I had a dream last night about the Republican Party…

It’s the weirdest thing and I haven’t shared this dream with anyone just yet (well I guess I am now) but last night I had a dream about the Republican Party last night. I dreamed I was a Republican strategist!

What is weird is that I’m not a Republican and probably would never be one, but I am somewhat Conservative or maybe left of center.  🙂

Either way, I don’t remember all the details of the dream, but I wonder if it was triggered by the news of Senator Arlen Specter switching to the Democratic Party yesterday.

In my dream I was at a conference for Conservatives or something like a think tank and I was presenting my thoughts on what “we” needed to do to grow “our” party and win elections.

These are some of the things I came up with and said in my dream:

“We” need to focus on our core philosophies of fiscal conservatism, less government, and lower taxes. Now is the best time to re-emphasize these principles as Americans would be more receptive to hearing these things, however we have to be serious and use a serious scalpel for budget cuts, for example, there’s billions that could be saved by focusing on government contracting. Most agencies do not have contracting plans that include serious auditing and evaluations to ensure that the government is getting the proper value for what they are paying to contracting companies. If the government hired Six Sigma Black Belts at every federal agency for example, waste could be cut throughout the various federal agency processes. That’s just one example of things that could be done.

“We” have to be open to other groups and thought processes. Right now the GOP looks like the old, angry, white, Evangelical party. This is evident at rallies, conferences, etc. While it’s not entirely true, it sure looks that way. The GOP will surely die like this especially considering that the American demographic is shifting rapidly. Therefore, it is prudent that we distance ourselves from the white Evangelicals and fully backing divisive ideological political issues such as gay marriage and abortion as these ideas are not as important to the majority of Americans. By distancing from the far right and Evangelicals the focus can be on fiscal responsibility and less government, something most Americans can agree with. Gay marriage and roe v wade are toxic political issues that only distance the majority of Americans from conservative principles and marginalizes the party. More Americans worry about Government Spending and intervention in their lives than they do about who’s sleeping with whom.

“We” have to reach out to minorities especially the black and latino communities. Both of these communities are culturally very conservative, but vote largely Democratic, because our party is seen to not represent their interests and appears to be hostile to them especially when the majority of the base is white evangelicals.

This paradox can be overcome, because culturally we share the same ideological issues on many levels, but politically we seem to be very different. More effort has to be given to show that less government intervention is a good thing and fiscal responsibility will help all Americans.

We have to really strive to diversify our party, moderate our platform, and stick with core principles and not divisive ideologies that don’t represent the majority of Americans views.

Elections cannot be won based on adherence to will of the far right, but by the will of the majority of Americans…..

It was something like that in my dream, I don’t remember it word for word, but it was something like that.

I’m still trying to figure out, why I even had the dream!

I almost feel like I have to cross myself and say a few Hail Obama’s to get the evil Reaganesque spirits away from me! 🙂

In the name of diversity, why I believe New Haven got it wrong….

So the Supreme Court is hearing a case about whether or not white firefighters were discriminated against when their firefighter tests were thrown out because the majority of blacks didn’t do well on the test.  New Haven, CT decided that in the interest of diversity, it was a good idea, I beg to differ.

As a black man I understand what the fights for equality was for.  I understand or so I thought I understood what the purpose and intent of Affirmative Action was.  However, if the decision goes against these white firefighters than I think it’s a great disservice to black people in general.

The purpose of Affirmative Action to me and all the struggles made for equal rights were to ensure that qualified blacks had opportunities to compete in arenas that were willfully denied to them because of the color of their skin. As a black man I would fight the good fight to ensure my children have the same opportunities as any other child in America, however I would not want them or myself to only be given that opportunity because of our skin color.

If you are qualified and denied access because of your skin color that is a problem.  But if you are given access because of your skin color regardless of qualification, then that too is a problem and any who would accept that really spit in the face of pride of oneself and the efforts of our forefathers.  I can in no way ever feel that it’s acceptable to be given something others who are more qualified than me don’t have because of my skin color.  What would that say about me?  What type of value does that place on me?  I would rather be given an opportunity because I’m qualified rather than to make a quota.

Therefore, it is not the fault of these white firefighters that the minorities who took the same test didn’t qualify.  If the department becomes less diversified because of it then so be it.  Ensuring diversification should only be defined within the confines of accessibility.  These jobs and positions should definitely be available for all who qualify.  The black firefighters according to the reports did not.  If I were the black firefighters I would stand by these white firefighters, it’s not their fault they scored higher.

New Haven, Ct. Firefighters Claim Reverse Discrimination Justices to Hear White, Hispanic Firefighters’ Claim That City Favored Blacks

An American Muslim The Book: Muslim Man Complex

Maybe it’s just me, I doubt it, but there is something about Muslim men I have noticed in my brief stint as a fellow believer that is at times both comical and sad at the same time.

It would probably be easier to chalk the whole thing up to me being a convert, but I find that it would be highly unlikely that this is truly the case.

What I’m referring to are those little things that most Muslim women know, many Muslim men do, and non-Muslims often don’t even have a clue.

The primary “thing” if you will, that I have noticed more often than not has to do with the dramatic shift in personally, ideology, and behavior that many Muslim men go through upon getting married.

I am in no way incriminating myself by the way, even though I readily admit  that I’m guilty as charged to some of the allegations I am about to bring forward.

