Friday, April 21, 2006

Didn't really do much. At all. Play doh. Read whale books. Watched St. Dave on DVD (again). Read CCF. That's it.

OOh but guess what - four men tried to break into our house last night at 3am in the morning - that's exciting, eh? Ane given that we live on a well-lit major A-road with regular police cars driving past one can only assume they have nerves of steel to try it on. Alhamdulillah DH heard them and turned the light on and they scarpered - he said they looked like four fully grown men - not kids - so naturally I'm now a bit anxious - especially as a friend on the end of our street *was* broken into a few days ago. What to do. Life in "civilisation".

Thursday, April 20, 2006

You HAVE. TO. SEE. THIS. POST. I PMRFLMAO. Go see and let me know what you think.

Here it is

New Rant

OK here we go.

Thats pretty much how I raise me kids. I want them to know the way I do things is my choice and they may not do the same as me as they have free will and freedom to choose. Tis not like that for a lot of kids brought up in religious families though is it?

I'm going to just try and attempt to give my children a kind of education in different religions, so that they can understand how people believe in different things and they all think that what they believe in is right for them. Hopefully, it'll lead them to be tolerant of the multitude of religions we have in the world.
It saddens me how religion has been the cause of so much bloodshed over so many centuries and still is.

Read these comments on another blog and thought I'd share my ideas on this here.

There are myths surrounding religion which all secular people are indoctrinated with at birth. I know this because I imbibed them without even having to chew from when I was knee-high and I took these assumptions as Truth. The biggest lie/assumption there is is that religion has caused ALL the misery on this planet and that without religion we all hold hands and live as one in harmony and blah blah blah

I want to do my bit to halt that bull right now. Religion, like anything, is a tool. In the hands of the spiritually minded and morally inclined it is a tool to purify the self, to cleanse the soul and to attain nearness to their Beloved, Allah/God. This is what the tool of religion came to do. But as with all tools if placed in the hand of a moron it can weild great harm. If placed in the hand of a materialist who seeks only self-glorification, riches, fame and power then religion, like anything, can be used for great harm and manipulation. It isn't the religion that is at fault, it is the misuse of the religion which is the culprit, and this is as much a crime against God as it is against humanity and each and every individual who takes religion as a tool for self-glorification or as a means of oppression and manipulation will find that waiting for him at his grave, will face the Owner of Truth and have to find a sufficient excuse on Judgement Day. There is no excuse and quite rightly these oppressors will see where their scheming gets them.

It isn't the religion that is to blame, it is the lack of belief in it in the first place which causes misery. Allah says do not oppress, engage in acts of aggression, feed the orphan and the poor one lying in the dust and treat all people with absolute justice and equality. If people adhered to religion, believed in and practiced it as it was meant to be practised there would be nothing but peace. Unfortunately it is disbelief in Judgement Day and the fact that every atom of good and every atom of bad is taken into account and seen that leads people to commit great abominations.

Those who seek the "delights" of this world will utilise any tool to get what they want. In the first inception of man's progress this tool of convenience was 'religion', but at today's stage far more violence and materialistic pursuits can be legitimised with politics with little or no reference to religion. And if we think about that assertion a bit further, espcially viz-a-viz the 20th Century and the era of secularism, far more deaths and violence were perpetrated in the name of nationalism, humanism and secularism than EVER have been in the name of religion.
Communism, Nazism, World War I, World War II, Hiroshama, Nagasaki - none of these were religious movements or events yet put together they killed millions upon millions of innocent people - secularists and non-religious people have killed MORE people in one century than so-called "religious" people throughout the eons preceding them combined.

In fact, let's take this further, if we look at the world today with it's uneven distribution of wealth and resources we can make a very confident assertion that more people die as a direct result of third world debt than have ever died because of religion. And was the debt and interest incurred instigated because of religion? No. It was instigated by secularists and greedy governments who care more about making sure that 80% of the world's resources end up in the USA and Europe than they care about human rights and living standards for the vast majority of the world's population. Religion (Islam) actually FORBIDS usury so under a religious world third world debt would simply NOT exist - how many millions of innocent lives would that one religious ruling alone have saved??

