26 December 2007

how time flies...

A text message I received a year ago while in Palestine- my uncle Ebu and his wife Yasmin passed away. May God bless them and their surviving children...

My emotions have taken a standstill, for which is more heart ripping- seeing a 70 year old mother pouring her heart out at the loss of her child, her baby boy, or that innocent 4year old child asking to see the face of his smiling father, and then smile at the sight of him, unable to fully or even semi understand the consequence of what has just occured...



A reminder of how short life is, how we need to make the most of the time we have, and follow the advices of caring for the orphans, poor and oppressed..

11 December 2007

Is London's future Islamic?


I blogged a few weeks ago about a debate I attended, ‘Is Islam good for London?’ My conclusion was, no matter anyone thinks, Muslims or their Non-Muslim countrymen, Islam and Muslims are here to stay. Period.

What does matter however is how everyone choose to deal and interact with each other. That is crucial. This is an interesting article by Time Out - now for those who don’t know, Time Out is the Bible of social life in London, and many other major cities in the world. (Don’t know why, but I didn’t even consider using the Islamic version of this analogy:P)

Islam is London’s fastest growing religion, based on noble traditions and compassionate principles, yet Islam can still be tainted by mistrust and misunderstanding. Time Out argues that an Islamic London would be a better place!

Rather than buy in to a racist representation of all Muslims as terrorists, people need to recognise both what Islam has given London already, and the advantages it would bring across a wide range of areas in the future.

'Confusing the cultural and the religious is wrong because it's divisive - it leads to separation as devout young people think it's their religious duty to cut themselves off from wider society,' says Baroness Warsi.

I agree with her on this point, and a few others she makes in a BBC news report.
But I also must add that, while I don’t fully get around the irony of her being a Muslim, a Baroness and the Conservative shadow minister for community cohesion, she must be commended for her role in dealing with the silly Sudanese!

In my opinion, important lessons for the Sudanese government, Baroness Warsi and Muslims in London and all over the world is: we need to have a thorough and complete understanding of Islam and the Quran; we need to be sincere in our actions and not ever do or say something for political or other reasons!

Peace.

05 December 2007

GOLD FOR SALES.‏‏‏‏‏‏‏

From: koffi williams [mailto:ko.w7@hotmail.fr]
Sent: 04 December 2007 23:07
Subject: GOLD FOR SALES.‏‏‏‏‏‏‏

Dear,

I am KOFFI WILLIAMS a gold minner and I have 490kg of gold for sales. Please if interested do not hesitate to reply me urgently.

Best Regards

Je suis KOFFI WILLIAMS et j'ai 490kg d'or à vendre. Svp vous etre intéressé ne hésitez pas à me répondre instamment

KOFFI WILLIAMS

28 November 2007

Palestinian state in exchange for no longer using 'Nakba'!!

Correct me if I am getting this wrong, but Israel requires Palestinians to forget the Nakba if they want to establish a state!

Address by Tzipi Livni at Annapolis:

‘I believe that the solution of two nation states serves the interests of both sides. Not every celebration of ours is cause for sorrow on the other side, and vice versa. I say to my Palestinian colleagues: Do not bemoan the establishment of the State of Israel; establish your own state, rejoice in its establishment and we will rejoice with you, since for us the establishment of the Palestinian state is not our Nakba, or disaster - provided that upon its establishment the word “Nakba” be deleted from the Arabic lexicon in referring to Israel.’


Nakba ("the catastrophe"): the expulsion and dispossession of hundreds of thousands Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. In 1948 more than 60 percent of the total Palestinian population was expelled. More than 530 Palestinian villages were depopulated and completely destroyed.
To date, Israel has prevented the return of approximately six million Palestinian refugees, who have either been expelled or displaced. Approximately 250,000 internally displaced Palestinian second-class citizens of Israel are prevented from returning to their homes and villages...

27 November 2007

South African Q-Islam

I read this before and was supposed to comment on it and share some of my thoughts- it may be a bit late now but I came across this again and just had to share it, given the discussions I have been having here in the UK, with friends over the internet and even on the radio during the Cii calls...

There is much that I both disagree and agree with, but let’s see what your thoughts are for now…

"South Africa’s Muslims are a weird product of political activism, social consciousness, sectarian madness and extreme ostentatiousness. This is a country which has produced more than its share of Muslim martyrs in the anti-apartheid struggle. But it has also seen some of its members seduced by the anti-Islamic ideology of race superiority.

