Tuesday, November 28, 2006

To dress or to undress?

Sister Ruth Nasrullah, who is fast becoming a Houston icons for converts to Islam, is now hosting her own blog via Houston Chronicle. Sister Ruth is a journalist by education, and her writings convey that art well. Her blog has an interesting entry regarding the picture of a Muslim woman that appeared in the Chronicle. By all accounts, the picture was not very accurate in its portrayal of Islamic dress (what a surprise). So, Sister Ruth discusses that, and some interesting comments come her way.

Here's her blog : http://blogs.chron.com/thestraightpath/. Look for insert "I'm Disappointed".

One comment that probably got under Sister Ruth's skin, and under mine and probably most Muslims was this comment by a Dennis:
"Ruth - it's an interesting concept that you are promoting here, this idea of freedom through oppression. I thought our society had advanced well beyond that point, even if it is based on a religious philosophy. To steal a line from Richard Dawkins, we tolerate a lot of really bad ideas becase we are told that they have some sort of religious basis. I don't think most Americans will buy into what you are suggesting."

Here's my response:
To Dennis:
Your statement, I quote, "this idea of freedom through oppression" is actually quite amusing. It's as contradictory as Bush's goal of promoting 'liberty' i.e. if people choose to behave in a certain way that you don't like, then it must be oppression, and if they choose to behave in a way that you like, then it has to be liberty! Why is it that you and your ilk feel that they are somehow so enlightened to pick and choose what represents liberty or oppression for others?
For you, liberty may mean women appearing in playboy or penthouse magazines or appearing barely-clad or not clad at all in advertisements that have nothing to do with women. For you, liberty may mean women selling themselves, and be sold by others, for the enjoyment of men. For you, liberty may mean women wearing mini-skirts at work for the visual pleasure of men dressed in 3-piece suits. For you, liberty may be little girls dressing in enticing and 'sexy' clothes, while they haven't yet grasped simple concepts of life. For you, liberty may mean women spending their entire lives trying to please men, whether on the street, on the bill-boards, on TV, in magazines or whatever else purpose they are being exploited for.
For us Muslims, Dennis, liberty means quite something else. For us Muslims, liberty means a women's subservience not to the society or its male sector, but to the God who created her. For us Muslims, liberty means a woman's role not as an object of pleasure for nations, but rather as a mother of nations. And finally, for us Muslims, liberty means dressing to dress, and not to entice; dressing to cover, and not to uncover illicit relations.
As the verse in Quran states, what means, "To you, your religion, to us ours". So, to you, your perverted sense of liberty, to us, our true liberty; Liberty from the worship of man, and liberty in the worship of man's creator.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

11 Reasons to attend Texas Dawah!!!


1) TDC just recieved confirmation from two additional speakers; Shk. Yasir Birjas and Shk. Mohammad Faqih!

2) There will be a Muslim career program with seven panelists discussing halal career options for Muslims outside of the usual careers Muslims seem to aim for.

3) This year we will have amazing recreational activities, and programs including indoor rockclimbing, as well as basketball tournaments. We will have a guest Shaykh that will come by to shoot air ball with the brothers!

4) The Texas Dawah Convention will be hosting a History of Islam in Texas, 'research and presentation'. This is a brilliant piece organized by brothers at the University of Texas MSA and sponsored by Clear Lake Islamic Center and Texas Dawah Convention.

5) By far this convention will be one of the most amazing and the largest in Houston, with amazing speakers and programs for the 5,000 plus attendees expected, insha'Allah.

6) We will have as our guest, one of the highest Muslim elected in the US government, Senator Larry Shaw, from North Carolina. Closer to home we will have Texas's very own Teacher of the Year, Patricia El-Kassir.

7) The environment is a constant faith booster. Scholars, Friends, and families will fill the convention center. Insha Allah pure bliss will surround each and everyone of the attendees.

8) For all our single brothers and sisters out there, we will have a matrimonial program at TDC.

9) There will be an array of wonderful parallel sessions for adults, MSA, youth, and sister-only sessions. There will also be a sister's talk show and leadership-training seminar!

10) Unlike any other convention, this convention will have students of knowledge directly involved with the organization. This ensures that everyone will be getting the most of what he/she can from this convention. By having the Shayookh, and other students of knowledge directing the program, it helps to increase and ensure great quality and results insha' Allah.