Materialism is killing more people than religion ever has, so don't fall for that one-liner - don't throw the baby out with the bath-water. Religion, as far as I see it, is the perfect method of self-improvement. With religion man becomes a true man, living a dignified existence in moral excellence. We were all created for a purpose - this universe was not created by chance, nor was it created for no reason. There is a reason why it is here and why were created that only religion can help us to unfathom.

I never liked religion until I realised that there is a distinction between Institution and dogma, and the real content which it contains. The sufis have a saying "don't mistake the container for the content". What's inside is more important than what holds it.

Dogma exists in ALL spheres of human interaction - including the scientific fields. Does that mean we get rid of science? You have people abusing money - do we get rid of money? You have people abusing children - should we make having children forbidden??!

Tools can be used in a variety of ways. Instead of villifying the tools let us instead try to put the tools to their correct usage - in that way we might get somewhere.

Regarding teaching children ALL religion and letting them choose - poor my children have to have just ONE faith to believe in. This is seen as BAD. Why? Do you let your children choose their meals? Whether or not to clean their teeth? Whether to have vaccinations and medical treatment?? Whether to receive an education at all? In all these spheres I have never heard anyone say "Lets not feed/clothe/innoculate/remedy little Johny - that's oppressive - let's wait til he's old enough to choose these things himself".

From my experience it is the children who are taught that EVERYTHING is valid who are most confused - how can two opposing doctrine both be true? It makes everything meaningless. That's like saying you can have both black and white at the same time. But two entities diametrically opposed cannot both be true. From a purely technical point this means that what one is the other cannot be. For example, “white” is total light, the incorporation of all colours; “black” is absence of light and absence of any colour whatsoever. They cannot possibly be both things at the same time since they include each other’s negation. To be one would cancel the other. You cannot, ergo, have a ‘black-white’ since in essence this is meaningless – you haven’t understood what black or white is if you think you can have both at the same time.

I had no religious teaching at all, and I have never heard of many people who honestly teach their children ALL religions - not in an honest way - and I've only met one woman who intends to teach her children Islam. Something gives at the end of the day.

OK. I'm done.

Did nothing much

Started Charlie Chocolate and already he's hooked. A can see his wide eyes when I'm reading that he wants to know more ;-)

I got him to recap what we did yesterday and what we learned. He got it all right and bang on. Played play doh then in the afternoon we put all our experiment work onto paper then covered the bowhead whale and the humpback whale.

We had a little conversation today about the girl next door - he told me that the other day he told her what to say before eating (allahuma rizq barakallah) and what you say when you finish eating (alhamdulillah). And I said "that's nice - why did you tell her that?" and he said (with a silly grin), "Coz I want her to be Muslim" (Uh oh - potential marriage partner lined up??!), and I said, "Oh how considerate of you - and what did she say?" and he said, "She said, 'I'm not muslim I come from Portugal'" LOL. Aw.

Oh well. Think I'll read him some more Charlie insha'allah and do some weaving.

[EDIT: read some more CCF and a Muslim Story book which introduced the concepts of guilt and innocence and the need for proof/evidence and the idea that we are innocent until proven guilty. Then I asked him if he hit his brother and he said, 'no mother - I am innocent' LOL - I think he gets it. Then we read a lovely book about an Eagle and role played animal things]

My word verfication is VYPEZ - is this what German people have on their cars to clean the VINDSCREEN? :P

Jaws update

For when I want to look back here is what the tiniest man in my life is up to:

1. Crawling is for wimps, which is what has been doing since 5 months old. Since his first commando style crawling using elbows and keeping close to the ground (must be his SAS training kicking in) we have progressed to "proper" crawling on hands and knees. This is good for two reasons - 1) it is just too damn cute to see him pad down and slap the floor with his chunky little hands and I have to refrain myself from biting him, 2) his clothes are a LOT cleaner now that he isn't the human mop boy.

