Monthly Archives: May 2006

Hamza El Din

Innalilahi Wa Innailayhi Raji’un

I just saw this tonight on the Zaytuna Website. Hamza El Din was a great musician. His music is so peaceful – it is the kind of music that pierces your heart when you listen to it.

Inna Lillahi wa Inna alayhi rajiun

We are saddened to announce that the great Oud player, da’ee, and dear friend of Zaytuna Institute, Hamza El Din passed away yesterday in California. Sidi Hamza was an exceptionally beautiful man who was loved by our shuyookh and people all around the world. His masterful and inspired musicianship and his beautiful character represented the highest examples of the beauty that Islam can inspire. His work was a source of enrichment for a great many people worldwide and a door through which scores of people came to Islam. We are deeply saddened by his passing. May Allah give him the highest reward. Please make du’a for him and his family.

Here is another obit in the New York Times

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Can’t wait till August!

Yasmin and I booked our tickets to England last week. Ubah better be done her thesis by then! We are flying into Gatwick on the 16th of August and are going to be travelling around till the 31st. We’ll get Ubah to show around Sussex for a few days and then hopefully making our way to Spain! I can’t wait – Ubah is looking for cheap tickets as we speak. I really want to go to Southern Spain. I just may decide to stay there and paint orange trees for the rest of my life. My biggest concern is the cost of lodgings. We have places to stay in Sussex, London and I think we have connections in Madrid, so that should save us some money. We don’t have that much to spend – I have to be able to pay some money to the University when I get back. Yas has also decided that she wants to go to Paris now too. I could care less, but she wants to spend a day or two sightseeing.
I can’t wait to get out of here. Hopefully the flight we will be good. I hate flying and have to drug myself before I board a plane or I will have a full blown panic attack. It’s so sad…how did I get so crazy? It must be the family – in fact I’m pretty sure it is 🙂
I just want to pretend I’m a vagabond with no ties and no responsibilites for 14 days. Then I can come home and continue my anxiety attacks. 🙂
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The reunion in Philadelphia is most likely going to be cancelled. I am relieved because I felt so guilty about not being able to make it after I told Grandma D I would be there. All the aunts are getting so old and it’s becoming difficult for them to plan the reunions like they used to. Grandma is sick, Aunt Theresa is sick…I told Naima to see if we could plan something around Christmas. Hopefully they will be feeling better then.
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The weather was beautiful today! After work we went downtown and sat on a patio for hours watching people go by. The city comes alive in the summer. We were in the Market area and people were getting ready to start partying for the weekend. I was so happy to just sit and soak up the sun and fresh air. It’s been too long – no one is happier than Canadians once the weather turns nice.

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Bored…


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Tired of My Face

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Women Bringing About Change Without Hate

On the subject of women who lead by example, who bring about change, who break the status quo, who make people take notice…And she doesn’t even hate her religion or Muslims. Go figure!

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The women won it
Salma Yaqoob
May 13, 2006 08:28 AM

Last week a little piece of history was made in Sparkbrook as I was elected to serve as Respect’s first Birmingham city councillor. For Respect, it was an important breakthrough. But it was significant too that I became the only female Muslim councillor in the city.

This was a small step to the left in a city where too many people turned to the far right. Not for Nick Cohen, who sees only “…a slice of the electorate in a poor part of Britain that is so lost in identity politics and victimhood that it will vote for those who stoke their rage, no matter how worthless they are.” This bigoted perception of Muslims has nothing in common with the realities of our lives or our struggles.

When the ballots were counted, we had polled nearly 50% of the vote and won with the third highest vote in the city. It was a crushing defeat for my opponents. It was only possible because we challenged the traditional conservatism that denies leading public positions to women, and challenged the old order, which treats our communities as silent voting fodder. And it was only possible because we united people around a progressive message of anti-racism and social justice.

While Birmingham has a large and very politically engaged Muslim community, its representatives are exclusively male, largely convinced that this is the right and natural order of things, and very determined to maintain the status quo. Gender played an important role in my election victory.

For my opponents, it was a point of attack. Representatives of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats pandered to conservative attitudes within the Muslim community about the position of women. At election meetings and polling booths, Lib Dem and Labour activists urged Muslim men not to vote for a woman because it was “un-Islamic”. The fact that I had not adopted my husband’s surname was evidence of me being insufficiently subservient. Instead of serious engagement with the issues, smears about my commitment to my family as a mother, daughter and wife abounded. The “dishonour” of even being challenged by a woman, and the precedent that this might set, ensured that local Lib Dem and Tory supporters worked behind the scenes to support the sitting Labour councillor.

