Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sh. Abdullah Bin Bayyah & Hamza Yusuf :From Protest to Engagement/من الإحتجاج الى المشاركة

Check out this video on YouTube:

Forthcoming Book iA — Knowing Too Much by Norman Finkelstein

Stopping Jewish War-Mongers: What we can do | Norman G. Finkelstein

Associated Press Editor Defends Reporting On NYPD Surveillance: Gothamist

Via Faiza

NJ Muslims, officials to discuss NYPD program -

Via Faiza

@keithellison, 3/3/12 12:53 AM

Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison)
3/3/12 12:53 AM
19% of Israelis polled supported Iran attack w/o U.S. backing; 42% endorsed hit only U.S. support; 32% opposed regardless.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Muslims Say NYPD Surveillance Is Already Changing Behavior

Bollinger’s response to NYPD surveillance not enough, says MSA

NYPD’s Covert Monitoring Of Muslim Students Sparks Sweeping Indignation At NYU Read more: NYPD’s Covert Monitoring Of Muslim Students Sparks Sweeping Indignation At NYU · NYU Local

yours truly is in two of the pictures :)

Some Quotes from Tariq Ramadan on Culture and the Arts

The question of culture is central to debates concerning Islam today. Although it must be reiterated that Islam is primarily "a religion" and not "a culture," one should immediately add that religion never finds expression outside a culture and that, conversely, a culture never takes shape without deferring to the majority values and religious practices of the social group that constitutes it. There are, therefore, no religiously neutral cultures, nor any culture-free religions. Any religion is always born--and interpreted--within a given culture and in return the religion keeps nurturing and fashioning the culture of the social community within which it is lived and thought. Those inevitable and complex links make it difficult to define--whether in the relationship to texts or in religious practice--what belongs to religion proper and what instead pertains to the cultural dimension. Even so, the nature of contemporary challenges and the re-examination of the rich Islamic legal tradition (its fundamentals--usul--as well as its implementation--fiqh) require us to investigate the issue more closely and try to determine a theoretical framework and clearer principles regarding the relationship between religion and culture. (183)
What is at stake are the welfare, balance and sound development of the children, teenagers, men, and women of our time, both North and South. In this sense, entertainment and play must represent "pauses" of a sort at the heart of more serious intellectual, social, and political preoccupations, but they should by no means promote values contrary to the higher goals and general ethics I have mentioned. This is why recreational activities and their management within human societies must be considered in the light of philosophical and ethical issues, and the problem is not at all that trivial: what is the meaning of entertainment and play? Why do we enjoy recreation and what objectives or role do we wish to assign the concept of play within the society? Is the objective self-forgetfulness, giving full range to all the expressions of human instincts (the natural attraction for physical appearance, money, and sex) or is it an "invitation to travel," which stirs the heart, mind, and imagination while edifying, soothing, and appeasing them with amusements that strive to be human and remain "humanizing" and healthy? The point is not, as in "the carnivalization of life," to promote continuous play and an endless quest for entertainment that dominates everything else, which acts like a drug and transforms us into slaves addicted to our sensations and emotions. It should be the opposite: devising entertainment that makes human beings balanced, independent, and freer. This means that it is important to think about the nature of the proposed activities, their organization in time (day, night, time of the week) and space (the home, the faith community, society at large) and of course the ages and evolution of individual people and their personalities. Muslim societies and communities are so afraid of the effect of alienating entertainment that they produce amusements and games that either packed with religious references (and thereby no longer provide actual, necessary recreation) or childish (as if to enjoy recreation as a Muslim, one must refuse to become an adult or pretend never to have become one...).
Women and men who possess this inclination and skill ought therefore to be invited to show more creativity, to integrate modern techniques of communication, to specialize in that Universe, and to show discriminating professionalism. To find the means to encourage children, teenagers, and adults to return to reading (according to age, tales, novels, essays); to express and convey their own imagination; to become involved with texts, literature, poetry, drama, and other forms of literature. To nurture their taste for art, painting, or music, which open up inner prospects and nurture a curious and calm outlook on the world. To produce and integrate playful activities for various age groups and to enable children to become interested in all sorts of subjects, in human beings, animals, history, psychology, forms of physical expression, sports, and so many other activities. Muslims today are lost between trends of thought that forbid everything (and that make life arid and/or intolerable) and the realities of a carnival of life that alienates them (which they claim to reject but which they end up becoming involved with or simply imitating). Yet, we should become reconciled with the essence and meaning of creativity, which is so necessary today to resist the global culture that produces this new imperialism of entertainment and play, which nobody controls any more and whose driving force is the financial profit amassed by its producers.
Twofold critical work is needed here: first, the specialization and professionalism of the artists and designers of that culture of entertainment will enable them to produce something new through the use of state-of-the-art technology and methods. Alternative productions will only prevail over the dominant trends in entertainment if they can bear comparison in terms of design and production values. It is also important to be able to distinguish, among recent productions, those works and products that stand out because of their sense of ethics and respect for human dignity. Thus, the range of choice in recreational activities, experiences, books, and other works of art can be broadened and organized according to age groups and locations. The other challenge is to educate the general public, to get them to enjoy edifying recreational activities, literature, painting, that is, to comprehend the higher values inherent in play and entertainment. Resisting the alienating, standardized global culture requires training critical minds and good taste. The young must be taught to put a value on their own imaginations, to consider their own inclinations, and to analyze the activities available to them. We should fashion a conscience that is, as far as possible, aware of the meaning and objectives of both physical and cultural "consumption": this means equipping it with the means to resist the imperialism of play and entertainment, the carnivalization of life, and soulless consumerism. Learning to manage one's need to forget is never easy, and the contemporary Muslim conscience often has only normative reflections about the duty not to be led astray. Contemporary Islamic though simply does not how to manage entertainment and play. This is serious, for we know how deeply valued entertainment is to the human conscience. It is what food is to the body: a vital need without which it will eventually waste away or deny its existence. This is the collective responsibility (fardh kifayah) of the whole spiritual community. (197-199)
-Tariq Ramadan in Radical Reform:Islamic Ethics and Liberation