2. Furniture walking was commenced at 8 months and we have now progressed to furniture circuit training, furniture marathon walking, furniture running and furniture CLIMBING. He can now get on the sofa (and off if he falls) and hurls himself over objects to get to choking hazards. He is the midget equivalent of a whippet and had he any teeth he would resemble a terrier with his ability and agility to cross the room in a flash.

3. The walker is now used for pushing whilst walking on the outside as he looks smugly over his shoulder at us as if to say "look what I can do.... you suckers are in trouble now..."

4. He talks. Yes, my genius baby talks. OK, no one understands him but he has words which we know what he means. So far we have:

ba-ba = bo-bo (sleep time)
baaaaaaaaaaa = book (put it in my gob)
baa = ball
Puh = the leapfrog frog which has one letter that says "puh" (the P if you need telling)
bum-bah = dropped it/ fallen
krrrr = a spinning top which makes that noise
mamamamama = me
he blows air at one toy which has a blow hole
he blows air to mean light - and he wants the shade to move
he also has a name for his brother
[EDIT: He also says sssssssss = snake and
makes kissing noises when you've kissed him... ah

5. He likes to pull my hair and inflict pain. A lot.

6. He loves peekaboo.

7. He still rips posters off the wall and giggles at me when I say "no"

8. I have deduced from this that he is a monkey.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I didn't make Boss' light myself for those of you who think I am remotely that talented. You would have known if I had made it by the globules of dust encrusted glue, cellotape and naffness, and by the fact that it would have, by now, fallen, been ripped, crushed, trashed, digested and dicarded about four years ago (or precisely a day after I had made it). This lovely creation was purchased at John Lewis.

For Joyce et al. Sorry about the word verification U-Turn. I turned it off and immediately got spam. If you can all tolerate spam I will turn word verification off again. If no one speaks up I'll leave it on. Already have one for "for". I would LOVE to read your blog and have your password and also know how they got your phone number, although TBH for even a semi-serious hacker that wouldn't be too hard. If you could email me your passwords? Contact in the sidebar. Ta, chuck.

Finally finished Charlotte's Web. I liked it. It was a pleasant enough amble into animal type life. The story was easy enough to follow and I think Boss engaged very much with it. Didn't cry when Charlotte died but was very quiet. Oh well. Next is Charlie Chocolate. Can't wait. Any ideas for further reading??

After a late start after the sheer excitement of having a real workman come in and change our landline to a different provider we got started. Wanted to explain the concept of echolocation and went to work on that, starting with what sound is - very difficult to teach abstracts at this age and wasn't sure I really wanted to, but you know, you have to know something about how sound works before you get "echo". But it was very basic.

Covered what "air" was and how it is "made up" and then showed him a diagram of what air is, then what happens when we "make a noise", so we clapped.

Then using some plastic balls because we just dont have marbles in this house we did the thing where you roll a ball into a line of them and see the end one move. Kind of shows you how energy transforms and passes along.

Can you hear that? I get that noise ALL day. He was being a lion-hippo-rhino-thing

Then we looked at things that made a noise - our voices, a triangles, a whistle and a drum and worked out what they did to make a noise. Using a drum a piece of something (was meant to be rice but I just didn't want to hoover up today) we banged the drum and saw it move and felt our voices tingle our fingers. Yes, yes they all had to vibrate to make a noise. Good. Well done.

Quickly showed a picture of the human ear so he knew how sound made sound in our head.

So at this point I introduce the slinky - to much oohing and ahhing all round. By taping one end of the slinky to the wall I moved it so he saw the "wave" move down the line. Did the slinky move? No. It moved the "sound" by banging it down the line. Good good. Then by moving it harder we saw the wave hit the wall and bounce back! Ooooh, what happened? The wave came back.

Thus a quick introduction to what an echo was and into how whales send out sound and wait for the echo to bounce off their food/objects. Hm, but how do they understand this information I can hear you ask. Weeeeeeeell hold your horses because I was only just about to tell you, wasn't I?

Moving onto our *next* experiment we took a tennis ball, a clock and a tape measure and measured 50cm from the wall. We aimed the ball at the wall (sounds like Dr. Seuss book) and timed how long it took to come back. Then we moved further and further away. What did we learn? We learned the further away you are the longer the ball takes to come back, intro to a conversation about waves and echolocation - and how the whales know how far things are away by how quickly their echo returns.

