Sunday, October 22, 2017

Florida campus activists shut down white supremacist

"No Nazis, no hate. “His filth has been rejected” - AFT President Randi Weingarten on the great work from the resistance against Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida."

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Archaeologists Uncover 9,000-Year-Old Stone Gates In Saudi Arabia

New Editions: Mawārdi's Ethics of Worldly and Religious Affairs

The Ethics of Worldly and Religious Affairs (Adab al-dunyā wa al-dīn
by Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-Mawārdī / Alboacen (972-1058 CE) 
edited by Muḥammad Yāsir Muḥammad al-Ḥusayn
(Dār al-Nafāʾis)

New Publications: Aḥmad Muḥammad Shākir's Method of Textual Editing and Criticism

Ahmad Muhammad Shakir's Method in Textual Editing and Criticism 
(Manhaj Aḥmad Muḥammad Shākir fī taḥqīq al-nuṣūṣ
by Dr. Ashraf ʿAbd al-Maqṣūd ʿAbd al-Raḥīm 
(Maktabat al-Imām al-Bukhārī)

Book Talk: Dan E. Stigall, The Santillana Codes: The Civil Codes of Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania (Library of Congress)


On Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6:00 p.m., the Law Library of Congress, the Friends of the Law Library of Congress, the Embassy of Tunisia, and the Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division will co-host an event celebrating the work of David Santillana, a Tunisian jurist and the intellectual father of the civil code of Tunisia – a legal work that influenced the civil codes of both Morocco and Mauritania.

The event will feature remarks by Ambassador Fayçal Gouia, the Ambassador of Tunisia to the United States; Jane Sánchez, Law Librarian of Congress; Mary Jane Deeb, Chief, African and Middle Eastern Division; Emily Rae, President, Friends of the Law Library of Congress; and Dan E. Stigall, author of a new book entitled The Santillana Codes: The Civil Codes of Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania. A display of rare law books will highlight the source materials used as inspiration for the Codes.

Please join us for an evening in celebration of Maghrebian and Sahelian legal culture.

Please request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or

This event was made possible through the generous support of Hise Explorations Partners, LLC, and the Friends of the Law Library of Congress.

Image credits: Dan E. Stigall (book cover)."

Indonesia Cables, Communist Massacres

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Real American Heritage or: We Don't Eat Lizards in Puerto Rico

Yesterday (October 15, 2017) marked the end of National Hispanic Heritage Month for this year. Every year since the late 1960s, September 15th to October 15th has been dedicated to celebrating “the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture” (click here for more information). Hispanic/Latino “refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race” and we currently comprise over 17% of the population of the United States. While anti-Latino hate speech seems to be on the rise, institutionalized racism in the United States has targeted Latinos for much longer. Early twentieth century “scientific” racists like Lothrop Stoddard (1883-1950) and Madison Grant (1865-1937) looked at Latinos in a manner not quite in accord with the aforementioned definition. Instead, Hispanics represented to them that which they feared and hated most: the “defiling” of the genetically superior white race through miscegenation with the descendants of African slaves and the indigenous populations of North and South America. In defense of white supremacy, they advocated sterilization and other means in order to implement a gradual ethnic cleansing. Despite the fact that these views have been formally denounced as racist pseudoscience by leaders of the international scientific community since the mid-twentieth century, experience from primary school days to now tells me, and many others like me, that these beliefs persist.

A few examples of the kinds of racist and anti-Latino aggressions (nowhere near being an exhaustive list) to which I have been exposed over the years include:

I worked as an undergraduate at a place where other student employees were primarily from South Asia and the managers were white. Statements shared between the white managers and international students insulting Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics were numerous and almost daily. I approached my employer about this kind of talk, to which he replied that some stereotypes are true. All of this was at a time when the president of our university was a Puerto Rican.

On the shortlist to be admitted to graduate studies at Princeton, I met with one of the better-known senior scholars related to my field who referred to Hispanics as a “peasant race.” I did not pursue graduate studies at Princeton.

A few months into my first semester of graduate studies, I was made aware that one of the professors had asked the only other student of Puerto Ricans descent whether or not we eat lizards (the professor was a person of color who counted themselves among the “model minorities” who were superior to Latinos and African Americans). Both the Puerto Rican student and another student of Central American descent who was present during the exchange expressed to me the level of hurt they felt when being addressed this way in a public setting among other students and professors. My own later experience in classes with this professor included most of my participation being rejected at first and then immediately accepted after an East-Asian female classmate would come to my defense.

One history professor after asking about by ethnic background, suggested I was unfit to be successful in graduate-level studies. He spent a significant portion of one class session mocking the names of Hispanics who had mixed with Asians and other non-Latinos.

