The Government, Guns and Drugs


drugsI was once asked if I ever sold drugs; after getting over the initial shock of the question and realizing it was being asked by someone not even remotely interested in his own question I laid down the hammer and told him I considered selling drugs an act of treason and therefore punishable by death.  It’s treasonous I told the young man because the proliferation of drugs in a community is meant to render that group of people inert to the issues facing our country and disinterested in engaging in them.  Using drugs or people who peddle them are no better than people who practice slavery I said. My reply fell on deaf ears.

I was aware of the claims made by Gary Webb in  his “Dark Alliance” newspaper series that the US government has had a hand in the proliferation of drugs in the African-American community and that its intent was pretty much as I described to my interlocutor to destroy the black community.  When Webb first printed his articles he was driven to suicide but we all know there was merit to his assertions.  Indeed some preceded Webb in saying the same things.  The US government introduces drugs into a segment of the population, reaps the financial rewards thereof, the social advantages of making an entire population static non participants in their political, economic, social, or educational future. The existence of the government’s product necessitates government intervention, bureaucracy in the form of all the various agencies that must be employed to fight the war on drugs thereby legitimizing government itself.  A pretty neat slight of hand but only for government…for the people who are preyed upon by government it means their literal destruction or at least reduction to a comatose state where they are no longer relevant. Which brings me to Israel and Palestine.

I literally bolted out of my chair when I heard the Democracy Now interview last week with Budour Hassan talking about the situation in one of the refugee camps, Shuafat refugee camp and what goes on there.  She said this

……Subhi Abu Khalifa lives in Shuafat refugee camp, which is literally a ghetto, which the Israeli occupation since the 1970s has tried to crush with all means possible, turning it into a poverty hub, turning—putting drugs in the camp, smuggling arms to some of the residents. So they’ve tried to do everything in the camp, not just to destroy the community there, but to also prevent this camp from being active in the Palestinian resistance movement.

I thought finally, the US has taught Israel a thing or two about oppression…..America has at least at some point in the relationship between Israel and the US been a leader, not a follower of the Israeli agenda.  Everything about the US-Israel relationship has been completely and utterly one sided.  America has been the sole servant to Israeli interests even when they contradicted our own.  Now I had in front of me an example where Israel was doing the very same things to Palestinians living in the squalor of their Israeli imposed existence with the same diet of drugs and guns that have destroyed African-American communities being used to wipe out Palestinians as well.  In the interest of fairness it must be said Americans have resumed following Israel by parroting extra judicial killings of oppressed people without repercussion; #blacklivesmatter is an outgrowth of that but Israel has the advantage of looking at how that deadly cocktail of drugs and guns can benefit government in many ways and we can say they learned that from us.  #AmericanExceptionalism!

To the Muslim readers of this blog


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America’s summer of white supremacy: A postmortem


From Salon.com, by Bridgett Davis

The summer of 2014 was a summer of protest: African-Americans took to the streets with a simple but ambitious demand: “Treat us like human beings.”

In Ferguson, Missouri, marchers held placards that reprised the 1960s slogan, “I AM a MAN” (now with the addition of “I AM a WOMAN”). In this town where police fired 10 shots at unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown and struck him six times, apparently while his hands were up, a homemade sign said, “Don’t shoot! Black men are people, too!” Others carried signs insisting that “Black life matters.”

On Staten Island, those protesting the chokehold-killing of Eric Garner by a white cop voiced the same theme. “The reason I’m marching is because it’s time for people of color to be recognized as human beings,” 63-year-old Shirley Evans told the Daily News. “For years and years, we’ve been fighting for our rights. It’s time we’re seen as equals.”

A human being has the right to not be gunned down by the police for “blocking traffic,” and then be left rotting in the sun for four hours. A human being has the right to not be choked to death for “resisting arrest” for allegedly selling loose cigarettes – despite repeated pleas that he can’t breathe.

But other basic rights are also required to sustain human life – like access to water. When Detroit’s Dept. of Water and Sewage systematically shut off the water of more than 125,000 of its poorest residents – some of whom owed as little as $150 on their bills – the UN found that the shutoffs were a basic violation of human rights.

“These are my fellow human beings,” Detroiter Renla Session told the Detroit News. “If they threatened to cut off water to an animal shelter, you would see thousands of people out here. It’s senseless…. They just treat people like their lives mean nothing here in Detroit, and I’m tired of it.”

The denial of black humanity takes many forms. A police officer in a nearby town declared that the Ferguson protesters “should be put down like a rabid dog.” Anothersuburban cop, on duty in Ferguson during the protests, pointed his rifle in protesters’ faces and yelled, “I will fucking kill you.” After both incidents received news coverage, the two men were obliged to leave their jobs — but these and similar incidents raise questions about the institutional culture they reflect.

Certainly in Ferguson, those protesting Brown’s killing were treated by the police as an inhuman entity, en masse. The use of armored vehicles, tear gas, plastic bullets, threatening tactics and unconstitutional arrests sent a clear message: If you express your anger and your grief, you put your freedom – and maybe your life – at risk. The freedom of speech that the Supreme Court has guaranteed to corporations and the wealthy was not extended to the protesters in Ferguson.

Ferguson’s black residents live in fear of the police in part because the police force has 50 white officers and three black ones, patrolling a community where 67 percent of the residents are black. Not surprisingly, blacks make up 86 percent of police stops, according to a racial profiling report from Missouri’s attorney general.

These inequalities highlight the fact that the Mike Brown or Eric Garner killings aren’t just caused by the individual bigotry or hot temper of one “bad apple” cop. They reflect structural inequities that run deep throughout U.S. society and history.

Four miles south of Ferguson is the burial place of Dred Scott, the slave who in 1857 sued for his freedom and lost. He lies in Calvary Cemetery on West Florissant Avenue – the same street that, up in Ferguson, has been the center of protests since Mike Brown was killed. In rejecting Scott’s claim to freedom, the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice wrote, “A free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a ‘citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States.” Lest we forget, African-Americans’ slave ancestors were described in the U.S. Constitution as “three-fifths” of a person.

One hundred fifty-seven years after Dred Scott lost his case, and 156 years after his death, the bruising effects of the country’s racist history are evident throughout the structures of American society. That history has shaped institutions that deprive black Americans of the political power to shape their future, or the resources they need to do so.

Ferguson and Detroit are both places where a largely black community is run by a white power structure. In Detroit, Republican Governor Rick Snyder appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to replace elected officials; a new white mayor, Mike Duggan, now runs the city with an emphasis on what sociologist Thomas Sugrue calls “trickle-down urbanism,” a focus on selective gentrification that excludes jobs for working-class residents.

