My first day without the Cullen's

Stephenie Meyer has left me in a month long trance…..

I’m finally waking up this morning and realizing how pleasantly crazed I have been over Stephenie Meyer’s books.

It all started after I decided to upgrade my iPhone to the iPhone 3g.  With all the new space and a 2 hour train ride round trip, I decided that I should do something “constructive” while on the train.  Which led me to audio-books……

First there was a Star Wars book, which led me to believe that this audio-book thing could work, and then there was Stephenie Myer…..

So I was looking for good books to listen to and someone recommended “The Host” it didn’t seem like it was that great of a book, but since I had time to spend, I decided to give it a try.  What I then realized was that it was true literary crack!  I was addicted to that book, so much so that I consumed it in less than 3 days!  The train ride wasn’t enough, I found myself listening to it at work, in the car, at home, and even into the wee hours of the morning, loosing sleep because I just had to find out what was going to become of “Wanderer” and “Melanie”.  But alas it happened…., the book was over and there was a longing for something else to fill the void and that’s how I found the Cullen’s…..

Interestingly enough, I did not know that Stephenie Myer wrote the “Twilight” series.  In fact, the only thing I knew about the book was that it was made into a movie that I refused to go see!  Oh the irony now!

My “love affair” with all things Vampire started at a young age, I don’t recall if it was films “Fright Night“, “The Lost Boys“, or some other movie, but I am a fan of most things Vampire related.  In fact, one of my favorite Vampire movies is “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” with Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Keanu Reeves.  In high school, I became a huge fan of Anne Rice and her books about the Vampire Lestat captivated me.  In fact, from that moment on, in order for me to even consider anything Vampire, it had to pass the Lestat/Anne Rice smell test.

Which is why when I first heard a little bit about “Twilight” the movie I was uninterested.  I was immediately critical of the movie mainly because the Vampires came out in the daylight and the previews made it look like a tween movie, so I rejected off hand.   Don’t I feel like a fool now?

Either way, in order to get my fix after “The Host” I decided to see what else the author wrote and surprise, surprise, I found out she wrote the very same story I bashed with what I now know was a silly reason, “Twilight”.  So now I faced a dilemma.  I was very much in love with “The Host”, I had nothing else to listen to, and now I had to question my prejudice against “Twilight” as I just found out that my new favorite author wrote that which I believed was not worthy of my attention.  So with skeptical ears, I decided to get a copy of the audio-book for “Twilight” and decided to give it 15 minutes at least…..

And then I was hooked.  The fascinating tale of “Bella” and “Edward Cullen” and his family, captivated me right away.  So much so that I got the whole audio-book series and just came off a 3 week expedition of loosing myself in the world Stephenie Myer created.  It has been so bad that I haven’t been returning emails, phone calls, or doing anything that I normally do because I had to find out what happened next.

I just finished “Breaking Dawn” this past Saturday and was crushed immediately.  I realized instantaneously that the pains of this addiction would probably be too grave to ignore as I knew that I would be depressed during my train ride Monday.

I was right.

I know it’s kinda crazy to be so addicted to fictional characters, but for the last month the world(s) that Stephenie Myer created really became part of my daily routine.  There is an emptiness in me now that only a good story can leave once it’s over.  I can only liken it to when I finished “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows“, I still need therapy over that series. 🙂

Either way, even though my blog never delves into these types of subjects such as good books, since this is my only outlet at the moment, having zero to do with “The American Muslim” I decided, what the heck?

For all those who know how I feel right now, know that you have an ally.  I curse the soul of the one who leaked her now cancelled 5th book in the series “Midnight Sun” as that would at least given me another book.  So now I patiently wait the DVD release as I am going to finally see the movie I months ago refused to out of ignorance.

If anyone knows a good book, feel free to let me know as my train rides to and from the office have now become a two-hour long struggle with literary emptiness.

Maybe I will work on my Arabic lessons or finally write those books I have had in my mind for sometime?

We shall see…..

My first day without the Cullen’s

Stephenie Meyer has left me in a month long trance…..

I’m finally waking up this morning and realizing how pleasantly crazed I have been over Stephenie Meyer’s books.

It all started after I decided to upgrade my iPhone to the iPhone 3g.  With all the new space and a 2 hour train ride round trip, I decided that I should do something “constructive” while on the train.  Which led me to audio-books……

First there was a Star Wars book, which led me to believe that this audio-book thing could work, and then there was Stephenie Myer…..