Today, the struggle for the heart and soul of South African Islam is fierce: it is one between relevancy and dogmatism, engagement or disengagement, clarity or obscurantism. When it comes to Islam, there are so many similarities between what is going on in Britain and South Africa.

But, alas, we do not have the likes of Cassiem Khan and Na’eem Jeenah - two outstanding young(ish) mujahids whose contributions in the field of humanitarian work and the debate over freedom of expression are exemplary."

From Timbuktu to Vienna - via Johannesburg and Istanbul
Published in: Q-News, Issue 367, Page 11, July 2006
[follow link for full article]

20 November 2007

One single secular democratic state


The idea of a single state in Palestine/Israel has apparently been around for decades, but I never considered it as a viable solution to the conflict.

Perhaps it was personal bias- grown up on the idea that the conflict is religious, only religious and nothing else, I always had the idea that the only solution will come from God when he finally decides to strip the oppressors and occupiers and return the area to the rightful owners- the Muslims.

And then more recently, it was perhaps due to my having the opportunity to visit Palestine and witness firsthand the oppression of the Israeli occupation. The treatment of human beings in such an evil way just left me with the thought that no solution, short of driving either of the two peoples totally out of the area (or even into the sea!), was going to ever be possible.

However, the idea of one single secular democratic state seems a bit more plausible to me now. This, after attending a conference held in London on 17 & 18 Nov 2007. Challenging the Boundaries (the conference at SOAS) brought together academics and activists from Palestine, Israel and all over the world to discuss the idea in public, for the first time in London.

The idea is apparently gaining more currency, with the failure of previous political processes to address the conflict's underlying tensions. An alternative to the exclusivist ideologies- that are probably going to perpetuate suffering in the region- is desperately needed – and is on offer from disparate groups in Israel, Palestine and the rest of the world.

Given the current situation, I am ready to engage and promote this discussion. What are your thoughts?

As Allister Sparks (I think..) says, “… if I, as a white South African can live in a secular, non-racial state with a black majority and feel perfectly secure in my own identity, can you not do the same in Israel?”

speakers at the conference:
-Nur Masalha, University of Surrey
-Ghada Karmi, University of Exeter, Author of In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story (2002) and Married to another Man: Israel’s Dilemma in Palestine (2007)
-Ilan Pappé, University of Exeter, Author of The Modern Middle East (2005) and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006)
-Joseph Massad, Columbia University, Author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism an the Palestinians (2006) and Desiring Arabs (2007)
-Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of Electronic Intifada, Author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse (2006)
-Louise Bethlehem, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Co-editor of South Africa in the Global Imaginary (2005) and Violence and Non-Violence in Africa (2007)
-Northern Ireland: power sharing in a divided society
Kathleen O’Connell, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
-Sumantra Bose, London School of Economics, Author of Kashmir: The Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace (2003) and Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus and Sri Lanka (2007)

16 November 2007

Is London good for Islam?

Well, the topic actually was, 'Is Islam Good for London?'

Having attended, what was purported to be, a debate about Islam in London, I must admit I feel sorry for Londoners. For two reasons:
- it appears that way too many people intensely dislike Muslims.
- Muslims are most likely partly to blame.

I am happy to be a South African Muslim for two reasons:
- I don’t feel any hatred or animosity from people back home, for just being Muslim.
- South Africa has more opportunities and better prospects for ‘spearheading’ Islam in the non-Muslim world.

Before coming to London, the exposure I had from the high profile speakers and quality publications that come out of here, I believed that this is the place wherefrom those in the forefront of taking Islam forward will be coming from. Now, after over a month here, I think that the many good, intelligent and sincere Muslims here should all endeavour to spend some time in South Africa. (I’m going a bit off the topic now- will discuss this again sometime..)

Back to the bourgeoisie debate, attended by the attractive Jemima Khan amongst others, hosted by the Evening Standard (apparently a right-wing publication) and by invite only! That upset me at first, but I was able to get in anyways and at some point make myself heard..