11) For those who cannot wait what the Texas Dawah Convention has in store for next year, there will be a sneak peak at the theme and topic for TDC VII! Don't miss out!

Friday, November 10, 2006

My Musings on the 2006 Elections: Democrats Won... Deja Vu?

Ok, I will have to admit. I am underground political junkie. I followed the build-up and the consequent landslide victory very closely. Initially, I was thrilled to see a change of guard, but for some reason, I am becoming increasingly cynical. Not that anything has transpired that is of particular concern to Muslims with the new 'regime', but its a feeling of deja vu. What do I mean by that? Let me explain…

First of all, many who know me, know my background, may be surprised by my political interest or participation (yes, I voted for the first time ever). As with many Q&S followers, I considered voting an abomination, a clear indication of being on the 'other side'. However, things change, some for the better, some for the worse. Many of the scholars on 'our side', so we found out, were not following the same line of ‘extremist’ thinking I alluded to. So, the view that is increasingly becoming most acceptable among our ilk is that if it makes a difference to the community, then the permissibility changes. Now, don't quote me on this (actually don't quote me on anything for your own good). In my humble, little-knowledge-big-mouth opinion, then, the very fact that Muslims vote makes a difference to the Muslim image. It gives them a voice, it resonates among the non-Muslims, it shows ‘em that we are part of this country. Some may say, as I used to, “if you can't take, then leave”. Well, unfortunately, many of us are just NOT leaving. Some have a choice, others don't. So, the direction of that argument is increasingly digging a grand hole for the Muslims who end up staying (like 99% of us). If we accept this premise, then we must prevent the conclusion (i.e. the big hole)… we have to do something for most of us who are here for the long run…

Expounding on the last point a little more then, when I vote, or esp. when my wife votes in her full Islamic garb, then immediately people see that Muslims exist, that they are part of the society, and most importantly, we will vote against you if you mess with us or vote for you when you represent our interests, as equal citizens of this country! I should mention, by the way, that this year my wife did NOT vote-- hey I can't force my ideology on her... as a Muslim woman, her decisions are borne out of her Islamic convictions, not mine. She did agree that when I ran, she'd vote for me. I appreciate the vote of confidence, but the chance of me running is about the same as me running the marathon under 2 or even 3 hrs, i.e. non-existent. That makes for an important point-- though I may be coming to the conclusion that its ok to vote, its a far cry from saying that one can run for office as well. The compromises that one has to make in running for an office, by itself, are enough to shun a good Muslim away, wallahu alam. So, the image of Muslims voting is itself a positive one. Then for Muslims to become a bloc vote, to force changes is another one that we can look forward to (i.e. of course if we start voting!). Think about it? If politicians didn't care about your vote (or lack thereof), then they will serve those who keep them in power. If you don't vote, then it certainly ain't you. Ok, I think that's enough of a tangent and enough of ammunition for my detractors! Getting back to the topic-- why am I becoming cynical?

I remember the year 2000: my first real year for political interest. George W. Bush was running of course for the presidency. And in that famous debate (famous for Muslims at least), he said, "'Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what's called secret evidence .... We've got to do something about that." And that created the greatest buzz you could imagine among Muslims-- the first time a presidential candidate discussed a Muslim issue on the national forum. In essence, he was talking to Muslims, saying "Elect me, I'll fix it". Of course, on the other side, you had a candidate, whose running mate was an orthodox Jew. Without mincing words, Muslims weren't prepared to vote in a candidate so directly connected to Israel. Hence, George Bush was going to be the Muslim's savior in America, the last great hope. Republicans were also against abortion and gays, both issues resonating with Muslims. A natural fit, one might argue. As the election hung by the chads on Florida ballots, it can be safely assumed, that Muslims pushed Bush over the edge, and into the Presidency. Whether by contributions, votes, or duas, the margin of victory was so small, that had Bush not made his less than honest call to Muslims, Al Gore would certainly be the President, and Allah knows best. And Allah also knows how much Muslims rued those contributions/votes, and most importantly those duas!

