Friday, February 29, 2008

another famous non-muslim

After thinking about my earlier post this is what a non-muslim us presidential candidate looks like and seeing how many conservative bloggers (e.g. David Duke) were using similar pictures of Obama I thought it would be worthwhile to really underline the point that just because someone wears traditional Muslim (or African, or Middle Eastern clothing) in a photo-op it doesn't make them a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda:

obama, farrakhan, hillary and islam

This is mostly a clip from the recent debate between Hillary and Obama and shows Obama giving a rather thorough response on his non-relationship to Farrakhan and antisemitism. (There is also a bit about Congressman John Lewis, one of Hillary's early supporters, switching sides to Obama).

Associated Press: Obama Fights False Links to Islam

As I watched the clip, and saw the sequence of the questions and answers, I really started to see how Jewish hypersensitivity about Farrakhan and antisemitism is really about Israel/Zionism more than about ethnic/religious prejudice. The accusations of antisemitism then become a convenient tool to delegitimize the person who is not sufficiently pro-Israel. For a vivid example of how this dynamic works, check out the case of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu. (A , B , C)

Grenada's Past:
why don't they talk about bennett the way they talk about farrakhan?
farrakhan steps back
millions more marching
john mccain: "i hated the gooks. i will hate them as long as i live."
spilling the beans

see also:
Garvey's Ghost: Black Folks: America's Charlie Brown

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"jah would never give the power to a baldhead/ run come crucify the dread."

I've been listening to Bob Marley's Natural Mystic in my car these days. And I'm especially intrigued by the song Time Will Tell (which is where the title of this blog entry comes from). To be honest, I still don't know for sure how the different groups of Rastafari understand the crucifixion of Christ, but whenever I hear this song I can't help but wonder if the Rastafarian perspective is similar to the Islamic one. In any case, this is all just a roundabout way of introducing the following (see also Grenada and the crucifixion) :

Story of Jesus Through Iranian Eyes
TEHRAN, Iran, Feb. 16, 2008

A new movie in Iran depicts the life of Jesus from an Islamic perspective. “The Messiah,” which some consider as Iran’s answer to Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” won an award at Rome’s Religion Today Film Festival, for generating interfaith dialogue. The movie will be adapted into a television series, shown on Iranian TV later this year. Filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh spoke to ABC’s Lara Setrakian in Tehran.

LS: Why did you feel a movie showing Islam’s take on Jesus needed to be made?

NT: I’ve been witnessing what’s been going on in Iran for the past 28 years; I’ve been living here after I lived a decade in America. Everybody knows Jesus, so why not make a film about something everyone relates to? And made in Iran.

LS: What are the key differences between Jesus through Islam’s eyes and Jesus through the traditional Christian perspective?

NT: We are talking about the same beautiful man, the same beautiful prophet, the same divine person sent from heaven. In the Koran, it emphasizes maybe three main points: about the birth, about the fact that he was not the son of God, and then, that he was not crucified. The rest is [the same] Jesus … the sermons, and the miracles, and the political situation.

LS: So, when it comes to Jesus, the message and the reverence are there.

NT: Yes.

LS: But the virgin birth, the crucifixion…

NT: The virgin birth was the same. The difference in the Koran, God says Jesus was saved. Instead of having him hung and crucified, the person who betrayed Jesus was crucified. This is how the Koran sees it, through the Gospel of Barnabas.

LS: So, you gave the alternate ending.

NT: Yes, two endings. I thought, the Christians, when they see it, it'll be important for them. [In the Koran] God says, emphatically, he was not crucified. Somebody was crucified in his stead. In the Gospel of Barnabas, there are explications of this. The majority of [Muslims] say the one who betrayed Jesus [was crucified].

LS: There's plenty of news today about Christians being persecuted, or even killed, today, in Muslim countries. So, where does the Muslim reverence for Christians go off-track?

NT: It doesn't go off-track. The Muslim reverence is very high for Jesus and Mary. This is the misunderstanding in the West — especially in America.

LS: So, then, why in your mind do Muslims, in some places, kill Christians?

