Monday, December 29, 2008

war-weary jews establish homeland between syria, lebanon, jordan, egypt

The Onion
Tuesday, November 9, 1948

"In Israel, Our People Will Finally Have Safety and Peace," Says Ben-Gurion
Jordan Welcomes New Neighbors with Celbratory Gunfire, Rock Throwing

Jerusalem, Israel--After more than 2,000 years of wandering and persecution, including six million deaths at the hand of Nazi Germany, the Jewish people finally established a homeland Monday, a place of safety and peace nestled between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

"No longer will the Jewish race live in a constant state of fear and endagerment, its very existence threatened at every turn by hostile outsiders," said David Ben-Gurion, the new nation's first prime minister, addressing a jubiland crowd of Zionists at Jerusalem's Western Wall. "Here in Israel, we are safe, far away from those who seek to destroy us."

For two millennia, the Jewish people have wandered without a home, facing an endless series of hostile enemies. With the establishment of a soverign Jewish state in the Middle East, Israeli officials believe this 2,000-year ordeal has at last come to an end.

"Israel is the land of milk and honey," Ben-Gurion said. "Here there will be no pogroms, no midnight visits from Cossacks, no Nuremberg Laws. The only gunfire we shall hear is that which lingers in our minds from troubled times long past."

Ben-Gurion said he looks forward to years of harmony and cooperation with Israel's neighboring states. "Jordan seems extremely happy to have us as a new neighbor," he said. "Last night, from my window, I could hear great explosions coming from the Gaza Strip. How wonderful of the Palestinian peoples there to celebrate our arrival with fireworks."

In his official greeting to Israel yesterday, Egypt's King Farouk issued the following statement: "Egypt does not and will not ever recognize the so-called state of Israel's right to exist. Israel is a land built on Jewish lies and the spilled blood of countless Arabs. Until the territory called Israel is returned to is rightful Palestinian owners, Egypt will have no choice but to consider itself at war with the Jewish people."

As a token of its good will, Syria presented Israel with a burning Israeli flag, with an attached note that read, "May you be swiftly driven into the sea and drowned."

In the months leading up to Monday's formal declaration of Israeli statehood, hundreds of thousands of Hocaust survivors from around the world have flocked to Israel, where they will finally find a safe haven from anti-Semitism. "This is a dream come true," said Holocaust survivor Zadie Dubrovnik, 59, who left her native Lithuania for Israel last week. "In this place, we will build a refuge of peace, far away from those who hate us."

Ben-Gurion said that with no need to defend itself from enemies, Israel will be free to spend billions of dollars on domestic development that other nations would be forced to devote to a defense budget. Military expenditures are expected to account for just two percent of the country's overall budget, as Israel will be a place of peace, not war.

Also from the Onion:
Israel Bombs Anti-Semitism Out Of Lebanon
Israel Intercepts Massive Palestinian Rock Shipment
Israel, Palestine Now Fighting Over Cemetery Space
War-Torn Middle East Seeks Solace In Religion

see also: on a lighter note...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

excedrin for (racial) tension headaches

I was recently browsing the SNL website looking for a clip of the Homocil ad and ended up finding a different sort of prescription instead:

Monday, December 08, 2008

eid mubarak y'all

(sigh) I miss a student's schedule when it was much more feasible to take the day to celebrate. Go to prayers in the morning and hang out with folks later.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

harold camping

I currently have a long commute from work and unfortunately am faced with a small number of radio stations to choose from. (I'm a big NPR fan but during most of my evening drive home the local station switches to programming in Creole).

Occasionally I will listen to a radio call-in show run by an evangelist named Harold Camping... more out of curiosity than anything else. He is an odd bird. He teaches that the Church Age is over (and so all current churches are ruled by Satan). He's not a Jehovah's Witness but he teaches that Jesus is Michael. And most importantly, he teaches that the world will end on May 21, 2011. Initially I thought his ideas were harmlessly bizarre, but the other night I heard him advising a mother with a young child to not bother making college or career plans for their child's future because they won't have one. He's not just eccentric but irresponsible.

It just reminds me again to appreciate the fact that the Quranic descriptions of the end-times, however vivid, are not full of the sorts of tempting descriptions as the Revelation of St. John or the book of Daniel which would encourage folks to presumptuously predict the end of the world (see also the number of the beast). I'm not saying that Muslims never make eschatological missteps. But I would argue that the Bible encourages this sort of behavior more than the Quran does.

old interview with dhoruba bin wahad

I've been watching some old episodes of the Boondocks recently (especially the ones which show the BET staff is continually plotting against the black race). It made me think back to what BET used to be like and what kind of hard-hitting, thoughtful positive shows they used to have like Teen Summit or Our Voices with Bev Smith or Tavis Smiley's show.

Bev Smith on Our Voices interviewing Dhoruba bin Wahad.

We've mentioned Dhoruba bin Wahad (Muslim, former Black Panther and political prisoner, now political activist) before on Planet Grenada. This is making me want to see what else is out there.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

r.i.p. odetta (1930-2008)

To be honest, I wasn't a serious follower of Odetta's musical career, but I do really enjoy her duet with Harry Belafonte performing the old folk song, There's a Hole in the Bucket.

and while we are on the subject, I'm actually a big fan of Michael Franti/ Spearhead's loose homage entitled "Hole in the Bucket" which points to a different kind of vicious cycle.

black iraqis in basra face discrimination

I just heard this on the radio as I was on my way to work and had to share...

