15 HOPEFULLY INSPIRING QUOTES

I cannot really bring myself to do another Trump related blog, at least not today. So here are 15 hopefully inspiring quotes from the likes of Chris Rock, Stewart Lee, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, and 5 from arguably one of our greatest living philosophers Taylor Swift.  I am as yet unsure as to exactly what these quotes will inspire you to do but, as always, enjoy!

Taylor

Once you realize all the random events in your life are God you will live a much easier life. We spend all our time trying to control all these things that happen to us, it’s bullshit. The plane you’re flying goes down? Out of your control. God gives you cancer? I got no control over that. Did God give me cancer? You bet your ass God gave me cancer. You know, do you think God would have given me cancer if I’d asked for it? Uh, I don’t think so ’cause I begged him to take it away and guess what? No control over that, either. – from the movie Flight (2012)

Don’t worry. You may think you’ll never get over it. But you also thought it would last forever. – Taylor Swift

Every accident, properly viewed, is an opportunity. – from the movie Bridge Of Spies (2015)

Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak, sometimes you’re just strong enough to let go. – Taylor Swift

I was on tour and I was in Sheffield and I was walking along the main street in Sheffield, Fargate, and I saw two guys holding up big cardboard placards and one of them said, “Would you like to download thousands of films now from Sky?” And the other one said, “Would you like to learn the truth about Islam?” And I thought, “Oh, decisions, decisions.” – Stewart Lee

If you haven’t contemplated murder, you ain’t been in love. If you haven’t seriously thought about killing a motherf***er, you ain’t been in love. If you haven’t had a can of rat poison in your hand and looked at it for 45 minutes straight, you ain’t been in love. If you haven’t bought a shovel and a bag and a rug to roll their ass up in, you ain’t been in love. If you haven’t practiced your alibi in front of the mirror, you ain’t been in love. And the only thing that’s stopped you from killing this motherfucker was a episode of CSI: ‘Oh man, they thorough. I better make up. They might catch my ass.’ – Chris Rock

It isn’t history that makes heroes, it is heroes that make history. – Taylor Swift

The great genius of our religion, and one of the great truths of our Prophet, is that he came as a mercy to everyone. And this is why he created multi–ethnic multi–cultural societies. He had all types of people: he had Persians, he had Romans, he had Africans, he had Arabs. He had all the different Arab tribes and he brought them into a fraternity of rahma (mercy). And he had Jews and Christians and he honored them and treated them. When the Christians of Najran came he honoured them in his mosque, he spoke to them kindly. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

The more awareness of Allah you have, the stiller you become, the stiller your soul becomes. You don’t have the agitation, the disquietude that happens with people that are distant from Allah. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

There are two ways you can go with pain: You can let it destroy you or you can use it as fuel to drive you. – Taylor Swift

We [Muslims] say that what is out there is inside, that man is a microcosm. Imam Ali said that you think that you’re an insignificant thing and yet in you is the entire universe, that we are the microcosm, and one of the things that I see that we’re losing on the planet, we’re not losing cockroaches, we’re not losing rats, they’re thriving. But we’re losing eagles, we’re losing lions and tigers and leopards, we’re losing these qualities in our self that are majestic and beautiful, and what’s remaining is the foulness and the filth…if people want to clean up the environment they have to clean up themselves because the environment is a reflection of what’s inside of us. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, from A Conversation With Miroslav Volf And Hamza Yusuf

What I’ve learned is not to change who you are, because eventually you’re going to run out of new things to become. – Taylor Swift

Chris Rock

When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they’re crazy, because ‘sacrifice’ infers that there was something better to do than being with your children. And I’ve never been with my kids and gone, ‘Man, I wish I was on my stage right now.’ I’ve never been with my kids and gone, ‘Man, it’d be so great if I was on a movie set right now.’ But I’ve been doing a movie and wished that I was with my kids, I’ve been on tour and wished that I was with my kids. Being with my kids is the best, most fun thing, it’s a privilege. It’s not something I call a sacrifice. – Chris Rock

You should try to align your character with the character of the Prophet, so you follow his actual sunnah. – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

You wouldn’t throw away a diamond to pick up a rock, so in the same way don’t throw away the akhirah by chasing the dunya. – Anon

ADVICE FROM AN EXTREMELY BRITISH MUSLIM

Waz

The always interesting British TV station Channel 4 has recently started a 3-part documentary called Extremely British Muslims. I will let you finish rolling your collective eyes at the thought of yet another documentary trying to understand what us Muslims in the west are really all about, but this one is interesting to say the least.

Forget the non-controversy about Channel 4 using on-screen subtitles when people with strong Birmingham accents were talking. Forget also the first episode that focused on some rather strange and awkward opinions on matrimonial matters. Instead focus on the second episode which concentrated on young Muslim men growing up in Birmingham.

It was this episode that made the incisive point that our fathers came to this country and tried to integrate as much as possible, despite the high level of resistance shown by many locals, whereas their children (first born generation Muslims like myself) on the whole are trying to separate, despite the high level of encouragement and desire from many locals who want us to integrate (although Trump and the rise of the far right may see this trend well and truly bucked). The episode also had some very interesting quotes from Waz, someone who is now practicing his faith but most definitely was not in the past.

You will also find below quotes from and links to 3 articles that are well worth reading. As always, enjoy!


