Archive for the Activism Category

FBI Love (Sung to Tune of Drake’s “Crew Love”)

Posted in Activism, Art, Islam, Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by irydhan

FBI Love (Sung to the tune of Drake’s “Crew Love”)

[Verse 1]
Get your nose out of our masjid board
What you bothering us for?
There’s a room full of Pakis
What you following me for?
This aint no damn terror plot
So what you trying to entrap us for?
Cause you think we gonna blow like a C4?
Nah, sorry we cant afford to blow like a C4
Undercover agents keep the case going
with their Fake ID’s – throw em in the trash
we going straight to the top
and complaining to the President
With a hand full of dead presidents
nah we all not born foreign
Law enforcement’s been poisoned, from media flowing
so-called Terrorist experts pushing out excrement
they need to clean out their colon
Yea i said, clean out your colon, why?

They Hatin the Truth

[Verse 2]
Smoking Hookah under star projectors
I guess we’ll never know what FBI friends gets us
But seeing our people get spied on
Took the place of that desire to have police certificates on the wall
And really, I think I like who I’m becoming
There’s times where I might talk like it’s nothing
There’s times when I might blow up
For all my soldiers just to see the looks on all they faces
all it took was patience
I got a lotta friends to come up off the block for me
The same ones that’ll come up off the hip for me
The realest pakis say I’m an ABCD
I told my story, and made history
Tell them I’mma need reservations for 70
I’ve never really been one for the preservation of ego, nah
Much rather be humble and speak the truth while i’m breathing
That FBI and PoPo is everything you believe in, I know


We aint blowing like a C4
Sorry we too poor to blow like a C4
(If you broadcast your concerns, Paki, then your phones gonna be tapped)

Copyright 2012, Irfan Rydhan


Interview about Muslim Media on the “What’s Up Wit’ That Show?”

Posted in Activism, Islam, Media, TV/Film with tags , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by irydhan

Here is an interview I did about Muslim Media on the “What’s Up Wit’ That Show?” in Mountain View, CA:


Posted in Activism, Art, Islam, Media, TV/Film with tags , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by irydhan

Originally Posted on ILLUME magazine.

Everyone has been talking about the controversy surrounding Lowe’s Hardware stores pulling their advertising from TLC’s “All American Muslim” reality TV show, because of the email campaign from Conservative Christian “Florida Family Association.”

But besides the few email complaints to Lowe’s or signing of petitions online, there hasn’t been much creative response from the Muslim-American community.

That’s when the comedic duo, Rizwan Manji and Parvesh Cheena (of “Outsourced”), along with writer/director Gregoy Bonsignore decided to take matters in their own hands and create the fake ad, “The Un-Aired Lowe’s Commercial.”

We got to talk to the three about why they made the video and what they thought of the controversy about the show.

Why did you guys produce this video?

Rizwan: Myself, Greg and Parvesh were sitting around Parvesh’s place talking about this whole Lowe’s situation and I kept seeing all the reaction all over Facebook and Twitter.  So we thought, as artists we can use our creativity, to make a funny video which makes a point about a greater issue. So within an hour of coming up with the idea, we went down to Lowe’s and started filming it!

Gregory (Director of the video): We wanted to do a satirical piece to show the type of “stereotypical scary” Muslims which the Florida Family Association are so concerned are not being shown on the TV program.  The video was shot on multiple iphones, in case we got kicked out of the store quickly.

Have you guys watched “All American Muslim” and what do you think about it?

Rizwan: Yes, I have seen it and like it.  It’s a typical reality show which shows the daily lives of people and I have been to Michigan before to shoot a film.  It’s an accurate portrayal of the people there, who are very friendly and I enjoy the show.

Gregory: I have watched it and although its format is not very unique, it’s subject – Muslim-Americans is what makes it interesting. It shows that Muslims now have their own reality show like other groups about suburban life in America.

Parvesh: ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM seems harmless. Please. Everyone is the same. We are all Americans. Sheesh.

