October 2008

Professor Rashid Khalidi

by Mark LeVine, Tikkun, October 30, 2008

With less than a week left before the most important Presidential election in at least a generation, the McCain campaign has decided that, having failed to convince most Americans that Barack Obama is actually a closet Muslim, its best hope for winning undecided voters is to accuse Obama of having Muslim friends.

Not just Muslim friends, Muslim Palestinian friends. Apparently there are few more fearful combinations in the American ethno-religious lexicon.

And so a McCain spokesman has accused the Los Angeles Times of “intentionally suppressing” a video that would “show a clearer link” between the Democratic candidate and Professor Rashid Khalidi, the most important scholar of Palestinian history in the world, who at the time the video was shot, was a neighbor of Obama and a colleague at the University of Chicago. (more…)

Where the RNC found Joe the Plumber

Yesterday the RNC (also to be known as Really Nasty Condemnations) slid out yet more mud trying to fearmonger Senator Obama yet again as a terrorist. Since they cannot find any smoking guns from Obama’s record, the exit strategy has come down to throwing smoke-filled room stink bombs around Obama’s Chicago neighborhood. The latest mudpie comes at the expense of Professor Rashid Khalidi, who holds the Edward Said Chair of History at Columbia University. When Obama taught at the University of Chicago he was a colleague, neighbor and friend of Khalidi. For the RNC all it takes to be labeled terrorist these days is to be Palestinian. But they have chosen an individual who is a recognized international scholar and who is admired across a broad spectrum of the academy. His most recent book, The Iron Cage, attacks the excesses of Zionism on the Palestinian quest for statehood, but is also critical of the PLO and Palestinian violence. He writes as a historian, not a polemicist only interested in political spin. (more…)

Move over and move on, Saturday Night Light Live. The internet is rife with spoofs of Sarah Palin. Imagine, for a moment, that Palin was Black. What might a liberal media bashing Brooklyn Palin sound like? Check this out:

Thousands of people displaced Hundreds of houses damaged

Abdul Aziz Oudah, Yemen Observer, October 28, 2008

Flood damage in the Hadramawt

Devastation in eastern Yemen after last Friday’s floods caused by heavier than usual rainfall.
Preliminary estimates from the floods in Hadramout and al-Maharah put the death toll at 184 with 100 others still missing.

Seventeen hundred houses were damaged, and ten thousand people have been displaced in the last three days.

The total cost of the damage is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of YR. (more…)

International Conference
“Rethinking Jihad: Ideas, Politics and Conflict In the Arab World and Beyond”

The University of Edinburgh, 7-9 September 2009

Especially since 11 September 2001, the notion of ‘jihad’ has assumed
centre-stage in public and academic discourses on Islam, Muslims, and the
Arab world, particularly as a byword for terrorism and violence. But
clearly jihad has meant different things to different people at different
times, whether as theory, as action or as metaphor. As a timely exploration
of this diversity, the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World
(CASAW) is convening a major international conference on the subject of
jihad in its multiple dimensions. The conference has three overarching
goals. The first is to bring together academics and others from a variety
of disciplines and specialisations to generate an in-depth discussion of
jihad in its practical, theoretical, historical, juridical and symbolic
dimensions. It is hoped that by drawing on a diversity of perspectives
(methodological, historical and geographical) the conference will contribute
to a deeper and more critical understanding of jihad. The second goal is to
reflect critically on the importance of jihad, however defined, to the study
of the Arab and Islamic worlds: to what extent is jihad a useful analytical
concept? Have students of Islam and the Arab world minimised or overstated
its importance? How should jihad be located in future research agendas?
Finally, the conference will seek to engage with the broader knowledge
community and explore current understandings and representations of jihad
within policy and media circles internationally. It will critique these
representations, as well as explore ways in which academics might contribute
to an improved understanding and contextualisation of jihad in public
discourse. (more…)

The Endorsement From Hell
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, The New York Times, October 25, 2008

John McCain isn’t boasting about a new endorsement, one of the very, very few he has received from overseas. It came a few days ago:

“Al Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” read a commentary on a password-protected Islamist Web site that is closely linked to Al Qaeda and often disseminates the group’s propaganda.

The endorsement left the McCain campaign sputtering, and noting helplessly that Hamas appears to prefer Barack Obama. Al Qaeda’s apparent enthusiasm for Mr. McCain is manifestly not reciprocated. (more…)

Death toll rises in Yemen floods
Al-Jazeera, October 25, 2008

The death toll from floods sweeping through southwestern Yemen following heavy rains has risen to 49, officials have said.

The floods have been most severe in the provinces of Hadramaut and Mahara.

Officials said that four people were killed by lightning in the southern provinces of Tayez and Lahj, and a mother and son were also killed when lightning struck them in the al-Mahwit region north of the capital Sanaa.

Hadramaut and Mahara were both declared disaster zones on Friday, officials said. (more…)

[The website Muslim-Americans for Obama was created by Zeba Khan and welcomes members who share their goal of electing Senator Obama President. Here is their mission statement]

Although there is only a short period of time until the election on November 4th, there is much work to be done for supporters of Barack Obama’s candidacy. Muslim-Americans for Obama (MAFO 2008) was formed to offer a vehicle for Muslim-Americans to mobilize quickly and effectively so that our community turns out in great numbers for Barack Obama on Election Day. Given the role that “being a Muslim” has played so far in this campaign (most frequently as a slur or ‘allegation’ that Obama is himself a ‘secret’ Muslim), we also wanted to create a space that rises above such sophomoric and hateful rhetoric, in order to assert the following core beliefs:

• That we support Barack Obama because, among other reasons, he rejects the politics of fear, challenging our nation to embrace its collective identity, where each American has a stake in the success and well-being of every American.

• That we have a duty both as Muslims and Americans to organize and vote.

• That our role and responsibility as concerned American citizens in this or any election should not be to silence our voice, out of fear of being ‘spoilers’ or of being identified as a Muslim: this succumbs to anti-Muslim fear-mongering that will only fester in continued ignorance.

• That we have the same rights to petition and assemble endowed by the Constitution as do the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Agnostic, or Atheistic communities, or any community for that matter.

• That, until the Muslim-American community is effectively organized in the United States, it will continue to be vulnerable to slurs and misperceptions and our many contributions and service to this country we love will go unnoticed.

While we are taught like every American to respect and embrace freedom of speech, we will not tolerate hate speech on MAFO 2008. Our goal is as serious as it is urgent: to register our voice and support for Barack Obama in this historic election. We do not have the luxury of time to engage those who stoke the politics of fear to divide our country and marginalize hard-working Americans who happen to be Muslim.

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