Everybody loves a good carnival

Last week, I tore into truthout.org and their inept way of handling their newsletter subscriptions. As Kevin pointed out in the comments, as high-profile bloggers, we get added to a LOT of mailing lists by people who think that we just HAVE to know what they’re up to — and the thought of asking first doesn’t occur to them.

Likewise, sometimes we end up on lists that we really, really should not have been put on in the first place, as we are really, really not good recipients.

One of those happened Friday.

Apparently, among all the other Carnivals going around the internet, there is one I had missed “The Carnival of Islam in the West.” And among the hundred or so recipients, someone added me to it.

So I have been personally invited by one Hakim Abdullah, the Chief Editor of this web site, to participate in “The Carnival of Islam in the West.” However, my invitation arrived too late to participate (the deadline was Friday, the day the invitation arrived).

I won’t let that discourage me. So, in the interest of promoting diversity and greater cultural understanding, I’m going to put together my own little “Carnival of Islam in the West” that, I expect, will highlight some stories that the official Carnival’s organizers might have overlooked.

First up, I found this story of a Muslim in the West had a New Hampshire angle. It seems that the alleged would-be terrorist arrested in Texas last week grew up in Pelham, New Hampshire, and attended a nearby Massachusetts mosque. Who would have expected that from quiet, rural little Cow Hampshire? I’m just busting with granite pride.

Down in DC, the head of the Islamic Center there is quite a public speaker. It turns out that Mr. Muhammad Al-Asi has strong opinions about the Holocaust (never happened), Ayatollah Khomeini (good guy), suicide bombers (heroes and martyrs), 9/11 (planned by BushCo and blamed on innocent Muslims), and thinks that Americans have an unreasonable fear and dislike of Muslims.

“Unreasonable.” As a wise man once said, “you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

At Stanford, the library’s Middle East Collections, the Continuing Studies Programs, and the Abbasi program in Islamic Studies are attempting to promote peace and understanding between Islam and the West by showing the Turkish film “Valley Of The Wolves: Iraq.” This sensitive, nuanced work shows a Jewish doctor (Gary Busey) in Abu Ghraib, harvesting organs from prisoners to sell in New York and Tel Aviv, while a fundamentalist Christian CIA agent (Billy Zane) tortures and murders Iraqis as “God’s work.” Whoops, those hate-filled people who can’t handle The Truth forced this fine example of cinema verite to be canceled.

Out west, it turns out that the gunman who killed five people in a Utah mall was NOT a Mormon, or even one of those dangerous, subversive, downright scary Lutherans. 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic, it turns out, was from Bosnia, and — of all things — a Muslim. Why, who could have foreseen that?

(More details on this story can be found in the Shire Network News podcast, who apparently DID foresee that.)

Across the pond, we have the tale of a rather dedicated Muslim in England who works tirelessly in the public transporation field, a carraige cleaner on trains. And in his off time, he gets involved in public policy issues. “Involved,” of course, meaning “shows up at protest rallies about Danish Mohammed cartoons dressed as a suicide bomber.”

Meanwhile, some of Mr. Khayam’s role models, those who actually tried to become suicide bombers but were apparently spared by their own ineptitude, are on trial for their attempts at a second London bus/subway bombing incident.

North of London, an Islamic school that had been raided numerous times as a training ground for terrorists was finally shut down. I, for one, worry that the lacrosse team will be unduly tainted by this.

Over in Cambridge, a student had the nerve to publish the dreaded Mohammed cartoons (see above) in a magazine. The school, naturally, did the only things it could: it hid him away from public view to protect him, while simultaneously debating how to properly punish him for “inflaming” Muslims. Had I gone to a better college, perhaps I would be better equipped to understand how his offense was so great that it might merit expulsion, while the thought that he might be beaten or killed by fellow students isn’t worthy of college disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, in Spain, the trial for the Madrid train bombings continues.
Prosecutors say that the defendants’ Muslim faith was a key motivator behind the 2004 attacks that killed 191 and injured over 2,000 people.

Finally, up in France, the authorities have arrested 11 Muslims and charged them with recruiting for Al Qaeda. Silly terrorists. If they had just stuck to setting things on fire — cars, buildings, people in wheelchairs — the French authorities would have left them alone. But by raising the possibility that they might embarass the French on the world stage, they set themselves up for trouble.

I hope that was fun and educational. I’d like to thank Charles Johnson for his tireless work, which I shamelessly ripped off for a healthy portion of the entries. I’d also like to thank Mr. Hakim Abdullah for inviting me to participate. I’ll be adding a link to the “official” The Carnival of Islam in the West after it gets posted.

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