Category Archives: Religion

Dawah By Dong*

In this title I am talking about the men who are intent on spreading Islam with their man-parts, by dating and eventually converting poor, misguided women in the West.

I hesitated to write this post, despite my passion on the subject, because I, myself, was involved with a Muslim man when I converted to Islam. I’ve mentioned this before and am mentioning it again in the interest of full disclosure. I didn’t convert for this man, however, as evidenced by the fact that I rejected his marriage proposals, broke up with him soon after converting, and moved out of state to escape him, my family, and my old life in order to re-discover myself in my new, chosen, identity.  I had also been bumping up against, discovering, and delving into Islam for four years before this relationship so the brother was not my first introduction to the religion. InshAllah he will get reward though because he did help me cross that final threshold.

I also hesitated because I anticipate that this will be, possibly, an offensive topic for many out there because I very rarely, and I mean rarely, meet women who converted on their own, without being in a relationship, or already being married to a Muslim man. I identify myself as someone who came into Islam by myself, although in fact I do wallow in a gray area between due to this relationship. I can neither disregard nor completely credit the contribution of this brother for my being Muslim. But I generally count the two years between my conversion and my marriage as sufficient to identify myself as someone who came into Islam without being married to a Muslim man. You may disagree with that as you wish.

Many, many converts cannot say the same thing though, and I fear that I will marginalize or degrade their decision to convert by what I want to say in this post. I do not mean to. There is nothing to say that your Islam is less valuable because you married your husband before, or soon after, you converted.

My object of disdain is the Muslim man who dates easy, empty-headed women and then uses the leverage of “I can’t marry you because you’re not Muslim” to break it off when the poor girl gets too clingy. And who justifies his rutting around by saying that he believes she is interested in Islam and he wants to guide her. But then uses aforementioned excuse to break it off when he tires of shagging her.

And there are men who date women who aren’t even interested in Islam and then, when both are invested in the relationship, put pressure on their girlfriends to convert because he won’t marry, and make babies with, a non-Muslim. This is a very sad and unfortunate situation because the women are forced to choose between losing the man that they love or converting to a religion they don’t believe in.

I would be surprised if you, the reader (assuming that you are Muslim and you travel in Muslim circles,)  had never known of, or heard of, a situation where this had happened. The woman breaks down and “converts,” the man marries her, they pop out a few kids and 10 years down the road the woman is miserably unhappy with being a Muslim, covering, and dealing with the expectations so they divorce. It’s a bitter divorce, and of course she leaves Islam, and a year later the kids are going to Friday prayer with dad and Sunday school with mom.

This is why dawah by dong is fatally flawed even though it is the primary method by which many women convert.

Obviously I am ignoring the simple fact that offering his man-parts to ‘ze ladies’ is haraam. I’m ignoring it simply because they do.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Muslim men with non-Muslim women. And very, very, very few of them plan on marrying these women. They’re just playing around until they save enough plata to bag a virgin from their home country. The kufar women are simply for getting his rocks off before then. Sometimes the man is afraid enough of Allah that he marries the chick Islamically so that the sexy-times are not a sin, but the final outcome is the same.

Raise your hand if you’re a non-Muslim and you’ve heard that Muslim men are skeezes? Heck, raise your hand if you’re Muslim and you’ve heard, or seen, that Muslim men are skeezes?

*raises hand*

But behind this are a number, a large number, of women who met their husbands at work/school, became romantically involved, learned about Islam, converted, married, spawned, and are living happily ever after as content Muslimahs. MashAllah.

But oh, oh, how many failures there are. How many men there are who use it as an excuse. Even as an excuse to marry a SECOND wife. To “help” some woman who is thinking about converting, or recently converted, stay on the path.

Because God knows that we women aren’t strong enough to keep a religion without a man around to remind us.

And what a noble cause this gentleman is embarking on: saving the converts of the world, four women at  a time.

Spreading the good word of Islam with his “sword.”

Enough.

Islam is beautiful enough to spread without blackmailing a woman into it.

Women are competent enough to discover how to be a good Muslim without a man to teach her.

And if you are interested in Islam, contact a local mosque. Or go ahead and ask that dreamy-eyed brown boy in your organic chem class about Islam but don’t, do not, absolutely do not tie YOUR Islam to him or anyone else.

Make it your own. And then marry him.

But this method of spreading Islam needs to stop.

Though I doubt it ever will.

