CAIR: A Muslim Response to “Draw Muhammad Day”

good article.  here’s the link => CAIR.  it’s copied in it’s entirety below.

I will be the first to defend anyone’s right to express their opinion, no matter how offensive it may be to me. Our nation has prospered because Americans value and respect diversity.

But freedom of expression does not create an obligation to offend or to show disrespect to the religious beliefs or revered figures of others.

In reaction to the recent controversy over a depiction of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in an episode of Comedy Central’s “South Park,” a Seattle cartoonist apparently declared May 20th to be “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.”

I say “apparently,” because cartoonist Molly Norris — the creator of the cartoon showing many objects claiming to be a likeness of the prophet — now says she never intended to launch “Draw Muhammad Day.”

On her web site, she has since posted a statement that reads in part: “I did NOT ‘declare’ May 20 to be ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’…The cartoon-poster, with a fake ‘group’ behind it, went viral and was taken seriously…The vitriol this ‘day’ has brought out, of people who only want to draw obscene images, is offensive to the Muslims who did nothing to endanger our right to expression in the first place…I apologize to people of Muslim faith and ask that this ‘day’ be called off.”

Norris even visited a mosque at the invitation of the local Muslim community.

The creator of a Facebook page dedicated to the day also repudiated the “inflammatory posts” it inspired. He said, “I am aghast that so many people are posting deeply offensive pictures of the Prophet…Y’all go ahead if that’s your bag, but count me out.”

Despite the cartoonist’s and the Facebook page creator’s seemingly sincere attempts to distance themselves from the fake event, Muslim-bashers and Islamophobes made sure the call to “draw Muhammad” went viral on the Internet. They are hoping to offend Muslims, who are generally sensitive to created images of the Prophet Muhammad or any prophet.

[The majority of Muslims believe visual representations of all prophets are inappropriate in that they distract from God’s message and could lead to a kind of idol worship, something forbidden in Islam.]

So how should Muslims and other Americans react to this latest attempt by hate-mongers to exploit the precious right of free speech and turn May 20 into a celebration of degradation and xenophobia?

Before I answer that question, it must first be made clear that American Muslims value freedom of speech and have no desire to inhibit the creative instincts of cartoonists, comedians or anyone else.

The mainstream American Muslim community, including my own organization, has also strongly repudiated the few members of an extremist fringe group who appeared to threaten the creators of “South Park.” That group, the origins and makeup of which has been questioned by many Muslims, has absolutely no credibility within the American Muslim community.

I, like many Muslims, was astonished to see media outlets broadcasting the views of a few marginal individuals, while ignoring the hundreds of mosques and Muslim institutions that have representatives who could have offered a mainstream perspective.

Next, one must examine how the Prophet Muhammad himself reacted to personal insults.

Islamic traditions include a number of instances in which the Prophet had the opportunity to retaliate against those who abused him, but refrained from doing so. He said, “You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.”

Even when the prophet was in a position of power, he chose the path of kindness and mercy. When he returned to Mecca after years of exile and personal attacks, he did not take revenge on the people who had reviled him and abused and tortured his followers, but instead offered a general amnesty.

In the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, God states: “Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance.” (16:125)

Another verse tells the prophet to “show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” (7:199)

This is the guidance Muslims should follow as they express concern about an insulting depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, or of any other prophet of God.

Instead of reacting negatively to the bigoted call to support “Draw Muhammad Day,” American Muslims — and Muslims worldwide — should use that and every other day as an opportunity to reach out to people of other faiths and beliefs to build bridges of understanding and respect.

The best and most productive response to bigoted campaigns like “Draw Muhammad Day” is more communication, not less communication — including not restricting the free flow of ideas with measures like banning Facebook.

Research has shown that anti-Islam prejudice goes down when people interact with ordinary Muslims and have greater knowledge of Islam.

Therefore, the best reaction to those who would mock the Prophet Muhammad (or the religious symbols of any faith) might be a mosque open house for the local interfaith community, a community service activity organized by Muslims and involving people of other faiths, or a newspaper commentary describing the life, legacy and personal character of the Prophet Muhammad, which is the opposite of the calumny some people fabricate about him. This should be of concern to all decent and objective people.