The best quotes from episode 2 of Extremely British Muslims

Waz on the role of mosques…

Narrator: Do you think the mosques are doing enough to get through to young Muslim men?
Waz: You’ve got to think, what is a mosque? It’s not a school, it’s not something that’s got funds, that’s got staff, that’s got people sitting there waiting to do something, and it’s their job to do something. It doesn’t work like that. If everybody is sitting around waiting for somebody else to do it, when we’re talking about “the mosque, the mosque,” we are the mosque, you know, we are part of the mosque. We are our local mosque. It represents us and we should represent it. So if the kids are being let down, in terms of what they can and can’t do at a mosque, that’s our shortcoming. – from the Channel 4 program Extremely British Muslims, Episode 2, Mar 2017

Waz on the link between stereotyping and segregation…

If you keep telling them that they are a certain thing and you get that stereotype around you, you know these kids yeah, they start to believe it. If you make these kids feel victimised then you’re going to make them feel different. And if they feel different then they’re going to separate themselves from everybody else. And I know we’ve got to do more too. We can’t just withdraw. We’ve got to work harder to mix and my community needs to be more outward looking. If you call segregation, what’s going to happen is we’re not going to talk to each other, and if we won’t talk to each other and we don’t know each other, we’re not going to understand each other. It’s just going to make us grow even further apart. And we’re going to start to dislike each other. Forget getting on, we’re going to start dislike each other. – from the Channel 4 program Extremely British Muslims, Episode 2, Mar 2017

Waz on seeing the light…

For me it was like, it happened literally overnight, where I was in an apartment and you could, like, see a lot of Birmingham. And I remember that night, like, just breaking down into tears and thinking about my whole life. And I just wished that I could go back to all the people that I knew that weren’t here no more or that ended up in jail, and say to them that “You know what? It’s really not worth it.” So I thought where am I going to find happiness? And I just felt it in me, I just felt like it was right, like I need to turn back to Allah, I need to turn back to God. That’s the only way that I am going to be happy inside. – Waz, former bad boy, now practicing Muslim, from the Channel 4 program Extremely British Muslims, Episode 2, Mar 2017

Waz on the biggest gang in the world…

Narrator: Who, through your eyes, are the sort of people that might join ISIS?
Waz: You’ve got people that are sort of like ex-bad boys, that still have that gang mentality. You know what I’m saying? And if you want to be in a gang, what’s the biggest gang in the world right now? It’s ISIS. ISIS is the biggest, most baddest gang in the world right now. They think they can get an AK and get forgiven by God at the same time. And a lot of these guys, I’ll be honest with you, it’s because they don’t have friends or, you know, they must have a messed up childhood or something like that and they’re thinking “You know, finally I can be part of something. I can be part of something powerful. And I can be part of this gang, and yeah, brotherhood! And yeah, we’re together and nobody can mess with us. Yeah, and I’m going to go to Syria and Iraq.” And they’re just trying to get a sense of purpose in life. – from the Channel 4 program Extremely British Muslims, Episode 2, Mar 2017


Mark Steel on how Islamophobia can be rather silly…

The temptation is to assume he can’t keep getting away with this, as he’s not playing by the rules. But he’s rewritten the rules. And politicians everywhere will want to copy him. – Mark Steel, 09 Mar 2017, from the article America Finally Has A Leader Who Doesn’t Rely On ‘Evidence’ To Back Up His ‘Claims’ –– How Refreshing


The way us Muslims pray daily is actually good for the joints…

The repetitive physical movements of Muslim prayer rituals can reduce chances of lower back pain if performed properly, according to new research. The study found that not only does quiet prayer eliminate physical anxiety, but that proper knee and back angles can be an effective clinical treatment…The kneeling posture, known as sujud, apparently increases the elasticity of joints…“Prayer can eliminate physical stress and anxiety, while there is also research that indicates prayer rituals can be considered an effective clinical treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunction.” – Peter Walker, 09 Mar 2017, from the article Islamic Prayer Ritual Reduces Back Pain And Increases Joint Elasticity, Study Finds


What Islam could teach Trump about democracy and freedom…

Decosimo

Trump and his administration could learn a thing or two about American values such as freedom and equality from the religion and people they so hate.
In Islam’s founding story, after Muhammad’s death, it was unclear who would lead the nascent Muslim community. Typically, succession disputes make for great drama. This one, however, was more C-SPAN than “Game of Thrones.” Rather than intrigue or bloodshed, the believers pursued democracy. Only by the people’s consent, they reckoned, could a ruler justly be named and a community freely governed. They chose Abu Bakr, one of Muhammad’s companions. His inauguration speech, according to one of Muhammad’s earliest biographers Ibn Ishaq, was brief (though we’re not sure how big the crowd was). It went something like this: “I’m no better than any of you. Only obey me if I do right. Otherwise, resist me. Loyalty means speaking truth. Flattery is treason. No human, but God alone is your lord.”
Abu Bakr sought to guard the people against domination by making himself accountable to them. The people obliged, securing their liberty. They could call him out at any time, and he had to listen. He even had to ask their permission for new clothes. His successor Umar carried the legacy forward. Publicly rebuked by a woman for overstepping the law, Umar responded: “That woman is right, and I am wrong! It seems that all people have deeper wisdom and insight than me.”
This spirit of accountability and liberty would become enshrined as a religious duty in Islam, though as with any tradition, these values are not always upheld. Nonetheless, every Muslim has the obligation to command right and forbid wrong, correcting and resisting any who betray justice, rulers included. That Abu Bakr and Umar are paradigms of good Islamic rule for well over 1 billion Sunni Muslims tells us something about this tradition’s love for freedom. – David Decosimo, 08 Mar 2017, from the article What Islam Could Teach Donald Trump About Democracy And Freedom

For Islam and the American founders alike, freedom is about protection from arbitrary power and rule by law, not the caprices of men. Theirs is a vision where citizens stand not in slavish deference to masters but on equal terms with all. This vision animates our whole system of governance…This vision is under threat in a way it rarely has been in our history. It is not under threat by Islam, but by Donald Trump and his administration. – David Decosimo, 08 Mar 2017, from the article What Islam Could Teach Donald Trump About Democracy And Freedom

Trump wants to return America to its former greatness. But when it comes to freedom, Ghazali and Abu Bakr have far more in common with Madison and Lincoln than with terrorists and tyrants who claim Islam’s mantle. For that matter, they have far more in common with this country’s great lovers of liberty than does the current president. So, instead of banning Muslims, Trump should listen to them: He might learn something about liberty and equality, two values he seems not to have learned to love from our own nation’s history or the Constitution he swore to uphold. – David Decosimo, 08 Mar 2017, from the article What Islam Could Teach Donald Trump About Democracy And Freedom

VIDEOS BY RIZ AHMED, RUSSELL BRAND, AND MO AMER

riz-ahmed-speech

Are you distracted and confused by Trump and his tweets, Obama and his wire traps, Jeff and his sessions with the Russians? Well, why not distract yourself from all of these distractions with the following three video clip distractions!

