Saturday, December 23, 2006

the hair splits again

The Progressive Muslim Union North America's chair (Pamela Taylor) and Executive Director (Ani Zonneveld) resign...

Since our resignations, Tarek Fatah, owner and moderator of the PMUNetwork, has placed the entire list on moderation and seems to have no intention of allowing any discussion, Pamela and I have set up a list where former PMUNetwork members (and anyone else interested in joining us) can continue our conversation and information sharing. The name is Muslims for Progressive Values, and you can join at: . While I understand that there are concerns about the situation that precipitated our resignation, we do not intend for that to be a subject of discussion. Let us not get distracted but let's carry on in our task of providing an alternative Muslim voice. Onwards and upwards!

Pamela Taylor
Ani Zonneveld

And then there were four left at the PMUNA.

Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur
Mona Eltahawy
Tarek Fatah
Ahmed Nassef, Chair

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An open letter to PMUNA board member

Following is an open letter from Seven Oaks Magazine (Canada) to the right wing board member of the right wing Progressive Muslim Union North America: Tarek Fatah

The following letter was sent to Tarek Fatah some ten days ago. The response was so flailing and off topic that we felt it was worthwhile to post the original note to him as an open letter, though we have no illusions of generating a coherent response or a change of course. Mr. Fatah’s slide to the Right – in his case from the NDP to the Liberals, and from opposing Israeli apartheid to collaborating with authorities and some of the most repellant columnists the corporate media has on offer – is hardly unique, but disturbing nonetheless.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

the racist brooking institution

I have covered the liberal imperialists at the Brooking Institution on this blog here and here. A few days back they invited over the racist anti-Arab "Israeli" Avigdor Lieberman, and of-course, as can be expected he was warmly met with the likes of Hillary Clinton.

As often is the case these days, most Muslim groups chose to stay silent about this bigot's visit. Lets see who gets the invitation to go to the next year's Brooking conference in Doha - maybe that will throw some light on the reasons behind this silence.

So, who is Lieberman, well amongst his statements include:

In 2002, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted with dismay one of Lieberman's many disgusting proposals. If the Palestinians did not comply with Israeli dictates, he suggested, the occupying forces should "bomb all the commercial centers... gas stations... [and] banks."

Lieberman's ghastly plan for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel was to drown them in the Dead Sea. He offered to provide the buses to transport them.

In May, 2004, he said that 90 percent of Israel's 1.2 million Palestinian citizens would "have to find a new Arab entity" beyond Israel's borders. Lieberman, an immigrant from Russia, claimed the Palestinian citizens of Israel "have no place here." Russians do, of course. This newcomer has the nerve to tell Palestinians with ancient lineage to "take their bundles and get lost."

Despite the vitriol of this hatemonger, the Brookings Institution is proudly hosting the former nightclub bouncer on his upcoming trip to Washington. Officials at the Institution said they were "honored" to host Lieberman's first address abroad since joining the government.

more here

Unfortunately, it is not only the proggies who have cozied up with the neo-cons, and have acted on their recommendations. There are also other Muslim groups who, while not obviously distorting and insulting Islam like the proggies, are nevertheless involved in an opportunistic game of attempting to gain a seat next to the empire. To reflect this reality, to provide coverage, a historical record and an archive of such actions, the name of this blog will be changed in the near future.

Some names I am considering include sitting with the emperor, imperialist muslims, sellers of the deen, the court jesters, court muslims, muslim sellouts, muslim collaborators ----

stay tuned...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Blair British Program For Muslims

The recently issued thinly veiled threat to Muslims by the Blair regime can be stated in a single sentence: "conform to what we tell you to do or leave Britain," readers of this blog know that this is not an idle threat.

Both the Bush and Blair regimes have instituted a war on Islam. This is not only a hot one attacking and killing Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, but also a "cold war" that is focused on changing the face of Islam to make the tradition empire friendly.

To this end, the British government has favored (and funded) the neo-con Sufis, and "traditionalists" associated with the Radical Middle Way group.

Crescent International has an article by Fahad Ansari of the Islamic Human Rights Commission in their December issue that further discusses this trend (excerpts) :

Although it (the radical middle way) is being presented as a grassroots Muslim initiative, the website and the entire project are in fact funded by the Foreign Office, through the Home Office, with the objective of fighting “extremism”. The hidden aim is to pacify Muslims into accepting an ‘Islam’ that is submissive to the agendas of the West. This project is not to be understood in isolation but as part of a larger effort at social engineering of the Muslim community. This effort has been going on since September 2001

We should not be surprised by such intricate plots by the enemies of Islam; they have been taking place in vain for over 1,400 years. The sheep should not look to the wolf for protection. What is more worrying is the change in attitude of the shepherds of the Ummah, those entrusted with its guidance and protection, its own leaders and imams. It seems that the events of 11 September 2001 in the US and 7 July 2005 in London have paralysed these people, and forced them to implement the RAND and Operation Contest recommendations in record time. The very groups and individuals named in the latter document are those we see today at the forefront of this attempt to ‘reform’ Islam.

As the Sunday Telegraph has stated, Operation Contest has been implemented primarily through the Radical Middle Way Project. One of the schemes of this Project was a national roadshow of Muslim scholars flown in from all over the world to preach a more pacific message to British Muslims. Perhaps we should not question the intention of the scholars themselves, and certainly many of those associated with the project are sincere and well-meaning, but it does seem that they have allowed themselves to become pawns of the government, letting themselves be manipulated by it to complete its agenda. The roadshow has become a platform from which to bash so-called Wahhabi groups in the most cynical manner, as Muslims begin to divide themselves even more along lines drawn for them by the West. In doing so, these speakers take on the very characteristics they so vehemently attack.

In all this darkness, there is one light. History shows us that one of Islam’s wonderful characteristics is that the more it is pushed down, the higher it rises.

