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Open Thread Sunday 11/16/08

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themessage.jpgIn The News

  • Remake of “The Message” is in the works. Whether you’ve seen it or not (I haven’t), we all know about the 1977 class movie on the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Now, the producers of the original film have announced that shooting of a remake will begin shortly, with details still to be released. Although it’s been clearly said that there will be no physical portrayal of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), I for one am quite wary about it – the whole idea of a movie about the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) rubs me the wrong way, not to mention brings up theological concerns. What do you think?
  • The Brief Life of Aqsa Parvez. Just goes to show how out of it I’ve been, that this didn’t come to my attention earlier. Back in December of 2007, I wrote an emotional response to the murder of Aqsa Parvez, the Canadian Muslim teen killed by her father. Now, Toronto Life magazine has also published a piece on her: “Girl, Interrupted.” Purportedly a recounting of Aqsa’s last year, this article reveals much more… not only the author’s own bias (trying to provoke fear about Muslims and honour killings), but a sorrowful reminder of what our Muslim youth are experiencing as they struggle with their Islam and identity as Muslims in Western society.

What else is on your mind?

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Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. S

    November 16, 2008 at 4:49 PM

    hmm, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the creators of The Message ask ulema from Al-Azhar about the permissibility of filming such a movie? I saw the movie a few years ago, and there definitely is NO portrayal of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). And in the times we live in, a positive portrayal of Muslims in mainstream cinema would be a great help. A movie like this would be an amazing da’wah opportunity, especially after coming out on DVD when we could buy a few copies and distribute them. Not to mention the countless movie showings MSA’s across the country could do, followed by a talk from a Muslim speaker or shaykh.

  2. OsmanK

    November 16, 2008 at 5:26 PM

    I agree, MSAs nowadays always show the same movies over and over again, “Reel Bad Arabs”, the cartoon movie on the life of the prophet, some documentaries about palestine. It would be cool to have some fresh material.

  3. Qas

    November 16, 2008 at 5:33 PM

    One reason they show those movies is that anything else would have them “off the minhaj” so to speak. I personally think that the whole movie night idea should be scraped and replaced by something else. The hard part is coming up with this “something else”.

  4. OsmanK

    November 16, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    Constructive criticism: I really feel DIGG can be beneficial to MM, not only in spreading the message of the articles but also increasing the popularity of the site, because if someone visits the site for one article, then they might check out other articles and such. However, I feel the way the current method is set up on MM is not good enough.

    Here are some suggestions:
    1. The location of the DIGG button is way too hidden. Its on the same small line as many other sites and this just dilutes the effect of each one. Looking through the articles, I see that most people only use DIGG (and very rarely) and thus DIGG should be emphasized over the rest. Keep the others but give DIGG a bigger button. Instead of having the compact DIGG, have the normal size one instead:
    http://digg.com/tools/integrate

    2. I find that once someone DIGGs an article, the other diggs come quick enough. The problem is getting that first DIGG. Therefore I suggest that whoever submits an article (or whoever posts it on the site) should DIGG it as an in-house rule. This way, the readers only have to click one button to digg.

    3. ibnabeeomar had a great article on how to use DIGG but it might have been too good. When I first read it, it was long, had many rules, and explained in maybe too much detail how DIGG worked. I remember saying to myself that its probably too much work to do it. However, when I finally did decide to start digging, I found it was extremely simple. Just log in (which you can set to remember so you never have to log in again), click, and submitting comments was pretty easy too. Therefore maybe an abridged version of how to use DIGG might be helpful. Forget all the netiquettes and functions, just simple how-to-use.

    Anyways, that’s what I think would be helpful. I’ve seen other sites and they have a nice DIGG square button and it really works I find.

    Jazakallah

  5. S

    November 16, 2008 at 5:54 PM

    I personally think that the whole movie night idea should be scraped and replaced by something else. The hard part is coming up with this “something else”.

    Movies garner a huge audience, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Of course, that’s a secondary point if it’s not permissible, but what are the theological objections to the movie?

  6. Abu Umar

    November 16, 2008 at 6:37 PM

    Glenn Greenwald on the “positive” aspect of the Bush’s legacy.