In Ferguson, the police chief is white, the mayor is white, and five of the six city council members are white. Moreover, the district where Michael Brown attended high school, in which almost all students are black, is controlled by a white, out-of-state Republican.

Unequal political power perpetuates unequal access to resources. The largely poor and black residents of Ferguson and Detroit both contend with shrinking city services that impede daily life, abysmal job prospects, punitive social-welfare policies, and underfunded school systems. An acute example of this phenomenon is seen in the high school from which Michael Brown graduated, which had only two cap-and-gown sets for its graduates, who had to take turns wearing them to pose for graduation pictures.

Detroit has been subject to public disinvestment for decades. The water shutoff this summer was the culmination of years of statewide cuts in public spending, a consequence of anti-tax politics that were significantly fueled by racial animus. From Reagan’s fables about “welfare queens” and Cadillacs to Lee Atwater’s infamous “Willie Horton” ad, white resentments and fear have been used for decades to consolidate a policy of shrinking the public budget. As was dramatically clear when Katrina hit New Orleans, it’s a policy that hurts African-Americans the most, even as it injures the public as a whole.

As Missouri’s public budget shrinks, the black majority in Ferguson has been obliged to pay for its own oppression. Newsweek has reported that despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, the town’s second-largest revenue source is fines and court fees. Its court issued 24,532 warrants last year, or about three warrants per household. Essentially, the town has been bankrolling itself vis-à-vis racial profiling and harassing black residents with costly tickets, warrants and court fees for such crimes as “driving while black,” so-called jaywalking (what Michael Brown was stopped for) and other trumped-up violations.

The reason communities like Ferguson or Detroit lack the funds to pay for basic needs is not because there is no money. Millions of dollars in federal resources have been allocated to equip local police forces across the country with military combat gear, often to police largely black communities. That reality was on ugly display during Ferguson’s street protests. Yet Detroit’s 688,000 residents have received no federal aid to avert or recover from its historic bankruptcy filing. As one man on Twitter, who identifies as@YoungMelanin95, tweeted: “They have the money to bring military-grade weapons to a civilian protest, but not enough money to give Detroit access to clean water.”

The attacks on unions in Detroit, public and private, have attacked the ability of black workers to maintain a middle-class income. When I grew up in Detroit in the 1960s and ’70s, the UAW was still a vigorous union whose strength insured robust wages and benefits for its members. As a result, my father and cousins and uncles made salaries that enabled them to live well – to own homes, support their families, send their children to college, retire without worry. Concessions demanded of the autoworkers’ union disproportionately hurt Detroit’s black residents, and more recent attacks on the wages and pensions of public workers have their own racial edge.

Nationally, black workers are 30 percent more likely to hold public-sector jobs. In majority-black Detroit, the figure is much higher. This year Detroit teachers faced a 10 percent pay cut until public outcry prompted its emergency manager to reverse course days before the start of the school year.

And so the basic rights of more than 10 million underprivileged African-Americans are undermined by the limited resources allocated to them: those deemed worthy by a racist society receive the most, those deemed unworthy receive the least – and have the most exacted from them.

That is the backdrop against which, just this summer, water was withheld in one place, and lives gunned down in many others. No wonder that out of frustration and necessity, people in both Detroit and Ferguson – and in solidarity protests across the country – have taken to the streets to demand that their humanity be recognized.

Denial of common humanity has always been fundamental to white supremacy throughout history. We can draw a direct line from the 19th-century anti-slavery slogan — “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” —  to this summer’s protests: “I AM a Man.” The pattern is clear as day.

A life can be taken by the fast, brutal violence of a police bullet or a chokehold. But there is also the slower violence that can kill you just as dead, more gradually and in pieces – through poor health care, unemployment and bad housing, through denying you the resources you need to live.

From Ferguson to Detroit to Staten Island — and now to Beavercreek – this summer’s protests have been a source of hope. But protesters know that if we are to ultimately succeed, we must attack the systemic racism that has been the feeding ground for dehumanizing black life, or we will be here again. And so, local residents in each city are fighting to challenge structural racist practices, and are inviting those who live elsewhere to act in solidarity with them.

In Ferguson, activists are building sustained campaigns on many fronts. Hundreds have packed city and county council meetings and “town hall” sessions, demanding the immediate arrest of Michael Brown’s killer, Officer Darren Wilson, and replacement of the biased county attorney with a special prosecutor. Street protests have continued, in the face of continuing police arrests. (A local activist’s Twitter profile notes: “I spent more time in jail than Darren Wilson.”) With a voter registration drive working to empower Ferguson’s black majority, elected officials in St. Louis County have formed the Fannie Lou Hamer Democratic Coalition, a new political group putting politicians on notice: If you don’t support the African-American community, we won’t support you. Broadening the struggle further, activist groups are hosting a weekend of resistance Oct. 10-13, aiming to build momentum for a national movement against police violence.

In Detroit, mass protests and direct action this summer were followed by intervention in court; over objections from the emergency financial manager, activists told the judge in Detroit’s bankruptcy case why he should consider blocking the water shutoffs. As testimony got underway, members of the Detroit Water Brigade rallied Sept. 22 on the steps of the Federal Courthouse, demanding that the court intercede. Organizers alsoannounced the start of “a citywide, escalating direct action campaign,” pledging to “defend our neighbors and our families from water shutoff trucks and water tax lien foreclosures.” A minister who spoke at the rally found water to his church shut off the next day – but grassroots pressure quickly forced the city to turn it back on.

These efforts and others are part of a new wave of activism to end inhumane treatment of the nation’s black citizens. Here’s how you can make an impact, from anywhere in the world: Join the efforts @detroitwaterbrigade.org and fergusonoctober.com.

The “specialness” of Israel


Israel claimed Hamas used the civilians of Gaza as human shields for their rocket attacks when it fact it turns out Israeli forces used Palestinians in that way.  Here is the story and eye witness accounts of what happened.

The article below describes how US officials have enabled the Israeli regime to commit and get away with war crimes and are as accountable as the very Israelis who are responsible for the Gaza massacre.  Unfortunately, American administrations are quick to hurl accusations of illegality towards members of the international community but are almost never willing to prosecute its own for illegal acts. In the case of Israel, even when there is compelling evidence that crimes were committed such an acknowledgment is never forthcoming from an American administration.  The ramifications of that are severe for America…..making it as much a pariah state as the one it enables.