What do you guys think of the reaction from groups such as the Florida Family Association and Corporations such as Lowe’s who have pulled their advertising from “All American Muslim”?

Gregory: I’m not really surprised with the reactions and totally bigoted response from some of the public, because there is not enough education about Islam in America.  But for a corporation like Lowe’s to react in the way they did, is totally unacceptable.

Rizwan: The biggest shock for me was that Lowe’s sent a letter to the Florida Family Association thanking them for pointing out the concerns of the show and asking them to pull their advertising.  It’s not okay that they caved in this way.

Parvesh: Lowe’s pulling their spots is silly and just so dumb and really foolish for a major company. I liked Lowe’s. I used to love their ads that added the letter T to the end which became Lowe’sT. Ha. Bad Lowe’s. They should apologize!

Do you think there is any correlation with how “Outsourced” was cancelled and the reaction that “All American Muslim” is getting, that the American public is not ready to see different ethnic and religious groups on TV?

Rizwan: There was also a loud and vocal minority who expressed some hatred about Indians and having a show like “Outsourced” on mainstream TV.  There were also some facebook hate groups and websites which made threats against us, but I don’t want to be pessimistic about it.  It was only a small, yet vocal, minority. We did not get any advertisers pulling ads from “Outsourced” and there was a good amount of viewers, but we just ran out of time to increase our viewership.

Parvesh: OUTSOURCED getting pulled doesn’t really have any racial correlation, In my opinion. We just got bad ratings when they moved us to 10:30pm for a show that became popular with families. Bad scheduling killed the show but we gotta move on.

Gregory: As a writer and director myself (Greg was a writer for the show “Lie to Me”), I feel that TV tends to normalize things.  From past shows which had African-Americans and women early on, it helps the viewers to get to know these different types of people which they may not normally get to interact with. I believe it’s important for more shows about Indians, Arab-Americans and Muslims to be on mainstream TV.  We are currently working on a TV pilot about a Muslim American family which we are pitching to producers and hoping to get into development soon.

Rizwan & Parvesh

Zaki Hasan: The Grandmaster of Geekdom

Posted in Activism, Art, Books/Magazines, Islam, Media, TV/Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2011 by irydhan

Originally Posted on ILLUME Magazine.

Zaki Hasan has been a geek all his life, though he’s never felt comfortable admitting it until now. From a childhood steeped in Superman comics and STAR TREK reruns to his current role as a professor of communication & media studies, Zaki has spent much of the last two decades analyzing and evaluating the role of popular culture in shaping and defining our cultural, societal, and spiritual discourse. It’s this realm of ideas that’s central to GEEK WISDOM, the new book he co-authored.

How did you get involved in this project for co-authoring the Geek Wisdom book?

I’ve had an online friendship with the editor, Stephen Segal, for several years through various message boards and common interests, and through that he became a reader of my blog, I think what Stephen glommed onto is that I give equal coverage to society, politics, and pop culture in my writing, and my interests tend to lie where all three intersect. As a matter of fact, two summers ago, at the height of the manufactured “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy that ate up so much media bandwidth and which I had been spending a great deal of time covering and refuting on my site, Stephen sent me a very nice note thanking me for my fortitude in dealing with this story — and the hate it was eliciting — day after day. It wasn’t too long afterwards that he contacted me about working on the book. I feel like, in some small way, it was my coverage of the Park51 story that, directly or indirectly, led to my being included in the lineup for GEEK WISDOM.

What are some of your favorite quotes featured in the book?

There are so many great quotes in this book that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. You can literally just pick it up, flip through it, and find something interesting to ponder on whatever page you land on (which I’m doing right now, as a matter of fact).

Of the ones I didn’t work on, one of my favorites is probably an essay on the quote, “This is an imaginary story. Aren’t they all?” which is a line from a Superman comic from 1986 that wonderfully encompasses the textual and meta-textual knots we tend to tie ourselves in to make fictional stories “matter,” when we should really just appreciate them for the enjoyment they give us. In an age of Trekkies and Twi-hards and Potter-heads, that’s a lesson that could really stand to be learned.