The debate certainly did not conform to what I had understood as proper English manners and debate decorum. Rather, it was a shouting match and personal attacks between the pathetic line-up on the panel. They may not be pathetic individuals, but together, given the topic, the climate and the idiots in the audience; it turned out to be a depressing pathetic panel!

Rod Liddle- my favourite for the night. Just kept saying he didn’t mind Muslims but loathed Islam for various reasons. I think his understanding of Islam, as he explained, was just as screwed up as the idiots who give Islam a bad name. Told him this in my question and then tried steering the discussion back onto the topic and in a more positive, forward thinking direction, but the clowns had a stage and continued to entertain! I respected him for being consistent throughout the night, unlike the guy next to him, Ed Husain.

Ed Husain- an ex-Hizbut Tahrir (HT) guy who has become a famous author, famous in a somewhat similar way to Salman Rushdie- he has identified what certain people want to hear, so he continues to say just that! Extremely inconsistent in his thoughts and opinions, and as Rod Little put it, he may have left HT but is still the idiot that joined them and his intelligence seems to have not increased since his new found liberal popularity.

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain- he was definitely unfairly targeted. But unfair or not, he clearly has made a few stupid mistakes and said a few stupid things in the past. To give him some credit he tried hard to ward off attacks against his person and still level a fairly decent argument, and together with Rod, the only consistent person on the stage.

Joan Smith- a feminist and atheist. I have met many feminist and atheist in my life. None that annoy me as much as this woman who uses both as titles in a manner that I assume would disappoint many feminists and atheists.

Michael Burleigh- not sure who he or what he does. He was just very boring!

I guess this doesn’t say much about the debate- probably coz the debate was more entertaining than informative. It was more of a show than a productive discussion.

But one thing is clear, at least from the little discussion that did go on, and from the comments from the audience- Islam is here in the UK in full force and is here to stay- and both Muslims and their non-Muslim counterparts need to work together to make sure that things improve going forward- Muslims can’t continue to live in virtual enclaves, and the rest of society here can’t continue to ignore them and pretend that they are not here!

see also:
FreeWriters
'Undesirables' debate
Evening Standard reportback

14 November 2007

the rightly guided car

I couldn’t make up anything funnier, even if I tried! This is the latest from Muslim Capitalists for Muslim Consumerists. The ‘Islamic Car’, as reported by the BBC.

From the era of sweets and chocolates being made unlawful, to bank finance being made lawful, the Muslims of the world once again never seize to entertain.

I can just about overhear the ‘uncles’ in the Mosques once word starts getting around: ‘Ooh, Mashallah (Praise God) this is soo wonderfool.. Islam is going to new heights now, or should I rather say new journeys! Hehe!’

As some citycircler stated:
‘… It appears that Muslims have once again proven their expertise in pointlessly differentiating themselves from the rest of the human race with their designs for an, err, 'Islamic car'.

You can just see an Islamist-run advertising agency positioning the new product:
"The Islamic car is superior and will dominate over all other cars. If you want a fast-track to paradise you must buy the Islamic car, not drive those filthy decadent kuffar cars on their one-way street to the hell-fire.
No need for a Satnav when our in-built Qur'an is the only guide you need. Choose any colour, as long as it's green. No need to follow secular man-made traffic laws any more, Shariah law applies whilst driving.
Women drivers must be accompanied by a close male relative. Should you get killed in an accident you will be considered a martyr. And of course no need for car insurance".

The report mentions there will be a special compartment to store the Qur'an and headscarves. Isn't that what the kuffar call a glove compartment?

So do we need 'the Islamic car' and what features would you include?

05 November 2007

i love south africa?

I write this just a short while after finding out about the tragic death of a family member. The elderly member, grandfather of a few, loved by many, was tragically shot and killed in his home in the early hours of the evening on 31 October. He was a soft and warm man, always with a smile on his face, always with a good word to share.

I must admit that we were not at all extremely close- if anything I met and spoke to him on average twice a year- but it was that twice a year meeting that we had every year of my entire life.

Since I got to London, I have been getting upset by the perceptions of everyone who looks at me with pity when I say that I am from South Africa. ‘It’s a beautiful country’, I say, ‘we are busy rebuilding after years of being damaged by Apartheid!’
So, we have problems. But there are so many positive things too. We need all the help and effort we can get to sort thing out, I say.

