6 LINKS AND 6 QUOTES

Please find below various links and quotes that I hope you find interesting. There are links to four articles about Islam and Muslims in America, as well as a link to a brilliant article about the history of Islam in Germany by the writer and historian Akbar Ahmed.

There is also a must-see 18 minute video from the TV program Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, which covers the topic of refugees in Europe – hard-hitting satire that is difficult to refute.

Anyways, enjoy!


Links…


Quotes…

  • Be careful of laughing at others for perhaps Allah may forgive their ignorance and not your arrogance. – Shaykh Yasir Qadhi
  • Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it kind?’ – Sufi proverb
  • Character is what a man is in the dark. – Dwight L Moody
  • Don’t say ‘Hello’, instead say ‘As–salaam–alaikum’. Don’t say ‘Okay’, instead say ‘Insha–Allah’. Don’t say ‘Wow’, instead say ‘Subhan–Allah’. Don’t say ‘Great’, instead say ‘Masha–Allah’. Don’t say ‘I am fine’, instead say ‘Alhamdu–lillah’. Don’t say ‘Thanks’, instead say ‘Jazak–Allah–khair’. – Anon
  • Everyone who loses somebody wants revenge on someone. On God if they can’t find anyone else. But in Africa, in Mantobo, the Ku believe that the only way to end grief is to save a life. If someone is murdered, a year of mourning ends with a ritual that we call the drowning-man trial. There’s an all-night party beside the river. At dawn, the killer is put in a boat, he’s taken out in the water, and he’s dropped. He’s bound so that he cannot swim. The family of the dead then has to make a choice. They can let him drown, or they can swim out and save him. The Ku believe that if the family lets the killer drown, they’ll have justice but spend the rest of their lives in mourning. But if they save him, if they admit that life isn’t always just, that very act can take away their sorrow. Vengeance is a lazy form of grief. – from the movie The Interpreter (2005)
  • I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. – Susan B Anthony

ISLAM AND HUMOUR – PART 4 – AASIF MANDVI ON ISLAM AND THE MEDIA

Following on from Islam and Humour parts 1, 2, and 3


Aasif

Aasif Mandvi is an American Muslim of many talents. He is an actor that you probably know the face of if you don’t know the name. He’s been in many movies (Spider Man 2, The Internship, Million Dollar Arm, The Siege). He’s also done plenty of TV as a once regular on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and with his sitcom Halal In The Family. He has also authored the book No Land’s Man.

Aasif has said plenty of things over the years about Islam, things such as: “I think Islam has been hijacked by the idea that all Muslims are terrorists; that Islam is about hate, about war, about jihad. I think that hijacks the spirituality and beauty that exists within Islam. I believe in allowing Islam to be seen in context and in its entirety and being judged on what it really is, not what you think it is.”

Well said indeed. Adding to this, earlier this year in March Mandvi did a brilliant 22 minute speech at the 2015 Congressional Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner, where he made some rather clever and funny points about Islam and how it is misrepresented in the media. I have blogged about this speech previously, that’s how good it is.

Anyways, the whole speech is well worth a listen, and below are some transcribed highlights. Enjoy!


Aasif Mandvi, speaking at the 2015 Congressional Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner (C-SPAN), March 2015


The most exciting thing that happened recently was when the Prime Minister of Israel came to speak to congress, right? So that was exciting. I mean say what you will about President Obama, but it took a black president to make Republicans finally wish for a Jewish one. You know, however, I wonder if Netanyahu is aware that there is only one Republican Jewish congressman. Only one. The Republicans loooove Israel, but the Jews, eeehhh not so much. We’ll give them our money, but our votes? That’s going too far!


Listen, I don’t care how this goes tonight, because tomorrow it’s going to say ‘Muslim Bombs’ or ‘Muslim Kills’. It’s bad for me either way.


I am also honoured to be representing the American Muslim community tonight. (Small applause) Thank you, to the two Muslims allowed in here. There’s not a lot of Muslims in the media or the government. Fareed Zakaria, Keith Ellison, Wolf Blitzer ate a falafel once…I’m just saying that besides those guys, myself, and the President, there are not a lot of Muslims in the public eye. (Laughter) We know he’s a Muslim. You don’t, we do! Oh you think he’s black? He’s not black, he’s a Muslim. Wait till two years from now, full beard, four wives, lamb cologne, the whole thing. He’s not here. Like he’d be in the back? I don’t know. He can’t be here, too many Muslims in one room and you don’t know what happens. We might start doing the terrorist fist bump, the handshake, and then pretty soon we’ve passed shariah law. God knows where it could end. Although it would prove to congress that it is possible to pass a law. I don’t think Obama is a Muslim. You know why? He’s a terrible haggler. If he was a Muslim he would have haggled that budget, he would have haggled the closing of Guantanamo. I’m telling you, every congressman would have gotten a suit from his cousin Mustafa at 50% off.