One graduate student, also a person of color, in conversation with me referred to Hispanics as having a vulgar culture, while he, as a possessor of “the Arab gene”, came from a superior culture equal to that of white Americans and superior to Latino and African-American culture.

One doctoral student became known for his white supremacist hate speech. Examples include his declaration that “there are too many beaners in Tucson” and other slurs against Latinos, African-Americans, and others that make Richard Spencer and the Alt-right seem tame in comparison. I was briefly part of a research group where he and other white students nodded in approval at the description of a Mexican-American undergraduate student, a bi-racial graduate student, and myself as belonging to “weird races.” The doctoral student referred to white men as “the best race” to which the others laughed, including one white journalism student who otherwise professed to be liberal. Both the latter as well as another MA student who had graduated earlier, at separate times expressed to me their fear and paranoia that Hispanics and other non-white people were trying to “change” white people. I approached a professor in the department regarding this and similar issues, and the response led me to believe that this would only result in me being impacted negatively and no one else.

I contacted a well-known professor of Puerto Rican descent who writes on racism, and his advice to me was the following: “find solidarity from other folks of color… if one finds others, shares stories, and thinks about collective ways to resist, then the struggle becomes feasible; then one realizes that one's pain is the product of a racial order for which one is not responsible (folks want us to believe that things happen because of us, because we make them up). So, find solidarity, create community, and develop collective practices of resistance to racial domination.”

I have since then been awarded a Fulbright and other awards, permitting me to travel for scholarly research to several countries in North Africa, western Asia and Eastern Europe, achievements commonly considered evidence of academic success. Today, a Nuyorican woman from the Bronx, Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, is the first Hispanic to serve in the highest federal court of the United States. With Puerto Rico currently suffering as it is, and being neglected by new political forces seeking to further normalize the racism I am discussing, we have Nydia Velázquez, the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress, a Nuyorican democrat, leading the way in advocating for Puerto Rican disaster relief. “Low-class” diaspora Puerto Ricans like the Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Pultizer prize-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda, my fellow Arizona-alum Joseph Acaba, the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to be named a NASA astronaut, and numerous other leading entertainers and successful professionals have continued to increase awareness of the island’s plight, keeping it in the public eye and raising millions of dollars in relief aid.

I repeat the advice of professors like Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, president of the American Sociological Association, and others that victims of racism create community and work together with anti-racist allies to develop collective practices for counteracting racism. I have written this essay as a first step in order to encourage others impacted by racism and to let them know they are not alone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, during oral arguments in the gerrymandering case Gill v Whitford, referred to social science as "sociological gobbledygook." ASA President Eduardo Bonilla-Silva has responded in a letter, the content of which is below:

Fighting for the NEH's Future on Capitol Hill

Documenting Democracy’s Fall and Dictator’s Rise in Chile By PASCALE BONNEFOY (OCT. 14, 2017)

A phone in the exhibition “Secrets of State: The Declassified History of the Chilean Dictatorship” at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago, Chile. Visitors can pick up the receiver to hear a recreation of a conversation between former President Richard M. Nixon and his national security Adviser, Henry Kissinger. Credit Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Gathering Strong Evidence

Monday, October 16, 2017

Racialized Citizenship and Territorial Status in Puerto Rico (Hostos-CUNY Public Policy & Law Unit)

Letters on North America October 16, 2017 (Committee on Academic Freedom)

The first women’s journals published in Africa and the Middle East (Library of Congress International Collections)

All 7 volumes of Irfan Shahîd’s 'Byzantium and the Arabs' are reissued & available for free download

Stars Stand in Solidarity With Puerto Rico at the Somos Live! (Hispanic Heritage Month)

"the most recent updates from the relief benefit revealed there had been over $20 million donated"

"Celebs use a united voice to help at the disaster relief concert."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

‘Do We Have To Fight Nazis Again?’ Professor Says Of Spencer At UF

‘Do We Have To Fight Nazis Again?’ Professor Says Of Spencer At UF: In a Q&A with WUFT News, University of Florida associate history professor Paul Ortiz conveyed his thoughts on Richard Spencer’s upcoming appearance at UF, his ideology and the dangers of his views.

‘Allah’ Is Found on Viking Funeral Clothes

An image taken from the analysis of the Kufic characters on bands found in graves in Sweden. Credit Annika Larsson 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Complex History of the Genes That Color Our Skin - The Atlantic

Carlos Alomar: The Puerto Rican Guitar Hero Behind Bowie’s ‘Fame’ (Hispanic Heritage Month)

Featured image: Courtesy of Carlos Alomar

Here's what would happen to US politics if Puerto Rico became a State" By Ryan Struyk, CNN

Gary Bauer: The Left is "an American Taliban" Destroying Confederate Monuments because "they hate America." (Values Voter Summit)

Yamiche Alcindor: CBC demands action from FB after Russia sows racial division & FBI targets "black identity extremists"

The real roots of early city states may rip up the textbooks

The real roots of early city states may rip up the textbooks: Settled agriculture didn't spawn the first states. Two new books help expose the real drivers, the pressures on marginalised people – and what they can teach us

Iran to blame for cyber attack on MPs' emails – British intelligence

Kurdiu - Attack on mosque kills 20 in Central African Republic

Kurdiu - Attack on mosque kills 20 in Central African Republic: More than 20 Muslims were killed in a mosque in the Central African Republic's southeast during Friday prayers, community leaders said Saturday. “The...

