One afternoon in the summer of 2013, I sat down with a young Ahmadi American Muslim of Pakistani descent. He told me an unsettling story, one that touches on some of the most pressing issues of the post-9/11 era. The young man, henceforth “Muhammad,” was traveling on an Amtrak train along the East Coast. Sitting…… Continue reading Islam, Race, and Pluralism in Diaspora: Experiences of Young Pakistani Men in Boston and Dublin
If you’re not living in Ireland, the next best place to be Irish is Boston, my home city. There are tons of Irish pubs and enough Irish citizens to give an Irish brogue and provide the craic. The latest US Census revealed that the most Irish urban area is the Boston metro area with 20% of those…… Continue reading Boston the Most Irish City in the US
Boston, where more than 20 percent of residents have Irish ancestry, is hosting the inaugural iFest festival, a $4 million event created by the Irish hospitality industry and politicians to promote Irish culture. According to the Boston Globe, iFest is a tool to increase tourism to Ireland. “It really will immerse visitors in the best…… Continue reading Upcoming Boston Festival to Promote Irish Culture
The writings of Jalalud’din Rumi, the 13th century Sufi Muslim philosopher from modern-day Afghanistan, and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century Christian transcendentalist from Boston, Massachusetts, are filled with lessons that enrich every human soul. Rumi’s and Emerson’s similar thoughts on religious tolerance, love, and care for the soul can help bridge…… Continue reading Rumi and Emerson: A Bridge Between the West and the Muslim World
A picture I snapped of a sunset in Dover, Massachusetts has recently been published by Boston.com, an affiliate of The Boston Globe and The New York Times. See the picture at Boston.com
On Monday I visited the Dover Rug Company in Natick, Massachusetts for an interview with CEO Mahmud Jafri, who happens to be a very down-to-earth and insightful man. Mahmud is a successful businessman who happens to also be a proud Bostonian, American, Muslim and Pakistani. When I was entering the Dover Rug building, I noticed a…… Continue reading Norman Rockwell’s “Golden Rule” Painting
Boston’s anti-Muslim backlash, which I touched upon in the Huffington Post Religion, in the aftermath of the marathon bombings reminds me of John Winthrop, one of Boston’s founding fathers, and his famous sermon “A Model of Christian Charity.” Winthrop’s sermon, delivered in 1630 aboard the Arbella ship before English Puritans settled in what they called New…… Continue reading After bombings, Bostonians must remember its founding fathers’ “model of Christian charity”
Note: My fellow Needhamite Dr. Abdul Cader Asmal Ph.D. wrote a powerful response in Wicked Local Needham to the Boston marathon bombings. Dr. Asmal previously served as president of the Islamic Center of Boston and the Islamic Council of New England. He is a retired physician and is also a current member of Needham Clergy Association…… Continue reading Seeing our humanity and fragile existence through the Boston bombings
Last night I attended the “Muslim Women in the Arts” exhibit at the American Islamic Congress on Newbury Street in Boston. The featured artist was Nada Farhat, a women originally from Saudi Arabia, currently living in Boston. Farhat describes her art as “really a kind of healing soul… My art is who I am… Paint…… Continue reading Saudi American woman pays artful tribute to victims of Boston bombings
Published on Huffington Post Religion (4/25/13) In 2008, I filmed an interview in Boston in which Professor Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, spoke with Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about American identity. According to Chomsky: “[America] is a very frightened country … which is kind of…… Continue reading Bostonians Will Transcend Fear After Marathon Bombings
By Qasim Rashid for Huffington Post Religion Muslims condemned 9/11, we condemned 7/7, we condemned the Fort Hood tragedy, we condemned the underwear bomber, we condemned the Times Square bomber, and now yet again we find ourselves condemning the Boston Bombers on the mere suspicion that they were “motivated by Islam.” And this is why…… Continue reading America is under threat from radical ignorance, not radical Islam
Source: Religion News Service “Opponents of immigration … will seize on anything, and when you’ve got something as vivid and as recent as the tragedy in Boston it puts another arrow in their quiver,” New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told reporters. “To label a whole group of…… Continue reading Catholic bishop fights opponents of immigration reform after Boston Marathon bombings
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
I felt very discouraged at Mass this morning. The priest virtually incited hatred of Islam. In paraphrasing he said something like “The Boston Marathon bombings was part of the global jihad of Islamic supremacists on Christians.” He followed these loaded statements by talking about evil, the devil and how Islam has basically “always been this…… Continue reading Politicizing the Marathon bombings in a Boston church
I only get a chance to come back home to Boston a few times a year. When I returned last December I came home to the news of the terrible tragedy known as the Newtown Massacre in Connecticut, where 20 little children and 6 adults died at the hands of a crazed gunmen. Unfortunately my…… Continue reading Many emotions since arriving back in Boston
What does that thing on the wall mean to people? Is it a terrorist? The Taliban? A Muslim spy? Or is it just a piece of art? Is it a character from the Simpsons? What exactly does it mean? I head to the mural with camera in hand to gage how people interpret Os Gemeos.
Interviews over the controversy that this Os Gemeos mural has stirred will follow in a short documentary.
The other night I had the opportunity to attend my second iftar of 2012 at the American Islamic Congress over on Newbury Street in Boston. This was a community iftar (the previous one I attended had the theme of South Asian) that welcomed a graduate student from Northeastern who demonstrated his fine tar skills. The tar is an important and popular…… Continue reading Music: Iranian tar player at American Islamic Congress iftar on Newbury St. (Boston)
My Ma and sister went to the North End about a week ago and scooped up this awesome jersey.
I have an issue with the Vatican stripping Pontifical Catholic University of Peru of its right to call itself Catholic or Pontifical. This stripping is bothersome for several reasons. The first reason is that it only further amplifies the reputation of the Catholic Church as an archaic, authoritative, and out-of-touch institution which tries to conform…… Continue reading My spat with the Vatican
When Somali youth have made story-lines over the last few years, they have generally done so for the most unfortunate of reasons, mainly that some are going to Somalia to join and fight for Al-Shabaab. A different perspective, however, appeared today in the Washington Post about the challenges Somali youth face while growing up in…… Continue reading Boston Imam leading the charge to help Somali youth off the streets
Have you ever met or had a conversation with someone and thought to yourself: ‘this person is a genius’? This happened to me during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan in 2011 at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland (ICB), Massachusetts. One evening, while the largely South Asian community broke the fast, I found…… Continue reading The day I met a genius: a somber reflection
There was an interesting article on Fox News by Connor Grennan as it concerns his father (born in Ireland) and his Irish identity. Connor grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY and hated the fact that his father had a thick Irish accent. He wanted to hide from the world because of it. Several times, Connor even said…… Continue reading When Being Irish Just Isn’t Enough