Friday, April 17, 2009

Martin and Malcolm Slideshow with Dr. Cornell West and Imam Zaid Shakir

This special slideshow is taken from the DVD, “Malcolm and Martin: Implications of their Legacies for the Future”.

Featuring a spoken word performance of Dr. Cornell West’s critically acclaimed piece, “3Ms”

This slideshow features photos taken from the December 2005 event in Oakland, California.

"Search of Bengali Harlem: South Asian Migration and Settlement in New York City, 1910s-1950s"

Wow! Thanks to Maheen and Dinu for directing me to this

Check out this article "NYU’s Vivek Bald Reveals Early Desi Diaspora in New York"

"Bald gives a peep look into the fascinating and little-known history of South Asian New York before 1950.

The existing literature tells us that immigration from the subcontinent was merely a trickle during that period. But, starting from the stories of three Bengali Muslim men who migrated undocumented to New York during this period, Bald draws on scholarly literature, archival material, and oral histories in an effort to answer the question: what exactly did the Indian presence in New York look like in the first half of the 20th century?

His answer to the question leads us to the histories of Indian lascar sailors along the New York waterfront and to a community of former-lascars who settled in Harlem in the 1920s-1940s. These men married Puerto Rican and African American women from their adopted neighborhood and worked as dishwashers, cooks, and factory workers.

Bald reveals that by the late 1940s, they had opened some of the city's first halal butchers and Indian restaurants, and also became a significant part of the larger Harlem landscape and were building links with local religious and political figures, including Malcolm X."

Fiction with Muslim Themes

A compilation of novels and works of fiction with Muslim themes - feel free to share any other works you know of!

I've told friends about how meaningful it was for me when for the first time that I came across a Muslim character in a fictional story (it was a Yahya Emerick book in the "Ahmad Deen" series I think) and how amazing it was for me to have a character just stop what they were doing and have to pray Maghrib. :) (That's just a small example. Books have immense powers in them to move us, to inspire us, to give insights that change how we view the world and peoples and things around us...)

There's a lot of new books being written for children at islamicbookstore for example. This list will focus on longer novels for teens and adults.

Umm Zakiyya is a very talented author (I've been told by a friend who's daughter was in her class that she's actually an English teacher (and one of the best) at a Muslim school in Maryland). She has written a series of fictional books which starts with "If I Should Speak," followed by "A Voice," and the third book is "Footsteps," Her latest one called "Realities of Submission"

Umm Zakiyya is a very detailed writer and her writing is very captivating and hard to put down.

Jamilah Kolocotronis is the second author I'll mention. She is also the author of quite a few novels now in the "Echoes" series.

She has a book this series before called "Innocent People" which takes place in the weeks after 9/11.

The Echoes series starts with "Echoes" and then "Rebounding," followed by "Turbulence" and "Ripples".

It's seems like she's working on another novel, an excerpt of which can be found here

Kolocotronis I'd say is a much more straight-forward writer, definitely not as detail oriented as Umm Zakiyya. Still her books are also hard to put down.

Both these series as well as the following novel focus on the individual struggles of someone converting to Islam and the struggles on their journey after having embraced the religion.

"From Utah to Eternity: A Mormon-Muslim Journey" is a beautiful novel by Sarah Louise Baker about Jake who goes to missionary school and sets out to Indonesia to convert Muslims but ends up in a spiritual and religious journey of his own.

I read "The Memory of Hands" by Reshma Baig in high school. It'sa compilation of short stories, one of which is called "the Doctor in the Family"

There's a more recent book called "Does My Head Look Big in This?"

All these books listed so far are written by sisters masha Allah.

"A Sense of Loss" is by Arsalan Shirazi who wrote it at the age of 20.

He also has a website

Another guy, Mohsin Hamid who's The Reluctant Fundamentalist I really liked.

There's also an interview with him at the Guardian

Haroon Moghul has a novel which came out in 2006: The Order of Light

He also has a much older "the Future of Secularism" the whole of which is available to read online

RAMADAN BLUES: A Short Story by Wajahat Ali which has been published in Pow-Wow: Charting the Fault Lines in the American Experience - Short Fiction from Then to Now

The Translator and the Minaret by Leila Aboulela (thanks to Haseeb Ahmed for recommending this!)

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Kahf (Professor, author, poet) (thanks to Mohsin for the recommendation!)

Love in a Headscarf: Muslim woman seeks the one by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed (2009)

insha Allah I hope this creates some interest in these works, to read them, buy the book and support the writers and perhaps some people will even be motivated to do some writing themselves! :)

Also check out the Islamic Writers Alliance