  7. just a brother

    November 16, 2008 at 8:35 PM

    As salaamu ‘alaikum:

    Can you all, especially one of the shuyookh associated with your site, possibly write an article on the saga of the Bali bombers (may Allah forgive them), and the general phenomenon of these types of acts that many shuyookh do justify, because there were many brothers/sisters throughout the ummah that did (and do) justify these acts, and of course have been celebrating their so-called martyrdom since the Indonesian government executed them a few days ago. And apparently Indonesia did just suffer an earthquake, so we will hear more and more from various brothers and websites/blogs/forums that Allah (swt) did do this to “punish” them for the execution.

    And just for the record, I find these kinds of acts (any intentional targeting of non-combatants) absolutely and totally, 100% sinful and haraam. And obviously I know your site and shuyookh associated with your site of course feel the same way, however, there are many, many out there in the ummah that vehemently disagree with this and DO condone and support these things, and some are well known to many of us, so this becomes that much more important to have the shuyookh coming from the perspective of the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Rasool (saw) and the Salaf, etc., to say that this should not be the case, to give their very clear evidences, and so forth.

    Please forgive me if I said anything wrong, or incorrect. And Allah (swt) knows Best.

  8. Abu Umar

    November 16, 2008 at 9:45 PM

    Conservative James Pickerton on why MSNBC is such a shill for Obama.

  9. Abu Umar

    November 16, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    Also, the totalitarian cultural leftist and washed up actor Rosanne is calling for the forced exile (to the “Soviet Union”) of those blacks, Catholics, Mormons, and other family values groups that voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in California. One thing I am concerned about is that with the government in the hands of the Democrats the cultural left will try to use the power of the state to further their anti-family, anti-religion, pro-homosexuality, pro-immorality agenda.

  10. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    November 16, 2008 at 11:31 PM

    bismillah. sister anonymouse, i still remember the first time i saw the movie vividly. i was so filled with tears over the killing of hamzah, that it felt like my own grandparent had been murdered in front of my eyes.

    you never know what good Allah may accomplish through such things. at least we can be glad that we are not faced with the fitnah of being asked to raise money for them, etc…

    at least one of the original filmmaker/producers died a few years ago. in the reports on his death, it was reported that he was the principal force behind the first movie. he was one of many Muslims who died in the bombings of Jordanian hotels by terrorists, and may Allah forgive them all, inshaAllah.

    besides the Message, he was reported to have funded the movie chronicling Italian brutalities in muslim north africa, in which anthony quinn again played an important Muslim historical figure.

    how did he make the money to do those two projects? :) he was the producer of the Halloween slasher/horror movies series. subhanAllah…

  11. Amad

    November 17, 2008 at 12:52 AM

    Since you’ll be hearing a lot of names of new Obama advisers, this article from the Global News Service of the Jewish People, JTA, serves well as a reminder that the Israeli lobby knows well how to hedge their bets. They made sure that the choice of President wouldn’t really matter for the future of US’s Israeli foreign policy. They’ve got all sides covered. Anyone who was remotely “fair” to the peace process was already sidelined (such as Zbigniew Brzezinski). So, for instance, don’t expect Chuck Hagel to get any important advisory positions, because he was caught on record for making a dangerous qualifier about his support for Israel, by saying that his support was not “automatic”… unbelievably anti-semitic and horrible to say such a thing, Chucky.. shame on you. Support for Israel is part of Fitrah, it comes naturally, its like desiring food when hungry.. automatic:

    Both men [Hagel and Lugar] have shared Obama’s concerns about the conduct of the Iraq war. Of the two Republicans, Hagel is the more problematic for the pro-Israel community. He didn’t make friends last year when he told an Arab American Institute dinner that his support for Israel was not “automatic.

    [Source]

  12. J

    November 17, 2008 at 5:54 AM

    As-Salam Alaykum.

    I just wanted to say that I don’t think it is wise for Muslim Matters to take up the cause of every single Muslim American who is arrested. It is exactly this kind of thing which Islamaphobes use to link an organization to terrorism and to malign it, i.e. guilty by association. Look at what they have done to CAIR.

