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.


At 9:46 pm, Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

Keep the blog. Even if you don't fancy bloggin' for a while it's there when you do n we'll be around for you if you need us n to read your stuff even if you don't need us.

As for the guy in the States. It's simple. He's not a Muslim you are. See. I'm learnin'. Told Mrs Mahmood two doors away about you n she said "Ah. After all those curries I've made you it took a stranger to get you to see" - she's sweet.

You're not tryin' to preach n convert you're just bein' you n that's it n that's why we like you.

Stay around babe. When you want to. N ta to your DH for marchin' you to the pc.

Big 4D Hug.

I'm really blowin' my street cred here n all with all this soppy stuff. Stop makin' me already...

At 10:09 pm, Blogger 4 girls and 3 boys said...

Nah you are not preachy - can't bear that myself. Got preached at for 21 years lol You say stuff how it is in a way I understand. If you have had enough and have lost heart in it fair enough. I appreciate your honesty. I know the Islam religion got hijacked. Thanks for the post about it all.


At 12:01 am, Blogger LMM said...

Just popped back to see if you were still here..So glad you are.Lovely blog.Love and salam Maryam

At 12:10 am, Blogger Jax said...

"I do not agree with him, but I will defend to my death his right to believe it"

Voltaire I believe.

I find your blog fascinating, and your thought processes educational. I would be saddened if you had to do that elsewhere - on a purely selfish level I love that you bring an extra point of view and set of experiences to the blogring (I'm quite fond of it).

And yes, I do care too.

At 2:42 am, Blogger d34dpuppy said...

i never noticed you bein preachy but i did notice u educating me about ur way of life.i find it and u fascinating. i never believe tha press because its only about money n ego. none of the muslim people i have met were evil, thay were just humans is all,like tha rest of us. i hope u keep posting, but if u dont it is truely ur business n i cant believe people would send nasty email 2 u r nebody 4 that matter..last nite i got some idiot from tha kkk trying 2 provoke me into a fight in a chat room, but my friends all stuck up for me . i hope u can see that ur friends in here will stick up 4 u. 1 more thing geeze i never rite this much , n i m not sure how 2 says it, but i will try . if nobody teaches us we will never learn, n by teach i mean 2 make us care enuff 2 research stuff. u make it human, u make it real not just letters in a paper.
i m glad u came back even if u r really only sayin bye

At 9:06 am, Blogger earth said...

i am happy you are back ace posting will be coming back for more


At 3:24 pm, Blogger Hattigrace said...


Thank you for the Easter visit. A gift b/4 I go to Mass. I only quickly read this post, as I must get to the shower. Will come back and read as carefully as you wrote.

You must do what you need to do, and I only hope you decide to stay.

I ask myself the same question, why do I blog? Is it all ego? Do I need affirmation and attention that badly? What do I have to give? What is my motive?

I don't have any of those answers (yet), but what I have gained is connection around the world with people that have stretched and enlarged me.

Blogging is vulnerable, I think we are all bluntly honest, b/c it feels safe. I love the connection and friendship.

Enjoy your blessings today! :>)


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