism (on Poland)

Colorado GOP loses Hasan

via Hussam

"Holder Tells Muslim Group Stings Are ‘Essential’"....

Robert Reich: Why Bill Clinton’s Favorable View of Obama’s Tax Deal Should Be Disregarded

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri: For God or for Fame? The Making of a Teenage Bomber

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri teaches religion at Reed College and is the author of A History of Islam in America: From the New World to the New World Order (Cambridge University Press 2010).

Knowing a Terrorist When You See One By Scott Horton

Over the last decade the world has witnessed an explosion of cases in which the term “terrorist” has been applied to domestic political adversaries, journalists, lawyers, and others who present governments and hyperventilating politicians with unpleasant facts. Today the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has published a book entitled Blacklisted that meticulously documents this process, with a focus on abuse of the “terrorist” label in Europe. In the post 9/11 period, governments around the world increasingly used the term “terrorist” to muzzle people—insuring that they are denied access to the media, are not allowed to present challenges in court, and effectively disappear from the political stage. The worst abusers by far are authoritarian governments (Zimbabwe and Burma are good examples) that try to pin this label on democracy and human rights advocates. But this study also lays much blame at the feet of the United Nations, which has often allowed individual nations to call “terrorists” whomever they please.

As U.N. rapporteur Martin Scheinen points out in his foreword to the book, “There is a fundamental need for a broader public debate concerning the future of terrorist listings.” Listing foreign terrorist organizations is a powerful tool in the arsenal against terrorism, but it is also the subject of a great deal of official chicanery. If it is to be used effectively, then the international community, with the United States at the lead, has to focus more attention on the sort of conduct which will qualify a group as “terrorist.” Violence, particularly targeting innocent civilians indiscriminately, is an essential element of the definition. A government’s determination that its critics or political adversaries are “terrorists” must be subject to review by courts on the facts involving objective criteria. And the media and the public must be on the guard against political rhetoric that seeks to turn the concept of “terrorist organization” into a weapon against democracy itself.

[Ron] Paul Defends Wikileaks: Neocons Don’t Like Losing Grip on Empire

Biographical Notes on Taqi al-Din Subki

(Imam) Taqi al-Din Subki [...] is 'Ali ibn 'Abd al-Kafi ibn 'Ali ibn Tamam, Abu al-Hasan Taqi al-Din al-Subki, born in Subk, Egypt, in 683/1284. The Shafi'i scholar and Imam of his time, he was a brilliant intellectual, hadith master (hafiz), Koranic exegete, and Islamic judge who was described by Ibn Hajar Haytami as "the mujtahid Imam whose imamate, greatness, and having reached the level of ijtihad are agreed upon," and by Dhahabi as "the most learned, eloquent, and wisest in judgement of all the sheikhs of the age." Educated in Cairo by such scholars as Ibn Rif'a in Sacred Law, 'Alam al-Din Iraqi in Koranic exegesis, and Sharaf al-Din al-Dimyati in hadith, he also travelled to acquire knowledge of hadith from the sheikhs of Syria, Alexandria, and the Hijaz after which, as Suyuti records, "he devoted himself to writing and giving legal opinion, authoring more than 150 works, his writings displaying his profound knowledge of hadith and other fields and his magisterial command of the Islamic sciences. He educated the foremost scholars of his time, was a painstaking, accurate, and penetrating researcher, and a brilliant debater in the disciplines. No previous scholar attained to his achievements in Sacred Law, of masterful inferences, subtleties in detail, and carefully worked-out methodological principles."
Salah al-Din Safadi said of him, "People say that no one like him had appeared since Ghazali, though in my opinion they thereby do him an injustice, for to my mind he does not resemble anyone less than Sufyan al-Thawri." With his vast erudition, he was at the same time a godfearing ascetic in his personal life who was devoted to worship and mysticism, though vigilant and uncompromising in matters of religion and ready to assail any innovation (bid'a) or departure from the tenets of faith of Ahl al-Sunna. In addition to al-Takmila [The completion], his eleven-volume supplement to Nawawi's Sharh al-Muhadhdhab [The exegesis of "The rarefaction"], he also authored the widely quoted Fatawa al-Subki [The legal opinions of Sukbi] in two volumes, as well as a number of other works on tenets of faith, Koranic exegesis, and fundamentals of Islamic law, in the latter of which his three-volume al-Ibhaj fi sharh al-Minhaj [The gladdening: an exegesis of "The road"], an exposition of Baydawi's Al-Minhaj on the methodological bases of legal ijtihad, has won lasting recognition among scholars. In A.H. 739 he moved from Cairo to Damascus, where he was appointed to the judiciary and presided for seventeen years, at the end of which he became ill, was replaced by his son Taj al-Din, and returned to Cairo, where he died twenty days later in 756/1355 (ibid., 4.302; al-Fatawa al-hadithiyya (y48), 114; al-Rasa'il al-Subkiyya (y52), 9-13; Sheikh Hasan Saqqad; and n).
-Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik, x345, pg. 1102

