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Islam in American Barrios & Prisons: Converts Reclaim Moorish Spain, Reject Church

For those in the US typically designated as “Latino” or “Hispanic,” the historical legacy of Islam plays a role similar to that in the African-American context. As the term “Moor” was embraced by various African-American leaders to unite poor, disenfranchised blacks with the glory of Islam, the connection to Moorish ...  Read More »

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وحدة عداء المسافات الطويلة [The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner]

 يبدو أنه سيحقق وقتاً جيداً اليوم. الميل الأول انتهى. ٥ دقائق. يعدو ويعدو ويعدو. تنطلق أفكاره. يفكر أنه فعلاً محظوظ ليتم اختياره للمشاركة بالسباق. يفكر أن صحته تتحسن، ونفسيته تتحسن. يفكر أن هذا كله لن يعني شيئاً بعد بضعة أشهر. ينظر مرة أخرى إلى الساعة. حان وقت الغيار الثاني. الغيار الثاني صار أسهل. أصبح أكثر قدرة ...  Read More »

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"ما خفي كان أعظم: عن "خائف إلى الأبد [Sayed Kashua - Forever Scared]

” إنني أخاف من السيارات، من الكلاب، من الأفاعي، أخاف من الطائرات، والمروحيات، من الدبابات والجنود. أخاف من العمليات الإرهابية. أخاف من اليهود، أخاف من العرب، واخاف أن يضعونا يوماً ما في مخيمات لللاجئين.“ (سيد قشوع، صحيفة هآرتس، 2002) بهذا الإقتباس يبدأ أول مشهد في الفيلم الوثائقي ”خائف إلى الأبد“ (2009) وهو من إخراج ...  Read More »

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Football and Violence in Jordan

On Friday December 10, 2010, Jordanian and international media reported on “clashes” after a football match between two teams that make up the biggest rivalry in the Jordanian Football Association (JFA): al-Faysali and al-Wihdat, both of which serve as the main recruiting pools for Jordan’s national team. Popular ...  Read More »

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Divine Failure & A Letter to my Ancestor

Divine Failure He always sat in the front row in that divinity school in a faraway galaxy. He listened devoutly to the teacher and wrote every word that came out of his mouth. He was a diligent god who memorized all the secrets and tricks of creation by heart, but he lacked talent. And thus, when he was given all ...  Read More »

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Entrapping American Muslims

2010 will likely be remembered by American Muslims as the most challenging year since 2001.  While anti-Islamic rhetoric has been part of American culture for quite some time, this year brought a massive resurgence in Islamophobia.  Less than ten months before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, civil ...  Read More »

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Locations [Gone to Palestine: 5]

We chose the hamlet of Beit Jeez in from the hundreds of Palestinian villages that were cleansed in 1948. Maryam was scouting locations for her film, and she was looking for a ’48 village where one scene in particular needed to be shot. It was the scene where the protagonist and his girlfriend go after robbing the ...  Read More »

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Howl [Gone to Palestine: 4]

Howl Considering the fact that our literature workshop at Birzeit almost didn’t take place at all, it was a real success. We’d applied for a grant to teach a workshop to Palestinian university students through a fund administered by the US Department of Education and the State Department’s Public Diplomacy program. ...  Read More »

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On Representational Paralysis, Or, Why I Don't Want to Write About Temporary Marriage

For the past few years, I have been working with a colleague on a collaborative project about leisure in the southern suburb of Beirut. Along the way, there was a moment when we thought that new ideas about temporary marriage among Shi‘i Muslim youth would be a significant part of it. We eventually abandoned that ...  Read More »

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The American Granddaughter (A Review)

Many Iraqis returned to their country after the American invasion in 2003 as members of the entourage that accompanied the invading army and helped it administer its occupation. Some of them were translators recruited by companies back in the US where they were living either as refugees, residents, or Iraqi-American ...  Read More »

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Lessons in Morphology [Gone to Palestine: 3]

It was a strange but mutually beneficial arrangement. I needed to travel north through a number of checkpoints to visit a town that had borne the brunt of the occupation and I needed to get back to Ramallah at a decent hour so as to see friends before I left the next day. They had a service taxi for hire, but little ...  Read More »

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Lordy, Lordy, I Declare! Big Brother Is in My Underwear

If you are traveling by air in the United States, your “junk” will be inspected visually or manually by agents working for the Transportation Security Agency. Junk is hipster code for your butt, although it doesn’t discriminate against your balls and/or breasts. Non-hipsters learned the term when a traveler named John ...  Read More »

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Choking Mecca in the Name of Beauty — and Development (Part 2)

Mecca During the Hajj  As the annual hajj draws to a close, millions of Muslim pilgrims in Mecca celebrate the four-day Eid al Adha together ritually, festively, and with a jubilant spirit of giving. They will pray, eat, and spend time with loved ones. Those who can afford it will give alms to the less ...  Read More »

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Jaffa, with Jellyfish [Gone to Palestine: 2]

We decided to walk around the old Arab city of Jaffa, which Rachel described as “a lanced boil on Tel Aviv’s thigh.” It was a hot July day, and we were happy to take a walk after our leisurely lunch on Sheinkin St. We asked to be seated as far away from the door as possible, and preferably behind one of the concrete ...  Read More »