Slowly but steadily, more and more Muslims are realising that it is not terrorism or extremism or the niqab that is being targeted, but Islam itself. The enemies of Islam will continue to attempt to divide Muslims and to ‘reform’ Islam as they have done throughout the centuries. At such times, it is vital for Muslims to educate themselves about these plots but to always bear in mind Allah’s words that “they plot, but Allah also plots; and Allah is the best of plotters” (Q. 8: 30).

Read complete article here

Monday, December 04, 2006

the veil and the Orientalist/Islamophobe elite

Hot Coals, an online zine that usually publishes insightful articles regarding Muslim issues, unfortunately, ended up publishing an article on the niqab that is orientalism at its worst.

The author, Yasmin Amin, has, in the past, written critically about the proggies, including this critique of Asra Nomani. However, this article can only be described as an expression of borderline hate of the type that the Progressive Muslim Union North America (PMU) and their supporters, engages on a regular basis.

I would like to encourage readers of this blog to read that article, and respond on the Hot Coals comments section. However, here are some points that will give folks an idea what the article is all about:

Amin, writing in an extreme orientalist manner, does not even allowing the sister wearing the niqab, the courtesy of being a human individual - for her, this person is a "something":

Before the sentence was complete, something entered the room.

Note also the emphasis, and indeed, what appears to be a fear of the color black, in the excerpt below. The orientalist Islamophobe is often not just fearful of the religion, but also of the colors of those who follow Islam, and who are often of a darker shade. So, they fear not just the beard, but specifically a "black beard." Those who have internalized this form of racism/orientalism also express themselves in very similar words.

It was a bit of a shock to me to see this mass of black! A black niqab, where even the two tiny holes where the eyes would be were covered in black gauze, entered the room. Thick black gloves sticking out of two wristbands attached to the shapeless black garb, tightly fastened, allowing only the black gloved hands up to the wrists to escape the dark cloud were placed the right hand on top of the left one on the chest, as if in a silent prayer.
Further down the article, Amin again refers to the individual person as a "black creature" - and again as "that black being, now dangerously armed" and yet again " black niqab then turned to the next victim" and once more "a faceless black creature."

Such Muslim orientalist-racists get a significant amount of attention these days because of the continuing war on Islam and Muslims - and this article appears to have gotten wide circulation on the various blogs and websites - including this Hindu right wing web site.

And finally, this "desi" web site included the following racist/orientalist image along with the article:

Friday, November 24, 2006

Muqtedar Khan and the Saban Center

Khan sahib is well known to readers of this blog, he first joined the Progressive Muslim Union North America's advisory board, only to be later driven out by Tarek Fatah and his crew. Khan's subsequent resignation letter is however to be credited. We are familiar with Khan's weird politics , dreams of becoming the first "Muslim" Henry Kissinger - and his attacks on Shi'a Muslim scholars.

Mutqedar Khan has been part of the liberal imperialsts crew for some time at the Brooking Institute.

That affiliation is bad enough - but amongst his credentials he now also lists Senior Nonresident Fellow with the Saban Center at Brookings Institution. So what is this "Saban Center?"

The name might give us a clue or two, it is named after Haim Saban :

born in Alexandria, Egypt and moved to Israel as a child. He is a financial donor and founder of the Saban Institute for the Study of the American Political System at the University of Tel Aviv.

Saban is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Brookings Institution. In a NYT interview (Andrew Ross Sorkin, "Schlepping to Moguldom", September 5, 2004) he stated: "In 2002, he pledged $13 million to start a research organization at the Brookings Institution called the Saban Center for Middle East Policy."

The same interview lists this quote: "I'm a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel".

Khan's affiliation should not come as any surprise to many of us. What is unfortunate is that he been given credibility by some Muslims, such as Shahed Amanullah, who publishes him on his website altmuslim.

Here are a couple more quotes from the founder of the institute where Muqtedar Khan is a "senior fellow"

"On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk," he said."I'm a Democrat for the reinforcement of the Patriot Act. It's not strong enough. The A.C.L.U. can eat their heart out, but they are living in the 1970's. We should all have ID's. You betcha. What do you have to hide? Some friends of mine on the left side think I'm crazy."

Why is he so supportive of Israel? "I hate quoting Tom DeLay, I really do,"Mr. Saban said. "If you're going to quote me quoting Tom DeLay, say I hate quoting him." He continued, apparently quoting Mr. DeLay, the House Republican leader: "He said: 'It is the right thing for us to do to be supportive of Israel. The reasons go back to the beginning of time.' "
Muqtedar used to also have a regular column on Muslim Wake Up -- but since his falling out with PMUNA, he has found himself a new home at Amanullah's altmuslim.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

the "veil" again

Why is it that the proggies, who are always harping about how there is too much attention being paid to how Muslim women dress, now the ones who come out with statements about the niqaab? Well, we all know why -they will use any and all opportunity to attack those Muslims who do not fit their ultra-secularist mold.

check out Mere Islam's post on The Face Veil...

This is not the first time that the proggies have attacked Muslim women for the way some choose to dress. Previously, Pamela Taylor (the chairperson of PMUNA) had talked about how she "positively hates" the "burqa" (i.e. the niqaab). Why such strong language? What is it that evokes such "hate" amongst the proggies?

I think some of this has to do with how they have become close in their ideology to extremist right wingers and the neo-cons, who are, often, no better than racist hate groups.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

a radical wrong way

Some friendly advise to my "traditional" sisters and brothers --- and I do mean friendly, 'cause I do think the "traditionalists" have a lot of good going (unlike the proggies, for whom I have little or no love at all) .

But lets be clear, taking money from a government that is the #1 friend of the #1 enemy of Muslims (the neo-cons) is not going to cut it... The radical middle way is a group that holds events that presents a primarily "traditional" Islamic point of view. This is all well and good, but this group gets most of its funding from the British home office:

The hardline approach is being pushed alongside a new covert weapon to win the propaganda war over the internet, Scotland on Sunday understands. A 'front' website (referring to the "radical middle way") designed to transmit a more moderate Islamic message to young Muslims has been set up.