And then when I meet fellow South Africans here, I get into the discussion about how we need to remain committed to our roots- the country that made us what we are, that gave us opportunities- the very same opportunities that many others are not able to harness. I explain that even if we are enjoying it here in a foreign country, we need to continue to work to sort our issues out back home. To the Muslims I meet, I have been saying that it is a responsibility placed on us by our religion to work towards the redevelopment and to establish social justice and harmony in the land of our birth.

In some way, I sometimes explain, we, as members of the middle to upper class levels of society, are partly to blame for some of the problems facing the country.
Facts like- South Africa is the most unjust country in the world; South Africa has overtaken Brazil and now has the minority controlling the majority of the resources.
That in South Africa, the religious leadership and the business and community leaders have tacitly propped each other up- by the religious scholars holding firmly onto the reigns of religion and not harshly condemning the capitalistic behaviour of Muslims; and us Capitalist Muslims keeping them on their pedestals in return for this!
Could we have dug our own graves here? Our economics practises may explain the high levels of crime- but what will explain the extreme violence we experience?

I have thought of the past- it must be there in our past somewhere- the results we see today borne out of a past of brutality, the Aids epidemic, injustice, oppression, unfulfilled promises, inadequate solutions, economics inequality, and so much more. Maybe all these ingredients have proved to bare a flavour that our pallet cannot bear.

But while I have been always singing this rhetoric, with the hope that it would help drive change, I have been vocal in speaking out against the brain drain and shouting our responsibilities to our poor and oppressed neighbours!

A close friend, who many of you reading this will know well; a person who has one of the best hearts I have come across- I fought him hard on his decision to leave South Africa and seek a better life somewhere else. I tried to guilt him into agreeing with me that we cannot leave her- that if we do leave it must only be for a short term, on a specific mission, so that we know we are coming back to continue our work in rebuilding this country. But now I am reconsidering.

There are problems here too- And everywhere else in the world as well. But is it hypocritical to perhaps think that I should be committed to rebuilding South Africa, but at the same time take steps to set one foot out of the country? Is it wrong to believe that, while I have hope and optimism for a bright future, I can still try to look at having an ‘exit strategy’? Is the current situation, and its constant deterioration, a justifiable enough excuse for this kind of behaviour?

To summarise, can a person that is committed to giving back to South Africa, that is determined to see positive change and that is concerned and worried about the well-being of all the people there: can this person live out of the country and continue to work towards solving the problems. (As opposed to a person who lives in the country and continues to rape and savage the country economically!)


Your thoughts will be eagerly anticipated: click on SignsOfIntelligentLife to leave a comment!

29 October 2007

After messing up Iraq, Iran is now in their sights!

The United States has announced its harshest action against Iran since 1979 by instituting a raft of unilateral sanctions designed to cut international financial support to Iran.

Condoleezza Rice (US Secretary of State) said that the unprecedented steps, which include outlawing Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, were a response to ‘Teheran's support of insurgents in Iraq and its refusal to abandon its uranium enrichment programme’.

So there are two alleged reasons for the sanctions (and maybe war-! see below):
1) Teheran's support of terrorists.
2) Weapons of mass destruction.


Does this sound vaguely familiar?! Saddam Husain was responsible for 9/11 and for having weapons of mass destruction- neither of which was proved!

Follow this conversation with Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, who said that two important militants who were captured in Iraq, “have acknowledged during interrogations that senior leadership within the al-Quds force knew of and supported planning attacks on US soldiers..”

(The al-Quds unit, the foreign operations branch, within Iran's elite revolutionary guards corps is accused of supporting fighters in Iraq that has led to the deaths of US soldiers.)

First, Mr. Bergner’s assertion: “Our intelligence reveals that senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity.”
Now, the follow-ups:
Question: “Can you define senior leadership?”
Mr. Bergner: “I think I’ll leave it at that.”
Question: “Would you exclude the supreme leader?”
Mr. Bergner: “I’ll leave it at senior leadership in Iran’”?
Question: “Put it this way: Do you think it’s possible that he doesn’t know?”
Mr. Bergner: ‘’That would be hard to imagine.”
A tough question indeed: from intelligence to imagination in four steps.

Give me a break! Well, the Iranian government has repeatedly denied supporting militants or stirring up trouble in Iraq, and has said that, ‘it only wants the country to be stable and peaceful.’ Makes sense to me..