Another essay I really enjoyed was a reflection on “Godwin’s Law,” which states that the longer an online conversation stretches, the greater the likelihood that someone will invoke Hitler — and thus all meaningful interaction has effectively ceased. One need only glance at the comments section under every news story to know how scarily true that is.

Which ones did you select and comment about in the book?

The way we parceled out the quotes was that we started with a pool of around fifty or so, and then the five co-authors (Stephen, myself, Eric San Juan, Genevieve Valentine, and Nora Jemisen) contributed more for the next week or so, which were then whittled down to the roughly-200 that made it in. We got to call “dibs” on whichever quotes we submitted, and the rest were assigned randomly, unless we REALLY wanted to do one.

What was both fun and challenging for me was taking lines from some of my favorite things like STAR WARS (which I did three entries on: “Do, or do not. There is no try.” “The Force will be with you.  Always.” “Fly casual!”), BACK TO THE FUTURE (“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!”) and PLANET OF THE APES (“Take your stinking paws off me, you damn, dirty ape!”) and trying to find the philosophical wisdom underlying them. What is it saying? What is it trying to say? It was this ongoing process of peeling back the layers, and sometimes having to start over from scratch, that made this experience hugely frustrating and hugely rewarding all at the same time.

In a sense, each of the mini-essays presented different challenges, with the all-encompassing challenge being to say something meaningful about what we’d been given. As you can imagine, some quotes were easier than others to wax philosophic on. It wasn’t hard to find the “meat” (no pun intended) in Charlton Heston’s “Soylent Green is made out of people!” from 1973’s film SOYLENT GREEN, but figuring out what to say about “Oh, boy,” the trademark exclamation of the lead character in TV’s QUANTUM LEAP was a higher hurdle to overcome, as was divining wisdom from TRANSFORMERS’ Optimus Prime when he would say his trademark, “Transform and roll out!”

Another one of the quotes I wrote about is a line said by the character Sayid Jarrah on the TV show LOST, which I happened to have covered extensively in my Master’s Thesis for San Jose State University, which was about the portrayal of Muslims in media post-9/11. In that instance, the struggle was in figuring out how best to encompass the gist of my thesis while somehow boiling 80 pages down to 150 words.

There were some references to religious scriptures such as the Bible, Quran and the Bhagda vita in Geek Wisdom – Does this mean that “Geekdom” is universal and open to people of all faiths and religions (and no religion) even though most of the movies/comics/books featured in the book come from a Judeo-Christian (i.e. Mainstream American) perspective ?

I absolutely believe Geekdom is universal. I’ve long subscribed to the idea that you take your wisdom wherever you find it, and I think we do ourselves a huge disservice by dismissing these cultural artifacts out of hand as inherently devoid of merit simply because they have the word “pop” affixed in front of them. The fact is that our responses to these artifacts — be they film, television books, what-have-you — the resonance we find in them bespeaks their potential worth as, if not sources of wisdom themselves, then certainly as signposts to something bigger and deeper than us.

What do you think of people who put down “Jedi” or “Matrixism”, etc. as their religion on Census forms (Australia, etc.) ?  Is that taking their love of movies/comics too far?  Is there a line one crosses when people are over-zealous fans, etc.?

Well, just on a personal level, stuff like that tends to strike me as a little nutty, and maybe taking things a bit far. On the other hand, the mere fact that people take these fictional worlds/realms/universes seriously enough to do stuff like that highlights not only the important role these fictions have come to play in our societal tapestry, but also the religious/spiritual void that exists in people’s lives, such that they’re seeking answers from a George Lucas or a JK Rowling or whoever.

Do you consider yourself a Geek or a Nerd?  And Why?

