H&M: Where Pseudo-Sustainability Meets Diversity Porn
by Melody Moezzi, MS Blog, September 30, 2015

The world’s second largest fashion retailer recently made a deliberate move to attract members of the world’s second largest religion, and people have taken notice.

More specifically, H&M featured a Muslim hijabi woman for a split second in this video advertising spot that deftly disguises a sly cost-saving measure as an eco-friendly call for “sustainable fashion.” The spot concludes, “Leave your unwanted garments in any of our 3,300 stores. We reuse them or recycle them into new clothes. Recycling one single T-shirt saves 2,100 liters of water.” Makes you wonder how much money it saves H&M—though unsurprisingly, the ad doesn’t say.

More notably, the ad includes a sort of festival of other “others,” resulting in an awkward spectacle of diversity porn that begs to be shared and tweeted by all those progressive and free-thinking folks who have no problem letting multinational companies into their hearts, minds and closets.


My latest post on the refugee crisis in Europe.


by Remi Piet, al Jazeera, September 10, 2015

Instead of joining Europe in its quest for liberalism, the new EU members are putting up obstacles.

For over a week, networks around the world have covered the fate of refugees striving to reach safe havens in Europe. The narrative has been one of wild contrasts.

In Austria and Germany, Syrian populations have been welcomed with flowers and applause as opposed to refugees in Budapest facing harassment from Hungarian soldiers. The underlying theme has been the same with nation states throughout Europe paralysed by inaction inaction and sputtering an adequate answer. Yet the reality is more complex.

With a very low unemployment rate and an ageing population, Germany has a need for immigrants and the generosity of Germans, however laudable, should not overlook existing economic interests and racial tensions.

Earlier this year, the streets of Germany were taken over by anti-immigration rallies from the extreme right movement, Pegida, who vented racial slurs and propaganda.


With reports of Saudi coalition troops massing on the border to invade Yemen, the situation in Yemen gets even more dangerous. Will the beautiful Old City of Sanaa become the next Aleppo?


This blog post is also available in Swedish


Plenty of patients but little patience as the war drags on…

Rustam fighting a Jinn from a medieval Islamic manuscript

Anyone who has read about Aladdin knows about the genie in a lamp. The English term “genie” stems from the Arabic “jinn,” a reference to spirits in various physical forms that are said within traditional Islamic theology to have been created from fire. Artistic representations of the jinn are varied, but often show monstrous and distorted bodies. A collection of illustrations can be found online here. From our modern perch, such depictions belong to fantasy and science fiction. But literalists who seek to return to the way of thinking, although selectively, of what they think was thought at the time of the Prophet seem to believe in the jinn as part of an apocalyptic scenario for the end of the world.

While denouncing those who would walk into a bar and order gin and tonic, the extreme salafi belief in a real-life jinn is just as toxic, and not simply to one’s sobriety. I grew up in a Fundamentalist Baptist church where belief in the Devil, evil spirits and angels was prominent. It was convenient to have the Devil. a.k.a. Satan, around to explain why bad things kept happening to otherwise good people. The philosophical question of the “problem of evil” and how a just and loving God could allow such evil in the world was evaded by saying that God was allowing Satan to control the world. Life, thus, was a test and one that no one could win alone. Hence the need to put a “Jesus saves” bumper sticker on your car and condemn the “unsaved.”

There are few greater evils in the world today than belief in an unseen evil power that serves as the excuse to explain why there is so much hatred, prejudice, violence and killing. The Christian doctrine of “original sin” shifts the blame back to a naked Adam and Eve, who dared to seek the knowledge of good and evil. Islam avoids original sin, but nevertheless there have been many Muslims who justify evil in this life. Reports of ISIS fanatics who rape Yazidi women as a duty to their faith is a case in point. So is the mantra that the caliph or ruler must be obeyed, no matter how unfair, corrupt and evil he is. The old Manichean dualism of an eternal battle of good vs. evil is not only maintained, but magnified.

I wish there really were jinn and that they would show themselves so that modern day Rustam’s could battle them and conquer the fear of such beasts. It is the fear of the invisible that is the greatest fear to overcome.

A member of ISIS poses in a fighter jet similar to those used in the Prophet’s time.

By Haroon Moghul, Religion Dispatches, August 24, 2015

Last week, The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi published “A Theology of Rape,” a report as important as it is horrifying. Unfortunately, like several recent exposés on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including Graeme Wood’s website-busting What ISIS Really Wants, Callimachi’s reporting is unusually receptive to the movement’s claims. Namely, that plausible Islamic arguments can be made for slavery, rape, and other crimes.

In support of his own argument that ISIS isn’t just “Islamic,” but “very Islamic,” Wood cited Princeton academic Bernard Haykel who insists that anyone who denies ISIS’ Islamic authenticity is being disingenuous (who says this is never elaborated on). Wood then proceeded to analyze ISIS’ “Islamicity” based almost entirely on Haykel, several fringe Muslim scholars, ISIS sympathizers, and no mainstream voices.

This is a problem. Journalist Murtaza Hussain explains that, “We invariably view conflicts involving Muslim groups as being driven primarily by atavistic religious beliefs.” Which is why, he adds, we jump to “texts and ideology to explain contemporary events. We don’t do this with the recent Israeli war on Gaza, even though that conflict also contains clear religious connotations and justifications.”

Only weeks ago Jewish radicals lit a house on fire and burned a Palestinian child to death. Last year another Palestinian child was burned alive. Yet I don’t recall articles in the Times, the Atlantic or any other popular media assessing the act’s conformity with Judaism, or arguing that “price tag” attacks are not just “Jewish,” but “very Jewish.” There are, in fact, radical Jewish sects who preach indiscriminate violence citing G-d and the Torah, but these claims are not entertained as serious.

“ISIS,” laments Hussain, “has been granted full civilizational power to speak for and represent Islam.”

For the rest of this article, click here.

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