Washington Post Video: The God Vote: Akbar Ahmed on terrorism and American

From the Washington Post:

Sally Quinn talks with Islam expert Akbar Ahmed on best strategies to combat domestic terror”

Watch the video here: The God Vote: Akbar Ahmed on terrorism and American Islam

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Interview from “Epilogue”, from PressTV

 

“Journey into America” book excerpt in the Globalist

The Globalist offers a book excerpt “Darwin vs. Jesus” from Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam

From TheGlobalist.com:

Why should the most powerful people on earth — the Americans — be fearful? And why should the richest people be angry? Akbar Ahmed writes in his book, “Journey Into America: The Challenge of Islam,” that if there were more true Christianity and less Darwinian thinking, there would be far more calmness in American social life.

Read the full excerpt here.

Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, Listen live at 4:00 today

From Here on Earth, November 2:

What goes on in mosques in America? Are mosques a part of the tradition of religious pluralism in America? Can a Muslim be an American? Islamic Studies luminary Akbar Ahmed traveled for a year around the country, visiting over a hundred mosques to find out how Muslims are living every day in America. We want to know about the mosques in your hometown, whether you’re a member of the Muslim community or not. What’s your experience? We’ll collect your responses at insideislam.wisc.edu or on our hotline: 1-877-GLOBE07 and use the best of the them in the program.

Guest

  • Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C.; a non-resident senior fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, and former Pakistani high commissioner to the United Kingdom. He is also the author of Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.

 

World Affairs Council event: Akbar Ahmed and Bernard Lewis dialogue on “The Middle East and Islam”

World Affairs Council Presents:  Ambassador Akbar Ahmed & Dr. Bernard Lewis:  A Special Briefing on “The Middle East and Islam”

November 3, 2010 at 6:30pm—8:00pm at  Charles Sumner School

1201 17th Street, NW Washington, DC, 20036

To Register: Call: 202-293-1051 or email:  events@worldaffairsdc.org

Join the World Affairs Council—Washington, DC for “A Special Briefing on The Middle East and Islam,” featuring two of the world’s leading scholars of Islam, Ambassador Akbar Ahmed and Dr. Bernard Lewis. Addressing the political role of Islam in international relations, they will discuss their analysis on Islam, the Middle East, and the West. Known for their differing perspectives, Amb. Ahmed and Dr. Lewis will provide a holistic view of the issue and examine the future of the relationship between the Islamic world and the United States.

Guests will have the opportunity to ask questions following speaker remarks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exposing the infrastructure of anti-Muslim hate

First published by the Washington Post

By Frankie Martin

The dismissal of Juan Williams’ from NPR once again exposes the difficulty America is having discussing Islam in a cool or rational manner. Williams’ exchange with Bill O’Reilly featured much of the usual ignorance, with both agreeing that, although undefined “good Muslims” do exist, all Muslims must be considered potential soldiers in an Islamic war against America. This ludicrous belief is not only a distortion of reality, but also poses a serious threat to the well-being and security of the United States. In adopting this position, Williams and O’Reilly were reflecting the climate of hatred against Muslims that is fueled by prejudice and lack of knowledge.

The controversy comes in the context of the conflict around the Islamic center near Ground Zero, Pastor Terry Jones’ desire to burn the Quran, a growing belief that sharia law is being imposed on America by Muslims, and increasing attacks on mosques in the United States. The interminable wars in Muslim countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the upcoming midterm elections, in which campaigns have employed heavy doses of anti-Muslim bile, also contribute to the darkening storm.

Today’s high anti-Muslim antipathy is the latest wave of xenophobia in a nation that has seen many, especially when a threat was perceived to the country. While current anti-Islamic voices, like the hatemongers of previous eras, frequently attempt to co-opt the Founding Fathers’ ideals to support their agenda, there can be no reconciling the vision of a pluralistic nation with the spewing of hate against a particular ethnic or religious group, in this case Muslims. While the debate stirred by these hateful voices is on one level about Islam and how to depict and understand it, it is also about the very definition of American identity.

Much of this bigotry and misinformation can be traced directly to what I am calling the infrastructure of hate, an industry which connects venomous anti-Islamic blogs, wealthy donors, powerful think tanks, and influential media commentators, journalists, and politicians. The most visible component of the infrastructure is the hate blogs, which have recently grown exponentially in number, influence, and stature.

From my position as a research fellow working with American University’s Chair of Islamic Studies, Professor Akbar Ahmed, I have watched with horror as the hate blogs have begun to diffuse from their online cesspool to infect mainstream media, political rhetoric, and the larger discussion about Islam in America. There are hundreds, if not thousands of such blogs on the Internet.

To the hate bloggers, the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims represent an insidious, inherently violent force seeking to enslave the United States by overthrowing the government and jettisoning the Constitution in favor of sharia law. Frequently the bloggers include caveats such as claiming that they are only talking about “Islamists,” “Islamofascists,” or those supporting “sharia,” but by tying terrorism explicitly to the Prophet Muhammad and to the Quran, they equate it with Islam. Under this simplistic, warped logic, every Muslim is a potential, if not-fully formed, terrorist and every one of America’s seven million Muslims a potentially treasonous enemy. Such crass, demonizing generalizations constitute hate speech.

I will focus on one such blog post to illustrate how the infrastructure of hate works, and how easily lies and slander can spread rapidly to achieve influence.
Last month, Laura Rubenfeld, an analyst at the Investigative Project on Terrorism headed by Steven Emerson, published an article in Pajamas Media tiitled “No, Professor Ahmed, the Founders Were Not So Fond of Islam.” In it, Rubenfeld attacks Professor Akbar Ahmed, who has been speaking in the media about his new book Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, for which he traveled to over 100 mosques in 75 U.S. cities. I participated in this study with Ahmed, traversing the country during fieldwork and spending weeks in the library researching the history of Islam in America. Since Ahmed’s media statements reflect the contents of the book, Rubenfeld not only impugns the scholarship of Ahmed, whom the BBC calls the “world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam,” but also myself and the other four researchers who spent several years working on this project, three of whom are continuing on to PhD programs. Continue reading

“A Muslim response to Juan Williams”, on Washington Post

“A Muslim response to Juan Williams” by Akbar Ahmed from the Washington Post’s On Faith:

We need to see Juan Williams’ remarks in the context of the heated political environment within which Muslims live today.

This heat has been further intensified because of the November elections. And it is in this context that the recent events over the last couple of weeks and months can be understood: from the Ground Zero mosque crisis, to Pastor Terry Jones wanting to burn the Koran, to the fact that about 20 percent of Americans believe that President Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim.

The attacks on Muslims also play into the critics of Obama. We now see that he has been pushed into a corner with the news that he will decline to visit holiest of holy sites of the Sikh faith during his trip to India because it was suggested that an image of him wearing the Sikh headdress would [inaccurately] play into conspiracy theories that he is a Muslim. The fact that it is a Sikh temple and not a Muslim center is not even relevant. This debate is no longer rational.

This crossing of the border of rationality is why Williams remarks were, to me, were disappointing. He says he is “worried and “nervous” on being on a plane Muslims. This smacks of profiling. It is especially disappointing because Williams is known for his work on the 1960s civil rights movement and is sensitive of the need to give dignity to minorities. So how can a member of the minority community then single out another minority community and label it as he did?

Read the entire article here.