    I am not saying that you should do nothing for Muslim Americans who are arrested. I am saying that first you should investigate that person’s views and make SURE he/she is not a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer, and then AFTER you have done that, perhaps you should help them in an UNofficial capacity, i.e. without the MuslimMatters label attached to it.

    We live in scary times, and there is a lot of McCarthyism going on nowadays. I just pray for the safety of MM and all those involved.

    Forgive me if I have said anything wrong.

    Fi Aman Allah.

  13. Hassan

    November 17, 2008 at 9:04 AM

    Amad (Author) said:

    Since you’ll be hearing a lot of names of new Obama advisers, this article from the Global News Service of the Jewish People, JTA, serves well as a reminder that the Israeli lobby knows well how to hedge their bets. They made sure that the choice of President wouldn’t really matter for the future of US’s Israeli foreign policy. They’ve got all sides covered. Anyone who was remotely “fair” to the peace process was already sidelined (such as Zbigniew Brzezinski). So, for instance, don’t expect Chuck Hagel to get any important advisory positions, because he was caught on record for making a dangerous qualifier about his support for Israel, by saying that his support was not “automatic”… unbelievably anti-semitic and horrible to say such a thing, Chucky.. shame on you. Support for Israel is part of Fitrah, it comes naturally, its like desiring food when hungry.. automatic:

    He(Chuck Hagel) was caught on C-Span tape saying more blasphemous things as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w00Tk0E9zs

    “Ask Palestinians who are chained down for many many years..”

  14. Amad

    November 17, 2008 at 10:04 AM

    “J”:
    jazakAllahkhair for your concerns. It is not our policy to take up the cause of every Muslim arrested. Usually the author of the particular post knows the person, or there is sufficient background checking done to affirm the author’s belief of either the person’s innocence or the misuse of government authority.

    Also, it is important to point out that unless there is a specific, “MM endorses” the post or it is written under MM’s name, each author is responsible for his content. So, for instance, I have written quite a bit on Dr. Aafia, because I have talked with enough people, and know enough of the family, to be comfortable about asserting her innocence or her entrapment. Also, many times the claim is not about assured innocence of the charges against the person, but of outrage at disproportionate punishment (even before the person is found guilty).

    Ultimately, I do agree that we have to be very careful in this day and age. The last 8 years of Bush’s administration have destroyed or disabled many of the most sacred values of this country, such as freedom of speech, privacy rights, due process, etc. And very much akin to McCarthyism. May Allah protect the Muslims from injustice of all forms.

  15. J

    November 17, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    Jazakh-Allah Khair, bro Amad. Thank you for your response.

    Please do not think that I did not want people to help fellow Muslims. I just want MM to be successful and safe insha-Allah.

  16. MM Associates

    November 17, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    bismillah. [comment by abu AbdAllah]

    J aside from the open thread comments, you should also read the full article related to the particular case of brother Tariq. as you will note, that writer definitely had a lot of personal experience of the brother about whom he wrote.

    i agree that Muslims have reason to pause, if only because Allah may hold us to account. we saw unfortunately that many of us including me could jump to hasty conclusions when we read about the supposed “masjid gassing” and the now-under-suspicion Muslimah who alleged she had been the victim of a hate crime. inshaAllah, especially if we are quick to admit our mistakes and sincere in seeking to learn from them, then we should become more responsible in all our commentary.

  17. Farhan Khan

    November 17, 2008 at 11:57 AM

    Yes, just about every scene of that movie has some major mistake, but I think all-in-all, its a good movie alhumdu lillah. It gets the general message across.

  18. Abu Umar

    November 17, 2008 at 12:14 PM

    So, for instance, don’t expect Chuck Hagel to get any important advisory positions, because he was caught on record for making a dangerous qualifier about his support for Israel, by saying that his support was not “automatic”… unbelievably anti-semitic and horrible to say such a thing, Chucky.. shame on you. Support for Israel is part of Fitrah, it comes naturally, its like desiring food when hungry.. automatic:

    I like Chuck Hagel, he seems like a decent and honest guy. He, along with Ron Paul, is one of the few Republicans who has called out the neocons and offered some semblance of a rational foreign policy. To bad Obama is likely to skip him over and pick some old liberal interventionist or a soft-neocon.

