On 20 October Tyler Roylance took issue with a piece by Ross Douthat on the effects of ‘democracy’ and ‘popular sovereignty’ on Copts in Egypt in the wake of the Maspero events. Roylance’s rebuttal is worth reading as it tackles Mr. Douthat’s contradictions and errors very clearly. As readers may know, this blogger has taken issue with Mr. Douthat’s writing about Islam and Muslims and the Middle East before — especially his indulgence and promotion of Eurabian conspiracy theories. This blogger would like to write a diatribe against Mr. Douthat; and he intends to at some point in the near future, though this will likely prove a waste of time. This post is a rant on his column from last week, which demonstrates his inability to comprehend problems facing minorities in any nuanced or clear way, or his tendency to force-fit complex issues into a sectarian and partisan narrative built on a questionable understanding of the facts involved. Continue reading
There was much consternation when many international media outlets assumed the Norway terrorist attacks this weekend were perpetrated by al-Qa’eda, lone wolf “Muslim” terrorists or the like. Most considered this a reasonable possibility give the structure of the attack in the city of Oslo. Of course it was soon clear: the Norway attacks were carried out by a conservative, anti-Muslim, self-described Knight of Templar who happened to be a native Norwegian pumped up on anabolic steroids. The Islamist angle then became: a horrible idea.
The non-Arab population of Mauritania traditionally has been discriminated against by the ruling Arab-Berber class, to a large degree being enslaved. Class division in Mauritania still mainly goes along ethnic lines. Many fear that an Arabisation of Mauritanian administration and education will deepen differences and segregation.
“Mauritanian students protest Arabisation,” Afrol. 16 April, 2010.
Analysts believe that this is an essential fight for the Fulani, Wolof, Soninke and other black-skinned groups, who account for about a third of the country’s population, as the Arabic language consolidates the position of the Arab-Berber majority who wield more political and economic power, and who have often been accused of enslaving the minority Black populations. Slavery which is still practiced by the Arab-Berber populations was abolished three times in Mauritania in the last century alone.
A short post on the struggle among Mauritanian students over Arabic and French language will appear here sometime next week. Mauritanians on the front lines are encouraged to send the blogger their thoughts and accounts either in the comments field here or by email (found on the “About TMND” page). Contact with some students already exists; the more the better.
So, more on Mr. Hussain. In announcing his appointment, Obama again chose recherché speech. Or, to be more precise, a word he did not know. Hussain is a hafiz of the Koran—he’s memorized it all—and, as such, “he is a respected member of the Muslim community.” I can’t believe that Obama knew what hafiz meant. It may just be another one of his affectations. And as for a hafiz, I’d bet that many schoolboys who attended madrassas, which are mostly centers of ignorance like many ultra-Orthodox yeshivot, also have memorized the holy text and that says nothing about the respect in which the community holds them and certainly says nothing at all about their wisdom.
“Assalamu Alaykum, Another Special Envoy And Obama’s Impoverished Grasp Of The Muslim World,” Marty Peretz, 17 February, 2010.
Here it is clear that Peretz has no idea of what a hafiz is or what his place is in Muslim communities and societies or has no idea of what madrasas are in Muslim communities and societies in the traditional sense or that he is being both disingenuous, disrespectful and contemptuous all at once.
As in practically all other instances where Peretz looks to pity President Obama’s lack of knowledge about Islam and Muslims he has ended up exposing his own lack of knowledge and bigotry toward Muslims (and Arabs, too).
Following President Obama’s famed Cairo speech, there were those who were excited, those who were nettled and those who were simply unimpressed. Among the nettled were some American conservatives — of the Wingnut, moderate and innovative sorts — who objected to the the speech’s content and tone on a number of grounds. Most notable were those around it form a part of an “apology tour” or that it was too harsh on the Israelis. Another objection was that Obama took too conciliatory a tone with American Muslims, especially his remark that Islam has “always been a part of America’s story.” Those came from the right but they spoke to something much bigger. Continue reading
[Readers be warned, this post contains subject matter already discussed elsewhere and is of no particular relevance to this blog’s usual content. ]
Matthew Yglesias and Johnathan Chait are in a tiff about comments made by the editor-in-chief of the New Republic, Marty Peretz. Peretz’s track record of making ill-informed, nonsensical and often bigoted commentary about Muslims, Arabs and other exotic peoples is long. He caught more heat earlier this year for making racist comments about Latinos and Hispanics, but usually gets less flack on his rather regular pronouncements on Arab and Muslim topics. Yglesias takes the following paragraph from a recent Peretz blog post as insinuating that Americans need “more anti-Muslim sentiment”: Continue reading