It all starts with That girl…..

You know what I’m talking about, short, tall, petite, voluptuous, black, white, Arab, Muslim, or non-Muslim, at some point prior to the marriage of the future Mrs. we knew we had to have her. There was something about that girl that drove us mad (even though we probably were from the beginning) and we did whatever we thought was necessary to get her.

And therein lies the problem “we did whatever we thought was necessary to get her”…..

Now many issues will arise as they always do because of this mindset.  Even the “ranking” or “checklist” we had for our ideal mate revealed how we would eventually act if we did in fact get her.

For the pious among us, we had to know how strong her Deen was, because after all we wanted someone to compliment us.

To others, this was a side note, or just another option that we would like to have, but could live without, kinda like a sunroof, spoiler, or premium sound on a car. Sad but true.

For the “pious” going after a woman choosing a woman based on her deen normally reduces the issues that undergird the Muslim Man Complex (MMC), for others because deen was optional, their choice is the exact catalyst to MMC issues.

Now let me pause right here, because I don’t want my words to be misconstrued. The examples in how Muslim men tend to choose have nothing to do with the vision of who this woman should be truly be in their minds. Emphasis on the “should be” part.

It’s really more of a priority thing.  Some Muslim men priority some things over others.  Nevertheless, a woman’s deen is on all Muslim men’s lists.  The problem is due to like most humans what is said and what is done, is sometimes two different things. What a Muslim man says he wants regardless of priority and what he does….well isn’t this true of most men regardless of religion?

Now where was I?

Ultimately, who that woman is in the minds of men, can vary, but I’m certain speaking as a man that there is a lot of fantasy and unrealistic expectations mixed in there.

To that effect I believe that Muslim men driven on this fantasy of what a Muslim women should be, is often the root cause of many misteps and abusive tendencies that have sisters wondering what happened.

For the strangest reasons that baffle me even to this day, Muslim men will tend to marry women accepting who they were prior to the marriage and once married rejects most of it outright and expects her to change.  Granted, this isn’t unique to Muslim men, but the problem with us is that our reasoning tends to be based in some religious ideology and thats where it gets dangerous.

If we prioritized what we really wanted and set realistic expectations prior to being married and chose accordingly we wouldn’t have many of the problems that we do today.

I feel it’s important that I interject here a few comments about what I mean about Deen.  In my opinion, there is no specific definition of what deen statically encompasses and it’s very subjective and personal for the individual Muslim.  For instance, in some Muslim’s minds A woman should never wear jeans in accordance with their deen, and for others like myself, that is ridiculous.  Ultimately it’s all in the interpretation….  My reason for pointing this out is that these details are very important when considering marriage as “pious” is largely attached to ones individual concept of deen and pious is really just a measure of how well one adheres to that interpretation.  As such, the only real difference in my example of the two groups of Muslim men is that one group is more apt to choose and stick with that choice based on their adherence to religious guidelines and others may not.  The former is just more apt to admit how important their concepts of deen are to them and the other often don’t find out how important it is to them until after they get married.

That being said, this should be a warning to women out there Muslim or not before marrying a Muslim man.  You should get him to open up about how he truly feels concerning religous issues and principles because it’s these things that haunt many a Muslim marriage.  He may have had no problem prior to marriage about you not wearing Hijab, but often after the “I do’s” he wants you in a burka!  He may not have had a problem with you being Jewish or Christian prior to marriage and may even agreed to one of those joint ceremonies, but after marriage, often he wants you to convert.  The real issues concern the severity unto which Muslim men enforce or stress these new, realized, etc. ideals that their wives either never saw coming or didn’t expect to be enforced.

Honesty is the best policy and being frank and open about one’s desires for married life before hand can kill alot of the future heartbreak well in advance.

But this is just one of the many issues with Muslim men which I coin the MMC.  For many reasons too many for me to surmise, we tend to change up things after getting married and want to enforce or impose our personal Shariah on unsuspecting spouses who didn’t even know we believed in the things in which we now expect.

Another thing that troubles me with Muslim men is our foolish actions and beliefs toward and about Muslim women.

My God I don’t think I have ever witnessed such insecurities from a group of people as I have as a Muslim man and it plagues us the world over in various extremes.

Are we afraid of women?

This has to be the root cause of our illness I’m convinced of it.

What is it about Muslim women that have us so shaken to the core that we want to deny her basic human rights like the right to education, income, choice, etc.?  Many of us act as if the world would fall apart if a woman dare goes to school, work, or make some choices for herself.  The absolute worst part about it is that many of us cloak our insecurity by using Islam as a pretext for our actions.  Maybe I’m just an ignorant convert, but I have yet to find evidence Islamically speaking that would suggest that there is something inately wrong with a woman driving, becoming educated, or making decisions for herself.

I mean I could go on a tirade about what’s going on in so-called Muslim countries as it relates to the treatment of women, but I know for a fact that it’s not contained in just those regions of the world.  It’s a sickness a complex if you that affects Muslim men the world over and evidence of many of these behaviors, insecurities, and overtures can be found even in the most Western of Muslim households.  I would love to chalk it up to ethnic culture, but I have seen many a Western convert behave this way as if they never knew anything else other than what they know now as it relates to women.  It’s almost as if there’s a Muslim man certificate that we are presented with upon conversion that states that now that we are a Muslim, we have to be frightened of women!