Framing Muslims: law enforcement survelliance in universities in Britiain

To funnel all efforts toward the scrutiny of those staples of framing, Muslims' failure to integrate and their propensity for terrorism[,] is to shadow the very kinds of instrumental thinking that has produced the government's Prevent agenda, one of the strands of the antiterror strategy known as CONTEST. Prevent ensures that funds and backing are channeled toward the bodies and initiatives that are approved partners in the fight against al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism, conceived as the biggest single threat to Britain today. Yet heavy-handed tactics, such as efforts to persuade higher education institutions to spy on their Muslim students for signs of radicalization, have drawn criticism from civil libertarians and from those who see Prevent as something of a smoke screen, diverting attention from the inconsistencies in domestic and foreign policy that are also at the root of Muslim disaffection. [18] Surprise raids on universities for example that in which a team of heavily armed police swooped down on a group of suspected radicals outside the library at Liverpool John Moores University in April 2009, provide great copy for newspapers and thrilling pictures for news channels. Given the rather low conviction rate that often accompanies such operations, one could wish that a greater number of journalists might have been exercised by the adjacent questions of whether free enquiry in universities was endangered by intrusive policing or whether such raids actually do more to harm than aid community cohesion. A few correspondents did take up these issues. However, for the most part, the narrative spun was a more conventional one about thwarted conspirators and, by implication, a characteristically British disquiet about universities as sites of intellectual pretension justifying moral relativism. Such coverage serves to keep a hegemonic government viewpoint about threat levels and their sources firmly in the public consciousness. Why should the more troubling fine detail be picked over when the idea of radical Muslims around every corner justifies government policy and expenditure? To this extent Prevent, and other measures like it, are not really so much a consultative exercise as a mechanism for forcing Muslims to take responsibility for acts done in their name, even when they may be separated from such acts by vast distances of space, doctrine, and sympathy.
In this scenario, the idea that all Muslims must be drawn into a battle against violent fundamentalism works on the assumption that religion is the foundational principle animating all actions. Cultural acts derive from religion, and any other impinging factors such as class, gender, or doctrinal or regional differences are considered less crucial to the formation of identity. The trouble wit this view- which privileges religious identity above all else-is that by failing to discriminate properly it allows for a resonant chain of association to be set up in which the aberrant activity of Muslim groups (or individuals) in one part of the world are seen as having unavoidable corrupting effects everywhere else. This is a particularly postmodern form of paranoia, since it tends to view the instantaneous crossborder reach of telecommunications and the Internet as the main means of "terrorist" indoctrination. Yet this paranoia also represents a logical consequence of the globalization of capital that we are daily invited to celebrate, even though it is more usually explained by reference to some kind of unspecified propensity for radicanlism to spread rapidly among susceptible Muslims like a form of contagion.
-pgs. 57-59 of Framing Muslims: Stereotyping and Representation after 9/11 by Peter Morey and Amina Yaqin (a theory heavy/dense book from what I have read so far)