Jalal Diyaab

Morning Edition, December 3, 2008 · The election of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency was celebrated with special fervor by Iraqis of African descent in the southern port city of Basra.

Although they have lived in Iraq for more than 1,000 years, the black Basrawis say they are still discriminated against because of the color of their skin, and they see Obama as a role model. Long relegated to menial jobs or work as musicians and dancers, some of them have recently formed a group to advance their civil rights.

NPR: Full Story

Also, Third Resurrection has a number of posts about Black Arabs and racism in the Middle East. (Some of the same stories may also be found here: the black knight /Dec 5, 2008)

Monday, December 01, 2008

islam and same-sex marriage

For a while now I've been intending to write about the (partial) overlap between traditional Islamic opinions on abortion and the pro-choice position. Very briefly, according to some scholarly interpretations, the soul doesn't enter the fetus until 120 days after conception, consequently abortions carried out before that point are not considered to be equivalent to murder. I need to say that there is definitely some nuance and complexity to the issue (which is why I've been waiting to write it)... This is not that post.

It is a post about another area where it is possible that common cause might be made between traditional Muslims and modern Liberals.

From Alt.Muslim: Why the same-sex marriage debate still matters by Sabir Ibrahim. The argument roughly goes: Given that Islamic law enshrines the rights of non-Muslims to follow their own customs and practices when it comes to family life, and given that Muslims living in the West would theoretically want the right to enjoy our own distinctive practices (e.g. polygamy) then we all ought to support other minority groups as they attempt to assert their rights as well.

brass crescent awards 2008

An unsolicited "plug" from Marqas over at The Manrilla Blog:
Having just come off attending the 2nd Annual MANA Conference here in Philadelphia, it came as a pleasant surprise that the Manrilla Blog has been put in the running for Best Design in the 2008 Brass Crescent Awards, a joint project of The awards are meant to honor blogs that represent the best in Muslim blogging, with yours truly up for, “…[a] blog that has the most aesthetically pleasing site design, appealing to the eye, evoking Islamic themes, and/or facilitating debate and discussion.” My thanks to those who felt this blog worthy of nomination. Feel free to cast your vote here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

you can't please all the people all the time...

So Nader thinks Obama is an Uncle Tom and Al-Zawahiri thinks Obama is a House Negro (see obama, malcolm x, al-zawahiri and house negroes). Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin, of course think that Obama is a Black-Liberation-theology-believing, socialist Muslim (as if that were a bad thing).

If you want to see what some progressive African-American Muslims have to say about Obama you should definitely check out Imam Zaid Shakir's response to a well-meaning brother along with the blog entry/story African-American Muslim leaders denounce al Qaeda's slur toward Obama

Saturday, November 22, 2008

michael jackson converts to islam


LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Pop star Michael Jackson has converted to Islam at a ceremony in Los Angeles attended by Yousef Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, sources say.

Jackson, whose once-amazing career has been eclipsed in recent years by reports of bizarre behavior, as well as legal and financial troubles, is said to have changed his name to Mikaeel and taken the shahada -- or made a declaration of belief -- as part of his conversion to Islam, Al-Arabiya said Friday.

The religious ceremony reportedly took place at the Hollywood Hills home of Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro, who composed music for Jackson's iconic "Thriller" album.

Jackson's lawyer said the singer has agreed to testify in person next week at a $7 million breach-of-contract lawsuit brought against him in London's High Court by the king of Bahrain's son, Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.

The sheikh is suing Jackson for allegedly backing out of a business venture that was to produce an album, including songs the royal wrote for and planned to record with Jackson, as well as an autobiography and a stage play.

However, Jackson contends he never signed an official agreement and insists the payments he received from the sheik were "gifts," claiming the royal's case is based on "mistake, misrepresentation and undue influence."

see also:
michael jackson: off the wall
britney spears may convert to islam

Monday, November 17, 2008

kemi seba: france's "malcolm x"

From Mark Sedgewick's Traditionalists' blog: Guenon and "France's Malcolm X"

I wish I knew French so I could read the Saphir interview...

Guénon has found a new fan in France: Kémi Séba, a somewhat notorious African-nationalist activist, who recently converted to Islam and is being referred to by some as "France's Malcolm X." His following, however, seems considerably smaller than that of America's Malcolm X.

Séba read Guénon in a French jail in early 2008, while serving the most recent of a series of short sentences for inciting racial hatred. In an August 2008 interview with Saphir News, a French Muslim on-line newspaper, he referred to several of Guénon's works, and said that although Guénon was not the only reason for his conversion to Islam, it was Guénon who had shown him that Islam was more than the religion of the Arabs.

Friday, November 14, 2008

censored stories

Founded by Carl Jensen in 1976, Project Censored is a media research program working in cooperation with numerous independent media groups in the US. Project Censored’s principle objective is training of SSU students in media research and First Amendment issues and the advocacy for, and protection of, free press rights in the United States. Every year Project Censored comes out with a list of the 25 "most censored" news stories, stories of national significance which are neglected by the mainstream (corporate) media.s

Some of the highlights this year include stories on U.S. abuses in the Middle East...
#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
#9 Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
# 24 Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror

Some potential problems coming out of El Salvador...
# 4 ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?

