As reported earlier this week on the Arkansas Blog (www.arktimes.com), an article about sex in the Muslim world posted on the website www.muslimwakeup.com by University of Arkansas English professor Mohja Kahf stirred up more than fiery discussion. On Dec. 13, the website was hacked by Islamic extremists calling themselves the Islamic Challenge Brigades, who singled out “Sex and the Umma,” an article co-authored by Kahf, as “a vile attack on Islam.”
“IT’S YOUR FINAL WARNING, MWU CREW!!” the hackers wrote. “No more slandering of the Mujahdeen. No more peverts [sic] allowed to speak about Islam like Mohja Kahf and her warm fluid fantasies. No more using our beloved prophet [sic] name in one of your dirty pornographic stories.”
The hackers also used the word “murtad” (the Arabic word for “apostate”) prominently in their posting, a term that, according to Muslim Wake Up editor Ahmed Nassef, who lives in New York, is often used by extremists as a veiled threat of violence.
Though the site soon was returned to normal, a follow-up series of e-mails sent to the website Dec. 20 warned: “This is your final warning!!!! If you are not going to stop your anti-Islamic activities thru your stupid site, you’ve [sic] to pay a heavy prize (your life). Let this e-mail serve as a final warning to you and your team.”
Though calls to Kahf’s Fayetteville office went unreturned, she told the New York Daily News at the time of the incident: “This is probably a bunch of stupid adolescent boys. I want to track them down and prosecute them.” That’s Arkie spunk for you.
In more Arkansas-related Internet news: According to project coordinator Jill Curran, work is progressing on the mammoth Encyclopedia of Arkansas Culture. Developed in cooperation with the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, when the project is completed sometime in 2006, visitors to www.encyclopediaofarkansasculture.org will be able to browse through all facets of Arkane knowledge, including historic photos, maps, audio and video clips, as well as entries on the state’s folklore, geology, archaeology, literary and musical lights, history and other topics.
Though the target number of entries is 5,000, Curran said the encyclopedia could — and probably will — easily best that figure.
“When you think that in the whole state there are over 1,500 properties on the National Historic Register and we’d like to have entries on all of them, we could easily surpass 5,000,” Curran said.
Curran said the encyclopedia has around 1,300 entries completed or in progress. The website also has long lists of subjects still seeking an author, and editors will accept suggestions on additional topics. As for who can write for the encyclopedia, anyone willing to bend to the rule of rigorous guidelines and editorial scrutiny is welcome, even those without an alphabet soup of degrees tacked onto their name.
“You don’t have to have a Ph.D. or anything like that,” Curran said. “We’ll take anybody from armchair historians who are really interested in one topic to our multi-published authors in the state.”
Writer’s guidelines and sample entries are available on the website. Too, authors who write entries will get more than a flush of civic pride. Curran said the board overseeing the encyclopedia project has voted to pay writers 5 cents per word. (Before you try to cash in your 50,000-word tome on the Fighting Fish Falls, you should call ahead: Topics and length are also subject to editorial approval).
For more info on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas Culture, visit the website or call 918-3016.
Tell Santa what you want:
An interesting element of the ongoing story of budget problems in the University of Arkansas Advancement Division has been a divide in outlook in the pages of the state's dominant news medium, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.