 

Living black in America


Isn’t this all America needs


There isn’t even any pretense anymore that Israel shares America’s values, unless you want to harken back to the days when America was an apartheid like state that discriminated against its own citizens (Unfortunately some of that racism still goes on in the land of amber waves of grain.) but Israel is signifying a clear and distinct break from America by encouraging its Jewish citizens not to marry American Jews and or return to their ancestral homeland!  It’s so bad that even the very Jewish and Zionist Jeffrey Goldberg finds it distasteful which is saying a lot. Is it too much to wonder if terrorist violence against Jews in America will be next on tap for those presently reluctant to take up the call in a bid to get them to come to their senses?

Now is the ideal time for America to release itself from the hold, the mystique, the Jewish homeland has had on America and her politicians.  Israel has clearly demonstrated to the world that it holds everyone in contempt, even its fellow Jews, if they are not willing to capitulate totally to the Zionist dream of an expansionist state which by its very nature has no respect for the territorial integrity of its neighbors.  It is willing to risk any and all political fortune it has, as well as the life of its citizens to pursue a suicidal doctrine that puts it at war with everyone and it’s pursuing this lifestyle in broad daylight under the scrutiny of the world’s press.  It’s time America kick this obdurate, petulant country to the curb.

 

Hat tip to Tikun Olam

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The impetus behind today’s Islamophobia


The misguided notion that the presence of Islam in the West is a threat to western values has been gaining a lot of traction lately. Its roots arise from a group of people who have attached themselves to a religious doctrine, Christian-Zionism that is completely at odds with itself, for on one hand it is driven by those who believe Jesus is the Savior of Mankind and by others who don’t share that belief at all. They have come together to form this unholy alliance against a group of people, Muslims, whose only objection to either of them is their military presence, which in many cases is an illegal presence, or their disrespect for their territorial sovereignty, in Muslim dominated countries.

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American elections spun to enable Israeli aggression


The American election cycle of every two years is increasingly being used to advance or stifle political positions in favor of one political party or special interest, to the detriment of the country’s interests.  Presidential appointments are delayed, bills filibustered or back room maneuvers made in order for one group to gain an advantage over another.

Now, however the tactic has turned to making war and not a war that would be fought initially by Americans but it is hoped would certainly see them as participants at one point or another.

During election years in the U.S. (including mid-terms), Israeli leaders are particularly confident of the power they and the Likud Lobby enjoy on the American political scene.

This prime minister learned well from Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon……

The power of the Likud Lobby, especially in an election year, facilitates Netanyahu’s attempts to convince those few of his colleagues who need convincing that there may never be a more auspicious time to bring about “regime change” in Tehran.

And, as we hope your advisers have told you, regime change, not Iranian nuclear weapons, is Israel’s primary concern.

This is how it’s done


The western world, particularly America, keeps getting upstaged by these developing countries that are showing the international community how to behave on a global level.  First there was the murder of a Palestinian activist in Dubai, and the UAE’s meticulous handling of that murder investigation which was so spot on it penetrated the invicibility of the lawless and dreaded Mossad, led to the arrest of one person in Poland, the expulsion by Ireland of an Israeli diplomat, the unraveling of the purse strings behind Mossad operations, which sadly America has declined to follow up on and earned Dubai/UAE the respect of the international community.

Brazil and Turkey both brokered a deal with Iran, a deal the US was in favor of until the Israeli interests in the US government decided to go on with their stated program of regime change for Iran and implemented sanctions at the UN level.  What’s significant about the deal is it’s what America said would be necessary to avoid sanctions, but no one stepped up to the plate to forge it until Turkey and Brazil did which brought down upon them the wrath and scorn of the western world and Israel.

That leads us to the latest diplomatic coup and that is Turkey’s announcement they are freezing ties with Israel unless Israel agrees to an international investigation into the murder of at least 9 people aboard a Turkish ship, many of the victims Turkish nationals.  Turkish outrage was evident from the very beginning, yet the country carried itself with diplomatic aplomb; insisting the Israelis immediately release the hostages of the flotilla Israel had seized, providing transportation for those released and returning them first to Turkey and then to their country of origin; all of this under the watchful gaze and inaction of a seething West paralyzed by its fear of even the most  minimal response to an international atrocity.   The suspension of ties, if it’s carried out by Turkey, is complete from military to intelligence gathering and sharing to diplomatic.  The situation demands no less than that from any and all countries, yet because of a wholly unhealthy relationship between Israel and some of her allies, that country is literally able to get away with murder.  Turkey, and Dubai moderate countries and allies of America are once again giving a civics lesson in how to be good neighbors and friends to the rest of the world and it’s high time the world pay attention instead of dismissing them.  By demanding Israel follow the rule of law and have transparent investigations into their behavior with meaningful consequences for Israeli illegal activity, these countries are contributing to the health and stability of peace and international relations.  Unfortunately, there are far too many who believe dissent is the illegal activity and are not able to see where inaction against Israeli terrorism is doing more to aggravate tensions and instability than meaningful, constructive calls for action.  Turkey 2, Israel 0.

Niqab in America


We’ve written about women who choose to wear the niqab before at several places here at Miscellany101, but it is becoming an increasing phenomenon here in America and has caught the eye of main stream corporate media as well. What distinguishes America from her European colleagues in government is she has allowed people to exercise their freedom and not just given lip service to the notion, even if doing so makes others uncomfortable.  That’s the beauty of this country.  It is up to us to insure it remain that way.   I strongly urge you to take a look at the article in its entirety at the link; I will post a brief excerpt for you to read below

HEBAH AHMED (her first name is pronounced HIB-ah) was born in Chattanooga, raised in Nashville and Houston, and speaks with a slight drawl. She played basketball for her Catholic high school, earned a master’s in mechanical engineering and once worked in the Gulf of Mexico oilfields.

She is not a Muslim Everywoman; it is not a role she would ever claim for herself. Her story is hers alone. But she was willing to spend several days with a reporter to give an idea of what American life looks like from behind the veil, a garment that has become a powerful symbol of culture clash.

All that’s visible of Ms. Ahmed when she ventures into mixed company are her deep brown eyes, some faint freckles where the sun hits the top of her nose, and her hands. She used to leave the house in jeans and T-shirt (she still can, under her jilbab), but that all changed after the 9/11 attacks. It shook her deeply that the people who had committed the horrifying acts had identified themselves as Muslims.

“I just kept thinking ‘Why would they do this in the name of Islam?’ ” she said. “Does my religion really say to do those horrible things?”