We will all benefit if each of us — whether Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu — exhibits the common human decency required by our respective faiths.

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list of level 1 krav maga moves

just passed level 1 exam.  wanted to share the moves that were tested, b/c i looked all over the net trying to find what would be tested to practice before the test, and didn’t find anything.  this is not an official list.  there is a book out there that has all the moves.  btw, the test is 3 1/2 hours, bring a lot of water, some fruit or a fruit bar.

offense:

punches: jab, cross, hook, palm-heel strike

kicks: front-kick, roundhouse, groin-kick, ground-kick, knees, back-kick (not tested)

elbows: 3 horizontal, 4 vertical

hammerfist: forward-high, forward-low, side

eye-gouge (not tested, ? level 2)

defense:

chokes: from the front, from the front with a push, from the back, from the back with a push, from the side

headlock defense

360 arm defense

inside defense

ground defense

abdominal defense (not tested)

bear hug (not tested)

my blog isn’t dead. it’s a little sick.

every day i go to google news and search “muslim” or “islam” to see what’s going on with my people.  there’s a lot of articles that pop up that are interesting, but because my macbook was out of commission (the kids poured juice into it and now it’s got sticky keys and the battery is shot, so it’s a desktop now – i ended up giving it to hamza) i didn’t post those articles that i found interesting.

i just read one from MM.  it’s an eye-opener.  i went to high school in the late 90s, and things seemed far too liberal.  compared to today, however, i wish the kids were like that now.  here’s the link => Day of Silence .  and an excerpt:

“I attended an all-women liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts. During our first year orientation, we gathered in the common room where mats were laid out of us. A senior from the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) asked us to lie down on the mat and close our eyes. Scared to death, at 17 fresh off the plane from Lahore, Pakistan, I had no clue what they expected from us. It wasn’t anything promiscuous, God forbid. They just asked us to close our eyes and imagine a world where daddies were only married to daddies and mommies were married to mommies and if I was a little girl in that world, who liked the little boy across the street but I couldn’t because mommies could only marry mommies. Very innocent, the words.

Those words stuck with me and I still remember them after 17 years. “Once you have the vocabulary to talk with young children about homosexuality, it becomes very easy,” says Dr. Justin Richardson, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and director of Columbia University’s Center for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health. Richardson says educators need to aid the pre-homosexual child with a supportive school environment, paving the way for his later coming out. He claims that a child’s sexual orientation is determined very early in life around four years of age, so why not prepare the pre-homosexual child for the inevitable? This quote by Dr. Richardson came from a talk he delivered ten years ago at a teachers’ conference. This agenda is at work in our public school system and the fitnah has created is real.

Also in my student orientation, I heard a young, black woman talk about her life as a poor, black, gay teenager. I met many intelligent women who were kind and gentle and gay. I remember being admonished by several housemates for thinking that homosexuality was a mental abnormality akin to physical abnormalities. I was figuratively ‘hypnotised’ into believing that it was natural for 10% of the human race to be homosexual believing that they could not control themselves. That December, when I went to visit my parents over winter break, my sister snapped me out of my brainwashed state. She said ‘Apa! Listen to yourself.’”

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i bought an xbox.  it came with forza and halo.  forza is a racing game, similar to gran turismo.  it’s a lot of fun, squeaky clean.  halo, on the other hand, is scary as heck.  the soundtrack is straight out of horror movies, it’s dark and aliens pop out of corners shooting at you.  dunno if i can play it long.   i thought i would be on it for hours and hours, but i just dont have the time.  zayd and amina aren’t interested.  hamza played a little bit, and likes it very much.  but he’s really good when i tell him to shut it off.  he knows that homework comes first.  also, he just started taekwondo.  we bought the uniform and everything, and it’s pretty cool.  the only thing is that they bow to everything – everything!  the walls, each other, the room, the parents.  my sister said its ok, because its how they show respect.  there’s really no other way.  there’s a muslim guy who runs a jujistu school – but the people who go there are mainly cops and military.  also, i don’t think jujistu is practical.  taekwondo and krav maga are way better for your everyday self defense living in the city.

btw, my level 2 exam is coming up on april 25.  i’m worried about my stamina.  i’ll let you know how it goes.

