A new poem by Akbar Ahmed has been published over at Washington Post’s On Faith.
What is it that I seek?
A force of such might
it sets me free
A light so bright
It blinds me
I heard it in the voice of the nightingale
I know it was in the hearts of the wise
I sensed it in the lover’s tale
I saw it in your eyes
I heard it in Rumi’s poetry
I know it was in Gandhi’s gaze
I sensed it in Mandela’s oratory
I saw it in Jesus’ ways
What is this riddle and what is its part?
What is this enigma and mystery?
What can reveal the secrets of the heart?
What has the power to change me?
It is God’s greatest gift
It raises us high above
It is the bridge over the rift
It is love, love, love
Give it in generous measure
Give it as if there’s no tomorrow
Give to all you meet this treasure
Give it and banish sorrow
From the Daily Times, Yasser Latif Hamdani writes about Journey into America and Akbar Ahmed.
[…] Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam should be prescribed reading for all Pakistanis travelling to the US, especially for an education. It gives a remarkable account of identity formation in America, its numerous waves of immigration and also within the American Muslim subset, which are the subsets of two distinct large sets. Dr Ahmed’s journey, where he was accompanied by a team of enthusiastic researchers, is in many ways more monumental than the 19th century French politician and author Alexis De Tocqueville’s journey and work on the US, which seems to have inspired Dr Ahmed. Tocqueville had come from France at a time when the US had already inspired one revolution and a republic there. There was no gap there to bridge unlike the festering fistula that now separates the Muslim world and the US. Akbar S Ahmed seems to have dedicated his entire life to the cause. Continue reading here.
Last week, the Rumi Forum hosted a fascinating discussion between Akbar Ahmed and Michelle Boorstein, religion writer from the Washington Post, on Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam. The audio is available here.
An interesting commentary on the debate from Adam Serwer at “The Plum Line“, a Washington Post blog:
Frank Gaffney is part of a group of conservatives who have been trying to mainstream the conspiracy theory that the United States is on the verge of a stealth Islamist takeover, a group that has recruited at least one high-profile convert in former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. A couple of days ago he appeared on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN across from Former Pakistani Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Akbar Ahmed, who matter-of-factly explained that an Islamic takeover of the United States was a numerical impossibility. The Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman once described these theories as “nonsense.”
While Akbar Ahmed may have made Gaffney look paranoid and foolish on CNN, the frustrating reality is that more and more conservatives are finding his particular brand of paranoid Islamophobia persuasive.
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Tagged AC360, adl, Akbar Ahmed, anderson cooper, frank gaffney, Islam, murfreesboro, muslims, relisgion, ridiculous arguments, sharia
Watch the very interesting discussion with Anderson Cooper, Frank Gaffney, and Ambassador Akbar Ahmed on sharia, the absurdity of it taking over America, and the controversy at the Mosque construction in Murfreesboro.
AC 360 video is here.
Every single time we have had an event, lecture or public discussion, and hundreds of times through e-mail, we are asked to explain why “moderate” Muslim voices are not speaking up against the “extremists”, “jihadists”, “Islamofacists”, etc.
Of course, the premise of the question is that Muslims are not speaking up and the person asking wants to know why not. On the surface, it seems innocent and an obvious question. The person asking doesn’t see Muslims speaking out against it, doesn’t understand why not and therefore wonder if the silence means that all Muslims approve of the actions of the most extreme. But, it also means that we are not paying attention to the actions and sacrifices of the Muslim community.
It would be easy to blame the nature of the media. A story every time a Muslim individual or organization denounces terrorism, stands up for free speech or declares their patriotism is not exciting enough to be featured in the newspapers or on television.
I used to keep a list of examples of times individuals or organizations issued press releases condemning terrorism but I lost count in the hundreds. If you look, the statements are easy to find. On any Muslim organization website, you will find a section for these statements. In some cases, the organizations have gone above and beyond, even showing support for other religious organizations that were attacked, vandalized or smeared even when Muslims had nothing to do with the attack as in this case.
For those not impressed with statements, let us look at what people are doing on the ground. Professor Ahmed uses two great examples of how Muslims are giving their lives for the fight. In Pakistan for example, over 30,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives in he War on Terror. 30,000 people killed by the Taliban or in service of the US backed fight against the Taliban in Pakistan. How’s that for Muslims standing up to terror? Continue reading
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Tagged Akbar Ahmed, America, cair, cartoon, constitution, free speech, Islam, ISNA, matt ston, molly norris, Muslim, Religion, south park, terrorism, The american muslim, trey parker