Good stuff. You still reading? OK.

Then to further understand the quality of sound we did a little experiment to see if by hearing alone we could determine direction.

I blindfolded Boss (to much protestation) and moved around the room while he had to point where I was when I talked. He got it right. Then we covered his ears and he didn't get them all right. What did we learn - the ears can determine location and whales can determine location and distance when their echoes return. Hurrah! Echolocation *can* be taught after all!!

I don't like this. I'm telling Dad. I'm leaving. You have something wrong with you you do. I want to go now.

The happy children in the book playing with glee

We looked at a picture wot I made and discussed what was going on.

Echolocation in *action*

Then we had lunch ;-) and talked about echolocation to his Dad who obviously knows NOTHING ... about ANYTHING ...

Then we moved on the Right whales and read about them in his book, on the net, printed stuff off, cut and stuck.

We discussed the differences with this whale from what we have so far been looking at - it wasn't a rorqual, had barnacles over its head (!) and has no dorsal fin, then he played with play doh making whales.

Then I shopped whilst he and his Dad and brother bonded over animal stories, I showed him Charlie Chocolate and he told his brother what happened in Charlotte's Web.

Good stuff. Need to go checkout now.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Want to look at these links later on.






I am irked with word verification. It's time to let it die.

It's my fault

...sorry about the rain this morning. It's my fault. I put the washing out on the line to dry and Sod's Law kicked in.

Oh well, had a nice morning outside. Got the step-ladders out of the shed at last and Boss played with the girl next door as Jaws sat in the swing for nearly three hours without complaint watching it all like a TV. Bless them.

I managed to get several jobs done and also managed to obliterate my bedroom door thanks to some new laws of physics which states what goes in must stay in. Whilst hoovering a gust of wind slammed our door shut and well, it just STAYED shut. Then the door handle fell off and I rang people for help, but luckily for me I have a very big gob and DH managed to hear my *near desperate* cries for help - sorry you nearly fell down the stairs in fright, DH. His delicate engineering produced no results so after ordering him to boot it in this is what my door looks like now:

It would have been more exciting had he screamed "OK LADS THIS IS *NOT* A DRILL - I REPEAT... THIS IS *NOT* A DRILL ... GO! GO! GO", but he didn't. Oh well booting a door in is macho enough.

I fixed Boss' curtains and then stuck some glo-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling which he was really chuffed over - grinning like a Cheshire Cat...

Had lunch and continued whale project *by hand* ye gads. Read about the Bryde's (BROO-dus) whale and wrote and drew and coloured and stuck.

Then I can't remember what we did but I'm sure it involved a lot of noise and assing about. I need to plan this weeks stuff with him. Would like to cover baleen properly as well as echolocation.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Me no speak Engrish. Where did I put my brain. Um. Did nothing much. Boss has been in his PJs for a second day in a row. Oh well. Talked about the difference between octopus and squid and what the tentacles/suckers were like. Used the bath mat to illustrate *shrugs*

Meant to do some more whale project today covering the Bryde's (pronounce BROO-dus) whale, but the PC crashed, so quickly hobbled together some dot-to-dots instead.

Played with the whales lots and that's about it. Pootled and moped. Again.

David Attenborough-style commentary of the Blue Whale

Sperm Whale

Bryde's Whale

Happy Easter for those who celebrate.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ah, Pups... you really

made me happy with your comments. I'm glad I have such kick-ass readers like you.
I dedicate this post to Puppy.

Anyway, didn't really do much today because I'm just so tired. Dh cooked us a nice dinner and I went to the Post Office to pick an ebay parcel up - some animal toys. Good stuff.

Painted the whale models we made and now have to varnish them. Salt doh has really impressed me. And that's saying something! I would like to make some stuff again with it and if I have the time really try to make something beautiful with it.