I’d flay the skin off my son if I ever caught him doing this, although I would support him giving a Quran, advice, or the number to the local masjid to the pretty young thing who approached him in organic chem.

But I’d make sure she wanted Islam for herself before I consented to a marriage.

Brothers, be responsible.

Ladies, be smart.

And please forgive me if I have offended anyone, it wasn’t my intention. I just had to get this off of my chest.

 

 

*I apologize for such a crude way of putting it, but its apt.

 

Addendum: There are many good, righteous brothers who seek to marry converts because they like the idea that a woman, who was interested in Islam, became a Muslim and they want the reward of helping her learn Islam. Sometimes they help a woman, who has approached them with questions, and the relationship becomes romantic before she converts and after she does they then marry. This situation, from my experience, is the majority of the cases of how women convert to Islam. Its close to the line but doesn’t cross it, and may Allah bless them.

My husband married me after I had been Muslim for 2 years and he is happy to say this whenever anyone asks. Alhumdulillah.

January 25th

Tehrir

I still don’t feel like I’m in place that I can blog about these past 21 days; my heart is still lodged firmly in my throat.

My friends, my family, acquaintences, people I didn’t know but who I followed on twitter and felt close to in an internet-ty sort of way, were putting their lives, their safety on the line for the good of a nation… their nation.

Other friends and family were taken in by the constant barrage of propaganda on State TV and who spoke against this fight for their freedom; a fight they didn’t understand and couldn’t see in its entirety. I felt constricted by their inability to see, it was like bashing your head against an immovable wall.

I spent those 18 days glued to computers and Al-Jazeera (who did such an outstanding job at reporting from Egypt that I STILL don’t know how they did it.) I barely slept. I barely ate. I cried. I agonized. When I did sleep, I dreamt about the revolution.

I wanted so badly to be in Tehrir. I like to say that I would give anything to have been there, but the truth is that what I would have given up is my job. I’ll carry a little bit of shame inside me forever, no matter how rational and responsible my reasons for staying were.

The fact of the matter is that once the anti-foreigner sentiment took hold I would have been relegated to the side anyway, simply for protection of the Egyptians fighting.

But, whether I physically threw rocks and bandaged wounds or not, the simple fact is that I am a different person post revolution. It may have only been 21 days ago, but to me, and to Egypt, it was a lifetime ago.

I am so proud of my friends and family, of my acquaintances, of those tweeps who I may not know in person…

I am proud of Egypt.

Proud of those people.

And the moment my husband finishes his schooling, I will begin packing our bags to go back to help rebuild this country.

I may not have been able to give my blood, sweat, and tears to freeing the country, but I will dedicate them to building it back up.

Ta7ya Masr.

I am a Western Muslim

I’m having a go at this again because my post was just put to shame by the brilliance of my fellow convert bloggers, mashAllah. See all of their contributions here in the comments.

I want to say first that I feel I came off a little glib in my last post, as if my checklist could solve all your mosque problems.

 Believe me, I know that it won’t. I just know that this is how I’ve dealt with problems that I’ve faced.

 But also know that I plain gave up on going to ICC Tempe in Arizona because all the women there froze me out, despite all of my attempts. Yes, I’mma call ICC Tempe out because I wasn’t the only one to face that same problem. Shame on all of you. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

 I also only made a few appearances at ICC Phoenix because of the same issue. O Ummah of Arizona, you need to get your ish straight.

 I was the most welcomed by the Pakistanis of the 32nd Ave Masjid, even though I didn’t go often because I wasn’t 100% happy with the leanings of that Imam, even though he is a good man mashAllah. At the time (this is 4 years ago, so things may have changed) it was definitely a culturally-driven Islam being taught there, and it didn’t jive with me.

 My point is that I encountered the same sense of not fitting in, and the same lack of a supportive ummah.

 And that is why I value the ummah in Minnesota so very, very much.

 UmmLayla blogged about the mosque that she would like to see built and what amenities she would like to see it offer. Alhumdulillah this is something that we have achieved here in Minnesota, so my friends, take heart. It IS possible.

 I want link up to the organization that has put into place so many of the programs that we need as an Ummah: Building Blocks.

 Building Blocks isn’t the origin of the wonderful ummah here, it is a PRODUCT of it. It is the product of many years of work done by wonderful, community-driven, Muslims and under the supervision of Sheikhs who made themselves available to an avid and hungry community. It is the product of blood, sweat, and tears; of 20 hour days and sleepless nights. It is the product of cooperation between Masjids and Sheikhs who don’t always have the same ideas, but are willing to put aside differences and work towards a greater goal.