Although the site is run to resemble a "grassroots initiative by Muslim organisations", a government document reveals that "most of its financial backing [is] from the Foreign Office and Home Office". Editors of the website have been encouraged to use podcasts to spread messages from 'Muslim roadshows'- government-funded national tours by moderate Islamic scholars.

The site also uses videos and other new technology to transmit its 'alternative message' to young Muslims - without indicating that it is effectively an arm of the British government.

Now, amongst UK Muslims, this news is not new - all of this is well known. And because the funding source is so well known, large segments of alienated British Muslims will not have anything to do with this group.

A UK govt. sponsored group is not going to win these folks a lot of friends. And if anything, such tactics will lead to even further alienation of young British Muslims - who will rightly point out that this kind of US/UK funded versions of Islam is just another strategy in the ongoing war on Islam.

I hope, strongly encourage and recommend that the organizations affiliated with radical middle way disown any and all fundings by the British govt. and/or dis-affiliate themselves from this group. Otherwise they are, quite frankly, headed down a radically wrong way.

Yes, I know this blog entry does not have anything to do with the proggies --- But remember the problem with them was not only how they viewed Islam, but also their affiliation and cozying up to the neo-cons. It would be very unfortunate if some of our respected, and otherwise well intentioned Islamic scholars also ended up going the same way.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

the progressive neo-cons

Lets take a look at what some former progressive muslim union north america’s board members are upto these days. Folks may remember the infamous Ziad Asali and his portege Hussein Ibish of the American Palestine Task Force. Well, truns out that these folks are having a little party – did you get an invitation? No? Well – Condi Rice did, and she’s gonna be the keynote speaker.

Oh it gets better, guess who else is coming for dinner? "His Royal Highness Prince" Turki al-Faisal, The “Saudi” Arabian ambassador himself!

Folks might remember how Hussein Ibish, and other progressive Moslems get all bent out of shape about “fundamentalism” and “wahabism” and so on. They even accused mainstream Muslim groups of being “wahabbi” – and yours truly was accused of being a “neo-salafi.” So, now all that has changed . Why?

Well, because “Saudi” Arabia is now considered a “moderate” – and Turki, the guy who actually encouraged the Taleban links with the CIA/United States – is a “respectable” statesperson:

Turki has been controversially associated with the terrorist group al-Qaeda As head of Saudi intelligence, he met with Osama bin Laden several times during the 1980s hoping to convince him to lead an army in Afghanistan against the Soviets.

Saudi intelligence joined Pakistan's intelligence service and the CIA in funding the mujahideen. Turki's relationship with bin Laden and al-Qaeda after bin Laden became an official enemy of Saudi Arabia and lost his Saudi citizenship is unclear. A continued connection to bin Laden was claimed in an article by Paris Match magazine. In 2002, Turki was named in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit by the families of September 11 victims, alleging that he and other Saudi princes, banks, and charities may have funded the terrorists involved in the attack. His involvement was also strongly implied in the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 911. A reporter for the Baltimore Chronicle claimed he was flown out of the United States shortly after the terrorist attacks, but the claim disappeared from later versions of the article.

Does anyone still have any doubts about what this Progressive/Moderate Islam/Moslem “movement” is all about? It is an extremist right wing movement that is opportunistic to its core.

Lets take a brief look at another "reformer" Moslem - the noble prize winner Shirin Ebadi. Here is a quote from a recent article:

There was a time when relations between the United States and the Iranian government were mutually beneficial. That honeymoon period began in 1953 when Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran, was in power. A good friend of the United States, the shah purchased U.S. weapons and signed important oil contracts with American companies. He also became a close ally of Israel in the Middle East.

"Mutually beneficial"?!!! Well, I suppose if you were one of the Shah's goons - this relationship must've been "mutually beneficial"!

Like the proggies, the "reformers" are in bed with some of the worst criminals and dictators.

Ebadi does not want Iran to be bombed, that is good - but she is all in favor of the United States being recognized as the ultimate power in the world:

And the Iranian government must also accept the fact that after the downfall of the Soviet Union, the United States is the one and only superpower — a reality that should preclude pejorative political remarks. Only through recognition of these facts can a solution for resolving the conflicts be reached

I suppose she did not like President Chavez's remarks? Well, this is what we can expect from people who call the criminal regime of the "shah" of Iran - a "honeymoon!"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Right Wing Proggies Unite!

Pictured above are Irshad Manji, Mona Eltahawy, and Naser Khader at a "moderate Moslems" conference in Denmark.

Mona Eltahawy is on the Board of Directors of the Progressive Muslim Union North America (PMUNA).

The above photograph says it all - PMUNA, and their Progressive Moslem types are nothing more (or less) than right wing extremists.

Thanx to Dr. Maxtor for his post on the above "event."

Monday, September 04, 2006

the extremist-moderates

...the moderates function well as political rodents; they are policy carriers for the likes of Bush and Blair. However, unlike rodents they are unable to infect the masses, because the masses have already been inoculated against such types of vermin. They recognise the moderates as simply echoing the voice of Blair, justifying his murderous foreign policy that is composed of state-terrorism and mass murder of Muslims. They see the voice of the moderates only gets amplified when it coincides with Blair’s policy.

These extremist-moderates attempt to uphold their Islamic credentials by giving a liberal ‘interpretation’ (misinterpretation) of Islamic texts in order to justify their alliance with those who hate Islam and are busy murdering Muslims. Hence, their position is not dictated by their understanding of Islam rather it is the opposite; they mould Islam to justify their political position which they have adopted in the first place. So call them traitors, Zionist-Muslims, neo-con Muslims, neo-Coolies, they all point to the same trait of treachery
click here to read entire article

Monday, August 28, 2006

The liberal imperialists: The Brooking Institute

A couple of recent article discuss the liberal imperialists: The Brookings Institute.

This institute is notorious for inviting well meaning, and not so well meaning (including Progressive type) Muslims to Qatar for an annual conference that is ostensibly to create "dialogue."

But given what Brookings is about, these conferences are more about getting naive and/or opportunistic Muslims on their side - and less about anything else.