HEBAH AHMED (her first name is pronounced HIB-ah) was born in Chattanooga, raised in Nashville and Houston, and speaks with a slight drawl. She played basketball for her Catholic high school, earned a master’s in mechanical engineering and once worked in the Gulf of Mexico oilfields.

She is not a Muslim Everywoman; it is not a role she would ever claim for herself. Her story is hers alone. But she was willing to spend several days with a reporter to give an idea of what American life looks like from behind the veil, a garment that has become a powerful symbol of culture clash.

All that’s visible of Ms. Ahmed when she ventures into mixed company are her deep brown eyes, some faint freckles where the sun hits the top of her nose, and her hands. She used to leave the house in jeans and T-shirt (she still can, under her jilbab), but that all changed after the 9/11 attacks. It shook her deeply that the people who had committed the horrifying acts had identified themselves as Muslims.

“I just kept thinking ‘Why would they do this in the name of Islam?’ ” she said. “Does my religion really say to do those horrible things?”

“I was really questioning my life’s purpose,” Ms. Ahmed said. “And everything about the bigger picture. I just wasn’t about me and my career anymore.”

She also reacted to a backlash against Islam and the news that many American Muslim women were not covering for fear of being targeted. “It was all so wrong,” she said. She took it upon herself to provide a positive example of her embattled faith, in a way that was hard to ignore.

So on Sept. 17, 2001, she wore a hijab into the laboratory where she worked, along with her business attire.

“A co-worker said, ‘You need to wrap a big ol’ American flag around your head so people know what side you’re on,’ ” Ms. Ahmed said. “From then on, they never let up.”

Three months later, she quit her job and started wearing a niqab, covering her face from view when in the presence of men other than her husband.

“I do this because I want to be closer to God, I want to please him and I want to live a modest lifestyle,” said Ms. Ahmed, who asked that her appearance without a veil not be described. “I want to be tested in that way. The niqab is a constant reminder to do the right thing. It’s God-consciousness in my face.”

Doing things the right way


America’s relationship with Israel and her subservience to the State of Israel is harmful for both parties.  For America the harm is in allowing itself to be seen by the rest of the international community as a country that does not respect the rule of law when it doesn’t protest illegal Israeli activity and for Israel the harm is in not having any one tell her to stop her violations of law.  Some how even criticism of Israel, no matter how mild, has become synonymous with an existential threat, or equally as bad with illegal activity itself.  Israel has relegated for itself a god like status among the league of nations and sees itself as the sole judge of international behavior bar none even her largest supporter.

The murderous rampage of Israel on the Gaza bound flotilla evoked barely a peep from the American administration, even for the death of an American citizen, not to mention the number as yet determined  other victims.  America and Israel have placed themselves on a pedestal of being beyond and above the law and there’s nothing the Israelis can do that will cause an American administration to rebuke her. Such a position is surely an untenable one and no state deserves to reserve for itself the right to arbitrarily decide which laws it will follow and which ones it will discard.

America would do well to learn from the people in her own backyard.  The shooting of a young Mexican boy who was on the Mexico side of the border by a US Border guard caused the Mexican government to issue this statement

‘The government reiterates its rejection to the disproportionate use of force on the part on (sic) U.S. authorities on the border with Mexico,’ he (Mexican President Felipe Calderon) added.

Going even further ,the president assured America and his own citizens of his commitment to securing the lives of Mexican citizens  saying, he will use all resources available to protect the rights of Mexican migrants. Compare that to the less than luke warm reply given by the Obama administration  to the excesses of the IDF and their murder of an American citizen and the kidnapping of over 600 people of the Gaza flotilla.  Not only did the administration not rebuke Israel for its actions, but it went so far as to blame people who were trying to enforce international law and help defenseless people for their own murder. One can conclude therefore that no American can expect his country to protect him from the extra judicial actions of the Israeli government no matter how innocent he may be.  Contrast that to the actions of the  Mexican authorities who simply reiterated that government’s dedication to its own citizens.   How refreshing it is to hear a president pledge to defend his nationals without any regard for diplomacy with others. It’s too bad that president was not elected by Americans. It is something not seen in any president of the United States when faced with the dilemma of American lives vs Israeli sensitivities.

Give it up for Harry Connick, Jr!


harry-connick-jr--picture-4Appearing on an Australian television show which featured performers in black face, Harry Connick handled himself with dignity and honor as he spoke out against the inherent racism behind such a skit he was asked to judge.  You can see the skit and watch Connick’s response to it below.  He spoke with measured tones and with a seriousness deserving of the abuse, handling himself with dignity.  His remarks were well received by the Australian audience which applauded what he had to say.  His remarks transcended race and are an indication of where we are as a country today.  Anyone watching how he handled himself and what he said should feel proud of the way he was representin’ America.  Connick, from a grateful citizen of the United States….thank you!

The Case Against Religion in America


It’s ironic finding myself writing this article against religion in the US on an early Sunday, but perhaps there is no better time to discuss the effect religion, and especially Christianity, has on the American conscience.  I generally thought religion had a positive role to play in the lives of its worshippers until recently when I ran across this survey that suggests six in ten American Protestants consider torture, an illegal activity condemned by the United States under the Reagan and Bush/Clinton administrations, often or sometimes justified!  How did the religion of peace, a derisive term reserved for Islam, get to this point in a democracy which supposedly follows the rule of law?  Had any other religion’s adherents so overwhelmingly advocated breaking American and international law there would be a tremendous shout to get rid of such people from the shores of America, send them back to ‘where they came from’, in whatever way necessary in order to return us to the God fearing, peace loving and law abiding nation we all know we are; yet the faith that holds the majority of followers in this country, also holds the most number of people who think torture is ok.

I don’t think religion is responsible for that fact, although one could possibly point to scripture to substantiate the assertion Christianity is a violent religion, or to historical events wherein Christian inspired leaders of this country and others were responsible for the wholesale plunder and murder of entire civilizations; Vietnam comes to mind in my lifetime.  Most likely scripture and history are not things which people drew on to support their belief in the necessity for torture in modern day America, but that still does not scratch the itch I have to the question why is Christianity so wrapped up in activity that we were told was the sole endeavor of our pagan or Islamic enemy?  Perhaps because like so much else that takes place on the world’s stage, the victor usually re-writes history to support negative notions of the vanquished and our modern day, 20-21st century crusade against Islam has made it possible for us to do that, starting with the conquest of Palestine and upto the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is however another contributing factor to our belief and/or support for terrorism and that is our increased militarism.  It appears our belief in our own military superiority makes us more susceptible to notions of torture than countries not as aggressive as we.  We rank with Egypt, South Korea, Nigeria, Turkey, and India as a country that believes some degree of torture should be allowed, whereas the historical base of America, old Europe and those countries we denigrated because of their reticience to embrace our last Iraq adventure, most notably France, Spain and Britain, are less inclined to support torture.  The totalitarian regimes of Russia and China have less people who support torture than America as does Iran a country under threat of military action from America or its allies.  Does that mean in order to get better, i.e. eschew the idea of torture, we’ll have to get worse first and turn into repressive regimes which have no regard for human rights or the rule of law?