 I’m not sure its something all communities can achieve, but it IS possible.

 I want to move on to another subject though; one brought up directly by Amie and alluded to by other contributors: the idea that Islam/Muslim and Western can’t ever exist jointly. You’re either Muslim, or you’re Western.

 The idea that if you haven’t completely given up your western side then you are not a true Muslim and you will always fall short.

 I alluded to it too, when I spoke of the initial phase of converting to Islam, the astughfurlillah and apologist phase.

 I also said that it is something many converts eventually grow out of. Like Nicole said in her post that most of us blogging dinosaurs figured it out, but disappeared and now the new Muslim bloggers are making the “New-Convert-itis” mistakes that we made or read about five years ago. Eventually they will make all the mistakes we made, or saw, or had to deal with as new converts years ago, and we will watch as some of them implode, while others grow up as we did.

 The problem with so many of the new converts is that even if you tell them that they are making a mistake, or that they are wrong, they won’t get it. They won’t understand. They’re stuck in that phase and they just have to live it out.

 But we can be there for other new converts online or in our local masjids, so long as we keep our presence up. And that would involve dealing with mosque-politics, for better or worse.

 How does that saying go? I don’t mean to be trite but: be the change that you want to see in the world.

 So when you see a new convert, or would-be convert enter the masjid, welcome them. And if they can’t pronounce the surah correctly, tell them that it will come with time.

 And show them, and the masjid too, that its possible to be Western and Muslim, so long as Islam is what guides you.

I also want to, as an end note, give credit where credit is due. Never underestimate what your online friends can bring to you, because even after 6 years of being Muslim, I still make a helluva lot of mistakes. I judged, even if it was silently, certain people or movements.

And so, while I may not always agree with the ideas of some of these sisters, I need to give them a shout out for making me see how important it is to let the judgement go and see that the most important thing about a person is that they are Muslim and that they are trying.

I may not agree with their path, but the most that I can do is be the best Muslim that I can be and leave the judgement up to God.

So, Nicole: I hope you know that your rants have made a huge impact on me. Thanks for being so angry. (just kidding.) You always have an important point to make.

Organica: I don’t always agree with you, but yours is a voice that needs to be heard because there is so much wisdom behind it.

UmmLayla: Because there is so much sage wisdom behind what you say and what you don’t say.

Thank you ladies for smacking me around when I need it.

Convert Truths Blogival- Shades of Grey

I was having a wonderful conversation yesterday with a good friend of mine who is much like me; a convert married to an Egyptian with similar religious leanings. We were talking about ummahs in different parts of the US that we had lived in or had friends in- what these ummahs had, what they lacked, and what we’re thankful for (a lot) in our local ummah here in Minnesota. We agreed that the Twin Cities definitely has the best ummah that we’ve ever lived in (alhumdulillah) and we posited that it might be the best in the entire US, in terms of size, amenities, and general brotherly love and cooperation.

Get ready, this blog post is really just a long commercial for why you should move to Minnesota.

Just kidding.

But you should.

When I read Nicole’s intro for Convert Truths (link here), I immediately felt a sense that all of her topic suggestions applied, and yet really didn’t apply to me, if that makes sense.

We’ve all been through the die-hard newbie phase; the abaya and niqab phase; the astughfurlillah phase. It’s a good phase, really, an earnest phase and we all generally go through it with sincere intentions.

I think its a necessary phase when it comes to a convert’s need to figure out who she/he is in terms of being a Muslim and still being oneself. Many people need that phase to remove themselves completely from their pre-Islamic mindset, to break from the routine.

I had that phase, my friends, I daresay that I was even a bit of a know-it-all for awhile. So obnoxious.

But eventually I grew out of it; eventually I was able to reconcile who I wanted to be as a Muslim while still retaining my individuality, as most converts are also eventually able to do. But I’ve been Muslim for coming up on 6 years now and I reckon that it took all 6 of them to get where I am today, and God only knows how much different I will be in 6 more.

What I can say is that having lived in Egypt made a huge difference in me as a person entirely, not just religiously. It doesn’t make me the go-to expert on all things Egypt, but I SINCERELY recommend that any convert lives for at least one year in their spouse’s home country because you learn so much about where your spouse comes from, why he/she acts, reacts, thinks, feels, and leans a certain way. Its a meeting point between you and him/her. If I could, I would make it mandatory.