But Britain and France don’t think so, and have sided with the US, with Brown going as far as pledging to lead the campaign for new EU and UN sanctions.

Seems Gordon Brown is to Rice as Blair was to Bush! Rice says Iran is ‘pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon, building dangerous ballistic missiles, supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine, and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations, threatening to wipe Israeli off the map..’
What a load of rubbish! Actually makes me feel sick that she can say such things and get away with it.

It may not mean much but both China and Russia are not supporting the US. Rice has urged China, Russia and India to back the sanctions against Iran.

President Putin of Russia warned strongly against sanctions on Iran, saying they would lead to a dead end. He said the standoff over Iran's nuclear program should be resolved through talks, pointing at North Korea as an example.

"Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end by threatening sanctions or military action. Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation." the Russian leader said. (I am not a fan of Putin myself, but a statement like this makes me want to kiss him!)

Very predictably the prime minister of the Apartheid Israeli state (a state that repeatedly defies international law, that has nuclear weapons, and still has full support of the US administration) Mr Olmert said: "Economic sanctions are effective. They have an important impact already, but they are not sufficient. So there should be more. Up to where? Up until Iran will stop its nuclear programme."

This is insane. In no uncertain terms, he is calling for a war against Iran. Now if he made this statement in Hebrew, and the western media had to translate it, would it be translated as him calling for Iran to be wiped off the map?!

So, what will the sanctions do? Remember Iraq? As John Pilger wrote a while back:

‘Before 1990 and the imposition of sanctions, Iraq had one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East.’

And after sanctions: at least 200 children died every day from malnutrition, lack of clean water and lack of medical equipment and drugs to cure easily treatable diseases.

Morphine, the most effective painkiller has been banned by the Security Council.

In 1990 Iraq had one of the highest rates of literacy in the world. For all its evil, the government still built schools, trained teachers, and distributed free textbooks and other school supplies.

And after sanctions: This system was gradually destroyed over a short period of 10 years. Iraqi teacher salaries fell from $400 to $3 per month. There were no school supplies: books, pencils and paper are all banned under 'dual use' considerations.

"We are told that pencils are forbidden because carbon could be extracted from them that might be used to coat aeroplanes and make them invisible to radar. I am not a military expert, but I find it very disturbing that because of this objection, we cannot give pencils to Iraqi school children." (Farid Zarif, deputy director of the UN humanitarian program in Baghdad. New York Times, 3 January 1999)

But what is the real reason for the sanctions and threats against Iran.. Surely no sane person will believe that these ridiculous claims are accurate- especially anyone who followed the ruckus that went on before Iraq was unjustifiably attacked. The question is- Is all this just about oil?

Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the private bank known as the Federal Reserve, discloses in his book the public secret that, the motive for the war against Iraq was rooted in oil: 'I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war was largely about oil. I thought the issue of weapons of mass destruction as the excuse was utterly beside the point'.

To what extent history will repeat itself now that it's not oil-rich Iraq - but its oil-rich neighbour Iran - that is being accused of producing weapons of mass destruction by the same people that invaded Iraq on the basis of arguments and accusations which are clearly false!

John Pilger wrote shortly after ‘democracy’ was declared in Iraq: 'The main reason was oil. Under a law written by American and British officials, the Iraqi puppet regime is about to hand over the extraction of the largest concentration of oil on earth to Anglo-American companies. Nothing like this piracy has happened before. Across the Shatt al-Arab waterway the other prize: Iran's vast oilfields. Just as non-existent weapons of mass destruction or facile concerns for democracy had nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, so non-existent nuclear weapons have nothing to do with an American onslaught on Iran.'

And this is what appears evident to me as well. It is not about terrorism, WMD’s or any other ridiculous claim. It is about money. And this I find preposterous! This word reminds me of none other than George Galloway, who used it so admirably in the famous interview on SKY News (Check YouTube if you haven’t seen it!).

This is an excerpt of his statement to US Senators who accused him of corruption in 2005:

‘Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning."

Will the same happen to Iran? Are the children of Iran going to suffer? And is the world going to sit by quietly while this happens? What will you do?

25 October 2007

The sexiest killers!