We start on a somewhat serious note. British Muslim actor Riz Ahmed, now a very well know Hollywood star, delivers Channel 4’s annual speech about diversity at the House of Commons. He highlights the complex issue of representation, especially cultural representation, rather than the usual narrative of diversity.

We then move on to Russell Brand speaking about Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay gave an interview on British morning TV recently where Piers Morgan questioned and questioned her about her interest in Islam. Brand uses his satirical skills to break down the interview for what it really is (an Islamophobe desperately trying to get an angry reaction from an Islamophile).

We end on a somewhat lighter note with the American Muslim stand up comedian Mo Amer and his recent brilliant appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

As always, enjoy!


Riz Ahmed ‘representing’ at the House of Commons…


Russell Brand on whether or not Lindsay Lohan should allowed to be a Muslim…

Everything she is saying is that she’s feeling a sense of connection, that she’s praying, that she’s feeling a connection to other people, she’s feeling a connection to a higher sense in itself, a connection to a higher world. That is what Islam is about. That is it. The secondary narrative that Islam is a fuel for violence, that’s being used by people that are in power, and even at the level of this sort of quite trite daytime TV thing, they are pushing that narrative. Now I don’t believe exclusively in conspiracy theories, but here we are just watching something that is innocuous and harmless as Good Morning Britain at 8.22 in the morning and they’re pushing a powerful agenda…Well done Lindsay Lohan for looking at the world in a different way, in developing and evolving yourself and communicating in a way that is evidently challenging for some people. Good luck on your journey. – Russell Brand, speaking about Lindsay Lohan’s interview on Good Morning Britain, Feb 2017


Mo Amer does a brilliant set on the Late Show…

HOW ONE DIRECTION CAN END THE MUSLIM BAN

Zayn Arabic

A quick blog post featuring a mish-mash of quotes and links that I hope you will find interesting. Enjoy!


The always controversial Bill Maher made the following satirical quips in a recent Real Time With Bill Maher show…

That’s how Republicans work with Donald Trump. While you’re watching the clown screw the pony, they’re breaking into your car. Just remember that. – Bill Maher

I feel like our country is hanging by a thread right now. So if I have to repeat myself, I’m going to. Stop looking at the distractions and the clown show and look at what matters. – Bill Maher

You know your Facebook friend who said he thought Trump was Hitler? He was optimistic. Actually what we have here is a mental patient who thinks he’s Hitler. – Bill Maher


I found this quote about the difference between an analog watch and a smartphone very interesting indeed…

Unlike the smart device, the analog watch orients its wearer toward the world rather than the self. The smartphone is all about you. It notifies you when new messages or likes arrive. It offers an ointment of information when the boredom of routine burns hot. The smartphone sucks in data and reprocesses it in a way that satisfies the device’s owner. As the smartphone’s handmaiden, the smartwatch merely compresses that information and makes it more accessible, from the wrist rather than in the pocket. But the watch directs that attention outward, back toward the world. Checking the time is different from checking the phone. It poses implicit questions about where one ought to be, or what one ought to be doing. It situates a body in relation to the duties and accidents unconcerned with the tension of a spring wrapped inside a metal shell on a human wrist. Checking the time is always a humble act, while checking the phone is always a selfish one. – Ian Bogost

watch


An article (well worth a read) from the Guardian entitled Trump’s Dangerous Delusions About Islam began with the following opening gambit…

The president and his advisers paint Muslims as enemies of modernity. The neglected history of an age of Middle Eastern liberalism proves them wrong. – Christopher de Bellaigue

…and ended with this dire warning…

The scapegoating of Muslim communities in Europe and America is the road to pogroms, and it is that road that we are starting down, even if we can still turn back. Relish for the clash is in the air. Bannon is up for it. So are the jihadis; Trump is doing their work for them, proving that the west hates Islam for xenophobic reasons, which is what they said all along. The entrenchment of clashism…will only draw more and more people into believing its truth. – Christopher de Bellaigue


A rather poignant observation from the first Muslim to win an Academy Award for acting…

If you convert to Islam after a couple of decades of being a black man in the US, the discrimination you receive as a Muslim doesn’t feel like a shock. I’ve been pulled over, asked where my gun is, asked if I’m a pimp, had my car pulled apart. Muslims will feel like there’s this new discrimination that they hadn’t received before, but it’s not new for us. – Mahershala Ali, an American black Muslim and the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award for his role in Moonlight

mahershala-oscar


People in the west, both Muslim and non, are not really upset about the terrorism in Pakistan…

Western media and governments seem to have adopted a standard policy that terrorism isn’t worth mentioning unless it affects their own people and countries. Heavens would have fallen, and rightly so, if there were the same number of terrorism victims in a similar attack in any Western country. Media and politicians would surely have responded quickly and loudly. The message is clear: Western lives matter but brown, black and non-Christian lives aren’t worthy of a story. The fact that these publications are simultaneously denouncing Trump for his racist policies, or waxing lyrical about the value of the Black Lives Matter movement, just adds to the irony of the situation…Western media and governments want the whole world to consider the Western terrorism problem as their own, demanding solidarity and action, yet they won’t extend the same courtesy when the victims of Isis are in a majority-Muslim country. Until we realise that all lives deserve the same respect, regardless of race, wealth or creed, we’ll never be able to eradicate the threat of extremism which hangs over us all. – Murtaza Ali Shah, Feb 2017, writing about the ISIS attack at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan that killed over 85