One could look at this in another way, absent the religious/military inference.  Despite all the electronic gadgets we own, and I count myself up there among the techno geeks, and all the access we have to various information sources we still are quite backwards in our thinking, and oppressive in our policy making.   The enlightenment we claim to possess, the exceptionalism we assert is ours is accepted only by third world countries which equally oppress their citizens or have in place draconian laws which are based on class and ethnicity.  We are now wallowing around in the mud they have mixed with the sweat of their citizens and we are no better than they.  The very reasons we have given  for invading countries, their repressiveness towards their own citizens or the threat they pose to their neighbors has now become a staple which we readily accept as a part of our diet.  There are no moral compasses to redirect our wayward ship from the disastrous course it has set for itself into oblivion.  Instead what we have are lighthouses of mass media which are shining beacons of darkness that lead an America towards notions that are perfectly ok with torture, even among the religiously minded followers of the Prince of Peace.  Perhaps instead of his followers we have become his torturers; after all he is said to have died at the hands of an over zealous state intent on destroying the message he brought.  That is the greatest irony; a Christian population which has forsaken its founder and instead identified with his enemies.  America, you have lost your way.

More Iranian, US intrigue


I strongly encourage you to run over to Consotiumnews. com to read the article, Iran Divided & the ‘October Suprise.  Niqnaq’s blog also carries it here.  It contains some interesting observations about today’s major players on the Iranian scene, as well as revelations that there was an October surprise meeting between the at the time aspiring Reagan administration and Iranians officials.  These  Reagan officials wanted to thwart the Carter reelection in 1980 while at the same time appearing to be hawks when it came to Iran, a typical neocon ‘slight of hand’ deception. There is also the explicit charge that George H.W. Bush did indeed meet with the Iranians in Paris, despite constant denials to the contrary.

While the article  covers “old news” it gives insight into why some people in Iran think and react the way they do to today’s events unfolding in Iran.

Main Stream Media At it Again-What the AP left out of Obama’s speech


The AP posted a transcipt of Obama’s speech in Cairo, but this is what they left out:

Threatening Israel with destruction — or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews — is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.  For more than 60 years they’ve endured the pain of dislocation.  Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.  They endure the daily humiliations — large and small — that come with occupation.  So let there be no doubt:  The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.  And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.  (Applause.)

For decades then, there has been a stalemate:  two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive.  It’s easy to point fingers — for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond.  But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth:  The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.  (Applause.)

That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest.  And that is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience and dedication that the task requires.  (Applause.)  The obligations — the obligations that the parties have agreed to under the road map are clear.  For peace to come, it is time for them — and all of us — to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence.  Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed.  For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation.  But it was not violence that won full and equal rights.  It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding.  This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia.  It’s a story with a simple truth:  that violence is a dead end.  It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus.  That’s not how moral authority is claimed; that’s how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build.  The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities.  To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israel’s right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s.  The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.  (Applause.)  This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace.  It is time for these settlements to stop.  (Applause.)

And Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society.  Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel’s security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be a critical part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

And finally, the Arab states must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities.  The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems.  Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state, to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and we will say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs.  (Applause.)  We cannot impose peace.  But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away.  Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state.  It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have been shed.  Too much blood has been shed.  All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra — (applause) — as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer.  (Applause.)

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is in fact a tumultuous history between us.  In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.  Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians.  This history is well known.  Rather than remain trapped in the past, I’ve made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward.  The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

I recognize it will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude, and resolve.  There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect.  But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point.  This is not simply about America’s interests.

Hat tip to Kabobfest.

The face of Islam in America


aminahassilmiIt’s varied, multi-racial and ethnic, and for the most part peaceful and prosperous.  It seeks to live with its neighbors and contribute to the well being of its co-religionists and the society in general.  It is NOT the monster portrayed in the media, out to destroy the American way of life.  It is the American way of life.  The story below is a case in point.

I was completing a degree in Recreation, when I met my first Muslims. It was the first year that we had been able to pre-register by computer. I pre-registered and went to Oklahoma to take care of some family business. The business took longer than expected, so I returned to school two weeks into the semester (too late to drop a course).

I wasn’t worried about catching up my missed work. I was sitting at the top of my class, in my field. Even as a student, I was winning awards, in competition with professionals.

Now, you need to understand that while I was attending college and excelling, ran my own business, and had many close friends, I was extremely shy. My transcripts actually had me listed as severely reticent. I was very slow to get to know people and rarely spoke to anyone unless was forced to, or already knew them. The classes I was taking has to do administration and city planning, plus programming for children. Children were the only people I ever felt comfortable with.

Well, back to the story. The computer printout held one enormous surprise for me. I was registered for a Theatre class…a class were I would be required to perform in front of real live people. I was horrified! I could not even ask a question in class, how was I going to get on a stage in front of people? My husband was his usual very calm and sensible self. He suggested that I talk to the teacher, explain the problem, and arrange to paint scenery or sew costumes. The teacher agreed to try and find a way to help me out. So I went to class the following Tuesday.

When I entered the classroom, I received my second shock. The class was full of ‘Arabs’ and ‘camel jockeys’. Well, I had never seen one but I had heard of them.

There was no way I was going to sit in a room full of dirty heathens! After all, you could catch some dreadful disease from those people. Everyone knew they were dirty, not to be trusted either. I shut the door and went home. (Now, there is one little thing you should know. I had on a pair of leather hot pants, a halter top, and a glass of wine in my hands…but they were the bad ones in my mind.)

When I told my husband about the Arabs in the class and that there was no way I was going back, he responded in his usual calm way. He reminded that I was always claiming that God had a reason for everything and maybe I should spend some time thinking about it before I made my final decision. He also reminded me that I had a scholars award that was paying my tuition and if I wanted to keep it, I would have to maintain my G.P.A.. Three credit hours or ‘F’ would have destroyed my chances.