NT: Well, those are not Muslims. They're murderers. First and foremost, they're murderers, and they dress as Muslims. Today, we have that problem. There is an evil strain in those people. They're, first, evil, and then they find a religion to address that evil, or to explain it, or as an excuse. But that's a minority that is aggrandized, and it's elaborated — it's constant. So, when you hear the word "Islam," you get a shock. Every time you hear "Islam," you get a little shock. What we lack is communication.

LS: While production on this movie was happening, Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" came out. What did you learn from watching that film?

NT: We were almost finished filming when Mel Gibson started shooting. I saw the film, and it's the first time the Gospel of John has ever been depicted. It was nice. But it was the wrong story. In my film, I respect that common belief with all the good intentions the Christians have ... according to what Islam says. Yet, Jesus, at the night of the last supper, ascends to heaven [without being crucified]. A beautiful man, a beautiful prophet. Why should he be bloodied that way?

LS: What kind of response have you gotten from Christians? What kind of feedback and interchange has there been since the movie was released?

NT: Many thought this film is a good step for serious inter-religious dialogue. Many of them liked it — seeing the Koran-based ending. And I was very happy that the practicing Christians were very happy with the film. I have never found one case among practicing Christians who are offended [by the movie].

American Christians, I respect them very much. I think these Christians, the born-again Christians, especially, are a very interesting group that Iran is not aware of, because a whole generation of Iranians haven't been able to travel to America. And those who do move to America, stay in America. So, how to create serious communication, not at the political, but at the religious level? I thought this would be a shortcut.

LS: Any plans for a movie that would help the dialogue between Muslims and Jews?

NT: This film is about Jesus, who is the last Jewish prophet. The audience has to realize that Iranians have been living with Jews and Christians for centuries. Jews were saved by Iranian kings. This was always their home, and it still is their home. Also, the first Christian church was built in Iran. The first Christian tribe that became Christian, the first tribe — was the Armenians. Armenians were part of the Persian Empire ... they found comfort living with the Iranians.

LS: What is your hope for the movie?

NT: The film is an excuse to sit down and talk. Iran is so consistently demonized. Once an American visits Iran, they know it's a different story. So, how do we export our thinking? It's the movies. This is a film for students and for practicing Christians, for people to become curious, and go investigate more.

My hope for the movie was, and is, and will be, to make people think about how God sees the prophets, how God talks about Jesus in the Koran. What was the main message of Jesus? And what was censored out of history? Part of the message of Jesus was censored out, which was the coming of the next prophets.

If you listen to what Jesus said, Jesus talked about the Prophet Mohammad, many, many times. And it was eliminated in the Gospels and the Bibles that [made it through] history. In 325, the Council of Nice was out to destroy all the other Gospels. One of those Gospels was the Gospel of Barnabas, which I used in great detail.

LS: And what did that say that was left out?

NT: It had a lot of sermons of Jesus that you do not see in the Bible; miracles, and at least a hundred references to the Prophet Mohammad, about his coming. It's one of the biggest censorships of history. So, I thought somebody should say this, and then others might disagree, say, "Ahhh, this could not be! This is blasphemy!" But it's OK — this is the 21st century. It's time for information. It's time for communication. They can go check it out.

LS: Anything else you felt while making the film?

NT: I thought about Americans when I was shooting this ... I was thinking that I have very good memories of the '90s, living in Virginia, remembrances of kindness. The misunderstanding of the past three decades really burns my heart. There's so much misunderstanding about Islam today. And one of those key missing links, that would bind the chain together, is Jesus Christ.

I thought, we should work on talking through something that's much more dear to us than other things. I thought that, through art, you could do a lot more than with the politics.

ABC News

Friday, February 22, 2008

andre carson for congress

Andre Carson for Congress Webpage

Muslim running for Congress wants to combat ignorance about his faith

Associated Press - February 15, 2008 6:04 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Democratic Congressional candidate Andre Carson could become the second Muslim elected to Congress and a role model for a faith community seeking to make its mark in national politics.

Carson is the Democratic nominee in a March 11th special election to succeed his late grandmother, Julia Carson, representing Indiana's 7th District.

If Carson wins, he would join Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison as the only Muslims elected to Congress.

The 33-year-old Carson says he doesn't believe his religious identity hurts him politically.

Carson says his faith doesn't drive his stands on issues, other than instilling the values that have shaped his life and led him to public service.