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Dr. Israr Ahmed passed away.  May Allah grant him paradise and forgive any of his sins.  We may not all agree with what he preached, but he spent his life working for islam.

to xbox or not to xbox – is that a question?

went to west suburban for the past two weeks.  finally off for a week.  in addition to seeing our patients everyday, we cover the hospital from 7a to 7p.  also, we’ve decreased our call to 1-2 times a week instead of 2-3.  the difference is that we cover two hospitals instead of one, and it can get busy. west suburban is a weird hospital.  masonic is a top 100 wired hospital – everything is computerized.  we recently stopped typing and now dictate everything into the computer system.  to go from that to a complete paper system is nutty.  also the nurses took lessons from florence nightengale herself.  some of them wear the whole white nurse outfit – like the ones i wore in nursing school…..i remember once my mother painted her nursing shoes with white paint because the nursing instructors were so strict – hah!

i bought a bike.  it’s a used one – didn’t think it would make sense to get a brand new expensive one, especially since i talk the talk and hardly walk it.  i wanted to try riding my bike to work once a week.  i haven’t taken it on the road yet and i’ve had it for over 2 weeks.  it cost me $60.  it’s a single speed schwinn with a three speed internal gear system.  road bike with skinny tires.  really fast.

also bailed on our last jamat.  need to head back to the masjid.  the brothers keep calling.

krav level 1 test is on april 25th.  3 hours.  dunno if i’m ready.  i still get winded after about 30 minutes.  also the previous week i had a bronchitis and didn’t work out for a week.  i think i know most of the moves.  it’s a $50 test, so i don’t want to waste it. if i don’t take it now, i can’t take it until june.  i think i’m going to give it a shot, and if i pass, great, if not, no biggie.

thinking about the xbox.  i recently realized that many people who wouldn’t look like gamers have video game systems.  i know a full bearded tassawwuf following, shalwar wearing tabbu that plays need for speed on his ps2.  another brother who cried while delivering a sermon not only has a ps3, but an xbox 360 and a psp for his son, who’s becoming a hafiz.  i suppose it’s like anything in life – as long as it’s not considered opulent and wastes time, it should be ok. hamza really wants a video game system too.

the problem with getting an xbox is that i would have to get a tv as well.  we’ve been tv free since 2007.  i know we still watch stuff on the internet, but it’s in no way as time consuming and life stealing as sitting in front of the boob tube for 8 hours a day.  nothing is as addicting as coming home from work and letting your brain go numb for a few hours.  but i began ignoring family and life’s other responsibilities so we decided to get rid of it.  it’s been pretty good.  i wonder if i could just get a monitor and hook it up to an xbox.

i’m off this week, so i’ll try to write daily to make up for the month that i missed.

so you gonna do it?

invasion of the body scanners!  they are now going to roll them out quickly into many places here in america.  the goal is about 450 sites by the end of the year.  how gross would it be to watch my wife and kids go through the scanner and know that there’s some guy on the other side of the wall looking at their naked bodies.  hopefully america will continue to give the option of pat-downs.  too bad for these british muslim ladies.  i wonder how they were “randomly” chosen.  do you think british muslims will keep going to the airport and keep saying no to the scanners?

there’s got to be another way to get to india.  how about boat?

midlife crisis. wanna change your job?

i liked this article.  i didn’t read the whole thing, because i’m a tired mess and need to get up at 530 in the morning, but i read the first half.  we’re always looking for the next thing.  i spent the last 10 years of my life building this castle in the sky, and now that i’m living it, i want to grow into something more, something different.  its not that i’m ungrateful, far from it.  Allah has given me so much that i can’t begin to put a drop in the ocean of thanks that he deserves for his bounty.  i think as humans we crave the next level.

lemme know what you think, taken from => Change Jobs , copyright FORTUNE

SO, YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR JOB GOT A CASE OF THE MIDLIFE BLAHS? DOES WORK FEEL LIKE A DILBERT CARTOON? WHY NOT START A NEW CAREER–IT’S LESS TRAUMATIC THAN YOU MIGHT THINK. HERE’S HOW TO DO IT RIGHT.