Salt Doh Recipe (in case you have the urge to try it)

1 cup flour
1 cup salt (works better if you grind it to a fine powder first)
1/2 cup warm tap water
1 tablespoon oil (makes it model better)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (makes it go harder when cooked)
Add food colouring if you like.

Cook for first half hour on 50*C then turn up to 100*C, remembering to turn over half way through for better results.

Voila. Cooked models ready to paint with acryllics - must be varnished. Fortunately I have a drawer full of acryllic paint and varnish from my previous life as a person. I nearly chucked them umpteen times but my homeschooling conscience never let me. Woo hoo. I'm really psyched about salt doh models. What can I make next??


OK, not really masterpieces, I'll grant you, but Boss can't *wait* to play with them! Novel concept - make our toys instead of *buying* them - now that is something I could get interested in!

Read some more CW and generally moped about all day.

Good stuff. Hope you all had a nice day.

Friday, April 14, 2006

For those of you who wrote

to express your feelings over my statement below, thankyou. Given the length of the word verifications these days I know you must really care, because even *I* can't be assed to fill them in.

For the people who took the trouble to email, again, thankyou. Your sentiments and warmth really touched me too.

All I can say is "Wow - I never knew people really cared less about this blog". When I initially stated I was deleting it people emailed me and asked me to leave it a while for the links and someone even wanted to copy some posts! So I left it.

I almost deleted the blog without a goodbye, but whenever people have done that I have always felt a bit cheated - a deleted blog with no goodbye seems so rude and petulant. There is no closure with no goodbye.

But I felt I had to write one more time to acknowledge all the kind words that have been written and to validate them with a response of gratitude. Even though I don't know you in the real world I was still touched to see people bothering to write.

TBH I only read these comments because my DH frog-marched me to the PC and said "Look people are writing to you - READ IT" so I did. And TBH one of the reasons I am writing this is for his sake to let him know it's OK.

I am a bit peturbed that some of you think I was out to convert you!! Do I come across as preachy?? Hope not. Just rattling off thoughts in my head and you lot got to listen is all.

I feel a bit petulant and melodramatic flouncing off like that only to come back because you go "Don't go Debbie Don't go", whilst I say, "Oh alright then, I'll think about it". Over the last couple of days though I have been contemplating a lot of things, and one of them is how I utilise my time. Do I need a blog? Do I need a public blog? Is this all ego? Couldn't I use my time far more constructively off-line? What are the benefits of this? Do the negatives outweigh the positives?

Why did I leave you all ask? I lost heart with it dramatically. I can't fake my emotions. When I don't want to do something and when I am sad I just can't pretend I'm not.

Why am I back? My DH begged me to do it again. And that is the only reason I made the effort to write - that and the fact that all your comments deserved a thankyou.

I need somewhere to continue to post what I do HE-wise with my kid/s. Until I decide whether I want a private blog or a blog at all I will post here again.

Thanks for all your comments and emails. I really am humbled by your kindness and goodness.



Moving on - here is another brain blurge of mine that I wanted to write the other day after reading of the trial of that "muslim" "terrorist" in America. Forgotten his name. Begins with "m". Here is my rant on all that:

The next time you hear something in the news about Islam, can you please bear all this in mind from someone who knows the religion from the outside in - not that I am an expert in the field, but that I came from outside the fold and can see with two eyes.

We are all being manipulated to extremes by the media and those people who have a vested interest in the Hate Trade, whatever its guise. We are being made to get angry. We are being made to get hurt. We are being made to polarise ourselves into a "Us" and "Them" mentality by people who stand to profit from this stance. People who like to see division and the little people fighting their wars for them. People who would ordinarily get along are being made to suspect each other, dislike each other, hurt each other and lash out at each other and this is fuelled mainly by ignorance of the Other.

Well in a world that is getting smaller by the minute ignorance is no longer bliss, and it certainly isn't an option if we are to live with true pluralism. Never before have we lived with such dichotomies as we do right now - in a world that is getting smaller, yet polarized; in a world that is multicultural and international, yet at the same time becoming ever more stratified by nationalism and tribalism; in a world who yearns for Star Trek ideology yet has the Dark Ages mentality. We are literally killing everything we touch. We are a people who have lived the comfortable life and this has made us lazy armchair critics and mediocre thinkers - people who prefer comfort over truth and cliche over thinking.