We could never pass shariah law in this country because of the constitution, and also because they cut off your handing for stealing, they stone you for adultery, they cut out your tongue for lying. Washington DC would come to a stand-still. Without those perks no one was going to run for public office.


As a Muslim American, I also want you to know that I denounce terrorism, okay? Can we get that off of the table now? I denounce it. It’s done. I denounce it. We’re always denouncing things. Whenever a Muslim does anything that’s bad, all of the other Muslims have to come out and denounce everything that’s bad. I mean I’m used to it. As a comedian I denounce Carrot Top. As a New Yorker I denounce winter. As an Indian American I denounce the Washington Red Skins, even though they’re not the same kind of Indian. But I’ll denounce them. Whatever. I’m used to it, I’m used to denouncing.

White people never have to denounce anything, right? I mean I’ll make it easy on you. We can start with khaki pants and barber shop quartets, before we work our way up to the big stuff like crystal meth, and depleting the world’s natural resources.

You know when Muslims or people in the Middle East commit violence, it is immediately “Islam!…Islam!…it’s bad!” A white person can write a Christian manifesto, shoot hundreds of people with a sub machine gun, have a bomb in his car, and it is bad parenting! “He’s mentally unstable. He went off his meds.” Why can’t I be mentally unstable? Why can’t Muslims ever be mentally unstable? I want to be mentally unstable. I would love to be mentally unstable.

Sure, I get it, I get it. Look, having little understanding of other cultures, being giving an AK-47 at 11 years old and told that God is on your side is part of what it means to be American. But there are people in Afghanistan and Iraq who feel the same way. All I’m saying, white people, is stop hoarding the crazy! And it affects the way even I think about it, you know? A white person ran out of a building the other day in New York city, stole my cab. I thought that guy’s a jerk. If a Muslim person ran out of a building and stole my cab I’d think that building’s going to blow. I see a white person with a beard I want to buy his artisinal honey. (Laughter) I see a Muslim person with a beard I’m hoping he’s getting pulled out of line at JFK. I see three white guys walking into a strip club, I think bachelor party. I see three Muslim guys walking into a strip club, I’m getting the hell out of town!

There is a lot of Islamophobia right now, you know. But I try to be positive about it, right. I try to see a silver lining. For example I know that there are a lot of Americans who are burning Qur’ans. But I look at it this way, at least they are BUYING Qur’ans. And that’s gotta be good. I know there are many Americans who are protesting the building of mosques. But at least for the first time those same Americans now know that that building with minarets is not a Mexican restaurant. And that’s good.

I have fun with the whole thing. I mean, you know when I get on a plane I know I don’t HAVE to look both ways suspiciously before I put my luggage in the overhead compartment, but I do! It’s fun! I know I don’t HAVE to count my steps from my seat to the bathroom in an Arabic accent… (Mimic Arabic accent) “One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand”… (Laughter) But i do it! It scares whitey! Look, I figure if people don’t want to make the distinction between a Muslim and a terrorist, then why should I make a distinction between good, scared white people and racists. Why?


I got the most interesting e-mail from the vice president Joe Biden, who wanted to know about the 72 virgins. EVERYONE wants to know about the 72 virgins! Well, this is something that I can actually answer because it’s an interesting point. As some of you may not know 72 virgins are promised in heaven if you die as a martyr. However recently Muslim scholars have discovered that it’s not virgins at all, it’s actually raisins. This is true. There was a translation mishap in the old Arabic, and raisins were very rare at that time, and so it’s 72 raisins. Imagine Achmed the terrorist showing up after he’s died, “I am here, I am here for my virgins, all the sex I am going to have now, let’s go!” “Ah, Achmed, we are very sorry, there was a little mistranslation problem. There are no virgins, but we have a lovely fruit plate for you. Cheese and Crackers…” It’s not the same. Also, why would you incentivize terrorists with 72 virgins? It’s the worst sex on earth, times 72. 72 strippers and a Lamborghini, now I’m joining Hamas!

But you know I’m always trying to think of ways to bring our country together, to overcome prejudice and racism, and I think it is time for Muslims in this country to come together and do what African-Americans did a number of years ago, when they did the Million Man March. I think it is time for the Million Muslim March. Am I right? Imagine that, a million Muslims marching down Broadway in New York city, with the beards and the hijabs and the whole thing. But here’s the best part, we don’t tell anyone we’re going to do it. We just do it! “The jihad is coming! Cover your babies in pork fat. Wrap yourself in bacon. They can’t touch you…” We march down, surround Fox News, just to watch Bill O’Reilly pee his pants.

