THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF HATE…

Sun Manchester

Hate comes in many different shapes, sizes, colours, and beliefs. We have a Libyan Muslim killing 22 at a pop concert in Manchester. We have ISIS killers shooting 28 Coptic Christians in Egypt. We have another ISIS rampage in the Philippines killing at least 19. We have the US admitting that an air strike on Mosul in March 2017 killed well over 100 civilians. Just a few days ago another US-led air strike, this time in Syria, killed at least 35. Whilst this list is by no means endless, we now also have 2 people stabbed to death in Oregon, Portland, in America.

Whilst on a commuter train, these non-Muslim men came to the defence of 2 Muslim women, one wearing a hijab, who were being verbally abused by a white supremacist, who is now being referred to by authorities as a ‘domestic terrorist’ with ‘extremist ideologies’.

It can be seen from the above videos that hate does indeed take many forms. Arguably the most news worthy of these recent incidents was the suicide bombing in Manchester. When 22 year old Salman Abedi decided to blow himself up at an Ariana Grande concert, an unfortunately repetitive news cycle was kicked into motion, a cycle we have gone through after bombings in London and attacks in Paris.

Sadiq Manchester

During a memorial for the victims of the deadly Manchester attack, Muslim man Sadiq Patel comforts Jewish woman Renee Rachel Black, who broke down next to a floral tribute in Albert Square on May 24, 2017.

It goes a little like this: horrific incident occurs where a Muslim kills many, queue outrage at the Muslim community at large, some cry out for all Muslims to condemn the incident, some Muslims do whilst others resist and say they should not as they did not do this, etc.

Whilst this issue of condemning is something I have written about previously, in order to shed some more hopefully objective light on this media cycle, please find below links to 2 articles, one from a Muslim and one from a Christian, that detail why perhaps we (the larger Muslim population) should not feel an urge to condemn something that we find just as horrific as non-Muslims. Whilst I have selected certain quotes from these article, both are worth reading in full.


Don’t Ask Muslims To Condemn Terror: Our Outrage At Atrocities Ought To Be A Given

Daila Mogahed, nydailynews.com, 24 May 2017

I cannot begin to fathom the motivation behind this monstrous violence, but because of my faith and the color of my skin, many suspect me of condoning it…

Anyone with an internet connection and a search engine will find that Muslims have and continue to condemn terrorism. Muslims have issued thousands of public statements, held conferences, seminars, lectures, workshops, created organizations, penned op-eds, written books, taken out full-page ads, held rallies, created television series and even developed video games, all to condemn terrorism.

There isn’t a mode of communication through which Muslims have not tried to communicate to the world their disgust with terrorism in their name.

But is this a reasonable expectation?

…As we mourn the loss of Saffie and the others murdered, let us not allow our pain to be exploited in the service of prejudice.


Why We Must Never Hate Islam, Or Muslims, Because Of The Violence Of Its Fake Followers

Shaun King, nydailynews.com, 23 May 2017

We must always resist the urge to throw an entire race of people under the bus…It’s an easy temptation to oversimplify our emotions into dangerous generalizations, but we must resist such urges…

We should all be upset at what happened in Manchester, but what happened there is no excuse to slide into Islamophobia. Whoever did this is no more a Muslim than those who lynched African Americans during Jim Crow were Christians. Wearing the garb of a faith no more makes you a follower of that faith than me wearing a Steph Curry jersey makes me a Golden State Warrior.

From the beginning of time, people have perverted religions to justify the worst possible behaviors imaginable. This man who decided to blow himself up at the exit doors of the concert venue just as families exited was not a Muslim.

Suicide itself is forbidden in Islam. Well over a billion Muslims believe this. Murder, doubly so of innocent women and children, is forbidden in Islam. This is commonly understood and peacefully observed by everyday Muslims all over the world. These terrible, ignorant violent betrayers of Islam who blow themselves up in the names of causing such carnage are not Muslims. Their acts are fundamentally un-Islamic. They not only violate the letter of Qur’an, but violate the spirit of it as well.

This bastardization of Islam is not unique. One of the early ships in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was actually known as the “Good Ship Jesus.” The very people who were capturing, chaining, then selling human beings for a life of slavery saw absolutely no conflict of interest between such actions with their Christianity. Early leaders of the KKK, including those who lynched black bodies, were regularly deacons and church leaders. I’ve literally been called n—-r on Twitter by actual people who describe their Christian faith in their social media bio.

