Found an old video I did on Eid in August of 2013. Sorry for the late post.
Found an old video I did on Eid in August of 2013. Sorry for the late post.
The sweeping surveillance of local Muslims is un-American, unconstitutional and spawns an atmosphere of mistrust, undermining the efforts of law enforcement conducting clandestine investigations of Muslim Americans in the New York metropolitan area.
These criticisms of the New York Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim Americans from New York City to Long Island were made by New York State Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) and Dr. Hussein Rashid, a professor of religion at Hofstra University during the college’s 11th annual “Day of Dialogue” event Wednesday.
For several years we have suffered global catastrophes that have cost thousands of lives and untold years of future hardship. Most recent is Typhoon Haiyan, which destroyed parts of the Philippines at a cost of over 5000 lives. It is easy, and necessary, to give money to help people after a tragedy like this, but it is also easy for donor fatigue to develop. There are already reports that most Americans are unaware of the tragedy. More importantly, even after the initial rush of aid, what happens to the people and physical ruins of their lives is something we do not often pay attention to.
So, for Giving Tuesday, I want to highlight the work of MIIM Designs, an architectural and design firm that uses “design communities + create culture” as its tagline. They are fundraising to help rebuild. Their goal is “speaking to local citizens and construction professionals, they are working to begin understanding the on-the-ground situation, assess the area's needs, and deliver impactful design to help the people.” In other words, they are putting into direct practice what I, and what I believe other people, want understand, which is how their money is being used.
The work they are fundraising for is person-centered, trying to meet local needs, and build for the future. It’s daring and bold, and should be the norm. I work on Muslim arts, and dabble a little with architecture. I think it’s great that we can point to marvels like the Taj Mahal, or the 96th Street mosque, But we have to think of architecture as something more than monumental. It speaks to the needs and identities of people. The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, one of the premiere architecture awards, says its goal is:
The selection process emphasizes architecture that not only provides for people's physical, social and economic needs, but that also stimulates and responds to their cultural expectations. Particular attention is given to building schemes that use local resources and appropriate technology in innovative ways, and to projects likely to inspire similar efforts elsewhere.
From what I understand of MIIM Design’s vision, this is the response they are fundraising for. I would love to see people donate to this cause.
It’s Giving Tuesday, help out.
I'll be speaking on a great panel sponsored by the Trevor Project on LGBT youth acceptance in faith communities. Flyer is attached and details are:
Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013
Metropolitan Community Church
446 West 36th Street (between Dyer Ave and 10th Ave)
You can register here: (free)
Dr.Rashid, Professor of Religion at Hofstra University and Associate Editor of Religion Dispatches joined Hofstra's Morning Wake-Up Call on WRHU Friday, August 30,2013 to respond to new AP reports that the NYPD labeled entire mosques "terrorism enterprises" in order to justify surveillance.
Hussein Rashid, a professor at Hofstra University, disses those who say a Ramadan observance called Laylat ul-Qadr, which translates as the “Night of Power” or the “Night of Destiny,” may be the reason for the closure of U.S. embassies in Africa and the Middle East.
During Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, there is a night that I look forward to every year. This night is called Laylat ul-Qadr, which translates as the “Night of Power” or the “Night of Destiny.”
In observance of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from food and drink during daylight hours, some will be participating in another type of fast -- a social media one. We speak with observers about why, after dark, naturally.
I first met Scott Korb in the summer of 2010. It was at a time in New York when the Islamophobia Industry was holding a fundraising drive by saying that building houses of worship and praying was un-American; saying they were vultures retraumatizing the city for their own personal gain and amusement would be too charitable. I was doing a lot of press at that time around Park51, and I get an email from Korb. He wants to do a piece on American Muslims. I am wary. There are all sorts of media instapundits emerging around Islam, and news reporters inserting themselves into that role; or worse, because Korb indicates he’s writing a longer piece, I fear he may be a cultural tourist, picking and choosing what he likes to create his vision of an American Islam.
Hussein Rashid is an ISPU Fellow and adjunct Instructor of Religion at Hofstra University.