Shady things going on in the use of executive power within the U.S....
# 3 InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
# 6 The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
# 8 Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly

And the challenges faced by modern workers and slaves...
# 15 Worldwide Slavery
# 16 Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights

Thursday, November 13, 2008

many muslim women on the ballot this november

Jamilah Nasheed, an African-American convert to Islam and Missouri Democratic state representative, is one of just nine Muslim Americans in state legislatures nationwide, and the only woman, according to the alliance. She is almost certain to win re-election this year, and Muslim American women in California, Michigan and Minnesota are vying to join her.

Among them is Democrat Ferial Masry, who faces a tough race in her bid to represent a heavily Republican general assembly district near Los Angeles. The 59-year-old high school government and history teacher was born in Mecca but moved to Egypt when she was 10 so she could attend school, not an option for girls in Saudi Arabia at the time. She was a write-in candidate for the seat four years ago after the Democratic Party approached her.

She said no one expected the unknown "woman from Saudi Arabia with an accent" to do well, but she got almost 35 percent of the vote.

Farheen Hakeem, a 32-year-old activist and Green Party candidate for an open seat representing Minneapolis, first ran for mayor in 2005, then for a county commissioner seat. She lost both times.

"I was asked every question under the book," says Hakeem, who wears a head scarf and is of South Asian descent. People would grill her about Islam's treatment of women.

"If I'm so oppressed, how am I running for mayor? I'm still Muslim," she'd tell them. Now, she says, "People are like, 'Yeah, so what, she's Muslim.'"

Rashida Tlaib, an immigration lawyer from Michigan, never thought about running for office until after the terrorist attacks, when she said she saw the immigration system being used to target people of Middle Eastern descent and felt a responsibility to get involved.

After she worked on immigration reform, Tlaib was approached by the Michigan House floor leader, who wanted her to work for him, then later urged her to run for his seat. Tlaib was also recently tapped to be Barack Obama campaign's liaison to the Arab American and Muslim American communities.

Having won the primary in her heavily Democratic, majority Latino district, Tlaib will likely to join lawmakers in Lansing next session, and she looks forward to exposing them to Muslim holidays and traditions like fasting the month of Ramadan.

But Tlaib is quick to emphasize that she didn't run because she's Muslim American; it's just part of who she is. When she walked her district's neighborhoods, people were more interested in talking about crime and foreclosures than her unfamiliar name.

For entire article: On ballots this Nov: More Muslim American women

For a follow-up story on Rashida Tlaib (who won her race):
Michigan Legislature getting 1st female Muslim

Monday, November 10, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

the small man...

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the

- Hafiz

it's a new day -

Obviously the election of Barack Obama is an incredibly profound historical milestone for the United States and so in some sense it is a "New Day. At the same time, it still remains to be seen to what extent Obama will try to re-create the Clinton administration, rule as a centrist or chart a bolder leftward-leaning course. I'm cautiously optimistic but I'm not sure if we can really expect a "revolution" which will suddenly make everything better (especially given the appointment of Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff). However, I do think that we will start to make some baby-steps in the right direction over time.

Secondly, all these political tracks (involving dozens of other musicians and actors) are making me wonder if in the Obama era, hip-hop will go from being protest music to pro-establishment patriotic music? Just a thought.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

black president - brenda fassie

I had wanted to include a video to this song back when I started my "black president" series but didn't find one until now. Here is South African pop star Brenda Fassie singing about a different history-making Black leader. Personally, I think one of the most beautiful, powerful aspects of the song is that it was actually written several years before Mandela was elected. The dream became a reality. (And here is a clip of a sparser, more beautiful, less "pop" version of the song)

The year 1963
The people's president
Was taken away by security men
All dressed in a uniform
The brutality, brutality
Oh, no, my black president
Him and his comrades
Were sentenced to isolation
For many painful years
For many painful years
Many painful years
Of hard labour
They broke ropes
But the spirit was never broken
Never broken
Oh, no, my, my black president

Hmm maa (3x)
Hmm maa (3x)

Hmm maa (3x)
Hmm maa (3x)
Ahh, nyu ye uyee huu

He broke ropes
But his spirit was never broken
Never broken
Oh oh oh, my president

Now in 1990
The people's president
Came out from jail
Raised up his hand and said
'Viva, viva, my people'
He walked the long road
Back, back to freedom
Back, back to freedom
Freedom for my black president

Let us rejoice for our president
Let us sing for our president
Let us pray for our president
Let us sing, let us dance
For Madiba give us freedom
We thank you Lord
For listening to our prayers
Night and day
Oh oh oh, my president


Zulu /Xhosa lyrics

My president
I will die for my president
I will sing for my president

I will stand and say
Viva, viva, viva, viva, viva, viva

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

obama: the recap

If I was President...
black presidents (part one)
black presidents (part two)
if al gore was president aka black presidents (part three)
black presidents (part four)
black presidents (part five)
black presidents (part six)
jimmy smits and the west wing

Obama and the Church
thoughts on obama's resignation from trinity united church of christ
the compassion forum
jeremiah wright and the black church
rev. 'icarus', the obama campaign, & the left
hiv/aids and the us government
rev. jeremiah wright: a change is going to come / national press club
there is nothing wrong with rev. wright
bill moyers and rev. jeremiah wright

