Thursday, November 30, 2006


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Br. Mutah's Story

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Qamar's Engagement Party

Instead of studying today (which I will regret later) I:

1. Slept in.

2. Went shopping, 4 hours after the crowds took over the malls.
a. Yay for Old Navy and Express!

3. I lied. I studied, A LITTLE. I have a Coffee Bean addiction.

4. Running around for Qamar's engagement party:
a. Balloons from Party City
b. Roses from Conroy's
c. Home to get "dressed up."
d. Picked up Marium
e. San Dimas to help put finishing touches on the venue
f. Let the festivities begin!

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5. I just tried on one of my purchases from earlier today. Orange, cashmere sweater from Old Navy: I'm in love!

6. It's 2am and instead of sleeping, I am posting this. :-)

Thanksgiving: A National Day of Mourning

"About the only true thing in the whole mythology is that these pitiful European strangers would not have survived their first several years in “New England” were it not for the aid of Wampanoag people. What Native people got in return for this help was genocide, theft of their lands, and never-ending repression. They were treated either as quaint relics from the past or virtually invisible."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

John Stewart (RE: Glenn Beck)

Indonesia / Palestine / Pakistan

Indonesia: About 2,000 protesters from Muslim, student, and labor groups showed up to protest U.S. policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying it was Bush who was spreading terror.
Indonesia, where Islam is firmly rooted and democracy is still emerging, is a religious and political laboratory for the policies Bush says are the answer to Islamic-based terrorist movements.
Nearly 90% of Indonesia's 238 million people are Muslims. That amounts to approximately one-sixth of the Muslim world. After four decades of authoritarian rule, the nation's first democratic elections were held seven years ago; Yudhoyono was elected in 2004.
It is a base of the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah and has increasingly cooperated with the U.S. in counter-terrorism efforts, particularly in the wake of bombings in 2002 and 2003.

Palestine: In the first incident of its kind, hundreds of neighbours surrounded the home of Mohammed Baroud and climbed on its roof after he received a call from the Israeli army informing him he had 30 minutes to vacate his home before it was destroyed by missiles.

The Israeli air force called off its strike because of the risk of killing a large number of civilians.

Nizar Rayan, a Hamas member who led the Jabalya protest, said Palestinians would continue to rush into every house to be threatened by bombardment. "We will pay with our lives to protect the houses of the fighters so they can resist the enemy assured that their homes are being protected," he said.

Pakistan: The Pakistani government has submitted another bill in parliament to protect women's rights, officials say.

The bill seeks to make forced marriage a crime and safeguard women's right to property and inheritance.

It seeks to outlaw some local customs that prevent women from marrying and hence bearing children who may claim her share in ancestral property.

It also criminalises forced marriages, including those in which young girls are given away in marriage to settle murder feuds, he said.

Outdated Action Alert

Relatively outdated, but interesting nonetheless?
The Center for Constitutional Rights and four Iraqis who were tortured in U.S. custody filed a complaint on November 30 with the German Federal Prosecutor's Office against high ranking United States civilian and military commanders over the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq.

German law allows German courts to prosecute for killing, torture, cruel and inhumane treatment, forcible transfers and sexual coercion such as occurred at Abu Ghraib. The world has seen the photographs and read the leaked "torture memos" – we are doing what is necessary when other systems of justice have failed and seeking to hold officials up the chain of command responsible for the shameful abuses that occurred.

Monday, November 20, 2006

RE: Questions

So the questions the high schoolers asked . . .

I forgot the 4th grade story-telling rule. Apparently the content after the climax matters! Maybe I didn't want to tell the rest of the story because it wasn't as great? Alhamdulillah for having been informed that it was OK to say, "I don't know" right before being put in the hotseat! Knowing the children understood I wasn't a scholar eased the pressure of answering the questions.

Q: Do men who kill themselves for Allah get 40 virgins?
A: Killing yourself is against Islam. Therefore, there can be no reward for killing yourself.

Q:What does Islam say about homosexuality?
A: Islam says we are each tested in different ways. Some people's faith in God is tested when they are attracted to people of the same gender. The desire is accepted and considered natural, a "test" of sorts. However, acting on that desire as with certain other desires, is in fact a sin.

So there you have it. Those were the LAME answers I gave.

On a lighter note, I did a similar mosque tour with a group of 7th graders last Thursday. I loved that group. Sooo cute and innocent, and open minded. There kids are students at private Catholic school, in the Tender Loin (TL). The school is tuition free because nobody in the TL can afford tuition. Their school days go until 5-6pm, because the school provides extra time for them to do their homework at school. A lot of them go home to studio apartments and bad family situations, where homework likely would not get done.

I think the tour groups need to be told in advance they will need to take off their shoes. Note to self, talk to tour coordinator. The kids made jokes about smelly feet and holey socks.