  19. Nirgaz

    November 17, 2008 at 1:00 PM

    I don’t know if anyone could portray Hamza (ra) as good as Anthony Quinn. That guy portrayed his character as I imagined the real hamza to be, but Allah knows best.

  20. Muslim bro

    November 17, 2008 at 2:32 PM

    Assalamu ‘alaykum,

    Brother Nirgaz,
    Perhaps it is the other way around? Maybe the first ‘Hamza’ (RA) you saw was Anthony Quinn, therefore you formed that connection in your head and you think that is what you imagined the real Hamza (RA) to be like. I think what happened is that you saw the movie and then your further ideas about Hamza (RA) were built on that image of him.

    Allah knows best.

  21. al-istiqamah.com

    November 17, 2008 at 3:21 PM

    “I am not saying that you should do nothing for Muslim Americans who are arrested. I am saying that first you should investigate that person’s views and make SURE he/she is not a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer, and then AFTER you have done that, perhaps you should help them in an UNofficial capacity, i.e. without the MuslimMatters label attached to it.”

    What definition of “terorist” are we using here?

    If you take the case of Aafia Siddiqui, the official line is that she is a ‘dangerous terrorist’. Should Muslims refrain from supporting sisters like her, if they are not able to investigate her views?

    Look at the case of Daniel Joseph Maldonado, how his own words belied the misinformation propagated about him by the US media.

    Brothers and sisters, lest we forget, every Muslim has rights upon us. That doesn’t change if they are prisoners: innocent or guilty, having done actions sanctioned by shari’ah, or prohibited in Islam. We should not be an ummah cowering and subjugated by irrational fear of arrest.

    Yes, take precautions by all means, but if they choice comes between helping a Muslim prisoner and facing fitnah, or failing to meet that collective obligation and risking the wrath of Allah, which one would you chose?

    Tariq Mehanna in a credit to the ummah, and the Muslims in America should be rushing to support him. They should take a leaf out of his book and “step up to the plate” on the issue of campaigning for Muslim prisoners.

    Umm Uthmaan
    al-istiqamah.com

  22. al-istiqamah.com

    November 17, 2008 at 3:22 PM

    *is a credit to the ummah

  23. muwahid

    November 17, 2008 at 3:32 PM

    Masha Allah. Well said al-istiqamah.

  24. A Sister

    November 17, 2008 at 5:13 PM

    Although it’s been clearly said that there will be no physical portrayal of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), I for one am quite wary about it – the whole idea of a movie about the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) rubs me the wrong way, not to mention brings up theological concerns.

    I too find that the idea rubs me the wrong way. Until now, I have not watched “The Message”. I just feel that if I watch it, I will associate the “images” of the actors with the sahaabah they protrayed – and I (personally) feel it’s wrong. I’d rather pick up a book and read about it, or listen to an audio lecture.

  25. H

    November 17, 2008 at 5:30 PM

    Guys, beliefnet issued a “top-10” of muslim blogs. As I screened it, I didn’t know half the “top” blogs, and I didn’t find MM either… I guess this must be a self-satisfying top-10, because I think all the blogs are ranked below musilmmatters on technorati, and a few of them don’t even carry original content — just links.

    So I did research on Dilshad Ali, who is editor on beliefnet. I immediately hit jackpot:

    Dilshad D. Ali’s is the Islam editor for Beliefnet.com, ….. She is a board member of the Progressive Muslim Union of North America. ..

    This is where I saw article: http://www.asmasociety.org/wise/participants.html

    Other than Tariq Nelson blog (he doesnt talk about Islam mostly anyway), it is obvious what the list represent. Of course Dilshad has right to say whatever is top-10… in fact, I can come up with a better list. But it is disingenuous, especially to beliefnet, where this person is editor, to be dishonest in making representation of what the top Muslims blog are… because they are not. They are top-10 in her mind. I mean if you want to call it top-10 progressive blog, go right ahead and that will be fine. Please don’t peddle subjective opinion as somehow being an objective top-10. So, Dilshad, please give me your basis!

    Alhamdulilah, you guys keep doing your work… the people are flocking to middle-path Islam as your site is, not extreme left or right.

  26. H

    November 17, 2008 at 5:32 PM

    Surprised they forgot father of progressive blogs, alternative to Muslim blogs, altmuslim.