So I was looking for good books to listen to and someone recommended “The Host” it didn’t seem like it was that great of a book, but since I had time to spend, I decided to give it a try.  What I then realized was that it was true literary crack!  I was addicted to that book, so much so that I consumed it in less than 3 days!  The train ride wasn’t enough, I found myself listening to it at work, in the car, at home, and even into the wee hours of the morning, loosing sleep because I just had to find out what was going to become of “Wanderer” and “Melanie”.  But alas it happened…., the book was over and there was a longing for something else to fill the void and that’s how I found the Cullen’s…..

Interestingly enough, I did not know that Stephenie Myer wrote the “Twilight” series.  In fact, the only thing I knew about the book was that it was made into a movie that I refused to go see!  Oh the irony now!

My “love affair” with all things Vampire started at a young age, I don’t recall if it was films “Fright Night“, “The Lost Boys“, or some other movie, but I am a fan of most things Vampire related.  In fact, one of my favorite Vampire movies is “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” with Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Keanu Reeves.  In high school, I became a huge fan of Anne Rice and her books about the Vampire Lestat captivated me.  In fact, from that moment on, in order for me to even consider anything Vampire, it had to pass the Lestat/Anne Rice smell test.

Which is why when I first heard a little bit about “Twilight” the movie I was uninterested.  I was immediately critical of the movie mainly because the Vampires came out in the daylight and the previews made it look like a tween movie, so I rejected off hand.   Don’t I feel like a fool now?

Either way, in order to get my fix after “The Host” I decided to see what else the author wrote and surprise, surprise, I found out she wrote the very same story I bashed with what I now know was a silly reason, “Twilight”.  So now I faced a dilemma.  I was very much in love with “The Host”, I had nothing else to listen to, and now I had to question my prejudice against “Twilight” as I just found out that my new favorite author wrote that which I believed was not worthy of my attention.  So with skeptical ears, I decided to get a copy of the audio-book for “Twilight” and decided to give it 15 minutes at least…..

And then I was hooked.  The fascinating tale of “Bella” and “Edward Cullen” and his family, captivated me right away.  So much so that I got the whole audio-book series and just came off a 3 week expedition of loosing myself in the world Stephenie Myer created.  It has been so bad that I haven’t been returning emails, phone calls, or doing anything that I normally do because I had to find out what happened next.

I just finished “Breaking Dawn” this past Saturday and was crushed immediately.  I realized instantaneously that the pains of this addiction would probably be too grave to ignore as I knew that I would be depressed during my train ride Monday.

I was right.

I know it’s kinda crazy to be so addicted to fictional characters, but for the last month the world(s) that Stephenie Myer created really became part of my daily routine.  There is an emptiness in me now that only a good story can leave once it’s over.  I can only liken it to when I finished “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows“, I still need therapy over that series. 🙂

Either way, even though my blog never delves into these types of subjects such as good books, since this is my only outlet at the moment, having zero to do with “The American Muslim” I decided, what the heck?

For all those who know how I feel right now, know that you have an ally.  I curse the soul of the one who leaked her now cancelled 5th book in the series “Midnight Sun” as that would at least given me another book.  So now I patiently wait the DVD release as I am going to finally see the movie I months ago refused to out of ignorance.

If anyone knows a good book, feel free to let me know as my train rides to and from the office have now become a two-hour long struggle with literary emptiness.

Maybe I will work on my Arabic lessons or finally write those books I have had in my mind for sometime?

We shall see…..

Attrocities in Gaza?

This is my 3rd post on the subject and hopefully the last.  I have been reflecting on my opinions about the crisis and I have to admit that they have largely remained the same.

What I wanted to let my readers know specifically the Muslims is that I am in 100% agreement with your anger, frustration, and sadness on the matter.

My solidarity with my community is there and ever present especially concerning the loss of innocent lives, however I cannot allow my emotions from seeing the dead women and children in Palestine overcome my reason and ability to discern the entire matter.

This is where I feel Muslims largely faulter on this and many other issues involving Muslims.  In the Bible the Book of Proverbs to be exact, my favorite one paraphrased is “It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor be hasty and miss the way” as such, I feel we Muslims are often guilty of this.

We allow our zeal to overcome us and allow us to act in haste and miss the way.  As a Muslim I believe that the straight path must be walked with patience.  When you look at the example of the Prophet (saw) or our leaders like Salahudin, they never automatically reacted to the obvious things that do in fact invoke zealous emotions whether righteous or not.  Whether it was the Meccan Armies or the capture of one’s sister by the Christian armies, patience overrode zeal and as such these leaders and examples of who we should be showed that if you become still and think thoroughly with complete submission to God, you are able to plan and maneuver in a way that will bless and help all.