What became clear to me, however, was that while such views might find favour with some more elderly and religiously conservative layers in the community, the women were having none of it. Time after time, I knocked on households with “Vote Labour” posters to be told by the women of the house “our dad is Labour, but you’ve got our vote”. Groups of Muslim women, armed with clipboards and Respect rosettes, pounded the streets and canvassed their sisters. On polling day, Respect was the only party with a visible female presence at the polling stations.

And, it should be said, Respect had the only visible white presence at the polling stations as well. For ours was a campaign that placed unity in pursuit of progressive objectives above who you know, whose family you are close to, or which mainstream party you can sell your principles to for the greatest personal reward.

What I saw in our campaign was a new confidence, pride and unity from all sections of our community. This confidence was most pronounced among women. But Nick Cohen sees only “Islamists”, “victimhood”, “identity politics”, and “rage”. He purports to direct his fire against Respect. But his contempt for the 4,339 people who voted for me is obvious

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Support The Chicks

Dixie Chicks taking a stand: Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first. As a high school senior in Lubbock, Texas, she’d skip a class a day in an attempt to prove that because she never got caught and some Mexican students did, the system was racist … Now that she’s truly notorious, having told a London audience in 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas,” Maines has one regret: the apology she offered George W. Bush at the onset of her infamy. “I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President,” says Maines. “But I don’t feel that way anymore. I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.” A sizable chunk of their once adoring audience feels the same way about the Dixie Chicks. After Maines’ pronouncement, which was vigorously seconded by bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, the group received death threats and was banned by thousands of country radio stations, many of which still have informal bans in place. The Dixie Chicks have mass appeal–you can’t sell 10 million copies of two of your three albums without engaging lots of different people–but country radio is an indispensable part of how they reach people. Programmers say that even now a heartfelt apology could help set things right with listeners, but it’s not happening. “If people are going to ask me to apologize based on who I am,” says Maines, “I don’t know what to do about that. I can’t change who I am.” It takes a lot of guts to go on the record with sentiments like this. It will be interesting to see how well their new album will sell if this is how they are promoting it. I have never purchased a Dixie Chicks album in my life … but I do plan on buying this new album. Go, Chicks, Go (frm PITNB)

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My head is buried firmly in the sand…

Wedding fever is over. I had two weddings to go to this weekend in two different cities. Beautiful brides, good food – what more can you ask for. I attended my first Catholic wedding. It was really nice, traditional and religious which is always nice these days. We danced the night away too which resulted in a karmic boomerang of battered feet the next day. Never go dancing wearing new 4 inch heels borrowed from a cheap friend who shops at crappy stores. Thankfully I was able to sit for most of the night at the next wedding I went to.
Hopefully I will get some pics up soon.
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I am so sick of the whole Ayan Hirsi affair. I guess I like to stick my head in the sand sometimes when it comes to these issues. People are furiously discussing, debating, arguing over points and counterpoints. I never take any of these women seriously. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it’s because I view anyone who opts out of the religion to have no basis to their arguments. I have always viewed Islam as a complex system of fundamental truths surrounded by many grey areas. Certain things are not negotiable; prayer, fasting etc.. but there are many things that leave you room to breath. I have never felt constrained or put upon and I grew up in a pretty strict family. Culture plays such a big part in how you integrate religion into your life no matter what religion you are. I think that’s why I get so annoyed with people like Hirsi. I have so much more respect for the countless women I have seen who work quietly to change the status quo through example and actions. I get so tired of hearing about the same old debates: Islam oppresses women – no it doesn’t – yes it does….
Men oppress women – patriarchy oppresses women – sexism oppresses women – imperialism oppresses women and every fuckin culture/society, takes each one of these things and applies it in different ways. Western cultures oppresses women differently than Eastern cultures but it is still oppression. To think otherwise is simple denial of fact.
That being said I find it so much more useful to promote education, peace, understanding which leads to empathy and the eventual eradication of bigotry.
Of course Muslims have issues to handle. What group of people doesn’t? But doesn’t it seem intuitive that if you insult people they will have no interest in what you have to say? If you want people to listen to your ideas maybe you should respect them for who they are first, even if you disagree with them.
I sat in class this year and listened to a group of white women furiously defend hijab and a woman’s right to wear it. It was one of the most interesting things I have ever seen. I just sat back and listened – I didnt have to say a word. In the same class I also listened to some people defend issues such as women-centred porn. Whatever my opinion, I owed those speaking my attention and respect. They afforded me the same respect when I put forth arguments against it. If only it was always that easy!
The people who have had the biggest impact on me are those who don’t pontificate, but show through their actions and behaviour what they believe in.
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