Obama and Islam
more from zaid shakir
barak obama on the middle east
obama's islamic past
two calls for pan-africanism from the muslim world
this is what a non-muslim us presidential candidate looks like

Obama and Latinos
latinos and obama
obama and black latinos
president obama and afro-latinos

The Horserace
obama roasts mccain at the alfred e. smith dinner
some brother must have really done her wrong...
another bit
political bits
hispanic governor, bill richardson, endorses obama over clinton
morrison endorses obama for president
obama wins maine and a grammy
racism and the mcain-palin campaign

Obama and other religions
obama redraws map of religious voters
obama and different religious communities

here's another thing i don't get...
an open letter to certain white women who are threatening to withhold support from obama in november
the dark knight: the rise of "the real" obama
obama and father's day
heru: barack obama is septimius severus
obama: the death of white supremacy?
barack's black dilemma
"well, i'm not gonna take the white house in 2008 on just my sparkling wit and funding from hostile governments."
mumbo jumbo with ishmael reed

Monday, November 03, 2008

day break

I haven't talked about Afro-futurism for a while, so I figure I should mention that I recently saw Day Break, a prematurely-cancelled television series starring Taye Diggs. It has a premise similar to Bill Murray's Groundhog Day in that Diggs' character keeps reliving a particular day until he gets it "right". But instead of being a cutesy romantic comedy, Daybreak is a somewhat violent drama series about a Black hero being apparently framed by the (mostly-white) powers that be. In this case, the role of "The Man" is played (in part) by members of a group called the Santayana Club. (George Santayana is the Spanish philosopher who is famous for having said: "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it". On the other hand, almost all the people of color are at least portrayed rather sympathetically (even the criminals). An interesting show... it manages to keep the suspense and interest going, revealing layer after layer of an intricate story.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

the empire strikes back

As we approach one of the most important elections (symbolically and otherwise) in US history. it is heartening to see signs of a growing consensus around Barack Obama (see Republican and conservative support for Barack Obama in 2008 and also Republicans and Conservatives Endorsing Barack) which has the potential to unify the country and redraw the political map. On the other hand it is a source of concern that the McCain campaign in its death-throes (inshaAllah) along with other elements of the far right are getting more vicious as election day approaches. (Feds disrupt skinhead plot to assassinate Obama)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

i voted today

Oh my God, the line was soooo long. The process took about 3 hours from beginning to end. I kept thinking back to tv images of the first post-apartheid Election Day in South Africa when Mandela was on the ballot. I spent most of the time outside, waiting to be let into the Lemon City Library (Miami). Then I got a numbered ticket and was eventually let in. Once inside (which was still 70+ deep), I had to wait for my number to be called before being let into a seperate room where all the voting booths were. Fortunately for future early voters, the governor is extending the poll hours for the rest of the week.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

20 questions with upski

In These Times: 20 Questions with Billy Wimsatt Wow, I went to school with this kid. Cool guy.

I like the way he describes his politics:
I’m for the underdogs and the polar bears. I’m for matriarchy and Barack Obama. I’m for green jobs, not jails. I want to turn the Titanic around before we hit the iceberg.

I believe we need deep transformation at all levels of society, individual and systemic. I hate the game, not the players. I love the suburbanites, not the suburbs. I believe that evil is real but good is real too! I believe in God and evolution and I believe it is our moral obligation to protect God’s creation. I believe that all life is sacred and that right now humans are out of balance. I believe that a society that worships material wealth cannot be reconciled with the Ten Commandments. I believe humans are trying to play God, and that genetic engineering, robotics and nano-technology are radically altering the fabric of human life into a scary science fiction novel.

I believe we need to change the game, re-invent the game, get together, hold hands, take a big deep breath, and come up with a new game where there are more winners and fewer losers. I want to see a happy ending in which humanity ultimately survives. I believe that whether the glass is half-full, one-quarter full or one-tenth full, we’ve gotta play the cards we are dealt. I believe in big baby steps.

racism and the mcain-palin campaign

For a while I've been meaning to do a post about how the McCain-Palin rallies have been starting to reveal an uglier, more bigoted side to the far-right's resistance to Obama. Of course, that was before Obama was lynched-in-effigy on a Christian College campus and before a McCain volunteer mutilated her own face and made up a story about how she was attacked by a big black Obama supporter. The McCain camp may try to distance itself from the behavior of its supporters but in reality, such extreme behavior is really just a natural reflection of the top of the ticket. It just seems like their real face is coming out now that their campaign seems to be in its death throws.

Capitol Hill Blue: McCain: racist, bigot & homophobe

Grenada's past;
mccain camp silences muslim organizer or "with friends like these..."
sarah palin on obama's winning the democratic nomination for president : "sambo beat the bitch!" (what ?!?!?!)
more on mccain's racially problematic politics
mccain, racism and religious bigotry
mccain - romney ?
mccain's spiritual advisor hates muslims and islam
should john mccain reject and denounce minister john hagee?
john mccain: "i hated the gooks. i will hate them as long as i live."

afro-latinos to declare columbus day as "the day of atonement"

the n-word is flourishing among generation hip-hop latinos

president obama and afro-latinos Will President Barack Obama make a difference for Afro-Latinos? by Christopher Rodriguez

obama redraws map of religious voters

NPR: Obama Redraws Map Of Religious Voters by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Thursday, October 23, 2008

mccain camp silences muslim organizer or "with friends like these..."

