Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Am Not One of Them

Them being Muslims. I am a Muslim but my religion is my own business and it is between me and God. I feel absolutely no connection nor any obligation to those people. At one point in my academic life I had wanted to do research on them. But then they hurt me. They hurt at a time when I was the most vulnerable I have ever been in my life. They tried to make me think God hated me. They tried to tell me that God would never forgive me. They tried to tell me that God was petty and cruel. And they almost made me believe all this. They made me think God had deceived me. Now I know who the real deceivers are. I know who the real liars are. It is them. God is perfect. Islam is perfect.

Now I will never help them. They can fend for themselves. I will not do research to better their lives. They don't need me and I don't need them.

It's unfortunate when I have to face Islamophobia but that does not make me feel any more affiliation with them. I will deal with that with the help of God. And so will they. I will not help them. I will not work for the betterment of their lives. If their lives are bettered due to my work it will be by coincidence.

I will however work to better the lives of my fellow South Asians. They have not hurt me. They have given me love and respect. They have not made me feel inferior. They have not tried to destroy my relationship with God. For all their faults, in my eyes, they are much better than Muslims.

I purposely dress so that I am not identified as one of them. Not because I don't want non-Muslims to not know that I am Muslim. I want them to know. I tell people proudly that I am a Muslim. I don't want Muslims to know that I am Muslim. I will tell them if they ask but I don't volunteer the information. I will not wear long, loose shirts that cover my figure. I have curves damn it and I don't care who knows. I will wear capris that show off my sexy ankles. I will wear short sleeves. Oh riske! And I sure as hell will not cover my hair.

I love Islam and I love God with all that is in me. I will never leave them and I pray they never leave me. I will be a Muslim and defend Islam until I die.

But I dislike Muslims. They are not my people.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Favourite Bollywood Songs - Part 2

I love this song. It's so romantic and so beautiful. I'd love Shah Rukh Khan to sing this to me.

Song: Suraj Hua Madham (The Sun Has Dimmed)
Film: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum (2001)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Favourite Bollywood Songs - Part 1

This is the first instalment of my favourite songs.

This is one song I used to listen to as a child and I think that has a huge part to play in me loving this song. It reminds me of my childhood. Plus, it's super catchy.

Song: Mehbooba O Mehbooba (Beloved oh Beloved)
Film: Sholay (1975)

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm Not Worthy

Have I said I hate men? Well, ok I don't hate men. Not all men. But some. Men have done such a good job of making me feel less worthy. I know I shouldn't base my own worth on other people but its hard not to when you find out your ex didn't want to tell his parents about you, yet his parents have already met his new girlfriend and love her. Ugh! I hate men. It's hard not to base your self worth on other people when another ex was in love with another girl the whole time he was with you. Ugh Ugh!! I still hate men. It's hard not to base your self worth on other people when yet another ex tells you you are not a good Muslim and need to change. Ugh Ugh Ugh!!!

And then not to mention the guys who expect a little something for "free" from you. Jerks!

Seriously, there are very few good men out there. My apologies to the good ones. I don't hate you. I don't know very many of you. Other than the men in my family I can only think of 3 guys who I would say are good guys. And all three are off limits for me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

As I was Procrastinating I Found This...

This post is from HijabMan and can be found here.

Fear can stop your love, what about your God-consciousness?

One of the first steps one takes when Getting Things Done is the process of capturing/collecting the thoughts floating around in your head, everything that has your attention. After that harder-than-it-sounds task, you file it into your system (whether that consists of folders or electronic means). Now, If you are really good about keeping that system up-to-date and flowing well, a trust with that system naturally develops. Ideally, if you trust that system, you no longer need to actively think about everything you need to do or every thought in your head.*

I’m not even close to completely emptying my head of the multitude of crap that is plaguing my brain, but I’ve definitely gotten better. But the fact that I’ve even emptied my head of just a fraction of that crap has reduced my stress level dramatically.

While thinking (hah!) about this process, a thought occurred to me that connected this idea with spirituality. What about emptying ourselves of the various forms of fear that plague us? Wouldn’t that enable us as believers to be more God-conscious and free us? Imagine your life without insecurity, worry, and even procrastination. They can all be forms of fear.
Procrastination is fear? What?

