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In God’s Name

Muslim Scholar Ebrahim Moosa On Freedom, Fundamentalism, And The Spirit Of Islam

Many Westerners mistakenly believe that all observant Muslims are fundamentalists. . . Most Christians think one day a week is enough to pray, and Muslims pray five times a day. They must be fundamentalists!

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

We Are Iran:
The Persian Blogs

Over the Internet, voices are emerging from Iran. A woman writes about what types of clothing attract men. A mother debates whether to let her daughter get her nose pierced. A young man loses faith because the mosques are filled with “hypocrites, thugs, and oppressors.” This is not the Iran we read about in newspaper headlines, but the everyday Iran experienced by its citizens and chronicled in the new book We Are Iran: The Persian Blogs (Soft Skull Press), by Nasrin Alavi.

Along For The Ride

Up until two weeks before her death, my mother drove her little Toyota through the streets of Boston every day. She couldn’t do it alone; my father had to help her. He guided her in and out of the car and turned the key in the ignition. Once, I saw him lean across to spin the wheel for her during a tight turn.

Fiction

Hello, Gorgeous!

Long ago, in his twenties, he had been something of a Romeo. He met girls at his job in the shoe department of Mervyn’s in Denver, Colorado. After he’d knelt in front of them and squeezed to feel the bones of their feet through the thin leather, it was no trouble at all to ask the girls for their phone numbers at the cash register. He went to church every Sunday and met girls there, too. Even better, he would stroll across the college campus looking for pretty faces. Some girls showed him their engagement rings, said they had a steady guy, or just told him to get lost. He didn’t mind. Sometimes he struck up a conversation even after he had already spotted the diamond ring. He just liked talking to girls.

Communion

Ever since the divorce, my mother had been living life at a frantic pace. There were mornings when she hardly had time to butter her bread, let alone toast it. While she tore through the Liz Claiborne racks at Higbee’s department store, her mind was on the car loan; when she mailed the payment to the dealership, her grocery list wound up inside the envelope. Rare was the evening she remembered to turn off the burner after fixing a cup of chamomile tea, and the night she forgot herself and padded downstairs in her under­wear while Bobby Swartout and Teddy Perry were sleeping over became the stuff of legend within the halls of Saint Joseph’s Catholic School.

Readers Write

Decisions

I lived in Berkeley and worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a nuclear-weapons research lab, where I developed computer war simulations. On Sundays I went with my girlfriend to Quaker meetings, where people sat in each other’s company without the pressure to speak. One Sunday some fellow congregants asked if I wanted to join a protest at Livermore Lab. I told them I had to work that day. No one asked me where.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
Sy Safransky's Notebook

April 2006

My hands are cold this morning. They’d rather be in bed with Norma than wrapped around this pen — but then the pen would be cold, and this page empty. Better an empty bed than an empty page, I tell myself, as if the gods will be impressed by my little sacrifice. I agree with Woody Allen that 80 percent of success is just showing up. But what about the other 20 percent? I sit here, waiting for inspiration to arrive. Sometimes she does, and sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she sleeps late and lets me struggle on my own.

Musings From Our Founder ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

“Nowadays, the common wisdom is to celebrate diversity — as long as you don’t point out that people are different.”

Colin Quinn

More Quotations ▸
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