CNN host Rick Sanchez said he was "mystified" by a last minute decision by the McCain campaign to pull a Muslim grassroots organizer from appearing on his show.

The aide, Daniel Zubairi, had been scheduled to appear on Sanchez's mid-day program after he was caught on video talking down an anti-Muslim protester outside a McCain rally in Woodbridge, Virginia. But, even after telling the network that an interview was "good to go," the McCain shop pulled Zubairi at the last minute, leaving Sanchez in limbo on live TV.

"Wouldn't you think they would have wanted him to come on?" the CNN host would later tell the Huffington Post.

CNN Host "Mystified" By McCain Camp Silencing Muslim Organizer

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

the collapse of the monetarist system

As I mentioned previously, the Murabitun take a pretty hardline stance against usury and the current system of paper money. So it shouldn't be surprising that their leader, Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi has written a series of pieces on The Collapse of the Monetarist Society.
Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3

For another Muslim's perspective on the crisis you can check out Robert D. Crane's somewhat pessimistic (and surprisingly right wing) piece Are There Islamic Solutions for Economic Justice: Or Is the Insanity of Faux Money an Incurable Western Disease?

Friday, October 10, 2008

an exemplar of reconciliation

In the article An Exemplar of Reconciliation Salim Muwakkil shares his own thoughts on the passing of Imam W.D. Mohammed and the significance of his legacy. To provide a little bit of context, Muwakkil himself was a past member of the Nation of Islam (but his current religious beliefs are unclear).

Planet Grenada and Salim Muwakkil

Friday, October 03, 2008

register to vote!
Rock the Vote!
Declare Yourself!

Remember, in many locations the deadline to register is only days away.

btw, is Jamie Foxx wearing a kiffeyeh?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

"if money is the root i want the whole damn tree" (the remix)

I'm no economist but I've been thinking about the current crisis in the US credit markets along with the Wall Street bailout and have wondered how the situation could be viewed through an Islamic lens.

For example, many of the practices and approaches which are currently deemed responsible for the crisis (e.g. predatory lending) are clearly prohibited in Islam (see Islamic Perspective on Meltdown in American Markets by Liaquat Ali Khan).

This suggests that Shariah-compliant financial institutions could be insulated from some of the effects of the crisis and in fact, this seems to be supported empirically to some degree (see Asia's Islamic finance sector weathering storm well)

It will be interesting to see if after the dust settles, we will see more growth in the Shariah-compliant sector of the economy (e.g. Islamic bonds could give London leg up in growing sphere of Shariah finance)

I also wonder if some of the more radical voices (like members of the Murabitun who hold that U.S. paper currency is based on usury and advocate bringing back the Islamic dinar) will also gain support in the wake of the crisis.

For some articles on their views see:
Building Sound Economic Foundations (part 1)
The Role of the Market in any Future African Economy
Zakat-The Fallen Pillar
The Islamic Money System

Finally, for a previous post on Islamic finance see:
"if money is the root i want the whole damn tree"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

eid mubarak!

Is it just me or are more and more communities deciding to use "calculation" to determine the start and end of Ramadan? (See for more articles)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

sarah palin on obama's winning the democratic nomination for president : "sambo beat the bitch!" (what ?!?!?!)

From Chickenbones Journal: Palin Is "Racist, Sexist, Vindictive, And Mean" by Charley James

"So Sambo beat the bitch!"

This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama's win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat's primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.

"It was kind of disgusting," Lucille, who is part Aboriginal, said in a phone interview after admitting that she is frightened of being discovered telling folks in the "lower 48" about life near the North Pole.

Then, almost with a sigh, she added, "But that's just Alaska."

Racial and ethnic slurs may be "just Alaska" and, clearly, they are common, everyday chatter for Palin.

Besides insulting Obama with a Step-N'-Fetch-It, "darkie musical" swipe, people who know her say she refers regularly to Alaska's Aboriginal people as "Arctic Arabs"—how efficient, lumping two apparently undesirable groups into one ugly description—as well as the more colourful "mukluks" along with the totally unimaginative "f**king Eskimo's," according to a number of Alaskans and Wasillians interviewed for this article.

Wow. I thought things were already pretty bad back in April when I did my post: mccain, racism and religious bigotry. But the right wing has been able to sink to new depths.

See also:
The Progressive Curmudgeon: Sarah’s Own Words: “I Don’t Do Black Guys.”
Z-Net: This is Your Nation on White Privilege by Tim Wise
Huffington Post: Gergen: McCain Using Code Words To Attack Obama As "Uppity"
La Times: Southern GOP Congressman Lynn Westmoreland literally calls Obama "uppity" but pleads ignorance to its racial connotations.

So why doesn't the multi-faceted, multi-actor McCain-Palin race/racism story get the same kind of sensationalistic coverage that the Rev. Wright story got?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

imam w.d. mohammed and the third resurrection

From The Manrilla Blog, here is, Imâm W. D. Mohammed and The Third Resurrection, an article by Dr. Sherman Abd al-Hakim Jackson on the passing of Imam W.D. Mohammed. The piece discusses some of the distance and separation between Imam Mohammed's community and the rest of the Blackamerican Sunni community (along with the larger immigrant-dominated Sunni Muslim community in America)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

reflection on the passing of the imam

Here is a collection of links on Imam W.D. Mohammed and his passing. The numbered links are borrowed shamelessly from Akram's Razor. But the first half-dozen or so are "extra".

