Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good girls vs bad girls

The following is an excerpt from a facebook post I saw today

تزوج اجنبيي وخليها تأسلم احسن ما تتزوج عربيي تطلعك عن دينك

ترى أغسل أيدك من البنات هين .. مسلمات مين الله يخليك ..إلا من رحم ربي و هن قله

A posts : It's better to marry a non non and make her convert than to marry an arab who takes you our of your deen (religion)

B replies: Hey, give up on the girls here, Please, what muslim girls ? The good ones are very few.

End of facebook post.

I thought this was interesting and thought to comment, but since A is not my list of friends I could not, so I decided to blog about it.

Isn't it interesting ? That those two arab men living in Sydney decide that there are no good girls to marry, that most arab girls are not good muslims and so it's better to marry a non arab non muslim and convert her.

What are the problems with this idea ? too many to list but I'll try to.

1- There is an old story of an old man going out to the mosque for fajr making wudhu outside his house, he also sees a thief just coming back from a night of ... thieving, washing away the evidence from his hand outside HIS house. Now the man praying sees the thief and thinks "he must also be going out to pray", and the thief sees the old man and thinks to himself "He must also be a thief coming home from robbing someone"

Now I know this is overly simplistic. But in case I will use this example. I've heard this very often from around the world that Muslim girls are baaaad because they are out on the street and in the clubs and doing all the haram they is available to them.

Now this may be true, there probably are plenty of Muslim girls in the clubs and on the streets and driving in guys picking up guys etc... BUT HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT unless YOU were in those clubs looking for action, or in the street or the shopping center or in the chat rooms or wherever people hang out to flirt and pick up ? Doesn't that mean that the muslim men are just are crappy as those muslim women ?

The fact is, if there is a good girl she wouldn't be where you go, would she ?  she would be at wholesome places like the mosque or the university or the home. And I guess I'm playing into the stereotype that a good woman belongs at home, I don't mean that. She could be in the world place or at some workshop teaching and learning or at a coffee shop with her freinds etc... she would NOT be at  club at 2 am. I think I made my point here.

2- The Arab standard has always been that the man is allowed to go out and "experience" the world by drinking and gambling and getting around with as many girls as he wants. This is part of his growing up, and everybody in his family accepts and acknowledges it.

case study 1: I know a very dear friend of mine who used to live by himself, and he wanted to get married, so he asked around and was told that a certain girl is a respectable and good woman. He approached her and asked to marry here, just like that. Her parents were overseas so he asked her aunt, and her aunt was very happy and gave her blessings.
Later on the parents come back, the mother is very much against the marriage, the reason she gives is that she had had her eye on another suitable person for her daughter. A much older man who's rich and has "experience". That's actually what she tells my friend, he's more experienced in "life". Understandably he is confused and asks the mother is she prefers that goes out and drinks and bangs chicks for 15 years to be more suitable for her daughter.

case study 2: A person I know goes to university in another country away from his family, he stays with his grandmother. It becomes clear that he is involved with a girl from Europe. I talk to his grandmother about it, and she is upset. She wants her grandson to marry an Arab woman. "I told him, don't spend your time with that ajnabia (foreign) girl, just have your fun and leave her and marry an arab !" Yes, that is what this 75 year old lady was saying.

This same culture forbids the girl from sometimes even talking to another boy, if she is caught chatting with a boy, or sitting in the same car with a boy, she gets beaten, humiliated, and sometimes killed ! for doing something much much less than what a guy is allowed to do.

What would you expect a girl to do, or to think, when living in a society such as this ? A girl has just as much physical and emotional depth as a man.

Another question. Those guys that get with arab girls. Aren't those girls sisters of some other guy ? Isn't there massive hypocrisy is running after girls when you would kill your sister for doing what you want to do with those girls ? How dare you then turn around and condemn arab girls as no good ? This new arab culture of dancers and singers and actors that disseminate a new cultural norm or openness and promiscuity. You're allowing yourself to oggle at them and enjoy them and in the same time you're affected by them, don't you expect girls get affected by them as well ? Or do you you want the whole world to move and for your women to be the same old hijabi domicile servant at home ?

I'm not putting down hijab here.