Of all the friends I have, none are more consistently warm, peaceful, supportive, and kind than my Muslim friends. They are actual Muslims, though. In a day and age of fake news and fake politicians, perhaps nothing is more dangerous than fake Muslims and Christians — who cloak themselves in the accouterments of religion but do so for the asinine and insincere reasons.

It’s sad that this must be said, but you must find a way to be angry at what happened in Manchester without hating Islam and its more than 1.5 billion adherents. Blaming all of Islam for what this idiot, or for what the few hundred other idiots like him have done, is not just simple, it’s both dumb and dangerous. You are better than that.

RAMADHAAN 2017 – SOME USEFUL RESOURCES

Kaba pic

We are nearly at the end of the month of Shabaan (moonsighting.com), which means Ramadhaan is just around the corner. Preparations for Ramadhaan should therefore ideally begin now. With this intention, I am hoping the list of resources below can help us all to make the most of this blessed month, insha-Allah…


Information about the month of Shabaan…

Please see the following PDF file about the month of Shabaan, from the excellent book The Best Of Times by Muhammad Khan. Please read this in order to get the best out of this blessed month.


Islamic lectures…

An excellent lecture about Ramadhaan is one called Preparing For Ramadan by Shaykh Zahir Mahmood (scroll down the page please in order to get to this particular lecture).

Another excellent lecture is from Shaykh Hamza Yusuf called Ramadan Advice.


Useful websites…

A useful website with loads of really good practical hints and tips is http://productivemuslim.com.

I came across a really good website where if you type in a post code it will show you the qibla direction from that place: http://www.qib.la/.


Useful files…

Four files that will insha–Allah provide some good information:

Complete Guide To Ramadhan

Laylatul-Qadr – guide

Ramadhaan checklist

Ramadhaan preparation pack


OVERALL…

Know that you will only get out of Ramadhaan what you are willing to put in. Therefore please make time to read the Shabaan article, to read the pdf files and the Word doc, and to listen to the lectures before Ramadhaan begins.

To hopefully inspire further, here are 4 quotes related to Ramadhaan and fasting:

We have become like gerbils in the dunya, chasing after things…The job of the dunya is to make you unstable…the more you become immersed in this dunya, the more you become invested in this dunya, then the more unstable you become…Some scholars have said that jahiliya is to see something and to perceive it as something else, that this is ignorance…in Islam true knowledge is to perceive something as it really is, as best you can…people who immerse themselves in this dunya have immersed themselves in a lie, and they are getting played like a piano on Sunday school, and that is why they are not stable…this dunya calls you to become people who are completely insecure with themselves…Fasting and Ramadhaan call us to be stable. – adapted from a speech by Imam Suhaib Webb

Ramadan is not a temporary increase of religious practice. It is a glimpse of what you are capable of doing every day. – Shaykh Abdul Jabbar

The less fasts certain people keep during Ramadhaan, the more eager they seem to be to celebrate Eid. – Anon

This month of Ramadan is about asking “Where is your heart?” Is your heart with God? Is your heart with your own ego? Is your heart with your lust? Is your heart with your passion? Is your heart with your greed? Is your heart with your pride? Is your heart with your envy? Is it with your resentment? Is it with your desire for revenge? “Where is your heart?” That is the question this month is asking us: “Where is your heart?” And this time that we have been given, a few days of reflection, this is the time when you can actually go into yourself, and dig into yourself and ask that question: “Where is your heart?” Because as Sayyidina Ali said “A man lies hidden under his tongue”, because the tongue expresses what is in the heart…“Whoever loves a thing does much remembrance of it”. If you love Allah, God is on your tongue. If you love the world, the world is on your tongue. That is the question: “Where is your heart?” This is the time to return to God, to give the heart back to the One who possesses the heart… – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, from a speech entitled Ramadan Advice

3 COMEDIANS AND A GOVERNOR WALK INTO A BLOG POST…

Teenage Cancer Trust concerts 2015 - London

The very few regular readers of this blog may note that I am a huge fan of the stand-up Frankie Boyle. Boyle is arguably one of the finest satirists and comedians in Britain, so much so that the Independent newspaper recently referred to him as “Britain’s biggest cynic”, going on to add:

Boyle’s tireless cynicism and blistering takedowns have left few unscathed. The Glaswegian writer is well known for his assiduously outrageous, dark and acerbic sense of humour which tightrope walks the fine line between funny and offensive. – Maya Oppenheim, Apr 2017, Independent

In an interview with Max Keiser, on the news channel RT, Boyle commented on how the general population of Britain needs to be at a certain level of stupidity in order for the minority rich to continue getting richer at the expense of the majority poor:

