Posts Tagged ‘Muslims in the West’

Eid-ul-Fitr Salat in the Park, 2010

// September 10th, 2010 // No Comments » // Photos

‘Īd Mubarak! I didn't have much time to take (or post) the number of pics that I usually do. But I quite like this one, cuz it captures some nice little moments, māshā’Allāh. Have a look through and see what you see! =)

Click to enlarge

New Blog & FOSIS Video Competition

// June 24th, 2010 // No Comments » // Announcements, Video

Salam blog. It's been a while. I have something to tell you. I think you may want to sit down.

I've been playing away from home.

No, no… don't cry, blog. I still love you. You'll always be my first. No, wait second… Actually, more like my third.

Anyway, stop blubbing foo, and listen up.

Sisters' Film Club has officially launched! We have produced our first videos, and have a
sparkly new blog to match, māshā’Allāh.

The videos are part of a submission to the FOSIS video competition – an annual contest open to all UK Islamic Societies. As this is our first production, we would really appreciate your support. Please watch, vote for, and share our videos via the SFC blog. Feedback welcome!

JazakumAllah khair.

UK General Election 2010: The Muslim Vote

// April 19th, 2010 // No Comments » // Blog

Less than a fortnight ago, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, finally announced that May 6th, 2010 would be the date of the next General Election. Prior to and since, a variety of means have been used by the powers-that-be to encourage both the apathetic and the undecided to participate in the vote, including the broadcast of the first ever leaders' debate between the heads of the three main political parties.

However, in my opinion, the most interesting development surrounding the election has the been the launch of not one, but several voting campaigns targeted at Britain's relatively small community of Muslim citizens. The concentration of Muslims within a handful of constituencies, combined with the strong possibility of a hung parliament, has motivated community leaders from various backgrounds, to urge their followers to simply, “Get out and vote!”.

The following are links to web-based campaigns I have come across so far:

Continue reading at MuslimMatters.org…

Letter from Haiti: A Haitian Muslim’s Request for Help

// January 17th, 2010 // No Comments » // Announcements, Blog

An excerpt from a message written by a Muslim based in Haiti:

My brother Didier Ambroise is missing and we have not been able to find him. My Uncle Roblain Legagneur and my cousin Namu Corvington and his wife died buried under their house.

Brother Ibrahim Abdoul Salam's house was destroyed and his cousin died.

Also brother Abou Bakr's house was crumbled and his sister died.

Many brothers and sisters are unaccounted for. We do not know if they are alive or dead. May Allāh give ease to them in whatever state they may be. Āmīn.

Read the full letter.

Donate.

Pray.

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”?

Why Can Muslims Eat Big Macs?

// November 7th, 2009 // 7 Comments » // Blog

The following is a response to a post written by one of my colleagues at Ijtema.net, on the conditions that make meat permissible for Muslims to eat. Here is an extract to whet your appetite:

The whole zabiha vs. non-zabiha debate can get pretty emotional and even lead to fights. Surprisingly when one learns about it in some depth it's not all that complicated. I will list the 5 conditions the 'ulema have laid down for a slaughter to be permissible to eat, and then list some common misconceptions about the concept of zabiha.

The following five conditions must be met together when slaughtering an animal that is permissible to eat and requires slaughter… Click to read more

I recommend you read that post first – one, because it contains useful fiqhi info, and two, because my response will naturally make more sense that way.

Response

Tbh, the only thing I'd like explained to me, is why a Big Mac purchased in any McDonalds branch located in Western secular democracies, such as the UK and USA (for the most part), is considered by some to be permissible for Muslims to eat?

I completely understand the ruling about the meat of animals slaughtered by the Christians and Jews being permissible (excl. porcine flesh, blood, etc). But unlike the label 'Kosher', which actually has some value and meaning attached to it, McDonalds, and by extension, most fast food retailers in the West, do not offer any guarantee that the cows used in their burgers have been slaughtered by either a Christian or a Jew (irrespective of their level of practising).

Are the scholars who condone this working on a matter of probability? I.e., the majority (whatever % that is) of citizens in the US identify themselves as Christians, and hence the likelihood of the person slaughtering the animal being a Christian is high, and thus the meat automatically becomes permissible, unless clearly stated otherwise?

I really am curious, because I know a few people who follow the “People of the Book” rule that far, but they never ask the person serving the meat who did the slaughtering. We don't need to ask if the product is sold as halal/ kosher – but otherwise, shouldn't there be some responsibility on the individual consumer to at least enquire?

Considering how, in the West, tasks of manual labour (especially such messy, unpleasant ones) are usually consigned to low paid immigrants, which could be of any religion – and also, how meat can, and is, imported from anywhere in the world – I think such a 'catch-all' fatwa is more than a little risky.

In the UK, we are blessed in that halal meat is relatively easy to obtain – at least if you live in cities and towns with significant Muslim populations. However, that didn't happen overnight. This state of ease came about through necessity. The first generation of Muslims wanted to feed their families food that they could trust was halal. Without this demand, the market to supply halal produce – a market presently worth millions of pounds annually – would not have been established.

There are about two million Muslims in the UK but an estimated six million consumers of halal meat nationwide. Michael Oakes, board member for rural affairs at Advantage West Midlands, said British Muslims consumed 20% of all red meat sold in the country while making up just 3% of the population. [Source: BBC News – Farmers aim for halal meat market]

Further, the market has now begun to evolve to the next level: in response to recent halal meat scandals, a national halal monitoring committee was established to ensure correct slaughtering practices; major supermarket chains now stock halal produce in outlets with a significant Muslim customer base; and several new providers have sprung up to respond to the growing demand for organic meat (one example here).

Thus I believe that the 'catch-all' fatwa actually causes more harm than good in the long term, by discouraging the enterprise that would lead to a more certain state of affairs. Either we 'lay' Muslims have misunderstood the nature of this particular ruling (which is entirely probable), and/or the original need for such a fatwa no longer exists, especially as far more permissible alternatives are now commonly available. In reality, no-one is going to be placed at a life-threatening disadvantage from choosing to eat a 'fillet-o-fish', or vegetarian equivalent, in place of eating meat of unknown origin. And in the few cases where they are, then a whole new set of rulings apply, with the aim of preserving life and health.

Demand drives supply: Muslims in the West must continue to demand the supply of trustworthy zabiha meat, and also start putting their inherent, entrepreneurial skills to use. After all, the UK Muslim market proves that there is much reward – both earthly and heavenly – to be earned from doing so, inshā’Allāh.

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

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).

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.

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Don’t Play Shaytaan’s Blame Game

// July 10th, 2009 // 10 Comments » // Blog

I attended the much hyped (my own doing) “Emasculated Muslim Men and the Feminist Hijabi” debate this evening. I actually bumped into my good blog buddy, Sumera, prior to the start of the event; so I know that I wasn't the only intrigued blogger in the audience.

Anyway, I don't have much to say about it all. Partly because I was asked to film it, so I was too busy paying attention to my camera, to soak in much of anything. I can tell you that it was a very mature, rational discussion, māshā’Allāh; there wasn't really any kind of 'debate' as such, as all the speakers pretty much agreed with one another (even though the panel consisted of Muslims and a non-Muslim, men and women – “Yey!” for social harmony).

However, one tidbit that made a lasting impression, was offered by the entertaining, yet informative, Imam Shahnawaz Haque (Psychotherapist, Teacher and Khatib), in response to an audience member asking why all the attention was being placed on the deficiencies of men – what about women's deficiencies?

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