For the next two days, I prayed for guidance. On Thursday I went back to the class convinced that God had put me there to save those poor ignorant heathens from the fires of hell.

I proceeded to explain to them how they would burn in the fires of hell for all eternity, if they did not accept Jesus as their personal savior. They were very polite, but did not convert. Then, I explained how Jesus loved them and had died on the cross to save them from their sins. All they had to do was accept him into their hearts. They were very polite, but still did not convert. So, I decided to read their own book to show them that Islam was a false religion and Mohammed was a false God.

One of the students gave me a copy of the Qur’an and another book about Islam, and I proceeded with my research. I was sure I would find the evidence I needed very quickly. Well, I read the Qur’an and the other book. Then I read another 15 books, Sahih Muslim and returned to the Qur’an. I was determined I would convert them! My studies continued for the next one and half years.

During that time, I started having a few problems with my husband. I was changing, just in little ways but enough to bother him. We used to go to the bar every Friday and Saturday, or to a party, and I no longer wanted to go. I was quieter and more distant. He was sure I was having an affair, so he kicked me out. I moved into an apartment with my children and continued my determined efforts to convert the Muslims to Christianity.

The, one day, there was a knock on my door. I opened the door and saw a man in a long white night gown with a red and white checkered table cloth on his head. He was accompanied by three men in pajamas. (It was the first time I had ever seen their cultural dress.) Well, I was more than a little offended by men showing up at my door in night clothes. What kind of a woman did they think I was? Had they no pride or dignity? Imagine my shock when the one wearing the table cloth said he understood I wanted to be a Muslim! I quickly informed him I did not want to be a Muslim. I was Christian. However, I did have a few questions. If he had the time….

His name was Abdul-Aziz Al-Shiek and he made the time. He was very patient and discussed every question with me. He never made me feel silly or that a question was stupid. He asked me if I believed there was only one God and I said yes. Then he asked if I believed Mohammed was His Messenger. Again I said yes. He told me that I was already a Muslim!.

I argued that I was Christian, I was just trying to understand Islam. (Inside I was thinking: I couldn’t be a Muslim! I was American and white! What would my husband say? If I am Muslim, I will have to divorce my husband. My family would die!)

We continued talking. Later, he explained that attaining knowledge and understanding of spirituality was a little like climbing a ladder. If you climb a ladder and try to skip a few rungs, there was danger of falling. The Shahadah was just the first step on the ladder. Still we had to talk some more.

Later that afternoon, May 21, 1977 at Asr’, I took Shahadah. However, there were still some things I could not accept and it was my nature to be completely truthful so i added a disclaimer. I said: “I bear witness that there is no god but God and Mohammed is His Messenger” ‘but, I will never cover my hair and if my husband takes another wife, I will castrate him.’

I heard gasps from the other men in the room, but Abdul Aziz silenced them. Later I learned that he told the brothers never to discuss those two subjects with me. He was sure I would come to the correct understanding.

The Shahadah was indeed a solid footing on the ladder to spiritual knowledge and closeness to God. but it has been a slow climb. Abdul Aziz continued to visit me and answer my questions. May Allah reward him for his patience and tolerance. He never admonished me or acted like a question was stupid or silly. He treated each question with dignity and told me that the only stupid question was the one never asked. Hmmm…my grandmother used to say that.

He explained that Allah ahd told us to seek knowledge and questions were one of the ways to accomplish that. When he explained something, it was like watching a rose open – petal by petal, until it reached its full glory. When I told him that I did not agree with something and why, he always said I was correct up to a point. The he would show me how to look deeper and from different directions to reach a fuller understanding. Alhamdulillah!

Over the years, I had many teachers. Each one special, each one different. I am thankful for each one of them and the knowledge they gave. Each teacher helped me to grow and to love Islam more. As my knowledge increased, the changes in me became more apparent. Within the first year, I was wearing hijab. I have no idea when I started. It came naturally, with increased knowledge and understanding. In time I even came to to a proponent of polygamy. I knew that if Allah had allowed it, there had to be something good in it.

“Glorify the name of thy Guardian – Lord Most High, Who hath created, and further, given order and proportion; Who hath measured, and granted guidance; and Who bringeth out the (green and lush) pasture, and doth make it (but) swarthy stubble, By degrees shall We teach thee (The Message), so thou shalt not forget, except as Allah wills: for He knoweth what is manifest and what is hidden. And We will make it easy for thee (to follow) the simple (path).” (Al-A’la 87:1-8)

When I first started to study Islam, I did not expect to find anything that I needed or wanted in my personal life. Little did I know that Islam would change my life. No human could have ever convinced me that I would finally be at peace and overflowing with love and joy because of Islam.

This book spoke of THE ONE GOD, THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. It described the beautiful way in which He had organised the world. This wondrous Qur’an had all the answers. Allah is The Loving! Allah is the Source of Peace! Allah is the Protector! Allah is the Forgiver! Allah is the Provider! Allah is the maintainer! Allah is the Generous One! Allah is the Responsive! Allah is the Protecting Friend! Allah is the Expander!

“Have we not expanded thee thy breast? And removed from thee thy burden the which did gall thy back? And raised high the esteem (in which) thou (art held)? So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: Verily, with every difficulty there is relief!” (Al-Ishirah, 94: 1-6)

The Qur’an addressed all the issues of existence and showed a clear path to success. It was like a map forgiving, an owner manual for life!

How Islam changed my Life
“How much more we love the light…If once we lived in Darkness.”

When I first embraced Islam, I really did not think it was going to affect my life very much. Islam did not just affect my life. It totally changed it.

Family life: My husband and I loved each other very deeply. That love for each other still exists. Still, when I started studying Islam, we started having some difficulties. He saw me changing and did not understand what was happening. Neither did I. But then, I did not even realise I was changing. He decided that the only thing that could make me change was another man. There was no way to make him understand what was changing me because I did not know.

After I realised that I was a Muslim, it did not help matters. After all…the only reason a woman changes something as fundamental as her religion is another man. He could not find evidence of this other man…but he had to exist. We ended up in a very ugly divorce. The courts determined that the unorthodox religion would be detrimental to the development of my children. So they were removed from my custody.

During the divorce, there was a time when I was told I could make a choice. I could renounce this religion and leave with my children, or renounce my children and leave with my religion. I was in shock. To me this was not a possible choice. If I renounce my Islam….I would be teaching my children how to be deceptive. For there was no way to deny what was in my heart. I could not deny Allah, not then, not ever. I prayed like I had never prayed before. After the thirty minutes was up, I knew that there was no safer place for my children to be than in the hands of Allah. If I denied him, there would be no way in the future to show my children the wonders of being with Allah. The courts were told that I would leave my children in the hands of Allah. This was not a rejection of my children!

