Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and a Happy Kwanzaa to All

To those of our non-Muslim readers, from my family to yours, we enjoy "helping" you to celebrate your holidays, and wish you much warmth and happiness as your families come together.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Assalamu Alaykum All:
I look forward to the postings and getting to share views on a most difficult task; being an American Muslim woman! I am an educator and mother of 4 adult children (well most of the time they behave as adults :P.
I especially look forward to seeing how everyone is thriving and at times simply coping with the global climate towards those of us who are proud and comfortable with being Muslims and not apologetic to others who are less than comfortable with "progressive" and "actualized" Muslimahs.
Anyway enough for now.
Ma Salaamah,

Things I Would Change

I recently saw a movie with J.Lo that wasn't actually banal. Of course, the title doesn't spring to mind, but it was about a woman who's husband was cheating on her and physically abusing her. She ended up having to kill him and frame it as self defense, in order to keep him from obtaining visititation or custody rights of her daughter, which would have clearly been a horrible situation. However, it would have happened (she would have lost her daughter to an insane and unsafe man and probably would have lost her own life) since she ran away with the girl, never reported the abuse, and had no proof that he was unsafe with the daughter.

This just goes to show how much our system still is lacking (granted, domestic abuse can be a very sticky thing to manage). So, if you vote for me (snicker), here's what I would do:

I would make a national--make that WORLDWIDE-- law that states that if someone has been cruel to their spouse or another being to the extent that it has been reported to the police, and substantiated (I know that puts an huge burden on the abusee, but suppose your spouse calls the police and lies about you as a political maneuver?), it should be automatically acknowledged that that person is not safe for the child, whether or not he/she has ever maltreated the child!!!!!!!! The fact of the matter is, that anyone who can torture the child's other parent (especially when the abusee is the physically weaker spouse and has a stronger bond to the child, which is the case of most mothers), is capable of hurting the child, and in fact already is. Don't you think it is an abuse to a little girl to teach her through your example that when she grows up it is alright to marry someone who will abuse her????

I swear, some things are just ridiculously obvious. And yet,...............??

Okay, so here's my qualified advice to anyone with a spouse who is a little bit scary (I'm sorry, but I am not qualified to give advice to people with completely psycho spouses), whose spouse is crossing over certain bounds and becoming threatening. When he/she starts acting up, DO call the police! All kinds of abuse can escalate. Someone who is "just" verbally abusive can reach a point where they become physically abusive as well. I believe that in most cases, the knowledge that your spouse will not put up with it even ONCE, that your spouse will call in the authorities the moment you go there is a pretty good way to be kept under some semblance of control. Your spouse might even secretly appreciate this act, because it has forced them to create a boundary they were having trouble with before. Do people who abuse typically want to be that way? Usually not. It is usually about losing control. Knowing one's limits can be liberating. Second, in the Muslim world especially, there can be a stigma about calling the police. For example, one might expect one's spouse to divorce them for such an act. I say, if that's the consequence, it tells you that you didn't need such a poisonous person in your life anyway--you're better off. Also, some people fear police more than anyone else. Perhaps reasonable in another country--not so here, Alhumdullillah! Finally, there's the shame, the worry about what others in your community will say when they find out you called the police on your spouse. But think about it: that's just another kind of abuse and oppression. Don't tell anyone, and if your spouse is dumb enough to do so, let the gossipers eat each other's flesh and oppress themselves, but NOT YOU. Be bold and brave and strong, and SMART! Allah takes care of those who take care of themselves, does he not? And legally speaking, if things get worse, you will have that ever important paper trail that you really, really need.

You not only help yourself, but you also help the community. Let's face the ugly truth: our community needs some serious help with abuse issues!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bush's new internal struggle and Maher Arar's Bush induced reality

From Americablog 11/02/2005, Bush Administration Debating Whether Torture Is Good
Hey, at least there's some sort of internal struggle on whether we should be torturing people (with Cheney leading the "torture is good" camp). But how sad that Bush has lowered our standards that this is even a topic of discussion in America.
Here is my response on the comment section which will be wiped when the issue goes to the next page:

From the NYT article:
"The uniformed service lawyers are behind the rewrite because it brings the policy into line with Geneva," one senior defense official said. "Their concern was that we were losing our standing with allies as well as the moral high ground with the rest of the world."
We've already lost those things. We aren't going to even begin put that genie back in the bottle until Bushco is out of the White House. The torture Bushco has been okay with until now (and I'll remind you Alan Dershowitz has little problem with it either) has already done us great harm in our standing in the world. How can we morally push others for greater human rights when our current leaders have had no problem with violating them? Those that we castigate now look at us, laugh and point to the torture we've allowed and promoted. They don't take us seriously any more.