Comedian Fahim Anwar contemplates Trump as his president…


Legendary Star trek actor George Takei’s historical take on the Muslim ban…


Some heartfelt comments from Diary Of A Bad Man on Trump…


How One Direction can end the Muslim ban…

PLEASE FALL IN LOVE WITH KNOWLEDGE AGAIN

Steve Bannon

I have always found the ‘truth’ to emanate from two groups of people: stand-up comedians and Islamic scholars. People like Bill Hicks and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf have in their own ways shown me the light in many moments of darkness. Another comedian I have been following closely for a few years now is Bill Maher.

Maher is arguably America’s foremost political satirist. He is on the front line on the “laughtivism” movement that sprang up ever since Trump hit the political scene. Aside from being quoted in many of my blog posts, Maher is a devout atheist who has made numerous comments about Islam over the decades. Some comments I agree with tentatively, some not at all, and some wholeheartedly. Here’s an example of one of the more tentative ones:

I’m not fond of any religions, but if this were the 14th century when the Catholic Inquisition was going on and they were burning witches, I would be criticizing Christianity as the religion that was way too violent and took itself way too seriously. But this is not the 14th century, and it’s not the 16th century when Catholics and Protestants were slaughtering each other the same way Sunnis and Shiites are now. It’s the 21st century, and in the 21st century, the problem is more about Islam than it is about any other religion. – Bill Maher, from an interview with Newsweek

Harsh but somewhat fair. More recently Maher delivered a 5 minute monologue that really resonated with me. The central refrain was a simple heartfelt request: please fall in love with knowledge again. As soon as I heard this alarm bells started ringing in my mind. Here’s why.

You need not look too carefully to know there is craziness on both sides of the ideological spectrum. On the Muslim side we still have groups like Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab, the Taliban, and the rest. We also have bombs going off in Iraq, Egypt, and Pakistan. We still have Muslims killing Muslims in Syria and Yemen. We have many a warrior scholar such as the late Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki making comments such as:

The West will eventually turn against its Muslim citizens! – Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki

And we also have recent events such as the awful Rotherham court case I mentioned in a previous blog. An even earlier blog asks for us Muslims to take an honest look at the bogeyman in the mirror as many of our problems are self-generated, many of our wounds are self-inflicted.

To see the craziness on the other side of the aisle, just watch the constant stream of nerve shredding breaking news on CNN, or have a look at websites like alternet.org and salon.com. There you will see talk of Muslim travel bans, Russian hacks, and warrior advisor Steve Bannon’s attempt to instigate a holy war. You can add to this list the recent comments concerning The Madness Of King Donald. Despite the apparent differences between the two sides, they actually have more in common than you may realise:

You’d think, given the harsh anti-Muslim Trump administration in Washington, that the Arab kings and dictators would be lining up to condemn the ruthless sectarian laws being drawn up by an American President who approves of torture. All that claptrap about “bad dudes” and “Islamic terror”. Pretty sinister stuff. Not a bit of it…If Trump toured those Arab dictatorships not currently at war, he’d feel very much at home. Great security, fantastic police, lots of torture, extremely dodgy elections and massive economic projects which damage the environment but prove absolutely useless. – Robert Fisk

Whilst we cannot do much to alleviate the craziness on the other side, we Muslims surely can do something to tone down the craziness on our own side. I firmly believe that one of the many things we Muslims can do in that endeavour, indeed must do, is to fall in love with knowledge again, specifically the knowledge of the Qur’an and knowledge of the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Why is it important for Muslims to fall in love with knowledge again? The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to make the following supplication to God:

O Allah! Show us truth as truth and give us the ability to follow it, and show us falsehood as falsehood and give us the ability to avoid it. – the Prophet Muhammad

If someone of the stature of the Prophet, the Islamic ideal of the perfect human, is asking for God’s help in trying to sift the facts from the alternative facts, then surely people like myself need even more help, especially in the current environment. Today, more than ever in our lives, we Muslims need to make sure we see truth as truth and falsehood as falsehood. We need to know our own truth because the more we know and understand our own truth, the better we can handle their ever increasing lies. We need to stop moving away from the true nature of Islam, our else it will only get worse for us:

We were a disgraceful people and Allah honoured us with Islam, so if we seek honour from other than Islam, then Allah will humiliate us. – Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, 2nd Caliph of Islam

And, as is being pointed out more and more, the ‘truth’ coming from the other side is getting stranger and stranger, a strangeness that seems to be suggesting there is a holy war a-coming, something that Bill Maher himself mentioned recently (remember, he is an atheist):

The counterweight to radical Islam is secularism. In Steve Bannon’s world, it’s Christianity. He’s super Christy on this stuff…And know that the counterweight should be secularism. It shouldn’t be that they want to make this a battle between the two religions who, by the way, have been going at each for over a thousand years. This does go back to the crusades. I mean, it ebbed and flowed in history, but that’s the one thing we do not want. And of course it’s the dumbest thing, Trump’s going to do it. – Bill Maher, interview with CNN’s Van Jones, Feb 2017

Anyways, I leave you with more wise words from Bill Maher. Apologies for the somewhat rude and risqué comments, but the overall point still remains. As always, enjoy!

