Saturday, March 1, 2014

Congressman Paul Findley: They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby

The first book to speak out against the pervasive influence of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on American politics, policy, and institutions resonates today as never before. With careful documentation and specific case histories, former congressman Paul Findley demonstrates how the Israel lobby helps to shape important aspects of U.S. foreign policy and influences congressional, senatorial, and even presidential elections. Described are the undue influence AIPAC exerts in the Senate and the House and the pressure AIPAC brings to bear on university professors and journalists who seem too sympathetic to Arab and Islamic states and too critical of Israel and its policies. Along with many longtime outspoken critics, new voices speaking out include former President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, Senator Robert Byrd, prominent Arab-American Dr. Ziad Asali, Rabbi Michael Lerner, and journalist Charles Reese. In addition, the lack of open debate among politicians with regard to the U.S. policy in the Middle East is lamented, and AIPAC is blamed in part for this censorship. Connections are drawn between America’s unconditional support of Israel and the raging anti-American passions around the world—and ultimately the tragic events of 9/11. This replaces 1556520735.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Shaykh Hamza on Baseball and Reading 'in the Flow'

Sports is an interesting metaphor. I read a beautiful book called All Things Shining where they really use sports as a metaphor for this because one of the few things our culture really acknowledges is excellence in sports. But one of things about a great moment in sports - when a pitcher is having a perfect game in baseball, you know what happens to the team? Nobody talks to him. They completely, everybody just stays away. Because he's entered into a completely different zone. They call it 'the flow' in sports psychology. They're in the flow. And great athletes know this. And it's when everything becomes unified. They're not experiencing separateness. Everything is perfect. And that's when he pitches a perfect game. Shut-out, no-hitter. Just strike-out after strike-out. And nothing goes wrong. It's a perfect flow. This is the state of the saints, all the time. This is where they're at. This is where the awliya are at.. It's perfect flow. And that's why they don't get disruptive, they don't get disturbed, because they're aware. Now reading at the highest level is that. You're in a state of flow. That's why he's [Mortimer Adler] saying if you learn these rules, the more you work at them, you will begin to read in a state of flow where all of these things are making sense, they've coalesced and telescoped for you, but it's hard work.
-Hamza Yusuf, "How to Read a Book, Part II" (from about 1 hr, 5 mins in).

Firas Ahmed on Institution Building and Vision necessary for American Muslims going forward

Muslims have ignored establishing some of the most basic institutions that are necessary for any minority community who seeks to have their voice taken seriously. There are no widely circulated national publications that explain Muslim perspectives. There is no widely recognized think tank expressing Muslim understandings of policy debates. There are a scant few public intellectuals from Muslim backgrounds that articulate mainstream views or who represent general Muslim thinking. While there are a number of very talented Muslim academics, very few have been able to cross-over and achieve mainstream credibility. Every other minority community has multiple inventories in each category listed above. What Muslims have are a number of smaller efforts that lack support, lack funding and lack human resources. If Muslims have failed in all these arenas it is not for a lack of talent, but rather for a lack of collective vision.
-Firas Ahmed, "The American Muslim Community's "Obama" Problem" 

Passing The Baton (The Life and Legacy of Malcolm X)

In this short Ta'leef Collective documentary vignette, Dr Umar Faruq Abdullah and Imam Zaid Shakir intimately discuss the life and death of Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz). They discuss how Muslims should understand Malcolm's life and the need for us to honor him and continue his legacy. Imam Zaid intimately explains how he was sitting with Betty Shabazz (Allah have mercy on her) and she said to him, "The Nationalists have claimed Malcolm. The Socialists have claimed Malcolm. Now, it's time for you Muslims to claim Malcolm... because he was a believer... he was a believer." "People before us passed us this Baton (Islam)," explains Imam Zaid, "and in the 20th century it was a hard leg of the race.... it was difficult to be a Muslim. But despite all the hardship, that baton was put in our hand... are we going to drop it or are we going to pass it on?" Stay tuned for the full Ta'leef Collective lecture "The Life And Legacy Of Malcolm X" which will be released in the coming weeks. produced by Mustafa Davis