TIME’S UP FOR AHMED MOHAMED…

Let’s start with a hilarious joke. Feel free to stop me if you’ve heard this one…

What does a 14 year old Muslim get if he takes a homemade clock to school?

Arrested. By five police officers. And handcuffed.

I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing at the sheer hilarity of it all. Ahmed Mohamed, a 14 year old Muslim school boy from Irving, Texas, took his homemade clock to school (on Monday 14th September) as part of a science project. The teacher panicked somewhat, the police were called, he was arrested, and now all mighty hell has broken loose, especially on social media:

President Obama invited Ahmed and his family to the White House; Sarah Palin and Fox News, none too surprisingly, criticised him for this; Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg fully supported Ahmed, as did other tech companies who offered him work; Richard Dawkins called into question his motives for making the clock in the first place; and so forth…

As you can imagine, much has been written about this topic. Below are links to some of the better articles I’ve read about this whole social media episode, along with some satirical cartoons, and a rather hilarious short video clip. Enjoy!


Articles…

  • Hanna Yusuf writes about Ahmed in the context of Islamophobia in Britain: “Britain has plenty of its own Ahmeds – young Muslims who have been attacked or marginalised for their religion. But aside from a few headlines, they’re mostly invisible, and receive no outpourings of support.” (Don’t Stand With Ahmed If You’re Not Prepared To Support All Marginalised Muslim Children)
  • Dean Obeidallah says “The message in Irving is clear: If you are Muslim, anything you do might be a plot to destroy America. ” (Ahmed Mohamed Is the Muslim Hero America’s Been Waiting For)
  • Mom and activist Yasmina Blackburn writes from a very personal perspective, saying that  “Ahmed could be my child. I have kids close to his age. Kids yearn for adults to hear them. To understand them. To accept them. To motivate them. To inspire them. Not to call the cops on them and have them arrested for being brilliant.” (Of Course #IStandWithAhmed. I Could Be His Mom)
  • Nicholas Pierce makes the following rather poignant point: “If a 14-year-old’s handmade clock can strike fear in the hearts of grown adults and provoke the police powers of the world’s 10th largest economy–ensconced with in the world’s first most powerful nation–then the terrorists are definitely winning.” (Ahmed’s Clock And My Renewed Faith In Humanity)
  • Hena Zuberi, in a letter, offers her 10 year old son the following advice: “Be careful before taking an invention to school. Be careful while flying. Be careful making jokes. Anti-Muslim bigotry is REAL.” (My Dear Muslim Son)

Video clip…

For anyone who thinks that there is no over reaction to this, please show them the following really funny clip…


Cartoons…

Finally, here are 3 satirical cartoons that very quickly get straight to the heart of this whole crazy matter…

ahmed clock 3

Ahmed Mohamed: It’s A Clock With A Built-In Racism Detector…I think we have all learnt an important lesson from this situation which is that ‘brown’ people with aspirations are dangerous

ahmed clock 2

September 19, 2015

7 THINGS ABOUT THE CURRENT REFUGEE CRISIS

We are currently in the Islamic year 1436. When the early Muslims were deciding when their calendar should start, they decided to start it based on one significant event. Known as the Hijrah, this event is when the early, small community of Muslims (including the Prophet Muhammad himself) migrated in 622CE from the city of Mecca to Medina. Basically, they migrated because they were oppressed refugees seeking asylum, as the author Tariq Ramadan explains in his biography of the Prophet Muhammad:

The Prophet and all his companions had had to leave Mecca because of persecutions and adversity from their own brothers and sisters within their respective clans. The situation had become unbearable, women and men had died, others had been tortured, and the Quraysh had finally decided to set upon Muhammad himself and get rid of him. – from the book In The Footsteps Of The Prophet: Lessons From The Life Of Muhammad, Chapter 8 – Hijrah, by Tariq Ramadan

During their 320 km journey north, these Muslims did not have to pass through check points, they did not have to clamber over barbed wire, they did not have to scale walls, nor did they have to walk wearily past the judgemental eyes of locals. Instead, when they got to Medina they were greeted with warm and generous hearts.

This was not the first emigration of persecuted Muslims, for 7 years prior a group of some 80 Muslims left Mecca and arrived at the court of the Christian king Negus in Abyssinia. Again they were welcomed cordially.