3- The urban myth, the ideal of ideals. Marrying a non muslim. Making her muslim. It's MUCH BETTER everyone says.
The truth behind this is that this is what most men of this ... caliber, see, this is the type that flirts with them and wears the revealing clothing around them and allows them what others won't.
Arab men, wanting as much ..openness, as they can get their hands on, love that. So they of course want someone like that in their lives. When they look at arab girls, GOOD (we'll use good in this context to mean simply, conservative) girls. They're wearing non revealing clothing. They don't act flirtatiously. And the men just think "who needs this $hi+" and go run after the white girls. Who of course seeing the attention their attire and behavior gets them, start doing more of the same.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you're going to marry an arab or non arab. It's up to you, just tell lie to us and to yourself and say you're doing for the good of Islam. That's so Gaddafi-esque of you !

Monday, March 28, 2011

Interview and book review

UPDATE : I now have the podcast for the Interview with brother Zachariah Matthews

UPDATE: The podcast is of an unedited copy, so I'll have to take it offline for a day or two, apologies for inconvenience.

So last week I was forunate enough to come into contact with two amazing sources of inspiration. The first was Zacharia Matthews . A promiment muslim leader of Sydney's Islamic Community. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for my weekly program (Family and Society الأسرة والمجتمعon ). It's always a pleasure to talk to brother Dr Zac Mat. Because unlike the majority of Islamic leaders. He is the coolest brother you could meet. He's always so calm and collected with a wise smile- I can't even imagine him getting angry, and that's the prophetic sunna, isn't it ! Zac Mat's previous work and good relations with the various communties and leaders has given him a credibility amongst his peers. Which I think is why he decided to spearhead the latest Sydney based iniative JMA, Just Media Advocacy. JMA aims to work by establishing long term ties with media organisations and personalities through constant communication, corrections, and negative and positive feedback. Rather than follow CAIR's or the british MAB's example of law suite approach. For reasons relating to principle and logistics. JMA's approach will be civil and will be buit on mutual respect and appreciation.
I asked him about the recent sixty minutes episode that engaged in needless muslim bashing with a dash or empty rhetoric and some balance by humanizing the plight of members of The EDL who are generally friendly racist xenophobic bigots. Zac Mat mentioned that they've been trying to contact the staff of sixty minutes since about two weeks before the show was played on air and untill yesterday (28th March 2011) they were wanting to contact them to ask about the misconceptions peddled at that show and the skewed coverage that seems to be well placed ahead of the nsw elections. If they don't get back to the JMA. The latter will have to go to the government's media watchdog to lodge a formal complaint.

It will be a difficult road ahead for the JMA, in an Australia that is gettng to fear and distrust Muslims and Islam in general. Islam and Muslims have been easy prey for whoever wants a piece. To stand in the way of this tide is couragous and will need all our help. Contact Zac to see how you can help the JMA and the Muslims in Australia (help means cash)

The SECOND source of inspiration is a book, Megan stacks' Every Man in this Village is a liar. An incredible book chronicling the experiences of a war reporter during the first 7 years inside the War or Terror, starting with Afghanistan, then going through to Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, and Libya. Her descriptions of the absolute ravaging effects of the massive military machines on the multitutdes of unarmed civilians around the middle east is so powerful it makes you sometimes sick to your stomach. Hers is an account of a person so stunned by war, she is almost stunted. Very clear illustrations of peoples and places and yet an almost dreamlike method to her words. A very personal book that delves almost as much into her as it does into her subjects. This is the truth of the war on terror, far away from the clean surgical images the pentagon tried to give of happy children in schools and beardless men and women brandishing long hair and makeup.

In light of the domino effect of the uprisings happening in the arab world. This book gives amazing context into Egypt, Libya and the arab countries that during the last decade saw the educated social media ready masses of the middle and lower class boiling just under the surface. Bottom line ? buy this book !

It's only 245 pages so you should be able to finish it pretty quickly.

Also I'd like to make a special recomendation to my mother in law to read this book, knowing her, I know she would enjoy this book

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Malcolm X

I just finished the autobiography of Malcolm X. It is a book I strongly recomend to everyone, and since as a muslim I found special sweetness in it. I strongly recomend it for Muslims specifically for Muslims.

At this stage. I had developed an interest in the story and development of Malcolm X throughout the different stages of his life. From his humble poor beginings as part of a disintegrating family, then to a small town hick new to the big city of Harlem who then is completely absorbed into the fasad (corrupt) lifestyle of drugs, crime and women. Then again his almost miracolous metamorphasis into an outspoken principles number 2 in the national of Islam, and finally to a strong confident sunni muslim who- while still very assertive and powerful in his words and actions- embraced an inclusive ideology of all africans and all good human beings.