New rule. With Valentine’s Day coming up everyone must take a minute and remember their first love. I shall remember mine. I went off to college at 18 and I fell hard. Not for a girl, that would have been my first choice, but I was a slow developer socially. You know those letters that college guys send to Penthouse magazine? It begins “I never thought this would happen to me.” Yeah, well that never happened to me. But I did fall. I did fall in love. With books. And ideas. And knowledge. And also my hand, that’s true.

But there is no doubt that it is a truly a kind of love affair when you go off to a place where you have intellectual epiphanies because learning is so revered, and the celebrities are the smartest people. I might not have been able to get a blowjob in college but I got my mind blown on a regular basis.

But you know that was another country. One of the saddest things about the one we live in now is we don’t seem to want smart people in our lives anymore. Smart presidents? Can’t have that. Scientists? What do they know? Newspaper editors? Liars! Fake news!

You know, people used to get their news from newspapers, because professional newsrooms took separating fact from fiction seriously, and employed people who had studied how to do that. But now people get their news on Facebook by sharing, or as it used to be called, ‘hearsay.’ Instead of all the news that’s fit to print you click on a link from your cousin Jodie who runs the tilt-a-whirl.

Why waste money on that subscription to a newspaper when they would just blow it on war correspondents? Gone are the Ben Bradlee’s of the world who brought a president to his knees way before Monica Lewinsky did. A student in a social media focus group once said “If the news is important it will find me.” Except it doesn’t and that’s how we wound up with President Bannon and his dummy Donnie. It’s not surprising that it can’t find you since on social media news competes with videos of Russian car crashes, creepy clowns, and a rabbi doing the mannequin challenge.

And you know how they say you can’t make this shit up? Turns out you can. By Election Day last year the top fake news on Facebook was getting more shares, clicks, and comments than the real news. Millions of people believed some straight-up bullshit that the Pope had endorsed Trump, when in fact after Trump won what the Pope said was “I’m praying for his enlightenment.” To which God said: I’ve done a lot of miracles but give Me a fucking break.

We used to respect scientists. That’s why every stoner in the seventies had a poster of Einstein on the wall, right next to one of the naked black chick with huge Afro. But now only thirty-six percent of Americans say they have a lot of trust that information from scientists is reliable. Well ninety-eight percent of scientists say humans evolved over the millennia but that view is shared by not nearly as many real Americans. Trump supporters don’t think species can change over time. But they do think Trump used to be all about himself but now he’s working for us.

This Valentine’s day can we please fall in love with knowledge again? You know, under President Obama the Secretary of Energy was first a Nobel Prize winner and then a nuclear physicist. Not that Trump’s pick for the job doesn’t have impressive credentials. [Plays clip of Rick Perry dancing on the TV show Dancing With The Stars]. How did it happen? We went from being led by the smartest person in the room to the biggest jackass on Twitter. – Bill Maher, Feb 2017, New Rule: Make America Learn Again, from his TV show Real Time With Bill Maher

23 QUOTES TO DROWN OUT THE DRUM BEAT OF WAR

trump-bannon-devil

Look around you. There are literally dozens of reasons why you could so easily be down in the Trumps right now. Now watch the news. CNN is rather good. And there you have dozens more reasons to really be worried about the fate of humanity. Out of all of these here are two reasons as to why I am, like many others, feeling a wee bit pessimistic about current events.

Firstly, I came across this quote from Russell Razzaque that to me perfectly describes the actions of Team Trump:

The most dangerous people are those who cannot locate their demons within themselves and instead see them everywhere they look. – Russell Razzaque

While this sentence is rather disturbing in its own right, the sentence that immediately follows is even scarier:

The frenetic activity we are experiencing from the Trump administration is already feeling to many like a prelude to something altogether more grave. What we are witnessing is a drum beat. – Russell Razzaque

This drum beat is something that the brilliant Frankie Boyle also alludes to in a recent Guardian article:

Trump cares about the same things a member of noughties rap outfit G Unit cares about: women, money and vengeance. Yet, random though it seems, his fight with the judiciary could well be tactical. He will blame them for the next act of terrorism that occurs then declare a state of emergency where everybody has to stay indoors while his tweets are read out over a Tannoy. – Frankie Boyle

For those who cannot hear the drum beat or say there isn’t one, I give you the following succinct point from Ted Rall:

If you’re not scared, you’re not paying attention. – Ted Rall

And this video may help others visualise how I have been feeling ever since the recent presidential election:

Just when I thought I could not negatively overthink things any further, along comes this horrific story. Earlier this month in Rotherham six Muslim men were found guilty and sentenced to a total of 81 years in jail. There offences included rape, indecent assault, and false imprisonment, after the systematic grooming of underage girls. The fact that these men are Muslim is bad enough, but what makes this story exceedingly vile is that two of men shouted ‘Allah-hu-akbar’ as they were being sentenced.

Incidents like this make it obvious to me that those who dislike Islam and wish to denigrate it do not need to lift a finger in their attempts, as clearly we Muslims are doing a damn fine job of it ourselves.

So what to do when faced with such magnitudes of depression? Rather than sit here feeling infuriated, I thought what better way to cheer myself up then to lovingly collate 23 hand-chosen funny and/or clever quotes that will hopefully make you laugh and/or think. As always, enjoy…


Trump’s decision to ban immigrants from seven countries is the most flagrant breach of America’s core values I have witnessed in my lifetime. The foundation on which my country was built is being gleefully shredded by an impetuous, whimsical tyrant. It is in times like these that we Americans need to pull our loved ones close, give them a hug, and remind them that – Trump aside – the US is still a place where people of all faiths, colours and personal beliefs are welcome to acquire a handgun and fire willy-nilly at other persons of faith, colour and personal belief. – Rich Hall, Feb 2017

An Inuit hunter asked the local missionary priest: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” “No, not if you did not know” said the priest. The Inuit asked earnestly “Then why did you tell me?” – Annie Dillard