The Best of Dr. Marvin X: Muslim Leader Imam Warithdin Muhammad Makes Transition
My Islamic Perspective: Remembering Imam W. D. Mohammed (UPDATED)
The American Muslim: Remembering Imam W. D. Muhammad by Abdul Malik Mujahid
Chicago Tribune: Thousands gather in Villa Park for funeral of Imam W. Deen Mohammed by Margaret Ramirez and Noreen Ahmed-Ullah
Detroit Free Press: Hamtramck-born Islamic imam who led thousands dies


  1. Zahed Amanullah. "The Imam Cares" (alt.muslim)
  2. Seeker's Digest: "Passing of Imam WD Mohammed - The Death of a Great Leader of Islam in the West"

  3. Islamicate: "Warith Dean Mohammed is Dead"
  4. SaqibSaab at Muslim Matters: "Thoughts After Attending The Janazah of Imam W. D. Mohammed"
  5. Rickshaw Diaries: "RIP: Imam W. Deen Muhammad"
  6. Koonj: "Imam Warith Deen Muhammad: a leader among leaders"
  7. Just Another Angry Black Muslim Woman? "Death of a Pioneer: Warith Deen Muhammad October 30, 1933-Sept.9, 2008"
  8. SunniSister: Imam Warith Deen
  9. ThirdResurrection: w.d. mohammed dies
  10. Tariq Nelson: "W Deen Mohammed 1933-2008"
  11. Akram's Razor: "Imam W.D. Mohammed has left us"
  12. Azhar Usman: "An Apology: Heartfelt reflections on the passing of a legendary Blackamerican Muslim leader"
  13. Dynamite Soul: "A word about Imam Warith Deen Mohammad"
  14. Imam Zaid Shakir: "Imam Warith Deen Muhammad (1933-2008)"
  15. Sisterdoc: "Peace and Blessings Imam W.D. Mohammed-R.I.P."

Rest of the Blogosphere:

  1. Mata H at Blogher: "The death of Imam W. Deen Mohammed and 'A Summit on Religious Faith, Torture, and Our National Soul'"
  2. David Waters: "W.D. Mohammed's Spiritual Maturity"
  3. Marc Lamont Hill: "R.I.P. Warith Deen Muhammad"
  4. John Esposito: "W.D. Mohammed: A Witness for True Islam"


  1. Michelle Gallardo. "Prayer services for Imam W. D. Mohammed" (a Chicago TV station)
  2. Margaret Ramirez and Noreen Ahmed-Ullah. "Thousands gather in Villa Park for funeral of Imam W. Deen Mohammed" (Chicago Tribune)
  3. Margaret Ramirez, Manya A. Brachear and Ron Grossman.
  4. "Muslim America's rebellious son" (The Chicago Tribune)
  5. Sophia Tarteen: "Former Nation of Islam leader W.D. Mohammed dies" (Associated Press)
  6. Niraj Warikoo: "Muslim leader Warith Deen Mohammed dies" (FREEP)
  7. Patricia Sullivan: "W.D. Mohammed; Changed Muslim Movement in U.S." (Washington Post)
  8. Time Online: "Imam W. D. Mohammed: influential US Sunni Muslim leader"
  9. Malise Ruthven: "Imam who succeeded his father as leader of the Nation of Islam" (The Guardian)


  1. A guest book dedicated to the memory of Imam W.D. Mohammed
  2. An audio recording of the Muslim Journal's press conference
  3. "This Far by Faith: Warith Deen Muhammad" , an episode of a PBS series on great religious leaders dedicated to WDM
  4. Taylor Branch: "The Anointed Son: The story behind W.D. Mohammed's momentous break with his father and his alliance with Malcolm X." (Beliefnet)
  5. A bio of WDM at an Atlanta mosque.

juan cole on sarah palin

Blogger and Middle East Affairs expert, Juan Cole has a couple of interesting sets of remarks on controversial Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate, Sarah Palin.

Palin on World Affairs: Just not Ready for Prime Time reflects on Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson.

Eyewitness: "No Way it was Rhetorical." addresses Sarah Palin's repeated inquiries into removing "objectionable" books from the public library (along with a few other aspects of her administration in Alaska.

And finally, in a piece which was recently published at Cole reviews Palin's positions on abortion, censorship, homosexuality and creationism and considers the question: What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick?

For a while now I've been thinking of trying to put together a post on the range of Islamic views regarding abortion (which is actually more liberal than the standard Catholic/Evangelical position). Until then, I'll just share what Juan Cole wrote:

The GOP vice-presidential pick holds that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape, incest or severe birth defects, making an exception only if the life of the mother is in danger. She calls abortion an "atrocity" and pledges to reshape the judiciary to fight it. Ironically, Palin's views on the matter are to the right of those in the Muslim country of Tunisia, which allows abortion in the first trimester for a wide range of reasons. Classical Muslim jurisprudents differed among one another on the issue of abortion, but many permitted it before the "quickening" of the fetus, i.e. until the end of the fourth month.