That’s how I truly feel.  All this fake macho mess that Muslim men pretend to have is a farce.  It’s a mask to cover up an insecurity in one’s self that makes one believe that if their wive, sister, daughter, etc. had the same access as they do, that these women would excel far greater than they could.  I believe many Muslim men deep down actually feel inferior to women and their actions are more of a reaction to this deep rooted truth than anything else.

I pity these poor knuckle dragging barbarians, because it must truly suck to look at your wife every day whom you oppress, knowing that in truth, your not even worthy to kiss her feet.

Many Muslim men just lack faith and are not humble, it’s really that plain and simple.  If you had faith you would accept that whatever is God’s will as it relates to women then you shouldn’t become a hinderance.  If you were humble you would recognize the greatness in women’s mind and see a peer and an equal worthy of the rights you enjoy.  If she’s smarter than you, oh well, if she’s more capable of earning than you, that’s fine too.  I mean what’s the big deal anyway, what do we expect to happen if we let women have the opportunity to choose their destinies? Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria?

I mean it’s all just too ridiculous when you sit back and look at it.  Look how many Muslim women are in marriages right now knowing that they could do things much better than their husbands in various tasks but often theres nothing she can do about it and he’s to vain to admit the truth.

Sometimes what I witness really makes me cynical.  I often find myself wondering if how Muslim women dress especially here in America have more to do how they personally choose to dress, or more with how her husband wants her to dress.

For me, I guess I’m still stuck in some of my former NOI ways because I truly believe what Elijah Muhammad stated as it relates to women and civilization.  One can truly judge an entire people by the condition and treatment of their women.

If one were to look at Muslims as one bloc of people (which even I don’t encourage) and looked at how the majority of Muslim women are treated by Muslim men, what could they discern about Muslims in general?  What conclusions could they come to as it relates to Muslim men?

I happen to believe that many would agree with me and state that Muslim men must have some sort of complex or insecurity that makes the hate women.  We have to, because if we truly loved women, if we truly loved or Muslim women, we would not only want for them what we have for ourselves, but we would encourage in support them in such a way that our desire(s) for them would be that they excel us and are happy.  How can you say you love someone and not want the best for them and pray that they accomplish the things that make them happy?

In the Bible, it is said that God is Love.  I believe that wholeheartedly.  I believe that Love cannot be the little pitiful thing often equated with vanities and lust in which we often equate it.  Love must be only in the context of God if Love is equated with God and as such we should Love in the way that God Loves.  As Muslims we should get this wholeheartedly as it was God’s Mercy, Compassion, and Love for which He gave His creation revelation.  Revelation is a Mercy to mankind as God wanted for us that we may have guidance and advert perils in this life and in the life to come.

As such if we truly loved our women, we would have mercy and compassion, and would give guidance that leads to paradise.  We would be the deliverer not the constant oppressor and tormentor.

Articles of Interest April 20, 2009

Jane Harman ‘recorded on wiretap promising to intervene for American-Israeli group’

The allegation against Representative Jane Harman were made by two former officials who told “Congressional Quarterly” that she was taped by the National Security Agency on a court-approved wiretap.

According to the former officials, Mrs Harman, who is Jewish, told the suspected agent that she would “waddle into” a case involving two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the dominant pro-Israel lobby group “if you think it’ll make a difference”.

I have to wonder and ask what would happen if a Muslim Congress member promised to interfere with legal proceedings involving Muslim action committees in exchange for political favors?

This child is special, an Oscar child. So now we want £200k. Father tries to cash in on daughter’s fame

THE poverty-stricken father of Slumdog Millionaire child star Rubina Ali plans to become a millionaire himself-by SELLING his nine-year-old daughter.

In a bid to escape India’s real-life slums, Rafiq Qureshi put angel-faced darling of the Oscars Rubina up for adoption, demanding millions of rupees worth £200,000.

As he offered the shocking deal to the News of the World’s undercover fake sheik this week, Rafiq declared: “I have to consider what’s best for me, my family and Rubina’s future.”

Rafiq tried to blame Hollywood bosses for forcing him to put his daughter up for SALE.

As he tried to fix the illegal adoption deal, real-life slum dweller Rafiq declared: “We’ve got nothing out of this film.”

This is so sad on so many levels.  Granted there are millions of children worldwide that suffer such poverty, however in this specific case what continues to amaze me is how these children were exploited for this film.  Now many will defend the producers and directors by stating that the actors were paid well for India, but the problem with that argument in my opinion is that this film was produced primarily for a Western audience with the intention to gross profits commesurate with our currency and entertainment industry.  As such, all the actors regardless of origin should be paid according to the same principles.  It’s very disingenioius to pay one group in one currency and the other another especially when one currency’s value is substantially lower than the other.  These child actors should be paid the exact same wages as American child actors would be paid either in dollars or the equivalent.  However, that probably won’t happen because these child actor’s were not members of the Screen Actor’s Guild and as such, there are no rules or organizations that could regulate their pay.  This is akin to exporting jobs in order to pay bottom of the barrel wages and avoid regulation and unions.  I believe they knew what they were doing, the entertainment equivalent of a manufacturing sweat shop.  They enjoy millions while the actual workers get pennies.  On a personal note to reinforce my feelings on the subject, I enjoyed the film and I believe it were the youngest actors who anchored this film and this young lady did a great job.

