The Least, First

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Stop the Clash of Civilizations

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Dazzling 2.5 minute video from – in the running for best 2007 political video – you can see the others and vote, if you like, at 2007 Video Awards. If you have trouble with videos stopping and starting, click pause, let the thermometer fill up a bit with gray, then play.

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Written by Monte

March 19, 2008 at 8:46 pm

What’s to admire about Muslims?

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After I posted What Muslims Really Think, a reader left an important comment. You won’t find it pleasant, for it points to one of the more famous weaknesses of Americans: we don’t know much about the rest of the world. But it is important, and it is honestly asked, and so, where else can we begin? Here’s the comment (and I wince):

I cannot think of one think I admire about Muslims, or should I say Islam, since I have met individual Muslims that I do admire. I was wondering if you could list some of the things you admire about Islam that I might consider.

Honest Poet offered a collection of grand ideas at that same thread. And here’s my own first offering: excerpts from a post by Eboo Patel, founder and director of the Interfaith Youth Corps (found thru Clipmarks excellent clipper Arifsali, who found it in the Washington Post/Newsweek’s On Faith). Emphases are mine.

Iboo Patel

The Spell of Islamophobia

A few weeks ago, I was on Radio Times, the mid-morning talk show on Philadelphia Public Radio. […]

I spoke about how Muslim history and theology support religious pluralism. I talked about many of my Muslim heroes, scholars and activists like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Imam Zaid Shakir who have articulated visions of a world where people from different backgrounds come together in positive ways. I described my book, Acts of Faith, which tells my story of how the discovery of my Muslim identity inspired me to start the Interfaith Youth Core. (Listen to the podcast) […]

The phones started ringing off the hooks. The callers basically had two questions: “Why don’t Muslims condemn terrorism?” And, “Where are the moderate Muslim voices?” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Posted in Islam, Religion

What a Billion Muslims Really Think

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“[N]o one in Washington had any idea what 1.3 billion Muslims were thinking, and yet we were working on intricate strategies that were going to change the world for all time.” (-Jim Clifton, Gallup Chairman and CEO.) But there’s good news:

Muslims prayingIn order to discover what Muslims truly think, Gallup spent 6 years interviewing nearly 50,000 Muslims from 35 countries representing the most comprehensive analysis of the wishes, desires, grievances, complaints, and opinions of nearly 1.3 billion Muslims.

The results were collected and analyzed by John L. Esposito, a leading American expert on Islam and University Professor at Georgetown, and Dalia Mogahed, a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, in their new, groundbreaking work: “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.

Get it? For the first time, ever, we have a basis for saying “most Muslims are of the opinion … “ And the conclusions may shake things up.

clipped from
When Muslims are asked, “Do they admire anything about the West?” contrast that to Americans when asked, “What do you admire about Muslims?” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

March 6, 2008 at 12:33 pm

What Merle Haggard understands about world affairs

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Remember Merle Haggard? If you’ve been around long enough to remember the Vietnam war—regardless where you came down on it—you remember Okie from Muskogee. I remember the chorus as “When you’re runnin’ down my country, boy, you’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side o’ me.”

Haggard, it turns out, is having second thoughts about the Right. Enjoyable writing by Joe Klein at Time documents the journey:

Merle Haggard“I supported George W. I’m not exactly a liberal. But I know how that Texas thing works, who those oil folks are and what they wanted in Iraq… I’m a born-again Christian too, but the longer I live, the more afraid I get of some of these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives.”

But Haggard’s greatest complaint is a matter of pride—and pride, in his hardscrabble past and his country, has always been his favorite song. “The thing that gets under my skin most about George W. is his intention to install fear in people,” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

October 13, 2007 at 1:04 pm

“Death to al-Qaeda!”

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Al-Qaeda briefly, but perhaps auspiciously, out-Satans the USA in the public mind at Najaf:

clipped from
Thousands Rally Against Al-Qaeda, US in Najaf
In other Iraq news, thousands of people took to the streets of Najaf in a show of unity following last week’s attack on the Askariya mosque in Samarra. Demonstrators waved Iraqi flags and Shia banners with slogans including “Death to al-Qaeda.” Marchers also called for an end to the U.S.-led crackdown on Baghdad.

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Written by Monte

June 23, 2007 at 11:31 am