Friday, December 10, 2010

Race to Nowhere Screening by Kinza Academy with Hamza Yusuf

Thanks Yusuf and Khaled

Europeans Criticize Fierce U.S. Response to Leaks

PARIS — For many Europeans, Washington’s fierce reaction to the flood of secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks displays imperial arrogance and hypocrisy, indicating a post-9/11 obsession with secrecy that contradicts American principles.

Paul Krugman: Obama’s Hostage Deal

Anthropology a Science? Statement Deepens a Rift

Dawood Yasin: Dartmouth Team Departs for Nicaragua to Work on Community Projects

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on FOX about his book "Green Deen"

Robert Reich: America’s Future in the Global Economy: This Week’s Words and Deeds

The first scene from “The Domestic Crusaders” by Wajahat Ali

Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin (2010)

“The Earth is a mosque”
Muslims are compelled by their religion to praise the Creator and to care for their community. But what is not widely known is that there are deep and long-standing connections between Islamic teachings and environmentalism. In this groundbreaking book, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin draws on research, scripture, and interviews with Muslim Americans to trace Islam’s preoccupation with humankind’s collective role as stewards of the Earth. Abdul-Matin points out that the Prophet Muhammad declared that “the Earth is a mosque.”
Deen means “path” or “way” in Arabic. Abdul-Matin offers dozens of examples of how Muslims can follow, and already are following, a Green Deen in four areas: “waste, watts (energy), water, and food.” At last, people of all beliefs can appreciate the gifts and contributions that Islam and Muslims bring to the environmental movement.
“Ibrahim Abdul-Matin not only shows the myriad ways American Muslims are contributing to the resolution of the environmental crisis that threatens us all but also goes a long way toward humanizing the Muslim community by sharing with the reader the lives of so many extraordinary, talented, and visionary people.”
—Imam Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College, Berkeley, California
“Ibrahim blends his passion for a green economy, his love and understanding of faith, and a deep commitment to justice in this book.”
—Van Jones, founder, Green for All
“At a moment when distortions of Islam are what feed most Americans, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin has done something both practical and inspiring. He persuades us that the imperiled environment is both common struggle and common ground for people who share, it turns out, more than simply God.”
—John Hockenberry, Emmy-award-winning journalist, author of Moving Violations, and host of National Public Radio’s The Takeaway
About the Author
Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a policy advisor in the New York City Mayor’s Office on issues of long-term planning and sustainability. He is a media personality on NPR’s The Takeaway and the brains behind the blog Brooklyn Bedouin.
Foreword author, Keith Ellison, Congressman for Minnesota district is the first Muslim Congressman.