So, Georgie was Prez, and Muslims couldn't hide their glee. Reality, like lighting, struck quickly and painfully. Almost immediately, came the appointment of General John Ashcroft. Muslims didn't realize how 'bad' he was until after 9/11. Of course 9/11 was the watershed moment for all Muslims in the world. This tragedy was followed by another tragedy, the Patriot Act, and so on. From a Savior to the Satan, George Bush's image among Muslims is an amazing story.

A smart reader probably has already guessed where I am going with this. Over the last few years, Muslims have been changing their loyalty to the Democrats in hordes. I can't blame them. What choice do Muslims have? A party that is out to 'fix' the rest of the world, but somehow that world is limited only to Muslims, a party that will not be afraid to set up internment camps for Muslims if anything bad happens again in this country (following the example of Japanese internment camps) OR a party that doesn't agree with them in abortion, gay-rights, morality, yet is probably going to give Muslims a chance to make their case (before locking them up of course)? For those who are politically ignorant, I was referring to Republicans, and then Democrats. So, its the survival instinct, and for Muslims, Democrats provide that opportunity more so than the Republicans.

So, the Muslims voted for Democrats. I don't have the polls on me, but anecdotal evidence is quite clear that Muslims, at least those who care about staying out of prison or reducing Muslim bloodshed outside America, will probably have voted Democrat. Well, yoo hoo, the Democrats won.

Getting back then to the deja vu. Will the Democrats take Muslims for a ride too, like Bush did? Of course they won't touch Israel, unless they want AIPAC to eat them for lunch. So, will they really do anything for us? Personally, the cynical me says NO. And that's where I will leave it. If they do something good for us, then that may prevent the Muslim pendulum from swinging back to the Republicans, or may be even to the Green Party (which in essence is a waste of vote, realistically speaking). If they mess up, like Georgie, well, then at least I didn't have my hopes too high, to be dashed yet again!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Great Islamic videos online...

Here are some bright spots on the net for great videos... as I find more or as you have more recommendations, we'll expand the list. But, recommend something unique, not just something you stumble on, searching for the keyword Islam!

Well, this ain't "great", but its funny: Seasonal Muslims

ACTION ALERT: Help free Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki

Many of you may have heard about the Lives of The Prophets CD by Imam Anwar. These were some of the best English lectures ever produced. Now, the person responsible for them is in need of our help--- our dua' and our efforts... see link below:


Then contact:

Write to the US authorities:

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20520
Tel: + 1 202 647 4000
Fax: + 1 202 261 8577
E-mail: http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html

Write to the Yemeni authorities:

  • Appeal for the immediate release of Anwar Al Awlaki unless he is to be promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offence and given a fair trial without further delay in accordance with international fair trial standard
  • Call on the authorities to respect the rule of law
  • Remind the authorities of their obligations under both national and international human rights law and allow Anwar Al Awlaki access to legal counsel, his family and the opportunity to challenge the legality of his detention

Embassy in Washington, DC: Telephone: (202) 965-4760
The Ambassador: ambassador@yemenembassy.org
Political Affairs Office: political@yemenembassy.org

His Excellency General ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh
Office of The President
Republic of Yemen
Faxes: 009671274147

His Excellency Rashid Muhammad al-‘Alimi
Office of the Republic of Yemen Ministry of the Interior
Republic of Yemen
Telephone: 009671332701
Fax: 009671274147

Monday, November 06, 2006

Muslims Care...

Published in Galveston Daily (10/20/04)


In reference to “Study about Muslims an eye-opener” (The Daily News, Oct. 8), thank you Heber Taylor for this excellent piece.

The years since 9/11 have been extremely testing for American Muslims in terms of the stereotyping of Muslims and Islam in the media, especially on hate-talk-radio.

The results, per the Council on American-Islamic Relations survey, are not surprising. Worse, this perception has probably been a driver for hate crimes that has included vandalism of mosques and Muslim businesses as well as personal injury.

I would like to tell your readers that Muslims care about their communities. I have met thousands of Muslims in America, and not a single one wanted to harm our country.

And the author of this letter himself is working today in community service as a loaned executive from the Valero Refining Company to United Way Mainland.

Visit your local mosque, talk to a Muslim neighbor or coworker and find out for yourself what Muslims teach and don’t teach their kids.

Islamic Fascism??

