Sajed Bhandari

America, Books, Cooking, Muslims and some other things

Archive for December 2010

Fareed Zakaria on Leadership

Fareed Zakaria on Leadership

Sajed Bhandari

I watch too much MSNBC for my own good.  This Sunday however, I had a chance to watch Fareed Zakaria’s special, “How to Lead” on CNN.  Yeah the name is kind of ostentatious but the hour long show was amazing.  I have read two of Zakaria’s books and am in the process of finishing his first book, From Wealth to Power along with watching his show and reading his articles as much as I can.  I was on the fence about him for a while, but his support of religious freedom and property rights in the middle of the Fox News-generated chaos that was the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy this summer solidified my affinity towards Fareed Zakaria.  The man is a genius.  A naturalized citizen of Indian origin, Fareed Zakaria studied at both Yale and Harvard, completing his PhD in politics and international relations underneath Samuel Huntington (of “Clash of Civilizations” fame).  His work, The Future of Freedom, does a good job of “refudiating” (<- Yay Palin) his professor’s clash of civilizations claim.  I probably should write a review of that book too.  In any case, what follows is a brief summary of the program.

The show consisted primarily of interviews of leaders and their experiences leading in government, commerce, academia and war along with their various definitions of leadership.  The two leaders in governance and politics interviewed by Zakaria were Prime Minister Tony Blair and former New Jersey Governor and Bush Cabinet member, Christine WhitmanLou Gerstner, formerly the head of IBM, discussed crisis management and how his leadership style brought IBM from an 8 billion dollar loss to an 8 billion dollar profit at the end of his tenure with IBM.  Richard Levin discussed leadership as the president of Yale, particularly his difficult task of managing academics (a class of people who went into the profession so they would not be managed) and the obstacles created by leading a body of faculty and students who cannot be fired.  Finally, Admiral Mullen discussed leading men into war and the difficulties associated with asking an individual to risk his or her life in the defense of liberty and the republic.

At the end, the guests offered their take home messages and thoughts on leadership.  If one wants to create change, then he or she must figure out the essence of an individual—what drives him, what motivates him, understand what makes him tick, what do they value and what makes them come to work every day.  In addition, one of the guests urged to have a strong vision, communicate it clearly, set goals people can imagine reaching and go forward step by step.  What is essential is to pick a great team and empower them to do their job.  A leader can empower his team by knowing his or her subordinates.  This is particularly important because a leader needs to realize that he or she will not always have the answer, but it is equally important not to worry about this—figure out the gaps in your knowledge and find people who advise you on those matters.  A leader’s integrity should always be intact and this can only be achieved by holding one’s self accountable.

Overall it was a great show.  If you come across it online or CNN definitely watch it.


Written by sajedbhandari

December 29, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Book Review: Traitor to his Class

Book Review: Traitor to his Class- The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Sajed Bhandari

Who: By H.W. Brands, an American historian and professor at University of Texas at Austin.

What: Biography of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Rather large book at around 800 pages.

When: January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945

Where: The biography initially covers FDR’s privileged life in New York and Boston.  The biographer subsequently covers FDR’s rise to power in Washington DC and his years abroad during his presidency.

Why: FDR’s New Deal set the progressive tone for Democratic politics in America.

Recommendation: Was not a big fan of this book.  It reads quickly, but I think the subject matter bothered me more than anything else.  FDR was a great man, and worthy of the respect that he gets, but disagreed with the President’s expansion of federal power, particularly in the executive branch.  I don’t recommend reading it.

Written by sajedbhandari

December 29, 2010 at 12:45 am

Soft Power and Shawarma: Hicksville

Soft Power and Shawarma: Hicksville

Sajed Bhandari

I almost drove off Old Country Road and hit the sidewalk by Blimpies the other day.  Driving on Long Island, I expect to see the random pedestrian or a busboy riding his bike to his job.  But the other day I was driving back from somewhere and what I saw was the greatest thing ever.  An old white restaurant truck with bright letters advertising Halal Meat! (This is when I almost drove off the road.)  In any case, I did not get around to eating there until a few days later but this is my quick review of the gyro stand.  This place was so good I ended up having it twice in the same week.   I watch Food Network and Travel Channel like it is crack, but for the life of me I would never be able to write a review the way those guys do it.  Not because they are professional writers and I am a budding accountant, but because I either like a dish or I do not.  I have a hard time describing all the layers of flavor or what have you—as I said I either like it or I don’t.  And this, this I liked.