Well, as someone who wears an Indiana Jones fedora as a regular part of his ensemble, and who knows far more about the various intricacies of the PLANET OF THE APES film series than I feel comfortable admitting in a public forum, the reflexive answer is yes. As to the why, that’s a harder one to puzzle out. In his book SUPERGODS, author Grant Morrison makes the point that, given the human capacity to weave myths that continue to spin long after their creators have shuffled off this coil — highlighting the immortal nature of the stories and the temporal nature of their creators — one starts to wonder what is the real and what is the imaginary. To some extent, I think that explains why we’re ALL geeks of some stripe or another. Whether that geekery be in service of the many iterations of the STAR TREK franchise, or the latest technological wizardry from Apple — we all have an innate desire to be a part of something that’s bigger than us, something to let us put our own small stamp of ownership on the great, unending stream of human myth-making.

Moon Wars: Should Muslims Adopt Moon Sighting to Establish Ramadan?

Posted in Activism, Islam with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by irydhan

I was asked by Wajahat Ali from to write a piece on Moon sighting for his online debate series, “The Goat Milk Debates”.  Check out my piece (copied below) and leave a comment on if you like it!

THE GOATMILK DEBATES” will be an ongoing series featuring two debaters tackling an interesting or controversial question in a unique, irreverent manner.

Each debater makes their opening argument. They can elect to post a rebuttal.

The winner will be decided by the online audience and judged according to the strength of their argument.

The motion: “Muslims Should Adopt Moon sighting to Establish Ramadan”

For the motion: Irfan Rydhan

Against the motion: Aziz Poonawalla

IRFAN RYDHAN FOR THE MOTION: “Muslims Should Adopt Moon sighting to Establish Ramadan”

My Answer: Yes.

Why? Simply Because the Qur’an and Hadith tell us to.  But at the same time there is a great spiritual benefit in looking for the Hilal (new crescent moon) with our eyes, which will be lost if we are to forgo this sacred tradition for the sake of convenience and so called “unity”!

Let’s begin by looking at what the Holy Qur’an says:

“The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for humanity and clarifications of that guidance and a standard. So whoever witnesses (shahida) the month among you, let him fast” (2:185).

Many Islamic scholars state that in the above verse the word “Month” here actually refers to the crescent moon of the month and was called “the month” (al-shahr) due to everyone knowing of its arrival.[1]

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him), clarified this further in the following Hadith:

Narrated by Abu Hurayrah:

The Messenger of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) made a mention of the new moon and (in this connection) said: Observe fast when you see it (the new moon) and break fast when you see it (the new moon of Shawwal), but when (the actual position of the moon is) concealed from you (on account of cloudy sky), then count thirty days.

There are many narrations of this same Hadith, which very clearly states that we Muslims should go out to witness (see with our own eyes) the Hilal (visible crescent moon) to start the Islamic months – in this case the month of fasting: Ramadan.

Since the Lunar months are either 29 or 30 days, we are only allowed to “calculate” if on the 29th day of the previous month (in this example the month of Shaba an), we cannot see the Hilal due to an overcast and cloudy sky which blocks our view.

Some people may ask, “We all know the new moon is there, and we now know (with current technology) when exactly the new moon will be “born”, etc. so why can’t we just calculate the whole Islamic calendar in advance?”

First some definitions are needed:

Hilal, an Arabic term, refers to the bright waxing crescent when it becomes visible to a normal observer by naked-eye.[2]

The “New Moon” is a modern astronomical term. It refers to the completely invisible moon at the start of a synodic cycle (29 days 12 hours, 42 minutes and 2.8 seconds).[3]

This “new moon” occurs when the Moon, in its monthly orbital motion around Earth, lies between Earth and theSun, and is therefore in conjunction with the Sun as seen from Earth. At this time, the dark (unilluminated) portion of the Moon faces almost directly toward Earth, so that the Moon is not visible to the naked eye.[4]

Often Muslim and non-Muslim experts alike confuse astronomical “New Moon” for “Hilal”. During the time of the Prophet Muhammad (S), the Arabic language had only “Qamar” (Moon), and Hilal (Visible crescent moon) terms. It had no word for the astronomical New Moon.  Thus, both the Qur’an and Sunnah instruct Muslims to start the lunar months after visually seeing the new crescent moon (hilal) with their naked eyes.  No fancy telescopes, binoculars or other equipment are needed.