Walkout at UN conference after Iran president calls Israel ‘racist’

British delegates joined a dramatic diplomatic walkout today when President Ahmadinejad of Iran told a major UN conference against racism that the state of Israel had been founded “on the pretext of Jewish suffering” during the Second World War.

Around 20 delegates, including envoys from the UK, France, Canada and Finland stood up and left the room at what was considered an anti-Semitic remark by the Iranian leader, who has repeatedly called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Surprise, Surprise, these predictable actions and our Presidents inability to break “tradition” by not participating is sickening.  Granted, I don’t agree with the President of Iran as it relates to the State of Israel and the Holocaust, but I do agree that by stating that the Holocaust being used as a pretext for policy is a fair criticism.  If a black politician used slavery as a pretext to advance a policy or agenda that benefited blacks that politician would be ridiculed, but if a Jewish organization, politician, or the State of Israel does it, than any comments made against it is anti-Semetic.  The holocaust as evil as it was has been used as a political wedge to advance agenda’s.  No one is allowed to criticize Israeli policy at all without risk of being called anti-Semetic or anti-Jewish.  What Western nations including the Obama administration effectively show year after year is that when it comes to Israel they come first and they have no backbone to state otherwise.  Whenever Israel wants to pursue a policy that is wrong such as illegal settlement building, bombing Lebanon, Palestine, or making blantant threats to Iran, they throw up the holocaust cloud and Western governments and leaders are hushed into silence.  Then we openly wonder why is it that this is such an issue in the “Muslim world”.  How can you have peace in the Middle East when one party has the backing to do whatever they want whenever they want by apathetic and powerful nations who never voice and disagreements?  I have not been shy about my belief that Israel has a right to exist and in security, but at the same time as a man of principles I can in no way support any one party, group, agenda, etc. as if it can never be wrong and without error.  If you claim to love or support something, you have to have the backbone and courage to let that one or thing know when they are wrong as well as when they are right.  To not do so in my opinion wreaks of cowardice and is not true love but in fact slavish submission and that is what most Western politics are as it relates to any questioning of Israel.

If Ahmedinejad is wrong, then debate him.  Don’t flee like cowards, be strong nations that you claim you are and face the leaders that you don’t agree with and have the courage to agree on those things you agree and disagree on those things you disagree.  Whether we like it or not, there are heads of state around the world that don’t march to our drum and the unbalanced support of Israeli policy by effectively ignoring or silencing those who criticize anything contrary to what Israel likes or allows will not work forever.

But what do I know?  I’m just a Muslim right?

The Unique Gift of Life

The following is excerpted from the book “Islam 2.0” by Dr. Maher Hathout in which he shares a conversation with the Muslim youth.

Your life is a very precious gift from God. Count back to one year before your first birthday, and then try to imagine your state – your state of nothingness. You can not. You may be able to contain and grasp “things,” not “nothing.” You were born and came to life, not because you wanted to, but because you became. Through a decision by an authority higher than you, and through a process that you did not participate in, you came to occupy a place in existence.

With the dramatic event of your birth, you came to life with three huge realities.

First, you are unique. Nobody else is identical to you, not even your identical twin or, in this age of cloning, even your clone, because your psychological, spiritual and energetic content is poured into your physical being in a unique way. When God blows a spirit into each individual, it manifests in a special way. You are one of a kind.

Second, you are immortal. Your biological structure, which is the product of the substance of earth, will degrade and recycle in the biological cycle on earth, but your energy, soul and spirit will always be. If you appreciate your uniqueness and your immortality, your individual values, responsibility and accountability will emerge. God reminds us in the Qur’an that;

“[And God shall say.’] “And now, indeed, you have come unto Us in a lonely state, even as We created you in the first instance,’ and you have left behind you, all that We bestowed on you [in your lifetime]. And we do not see with you those intercessors of yours whom you supposed to have a share in Gods divinity with regard to yourselves! Indeed, all the bonds between you [and your earthly life] are now severed, and all your former fancies have forsaken you!” (6:94)

“and every one of them will appear before Him on Resurrection Day in a lonely state. ” (19:95)

The third reality that comes with the happy event of your birth is a cobweb of expanding circles of relationships. These are different from the countless relationships you acquire throughout your life, such as your friends, neighbors, teammates, and spouses. The first package of relationships that come with your birth day are not subject to your choice; you do not choose your parents, siblings, kin, ancestors, race, gender, place of birth or even country of origin. This category of relationships is a gift form God, you accept, appreciate, and nurture. While the acquired relationships like spouse, friends, and career need prudence.

While you will inevitably gain and lose, everything you lose may be regained, except one thing, time.

It is interesting that you probably know the exact time, date and place of when and where your birth took place, but this is only because you were told about it. What is less clear is the elusive and mystical moment you truly became aware of your existence. This blurry time, when you became cognizant that you are you, and that you actually exist, just snuck up on you. From the moment of that realization, each individual experiences life in a unique way. While you may be exposed to the same circumstances as many others, how you feel, perceive, taste, understand and react to life circumstances is unique to you.

