• Mad Men on Sesame Street

    Aman Ali, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the co-author of 30 Mosques, a Ramadan adventure taking him to a different mosque in New York City every day for a month.

    I'll spare you guys the annoyance of raving about how good the TV show Mad Men is. But now apparently Sesame Street has gotten Mad Men fever. My friend's 3-year-old son saw the clip and said he wants to grow up and be like Don Draper. I said "You and me both kid, you and me both."

  • Kill Al-Qaeda in Three Easy Steps

    Aman Ali, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the co-author of 30 Mosques, a Ramadan adventure taking him to a different mosque in New York City every day for a month.

    It sounds like an infomercial. I can already imagine the voice of Billy Mays (RIP) booming through my television set.

    "Sick of fighting terrorists the old fashioned way with asymmetrical warfare? Hi, Billy Mays here, to talk to you about the one and only, Mullah Remover!"

    I just got done reading Howard Clark's new book "How You Can Kill Al-Qaeda (in Three Easy Steps). He's an ex-Marine and former Homeland Security adviser who says the way to win the war on terrorism is to help empower the mainstream Muslim community, who in recent years has been overshadowed in the public spotlight by fringe Al-Qaeda extremists.

    The whole idea of fighting terrorism with ideas and not weapons is definitely nothing new, but Clark's populist tone and foreign policy street cred was a refreshing perspective to have in the discussion.

    "Click on the link below in the next 30 minutes and I'll throw in this egg slicer absolutely free! Here's how to order!"

    Book's official site.

  • Are Muslim Women Oppressed? Ask One

    Aman Ali, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the co-author of 30 Mosques, a Ramadan adventure taking him to a different mosque in New York City every day for a month.

    My last post generated an interesting discussion (268 comments and counting) on Muslim women covering their hair. But it seemed kind of silly to talk about the subject, without hearing viewpoints from Muslim women.

    My friend Mariam Sobh has graciously agreed to chime in. She is editor in chief of Hijabtrendz, the original fashion beauty and entertainment blog for Muslim women. Here's what she had to say:

    It's the age old debate that quite frankly I'm sick and tired of. Muslim women and their "oppression".

    Oppression is such a loaded word and it conjures up all sorts of negative images, but what people don't seem to want to understand is that Muslim women are just like any other woman. We come in all shapes and sizes, and all sorts of beliefs. You can't paint us all with the same brush.

    I'm as American as anyone else, I watch movies, I read celebrity gossip, I shop at Victoria's Secret, I work outside the home, I'm pursuing my dreams, the only difference is that little piece of fabric I wrap around my head. Big whoop.

    I'm not harming anyone by wearing a piece of material on my head so what's the big deal?

    I myself wear the headscarf and I do so because it's something I believe is mandated in my religion. No one is forcing me and it has no political significance (I have no idea why people keep thinking it does). Believe me if I didn't think it was required I WOULD NOT be wearing it. I hate being bullied all the time by the press or some ignoramus about my scarf. It takes a toll on you emotionally and eventually you have to develop a thick skin. But words will always hurt no matter what.

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  • Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Burqini

    Aman Ali, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the co-author of 30 Mosques, a Ramadan adventure taking him to a different mosque in New York City every day for a month.

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    When I first heard of this product a few years ago, I'll admit it made me laugh, even with me being a Muslim. It's a swimsuit called the Burqini that's designed for Muslim women.

    Men and women in Islam are both asked to dress modestly but many of the swimsuits designed for women today are too revealing to allow them to do that. As you can see, the Burqini doesn't show any skin but it's not too loose to the point where it's difficult to swim.

    No woman should be denied the freedom to have a fun filled day at the pool or beach, which is why this company designed the Burqini. The more I thought about the product, the more I began to realize how awesome it is. It's another way Muslims have been able to adapt to local cultures and customs without compromising their beliefs, an issue many religions face today.

    The Burqini has gotten a lot of backlash from governments in Europe. But I don't think any government has a right to tell people how to dress. How come a woman is not allowed to wear a burqini to a pool, but there's no law saying she can't wear a giant panda suit? If she wants to wear either of those outfits, hey go right ahead.

    Burqini's official site

  • 30 Mosques Gets 1-Up'd

    Aman Ali, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the co-author of 30 Mosques, a Ramadan adventure taking him to a different mosque in New York City every day for a month.

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    For the month of Ramadan, my friend Bassam and I gave you guys an insight into how Muslims across the United States observe Ramadan with our project 30 Mosques in 30 Days. But Iranian-American Jason Rezaian gives an interesting and critical look at Muslims observing Ramadan in five predominantly Muslim countries.

    Rezaian talks about how local cultures can sometimes twist Islam's religious practices. Take his Dubai story for example:

    Dubai tends toward gluttony every month of the year, but during Ramadan, things are even more over the top, with nearly every eating establishment offering an Iftar fast-breaking gut-buster at sundown. It's Dubai doing what it does best: using its limited resources for its own commercial advantage. Even American fast-food outlets in Dubai offer Ramadan Value Meals, usually adding a dessert to the already calorie-packed meal deal. At the Dubai Mall, McDonald's was the only major international food chain that didn't have a special offer, just a banner that read: "Ramadan Kareem"–"Happy Ramadan."

    Slate: My Ramadan World Tour

  • It's Gadhafi Mania!

    Aman Ali, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the co-author of 30 Mosques, a Ramadan adventure taking him to a different mosque in New York City every day for a month.

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    Leaders from around the world are meeting in New York City this week for the United Nations summit, and nothing could be more entertaining than residents in a ritzy NYC suburb protesting Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi staying in a tent on Donald Trump's estate.

    My co-workers and I today were trying to figure out who Gadhafi looks like. I won by saying he looked like Mickey Rourke, but in second place was pro-wrestling legend Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.

    Can you guys think of any other Gadhafi look-alikes?