Arbaeen, The Walk: A Conversation with Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli discusses Arbaeen: The Walk, the first book in English about the annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam Husayn.

15 – 20 million people participate in the annual pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq to visit the shrine of 7th century martyr, Imam Husayn. Yet few in the West know about it. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli has written the first book about Arbaeen in English. It is called Arbaeen: The Walk. It is a guide for participants and a helpful reference for English speakers to learn about the phenomenon of Arbaeen.

Sheikh Mohammed Al-Hilli (Facebook, Twitter) is an Islamic scholar and speaker who has visited and presented lectures in many parts of the world. He has an MA in Islamic Studies at Middlesex University in the UK. For over ten years, Sheikh Al-Hilli studied Hawza (Islamic Seminary Education) in London and Najaf. He is a teacher for Hawza studies for the Islamic College in London. He is currently head of the Islamic Education Department at Noor Trust in the UK, conducting Quranic commentary programs, marriage workshops as well as youth activities.

Sheikh Al-Hilli has taken part in the Najaf to Karbala Arbaeen walk annually since 2012 with the Spiritual Journeys Ziyarah group.

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Resisting the Beast: Conversations with Dr. Susan Elli Elliott and Imam Muhsen Al-Dhalimy

Imam Muhsen Al-Dhalimy of the Islamic Center of Portland Explains the Significance of the 7th Century Martyr, Husayn, and the Popularity of Arbaeen
Biblical scholar, Dr. Susan “Elli” Elliott, discusses her book, Family Empires, Roman and Christian, Volume 1.

Imam Muhsen Al-Dhalimy is the spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Portlandon the corner of Denney and Hall in Beaverton. The Islamic Center of Portland is the only Shia Mosque in the Portland Metro.  Imam Al-Dhalimy was born in Iraq and made the pilgrimage to Karbala to mourn Imam Husayn and visit his shrine when doing so was illegal. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, now between 10 and 20 million people visit the shrine of the grandson of the Prophet every year, making Arbaeen the largest peaceful gathering of human beings on Earth.

I, inshallah, will be going on this pilgrimage courtesy of the Husaynia Society of Seattle. Imam Al-Dhalimy will talk about how the walk has changed and what it means for Shia Muslims and Iraq.

Also, during the first part of the hour, I speak with Susan “Elli” Elliot who will be hosting a Jesus Seminar on the Road in Beaverton on October 19-20.  She is the author of Family Empires: The Roman Family Empire and Early Christian Responses.  In this book,

“Dr. Elliott examines the Roman household form as it was changing during the Augustan era. Augustus relied on his version of that family form to establish his one-man rule of the empire. Dr. Elliott lays out several forms of resistance to the Roman empire and the family model on which it was built.”

This program aired on my monthly show, Beloved Community, Friday, October 12th from 9-10 a.m.

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Husayn Means Beauty: The Attraction of the Seventh Century Martyr (ENCORE)

Scholars and religious leaders explore the impact of Husayn and the devotion of the 15-20 million pilgrims who visit his shrine each year. Part 1 of 2.

This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired in May 2018.

I will be attending the pilgrimage to Arbaeen from Najaf to Karbala, Iraq, at the end of October, with a Maulana Mohammad Baig, courtesy of the Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle.

 On April 28th 2018, The Husayniah Islamic Society of Seattle and Global Initiatives co-sponsored an interfaith educational event called Husayn Day.  The event was a reflection upon Husayn, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Mohammad. Rather than bow to his oppressors, he, along with 72 family members were killed in Karbala, Iraq in 680 CE. He is considered a martyr for justice, truth, love, and resistance. He is a leading figure in Shia Islam and his death is mourned each year by between 15 and 20 million pilgrims who visit his shrine during the forty-day period of mourning from Ashura to Arbaeen.

In the next two episodes, you will hear speeches from the presenters on Husayn and the yearly pilgrimage to his shrine. The presenters include, Dr. John Morrow, Sister Nicole Correri, Sheikh Fadhel Al-Salani, Sheik Ahmed Bahriny, Maulana Mohammad Baig, and me, John Shuck.

The West is largely ignorant about Islam and, in particular, Shia Islam and the person of Hussain. Twenty million people visit his shrine each other. This the largest annual gathering of human beings on planet Earth. Yet, Western media ignores it. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Sayed Mahdi al-Modarresi, “World’s Biggest Pilgrimage Now Underway, And Why You’ve Never Heard of it!” 

Why you have never heard of it probably has to do with the fact that the press is concerned more with negative, gory, and sensationalized tabloids, than with positive, inspiring narratives, particularly when it comes to Islam.

You will hear about it on Progressive Spirit.

In this first episode you will hear from Dr. John Morrow, full professor, author, senior research scholar, public speaker and activist. He is author of a number of numerous articles and books including The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. Dr. Morrow provided a stirring poetic spiritual biography of Husayn.

You will also hear from Sister Nicole Correri. She is the preeminent female Shia speaker in North America. She will begin a Ph. D. program at Boston University in the Fall.  Sr. Correri told the importance of Zainab, Husayn’s sister, and described her experience attending Arbaeen.

Video of the entire conference.

