Tuesday, August 30, 2005

no more advisory boards?

A quick look at the PMU web site shows that they no longer have any advisory boards.

Also, it appears, that Mohja Kahf (the MWU sex and umma fame) resigned from the board a few months back, but quietly, none of the razzle dazzle of the recent resignations.

At its inception, the PMU had invited over two dozen advisory board members, including such luminaries as Muslims For Bush, Fareed Zakariya and Nawaal al-Sadawi who supported the hijaab ban in France.

The current board of directors (assuming no more resignations) according to the PMU web site are:

Tarek Fatah

Zuriani "Ani" Zonneveld

Ahmed Nassef

(more on Ahmed Nassef)

Mona El-Tahawy

(more on Mona Eltahawy)

Pamela Taylor (fomerly co-chair, now the lone chair of PMUNA)

Saleemah Ghaffur

Naeem Mohaiemen

Coming soon: a brief history of the PMU - meanwhile, see the AMP report on the resignations.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Left Behind

Three of the four original founders of PMUNA have resigned.

According to most recent information, the following individuals are the Left Behind Board of Directors of the PMU.

Let us know in the comments section:

1. Who you would like to see resign next? (and...Why?)


2. Who is most likely to resign next? (and...Why?)

(those PMUists - the few that are left -read this blog, maybe they'll listen to you...)

Tarek Fatah

Zuriani "Ani" Zonneveld

Ahmed Naseef

Mona El-Tahawy

(more on Mona Eltahawy)

Pamela Taylor (fomerly co-chair, now the lone chair of PMUNA)

Ginan Rauf ("beer for Ramadan" fame)

Imam Daayiee

Saleemah Ghaffur

Naeem Mohaiemen

Kareem Shora

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Omid Safi, Hussein Ibish, Sarah Eltantawi - all gone!

Three of the five member Executive Board of the PMUNA have resigned.

Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim

August 24, 2005

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with heavy hearts, but out of a deep conviction that there is no other choice at this stage, that we -- Omid Safi, Hussein Ibish and Sarah Eltantawi, three of the four founding members (along with Ahmed Nassef) of the Progressive Muslim Union of North America (PMU) -- hereby tender our resignations from the Board of Directors of PMU.

We helped to form PMU in the hopes that it would develop into an umbrella organization representing a „big tent‰ for Muslims with a very wide variety of religious, political and social attitudes who are drawn together by a spirit of pluralism and compassion to develop and contribute a new voice to the conversation about Islam and Muslims in North America. Our intention was to create a space in which Muslims could pursue a multivalent critique of power, standing against injustice within Muslim societies, among Muslims in North America, and with regard to the foreign and domestic policies of the governments and societies in which we live. We wanted to be as vigorous in challenging injustices in the Islamic world, and the deeply-rooted racism and sexism that lurk within our own community, as we rightly are in condemning the abuses of U.S. foreign policy and the assault on civil liberties in the United States. We also wanted to create a forum for a respectful but critical
engagement with Islamic practices and classical and modern interpretations of Islamic doctrine, as well as how Islam has functions as a social text, especially in our own societies at the present time. We intended PMU to help to develop an independent, and spiritually and intellectually sophisticated, Islamic discourse that is distinctly North American, while remaining true to the essential teachings and values of Islam; one that responds to the challenges and context in which North American Muslims live, as opposed to discourses that are mainly derivative of ideas and agendas formed long ago and/or far away.

The hope was that these two missions would compliment each other, and serve to give a voice to a large section of the community hitherto underrepresented. In both cases, our intention was to help to enrich, broaden and deepen the conversation in the North American Muslim community, and to unleash the power of a set of ideas that have been largely dormant among us in recent years: the Islamic values of tolerance, compassion and equity ˆ that is to say, the spirit of justice that lies at the heart of Islam.

Unfortunately, PMU has not developed in the direction that we had envisioned and worked to promote. We readily accept our share of the responsibility for this, and do not seek to blame or second-guess any of our former colleagues. They are entitled to develop PMU in any direction that they see fit. However we have become convinced that PMU is not a forum that will allow us to successfully pursue the agenda we envisioned at its founding, and that this is not likely to change. We believe that the vision that we outlined in the PMU mission statement and that informed the founding of PMU remains vital and urgently needed, but has yet to find a vehicle for its effective expression. We remain committed to the values and goals of that mission statement, and we will continue to work to help develop and implement a progressive agenda for American Muslims.

We wish PMU all the best, offer it our support and encouragement, and hope that it will to grow into a vital and important organization that represents a significant constituency among North American Muslims.


Omid Safi

Hussein Ibish

Sarah Eltantawi

Mass Resignations from PMUNA

Breaking news: Omid Safi, Sara Eltantawi, and Hussein Ibish resign from PMUNA - more coming soon!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Critique of "Standing Alone"

A well thought out critique of Asra Nomani's book Standing Alone on the Bannos blog.

Readers of this blog will, I'm sure, recognize the statement below as reflective of not only Asra Nomani, but also the "progressive islam" as represented by the PMU/MWU/Progressiveislam.org factions.