Like I have that power. *flexes muscles*

Friends, it also gives you a bit of street cred with the mosque men/women from your spouse’s Backhomeistan, and it makes you a lot less obnoxious when you expound on why Backhomeistan is such a wonderful place, paved with gold, filled with super deeni people who are loads better than the western kufaar you have to deal with everyday; mostly because you probably wouldn’t expound on that because you’d know that Backhomeistan is actually only about 3% paved with bad asphalt and 99% culturally Muslim.

Seriously. See what I’m saying? Its terribly important.

Especially when it comes to mosque street cred with the Backhomeistan crew. And it ain’t just us converts, either. Western-born Backhomeistanians deal with the same exact side-eye from the crew if they’ve never lived in Backhomeistan, so try not to take it personally if you DO get side-eye when you try to sit with them.

Which brings me to a really, really important piece of information for new converts, old converts, any converts dealing with side-eye from Backhomeistanians in the mosque:

And I’m going to say this very baldly;

Stop giving a fuck.

Your religion is not FOR them to side-eye or front-eye or judge in any manner, mostly because many of them really have no more information about it than you do. See my reference to Backhomeistan being 99% culturally Muslim. They know the basics but unless they are scholars, they’re learning along side you.

And if they are scholars, and they’re still giving you the side-eye without welcoming you and try to help you, then they have a LOT more to learn.

But in reality, at least in many mosques I’ve been to, halaqa-time is Backhomeistanians Social Hour so really, the side-eye is less about religion and more about culture. Which is where Backhomeistan street cred comes in handy.

Now, lets go back for a second to my first paragraph, the one about Minnesota being an awesome place to be Muslim (alhumdulillah) (told you, long commercial for Minnesota); I feel blessed to have lived here and to have come into Islam here.

Are there mosque politics? Abso-freaking-lutely. You can’t get a group of people together WITHOUT some sort of interpersonal politics- religious, work-place, friendly, or otherwise. Its human nature, so try to not take it seriously.

Plenty of sisters I know have stopped going to the mosque here because of these politics, or because of snide things said or enacted by a group of other sisters.

This is sad to me, because they are ways to get around it as long as you are able to let it roll right off your back and, as I baldly stated above, stop giving a fuck.

For those of you who are having an issue with mosque politics, feeling burned by the side-eye, or out-casted I would like to give you a checklist:

  1. Check YOUR intentions. What are you going to the mosque for?
    • Socializing? I don’t blame you for it, where else can you socialize with other Muslims without having a core group of Muslim friends?
      1. Try another mosque, sometimes that’s all you need. If there are no other mosques then open up communication between you and the other women/men. Communication is KEY because they may only be giving you the side-eye because they don’t know you, and they can’t know you unless you talk to them. Yes, its shitty of them not to make the first move and welcome you, but if they are Backhomeistanian they may already feel out of place and uncomfortable around westerners. Sometimes it just takes breaking the ice and you find that they realize they were wrong about you and you were wrong about them. You can’t know until you try. Honestly, I’ve bull-dogged my way into a group of Egyptian women (after living in Egypt for a year, they became a lot more open to me because I LEARNED how to interact with Egyptian women. I TOLD you its important to have that street cred.) and now they’re pretty wonderful. You don’t HAVE to have the street cred, you just have to try. If they still ice you out, then they are not worth it.
    • Religious talks/classes/prayer.
      1. MashAllah. Why do you care what they think then? Go for the Islamic knowledge and fuhgeddabout the other people.
      2. Your local/only mosque is a different sect/leaning than you? That’s a toughie, especially when you have few options. Move to Minnesota.
        • Ok, I’m joking. But really, I don’t have an answer for that beyond trying to find a good online community. Internet friends are just as important as real friends, only you can’t hug them.
    • All of the above, but the men/women like to cause drama and you’re tired of it.
      1. What type of drama? Can you ignore it? I promise you if you stop giving a fuck what they think, and focus on why you are there, it should be better. Just because Islam is perfect, doesn’t mean Muslims are. Focus on why you’re there; focus on Allah.
  2. Check YOURSELF, and I mean this sincerely. Drama is many times a two-way street. If you take a step back, stop responding, stop back-biting about the other person to those people who are on your side, and the other person continues their rain of drama upon you, eventually it will become obvious that the only person continuing the beef is them. Focus on your reasons for being there, and ignore the drama-whores. They’re like bullies, if you stop rising to their taunts, they get bored. It may be hard, but remember that Allah rewards the person who backs down from a fight even though they are right. I’m too lazy to look up the hadeeth, but I’m pretty certain that reward is Paradise.