Friday, September 12, 2008

more sleeper cell

Thanks to Netflix I finally finished seeing the second season of Sleeper Cell (definitely less engaging and realistic than the first). The first season was kept going by the conflicting challenges faced by the protagonist (Darwyn) to do his job as an FBI agent and to hold on to his integrity as a Muslim all while not blowing his cover. In the second season, Darwyn's faith was de-emphasized and the pressure to maintain his cover was less intense (since he had established his credibility as a terrorist in the first season). So now, after simply doing his job, Darwyn seems primarily motivated by his affection for the two (white) women in his life, his handler and his girlfriend. As I said before, Traitor was a lot more interesting to watch.

NPR: Don Cheadle's Spy Turn on Traitor

Thursday, September 11, 2008

a moment of silence before i start this poem

Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honour of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon last September 11th. I would also like to ask you To offer up a moment of silence For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared,
tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, For the victims in both Afghanistan and the US

And if I could just add one more thing...

A full day of silence
For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of US-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation. Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year US embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem,

Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa, Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country. Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin And the survivors went on as if alive. A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam - a people, not a war - for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives' bones buried in it, their babies born of it. A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of a secret war .... ssssshhhhh.... Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they are dead. Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia, Whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem.

An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos ...
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years. 45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas 25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky. There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains. And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west...

100 years of silence...

For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,
In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears. Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the refrigerator of our consciousness ...

So you want a moment of silence?
And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust.

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.
Not like it always has been.

Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written. And if this is a 9/11 poem, then: This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971. This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977. This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971.

This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored. This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit.

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of Taco Bell, And pay the workers for wages lost. Tear down the liquor stores, The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it
On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton's 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful
people have gathered.

You want a moment of silence
Then take it NOW,
Before this poem begins.
Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence.
Take it.
But take it all... Don't cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime. But we, Tonight we will keep right on singing... For our dead.

-Emmanuel Ortiz, 11 Sep 2002

"first writing since"

Here's one of my favorite 9/11 poems. I've posted links to the text before but they have since expired. Here is a clip of an actual performance. To be honest, when I read the poem I imagine a more lively delivery in my head, but it is still powerful to see Suheir Hammad recite her own work. Here is "first writing since".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

w.d. mohammed dies

Associated Press: W.D. Mohammed dies; son of Nation of Islam founder
12 hours ago

CHICAGO (AP) — A nephew says Imam W.D. Mohammed, the son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, has died.

Sultan Muhammad says his uncle died Tuesday. He didn't immediately give further details but says the family will issue a statement.

W.D. Mohammed moved thousands of blacks into mainstream Islam after breaking with the group his father founded. He went by both Warith Deen Mohammed and Wallace Muhammad.

The Cook County Medical Examiner confirmed receiving the body of a 74-year-old Wallace Mohammed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

aaron mcgruder is a "prophet"

I caught part of the Republican Convention on Tuesday night and it reminded me of an old Boondocks strip:
Caesar [holding a newspaper]: Joe Lieberman say's he's the only Democrat who could beat George Bush.
Huey: He's right - wait - did he say "beat" or "be"?
Caesar: Beat.
Huey: Oh, never mind. He's crazy

Grenada's past:
an old but timely boondocks strip from 2003
al sharpton and strom thurmond
old boondocks

Sunday, August 31, 2008

judas / traitor

So today for the third week in a row I've unsuccessfully tried to see the local production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. (Once it was due to a misunderstanding about the date, but the other two times the show was canceled altogether). (Unfortunately today was the last potential show so I'm basically out of luck for now... maybe later on I'll write a reflection piece on the position of Judas in Islam)

Instead, this afternoon I went to a multiplex to catch Don Cheadle in Traitor. I don't want to give any spoilers but I will say that I mostly enjoyed the movie. In fact, except for the swearing and a few other bits, I might even recommend it as a great movie for Muslims to see in Ramadan. In many respects it covered some of the same ground as the television series Sleeper Cell... although Don Cheadle's performance was far superior to Michael Ealy's, and the other terrorist characters in Traitor (at least, those with lines) were more realistic and less cartoonish than those in Sleeper Cell.

Given the current political situation, I suspect that we have seen neither the last nor the best of such stories in tv and film. In fact, I think it would be amazing to see a film along the lines of No Way Out which had an African-American Muslim central character whose ultimate agenda wasn't as clear as the protagonists in the previous examples.

sleeper cell (part 2)
miami and the seas of david
the departed

And in a more Grenada-esque turn, here is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Traitor from the Jimmy Kimmel show:

ramadan mubarak

Wow, I don't feel ready. It will either start tomorrow or the day after. I think I need to do some thoughtful grocery shopping tonight along with some spiritual inventory-taking.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

some brother must have really done her wrong...

or at least that was my first impression of Anne Price-Mills, the Black female delegate who was interviewed after Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention.

She intends to vote for Hillary Clinton at the convention, but isn't sure if she'll vote for Obama in the general ?!?!?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

heru: barack obama is septimius severus

I haven't posted anything from Heru in a while, so here is something new:

Planet Grenada and Heru
"i've seen ethiopians knocking out rome"
Wikipedia: Septimius Severus

I should say that I still definitely plan on voting for Obama and I think that some of Heru's criticisms are a bit misdirected. On the other hand, I often think that the United States would be better off with with a parliament so that other voices (for example, like those represented by Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente) could have a voice in the government.