You need a really stupid population. The banks cannot really rip people off like they have done and continue to do if those people have any information. So you don’t just need a stupid population, you need a really stupid population. You need 50 million people a week watching a dancing dog, people who just sit there eating junk food watching TV. That is what you need if you want to get away with this. – Frankie Boyle, adapted from an interview with Max Keiser

When Boyle talks of people “watching a dancing dog” he is referring to the TV program Britain’s Got Talent, a show I generally do not like, so much so that I end up berating anyone else who watches it. However, having said all that, my family and I were having lunch one weekend and this show happened to be on (clearly I was not in charge of the TV remote at the time). The usual display of the untalented were being paraded one after the untalented other, until out walked on stage a comedian by the name of Daliso Chaponda. Chaponda, originally from Malawi, did about 5 minutes and ended up getting a well-deserved standing ovation all round. If you watch the clip further below you will see why.

Another comedian I recently came across that really impressed was the Indian comic Vir Das who appeared recently on Conan O’Briens self-titled TV show. As with Chaponda, I am sure you will agree that Das is a comedian that looks likely to have a bright future in the comedy world.

The third comedian featured below is a Christian from the American south. Jeremy McLellan is a stand up whose brand of liberal-advocacy humour finds him playing both Muslim festivals as well as Libertarian conferences. A recent Vice article said about McLellan that:

Muslims love him. Trump supporters want to kill him. That’s South Carolina comic Jeremy McLellan’s schtick. With more than 100,000 followers on Facebook, McLellan has become a staple at Muslim festivals and events around North America. – Samar Warsi, vice.com

Watch the short video below and you will see why a typical Trump support would want him killed.

The final video I would like to draw attention to features an interview between Trevor Noah and the Governor of Ohio John Kasich. Kasich, one of the few good ones in American politics, makes some interesting points about faith, community, and how we need to get out of our silo thinking. Again, an interesting interview that is well worth listening to.

As usual, I have transcribed my favourite quotes from each clip. Enjoy!


Daliso Chaponda on Britain’s Got Talent…

I am from Africa. I moved here ten years ago. And immediately I moved here, I heard a lot of British people talking about the financial crisis, the recession. I’m from Africa. What are you maniacs talking about?! You call that a crisis? If that’s a crisis, where’s UNICEF? Where is Bono? I have not seen one Save The UK Concert. You can tell me it’s a financial crisis when there are planes flying over Birmingham tossing fish and chips out of the window. It will be a financial crisis when there are ads on television saying, ‘This chav has to walk five miles a day to get a bottle of WKD Blue’ And 100%, you have got a financial crisis when India starts opening call centers here. Can you imagine some poor guy in Mumbai calls his bank and ends up talking to a Brummie? – Daliso Chaponda


Vir Das on Conan…

Everybody is complaining too much. You have to work this out, guys. Everybody is like “Man, we didn’t choose this guy. Now we gotta live with him? We didn’t vote for this guy. Now we gotta live with him?” To you Americans that’s your president. To most Indians that’s a marriage. That’s what Donald Trump is, he’s your arranged marriage. Because in the most literal sense, your parents picked this guy out for you. – Vir Das

There is religious phobia because I believe the world is changing and religion can’t keep up. I feel like we need to update every major religion in the world. Just take every religion and give it to the company Apple. Every 6 months Apple can update and relaunch the religion to the world. How nice would that be? That’s what we need. We need Islam 6S. We need Jesus Pro. You would slow terrorism down. Can you imagine how much you would slow terrorism down if every time some nutjob wanted to commit a jihad, you first had to sign a new online agreement with Apple. So first you have to get a jihad ID. Then you have to synch all your bombs and your devices to the same jihad ID. Except that one bomb didn’t work with the old version of iTunes and now you have to download the new version of iTunes. And you are all set to go up to heaven and get 72 virgins but your iCloud only holds 6 virgins, so now you have to upgrade. – Vir Das

You don’t appreciate your American luxury. I went to your supermarket the other day. You have an aisle for cereal. An aisle for cereal. You’re complaining about a president, you have an aisle for cereal. It is 60 feet by 10 feet. That’s 600 square feet. In Bombay that’s a school. – Vir Das