One eminant pyschotherapist said that the crisis that is facing the Western world is one between choosing to think or to not think, because ultimately we are faced with a psychological crises of neurosis and these are set to get worse as our increasingly neurotic, perfectionist children farmed by the education system are let into the real world with their conditioned need for perfection and intolerance of any perceived failure. Thinking is hard and for many of us the effort to truly think is not worth the effort. Life is so comfortable and easy that to upset the applecart and think can bring us face to face with our darkest fears and thoughts and many prefer to avoid rocking the boat in this manner.

But, as he went onto say, this is the challenge of this century - to Think. To actually do our own thinking, to face reality and to take responsibility for our own actions. Our future depends on this.

We live in a pluralistic society, but we have millions of people who do not really know or care what that means, nor what is at stake by living by this (or forsaking it). The dictionary definition of pluralism (in this context) is:

1. A condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society.
2. The belief that such a condition is desirable or socially beneficial.

It is an important concept for many reasons. It means that people who think others are wrong can still accept their sovereign right to hold their beliefs. It means that different people agree to live alongside each other with open-mindedness and acceptance. It means that society has a plurality of ideas and expressions and is richer through having many eyes to see through. It entails freedom of conscience, freedom of choice, freedom of belief. It fosters respect. It is a noble society. A vibrant society. A society which embraces the future and sees humanity as one.

The negation of this is fascism. Totalistarianism. Authoritarianism. People who will spy and snoop to make sure everyone is like them. People who gossip and backbite, who given the right political atmosphere would turn neighbours into the secret police, send malicious mail, tear down buildings and abuse people on the street. It is a society where hatred of the Other is the norm and people batten down the hatches into ever decreasing circles on acceptance and tolerance of what is "right". You have modern day tribalism. You have a society who pays lip-service to modernism yet acts in a way altogether different from its ethos. You have a base society. A society deluded by being constantly nostalgic for some Golden Age which never was. A society which harks back to the days when races were pure. A society where everyone thinks that everyone else HAS to be just like them to have a right to exist.

And think about it. Deep down, which society do you belong to? Do you accept plurality or do you bemoan it? Do you embrace it or begrudge it? If someone is not like you, doesn't think like you, doesn't act like you - do mind or does it really grate you?

I have forgotten who said, "I do not agree with him, but I will defend to my death his right to believe it". Would you?

Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Nationalism is aiding your tribe in an unjust cause". How many people these days put Truth above baser notions of nationalism or patriotism? How many people truly would defend a stranger rather than nod along with the mob of angry voices who would make you think that to be patriotic you have to concur with a falsehood or love an action committed by your tribe even if it were wrong?

I used to think that my nation - the nation I accidently was born into - was pluralistic. I saw noble characteristics here - people who tolerate eccentricity and have no problem with individualism. People who would stick up for the under-dog who was right even if the whole world was against them. People who were not afraid to stand up and be counted when push came to shove and people who would not tolerate authoritarians. But that is not a country I know now.

Through media manipulation we are being polarized. We are being made to believe in a Britain that never existed. We are being made to fear the stranger, hate the Other, love crimes committed by our leaders on our behalf, and falsely attribute hatred of Other to love of country, and intolerence of difference as patriotism.

We are being manipulated by a media whose owners have a higher agenda in seeing this world divided.

And where once the USSR was the bogeyman, now it is the Muslim. Now it is the dirty Arab. Oh sure others are certainly despised, but as one guy mentioned on his blog about Hindus and Sikhs and Buddhists etc, "they fit in - they assimilate - Muslims don't". Islam is your enemy. Muslims are your fifth column. You can't trust them. They don't fit in. Not really. If the government gave you some brown shirts and asked you to pick a wog to villify, it would be the Muslim who gets it in the neck first. We have to beg to be here. We have to apologise for our existence. We're not like you real people. We're not as worthy as your normal humans. We don't bleed. We don't feel pain. We don't love our families and our children. Thankyou for letting us be here. We are terribly sorry for being what we are. Please like us.