At the same time, it is a bit unclear to me how things would shake out after all the political dust settled under a parliament: There would be Greens and Socialists but there would also be Libertarians. The Democratic Party might clarify its status as a center-left labor party. But then Republicans would probably break-up into an economic and a social conservative group. And you'd also see a more vocal (possibly separate) role for anti-immigrant voices, the hawks, the theocrats and others. More later?

here's another thing i don't get...

I don't believe that all those "Clinton supporters" are really defecting over to McCain... some of those have to be Republicans who are just trying to mess with the polls. After all, why wouldn't the angry progressive left-of-center women (other than Rosanne) go over to Cynthia McKinney & Rosa Clemente?

Shoot, if Hillary had gotten the nomination and I didn't feel cool about how it went down and I lived in a "safe" state, I would totally vote for them. An African-American woman for prez with an Afro-Latina for VP running on a totally progressive platform?

McKinney & Clemente: 2008
All Things Cynthia McKinney
Rosa Clemente's MySpace Page
Green Party

Planet Grenada:
who is black?
political bits

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

sufi breakdancing

I just added a number of posts to Third Resurrection which you might like to check out (including the one below) and I'll probably put a few more up in a couple of days.

I recently discovered the blog Fire of Ashk which posted a clip of some Naqshbandi followers of Shaykh Nazim doing dhikr in a circle, where one excited brother starts to breakdance:

See also:
planet grenada and islam and hip-hop

unfit for publication: obama nation vaccination

You may have heard of Jerome Corsi's Obama Nation which represent's his attempt to "Swiftboat" the Democratic presidential candidate. If so you might also be interested in checking out the pdf of Unfit for Publication which is a point-by-point rebuttal of many of the dishonest claims in Corsi's work. Corsi himself seems to be a pretty foul kind of bigot who compares Islam to a virus and makes a number of negative comments about "rag heads" and Catholics.

Monday, August 18, 2008

zombie jamboree (part two)

With the help of Netflix and the bargain bin at Blockbuster I've finally finished seeing the George Romero zombie oeuvre (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead plus their remakes, along with the more recent Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead).

In my opinion, the remake of Night of the Living Dead is the best of the lot, followed by Diary of the Dead. I think the original versions of Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead were better than their remakes. (The social commentary is more effectively delivered and I prefer the original "slow zombies" to the new "fast zombies").

Land of the Dead is somewhere in between. To be honest, it was a bit disappointing but mainly because I had hyped it up in my mind (it was the last Romero movie I had left to see and it was a bit hard to find) but still, it was an interesting allegory of the Bush administration (at least that was Romero's stated intention) and in some ways, quite Grenada-esque.

To be continued...

Friday, August 15, 2008

here's what i don't quite get...

John Edwards isn't running for president and currently does not hold any public office while the media seems to be paying a lot of attention to this whole John Edwards adultery story (either that or I'm watching too much FOX) On the other hand, John McCain is running for president and does currently hold public office and yet there seems to be very little discussion of the character questions raised by McCain's treatment of his first wife.

Alternet: How Is John McCain's Affair Different from John Edwards'?
MailOnline: The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind
DailyIntel: L.A. ‘Times’ Questions McCain’s Divorce Timeline
PensitoReview: McCain’s Extramarital Affair with Cindy Ended His Friendship with Reagans
Daily Kos: Next Anti-McCain Ad: From Rick Warren?!?!? (on Adultery)

And then on top of that you have Cindy McCain's own issues... I don't mean her drug addiction (which is basically a medical question) but stealing drugs from her own charity in order to get satisfy that addiction is a serious ethical lapse.

Alternet: As Long As We're Talking About Michelle Obama, Did You Know That Cindy McCain Was a Drug Addict?
WizbangBlue: Cindy McCain's Battle Back from Drug Addiction and Charity Theft

Thursday, August 14, 2008

i don't want to sound ign'ant...

... but with all the news reports about Russia attacking Georgia, has anyone else been thinking about renting Red Dawn at the videostore? While we are on the subject, does anyone else remember the mini-series Amerika?

Image:Red dawn.jpg

r.i.p for bernie mac and isaac hayes... and could someone check on samuel jackson?

Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes, Samuel L. Jackson
From the upcoming film: Soul Men

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

another bit

This is a clear choice that the American people have. I had the courage and the judgment to say I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. It seems to me that Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.

I was just thinking about this statement the other day. Even if we grant that McCain is willing to adopt unpopular stances regarding the Iraq Waq it definitely doesn't follow that he is making objective decisions based only on what is best for the United States. McCain is also a Vietnam veteran with a son currently in Iraq. So his emotional investment in the conflict is certainly sufficient to explain some of his positions as well.

Monday, July 28, 2008

political bits

1. After Obama's FISA vote I'm finally starting to wish that McKinney had a chance of winning this election. Obama's still my choice but his vote took some of the shine off. Before this I basically viewed him as someone whose ideals I strongly agreed with, but who occasionally had to make some difficult pragmatic compromises with current political reality in order to get elected. Now I'm slightly less certain of where his real convictions lie.

2. This mantra that "the surge worked" seems really silly to me. From the perspective of anyone who opposed the Iraq War on philosophical or ideological grounds (e.g. because they are pacifists, because the conflict didn't satisfy their particular conditions for a just war, because they don't believe the US should be an empire, etc.) the surge's "success" just demonstrates our own technical proficiency in doing the wrong thing. It's like complimenting the DC sniper for his marksmanship.