Prior to reading this autobiography. I had read his elder sister Ella Mae Little's biography of Malcolm titled "seventh child". While it did not give as many insights as the actual autobiography. I still found it vital to getting insight into Malcolm from a third person prespective. I also read Spike Lee's book about making the X movie which is also a book I highly recomend reading.

What emerged for me here is a person who was the epitomy of corruption and vice. Someone who, according to my very good friend Tarek (he mentioned it many many times), "was a hustler in Harlem". The king of the darkness of one of the most dangerous places in the US at the time. To a person who came to live his life so strictly to his principles that he was resigned to death BECAUSE of this, and in his dying the verse Allah swt mentions is based on this man.

من المؤمنين رجال صدقوا ما عاهدوا الله عليه فمنهم من قضى نحبه ومنهم من ينتظر وما بدلوا تبديلا

Which translates (very roughly to) "Of the believers, there are men who were truthful to Allah in the covenant they undertook. So some of them died while on this covenant, and some of them are waiting, and they are not going to change [their covenant]).

Some may attack me for making this comparison, but whenever I read about Malcolm X I remember the life of Omar bin Alkhattab RA. Another man who lived a life of vice and violence, a man who was known for his brutality and alcoholism. After becoming Muslim this man became one of the greatest leaders in history. Omar was also assassinated.


On another note. I thought the interaction between Malcolm X and the media of the 1960s was very intersting. Given the nature of the media now and the extent of its power and corruption at the same time.
During Malcolm X's time, he was demonized by the media, and from what I gathered from the books I mentioned. Although he was generally adored outside of the US. He was generally hated by the majority of whites and a large sector of the african american community in the US. I was not clear when public opinion swayed to his side. Was it after his return from mecca a sunni muslim ? or was it after his death ? Famous people are generally more appreciated after their death.
Interesting point.

Another point, can there be a person in Australia who can lead and unite Muslims into one political social entity that establishes services and holds voting power ? Things are different here of course than in the US 1960s. We have it much better.

Think about it though. Muslims in Australia are hopelessly lost and disunited. Politicians and media outlets slap us left, right and center and we can't do anything about it. Yet with all our 400 000 all over Australia we can't even celebrate Eid on the time day. Can there be a leader to unite us ?

Maybe... we're not meant to be united. Maybe our unity is in our diversity. huh ? huh ? didn't I just blow your mind ? I know right !

Also, the nation of Islam had two million followers out of a possible 23Million Afro Americans. So there wasn't a complete unity there as well.

I am however seeing in the younger generation iniatives to unite and to act as one. Some of those intiatives taking inspiration from (who else) Islamic Organisations in the US. A few weeks ago I intervewed a young lady laywer that was part of a sydney chapter of a muslim legal network. Today I met with a brother who was part of a muslim health collective in NSW. These new types of collectives are a fresh change from the outdated groups where a person or a mosque is the center. Instead they form around a need in the community, and they join hands regardless of school of thought.

I've digressed a couple of times so far. I think I'm going to call it a night.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A new case of chase the Muslim

A recent ninemsn sixty minutes segment attempted to shed light again on the issue of multiculturalism and the issue of muslim integration into Australian society.

The program starts with the head of the English Defense League talking about Muslim invasion of the UK and the creeping sharia threat. Then it speaks to one Muslim "radical" who basically undermines and attacks anything western. Pan over to Australia where there is an aussie Muslim convert who speaks the same way, hate democracy, sharia sharia sharia. scarey scarey scarey scarey.

Then an interview with a young muslim girl in a semi hijab, shown in different places acting aussie, talking aussie and being commended for saying no worries. "No worries. That's about as Australian as you get.

This episode is as so frustrating to me that I'm still trying to collect my mind to write about it and it still jumbles up in anger, so I'll try to list down the points I personally saw as wrongly portrayed.

1- The English Defense League is not a bastion of civilization. It's a bunch of racist xenophobes allowed to assault a segment of british society just because that segment happens to be muslim. It doesn't matter that MOST. THE MAJORITY of british muslims are law abiding citizens who contribute to society.
Sixty minutes talks to this racist bigot in a way that makes him sound genuine and righteous. And in contrast speaks to one person who represents Islam and British Muslims who is the media's favorite Anjam Chaudri, who as expected delivers hate and anti west rhetoric and is shown with followers with the unstated premise that he has a large following.
What about the 1.5 million or whatever number of other Muslims in Britain ? What about the fact that this man Anjam is recognized in the media circle he whores himself out to and no one else ? it doesn't matter.