In fact, it is the most consuming fear I have! Think about it. We tend to avoid those things that we are afraid of. As many personal-productivity gurus explain, one of the reasons (or is it the only reason?) we procrastinate, is because we are afraid of what comes “next.” The future. If we busy ourselves with not-so-productive tasks, we delay impending decisions and new projects.
My current slip-up (one of a few) has to do with delaying a simple phone call, a phone call that would lead to my decision to go back to school. I was afraid of something without a name. It was one of those down-deep fears. On the surface, it may have been fear of failure, debt, and well, just school in general. Am I disciplined enough for it? I delay these big decisions by putting off tasks like paying bills, cleaning, dishes. Do you see where I’m going now?

I let the gravel gather up, so that all that I’m concerned about is sweeping away that gravel. And because I am so consumed by sweeping those little rocks away I don’t have time to think about the big rocks** I have to move. And I’m so worried about the gravel and the big rocks combined that I don’t have any time to reflect and realize that the biggest rocks I need to move are these deep-down-I-don’t-even-know-what-they-are fears. And dealing with those means I have to ask some really hard questions of myself. Those questions I don’t want to ask, if you know what I mean. In my experience, the process of going to those “scary” places leads to one place: If I am aware that God is in control, and that I should just strive, the idea of fearing something so silly, you know, like future, would be laughable. Indeed, I often laugh at my irrational fears (after the fact, of course ;)

What do you think? Does this have merit? That one would be have a clearer path to God-consciousness by doing some kind of mental sweep of [all of the forms] of fear?

*I’m simplifying the GTD process, if you are interested, go buy the book.

**I got the concept of the Big Rocks/Gravel from ZenHabits’ Big Rocks First article.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy - Not So Happy

Yay! I'm done my paper. Happy!

But I lost sleep to do it and am quite sleepy now. Not so happy.

And it's hot outside. Happy!

But I don't have much in terms of summer clothes. Not so happy.

I need to go shopping which I enjoy. Happy!

But I don't have much money. Not so happy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Men I Love

I've been tired lately and completely sick of school. I'm working on a paper for my qualitative psychology class due this Friday and it is so torturous. I have no interest in it at though I did when I first started it. I am analyzing Hindi film songs for constructions of heterosexual romantic relationships. I thought it would be fun but at this point it is just a chore.

So I can't write any intelligent post. Therefore, I'm posting pictures of beautiful men. Not objectification, but rather as a Cheerful Bird once told me, simply admiring God's creation.

I present - Men I think are beautiful:

This guy is over 40 and still hot! Love the beard on him.

Oh so cute! Seriously, him and Kareena Kapoor make a stunning couple.

Abhishek Bachchan

I think this guy is hot BUT he's married to Ashwariya Rai (sorry I mean Bachchan) who I really am not impressed with. Plus he's Amitabh Bachchan's son who I have heard is not too fond of Muslims. And the beard is the magic for me. Don't know what I think of him without that facial hair. What can I say? I'm a sucker for beards. Maybe the Muslim in me...

And of course...

I don't need to say anything...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Picture This

There many Muslims, stupid, ignorant Muslims, who will say that having/taking/making pictures or drawings of people is haram. Well, it's not. How could it be when Prophet Soloman (pbuh) had his jinns make statues for him? If two dimensional pictures were haram then for certain statues of a person would be too. And a prophet of God would not do anything haram would he?

Surah Saba

12. And for Solomon the wind was given, traveling one month coming and one month going, and We caused a spring of tar to flow for him. And from among the Jinn are those that worked for him by his Lord's leave; and any one of them who turns from Our commands, We shall cause him to taste the retribution of the Fire.

13. They made for him what he desired of enclosures, and statues, and pools of deep reservoirs, and heavy pots. “O family of David, work to show thanks.” Only a few of My servants are appreciative.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Wish I Was Pregnant

Well, alright. I don't know if I want to be pregnant per say, but I do want a baby. My maternal clock is ticking and every time I see a baby I just fall apart. Their cute little chubby cheeks and their giggles. Oh...I'm melting. I'm so craving a baby.

