Sunday, December 11, 2005
  Muhammad ElBaradei Wins Nobel Peace Prize
I saw this great bit of news this morning. A drop compared to the bucket of bad news about Muslims that we see on a daily basis, but the irony of a Muslim winning the Peace Prize will hopefully wake some folks up to the notion that not all Muslims are bloodthirsty, hyper-violent terrorists. Indeed, only a miniscule percentage are.

Some of ElBaradei's comments:

"If we hope to escape self-destruction, then I believe nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security."

"Our security strategies have not yet caught up with the security threats we are facing. The globalization that has swept away the barriers to the movement of goods, ideas and people has also removed barriers that confined and localized security threats."

"The hard part is: how do we create an environment in which all of us would look at nuclear weapons the way we look at slavery or genocide, as a taboo and a historical anomaly?"

That's the issue in a nutshell.

Using nuclear weapons is insane. Like many, I don't understand why we still have countries with major arsenals, on constant alert. The authorities mention nuclear terrorism, but does anyone really think a nuclear terrorist is going to be deterred by the potential destruction of, say, Saudi Arabia or whatever country? Do Pakistan and India really want to obliterate hundreds of thousands of people and make portions of their countries completely unlivable for hundreds of years? Surely whatever political differences they have cannot possibly merit that!! So why do we still have countries who think it is imperative to have these weapons? Are our leaders that crazy??

One of ElBaradei's suggestions --

To set up a nuclear fuel bank under the IAEA [the nuclear weapons watch-dog organization ElBaradei heads], so countries could have access to fissionable material for peaceful uses, such as power plants, without building their own atomic fuel processing centers that also could be used for weapons.

That seems to make a lot of sense. In the whole Iran nuclear power debate, I have always felt that it is unfair of nuclear weapons states to demand that third world countries forgo nuclear power simply because the plants that make the fuel can also make fuel for bombs. This would be an elegant solution to that issue.

I also found his comments on the state of the world economy and its contribution to violence to be particularly pertinent.

"He said poverty and the loss of hope that it engendered was "fertile ground" for organised crime, civil wars, terrorism and extremism.

"We may have torn down walls between the east and the west, but we have yet to build bridges between the north and south, between the rich and poor," he said. "

As a kid I learned that one of the greatest ills of feudalism was that the rich lived these splendid lives, and the poor lived in squallor. I don't see that that has changed much. Indeed, I often wonder if the gap between rich and poor isn't wider now than it was during the fuedal ages. Clearly economic frustration, despair, and difficulty of many people's lives is a contributing factor to the anger many feel at the West and at America in particular.

Here's a couple reports on ElBaradei and the Nobel Peace Prize:

Of course, yahoo's front page news story on the issue is not that this Muslim nuclear weapons watchdog won the Nobel Peace Prize, but that pop stars, including Julianne Moore and Salma Hayek, are going to celebrate with him. Go figure.
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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