The PashTones

A few months ago I wrote about the musical contributions of Pakistanis, both past and present. From rock and pop to traditional Qawali folk, Pakistani musicians have received acclaim at home and abroad. But music from throughout South Asia has also influenced those without cultural roots in the subcontinent.

Ted Watters and Brian Tilley of the American-based group The PashTones were inspired by the language, poetry, and culture of the Pashtun people of South Asia, creating a distinctive blend of traditional American folk and Pashtun music for their first album, The PashTones.

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Extremism Produces Extremism

About three weeks ago, Pastor Terry Jones burned a copy of the Qur’an. Jones had planned to burn Qur’ans on September 11th of last year but was persuaded against it. However, last month, Jones put the Qur’an “on trial,” found it guilty, and executed it.  The consequence of Jones’ action was violence in Afghanistan that left at least 20 people dead and more than 80 injured.

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Islam in South Asia: Interview with Joe Elder

This is a guest post by Michael Kruse, a staff member of Center for South Asia at UW-Madison.

Since the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, the American public has learned much about the division between Sunni and Shia Muslims. In the context of South Asia, however, the situation is much more complicated than one might expect. Just ask Joseph Elder, Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prof. Elder has studied South Asian society and religion for over 50 years, and has produced a series of almost 40 documentary films on all aspects of South Asia.

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Juan Cole on Engaging the Muslim World

A past program in the Inside Islam radio series “Reaching Out to the Muslim World” covered President Obama’s promise to alter the course of the Bush administration’s war on terror in his inaugural address. Informed Comment blogger and Middle East historian Juan Cole joins host Jean Feraca Wednesday at 3 pm on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders for a live show about ways of “Engaging the Muslim World” with diplomacy and dialogue.

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A Listener Responds to ‘Women and Sharia’

Dave Wood, a listener of the Inside Islam radio series on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders, writes:

I wish I was writing with typical accolades but unfortunately I’m sending a note about my disappointment in your Inside Islam series. I think it not only lacks objective reporting but, even worse, it whitewashes Islam leaving your listener less prepared to identify radical Islam’s threat to our freedom and culture. Perhaps most important, your program does not challenge Muslims to face the profound human rights issues their religion faces.

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Afghan Stories

Afghani Girls in Kabul (Photo by Paula Lerner, 2005)

Afghani Girls in Kabul (Photo by Paula Lerner, 2005)

Today Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders will air a program about the hidden lives of the women of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Host Jean Feraca will be joined by photojournalist Paula Lerner. Lerner complied a gallery of photos from Afghanistan for the exhibit “Afghan Stories” available for online viewing and on display in five New England venues in 2008-2009. According to a review by The Bowdoin Orient, Lerner’s photos present a “much different picture of a war-torn country” than images of terrorists like Osama Bin Laden in the mainstream news.

Can photos challenge us to think about war in places like Afghanistan in new ways? What do you think about the future of conflict in the region? Do you have any other alternative images to share? We would like to hear your thoughts on air or in the comments below. You can listen live to the broadcast at 3:00 pm CST either online on the Ideas Network or on the radio if you live in a Wisconsin Public Radio station area. The program will also be included in the Inside Islam radio series podcast as a related show if you wish to listen at a later date.