Archive for October, 2011

Abruptly Arrested, Briefly Detained, Irreversibly Inspired

by Samer Abulaela

My primary motivation for starting this blog is to work with others in formulating a meaningful response to islamophobia that refuses to engage in the “good Muslim – bad Muslim” narrative, and to tie social and political consequences to islamophobic speech and actions of political, media, and government officials and institutions. Nevertheless, I’m finding myself rather pleased that my first post has little to do (at least directly) with the deluge of articles regarding the racist spying and community mapping perpetrated against Muslim Americans. Nor does it relate to the bigoted trainings conducted by FBI and Justice Department personnel, both within their respective institutions, and to first responders.

Instead of getting right into all that’s in need of being changed, I’m delighted to have caught a glimpse of the spirit that’s going to change it. Perhaps you heard of the Brooklyn Bridge mass arrest of 700 peaceful Occupy Wall Street protestors this past weekend… well, I happened to be among them. As the charges against us are being challenged, I’ve been warned not to discuss the details of the events that lead to our arrest – so for now, I won’t. Anyway, I think that’s much less interesting than what I want to talk about: the passion and dedication that was on display that day by more than just those of us who had to endure the inconvenience of arrest.

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19

10 2011

Reflections on Our Work: Distractions and Detachment

Our work is primarily focused on alleviating problems, on jumping hurdles, on solving puzzles.

Our work, in many ways, depends on the existence of these problems. In some ways, perhaps, this distracts us from purifying our selves. Of course, you can embark on both paths, or achieve purity through dealing with such problems.

But what if this isn’t supposed to be the way of life? The fact that we attempt to fix problems shows us that we seem to think that it is not.

The paths to attempting to solve these problems often complicate our lives. What would we do if life were simple? Could we adapt to a situation of relative calm? Could we maintain worship?

Of course, struggle will never cease. The struggle with our selves and with others and even the struggle to reach equilibrium with the [natural] World will always persist.

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13

10 2011

Islamic Literature

I recently read “Minaret” by Leila Aboulela as part of a book club. While discussing the novel, we brought up the notion of a Muslim voice in American literature.

The book deals with Najwa, a girl forced to leave Sudan as her father is executed for corruption after the fall of the government. She settles in England and leaves behind her life of short skirts and infatuation with Western culture and embraces hijab and the stricter aspects of Islam.

The book had a clear message: Najwa had a fulfilled life because she devoted it to her religion. She’s very vocal about this throughout the story, and her views of others is shaded by whether or not they’re practicing Muslims.
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02

10 2011