He converted to Islam more than a decade ago and attends prayers at a predominantly African-American Sunni mosque in Indianapolis.

Third Resurrection and Keith Ellison

Thursday, February 21, 2008

stuff white people like

I found a link for Stuff White People Like over at Ali Eteraz's blog. After less than 2 months of existence it has apparently blown up and is getting massive numbers of hits. Apparently white people really like #12 Non-Profit Organizations, #18 Awareness, #22 Having Two Last Names, #32 Vegan/Vegetarianism, #33 Marijuana, #42 Sushi, #48 Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops, #70 Difficult Breakups, and #69 Mos Def (Who knew that Ms. Fat Booty was becoming a white wedding standard?). What do people out there think. Funny? Interesting? Offensive? True? Would the list be any less funny, offensive or more true if "white people" were replaced with "educated liberal yuppie"? Do educated liberal yuppies of color have a way of life which is significantly different from that described in the list?

Also, more generally, what are the limits of edgy racial humor? About a month or so ago I was flipping channels and discovered Stephen Lynch on Comedy Central who seems to be a kind of male version of Sarah Silverman (who is herself #52 on the Stuff White People Like website). Like Silvermna, he manages to really push the edges of taste by packaging the content of his act in a really disarming and cute style. "Vanilla Ice Cream" is about the only song of his I feel like linking to on here. I'm curious about what other folks thoughts are?

Grenada's Past:
a day in the life of damali ayo
black people love us!
damali ayo

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

islam latino

Say hello to the new blog: Islam Latino

dearabization of islam

Over at Alt.Muslim, Fatemeh Fakhraie recently published an article The Arabization of Islam which cautions Muslims against simplistically equating Arab culture with Islamic authenticity. A similar point was made more thoroughly in Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah's Islam and the Cultural Imperative. More generally, I'd like to think that in some way many of the posts here on Planet Grenada are full of examples of how one can push the cultural limits of being Muslim. I would argue that it is vitally important for the ummah to "de-arabize" Islam in order to maintain Islam's universality. Otherwise, we might be left with alternatives like the Salafi Imam mentioned over at Abdur Rahman Muhammad’s Weblog who preaches Arabs are the master race?!?!?

Monday, February 18, 2008

"god gave noah the rainbow sign..." (part four)

I've been recently getting into conversations about Noah and rainbows which inspired me to revisit this old topic. Since the last time I wrote on this, many of the music links have died, so I thought I'd share some updated ones.

First, here is a recording of Georgia field hands singing Mary, Don't You Weep (March 21, 1929) And secondly, here is a clip of Aretha Franklin singing Mary Don't You Weep (which I mentioned before but didn't find at the time). Bruce Springsteen doing an energetic Oh Mary Don't you Weep And finally, the Sessions Voices doing Oh Mary Don't you Weep.

Again, the reason why the traditional song is topical is that it arguably would make a good Noachide/Ashurah hymn. Something which struck me about the song, especially when I first heard Aretha Franklin's version was that although it has some Biblical material not explicitly found in Islamic sources (e.g. the raising of Lazarus) the theological content wasn't positively objectionable from a Muslim perspective so it was possible to "get into it" more easily than many other such hymns.

"god gave noah the rainbow sign..." (part one)
"god gave noah the rainbow sign..." (part two)
"god gave noah the rainbow sign..." (part three)

mos def & cornel west on the new world order

why don't they talk about bennett the way they talk about farrakhan?

The last piece on McCain made me want to dust off this link from Slate: Natural Unborn Killers: The bigotry of Bill Bennett's low expectations. My point isn't to attack or defend any of Farrakhan's comments of the past. But what is frustrating to me is the extent to which prominent white polititians can make really offensive comments about Blacks, Latinos and Asians and still be basically okay while Blacks who make racially offensive comments are subject to more thorough forms of exclusion from the political conversation. (e.g. in response to Amiri Baraka's poem Someboy Blew Up America, the New Jersey governor had legislation passed which gave him the right to abolish the position of poet laureate altogether).

millions more marching
al sharpton and strom thurmond
reaction mixed to schwarzenegger remarks
when is a bigot not a bigot?
roger bonair-agard
what if she was condoleezza jenkins?

john mccain: "i hated the gooks. i will hate them as long as i live."