Jeremy McLellan…

I think that more the purpose of comedy is to make people feel like they’re not going crazy, to make people feel like they’re not as alienated, even though they’re being oppressed, even though they’re being mistreated or misunderstood, that there is someone who understands them, that is trying to understand them, that is trying to address their concerns and laugh at the world and at the ridiculousness of their situation. And I think that no matter what situation you find yourself in comedy can help you do that. It can make you feel less lonely, it can make you feel like somebody’s trying to understand you. – Jeremy McLellan

I love Uber because Uber is not just a corporation. Uber is also a sign of peace, it’s also a sign of religious coexistence, because Uber is an app that was invented by a Jew so that when a Christian gets too drunk he can call a Muslim to come pick him up and take him home. It all works out very very perfectly. – Jeremy McLellan

I’ll get messages from people saying that I should not do a show because “You can’t trust Muslims.” And I’m like “Okay, why can’t I trust Muslims?” And they’re like “Because they’re allowed to lie about whether they’re Muslim.” That’s true, people say that, like ‘taqiyya’ or whatever. They’re like “They’re allowed to lie about whether they’re Muslim.” And I’m like “Really?” And they’re like “Yeah!” And I’m like “Are you Muslim?” And they’re like “No.” And I’m like “How do I know? Maybe you’re…” – Jeremy McLellan

(For a very interesting article on taqiyya please see Playing The Taqiyya Card – Evading Intelligent Debate By Calling All Muslims Liars)


Trevor Noah

John Kasich on the Daily Show…

And this is part of the problem. It’s almost like rooting for a sports team. You wear your uniform and you’re always for your team regardless…But this is part of the problem we have in the country. Everybody’s sort of dividing themselves. If you’re a liberal, you read liberal editorials, you watch liberal television, you go to the Huffington Post. If you’re a conservative, you do conservative television, you do Rush Limbaugh and conservative editorials. So people are all locked in these silos and we only consume what we want. Frankly, we’re all affected by it. Think about Facebook. Put something up there I don’t like, I unfriend you. I mean, we’re to the point where people are not listening to each other and being able to hear what you have to say and show you a little respect…It’s throughout our culture now. We have become so self-absorbed and we’re not willing to put our hearts with others. And we have to get this back. – John Kasich

We live in a society today where you want a bumper sticker solution or you take a pill and everything’s gonna be great, immediate. This problem in this country of growing divisions has been going on for decades. Decades. And we’re not gonna pull out of this overnight. – John Kasich

Getting together with common humanity can allow us to begin to talk to one another again…We need to drive the change up to solve problems in this country and recapture our culture…People need to live a life a little bigger than themselves, that we all have to help one another. – John Kasich

I do want to talk, just for a second, about faith. And I’ll tell you why I say that. I think sometimes people in religion have given religion a bad reputation. Let me tell you what religion is for me. Religion is: honor God because that gives me humility; and secondly, love my neighbor, connect me with my community, put me in somebody else’s shoes, learn to help somebody get up, and live a life bigger than myself. That to me is what religion is about. And if you’re a humanist and you want to change the world, I’m all for you. But let’s not throw out the fact that values matter and that we have a responsibility for what we have been given. And that gets back to the issue of no one’s better than anybody else. Because I believe in the eyes of the Big Guy, we’re all equal. And we all have talents and we need to use it to change and heal this world. – John Kasich

I ain’t that great a guy. I just do the best I can. Wake up the next day and do a little bit better. – John Kasich

HASAN MINHAJ – “LET THE MAN PUTT PUTT! KEEP HIM DISTRACTED!”

Hasan 2017

Hasan Minhaj is arguably the most famous Muslim stand-up comedian on the planet. His stand-up prowess has seen preform all over the world, as can be seen in the brilliant documentary Stand Up Planet. He has also been a senior correspondent on the American satirical program The Daily Show for a few years now, with many of these videos available on YouTube.

As a stand-up Minhaj is very, very clever, always on the edge of the here-and-now of politics and culture, and is never afraid to speak his mind by telling it like he wants to. Take for example the following quote that manages to relate 9/11 with the election victory of Trump:

For the past 15 years, I’ve been blamed for 9/11. White Americans are now responsible for 11/9. – Hasan Minhaj

Another example of Minhaj being brutally honest came on the 15th of June in 2016, when Minhaj was the comedy speaker at the annual Radio And Television Correspondents’ Association dinner. His speech was around 23 minutes long, and the last 5 minutes have a ferocious honesty about them that clearly left the whole room silent and speechless.

As good as the RTCA is, it is still however the lesser cousin of the bigger, bolder, and brasher White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, an annual event that is traditionally attended by the then sitting president. The last time a president missed the WHCA dinner was way back in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt (a good enough reason I guess). Since 1981, however, every president has attended this annual event. They’ve sat there and politely smiled as some comedian or other makes fun of them for around 25 minutes.