I refuse to live like that and I refuse to live in a world which is making monkeys out of supposedly free-thinking, intelligent people. We need to think. We need to do our own thinking and to stop people make our agendas for us and manipulating us into accepting them, so the next time someone tries to turn you against Islam and the Muslims please know some of this to counter-act it all.

If you actually want to do your own thinking and reading (let's face it, very few do) then I first recommend these books:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam

Unveiling Islam

Islam and the Destiny of Man

Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources

And that certainly is not a comprehensive list!

1. Muslims do not believe in a blood-thirsty angry God who demands we kill as many infidels as possible. If this were the case then the one billion of us could certainly have made mincemeat out of the world a long time ago.

2. The majority of Muslims are NOT Arabs. Arabs make up about 18% of the Muslim population.

3. Muslims begin everything they do with "Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim" which translates roughly as "In the name of the One God, the Merciful, the Compassionate". The word "Rahim" actually stems from the root word to mean "womb", and it connotes that kind of security - where the mother supplies protection, mercy and everything needed for sustainance for the unborn. The womb is a place of safety and goodness, just as Allah's "mercy" means the same for us. When Allah surrounds us with this "rahm" then we are in a place of protection, peace, security, goodness. This word is probably the most important word in the Muslims vocabulary - peace, security and goodness are the centre of our faith and we wish this on each other constantly.

4. A Muslim greets another Muslim with "assalamu alaikum" which means "Peace be upon you".

5. We love peace if all that was above your heads.

6. We don't HAVE to have mosques built with domes on the top. Mosques, or "masjid" can take any architectural form.

7. Muslims pray five times a day, every day; fast during the month of Ramadan and pay 2.5% of all earnings into charity.

8. Jihad actually means to strive against one's own ego.

9. Muslims have always tolerated multiculturalism.

10. Islam was the first religion to establish freedom of conscience and the Qur'an states "Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands clear from error". The "kill an apostate" ruling only applies if the apostate takes arms up against the muslims and tries to kill us. It was a ruling made in a war situation.

11. Muslim women were given rights over 1400 years ago that Western women had to die for and only partially be "given" (by men) only in the 20th century.

12. In war Muslims may only kill combatants. Women, children, the eldery, nuns and priests of other religions, animals and crops may not be killed nor may the water supply be poisoned and we are not allowed to kill by fire. Which pretty much rules out modern warfare. Religious buildings are meant to be safe-guarded.

13. Women wear the headscarf to protect their modesty - not because they are made to by men but because they want to do it. Please stop trying to liberate the Muslim woman before you ask her what she herself wants to do/wear.

14. Islam is about spiritual excellence - divine communion in reality. It is about having excellent manners towards all creatures and to live the highest moral life. Islam commands we are good to our neighbours, gentle and patient with children and the elderly, respectful to others and kind to animals. Islam commands that we lower our voice and speak beautiful words which ease other peoples' sadness and we are commanded to help one another.

15. "Muslim" means 'one who has submitted themselves to Allah'. That is a verb not a noun. You can't be a Muslim if you disobey, no matter what your colour or ethnic origin.

16. Religion does not equal nationality.

17. Some people with loud mouths get more attention. That does not mean they speak for all Muslims. It just means they have bigger gobs. Some cars honk their horns and get noticed while the rest of the motorway just gets home.