Young Saudis Celebrate as Reach of Religious Police is Reined In

Report Hate in School (Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

ʿAbd al-Fattāh Qudaysh al-Yāfiʿī on Sectarianism

"No one group, sect, or school of thought speaks officially in the name of Islam or the sunna [to the exclusion of others]. No group, sect, or school of thought [can claim] all [their beliefs and practices] are correct and absolute truth [while] other [sects, schools, etc.] are in error and absolute falsehood."

"In every sect, there are extremists and there are moderates, between meagerness and excessiveness; so let us work toward increasing the moderates in every sect."

Martín Espada on banned books, poetry, and resistance

United Muslim Relief Emergency Response Team in Puerto Rico

Statement by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the Withdrawal by the United States of America from UNESCO

The United States Withdraws From UNESCO

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science)

Removing Racist Statues ("Whose Heritage?")

Spain and England feared that enslaved Africans would be more susceptible to revolt if they were Muslim

Muslims were banned from the Americas as early as the 16th century
by Andrew Lawler

"By the time of the Hispaniola revolt, Spanish authorities had already forbidden travel by any infidel, whether Muslim, Jewish, or Protestant, to its New World colonies, which at the time included the land that is now the United States... In 1682, the Virginia colony went a step further, ordering that all “Negroes, Moors, mulattoes or Indians who and whose parentage and native countries are not Christian” automatically be deemed slaves."

"Of course, suppressing “Islamic leanings” did little to halt slave insurrections in either Spanish or British America. Escaped slaves in Panama in the 16th century founded their own communities and fought a long guerilla war against Spain. The Haitian slave revolt at the turn of the 19th century was instigated by and for Christianized Africans, although whites depicted those seeking their freedom as irreligious savages. Nat Turner’s rebellion in Virginia in 1831 stemmed in part from his visions of Christ granting him authority to battle evil."

Read more:

Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!

Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What is White Supremacy? Do Races Differ?

Longform Podcast #263: Jelani Cobb

Carl Conetta (Defense Analyst, Center for International Policy): << How real was the threat? >>

<< How real was the threat? >>

Also see: Dept of Justice, "US Attorney Announces Unsealing Of Charges Against Three Men Arrested For International Plot To Carry Out Terrorist Attacks In NYC,"
This case like many (see below) involved the active participation of an FBI handler; They're 'sting' operations. Would the plot have matured or even occurred otherwise? In many other instances, no - although such cases add to pervasive public fear of terrorism, and they give false assurance of effective counter-terrorism policies. What stings mostly turn up is some degree of 'proclivity' to terrorist action or 'susceptibility' to terrorist influence.

Obviously, the threat of US terrorist attack related to overseas wars is real. The problem is that sting operations give the false impression that US law enforcement agencies are effectively containing it.

- Kansas City Star (2017), "FBI undercover stings foil terrorist plots - but often plots of the agency’s own making," "Of 126 Islamic State-related cases prosecuted by federal authorities across the country since 2014, nearly two-thirds involved undercover agents or informants." (And many others involved no US attack plans.)

- New Yorker (2016), "Do FBI Stings Help the Fight Against ISIS?,"

- Guardian, "How terrorist 'entrapment' ensnares us all,"

- Al Jazeera, "US law enforcement accused of using entrapment to ensnare ‘terrorists’,"

- Mother Jones (2013), "Inside the Terror Factory," Edited excerpt from author interview (

"In the 10 years after 9/11, there were 500 defendants who were charged with federal crimes involving international terrorism. About 250 were charged with things like immigration violations or lying to the FBI... Of the 500, about 150 were caught in sting operations; these operations were solely the creation of the FBI through an FBI informant or undercover agent providing the means and the opportunity, the bomb, the idea, and so on... Only about five people of the 500 charged...were involved in some sort of plot that either had weapons of their creation or acquisition or were connected to international terrorists in some way... Those are the five that you can point to in the decade after 9/11 who seemed to pose a significant threat... That’s a handful compared to the more than 150 who were caught in these sting operations."

Rise of the Generals By Michelle Goldberg

"Rise of the Generals: Why it’s entirely possible to be both horrified and heartened by the growing political influence of America’s military leaders." By Michelle Goldberg

The People of Flint stand with Puerto Rico