Photo: Members of the Chabad of East Bronx, an  ultra-Orthodox synagogue,  worship in the Islamic Cultural Center of  North America, which is home  to the Al-Iman mosque. 
 
Near the corner of Westchester Avenue and  Pugsley Street in Parkchester, just off the elevated tracks of the No. 6  train, Yaakov Wayne Baumann stood outside a graffiti-covered storefront  on a chilly Saturday morning. Suited up in a black overcoat with a  matching wide-brimmed black fedora, the thickly bearded 42-year-old  chatted with elderly congregants as they entered the building for  Shabbat service.
The only unusual detail: This synagogue is a mosque.
________________________________________________________________
After the congregants of an Orthodox synagogue could no longer afford their rent, they found help in the local mosque. Read the full story.

Photo: Members of the Chabad of East Bronx, an ultra-Orthodox synagogue, worship in the Islamic Cultural Center of North America, which is home to the Al-Iman mosque.

Near the corner of Westchester Avenue and Pugsley Street in Parkchester, just off the elevated tracks of the No. 6 train, Yaakov Wayne Baumann stood outside a graffiti-covered storefront on a chilly Saturday morning. Suited up in a black overcoat with a matching wide-brimmed black fedora, the thickly bearded 42-year-old chatted with elderly congregants as they entered the building for Shabbat service.

The only unusual detail: This synagogue is a mosque.

________________________________________________________________

After the congregants of an Orthodox synagogue could no longer afford their rent, they found help in the local mosque. Read the full story.

marcmanley-deactivated20140213
Written during the last five to six years of al-Ghazali’s life, (Faisal al-Tafriqah) reflects the concerns and frustrations of a man deeply troubled by the debilitating effects of both theological intolerance and theological laissez-faire. While theological intolerance sapped the community’s ability to accommodate plausible theological differences, theological laissez-faire confused tolerance with indifference and exposed the community to the machinations of those whose conflation of rationalistic deism with Islam only masked their opposition to the religion of Muhammad.

— Sherman Jackson’s On the Bounds of Theological Tolerance In Islam.

Tumbled Thoughts On American Muslim Life: Between Intolerance and Accomodation, Between Tolerance and Indifference

 
Grozny, the capital of war-torn Chechnya, is a melting pot for changing  Caucasus society that is trying to overcome a trauma of two recent wars  and find its own way of life in between traditional Chechen values,  Muslim traditions, and globalization.
Chechen society was badly damaged by the  war and it is trying to reformulate its values. Grozny: Nine Cities project is  exploring the whole concept of  the shift  of what is normal in the  society in transition nowadays. 
Please read more and support the project here.
____________________________________________________________
First city is the city that has ceased to exist – memory of Soviet multicultural Grozny that was bombed and burned down.

(Former Tashkala gardens in the outskirts of Grozny where are almost no trees left after the wars. 23.10.2009 | A woman who did not want to be identified after she told the story of her son being kidnapped by security forces 20.10.2009)
Second city is the city of war, the cause of all the changes. The last,  so-called counter-terrorism operation officially ended in 2009. But in  2010 twelve suicide bombers participated in five terrorist attacks  across the republic. Violence has become a kind of background noise for locals. 


Third city is the city of religion. In Chechnya under Kadyrov women are ordered to wear scarves, men must wear  traditional outfits on Friday. 

The mosque Heart of Chechnya, the biggest in Europe, is seen through the  area which is soon to be a new residence of Chechen president Ramzan  Kadyrov.

Forth city is the city of women. With the  collapse of all the values after wars they have to find again their role  in society. It is neither a role of a Western woman, nor a role of a  traditional Muslim woman anymore. 
Fifth city is the city of  men. It is important for a Chechen man nowadays to demonstrate his  status with a gun or his car. At the same time he has to be responsible  not only for the immediate family, but for members of his clan, not to  impose the threat of the blood feud onto any of the relatives.

