Category Archives: literature

On Educating Oneself

Conditions of death and destruction force us to ask the question: what is wrong with human beings? What is the human condition? In other words, what dehumanizes our souls, minds and sensibilities to commit such unspeakable acts to each other? Why do some of these muscular devotees of Islam produce teachings that violate human dignity at every turn? I need not be reminded that their super power adversaries are equally craven. … Is it not time that conscientious Muslims produce what can be called the “violence critique?” ….While I concede my education was imperfect, but from somewhere I acquired the sensibility to question the unquestionable. The example of the hierodules, those slaves who served the ancient Greek temples come to mind. The hierodules had the advantage over the priests when it came to the secrets of the cult (Calasso 2005). They were surely no less knowledgeable than the priests, but because they were servants they were prepared to take risks and were more willing to expose, question and explore the secrets of the cult. I too behaved like the hierodules. Continue reading

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Posted in Ethics, Islam in America, Islamic Law/Ethics, Islamic studies scholarship, literature, Madrasas, Middle East, middle east, Muslim Ethics, Personal, scholars, scholarship, science, South Africa | Leave a comment

Timbuktu Manuscripts: Civil War and the Documents of Civilization

  “There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” Walter Benjamin Today I received an update on the status of the Ahmad Baba library in Timbuktu following news that it might have been torched … Continue reading

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Posted in Africa, Foreign Policy, literature, Mali, Timbuktu, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wanted Women — The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui — By Deborah Scroggins — Book Review – NYTimes.com

Wanted Women — The Lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui — By Deborah Scroggins — Book Review – NYTimes.com.

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Posted in Ethics, Foreign Policy, Islam in America, literature, US Politics | Leave a comment

Insight for Occupy Around the World

It struck me that the West Indian historian, C L R James’ analysis of history reveals extraordinary insight.  He wrote: “The cruelties of property and privilege are always more ferocious than the revenges of poverty and oppression. For the one … Continue reading

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Posted in Ethics, Foreign Policy, literature, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Chicago by Alaa al-Aswany

Coleridge long ago said poets were humankind’s unacknowledged legislators. But if you care to read further you might agree with me that novelists too could enjoy this privileged position. Recently, I cited the Egyptian novelist, Alaa al-Aswany in an article … Continue reading

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Posted in Ethics, Islam in America, Islamic Law/Ethics, literature, Media, Middle East, South Africa | Leave a comment