Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

Effective last Monday, France’s ban on publicly wearing niqab went into full effect, with violators liable to fines of 216 dollars. The legislation was met with a protest Monday morning, as several women stood in front of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral donning niqab’s. The protest, at least from what I can gather, appeared small in scope and was swiftly brought to a halt as French police detained two women for taking part in what was designated an “unauthorized protest.” Reports continued to be released Tuesday that more people had taken to the streets in protest, with a number of women donning niqab’s in solidarity.


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I’ll admit it: part of me wrote this post because I found the title catchy. Can you blame me?

But beyond that, I was reminded of an incident between myself and an acquaintance in the not-too-distant past. (more…)

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As with most catastrophes, the moment coverage of it begins to wane, so too does our concern for the affected.  For Muslims, this ubiquitous dynamic can only be described as endemic of a much larger problem facing society, that being the manner in which the media informs our opinions, and in doing so, shapes our lives.

One such event that captivated most of the world not too long ago was the Haitian earthquake of 2010.  Roughly a quarter of a million people were killed, and reports are now coming out that relief efforts, equipped with literally billions of dollars flowing in from across the globe, have done little to alleviate the suffering of the Hatian people.  Today, hundreds of thousands of Haitians remain in relief encampments with little progress on the reconstruction front.  Toppled homes, buildings, and infrastructure remain as they were in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.  Such despondency is not only tragic, but downright criminal.

I cant honestly claim to continuously spend my days contemplating about the plights being suffered by those less fortunate, and more times than not, my attention is dictated by the media coverage as well, so its difficult for me to play sanctimonious.  But I figure the least I can do is help raise awareness, and in that vein, I’ve linked two articles below as well as a link to Islamic Reliefs website for donating to Haiti.  May Allah guide us to what pleases Him and allow us to live lives in His obedience.  Ameen.

By Alice Speri Alice Speri – Tue Jan 11, 6:46 pm ET
Port-au-Prince, Haiti – For more than six weeks last fall, a brand new obstetrics hospital remained empty and closed, its Ikea furniture still wrapped in plastic, a reminder of how far Port-au-Prince had to go to recover from the Haiti earthquake.

Meanwhile across the street, a camp with 1,500 families had no access to medical care beyond occasional visits by the Haitian Red Cross. The hospital, commissioned by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has since partially opened.

But questions remain about why the project in the neighborhood of Delmas 33 was delayed by the government, a symbol of the bureaucracy that has stood in the way of many of the projects run by the more than 900 NGOs that descended on Haiti after last January’s earthquake, which killed 230,000 people and left 2 million homeless.  Continue reading here….

Article 2:

One year after a devastating earthquake toppled homes and killed roughly 250,000 people in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country is still reeling from the devastation.

As Reuters reports, despite billions of dollars of donations and aid pledges from some of the world’s most powerful leaders, a 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping presence and an army of relief workers, the debris that clogs much of the city and a million homeless people living in tents are blunt testimony to the unfinished recovery task. Meanwhile, the nation’s cholera epidemic, which began this past fall, continues to run rampant. Continue reading here…. 

Islamic Relief work continues in Haiti

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For years, the harms associated with cigarette smoking have been well known, and over time, society has responded with measures intended to dissuade cigarette smoking and inoculate the general public from its corrosive effects.  It began with restrictions on marketing cigarettes to teens, then included restrictions on the types of advertising mediums tobacco companies were allowed to utilize, and over time has come to include substantial taxation on a single pack of cigarettes and surgeon general warnings on cigarette packs.  More recently, the FDA has been considering the addition of ‘shock photos’– graphic images depicting the damages of smoking to further discourage cigarette smoking.

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Earlier today at lunch, a coworker and I were discussing the recent hooplah surrounding TSA’s invasive airport security.  During the discussion, we both agreed that the current model is unsustainable.  Although you might be able to convince the majority of people that body scanning is a necessary evil, there will remain a sizable portion of the population that refuses to subject themselves to the equivalent of a digital strip search or being groped by a security guard.  It was then that my coworker suggested looking at Israel as a model for airport security; I was oblivious to Israel’s airport security approach and didnt want to prejudge their approach based on my own misgivings with their domestic policies towards Palestinians, so I inquired as to what it was that made their approach worthy of being emulated.  He then explained that when someone checks in to a flight in an Israeli airport, they get asked a series of basic questions.  Depending on how an individual responds, along with their behavior throughout the questions, a person will either be permitted to proceed to their gate, or kept for further questioning/screening.

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After a roughly two month long hiatus, rest easy my friends, for a new post has finally arrived 🙂

Consider this another in a series of random thoughts concerning a variety of topics that piqued my interest over the past few months….

-The NFL and its recent rule changes regarding big hits: lost in much of the machismo being expressed by players is the reality that football is simply a devastating game to play for ones health. The fact is that as fans, we love the barbarism that comes with watching a football game; the stunning hits incite an awe in the ability of men whose frames are sculpted nothing short of statuesque and whose tackling pedagogy was conceived in adolescence. But once that barbarism penetrates the abstract and enters into reality, discomfort sets in. We dont want to see our childhood sports heroes in wheelchairs suffering brain damage, penniless, living in retirement homes sans proper medical coverage, because it brings to light what we know deep inside-that football is, at times, nothing short of primitive savagery akin to animal hunts in Roman Colosseums. Is it wrong then to be a fan? I dont believe so. But there is an evident hypocrisy with fans who watch football believing it to be like any other sport. It is not. It is far more violent, results in far more injuries, and inhibits the quality of life for many of its participants post retirement. As long as that is understood, we can begin to speak about football in real terms, and that as long as there is football, there will be injuries, players getting carted off the field, defenders getting fined for big hits, and the occasional paralysis and/or loss of life.

-Juan Williams was recently fired from NPR for comments that NPR says “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.” Since, there has been much criticism levied against NPR, and I dont believe there should be. NPR has the right to fire whomever they want, under whatever grounds they want. Rick Sanchez was fired for criticizing Jon Stewart and questioning whether or not Jews could really constitute a true ‘minority’ given their accomplishments in Corporate America. Helen Thomas was fired for a recorded statement that told Israel to “get the hell out of Palestine” and called on Jews to “Go home.” Don Imus was fired for calling a womens basketball team “nappy headed ho’s.” Fox News fired E. D. Hill for calling Barack Obama’s dap with Michelle Obama a “terrorist fist jab.” As much as ‘political correctness’ is mocked by pundits these days, there is a standard by which news correspondents are asked to abide by, and once they contravene that standard (which is admittedly subjective), their job is in jeopardy. I dont pretend that its fair, but its the nature of the beast.

-My alma mater, GMU, is hosting a conference this weeked entitled, “New Approaches to Quran and Exegesis” which I plan to attend, inshaAllah. Not sure what to expect, but it should be interesting.

-Looking forward to Beautiful Patience with Shaykh AbdulBary in December, inshaAllah.

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“If one were to build a mosque near ground zero, how would you feel?”

The question itself bears resemblance to something out of a trivia talk show.  And yet it is this very question that has metastasized into the current political, cultural, and religious crisis that we see today.  Though the project is not new, scant commentaries existed a few months ago.  Now, almost every major political personality has weighed his/her thoughts on the issue, including Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and most recently, President Barack Obama.

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