If you're an astrophysicist, you might be in Houston (or, you might have been at NASA), or at a university with an astrophysics program, or you might be doing astrophysical research. This science is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of stellar phenomena. An astrophysicist studies particular phenomena or theories, such as black holes, the development and extinction of stars, relativity and motion, or the origin of the universe.
If astrophysicists study objects beyond the stratosphere, what does that have to do with the blogosphere? At the intersection of these two vastly different spheres is the eminent scholar Dr. David J. Rusin, who inhabits both. He turned from one to other other because of 9/11. Disclosure: there is nothing to disclose. Never met the man. But I do read everything he writes, on www.Islamist-Watch.org, of the Middle East Forum which exposes and combats the ideas and institutions of nonviolent radical Islam throughout the Western world. Rusin's research interests at Islamist Watch include the defense of free speech, the challenges confronting multicultural societies, and the media's coverage of the Islamist threat. His articles have investigated the physical dangers faced by ex-Muslims, efforts to create a segregated Islamic enclave in Philadelphia, and governmental self-censorship vis-à-vis radical Islam. In addition, he is the primary contributor to the Islamist Watch blog, which provides up-to-date analysis of nonviolent Islamism.
"Whereas violent Islamists seek to subjugate the West through bloodshed, non-violent Islamists pursue the same ends through lobbying, media manipulation, and predatory lawsuits," says Dr. Rusin. "They exploit the freedoms of our liberal democratic system to promote a decidedly illiberal and anti-democratic agenda, one which culminates by insinuating aspects of Shari'a law into our lives. My goal is to help stop this process."
Dr. Daniel Pipes, the Middle east Forum's director, has said that "I have already observed how his background in the sciences adds an impassioned objectivity most useful for the delicate work of differentiating non-violent Islamists from truly moderate Muslims."
Dr. Rusin joined the Middle East Forum following a decade and a half in physics. He earned a B.S. from the Stevens Institute of Technology (1996) and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (2001), specializing in astrophysics and cosmology. He then held postdoctoral research positions at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (2001-2003), the University of Pennsylvania (2003-2006), and the University of California at Davis (2006-2007). During his scientific career, he published more than thirty articles in peer-reviewed journals.
There is simply no finer source than www.Islamist-Watch.org for impartial, clearly-written, up-to-the-minute analysis of the dangers posed by the ideas and institutions of nonviolent radical Islam throughout the Western world, that's available to readers today. I recommend his work as highly as I can.