And the new Pampers commercial didn't help. I guess they have a new campaign where if you buy a specially marked bag of Pampers diapers, Pampers will donate one tetanus vaccine to UNICEF to be used on mothers and their newborns in needy places in the world. A large part of me finds it so annoying when corporations use social issues to sell their products. Exploiting people's problems. Why not just donate anyways? But I guess they need to make the money to donate it. Ugh! Capitalism! Anyhow.....

In the commercial we see a White woman with a stroller who has bought such a bag. As she is walking down the street she sees a what I presume to be a South Asian baby with his mother(who I believe is Muslim as his mother is wearing a dupatta on her head). She then sees a little Mexican baby in a poncho run up to her. Oh so cute but oh so cliched. The baby's mother comes to get it - she's dressed in traditional, native Mexican garb. Finally, a Japanese baby comes to her and gives her a kiss as she lifts him just before it's mother, dressed in a kimono, comes for it.

The baby's were adorable and pulled at my heart strings. But I couldn't help but laugh at the very obvious attempt at differentiating the ethnicities of the baby's and their mothers. I understood the South Asian mother. Many women in that part of the world do indeed dress like that. But from my understanding very few women in Japan wear the kimono on a daily basis. Additionally, the Mexican native woman's child was wearing pants underneath the poncho. If it's mother is wearing such traditional garb then wouldn't the child too?

Anyhow, this commercial did not help my situation. I want a baby more than ever now. I'll dress her/him up in traditional Pakistani clothes - just because they look so cute in it.

Side note: I have the TV on and A Baby Story just came on with the scene of a woman in labour pains. I had to switch the channel. Nothing will deter me from wanting a baby. Not even her moans of pain.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Do we need love?

I really should be working on a paper. And I will. But first I felt the need to complain. Complain about where I am in life.

Now don't get me wrong. God has given me so much and I will be eternally grateful for all that He has given me. I am truly blessed. But I think and hope God will understand if I complain every now and then. After all I am human and it is human nature. I cannot be happy all the time. So....

Yet ANOTHER friend of mine is getting married. Sorry, another TWO friends. And here I am, almost 30 and not a proposal on the horizon. But, you might say, a lot can happen in a short amount of time girl. You never know. And I will respond with, yes, I know. But that's what I thought two and half years ago when I moved away from my hometown which is small with a non-existent young, Muslim, male population.

However, this is not a rant because I am alone. I am fine with being alone. My complaint is about the looks of pity I get from others. My complaint is about the pressure my parents feel to get me married off. My complaint is about the culture that tells us that women are nothing without a male companion. My complaint is about the culture that tells us that marriage is about companionship and not love.

I know that when I get married I will most likely be getting married because it will be the right thing to do. I think my match is someone with whom I will be compatible and get along with - not someone I will love. I do not even know if I am capable of loving someone. I think my heart is too tired to love. I think my mind is too tired. Or maybe love really is overrated. I often see myself as one of those desi women who gets married because that is what she is supposed to do. I will devote myself to my husband because that is what a good desi wife does.

Or maybe I'm scared to get married. Maybe because there is no one in my life right now who I want to marry it seems unnatural and unrealistic. At this point getting married does seem like a terrifying prospect because getting married at this point would mean marrying someone I don't know or love.

Yet, despite all this I crave being in a relationship. I crave having someone. I crave the conversations, the excitement, the passion, the weak knees, the butterflies in my stomach, the comfort. I do feel that as a heterosexual woman I do need that special someone.

I don't know if writing this will have negative repercussions for me. There are walls around me which I'd like to take down but the risk is too high. Who knows what will happen with me. Who knows what God's plan is.

I know things will get better. Insha'Allah. But for now I'm feeling a lot of confusion. We'll see where things go in my life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Love Affair Continues

I just came across this article written by Naomi Klein - who just happens to be Avi Lewis' wife. They have become my new favourite couple. I only wish I had looked into their work sooner. It's sad that it took them defending Muslims for me to listen to them. I really should be listening to anyone defending the rights of the oppressed at any time. I pride myself on trying not to favour anyone and trying to fight for the the rights of all oppressed. But I guess something really becomes salient when it hits close to home. Anyhow, people on the left unite!

It's no slur to be called a Muslim

Naomi Klein
The Guardian, Saturday March 1 2008

The turban photos affair was a missed chance for Obama. If he really is to repair the world, he must tackle this Islamophobia.

Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."

Sure she did. And George Bush put on a poncho in Santiago, while Paul Wolfowitz burned up YouTube with his anti-malarial African dance routines while World Bank president. The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they look funny; when a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign - and when the ethnic apparel in question is vaguely reminiscent of the clothing worn by Iraqi and Afghan fighters (at least to many Fox viewers, who think any headdress other than a baseball cap is a declaration of war on America), the image is downright frightening.

The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear". It includes everything from exaggerated enunciations of Obama's middle name (Hussein) to the online whisper campaign that Obama attended a fundamentalist madrasa in Indonesia (a lie), was sworn in on a Qur'an (another lie), and if elected would attach speakers to the White House to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (I made that one up).

So far Obama's campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "Barack has never been a Muslim or practised any other faith besides Christianity," states one fact sheet. "I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," Obama told a Christian News reporter.

Of course Obama must correct the record, but he doesn't have to stop there. What is disturbing about the campaign's response is that it leaves unchallenged the disgraceful and racist premise behind the entire "Muslim smear": that being Muslim is de facto a source of shame. Obama's supporters often say they are being "Swift-boated" (a pejorative term derived from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against the 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry), casually accepting the idea that being accused of Muslimhood is tantamount to being accused of treason.

Substitute another faith or ethnicity, and you'd expect a very different response. Consider a report from the archives of the Nation. Thirteen years ago Daniel Singer, the magazine's late Europe correspondent, went to Poland to cover a presidential election. He reported that the race had descended into an ugly debate over whether one of the candidates, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was a closet Jew. The press claimed his mother was buried in a Jewish cemetery (she was still alive), and a popular TV show aired a skit featuring the Christian candidate dressed as a Hassidic Jew. "What perturbed me," Singer said, "was that Kwasniewski's lawyers threatened to sue for slander rather than press for an indictment under the law condemning racist propaganda".

We should expect no less of the Obama campaign. When asked during the Ohio debate about Louis Farrakhan's support for his candidacy, Obama did not hesitate to call Farrakhan's antisemitic comments "unacceptable and reprehensible". When the turban photo flap came up in the same debate, he used the occasion to say nothing at all.

Farrakhan's infamous comments about Jews took place 24 years ago. The orgy of hate that is the "Muslim smear" is unfolding in real time, and it promises to greatly intensify in a general election. These attacks do not simply "smear Barack's Christian faith", as John Kerry claimed in a campaign mailing. They are an attack on all Muslims, some of whom actually do exercise their rights to cover their heads and send their kids to religious school. Thousands even have the very common name Hussein. All are watching their culture used as a crude bludgeon against Obama, while the candidate who is the symbol of racial harmony fails to defend them - this at a time when US Muslims are bearing the brunt of the Bush administration's assaults on civil liberties, including dragnet wiretapping, and are facing a documented spike in hate crimes.

Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are "deserving of respect and dignity". What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.

The core of Obama's candidacy is that he alone - having lived in Indonesia as a boy and with an African grandmother - can "repair the world" after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many convinced that the US has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; and that voting for an Islamist party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fuelled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.

As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he's asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalised exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart - it's the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks. The best part is this: unlike ending the Iraq war and closing Guantánamo, standing up to Islamophobia doesn't need to wait until after the election. Obama can use his campaign to start now. Let the repairing begin.

A version of this article appears in the Nation.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Why I Love Avi Lewis

This morning while listening to the CBC radio program Sounds Like Canada I became a fan of Avi Lewis.

Canadian journalist (formerly of the CBC), Avi Lewis, who is now working for Al-Jazeera English as a US correspondent, was one of the guests. He was all praises for Al-Jazeera English. This was not surprising. As I have heard before, Lewis re-iterated that the journalism standards of Al-Jazeera were very high. Not stooping to the hi-jinks of CNN and others American news organizations Al-Jazeera has been able to maintain the integrity that journalism is supposed to have.

During the course of the show they discussed an interview Avi Lewis did with the ignoramus Islamophobe Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (For an excellent critique of her work which exposes her as the fraud she is see this The Nation article.) While listening to the clip I was infuriated and very impressed. Infuriated because of what Hirsi Ali was saying. And impressed because Lewis criticized and challenged her. Something people never seem to do. They always seem to fall for her cons. The closest I saw to an American critique was on the Colbert Report when Stephen Colbert expressed surprise when she said Christianity was obsolete.

