Archive for Sharia

“THE 99”: Muslim Superheroes

there is nothing fundamentally different between Islam and any other belief on Earth or any other way of being human… For me, in the end, the 99 attributes of Allah are attributes that not only all Muslims value, but humanity values. Things like generosity, strength, wisdom, foresight, mercy… So my point of what I was trying to do was try to bring us together, versus pull us apart.

when i first heard about this muslim comic book called The 99, i thought it was a cheesy attempt by some apologetic opportunist. but after looking into it and the writer’s background, i think it’s kinda cool. an animated version of the comic book is in the making…i’d write more about it but i’m busy at work and i just finished explaining it to a friend…so i’m just going to copy and paste our convo, links and all… you’d probably enjoy the convo more anyway…it includes munchkins…and bacon…

c: man i just want to go home but i have to go to the other place after this
c: and work till midnight
a: think of munchkins plotting to bring down humanity
a: evil little munchkins
a: with superpowers
a: the ability to sweat cheese
a: so they can stink up any room they’re in
a: and cause others to pass out
c: does this world include hallucinogens?
a: of course
c: fun world
a: a friend of mine is a teacher
a: so he asks his students on the first day of class
a: if you could have any super power what would it be
a: this guy raises his hand and says the ability to sweat cheese
a: my friend thought it was the greatest thing he ever heard
c: i would have so many questions for that dude
c: what would your power be?
a: read minds
c: hmm that is risky business
a: theres a new islamic comic book
a: with 99 superheroes
a: 99 representing the 99 attributes of God
a: which Muslims believe in
c: really
a: so each superhero personifies an attribute
a: so this one character, Noor
a: possesses the attribute of Light
a: and she can strike light and holograms anywhere but the downside to her power is
a: she can see the bad in people as well, so she develops a cynical view of the world
c: wow
a: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/kuwait605/index.html
c: sounds interesting
a: theyre screening a documentary about the making of the comic book
a: but the film is also a look at how the comic book has caused controversy in the muslim world
a: religious conservatives hate it
a: one criticism is that its idolizing these superbeings, and only God is to be idolized
c: religious conservatives hate everything except god
a: they hate god too
a: i think its funny that many of these same imams
a: praise suicide bombers and yet believe chidren shouldn’t read about muslim superheroes
a: like if he blows his limbs off and takes out others with him, hes a hero
a: and it’s ok when muslim kids look at this and see it as a positive thing
a: but they cant read a comic book that promotes God’s attributes through his creation
a: it’s like shutup and go away
c: well put
a: i went to get a halal bacon sandwich
a: and the guy forgot the bacon
a: thats the only reason why i went to get it
c: so its just a halal sandwich…
c: i love turkey bacon
a: supposedly its really good at this place
c: go back and throw it in his face like you are a rockstar
a: word
a: wheres my bacon bitch
c: exactly
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WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! is the story of Naif Al-Mutawa and THE 99- the first comic book rooted in Islamic history and culture. Since its launch in 2006, THE 99 has been both an international media sensation and a lightening rod for controversy. An intimate look at an entrepreneur and his daring venture to build a new pop-culture for young Muslims, WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! examines the shifting definitions of the sacred and the secular across the Islamic world at the dawn of the 21st century.

For more info about Wham! Bam! Islam!
http://www.endeavorfilms.com

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Why I hate Muslims…Why I hate men

Bridges TV

First I will preface this post with sympathy to Aasiya’s friends relatives.  It is hard enough to lose a loved one, but to lose them in such a horrific manner and at the hands of the person who should be her protector, and the source of compassion and love makes it so much harder to handle. Allah yarhmha, and may she rest in peace.

In case you’re wondering where I’m coming from, Aasiya Hassan is the wife of Muzzammil Hassan, a Muslim-American television executive and creator of Bridges TV, a Muslim television network.  Last week Aasiya was beheaded by her husband. The reason why, it is being reported, is because she had filed for a divorce. There are many reasons i am angry at this, and i will express it in list form to save time and perhaps I’ll fill in the dots later when i can type faster (burned my hand, it’s not important).

1) Husband was the executive of a Muslim network that promoted MODERATE ISLAM. If this is the best example of moderate Islam, George Bush Jr. is the best example of a Republican. And the executive of Bridges TV, a network created to dispel the very stereotype this murder serves to spread. 

2) The media coverage was atrocious. On a simple google search, the most common hits came from independent blogs or conservative news sites (jihadwatch.com, michelle malkin, and foxnews), with one bit on CNN. Where’s the media? And more importantly, where’s the the MUSLIM uproar??? 

Only ISNA can be found responding in the appropriate way:

http://www.isna.net/articles/News/RESPONDING-TO-THE-KILLING-OF-AASIYA-HASSAN-AN-OPEN-LETTER-TO-THE-LEADERS-OF-AMERICAN-MUSLI.aspx

But more should be done locally. This violence exists in Muslim neighborhoods WORLDWIDE, and it’s not mentioned. How can that be? How does it get to the point where a man can beat his wife without cause for question? This type of man should be shunned, ridiculed, and removed from Muslim circles. PERIOD.