Of all the mosque drama I have ever encountered personally, most of the above advice should suffice. If it doesn’t, feel free to email me your issue at mollyannelian at gmail dot com.

Maybe I can start a Dear Abby column and call it Dear Amina.

I think this blog post is not what Nicole was looking for.

Plus I don’t know how to wrap it up. I am so off my blogging game, see why I don’t blog much anymore?

I stopped giving a fu— ok, I should stop swearing, sorry.

In reality, the Muslim blogosphere is no longer what it was then because we, the dinosaurs, grew older, wiser, and, at least in my case, tired. Many of us came into Islam around the time that blogging blew up and so we dove into this new media with the desire to work through our issues, our growing pains, and our creative labors online.

For me I live blogged a tumultuous, horrible, wonderful, amazing, and painful year in Egypt, and before that the first ten months of my marriage in the US, separated by an ocean from my husband. I could not have made it through that without my blog, and my friends who commented on my posts and commiserated with me. Thank you all for that, by the way.

Maybe Twitter has replaced my blog for me, because I can air my grievances out immediately, in 140 characters or less, or in a long, run-on set of tweets.

Maybe when I pop out a mini-me I’ll go back into live-blogging that child’s first smiles, farts, spit-ups, and steps. I don’t know.

Maybe right now I’m just at a contented point in my life. Alhumdulillah. Happy, comfortable, completely and totally bourgeois. I go to work. I cook. I shop at Target. I fill my car with gas. I dig myself out of the million tons of snow we seem to have gotten this winter (seriously, will it ever STOP?!?). I hang out with my wonderful friends and family.

I’m… happy. Alhumdulillah.

And I think I would make a very boring blog.

Am I getting boring? Honestly, I’m exhausted. I forgot how much work this blogging thing was.

So.. snappy wrap up?

I’ve got nothing. Check out my checklist though, see if you think it would apply. See if you think its a bunch of bull-hockey. Give me things you think should be added.

We’re works in progress, all of us.

And everything we do.

Moroccan Madame Says Her Girls ‘Hajj’ed Up’ Before Ban [Satire]

31st of August, 2010

Moroccan Madame Says Her Girls ‘Hajj’ed Up’ Before Ban
By Maha Raouf
Al-Abasseya Weekly, Rabat, Morocco

This last week I sat down with Rania Hamadouchi, a local business woman and madame, on the outskirts of Rabat, Morocco’s capital city, to discuss the recent Saudi ban against young Moroccan women going on Hajj, Islam’s sacred pilgrimage to Mecca.

“It’s alright,” she immediately tells me. “We knew about the ban something like two years before now.” She and her girls were tipped off to it by a regular Saudi client of her brothel, a prominent businessman whom she refuses to name.

“Since we knew that it was coming, we pooled our money and sent our girls to stock up on Hajj before the ban was put into place.”

She stops to pick her teeth thoughtfully, “Although, in the end that turned out badly for us; we lost some of our best girls.”

She goes on to explain that after the pilgrimage some of the girls rediscovered their religion and vowed to never return to prostitution.

“I think one of them even decided to wear the face veil,” she sighs, “It was an utter disaster.”

“But,” she brightens visibly, “I don’t have to worry about that now since my girls can’t make the pilgrimage anymore. At least not until they’re too old for me to use, anyway.”

When I bring up the pressure being placed on the Moroccan government to ban Saudi men from entering Morocco for their summer vacations she becomes obviously upset.

“God, I certainly hope they don’t do that. Those Saudi vacationers are something like 75% of our income. I don’t know what a ban like that would do to our industry.”

Finishing the mint tea she offered me I leave her pondering that grim, uncertain future.

“I wonder if we can put a spell on them,” I hear her saying to herself as I walk out the door.

We’re Just Rabbits, Ya’ll

This video made me LOL like I have never LOL’ed before.