18. Before you call Muslims "backwards" and "stupid" and "dirty sand niggers" etc please bear in mind that the knowledge that the West takes to be its own was stolen lock, stock and barrel from the Muslim lands with no acknowledgement of gratitude or where it came from. Whilst western countries were forbidden to learn to read and seek knowledge, Muslims were commanded to by God. As such, whilst western nations were burning witches at the stake Muslims were creating the civilization that we were to take as our birthright a thousand years before we came up with the idea. Muslims had universities 800 years before there was one in the West. The scientific methodology as generally understood and accepted today was introduced by great Muslim thinkers. Logarithms and algebra were invented by Muslims. The concept of the zero was introduced to the West (along with the numbers we now take for granted) by Muslims. The shape of the earth which was considered by Westerners to be 2Dimensional was firmly established by the Muslims. Trigonometry and spherical geometry, sine and tangent tables, variations in the moons motions were all developed and discovered by one Muslim scholar alone. Omar Khayyum solved third and fourth degree equations by intersecting conics before the year 1123. So accurate were Muslim scientists that al-Battani was out by only 24 seconds from today's accepted value in his calculation of the length of the solar year. Al-Baruni's measurements of specific gravities of various metals and precious stones and of longitude and latitudes of earth are correct to three decimal places. Five hundred years before Galileo Muslims had dicussed the rotation of the earth on its axis and measured the circumference of the earth. Chemistry too was excelled in. Numerous types of lab equipment were invented, distillation of water, alkalis, acids, salts and other compounds were identified. Al-Marjriti (1007) proved the principle of chemical conservation of mass - 900 years later however and Lavoisier took the credit! Similar advances were made in botany, zoology and other natural sciences. A few Arabic words that we take to be our own: zenith, nadir, alcohol, alkaline, Gibralter, arsenic, lemon, oh this is boring the list is too long. In medicine Muslims truly excelled. The verse in the Qur'an which states "he who saves the life of another, it is as though he has saved all of mankind" spurring the medical sciences on. Organised hospitals were in every Muslim city. Baghdad alone had 60 hospitals. Ibn Sina's Canon of Medicine was a standard medical text in the West for 700 years! Ibn Nafis (1288) first accurately described the circulation of the blood - in 1628 the credit instead went to Harvey!! Some things that the West learned from Muslims: Intellectual critique method, Greek philosophy: Plato, Aristotle and neoplatonists, the Empirical and Experimental method; the university system (lock stock and barrel); how to count; algebra, trigonometry and spherical geometry; optics and laws of light; bibliographic tools; dictionaries; encyclopedias; catalogues; libraries; paper manufacture en masse; publishing as a mass industry; hydrology; calculation of direction, compass; cartography; astronomical laws; canons of medicine; sociology; pyschology. I could go on and on. Please don't think we are stupid. The Muslim lands have been tyranised for so long that they look beleaguered and backwards, yet they have suffered loss for centuries to get to this pathetic state.

19. Muslims are not racist. Islam states that all men and women, regardless of colour, ethnicity, race, age or wealth are absolutely equal to one another. The most beloved of people are the most pious and good mannered - all Muslims pray shoulder to shoulder and do not distinguish people. All are equal.

20. Real Muslims are humble and strive to make the world a better place. Before you open your mouth to disparage the vast majority of Muslims you will never meet or see on the TV just consider this: these people would defend you to their death out of moral compunction; when you speak against Muslims it is *them* you offend - not the idiots who shame us all.

21. There is no such thing as a "Muslim terrorist" - Muslims - those who obey Allah - do not commit aggression, we do not innocent people, we do not terrorise. We believe in Peace to all. We are kind and caring and we worry about the fate of everyone. We worry when we see people suffering. We cry when we see people hurting.

22. Do not confuse politics and religion. Some people have turned their politics inot their religion and called this "Islam", but Islam is not, and never has been, a political agenda. Islam is the work on the Self - it is about establishing goodness in one's soul and by establishing goodness in the social sphere. Islam is not politics and certainly not fascism.

Remember, on 9/11 it wasn't just the planes that go hijacked, it was an entire religion too. Don't fall into the hate-mongers agenda by accepting the division and feeding into. Step aside and do your own thinking. Please.

Using the salt doh we made yesterday we made whale models. They are baked ready to be painted.

We then did some tangram puzzles I made, adapting some pictures from this book to include a narwhal, river dolphin, killer whale and some kind of rorqual.

Then in the afternoon we coloured them in - he did one and I did the rest - even if he is sloppy and scribbly I want him to see me working so can see diligence, pride in work, and accomplishment in operation. It may sink in somewhere.

Read some CW, learned one du'a properly, read some Islamic tales and did some dhikr with him.

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