Islam · Sociology

Prophet Muhammad’s Model of Integration for the U.S. and the Ummah

I had the pleasure last Saturday of breaking the fast with the Clear Lake Islamic Center, the Muslim American Society, and other members of their communities at an annual Ramadan gathering in Seabrook, Texas. I was invited by my friend Dr. Mohamed Shalaby, who asked me to speak on Prophet Muhammad’s model of integration and how…… Continue reading Prophet Muhammad’s Model of Integration for the U.S. and the Ummah

Islam · Sociology

Breaking the Monolith of Muslim Identity: Experiences of Muslim Women

The “monolith” of Muslim identity is a dangerous misconception when applied to Muslim women. By suggesting that all Muslims experience their identity in similar ways, the unique experiences of Muslim women are erased from the conversations regarding identity. Instead, their experiences and identity formation should be appreciated through the “double disadvantage” they hold as their…… Continue reading Breaking the Monolith of Muslim Identity: Experiences of Muslim Women

Sociology

Race is a Social Construct, Not a Biological Reality

You’ve seen it on my page before – “race is a social construct and not a biological reality.” Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah of NYU is a leading thinker on this subject, and he concurs: “The way we talk about race today is just incoherent. The thing about race is that it is a form of…… Continue reading Race is a Social Construct, Not a Biological Reality

Politics · Religion · Sociology

Dear America – Check Your Christian Privilege

A few months ago, when I was teaching Sociology of Religion at Rice University, the topic of Ted Cruz and Christian privilege came up in our classroom. In response to questions about his commitment to conservatism, Cruz stated: “I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican forth. I’ll tell ya, there are a whole…… Continue reading Dear America – Check Your Christian Privilege

Publications · Sociology · Work

Article: What Does it Mean to Be ‘Irish’? Perceptions of Irish identity Among Young Pakistani Men

I am happy to share my new publication “What does it mean to be ‘Irish’? Perceptions of Irish identity among young Pakistani men” in Diaspora Studies (published by Routledge – Taylor & Francis). Abstract: The aim of this paper is to contribute to the discussion surrounding national identity by considering a particular set of empirical…… Continue reading Article: What Does it Mean to Be ‘Irish’? Perceptions of Irish identity Among Young Pakistani Men

Sociology

Here’s Why Young Men Become “Terrorists” (Hint: It’s Not Islam) And What We Can Do About It

Looking back at the attack carried out by the El Bakraoui brothers in Brussels, Belgium, I cannot help but notice how news media, intellectuals and politicians blame “Islam” or ISIS for this tragic event. Such a conclusion is overly simplistic and lacks a deeper understanding of what drives young men to act out violently. The…… Continue reading Here’s Why Young Men Become “Terrorists” (Hint: It’s Not Islam) And What We Can Do About It

Sociology

Ethnic Vs. Civic Nations: A Comparison Between England, Ireland, and the United States

Jonathan Freedland’s article in the Guardian on English identity discusses the differences between the “ethno-nation” which is defined by “blood and soil” and the “civic nation” which is defined by egalitarian values and democratic institutions. These two types of competing national identities are also discussed in my PhD dissertation which focuses on the experiences of young first- and second-generation Pakistani…… Continue reading Ethnic Vs. Civic Nations: A Comparison Between England, Ireland, and the United States

Sociology

How Can Ireland, a Country with a History of Forced Migration and Oppression, Treat Refugees so Poorly?

Sociology · Work

Family, Religion and Identity Experiences in the Pakistani Diaspora: A Case Study of Young Pakistani Men in Dublin & Boston

This presentation provided an overview of data collected during an exploratory case study based in qualitative research regarding the lived experiences of Pakistani men between the ages of 18 and 35 living in Dublin and Boston. I offered a theoretical backdrop on diaspora theory and its related concepts, a general introduction to Pakistanis, the origins…… Continue reading Family, Religion and Identity Experiences in the Pakistani Diaspora: A Case Study of Young Pakistani Men in Dublin & Boston

Sociology

In His New Book, Akbar Ahmed Explains the Current Cycle Roiling Muslim Countries

By Khaled Ahmed Akbar Ahmed has had a good homecoming. His message has been embraced by the Pakistani state: Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif presented him a shield at the National Defense University in December; and the Navy chief was so impressed with Ahmed’s latest book—last year’s The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on…… Continue reading In His New Book, Akbar Ahmed Explains the Current Cycle Roiling Muslim Countries