I left the courts knowing that life without my babies would be very difficult. My heart bled, even though I knew, inside, I had done the right thing. I found solace in Ayat-Ul-Khursi.

“Allah! There is no god but He – the Living, the Self-subsisting, Supporter of all. No slumber can seize him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) Before or After or Behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and he feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is Most High, The Supreme (in Glory).” (Al-Baqarah, 2:255)

This also got me started looking at all the attributes of Allah and discovering the beauty of each one.

Child custody and divorce were not the only problems I was to face. The rest of my family was not very accepting of my choice either. Most of the family refused to have anything to do with me. My mother was of the belief that it was just a phase and I would grow out of it. My sister, the ‘mental health expert’ was sure I had simply lost my mind and should be institutionalised. My father believed I should be killed before placed myself deeper in Hell. Suddenly I found myself with no husband and no family. What would be next?

Friends: Most of my friends drifted away during that first year. I was no fun anymore. I did not want to go to parties or bars. I was not interested in finding a boyfriend. All I ever did was read that ‘stupid’ book (the Qur’an) and talk about Islam. What a bore. I still did not have enough knowledge to help them understand why Islam was so beautiful.

Employment: My job was next to go. While I had won just about every award there was in my field and was recognised as a serious trend setter and money maker, the day I put on hijab, was the end of my job. Now I was without a family, without friends and without a job.

In all this, the first light was my grandmother. She approved of my choice and joined me. What a surprise! I always knew she had alot of wisdom, but this! She died soon after that. When I stop to think about it, I almost get jealous. The day she pronounced Shahadah, all her misdeeds had been erased, while her good deeds were preserved. She died so soon after accepting Islam that I knew her ‘BOOK’ was bound to be heavy on the good side. It fills me with such joy!

As my knowledge grew and I was better able to answer questions, many things changed. But, it was the changes made in me as a person that had the greatest impact. A few years after I went public with my Islam, my mother called me and said she did not know what this ‘Islam thing’ was, but she hoped I would stay with it. She liked what it was doing for me. A couple of years after that she called again and asked what a person had to do to be a Muslim. I told her that all person had to do was know that there was only ONE God and Mohammed was His Messenger. Her response was: “Any fool knows that. But what do you have to do?” I repeated the same information and she said: “Well…OK. But let’s not tell your father just yet.”

Little did she know that he had gone through the same conversation a few weeks before that. My real father (the one who thought I should be killed) had done it almost two months earlier. Then, my sister, the mental health person, she told me that I was the most ‘liberated’ person she knew. Coming from her that was the greatest compliment I could have received.

Rather than try to tell you about how each person came to accept Islam, let me simply say that more members of my family continue to find Islam every year. I was especially happy when a dear friends, Brother Qaiser Imam, told me that my ex-husband took Shahdah. When Brother Qaiser asked him why, he said it was because he had been watching me for 16 years and he wanted his daughter to have what I had. He came and asked me to forgive him for all he had done. I had forgiven him long before that.

Now my oldest son, Whittney, has called, as I am writing this book, and announced that he also wants to become Muslim. He plans on taking the Shahadah as the ISNA Convention in a couple of weeks. For now, he is learning as much as he can. Allah is The Most Merciful.

Over the years, I have come to be known for my talks on Islam, and many listeners have chosen to be Muslim. My inner peace has continued to increase with my knowledge and confidence in the Wisdom of Allah. I know that Allah is not only my Creator but, my dearest friend. I know that Allah will always be there and will never reject me. For every step I take toward Allah, He takes 10 toward me. What a wonderful knowledge.

True, Allah has tested me, as was promised, and rewarded me far beyond what I could ever have hoped for. A few years ago, the doctors told me I had cancer and it was terminal. They explained that there was no cure, it was too far advanced, and proceeded to help prepare me for my death by explaining how the disease would progress. I had maybe one year left to live. I was concerned about my children, especially my youngest. Who would take care of him? Still I was not depressed. We must all die. I was confident that the pain I was experiencing contained Blessings.

I remembered a good friend, Kareem Al-Misawi, who died of cancer when he was still in his 20’s. Shortly before he died, he told me that Allah was truly Merciful. This man was in unbelievable anguish and radiating with Allah’s love. He said: “Allah intends that I should enter heaven with a clean book.” His death experience gave me something to think about. He taught me of Allah’s love and mercy. This was something no one else had ever really discussed. Allah’s love!

I did not take me long to start being aware of His blessings. Friends who loved me came out of nowhere. I was given the gift of making Hag. Even more importantly, I learned how very important it was for me to share the Truth of Islam with everyone. It did not matter if people, Muslim or not, agreed with me or even liked me. The only approval I needed was from Allah. The only love I needed was from Allah. Yet, I discovered more and more people, who for no apparent reason, loved me. I rejoiced, for I remembered reading that if Allah loves you, He causes others to love you. I am not worthy of all the love. That means it must be another gift from Allah. Allah is the Greatest!

There is no way to fully explain how my life changed. Alhamdulillah! I am so very glad that I am a Muslim. Islam is my life. Islam is the beat of my heart. Islam is the blood that courses through my veins. Islam is my strength. Islam is my life so wonderful and beautiful. Without Islam, I am nothing and should Allah ever turn His magnificent face from me I could not survive.

“O Allah! let my heart have light, and my sight have light, and my hearing (senses) have light, and let me have light on my right, and let me have light on my left, and let me have light above me, and have light under me, and have light in front of me, and have light behind me; and let me have light.” (Bukhari, vol. 8. pp. 221, #329)

“Oh my Lord! Forgive my sins and my ignorance and my exceeding the limits (boundaries of righteousness) in all my deeds and what you know better than I. O Allah! Forgive my mistakes, those done intentionally or out of my ignorance or (without) or with seriousness, and I confess that all such mistakes are done by me. Oh Allah! Forgive my sins of the past and of the future which I did openly or secretly. You are the One who makes the things go before, and You are the One who delays them, and You are the Omnipotent.” (Bukhari, vol. , pp. 271, #407)

American Muslims carving their own niche


muslimsIslam has always been in America; it’s almost as American as apple pie, just like its sister religions, Judaism and Christianity.  However, with it has come the historical baggage of these three great monotheistic religions, each taking its turn on the sacrificial altar of distrust and dislike against the other two.  Since Islam in America is a homegrown phenomenon, its adherents have had the luxury of defining themselves and what they think their mission is, yet that definition has sometimes been at odds with what other Muslims not native to America have had in mind, and the result is the two groups have butt heads a time or two.  I ran across this letter that speaks to that confrontation and the resulting frustration that has arisen as a result. Hat tip to Muslim Matters!