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9/11 Unmasked Interview Package

I made transcripts for each of the interviews in my series on the 9/11 Consensus Panel.  The panel’s book, released on September 11th, 2018 is called 9/11 Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation.

This series of interviews with transcripts will be a helpful resource for an individual or a study group with an open mind and a courageous heart. We need open minds and courageous hearts. Graeme McQueen, who I interviewed in the first episode in the series, said:

…when your police have failed at their duty, and your intelligence agencies have failed you, and the executive branch has failed, and the legislative branch has failed, and this…enormous crime in the 21st century has happened and isn’t being investigated, what do you do? Do you let them get away with the lie? Do you let your democracy be hijacked? I hope not.

and he concluded the episode by saying:

I think it goes to the question, what is a citizen, and ultimately what is a person. I would like to think that at least in a democracy, a citizen is a whole person who is able to perceive the world around them and also to use their intelligence to make sense of it. And that’s what people did on 9/11 at the scene. They perceived explosions and clearly called them explosions. They made conclusions with their minds. They said, “Wow, this looks like a building being demolished purposely.” And when a government does what the United States government and frankly almost every government in the world is doing, and dismisses over 100 ordinary citizens standing there perceiving this, they are showing not only disrespect, they’re really showing a very degraded notion of what a citizen is. They’re treating us like rabble, who are, you know, who can be easily dismissed. So people are supposed to listen to say, U.S. elites, who were not even there that day, when they say there were no explosions? Instead of listening to their fellow human beings who were there and who clearly perceived it. This is a democracy in trouble. This is a democracy that’s in danger and unfortunately, it’s not just the U.S. My own country, Canada our government, buys all this nonsense as well. And so it’s the job of citizens to stand up and say, “We are whole persons. And our perception, and our sense of smell, sense of hearing and sight and touch, they are valid. And we know how to use our intelligence. And we’re going to insist on that. We’re going to speak out loudly for what we believe is the truth.”

Here are the podcasts and the transcripts for the four episodes:

1) 9/11 Unmasked: A Conversation with Elizabeth Woodworth and Graeme McQueen

PS 132 Woodworth McQueen Transcript

2) 9/11 Unmasked, Part 2: A Conversation with Dwain Deets about Able Danger

PS 133 Deets Transcript

3) 9/11 Unmasked, Part 3: David Chandler and the Day of Magical Physics

PS 134 Chandler Transcript

4) 9/11 Unmasked, Part 4: Fran Shure and the Problem of the Media

PS 135 Shure Transcript_FS-2

Climate Change or How to Defeat Medusa: A Conversation with Kathleen Dean Moore

Moral Philosopher and Environmental-Thought Leader, Kathleen Dean Moore, tells the hard, urgent truth about the state of Earth and calls out for moral courage.

Dr. Kathleen Dean Moore spoke at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon, September 30th, 2018. Hear her address, Bearing Witness (starts at 4:30).

In this interview, she talked with John Shuck about her 2016 book, Great Tide Rising: Calling on Clarity and Moral Courage to Confront Climate Change. She discusses grandchildren, criminals in high places, religious hypocrisy, despair, hope, and moral integrity. Time is short. We have a mission. What is life for?

Kathleen Dean Moore is a writer, moral philosopher, and environmental thought-leader, devoted to an unrelenting defense of the future against those who would pillage and wreck the planet.

As a writer, Kathleen is best known for award-winning books of essays that celebrate and explore the meaning of the wet, wild world of rivers, islands, and tidal shores – Riverwalking, Holdfast, Pine Island Paradox, and Wild Comfort. But her growing alarm at the devastation of the natural world led her to focus her writing on the moral urgency of action against climate change and habitat destruction. Quitting her university position, Kathleen began to write in defense of the lovely, reeling world. 

A moral philosopher, Kathleen holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. For many years, she taught critical thinking and environmental ethics as Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University. She has published philosophical books on forgiveness (Pardons: Justice, Mercy, and the Public Interest), Apache philosophy (How It Is: the Native American Philosophy of Viola Cordova), Rachel Carson (Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge), and critical thinking (Reasoning and Writing). While at OSU, she co-founded and for many years directed the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, where she now serves as Senior Fellow.

Two years ago, Moore left the University in order to write and speak full-time about the moral urgency of action to stop fossil fuels and the consequent global warming. She has addressed audiences ranging from 350.org activists to Nobel Conference scholars to Disneyworld executives and students all over the country — Alaska to Texas, New York to California — calling people to clarity and moral courage as they confront the forces that would wreck the world. Her new project, “A Call to Life: Variations on a Theme of Extinction,” is a collaboration with classical pianist Rachelle McCabe.

Kathleen is embedded in a family of environmentalists and biologists. Her parents were science educators who led nature walks in the beech-maple forests in Ohio. Her husband, Frank, a neurobiologist, is an expert on amphibian behavior. Her daughter, Erin, is an architecture professor at the University of Oregon, specializing in green construction. Her son, Jonathan, is a professor of coastal studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Kathleen and her husband live in Corvallis, Oregon, and in the summers, in a cabin where two creeks and a bear trail meet a tidal cove in Alaska’s maritime wilderness.

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PS 136 Moore Transcript