Love in a Headscarf. A book by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed

This book got a warm recommendation by one of the biggest Danish news papers.

Shelina Zahra Janmohamed blogs at spirit21, and she is the winner of brass crescent awards for best blog and best female blog.She writes:

I took the book to a number of publishers whose commissioning editors loved the story, but couldn’t see it fitting with the existing mould of books about Muslim women. “We need an ‘alias’ of a book that is already out there so people understand how it relates to previous books,” they explained, meaning it should be either a forced marriage story or one of escape from Islam.

With such black and white views about the stories that Muslim women are permitted to tell, how can it ever be possible to create an understanding of our diversity and complexity?

I hope my book brings a fresh perspective to the discussion about Muslim women. But there is a serious question to be asked – will it provoke the Muslim community to look into itself and wonder why these lazy stereotypes exist? Sometimes as Muslims we lack an intellectual honesty about ourselves, and are not brave enough to tell our stories as human beings on a journey, with all our flaws. If publishers are guilty of monolithic misery memoirs, then Muslims must also take some of the blame for not sharing our universal experiences in a language and context that everyone can relate to.

To find out more, click here.

U.S. Academic Boycott Call

USACBI Mission Statement (excerpts)
http://usacbi.wordpress.com/

Responding to the call of Palestinian civil society to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel, we are a US campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). – see http://www.pacbi.org/

PACBI and the entire movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (representing the overwhelming majority among Palestinian civil society parties, unions, networks and organizations) emphasize fundamental Palestinian rights, sanctioned by international law and universal human rights principles that ought to be respected by Israel to end the boycott. We struggle to achieve an end to Israel’s three-tiered injustice and oppression: 1) occupation and colonization in the 1967-occupied Palestinian territory; 2) denial of the refugees’ rights, paramount among which is their right to return to their homes of origin, as per UN General Assembly Resolution 194; and 3) the system of racial discrimination, or apartheid, to which Palestinian (all non-Jewish) citizens of Israel are subjected to.

The principles guiding the PACBI campaign and the three goals outlined above are also points of unity for the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USCACBI). We believe it is time to take a public, principled stance in support of equality, self-determination, human rights (including the right to education), and true democracy, especially in light of the censorship and silencing of the Palestine question in US universities, as well as in US society at large. There can be no academic freedom in Israel/Palestine unless all academics are free and all students are free to pursue their academic desires.

We are also responding to the Open Letter to International Academic Institutions from the Right to Education campaign at Birzeit University in Palestine (January 17, 2009), calling on the international academic community, unions and students “to show support and solidarity with the people of Gaza by calling upon their respective governments to impose immediate boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel.” – see http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/

As academics working in the US, we wish to focus on campaigns in our universities and in institutions of higher education to advocate for compliance with the academic and cultural boycott, a movement that is growing internationally across all segments of global civil society.

This call for an academic and cultural boycott parallels the call in the non-academic world for divestment, boycott and sanctions by trade unions, churches, and other civil society organizations in countries such as the US, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the UK, Brazil, South Africa, and New Zealand.

As educators and scholars of conscience in the United States, we fully support this call. We urge our colleagues, nationally, regionally, and internationally, to stand up against Israel’s ongoing scholasticide and to support the non-violent call for academic boycott, disinvestment, and sanctions.[...]

Endorsers (so far)

1. Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University
2. Mohammed Abed, California State University, Los Angeles
3. Wahiba Abu-Ras, Adelphi University
4. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Montclair State University
5. Lisa Albrecht, University of Minnesota
6. Hamid Algar, University of California, Berkeley
7. Naser Alsharif, Creighton University
8. Evelyn Alsultany, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
9. Floyd Anderson, State University of New York, Brockport
10. Ian Barnard, California State University, Northridge
11. Anis Bawarshi, University of Washington
12. Lincoln Bergman, University of California, Berkeley
13. Tithi Bhattacharya, Purdue University
14. Bruce Braun, University of Minnesota
15. Timothy Brennan, University of Minnesota
16. Steve Breyman, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
17. Robert Brooks, Cornell University
18. Anna Brown, Saint Peter’s College
19. Bill Buttrey, University of Southern California
20. Steve Cameron, North Iowa Area Community College
21. Scott Campbell, New York University
22. Rand Carter, Hamilton College
23. Piya Chatterjee, University of California, Riverside
24. Dennis Childs, University of California, San Diego
25. Bouthaina Shbib Dabaja, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center
26. Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
27. Lawrence Davidson, West Chester University
28. Nicholas De Genova, Columbia Univ
29. Lara Deeb, University of California Irvine
30. Alireza Doostdar, Harvard University
31. Eleanor Doumato, Brown University
32. Ronald Edwards, DePaul University
33. Nada Elia, Antioch University, Seattle
34. Nava EtShalom, poet, University of Michigan
35. James Faris, University of Connecticut
36. Grant Farred, Cornell University
37. Sasan Fayazmanesh, California State University, Fresno
38. James Fetzer, University of Minnesota, Duluth
39. Manzar Foorohar, California Polytechnic State University
40. Paul Foote, California State University, Fullerton
41. Robert Frager, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
42. Cynthia Franklin, University of Hawaii
43. Keya Ganguly, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
44. Jess Ghannam, University of California, San Francisco
45. Bishnupriya Ghosh, University of California, Santa Barbara
46. Him Glover, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
47. Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University Long Beach
48. Avery Gordon, University of California, Santa Barbara
49. Marilyn Hacker, City University of New York
50. Christian Haesemeyer, University of California, Los Angeles
51. Elaine Hagopian, Simmons College
52. Sondra Hale, University of California, Los Angeles
53. Leila Hamdan, George Mason University
54. John Hartung, State University of New York, Brooklyn
55. Salah Hassan, Michigan State University
56. Frances Hasso, Oberlin College
57. Nicholas Heer, University of Washington, Seattle
58. Lyn Hejinian, University of California, Berkeley
59. Annie Higgins, Wayne State University
60. Chris Highley, Ohio State University
61. Jim Holstun, State University of New York, Buffalo
62. Sally Howell, University of Michigan, Dearborn
60. Mahmood Ibrahim, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
63. Ibrahim Imam, University of Louisville
64. Pranav Jani, Ohio State University
65. Amira Jarmakani, Georgia State University
66. Kenneth Johnson, Pennsylvania State University, Abington
67. Brian Johnston, Carnegie Mellon University
68. Pierre Joris, State University of New York, Albany
69. Mohja Kahf, University of Arkansas
70. Rhoda Kanaaneh, New York University
71. Tomis Kapitan, Northern Illinois University
72. Susan Katz, University of San Francisco
73. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
74. Assaf Kfoury, Boston University
75. Issam Khalidi, Independent Scholar
76. Kathleen Kinawy, University of Southern Maine
77. David Klein, California State University, Northridge
78. Yael Korin, University of California, Los Angeles