Muslims by definition are supposed to be the example of what is and could be right with mankind and society.  Yet, the world only sees us foaming at the mouth burning effigies and flags calling for the deaths of myriads of people.  What kind of example is that?

Are there atrocities in Gaza?  Certainly.  At this point, there are almost 1000 dead Palestinians, half of which are civilians, God only knows how many injured, etc. and the Israeli forces are using white phosphorous and the conflict is making humanitarian support very difficult at best.

However, my point all along is if I were to fall in line with the “general consensus” and public opinion of Muslims in general and others in the world, I could boldly assert that above statement completely oblivious to the 800 pound gorilla in the room that I believe goes largely ignored routinely by my fellow Muslims….

I only wish to be the guy in the crowd that points to that gorilla so that we may acknowledge the presence and do something about that as well.

That gorilla to me is summed up in my general down the line assessment of the tragedy.  No one seems to mention how many Israelis have died or were injured.   No one seems to mention that Hamas fired rockets into Israel indiscriminately from civilian bases and locations (and now Hezbollah has followed suit), no one seems to mention that Israel’s actions regardless of opinion, did not happen in a vacuum.  It’s not like Israel woke up one day and said “You know, lets go kill 1000 Palestinians”  but that’s how we react to this crisis.

Are Israel’s actions too aggressive?  Many can make an argument for that.  I personally believe the use of white phosphorous is just uncalled for and should cease.

Even still, if there are more atrocities and I’m certain there are, my overall point is that as Muslims if we truly want to end the madness in this region and resolve the issues that universally impact us, we have to be willing to manage our zeal and work toward lasting peace that includes the interests of all parties involved.

Muslims according to our texts, are supposed to be willing to live in harmony with our neighbors setting the example of what civilization and submission to God looks like.

That means we have to remember that all creation belongs to Him and as such we have to be willing to acknowledge the death of Israeli civilians just as much as our own.  We have to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil without prejudice to ethnicity, nationality, or religion even if we have to stand up to fellow Muslims.

No true Muslim can with a straight face state that its ever OK in Islam to use terror as a tactic against innocent civilians.  In fact, we are not even supposed to attack innocent civilians.

We have to be balanced.

If it’s wrong for Israel to kill civilians, then it’s equally wrong for Hamas or Hezbollah to do the same. Even though the obvious difference is that Hamas and Hezbollah do it on purpose and there is zero evidence that Israel does this. Which is another reason why I call on Muslims to use reason and restraint.  We know as a teaching in our faith that one’s intention is often just as important as one’s actual actions, which the perception of that latter could often be skewed in opinion based on the former.  Therefore, as it relates to the deaths of the Palestinians, when assessing the actions of Israel, what should we expect?  If attacked from a apartment building or school if you retaliate, is there really a way to avoid the deaths of innocents?  If you do nothing then you also risk the deaths of your innocents.  What makes it even worse and where I mostly condemn our silence is that this whole thing is by design.  Hamas knows this impossible position of Israel and exploits it using the bodies of our people as ammunition for greater political agenda, goals, and propaganda, but who do we fault?  The Israelis of course.  It’s almost as if we blame the fly for getting stuck in the web that the spider set up.

Last and certainly not least I am certain, overall I believe that if we truly want a lasting peace we have to be humble.  We have to face the reality that the terrorist, extremist, and radicals amongst us must go.  Any Muslim group, leader, society, etc. that does not have “salaam” on their lips and in their actions must be rejected, renounced, and taken from the public soapbox.

Where has it gotten us?

God does not change a condition of a people until they first help themselves right?  How are we helping ourselves?  Hamas kills 10, they kill 1000.  When this whole thing is over, Israeli’s will eat and sit in the comfort of their homes while Palestinians with have neither and when the media no longer promotes the region as a headline the world including Muslims will largely ignore this.

What will our protests, anger, and accusations truly get for the Palestinians?  Our posturing will amount to nothing and will actually do more harm to Muslims in general in the long run than help.  We will solidify world opinion and actions against us as a bunch of barbarians who only care about our own and hate all who are not like us.  We will still be watched and scrutinized, and Palestianians will still be hungry.

