This article examines why there are so many blind Muslim clerics. It's kind of interesting if it is in fact true (I wonder if the blind clerics might just be getting more attention because they fit stereotypes). Ever since Tiresias there's been a correlation between blindness and wisdom.
A couple assertions are kind of questionable, though. First, I looked at the study he quoted to assert that there's a higher incidence of blindness in the Muslim world. Well, the authors of the study actually correlate blindness with poverty/access to health care, which makes a lot of sense, and which makes sub-Saharan Africa the location of the highest rates of blindness. And, of course, the Muslim world includes a lot more than the Middle East (that's a pretty common error, though). Second, a couple Turkish commenters noted that his assertion that "hafiz" is used to refer to blind people is just factually incorrect. Third, the following sentence doesn't make much sense: "Blind kids—who often make up for their disability with a finely tuned sense of hearing—tend to do quite well at [memorizing the Quran]." Um, what is the basis of this assertion, and what would hearing have to do with memorizing, anyway?
But that's quibbling. And mostly I just wanted to post a photo of the ever lovable Abu Hamza. Neda, I seem to remember your somewhat tongue in cheek observation a couple years ago that he's probably a plant of the MI5 (British CIA), since with that eye patch and waving his hook around like a pirate he seems straight out of central casting as a scary, insane cleric. An odd interview he did in Vice Magazine of all places made me think his persona is a bit tongue in cheek or something. For example:
You guys always train with guns. You were training people with AK-47s in the basement of your mosque and—
No, it wasn’t AK-47s, but B-52s [laughs]. I invited them to come and take a look, but they were too afraid.
We still keep weapons of mass destruction down there. If they send some inspectors with a false UN resolution, we will certainly let them in. And I am willing to let them check my palaces and all that [laughs].