79. Dennis Kortheuer, California State University, Long Beach
80. Felix Salvador Kury, San Francisco State University
81. Mark Lance, Georgetown University
82. Werner Lange, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
83. Amanda Lashaw, University of California, Davis
84. David Lloyd, University of Southern California
85. Georgette Loup, University of New Orleans
86. Paul Lyons, University of Hawaii
87. Graham MacPhee, West Chester University
88. Shireen Mahdavi, University of Utah
89. Sunaina Maira, University of California, Davis
90. Harriet Malinowitz, Long Island University
91. Ahmad Malkawi, University of Kentucky
92. Khaled Mattawa, University of Michigan
93. Todd May, Clemson University
94. Ali Mazrui, State University of New York, Binghamton
95. Bryan McCann, University of Texas, Austin
96. Daniel McGowan, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
97. Jad Melki, University of Maryland
98. Martin Melkonian, Hofstra University
99. Mark Mendoza, Miami University, Ohio
100. Targol Mesbah, California Institute of Integral Studies
101. Ali Mili, New Jersey Institute of Technology
102. Jessica Morris, University of Louisville
103. Fouad Moughrabi, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
103. Aamir Mufti, University of California, Los Angeles
104. Bill Mullen, Purdue University
105. Donna Murdock, University of the South
106. Mara Naaman, Williams College
107. Marcy Newman, An Najah National University, Palestine
108. David O’Connell, Georgia State University
109. Judy Olson, California State University, Los Angeles, CFA-LA
110. Sirena Pellarolo, California State University, Northridge
111. David Naguib Pellow, University of Minnesota
112. James Petras, Binghamton University
113. Kavita Philip, University of California, Irvine
114. Julio Pino, Kent State University
115. Edie Pistolesi, California State University, Northridge
116. Deborah Poole, The Johns Hopkins University
117. Gautam Premnath, University of California, Berkeley
118. Jessica Quindel, Berkeley High School
118. Peter Rachleff, Macalester College
119. Aneil Rallin, Soka University of America
120. Junaid Rana, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
121. Adolph Reed, University of Pennsylvania
122. Steve Roddy, University of San Francisco
123. Ilia Rodriguez, University of New Mexico
124. Sonia Rosen, University of Pennsylvania
125. Suzanne Ross, United Federation of Teachers, Clinical Psychology
126. Marty Roth, University of Minnesota
127. Lori Rudolph, New Mexico Highlands University
128. Steven Salaita, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
129. Rakhshanda Saleem, Harvard Medical School
130. Basel Saleh, Radford University
131. George Salem, University of Southern California
132. Rosaura Sanchez, University of California, San Diego
133. Eleuterio Santiago-Diaz, University of New Mexico
134. Bhaskar Sarkar, University of California, Santa Barbara
135. Aseel Sawalha, Pace University
136. Simona Sawhney, University of Minnesota
137. Seleem Sayyar, Emory University
138. Robert Schaible, University of Southern Maine
139. James Scully, University of Connecticut
140. Evalyn Segal, San Diego State University
141. Anton Shammas, University of Michigan
142. Matthew Shenoda, Goddard College
143. Setsu Shigematsu, University of California, Riverside
144.Magid Shihade, University of California Davis
145. Snehal Shingavi, University of Mary Washington
146. Ella Shohat, New York University
147. Yumna Siddiqi, Middlebury College
148. Andor Skotnes, Sage College
149. Scott Sorrell, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
150. Ted Stolze, Cerritos College
151. Patricia Stuhr, Ohio State University
152. Kenneth Surin, Duke University
153. Simone Swan, The Adobe Alliance
154. Juan Carlos Vallejo, State University of New York
155. Stefano Varese, University of California, Davis
156. Dorothy Wang, Williams College
157. Richard Wark, University of Maryland
158. Brad Werner, University of California, San Diego
159. Jessica Winegar, Temple University
160. Mansour Zand, University of Nebraska, Omaha