I started getting a strange feeling the more I read. This “true faith” seemed to be rather selective and perhaps restricted to what Ms. Nomani believed to be essential or true.

Click here to read more

The Amina Wadud (PMUNA advisory board member) media showcase was organized by Progressive Muslim Union Executive Director Ahmed Nassef, in conjunction with the "Asra Nomani Muslim Women's Freedom Tour."

Nomani's book was publicized right along side the Wadud event on the PMU NA media outlet: "Muslim Wake Up."

Friday, August 19, 2005

Another resignation! + A Question.

(Post updated 8/22/05)

Now confirmed - Laury Silvers has resigned from the board of directors of the Progressive Muslim Union North America. While Silvers was with the PMU, she drafted the expanded version of the PMUNA shahadah to include sex, alcohol, and "no-god." This new shahdah was part of Muqtedar Khan's reasons for resignation from the PMUNA.

Silvers, Ilan Bashir, along with Sabahat Ashraf are the main individuals behind the new web site Progressive Islam.

Sabahat Ashraf, who stated on the Living Tradition blog - that Knight, as a Muslim, is "free" to hold views about throwing s*^%# on the Prophet) , is also on the Technology Team of the Progressive Muslim Union.

Also the record, I find Mr Knight's attitude to The Prophet a rather odd one for a Muslim to hold. But he is free to hold it.

UPDATE: Link to PMUNA/MWU found - buried in the "links section" of the web site. Stay tuned for more information on this "new" "progressive" blog/site.

However, the question still remains: why has Altmuslim.org, that does not advertise itself as a "progressive Muslim" site, been given central space on the front page? While Muslim Wake Up - that is very much a self-identified "progressive Muslim" web site been relegated to somewhere deep in the links section. Hopefully this is just an oversight, and they will be adding Muslim Wake Up to their front page - so that everyone can be clear on the background of these individuals.

Muslim Wake Up, of-course, is the media outlet of Progressive Muslim Union. Executive Director of the PMU - Ahmed Nassef is the Chief Editor and Owner of Muslim Wake Up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Old Wine New Bottle?!

The board members, and supporters of the Progressive Muslim Union North America have a new web site that they are calling "progressiveislam.org."

But this site has an interesting new twist - it seems that they are looking for a new look and a new package.

Lets look at the Old Wine first:

In typical Omid Safi good cop style, the site states:

Our intent is simply to provide the technical means and a hospitable environment for the expression of ideas in an open and civil manner.
And, then, in typical PMU sensationalist style they proceed to hurl insults:

If the Prophet wouldn’t have liked it, then in 2005 the Prophet is wrong, s*!@ on him.
The site includes familiar faces - the former PMU board member Knight, insulting the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him).

The secular "muslim" Harvardist, Ginan Rauf (board member of PMUNA, and "beer for ramadan" fame - do a google search to learn more...).

Someone calling herself (and thereby insulting) Harriet Tubman - this one is under the delusion that the pro-regressive types like her are some kind of civil rights "leaders."

(Coopting African American struggles for their own ends is a PMU tactic - Asra Nomani likes to fashion herself as some kind of a Rosa Parks, along with casting herself as a latter day Martin Luther).

Here is how she supports Knight (and insult converts).

Sure, Mike’s stuff is often upsetting to many Muslims, not just because of its style and content, but because he refuses the usual role allotted to white male converts: that of (cheer)leader.

Now, lets look at the New Bottle:

The site has no links to the PMU media outlet Muslim Wake Up - instead, they link to Shahed Amanullah's web site, Alt.Muslim. Could be that MWU has become a bit too much of a liablity? So have they found someone new to carry their mission forward? hmmm....

The site also includes a coming soon blog "The Hina Azam Blog" named after Dr. Hina Azam (Amanullah is her husband) who had critiqued the Amina Wadud event.

UPDATE 8/25/05: The "Hina Azam Blog" is gone and so are the front page links to AltMuslim

UPDATE: Following is a comment by Shahed Amanullah

"Hina did agree to have a blog at this site, but she will most likely be repulsed (as am I) by being hosted next to Mr. Knight's infamous blog entry. So I'm not sure it will happen, but I leave that up to her.

And about their links to altmuslim.com - they asked to link to and/or reprint content, I gave permission.

There's no relationship other than that. Judge me by the content of my site (well, except for some of the comments), not by those who link to me."

The site also states:

.. an online space, created for Muslims of all theological orientations to gather and engage in creative, thoughtful and intelligent discussion and debate.

Now, this is an interesting statement - there are PMUists who have no theological orientation at all - they are atheists, or secularists. Is there such a thing as an "atheist theology"?!

Well - in the bizarro world of Progressive Muslim Union - anything is possible! After all, if they can "tolerate" and believe that a Muslim has the "freedom" to insult the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) - then why not have an atheist theology?

Monday, August 15, 2005

The high demand groups...