During the predetermined length of your life, you embark on new information, experiences, and habits in which you learn and perform as a human on this planet. While you will inevitably gain and lose, everything you lose may be regained, except one thing, time. If you lose time, it is gone. Any period of time is a chunk of life, both precious and irretrievable. Based on these simple realities, you will have some basic decisions to make: Are you going to waste your life or are you going to use it? Is your life going to center around you or will you reach wider spheres of involvement and concern? Wasting life partially or totally, i.e. in one lump or in installments, all can be considered a crime close to murder or suicide, even if the gradual waste does not seem that dramatic.

There are many forms and ways to waste a lifetime. With a careful look around you, you can recognize many of them: leading an aimless and purposeless life; abusing your own body, mind and soul; eroding the environment, being shallow and inefficient; all are ways to let the wonderful opportunity that we call life slip away. A life centered on your own self is selfish and never provides fulfillment. Since human beings are interdependent, you will not be happy if surrounded by unhappiness, envy, and animosity. A life that is not dedicated to a higher cause is an elusive quest for unattainable happiness.

There are three elements to what may be described as a happy life:

  • a life that is fully utilized (i.e. a life of awareness and purposeful activism),
  • a life that is dedicated to a higher cause,
  • and a life that is lived in balance.

The concept of balance is very important because an imbalanced life is one that is not in harmony with the laws of nature or existence. Nature is in perfect balance and is all around us, from the orbits to the galaxies to the structure of molecules and atoms to the diversity of species to the physiology within any unit of these species. A simple example which demonstrates this point lies within your own body. Anatomically, you are a fusion of two halves in balance (eyes, ears, nostrils, limbs). The right and left brain are distinct but, through their connection, maintain balanced performance. Perfect balance further exists between the muscles of flexion and extension, the structure of your skeleton, and in the miraculous work of the endocrinal and hormonal system.

The balance that exists between the spiritual and moral, through the soul, body, and intellect, gives you the ability to see and recognize the fine lines in behavior, that if crossed, will lead to imbalance. The line that exists between courage and recklessness, caution and cowardice, saving and stinginess, honesty and rudeness, generosity and squandering, pride and arrogance.

Conversely, injustice, encroachment on the rights of others, bias and double standards all act to tilt the scale of balance and run contrary to the laws of existence and the nature of creation as manifested in the large and small creatures within the kingdom of God. God says in the Qur’an:

“And the skies.’ has He raised high and has devised [for all things] a measure so that you [too, 0 humanity,] might never transgress the measure [of what is right].’ weigh, therefore, [your deeds] with equity, and cut not the measure short!” (55:7-9)

Within this framework of understanding and appreciation of the simple unadulterated nature of life and creation lies the true understanding of Islam. Islam is the affirmation of these basics. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) described the religion as “Deen al Fitra,Ó” meaning the way of the unadulterated original nature and as the Qur’an described:

“And do, set thy face steadfastly towards the [one ever-true] faith, turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the natural disposition which God has instilled into humanity.’ [for] not to allow any change to corrupt what God has thus created – this is the [purpose of the one] ever-true faith,’ but most people know it not.”
(30:30)

Through integrating these basic realities of life with the message of God and His call to comply to His will – which is manifested in His natural laws of existence in its universality, global humanity and harmony as comprehensive, internal, and external peace – that you can become a Muslim, citizen of the world, mercy to all, guardian of justice, supporter and enjoiner of what is good, opposer of what is evil, and promoter of human dignity for all.

Only then can you cooperate with those who seek righteousness and awareness. Only then will Islam be your zone of comfort, will you come home to Islam, feel complete harmony and be liberated not shackled, lightened not burdened, natural not artificial. Only then will your life as a Muslim be to enjoy not endure, allowing you to be yourselves, not a facade.

So for the Human Race, We May Say: Happy Birthday!

Maher Hathout is a leading spokesperson for the American Muslim community, is a retired physician best known for his tireless commitment to public service. He is also the author of “In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam” and Jihad vs Terrorism. He serves as the senior advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

Susan Boyle and other articles of interest April 17, 2009

Way up

Talent trumps all for YouTube sensation Susan Boyle

Talk about adding me to the list of another shocked skeptic!  Today I was cruising through The Drudge Report as I do daily to catch some headlines and I came across one about Ms. Susan Boyle.  Since it was a Friday, I figured I would check out the YouTube video and see what all the hoopla was about.  Yes I know I’m late and must live under a rock, but that aside, I thought I would get a good laugh because I thought this would be another William Hung moment of the American Idol tryout failures of yesteryear, instead like every other skeptic who heard her perform that night, I was slack-jawed!  While this has nothing to do with American Muslims, I just wanted to give Ms. Boyle a shout out from my little corner of the world and let her know that she made my day.  I doubt she will ever read this blog, but either way, she’s in my prayers and I wish her much success, we need such feel good stories like this in a dark and troubled world.

Tejdeep Singh Rattan, left, and Kamaljit Singh Kalsi are set to report for duty in the U.S. Army in July.

