Muslims, Race and the Blogosphere

Muslims, Race and the Blogosphere

Sometimes I dream of being a housewife. Not because I live to serve my future husband (or that I even have any burning desire to get married at all), but because I yearn for a day when I can sit and read for hours on end. I’m talking everything from Jane Austen to socialist theory to the endless stream of new blogs. Especially as a young Muslim-American woman living in a post 9/11 society, I constantly feel as if I am not doing enough to analyze and understand the position of people of color (particularly but not exclusively Muslims) in the United States today. I firmly believe that the struggles that Muslim-Americans (especially recent immigrants) face in this country are inextricably tied to the struggles of vast numbers of other immigrant and people-of-color communities that have come before us.

As you might be able to tell by reading my blog posts for elan, I spend a lot of time thinking about the racism that affects Muslims around the world and its political and historical contexts. I believe that one cannot be truly effective as an activist against racism and oppression without developing an informed political consciousness. I also believe that as an Arab Muslim woman, I have a responsibility to embark on that quest. It may sound too holier-than-thou, but really I am just a girl who feels an acute sense of injustice about the way people-of-color and immigrant communities are considered in the West. Many of my blog posts are simply attempts to make sense of that feeling of injustice.

And I can tell that I am not the only one who feels this way – many other bloggers express it better than me. So here is a brief compilation of some of the blogs and websites that I would (if I had all the time in the world) read all day, every day. These are the writings that I personally rely on to help me understand my role as an aspiring activist in a community (even if it’s only a virtual one for now) that shares in a discussion of politics, race, culture, and humanity. I hope you find them just as enlightening as I do.

In no particular order:

1. Racialicious: A blog about the “intersection of race and pop culture.” Right now, you can read about a panel on Islam and social networking as well as the debate over the real-life “Bring it On”-esque racial tensions between black and white sorority step teams.

2. The Angry Arab News Service: I could kiss this blogger for the name alone! Finally someone who embraces his anger instead of apologizing for it. This well-known site is the place I go when mainstream media coverage of the Middle East is so appallingly off-the-mark that I want to bash my head against a wall. In other words, he tells it like it is, especially when it comes to Palestine and Israel. This site also introduced me to the next blog on my list…

3. Escaping Durkadurkistan: I’ve mentioned this new blog before. It discusses “the distortion, confusion, ethnocentrism and thinly veiled racism that permeates most media coverage of Islam and the ‘Muslim world.” There hasn’t been a new post in a few weeks and this worries me because I found the blogger’s perspective fresh and well-informed.

4. Gathering Forces: The blog of Unity and Struggle – an organization of revolutionary young people across the U.S. who are working to build “new organizational roots in oppressed communities and the working class.” Read about the black power, Palestine, student movements, queer liberation struggles and more. Check out their list of resources and links as well.

5. Two great blogs about the Egyptian labor crises and opposition movements: Inanities and Egypt and Beyond are both the blogs of foreign journalists living in Egypt – great coverage of the issues like the workers’ strikes going on in Egypt now and other stories that no one else seems to want to talk about but that make Egypt a place to watch. 

6. Muslimah Media Watch: A forum on the public discourse about Muslim women, critiqued and analyzed by Muslim women. If you haven’t read it, do it now.

7. Islamophobia Watch: A site that monitors Islamophobic movements and events around the world. Very important stuff for Muslims to be aware of, but man, does it get me angry. I learned a lot about my favorite racist Geert Wilders on this site. 

8. Tadamon: The website of a collective of activists who believe in the right to self-determination of all peoples, particularly in Palestine. A good way to stay informed about Palestine solidarity campaigns and actions. Also check out Electronic Intifada for the same reason. 

9. Middle East Research and Information Project: A serious academic journal providing through-provoking analysis on issues affecting the Middle East today. I would be a lot smarter if I read this more.

10. Altmuslim and Altmuslimah: A space for introspection and commentary on the issues affecting the Muslim world as well as an ongoing discussion on gender in Islam. 

11. The Arabist: A site providing commentary on Arab politics and culture – makes me wish I could read Arabic better.