"Those two groups are in very high demand in US media and popular cultures: African-Americans who are willing to say that there is no racism in the US, and who blame African-Americans for the consequences of institutional inequality and racism; and the second group are those Muslims who are willing to blame Islam and all Muslims (and even Falafil) for the violent deeds of individual Muslims. I mean it. If you are either African-American or Muslim try to send an op-ed piece (including what I have said) and you will be instantly published. Try it. You may also be in top demand if you happen to belong to both groups simultaneously. In that case, an avenue will be named after you."

--Prof. As'ad Abu Khalil, UC Berkeley

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Muslim Fest and more...

Several good articles/postings on the Living Tradition blog ---

A review of Muslim Fest (The Muslim Arts Festival that the PMU NA loves to hate.)

One would think that an event like this would have earned the appreciation of the whole community. But wait,the usual suspects were up to their old game. Jawad at MWU ran a diatribe against the organisers accusing them of discrimination against women. Never mind that nearly half of the organising committee consisted of women, that there were more women than men in attendance and that apart from the Salah there was no real segregation of the sexes.

The one thing that these regressives are good at is indulging in unwarranted and baseless attacks on those who disagree with them.You can quote from the Quran and the Sunnah but that is of little consequence.It is always their way or the Highway.

Do we need avice from an apostate - on Salman Rushdie's fatwa on Islam.

However, my beef is not with Rushdie alone; it annoys me that the Western press runs articles on the need for reformation by people who are either out of the fold of Islam or who are barely hanging in there. It may serve the purpose of satisfying the ill informed, the naive, and the gullible but every such publication erodes their credibility even further in the eyes of Muslims. The Manjis, Nomanis, and Nassefs may be wildly popular with the average North American viewer( because they say what the audience wants to hear, not what Islam stands for) but they have little or no following within the larger Islamic community.

The are at it again...:

But like I said, if you don't agree with their agenda, don't go. Or better, have your own group. Have your own festival with like-minded Muslims who don't mind making salat with those who don't believe in God or who think that scrapping the Qur'an and liking briyani makes one a Muslim. I mean, you're getting tons of dollars from the Harvard Pluralism Project to hold your "Islamic Conferences." Why not have them foot the bill to a poetry slam on the Sex and the Umma section and have Muslims wax proudly on their "first time" while our sisters in Iraq are being sold into prostitution?

The Avari/Nameh and Marxists and PMUNA

On reflection, Dr. (Muqtedar) Khan seems to be talking about a bunch of Salafis. Except, of course, they don't really care if you believe in God. This is, I must say, absolutely ridiculous: This trend that "what I want to believe" defines what Islam is and is not. If we are to be a civilized people, with real culture and real progress, we need respect for knowledge. Only morons walk around talking about history being "what I want it to be" or anthropology being reduced to "my stereotypes and biases," and these are restricted to fringe movements -- holocaust denial and what-not.

City of Brass writes

Groups like the Progressive Muslims Association go even further and try to deny that Islam is a religion of Faith at all.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Israel and "moderate Muslims"

A recent article, appearing in the newspaper Haretz, gives some insight on Israeli ties with so-called "moderate Muslims."

These "moderate Muslims" are, of-course, in reality, extremists who tie themselves to anti-Palestinian groups, and the neo-con enterprise to "change the face of Islam."

The Progressive Muslim Union North America (PMUNA) is no stranger to this methodology.

Ahmed Nassef, the executive director of PMU has appeared at event sponsored by the anti-Palestinian group Hillel.

And Ziad Asali, a PMU advisory board member, and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) was strongly condemned by dozens of community based grassroots Palestinian groups.

From under the garb of hollow US democratization, Asali has in effect been diligently advancing the neo-conservative plan for the "New Middle East", where nations and people are reconstituted against their will."

In reality, voices such as Asali's are part of a larger concerted effort to introduce a false veneer of moderation as a replacement for the legitimate inalienable rights of the Palestinian and Arab people, represented by their right to return, sovereignty and self-determination.

Through organizations like ATFP, Asali has gone even beyond the Geneva Accords, the Nusseibeh-Ayalon Agreement and other such attempts that violate fundamental, inalienable and natural rights that are enshrined in international law.

It should also be noted that Hussein Ibish, the vice-chair of "Progressive Muslim Union North America" is a senior fellow at the ATFP - and has the "highest respect" for Asali - whom he regards as his "mentor."

Also check out Ziad Asali hanging out with the top brass.

The Haraetz article states:

Our feeling," says Mansour, "was that we hear about extremists and acts of terror but do nothing with the silent majority of the communities, in which there are moderate voices that are willing to be exposed to joint public activities with Israel and with Jews.">

If this Mansour knew anything about the community, he would know that Arab and Muslims of all stripes already have excellent relationships with many Jewish groups such as the Mideast Children's Alliance.

However, what Mansour is looking for, is an acceptance, and complete silence regarding the Israeli atrocities, and land theft against the Palestinians.

These are the kinds of "moderate Muslims" that Israel is looking for... The "Progressive Muslim Union" seems to fit the bill.