Sikhs fight Army over bans on turbans, uncut hair

  • Story Highlights
  • Two recruits of Sikh faith set to report for duty in U.S. Army in July
  • The Army says they must remove their turbans, cut their hair and beards
  • Sikh group says the Army should accommodate the religious articles of faith
  • Army says problem arises when religious practices interfere with military gear
  • if(window.location.pathname.indexOf(‘/2009/US/04/16/maersk.crew/index.html’)!=-1){
    var nxtStryCSIMgr = CSIManager.getInstance().call(‘/.element/ssi/auto/2.0/sect/US/nextStory0.exclude.html’,”,’cnnNextStoryCSI’);}

    if(window.location.pathname.indexOf(‘/2009/US/04/15/us.sikhs.military/index.html’)!=-1){
    var nxtStryCSIMgr = CSIManager.getInstance().call(‘/.element/ssi/auto/2.0/sect/US/nextStory1.exclude.html’,”,’cnnNextStoryCSI’);}

I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous!  Why join the US Military if your religious obligations will get in the way?  This is what I tell every Muslim who has ever asked me about Military service.  For the most part, Muslims don’t have any religious practice issues that would be a barrier to military service, except maybe Muslim women who wear hijab.  Be that as it may, if you can’t practice to your satisfaction don’t join period.  I was so perturbed when I read this article because it speaks to the very issues Americans in general have when it comes to those whom they determine “outsiders” it’s just a huge set back for minority rights.  It’s like the boy who cried wolf.  Let’s fight for the minority issues that count, not foolish ones like trying to change regulations for an entire military service that doesn’t even make sense in the first place!  COMBAT GEAR PEOPLE!!!!!  You can’t put a helmet on top of a turban effectively and in hand to hand combat having long hair is a liability which is why we wear our hair short!  All these things are battle tested regulations not ones made to make a particular minority feel unwelcome.  Good God!…..

Jesus Missing From Obama’s Georgetown Speech

I have to say this is ridiculous on two fronts….

1.  The President (still has a nice ring to it) shouldn’t go to a venue with religious icons if he wants them covered up.  Highly disrespectful in my opinion.  Just going somewhere neutral would make more sense to me.

2.  It’s silly for people to use this as proof of some anti-Christian agenda by Obama the supposed “closed Muslim”, yes they have been saying it.  The real people to get angry with are the officials of the school who agreed!

Either way, everything President Obama does is going to be criticized by those closer to the Republican way of thinking, primarily because they lost miserably to a guy who they called inexperienced who is out classing the last President in style everytime he shows up to a venue.  It was not major news everytime President Bush opened mouth and insert foot, nor did you have Republicans acknowledging it, they would laugh it off as W. just being W. but God forbid Obama does it.  Which is why Fox “News” runs stupidity like keeping track of how long it’s been since the Obama’s went to church.  When they regularly went to church they went after the Pastor, congregation, and visiting clergy and still called Obama a Muslim, now he doesn’t go to church enough!  Awwwe  nevermind! 🙂

Linda and Hulk Hogan enjoy happier times at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards in New York in 2006.

‘I totally understand O.J.,’ Hulk Hogan tells Rolling Stone

  • Story Highlights
  • Hulk Hogan, in a bitter divorce with his wife, Linda, talks to Rolling Stone magazine
  • “I could have turned everything into a crime scene like O.J.,” Hogan said
  • Spokesman for Linda Hogan says the statement amounts to a death threat
  • Hulk Hogan spokesman: Comments not a threat, just expression of frustrations

OK, so I may be a “little” biased on this issue.  I grew up a Hulkamaniac and will probably die one so if you think Hogan is wrong on this, totally disregard my comments as I admitted my bias.  Look we should all know by now that OJ did it!  That being said, when looking at the motive, for the crime, while it’s not justification for the crime as a man I have to admit that there are some things that could drive me over the edge as it relates to women.  Principle amongst them are the situations OJ was in and Hogan is in now.  It’s not PC to say what Hogan said, but the reality is that if you were going through a divorce with your wife of over 2 decades regardless of the reason, and you knew that she was taking you to the cleaners already, insult to injury would be exactly what Hogan said he saw, some young snotty nosed kid driving your car, sleeping in your house, with your wife!  That’s probably what set OJ off and most men accused of and having committed such crimes.  Is it right?  Absolutely not.  As a Muslim, I place my trust in God, so if I was in a similar situation I would be upset, but would know that God rewards us for what we do in the open and in the dark.  The minds of the believer and non-believer are different and as such we react to the world differently, but that doesn’t mean we have to be blind to understanding one another and Hulk I understand exactly what you were saying.  As Chris Rock pointed out many years ago “I’m not saying OJ should have killed her, but I understand”

Liberal actress says tea parties were racist

Liberal actress and political activist Janeane Garofalo, in all seriousness, said activists who attended tea parties are racists with dysfunctional brains in a recent prime-time television appearance.

“Let’s be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It’s not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. They don’t know their history at all. It’s about hating a black man in the White House,” she said on MSNBC’s “The Countdown” with Keith Olbermann Thursday evening. “This is racism straight up and is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks. There is no way around that.”

Olbermann did not once try to challenge her on those assertions.

The actress went on to describe the brain size of typical “right-winger, Republican or conservative or your average white power activist.”

“Their synapses are misfiring. … It is a neurological problem we are dealing with,” she said. This isn’t the first time she’s offered this analysis, either. Ms. Garofalo said similar things about Alaskan GOP Governor Sarah Palin’s brain last February in an interview with an environmental blog.

The actress went on to bash the GOP on MSNBC Thursday because it had “crystallized into the white power movement” as well as Fox News, which she said has captured the “Klan demo[graphic].”