Islamic scholar Hussein Rashid, on the other hand, has been going the exact opposite route when it comes to the holy month and social media since 2009. Over the last three Ramadans, Rashid estimated that he has tweeted between 35 and 40 percent of the Quran to his 3,000 followers.
"I can definitely see the argument that you want to abstain from things that engage you too much, that are a distraction from your spiritual life," Rashid said. "I guess my approach is that these are things that are part of my daily life so how do I make them part of my spiritual life?"
Ramadan is back and it snuck up on me this year. It has already started for some folk. Time to talk about tweeting the Qur'an again. Previous years' thoughts and rules:
Traditionally, Muslims read the Qur'an in its entirety over this time, in a section a day. The Qur'an is split into thirty sections, called juz', and one section is read each night. This year, I have been thinking it would be fun to tweet the Qur'an for Ramadan. Coincidentally, Shavuot came, and several people I follow on Twitter tweeted the Torah. Since that experience seemed to be successful, it further cemented my belief that this would be a good idea. Some guidelines for tweeting the Qur'an:
- Anyone is welcome. You do not have to be Muslim.
- The point is to provide greater access to the Qur'an, so please tweet in English, regardless of the language you read in. Multiple language tweets are welcome.
- You should tweet verses that appeal to you each night, not the entire juz'. Some of you may wish to do the whole juz', but the idea is that we find comfort in the word of God, and we approach it and understand differently every time we come to it. Each night, there are certain verses that will have more power/resonance. Simply tweet those.
- Include chapter and verse numbers using "Arabic" numerals, eg. 1:1, 33:72, etc.
- Some verses may be too long for 140 characters. Split the tweet. Summarize. As you will, but make sure you make it clear what you are doing, and include the verse number.
- You should feel free to offer commentary on why you chose that verse. If you know some tafsir, please include as well, if relevant.
- Tags: please include #ttQuran .
- You do not need to commit to reading/Tweeting every night. However, when you do Tweet, please make sure you are on the same juz as everyone else.
If there are are other guidelines you believe should be included, please leave them in comments and I'll move up some to the main post.
Hussein Rashid is a Professor of Religion at Hofstra University and he recently returned from Pakistan, where the locals talked with him openly about how the U.S. security efforts affect them.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bomb suspects, reportedly wrote that “an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all” on the wall of the boat in which he was hiding from police last month. Variations of this refrain seem to be common among angry young Muslim men, especially those who are attracted to violence. However, such a view ignores history, religious thinking and contemporary reality. It should be seen as a crass advertising slogan rather than a declaration of belief.
However, whatever we learn about them does not tell us why they did what they did – only parts of who they are. It is easy, in the initial aftermath of the bombings, to make careless associations between identity and motive, similar to post 9/11 reaction.
But this time, there is a change in rhetoric of how potential suspects are identified, particularly if they are Muslim. It is because of this change we are learning to move past paralyzing fear and maturing in how we think of what it means to be American.
By the end of last February, after Patheos first covered the breakdown of trust between the NYPD and the area Muslim community, the trust deficit grew even deeper when a series of ongoing articles from the Associated Press exposed wide-reaching domestic surveillance programs set up for the NYPD by the CIA. The last straw came with the report that the NYPD had been conducting secret surveillance on Muslim Student Associations at 16 colleges across New York and northeastern United States. Click here to see how several NY-area academics, activists and students reacted to the news.
Islamophobia is alive in America, and Hussein Rashid sees it playing out among Sikhs, often mistaken for Muslims. In the most recent example, a member of her own party mistook a Californian GOP candidate, who is Sikh, for being a Muslim. “The reality is that Islamophobia has very real consequences and more and more victims of Islamophobia and Islamophobic rhetoric tend to be non-Muslims,” Rashid said.
In a more popular context, we see the ways in which religious illiteracy, historical amnesia, and political expedience have combined to create Islamophobic narratives informed by knowledge produced in the academy.
The recent story of a gay mosque in Paris raises conflicted feelings in me. On one hand, I recognize the need for safe spaces of worship, where people are not constantly being threatened for who they are. However, I also fear that creating a separate mosque perpetuates stigma by allowing other Muslims to avoid having discussions about what a truly devotional space could look like.