Check out the CBC interview:

In his radio interview this morning, Lewis expressed his disbelief at her assertions and at her popularity. To hear that radio interview click on the link for Sounds Like Canada podcasts, and scroll down to The Best of Sounds Like Canada April 8: Avi Lewis.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Even Muslims Need Makeovers

I have this video on my Facebook and have emailed it to numerous friends. But I thought I'd post it here just because I LOVE this short film and LOVE these guys. In comedy they've shown the ludicrousness of religious fanaticism and extreme conservatism. Plus, the Afghan/African American guy is hot.

The director of the film is Imran J. Khan from the US somewhere... In one of their, um, 40 provinces.* You can watch some of his other videos here.

* I know they have 50 states. I was just doing a Canadianized imitation of our neighbours to the south. And Khan is in California.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The History of Words

I love language. Proof is I took two linguistics and one psycholinguistics courses in my undergraduate years. Additionally, as I've mentioned before I am a budding social constructionist (though I doubt I will ever be a pure social constructionist) and social constructionists will argue that our reality is socially constructed through our language. The words we use to describe our worlds actually shape our realities and our experiences. Our words come first, then our reality.

For instance, when we label people a certain way our experiences and interactions with, opinions, thoughts and feelings about, those people will be determined by that label. For instance, if we label someone 'depressed' not only will our own interactions with that person be coloured by that term, their experiences with the world will be too. Or look at the term 'single woman' versus 'spinster.' They have very different connotations. They mean the same thing technically, but in reality are very different words. If we see someone as spinster, we feel bad for her, expect her to have many cats, and be lonely and sad. If we say single woman, although some similar thoughts may come to mind (and to those of you who have those thoughts I have some rude things to say to you) but for the most part things don't look so bleak for her.

Anyhow, I digress. So words. Have you ever wondered where words come from? I often do. For instance, did you know that the word 'vagina' comes from a Latin word which meant 'sheath' or something which covers a sword. Hmm...I wonder what sword they were referring to. Apparently the first to use the term was an Italian anatomist. So the female gentalia only exists in reference to the male member. The role of the female gentalia is only to house the 'sword.' I say lets stop using the sexist term 'vagina' and use something else. Don't know what else we could use.

And then there's the saying 'rule of thumb.' This was based on an old English law which stated that a man could not beat his wife with something that was thicker than his thumb. Ah well jeez...thank you so much. I say let's stop using this phrase too.

And then there is the word 'ottaman' for the foot stool. I'm not completely sure where this word came from but I am sure it has something to do with insulting and degrading one of the greatest Muslim empires in history. Again, thanks racists. Again, let's boycott this word. I never use it anyhow. I always call them foot stools no matter how beautiful it may be. Hmpf! However, according to Online Etymology Dictionary it was called so because it looked Eastern. I don't know about that.

I'm sure you've all used the rhyme "Einee meinee myni mo (I'm not sure of spellings) as children. In the version I rhymed off we would say 'catch a tigger by the toe.' But of course in the original version the word tigger was not there but rather it was the 'n' word. When I first realized this I was completely shocked. My friend who informed me of this also told me that at one point as a child, she was using this rhyme when a teacher came up to her, ordered her to stop using it and forbade her from using it again. At the time she did not know why. I know I won't be allowing my future children to use this rhyme.

Then there are the words with benign origins. Or so it seems at the moment. Many words in the English language originate in the sub-continent as a result of colonial occupation. For instance the words 'thug,' 'bungalow,' 'cushy,' 'loot,' and 'cummerband.' And did you know that although the word 'tamarind' comes from the Arabic word 'tamar hindi', the Arabic word means 'date of India.'

However, I have to admit that the words and terms which are controversial and have shady origins fascinate me more. I will continue the search for such terms. If you know of any please to pass them my way.
* Click on the picture to see where I got it from.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Busy as a PhD Bee

Busy, busy, busy. Those are the only words for my life right now. It's the end of the semester and things are almost due. Some things will continue on, but some things need to be done very soon. So I apologize for not writing much. I will return very soon. I have so much on my mind.