Now, let’s put aside these verses of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith for a moment, and look at it this question from a more universal view.

Human beings have 3 components: Physical, Intellectual and Spiritual.  Most of us take care of the first two fairly well.  We eat, exercise, study and excel in our school and careers.  But unfortunately many of us, including myself, are lacking in our spiritual development.

All human beings whether they consider themselves “religious” or not, need some type of spiritual nourishment in their lives.  Many people around the world, especially those people living in the “West”, with all the emphasis on science, technology and busy career oriented lives, are looking toward Eastern cultures which are more focused on family and spirituality.  Many Westerners are employing many Eastern techniques such as Yoga, meditation, etc. to fill that spiritual void in their lives.

Muslims are no different.  Although we have many rituals in our religion of Islam, which can help us to develop our spirituality, such as five daily prayers, fasting in the month of Ramadan, going on the pilgrimage to Mecca, etc.  We still find ourselves sometimes feeling empty or missing something.

This is where the physical action of moon sighting prescribed by our religion can help us bridge that gap.  When we go out to look for the Hilal with our own eyes, we are not only fulfilling a great Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (S), but we are also connecting with nature and the creations of Allah.

There is a great feeling of astonishment, wonder and excitement when one spots the newly born crescent moon in the sky.  We become in awe of what Allah has created.  It is like the birth of a child – where we are witnessing creation happening right in front of our very eyes! Our Iman (faith) in Allah increases greatly and this is definitely one of the reasons why we were instructed by the Prophet Muhammad (S) to go out and see it for ourselves!

Some people still argue the point of Unity of Muslims (either across North America or even globally) is lost by not using a calculated calendar to determine the start of the Islamic months.

Unfortunately, ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), in the false name of Unity, has set a new criteria of starting Islamic months using the calculated date of when the new moon will be astronomically born (not visually sighted) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  If the Prophet Muhammad (S), wanted us to be united in this way, he would have instructed us to follow whatever time that Mecca started the Islamic months, but he did not do this.

This basically ignores the Qur’an and Sunnah requirements of visual sighting and tries to make a living Islamic calendar which is based on the celestial lunar movements into an averaged and incorrectly calculated system for mere convenience of when people can plan to take off a day from school or work!  There is no reason why Muslims need to celebrate Eid on the same exact day everywhere in the world!

The Prophet Muhammad (S) emphasized the importance of Muslims to go out and look for the Hilal themselves.  Many scholars even emphasized that their own local sighting is preferred.  Such with the following narration:

Kurayb reported that Umm al-Fadhl Bint Al-rith sent him on a mission to Mu`awiyah (Radiya ‘Llahu `anhu) in Damascus. He accomplished his mission and was still in ash-Sham when Ramadan started. He saw the new moon on Friday evening. He then returned to al-Madinah, arriving therein near the end of the month. He met Ibn `Abbas who asked him when the new moon of Ramadan was sighted in ash-Sham. Kurayb said, we saw it on the night of Friday. Ibn Abbas inquired, Did you see it yourself? Kurayb replied, Yes I saw it; and People did too. Based on that, they fasted and Mu`awiyah fasted as well. Whereupon Ibn Abbas said, But we saw it on the night of Saturday; and we shall continue to fast until we complete thirty days or see it [the new moon of Shawwal]. Kurayb asked, Wouldn’t you accept Mu`awiyah’s sighting and fasting. Ibn Abbas answered: No! This is how Allah’s Messenger commanded us. [Narrated by Muslim]