And how about those innocents we've already wrongly tortured or gave over for "extraordinary rendition" to be tortured in our name? Like Maher Arar:

The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
On January 27th, President Bush, in an interview with the Times, assured the world that “torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture.” Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was born in Syria, was surprised to learn of Bush’s statement. Two and a half years ago, American officials, suspecting Arar of being a terrorist, apprehended him in New York and sent him back to Syria, where he endured months of brutal interrogation, including torture. When Arar described his experience in a phone interview recently, he invoked an Arabic expression. The pain was so unbearable, he said, that “you forget the milk that you have been fed from the breast of your mother.”
He's a broken man
"Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say. “You just give up,” he said. “You become like an animal.”

A year later, in October, 2003, Arar was released without charges, after the Canadian government took up his cause. Imad Moustapha, the Syrian Ambassador in Washington, announced that his country had found no links between Arar and terrorism. Arar, it turned out, had been sent to Syria on orders from the U.S. government, under a secretive program known as “extraordinary rendition.” This program had been devised as a means of extraditing terrorism suspects from one foreign state to another for interrogation and prosecution. Critics contend that the unstated purpose of such renditions is to subject the suspects to aggressive methods of persuasion that are illegal in America—including torture.

Arar is suing the U.S. government for his mistreatment. “They are outsourcing torture because they know it’s illegal,” he said. “Why, if they have suspicions, don’t they question people within the boundary of the law?”

Rendition was originally carried out on a limited basis, but after September 11th, when President Bush declared a global war on terrorism, the program expanded beyond recognition—becoming, according to a former C.I.A. official, “an abomination.”
Mahrer Arar's case (read the entire article) makes it clear that Bush's statement; “torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture.”, was and is a lie. Another lie.

I'm sure Bush's new debate and internal struggle will comfort Mr. Arar, along with all those innocents who've been tortured or kept in 2 years of solitary confinement here in the US, without trial or conviction.

One more question, "Why is Bush going after Syria now when Syria has helped this administration torture people?"

Friday, November 04, 2005

Just Call Me Um

Asalam aleikum. No pressing issues at the moment--just happy to be alive and enjoying Eid, albeit at a low key. I wanted to introduce myself and join the fray right away. As the title of this post says, just call me Um. I am a 27 year old caucasian American mother of two little girls. My husband is Pakistani and he owns a store. I have been a "revert" for a little over eight years. I am pretty liberal and moderate. I have attempted to wear hijab more than once, but choose not to at present. My Bachelor's degree is in Political Science/Islamic Studies, and I have always been a Democrat. Anyway, I suppose that intro suffices for now. We'll get to know each other more as time goes by....


Wishing you a joyous Eid ul-Fitr

Homeland security money going to where it will do the most "good"

Repost from the Polis

This came from AMERICAblog; Homeland Security monies going to protect Bingo

Kentucky has been awarded a federal Homeland Security grant aimed at keeping terrorists from using charitable gaming to raise money.

The state Office of Charitable Gaming won the $36,300 grant and will use it to provide five investigators with laptop computers and access to a commercially operated law-enforcement data base, said John Holiday, enforcement director at the Office of Charitable Gaming.

The idea is to keep terrorists from playing bingo or running a charitable game to raise large amounts of cash, Holiday said.
Anyone who has worked at bingo knows that far more money is spent on multiple cards, and traipsing to each hall night after night, then what is won. Three hundred dollars here, one hundred dollars there after several weeks of buying several cards, sitting for hours in smoky rooms, is the purview of little old ladies and aged veterans. Do they think some young Arab or Muslim looking face, are going to be over looked? Plus the money is in running the games NOT playing the games. Just like in state lotteries.

With that said let's also forget that bingo is gambling and Islam forbids gambling. No mosque, Islamic organization or Islamic school raises funds/cash by having bingo or even raffles. So with that in mind, where would these bingo games operate and who would be their target clientele?
1,300 organizations licensed to raise money through gambling, charitable gaming raised $51 million in 2003.
So there a 1,300 licensed organizations and they are probably Catholic schools/churches/orgs, DAV, VFW, AFL, and who else? So either Kentucky cannot/ could not catch these guys applying for a license or find the unlicensed NEWLY formed games.

Where is the draw going to come from? Not from the American Muslim community. So they'd need to advertise. And you're telling me that Kentucky doesn't have enough smart policing agencies to find this out? Or do they think they're going to muscle their way in to a Catholic charity or veteran’s organization and get away with it?

This is not only pork but it plays into people's ignorance and fears.

Why does this administration make me more and more depressed every day?