Friday, March 17, 2006
  Hello from Detroit!
Well, I'm in Detroit, having arrived late last night, driving through some of the most incredible snow storms I've ever seen -- litterally snowing snowballs -- huge chunks of snow, rather than flakes or clumps of flakes.

I'm participating in a conference on Islam, Gender and Diversity -- I'm really looking forward to the various presentations, and rather nervous. I'm on a panel with none other than Yvonne Haddad, the grandmother of American Islamic studies. Guess this is one time when I'm going to emphasize my activist background rather than my academic one!

Back in the 90s I went to a presentation by Yvonne, and she was both humble and realistic. She understood how she was a groundbreaker in American Islamic studies, but also that there are limits to what one can learn in a sociological study. Samples of Muslims attending masjids are naturally going to be a certain subset of Muslims -- a more conservative group than the entirety of the community, which includes many more Muslims who do not go to mosque regularly.

So, she made a case for the limited nature of her presentation, and I'll be making a case for anecdotal nature of mine... After all how can we negotiate reality, except through the lenses of our own experiences and observations. And while academic studies of a phenomenon are important, the experience of living the phenomenon is also important -- different approaches to the same issue, but both with their own value.

It doesn't help that while gardening the other day with Noora (we planted peas! Yay!) we both seem to have come in contact with a skin irritant. The whole of my face below my eyes is inflamed -- red, itchy, bumpy, burning! I've got little itchy patches elsewhere that look like poison ivy, so I'm assuming that some of the roots we pulled out of the garden were poison ivy shooters. Noora also has a patch of the rash on her face, much more localized, thank goodness, and it doesn't appear to be bothering her. Wish I could say the same for myself. I look a sight and am very uncomfortable!

Anyway, more later on the various presentations.
 
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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.
MoveOn.org. 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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