Alexander Cockburn writes:

Open up the Washington Post and the strategic vision on display was an utterly mad piece co-written by one of the big boosters for war on Iraq, Kenneth Pollack, a hack thinker at the Brookings Institution, now an integral part of Israeli territory with its "Saban Center for Middle East Policy" named for the fanatic Zionist billionaire Haim Saban, majority owner of Paramount Pictures, a man who handed the Democratic Party a total of $12.3 million in 2002, a $7 million component of which was the biggest single contribution ever recorded up to that time.
more on Brookings by Ron Jacobs.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Proggies do the resignation dance (again)

If there is one thing the pro-regressivists are good at, it is in writing grandiose public resignation letters. Last year Tarek Fatah's PMUNAists did their bit (see here and here) - and now it is Tarek Fatah's Muslim Canadian Congress's turn to do the dance.

Here are a couple of newspaper articles on the splintering: 1 and 2

Meanwhile, Ingrid Mattson, who had been maligned by the proggies, has been elected as the first woman president of ISNA.

A large number of MCC's executive board did a public resignation, and announced the formation of a brand new splinter group. Here is the complete text of the letter:

August 22, 2006: For immediate release!

This statement is the resignation of the following Board members from the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC):

* Niaz Salimi, President;
* Rizwana Jafri, Vice President;
* El-Farouk Khaki, Secretary General;
* Arif Raza, Legal Advisor;
* Abbas Syed, Chief Financial Officer;
* Gary Dale, Director & webmaster;
* Atique Azad, Director;
* Jehad Aliweiwi, Director;
* Suhail Alsameed, Director.

It is also signed by the following people who have recently resigned from
the MCC Board and who share our concerns:

* Nadia al-Khatib;
* Hanadi Loubani.

The MCC was intended to be a voice of "Muslims not represented by other organizations, organizations that are sectarian or ethnocentric, largely authoritarian, and influenced by a fear of modernity and an aversion to joy." Over the years the MCC has made significant strides in offering a voice to many.

Recently, however, the public face of the MCC has deviated from its stated priorities. The message that MCC has been giving out is "not addressed to Muslims, it is aimed at making Muslim haters feel secure in their thinking".

As a result, many in the Muslim community have been alienated from the MCC as a viable voice for the community. Sadly many progressive Muslims and others perceive the MCC as being holier-than-thou, arrogant and enclosed in an ivory tower.

This was never our intention. The signatories to this statement believe that to combat the grips of fundamentalism and social isolation, we must engage and involve the Muslim community, and in particular the progressive and liberal voices within it.

For these reasons, we have chosen to leave the MCC, an organization which we have devoted ourselves to for several years.

We have decided to establish the Canadian Muslim Union (CMU), an organization which while advocating a separation of religion and state, will also work with and within the Muslim community.

The CMU will seek to engage the larger Muslim community in issues of human rights, human dignity, social justice and alternate progressive and inclusive visions of Islam. In so doing, we aim to instill joy in the celebration of our identities as Muslims and as Canadians with social consciences and a commitment to social justice and human dignity.

Contact: Arif Raza, 416 558-4777

Friday, August 18, 2006

Neo-Con "Sufis"

The Rand Report (see side bar) did not only focus on "modernist" vs. "fundamentalists" - they also encouraged using divide and rule tactics including shi'a vs. sunni, and sufi vs. non-sufi.

This blog has focused on the "pro-regressive" native informants led by the "progressive muslim union north america" (pmuna)... or, what the Rand Report calls "modernists."

However, we also need to be aware of the fake "sufi" types as well - who are doing the bidding of the neo-con empire builders. This should in no way shape or form be taken to be a slam on those who follow the teachings of Tasawwuf or Irfan.

Rather, this is about those who make common cause with the empire builders, and end up causing serious harm to the Muslim communities through their alliances and affiliations. "Shaykh" Kabbani is no stranger to controversy, but his group's latest activities are of very serious concerns. A new -must read blog- has done an excellent job of investigating the links between Kabbani's group, the Washington neo-cons, and the Blair regime of Britain.

Click here to read the blog.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tarek Fatah resigns

This blog is not about Tarek Fatah - repeat this blog is not about Tarek Fatah.

The problem is that he acts like a spoilt little brat who wants to hog (no pun intended) all the attention. And if you don't give him the attention he gets worse and worse.

So, OK - here is a little bone to the brat:

Dr. M on Fatah's resignation

Meanwhile, Fatah's other group, the Progressive Muslim Union North America (this blog *is* about the PMUNA - and other native informants) - has been eerily silent about the Zionist assault on the people of Palestine and Lebanon. Why?

These guys have a virtual statement mill, and can churn out statement after statement on just 'bout everything - so why the silence?

Well, the PMUNA is pretty much dead - I think they took the group off life support - so maybe that is one reason.

But the real reason is probably best expressed by Fatah in a recent e-mail (excerpts) - you see, for Fatah - the problem is the Muslim community - not the Zionists.

Does this sound familiar? It should - this is a neo-con/zionist Christopher Hitchens/Daniel Pipes type of thinking.

This infatuation with misery while Hizbollah gains the admiration fo the Arabs reminds me of the young shia boys in Karachi who beat and flagellate themselves bloody to outdo each other on Ashuar (10 Muharram) to posture as adults and impress the hijabi/niqabi chicks.

How blind can this ummah be. Dumber and dumbest, that is what we all are. Creating our own Karbalas to feel good about our victimisation.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Pro-regressives masquerading as "progressives"

Tarek Fatah's recent article characterized mainstream Muslims as "fundamentalist Muslim groups draped themselves in 'moderate' garb." (Fatah is a member of the dwindled PMU NA board of directors.)

Lets take a look at where the pro-regressives get published these days:

The Fatah article was published in the Canadian "news"paper The National Post. This happens to be the same paper that recently published neo-con Amir Taheri's lies about Iran. And this is the same newspaper that has earned the dubious distinction of being a repeat ‘worst offender’ in its characterization of Muslims and Islam.

