Show 584: A Discussion with Waleed Al-Husseini

A Discussion with Waleed Al-Husseini

Religion and the problems it can cause was one of the first topics we discussed on this show, way back in 2002; and with the rise of religious fundamentalism, it still remains a very important issue. We have addressed all three monotheistic religions, and even Buddhism once or twice, in an attempt to explore how they affect society. Of course, with the 16th anniversary of 9/11 earlier this month, Islam has been at the forefront of criticism by both religious and secular conservatives, as well as many prominent atheists like Sam Harris and Hirsi Ali. We have had a variety of discussions on this show about Islam and the sociopolitical landscape on the Middle East – as well as the global west’s influence in helping prop up and support radical Islamist groups and governments.

Today we will talk with Waleed Al-Husseini about his personal trials with Islam, and how he went from believer to blasphemer and prisoner… and ultimately was able to begin a new life in Western Europe. His autobiographical book is called The Blasphemer: The Price I Paid for Rejecting Islam which was published by Arcade in 2015. Waleed, who is Palestinian, was born in Qalqilya, West Bank. After his release from custody of the Palestinian Authority in 2011, he moved to France and eventually founded the Council of Ex-Muslims of France.

Audio can be found here!

Show 382: Secular Art W/ Global Perspective w/ Aladdin Ullah

This week, Aladdin Ullah will perform excerpts of his one-man show, Indio, which follows his travels from his childhood home in the projects of Harlem to the childhood home of his parents in Bangladesh.  This surprisingly hilarious show deals with the ache of displacement, the contrasts as well as the commonalities of oppressed people on different sides of the globe, and a unique perspective on religion as it takes shape in different cultures.

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Show’s 335: A World Without Islam

A World Without Islam w/ Graham Fuller

Is Islam a religion of Peace as many Muslims argue?

Is Islam, and other religions, really what poisons everything, as many atheists argue?

Can we answer the ‘chicken and egg’ question as regards religion and political economy?

How should we best understand and heal the violence done in the world today in the name of God?

Equal Time for Freethought had the privilege of speaking with former vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, Graham Fuller, on his new book: ‘A World Without Islam.’ We aired excepts of this interview on our Fund Drive Program a few Tuesdays ago, and thought it important enough to play in its entirety for our regular listeners.

*This program aired in two parts on 11/7 & 11/14 in 2010

Show 328: “911: The Day that Changed Everything?”

“911: The Day that Changed Everything?” w/ Deepa Kumar

It has been 9 years since the terrorist attacks on two cities in the US, that – at least according to the ruling classes – changed the world forever.  Certainly, these passing years have indeed changed the lives of many.  Many lives have been lost, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, American families have lost or welcomed home maimed and distraught young men and women from the Middle East, the American Left has been even more marginalized than before, despite an early, strong resistance to the Iraq invasion back in 2003, and tensions have been drawn between people of differing religions (and the non religious), not the least of these being, of course, Muslims here and abroad.

Every year since 911 – particularly with the vicious and sometimes delusional attacks on President Obama – fear and hatred of Muslims everywhere has grown to dangerous proportions, culminating thus far in a major protest over a  proposed Muslim Center near Ground Zero, to planned Koran burnings in Florida by a Christian Pastor. What is going on here, and can it be stopped before we have a full-fledged disaster on our hands? And can the Left find a voice in these deeply troubling times when those who seem to be heard the loudest – and who have genuine concerns we on the Left share – are taking their cues from the radical right?

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Show 224a: “The Deepening Crisis: Islam and the Structure of Global Power”

From 9/11 to the continuing invasion and occupation of Iraq to the saber rattling of a possible war against Iran, Americans have been inundated by the so-called “war on terror;” and at least as some see it, the war against Fundamentalist Islam. On the Right, we hear of “Islamo-fascism” and are warned that if we don’t stifle the great evil of Islamic terrorism, we are heading for another world war. In liberal circles, while the rhetoric is different, we are still told that the U.S. will hunt down terrorists wherever they may be, and that militaristic – even nuclear – measures against the Middle East are very much “on the table.”

In contrast, the Left has recognized that the ‘war on terror’ is really a pseudo-war against that which the U.S. itself helped create, and that our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps soon in Iran – which are making the world less safe regarding terrorist actions – are about controlling the precious, if deadly, energy resource of oil, and thus controlling the market so as to benefit the rich power elite.
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Show 179: Lawrence Pintak

From the preface of Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam, and the War of Ideas

“For Americans, Islam has emerged as the quintessential “Other,” replacing the Soviet Union as the touchstone against which U.S. citizens measure their collective sense of Self. It has become a cliché to say that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 “changed everything.” On one level, that is true. The nation’s illusion of security was shattered; its relationship with terror as something that happened somewhere else was unalterably transformed. But on another level, 9/11 simply made overt a worldview that had long been present but little acknowledged.

“Since a keffiah-clad Rudolph Valentino first strode across the silent screen, Arabs and Muslims have been Othered in U.S. society, the subject of stereotype and differentiation. Blinded by their view of Self, most Americans knew – or cared – little about what the rest of the world thought of them. Meanwhile, Arabs and non-Arab Muslims harbored a host of clichés and preconceived notions that shaped their view of the U.S., set against the overarching perception that the U.S. is intrinsically linked to, and responsible for, the policies of Israel, the ultimate Other.

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Show 158a: The Trials of Democracy: American Nationalism, Religion & Foreign Policy

The Trials of Democracy: American Nationalism, Religion & Foreign Policy (Part One)

What is the relationship between nationalism and religion in the US? How do Americans see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and why? How does nationalism and religion in America influence US Foreign Policy? And what is the relationship between Islamic Fundamentalism, and US Foreign Policy?

As Iraq slips into civil war, bin Laden continues to record threats of terror against America, and the misguided brouhaha in the western press over the Muslim reaction to Danish cartoons unfavorably depicting Islam, add to the tensions of the modern world, these kinds of questions are more important than ever.

Anatol Lieven, originally from the UK, offers a European take on American nationalism while Stephen Bronner offers an American-born outlook, and Pervez Hoodbhoy offers a Pakistani (Muslim world) outlook.