The following was published in Delaware News Journal on 8/29/06 & Galveston Daily on 8/31/06(slightly modified version):



It is disheartening to see the president of our country engaging in despicable politics at the expense of Muslim sentiment. What I'm referring to is Bush's use of the term "Islamic fascism."

The president is not the first one to use this phrase; rather he has borrowed it from the briefcase of hate terms carried around by right-wing nuts such as Hannity, Savage, and the like. Instead of being careful and deliberate with his choice of words, the leader of the world's strongest nation has opted to rely on a sensationalist terminology, terminology that is illogical and deeply offensive to Muslims.

Your readers should know that the definition of fascism: "a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator." If one were to look at the different militant outfits around the world that purport to be Islamic, it is easy to see that there is no central authority that runs through these groups. For instance, Hezbollah claims to be staunchly Shia, while al-Qaida claims to follow a staunchly Sunni ideology. Both these groups would as easily consider each other infidels as they would non-Muslims.

The political purpose of Bush in using the phrase "Islamic fascism" is obvious; it is an attempt to shore up his faltering popularity by pandering to the extreme right wing, and by engaging in fearmongering (in the phrase's allusion to Hitler).

While it may actually prove politically helpful in today's climate of Islamaphobia, it is a complete disservice to President Bush's role as the leader of all people in America, including Muslims.

Is America Really Safer Now?

Is America Really Safer Now?

This question is sure to feature strongly in Republican Party’s campaign to keep the Congress. As the campaign heats up, Mr. Bush and leading Republicans will emphasize how the country is so much safer now and that the proof of this lies in the fact that no terrorist attack has occurred since 9/11. However, on closer examination and a simple analysis of facts, it should make this argument quite hollow. For this purpose, one needs to only answer 2 questions:

Firstly, did the frequency of attacks on US soil decrease based on past history? Secondly, did new government policies effectively lead to the termination of a viable, plausible and probable terrorist threat?

The answer to both these questions is an emphatic NO! Previous to 9/11 attacks, the last 'foreign-borne' terrorist attack occurred on US soil on February 26 1993 on the Trade Center; an interval of nearly 9 years. It has 6 years so far since 9/11, so this question will not be answered in Mr. Bush's tenure! The second question has an obvious answer too. Despite the news-making arrests and 'foiling' of plans over the last several years, there has not been one disruption of a planned attack that met three requirements: viability, plausibility & probability. All the so-called 'sleeper cells' and ‘terror suspects’ have pretty much one thing in common: They visited some assumed terrorist camps in or around Afghanistan where they were allegedly 'trained' and/or they were involved in some manner with 'terrorist causes' outside United States and not related to United States. But, let's get to the bottom-line: Not ONE of these so-called 'cells' had blueprints for an attack on our soil and not ONE of them was even planning for one in realistic ways. So, one does not need a lawyer's degree to understand that so far the administration has failed to prove that there has even been a viable terrorist threat in America or even a plan in the works for such a threat let alone disrupt such a plan.

The ruling party can harp on how they have dismantled Al-Qaida or how Saddam's departure has made us safer here but both these arguments are soft and ring more of rhetoric than substance. Al-Qaida's number 1 & 2 leaders are still on the loose. With all the destruction that US's 'war on terror' has imposed on Afghanistan and Iraq, it is actually now possible that Al-Qaida and other extremist organizations using the cloak of religion, have more substance in winning the hearts of deluded, uninformed Muslims than ever before. The recent National Intelligence Estimate concurs with this premise. Both Iraq and Afghanistan are in tatters, and solutions are not forthcoming, at least in the near future. As for Saddam, he was never a threat to the States. He had nothing to do with 9/11 and even though the Iraqis are better off without a ruthless murderer, Saddam would have never harmed the States. Dictators usually have some common sense to survive as long as they do. And part of common sense would tell Saddam that were he to harm United States or even make plans to do so, he would be wiped out instantly by a superpower's war arsenal.

Unfortunately, many people continue to buy the administration's claims for a safer America, even when the facts don't support it. Knowing what we know now about the false claims about Iraq's WMD and how the administration lied to a nation about a war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives and thousands of our soldiers' lives, it is truly baffling how anyone continue to accept the propaganda.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why am I blogging?

I have a lot on my mind. I have too many things to accomplish. I don't have forever.