Following my previous post on putting the Aga Khan’s speech at Brown in a historical context, I want to spend some time on his discussion of technology and human interaction. Rather than speaking only to the Nizari Ismaili community, or to concerns that affect only Nizari Ismailis, he is addressing a larger human concern. If, as the Qur’an states, the Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy to all mankind, than it is only logical that his descendants and the inheritors of his spiritual authority should continue to speak and work for the betterment of humanity, not just the segment that agrees with them.
Recently, the Aga Khan gave a speech at Brown University. As the head of a community of Muslims spread throughout the world, a community to which I belong, the speech needs some reflection. As the Imam, or Divinely appointed head of the community, it would be a mistake to read his comments as a concern for the moment.
Picture a professor, and you probably don’t think of someone struggling to put food on the table. But that’s the reality for many adjunct faculty, with some earning the equivalent of a fast-food wage. A recent study says more than 75% of professors are now adjunct. Are they being exploited and how do their working conditions impact higher education?
The East Meadow Public Library was selected to participate in "Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys," a scholar-led reading and discussion program "designed to foster opportunities for informed community conversations about the histories, faith and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the United States," according to East Meadow Public Library officials.
The East Meadow Public Library chose the theme "American Stories," to be discussed by Dr. Hussein Rashid from Hofstra University.
EMPL receives Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys Grant Let’s Talk About It: Muslim Journeys is a scholar-led reading and discussion program designed to foster opportunities for informed community conversations about the histories, faith, and cultures of Muslims around the world and within the United States. This is only available to sites that have been selected to receive the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. ALA and NEH invited the humanities councils and public, academic, and community college libraries that are participating in the Bookshelf to apply for Let’s Talk About It. In May 2013, NEH and ALA selected 125 libraries and humanities councils to participate in the project. Each participating site will focus on one of five Muslim Journeys themes, hosting a five-part, scholar-led reading and discussion series exploring the theme and related books.
We have chosen the theme American Stories. Our scholar is the esteemed Dr. Hussein Rashid from Hofstra University. Look out for our accompanying programs. Please see our schedule of book discussions on Thursdays at 7 p.m. below:
Prince Among Slaves by Terry Alford January 9
The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States (selections) Compiled by Edward E. Curtis, IV February 6
Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel March 6
A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, From the Middle East to America By Leila Ahmed (Special Guest Speaker) April 10
The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson May 8
Reem Hussein, Islamic Calligraphy Sunday, January 26 American born Muslim artist Reem Hussein holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. She completed her training in interior design and the restoration of antiques and decorative arts objects at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Her study of antiques, and preserving of the visual aging qualities of metal, wood, and ceramics inspire the background renderings for her paintings. Traditional calligraphy is produced with a reed pen that the calligrapher herself carves, and homemade. Though Reem still practices her art using this medium, her finished works are usually in watercolor. Join us for this interactive presentation. Reservations open on Monday, January 13.
"I think Daayiee is trying to say, 'Yes, I can be gay and I can be a Muslim, and I can tend to people who are also gay and Muslim,' that this is part of their identity as a human being and that the religion of Islam teaches people to embrace all aspects of their humanity," he said.
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.