Sociology

“Terrorist” as a Racist Term

Source: Electronic Intifada By Ali Abunimah Despite the government having fairly clear definitions of what constitutes an act of “terrorism,” the terms “terrorist” or “terrorism” are used not to describe actions but to label people. It is clear these are racialized terms, applied in a discriminatory way to people perceived as Muslim, Arab or nonwhite.…… Continue reading “Terrorist” as a Racist Term

Sociology

Daphne High School, Alabama: The problem with equating Arabic and Islam

One story coming out of a school near Mobile, Alabama has caught my attention over the issue of equating the Arabic language with Islam and evilness. Parents of students were recently interviewed to reflect upon a new Arabic language program at Daphne High School. This response from one parent is particularly troubling: “When you teach…… Continue reading Daphne High School, Alabama: The problem with equating Arabic and Islam

Sociology

Stereotypes

”Modern life is hurried and multifarious…there is neither time nor opportunity for intimate acquaintance. Instead we notice a trait which marks a well known type, and fill in the rest of the picture by means of the stereotypes we carry about in our heads…the subtlest and most pervasive of all influences are those which create…… Continue reading Stereotypes

Sociology

New Study Finds War Not Innate to Human Nature

Researchers from Abo Academy University in Finland say that violence in early human communities was driven by personal conflicts rather than large-scale battles. They say their findings suggest that war is not an innate part of human nature, but rather a behaviour that we have adopted more recently. The study is published in the journal…… Continue reading New Study Finds War Not Innate to Human Nature

Sociology

When a “Spic” sings God Bless America

Racism and ignorance feed off each other like no other. Here’s a classic case. During the 2013 M.L.B. All Star game, many Americans took to Twitter to share their raw emotions (see more of those feelings here) over a “Spic” and “Mexican” singing God Bless America. The singer, Marc Anthony, was born in NYC, which makes…… Continue reading When a “Spic” sings God Bless America

Poems · Sociology

Transcending the Anti-Muslim Mobs of Tennessee

A recent event at the Manchester Convention Center in Tennessee has received news headlines. According to the Tennessean: During the keynote speech given by Bill Killian, U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Tennessee, audience members continually interrupted, making it difficult to understand what was said. Killian brought a PowerPoint presentation that covered the First…… Continue reading Transcending the Anti-Muslim Mobs of Tennessee

Sociology

Boston bombers were caught between new and old worlds

By Akbar Ahmed for National Geographic It was the matter-of-fact tone of the Pakistani boy in Brooklyn that disturbed me and brought tears to my research team. Traveling throughout the country in 2008 and 2009 for my book Journey into America, we were in a Shia mosque in an area called Little Pakistan, which has…… Continue reading Boston bombers were caught between new and old worlds

Sociology

Americans Should Turn Their Minds to Jesus, Not Darwin, on Easter

Easter Sunday is an appropriate time for Americans to reflect upon the direction of their societies. Should America become a place that embodies the teachings of Jesus or Darwin? Akbar Ahmed weighs in: “A debilitating tension between Darwin and Jesus lies at the heart of American identity. It is not so much about how society…… Continue reading Americans Should Turn Their Minds to Jesus, Not Darwin, on Easter

Sociology

Darwin vs. Jesus

By Akbar Ahmed A debilitating tension between Darwin and Jesus lies at the heart of American identity. It is not so much about how society originated and evolved, but whatdefines and motivates it. The core principles of the Darwinian thesis and Christianity are diametrically opposed and cannot coexist simultaneously in one society without causing severe friction. Darwin represents…… Continue reading Darwin vs. Jesus

Sociology

Video: I’m not racist, but… (Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls)

This is what sociologists call microaggression: ‘Why isn’t there a White Entertainment Television?’ ‘Jews were slaves too, but you don’t hear us complaining about it all the time…’ ‘You can say the N word but I can’t? How is that okay?’ ‘He’s so cute for a black guy’. ‘The thing I like about them is like…… Continue reading Video: I’m not racist, but… (Shit White Girls Say… to Black Girls)

Sociology

What Happens When You Google “American”?

‘American’; ‘Native American’; ‘Fat Americans’; ‘Stupid Americans’; ‘American funny’; ‘American people’. Is this what really comes to mind when people think about American identity? Is this an adequate representation of what it means to be an American? Is this how we see ourselves or how other people see us? Click on the image below to…… Continue reading What Happens When You Google “American”?

