"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 05.08.2019)

“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"v  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 singer at 89


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.


Back Home by Mahmoud Ibrahim Al Amreeki


by Barbara Nimri Aziz

Major Nidal Malik Hasan's attack on personnel at Ft. Hood’s army base was the act of a coward. Despite accolades heaped upon him by Imam Al Awlaki and others for carrying out a “heroic and virtuous” act and the only way a Muslim could justify serving in the US Army was to “follow in the footsteps of Nidal Hasan”.I’m reminded of back home. Back home where I come from, when we weref aced the with a racist system of injustice known as Jim Crow, that gave rise to the bombings of the homes of my relatives and other black folk, we put our trust in Almighty God and sought relief in the American Justice system, flawed as it was, for remedies to our situation. Back home where I come from, when we as a people of darker hue were faced with the lynchings in broad daylight and with body-burnings that lit the night skies, we put our trust in Almighty God and sought relief in the American Justice system, flawed as it was, for remedies to our situation. Back home where I come from, when we were eye-level to eye-level with the evils of segregation, treated by unjust laws as no better than cattle or dry-goods, unable to educate our children much less our selves, we put our trust in Almighty God and sought relief in the American Justice system, flawed as it was, for remedies to our situation. Back home where I come from, we organized, we protested, we marched, we boycotted, we used labor strikes, we took over the administrative buildings at some of the most prestigious American universities. We struggled. Back home where I come from, we took principled positions and with those positions we brought about change. We changed the way the world viewed us. Our cause. Our efforts and our humanity. In 1967 Muhammad Ali, the famous American boxer, too had a crisis of faith. Of belief. Of conscience. He too faced the very real prospect of going into the American military to fight with the possibility of dying in an unjust war, Viet Nam. Muhammad Ali was directly threatened with imprisonment, the loss of his considerable wealth, loss of prestige, of social status and the prospects of earning a living for the rest of his life. But he took a principled position, HE REFUSED. He said NO! In the tradition of our collective’ Back Home’ he would battle it out in the courtroom. In a justice system, as flawed as it was, to openly and clearly expose the hypocrisy of engaging in an unjust military venture, that like Iraq, make some people very rich and others widows and orphans. Muhammad Ali would, by taking a principled stand, show the puppets and the puppeteers. And for doing this, he gained the admiration and respect of the entire world. The cowardly act of murder by Major Nidal Hassan Malik at Ft. Hood and the praise heaped upon him by Imam Anwar al Awlaki and others of that ilk may be the way they do business ‘back home’. Something they honor ‘back home’. But for all of those Muslims who have come to my home and feel that way, I say, “Leave my Home”. Because the principles under which we operate are much higher than yours. Our understanding of Allah’s Guidance is much more pure than yours. Keep your garbage out of my home. Author Sh. Mahmoud Ibrahim al Amreeki Director: Dar ul Islam History Project New York, NY

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“We are nothing on this earth if we do not first and foremost serve a cause, the cause of the people, the cause of freedom and justice. I want you to know that even when the doctors had lost all hope, I was still thinking, in a fog granted, but thinking nonetheless, of the Algerian people, of the people of the Third World, and if I managed to hold on, it was because of them.”

Frantz Fanon, 1963

Tahrir Diwan

a poem.. a song..
poem "Comply" by Zaid Shlah
"Comply" from Taqsim, read by Zaid Shlah

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poem Qur'an Surat Al-Qaria
from 'Approaching The Qur'an' CD, reciter: Seema B. Gazi

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Book review
Dave Eggers's
reviewed by BN Aziz.

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