3) Don’t try to cover this up as a Muslim crime either. It was domestic violence written all over it. Though honor killings are popular in the Muslim world (probably because of the pressures on the purity/chastity of women taken to an extreme level), the problem of domestic abuse in general is what needs to be addressed. Just because this reached the point of murder, it’s gotten all the press, but among the reasons why Aasiya filed for divorce was domestic abuse. We, not just as Muslims, but as people need to address this, not just by writing letters, but by demanding accountability and education. How can we be doing this to each other, let alone our spouses, the mothers of our children? Why are we not marching in the streets for this? 

4) Stuff I hate about the murderer: He turned himself in, supposedly, with the thought that he did the right thing. He was married previously TWICE. How the hell can this man be allowed to be married? Probably an arranged marriage, I’m sure, but even then isn’t there a guideline of some sort? Why?? WHY does he deserve the honor of being married???   

This is a tragedy. An absolute tragedy.

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The Monstrous Regiment of Women

Above is a video trailer of a movie that suggests that the autonomy of women is, essentially, wrong.
I laughed at first, then I realized that these people were actually serious.

Best parts:

00:31 “I knew if I could get a girl sexually active that she would have 3-5 abortions between the ages of 13 and 18, and that was actually our goal.”

Right.  Because the goal of family planning organizations is, in fact, to have young women flock to abortion clinics.

00:57 – “..that takes us right back to Marxism and Socialism. It’s far better for the state to run everything and decide how our lives will be, than for individual families to have that autonomy.”

Oh no! Not Socialism and Marxism! We wouldn’t want to be forced to follow some text to the point where it governs our lives completely and doesn’t allow for any sort of individual authority. Ya know, like, for example, THE BIBLE.

To any sane person reading this: Feel free to break something to let off some steam. Just try not to break anything valuable.

oj

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What’s Michelle wearing?

michelle_obama_carrie_bradshaw

 

Why is it that every time I see Michelle Obama on TV people feel the need to discuss what she’s wearing?  The woman graduated from Princeton University, has a degree from Harvard Law and is one of the best speakers I have heard, but judging by what I hear, her dress seems to be the most intelligent thing about her. Have people forgotten that she gave one of the more riveting speeches at the DNC and has always been the driving force behind President Obama?  Why has she become a mannequin on display? Why is this nation more concerned with her wardrobe than her achievements? 

The sexism on display is astounding. And what’s more astounding is how we’ve come to accept it as normal. While we speak about President Obama’s policies on the economy, we ask the First Lady about her policy on the upcoming Spring fashion. Can we stop this please?

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Fatwa alert: Murder as a form of TV censorship

Recently, the NY Times did a piece on a fatwa that was issued by a highly respected Saudi scholar, Sheik Saleh al-Luhaidan. Basically, he stated that it was alright to murder the owners of TV networks for airing immoral programming. The ruling was in response to a highly popular Turkish soap opera that invaded the homes of Arabs across the Middle East during the month of Ramadan. In the show, among the main characters are a married couple in which the husband treats his wife as his equal. Scandalous, I know. Abortion was another issue that was dealt with.

My friend recently posted the story on Facebook and I thought one person’s comments were interesting in that they’re reflective of a general passive and uncritical attitude towards an ailing religious establishment in the Middle East. Essentially, he believes it to be a conspiracy on the part of Western media to smear Islam and make Muslims doubt their faith. Not to suggest that some journalists don’t intentionally choose to focus on the worst aspects of our communities, but to dismiss in knee-jerk fashion any and every criticism that comes out of Western journalism is due more to stubborn, blind faith and less from any evidence that Western editors conspire to attack the faith of Muslims. Why get defensive? Are we afraid that if we admit to and begin to reevaluate a form of Islam that has been partly molded by chauvinist and intolerant thinking, that it will somehow cause us to lose complete faith? Rather than make us doubt, these incidents should help us to work harder to fulfill the potential of our faith. We have to believe that if our faith is solid and true, than addressing these problems will only lead to a strengthened imaan. Because if it doesn’t, well then I’m not sure I want to follow a faith with so many inherent problems. But I don’t believe these issues stem from the divine. Each fatwa is simply one man’s interpretation.

The person who commented on the article described the sheikh as a well-respected scholar and warned about criticizing “stupid clerics”, as my friend described them. This is the same sheikh who in the past declared an already persecuted minority of Ismailis to be “infidels”, thereby legitimizing their maltreatment in Saudi Arabia. Imams are not above reproach if they are harming their communities and there’s a line between healthy respect and blind loyalty. A highly respected scholar with wide appeal should not be encouraging murder but instead remind Muslims that no person shall bear the burden of another’s sins, so if a person decides to own a television set then he or she does so at their own risk. Makes for less bloodshed and more personal accountability.

Beyond the fatwa itself, I take issue with these inconsistent clerics and their endemic double standards. This particular sheikh changed his original opinion when Saudi authorities, many of whom own these networks, got a tad upset over the fatwa he just put over their heads. Rather than blaming these men for the programming they’ve allowed into their country, which would have at least been consistent with his original logic, the sheikh instead put down his sword and decided that perhaps they should be given a fair hearing in court.