With its frequent use of phrases such as ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘Muslim militants,’ ‘Islamic fundamentalists,’ and similar wordings, the Post was found during the study period to contain more than 230% as many negative references as the average of other media examples, even when the same stories were covered by other newspapers.

From the beginning the Post has had a strongly conservative editorial stance, and has an editorial page featuring the writings of many prominent neo-conservatives and libertarians from the United States and Canada, including Diane Francis, Andrew Coyne, Mark Steyn and David Frum. This stance is typically mocked by those who refer to the paper as the "Fascist Post" or the "Zionist Post". A number of newspaper stands in Toronto holding the National Post for sale have been vandalized with these statements.

Given the kind of regressive politics the Progressive Muslim Union North America advocates, it is not at all surprising that they have taken the neo-cons as their not so strange bedfellows...

The Fatah article, along with the usual nonsense against mainstream Muslim organizations, is a rant against multiculturalism. Amongst other things, he says:

That is not all. If we do not reform multiculturalism to promote integration and civic secular society, we risk creating a fragmented nation, divided into 21st century religious and racial tribes, suspicious of the other and longing for the home we left behind.

It is interesting to note that this is exactly the kind of paranoid slippery slope thinking that characterizes the extreme right - that if there is not a single uniform value system, we're all doomed to becoming divided into racial tribes.

But the Pro-Regressives do not stop at this - Pamela Taylor, chair of the Progressive Muslim Union, in a gushing tribute to Fatah also expressed how the family members of the 17 accused in Canada "were wearing burqas which Tarek (like many of us) positively hates." Taylor claims that Fatah was helping the family... that maybe true... But it is a strange form of help, given his anti-Muslim rants elsewhere. And it is stranger choice of words: "positively hate" regarding the clothing that the family members were wearing.

This is the so-called "Progressive Muslim Union North America" --- their extreme rightward shift, and the use of words such as "hate" should not come as a surprise to any of us who have been following the trajectory of these individuals. But it does look like the neo-cons have found their native informants.

see also a Sunni Sister blog entry titled: Isn't It Funny:

The difference is that the racist “conservative” is a little more open about his / her views. The racist “liberal” talks a lot of talk about lifting everyone up, but it’s an equality and uplifting as defined by him / her / the dominant culture. Why are so many liberals, here and in Europe, wringing their hands over “multiculturalism,” and some now talking as though it can be reversed? Because they don’t realize that our country (the US) is by default and always has been “multicultural.” Even many European countries have had a variety of ethnic, if not racial, groups living in them for centuries.

So when liberals and others start blabbering about “rethinking multiculturalism,” what they’re really doing is betraying their discomfort with the teeming masses saying, “Yes I am!” and with the minorities challenging the way things have always been done, the way history’s always been told, and the way the rest of the world is and has been explained to Joe and Jane America.

Monday, June 12, 2006

tarek fatah at it again...

via drmaxtor

Canadian Muslima blasts Tarek Fatah

Fatah champions his own views
Jun. 10, 2006. 01:00 AM

Editorial, June 7.Let me get this straight. Tarek Fatah of the Muslim Canadian Congress complains when the media make gross generalizations about Muslims, but has no problems making even bigger ones himself. Has Fatah visited every single mosque in Canada, enough to make the sweeping claim that no mosque allows freedom to debate? Imagine if someone had made similar comments about Canada's Jewish or Hindu communities, stating that their temples and synagogues were being overrun by "a fascist cult" of supremacy? It would border on hate. So why should his accusations about the Muslim community be accepted as legitimate discourse?Fatah's words bear the mark of hypocrisy. He regularly uses his weekly television show and position within the community to spread his own political views. He wants Muslims to discuss politics, just not in the one place that he and his fellow secular Muslims have no influence — the mosque. The double standard is laughable. Rather than promoting himself as a champion of the Muslim cause, Fatah and the à-la-carte critics like him, should admit that by trying to project their narrow-minded views on the community, they're no better than the "fascist" imams they claim to detest.

Samrina Wadhera, Toronto

more on fatah here

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Native Informers and the making of the American Empire

A review of "Reading Lolita in Tehran"

A particularly powerful case of such selective memories is now fully evident in an increasing body of mémoire by people from an Islamic background that has over the last half a decade, ever since the commencement of its "War on Terrorism," flooded the US market. This body of literature, perhaps best represented by Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran (2003), ordinarily points to legitimate concerns about the plight of Muslim women in the Islamic world and yet put that predicament squarely at the service of the US ideological psy-op, militarily stipulated in the US global warmongering. As President Bush has repeatedly indicated, the US is now engaged in a prolonged and open-ended war with terrorism. This terrorism has an ostensibly "Islamic" disposition and provenance. "Islam" in this particular reading is vile, violent, and above all abusive of women--and thus fighting against Islamic terrorism, ipso facto, is also to save Muslim women from the evil of their men. "White men saving brown women from brown men," as the distinguished postcolonial feminist Gayatri Spivak puts it in her seminal essay, "Can the Subaltern Speak?"

The publication of Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran coincided with the most belligerent period in the recent US history, the global flexing of its military muscles, and as such the text has assumed a proverbial significance in the manner in which native informers turned comprador intellectuals serve a crucial function in facilitating public consent to imperial hubris. With one strike, Azar Nafisi has achieved three simultaneous objectives: (1) systematically and unfailingly denigrating an entire culture of revolutionary resistance to a history of savage colonialism; (2) doing so by blatantly advancing the presumed cultural foregrounding of a predatory empire; and (3) while at the very same time catering to the most retrograde and reactionary forces within the United States, waging an all out war against a pride of place by various immigrant communities and racialised minorities seeking curricular recognition on university campuses and in the American society at large.

