Hussein Rashid

Academic. Speaker. Educator.

Location icon United States

Hussein Rashid is an academic, advocate, and lecturer. He is deeply committed to community engagement and community building. A native New Yorker and proud Muslim, he believes his faith demands that he leave the world a better place for the next generation.

Religion News Service
Trump supporters think my life is worth less than theirs

(RNS) The high school I went to on Long Island taught me a lot about race. I learned about overt racism, and what we now call microaggressions. Over a quarter of a century later, I am under no delusions that we live in a post-racial society.

Religion News Service
Islam scholar Bernard Lewis left unfair legacy of disdain for Muslims

(RNS) - When I was an undergraduate, still in awe of the wealth of knowledge suddenly available to me in the college bookstore, I stumbled on a volume called "The Assassins," an early work by the Princeton University historian Bernard Lewis.

Values and Voices
Letter 4 | Values and Voices

Dear President Trump, Vice President Pence, Members of the Trump Administration and 115 Congress, Muslims have been part of this country since its founding. Since nearly a third of all slaves were Muslim, this country literally was built on the backs of Muslims. We have remained important contributors to American history, serving to defend our nation and contributing culturally to what it means to be American.

Sacred Matters Magazine
The Power of Names

One of the issues I have to address early on whenever I do an "Islam 101" session, either as part of a class or in a non-university setting, is one of names. It usually involves clarifying the difference between "Islam" (a religion) and "Muslim" (the followers of the religion).

Bulletin for the Study of Religion
Why I was scared to attend the AAR Conference this year

by Hussein Rashid Like many scholars of religion, I normally make my plans to attend the annual national meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). This year, I decided I would not attend. Some of my friends and colleagues thought it was perhaps because I was an adjunct, and had no funding to attend the most important professional conference of our discipline.

The Huffington Post
Working the Love Rally of 2016

On Sunday, April 10, 2016 I went to a Love Rally. It sounds a bit kinky, but it really was about the emotion of love. We gathered because the language of hate, the attitude of hate, the actions of hate were becoming too normal and accepted and acceptable.

We Stand With Love
Let Love Overcome Us - We Stand With Love

Love wins! What has it won? What had it lost? Perhaps love has not won. Perhaps we have lost. We have lost love. Perhaps it's not that love wins, but that humanity wins love. By love, I do not mean the love of one person for another person.

Kenya Yetu Hakuna Matata (In our Kenya there are no problems)

Posted on December 20th, 2013 | Filed under Challenges, Featured, Social Issues Tagged with CFR, foreign policy, Kenya, policy and religion This past summer I was in Kenya, partially for pleasure and partially for research. I stayed close to the Westgate Mall, site of the horrific terrorist attack in September, and visited it several times during my stay in Nairobi.

The Muppets are America

Hussein Rashid The Muppets are back on TV, and now seems to be a good moment to talk about how they represent what America is, not what it was. Their recent family news and music videos display the multi-cultural United States that is our new normal.

Religion News Service
Muslims love New York, too

(RNS) I am a born-and-bred New Yorker, who loves the city with a passion; there is no greater place on Earth. I remain proud of the fact that after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, our city did not devolve into casual violence. We were New Yorkers, and first we grieved.

"Islam" is Not a Person

By Hussein Rashid There is an idea of "Islam," as a signifier of something foreign and threatening, that continues to plague American discussion of the religion. It is part of the shooting in Chattanooga, and it part of the debate around the Iran nuclear deal.
Multiplicity and Diversity Are the Future of Islam in America

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Islam. Read other perspectives here. The idea of writing about the future of Islam in America is more than daunting. At nearly 2 percent of the U.S.

Religion Dispatches
Toward a More Inclusive Islam

An item in this week's LGBT Global Roundup about the struggle to recognize marginalized pro-LGBT voices in the Arab world, reminds us that while religious voices are typically the loudest in denying human dignity, religions are not homogeneous. Here in the US, meanwhile, much of the post-Obger

Getting the Motives Right

The recent attack against Ismaili Muslims in Karachi, Pakistan, will be read by most as part of a simple narrative of an ongoing Sunni-Shi'ah conflict. Unfortunately, as consistent fear-mongering has demonstrated with S haria, bandying about non-English words conveys a facade of knowledge without any guarantee of any actual understanding.