Now if we took the advice and guidance of our texts from God, we would sit down realize that we live in a world with other people and actually work for peace meaning we would negotiate for final terms on the matter and resist all who are against it, even if they are Muslims.  We would encourage standards in writing like innocent lives are to be protected regardless of place of origin and the free movement of people and ideas must be protected.  We would put feet on the ground to ensure that neither Hamas, Hezbollah, or Israel goes against these mutual standards and do any and everything to ensure it.  We would go build their infrastructure, support human rights, and fill the country will aid.

With all the wealth of Muslims in the world, it’s a tragedy that the best we can come up with is burning flags, protesting, and lofty speeches.

What the Palestinians and the world needs right now is for Muslims to step up and state uniformly that we don’t have to agree with the world, but since we share the planet with everyone else that at the very least we will disagree in peace and learn to live with you.  This is not a unique concept and is throughout the Qur’an and example of the Prophet (saw).

Our actions must reflect that.  Any Muslim who calls for the death of someone, the oppression of people especially women, who oppose education, free thought, and peace, we have to reject.  I’m not saying that we should be weak, but true strength comes not from how many you can threaten, cause to fear you, or kill, but only from God.

God wants us to show the world that true submission is Peace.

A Peace that states that fighting is wrong except in self defense in which all hostilities must cease when the opposing party inclines toward peace as well.

A Peace that recognizes that all life belongs to God Alone and that taking one innocent life is an affront to Him who gave it.

A Peace that recognizes that all people should benefit from our common humanity and that our differences truly reflect the glory of God and that our neighbors should not fear us but interact with us.

A Peace that sets the example in knowledge, civility, and moral clarity where the poor are taken care of, the orphans protected, and the slaves physical, mental, or otherwise oppressed freed.

This Peace is the beauty of our faith, it’s what drew millions like me to this Deen (religion) which today I sadly admit we take for a joke through our actions.

The true Muslim is not the one who releases tapes, gives speeches, or whose actions call for a Jihad against Israel, West, or other non-Muslims meaning kill them all men, women, and children.

The true Muslim is the one calling for the Jihad against the Jihad whose actions call for peace with all socities and people calling for us to struggle within and outside ourselves against the temptations of the Satan who wants to kill innocents, cause strife, and death.  A true Muslim knows that the example of our faith, Prophet Muhammad (saw) did more with a smile than with a sword.

Until we turn back to Islam and do what God enjoins upon us, nothing will change, we will be here again in the future and the Palestinians, Israelis, and the world will gain nothing by our angered reactions, examples, etc.

When someone offends us, we should show them how they offended us not in kind, but by higher standards and morals.  How many times did the Meccans insult the Prophet (saw)?  What were his reactions to such insults?  Did he call for their deaths?  Likewise, when a cartoon is drawn, instead of calling for the death of people, teach them about why we are insulted by showing them the value we place on all of God’s messengers and prophets.

When a Qur’an is defaced, maimed, etc. teach them about what is inside the book and the value we place on it.

When the Palestinians are oppressed show them we care by going to Palestine, supporting them with aid, and protecting them on both fronts by ensuring cross border movement the dissolving of checkpoints, and reigning in the enemies of peace by ensuring the safety of the Israelis.  Send Muslim armies if we must to guard a defined boarder and keep the peace.

I could go on and on and probably will in other posts, but I hope I have conveyed something of use.

Think about it…..

Jews Go back in the Oven?

“By God, he is not a true believer,
from whose mischief his neighbors do not feel secure.”

Prophet Mohammed (Bukhari, Muslim)

I have been very tight lipped as of late, I have not been blogging, I haven’t done my radio program since October, and even my msg board writing has trickled to a stop.  Yet in my silence and absence, there are things that never cease to amaze me about my Muslim community.  So much so that even though I don’t have a public outlet or the ability to openly influence the hearts and minds of my co-coreligionist, I feel that at the very least I should make it clear to all who stumble upon my musings that in the end, they will know at a minimum, one Muslim out of a Billion that have a brain as well as a deep love of their faith (and the two should never be separate).

Today I humbly offer words against the madness I read that awakened my fingers from their slumber.  Fox “News” as I regrettably type, who I don’t believe to truly be a news outlet, reported the unfortunate incident of some Muslims and one in particular, who here in the US in Florida to be exact, had the nerve to rant hate  and intolerance, because of their/her support of a cause which I loosely affiliate with (more on that later).

To make a statement supporting and calling for the genocide of an entire people is sub-human in thought and deed and surely goes against all that we Muslims should call dear in our testimony.

I really don’t care what side of the fence one lays on as it relates to this latest Israeli-Palestinian madness, however the one thing we should all be mindful of is that we shouldn’t allow our passion, zeal, etc. to become so great that we become that which we claim the other side to be.  As Muslims, we should never allow ourselves to be open witnesses against that which we claim to profess as this Muslim in Florida purportedly has done.