This is representative of how the religious establishment in the Middle East caters to powerful interests and vice-versa. Of all the thousands of fatwas manufactured by these men, not even a handful touch on the corrupt leaderships and societal ills that have direct bearing on peoples’ daily lives. And when it comes to the “highly respected” ones, the chances of finding such fatwas are nil. Instead we have scholars wasting our time on inconsequential matters, and blaming TV execs for a problem that can easily be resolved by simply changing the channel.

And what’s that say about an Arab world that’s become infatuated with a show seemingly promoting women’s rights? Reportedly, the show raised marital tensions between actual couples. Did the show really cause these problems though or did it just reveal what was already bubbling beneath the surface? Could it have anything to do with how women are treated in these societies? Case in point, recently Jordan’s religious establishment pressured the parliament to reject a law that would have protected women from honor killings because Imams worried it would threaten the nation’s “values.” And like always and as business as usual, the parliament in return stays out of the affairs of mosques as long as they’re not touching on their rule. Which I guess wouldn’t be so bad if Imams weren’t busy calling for assassinations and impinging on minority rights.

Corrupt political leadership is not the only thing deterring the Muslim world from progress…

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The Clerics Strike Again!

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/world/middleeast/27beirut.html?ex=1380254400&en=76e3d95568657ab3&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

 

“[Some shows that test the limits on the treatment of sex and gender roles are clearly] exposing people who are culturally isolated to modernity at a pace that is faster than they would like.” -Ramez Maluf

 

 

I can’t piece my words together right now, so I’ll just blog now and edit later – but definitely read the article, people.

Why are Muslim clerics so retarded? Is it just me, or is every sin now punishable by death? I’m sure the media has something to do with the demonization of Islam, but no one can deny the lack of nuance expressed in clerics’ judgments these days. 

I don’t mean to play innocent. I often times find myself silently judging others for their lifestyle, whether it be drinking alcohol, or having premarital sex. I tend to elevate my moral beliefs over theirs. I pat myself on the shoulder and look down upon those “alcoholics and sluts” (cuz anyone who drinks alcohol must be crazy, and anyone who has premarital sex is a tramp). But I will be the first to admit how wrong this is. I choose to behave a certain way because of my beliefs, but over the last couple of years I’ve been trying my best not to impose those beliefs onto others, and moreover, to accept their beliefs as a moral way of life. Actually, part of me is jealous of their behavior. Jealous of the fact that they can commit such actions without the pain of guilt that would inevitably overwhelm me if I attempted to participate in the “festivities.” In the end, in some cases, they may actually be happier.

Anyway, what’s of more interest to me is the underlying social implications television programs have on society. Of course I won’t deny the impact television has on its viewers. And I certainly don’t want Arab society to devolve into a hedonistic play pen. But it’s naive to think that people won’t behave a certain way just because they don’t see it on tv.

What’s briefly mentioned in the article, but not explained is the fact that the protagonist, Mohanned “treats his wife as an equal and supports her career as a fashion designer.” The article alludes to divorces and tensions in marital relations, most likely due to comparisons to Mohanned’s relationship with his wife. I’m not sure if the author is trying to say that clerics don’t believe in the equality of men and women in society (a fact which I believe) or if he’s suggesting that these television programs are a platform for women’s rights (which I think is a stretch). 

The US went through this already. From Larry Flint and Hustler magazine, to Howard Stern and his radio antics to Janet Jackson and her nipple – morality and religion are in a constant tango until the end of time. I guess I’m glad it’s being addressed by the Arab World.

Forgive me for the awful structure of this post, I can’t seem to get my thoughts straight right now. 

oj

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Woman

A more important, but vastly more daunting, challenge identified by the report is taking on the Islamic establishment to remove cultural obstacles sanctified by religious rulings. The report says that the reform it envisions “will modernize religious interpretation and jurisprudence through the widespread adoption of the enlightened readings [of Koranic texts]. –What’s Holding Back Arab Women?

woman.

of the two sexes, she is a symbol. a voiceless, formless representation. disgraced at birth, she is a vessel. filled with ideas that existed long before she was born. she drags her heavy labels around daily, and carries the fear always that she will fail fate’s expectations.

holy men call her fitna. she is disorder, chaos, to be kept out of sight and out of space, hidden away where she can hurt no man. out of time, so when her children are trained in history they learn that men are what mattered and men are what matter.

she is as the arabs say, “half a mind, half a creed, half an inheritance.” she does not matter.

she is above all, honor. she matters. her last name is a trust. a burden of expectations. what she does, what she says, what she dreams. all scripted, all preapproved, and society will watch observantly as she performs her role faithfully. if she falters, her last name falters too. she matters.

she is honor, she is shame. it used to be that a man could bury his shame beneath the dirt. beneath dirt, lower than dirt. but shame was saved, placed above the dirt and told she was free, as free as a ghost. and so she roams, out of sight, out of space, out of time. but if you listen closely, fate can be heard slowly dragging behind.

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