Wednesday, February 13, 2008
  MPV Innaugural Webinar
This ought to be a really good event!

Muslims for Progressive Values

will kick off our live web seminar series with GLBITQ Activist El-Farouk Khaki on
"Islam: A Universe of Universal Love."
Tune in February 24th at 5pm EST

Learn about progressive interpretations of Islamic law and how they positively affect GLBITQ rights.
Discuss love's centrality to a Muslim's spiritual life.
Get involved by submitting your questions and comments live!
Read and reflect on the talk on our blog at ProgressiveIslam.org

El-Farouk Khaki (born October 26, 1963) is a Canadian refugee and immigration lawyer and human rights activist on issues including gender equality, sexual orientation, and progressive Islam. He is the New Democratic Party's candidate for the House of Commons in the riding of Toronto Centre in a by-election being held on March 17, 2008.

In 1993, he founded Salaam, the first queer Muslim group in Canada and second in the world. In 2003, he organized the first female-led, mixed-gender Muslim congregational prayers in Canada for the Salaam/Al-Fateha International Conference, and in 2005, organized the first such prayers anywhere to be held in a mosque, and he has been involved in every such public event in Canada since. Among other involvements, he has served on the Toronto Mayor’s Committee on Community & Race Relations, on the board of The 519 Community Centre, and is now elected chair of Africans in Partnership Against AIDS.

Khaki regularly speaks publicly at events and in news media on issues ranging from refugee protection, to the global AIDS crisis, Canadian multiculturalism, racism, persecution of sexual minorities around the world, and religious and racial profiling in the war on terror, among other topics. His appearances include CTV's morning television program Canada AM, CBC Radio One's The Current, and others.

In spring 2007, Khaki received the prestigious Steinert and Ferreiro Award from the Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal Foundation for his "major role in paving the way in Canada for refugee protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender", and ground-breaking work on gender equality in the Muslim community. The previous summer, Pride Toronto, one of the world’s largest gay-pride festivals, recognized his work building tolerance and inclusiveness in the Muslim community with the 2006 Pride Award for Excellence in Spirituality.

Access the seminar LIVE at 5pm EST on Sunday, February 24th by visiting http://www.mpvusa.org/news/values-live/seminar-on-glbtiq-rights/.
The talk will also be available for future download.


Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) seeks to bring together progressive Muslims and friends who share their values to work for a more humane world. We welcome all who are interested in discussing, promoting and working for the implementation of progressive values — social justice, human rights, economic opportunity, separation of church and state — as well as tolerant and inclusive understandings of Islam.

 
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
  Torture and what you can do about it
Today the CIA revealed details about its use of the waterboarding technique at Guantanamo, or what the NPR reporter described as controlled drowning. Some people may dismiss this case as something that occurred years ago, and in a limited quantity. But the fact of the matter is having done it once, the CIA can easily justify doing it again. We need to put a stop to waterboarding and other torturous interrogation methods.

In mid February, the Senate is expected to vote on very important anti-torture legislation (Section 327 of H.R. 2082 - the Intelligence Authorization bill). This bill would require the CIA to comply with the restrictions in the Army Field Manual on interrogation of detainees. The U.S. Army Field Manual prohibits torture, as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Several senators have threatened to raise procedural roadblocks to Section 327 (the anti-torture provision). We need 60 votes in the Senate to keep Section 327 in the bill. It would be very helpful if you would take a few minutes to contact your Senators to urge them to support the Army Field Manual provision in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report.

You can contact your Senators by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Alternatively, you can look up your Senators' direct lines and email addresses at http://capwiz.com/c-span by entering your zip code and then clicking on the names of your Members.

Please take time this week to contact your Senators to let them know how important it is for them to support the Army Field Manual provision in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report.

----------


Fact Sheet on Section 327 of H.R. 2082 (the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008)

1.) Section 327 prohibits all agencies of the U.S. intelligence community, and their contractors, from subjecting detainees to any treatment or technique of interrogation that is not authorized by the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. In effect this would extend the McCain torture ban (which currently covers only the military) to all U.S. intelligence agencies. The text of Section 327 can be found at the bottom of this document.

2.) H.R. 2082 (which includes Section 327) is a conference report - that is, it is the final product of a compromise between House and Senate conferees on two versions of the same bill. This conference report passed the House in December on a 222-199 vote. It is now before the Senate for its approval. The text of the conference report can be found at: http://intelligence.senate.gov/conference2008.pdf

3.) Senate Republicans have placed a hold on H.R. 2082 pending the outcome of a parliamentary objection to Section 327. Since Section 327 was not part of either the original House or Senate versions of H.R. 2082, Republicans will probably be able to raise a point of order against Section 327 in order to strip it from the bill. To overrule a point of order requires 60 votes. The U.S. Senate will probably vote on the bill in mid-February.

4.) Senate Republicans have also threatened to filibuster H.R. 2082. To defeat a filibuster also requires 60 votes.

5.) There are a number of Republican Senators who have voted against torture in the past, so even though we need 60 votes to pass this bill, it is possible.

Senators who might vote either way on Section 327 include:

OR - Smith
NH - Sununu
FL - Martinez
KS - Brownback
TN - Alexander
ME - Collins
PA - Specter
MN - Coleman
IN - Lugar
OH - Voinovich
AZ - McCain
VA - Warner
NE - Ben Nelson
CT - Lieberman
IN - Bayh

Text of Section 327:
SEC. 327. LIMITATION ON INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES.
(a) LIMITATION.—No individual in the custody
or under the effective control of an element of
the intelligence community or instrumentality
thereof, regardless of nationality or physical location,
shall be subject to any treatment or technique
of interrogation not authorized by the
United States Army Field Manual on Human
Intelligence Collector Operations.

(b) INSTRUMENTALITY DEFINED.—In this section,
the term ''instrumentality'', with respect to
an element of the intelligence community, means
a contractor or subcontractor at any tier of the
element of the intelligence community.
 
Friday, February 01, 2008
  Afghani sentenced to death
You may have heard of the young Afghani journalism student who has been sentenced to death for an article he passed around in his class. Chances are strong that the "justice" to which he has been subjected has a lot more to do with putting pressure on his older brother, a full-fledged journalist who has been outspoken in his criticism of corruption in the Afghani government. Nonetheless, we once again see a defilation of Islam, and a utter neglect of fundamental values of Islam... freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of information.

My column on the issues is up at On Faith.

Click here to read it.
 

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Name: Pamela Taylor
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm a stay-at-home mom/freelance writer/author. While I make a living at journalism and op-ed, my first love is fiction, particularly science fiction. I also write poetry, mostly of a religious bent.


What I'm reading now



SuperMom Saves the World
By Melanie Lynne Houser. The sequel to Confessions of Supermom. I've just started reading it, but before the end of the first page I was laughing out loud. A fun, fast-paced, light read that is perfect for the plane or that lazy day on the beach.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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