Tag Archives: Islam

Send Me Movie & Book Suggestions

Back at the end of 2006 I started this blog partly because I had recently learned of the existence of blogs and partly because I was reading a book in which the author did a hatchet job on Muslim Arabs, and I wanted to talk about that.

 

Well, it’s not stylish to spout off bogeyman nonsense about Arabs and Muslims anymore, so I don’t stumble across good stuff to blog about very often. It has become mainstream to point out racism and bigotry, which is good! It just doesn’t leave me with much material to blog about.

 

So please send me tips about novels and comics and tv shows and movies that I could investigate. Just comment on this thread. Thanks!

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Filed under arab, arabic, arabist, movies and shows, names

On Jihad, Ignorance Stands Still

The Washington Post had an article the other day about an ad campaign in DC to inform the public on what ‘jihad’ actually means.

With a four-week ad buy in the Shaw, Waterfront, Rockville and Dunn Loring Metro stations, organizer Ahmed Rehab, who is also executive director of the Chicago branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says that he is hoping to change the narrative around the word jihad.

“We kind of got tired sitting there watching people tell us what we believe or what we don’t believe.”

The posters feature photos of Muslims sharing their religious struggles, and uses lines like “my jihad is to build bridges through friendship” and “my jihad: modesty is not a weakness.”

Twelve years after 9/11 and the initial bout of screaming American ignorance, the country’s morons are still as ignorant and still as vocal as ever. Some comments from the WaPo:

You can try to give a newer softer meaning to the word “jihad” but it is too late.
For too many non muslims, the word jihad is associated with terrorism.

This is not a newer, softer meaning. This is the meaning.

Painting Jihad in any other way than getting rid of whoever believes differently is like sprinkling sugar on blood or painting lipstick on a pig’s snout.

“Lipstick on a pig” will always remind me of Sarah Palin.

Jihad means islamic holy war and it has no any other meaning.Jihad in german language is Mein Kampf.
Jihad does not mean to build bridge through friendship.
Jihad is war,jihad means killing infidels/non-muslims.
Jihad is an obligation in House of War/Infidel Country(America,Europe)
Jihad ads at metro stations are Lie Propaganda and Deception

Congratulations, you’re exactly wrong.

But I’m happy to say that the really awful comments I saw the other day have largely been addressed by thoughtful, patient people, and there’s real discussion going on in the comments today.

And people can still see the humor:

My jihad is to get laid this weekend

That’s not quite the meaning, but good luck to you, ma’am.

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Filed under arabic, arabist, bigoted idiots, Islamic relations, language, Stupidity

Yoga: Good Exercise or the Gateway to Hell?

A couple articles, one recent, one older, about religious authorities’ concerns about the growing popularity of yoga. Here are some quotes. I’ve replaced some words. See if you can tell which ones concern Muslims and which ones concern Christians.

During the class I sat in on, yoga’s Hindu roots were mentioned, albeit briefly. A spiritual experience was on offer for those who wanted it.

This is the point where some [religious people] in [given country] worry about yoga. They think it is encroaching on their way of life.

One [Christian/Muslim] student told me that she combined yoga techniques with prayers. That concerns some [Muslim/Christian] experts.

[Religious people] who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a “post-[religion], spiritually polyglot” reality.

When [religious people] practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their [religious] commitments and their embrace of yoga.

We are not called to escape the consciousness of this world by achieving an elevated state of consciousness, but to follow [religious figure] in the way of faithfulness.

The ruling is not legally binding but many of [given country’s][religious people] abide by [such rulings].

Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the [religious] understanding. [Religious people] are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine. Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God — an external Word that comes to us by divine revelation — not to meditate by means of incomprehensible syllables.

“[Religion] is a complete way of life. [Religion] is able to cater to the needs of [Christians/Muslims]; spiritual needs, intellectual needs and other needs, material needs. So there is no need to bring in elements from outside,” he added.

I’m going to throw in a third piece for fun. A blog I found while searching.

I recently overheard several conservative [religious] ladies at my gym discussing Yoga. They have decided not to participate, having concluded that it smacks too closely to dangerous paganism for their personal comfort.

But wait, there’s more.

The [religious authorities] told [religious people] on Thursday that some aspects of yoga, Zen and other forms of Oriental meditation can “degenerate into a cult of the body” and are not a substitute for [religious] prayer.

A document issued by the [religious denomination’s guardian of orthodoxy], said genuine [religious] mysticism is not a question of technique and warned [religious people] not to confuse the pleasure derived from some forms of meditation with a relationship with God.

And an article from England, from 2007:

[Teacher], who lives in [town], added: “I explained to the [house of worship] that my yoga is a non-religious activity.
“Some types of adult yoga are based on Hindu and Buddhist meditation but it’s not a part of the religion and there is no dogma involved.
“This is a class for mums and children which has yoga-inspired moves – but as soon as I mentioned the word yoga the [house of worship] staff completely changed their attitude.”
[Religious authority] defended the decision, saying: “We are a [religious] organisation and when we let rooms to people we want them to understand that they must be fully in line with our [religious] ethos.
“Clearly yoga impinges on the spiritual life of people in a way which we as [religious people] don’t believe is the same as our ethos.
“If it was just a group of children singing nursery rhymes, there wouldn’t be a problem.
“But she’s called it yoga and therefore there is a dividing line we’re not prepared to cross.”
[The leader of the house of worship] said: “Any alternative philosophies or beliefs are offering a sham – and [here] we want people to have the real thing.
“The philosophy of yoga cannot be separated from the practice of it, and any teacher of yoga (even to toddlers) must subscribe to the philosophy.
“As [religious people] we believe that this philosophy is false and not something we wish to encourage.
“Yoga may appear harmless or even beneficial, but it is encouraging people to think that there is a way to wholeness of body and mind through human techniques – whereas the only true way to wholeness is by [religion-specific thing].”