Oh my God, let’s stop playing stupid people.  We know that while as non-PC these comments were, they were pretty much dead on.  I won’t be brazen enough to say that all those who participated are racists, but to be so blind as to suggest that a good chunk of the Republican commentary, actions, etc. since Obama one isn’t rooted in some form of racism and/or prejudice is just a blatant insult to the intelligence of logical people everywhere.  Look at the audience and crowds!  The same people at the RNC conventions, McCain Palin ralies, etc. 99.8% white!  It’s almost like the Islam/Muslim poll a couple of weeks ago showing that the majority of anti-Muslim/Islam people were older, white, evangelical, Republicans.  Who’s at these rallies?  Who’s watching Fox “News”?  older, white, evangelical, Republicans.  Don’t get me wrong Democrats had it out for Bush in the commentary department, but I never recall anyone questioning Bush’s patriotism, loyalty to this country, religion, etc. etc.  at best we questioned his judgement and intelligence and left it like that.  These people continue to scream “USA” as if anyone who doesn’t believe and look like them aren’t Americans.  The reports are on record, the commentary is on record.  When people were questioned as this and similar rallies they admitted being “uncomfortable” with Obama.  Some like during the campaign straight out and said they couldn’t vote for a black person.  If these “Conservatives” really cared that much about the budget, taxes, etc. where where the rallies after Bush began spending billions a month in Iraq and all the other fiscal failures of the last 8 years?  That’s how I know those controlling the sheep are using seemingly harmless issues as a cover to rally and push a race-infused agenda, because they were at the helm for 8 years and spent like no other Administration and never batted an eye until the black guy got into office, surprise, surprise….

I think it’s all funny, I hope the little feable minded racists are angry.  Your world and mentality is becoming extinct and you act out because you know it and are afraid.  White Power is dead, it never existed, the majority of the world always had color only in your little corner it didn’t and now that is rapidly evaporating.  Personally, I love every minute of it.  Theres nothing wrong with Hispanics, Asians, etc. or people of other faiths.  You guys over on the extreme right are going to have to adapt or die out because the glory days and dreams of a white Christian Republican haven are over, now the real America and her intentions are being realized and you can’t stand it.

Oh where was I…:)  Many over on the “right” have racial issues, just my humble opinion….but I watch their every organized action through squinted eyes, especially if it’s supported by Fox “News”.  And btw, stop pretended that Fox “News” and their “reporters” are the most watched.  The numbers are only the way it is because that one demographic watches that one channel.  The rest of Americans the majority who are logical and willing to be diverse in our tastes, thoughts, and lives, watch a myriad of channels so if you look at the same time slots, many of us are watching 3 or 4 channels and we are all the same demographic.  If we all watched the same channel like the xenophobic sheeple, that channel would have way more viewers.  CNN, MSNBC, Comedy Central, etc. are just splitting among one demographic while that other station White Entertainment Television is getting that other demographic with no competition.  If there were more like that channel (God forbid) then what would the numbers look like?  But I’m just being logical, those who watch that channel need to be smug and say their winning to keep their supremist mindsets going.  Otherwise they would realize that while they have the highest ratings and listeners, the other demographics are voting and in the streets winning elections.  I would rather have the Congress, White House, and Supreme Court over O’Reily and Hannity any day! 🙂

Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the birth of Islam, Book Review

Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam

A pivotal work worthy to be included in any research on Islam

By Robert Salaam

When reviewing a book one often looks for the one word or phrase that sums up their emotions about that book.  I have had great difficulty searching for that word one or phrase that will best communicate how I felt upon the conclusion of author Kamran Pasha’s work Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the birth of Islam.  The closest word that I came up with to give my emotions justice is “pivotal”.  This book is a must read for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  While Mr. Pasha may have the “purist” police after him who will criticize his every rendering of Islamic history and Hadith, that commentary aside, I believe that what Kamran Pasha has done with this book is present a view of Islam and Islamic history that must be included in the great literature that is considered required reading for those seeking to understand Islam.

Having been a convert for almost 9 years I often wondered where are our great stories.  Growing up a Christian and recently coming off the Easter weekend, I often reflect on how great a story the Christians have.  Whether one believes or not, the story of God incarnate sacrificing himself as well as all the epic themes and imagery is a great story that encourages and reinforces the faith of billions of believers everyday.  The Christian narrative has been told and retold throughout a myriad of medium and is so well known, that few ever rely on the scriptural or historical accounts of the story.

Muslims have great tales in our own rights, but many are relegated to historical accounts largely based on Hadith and one has to either have the benefit of a spiritual leader who can “dumb it down” for you, know one who has the ability to regurgitate this history in a flowing narritive, or have the patience to tie it all together within their own imaginations to get the core of the story.  Fortunately, Kamran Pasha has found a way to weave it all together and give us a tale that not only gives us a glimpse and an imagining of our great Muslim narrative, but also gives us a greater insight into who Aisha may God be pleased with her, was as one of the greatest figures in Islamic history and wife of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of God be upon him.  This tale recounts how she may have felt, thought, and remembered as she experienced and witnessed the events that shaped Islamic history.