Quick Thoughts on Brussels Attack, Mar. 22, 2016

The news of the attacks this AM in Brussels are horrific. Following so closely after the attacks in Ankara, it seems like all we do now is pray for the victims and for peace in the world. Yet, from a distance, it's all that we can do.

Torture Is Not Just

For the last two weeks, Americans have been watching events unfold in Iran. Regardless of our depth of knowledge or political standings, we recognize that something profound is happening there. People are fighting to be heard, to be treated with dignity. We support and applaud them b...

Critical Questions Series 2: Hussein Rashid

Hussein Rashid is an adjunct professor at Fordham and Hofstra Universities and is an associate editor at Religion Dispatches. His specialties include Islam in America, Shi'ism, Islamicate literatures, South Asia, Persianate world (including Central Asia). * Image courtesy of Ali Ansary, 2010, under a Creative Commons license.

I am ي، ن، ر

It is obvious that most Muslims across the world find the actions of the so-called "Islamic State" abhorrent; from condemnation in the US and UK, to satire in the Middle East, there is no point in elaborating my own personal opposition to them.

The World is on Fire, so I rode The Ark

Posted on September 29th, 2014 | Filed under Challenges, Community, Featured, Interfaith, Leadership, Social Issues, Theology Tagged with Climate March, The Ark On Sunday, September 21, I was blessed to be asked to join The Ark, organized by Auburn Seminary and Groundswell (with help from lots of named and unnamed supporters) for the People's Climate March.

Every Land is #Ferguson

Posted on September 12th, 2014 | Filed under Social Issues Tagged with Ferguson, Hands Up, Karbala There is a power in raising our hands for Ferguson. We do not raise our hands like the Illuminati or a Rockefella [sicknowledge]; we do not raise our hands to act out an NWA lyric; we do not even raise our hands in an "Allah Akbar."

Images of Muhammad

By Hussein Rashid Introduction "What does Islam say about images?" It is a question that seeks to understand religion through unitary and static prescriptions. At its core, the question is about what is "Islamic." Such a question is problematic because a community of believers decides what the religion means.
Multiplicity and Diversity Are the Future of Islam in America

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Islam. Read other perspectives here. The idea of writing about the future of Islam in America is more than daunting. At nearly 2 percent of the U.S.

Images of Muhammad

By Hussein Rashid Introduction "What does Islam say about images?" It is a question that seeks to understand religion through unitary and static prescriptions. At its core, the question is about what is "Islamic." Such a question is problematic because a community of believers decides what the religion means.

"Islam" is Not a Person

By Hussein Rashid There is an idea of "Islam," as a signifier of something foreign and threatening, that continues to plague American discussion of the religion. It is part of the shooting in Chattanooga, and it part of the debate around the Iran nuclear deal.

Updated: Was Adnan Syed Falsely Accused? RD's Live-Tweet of Serial, the Final Episode

In the three months since its premier, has become the most popular podcast in the world-the fastest to reach 5 million downloads in iTunes history. Serial blends True Crime thriller with investigative journalism, teasing apart issues of religion, race, and romance in a 1999 Baltimore murder case that put 17-year-old Adnan Syed behind bars for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Why the post-racial label only perpetuates racism (COMMENTARY) - Religion News Service

(RNS) The shooting of Michael Brown and the failure of a grand jury to indict the shooter, Darren Wilson, are symptoms of a wider malaise. It is part of a deep-seated illness that infects our body politic: racism. The sad reality is that so many people believe we live in a post-racial society because we have a black president.

The delicate politics of school holidays (COMMENTARY) - Religion News Service

(RNS) The decision by the Montgomery County (Md.) Board of Education to remove religious names from school holidays, scrapping "Christmas" for "Winter break," may be a smart political move, but it nonetheless postpones a more substantial conversation. The board's vote was based on the request of Muslims for the schools to recognize two important Muslim holidays in the calendar.

