Considering how the eastern aspect of Murat Palta’s digital illustrations meshed well with my (often critical and harsh) academic pursuits of orientalism and its various forms, I decided to take Mr. Palta’s interview – for some art-education and fun. Our digital doodler was kind enough to take some time out to talk.

Here’s what he told me.

The headscarf conflates in a single symbol both personal piousness and public assertion of Islamic difference. It is difficult to distinguish religious from cultural and political meanings. Those who argue against the headscarf make distinctions between “good” Muslims exhibiting “authentic” belief and others who exploit its “political” symbolism. The headscarf of the peasant, the working-class woman or the grandmother is considered traditional or pious and is therefore acceptable. The young woman’s headscarf (called the “turban”) provokes, on the contrary, powerful emotions, anger and aversion to the extent that the temporal (religion as a relic from the past) and spatial (religion at the margins) separations and class distinctions between secular and religious disappear. Muslim women’s access to higher education also challenges the idea that secularism equals modernity. Women who are proponents of the headscarf distance themselves from secular models of feminist emancipation, but also seek autonomy from male interpretations of Islamic precepts. They represent a rupture of the frame both of secular female self-definitions and religious male prescriptions. They want to have access to secular education, follow new life trajectories that are not in conformity with traditional gender roles, and yet fashion and assert a new pious self. They are searching for ways to become Muslim and modern at the same time, transforming both.

Immanent Frame almost always offers excellent commentary on religion and gender politics. You should add it to your e-library.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, has issued the first official apology for a bloody military campaign that killed thousands of Kurds in southeast Turkey at the end of the 1930s.

"If it is necessary to apologise on behalf of the state … I will apologise, I am apologising," Erdogan told his Justice and Development Party (AKP) members on Wednesday in televised remarks.

Erdogan said that the air strikes and ground operations in the city of Dersim - now named Tunceli - killed 13,800 people between 1936 and 1939, according to an official document of the time, that he cited in his speech.

"Dersim is one of the most tragic events of our near history. It is a disaster waiting to be enlightened and boldly questioned," Erdogan said.

The offensive took place under the rule of the current main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which was established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish state.

About 11,600 people were exiled to other regions across Turkey, Erdogan said, citing another official document signed by Ismet Inonu, then leader of the CHP and Turkey’s second president after Ataturk died in 1938.


Erdogan, I often wish you were my prime minister.



Someone spray-painted inflammatory phrases on the Anderson Street mosque, apparently after this morning’s prayer service.

A Portland mosque was vandalized Monday morning in connection with the U.S. killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Portland police say someone spray-painted the phrases “Osama today Islam tomorow (sic),” “Long Live the West” and “Go Home” and “Free Cyprus,” an apparent reference to the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus.

Portland police officer Gavin Hillard said that people attending morning prayers at the Maine Muslims Community Center on Anderson Street had not noticed any graffiti, leading police to conclude that the phrases were spray-painted on the mosque’s walls afterward. 

“Morning prayer was between 4:30 a.m and 6:30 a.m., and one of the representatives said it was not there this morning, so it had to have occurred sometime after 6:30,” Hillard says.

Abdi Aziz Mohammed attends the mosque. “In our community here, we are all good Muslims here. I believe when I see something like this it doesn’t create a good image to young kids, especially,” he told MPBN’s Josie Huang. “They are in school right now. When they come and see the sign, they’re going to feel bad.”

Police say they expect the graffiti will be cleaned up today because of its inflammatory nature. (tip-off via almaswithinalmas)

There was always going to be backlash of this sort against Muslims, give the carnival-like atmosphere of the coverage.

As I said in my thoughts on the incident yesterday, this was a victory in justice for muslims and non-muslims alike (although you won’t find me celebrating it in a festival manner like some seem to be; I find something grotesque in celebrating someone’s death, even if I won’t be saddened by their death and despise them like this man). These people have no sense of a balanced historical discourse, when they fail to realise or acknowledge that Muslims have suffered more at the hands of Bin Laden than any other - Al-Qaeda has killed 8 times as many muslims as non-muslims.

Whilst waging war on The West, Muslims and Islam, he (“as a Muslim”) also managed to drag the name of the faith itself down, with the help of a mass-hysteric media; towards record levels of misinformation and Islamophobic prejudice that we, as Muslims, have to live with today on a daily basis - such as this incident. He was a terrorist to Americans, Muslims in general, and to the vast majority of sane people in the world.