ON THE SURFACE, Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran has a very simple plot. A female professor of English literature at an Iranian university, having been born to a privileged family and thus educated in Europe and the United States, is finally fed up with the atrocious limitations of an Islamic republic, resigns her post, goes home, collects seven of her brightest female students and they get together and read some of the masterpieces of "Western literature," while connecting the characters and incidents of the novels they thus read to their daily predicaments in an ungodly Islamic republic. The plot, factual or manufactured or a combination of both, provides an occasion for the narrator to give a sweeping condemnation of not just the Islamic revolution but with it in fact the entire nation, the poor and the disenfranchised, that has given rise to it--for which she has absolutely nothing but visceral contempt. To connect this simple plot and its extended services to the US imperial operations at home and abroad, we need a larger theoretical frame of reference in comparative literary studies.
The entire review is a must read - click here to read it!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Muqtedar Khan and Shi'a Muslims

Muqtedar Khan is a former advisory board member of the Progressive Muslim Union North America, to his credit, Khan resigned from the PMU NA after raising the issue of "athiest Muslims" and "alcohol consumption." Read his resignation letter here.

Khan has recently earned the ire of Shi'a Muslims after he was invited to speak at a conference of the controversial Shi'a Muslim group called UMAA. The leadership of this group has, in the past, allowed the likes of Wolfowitz to speak at their conference, and there was also some discussion about inviting Daniel Pipes to this year's conference. Stephen Schwartz the strange "leftist" turned neo-con, turned "sufi" had also, in the past, endorsed UMAA's conferences. Each of UMAA's conferences has resulted in sharp controversy in the Shia Muslim community. And this year was no exception.

The source of this year's controversy was Muqtedar Khan's February 13th, 2005 article in which he compared Ayatullah Sistani with Saddam Hussein, and stated that:

"The US-led invasion of Iraq may have replaced an overt and brutal dictatorship by Saddam Hussein with a covert and subtle dictatorship buy the Marja-e-Taqleed, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani—the highest-ranking Shiite authority on the planet."

Many Shia Muslim did not appreciate this grave insult of their scholar, especially the comparison that Khan drew with the tyrant Saddam Hussein. Khan was confronted at the conference, and on on-line Shia forums. Click here for a blog entry for a summary of the concerns raised.

While the issues raised specific to Ayatullah Sistani are important, Muqtedar Khan's politics has been very inconsistent - at times calling for American Muslims to support United States imperialist military actions because of some kind of a "divine commitment" towards the United States:

“Once the war is declared, make no mistake Mr. Saddam Hussain and Mr. Bin Laden, We are with America. We will fight with America and we will fight for America. We have a covenant with this nation, we see it as a divine commitment and we will not disobey the Quran (9:4).”

Click here to read a wide ranging critique of Muqtedar Khan's strange politics and statements.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Native Orientalists

The Muslims America Loves


In the heyday of the old colonialism, the white man did not need any help from the natives in putting down their religion and culture. Indeed, he preferred to do it himself. Then, the opinion of the natives carried little weight with the whites anyway. So why bother to recruit them to denounce their own people. As a result, Orientalists wrote countless tomes denigrating the cultures of the lesser breeds.

Today the West needs help in putting down the uppity natives--especially the Muslims. One reason for this is that with the death of the old colonialism, some natives have begun to talk for themselves. A few are even talking back at the Orientalists raising all sorts of uncomfortable questions. This hasn't been good: and something had to be done about it. In the 1970s the West began to patronize 'natives' who were deft at putting down their own people. Was the West losing its confidence?

The demand for 'native' Orientalists was strong. The pay for such turncoats was good too. Soon a whole crop of native Orientalists arrived on the scene. Perhaps, the most distinguished members of this coterie include Nirad Chaudhuri, V. S. Naipaul, Fouad Ajami and Salman Rushdi. They are some of the best loved natives in the West.

Then there came the 'war against global terrorism' creating an instant boom in the market for Orientalists of Muslim vintage. The West now demanded Muslims who would diagnose their own problems as the West wanted to see them--as the unavoidable failings of their religion and culture. The West now demanded Muslims who would range themselves against their own people--who would denounce the just struggles of their own people as moral aberrations, as symptoms of a sick society.

more here

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Reformist/Progressive Attacks

Periodically, reformist/pro-regressive Moslem types will engage in vicious attacks on those that they consider to be "traditionalists" "conservatives" "right wing" or just plain not holding the same views on religion and society as themselves.

The nature of these attacks, ironically (or not) are often very similar to the innuendos and lies that are often spread about the beliefs of Shi'a Muslims - whose rights the progressives, from time to time, pretend to champion as "proof" of their being above and beyond sectarianism.

The reality is that the way progressives attack and twist beliefs of "traditionalists" is so similar to those we might call 'takfiris" that they show themselves to be a flip side of that movement. And so, progressive muslims will throw around statements that traditionalists believe in slavery, that they do not pray towards the Qibla, that they think wife rape is condoned in the Shari'a etc. Much of the basis for these statements are taken from this or that fatwa, web sites, or discussion boards. While there may be elements of "truth" it is not the whole truth, and the intention is to malign and distort, not to seriously engage in discussions about Shari'a and religious beliefs.

This is the same kind of sectarianism that is often engaged against Shi'a Muslims - whose statements and beliefs are distorted by taking this or that phrase off some site, and spreading 'em around the web, or through fitna pamphlets. This is also exactly the same methodology used by anti-Muslim right wing fanatics - whose blogs are filled with all kinds of one liner nonsense. As such, the Progressive Islam/Muslim types are much closer in their methodologies of attacks to the takfiries on the one hand, and anti-Muslim right wing fanatics on the other.

The Mind Body Soul blog has an entry on these attacks that is worth a read:

Those who follow Islam as it has been understood for centuries have to deal with attacks on multiple fronts, there is certainly no respite in being known as a ‘traditionalist’.

... the progressive/reformists/modernists whose theology is so plainly confused that they don’t even think it is worth discussing. It is difficult to believe they revere anything, either that, or they view expressive reverence as a form of weakness.

To speak of them, first we must identify them. This is difficult to do as they plainly avoid discussion of their own religious beliefs and their ideological heroes are often non-Muslim.
One of their defining characteristics is their enjoyment to dip into taboo’s. In fact the more taboo the subject, the better it is for them to discuss (better search-engine keywords). The most interesting aspect of their reactionary approach is that, like most short lived movements, they rely intimately on criticisms of the other to define themselves.