Check this out. How low will they go?! Yet another attempt by the Israeli Army to use the media to distort the reality of their armed forces.

On my visits to Palestine I have seen these soldiers, and had the pleasure (sarcasm!) of having them interrogate me at border, harass me at the checkpoints, taunt and abuse me at the protests and in the streets.
Some of them have been blessed with amazing beauty, but this is clouded by their ugly and evil actions- actions that decent, moral human beings will not dream of committing or even witness, without trying their best to stop!

From Maxim Magazine:

With photos of women in black bikinis striking provocative poses, Maxim magazine devoted five full pages in their July 2007 issue to answer the single most pressing question in the Middle East: "Are the women in the Israeli Defence Forces the world's sexiest soldiers?"

Commended for their ability to "take apart an Uzi in seconds," Maxim featured four "drop dead gorgeous" former Israeli soldiers scantily clad in military garb and
swimwear. "My job was top secret," said
Nivit Bash, who wore a black army cap and not much else for her picture. "I can't talk about it other than to say I studied some Arabic."

----------------------------------------------------

From Adbusters: (Adbusters #74)

What also wasn't talked about was that the feature was actually part of a branding campaign by the Consulate General of Israel in New York to improve Israel's public image. The consulate apparently believed that using women in Maxim would make readers forget Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine and use of hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs in Lebanon in the conflict last summer.

It was Maxim's decision to use the ex-soldiers, whose photo shoot was partly funded by the American-Israel Friendship League and Israel21C.

While some female members of the Israeli parliament denounced the feature as "pornographic", there was little outcry about the
magazine's decision to promote and celebrate an army that has been accused of war crimes by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

"When people view Israel, for the most part they view it as a land of conflict anyway," says David Saranga, a spokesperson for the consulate. "Maxim knows what its readers like, and they wanted to stylize it as girls of the IDF. Look, we're a democracy, we're a free society, we invited them to do something in Israel and they chose what to do."

Maxim refused an interview request and only issued a brief statement saying it was "pleased" with its work. There is no word if Maxim will be doing a feature on the "Girls of Hamas" or "Hizbullah Girls Gone Wild" anytime soon. Adbusters_Sean Condon

-------------------------------------------------------------------
So what do you do? Expose this for what it is- and don't support Maxim!!

11 October 2007

when we going home?

There are too many South Africans in the UK!

So far, at least half the people I have met (both planned and randomly) have been South African! From the contacts I have been given by people back home, to the many random Afrikaans and South African accents you hear on the tube, to the receptionist at Canada Square!
Let’s hope some go for this:


Woza Ekhaya

...You can be the miracle

We live in a country with great needs, but even greater potential…. Something we should try not to forget. We should not be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges, or the distance of the road to be walked. Small things change the world. Baby footsteps will travel the distance… and we need to embrace the journey.

Never before has SA been more alive with opportunity. There is an energy in the air to work together: to build better, achieve greater and become stronger. It is the one place where every individual can write his own story, make a difference and be noticed.

South Africa is a country brimming with miracles. One of them could be you...

02 October 2007

London

I am off soon.
Plan to spend the next 6 months in London.
Will be in touch.
Watch this space.

28 September 2007

Code Red



Wednesday September 27 was a sad day for the Burmese people. Burmese troops in Rangoon opened fire on monks and their supporters, killing at least three people. As night fell, police raided Buddhist temples, arresting at least 200 monks.

For Russia and China, September 27 should be a day of shame. According to the Guardian, the two countries blocked any suggestion of global sanctions against the Burmese regime at the UN Security Council emergency session.

Actually, the two countries even tried to halt the very meeting itself. The best the Security Council could manage was a statement of concern about the violent response to demonstrations in Rangoon.

According to the Democratic Voice of Burma, the statement read “Members of the council have expressed their concern vis-à-vis the situation, and have urged restraint, especially from the government of Myanmar.”

But South Africa is none the better! In January South Africa made a decision to join China and Russia in voting against a United Nations Security Council resolution -- calling on the military junta in Burma to stop human rights abuses, including ethnic killings, rapes and forced labour. In an e-mail to the Associated Press, Archbishop Desmond Tutu called the vote on January 12th a betrayal of South Africa's "noble past." He told Business Day that the history of the struggle meant South Africa should side with people "who are victims of one of the most repressive regimes".

