Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

Do Not Push

// January 22nd, 2010 // 4 Comments » // Blog, Photos

I snapped this while changing the tapes on my HV20 camcorder. I thought it was a good message.

Anyhoo, I have been discussing the possibility of setting up a film club within my ISoc. I am tempted towards making it a sisters-only gig – mainly cuz I've been wanting to recruit a talented woman to help me edit all the footage I have sat on my external hard drive for a while now. Inshā’Allāh, a fruitful legacy will be born out of my selfish needs.

The good news is that everyone I have spoken to thus far seems keen. The challenges include: a lack of equipment (I seem to be the only one with a camera, and decent editing software), and most of the people with the necessary skills and experience have a Y-chromosome.

The answers to both problems shouldn't be too difficult to solve, inshā’Allāh. I think the university TV station is still going; we may be able to tap their resources. And we can always hold training sessions for sisters to pick up basic film-making skills. You mainly learn through doing, anyway; the only formal training I've had thus far is a crash course on Final Cut at the Apple Store.

The women-only suggestion is more about pragmatism than anything else. I want it to be a safe-space to learn, and channel creative energy; like a women-only book club, or an art class. I do not believe that men are the 'enemy' (though I admit to going through phases in that regard).

I won't be restricting membership to Imperial students; it's just easier to establish this kind of thing within the framework of an existing community, such as an ISoc. So if you're based in London, and are interested in joining in, then stay tuned to this blog. I'll let you guys know if/when we have our first meeting, inshā’Allāh.

Your suggestions are welcome.

More Muslim Firemen Please

// December 22nd, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Blog

Here is a random thought I've been having lately that was frankly too long for Twitter. Besides, my poor neglected blog needs feeding.

Muslims that 'serve'

Such a big hoo-haa has, and continues to be made of Muslims serving in the British army. I understand the controversy, but it's not the only career choice that involves service with an associated risk of personal injury, and possible self-sacrifice. What about the brave souls that face the daily hazards of working for the emergency services?

I wonder, how many Muslim firemen, paramedics, police officers, coast guards, etc, are there in the UK? They are not career choices that I hear spoken about much, though admittedly my circles are limited, and I haven't bothered to look up the stats.

I understand there being issues about institutionalised racism in the force, so a lack of Muslim police officers would not be surprising. I'm not sure that same excuse applies elsewhere though.

If I were a guy, I think I may have considered signing up to the Police, at least to eventually join CID. I love detective work: problem solving, chasing down the bad guys, the free donuts. Or is that just the Americans?

If my hypothetical sons were not budding imams, scientists, engineers or doktars, I think I'd approve of one of the above. Hey, I'm not so liberal a hypothetical parent to accept any career choice. For example, circus clown is definitely a no-no. Though if he spent his life bringing smiles to the faces of sick orphans, then maybe? Darnit! I haven't even conceived yet, and I'm already a pushover.

Anyway… have you ever considered working for the emergency services? Sure, the pay isn't amazing, but I'd hope it wouldn't just be about the money. Lots of akhira points to be earned, and several worldly perks methinks.

For example, have you heard the phrase: “there's something about a man in uniform”?

Charity Week 2009 – Day 1

// October 22nd, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Photos, Video

This year, Charity Week will run from the 19th to the 25th October, inshā’Allāh. Here's a wee video I made for my ISoc, to mark Day 1:

Please donate online NOW, writing “IMPERIAL COLLEGE” in the comments section of the donation form (we're in competition with the other participating universities). All money goes to Islamic Relief's orphan fund. So be generous! :)

Please also leave a comment below (anonymously if you wish) to let me know how much you donated, so I have an idea of the impact of the video, and also, to encourage others to follow suit, inshā’Allāh.

Update – Photos from the Henna Stall we ran today (Day 4):

Henna Me, Baby Hand 2 (My Hand!) Hand 1 Concentration I wish I could do that!

Eid in the Square 2009

// September 26th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Photos

This is the fourth year that Trafalgar Square has been used to host post-Ramadan festivities for London's Muslim community.

Even so, today was only my first time experiencing '‘Īd in the Square'.

I did have a good time; but I attribute that more to the gorgeous weather, and the wonderful company I was blessed with.

The event itself was 'alhamdulillah': a good effort, but I'm not sure that I will return next year. Though I did like the fact that there were plenty of non-Muslims walking about, checking the stalls, and generally mingling in.