In fact, one of the amazing elements of Islamophobia is the denial of its own existence—as Nathan Lean explains. In his article, Lean also offers several examples of the impact Islamophobia has had on the lives of Americans; Wajahat Ali has written about the fear and death that an Islamophobic environment sanctions; Erik Love gives us sociological background on the impact of Islamophobia. I want to offer a reflection of what a New York Muslim sees and hears as Islamophobia becomes so normalized that it becomes an institution.
Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Arab Revolutions brings together essays written by today’s generation of Arab youth who have directly inspired and sparked a revolutionary spirit that toppled governments, unearthing the corruption of decades of dictator dominated countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Patrick J Ryan, S.J., the Lawrence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, will deliver the annual fall McGinley lecture, “Life After Death, Hopes and Fears for Jews, Christians and Muslims.”
Father Ryan, who has dedicated his work to facilitating a trialogue between the three Abrahamic religions, will deliver the lecture twice:
Tuesday, Nov. 13
12th-floor Lounge Lowenstein Center, Lincoln Center Campus
And again on
Wednesday, Nov. 14
Flom Auditorium William D. Walsh Family Library, Rose Hill Campus
Joining Father Ryan on both nights will be respondents Claudia Setzer, Ph.D., professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, and Hussein Rashid, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of religion at Hofstra University.
Video of the press conference releasing the document, What is the Truth About American Muslims, is now available.
Balbir Singh Sodhi. I don’t know if that name has the resonance that it should. Amongst Asian-Americans, names like Vincent Chin or Navroze Mody are part of our collective conscious. But Balbir Singh Sodhi is a name that is so important for the telling of the tale of minorities in America, but also a story that sits at the base of a crushing horror of what’s happened in this country after 9/11. Sodhi was the first victim of post-9/11 acceptable racism in this country. It’s when we started realizing that we needed to stand together.
The new document, What is the Truth about American Muslims? Questions and Answers, is an attempt by the organizations to provide accurate information and delve into the law of religious freedom, the history of American Muslims in the United States, and misunderstood terms and practices, including Shariah.
Hussein Rashid, Hofstra University adjunct professor and Religion Dispatches associate editor, and Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, will join Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance, and Charles C. Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project, to discuss the guide and the state of religious freedom in the United States.
Muslim millennials are often depicted either as radicalized promoters of Islamic global dominion or champions of democracy. But what do these two competing images tell us about the roughly 450 million young Muslims in the world today? And what, if anything, about the future of Islam?
Reza Aslan, author, No God but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam and Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization
Musa Syeed, screenwriter and director, Valley of Saints and A Son’s Sacrifice
Khalid Latif, chaplain, New York University
Linda Sarsour, director, Arab American Association of New York
Nadia Roumani, director, American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute
Some defer to others: they are commenting on sacred texts. Some supplant others: sacred texts of one faith argue against those of another. But, as presented here, many also engage in unexpected dialogues, emulations, even dissections. Scripts imitate one another, even if they are in different languages; images and designs recur in manuscripts from different conceptual worlds. Some texts remain unflustered while everything changes around them. And all of this takes place among just 52 works, some of which are astonishingly ancient, many of which are beautifully illuminated, and most of which are written in Hebrew.
It would be a challenge just to give individual items the attention they demand, let alone attend to their interactions: a third-century fragment of papyrus with Philo of Alexandria’s interpretation of scripture; a fifth-century codex of the Four Gospels written in the ancient Aramaic dialect Syriac; a 12th-century autograph manuscript of legal commentary written in Arabic by the Jewish scholar Maimonides using Hebrew letters; a 16th-century Persian Koran with exquisite decoration; a 16th-century Hebrew poem written for Queen Elizabeth I, urging her to support Hebrew scholarship at the University of Oxford, as had her father, King Henry VIII.
"He needs to talk about Muslims in the U.S., to show that the U.S. is not at war with Islam," said Hussein Rashid, an Islamic studies lecturer at Fordham University.