Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Favorite Quote: The Attorney-General in Charles Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities"

The full text of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities is available online. I listened to an unabridged performance. The book should also be in your local library.

Imagine Sam Waterston of Law & Order, who as Manhattan's District Attorney wanted perps to do hard time for jaywalking, playing the role of Attorney-General prosecuting Charles Darnay for treason against the "serene, illustrious, excellent and so forth, prince, our Lord the King!"

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Review: Christian Nation by Frederic C Rich

Frederic C. Rich retired from one of the United States's largest law firms. He also found time to write a speculative fiction (by now, nearly alternative history) novel set in our time about the takeover, via election, of the United States by Christian dominionists and reconstructionists.

The author maintains a website with more information about the book and a list of questions for discussion. You can search for the book at your local independent book store or at a library near you.

Monday, November 16, 2015

To Read - "The Gulf - High Culture/Hard Labor" edited by Andrew Ross

The Gulf Labor Artists Coalition maintains a website and a Twitter account. Sign a petition to the Guggenheim Foundation.

Andrew Ross, the editor, is a Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University in New York City.

I have not read the book.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ask NBC to Hire Iman Zawahry to Direct an Episode of "Master of None"

Hey guys! My friend Lexi Alexander (first female director of a Marvelfilm) helped start a Twitter campaign to have me...
Posted by Iman Zawahry on Thursday, November 12, 2015
Master of None is a Netflix original series.

Check out my interview with Iman from November 30, 2012.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: From Makka to Las Vegas: Critical Theories in Architecture and Sanctity by Ali Abd al-Ra`uf

Yomna al-Saeed wrote a review in English of an Arabic book. The review was published at on September 21, 2015. The book's title is

 من مكة إلى لاس ڤيجاس
أطروحات نقدية في العمارة و القداسة

which I've translated to From Makka to Las Vegas: Critical Theories in Architecture and Sanctity. Its author is علي عبد الرؤوف Ali Abd al-Ra'uf. It was published in 2014.

To Read: "What Is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic" by Shahab Ahmed on September 20, 2015 published an article by Noah Feldman about Shahab Ahmad and his book What is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic, scheduled for publication in December 2015. Shahab Ahmed died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States on September 17, 2015.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Book Review: "The Heroine Next Door" by Zeena Nackerdien

Sheri Hoyte reviewed The Heroine Next Door by Zeena Nackerdien for on September 8, 2015.

The book has an official website. You can buy the book from the publisher.

In her day job, Zeena Nakerdien is a real-life scientist, and she's got a non-fiction book published on Type II diabetes.
I have not read the book.

Review: Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe by Esra Özyürek

Aysegul Kayaoglu reviewed Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe by Esra Özyürek. It was published in the London School of Economics Review of Books blog on June 5, 2015.

Panelists, including author Esra Özyürek, discussed the book on January 21, 2015.
Search for the book in a library near you using

I have not read the book.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: Ummakkuttiyude Kunjikinaavukal by B. M. Suhara

Do you read Malayalam (Kairali) or know someone who does? Meena T. Pillai reviewed Ummakkuttiyude Kunjikinaavukal by B. M. Suhara. The review was published in The Hindu of September 17, 2015.
The Hindu has many columns tagged Malayalam literature.

I have not read the book.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Review: Islam in Liberalism by Joseph Massad

Anna Provitola and Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins reviewed Joseph Massad's book Islam in Liberalism.

I have not read the book. There is more information at the publisher's site, and you can search for a copy at your local library on

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Review: God Sent Me: A Textbook Case on Evolution vs. Creation by Jeffrey Selman

Jeffrey Selman (website) was the lead plaintiff in a suit against the Cobb County, Georgia Board of Education which resulted in an order for it to remove a disclaimer from its public high school biology textbooks.

