Entries categorized "Books"

Faith in Fantasy on Imaginary Worlds Podcast

I am a longtime fan of the Imaginary Worlds podcast, and was ecstatic was I was asked to participate in roundtable on the role of faith in imaginary worlds.

I was joined by friend of many years, the Velveteen Rabbi, Rachel Barenblat, who did a wonderful write-up of her experience here.

The episode description is:

Science fiction has not always been compatible with religion -- in fact many futuristic settings imagine no religion at all. But sci-fi and fantasy have long fascinated people of different faiths because the genres wrestle with the big questions of life.

You can listen to episode embedded below, or on the podcast page here.


Hajj: The Pilgrimage | The Practice of Islam in America

Hajj: The Pilgrimage | The Practice of Islam in America.
“Hajj: The Pilgrimage” 
 by Hussein Rashid 
 Chapter Summary 
 This chapter takes us on a journey to Mecca, site of the hajj, or annual pilgrimage. Hussein Rashid depicts this often once-in-a-lifetime experience for several Muslim Americans who represent a wide variety of ethnic, racial, and sectarian backgrounds. We learn about the pilgrimages of Khizer, a health care professional from Washington, D.C.; Zahra, an attorney from California; Debra, a college professor from Wisconsin; Suehaila, a professional recruiter from Dearborn, Michigan; and other Muslim Americans. They walk counter-clockwise around the Ka‘ba; pray outside Mecca at Mina and Mt. Arafat; reenact Hagar’s desperate search for water; and symbolically stone the devil, among other rites. In addition to giving essential background on each of these practices, Rashid asks these pilgrims what all these rituals mean to them and what they hope to gain by coming on hajj. As a result, we come to know not only about the logistical problems and gripes of pilgrims, but also about the failed relationships that led a couple of the pilgrims to seek solace or healing in Mecca in the first place.

Newsday on America to Zanzibar

Here is a Newsday article on the exhibit America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for which I was the lead academic advisor. It's a good chance to shout out my friends from high school.

“Our goal is to have children deal with differences in a healthy, positive way and encourage them to be inquisitive while exploring the world instead of running away from its differences,” Rashid said, an experience not so different from his years growing up in Elmont.


Speaking Engagement: Presentations on Islam at East Meadow Public Library

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.

British Council - Society - Our Shared Future - Building a Shared Future

British Council - Society - Our Shared Future - Building a Shared FutureBritish Council - Society - Our Shared Future - Building a Shared Future.
One of the key objectives of this conference was to help fill the gap between academic expertise and public knowledge of cross-cultural relations involving Muslims. Participants broke into discussion groups around five themes to pinpoint new, more inclusive narratives to reshape the conversation about intercultural relations. They explored areas of research and partnerships among institutions in the US, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that can help shed light on deep connections between Muslim and non-Muslim societies in the fields of culture, the arts, humanities and science. Rounding out these discussions, participants had the opportunity to work with media professionals to develop effective messaging and gain practical skills to improve their engagement with online, print and broadcast media.   
The essays compiled in the resulting series of e-books reflect the ideas that participants arrived at the conference with as well as the conversations that ensued throughout its three days. We have produced four books covering each of the themes undertaken at Cambridge: The Power of Words and Images; Islam, Knowledge and Innovation; Citizenship and Identity; and Religion, Politics and the Public Sphere.

Velveteen Rabbi: The voices of American Muslim men

Velveteen Rabbi: The voices of American Muslim men.
Because I've been blessed to know Hussein for years, I paid special attention to his essay. He writes eloquently about growing up "painfully normal" in Queens, New York. His grandmother and his grade school were both located in Forest Hills, Queens, "one of the most diverse Jewish communities at the time." He writes about how he developed racial identity consciousness first, and religious identity consciousness later. (Indeed: as a good second-generation American teenager, he rebelled against his parents, which naturally meant steering away from religiousness. For a while.)

An honest man « Love, InshAllah

I was pleased to write an essay for the website for Love, Inshallah.

An honest man « Love, InshAllah.
We never want to present ourselves in a way that makes us seem less than we think we are. That means we obfuscate, divert, and weave tales of who want to be, both to ourselves and to others. We craft these narratives, and in the telling, there are omissions and commissions. We are not lying or being dishonest, but we are not being honest. We want to be well-thought of by other people.