The Islamophobia Of Media Analysis In 'Lone Wolf' Shootings

The recent attacks on military and law enforcement personnel in Canada and the U.S. raises the specter of "lone wolf" terrorist attacks, making Muslims suspect. Such thinking is superficial and reactionary. In the age of modern Islamophobia, it is a situation of owning a hammer and thinking everything is a nail.

Ask an Expert
An Open Letter to Pope Francis by Dr. Hussein Rashid

Dear Father Francis, I pray that this letter finds you in good health. I also pray for your forgiveness in addressing you as " Father Francis." You have come as someone who seeks to pastor to the people, and to bring you close is to be able to speak to you.

Understanding the Aga Khan's Speech in History

Posted on March 20th, 2014 | Filed under Intra-Faith, Theology Tagged with Aga Khan, Charity, Imam Ali, Imam Jafar Recently, the Aga Khan gave a speech at Brown University. As the head of a community of Muslims spread throughout the world, a community to which I belong, the speech needs some reflection.

The Aga Khan and the Human Connection

Posted on March 24th, 2014 | Filed under Community, Interfaith Tagged with Aga Khan, Buber, I and Thou, participatory media, religious illiteracy, Social Media Following my previous post on putting the Aga Khan's speech at Brown in a historical context, I want to spend some time on his discussion of technology and human interaction.

Intersections International

Reflections on UPIC and U.S. Drone Strikes In April, I was privileged to be asked by Intersections International to join the UPIC delegation to Pakistan. I am an Islamicist by profession, focusing on Muslims and American popular culture.

State of Formation and the Council on Foreign Relations

Posted on December 12th, 2013 | Filed under Academic, Challenges, Community Tagged with CFR, imperium, Policy Here at State of Formation, my colleague Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon argues against participation in the Council of Foreign Relations. I wish I could say I disagree with his premises, but the reality is that I do not.

Giving Thanks, Acting Gratitude

Posted on November 26th, 2013 | Filed under Learning, Popular Culture, Social Issues Tagged with gratitude, Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukkah As we approach Thanksgiving in the US, it seems like a good time to revisit the idea of gratitude I wrote about during the most recent Ramadan. The relationship between "gratitude" and "thanks," seems obvious.

CNN Belief Blog
Meet the new Muslim superhero: A rebellious teen from New Jersey

Opinion by Hussein Rashid, special to CNN (CNN) -- In the world of comics, the news of Ms. Marvel's return to the world of Iron Man and the X-men is a big deal - and not just because the character's alter ego is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl from New Jersey.

The Revealer
An American Muslim University | The Revealer

I first met Scott Korb in the summer of 2010. It was at a time in New York when the Islamophobia Industry was holding a fundraising drive by saying that building houses of worship and praying was un-American; saying they were vultures retraumatizing the city for their own personal gain and amusement would be too charitable. I was doing a lot of press at that time around Park51, and I get an email from Korb. He wants to do a piece on American Muslims. I am wary. There are all sorts of media...

CNN Belief Blog
What Tsarnaev gets wrong about Islam

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bomb suspects, reportedly wrote that “an attack against one Muslim is an attack against all” on the wall of the boat in which he was hiding from police last month. Variations of this refrain seem to be common among angry young Muslim men, especially those who are attracted to violence. However, such a view ignores history, religious thinking and contemporary reality. It should be seen as a crass advertising slogan rather than a declaration of belief.

CNN In America Blog
After 9/11, reaction to Muslim Americans more nuanced

However, whatever we learn about them does not tell us why they did what they did – only parts of who they are. It is easy, in the initial aftermath of the bombings, to make careless associations between identity and motive, similar to post 9/11 reaction.

Religion Dispatches
I’d Rather Go Back to Yemen than Face NYPD

A coalition of civil rights organizations just released “Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and its Impact on American Muslims” which pulls together what we know of the NYPD surveillance of Muslim communities throughout the Northeast, places the surveillance in a legal context, and more importantly, interviews Muslims to understand the real world impact of the surveillance.

Huffington Post
A Gay Mosque?

In the American Muslim community, a separate masjid seems to limit possibilities of what the community could become.