As I read this book, I felt for the first time in my Muslim experience a closeness to the historical events of the early Muslim community, just as I had as a child upon hearing the stories of Jesus may peace and blessings be upon him, walking on the water or Moses may peace and blessings be upon him, parting the red sea. I read and re-read this book at the same time as I would read the book in my private time and re-read it from the beginning to my children.  At times I was 20 pages ahead reading it myself, than in the evening reading the tale aloud to my children starting a page one, so I got the benefit of reading this book twice at the same time.  I know even I was a little confused! 🙂

While some may question the need for the retelling of these events in such a way using the creativety that makes this book a work of fiction, I believe that in recounting these events in this manner helps us remember them and in our weakest moments we rely on these easily translated versions and accounts of events to strengthen and reinforce our beliefs.  I truly doubt the majority of Muslims walk around and remember exactly who between Buhkari, Muslim, etc. narrated what and when, nor should we expect Muslims to.  When communicating our faith and history for others, if we recounted events exactly like Islamic scholars, we can’t expect non-Muslims to follow along.  That is why I call this book pivotal, because it presents the message and history of Islam in an easy to digest format while at the same time making these historic events and people as real to the average believer and non-believer as Moses (pbuh) or Jesus (pbuh) is to most people as we have all seen the movies and read the countless books.  I seriously doubt I could find a majority that can tell me where in Exodus or Luke these events took place, but I believe many can recall and retell the events with great recollecting and reverence.  So it should be and it is now thanks to Kamran Pasha’s work for Islam.  Now he just has to write the script for the film!  God-willing.

My personal experience with this book has been amazing and I would recommend it to all those interested in Islam and those already intimately familiar with Islam.  To get just a little more insight into the Mother of the Believers and that early community is priceless and I will ensure that I tell all my friends and family to buy this book.

This work Mother of the Believers, is pivotal in our communications about Islam.  This books serves a great purpose in communicating effectively the great narratives that define and explain who we are, why we are, and what we are.

May God reward Mr. Pasha’s efforts and grant him great success in this and future endeavors.

If we called it "Resurrection Friday" would it then matter?

Maybe some self-serving selfishness in me that is a little upset that I had to go in the office today secretly bothers me, but today as I entered the subway to work, I noted to myself how today is “Good Friday” yet it’s like any other Friday.

Granted, as a Muslim, I don’t really care so much about the value or lack there of as it relates to Christian tradition, but having been raised Christian and having had this thought many times over my life, I thought it interesting that I would have these thoughts today.

My overall point is that today is supposed to commemorate the crux of the Christian faith. Today they believe the events of The Passion Narrative that led to the formation of their relation. It’s the backbone of the entire religion. If I were a true outsider, one could wonder, how is it that the biggest moment in the worlds largest religion, is glossed over so easily?

I don’t get it and I never actually got it, but here we live in a 75% Christian nation, so you would think it would be a national/federal holiday or something. Even if for Constitutional reasons that isn’t the case, one has to wonder why Christians themselves haven’t taken off in large numbers to commemorate this pivotal commemoration.

Have they just forgotten, or do they just don’t care anymore? Could it be that there faith has become so ordinary that it’s just a footnote and not a definitive indication of who they actually are?

Maybe it’s just a poor choice of words.  Maybe the people have forgotten what’s so “good” about this particular Friday.  Maybe if it were called “resurrection” Friday they would remember why this day is supposed to be so “good” for them.

As I look at the adherents of the worlds second largest religion, obviously my own, I have noticed over these past 8 years how you would be hard pressed to find a Muslim anywhere on the globe even here in this majority Christian nation, not taking the day off from work on Eid and/or not observing Ramadan in some shape or form. Even the most marginal amongst us, seem to “step it up” during these occasions.

I’m not trying to compare one group to the other in an attempt to point to some supremest thought, I’m just pointing what I have observed throughout my life as I thought on these things today.

What I honestly believe is that because Americans in general have made religion and God a footnote, there should be no surprise that in this Christian nation, even a day like Good Friday isn’t sacred enough to skip working. Granted, if the state of Christianity in America was judged by the actions the majority of Americans, it would get a failing grade. It’s obvious that in America, God and certainly His Christ, is not on the forefront of the average, majority Christian American mind.

I will say this, if the role were reversed and I were not a Muslim (God forbid) and lived in a Majority Muslim Democracy (one can dream right) I’m certain I would be one of the few in the subway going into the office, if the office was even open.

I think that as I reflect on my life, it was many issues like this one, that proved a catalyst that made me fall in love with Islam. We take everything seriously as it relates to God (some too seriously) but, our every action we invoke God (Bismillah) we ensure that if we speak on the future we invoke God (Inshallah), we won’t even touch the Qur’an without first cleaning ourselves and invoking God. As a Christian, I was never taught to teach such common things as sacred. I never was taught that I should invoke God for every little thing from going to the restroom, to sneezing, to marital relations. I read the Bible often, but was never taught to only read it when clean, heck how many a Christian reads the Bible or Biblical scripture while on the toilet? Or carries their Bible around like any ordinary book, some leave in laying around their house as if it’s just a common book.

Now I’m rambling, but as I reflected on what should be a huge deal in a majority Christian nation, and look over how even the minute is a big deal to Muslims, it really made me sad for my Christian brothers and sisters (both figuratively and literally) as it’s evident that they aren’t as passionate about The Passion as they should be and paying God lip-service with little action in return, can’t have good consequences.