Law Article: Policing Against Terrorism: Legitimacy and Deterence Strategies for Motivating Cooperation Among Islamic Americans


Tom R. Tyler
Department of Psychology, NYU
Stephen Schulhofer
NYU Law School
Aziz Huq
University of Chicago Law School


This study considers the circumstances under which members of the Muslim American community voluntarily cooperate with police efforts to combat terrorism.  Cooperation is defined to include both a general receptivity toward helping the police in anti-terror work, and the specific willingness to alert police to terror related risks in a community.  Two perspectives on why people cooperate with law enforcement, both developed with reference to general policing, are compared in the context of anti-terror policing and specifically among members of the Muslim American community.  The first is instrumental.  It suggests that people cooperate because they see tangible benefits that outweigh any costs.  The second perspective is normative.  It posits that people respond to their belief that police are a legitimate authority.  On this view legitimacy is linked to the fairness and procedural justice of police procedures.  The data from a study involving interviews with Islamic Americans in New York City between March and June 2009 strongly support the normative model by finding that the procedural justice of police activities is the primary factor shaping legitimacy and cooperation with the police

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ISA Panel Discussion: Traditional Knowledge, Contemporary Context

Friday 7:00pm until 9:00pm

  • Furman Hall Room 212

    Furman Hall is located at 245 Sullivan Street, between Washington Square South and West Third Street. [See directions here]

  • So you went all the way to Al Azhar, got your certification in tajweed, hadith, fiqh, and every Islamic Science under the sun. You become a scholar of scholars, and then headed home to the good old U.S of A. After a mushroom burger and shake at your local Shake Shack. you ask yourself, "Now What"?

    How do you use that knowledge you have gained and trained in, in the contemporary context? Join the Islamic Students Association for a panel featuring Professor Zareena Grewal, Imam Khalid Latif, and Shaykh Khalil Abdur Rashid discussing the challenges of studying the tradition of Islam, and making it relevant in the American context.

    For more information, please email Noor Zafar at

    "Knowledge is that which benefits, not that which is memorized". ~ Imam Ash-Shaafi'ee

    Zareena A Grewal is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Religious Studies at Yale University. She is a historical anthropologist and documentary filmmaker and has directed and produced a film about the scrutiny of American Muslims’ patriotism (By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam (2004)) featured on the Documentary Channel. She also writes on the intersections of race and religion in American Muslim communities. Currently, she is completing a book on the global dimensions of Islam’s “crisis of authority,” specifically on transnational pedagogical networks that connect American mosques to the intellectual centers of the Middle East, based on ethnographic fieldwork in Cairo, Egypt, Damascus, Syria, and Amman, Jordan. She teaches courses on Muslim in America, US cultural and political interests in the Middle East, and ethnographic and documentary film.

    Shaykh Khalil Abdur-Rashid is a PhD student at Columbia University specializing in Islamic law. His area of research includes Islamic Law and Bioethics, Islamic Legal Ethics and Principles, and Islamic Law and Modernity. He holds an advanced Islamic license (ijaaza ilmiyyah) in Islamic Law and completed his Islamic seminary work in Istanbul, Turkey. He has published articles and translations of works covering topics of Islamic law and spirituality. He completed his master's work in Islamic Law at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Imam Khalid Latif was appointed the first Muslim chaplain at NYU in 2005 where he began to initiate his vision for a pluralistic future on and off campus for American Muslims. He was also appointed the first Muslim chaplain at Princeton University in 2006. Spending a year commuting between these two excellent institutions, he finally decided to commit full-time to New York University’s Islamic Center where his position was officially institutionalized in the spring of 2007. Under his leadership, the Islamic Center at NYU became the first ever established Muslim student center at an institution of higher education in the United States. Imam Latif’s exceptional dedication and ability to cross interfaith and cultural lines on a daily basis brought him recognition throughout the city, so much so that in 2007 Mayor Michael Bloomberg nominated Imam Latif to become the youngest chaplain in history of the New York City Police Department at the age of 24.

    Imam Latif has not only managed to solidify the basis of a strong Muslim community at NYU that seeks to emphasize inclusiveness and understanding of others without compromise, but has also worked tirelessly to foster dialogue with people of other faiths in order to clarify misconceptions and encourage mutual education. Through his work Imam Latif has demonstrated not only an exceptional dedication to gaining and disseminating religious knowledge and values, but has begun to carve out a much-needed spacefor young American Muslims to celebrate their unique identity and have their voices heard in the larger public sphere. He is a sought after speaker, having lectured throughout the United States and in various parts of the world and has been quoted, featured and appeared innumerous media outlets including BBC, NPR, CNN, the NY Times, Newsweek,Time Magazine, BET and GEO TV. Amongst many awards and distinctions for leadership and community service over the last few years, Imam Latif was most recently named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2009 by Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talaal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804 A.D.)