Colin had his neck brace fitted years ago and since then he’s never looked back. – Alfie Moore

Did you know if you count the number of stars in the universe and compare that to the number of grains of sand on a beach, you can ruin a holiday? – Tom Neenan

Feminism is not a fad. It’s not like Angry Birds. Although it does involve a lot of angry birds. Bad example. – Bridget Christie

Husband: Quick! Call an ambulance, I think I’m having a heart attack…Wife: [takes husbands mobile] Tell me your password…Husband: It’s okay, I’m feeling better now, thanks. – Anon

I asked all of my black and minority ethnic friends if they thought I was racist or not and they both said that I wasn’t. – Bridget Christie

I thought Usain Bolt was amazing. I mean, beating the world record and slowing down at the end. How galling has that got to be for the other athletes? I have never managed to do anything in 9.69 seconds. In fact, it took me 10 seconds just to watch him do that. – Frankie Boyle

I was on tour and I was in Sheffield and I was walking along the main street in Sheffield, Fargate, and I saw two guys holding up big cardboard placards and one of them said, “Would you like to download thousands of films now from Sky?” And the other one said, “Would you like to learn the truth about Islam?” And I thought, “Oh, decisions, decisions.” – Stewart Lee

If the team you’re rooting for fails, it’s all their fault. If they are victorious however, it’s because you screamed loud enough at a TV. – Sam Grittner

If you don’t know what introspection is, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. – Ian Smith

In the Bible there is only one reference to man-on-man action, and that’s in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. One reference in Leviticus. There are 28 references to not eating shell fish. It does give you some perspective on the whole thing. And which one creates the most moral panic? I would say scallops. – Susan Calman

Irish people love Muslims. They have taken a lot of heat off us. Before we were “the terrorists”, but now we’re “the Riverdance people”. – Andrew Maxwell

Jokes about white sugar are rare. Jokes about brown sugar, Demerara. – Olaf Falafel

Last night an insect flew into my kitchen and exploded…it was a jihadi long legs. – Anon

Marriage is really tough because you have to deal with feelings and lawyers. – Richard Pryor

Mariah Carey bombed so hard at her 2016 new year eve’s party that ISIS took credit. – Trevor Noah

My father was a magician. Well, not a magician, he just disappeared a lot when we were younger. – Alex Edelman

My workplace is forcing me to take part in Secret Santa. Jokes on them. Linda from HR is getting a copy of the Quran and a Hijab. – Twitter comment from @Irfan_Aliii

Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before. – Steven Wright

Social media is like a baby screaming and throwing tantrums…which is then soothed by a picture of a cat. – Caitlin Moran

The most famous sectarian thing outside Northern Island are the two football teams in Glasgow. There’s Celtic and they are Catholic, and there’s Rangers and they are Protestant, and they hate each other. And this sectarianism is in America now. The Rangers-Celtic thing is huge in America. It’s massive. There’s the Boston Celtics and the New York Rangers, but they rarely play against each other because one of them is a basketball team and the other is an ice hockey team. Some say it’s too slippery, some say it’s too bouncy. That’s religion for you. – Andrew Maxwell


Andy: I’ll tell you what else makes perfect hard-boiled egg scientific sense John and that is curtailing civil liberties.

John: Right, you’re going to have to explain that.

Andy: Right, OK, now the terrorists hate our freedoms, that’s really all that gets them out of bed in the mornings, so our governments have been bravely removing those freedoms, thereby giving the terrorists less to hate.

John: Oh! Its brilliant…[AUDIENCE CLAPPING]

Andy: Science!

John: …it’s absolutely brilliant…

Andy: Science!

John: …thus completely defusing terrorism.

Andy: Touchdown! – John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman, from the stand-up comedy show John Oliver: Terrifying Times

THE “BEAUTIFUL IRONY” OF THE MUSLIM BAN

1941-2017

I know, another Trump blog post. I just can’t seem to get this guy out of my system. Every week, every day, he says or does something that just beggars my monotheistic beliefs. It truly is exhausting trying to keep up with the news of what Trump and Team Trump are up to, and he’s only been president for 2 weeks!

One of his more recent absurdities is this travel ban, which officially is not a Muslim ban but certainly feels like one, and it also feels like the start of much worse to come. I have no doubt it will extend to all countries, and it will change from temporary to indefinite to permanent.

Rather than focus on the legion of negatives surrounding this ban and all that it entails, I thought it better to try and find positives to uplift the soul and gladden the heart. In that mind the crumbs presented below will hopefully leave you feeling a wee bit more positive than you perhaps feel now. Or maybe it’s just me because yes, I know I recently did a blog post about positive things, yet here I am again trying to come up with some more, so I reckon this maybe more for my own spiritual sanity than for any other reason.

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My sanity started to wane long before Trump said “Islam hates us”. After this he repeatedly mentioned his mantra of “radical Islamic terrorism”. Taken together these two statements mean that Trump thinks all Muslims are radical due to their inherent hatred of all things non-Islamic. He therefore feels justified in stopping Muslims coming to the USA. Once he has stopped Muslims coming in, he will then no doubt deal with the ones already here, and Allah alone knows what he plans in that regard. There is an irony to having this world view, as satirically pointed out by Mark Steel:

The argument the Jihadists make, is the West sees all Muslims as the enemy. So the best possible way to ensure that nonsense gets no support amongst Muslims is to ban everyone from Muslim countries from entering the country, on account of all Muslims being the enemy. To be fair Trump has proved himself liberal in some ways, by making exceptions to his ban, such as Saudi Arabia. This must be because it’s a whole 15 years since anyone from that country knocked over any towers, so it makes sense to let them off. – Mark Steel

What Trump and his cohorts do not realise about the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is that, as observed by Chandra Muzaffar, “the term itself is offensive since terror has no theological justification. It is condemned in the Qur’an as it is condemned in other religious texts.”

