the Islamphere grows up

This is the 4th year for the Brass Crescent Awards, and it seems that the Awards have achieved a kind of critical mass. We received over 300 unique blog nominations during the nomination phase! Not only that, but in two days of voting, there have been more votes cast than in the entire two week voting period last year. These statistics suggest that this is the year that the BCA really arrived as a phenomenon worth taking note of.

However, there's a more subtle form of recognition that I think also speaks volumes about the growth of the Awards, and that is the attention the Awards are drawing from muslims online. For one thing, this year even larger blogs such as 'Aqoul have taken notice of their nominations and are urging readers to vote. Other bloggers like Dal Nun Strong are smartly leveraging their nominations to welcome new readers and invite them to peruse a selection of their best work. And don't miss Naeem's hilarious post on how he should have been nominated for all categories. These are all great examples of publicity for the Awards and perfectly reasonable, positive strategies for nominee blogs to pursue.

Of course, there's the other kind of publicity as well. Ijtemaa.net has a fairly harsh post and even harsher comment thread about the perceived idoelogical bias of the BCA. Abul Layth at Seeking 'Ilm is even more explicitly hostile in his disdain for the Awards, though that doesn't stop him from urging readers to vote for certain nominees "so that a Sunni blog will win." Both Ijtemaa and Abul Layth succumb to the takfiri impulse in their disdain for some of the BCA nominees, particularly Ali Eteraz who ably and masterfully defends himself with far more grace than his detractors muster.

And what would a muslim social event be without an accusation or two of Shi'a conspiracy? :) I don't believe for a minute that Deenport or Ijtemaa.net sanction such nonsense, but roaches do crawl out of the woodwork of even the nicest houses from time to time.

All in all, the BCA are attracting a lot of heat and light. And that's good, because just like the Carnival of Brass, the main purpose of the Awards is to create more awareness of the diversity and talent within the Islamsphere. If the sole achievement of the Awards is to get muslim bloggers talking about muslim blogs they disagree with, then it's already a success, because sectarian or ideological silos are harmful to the online Islamic community as a whole.


Isha' said...


I always held you in high regard, but this post makes me sad.

The comment thread (on the post where the dissatisfied voices were compiled), except for one or two very unfortunate ones, has been very friendly.

And don't worry about the personal attacks and conspiracy theories.

We are somewhat dissatisfied with this year's picks- but we arn't considering a new award at the moment. Even if we do that, let that be a friendly competition- complementary to each other.

On a lighter note, perhaps only controversial posts catch attention on the internet.

Aziz said...

Isha -

I think another awards would be a great thing. Theres no reason there cant be more than one. In fact, the more, the merrier, because the cumulative effect would serve the same shared goals even more.

Dissatisfaction with this years' picks is fine, but since those picks were the result of nominations, it's just a reflection of what the readers thought worthy. Shahed and I do not "hand-pick" the nominees. The blogs that receive the most nominations are the ones that get the nod. This has been explained in more detail by Zahed at the Ijtemaa thread.

Aziz said...

and for the record I am not "worried" about the personal attacks or conspiracy theories. I only note them, as well as the critiques, to make my point that the BCA are now large enough to warrant attention - in other words, a measure of success.

Isha' said...

"since those picks were the result of nominations"

We did not know that before. Even the message "this blog is already nominated" and the announcement "...we are sorting through 300 nominations" led us to think otherwise.

Anyway, thanks to Zahed (and you) now we know that.