What is quite curious is that there is not one among them that has actually come from a background of traditional learning.

Lacking a fundamental understanding of what they spend their hours criticising, their mistakes in their understanding of tradition are visible from afar. This latest post from Ali Eteraz, lists a number of things he applies to the traditional understanding of Islam. His immediate mistake of making the lead financing state of the Wahabi philosophy, Saudi Arabia, into following the “Hanbali legal code”. As if Shaykh Abd al Qadir Jilani (rad) would have approved of this mockery of a legal code in Wahabistan.

click here to read more

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

How To Be a Muslim Reformer! 7 Easy Steps.

Are you a former Muslim and/or Arab? Do you want to appear on FOX TV?

Are you an aspiring academic but lack the academic qualifications to get a professorship (or tenure).

Do you have an axe to grind?

The doors of opportunity are now open for you! All you have to do is become a Muslim Reformer!

Yes, and you can do it all in just 7 easy steps. This new easy to follow guide is your ticket to fame and riches that you could only imagine!

The formula, once a closely guarded secret, is now only a mouse click away.

After reading an article on Wafa Sultan (the up-and-coming Muslim reformer) in the New York Times today, it occured to me that I should get on this reformer bandwagon before the market gets saturated. I'm articulate, telegenic, exotic (yet oh so fluffy and Westernized), not to mention female (oppressed by rigid Islamic paternalism, naturally). Too bad I've got so many other little schemes on the go and can't spare the time for this one. However, I've written a handy little guide for aspiring refuseniks, male or female, Muslim or non-Muslim. Hopefully it will inspire readers to lead the charge in enlightening the benighted Islamic world.
Click here to read the 7 life changing steps!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

PMUists keep marching towards extreme right

As part of the PMUNA's march into the arms of the extreme right wing neo-cons (is anyone really surprised?), the Progressive Muslim Union North America's Executive Director, Ani Zonneveld, has enthusiastically endorsed the views of the anti-Muslim/Islam individual Wafa Sultan.

According to a Los Angeles Times article Zonneveld has put a link to an interview under the title "Wafa Sultan Rocks!"

See Dr. Maxtor's blog for more on this Sultan person.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Uncle Toms go around the world?

Karen Hughes: "I've reached out extensively to our Muslim-American community, because I believe they are a very important bridge. We send them around the world, they have a lot more credibility to debate issues of faith than I do as a Christian woman."

Karen Hughes: "The voices of Muslim Americans have more credibility in the Muslim world frankly than my voice as a government official."

So --- looks like we got some American Muslims going around the world --- speaking the gospel of Bush and Co. So, who are these Toms? And what exactly are they bridging?

Come on, lets have some full disclosure. Who exactly are these "bridge builders?" Who is on the pay roll? How much? Which organizations, seminars, conferences are being sponsored?

Maybe they say something like this: "trust Bush - he will bring liberation and democracy" (do they include the fine print? Democarcy = What Bush Wants ... Or Else, you outta luck, Bomb comin' your way!).

And then people wonder why Muslims elsewhere think so low about American Muslims.

With Hughes "American Muslim brigade", bridging the world --- may the Lord help us all!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Uncle Tom's Union

The so-called "Progressive" Moslems Union has invited a so-called "leading" Moslem scholar from France to join a "female led" prayer by none other than the Chair of the Progressive Muslim Union North America: Pamela Taylor !

The "leading Moslem scholar" goes by the name of "Mufti" Soheib Bencheikh. The "Mufti" is going to give a press conference to discuss the cartoon controversy.

So, who is this mufti? Turns out this dude has earned the praise of none other than Mr. Daniel Pipes himself! (Yes, we knew it was only a matter of time... next time they should just invite Pipes himself). Mr. Pipes describes the mufti as "as the epitome of "the liberal intellectual Muslim, pious but not Islamist."

So, what kind of ideology does the mufti represent that earned him such high praise from the great Pipes himself?

Well... here is an excerpt from MWU's comments section:

For examples i'll use one of his interview for the newspaper Le Parisien (one of the french newspaper that have published cartoons of the Prophet) in which: he IS saying that he is FOR the BAN at school (personal note: i'm not a hijab fanatic myself, but i think girls should do whatever they want and that it's ridiculous to ban it at school).

In the same interview he is worried about the fact that there are more muslims going to pray at the masjid than some years ago, and to him that shows how France is fulle of muslims being radicalized. He believes those are waiting to be terrorists...

In general i don't think he defends muslims or progressive ideas that much, to me he is down to go wherever the power that be wants to see muslims go... He's just the muslim credibility to the people paranoid with terrorism, who see terrorism everywhere and who want to control Islam... i'm not saying his intentions are deeply wrongs, but i would say that he sounds to often like an "uncle Tom" to me...

I don't want to be hating on him, i wish him peace, but i just don't see his points, and i think his perception that France is in danger because of evil terrorists taking over the hearts of the believers is VERY dangerous, because it surely is used by the power that be for a dark agenda.

Plus Bencheikh never smiles !! what's wrong wit u dude ? lol

For ya'll french readers out there here is the itw:

Well... I think that just says it all... i suppose even Uncle Toms need a union...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Quote of the month

Angry Arab says:

Hostility to Islam by people who pose as "the authentic Muslims/Arabs" is now a cottage industry. (And notice that are always listed as "free-lance writers and speakers"--and it never matters if they have degrees in tomato studies). I mean, look at this one. "I witnessed honour killings of girls, oppression of women, female genital mutilation, polygamy and its devastating effect on family relations. All of this is destroying the Muslim faith from within." I lived for the first 23 years of my life in the Middle East (while Manji attended "madraaasaaah" (as she prounounces it), not in Lahore, but in CANADA), and I never witnessed an honor killig; I never witnessed female genital mutiliation; I saw one polygamous marriage (my aunt) when I was there. But I have witnessed oppression of women in the Middle East....AND in the US, and in Europe.

Angry Arab takes on the strange Manji

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Axes of Moderate Moslems

Article in Haaretz on "A Planetary Intifada"

....triangle of life and reason, which more than ever must unite the United States, Europe and Israel...

