This past week, there were two Iftars in Washington DC, one by the State Department and the other at the White House. I was honored to be invited to the former but was unable to attend. What surprised me was a huge controversy that erupted between Muslims on twitter about whether these Iftars were worthy of attending, tagged with #WhiteHouseIftar. The twitter debate was, as usual, more vitriolic than useful, but Prof. Omid Safi laid out the case for boycotting the iftars in a civil and reasoned way. In a followup post, Omid called upon Muslim Americans to stand up for Justice (as per Qur'an 4:135), specifically about drones and Gitmo. In response, I lay out a vision for a Muslim American domestic agenda that I'd like to share here, below the fold.
(Disclosure: I am the Editor of MuslimsForObama.com)
As a supporter of Barack Obama, I have laid out my own personal reasons for supporting Barack Obama. But some Muslim Americans are not convinced, which is why the list at Muslim For Obama.com of 10 reasons to support President Obama is so useful. Here are those reasons, in a nutshell:
Last week, I met Paul Ryan at an apple farm.
My conversation with him was pretty brief:
I was wearing my traditional topi headcap and I have a fair amount of beard on me, so it was rather obvious that I was Muslim. Ryan was shaking hands and taking photos with people, and ahead of me were three college-age girls who chattered excitedly about him. When he saw me, he quickly forgot about the coeds and welcomed me with a smile and a handshake. I told him I was an American Muslim and he asked where my mosque was; I told him I was a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community and our closest masjid was in Willowbrook. He said he had heard of my community and asked where I lived, and I told him Madison - to his credit, his smile didn't waver :) I told him I visit Chicago on weekends to visit my parents and then I invited him to visit our mosque, which he appreciated. After a few quick photos, I wished him the best of luck with his campaign.
It's that time of year again - to nominate your favorite blogs and bloggers for the Brass Crescent Awards! The nomination phase will end shortly after Eid al-Fitr, and polls will be open shortly thereafter. Inshallah, winners will be announced on Eid al-Adha. The categories are below the orange squiggle:
Some of you will be starting today, others tomorrow, but regardless of when you start fasting, I just wanted to wish all of you Ramadan Kareem!
I am very thankful that this group, Muslims at Daily Kos, has been such a success, and it's had very little to do with me. It's entirely due to all of you. The group admins keep the diary queue fresh and interesting, there's healthy discussion, and we have a steady stream of people asking to join.
This Ramadan I'll be blogging at City of Brass as I do every year, and I'll be featuring the DKos muslims group. I'd like to see us grow even further and attract even more attention. My dream is to get Rep. Keith Ellison to contribute a diary and I am working the connections I have in DC for this, lets dare to dream big :)
From Twitchy.com's own About page:
Owner, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer: Michelle MalkinLet's give Malkin her due: Twitchy is an impressive portal page, has a fairly large staff (8 Editors listed, as well as her husband Jesse Malkin listed as VP of operations), and runs a number of dedicated Twitter accounts that monitor liberals on Twitter under the categories of US Politics, sports, celebrities, and media. They are also are developing mobile apps.
They're never gonna keep us down!
OK, we took a hit last night. But democracy won.
One of the enduring chants heard by the Wisconsin protesters was “this is what democracy looks like”. That was always true, irrespective of the outcome of the recall election. Had Tom Barrett prevailed last night, there would have been well-deserved triumphalism on the part of the progressive movement about the voice of the people; but the same holds doubly true when you lose, as long as you played by the rules. In a way, the entire point of the recall was the recall itself – the ability of an electorate to hold its politicians accountable.
and Scott Walker himself agrees with us! In 2002 he said:
I'm not an advocate of repealing Obamacare - lets just make that absolutely clear. All things considered, it's a good law and it is something at a time when anything is sorely needed. Repeal moves us backwards.
That said, I'm not too worried about the arguments before SCOTUS this week, especially yesterday's harsh line on the constitutionality of the individual mandate.
The basic issue is this: the individual mandate is necessary to hold costs down if we rely on the private insurance market, because otherwise free-rider parasites will simply avoid paying their share and cost-shift their last-minute medical emergency expenses onto the rest of us. Here's a great, short primer on the individual mandate that explains this all quite clearly.
Muslims and non-Muslims in New York City and across the country have been upset by the news about the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims. The news is disturbing and deeply concerning to say the least. However, we are heartened by and very appreciative of the number of people and organizations that have come forth to support us, to speak out with us and for us – and to defend civil rights for all.
We have taken note — and we want to express our gratitude. There is no better time than the present, and no better place than Twitter. Today — Friday, March 2, 2012 — we are going to #FF and say #ThankYou to the many individuals, including elected officials, journalists and universities that are supporting us and speaking out. We hope that you will join us on Twitter to help us say #ThankYou all day and all night.
Welcome to the Dean2016 group at Daily Kos!
The purpose of this group is to lay the groundwork for supporting Howard Dean if and when he should choose to enter the Presidential race for 2016.
The purpose of the Dkos group is to highlight and foster a community of support for Dean in 16 amongst the dkos community. There is also a more general blog at http://dean2016.com which will promote Dean in 2016 beyond the walls of the Orange.
Also, we have a twitter feed at @deanforamerica which is an aggregator of both the group and the blog, as well as selected Dean-related news stories.
Yesterday, I was invited for a 20 minute segment with Armando Llorens and David Waldman on Daily Kos Radio (SiriusXM Channel 127). I was joined by Faiz Shakir of the Center for American Progress, and the main topics of discussion were the recent Pew poll of American Muslim attitudes and the report on the Islamophobia industry in America, "Fear, Inc".
For my part, I was asked why Muslim Americans (MuslAms, as I've coined us) are still so generally optimistic and positive about America and the future (as the Pew poll clearly illustrates). My answer was that MuslAms are well integrated, that the US is "wired differently" from Europe, which allows and encourages us to be very active and engaged in our civic communities. Basically, the ranting of the JAFIs nationally isn't as relevant to us as the support and inclusion we have in our home towns, and that matters more.
I also griped when asked about Park 51 - I support the idea of the project, but resented how the timing and the handling of the project's PR (and aggressive, almost petulant social media response to critique) dragged the entire MuslAm community into the debate. I've said my piece on Park 51 before.
It was a fun conversation but limited in time, so I didn't get to touch on everything I wanted to discuss. So, I'll just make brief mention of a few things here.
I’m proud to share with you today a report that my friend Wajahat Ali has been working on for more than 6 months with the DC-based think tank, Center for American Progress, entitled “Fear Inc., The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”
The report can be downloaded from here: http://www.americanprogress.org/...
Wajahat Ali was lead researcher and writer for this expose on how just 7 groups have given $43 million over 10 years to a small, inter-connected group of people and organizations responsible for mainstreaming fear, bigotry and hate against Muslims and Islam in America.
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