This is an old article but still rather timely given that McCain is running again. I also can't help but wonder what kind of impact his experiences in Vietnam will have on his dealings with North Korea or China. More recently, in March of 2007 McCain also got into a bit of "trouble" for using the term "tar baby". (Around the same time, Romney was also caught using the term in a similar fashion.) Apparently in neither case was "tar-baby" meant in a racial sense, but the fact the term came so naturally to them does reveal something about the kind of circles these Republican candidates travel in. To be honest, what really boggles my mind when it comes to this story is the kind of double-standard it reveals. I'm old enough to remember how Jesse Jackson's presidential aspirations were severely damaged on account of some racially insensitive comments so I'm surprised that McCain's political career is basically unaffected by the incident(s). I think I'm forced to come to the rather cynical conclusion that the impact of making racially offensive comments will depend a great deal on the political power of the group being addressed and the personal power of the person making the comment.

Thursday, March 2, 2000


On his campaign bus recently, Sen. John McCain told reporters, "I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live." Although McCain said he was referring only to his prison guards, there are many reasons why his use of the word "gook" is offensive and alarming.

It is offensive because by using a racial epithet that has historically been used to demean all Asians to describe his captors, McCain failed to make a distinction between his torturers and an entire racial group.

It is alarming because a major candidate for president publicly used a racial epithet, refused to apologize for doing so and remains a legitimate contender.

Contrary to McCain's attempt to narrowly define "gook" to mean only his "sadistic" captors, this term has historically been used to describe all Asians. McCain said that "gook" was the most "polite" term he could find to describe his captors, but because it is simply a pejorative term for Asians, he insulted his captors simply by calling them "Asians" -- a clearly disturbing message. To the Asian American community, the term is akin to the racist word "nigger." A friend of mine, a white male Vietnam veteran, pointed out that veterans, especially Vietnam veterans, know how spiteful the term "gook" is. It has everything to do with labeling someone as "other," the enemy and yellow. McCain sent the message that all Asians are foreigners and remain forever the "other" and the enemy.

The perception of Asians as "foreigners" or "the other" isn't new. This sentiment is what led to passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Japanese American internment during World War II. The internment of Japanese Americans is now recognized as one of the worst civil rights violations in our country's history and a powerful lesson in what can happen when race alone is used as a test for loyalty or who is defined as an American.

We've made tremendous progress as a nation in overcoming racism. That is why it is so disturbing that a major candidate for the U.S. president can perpetuate the stereotype of Asians as permanent foreigners, hurtling us backward to a time and a place where such racial epithets were an acceptable part of mainstream discourse.

What makes this incident even more disturbing is how neither the media nor the other presidential candidates have highlighted that his use of a racist term is unacceptable.

Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing minority populations in the United States. And the media's choice to ignore or excuse McCain's behavior is a painful reminder that Asians remain outsiders on the back steps of national American politics.

McCain's main campaign message is inclusion. What his actions have told me, however, is that his inclusion does not include people who look like me.

I love this country just as much as McCain does, and I am committed to serving my community and my country. That is the reason I have entered a career in public service and why I am committed to making America a great country where equal opportunity and justice for everyone is a reality and not just a vision.

This is also why I am so hurt by McCain's comment: He has reminded me that despite my commitment to serving my country, there are still some people in this country who would first perceive me as the enemy.

Katie Hong is a Korean American woman who lives in Seattle and works for Washington state government.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

muslim convert seeks a seat in congress

Washington Times: Islam convert seeks a seat in Congress

By Ken Kusmer
February 16, 2008

NDIANAPOLIS -- A convert to Islam stands an election victory away from becoming the second Muslim elected to Congress and a role model for a faith community seeking to make its mark in national politics.

Political newcomer Andre Carson is the Democratic nominee in a March 11 special election to succeed his late grandmother, Julia Carson, representing Indiana's 7th District. She died in December of lung cancer, and her grandson is seeking to fill out the rest of her sixth term, which expires at year's end.

If Andre Carson wins the Democratic-leaning Indianapolis district over a freshman Republican lawmaker and a longshot Libertarian candidate, he would join Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, as the only Muslims elected to Congress.

