Monthly Archives: October 2005

Globalization Changing Language in Europe

Languages Get Lost in Translation
by Misha Glenny

European languages have experienced unprecedented changes in the last 15 years, since globalisation has really kicked in.

The upshot is, of course, a huge increase in the use of English but also the import of a host of new anglicisms into most European languages, usually associated with technological or management jargon.

Some have now evolved to the point where they no longer mean anything in English.

Everyones favourite is the unbeatably ugly anglo-teutonism “das Handy” for mobile phone in German.

But in Eastern Europe, while the same process of English penetration is under way although more slowly (especially in Russian), the re-ordering of Europe has resulted in significant shifts which usually lead to the impoverishment of people’s language capacity.

Listen to the entire program (mp3).  



Filed under International, Media, Society & Culture

“The Simpsons” comes to the Middle East

Attracting the Adults

As the threat of terrorism, too often conflated with Islam itself, continues to dominate Western consciousness, it is instructive to note instances in which US, and Arab culture overlap. One such instance is the Arab television network MBC’s plan to popularize the classic US cartoon The Simpsons in Egypt. The idea of marketing The Simpsons to an Egyptian audience presupposes a certain shared sensibility between US and Egyptian television audiences. It also speaks to the widely acknowledged potent appeal of US popular culture around the globe, which becomes particularly meaningful given current tensions between the US and the Arab world. Iran’s new hard-line government, for example, has recently banned foreign films, stating that it must ward off an invasion of “corrupt? Western culture. The Iranian people themselves, however, have for years been exhibiting a strong desire to consume Western culture, and the new regulations will likely be widely disobeyed. Part of the appeal of a show like The Simpsons is the window it provides the Arab audience into US culture, humor and mores, and the opportunity it affords for the audience to draw its own conclusions and make its own judgments. Just as important as exposing Egyptians to these aspects of US cultural identity, however, are the alterations MBC is making to the format and content of The Simpsons to ensure its success in the Arab market. The very idea that a classic US sitcom could even be translated into terms designed to achieve mass appeal in Egypt is itself a powerful lesson about the potential for dialogue between the Western and Muslim worlds. – YaleGlobal

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Suhaib Webb: Audio Gallery

A website which hosts audio lectures by Suhaib Webb.

Imam Suhaib Webb was born in 1972 and raised in the State of Oklahoma, USA. During his teens he became a Hip Hop DJ and made many records with different artists and bands. During this period of his life, he was a member of a gang and turned his back on religion. Imam Suhaib Webb accepted Islam at the age of twenty. He graduated with honors in Education from the Central Oklahoma University and has studied Arabic and Islamic sciences under many notable scholars.


Filed under Islam, Media

WSJ: Techs Awaken to the Muslim Market

The LGE G5300 has a built in compass

Get your next cell phone with a built-in qibla compass. They’re now available in the US.

Jeremy Wagstaff. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Jul 29, 2004. pg. B.4


Searching for an edge, LGE thought of building features into a cellphone to help Muslims fulfill their daily prayer obligations. The most obvious way: determining the direction of Islam’s holiest shrine, the Ka’aba, located in Mecca’s great mosque, which Muslims face to pray. So LGE’s G5300 cellphone, marketed last September in the Middle East, features a dangling compass that enables the user, after setting to north and inputting some local information, to pinpoint the right direction to the Saudi Arabian city.

To make sure it doesn’t err, PenMan has sought seals of approval from the highest authorities of Islamic teaching, including the Al- Azhar Al-Sharif Islamic Research Academy in Cairo, Egypt. The academy’s letter certifying PenMan’s digital Quran product range as “essentially proper, acceptable and free from errors” is available to customers on request.

Ilkone has gone a step further. After securing approval from Al- Azhar, it has dispatched representatives to ensure that its cellphone meets the approval of Asian Islamic authorities. In Brunei, clergy members are conducting random checks on the text of the Quran contained in ilkone’s cellphone, says Andrew Pang, marketing director of ilkone’s Singapore unit, ilkone Asia Pte. Ltd. Malaysian authorities, meanwhile, have asked for a printout of the Quran used in the phone. “If something is wrong with the product, we have to recall it and destroy it,” says Mr. Pang. “So we’re very careful.”

Full Text:

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Filed under Middle East & Muslim World, Technology

Trump comes to Dubai


In the land of big and bigger buildings I guess this was inevitable…

From the Economist

Donald Trump, a New York real-estate mogul, may have found his soulmate: Dubai’s booming property market. In a deal signed in October, Nakheel, a state-run developer in Dubai, will brand 17 hotels (including one shaped like a tulip), apartment blocks and other ventures as “Trump? developments. Mr Trump may invest in the projects, but he is not obliged to do so; under the contract, his company will simply take a cut of the proceeds from the Trump-branded developments. Nakheel, which is building three islands in the shape of palms off the Dubai coast, said it hoped the deal would boost its exposure in European and American markets, where Mr Trump is riding a wave of publicity from his television series, “The Apprentice?. No value was given for the contract, but Nakheel claimed that the Trump-branded properties would be worth billions of dollars.

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Muslim Jurists’ Quest for the Normative Basis of Shari’a

Innagural lecture (pdf) at ISIM, Leiden by Muhammad Khalid Masud

From the Conclusion:

The jurists’ quest for the normative basis of shari’a very significantly demonstrates that in order to translate shari’a into a working law, even in the form of fiqh, it has to dig deep in social norms for its normative bases. Legal norms cannot be realized without their foundations in the social norms. The social norms, however, are never static. As a dynamic legal system, Islamic fiqh has had to continuously interact with the changing social norms. The semblance of continuity is provided by legal norms, which relate these changes to the texts of law. The task appears more formidable at present because the social construction of shari’a is now more complex due to the nature of modern social and political institutions, which are quite different from those that formed the current fiqh. It must be clear that the legal development of shari’a today demands a conscious distinction between legal and religious objectives. If this distinction is not made clear, shari’a may be reduced to a religious ritual or an ethnic cult. It loses its relevance as a source of law. On the other hand, when law is detached from its cultural setting, it gives rise to social contradictions that destroy the authority and effectiveness of a legal system. In order to gain greater understanding of the working of law in Islam, a twofold effort is necessary.

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Brzezinski: American Debacle (the Iraq war)

Published on Sunday, October 9, 2005 by the Los Angeles Times

By Zbigniew Brzezinski, ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI was National Security Advisor to President Carter.

Some 60 years ago Arnold Toynbee concluded, in his monumental “Study of History,” that the ultimate cause of imperial collapse was “suicidal statecraft.” Sadly for George W. Bush’s place in history and – much more important – ominously for America’s future, that adroit phrase increasingly seems applicable to the policies pursued by the United States since the cataclysm of 9/11.

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