So Very Tired

Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, and specifically you in North America who will understand this best.

I have a problem.

I know where I came from, I know who I am, and I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go.

But I am tired.

Tired of the Muslim Identity Crisis Conferences.  Tired of Muslims in America conferences.  You’re a human being that was created for the sole purpose of worshipping the One who created you.  Get over it and move on.

Tired of confused pseudo-intellectuals who keep trying to legitimize their deepest, darkest insecurities under the cover of academic acceptance.  Women can’t lead men in prayer, and homosexuality will never be acceptable.

Tired of the explicit condemnation of Muslim terrorists that comes without the explicit condemnation of all terrorism, particularly against Muslims.  Can the Ummah of Muhammad please unite, the Ummah of the likes of Umar ibn al Khatab, Khalid ibn Waleed, Sad ibn abi Waqqas, and Hamza please find the necessary pieces of spine required to call George Bush et al what they are?

Speaking of which, I’m tired of the games Muslim politicians and political organizations play to put a position forward that deludes no one except yourselves for believing they’d believe you.

Tired of victim-culture fatwas that turn every situation into a necessity, and that coddles our ummah into weakness for the sake of ease and some overarching goal of dawah that never seems to be properly articulated in simple, coherent language.

Tired of Islamic teachers of any calibre who complain about the adab and khuluq of people and are badly in need of it themselves, in all forms of communication.

Tired of all the acronymed organizations and their leadership, and their inability to establish an agreed upon method for moonsighting.  Really.  All the opinions are correct, so please, just put them all in a hat, draw one out, and if you all unite on it, we’ll follow it.  Even me.  I promise.

Tired of the word Islamophobia.  Who came up with this ridiculous word?  Whoever it was, they need to be shot…with a super soaker.  I want to curl myself up in the fetal position every time I hear that word.

Tired of you telling me we need fiqh of minorities, and that we should combine prayers in the work place.  This isn’t Muslim Spain, we have rights that can be exercised – please stop cowering in the corner, or at least stop trying to get us to join you there.

Tired at your exasperation over Barack Obama not wanting to talk to you during the election.  Who would want to talk to a pack of sniveling lackeys who have no respect for themselves and act as though they are embarassed at the religion they profess to follow?

And I’m tired of you acting like Obama’s theMahdi incarnate.  We only rooted for him because we wanted to stick it to GWB, not because we like his politics of homosexuality, late term abortions, and worst of all, restarting the war in afghanistan.

I’m so, so very tired of it all.  And if you looked at the list above, you may be tired of it as well.  But you know what?  I’m tired of you too.

Tired of you sitting behind your computer, writing in a style that makes you sound like ranting and raving lunatic.

Tired of you complaining about everything and doing absolutely nothing.

Tired of the online chickenhawk hate brigade who hates everything about America and happily pay their taxes after clicking “Submit” on their latest online rant against it.

Tired of people who call for Hijrah and never go, citing the reasons of the people who are against hijrah – “But dude, there are no ANSAR on the other end, otherwise, like, I’m sooo there!”  It’s called planning, genius, see lessons of the Prophet’s (SAW) escape from Makkah for a primer on how to plan AHEAD.

Tired of your open hatred of all nonMuslims / kafirs in the name of al wala w’al bara.  Yes, I said kafirs.  Does that make you feel better?  Then I’m also tired of your pettiness.

Tired of your delusions of mind and intention reading.  Don’t you see the potential aqida problems here?

Tired of your PDF refutations.  I have absolutely no idea who the author of the document is, or his credentials to say and interpret as he has.  Please tell me what you understand, or don’t bother.

Tired of you taking every fiqh issue and making it an aqeedah issue such that if it’s not in accordance with what the scholar du jour spoonfed you yesterday, that person must most certainly either be off the manhaj, a sell-out, or both.

And I’m tired of you not knowing anything about the fundamentals of Islam, like, for example, the Seerah!

Tired, tired, tired.

Did you like the list above?  Really?  I’m tired of you too.

Tired of you expecting everyone to follow you blindly and stupidly.

Tired of you looking down your nose at people who are far more qualified to deal with logic, analogy, and argumentation and telling them, “But you don’t know Arabic.”  Yeah, I don’t know latin either, but if I have a medical condition, my doctor will still explain it to me, and if he’s any good, he’ll tell me to get a second opinion if I have doubts.

Tired of your partisanship, and tired of you calling it a mercy.  Really?  Coulda fooled me.  Visit my community on the first and last day of Ramadan, I’ll show you mercy.

Tired of you expecting me to disconnect my mind on fiqh, believe the most ridiculously esoteric ideas about God, and then strive for spiritual ecstacy.  Are you kidding me?

But I’m not done yet, oh no – I’m tired of you too.

Tired of you prioritizing your career, your family, and all your weaknesses over the worship of Allah.

Tired of you complaining to scholars about what a victim you are.

Tired of you saying you need to live in a house.  You liar.  You can rent a house – you just don’t want to lose money.  Admit it.

Tired of you looking for easy fatwas rather than picking yourselves up by the bootstraps and working at being a Muslim, and struggling with the challenges.

Tired of your back home mentality that keeps the child you think is fair from marrying an African American.  The only thing black here is your heart.

Tired of you believing your donations entitle you to run the masjid.

Tired of the way you run the masjid.  It stinks, figuratively and literally.

Tired of you complaining about the poor ethics of Muslim governments, while you have the same ethics, the only thing separating you and them is the scale of the violation.

Tired, tired, tired, so very tired.

The ironic thing of all this is that despite all that, I still love you for the sake of Allah.  As I said to begin this letter, you are my dear brothers and sisters in Islam.  I have my flaws, I have my weaknesses, and I am by no means perfect.  At any point in my life, I could have fit into multiple categories in that complaint list.

But do you know why I’m tired?  I’m tired because we have so many issues, and I feel obligated to do something about all of it.  I want to fix it.  I want to make it right.  You probably do too.

In the end, we are here to worship Allah.  I don’t know a lot, but I know that much.  All I can do is ask Allah to guide us all to come together, to be the people whom He Loves, to be people whom He will be pleased with.