I don't want to see stores looted or buildings burned; but African- Americans have been living in burning buildings for years, choking on smoke as flames burn closer and closer.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.  – Malcolm X

"We must never, ever give up. We must be brave. We must be courageous." John Lewis, activist, congressman. 1940-2020 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."  Professor Cornel West.

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."  Audre Lorde

"The serious function of racism is distraction". 1995, Toni Morrison; Portland lecture, Playing in The Dark

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.” Nora Ephron

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

"We are more alike than we are different" ~ Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singe


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain


You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore


 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:


"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.


Ignore the Stupid Thing? Not So Easy.


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

I too said I was going to ignore that film. Even when I felt offended and repulsed after viewing just a few moments of the stupid video, I resolved to leave it behind. But speaking with others, equally disgusted, or despondent, and learning about people overseas hurting and dying in defense of their dignity, of hollow arguments for free speech, I wonder if one can really ignore what created the video, the objections to it, and now further ramifications.

One more insult to all Muslims comes at a time when in general, we see evidence of islamophobia increasing across the USA. Only this week we have a US judge deciding in favor of the posting of undisguised anti-Muslim ads in NY city and other public transit systems around the country.

We also are put on the spot when even sympathetic associates ask us for our response, our feeling about these spiraling events. Can I just walk away asserting Ďitís stupid and nobody caresí. Can I tell others to ignore it? Can I say itís a media hype that focuses only on a isolated angry groups that represent no one? Or, itís a right wing electioneering tactic? Can I say itís a passing thing and will blow over? Can I say they (the video-makers and protesters too) have a right; this is democracy? Can I blame A, B, or C? Can I say: look at the real advances Muslims are making with their democratic transitions?

Yes, I too wish it would blow away. Eventually we will move on. But move to what? We go from one outburst like this to the next, one insult to the nextÖsomehow seeing little headway in what is now not a post-2001 rise of anti-Muslim episodes but a long history of confrontation. It accelerated in the last century following Iranís Islamic revolution, receiving injections of fury from the West with the 1991 first Gulf War, and again in 2001. This confrontation is going to be with us for years to come, and we had better start doing a better job than we have to date to reverse its course. I believe it can and must start with American Muslims. We count a lot of really fine, talented people in our ranks.

A few organizations said to represent us here meekly advise caution; meanwhile there is no creative and courageous leadership for us to look to, and no public protests to join. Maybe unhappy events like those we witness today will finally inspire the leadership we need.

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