I've met Jeffrey twice in my activities for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the first time to lobby against Georgia's Religious Freedom Restoration Act legislation in March 2015 and the second time to hear him speak at our Augusta, Georgia chapter meeting about his book in August 2015.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: The Right vs The Right to Die: Lessons from the Terri Schiavo Case and How to Stop It from Happening Again by Jon B. Eisenberg

I attended a presentation by Robert Rivas of Final Exit Network, a group which, after a screening process to confirm a terminal condition and informed consent, provides information to people who want to kill themselves. He recommended to me The Right vs The Right to Die: Lessons from the Terri Schiavo Case and How to Stop It from Happening Again by Jon B. Eisenberg.

Eisenberg did pro bono legal work on behalf of Michael Schiavo, who had requested the State of Florida to order the withdrawal of a feeding tube from his wife Terri Schiavo, who had been in persistent vegetative state for several years. Terri’s parents objected, and lawyers representing the parents littered the Florida and Federal court systems with motions and appeals to delay the withdrawal of the tube. Eventually, the original Florida county court judgment was upheld, after years of litigation, Terri’s feeding tube was withdrawn, and she died of dehydration.

Review: One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M Kruse

I reviewed this book through a series of Twitter status updates using the hashtag #1NationUnder. I've also Storify'd it, adding some additional comments, which you can see after the jump.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Review: Fear and Self-Loathing in Gaza by Ahmed Masoud

I have not read the book.

Help Documentary "(T)ERROR" Cover Legal Expenses and Insurance Costs

Update: Feb 15, 2016: This documentary is airing on PBS's Independent Lens, February 22, 2016.

A major theme of this blog has been criticism of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), in both its international and domestic forms. I hope this documentary film will be another tool to change the current policies of the United States government, but the filmmakers need your help to reach a wider audience.

TERROR Documentary is facing unprecedented legal obstacles, and there is now a danger WE WON'T BE ABLE TO RELEASE THE...
Posted by TERROR Documentary on Friday, July 31, 2015

Here's the link to the Kickstarter project.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Film: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

I have not seen the movie.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Veronica Mars, Un-American Graffiti: The White Perpetrator is Forgiven

In "Un-American Graffiti," episode S3E16 of Veronica Mars, a brother of a veteran wounded in Iraq vandalizes "Babylonian Gardens," a restaurant run by naturalized US-citizen "Arabs," no nationality mentioned. There are a number of ethnic stereotypes and tropes the episode uses which I hope producers and writers will avoid in the future. But, in the wake of the Charleston massacre, there's a larger issue of the portrayal of non-white victims of white perpetrators' hate crimes.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Film: 1001 Inventions - World of Ibn Al-Haytham

Trailer to Omar Sharif's final film, the short film releasing later this year: '1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham.'

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Summer Reading List from The Intercept

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Twitter). The author maintains a website.

At one time in my life, I read many self-help books. I've read other books which deal with behavior and psychology, but this one made enough insights to me for me to consider it a self-help book, and I mean that in a positive way.

Part One introduces the personality traits which cluster into the opposite poles of introvert and extrovert and how the modern United States has adopted "The Extrovert Ideal." Young adult broadcast media protagonists are rock stars (Hannah Montana), spoiled scions (Suite Life of Zack and Cody) and teen detectives (Veronica Mars). Business leaders are portrayed as having boundless energy and charismatic personalities. Politicians are "deciders." Introverts are potential Unabombers. "If you don't toot your own horn, nobody will" is almost a truism.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Review: The trials of Abu Ghraib: an expert witness account of shame and honor by Stjepan Gabriel Meštrović

I did my review through a series of Twitter status updates using the hashtag #TrialsAbuGhraib. If you use Twitter, please add your comments using that hashtag. I am embedding the Storify story below, but if it doesn't display properly, just click here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Monday, May 04, 2015

U.K. Christian Theologian Keith Ward on Laws Prohibiting Blasphemy

Leonard Levy, in his book Blasphemy: Verbal Offense Against the Sacred, from Moses to Salman Rushdie, quotes Keith Ward as a person who, in the wake of the persecution of Salman Rushdie, changed his opinion from support of the United Kingdom's blasphemy laws to their rejection. I acquired the source document to understand Ward's views in more depth.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Film: Sin Visa (Director Ana Simoes)

Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer at Stanford University and host of the radio show and blog Arabology, reviewed the Spanish film Sin Visa. I have not seen the film.
Sin Visa is an independent, poignant film that broaches the topic of immigration in a powerful, thoughtful and unique way. At a time when immigrants seem to be systematically portrayed en masse by so many media outlets, this film succeeds in humanizing the immigrant experience by reminding us all of the individuality and uniqueness of every immigrant that has ever crossed the border. ... read more ...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Meet the Qo'sbys: Halal in the Family by Aasif Mandvi

Comedian Aasif Mandvi has put together Halal in the Family, a series of short videos in the sit-com format about the Qu'osbys addressing various aspects of Muslim-non-Muslim interaction in the United States.
Information about the videos and some of the serious issues underlying them is available on the Halal in the Family website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: Redeployment by Phil Klay

Redeployment by Phil Klay (Twitter) (Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143126829, 304pp.)

Author Phil Klay is scheduled to come to my city, Augusta, GA, on April 17, 2015. I intended to go and confront him, not because I knew anything about him or his book, but mostly because of my anger over the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the worldwide assassination program by drone and other global war on terror calamities. 'Murica's embrace of the movie American Sniper also increased my bitterness, which I expressed on Twitter. This one best sums up what I thought I'd feel about Phil Klay and his book:

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Review: The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age by Martha C. Nussbaum

The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age by Martha C. Nussbaum (Belknap Press, Hardcover, 9780674065901, 304pp.) Publication Date: April 2012

How can the industrialized, formally democratic societies of Europe and North America increase religious pluralism? European nations "have understood the root of nationhood to lie first and foremost in characteristics that are difficult if not impossible for new immigrants to share. Strongly influenced by romanticism, these nations have seen blood, soil, ethnolinguistic peoplehood, and religion as necessary or at least central elements of a national identity." (p. 13) Other nations, such as the United States and India, define "nationhood in terms of political ideals and struggles," thus somewhat opening the door. (p. 16)

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

"Tracks in the Snow" - Exhibit on Minnesota Muslims

From the Duluth, Minnesota Zeitgeist Arts Café website:
Who are Minnesota Muslims? They are a small but rapidly growing part of the state’s community. Conservative estimates suggest that there are about 120,000 – 150,000 Muslims in Minnesota. Learn about the untold stories of this community at the Tracks in the Snow traveling exhibit featured at Zeitgeist Arts from April 4th through April 24, 2015.  ---- read more ----

Everyday Iran on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

As elements of the United States government continue to press for war with Iran, perhaps the most effective action for peace is to remind people everywhere that the victims of war will overwhelmingly be everyday Iranians, not the stereotyped, cartoonish villains whom warmongers portray with their rhetoric. For this purpose, I ask people to follow and share the pictures of Everyday Iran on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Download 422 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Culture

For lovers of art & art history, it's Eid! When I searched for available books in the thematic category "Islamic Art," there were 56 results. I'm downloading now Mirror of the Invisible World: Tales from the Khamseh of Nizami. Read the article at, then check out the publications available for download.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open seven days a week and is located in New York City, New York, United States of America.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Teacher Confronts Islamophobia with "The Garden of My Imaan" by Farhana Zia

Amy Vatne Bitliff used Farhana Zia's The Garden of My Imaan in her public middle school.
Then two days prior to Zia’s visit, one of my students who had really been pushing against the text said, “You mean a Muslim is coming here?! They chop people’s heads off. If she’s coming here, I’m not coming to school." ... read more ...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi

How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi (Penguin Press HC, The, Hardcover, 9781594201769, 304pp.)

The author relates the stories of seven Arab-American youth from Brooklyn, New York.

It's hard for me to relate to the stories in this book because I'm much older than the subjects, I've never lived in a place with a lot of Arabs (or great ethnic diversity) and I've never had the family, financial and legal struggles many of them had.