In our modern world with digital clocks, calendars, daylight savings time, etc. we forget that these are all man-made systems to help us organize our busy day to day lives, but in reality a real day is not 24 hours, but 23 hours and 56 minutes.  We are programmed to eat, sleep and work at certain times every day.  But our religious and spiritual lives cannot be forced into a set man-made calendar.  We cannot control everything.  Just like we cannot control when we are born or when we die.  And that is the whole point of going out and looking for the new crescent moon.  We do not know for sure if we will be able to see it.  Even if it is expected that it will not be seen, due to atmospheric conditions, we could see it.  Same as if we are anticipating it to be seen, but for some reason we cannot see it.  It is all in Allah’s hands, and we are just God’s servants who are obeying his command to look for the Hilal to mark our religious months.  This is a sacred tradition and Sunnah which has been passed on from generation to generation for over 1400 years of Islamic History.  Do we really want to throw it all away; just so that we can say we are united on one day out of the year and perhaps get a special “Eid Day” sale at Macy’s in the future (they can give us 2 or 3 days instead of just 1J)?

I for one would rather be united in following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (S) and go out and look for the new moon to reconnect with nature and remember that Allah is the creator of the universe and in control of this world; Not a calendar on my refrigerator which I printed from a website.

[1] Cesarean Moon Births, Part I by Hamza Yusuf, 2006

[2] From, “Confusing Hilal” page, URL:

[3] ibid

[4] Wikipedia, “New Moon” page, URL:

ILLUME Media Seminar: Digital Journalism in the Age of Multi-Media Story Telling

Posted in Activism, Books/Magazines, Islam, Media, TV/Film with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2010 by irydhan

ILLUME magazine in assocation with the South Bay Islamic Association (SBIA) Media Committee, CAIR-SFBA, and the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC) present a special 2 -day In-Depth workshop for students of Media and Journalism as well as others who are interested in learning the art and techniques of professional story telling in the Digital Age.  The weekend seminar will take place on April 17th and 18th, 2010 in the S.F. Bay Area.  There is also a FREE panel discussion on the Importance of Local Media Activism with Several Muslim Media Professionals (see below for details) which will be held at SBIA Downtown Center on Friday April 16th from 7pm to 9pm.

Students who take the weekend seminar (April 17th-18th, 2010) will learn:

  • Understanding the different mediums: print vs broadcast vs web
  • Effective news writing & storytelling
  • Pre-production and script writing
  • Interview techniques
  • The different styles and approaches
  • The “Five Elements of News Production”
  • Basic Camera operation
  • How to Light the Perfect Interview
  • Getting the right Coverage
  • Understanding Audio
  • Selecting the correct mics
  • Hands-on DV & HDV Camera use and tips
  • How to shoot an Interview
  • DV Editing with Final Cut Pro
  • Editing techniques and styles
  • Understanding rendering and nesting using FCP
  • Exporting out of Final Cut Pro
  • How to make DVDs, Overview of DVD studio Pro Basics and iDVD
  • Entitled: “Digital Journalism in the Age of Multi-Media Story Telling” the seminar will be taught by

    Farzad W, Executive Producer of 14th Road Productions. Farzad is an Emmy award-winning director with more than 10 years of production and teaching experience.He has directed and edited more than a dozen independent videos & documentaries, and produced more than 400 interactive media applications for publishers and businesses. His scholarly works have been published internationally while his films have been screened locally and overseas. Marquis Who’s Who in America of 2010 selected Farzad Wafapoor as one of 95,000 of America’s “most noteworthy people”.Farzad earned his Master’s degree in Mass Media from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.

    Additional Instruction will also be provided by:

    Muhammad Sajid, Editor-in-Chief of ILLUME 
    Muhammad Sajid is an award-winning journalist and graphic designer. He received an Edward R. Murrow award and has been named the Society of Professional Journalist 2004 Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year. He worked as a newspaper reporter for seven years before switching to broadcast. Muhammad Sajid received a BA in Journalism and a second BA in Graphic Design from San Francisco State University. He is currently pursuing a JD.