I guess it's good for us to be seen enjoying ourselves, with our families and loved ones, i.e., Muslims can haz fun!

Click here to view the rest of the photos from ‘Īd in the Square 2009

An Inspirational, Must-See TED Video

// September 23rd, 2009 // No Comments » // Blog

I've been watching a few of the latest-release TED videos the past few days, mainly because I know once I download them, it'll be a while until I actually get round to viewing them. I posted links to a couple on my Twitter stream yesterday, but I decided this video deserved its own blog post, to become a part of my permanent archives, inshā’Allāh.

It's only six minutes long, and you must watch it now!

At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family's home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.

Don't you feel inspired? And also, flippin' grateful for every, little thing? I am so amazed my his initiative. Bravo, young man! Māshā’Allāh.

I love Science even more now.

Don't waste the good feeling: donate to Muslim Hands education fund, so more young people can have access to the basic materials they need to succeed, inshā’Allāh.

Advice for Attendees of the Harrow Mosque 9/11 Counter-Protest

// September 10th, 2009 // No Comments » // Blog

I wrote the following article in a hurry this afternoon, after receiving messages from certain friends and acquaintances, encouraging me, and other Muslims, to attend a counter-demo taking place outside Harrow Mosque tomorrow (Friday, Sept 11th, 2009).

As some of you may have heard, a coalition of fascist groups are planning to hold a static demo outside the Harrow Mosque in NW London, tomorrow, i.e., on Jumuah, Sept 11, 2009. A counter-protest has been organised by 'Unite Against Fascism', with support from various elements of the London Muslim community.

It is clear that tensions are now running high in the lead up to the event. I, myself, have received numerous text messages from Muslim acquaintances encouraging their fellow Muslims to go “defend the mosque” – without actually explaining what that means. I can't help but feel that this is all reminiscent of several violent clashes between fascist protesters and Muslim youth, that have occurred in the recent past. In this regard, sister Yvonne Ridley gave clear warning to attendees of the protest, via her Facebook profile… continue reading.

I actually heard about the event earlier in the week, but didn't really know what it was about, so I mistakenly ignored it. It's only when I received yet another text message about it this morning from a good friend, that I was spurred into writing something, worrying that all this buzz was leading somewhere bad, God forbid.

I am praying that the right-wing media, and the fascist thugs, don't get the anti-Muslim front page headlines they are no doubt salivating for, and that there are no casualties – on either side (I'd rather the opposition be guided, than beaten up, tbh; besides, doing so would only serve to start up a cycle of revenge attacks).

British Government’s Meddling with Islam & the Muslim Community

// August 5th, 2009 // No Comments » // Blog

Not the most catchy of titles, I admit, but it'll do.

It's for my article that was published today, over at MuslimMatters:

As I've mentioned on more than one occasion, I am subscribed to alerts from They Work For You – a free site that allows the public to keep track of parliamentary proceedings. Even so, I will continue to remind you all of this fact, because I think everyone should make use of this amazing service. I am hardly politically astute, but I still choose to keep an ear open for when the British government decides to talk about me (or rather, things dear to me), i.e., Islam and the Muslim community.

Recently, there was a sudden rise in the number of alerts I received, containing my keyword of choice, “Islam”, all because one particular British MP, Ben Wallace (Conservative MP for Lancaster & Wyre, Former Conservative MSP for North East Scotland), has been asking a lot of questions on the subject lately – six questions in just two days. After reading through them, I become somewhat alarmed, as they described a number of initiatives that have the potential to directly affect how Islam is understood and practised in the UK. This includes scholarly efforts to 'contextualise' Islam in Britain, and the teaching of Islamic Studies in universities. To add some further context, several of these questions were posed in relation to “Paragraph 9.21 of the UK Strategy for Countering International Terrorism“.

The six questions and answers are presented below.

Continue reading…

I was quite worried about how this article would be received – mainly because politics is not my forte. However, I don't consider this article to be 'political', rather, the intention was simply to be informative. These are matters that concern me – and the rest of the British Muslim community – and I felt it my duty to spread the news.

I am also concerned about sounding like 'just another paranoid Muslim, thinking the government is out to get us'. But the thing is, though my own opinion can be utterly ignored, the facts cannot. And that is what I have aimed to do: present a set of facts – without editing, and providing original sources – then analyse those facts, and present my own theory. The theory could be way off, but the facts remain as facts. Facts, facts, facts… FACTS. [I thought I'd throw that word in a few more times for added emphasis.]

