Can Religion, Islam Specifically, Be Anti-Racist?

Apologetics is the “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” As Muslims engage in public outreach efforts to reduce the impact of Islamophobia, one topic might be “racism” or “race-relations.” My fear is that such efforts might take the form of apologetics rather than a serious discussion to address the real impacts of racism among Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the United States and elsewhere. Continue reading

Over-reliance on Apologetics is Bad

I’m reviewing articles from a print journal from 1998 for possible inclusion in an online, open access website. One article advances the idea that “there is no evidence that ritual clitoridectomy, unlike male circumcision, is or has ever been a required practice in Islam.” This article is a great example of why apologetics are dangerous.

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Preaching Heedlessly – وعظ بلا وعي

I heard a Friday sermon (خطبة جمعة) about the importance of the ritual prayer (الصلاة). The preacher used the story of the assassination of Umar, the Second Caliph (رضي الله عنه), to demonstrate how the first generation of Muslims valued the ritual prayer. This rhetoric was an example of our contemporary religious discourse’s reliance on entertaining stories without considering their social or moral implications. Continue reading

United States Encouraging Sectarian Tensions in SW Asia Since 2006

The United States has encouraged sectarian tensions in southwest Asia.

Here’s the full wikileaks document. Note it’s dated 2006. SARG stands for Syrian Arab Regime Government.

Wikileaks Document ID: 06DAMASCUS5399_a

Georgia Dept of Education Withdraws Teachers’ Social Studies Guide to Please Anti-Muslim Bigots

Anti-Muslim bigots asked a county in Georgia to allow their children to “opt-out” of learning about Islam in middle school social studies. When the county, correctly, refused the request because it was part of the state curriculum, bigots statewide, including the Southern Baptist Convention, have apparently pressured the Georgia Department of Education into withdrawing a teachers’ guide from all the school districts in Georgia because it included accurate statements about Islam which don’t fit the anti-Muslim polemics the bigots believe.

Updated October 12, 2015. The dumbing down of the youth of the USA continues, this time in Tennessee.

The Discrimination – Fanaticism Cycle – “Garb” Statutes

A passage in Kent Greenawalt’s Does God Belong in Public Schools? discusses the case of a Muslim school teacher who could not teach in Philadelphia public schools because she wore “religious garb,” which violated the Pennsylvania’s “Religious Garb” statute.

That no teacher in any public school shall wear in said school or while engaged in the performance of his duty as such teacher any dress, mark, emblem or insignia indicating the fact that such teacher is a member or adherent of any religious order, sect or denomination.

I wondered if a distinction could be made between clothing which identifies a person as part of a religious order and clothing which identifies a person as a member of a religion. I wanted to assert that members of an order typically wear the same style of clothes, almost a uniform, while Muslim women, while complying with custom or perceived religious instruction, wear a wide variety of clothing. Is it still religious clothing if her hem line is 2 cm above her ankles or 5 cm of her forearms are revealed? Does color matter? Is the shelwar qamees worn in the Indian subcontinent acceptable while an abaya, common in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, is unacceptable? Or vice versa? Continue reading