I’d like to make a list of my WTF?!?s, LOLs, and other observations for you:

1.) We just have more sex.
2.)  Really?! Ahem, your agenda is showing- you might want to tuck it back in.
3.) I know its supposed to be scary but most of it sounds pretty good to me.
4.) An Islamic Republic means governmentally Islamic and, good God, we don’t even have that in Muslim countries.
5.) France an Islamic Republic in 39 years?!?!?! WTF? Did Nostradamus tell you that? Did he give you a specific day and time because I want to make sure I request that day off from work.
6.) Please, for the sake of my inner grammar-Nazi, study the grammatical difference btween ‘Islamic’ and ‘Muslim’. I beg you.
7.) Does anyone else wonder how much it sucked to be a Muslim in the US in 1970? 100,000? Sounds low to me. I question your numbers good sir, actually ALL of your numbers. Eight babies per family? They don’t even pop that many out in Egypt.
8.) Why are you using the national flag of Turkey as the “Islamic” flag? I kept getting confused, thinking you were referring specifically to Turks. Side note: Why is Turkey’s flag the crescent and star? Aren’t they pushing that whole secular thing harder than any other country except for Lebanon?
9.) How desperate are you guys that you now count Latinos as on your side “culturally”? Must be why they are a “if we count Latinos” add-on. Anything goes in war against us Islamics, huh?
And drum-roll please……

10.) Nya-nya-na-na-boo-boo!!1! *blows raspberry*

I guess the cat has been let out of the bag, we might as well be open and honest about it now. Yes, we do intend to take over the world simply by out-copulating all you Christians.

So, uh, get to it. Knock some boots. Bump some uglies. Rattle the headboard. Spawn, dammit, SPAWN!!! Cuz unless you are Mormon, or you are these people, every Muslim family in France is having 6.8 more babies than you.

And that is your ‘Islamic’ PSA of the day.

Calling All Converts

I’m looking for converts who have written their conversion stories or are willing to write their conversion stories and would be interested in having them posted online.

The website I work for is dedicated to non-Muslims who are seeking information about Islam and new Muslims who are looking for support. One of my assigned sections is conversion stories and so many new Muslims and/or seeking non-Muslims have found inspiration there.

Would you like to be the inspiration for someone?

Email me at mollyannelian [at] gmail.com and I will reply via the official editors email.

Come Mista Tallyman, Tally Me Banana

Daylight come and me wanna go home.

So I have some great and greater news! Which one do you want first?

The great news is that I finally left the seething pit of hell that was Global Education. Man was THAT a barrel full of monkeys.

Quite literally, I worked for monkeys. Everytime I went to work there was a new person working there until finally there was only one of the original staff left, the only one I trusted and who had my back, and a new boss-monkey who everyone hated and who I despised.

Boss-monkey was simply rude to everyone, including me, and finally I had had enough. I got to the two-month mark, had them tally me bananas, took my salary which I was almost not sure they were going to give me, and decided to never come back. Right after I had decided I found that the owner of the company had, just that day, fired without explanation the last staff-member I actually liked. I got out just in time because I’m sure that had I needed to try to get my bananas from boss-monkey he definitely would not have obliged.

So, yay! I’m free, I’m free, whoop whoop, I’m free.

And the even GREATER news is that the day after that I got a new job! A totally awesome job in a totally awesome place doing totally awesome work alhumdulillah. For real, ya’ll.

I am now an Assistant Editor on a prominent Islamic website focused on dawah. I will also write a bit for them as well inshAllah. Alhumdulillah rabiy-al-ameen!

I originally had to decided to say which one, however for now I have decided against that. Also I hold a few views that are not officially sanctioned by the website and I really don’t want to have to censor myself on my own blog.

I think I will also be published on a small number of other websites through connections, but Allahu alem.

Either way its a HUGE first step towards being a (sorta) recognized writer plus I’ll get experience editing which is so important. Alhumdulillah for everything.

I only have two issues: getting to work (its a 90 minute commute) by shuttle which has no shuttle pick-up point in a place that is easily accesible for me. Its incredibly exhausting and disheartening. God, what I would do for a car.

Oh! I’m also hoping, inshAllah to get involved with a radio station offered through a sister-site to my own and to have my own show! Ya rabi! I think this job has really opened a lot of paths for me and I’m so happy.

I slammed a window (Global Ed) and God opened a very large door.

Those are some nice bananas, eh?

White Men and Shotguns

A white man with white supremacist connections shoots up the Holocaust museum and the media forgets to mention the fact that most white supremacy groups are heavily tied into Christianity.

I’m totally not saying that Christianity is terroristic but had this been a Muslim who did it everyone would be up in arms about Islam being a hate-filled religion and all Muslims hating Jews.

