The question we should be asking about Brandeis, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Islam

In rescinding the honorary award for Hirsi Ali, Brandeis did the right thing. Eventually. But perhaps we should be asking another question: how could Brandeis have chosen such a hateful person whose views are easily exposed through a simple Google search in the first place? And would such views be tolerated, and rewarded, had they been made about other ethnic and religious communities?

Miley Cyrus, VMAs, and “We the people.”

Most of all, this is not about Miley Cyrus. It’s about the patriarchal (and racist) culture that we all participate in, and about our own diseased hearts. The great Muslim sages were right: this “music” is simply bringing out what is in our own hearts. And it is we, we the people, not just Miley Cyrus, who are profoundly sick and diseased. It is not just Ms. Cyrus that needs a spiritual (and intellectual) awakening. It is us, we the people.

Beyond #WhiteHouseIftar: 6 points towards a principled action of solidarity

Here are six concrete points and strategies to help us continue a principled and constructive conversation about #whitehouseiftars. In the last thirty years, we as Muslims have had intense conversations about our multiple and overlapping identities as Americans and as Muslims. What kind of America we want to belong to? An America that is an Empire, or a land of liberty and rights? If it is the latter, words will not suffice. We need to be participants in making that a reality.

Obama, Mandela, and Guantanamo Bay

As the President so poignantly commemorates Madiba, I want to urge him to remember another group of political prisoners who are wrongly imprisoned: More than half of the 166 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have been cleared to be released by the United States’ own reckoning. it is an opportunity to go down as corrected one of the great wrongs of recent American history. It’s the right thing to do, and it would earn him–and the United States–a massive amount of good will. And who knows…one of those released prisoners may well turn out to be the next Mandela.
#BarackObama #nelsonmandela #guantanamobay

The Racism of New York Times’ “Muslims are not ready for Democracy”

What is perhaps most frustrating about the NY Times’ “mental deficiency” language vis-a-vis Muslims and democracy is that this language is simply a continuation of a colonial apologia where Western countries colonizing and occupying, Muslim (and other) countries justified their lingering oppression by stating that these countries “were not ready to rule themselves”, “lacked the mental qualifications needed for self-governance”, etc. This colonial—which is to say, unjust and oppressive—worldview must be exposed and dismantled before we can embrace a more holistic and humanistic paradigm.