The podcast “Serial” is an addictive radio documentary that revolves around a real-life whodunit: the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for the crime.
It also illustrates how our thinking about Muslims has changed.
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.
While the filmmakers behind the anti-Islam film, 'Innocence of Muslims,' may not have intended to cause protests and violence across the Muslim World, they did clearly intend to perpetuate Islamophobia. And while their film may not have succeeded in directly doing so, it seems as if the subsequent violent protests may be helping them achieve their aim.
So as protests in the Muslim world continue, more Americans may become disillusioned with our involvement in the region. But what does that mean for Muslim Americans, here in the United States?
Answering that question is Hussein Rashid, professor of religion at Hofstra University.
The audiotape of Malcolm X's 1961 address in Providence might never have surfaced at all if 22-year-old Brown University student Malcolm Burnley hadn't stumbled across a reference to it in an old student newspaper. He found the recording of the little-remembered visit gathering dust in the university archives.
One of the most powerful writers and producers in Hollywood is black, female, middle-aged and Muslim. Mara Brock Akil produces, along with her husband The Game — one of the biggest hit TV shows on cable. Last year, the couple collaborated on the film Jumping the Broom.
The expectation that Islamic studies scholars were prepared to “cover” the Islamic tradition and speak to its beliefs and practices on a normative, global basis was stressful for many of us. The idea that we could speak with authority about the practices of 1.4 billion people who speak dozens of languages and have inhabited the planet for the last 1400 years is absurd, of course. Like other academics, Islamic studies scholars are trained in certain fields of knowledge; in the best of programs, they are trained to be exceedingly careful about claiming too much. The pressures to become the academic voice of Islam both on campus and in the media frequently led scholars to abandon caution. We reached for our copies of the Encyclopedia of Islam and sent out queries, sometimes quite urgently, to the AAR Study of Islam listserv. “What does Islam say about x?” was the way questions were often framed. We were not allowed to answer, “It depends.” What was generally desired, it seems, was a fatwa, an authoritative ruling on what the Qur’an, the Sunna, and the ulama say about “x,” not a lecture on how the historical practices of real people refuse easy generalization.