Sixth city is the city of the nation’s servants, as they call  themselves. Cult of personality is seeing its revival in today’s  Chechnya.
 (Girls, attending official celebrations, are wearing T-shirts with picture of the Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov. 2010.) 
Seventh city is the city of oil production. Rosneft,  the powerful pro-Kremlin monopoly that owns all the oil drills,  enforced the end of second war in Chechnya to get hold of its resources.  At the same time, oil reservoirs burning during the first Chechen war  caused many health problems for Grozny inhabitants. 

Eighth  city is the city of strangers in mono-ethnic society, e.g. ethnic  Russians and Turkish construction workers building skyscrapers. 

(An old Russian lady is sitting inside a Russian Orthodox church in downtown Grozny.) 
Ninth city is the city of ordinary people and their passion for normalcy after 15 years of war.

(The traditional Chechen baby bed (aga) at the apartment of a blind family) 
Photographs by Olga Kravets, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko - groznyninecities

Grozny, the capital of war-torn Chechnya, is a melting pot for changing Caucasus society that is trying to overcome a trauma of two recent wars and find its own way of life in between traditional Chechen values, Muslim traditions, and globalization.

Chechen society was badly damaged by the war and it is trying to reformulate its values. Grozny: Nine Cities project is exploring the whole concept of the shift of what is normal in the society in transition nowadays.

Please read more and support the project here.

____________________________________________________________

First city is the city that has ceased to exist – memory of Soviet multicultural Grozny that was bombed and burned down.

image

(Former Tashkala gardens in the outskirts of Grozny where are almost no trees left after the wars. 23.10.2009 | A woman who did not want to be identified after she told the story of her son being kidnapped by security forces 20.10.2009)

Second city is the city of war, the cause of all the changes. The last, so-called counter-terrorism operation officially ended in 2009. But in 2010 twelve suicide bombers participated in five terrorist attacks across the republic. Violence has become a kind of background noise for locals.

image


Third city is the city of religion. In Chechnya under Kadyrov women are ordered to wear scarves, men must wear traditional outfits on Friday. 

image

The mosque Heart of Chechnya, the biggest in Europe, is seen through the area which is soon to be a new residence of Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov.


Forth city is the city of women. With the collapse of all the values after wars they have to find again their role in society. It is neither a role of a Western woman, nor a role of a traditional Muslim woman anymore.

image

Fifth city is the city of men. It is important for a Chechen man nowadays to demonstrate his status with a gun or his car. At the same time he has to be responsible not only for the immediate family, but for members of his clan, not to impose the threat of the blood feud onto any of the relatives.

image

Sixth city is the city of the nation’s servants, as they call themselves. Cult of personality is seeing its revival in today’s Chechnya.

image (Girls, attending official celebrations, are wearing T-shirts with picture of the Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov. 2010.)

Seventh city is the city of oil production. Rosneft, the powerful pro-Kremlin monopoly that owns all the oil drills, enforced the end of second war in Chechnya to get hold of its resources. At the same time, oil reservoirs burning during the first Chechen war caused many health problems for Grozny inhabitants. image


Eighth city is the city of strangers in mono-ethnic society, e.g. ethnic Russians and Turkish construction workers building skyscrapers.

image

(An old Russian lady is sitting inside a Russian Orthodox church in downtown Grozny.)

Ninth city is the city of ordinary people and their passion for normalcy after 15 years of war.

image

(The traditional Chechen baby bed (aga) at the apartment of a blind family)

Photographs by Olga Kravets, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko - groznyninecities

groznyninecities

Nine Cities: an essay on post-conflict Grozny, Kigali and Pristina

The victors in wars re-build the cities they conquer or occupy in the image of their triumph; the myriad peoples who have to live in such cities after wars bear the image of that victory on their faces, in their daily lives and in what circumstances after the conflict make of them. The losers tend not to see the city ever again, unless, like prisoners of the Roman legions bought back to the centre of Empire to die as gladiators on the sands of the Colosseum for the pleasure of the crowds, they get to enjoy one last afternoon of urban sunlight before they meet their maker.