So it can be clearly seen that this tradition of generously welcoming refugees is a fundamental part of our Islamic heritage.

Currently the issue of refugees is the number one topic in the news, especially in Europe. Whilst there are many different opinions on this issue, I am hoping the 7 ‘things’ below will present a somewhat different angle on this issue:


We begin with a quote from the newly elected leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, who said the following in his victory speech after overwhelmingly winning the Labour leadership with 59.5% of the votes after the first round of voting:

There are many, many issues we face and many people face desperation in other parts of the world. And I think it is quite incredible the way the mood in Europe has changed over the past few weeks of understanding that people fleeing from wars, they are the victims of wars, they are the generational victims of wars, they are the intergenerational victims of war, end up in desperation, end up in terrible places, end up trying to gain a place of safety, end up trying to exercise their refugee rights. They are human beings just like you, just like me. Let’s deal with the refugee crisis with humanity, with support, with help, with compassion, to try to help people who are trying to get to a place of safety. Trying to help people who are stuck in refugee camps, but recognise going to war creates a legacy of bitterness and problems. Let us be a force for change in the world, a force for humanity in the world, a force for peace in the world and a force that recognises we cannot go on like this with grotesque levels of global inequality, grotesque threats to our environment all around the world, without the rich and powerful governments stepping up to the plate to make sure our world becomes safer and better. And those people don’t end up in poverty, in refugee camps, wasting their lives away when they could be contributing so much to the good of all of us on this planet. We are one world, let that message go out today from this conference centre here in London. – Jeremy Corbyn, 12th Sep 2015


The always brilliant Yasmina Reality has written a heartfelt article about the situation, specifically to do with the death of the 3 year old drowned boy Aylan Kurdi:

The further away someone lives from us physically, geographically, the less relevant they sometimes seem to us adults. In other words, when you live really really far away from us, we almost look at your existence as less meaningful than our own. Because you are seemingly a world away from where we are, we tend to put your existence on the back burner in our brains. We tend to think that your problems are your problems and our problems are our problems. – from the article Dear Syrian Child Whose Body Washed Ashore In Turkey by Yasmina Reality


Next up is a satirical slant on proceedings from the Daily Mash, which not-so-subtly talks of why people only seem to care when they see a photo (they also wrote another article related to this topic, well worth a read: We Need To Look After Our Own First, Say People Who Would Never Help Anyone):

Everyone Sad Because Of Photo Of Thing That’s Been Happening For Months

03-09-15

EVERYONE is sad because a photo has emerged of a thing that has been happening several times a week for months.

It has been confirmed that everyone kind of knew the thing was happening, but now they are very sad and angry because there is a photo of it.

Martin Bishop, from Hatfield, said: “If only there wasn’t a photo of the thing that’s been happening for months, I wouldn’t have to care about it.

“But, according to the rules, now that there’s a photo of the thing we all kind of knew was happening, something must be done.

“And don’t show me any more photos.”


The New Scientist offered a more serious look as to why this one photo was so powerful: Refugee Crisis: Why One Boy’s Tragedy Created A Wave Of Empathy


Here are 2 cartoons that speak more than a thousand words each about the nonsensical cynicism that many people (such as Donald Trump) seem to hold over this issue:


Finally, here is a short but powerful video from Save The Children that shows the reality that refugees, especially children, face:

5 QUOTES 5 LINKS

Below are links to various videos and articles that I hope are of some interest. The usual set of quotes are also there. Enjoy!


Links…


Quotes…

  • 5,000 friends on Facebook. 1,500 followers on Twitter. 500 people at your wedding. 5 people during hard times. 2 people at your burial. Alone in your grave. – Anon
  • A healthy person probably looks around and says, “It’s a wonderful world full of wonderful things.” A non-healthy person says, “I want people to think I’m one of the wonderful things.” – from the documentary Misery Loves Comedy (2015)
  • Afghan version of Trivial Pursuit. Fun for all the family. Except the women, of course. – from an episode of the BBC TV program Bluestone 42
  • After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box. – Italian proverb, referring to the game of chess
  • For those accusing me of defending Islam, and a lot have said that this week, I’m defending common sense. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world right now. 1.6 billion. As someone pointed out on Twitter this week, if Islam really bred terror, we’d all be dead by now. The combined forces in total of Islamic State, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda, makes up 0.003% of the global Muslim population. Less than 2% of all terror attacks are carried out in the name of Islam. You’ve got more chance of being killed by a bee sting, a peanut, or the NHS. – Adam Hills, ranting on the Channel 4 program The Last Leg

ISLAM AND HUMOUR – PART 3 – DARA O’BRIAIN AND THE GOLDEN HORSE OF ISLAM

Following on from previous blog posts about Islam and humour, parts one and two


The impressionist Rory Bremner is scared to joke about Islam. He said in an interview that: “The greatest danger now is that one of the toughest issues of our time is religion. When writing a sketch about Islam, I’m writing a line and I think, ‘If this goes down badly, I’m writing my own death warrant there.’ Because there are people who will say, ‘Not only do I not think that’s funny but I’m going to kill you’, and that’s chilling.”