As I’ve said, no president since 1981 has missed this event. Until now! Trump openly refused to attend this event weeks in advance, instead holding a rally of his own on the same night amongst his faithful in, erm, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Arguably the main reason for Trump deciding not to attend, other than his incredibly thin orange skin, was the announcement that the comedy speaker on the night would be none other than the Muslim son of an immigrant Hasan Minhaj.

The entire 25 minute speech, well worth watching in full, is shown below, along with a transcript of my favourite lines. Overall, Minhaj has received universal praise for the speech (he did receive an almost rock star like standing ovation at the end of it), but there are some who don’t seem to care for it:

Following the speech from Minhaj below is a clip from the Daily Show where host Trevor Noah and Minhaj talk of the ‘triumphant’ effect (or perhaps lack thereof) of Minhaj’s attempt at fully taking down the Donald.

Finally, another event that took place the same night was comedian Samantha Bee’s Not The White House Correspondent’s Dinner which, just like the speech given by Minhaj, is well worth watching. Anways, as always, enjoy!


Hasan Minhaj speaking at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, 29 Apr 2017, at the Washington Hilton…

This administration loves deleting history faster than Anthony Weiner when he hears footsteps. – Hasan Minhaj

The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow, and it’s a very long flight. It would be hard for Vlad to make it. Vlad can’t just make it on a Saturday. It’s a Saturday! – Hasan Minhaj

I get why Donald Trump didn’t want to be roasted tonight. By the looks of him, he’s been roasting nonstop for the past 70 years. Historically, the president usually performs at the Correspondents’ Dinner. But I think I speak for all of us when I say he’s done far too much bombing this month. Now, a lot of people in the media say that Donald Trump goes golfing too much. You guys are always like, “He goes golfing too much!” Which raises a very important question: why do you care? Do you want to know what he’s not doing when he’s golfing? Being president! Let the man putt putt! Keep him distracted! Teach him how to play badminton. Tell him he has a great body for bobsledding. Play him Tic-Tac-Toe. The longer you keep him distracted, the longer we’re not at war with North Korea. – Hasan Minhaj

Frederick Douglass isn’t here, and that’s because he’s dead. Someone please tell the president. – Hasan Minhaj

Jeff Sessions couldn’t be here tonight. He was busy doing a pre-Civil War re-enactment. On his R.S.V.P. he just wrote, “no.” Just no! Which happens to be his second favorite n-word. – Hasan Minhaj

It is 2017, and we are living in the golden age of lying. Now’s the time to be a liar, and Donald Trump is liar in chief. – Hasan Minhaj

We’re living in this strange time where trust is more important than truth. And supporters of President Trump trust him. – Hasan Minhaj

It was all fun and games with Obama, right? You were covering an adult who could speak English. And now you’re covering President Trump, so you have to take your game to a whole new level. It’s like if a bunch of stripper cops had to solve a real-life murder. – Hasan Minhaj

Fox News is here. I’m amazed you guys even showed up. How are you here in public? It’s hard to trust you guys when you backed a man like Bill O’Reilly for years. But it finally happened: Bill O’Reilly has been fired. But then you gave him a $25 million severance package, making it the only package he won’t force a woman to touch. – Hasan Minhaj

MSNBC…you’re turning into conspiracy theorists every night. You’re like, “the Russians hacked our elections! The Russians hacked our elections!” Meanwhile, everybody in Latin America and the Middle East is like, “Ohhh! A foreign government tampered with your elections? What is that like? Do tell, MSNBC!” – Hasan Minhaj

I don’t have a solution on how to win back trust. I don’t. But in the age of Trump, I know that you guys [journalists] have to be more perfect now more than ever, because you are how the president gets his news. Not from advisors, not from experts, not from intelligence agencies–you guys. So that’s why you gotta be on your A game. You gotta be twice as good. You can’t make any mistakes. Because when one of you messes up, he blames your entire group. And now you know what it feels like to be a minority. And I can see some of you guys complaining–like, what? I gotta work twice as hard for half the credit? Remember: you’re a minority…And then, when you actually manage to do great work, you get hit with the most condescending line in the English language: “Hey, you’re actually one of the good ones.” Then you have to smile and say “thank you.” Kind of sucks, doesn’t it? – Hasan Minhaj


Hasan Minhaj and Trevor Noah on the Daily Show, discussing the WHCA dinner…