Kigali, capital of Rwanda, is and was such a city. So is Pristina in Kosovo, and Grozny. And Sarajevo, Phnom Penh, Saigon, Kabul and Beirut – the list is as long as history. For a city to be re-born after a war, it first has to be destroyed, torn down, fought over or re-invented. Grozny in the first Chechen war in 1994 was, for the world, a series of images that bought to mind Stalingrad and Dresden. Kigali was different. Despite being the epicentre of the 1994 genocide, and despite being fought over as the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front invaded from neighbouring Uganda to put a halt to the slaughter, it always somehow looked beautiful. The simple size and dominance of geography in Africa makes sure of that. A million bullet-holes could be covered up by that vast and eternal blue sky.
Pristina never looked beautiful. “The ugliest city in the former Yugoslavia even before NATO bombed it,” quipped one British Army officer arriving in a Challenger tank at the head of liberating NATO forces in June 1999, just after a 78-day NATO bombing campaign forced then-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to the negotiating table, and the atrocity-prone Serb soldiers, paramilitaries and policemen to retreat back to Serbia proper.

Then, led by the Albanian political cabal that sprung out of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Pristina became Albanian. The Serbs left, or were forced out. And the Albanians that made the new Pristina have many abilities, many talents, much drive to make their new homeland their own. But unfortunately when the Gods were giving out a sense of visual aesthetics, architectural style, litter control and urban management, post-war Kosovo was in the bathroom.

And out of the ruins of war spring the nine cities inspired by the Thornton Wilder book, Theophilus North. The central theme to this book is that nine cities are hidden in one, and despite their differing politics, geography, economy and climate, Kigali, Grozny and Pristina fit this theme. The first city is always the one that ceased to exist through war, where the leaders and much of the population are dead, fled or imprisoned, the city that will always live in the past tense, its name constantly prefixed by the words “before the war.”

The second city is the war itself, and the expressions thereof. Genocide memorials in Kigali, Chechen rebels hiding in the mountains outside Grozny, NATO soldiers still on the streets of Pristina. Religion comes hand in hand with godlessness these days, and into the moral vacuum that combat leaves behind it come the Gods, in all their different shapes and sizes, normally decided by whichever altar or temple the winning warlord, dictator, general or president worships at. The taste for conversion to Islam in post-genocide Rwanda as a reaction to the implication of the Catholic Church in the events of ’94. The wholesale destruction of Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo by Albanians. The Islamicisation of Chechnya.

Men and women are the fourth and fifth cities, the women discovering a new role for themselves, often, as in Rwanda, having to take the lead in households where there are no men anymore. Or in Kosovo, well-educated Kosovo Albanian girls and women leading the employment market in the new, international-community led economic environment. And behind them come the men, either dynamic and forward-looking, like many Rwandan Tutsis, somehow determined never to be doomed to repeat the past. But conflict stirs complex emotions in men, and far too often the menfolk still drag their psycho-social knuckles, and many is the Chechen, Albanian and Rwandan male who looks in the mirror in the morning and still sees the reflection of the warrior that fought in the war, or, too often, somehow missed it.

The victims of wars, those from the ethnicity that lost, those who pay heed to the ruling class form the sixth city, the city of servants. The Pristina physics professor turned taxi driver, those whose socio-economic lives were upended by war leaving them at the bottom, rather than the top of the pile. Number seven is the city of money, of why people so often fight, of Chechnya’s oil interests, of Kigali’e elite looking westwards to the mineral wealth of eastern Democratic Congo. Wandering the city are the eighth city, the strangers, those out of place, not from there, the eternal visitors, or, like in Grozny, those left behind by change, like the ethnic Russians. Or, conversely, the newly arrived, like the four-wheel drive vehicles, large budgets and inane Brussels gibberish of the newly-arrived international community.

And all around these eight cities is the ninth city of normality, of people for whom life is reflected in micro concerns, where the bullet-hole, the shell-crater, the new government, the shift in religion, all is forgiven, all is ignored so long as daily life can go on, the concerns those for whom life can drop anything from the sky, so long as it does not arrive in their backyards.