Mr. Carson, 33, said he doesn't believe his religious identity hurts him politically even while American Muslims struggle to gain acceptance. Polling last summer by the Pew Research Center and Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found 29 percent of Americans held unfavorable views of Muslim Americans, a higher percentage than shortly after September 11, 2001.

"I think it's more of an advantage," Mr. Carson said. "It's a platform to address ignorance. It's a platform to really show that this campaign is about inclusion of all races and religions."

However, Mr. Carson said his faith doesn't drive his stands on issues, other than instilling the values that have shaped his life and led him to public service. He said his decision-making is based on his constituents' needs.

"For me, the religion piece, it informs me. You need to respect people" regardless of their race, religion or gender, said Mr. Carson, who is black. "That is the foundation I go by."

Mr. Carson's grandmother raised him in a Baptist church and enrolled him at an inner-city Catholic school, where he entertained the idea of becoming a priest. As he grew older, he became interested in Islam, reading the poetry of the Sufi mystic Rumi and "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."

He converted to Islam more than a decade ago and began attending prayers at Nur-Allah Islamic Center, a predominantly African-American Sunni mosque.

"For me, what appealed to me about Islam was the universal aspect of Islam," he said. "All faiths teach universality. But with Islam, I saw it regularly in the [mosques], the praying, the different races."

After Julia Carson died Dec. 15, Louis Farrakhan delivered a eulogy at her funeral, leading some local political bloggers to question Andre Carson's ties to the controversial Nation of Islam leader.

He said the ties barely exist: His mosque is not affiliated with the Nation of Islam. He said he approves of some of the group's work, including fighting drug use in Indianapolis.

Unlike many U.S. Muslims, Mr. Carson said his faith rarely has become an issue for others in his civic life or law enforcement career that included a stint with an anti-terrorism unit of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Carson and Mr. Ellison spoke by telephone recently, and the Minnesota congressman who took office 13 months ago said he advised Mr. Carson to emphasize broad concerns such as the economy, the war in Iraq and global warming.

"These things don't have any particular religion or color or race," Mr. Ellison said.

Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, said both men built their political base by gaining the confidence of Democratic leaders, not by running on their religion.

However, he said they need to demonstrate their faith to Muslim youth and show that civic engagement among Muslims is healthy.

"It counters any sense of isolation or alienation," Mr. Al-Marayati said.

Corey Saylor, legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Mr. Ellison's 2006 election marked a breakthrough for U.S. Muslims seeking national office.

"Post-9/11, there was a sense in the community that it would be hard for a Muslim to get elected," Mr. Saylor said.

He predicted immigrant Muslims will join black Americans like Mr. Ellison and Mr. Carson on the national political scene. Sons and daughters of Muslims who arrived in the United States from Asia and Africa are energized politically and working on campaigns, he said.

"We see people starting to build up the civic resume that will get them elected to public office," Mr. Saylor said. "Give them five or 10 years."

Even if Mr. Carson wins the special election next month and serves the remainder of his grandmother's term, he almost immediately will face a challenge to hold the seat. The May 6 Democratic primary for the seat's next full term has attracted several candidates.

Friday, February 15, 2008

more from zaid shakir

Imam Zaid Shakir, the orthodox Muslim leader who is often called the "new" Malcolm X has some rather timely articles which came out recently on the New Islamic Directions website.

In Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama, and the Fate of America Zaid Shakir reflects on a theme which has frequently appeared here on Planet Grenada; the idea that especially towards the end of his life Martin Luther King Jr. was a much more radical critic of American society and government then is suggested by his sanitized publically-approved image. Imam Zaid goes on to suggest that even today, America is not yet ready to tolerate the "real" King's message, and certainly would not elect him president were he alive today.

Herein lays Dr. King’s legacy, an uncompromising struggle against the “giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism.” That aspect of his work and teachings is unmentioned in the mainstream media. Instead his baritone refraining of “I have a dream” fills the airwaves. After his death, the struggle against those evil “triplets” was not allowed to exist as his enduring legacy. Instead, that legacy has been whitewashed, sanitized and rendered “acceptable” for white middle class sensitivities.