Since we are on the subject of slogans, I will let Bernard-Henri Levy shed some historical light on the incantation of another famous Trump slogan, “America First”:

Then there is that slogan, “America First.” It is astounding that those words have not turned stomachs across the American political spectrum. After all, as anyone with a modicum of historical and political awareness should know, “America First” was American Nazi sympathizers’ slogan in 1940, during Lindbergh’s time. It was the response thrown back at those who wanted the US to resist Hitler’s Germany. It was used to denounce the Jewish “warmongers” who were accused of placing their interests over the national interest. – Bernard-Henri Levy

Anyways, as much as one can, please enjoy…


Because of Trump the daughter of former president George W Bush recently reminded us of her father’s kind words about Islam…

Jenna Bush Hager, an NBC anchor and daughter of former President George W Bush, recently wrote a tweet referring to the kind words her father made on 17th September 2001, a few days after the tragedy of 9/11. Despite suffering the biggest terror attack in American history, the then president went to the Islamic Center of Washington DC and said the following:

The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race — out of every race. America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know. That’s not the America I value. I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America. Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior. – President George W Bush, 17th September 2001, at the Islamic Center of Washington DC

Some may argue that these words proved to be historically hollow as Bush, along with his British poodle Blair, went on to kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims in several Muslim countries, but at least this initial reaction by the then president was way more dignified than the behaviour of the current president, a president who clearly represents “the worst of humankind.”


Because of Trump people like Reza Aslan and J K Rowling are pointing out the blatant hypocrisy of some Republicans…

The Harry Potter author J K Rowling recently commented on the blatant hypocrisy of vice president Mike Pence. She reminded her Twitter followers that Pence in 2015 tweeted the following:

He has obviously since changed his mind, causing Rowling (the unofficial queen of Twitter) to remind Pence of the following Bible verse:

Expeliarmus indeed. Similarly Muslim author Reza Aslan recently reminded Senator Paul Ryan of his hypocrisy in the following emotionally defiant video message:

Dear speaker Ryan. I’m addressing this message to you because, from what everyone tells me, you seem to be a pretty reasonable guy. You’re smart, educated, you clearly love America, you’re a faithful person. I’m old enough now that I pretty much only judge people based on their relationship with their kids, and you seem to have a beautiful relationship with your kids, you have a wonderful family. And so I feel like I could maybe reason with you. When the big top is on fire you don’t complain to the clown, you complain to the manager. You’re the manager and the big top is on fire. Last year when you thought that Donald Trump was a con artist, a sexual predator who had no business being in the White House, you said that you would never tolerate something like a Muslim ban. You said that it would violate everything that America stands for. Well now the Muslim ban is in place and you were literally the first person in Congress to come out and support for it. And that got me thinking. See, I know a little bit about you. I know that your great-great-grandfather Jack Ryan and your great-great-grandmother Katherine Shea came to the United States from Ireland trying to escape the Irish famine. They had been living through it for six long years. They came to America to avoid starvation and death, and the country that they came to was profoundly anti-Irish and anti-Catholic. The Irish were called alcoholics, they were called illiterate and uneducated, filthy, dirty, untrustworthy. People said that you couldn’t possibly have loyalty to both the pope and the president. You couldn’t have loyalty to both the Vatican and the United States. The Irish were so untrustworthy that an entire political party was formed in the United States, the Know-Nothings. They ran for Congress, they even ran for president, basically on a platform of anti-Catholic and specifically anti-Irish sentiment. You know what their slogan was? It was “America First”. And yet your great-great-grandparents were allowed into this country. They faced bigotry, they faced xenophobia, but they had the constitution on their side. Their rights were protected, their political rights, their religious rights. And a few generations later out came you, the third most powerful man in America, the adult in the government. Well, not much has changed right now. Yeah, the refugees are different but they’re still trying to find a home, still trying to flee starvation and death and persecution. They’re people exactly like your great-great-grandparents, they’re people like my parents and like me, who came here so that we could have a better life, so that we wouldn’t be killed by our own government. And it seems like you’ve forgotten something, not just your words from last year, but you forgot your own identity, you forgot where you came from. I’m as American as you are, it’s just it took me 23 years to become American. And I remember so clearly when I took that oath, that vow of citizenship. I was asked a very simple question: will you protect this country from all threats, foreign and domestic? And I vowed that I would. Well, there is a threat to this country right now and he’s in the White House, and I’m asking you as a Christian, as an American, as a good man: what are you going to do about it? The pope just said that you cannot call yourself a Christian and turn away refugees, and turn your back on the hungry, and the weak, the orphaned, the needy, people like your great-great-grandparents. What’s your answer to that? I’m waiting, the entire country is waiting to hear from you. – Reza Aslan


Because of Trump many Muslims are working closer with non-Muslim groups than ever before…

Manal Omar, an American Muslim activist, on the Al Jazeera news channel recently spoke of a positive impact of Trump for us Muslims. She said there is now an overwhelming solidarity and intersectionality that has emerged directly in reaction to Trump and his executive orders. Omar said that the Muslim community has connected with Black Lives Matter, with scientists on climate change, with the women’s movement, and with the LGBTQ community, all in ways it never had done before.

This united front seems determined to protect American values through this much stronger intersectionality, both within the Muslim community and with those outside the Muslim community. Omar also went on to say that “the amount of solidarity that we have seen is from all across the board, it’s from every social movement, it is not restricted to Arabs and Muslims, and every fight that we have with the White House will represent all the intersectionality of the American people.”