Nevertheless, the stories were engaging, and I read the book quickly. Each subject's story made me think about things differently, and I suspect each reader would draw unique lessons for himself or herself.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution

To purchase the English version of the book, visit the publisher's web page. The book has its own website. The Facebook page has ongoing developments, including the Egyptian government's efforts to erase the graffiti.

This article reports that the copies were seized in Alexandria over a fee dispute, not censorship.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

Roots: The Saga of an American Family
When I was a child, before DVRs and Tivo and even video cassette recorders, the first big TV event I remember was the ABC miniseries "Roots" based on Alex Haley's book of the same title. I have this memory (or imagination) of people looking at their watches and saying, "I know what you are telling me is important, but I gotta get home to watch the next episode of Roots." I thought I had watched it, but I had forgotten everything except Kunta Kinte's capture and somebody saying, "Lizzie, Lizzie." I was fortunate to acquire a minimally-scratched used recording of Avery Brooks's abridged narration of the 30th anniversary edition, which included an illuminating forward by Michael Eric Dyson.

Having read Alex Haley's first breakthrough book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Marable Manning's biography of Malcolm X, in which Haley plays a prominent role, I felt like I heard the Nation of Islam's influence, especially in Haley's description of Kunta Kinte's village in The Gambia and his rejection of the descendants of African slaves whom he encountered.

So much has been written about this book. I strongly encourage readers of this blog to read or listen to a copy or at least watch the miniseries.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Review: The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim by Nicholas Kulish & Souad Mekhennet

The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim
By Nicholas Kulish & Souad Mekhennet
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385532433, 320pp.)
Publication Date: March 25, 2014

I originally learned about this book following tweets regarding a January 10, 2015 newspaper article by Nicholas Kulish entitled "Old Nazis Never Die." Many twitter users came to the conclusion that escaped Nazis exerted strong influence in Egypt and Syria, and many attributed some of the animosity in those countries to the Zionist project to Nazi-style anti-antisemitism. A French film, which I have not seen, explores Nazis who fled to Egypt and Syria. See this article written by its director, Géraldine Schwarz, and published in Le Monde of January 2, 2015.

So I wanted to read this book to learn about this influence, but that is not its main focus. The authors focus on the process of denazification after World War II, from whose chaotic, unfocused, politicized origins emerged human rights laws and eventually war crime tribunals.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Review: The Secret World of Oil by Ken Silverstein

The Secret World of Oil by Ken Silverstein
Hardback, 240 pages ISBN: 9781781681374
May 2014

Note that the author of this book is not this Ken Silverstein, who writes in energy industry publications.

If you care about the poor or the environment, be prepared to vomit in your mouth at nearly every other page of this account of the oil and other resource extraction industries.

Ken Silverstein devotes a chapter to each of the following categories of players in this woeful tragedy: the fixers, the dictators, the traders, the gatekeepers, the flacks, the lobbyists and the hustlers.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Nadia's Ramadan - Film for Use in Public Schools

Unity Productions Foundation has produced a short film, Nadia's Ramadan, with a professionally made lesson plan, for use in public schools.

Please approach your children's public schools to see how this resource can best be utilized.

Nadia's Ramadan - Preview from Unity Productions Foundation on Vimeo.

Reclaiming Malcolm X & Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative

The Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative is sponsoring a series of programs under the label "Reclaiming Malcolm X." I don't want to try to summarize my impressions because I want you to listen to the programs as the recordings become available and participate in face-to-face or online discussions.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Review: Does God Belong in Public Schools? by Kent Greenawalt

Does God Belong in Public Schools? by Kent Greenawalt (Princeton University Press, Paperback, 9780691130651, 261pp.)

Professor Greenawalt's book examines different common claims made by parents, students and school employees that public schools have violated the Free Exercise clause by interfering with their practice of religion.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Review: The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond

I love popular science books. I hope that many would be translated into languages Muslims often speak, particularly Arabic, since many educated Arabs only read Arabic, unlike Urdu, for example, of which I'm told its educated speakers typically can read English.