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Serendipity & Videos

So there I was, avidly perusing the entries in the 2010 Dance Your PhD Contest, and wishing the clips were YouTube clips rather than Vimeo, since I can’t embed Vimeo competently. So I started searching on YouTube on some esoteric scientific titles, then I saw in the suggested videos one with some Arabic in the title, which I played, but it was lame, but there were more suggested videos, so I clicked on this one. And it’s pretty good. But it has nothing to do with anybody’s PhD, just a funny guy’s story of his conversion.

Meanwhile, here’s a PhD dance video about language. Unfortunately, this is only the link.

Dance as a vehicle for prejudice reduction and second language acquisition from Fuad Elhage on Vimeo.

If you go to the Gonzolabs page of PhD dance videos, I recommend my favorites (so far):

The Quantum Ruler: Using Quantum Mechanics to make better measurements.”

and

Cationic antimicrobial peptides derived from human seminal plasma inhibit HIV-1 infection.”

Plus check out the entry by a former(?) fellow Arabist, “The Concord of Collective Nouns and Verbs in Biblical Hebrew: A Controlled Study.”

Enjoy. 🙂

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Filed under arabist, art, Islamic relations, language, movies and shows

Links to Stories

1- Over at Loonwatch they continue to expose Robert Spencer as a fool pretending to be a scholar.

2- Inexplicably popular gasbag Rush Limbaugh bloviates that Muslim contributions to math and science are mostly myths. Link to Media Matters, not Rush’s site. (He also says Barack Obama would be a tour guide except that he’s black, and that’s why he’s president).

3- Loonwatch again, a Muslim girl burned by Christians for being Muslim. In the UK.

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“Allahu Akbar”–‘We’re all Gonna Die’ or ‘Whatevs’

Kabobfest has an analysis here.

Uttering “Allahu Akbar” when you are standing in line at an Israeli checkpoint can still get you shot down, and the Brooklyn-born Israeli soldier who emptied 28 bullets in your chest would have a plausible self-defense argument. After all we don’t know whether that “Allahu Akbar” was to be followed by a knife, a suicide belt, or even a fiery stare.

So I decided to look into it, apparently “Allahu Akbar” has so many meanings that it all depends on context. (I personally think it’s another trick by Islamic speakers, like that one trying to convince us that “Madrasa” actually means school, and should not sound so scary, or the one about how “Jihad” does not exclusively mean ‘killing infidels’). I found a few of the many meanings the phrase could translate into just doing a quick search, add your own if you have been conducting any investigation into the matter:

God Is Great

God Is Greater

God is Bigger

Wow that’s a lot of snow

And at this link, included in the Kabobfest post, is a Haaretz article that asks: Are IDF dogs trained to pounce all who say ‘God is great’ in Arabic?

The Israel Defense Forces has not denied allegations that it trains its canines to attack anybody heard saying Allah Hu Akbar, Arabic for ‘God is great.’

Responding to the allegations, the IDF said in a statement: “One of the canine unit’s many capabilities is to train the dogs at locating the enemy when dressed both in uniform and as civilian. This is an ability that has proven itself in many cases.

I think I’ve mentioned before that an observant Muslim says the phrase “Allah Akbar” (الله اكبر) at least thirty times a day.

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Filed under arab, arabic, arabist, language

Library of Congress on Islam in Early America

The Library of Congress posted this article about Islam in the early United States.

Here’s a goodly chunk of it:

Readers may be surprised to learn that there may have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Muslims in the United States in 1776—imported as slaves from areas of Africa where Islam flourished. Although there is no evidence that the Founders were aware of the religious convictions of their bondsmen, it is clear that the Founding Fathers thought about the relationship of Islam to the new nation and were prepared to make a place for it in the republic.

In his seminal Letter on Toleration (1689), John Locke insisted that Muslims and all others who believed in God be tolerated in England. Campaigning for religious freedom in Virginia, Jefferson followed Locke, his idol, in demanding recognition of the religious rights of the “Mahamdan,” the Jew and the “pagan.” Supporting Jefferson was his old ally, Richard Henry Lee, who had made a motion in Congress on June 7, 1776, that the American colonies declare independence. “True freedom,” Lee asserted, “embraces the Mahomitan and the Gentoo (Hindu) as well as the Christian religion.”

In his autobiography, Jefferson recounted with satisfaction that in the struggle to pass his landmark Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786), the Virginia legislature “rejected by a great majority” an effort to limit the bill’s scope “in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan.” George Washington suggested a way for Muslims to “obtain proper relief” from a proposed Virginia bill, laying taxes to support Christian worship. On another occasion, the first president declared that he would welcome “Mohometans” to Mount Vernon if they were “good workmen” (see page 96). Officials in Massachusetts were equally insistent that their influential Constitution of 1780 afforded “the most ample liberty of conscience … to Deists, Mahometans, Jews and Christians,” a point that Chief Justice Theophilus Parsons resoundingly affirmed in 1810.

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Filed under church and state, Islamic relations, pedantry