U.S. attorney general to speak to Bay Area Muslims amid distrust over surveillance

"Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East" edited by Reza Aslan (2010)

A volume that celebrates the magnificent achievement of twentieth-century Middle Eastern literature that has been neglected in the English-speaking world. A landmark literary event, this groundbreaking work spans a century of literature by the region's best writers—from the famed Arab poet Khalil Gibran to the Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk—all of them bound together not by borders and nationalities but by a common experience of colonial domination and western imperialism. As best-selling author Reza Aslan writes, the mesmerizing prose of the Middle East-Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu-has been virtually excluded from the canon available to English readers. Under the umbrella of Words Without Borders, Aslan has assembled this extraordinary collection of short stories, memoirs, essays, and poems, featuring both contemporary and historical works, with many of the selections newly appearing in English. Featuring literature from countries as diverse as Morocco and Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, Tablet & Pen is a long-awaited work that is to be devoured as a single sustained narrative from the first page to the last.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

another take on the "Rally to Restore Sanity"

200,000 people attended Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" in October. 200,000 people who weren't psychiatrists. That's a powerful testament to our collective mental health. Stewart and co. were criticized — primarily by Bill Maher and other bruised left-wing pundits — for holding a rally that wasn't "about anything" in particular. But I think it was about everything. It was about the extent to which irrationality has pervaded our public discourse, which is something epitomized but not wholly localized in punditry. It was about the extent to which we've allowed one-toothed fortune-tellers to take over the marketplace of ideas.

"Suit Over Killing Order in Terror Case Is Dismissed"

a joke...
Bates also said he must dismiss the case because Anwar al-Awlaki did not bring the suit himself. The judge was not swayed by the father's argument that the cleric could not sue because it would force him to come out of hiding in risk of his life. Bates said al-Awlaki could peacefully present himself under protection of international law and even suggested in a footnote that the cleric could possibly participate via videoconferencing while still in hiding.
Bates also said there's no evidence al-Awlaki wants his father to sue to protect his constitutional rights — the two are not in contact because of the safety risk. On the contrary, Bates said, al-Awlaki has publicly denounced the U.S. legal system and said Muslims are not bound by Western law.

Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History (Library of American History)

Muslims have long played a central role in American history. Since the colonial period when an estimated 20,000 African Muslims were transported to America as slaves, through the early 20th century when Muslim immigrants entered the United States from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, to the present day, Islam has been an integral part of the American experience. The founding of the Nation of Islam in the 1930s augmented the Muslim-American population among African Americans, and this group including such prominent figures as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Louis Farrakhan has had an enormous influence on American life and politics since the 1960s. Since passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, approximately 1 million Muslims have come to America, establishing new neighborhoods and communities in all 50 states.
Few groups are as diverse as Muslim Americans, and yet no other group has been as stereotyped, maligned, or marginalized in American society. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 produced a heavy backlash, transforming the Muslim-American experience in the United States. At the dawn of the 21st century, they are often misunderstood by mainstream society, portrayed as caricatures if they are portrayed at all.
The new Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History aims to rectify this treatment and place Muslim Americans squarely in the center of American history and culture. Written in clear and jargon-free prose, this authoritative reference provides a new and broader, more inclusive approach to American history. Including nearly 300 articles, this two-volume reference book is the first to focus on this critical subject, covering all the historical and contemporary issues, events, people, court cases, themes, and activism relating to Muslim Americans. More than 100 historians, scholars, and experts contributed to this encyclopedia, tracing the experiences and impact that Muslim Americans have had on our nation's history for hundreds of years. Original documents, a master chronology, and an extensive bibliography complete this illustrated reference.

Is the College Debt Bubble Ready to Explode?

via the Catherine Austin Fitts blog

"Generation Why?" by Zadie Smith

Must read (especially the second half after the review of the film The Social Network)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chris Hedges: Happy as a Hangman

“If only there were vile people ... committing evil deeds, and if it were only necessary to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them,” Solzhenitsyn wrote. “But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

Roger Cohen: Shariah at the Kumback Café

New York City Bar event: Islam and the West: What Shari'a Says About Non-Muslims

A Book Lover’s San Francisco

"There, next to a window open to the Pacific breeze, I found a chair with a hand-lettered sign tacked to the wall behind it: “Have a Seat + Read a Book.”" =D

"This is literature as sustenance."