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Things To Do On Lebanese Independance Day + Arabic Translation

Drive from Saifi Village to Hayy al Sullum or Naba`a, marvel at the miracles of capitalism and Lebanon’s constitutionally protected free market economy. Watch a few pilots from the Lebanese Air Force put on a show in the sky, feel safer knowing that if the IDF is also watching, they are sure to be too afraid to ...  Read More »

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Conquering The Sky [Gone to Palestine: 1]

[The first installment of Gone to Palestine]     When we arrived at Ben Gurion, we were immediately overcome by strange emotions that affected us in different ways. This was partly because we didn’t know what to expect, partly because we knew they were turning so many people away at the airport ...  Read More »

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Thanksgiving In Beirut

On November 24, people from across the United States will gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. They will travel (on the busiest travel day of the year), they will eat turkey and pumpkin pie, and they will shop at the orgiastic sales that are a fixture of what is perhaps the most widely celebrated ...  Read More »

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What's in a City? (Part 2)

(see Part 1) Last summer, a friend (under some coercion… not from me) gave me a valuable gift – a 1954 Guide to World Travel issued by Pan Am airlines. In the section on Lebanon, it listed the average temperature in August as 83º Fahrenheit (~28º C). August, by far the hottest and most humid month, only 83 ...  Read More »

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They Kill Christians (Too)

The attack on the Sayyidat al-Najat (Our Lady of Salvation) Church in the al-Karradah district in Baghdad on October 31st was not the first on churches in Iraq in recent years. However, it’s certainly the most lethal in terms of casualties, let alone its deleterious effects on Iraq’s already damaged social space. The ...  Read More »

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Zindeeq: Film Review

Zindeeq, directed by Michel Khleifi. Palestine/UK/Belgium/UAE, 2009. Michel Khleifi is the acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker, director and producer of such award winning films as Wedding in Galilee (1987) and Route 181 (2004). His films and work as professor at the Belgian Institut National Supérieur des Arts du ...  Read More »

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Gynecology, Honor, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Last week Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech on honor. However, this speech was not about the honor of resisting occupation or the honor of the Palestinian cause. The Sayyed’s speech, rather, focused on how the Special Tribunal For Lebanon had threatened the honor of Lebanese citizens by requesting gynecological ...  Read More »

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Register: Exile + 1

The hallway felt increasingly smaller, tighter. Every minute drew in the baby blue trimmed walls closer to one another compressing me and my breath in between their administration. I tried to distract myself in David Harvey’s analysis of neoliberalism—yes uneven geographical development in China, Deng like Reagan like ...  Read More »

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Two Poems by Sargon Boulus

Railroad    The glass of the subway windows is foggy. Shapes escape across it, as if from a demon, and are sorted out behind us as “bygones.”   The shrieking of the wheels on the rail. The appearance of the next station, at the bend of a tunnel full of wailing. A few vagabonds on the ...  Read More »

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Three Poems by Saadi Youssef

Fulfillment I used to, I often used to hope as autumn painted forests with gold walnut brown or muted crimson, I so hoped to see Iraq’s face in the morning to loosen water’s braids over me, to satisfy its mermaids with salty tears, to float over Abu l-Khaseeb’s rivulets to ask the trees: Do you, ...  Read More »

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Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject

Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Much of the implicit political background—the staging-point—of Saba Mahmood’s highly acclaimed ethnography of the women’s mosque movement in Egypt, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the ...  Read More »

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On Being Addicts in Amman

We don’t recall how our day started, but we do remember being out of the house with none of our usual spots in sight. Everything was different that day: the number of people in the street, the look in their eyes, and the closed-up stores. Amman isn’t the place to take big risks. The consequences, especially for those ...  Read More »

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Top Ten List: What to Expect From Ahmadinejad’s Visit to Lebanon (+ Arabic Translation)

[Update: See Arabic translation below . . . by popular demand!] 10- Upon hearing Ahmadinejad’s footsteps in Lebanon, Ariel “Arik” Sharon rises from his coma long enough to learn that Iran is still on the road to becoming the second country in the Middle East to have a nuclear weapon after Israel. He has another ...  Read More »

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Guilty of Being Muslim: Review of “Entrapped”

Review of "Entrapped" (Produced by Anjali Kamat and Jacquie Soohen) The new documentary “Entrapped,” which was aired as a special report by Democracy Now! on October 6 and is due to be released on DVD by Big Noise Films, is that rare documentary that not only informs us about an issue, but in doing so, ...  Read More »

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"The Corpse" by Sargon Boulus

They tortured the corpse until dawn broke down and the rooster rose up in protest. They thrust nails in its flesh. They whipped it with electric cables. They dangled it from the ceiling fan.   When the torturers were finally tired and took a break, the corpse moved its little finger, opened its ...  Read More »

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Good Morning Palestine

For four days last week, I drank my morning coffee while gazing at Palestine. I was spending the weekend with friends at a house in a border village between Lebanon and what is now the State of Israel. Every morning, I walked from the bed I was sleeping in, to the kitchen to make a cup a coffee, then out onto the ...  Read More »

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