Thursday, November 24, 2011

black friday / buy nothing day / #occupyxmas

Wikipedia: Buy Nothing Day
Adbusters: #Occupyxmas

um no, camping out for black friday sales is not a part a occupy wall street

no one can tell i'm a muslim

Su'ad Abdul Khabeer's review of All-American Muslim: No One Can Tell I’m a Muslim: All-American Muslim Debuts delves into how TLC's new reality show and discusses how it simultaneously manages to be full of cliches while covering some new ground. The main limitation of the show seems to be that it only shows a narrow slice of the Muslim community (in this case, Arab Shias in Dearborn, Michigan). If the show is successful enough to spawn a second or third season I hope that would cover a broader spectrum of images (e.g. African-American Muslims in Philly, or Desi Muslims near Chicago's Devon Avenue).

el zahir, borges and sufism

If you are interested in some of the intersections between Hispanic/Latin culture and Islam after the Reconquest, you might want to check out a recent entry at the Technology of the Heart blog: Sufi Themes in Jorge Luis Borges' Writing

another vision of the first thanksgiving

Christina Ricca (well before Black Snake Moan and Cursed) and David Krumholtz (well before NUMB3RS, Serenity and Harold & Kumar) in Addams Family Values.

thanksgiving from the islamic perspective

In contrast to my usual remember-the-Native-Americans type of Thanksgiving post I thought it would be nice to share Thanksgiving from the Islamic Perspective by Ibrahim Gamard which takes a glance at the concept of thanksgiving in the Quran and in Rumi's Masnavi.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

spiritual message of the occupy movement

Technology of the Heart: Spiritual Message of the Occupy Movement | Driving out the Money Changers, Once Again Bangladeshi blogger Sadiq Alam shares an extended reflection on how multiple spiritual traditions connect to the Occupy Movement, with a special emphasis on the money-changers in the Temple.

islam in america ... en español

Friday, November 11, 2011

amir sulaiman: the meccan openings

Amir Sulaiman's latest album, The Meccan Openings, is available for FREE download here. (And if you don't like downloading, most if not all of the songs are available on YouTube in some form). I haven't finished listening yet but so far the first couple of tracks have really drawn me in. I'm really curious to get a better sense of where Amir Sulaiman is at spiritually.
My lyricism is an exercise in exorcism.
But the exoteric call it eso-terrorism.
I learned jihad from Rumi.
The Sunni call me Shia.
The Shia call me Sufi.

imam zaid shakir on abraham

imam zaid shakir & abobaker mojadidi on the occupy movement

This is an in-depth discussion between Imam Zaid Shakir of Zaytuna College and (Host) Ustadh Abobaker Mojadidi in regards to the American peoples frustration with the financial and economic disparities and injustices.

This program was broadcasted live via Arman Satellite TV - 'Islam in America' program throughout the continental United States and Canada.

occupy oakland jummah: imam zaid shakir 11/4/11

Thursday, November 10, 2011

review of brown skin, white masks

I just recently came across a Review of Hamid Dabashi's "Brown Skin, White Masks on Nima Wahid Azal's Grand Shaykh of the Fatimiya Sufi Order blog. The book is apparently an update of Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks which focuses on the condition of Muslims in contemporary times. I'm going to definitely have to put Hamid Dabashi on my reading list.

On a separate tack, the Fatimiya Sufi Order isn't a Muslim group but a "post-Islamic gnostic religion" founded by Nima Wahid Azal which instead of following the Quran is based on the Bayan and other writings of the Bab. We've mentioned Nima's work on Planet Grenada before.

more latinos choose a less travelled road to spirituality

More Latinos Choose a Less Travelled Road to Spirituality By Cristina Pinzon takes a peek at Latinos who are exploring Buddhism and Islam.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

brother ali - forest whitaker

Brother Ali, the white hairy Muslim albino rapper finds confidence and self-esteem in the beauty tips of Forest Whitaker. Damn a magazine / These is God's fingerprints!

ghost dog and the clash of civilizations

Ghost Dog: You know, in ancient cultures...bears were considered equal with men.
Hunter: This ain't no ancient culture here, mister.
Ghost Dog: Sometimes it is.
The last entry on the Five Percenters got me thinking about RZA (aka Robert Diggs aka Bobby Digital aka Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah aka The Abbott) which got me thinking about the film Ghost Dog where RZA has a cameo.

The film is filled with all sorts of jarring cultural juxtapositions. Forest Whitaker stars as an African-American Samurai who struggles against Italian mobster hip-hop fans. He speaks no French or Creole and yet his best friend in the world is Raymond, a Haitian Ice Cream Vendor who speaks no English. And apparently the unnamed city where the film takes place has a large number of people from different cultural backgrounds who live on apartment building rooftops. My pet theory is that the film is trying to say that we are all like the people on those rooftops, separated by huge gulfs of space. Genuine communication is impossible (unless you are a mind reader) and the best we can hope for is occasionally guessing what another person wants or needs from indirect cues (like Ghost Dog does with Raymond).

My favorite scene is the one where Ghost Dog encounters RZA in the street.
As the two approach, RZA's character (credited as "Street Crusader") says:
"Ghost Dog...

While Ghost Dog replies:
Everything, my brother."
A unique moment of understanding and P.E.A.C.E. between two warriors from different civilizations.

Transcript: Ghost Dog: Way of the Sammurai

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

why i am a five percenter

I just recently finished Michael Muhammad Knight's latest book, "Why I Am A Five Percenter". I liked parts of it, but in the end it was disappointing. On the plus side, I was curious to learn more about the history of the Five Percenter movement but Knight had already mapped out much of the story in his earlier book The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip Hop and the Gods of New York. Also interesting and informative was Knight's discussion of how earlier generations of Muslims unpacked words and letters in ways not totally dissimilar to how Five Percenters use the Supreme Mathematics or the Supreme Alphabet.

Some of the less satisfying aspects of "Why I Am A Five Percenter" might have been resolved with a more accurate title. (I would have suggested "Sacred Drift(er)" after Peter Wilson's anthology.) The book is less a confident conversion narrative and more of an affectionate ethnography. Less, Paul on the road to Damascus and more, the Prodigal Son who still hasn't found his way home. (Also, the occasional digs and swipes against Sherman Jackson didn't really endear him to me either.) Knight is caught in some limbo between Sunni Islam and the Five Percenters but not really belonging to either (although at the moment he seems more comfortable calling himself a Five Percenter).

In many ways, Michael Muhammad Knight is a kind of updated version of Hakim Bey /Peter Lamborn Wilson. Bey's participation in the Moorish Orthodox Church (inspired by Noble Drew Ali's movement) parallels Knight's association with the Five Percenters. And both have clearly done a fair amount of travelling (physically and spiritually) in the Muslim world. It might be interesting to find out what Michael Muhammad Knight will do a few years down the line after having more experiences and education under his belt, especially if he's reached some kind of religious and cultural equilibrium point.