What does all of this have to do with Obama? Obama is a viable African American candidate because he has steadfastly refused to deal with the issues Dr. King was dealing with at the end of his life, even though they are just as relevant today as they were forty years ago. That refusal has seen him distance himself from his activist pastor, Minister Jeremiah Wright. It has seen him avoid any public identification with Rev. Jesse Jackson, a fellow Chicagoan, or similar leaders who are identified with African American civil rights advocacy, and it has seen him ignore issues of relevance to African Americans and the urban and rural poor today.

That he has taken such positions is not an indictment against Obama. It is an indictment against American society which has deemed that an open advocate for such issues is unfit to lead this nation.

In his second article Reflections on Black History Month Zaid Shakir looks at the current situation of Muslims in the United States and suggests that American Muslims (especially African-American Muslims) rather than looking towards violent Third World liberation struggles should look back to the example of enslaved African Muslims in the Americas as role models in the struggles.

The question for us is, “How can we best address the oppressive mechanisms facing us, and those facing our co-religionists in so many redoubts scattered around the globe?” In answering this question, we can gain valuable insight from the lives and struggles of our African Muslim forebears. Superior erudition was the key to the liberation of Job Ben Solomon. Herein is a sign for us. As American Muslims we have been blessed to reside in the most intellectually dynamic society in history. Also, the primal command in our religion is to read. We should enthusiastically pursue the mandate created by these twin facts and push ourselves to become the most educated community on Earth –in religious and worldly knowledge. In so doing, the miracles which were so clearly manifested in the life of Job Ben Solomon will surely bless our lives.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

mccain: no you can't

It looks like the success of Obama's "Yes We Can" video has inspired two similar creative efforts "from" the McCain camp. Both of them mimic the style and sound of the Obama video.

The first, titled "No You Can't" touches on McCain's views with regard to a range of issues both foreign and domestic, and extensively uses visuals and captions to get its point across.

The second clip (produced by someone calling himself claims to be the original inspiration for the Obama video. It seems to have higher production values than the above McCain video and does a better job of incorporating McCain's words from various speeches. And as you can see for yourself, this video focuses almost exclusively on McCain's stance regarding the Iraq War.

In the (not unlikely) scenario that McCain gets the Republican nomination, I'm so tempted to get a bumper sticker which says
McCain: Like Hope But Different. totally stole this idea from us, we've been thinking for a long time that earnest people reacting to a candidate is the future of music video.

By Election08 On Youtube
Andy Cobb, Josh Funk, Nyima Funk, Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Kienlen, David Pompeii, Marc Warzecha with Special guests: Beth Farmer, Matt Craig, Rebecca Allen, Kai Pompeii, Kevin Douglas and Victor Lopez

The work that we face in our time is great
in a time of war
and the terrible sacrifices it entails
the promise of a better future is not always clear
there's gonna be other wars
I'm sorry to tell you there's gonna be other wars
there's gonna be a lot of combat wounds
and my friends it's gonna be tough
and we're gonna have a lot to do
That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran?
Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb...
I'm still convinced that withdrawal means chaos
and if you think that things are bad now
if we withdraw--you ain't seen nothing yet
was the war a good idea, worth the price in blood and treasure?
It was a good idea
President Bush talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years
Maybe a hundred, that's fine with me
I don't think Americans are concerned if we're there for a hundred years, or a thousand years, or ten thousand years.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Say hello to Sherezada, a blog by a Spanish-speaking Muslimah living in the UK.

Monday, February 11, 2008

obama wins maine and a grammy

The Times of India: Obama wins Grammy and the whitest US state

islam and dreadlocks

I recently found an interesting blog called Islamically locked. which reminded me of how way back in the day, around the time I first became Muslim, I toyed with the idea of growing dreadlocks. At the time I thought that dreadlocks were "cool" but questionable for a couple of reasons:

1. Firstly (and this is probably the most nitpicky argument) If you go all out and take some version of the Nazrite vow, you would have to break it when you went on Hajj.

2. Even without dreads, when I would go out at night, random people would occasionally ask me for weed. (although I should probably add that I would sometimes wear a big poofy red, black, yellow and green "rasta" hat). In any case, I thought that if I went further and actually had dreads, the requests probably would have gotten ridiculous.

3. In Islam, there is a basic principle of not imitating the practices of non-Muslims and dreadlocks are pretty distinvely associated with Rastafarianism.

4. Dreads make it harder to do the ablutions for prayer (salat).

5. Dreads make it harder to wear a normal-sized kufi.

On the other hand, (to address 3) there are some indications that the prophet (saaws) may have had his hair in some sort of braid. And memebrs of the Baye Fall Sufi order are known to wear dreads. While the other considerations don't necessarily mean one shouldn't grow dreads, just that they come with certain burdens which one must be willing to accept if you want to grow them. (e.g. grow dreads but trim them after hajj, get a bigger kufi, take the extra effort to wash them, etc.)

I you really want to reflect more on the subject, I would suggest that you check out the above blog.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

obama: yes we can

This reminds me of how Bob Marley took Haile Selassie's speech to the UN and turned it into the song "War" (see until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes). Apparently took a recent OBama speech and quickly transformed it into the song "Yes we can" (complete with a video directed by Bob Dylan's son, Jesse Dylan, and starring John Legend, Kate Walsh, Aisha Tyler, Amber Valletta, Taryn Manning, Nicole Scherzinger, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tatyana Ali, Herbie Hancock, Nick Cannon and many others.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.
Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.
Yes we can. Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.
Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.
Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.
Yes we can heal this nation.
Yes we can repair this world.
Yes we can. Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics. They will only grow louder and more dissonant.
We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea...
Yes. We. Can.

And here's the longer clip which inspired the song, Obama's speech on the evening of the New Hampshire primary:

For hundreds of other Obama-related clip's check out BarackObamadotcom on YouTube.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

grenada-esque politics

After coming back from a shaykh-imposed blogging break, Ali Eteraz shares some of his thoughts on Obama and American-Muslims and Why Muslims shouldn't Support Ron Paul.

On NPR, Earl Ofari Hutchison, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Farai Chideya and Rober Lovato consider the question: Is there really a Black/Latino divide? (Ans: Not really)

On his own blog, Robert Lovato starts to unpack some of the complexities of the Latino population and the shortcomings of non-Latino pundits talking about the same in Everyone’s an Expert on the Latino Vote, Except Latinos.

And finally, on Indypendent, Al Giordano's article Divide and Conquer: Clintons Exploit Black-Latino Tensions.

bits of grenada

A couple of new Grenada-esque links out there in cyberspace:

Yusuf Sanchez recently started a rather informative blogspot blog on Latino Muslims.

A myspace page called BFN Latino deals with Afro-Latino and it appears as if it will give way to which also strives to be "an international portal to Afro Latin America"

And finally, IslamCrunch announced a community forum in Oakland, CA with the unfortunate title Should Muslims use the N word? My hope is that whoever named the forum was simply trying to stir up attendance and was not imagining that the affirmative position should be seriously considered.

radicalism is the realization of marginalization

“Radicalism is the realization of marginalization” is a new interview between Imam Zaid Shakir and Wajahat Ali at the alt.muslim website. The conversation touches on the invasion of Panama, the Darfur crisis, Obama's candidacy and U.S politics, the need for a revolution of values, the clash of civilizations, color prejudice within the Muslim community and the invasion of (the island nation of) Grenada.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

(global) southern girl

More signs of "an emergic global anti-hegemonic culture" with Islam at its heart (Not that I'm making any declarations on the Islamic identity of Badu or Farrakhan... but there is obviously enough of a "family resemblance" for them to be included in the mini-manifesto at the top of the blog):
Sporting a huge, billowing afro and a T-shirt with an anti-Iraq war slogan, Erykah Badu expressed her support of black leader Louis Farrakhan and the Palestinian cause Thursday before a crowd of Israeli fans and journalists in Tel Aviv.

The Grammy-award winning neo-soul vocalist, 36, is in Tel Aviv to perform on Saturday night. She has also won acclaim for her acting roles in "Cider House Rules" and "House of D."

"I come from across the water bringing light and hope," said Badu in her deep, languid voice. She commissioned a poster design especially for her visit to Israel, featuring a large hamsa - a traditional Middle Eastern good luck charm _ that appears to be growing out of her hair. At the bottom, the words for peace in Hebrew and Arabic appear side by side.

(For the rest of the story: Visiting hip hop artist defends Farrakhan, Palestinian cause

sweetest day / millions more march / erykah badu
an african american muslim convert as the founder of chinese hip-hop