There’s a double-standard here. Can someone please recognize it?

Also looking at serial killers, mass shooters, and wars: the scariest shiz on earth is a middle-aged WASP  man with a gun.

Ass Backwards: How Cairo Welcomed Obama

I worked the night before Obama came and while being driven home I noticed more the absense of the usual hundreds of parked cars than I did the unusual cleanliness of the streets. What I did not know then was that Obama’s route through the city took him directly past my workplace and mile by mile along the route I take home every worknight. Cairo, and Heliopolis by extension, did not appear much more different until the next morning when we drove back into Heliopolis on business. Driving down the Salah Salem highway I could not help but stare and giggle at the unending line of police, sodiers, and “secret” servicemen that stretched out as far as my eye could see.

They lined both sides of the road and the divider up the middle: black-suited soldiers stood exactly ten feet apart in their ‘at attention’ postures with their hands clasped behind their backs and around every third soldier stood at least one “secret” servicemen, who despite their attempts at looking non-chalant stood out in their dapper business suits, and one to two white-suited policemen. At every corner stood no less than three policemen, two soldiers, and an indeterminate number of “secret” servicemen and behind them, further down the street, were more policemen manning the road blocks that would keep people from entering the road once it was officially closed off for Obama.

It was this staggering amount of manpower that made me stare but what made me giggle was that every single black-clothed soldier stood with his back to the road, at some places they quite literally stood with their faces to brick walls like unruly school children being punished. The fact that the street and adjoining buildings were scrubbed to a sparkle, that Egypt had this many people laying around that she could use them in such an onstentatious manner, and that they were forced to stand with their asses to the street just compounded to make it one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen. I supposed that even if it weren’t just for show it would make more sense for them to be facing out from the road guarding it but the whole thing just seemed so surreal to me.

This stretched on for miles, starting from in front of the Mohamed Ali Mosque, past Al-Azhar Park, and on into Heliopolis- presumably all the way to Hosni’s house where Obama took his breakfast. In one half-mile stretch there were probably 100-120 men just standing there. And really, lets talk about the “secret” servicemen. I get the suits, I really do, but the thing is that it makes more sense to have plain-clothes police in places where there are actually civilans however here the only civilians that anyone could see were those who were furtively making their way along the road in cars as quickly as possible like Mr. MM and I. The normal Cairenes were so terrorized by the idea of what the police would do to them simply for being on the streets at the wrong time that they holed up in their houses all day. Mr. MM said his friends who lived along the route didn’t even touch the curtains on their windows out of fear for their lives. So here were a number of men in suits standing around with the purpose of blending in and being “secret” however all they did is look like doofs standing in the shadows and smoking cigarettes. It was even worse when we got into the botanical sections of Heliopolis and they were hiding out in the leafy gardens in the middle of the road where only beggars and lounging street-cleaners usually hang out.

It was obvious when we were no longer on the Obama route not only because there were no more soldiers mooning us but because one could see again the obsequious piles of garbage, litter, and dirt that cover the streets of Cairo. The streets were still empty of people but at least it looked more like home. Gatherings were called off due not just to fear but to the idea that traffic, which is never fun in Cairo, would be so much worse today because of everything but in reality it was the complete opposite. Offices closed for the day, the Ministry of Education postponed all exams that were scheduled for that morning and afternoon, and many who did not have official breaks just did not go to work. So while there definitely were road closings while Obama was on the move, traffic in Cairo was actually fabulous in every other part, so much so that Mr. MM proposed that we drive somewhere just for the sake of being able to get there quickly.

Of all that things that he did here I wish that Obama had gone off the path and seen what Cairo really is because everything on the route he took was washed and fixed and freshly painted; Cairo University itself was entirely repaved. I wish that he had seen the degradation, the crumbling buildings, the piles of garbage, the hopelessness of the people; I wish that he had seen that the soldiers that lined his route stood as an allegory to how things always are here in Cairo: ass backwards.

His visit did what it was meant to though; forget the cynical pundits and journalists, the pessimistic bloggers and vloggers. General consensus among the Egyptian masses of everymen and everywomen is that Obama is someone who cares about the Muslim and Arab people and I can tell you that were Obama to run for President of Egypt tomorrow he would win hands down. But his speech really reiterated for me what I’ve been saying all along to people here: Islam and Muslims play a bigger part in America then anyone could imagine.

Now all I can hope for is that Obama stands up to Israel and Israel takes his words to heart.