One of the authors whose books I suggested should be translated is Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse. His latest book, The World Until Yesterday: What We Can Learn from Traditional Societies?, also deserves the widest possible audience.

By comparing how modern and traditional societies handle war, raising of children, care of the elderly, health risks, religion, language and diet, The World Until Yesterday stretches our conception of the ranges of choices available to us in a matter similar to the best science fiction.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: On the Means of Beholding The Prophet in a Dream by Yusuf ibn Ismail al-Nabahani

by Imam Yusuf b. Isma'il al-Nabahani, translator Imam Abdul Aziz Suraqah.  

A Muslim's Book Shelf reviewed the book:

This book presents 40 means that Imam Yusuf al-Nabahani has collected in order to see Prophet Muhammad  in a dream. ... read more ...

I have not read the book.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sanad Collective: Letters to the Beloved Writing Competition

Letters to the Beloved ﷺ

As-salāmu ʿalaykum wa raḥmātullahi wa barakatūh
Sanad Collective is inviting you to express your feelings for the Prophet ﷺ by composing a letter, from you to him ﷺ. ... read more ... 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Anti-Terrorism Messages Lack Substance

This morning, I heard a segment on USA National Public Radio entitled Building Ties to Counter Religious Extremism in LA. The segment features two law enforcement types extensively, and two Muslims, Amina Mirza Qazi and Salam al-Maryati, who present different points of view. I've written on this blog extensively on the Global War on Terror, so I'd encourage you to review those posts.

Friday, January 16, 2015

ATL Discusses "Mornings in Jenin" by Susan Abulhawa, Jan 31, 2015, 6pm

This book has also been translated into Arabic. This blog entry is an adaptation of an e-mail I received from Ingrid Torsay through a mailing list. See if this is going on in a city near you.
Atlanta is participating in the One Book, Many Communities project, organized by Librarians and Archivists with Palestine. We will discuss Mornings in Jenin by Palestinian-American author Susan Abulhawa. Please join us for a lively discussion and a pot luck supper:

31 January, Saturday, 6:00 PM
Our Lady of Lourdes (cafeteria)
25 Boulevard NE
Atlanta, GA  30312

The 'One Book, Many Communities' project by Librarians and Archivists with Palestine aims to introduce readers to the richness of Palestinian literature, and create a broader awareness and understanding of Palestinian history and the struggle for self-determination."

Communities throughout the world will be reading and discussing Mornings in Jenin. Just a few of the places are Rome, Venice, Bologna, Trieste, Naples, and 3 or 4 more in Italy; Dèvillac, France; Tel Aviv, Israel; Malmö and Stockholm in Sweden; Ramallah, Palestine; Quebec and Toronto in Canada; and several cities in the U.S.

Everyone is welcome. The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library has four copies available. Come even if you have not finished reading. Contact information: Ingrid Torsay (404) 438-6598 or by e-mail

Update: Jan 16, 2015 23:15: The author Susan Abulhawa is excited about the worldwide response to this project.
Updated February 17, 2015: Yousef Munayyer's review of the book.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Review: In God's Path: Arab Conquests and The Creation of an Islamic Empire by Robert Hoyland

Stuart Kelly reviewed In God’s Path: Arab Conquests and The Creation of an Islamic Empire by Robert Hoyland in The Scotsman of January 7, 2015.
This kind of book always eschews its embedded nature in contemporary discourse: it’s the facts, man, not a comment on the contemporary cradled in archaism. That is true, but it would be beneficial to everyone if both Muslims and non-Muslims read it, realised their shared history, understood their differences, and appreciated that the stories can always be retold, reinterpreted, revised and reimagined. A Norman knight and a Korean monk can give us insights into Islam; Islamic writing, thinking and behaving can hold up a mirror to the West as well. Read more
I have not read the book.