By RONALD HENKOFF REPORTER ASSOCIATE ANI HADJIAN
January 15, 1996

(FORTUNE Magazine) – RONALD SHEADE HAS, quite deliberately, turned his life upside down. Once a vice president and assistant general counsel at a Fortune 1,000 company, he’s now teaching eighth-grade science in a suburb of Chicago. He doesn’t make big bucks anymore, doesn’t travel to Europe on business, doesn’t negotiate wickedly complicated deals worth tens of millions of dollars, doesn’t even live in the custom-designed dream house that he and his wife built just four years ago. Sheade, 45, earns $45,000, a gaping 70% less as a pedagogue than he did as a corporate honcho. But he gets a real kick out of teaching, spends much more time with his two young daughters, and still lives in a comfortable, if not exactly fabulous, residence. A tall, athletic man with a level gaze and a mean jump shot, he says: “I’m probably happier and more relaxed now than I’ve been in years.”

As Sheade’s experience suggests, a whole new dynamic is taking shape in the American job market. Powered by a heady mix of fear and anger, burnout and boredom, hankering and hope, legions of ostensibly sane professionals, most on full throttle in middle life, are changing not just their jobs but their vocations. If you haven’t shifted to a new career yet, chances are you’ve thought about it. And if you’ve thought about it, you’ve probably wondered how to do it, because it isn’t easy.

click to keep reading – Change Jobs

congratulations, the new muslim christmas

this is what i was afraid of.  good job.  let’s stick to the two holidays we have and not make up new weird things to celebrate.  the sahaba never celebrated his birthday, why should we?  what’s next, a tree with a crescent on top?

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weirdo article.  to liberal for me.  but i guess there’s all types of muslims.  i remember when my dad once bought the three of us donald duck masks to wear in school for halloween.  we just had to have one.  but we were in nyc public school.  my wife grew up going to a christian school and would sing every day, “i have deciiiiided, to follow Jeeeesus.”  i guess we need to get back on track.  support muslim schools.  our kids need to know they’re muslim.  i think if we start to bend and become flexible in the deen, then many years from now our progeny will stray waaay of the path.  we’re already so far off from what the prophet (s) and the sahaba were like.

here’s the article, taken from =>

A Very Muslim Christmas

Last holiday season my three-year old son, Zain, innocently asked me, “Mommy, what is Santa bringing me for Christmas?” I should have known that question was coming. After all, I sent him to preschool at a Baptist church in Atlanta. He attended chapel every Monday and said blessing before lunch every day. Once when he was two, he waddled over to me and told me in his toddler voice, “Jesus is Love.”

The question about Christmas and Santa was particularly unsettling because we are Muslim. I didn’t know how to explain to Zain that we don’t celebrate Christmas. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and scar him forever or make him feel like a leper. Clearly he heard about Christmas at his school. I didn’t want him to feel awkward or different from his classmates — even though he is.

Thoughts were racing through my head. Should I tell him Santa is coming and bringing him presents if he is a good boy? After all, isn’t Christmas a consumer holiday devoid of any religious associations at this point? What was the harm in putting up a tree and buying the kid a few presents just to make him happy? Although Muslims exchange gifts during their two major holidays, both known as Eid, neither holiday is nearly as commercial as Christmas is in the West.

I thought back to my childhood when my parents, Palestinian immigrants, used to celebrate Christmas just like a typical American family. We decorated a Christmas tree, hung up stockings, and put up lights around the house. My parents even convinced us that Santa was real. On Christmas Day, we gathered around the fireplace and opened presents and wondered how Santa fit down the chimney. I always knew we were a Muslim family, but I never considered Christmas a Christian holiday that was contradictory to our Muslim faith.