Because of Trump many non-Muslims are publicly declaring that “we are all Muslims”…

In 2015, shortly after Trump announced his Muslim “shutdown”, Michael Moore wrote an open letter to Donald Trump in which he said:

I was raised to believe that we are all each other’s brother and sister, regardless of race, creed or color. That means if you want to ban Muslims, you are first going to have to ban me. And everyone else. We are all Muslim. – Michael Moore

moore-we

This sentiment of now openly supporting Muslims has extended vastly, especially since the recent executive order. A recent example of this is from Norman Pollack:

We are all Muslims. Either that, or we shall be torn apart as a nation, given over to Trump-Republicans’ vomit of hate for all that defines human rights and a free society. – Norman Pollack

This point is further analysed by Bruce Feiler in a rather interesting CNN article:

Lost in the turmoil is one critical but overlooked benefit to all this upheaval: The president’s action — and the backlash that followed — are the biggest boon to interfaith relations in decades. The idea that thousands of people would take to the streets in impromptu, grass-roots protests to defend not their own religious traditions but those of a beleaguered minority is relatively unheard of in the long history of religion. That the religion being defended is not just any tradition, but one widely disparaged in recent years from pulpits and campaign platforms as evil incarnate makes it even more remarkable. Just look at the signs the protesters have been carrying: “FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE MUSLIMS…THIS TIME WE SAID, ‘HELL NO!'” “TODAY WE ARE ALL MUSLIM.” “STOP PRETENDING YOUR ISLAMOPHOBIA IS PATRIOTISM.” “JESUS WAS A REFUGEE.”…It would be hard to overstate how rare this ecumenical unanimity is. Religious leaders are not used to rallying to the defense of their rivals. – Bruce Feiler

Just like Muhammad Ali went from being one of the most hated figures in America to one of the most revered, it seems like Islam and Muslims has gone from being hated after 9/11 to now being supported and defended.


Because of Trump non-Muslims are being nice to Muslims like the comedian Hasan Minhaj at JFK Airport…

There are many times when people like Trump will try their utmost to lie, cheat, deceive, and hoodwink. They will try and do this through their various plots, plans, and schemes, which they cleverly relabel as ‘campaign promises’ or ‘executive orders’ or ‘bills’ that need to go through Congress.

To counteract this the Qur’an in various places speaks of how “Allah is the best of planners” (for example 3:54 and 8:30). In other words, people may wish to achieve a certain outcome but God, through His many mysterious ways, actually makes the outcome somewhat unexpectedly different.

An example of this is Trump’s desire to demonise Islam and Muslims. That was his aim but who would have thought that so many people would instead support Muslims, be they American born or refugees, as a direct result of Trump’s attitude towards Islam? Who would have thought that support for Muslims would extend to Jewish people giving Muslims the key to their synagogue after the town’s mosque was burnt down?

Whilst Bruce Feiler, in the quote above, spoke of an “overlooked benefit”, Hasan Minhaj similarly speaks of a “beautiful irony” in the following Daily Show clip:

Trevor: To comment on President Trump’s immigration ban, please welcome Hasan Minhaj, everybody! (cheering and applause) I’m sorry, Hasan. I’m just…I’m…Like, right now, I can’t even talk. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to all of a sudden have the United States label Muslims as inherently threatening, man.

Hasan: (chuckles) I’m not surprised. You know, in the past, America has had lots of issues with Muslims and immigration. You know, President Carter banned Iranians, Bush built a registry of immigrants from 24 Muslim countries, Obama suspended refugees from Iraq. But Trump is taking this thing to a whole new level. I mean, those other presidents were just dipping their toes in the pool. Now Trump straight-up did a cannonball and then felt up the lifeguard. And by the way, shout-outs to all my Republican friends who promised me Trump would never do this.

News clips of various Republicans: I don’t think any of the people who are screaming at the top of their lungs thinks for a moment that a literal interpretation would be Muslims…That’s not a real proposal. It’s not something that’s going to happen….I don’t think you can take a lot of that seriously…He’s not gonna ban all Muslims.

Hasan: What the (bleep)?! So we are getting banned?

Trevor: Well, Hasan, technically you’re a citizen, so this ban doesn’t affect you.

Trevor: Yet! We’re on day 11, man! That’s it! Where do you think this is gonna go?! It’s like watching the first episode of Breaking Bad thinking, “Oh, it’s just a science teacher cooking meth. It can’t get any crazier.” But it does!

Trevor: Well, Hasan, now, jokes aside — and this is completely true — you actually flew into JFK Airport this weekend, as Trump’s executive order was being implemented.

Hasan: That is correct. And I was scared that I wouldn’t be allowed back in.

Trevor: Wow. Where were you flying in from? Were you flying from Iran, Iraq or Syria or…?

Hasan: Sacramento, California, the Syria of the West.

Trevor: (laughing) Jokes aside though. On the real…you’re a Muslim person. You’re seeing this happening, You must really hate President Trump right now.

Hasan: Well, actually Trevor, I’m not sure. No, because usually being a Muslim in an airport sucks, but this weekend it was like I was The Weeknd. I mean, I land at JFK, I get to the arrivals section. Literally, three white people run up to me, hug me and say, “Thank you for being Muslim.” I’m 31 years old. That’s the first time anyone has thanked me for being Muslim.

Trevor: And what did you say to them?

Hasan: I said what any Muslim would say to them in that situation. “Do you know where Baggage Claim 5 is?” But how can I hate Trump right now? How do you do it? Just look at what he’s done at the airport. White women were turning their scarves into hijabs. Muslims were publicly praying, and people were cheering them on! Do you understand? Muslims publicly praying at the airport! Think about how crazy this is! (cheering and applause) Because of Donald Trump, people were being nice at the airport! Here’s the beautiful irony. For years, Donald Trump has been terrified about the spread of Islam in America. Well, congratulations Mr. President…(photo below is shown)

hasan-mission

Hasan: …Mission accomplished.

Trevor: (laughter) Thank you, Hasan. Hasan Minhaj, everybody!