2- The man IBRAHIM SIDDIQ was then interviewed and is shown making similarly carpet statement sound bytes about hating democracy. Did he really mean what he said ? what context was this stated in ? Also, who is Ibrahim Siddiq ? how is it that no other muslim knowns him ? Why is it that the scores of muslim speakers and activists and origination heads out there are not spoken to ?

3- This idea that democracy and sharia are complete contrasts and opposites of each other in a world of absolute black and whites. This type of attitude first of all presents a skewed view of the world we live in, and it is actually convincing many people that this IS the reality of the world when it's not.

The term sharia is made to have a halo of evil and skulls and bones around it so that no one is even allowed to examine it. It doesn't matter that in the last hundred years. Many of the highest scholars of Islam said upon visiting Europe and the west that came from a place that had muslims and no islam (read-sharia) and went to a place that had no muslims but had islam (again-sharia). That is because sharia is essentially an end, not a means. It's a way of establishing justice on the earth in all its forms. based on the rules of God. The fact that muslim countries now are in such chaos and oppression is because of the mulk al3athood or the dictatorships established since the beginning of the last century get cheap oil and make it easier to culturally invade the world.
And in that sense, the framework of democracy and the essentials of sharia can very easily work hand in hand. It's not about cutting hands or stoning women. But this is the view that the media and political elite of the western world is hellbent on illustrating.

Finally, I really don't mind that Samah Hadid lady, she looks like a nice girl and what she said I mostly didn't have a problem with, but the way they presented her made it look like the only way to be a "safe muslim" that won't blow up anytime soon was to continuously assert this Utopian australian identity by peppering one's lexicon with aussie lingo like "no worries, fair dinkum" like seals waiting for a clap from their master.
And that's what Michael Usher did "That's about as Australian as you get" , really mr Usher ? why didn't you throw her a treat ?

It looks from this sixty minutes segment that when those guys go out looking for a story. They already HAVE the final conclusion. The rest is just finding the right people to make the right statements. This is professionally and ethically and morally deeply flawed and it's sad that no one says anything about it.

Friday, March 18, 2011


It's been a while since I've written anything, so this'll probably be a bit rusty.

The happenings in Tunisia and Egypt were incredible to the degree that 2 months later I'm still excited and shocked that such a change can occur in such a short time span. Some doubters are saying this change is only cosmetic and that the same US approved tool of oppression paradigm will rise up again. I don't think so.

One, because things have change irrevocably now. The open access to information and the power of any individual to reach millions. This is a historic development that can't be taken away or changed (not that I can see anyway).

Two, the changes that came about were carried through by the mass of the country's angry, politically aware youth. Those guys aren't going anywhere ! They won't let the sacrifice of the revolution go wasted. Incidentally as I'm writing this I'm sort of coming to realize the error of this second point. Mass uprisings led by youth HAVE been highjacked before. So I guess this point on its own is not valid. ON ITS OWN it's not valid. but in this case it is.

Third, I think this is pivotal. There is a socially aware, politically able islamic bloc that was able to affect positive change and social reform BEFORE it had any power. Now with the democratic elections. Even if it doesn't get elected to lead. It will still be that litmus test that can hopefully reveal any play at potential totalitarianism or corruption. Do I have too much faith in them ? I do. But so far they have proved themselves in Egypt and in Palestine.

Well in Palestine now there are reports of the Gaza lef Hamas party of subverting freedom of expression through brutal repression of the facebook unity rallies. Which if you're an anti Hamasite you would understand.

Also of interest in Yemen, the Islamic party took power through elections but then FAILED and lost the elections during the next term. I think that's brilliant. Calling yourself islamist doesn't mean you're divinely chosen to lead your people through the desert. There is alot of work, sacrifice, planning. in arabic حنكة which those guys didn't. Which, rather than fusing Muslims and Islam togther. It makes a very clear (democratically defined) statement. If you can bring the social justice and the change needed. you're it. Otherwise get the f$@# out of my face.

Now in Libya, Gaddafi's Zenga Zenga speech is now starting to make more sense. He wasn't messing around when he promised fire and brimstone. Oh his contractor army is bringing the pain to the unarmed civilians and rebel fighters alike in the cities and townships that have rebelled against him. And the arab league's inflatable hunger lick the white man's boot - coupled with pressure from the uprisings in the arab world has served well here by having them call for a no fly zone because a NATO or UN sanctioned no fly zone would have just looked like a subversive effort at undermining the revolution or at least the arab people's attempts at yanking the collar of oppression from their necks.

I know I'm throwing metaphors and symbolism all over the place, but like I said I haven't written in a while.