They had already learned the five pillars. So I quizzed them on it.

They asked questions about prayer, pictures, covering, mosque architecture, community events, etc.

The best part: they had learned how to say, "As Salaam Alaikum" before coming! So they tried it out on me.

They watched us pray Asr which then led to questions begging explanation of the gender segregation during prayer. Afterwards they actually took a walk around the prayer hall and were VERY INTRIGUED by the Imam's prayer rug and khutbah chair!

On our way out, a few of the kids came back to test out some additional Arabic they had learned somewhere. They were so proud of themselves for being able to say the Kalima in Arabic.

I've concluded I like pre-high school kids much much better than high school kids. High school does something to a child's innocence.

. . . Alhamdulillah . . .

Sunday, November 19, 2006

UN Slams Israel Over Beit Hanun Shelling

The UN General Assembly on Friday night overwhelmingly passed a
resolution condemning the errant shelling of a Beit Hanun house which
killed some 20 Palestinians.

Representatives of 156 countries voted in favor of the resolution. . .

Voting "no" were the United States, Israel, Australia, the Marshall
Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. Abstaining were Canada, Ivory
Coast, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The draft also includes a clause urging UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan to dispatch a "working investigative team" to Beit Hanun to
conduct an inquiry into the shelling. American media reported former
United States president Jimmy Carter is set to lead the team.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pakistan Moves Toward Altering Rape Law

Under the Hudood ordinance . . . A woman who reports that she has been raped must produce four male witnesses to prove it. If she fails to do so, she can be prosecuted for adultery. Thousands of women have been punished under the law, often on the flimsiest evidence. That risk has kept many women from trying to bring their attackers to justice.

The new legislation allows forensic and circumstantial evidence to be used as a basis for convictions, as with other crimes.

The amendment also introduces the concept of statutory rape, outlawing sex with girls under 16. The Islamic code had merely banned sex with girls before puberty.

...include cases in which local authorities have permitted rapes as a way of compensating someone judged to have been wronged by the woman's male relatives.

Pakistani officials have taken pains to convince the public that amending the laws would not violate Islamic precepts, and General Musharraf repeated that theme in his remarks. "I assure the entire nation that no Pakistani can ever think of enacting law that is repugnant to the Holy Koran and the Sunnah," the recorded teachings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, he said.

Monday, November 13, 2006


1. Do men who kill themselves for Allah get 40 virgins?
2. What does Islam say about homosexuality?

Funny. Last Thursday was one of the few times I have felt productive in the sense of Islamic work since arriving in San Francisco back in August.

I received an email looking for volunteers to help out with a field trip some students were taking to the Jones Street Mosque (interesting mosque, 5 minute walk from UC Hastings). I responded expressing interest.

So, after Torts I headed to the mosque. I prayed Zuhr and then went downstairs to the Community Room where the kids were. Sevim was at the front of the room talking to them, so I quietly took a seat in one of the empty chairs at the back of the room. That was short lived. She spotted me a few minutes later and called me up, before heading off to take a well deserved break. There I was, all by myself in front of 80+ high school freshmen. All of a sudden I wished I still taught Sunday School, I hadn't worked with a similar age group since March 2005.

The kids were visiting from a high school in Berkeley. And the portion of the program I was facilitating: an informal Q&A session. Reference the opening of this post for questions 1 & 5, respectively.

. . . Alhamdulillah. . .

Sunday, November 12, 2006

U.S. Vetoes UN Resolution
By Irwin Arieff
Sat Nov 11, 4:26 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States vetoed on Saturday a U.N. Security Council resolution urging an immediate withdrawal of [Zionist] Israeli forces from Gaza and condemning a [Zionist] Israeli attack there that killed 19 Palestinian civilians.,0,1153501.story?coll=la-home-world
By Maggie Farley, Times Staff Writer
November 12, 2006

Palestinian U.N. observer Riyad Mansour told the Security Council that the vote was a double disappointment.
"You have conveyed today two wrong messages," he said after the vote. "For [Zionist] Israel, you have conveyed to them they can continue to behave above international law. For the Palestinian people, you have conveyed that justice is not being dealt with in a proper way."
11/12/2006 8:00:00 PM GMT

Hamas, now the ruling Party, slammed the U.S. for vetoing a UN Security Council draft resolution condemning the [Zionist] Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and demanding an Israeli troop withdrawal from the territory.
"The American veto represents a political and moral aggression against our people and national cause, an ugly act of racism, and a direct encouragement of the Zionist enemy to commit more crimes and massacres," the group said in a statement.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


My ONE Republican vote yesterday
= Tom McClintock
= ONE dead kitty

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Get it on . . .

. . . in the voting booth!