He Said, She Said…The Zionist Said

A very new blogger, who calls himself “A Shackled Traveller” writes on conspiracy theories-

It pains me to write this article, but I feel I must. Conspiracy theories, yes, we’ve heard them all, some of us attribute credibility to them and others ridicule it. Conspiracy theories are, without a doubt, rife within the Muslim ummah, the western Muslims are not exempt from this trend. I hardly hear Muslim’s rejecting conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, they’re enforcing them, and referencing them during conversations, frankly someone needs point this out. They need a slap in the face, I’m definitely not condoning violence, but a slight tap to bring them back to reality, will do.

The majority of people have gotten bitten by the conspiracy bug, it has infested their brain, and introduced it’s progeny to their new comfortable nest i.e. the Muslim mind. Whenever you prove one is wrong, somehow, you’re hit with an even more absurd one. I remember not too long ago at a gathering, laughter was in the air, no audible voice could be discerned, for all the tepid fun we were having. Then the ambiance turned sour, someone mentioned from a “credible” source that 9/11 was a set up. I don’t want to repeat the story, in case some might believe it to be true, but unless you live under a rock, your ears have been insulted by this one. Unfortunately, once in a while, personally is one to many, I’m left flabbergasted, by such comments.

Debt Elimination

We’ve all heard time and again that interest and riba are categorically haraam in Islam. Maddeningly though, we often don’t hear a solution to the problem. Everybody knows these things are haraam but practical advice on how to avoid them is very hard to come by. This blog post answers a part of the question; it offers suggestions on eliminating interest-bearing debt quickly.

Pre-Requisites

1. Ask Allah to Forgive You: If you made the mistake of getting into riba (interest) debts, for whatever reason, repent and do your best to get out of it. I didn’t know better myself, and even when I found the ruling out on interest, I justified it to myself, which was wrong (college education). Stop immediately and reverse course on this.  Ask to be forgiven and formulate a new plan of action to deal with this situation.  Take your time with college and life in general – don’t let society force its ridiculous standards on you.

2. Ask Allah to Help You: We underestimate this, but remember that if you try to come closer to Allah, Allah will come closer to you faster, as was mentioned in a hadeeth qudsi. I’ll explain later how this very principle caused my wife and I to pay off all our college debts ($35,000 from me, about $8000 from her) and other lingering debts in 2 months, alhamdulillaah.

3. Financial Discipline: If you don’t have control over yourself, this system will never work. If you can’t control compulsive shopping or spending, no system will work for you. Period. If you have control issues, see a therapist, psychologist / psychiatrist, or a personal coach to help out.

The big factor here is the DD – the bigger it is, the faster your debt gets destroyed.  I placed a modest $200, but honestly, most people living on their own can go a couple of hundred higher and make this happen much faster, and people who are living with their families can create a massive DD of about $900 – $1000 or more and can out can knock debts out very quickly.  Given the state of the economy, although I don’t normally recommend it, if you can live with your folks and work a full-time professional job, then stay with them til all debts are gone.

Read the entire post here.

“My Last Strange Post”

Shaz

Back in 2003, you may remember a little something termed shock and awe, I was at home and somewhat mesmerized by the images on the news, I watched it day and night, basically rendering myself almost completely non-functional. I had never in my life seen anything that terrifying. After a while, I finally looked away. Subsequently, I realized that I had a problem handling “sadness”. I really could not handle it. I banned myself from anything sad – news, movies, stories – whatever it was, as long as it was sad, I avoided it like the plague.

Are you a Morale-Booster or a Morale-Buster?

Sister Faatimah on using our tongue wisely-

Muslims in every corner of the globe are faced with trying times. The recent onslaught upon the civilian population in Ghazza is having ripple effects in our communities here at home, in ways that are both unexpected and outdated. Some Muslims have been heard to say, “Why should we be worrying so much about what goes on in Sudan, Kashmir, and Palestine, Thailand, Philippines, and Afghanistan when there are so many Muslims suffering here?” Some of us feel that being too strongly critical of Israel’s action, which even the United Nations objects to, may make us appear anti-Semitic and worse. Our fears, I am sure we all can realize, pale besides the fear of those dying and being maimed today, and crossing a myriad of checkpoints just to get to the hospital. While we are at pains to convince the non-Muslim world of the compassion embodied in Islam, we fail to extend this compassion to our very own Muslim brethren. When we fail at compassion for our own, why would any non-Muslim believe that we really and truly feel compassion for those beyond the reach of the so-called magnificent Ummah?