Sociology

Male dominated culture

Sociology · Uncategorized

Video: Marry Me

The following 6 minute short film is about a girl who loves a boy and a boy who loves his bike. The film took first place in Tropfest Australia 2008, “the world’s largest short film festival.” It has me thinking about how we raise our children, from toddlerhood. Consider: a girl ensconced in pink is obsessed…… Continue reading Video: Marry Me

Sociology

Image: Guns for a Christmas present

Nothing like some guns to celebrate the birth of Christ! This is how guns become ‘normal’ in the USA.  Buy a kid a gun and he or she will love you forever.

Sociology

Recommended reading: ‘Islam Under Siege’

Akbar Ahmed’s Islam Under Siege is an attempt to make sense of a rapidly transforming and dangerous world where ‘Westerners’ and ‘Muslims’ (as if the to are not inclusive!) are often pitted against each other as mortal enemies.  In his analysis, Ahmed explains what is going wrong in the Muslim world; why it is going…… Continue reading Recommended reading: ‘Islam Under Siege’

Sociology

Sociology: The way to understand ‘race’ and ‘racism’

Stuart Hall is a theorist who has contributed a great deal to our understanding of identity and racism.  He is one of the ‘founding fathers’ of cultural studies and here discusses race as a floating signifier.  I was not able to find all the videos but you should be able to search for them on…… Continue reading Sociology: The way to understand ‘race’ and ‘racism’

Sociology

James Baldwin at the Crossroads of his Identity Crisis

One can only face in others what one can face in oneself.  On this confrontation depends the measure of our wisdom and compassion.  This energy is all that one finds in the rubble of vanished civilizations, and the only hope for ours. – James Baldwin, ‘NOBODY KNOWS MY NAME’

Sociology

How You Could Be Racist and Not Even Know It

Derald Wing Sue et al. (2007) posit that micro-aggression racism is: a contemporary form of racism that is invisible, unintentional, subtle in nature, and typically outside the levels of conscious awareness, but it creates a hostile and invalidating climate nonetheless.  According to Sue and Colleagues, the cumulative of micro-aggressions may be just as harmful as…… Continue reading How You Could Be Racist and Not Even Know It

Sociology

Nafs and the stages of ‘self’

The Arabic word nafs is variously translated as ‘soul’, ‘self’, or ‘ego’.  The nafs has seven levels or stages of development that correspond more or less to the seven stages of the Sufi Path.  The Path, which leads to a transformation of consciousness, can therefore be described as the refinement and purification of the soul.  The seven…… Continue reading Nafs and the stages of ‘self’

Sociology

Fascinating and timely forthcoming book: ‘The Thistle and the Drone’ by Akbar Ahmed

My intellectual/spiritual/academic mentor, Professor Akbar Ahmed, has done it again.  And it’s sheer brilliance! Brookings Institution Press has just released an e-mail highlighting their forthcoming Fall publications.  Showcased in this e-mail is Professor Ahmed’s latest book ‘The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam’: The United…… Continue reading Fascinating and timely forthcoming book: ‘The Thistle and the Drone’ by Akbar Ahmed

Sociology

Religion: The science of the sociology of religion

Note: Christian Smith of the University of Notre Dama recently wrote an important piece in Footnotes of the American Sociological Association on the importance of taking the sociology of religion seriously.  Essentially, Smith wonders ‘why, when it comes to religion, do so many sociologists suddenly stop being sociological and become ideological and ignorant?’   The…… Continue reading Religion: The science of the sociology of religion

Sociology

A clever little video to answer ‘what is social science?’

Source: You Tube Soomo Publishing’s ‘Animated Introduction to Social Science’ defines the broad-spectrum discipline of social science. You can see more of Soomo Publishing’s educational videos by visiting http://www.soomo.tv.

Sociology

Study Questions to Guide Discussion on Islamophobia

Some thought-provoking questions which sprang from my reading of: The Politics of Multiculturalism in the New Europe by Tariq Modood and Pnina Werbner (1997). 1.  What are the key features of ‘Islamophobia’? 2.  How would you compare ‘Islamophobia’ to anti-Semitism?  What about anti-Judaism? 3.  To what extent would you agree that ‘Islamophobia’ is more a form…… Continue reading Study Questions to Guide Discussion on Islamophobia