...And second, in the same breath, the reaffirmation of our support for those enlightened moderate Muslims...

...Moderate Muslims are alone these days, and in their solitude they more than ever need to be acknowledged and hailed....

Thank you for letting us know who will be doing the hailing, and of-course there won't be any mention of American, European and Israeli slaughter of Muslims. Moderate Moslems, enjoy your time in the limelight, and whatever bribes you get for speaking as instructed by your masters.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Detoxifying Mona Eltahawy

Last i checked, Mona Eltahawy was a board member of the so-called "Progressive" Moslems Union of North America. Eltahawy has been praised by the arch-neo-con Paul Wolfowitz as the voice for "modernity and freedom." Well, of-course, given the kind of "freedom and democracy and modernity" that Wolfowitz and his ilk are interested in bombing the world into -"progressive" Eltahawy would be someone that he would praise.

Eltahawy has written an "article" on the anti-Muslim hate speech Danish "cartoons." Here are two responses to that "article."

Dr. Maxtor does a point by point refutation of the article.

And Svend White discusses some important points related to Eltahawy's article.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Conceit of Proggies (Farish Noor)

Farish Noor's recent article does a good job of highlighting some of the very problematic attitudes of proggies.

Farish Noor, however, himself is not entirely innocent of these attitudes - during the Amina Wadud media stunt - he basically pronounced a fatwa that any dissenting opinion with regards to the event was a "non-debate." This, even though there were substantial counter arguments that were presented by Islamic scholars regarding the event. The issue here was not whether one agrees or disagrees with the respective positions, but about totally ignoring critiques based on an Islamic framework and methodology.

A blogger noted that:

In Noor and Hamzah's case, the "non-debate" is actually the startling assertion that no debate is possible, on the grounds that almost every Muslim outside the MWU/PMU fold is intellectually incompetent. Thus, in a single sweep, Muslim scholarship around the world is reduced to dunderhead status.

However, it is encouraging to read Farish Noor's recent article where he notes that:

The distinction between ‘progressive’ Muslims and ‘conservative’ Muslims may not have been invented by the Neo-Cons who rule the roost in the White House, or the repressive regimes that blight the landscape of the Muslim world, but it cannot be denied that they have also profited from such distinctions. President Bush Junior’s warm embrace of the concept of ‘progressive Islam,’ and his establishment’s support for ‘progressive Muslim’ issues and personalities comes at the cost of expelling other Muslims from the domain of the civilised, rational, normal and acceptable. Already we have seen many a repressive Muslim government or regime hijacking the terms ‘progressive’ and ‘moderate’ in order to whitewash the authoritarian structures of power they control, and to sell themselves as exemplary models of ‘progressive Islam’ at work.

While he makes an important point above, he then again uses terms such as "Muslim conservatives" and "fundamentalists" in his otherwise very good concluding paragraph:

And let us not forget that those ‘Muslim conservatives’ we are so inclined to banish beyond the pale of civilised community are fellow Muslims who are likewise grappling with the challenges of the globalised age we live in. By engaging with Islamist conservatives and fundamentalists, we ensure that the frontiers of discourse and dialogue remain open, and the possibility of genuine constructive change remain with us. The alternative is the exclusionary politics of expulsion and non-dialogue, a deafening silence that divides the Muslim world and dooms our efforts to uplift humanity as a whole.
If these labels were artificial, and exclusionary before, they are even more irrelevant today. Those who Noor, and others would label "traditional" or "conservative" Muslims are the ones who are doing the very real work of service to the Muslim community in a variety of domains. These areas include gender, racism, environmental concern, domestic violence, consumerism, and not allowing Islam to be "reformed" and divided up by the neo-cons. There are other areas that also need to be addressed, no doubt, and much more needs to be done.

If we are to use the label "progressive Muslim" then that should be used for those who are truly active and connected within Muslim communities - and do the much needed work with a sense of love - no matter how many warts our community might have. And quite frankly most of those who have appropriated this label (especially the PMUNAists) do not fit this description of service.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Living Tradition responds to Muslims For Bush

Naseeb.Com recently ran an article by Muslims For Bush about the Katrina Hurricane, praising Bush and telling the critics to focus on Blair instead (as if there is a big huge difference!).

Muslims For Bush: On behalf of all of our members, we are deeply upset by such comments. We suggest that such British commentators start reverting their criticism towards Prime Minister Tony Blair, who we have never seen make any sorts of outreach to minorities, whether it be visiting British Muslims in a Mosque after a terrorist attack, as President Bush did here, or hugging minorities. This is the kind of stuff that makes us love America!

Living Tradition Blog response:

Oh, dear. Well, you see, Muslims aren't concerned about Bush visiting mosques and holding iftars as much as we are concerned about
white phosphoros and shrapnel being used on defenseless Iraqis and Afghanis--not to mention our American fallen soldiers and those who are coming home with some serious injuries. For all the speeches about "Islam is Peace" and "Muslim Americans are patrotic" can't compare to the over 25,000 death count of Iraqi civilians since the March 2003 invasion. So who cares if Tony Blair didn't hug a bunch a Muslims, Bush and Blair share the same policies when it comes down to oppressing poor Muslims in the "third world." He hugging minorities! I is soooo happy (insert me tap dancing)! Maybe he should have thrown some life rafts to all those drowning minorities in New Orleans

Click here to read more!

And of-course, lets not forget that these characters (Muslims For Bush) were originally invited to serve on the advisory board of the Progressive Muslim Union North America.

A larger question that comes up for many Muslims is why is publishing this kind of trash? Well - as one blogger points out:

... the behaviour of the brain trust behind Naseeb. The forum given to members for artistic expression was handed over to cronies and close friends of the braintrust, in order to spew out rather shoddy propaganda for Progressive causes. One being the infamous Muslims for Bush, and their giddy founder, known to Naseebers as HassanDaddy (really).

(OK, I really don't wanna discuss if Ahmed Nassef is dajjal or not...)