The comedian and writer Ben Elton has also said something similar: “I think it all starts with people nodding whenever anybody says, ‘As a person of faith…’ And I believe that part of it is due to the genuine fear that the authorities and the community have about provoking the radical elements of Islam. There’s no doubt about it, the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass. They might pretend that it’s, you know, something to do with their moral sensibilities, but it isn’t. It’s because they’re scared. I know these people.”

“These people” may indeed be scared, but there are other people who are not so. Other comedians such as Dara O’Briain and Stewart Lee aren’t exactly scared to joke about Islam. With them it is more a case of the audience not knowing enough about Islam which prevents them from performing any lengthy or worthwhile Islam-based comedy routines.

I have previously referred to Stewart Lee talking about why it’s difficult to joke about Islam in “any real depth” because “there isn’t really enough of a shared collective pool of knowledge between performer and audience to be able to move off the most obvious areas really. So stop sending me your stupid fucking e-mails.”

I guess it is us up to us Muslims (especially Muslim comedians) to educate non-Muslims about Islam, not just through our intelligent well-spoken words (hopefully) but also through our righteous actions (again hopefully). All being well this will deepen the “shared collective pool of knowledge” that Lee mentions above, as well as counter balancing the negative stereotypes that rampantly exist in the media regarding Islam and Muslims.

The Irish comedian Dara O’Briain strongly agrees with Stewart Lee. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph O’Briain explained why he doesn’t really do stand up about Islam: “You do get people giving out and going ‘Well, you know, you will joke about the Christians but you won’t joke about the Muslims, huh, why is that?’ To which my slightly angry response is: my job is not to write YOU jokes about Muslims. I’ll write about stuff I know and I KNOW about growing up Catholic, but the Muslim stuff, you know…? It’s not any comedian’s job to supply angry people with anti-Muslim material, and it’s a question you hear a lot, as if somehow that balance should exist.”


In his live show This Is The Show (2010), O’Briain elaborates this point further, making the following rather poignant observation about your traditional non-Muslim comedy audience:

I occasionally self-censor. Tonight’s show, for example, features no jokes about religion…sorry, no jokes on religion, and there are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, as a topic, it bores the hole off me. I couldn’t give a shite about religion, right. I am an atheist, although not an angry atheist. If you’re into God, good luck to you. [PUTS BOTH THUMBS UP] With the hoping! But…no, no, no, I’m only teasing. I’m only teasing. Should we have a bet? You can pay me money on the other side…

The other reason I don’t do jokes about religion, and this might be specific for right now and in this country: if you do the routines I used to do, like the Catholic and Protestant routine, or the Lord’s Prayer routine, those ones are lovely routines, right. But if you do them now you genuinely get members of the Christian right coming up to you after gigs or online and going, and they love saying this, by the way, they love saying this:

“Oh yeah, you’ll make jokes about the Catholics, you’ll make jokes about the Protestants, but you won’t make jokes about the Muslims, will you? No, you’re not that brave to make jokes about the Muslim’s, are you? Oh, no, not that brave, Mr Comedian Man, to make jokes about the Muslim’s. The Christians, they’re an easy target, but you won’t make jokes about the Muslim’s.”

They fucking love that. To which I always say:

“There are two reasons I don’t do jokes about Muslims. A, I don’t know a fucking thing about Muslims. And, B, neither do you. [AUDIENCE LAUGHING] Frankly, it’d be pointless.”

I could research and write the greatest Muslim-based material you’ve ever heard…

“Hey, what’s up with the big golden horse that comes over the hill once a year and hands out cake to the kids? What’s that all about?!”

And you’d all be there going:

“Is that a thing? I’ve never heard of that there thing. Jeez, you’ve really nailed the Muslims there, Dara. Well done! Congratulations.”

By the way, apologies to any Muslims in the room who are now sitting there going:

“What golden horse? What the fuck is the man talking about? The man’s a fucking idiot. I’ve never heard of that at all. I’ve read the book cover to cover, I’ve never heard of that at all.”

– Dara O’Briain, from his stand-up show This Is The Show (2010)