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.

Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Apun Ka Desh reviews the much-hyped movie “Slumdog Millionaire” on his blog-

The storyline is quite new, something you haven’t seen in the past – and as most of us know it comes from the book ‘Q n A’ by Mr Vikas Swarup (a indian bureaucrat by profession… have you noticed how many indian bureaucrats especially on foregin postings are writing books these days! No real work to do .. eh?). The acting by small kids is good – they shine compared to their older ‘avatars’ in the movie.

Yeah, i didn’t have too many positives sorry – inspite of the hype.

Now, for the things which i did not like.

[...]

Short of Terror? Plant ‘em!

From Islamophobia Watch

On 7 January the Sun’s front page splash, under the headline “Terror Target Sugar“, quoted claims by “anti-terror expert” Glen Jenvey that online Muslim forum Ummah.com was being used by extremists to target leading British Jews in revenge for Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

The Sun subsequently removed the story, which carried the bylines of John Coles and Mike Sullivan, from its website.

The Sun story named Sugar, singer Amy Winehouse, producer Mark Ronson and Labour peer Lord Levy as among those allegedly being targeted by Islamic extremists. It quoted a contributor on the forum called “Abuislam” asking: “Have we got a list of top Jews we can target? Can someone post names and addresses?”

However, in another posting on Ummah.com, it was alleged that Abuislam was in fact Jenvey himself and claimed this had been confirmed from his IP and email addresses. The Bloggerheads website also claimed Jenvey had posted the comment himself.

BBC on the Burner

BBC refused to air request for Gaza aid to “maintain neutrality“.

Masud advises:

You can register your own complain here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

Here is what I wrote:

I wish to complain about the BBC’s decision to not allow the DEC appeal for Gaza to go ahead. This is a very disgraceful decision and will cost lives on the ground. I do not buy the BBC’s official line that it affects its impartiality since this was not a concern for other similar appeals. I can only think that the BBC has succumbed to some external pressure from a foreign government. This is the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation and as a license fee payer I am angry, annoyed and disgusted at this decision for which there is no conceivable reason. Could you please publish the minutes of the meeting in which this decision was made and why and I would like to know which of the directors/trustees decided against the DEC appeal?

EVERYONE I have spoken to, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, cannot understand this ludicrous and cruel decision, it would seem that the overwhelming majority of the BRITISH public do not agree with you. In fact I think it is safe to say that given this it is the BBC that is currently not acting impartially.

Yours angered, annoyed and disgusted.

Masud A. Khan

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(Video via MR)

All the more reason to support Al Jazeera.

Understanding teen issues in the West

Moulana Muhammed Shoayb writes a post about the importance of understanding the mindset of teenage children growing up here. He explains why he thinks its crucial to be aware of what’s going on in their minds and to tackle the questions arising from their mindset head-on, either by themselves or by finding someone who can. He argues that it is usually neglect on the side of immigrant parents that ends up leading to confusion and unresolved issues.

 Today’s teens have different issues facing them. They have lived their entire lives here, with an occasional (sometimes frequent) trip back to their parent’s birth countries as visitors. They have identified, and been encouraged by us as parents and community elders to identify, rightly so, as American Muslims. What we didn’t realize when we encouraged them to develop this new identity is that new questions come along with this new identity. Some of our kids are going to want know what it feels like to be a punk rocker. Some of our teens are going to want to know what it feels like to go on a date…and how can it be wrong when so many of their friends in the neighborhood/school are doing it. Those same teens may never give you the slightest idea of what is going on behind their innocent eyes and sweet smiles. It is your duty as parents to let them know that bringing those questions out in the open is ok, that nobody will have a heart attack just because an otherwise sweet child asks some not-so-sweet questions.

Read the whole post here.

An Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Abdassamad at Muslims of Norwich

Dear Dr Williams,

We write to you from the city of Norwich in response to your desire to see a dialogue developing with Islam about the question of interest rates. However, before focusing our attention on the treacherous subject of usury, our position on which you might understand from previous communications2, we must first draw your attention to certain matters pertaining to the nature and purpose of dialogue itself.

Dialogue presupposes that there are two parties, presumably with different points of view. That makes it a very challenging affair, the most everyday example of which is the relationship between men and women, particularly within the family. It is, of course, a truism to say that men and women see things very differently, and for one or the other to deny their own or the other’s very different view of existence is the end of dialogue and the beginning of some other process with some other purpose, whose consequences for the relationship between them will invariably turn out to be unjust or unbalanced.

The same considerations must apply to any potential dialogue between Islam and Christianity. If you expect from us some mirror image of yourself who will quickly absorb Christian values, but perhaps continue to wear the turban on ceremonial occasions, then we are the first to confirm, with regret, that your desire is eminently achievable as there is no end of Muslim scholars and clerics who are only too eager to respond to you, but just as regretfully, you will still not be holding a dialogue with Islam. How can that be?

Sinbad The Spy

In the last two years, there had been repeated leaks that some of the best intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program was coming from Germany, which was explained as one reason the Europeans (and Germany in particular) were leading the diplomatic offensive against Tehran and letting the US take a back seat in negotiations.

It turns out that a key source of intelligence for the BND, Germany’s intelligence service, was coming from a rather dodgy businessman who has just been arrested for smuggling key technology into… wait for it… Iran