This sounds interesting: There will be a Salt Lake American Muslim Festival SLAM at Washington Square (This is the plaza a the downtown Salt Lake Library.
The festival will include: Vietnamese Dragon Dance, Kenshin Taiko Drummers, Phillipine, Peruvian, and Tongan Dancers, Easter Arts Central Asian Dances, Rinceori Irish Dancers, Chinese Dances by Fay Fay Ye, and Bien Flamenco, Sol de Jalisco Mariachi Band, Ahiska Turks Cultural Dances, Sister Maryam and Jose Bonilla Songs, Native American Indian Performance, Baptist Gospel Singer, and the Salt Lake Saints Jazz Band. The festival also includes speeches by Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and Dr. Alice Rothchild of the Jewish Voice for Peace.
I am happy that such celebrations take place. I love to learn about different cultures. I could not help but note that only one of the acts in the line up is from the Middle East.
I highlighted the Turkish Dancers as they seem to be the closest to the Middle East of any of the acts. I could not find a web site for the group. Several web sites attribute this dance to the dancers. If you watch the video, you might want to translate the message from user mazinia which explains the dance. Errr, I don't think it is really a good example of the heart and soul of Islam.
In some ways I suspect that this very SLAM festival highlights the greatest fear of the Muslim world: marginalization. The fear is that multiculturalism will reduce all cultures to a circus act for a University professor's amusement.
Multiculturalism is culture that assumes all other cultures are a subordinate part of itself.
[***]I suspect that most of the people attending this event will be left leaning. It will include the small portion of the left that hold the viewpoint that they are united with the Islamic world against the people's enemy: George W. Bush.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
In actuality, I think things are more complex. This war on terrorism is largely about the Islamic World's rejecting the multiculturalism being forced on them by the west. Both the blowing up of the Buddhas of Bamyan and the World Trade Center were about rejecting multiculturalism. Conversely, our reactionary wars are about breaking the stranglehold of monolithic belief system in the middle east. From one perspective, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are about bringing multiculturism to the region.
Anyway, it sounds like the festival will be a fun event worth attending. The machine which cranks out this stream of festivals is getting more professional with each passing year. Yet I can't help but I sympathize with those who find the process of reducing a culture to an act on a multiring circus to be somewhat marginalizing.
[***] I changed this sentence. A commentor thought I said that 90% of the left believed that they were allied with Islam against Bush. What I wanted to say was that I suspect that 90% of the people who attend the festival will be left leaning. And that there are some people who see themselves as allied with Islam against Bush.