  27. Amad

    November 17, 2008 at 9:48 PM

    “J”

    Jazakh-Allah Khair, bro Amad. Thank you for your response.

    Please do not think that I did not want people to help fellow Muslims. I just want MM to be successful and safe insha-Allah.

    J, waiyakum. I completely understand and I appreciate your concerns for your brothers and sisters. I know that you didn’t mean that we shouldn’t help fellow Muslims. But rather we should choose all our battles carefully. Everything is being monitored. Sign of true wisdom is that not everything in one’s stomach needs to be vented. This does not mean we have something to hide, but rather we choose to discuss what has the most benefit, and weigh the pros and cons of all topics.

  28. Amad

    November 17, 2008 at 9:59 PM

    “H” I don’t think Dilshad meant the list to be an official, objective top-10… at least I hope she didn’t. I think this was more of her personal favorites, that seem very much in line with her own views of Islam. In fact, I noticed one site on the list had as many total visits (I think like 10k) as we get in 2-3 days, walhamdulilah. I think inshallah it won’t matter what anyone says about what sites are “best”; it is content that will win the crowd, and mainstream views. No one likes “extreme right or extreme left” as you mentioned.

    Remember (I am not referring to Dilshad but in general), that the RAND report and its implications are still very much alive. If MM was religiously progressive, we would probably be quoted in tons of different newspapers by now, and probably gotten personal invitations to government think-tanks! Many people don’t know what to do with the rise of MM in the blogosphere above progressive sites… not because we did anything that special… just gave mainstream Muslims a voice, versus ramming down “reformed” Islam down peoples’ throats. And many people probably want us to just disappear, or prop up other fancy fronts (remember al-Hurra) to compete.

    That’s why we need all of you to stand behind us inshallah, and keep helping us mainstream the moderate Muslim voice. And the way you can do that is to continue to COMMENT… that is the lifeline of a blog, cross-post on your own blogs, email about MM, get others to read, share on facebook, DIGG, stumbleupon, etc. You can all be part of MM, and continue to make it special for all of us inshallah.

    May Allah purify our intentions, and allow us to work only for His sake, and to further His Sunnah, and the Sunnah of His Messenger.

  29. J

    November 17, 2008 at 11:45 PM

    Bro Al-Istiqamah,

    We should judge who is a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer by the Words of Allah [swt] and His Messenger [s]. Therefore, whoever sympathizes with groups that intentionally target non-combatants (i.e. civilians, women, children, etc)–such as Al-Qaeda–would fall under this category.

    I am not saying that any of the people you mentioned fall under that category. I mostly said that just because I didn’t want anyone to assume that I supported helping terrorists or terrorist sympathizers in an UNofficial capacity even.

    May Allah [swt] save the Muslims from calamities, and save those who are in the state of calamity.

    Fi Aman Allah

  30. J

    November 17, 2008 at 11:46 PM

    “J, waiyakum. I completely understand and I appreciate your concerns for your brothers and sisters. I know that you didn’t mean that we shouldn’t help fellow Muslims. But rather we should choose all our battles carefully. Everything is being monitored. Sign of true wisdom is that not everything in one’s stomach needs to be vented. This does not mean we have something to hide, but rather we choose to discuss what has the most benefit, and weigh the pros and cons of all topics.”

    Yes, that is exactly what I meant. Jazakh-Allah Khair.

  31. Amad

    November 18, 2008 at 2:35 PM

    The Democrat traitor, Israel-first-US-second, Lieberman gets to keep his Homeland security seat. This way he can keep pushing the “patriot-act” type witch-hunt agenda, and keep putting up imaginary homeland threats to stay relevant.

    Shame on the Democrats for once again bowing to the Israel lobby in letting someone who CLEARLY and UTTERLY betrayed their party to stay in power. I mean Lieberman agreed with 90% of Democratic agenda, but the remaining 10% which was the support of the Iraq war and support of hawkish Israeli policy, was enough to move him towards the neocons of McCain.

    Shame, shame, shame.

  32. Abu Umar

    November 20, 2008 at 2:34 AM

    America the Illiterate, an excellent article by journalist Chris Hedges:

    We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

    There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.

    Read it all.

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