By Christian Jennings

via groznyninecities

thinking about Hind al-Husseini today…

"Endowed with an  unmistakable sense of compassion and adoration for human dignity, she  used her family’s notable reputation and wealth to establish the Dar  Al-Tifil Institute and Hind Husseini College for Women in conjunction  with the Al Quds University in Jerusalem. She contributed everything,  from her life savings to her invaluable principles and sincerity to  advocate on behalf of children who had everything taken away."

…she put tough love  into practice and became mother to all who stepped foot in Dar Al-Tifil.  Though she never married and had no children of her own, she was revered  as the woman having the most daughters in Jerusalem. “Yabanati” (my daughters) as she would refer to them daily as they ate, played,  sang, grew, and learned indispensible life lessons together. Mama Hind’s  daughters grew by the thousands over the years and generations.
Excerpts from Remembering Mama Hind and her lasting legacy on the Palestinian struggle

thinking about Hind al-Husseini today…

"Endowed with an unmistakable sense of compassion and adoration for human dignity, she used her family’s notable reputation and wealth to establish the Dar Al-Tifil Institute and Hind Husseini College for Women in conjunction with the Al Quds University in Jerusalem. She contributed everything, from her life savings to her invaluable principles and sincerity to advocate on behalf of children who had everything taken away."

image

…she put tough love into practice and became mother to all who stepped foot in Dar Al-Tifil. Though she never married and had no children of her own, she was revered as the woman having the most daughters in Jerusalem. “Yabanati” (my daughters) as she would refer to them daily as they ate, played, sang, grew, and learned indispensible life lessons together. Mama Hind’s daughters grew by the thousands over the years and generations.

Excerpts from Remembering Mama Hind and her lasting legacy on the Palestinian struggle

The Golden Ratio

"The Golden Ratio is considered one of the hidden secrets of aesthetics, architecture, and mathematics, it is used by artists, mathematicians, architects, and musicians to achieve aesthetically pleasing and balanced results"

In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.61803398874989 and we call it ϕ phi. image

Full article here.

A Muslim Wedding at Occupy Wall Street 
"Emery and Micha finding each other made sense, the venue of their  wedding ceremony made sense, and a final critical component to their  wedding also made sense: the guest list. It wasn’t made up of people who  were "supposed" to be there, but of people who were meant to be there  — people who had the best interest of the bride and groom in mind and  extended nothing to them other than their most sincere of well wishes.  At a time when popular culture has made weddings moreso about  centerpieces, dresses, and who made your wedding cake, it was nice to be  a part of a wedding that focused on kinship.”
Full Story - Khalid Latif’s blog in HuffPost

A Muslim Wedding at Occupy Wall Street

"Emery and Micha finding each other made sense, the venue of their wedding ceremony made sense, and a final critical component to their wedding also made sense: the guest list. It wasn’t made up of people who were "supposed" to be there, but of people who were meant to be there — people who had the best interest of the bride and groom in mind and extended nothing to them other than their most sincere of well wishes. At a time when popular culture has made weddings moreso about centerpieces, dresses, and who made your wedding cake, it was nice to be a part of a wedding that focused on kinship.

Full Story - Khalid Latif’s blog in HuffPost

Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other; nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking; and the result is a structure of absolute balance and solid composure.
Muhammad Asad (Leopold Weiss)
A new project, The Future of Islam in the Age of New Media,  highlights the perspectives of 60 academics, scholars, and bloggers on  how access to new media has shaped Islam and Muslims around the world.
"We’ve all seen the power of digital media and how it helped in the  uprisings that toppled the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators. And while  there has been a lot of talk about that subject, there has hardly been  any discussion on perhaps an even more important topic, and that is the  impact of new media on Islam."

A new project, The Future of Islam in the Age of New Media, highlights the perspectives of 60 academics, scholars, and bloggers on how access to new media has shaped Islam and Muslims around the world.

"We’ve all seen the power of digital media and how it helped in the uprisings that toppled the Tunisian and Egyptian dictators. And while there has been a lot of talk about that subject, there has hardly been any discussion on perhaps an even more important topic, and that is the impact of new media on Islam."