    Anser Hassan, Executive Producer of ILLUME 
    Anser has worked both on-air and behind the scenes at several news stations across the country, including ABC, CBS, and CNN. His career began at CTV30, an award-winning cable station in the San Francisco Bay Area. There he was a reporter and news anchor, plus hosted two of his own shows. He also reported for the New York Times broadcast division at WQAD-TV. He has also reported at KRON4-TV/Channel 4 in San Francisco. Currently, he is an assignment editor at CBS5/Channel 5 in San Francisco. He was recognized as an up and coming reporter from the national branch of the Asian American Journalist Association, being featured on the “Men of AAJA DVD.” He was also the recipient of the national New York Times Reporter Trainee award and selected into the prestigious New York Times L.E.A.P. program, a company wide leadership program. Anser is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of San Francisco State University, with degrees in TV/Radio News and International Relations, with a Middle East regional concentration and an emphasis on Islamic political movements and Islamic feminism.

    The costs for the seminar is $25.00 for Students (ID Required) and $75 for Professionals before April 16th and $50 Students/$100 Professionals afterwards.

    For more information and/or to register for the class click here.

    Media Panel (FREE Admittance on Friday April 16th, 2010) Topic: “The Importance of Local Media Activism

    Panel Speakers:

    Wajahat Ali is a playwright, journalist, attorney, humorist and consultant. His play, “The Domestic Crusaders”, is one of the first major plays about the American Muslim experience originally premiering at the Thrust Stage of the Tony award winning Berkeley Repertory Theater to universal acclaim in 2005 and making its New York premiere on 9-11-09 at the world famous Nuyorican Theater.  He is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Counterpunch and Chowk.

    Farzad W is an Emmy award-winning director with more than 10 years of production and teaching experience. He has directed and edited more than a dozen independent videos & documentaries, and produced more than 400 interactive media applications for publishers and businesses. His scholarly works have been published internationally while his films have been screened locally and overseas. Marquis Who’s Who in America of 2010 selected Farzad Wafapoor as one of 95,000 of America’s “most noteworthy people”. Farzad earned his Master’s degree in Mass Media from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.

    Carma Hassan is a journalist and story planning editor with a KTVU Ch. 2 News in Oakland, CA.  She is actively working to bring a stronger Muslim presence to mainstream media. 

    Javed Ali is the founder and publisher of the world-class, award-winning media organization, ILLUME. He is a seasoned technology expert and entrepreneur, who previously founded Digital Pad in 2003, a technology consulting company. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Network and Communications Management and consults with non-profits in the areas of media and technology.

    Anser Hassan has worked both on-air and behind the scenes at several news stations across the country, including ABC, CBS, and CNN. His career began at CTV30, an award-winning cable station in the San Francisco Bay Area. There he was a reporter and news anchor, plus hosted two of his own shows. He also reported for the New York Times broadcast division at WQAD-TV. He has also reported at KRON4-TV/Channel 4 in San Francisco. Currently, he is an assignment editor at CBS5/Channel 5 in San Francisco.

    Panel Moderator:
    Irfan Rydhan is a “Multi-Media” Activist who lives in the Bay Area. His background includes non-profit management, film/video production and graphic art/design. He is co-founder of “Jam-Productions: An International Video/Film Company” and Executive Producer of “The Muslim Round Table Television Show” which currently airs on Comcast Ch. 15 in San Jose and streams live on Sundays at 12:30pm on  He is one of the founding members of the SBIA Media Committee, which conducts training programs and classes on how to effectively interact with the media in it’s coverage of issues relating to Islam and Muslims. Read his blog about Architecture, Islamic Art and Media Activism: Al Mihrab: The Place of War

    30 Mosques in 30 days

    Posted in Activism, Architecture, Islam with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by irydhan

    30masjidHere is a link to a blog by two Muslim guys (Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq) travelling around NYC every day in Ramadan having iftaar (breaking of the fast) at a different mosque each night.

    It’s pretty interesting because not only do they talk about the different types of food, but also the culture and history of the mosque as well.

    They also got some very nice pictures.  Check it out here: