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)