To be sure, there are Muslims facing dire straits in the United States. We, in the wake of September 11, are faced with routine “random” searches at airports. Quite a few of us have been pulled off airplanes because maybe we carried a prayer rug that was rolled up the wrong way. We may have family back in our home countries who are faced with leaders who are leading nothing but chaos into villages and cities alike. And so, we may feel that because we can bear the suffering that has been placed upon our shoulders, so should our brothers and sisters in lands unknown. We fail to realize that while we expect an outpouring of pure, unadulterated support for the trials we face, we likewise owe the same level of support to the rest of our Ummah, and indeed to all human beings in suffering, regardless of the person’s faith.

Does the Qur’an portray a Pharaoh “who forgot to die in time?”

The Christian missionaries have claimed the Bible clearly and consistently identifies the precise time in which the Exodus occurred. A close examination of the Biblical account proves it is inherently contradictory and contains obvious errors. In the article The Identification Of Pharaoh During The Time Of Moses we highlight the various methods utilised by the apologists and missionaries in their surreptitious efforts to circumvent these issues. Although certain assumptions must be formed in absence of information supplied, contrasted with the confusing and contradictory biblical account, the Qur’anic account of the Exodus is shown to be internally consistent and combines well with the extant egyptological data.

New Year in Gaza: “Our fireworks are the Israeli missiles”

“Look outside, F-16 jet fighters are smiling for you, missiles are dancing for you, zannana [the Palestinian name for pilotless drones] are singing for you. I requested them all to wish you a happy new year.” That was the text message received by Fathi Tobal, a Gaza City resident, on his mobile phone today. Tobal added ironically, “While other people around the world celebrate, it seems the Israeli air force is trying to save us the cost of fireworks.”

The Electronic Intifada correspondent Rami Almeghari reports on New Year’s Eve in the besieged Gaza Strip.

McKinney to Obama: “Say Something” About Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

by BAR staff

Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has called upon President-Elect Barack Obama to “please, say something about the humanitarian crisis that is being experienced by the Palestinian people, by the people of Gaza.” McKinney spoke to CNN news from the Lebanese city of Tyre, where she had debarked from the relief vessel Dignity after it was rammed on the high seas by an Israeli patrol boat, early Tuesday morning. Passengers also report the Israelis fired machine guns into the water near their ship.

McKinney was among the passengers on an attempted voyage from the island of Cyprus to Gaza, where Israeli bombs and missiles have killed hundreds of Palestinians, including many civilians, since Saturday. The Dignity carried three tons of medical supplies and a number of doctors prepared to treat the more than 1,000 Gazans wounded in the Israeli attacks. The 66-foot craft had made two previous humanitarian relief trips to Gaza since the summer. Israel has blocked food, medicines and other essentials from entering Gaza in a campaign of collective punishment against the 1.5 million Palestinians that live there under a Hamas Party administration.

President-Elect Obama has been silent on the Israeli attacks, while President George Bush has supported Israel’s actions.

“I would like to ask my former colleagues in the United States Congress to stop sending weapons of mass destruction around the world,” said McKinney, who was the Green Party’s presidential candidate in November. “As we are about to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, let us remember what he said. He said that the United States is the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet. And guess what: we experienced a little bit of that violence, because the weapons that are being used by Israel are weapons that were supplied by the United States government.”

A CNN reporter who accompanied the passengers and crew of the Dignity confirmed that the boat “was sailing with full lights” when “one of the Israeli patrol boats, with no lights on, rammed the Dignity, hard.”

Israel blames the collision on the relief vessel.

Said McKinney: “Our boat was rammed three times, twice in the front, once on the side…. What the Israelis are saying is outright disinformation.”

McKinney compared the Israeli action against the Dignity to the attack on a U.S. naval vessel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. “I recall that there was another boat that was attacked by Israelis, and it was the U.S.S Liberty.” Thirty-four crewmen died and 170 were wounded by fire from Israeli planes and torpedo boats. The Israelis claim it was a case of mistaken identity. “People would like to forget about the U.S.S. Liberty,” said McKinney, “but I haven’t forgotten about it and the people who were on that ship have not forgotten what happened to them.”