What was the big deal about a tree? Then came one holiday season when I was twelve. My older sister (who was sixteen at the time and remains the religious crusader in our family to this day) dissuaded my parents from celebrating Christmas any longer. With tears in her eyes and fervor in her heart, she passionately made the case to my parents that Muslims celebrating Christmas was wrong. It didn’t matter that Muslims are taught to love and respect Jesus as a very important prophet of God and celebrating his birth is not technically against any Islamic principles.

I mentioned these childhood memories of Christmas once to my former law school classmate, Eric, who grew up Jewish in Connecticut. After I described how we used to celebrate Christmas like any other Christian family up until I was twelve, he looked at me in shock and said, “What? You used to celebrate Christmas? I am a bad Jew and even we never celebrated Christmas!” I felt a bit ashamed that a Jew who enjoyed pepperoni pizza was chiding me for putting up a Christmas tree as a kid.

I decided to broach the subject of Christmas gently with my husband, Mohammad, who — unlike me — didn’t grow up in the United States as a child, but came here from Iran as a teenager.

“Honey, what do you think about putting up a Christmas tree for Zain? He doesn’t really understand, and I think he would like the lights and presents.”

Mohammad looked at me with an eyebrow raised and said, “You want to celebrate Christmas? Don’t be a sell-out, Hadeel.”

A sell-out? This coming from a man who is hardly religious? I was filled with indignation at his hypocrisy. What was the big deal about a tree, a few lights, and some presents?

Then I thought back to a conversation I once had with my friend Sarah, who is Jewish. I was telling her how Zain’s preschool is very Christian and how Zain talks about Jesus quite frequently and goes to chapel once a week. Her response was, “That’s creepy. Those people are brainwashing Zain. How can you keep him in such a school?” Sarah — like Eric and Mohammad — isn’t particularly observant, yet she insisted on sending her eldest son, Max, to a Jewish preschool when he turned two.

The conversations I had with Eric, Mohammad and Sarah made me wonder: Am I indeed a sell-out? Do I have a set of principles or am I filled with contradictions? Am I setting my child up for a life of not knowing who he really is or where he comes from? After all, I’ve already alienated the more conservative members of my community by wearing sleeveless shirts and short skirts.

I quickly realized I wasn’t being fair to myself. I couldn’t compare my experiences to those of Eric, Mohammad or Sarah. Sarah grew up in Boston in a vibrant Jewish community — as did Eric in Connecticut. Not to mention, they grew up celebrating Hanukah during the holiday season. Mohammad, on the other hand, grew up in Iran surrounded by other Persian Muslims. I grew up as a religious and ethnic minority in suburban Atlanta with nobody remotely like me.

It dawned on me that I’m not filled with contradictions. I know who I am. I am a Muslim who grew up in a largely Christian country. I am a hybrid of two worlds — and my potpourri of religious experiences reflects that.

Am I setting my child up for a life of not knowing who he really is or where he comes from? So last year, I finally decided to take Zain to the toy store and buy him some gifts during the holiday season. We didn’t put up a tree or talk about Christmas extensively, but Zain knew that he was getting presents because that’s what happens during Christmas.

Upon learning that I had bought Zain gifts, my four-year-old niece cried, “It’s not fair! Zain gets to celebrate Christmas and not me!” My other nieces, who attended an Islamic school at the time, jumped at the opportunity to explain sanctimoniously, “We don’t celebrate Christmas because we are Muslims!”

Zain, who adores his older cousins and mimics their every move, suddenly had no interest in Christmas or the gifts he had received for that occasion. In fact, on the day after Christmas break, when Zain returned to preschool and his teacher asked him how his Christmas holiday went, Zain looked at her as if she had insulted him and replied in a tone imitating that of his cousins, “We don’t celebrate Christmas, Miss Dyeann!”

This year I won’t agonize over Christmas again. If Zain brings up the subject, I’ll take him to the store to buy him gifts like I did last year. But I have a feeling his cousins will do the dirty work so that I don’t have to think about it for now. As Zain gets older, I hope he will begin to realize that he is different than his classmates in a more organic way — a way which doesn’t strip him of his identity as a Muslim, but also doesn’t cause him to scoff at any holiday that celebrates giving and receiving.