Considered by many to be the greatest of all German philosophers, Immanuel Kant has left a very deep influence upon the field of the theory of knowledge, ethics and aesthetics. He spent his whole life in Konigsberg in Germany leading a quiet and sheltered existence. He studied theology as well as Newtonian physics and mathematics before becoming attracted to philosophy. He began to attack the philosophy of Leibnitz which was popular in Germany at that time and after 1770, when he was appointed as the chair of philosophy and logic at the University of Konigsberg, he began to write his major works, especially The Critique of Pure Reason, The Critique of Practical Reason and The Critique of Judgment. He is the father of what is called critical philosophy. This is a philosophy which seeks to examine the limits of reason itself, a philosophy which Kant called critical or transcendental.

Kant came to the conclusion that human reason cannot know the essence of things or anything in an ultimate sense. He sought to make philosophy a science and believe that the fact that we perceive objects in time and space is as a result of the imposition of the categories of time and space by the mind upon the world around us. Kant believed that human reason cannot reach either the knowledge or in fact the proof of the existence of God and that God can only be known through practical reason and not pure reason. He emphasized the significance of ethics, a field for which he has been particularly known in later centuries.

After his death, Kantianism became an important school of thought especially at Marburg. It was revived later in the thirteenth/nineteenth and fourteenth/twentieth centuries by such philosophers as the neo-Kantian Ernst Cassirer and influenced even Martin Heidegger. In any case, the idea of the critique of reason by use of reason itself and the founding of what was called critical philosophy by Kant marks an important point in the history of Western thought. It must be considered as a watershed after which philosophy gradually turned away from the age of rationalism to the age of ideological philosophies and also the rebellion against reason which occurred in Western thought in the thirteenth/nineteenth century.

The philosophy of Kant also attracted many Muslim thinkers. His works were translated into Arabic, Persian and Turkish, while during the past century the first encounter of Islamic philosophy with Western philosophy came in the form of the response of the Persian philosopher Mulla ‘Ali Zunuzi in his Badayi’ al-hikam to some of Kant’s ideas.

-pg. 166-167 of Seyyed Hossein Nasr’s A Young Muslim’s Guide to the Modern World

2/27/12 NYPD head not sorry about NJ Muslim surveillance

Shaykh Hamza: Critical Eyes in a Critical Time 28/02/12

Reading in Love

If we consider men and women generally, and apart from their professions or occupations, there is only one situation I can think of in which they almost pull themselves up by their bootstraps, making an effort to read better than they usually do. When they are in love and are reading a love letter, they read for all they are worth. They read every word three ways; they read between the lines and in the margins; they read the whole in terms of the parts, and each part in terms of the whole; they grow sensitive to context and ambiguity, to insinuation and implication; they perceive the color of words, the odor of phrases, and the weight of sentences. They may even take the punctuation into account. Then, if never before or after, they read.
-pg. 14 of Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book


Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Read a Book, Part 2 by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

Check out this video on YouTube:

The Ode of Light [Qasida-e-Nur] : Nader Khan, Celebrating The Beloved @ SeekersHub

Check out this video on YouTube:

Appalachian SeekersRetreat 2012 - Beginning With Guidance (Trailer)

Check out this video on YouTube:

Fundamentals of the Arabic Alphabet (Part 1) Adrian Woodsmith

Check out this video on YouTube:

Zaheer Ali - Malcolm X: A Journey of Faith [Part 2]

Check out this video on YouTube:

Zaheer Ali - Malcolm X: A Journey of Faith [Part 1]

Check out this video on YouTube:

Students respond to the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims

NYPD monitoring of Muslims enters mayoral race

via Faiza

Thomas Carlyle

(1795-1881), a Scottish essayist and historian, gave a lecture on Prophet Muhammad in 1841, titled "The Hero as Prophet," and wrote his famous book, On Heroes, Hero-Worship an the Heroic in History. Karen Armstrong, a contemporary writer and historian of religion, evaluates Thomas Carlyle's lecture as the first attempt in Europe to see Muhammad as a genuinely religious man. (Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, San Francisco, 1993, p. 38).

-footnote 56 on page 138 of Said Nursi's The Reasonings: A Key to Understanding the Qur'an's Eloquence (translated by Huseyin Akarsu).