Personally, I’m sickened by the whole event.  I’m tired of the taking of sides in an arrogant stupor so full of self-righteousness, that many have been blinded by their own zeal never seeing the weight of their actions or their stake in the prolonged madness.  What many fail to realize is that neither side is right.  The only right side of the debate is the side of the debate that cares for the cries of the innocent.  How dare anyone to make an assertion vocally or through action that declares one innocent life is worth more than another!

No innocent Israeli life is worth any more or less than that of a Palestinian!

As Muslims we should know that Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an that “the taking of one innocent life unjustly is as if all of mankind was destroyed.”

Which is why it pains me to hear Muslims such as those in this rally (assuming Fox “news” is telling the truth) would utter such phrases, especially when Allah (swt) also tells us in the Qur’an that we are to “never let your hatred of a people cause you to commit injustice” meaning that even if these particular Muslims hated Israel, the Jews, etc. they still shouldn’t want innocent Israelis, Jews, etc. to be slaughtered wholesale nor be a part of any attempt apathetic or not, to see such horrors fulfilled.  In other words, a Muslim should not be a tool in the promotion of injustice.

This madness has got to stop.  When will the real Muslims stand up and reign in those of us who are swerving from the straight path?  When will we use our platforms, audience, and positions as a means to heal rather than to foster divide?

I am so sick and tired of the emails I have been getting daily from my many Muslim networks.  Everyone is calling for prayer vigils, statements of condemnation, etc. etc. for the Palestinians and against Israel, but not ONE email is calling for a rally against Hamas.

Are we truly so blind?  Am I the only one?  I doubt it, but someone needs to do something!

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the prayers for the innocent.  But I am adamantly against one-sided blind wholesale support of one group over another, especially when both have committed excess and actions against humanity.  A Muslim is “supposed” to enjoin in what is good and forbid what is evil no matter what.  Nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, or even species are never to be considered as a prerequisite for that command in our Holy writ.

This is why I pray that there are Muslims of conscience out there who think something like me and have a platform in which to deliver a truthful message similar to this one.  I don’t speak out of arrogance, but I humbly ask for any Muslim on the planet to produce any evidence in the Qur’an or any Tafsir in general that contradict my words here today or in the past if I am in error.  Surely, they will find none, I’m certain of it and if I am wrong (which I doubt) I will openly admit it.

What we need right now from Muslims worldwide on this and many other issues, is that which our faith calls for which is Peace, Patience, and Balance.  We cannot continue to pray for innocent civilian Palestinians who die, yet ignore the innocent civilian dead among the Israeli’s.  We cannot continue to call for actions against Israeli force and aggression, yet ignore Hamas who played their part using force and aggression also by firing rockets on Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as a cover in hopes that Israel would kill them by retaliating.

All these Muslim speakers and some would say leaders, have abandoned the truth and ignored their duty if they ignore Hamas to ensure broader support for the Palestinians, who by the way, if Muslims truly cared as much as we act out when tensions flare up, wouldn’t be starving and in this situation in the first place, because we would have been ACTING long before any deaths.

Yet we slumber on wondering why non-Muslims particularly in the West, don’t believe our “Islam means Peace” mantra.

Why should they believe us?  The only time you hear from Muslims on this scale is when we are pointing the finger at someone else.

Would you respect someone who doesn’t have the courage, honor, and ability to look in the mirror and admit when they are wrong?  If we were a humble community as we should be, we would be believed.  How many question the sincerity of the Amish for example?

So here we go again, another round of “As the Muslim World Turns and Slumbers” and we wonder why people don’t see peace in a people and a religion from so-called adherents who are above reproach, never condemn members of their community who play a role, and at every chance they get on a National stage find a way to blame all their ills on the West and the Jews.  Yeah, peaceful people always call for the deaths of the innocent! (obvious sarcasm)

I can and will always say it to my last breath;  Will the real Muslims please stand up!  Will the real Muslims speak truth to power and let nothing but righteousness and truth echo forth from their hearts and minds unadulterated and without respect of person!  When will we awake from our slumber and all roll up our sleeves and take back our faith and be the example for all mankind as Allah (swt) commands?

Whoever does good equal to the weight of an atom shall see it…

…and whoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom  shall see it.
(Quran 99:7-8)


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Protester Calls for Jews to ‘Go Back to the Oven’ at Anti-Israel Demonstration