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Weekend Edition March 9, 2008

Posted by uberhim in Uncategorized.

US News and World Report: Egypt’s Grand Mufti Counters the Tide of Islamic Extremism



Tossing out centuries of reasoned reflection upon the meaning of sharia and discounting the importance of most schools of jurisprudence, these puritans reduce the law to selected passages from the Koran and the hadith and, as the traditionalists see it, distort the intent of sharia by taking the chaff for the wheat. “Their fast-food jurisprudence has led to great intolerance,” says Suhaib Webb, a 36-year-old American convert to Islam who came to Al-Azhar University from California precisely to learn the classical traditions of jurisprudence. “The classical discourse dealt with reality,” Webb says. “The modern discourse is utopian. Ali Gomaa is respected because he deals with reality.”

Since being appointed grand mufti by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2003, Gomaa has demonstrated that realism in scores of rulings on matters that have profound implications for the lives of Muslims. In a country where female genital mutilation is still widely practiced in the name of religion, Gomaa declared it un-Islamic and wrong. He has ruled that Muslims should not be punished for leaving the faith. Citing conflicting opinions from different religious sources, he has declared that there is no definitive edict against playing or performing music. He has said it is permissible, with some restrictions, for Muslim financial institutions to charge interest on loans. He has ruled unequivocally that women may serve as judges and hold political office. He has been equally bold in saying there should be no Islamic political parties, on the grounds that they create divisions between Muslims—a view that makes officials of Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood uneasy.

[Hat-tip to Seekers Digest.]



The Obama campaign has been rocked with the resignation of Samantha Powers, a foreign policy adviser to Obama and the most recognizable member of his advisory staff. Powers, who is a graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, is the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard, and the author of “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. She is also a columnist for Time Magazine – her articles for the magazine can be read here.

Powers resigned after an interview with The Scotsman, in which she called Hillary Clinton ‘a monster’. The Los Angeles Times has the best coverage of the entire incident here, while the New York Times delves into how Powers’ remarks highlight the, “still-unresolved tension about how far Obama can go in striking back without sacrificing his claim to be practicing a new brand of politics.”

Here is an interview of Samantha Powers from last week:

Part 2 and Part 3


The New York Times’ columnists have been on a tear of late. Bob Herbert has written this piece examining the underhandedness of the Clinton campaign – including her insidious response on 60 Minutes when asked whether she believed that Senator Obama is a Muslim. Nicholos Kristof goes to the heart of the matter, writing that, “the most monstrous bigotry in this election isn’t about either race or sex. It’s about religion.”



Page 2

Washington Post: Hitting the Funny Bones of Contention

Axis of Evil Comedy Tour detonates some explosive stereotypes.


You can watch some of their comedy here.


Tony Blair Set to Teach at Yale

The former prime minister, who is the Middle East envoy for the Quartet of the EU, Russia, the UN and the US, will lead a seminar on faith and globalization next year.


New York Times: As Crime Visits Mosques, the Imams Grow Anxious

At least eight New York City mosques have been burglarized since the beginning of the year, one of them twice.


Somehow this video was not #1 on this list of the Top 10 Baseball Oddities:



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