The Ingredients: Council on American Islamic Relations, Muslim American Society, the Leftie in me, my experiences as a Union organizer, my experience as a higher education advocate, those annoying campaign phone calls AND

The Product:
Governor: Peter Camejo (Green)
Lietenant Governor: Tom McClintock (Republican, I know can you believe it?)
Secretary of State: Debra Bowen (Democrat)
Controller: John Chiang (Democrat)
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer (Democrat)
Attorney General: Michael Wyman (Green)
Insurance Commissioner: Lary Cafiero (Green)
Member State Board of Equalization: Judy Chu (Democrat)
United States Senator: Marsha Feinland (Peace and Freedom)
United States Representative: Jim Brandt (Democrat)
Member of the State Assembly: Betty Karnette (Democrat)
State Measures
1A: NO
1B: NO
83: NO
84: YES
85: NO
86: YES
87: YES
88: NO
89: YES
90: NO

Make sure to get your sticker after voting? :-)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Wearing Hijab on Nov. 13 Honors Slain Afghan Mother

Sue Hutchison, Mercury News, 11/6/06

Melanie Gadener was at home in Fremont three weeks ago when she began receiving calls about the killing of Alia Ansari, the 38-year-old mother of six who was shot in the head as she walked with her little girl through a quiet Fremont neighborhood to pick up her children at Glenmoor Elementary School.

Very quickly, Gadener was struck with the same suspicion as many others in town. They wondered if Ansari was killed simply because of the way she was dressed, in a loose scarf that some Muslim women wear to cover their heads out of modesty.

"I was shocked and saddened, but I was not surprised," Gadener told me when we met recently. "There is growing racism in Fremont, and a lot of this has come out since 9/11." Whether or not Ansari's head scarf had anything to do with why she was killed, it's significant that so many people have no trouble believing it was the reason.

Support for Afghans

Gadener has been especially sensitive to these tensions since she set up the Foundation for Self-Reliance, a non-profit organization that develops programs to promote economic independence in the Afghan community. Over the past three years, she has had a crash course in Muslim beliefs and traditions.

"I've learned not to be afraid to ask questions and be honest about my own ignorance," Gadener said. "We've got to bring the conversation to the table."

In that spirit, she had an idea about how to memorialize Alia Ansari. What if women of all religions pledged to wear a Muslim head covering, a hijab, for one day? It would not only show support for the Ansari family, but it also would be an intriguing social experiment. How might people treat you differently if, for one day, the only thing different about you was what you were wearing on your head?

Nov. 13 was the date chosen for "Wear a Hijab Day," and the plan has taken on a life of its own. Gadener has been deluged with messages of support from all over the world. Soon it became clear that men wanted to participate as well, so the event's title was changed to ``Wear a Hijab or Turban Day."

Sikhs included, too

Reshma Yunus, who is active in the Muslim community and the founder of Semah, a domestic violence-prevention organization based in Newark, said she suggested adding turbans to the event because many Sikh men also have been victims of the backlash since Sept. 11, even though they are not Muslim . . .

Sunday, November 05, 2006

MPAC Condemns Israel


(Los Angeles - 11/3/06) -- The Muslim Public Affairs Council today condemned the killing of two Palestinian women acting as human shields between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian men during a stand-off at a Gaza mosque overnight. More than 300 Palestinians have been killed in the last four months, at least half of them civilians, according to Israeli human rights group B'Tselem..

Israeli troops fired at a large crowd of unarmed Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip as the women approached a mosque to help Palestinian men holed up inside. Two women were killed and about 10 were injured, according to hospital workers.

SEE: "Gaza Gunmen Flee Behind Human Shield Protest" (MSNBC, 11/3/06)

"We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the continuing Israeli military intrusion into the Palestinian territories," said MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati. "Innocent people continue to die, peaceful citizens are in direct danger, and the humanitarian situation keeps worsening as a result of the Israeli assault on the Palestinian people."

Each dollar used by the Israeli war machine to oppress Palestinian and Lebanese civilians is a violation of American law, namely the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which disallows the U.S. from sending weapons to foreign countries if they are used against civilians.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Alhamdulillah that he FINALLY left the GOP.

1. Why did it take so long?

2. I thought most smart people left post Patriot Act season?

3. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Why did he go to the Democratic Party? As though they are any better!!! omA heck I would have preferred he joined the even the Libertarians! Anything just not the two devils of our wretched political system . . . Argh!!!

Dave McKibben, Los Angeles Times, 11/2/06,0,2674427.story

Acknowledging it might be political suicide, Anaheim City Council candidate Bill Dalati said Wednesday he was leaving the Republican Party after being vilified by prominent GOP leaders as being anti-American and a supporter of extremist groups.

Dalati, an Arab American who had been a Republican since becoming a U.S. citizen 19 years ago, re-registered as a Democrat outside the registrar of voters office.

Shut Up & Sing!