Who: SVM Halal something or other

What: Gyros, chicken, rice, falafels and combo platters

Where: Abandoned Gas Station on the corner of Newbridge Road and Old Country Road in Hicksville

When: Monday through Saturday – 11AM to 9PM

Sunday- 11 AM to 6 PM

Why: I ordered a combo platter with bbq, white and hot sauce.  Chicken was actually good—only the second time in my life where the chicken was delicious at one of these places.  The Gyro was cut thick and not dried out.  The rice was a yellow pilaf type of thing. The platter is served with grilled peppers and onions (def gets a plus for this.)

Recommendation: This is definitely my favorite stand until I find something better. I like it and if you’re my friend you’ll go too.  Side Note: Ran into this white girl and her mother who has been there five times in the two weeks this place has been open.  Had a good conversation with them while we waited for our food in the cold!  I’m glad we finally have something like this on LI (first one I know of).




Written by sajedbhandari

December 28, 2010 at 12:06 am

Posted in Cooking

American Muslim organization applauds FBI for actions in Portland, OR

I wont be posting until January iA.  Read this!



American Muslim organization applauds FBI for actions in Portland, OR

December 1, 2010
American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Whack-A-Mole approach needs greater offensive counterterrorism strategy against Islamist radicalization


PHOENIX (November 30, 2010) – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) issued the following statement regarding the FBI’s actions with regard to Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s attack in Portland, OR.

“The thwarted attack of Mohamed Osman Mohamud continues to highlight the ever-increasing threat that the ideological slippery slope of political Islam (Islamism) poses to America. The comments that Mohamud made to investigators and that have been released to the media demonstrate a belief in Islamist supremacy that is in conflict with American values and our very way of life. Despite the courageous work of our FBI agents and Homeland Security the threat of homegrown terror from radicalized Muslims continues to exponentially increase.


We are only playing defense against this growing threat with no signs of an offensive strategy. More and more, our homeland security strategy is turning out to be nothing more than a whack-a-mole program. This cycle will only be broken by the development of a national strategy that will counter the true root cause of Islamist terror-the ideology and continuum of political Islam that lies within the Muslim consciousness. This again calls for an American Muslim led strategy for reform against political Islam.


The FBI’s tactic of using undercover agents to contact and target Mohamud is more than justified and more than likely saved the lives of thousands of individuals. Mohamud clearly demonstrated a desire and a will to attack Americans. As we have seen with Nidal Hasan, Faisal Shahzad and Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, it is only a matter of time before he would have reached terror leaders such as Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki and secured the means to wreak his destruction. The FBI has a duty to protect our citizens from such attacks and at AIFD we applaud their efforts to disrupt Islamist terrorism.


As we move forward into 2011, Americans and particularly American Muslims need to wake up to their responsibility to frontally address the ideological threat that we are facing today. Mohamud’s radicalization is not uncommon because the separatist ideology of political Islam is ubiquitous in Muslim communities. Condemnation of violence or terrorism is not enough. We can no longer allow the sound bite to be ‘it is one deranged individual’. This is a Muslim systemic problem that needs a Muslim systemic reform.


American Muslims must teach our youth that the ideals of America and the principles embodied in our Constitution provide the best environment for Muslims to practice their faith. We must teach our youth that the idea of the Islamic State and governmental shariah (Islamic law) has no place in modernity and no place in America. Any other approach is mired in denial and avoidance of this core ideological problem.”


About the American Islamic Forum for Democracy


The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD’s mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at

contact: office 602-254-1840, email:


Written by sajedbhandari

December 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Engaging Extremism