I asked a friend of mine to read over the article while it was still in draft form, and she wasn't aware of any of the initiatives described therein. I'd call her an 'average' Muslim – in that she is conscientious, but not politically active, as such. She, too, was alarmed at the information. So, I am hoping that I am not way off base with my assessment.

Thanks to Indigo Jo for giving the article a once over too, and confirming a mistake that I had made. Though he never told me whether he agreed with my paranoid instincts or not – I'm sure he'll share his opinions soon enough, inshā’Allāh.

My Big Day Out

// July 27th, 2009 // 7 Comments » // Blog

As I mentioned in my last status update, Thursday 23rd July ended up being quite a productive day for me, māshā’Allāh. For a start, I was actually active between the normal working hours of 9.30am and 4.30pm. Amazing! I didn't even manage that during my PhD.

The day involved two major meetings, each relating to the two main projects that currently dominate my unemployed life: Deaf Muslim initiatives (e.g., SignLabs), and blogging. As the content of both meetings was pretty much confidential, I'll skip the details, and just describe the basic aims.

(more…)

Watch iMuslim ‘Live’ Tonight, on Divan 2.0 (7.15pm, UK Time)

// May 22nd, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Blog

I've been invited to be a panellist at a Radical Middle Way event tonight. The subject up for discussion is Islam and the Internetz… so at least I'll be familiar with the subject matter – inshā’Allāh!

I'll be representing MuslimMatters, so please make dua that I don't let the side down, as it'll be my first time doing anything like this (I'm trying to minimize your expectations; remember, blogging and public speaking are two different animals!).

Welcome to Muslim 2.0 – a wired generation whose members would rather pose their tough questions to Shaykh Google than their local Imam and who feel more connected to the Facebook ummah than the congregation at the local mosque. Never has Muslim conversation buzzed with so many divergent, combative and off-the-wall perspectives.

But is more Muslim chatter really better?

Has Web 2.0 democratised Muslim debate, and if so at what cost?

Are we talking to each other or at each other?

With so many blogs, websites and forums to choose from, are we actually engaging with other points of view or are we comfortable staying in our intellectual (and spiritual) ghettos?

Join us for Divan 2.0, as we bring together some of British Islam's most (in)famous bloggers, web pioneers and online warriors for some face-to-face debate. They will be taking your questions in this special “Question Time” style event.

Challenge and be challenged – submit your questions in advance and come ready to jump into fray!

For those who can't make the free event in London, you can watch live via the little video box below. It'll start approx. 7.15pm BST (GMT+1), inshā’Allāh.

Viva Palestina Have Reached Gaza!

// March 9th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Blog

Viva Palestina Update
15.30 (GMT) Monday 9th March 2009

GROWN MEN CRYING…THE SIEGE IS BROKEN… ON THE DAY THE PROPHET WAS BORN

And they entered side by side like heroes, some on foot some in their vehicles, tears, smiles, hugs, flowers. It was historic, it was legendary. Gaza we are here. We have fulfilled the promise – Viva Palestina! The lifeline from the people of Britain to you, the people of Gaza, has arrived.

We have broken the barriers, we have opened closed borders, we have defied the odds,we have overcome the challenges across thousands of miles and three continents. We are here to be with you, to embrace you, to share your tragedy with you.

After another morning of intense negotiations, a deal was reached to allow all of the members of the convoy to go through. In the end, Viva Palestina had to make the sacrifice of agreeing that some vehicles will have to cross the border from the Al Ouja Israeli controlled crossing point. This includes our mascot, the fire engine and the boat. This was due to the restrictions imposed by Egyptian law governing the Rafah Crossing.

A tearful Talat Ali told me that 'Rafah is the most beautiful crossing in the world', he also said that the time , effort and sacrifices put in by all the Viva Palestina family meant that history has been made today – on the day the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was born.

George Galloway made an emotional speech thanking the people of Gaza for the wonderful reception and assuring them that for Viva Palestina and in our millions, “WE ARE ALL PALESTINIANS!” George also reiterated that the people of Palestine have voted and that their voice should be respected.

Today the convoy will head along the Salah Eddine road towards Gaza City witnessing along the way the destruction and death caused by the Israeli war machine. Along the way they will be greeted by the people of Gaza who will know that Viva Palestina is here and that they will NEVER BE ALONE.

Farid Arada

Sign up for e-mail updates, and donate to the cause at VivaPalestina.org

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