Great artists that happen to be Muslims: Mos Def & K’Naan

20 08 2010

I was flipping through the channels the other night when I stumbled across a couple of great re-runs of Austin City Limits on PBS. (As often as this happens, you’d think I would actually make a note of when Austin City Limits comes on and deliberately plan to watch it. And yet, I don’t. But that’s a blog for another day.) I had way too much fun singing along with the two artists that were featured that night — Mos Def from Brooklyn, New York and K’Naan from Toronto, Canada (by way of Somalia).

After the show was over it occurred to me that both of these inspiring artists are Muslims — people who, by association, are being unfairly smeared by way too many media voices right now. Perhaps fewer people would accept all the stereotyping and hatred directed at Islam if they were more aware of some of the Muslims they come across in life.

So I decided to highlight a few Muslim artists that have made significant inroads with American audiences. It’s my own tiny way of reminding people of the valuable contributions Muslims make to to our culture. So many Muslims are our friends and neighbors, not our enemies. Protecting their religious freedom under the First Amendment is really about protecting those freedoms for all of us.

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Arizona to Latinos: “Show me your papers”

26 04 2010

“Saturday Night Live” has been suffering from a massive comedic vacuum since Tina Fey left to do “30 Rock.” But Seth Meyers can still crack me up on “Weekend Update” sometimes, like he did the other night with this gag.

In his own way, Meyers is making  a great point. After all the ridiculous talk about Nazis from the political right, I can immediately see what’s so messed up about requiring cops to ask people for their “papers.” As Meyers says “I know, I know. It’s a dry fascism. But it’s still fascism.”

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