Love, Inshallah
An Honest Man

honesty is hard, and no matter how much we practice it – and it is something we practice, because it’s not natural for us – it’s still a radical thing.

City of Brass
An Introduction to Ashura

It is arguably the death of the Prophet that crystallizes Shi’ah identity, not the death of his grandson.

Reading the Qur’an in a Muslim way

All religious texts are open to interpretation and new readings. Our understanding of the text is not bound to a moment, nor is it fixed. It is dynamic and not in English.

A distressing statement from NOW-NY

The comments by the National Organization for Women-New York regarding the Aasiya Zubair case unfortunately perpetuate the erroneous claim that domestic violence is religiously sanctioned by Islam. Thankfully, other womens groups are speaking out about this lapse in judgment.

A male response to Zeba

Recently, Zeba Iqbal wrote a series of articles concerning the state of gender relations in the Muslim-American community. Although she focused on matrimony for over-30 women, I think she highlights a much larger issue of what expectations are for and from men and women.

City of Brass
What is Shi'ism?

In this post I want to give a brief outline of Shi’ah understandings of authority. Rather than cover the issues in great detail, I want to summarize some of the key issues and point to references that people who are interested can refer to.

The cudgel of faith

What do Sarkozy and Mullah Muhammad Omar have in common? A penis!

On Being
Revealing Ramadan

Recently on Twitter, someone asked, "What is the first thing you do in the morning?" An odd question, but I thought so interesting. I cannot answer the question in the 140 characters that Twitter demands. That first waking moment defines me not only for the day, but for eternity. It is who I am from before creation, when God asked "Am I not your Lord?" and we answered "Yes, we bear witness." (Qur'an 7:172).

Muslim Voices
Music and Islam

The religious arts of the Muslim world manifest particular cultural characteristics and a sense of unity across cultures. The devotional music of Nigeria and Pakistan, for example, have a recognizable relationship, but are also uniquely Nigerian and Pakistani.

Muslim Voices
Qawwali and the Art of Devotional Singing

Qawwali is a musical form associated with the sama’, spiritual concert, of the Chishti Sufi Order. In its religious context it functions as a way to bring members of the order into a trance-like state that makes them more aware of their relationship with God.

My Name Is
My Name is islamoyankee

My name is islamoyankee. I grew up in an age where you had three letters to put your name in electronic gadgets. I used to be “WIZ.” I wasn’t trying to hide who I was or be duplicitous. It’s the way the machines made us name ourselves. WIZ became my gaming name. I was still Hussein, but only when it involved electronics.

On Being
Those Wild Fes Sufi Nights Are Calling

Some people had Elvis. Others had The Beatles. My dream concert is the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. With a rotating list of performers, it does not matter who was there, but the idea of the festival is what counts.

Washington Post: On Faith
Peter King's Muslim hearings: more questions than answers

Approximately half-way through the King hearings today, I am struck by how nebulous the purpose of the hearings are. I am unclear as to why Rep. King has called them, and what goals they will serve. The congressional panel spoke to the confused nature, with Rep. Keith Ellison pointing out that the very name of the hearings, "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and That Community's Response," which presupposes guilt, not just of individuals, but of the entire community.

Our Shared Future Blog
The Power of Pop Culture

However, I am more interested in what artistic creation can tell us about how Muslims see themselves in the US or the UK. For me, the key issue is one of crafting a national narrative. That narrative is shaped and reflected through popular culture.

Washington Post: On Faith
Islam meets reality TV

Almost a year ago, CBS anchor Katie Couric suggested that Muslim-Americans needed their own “Cosby Show,” to help improve the image of the community in the US. It’s obvious that if you want to reach a large number of Americans, it has to be through the TV, and it cannot be “educational” programming. “The Cosby Show,” is believed to have helped normalized the idea of the African-American neighbor, and did more for the acceptance of racial diversity than years of multicultural education. In...

Our Shared Future Blog
What's so Threatening about All-American Muslim?

In a recent blog entry, I wrote about the power of popular culture in changing common discourse. A recent controversy around the US-based reality series, All-American Muslim, seems to strengthen my basic premise and show that culture can be threatening.

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