Yesterday, however, even China felt they had to do something in order to avoid being associated to closely with the bloodshed in Burma. According to the

Guardian, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a press conference that “China hopes all parties can exercise restraint and properly handle the situation.”

Show your support

While the Chinese statement falls short of actually telling the Burmese government that there will be consequences if they resort to violence, it is a warning to the generals that the eyes of the world are upon them now.

Ordinary people all over the world are also showing their support for the monks, nuns, students and other brave people in Burma. Friday September 28, people in many countries are wearing read shirts in support of the Burmese people.

Red is the colour of the robes of the monks protesting in Burma. It is also the colour of blood. Wear red today. If it's too late, then when you get a chance, change to something red and hope and pray that there will not be too much blood shed in Burma!
->

25 September 2007

Who is to blame?!

There is something seriously wrong with our society-
One pupil is stabbed to death, as his friend narrowly misses the same fate- others across the country are not as lucky... Three schoolgirls are tied up, and tortured by their classmates, who film their acts on cell phone.
Another schoolgirl is pushed on her back by a group of boys, her legs pushed apart as the boys urge one another to “take a look”.
And that’s all just in the past week.

How does this link up to crime, especially the violent crime that we have become so accustomed to? These ‘crimes’ mentioned above are pretty sick if you ask me- and these are not being perpetrated by hardened criminals that the police are not catching as they are supposed to; neither are they being perpetrated by criminals who suffered from trauma and psychological damage following the brief bit of violence that transition from Apartheid to democracy brought.

No. These crimes are being committed by kids from relatively privileged backgrounds-kids that have the chance to go to fairly good schools- kids that went to schools like you and me.

This can’t be blamed on the government, can’t be blamed on Apartheid, can’t be blamed on the media (or can it?!)... So who is to blame for the sad state of the youth currently? These criminals are the future lawyers, doctors and probably politicians! The future looks bleak...

Come to think of it, its probably the parents who need to shoulder the responsibility for this shit!

20 September 2007

Happy Ramadaan

Been sooo busy sorting out car issues, visa applications, new division at work, preparing for Taraweeh prayers at night, etc, etc...
So here is to a Happy Ramadaan- going to recycle a post from last year:
[CLICK HERE]

16 September 2007

Comedy Career

My short but sweet comedy career: [besides the sour bits highlighted later..]
[Due to popular demand- I have YouTube'd- see below:)]
22/07/07 Nino's @ Traderoute in Lenz with Riaad Moosa, Wayvinne Dawson and David Kibuuka!

29/07/07 Strictly Halaal with Riaad Moosa @ Civic in Jhb

17/08/07 Strictly Halaal with Riaad Moosa @ On Broadway in Cpt

19/08/07 Strictly Halaal with Riaad Moosa @ Barans in Cpt

03-04/09/07 Make Laugh Not War with Riaad Moosa, Azhar Usman, Mo Amer, Preacher Moss and Joey Rasdien @ Civic in Jhb (Mon, 2 shows on Tues)



07/09/07 Spring Time Comedy with Chris Forrest, Martin Jonas, Vittorio, David Kibuuka and Rabin Harduth @ Ghandi Hall in Lenz.

09/09/07 Cool runnings with Stuart Taylor, John Vlismas, David Kau in Melville!

15/09/07 International TV debut with Kalay Maistry on Al-Jazeera English!

see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZoRIMnppBU

Now to the sour bit. This following email was sent to a sister who just forwarded a silly email without verifying its contents. The Mufti says the sin is on her for not verifying it!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: A K Hoosen
mufti@telkomsa.net
Assalaamu alaikum
Br/Sister in Islam
Email your queries to:
mufti@telkomsa.net

Nabi SAW did not say this about azan. It is a fabrication - please verify before sending emails otherwise the sin is on you.

Abdool Kader Hoosen
-----------------------------------------


I wonder who else this advice will apply to?!? That Faizal guy [NoIslam] perhaps?! Perhaps a certain Mufti who said the show was a mockery of Islam without bothering to verify that himself!! It will definitely apply to this anonymous idiot who left this comment on my last post:

Anonymous said...

“Mockery of the Religion is Disbelief
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan
Source: Things that Nullify One's Islam …”

Anonymous- does lies and slander not nullify your Islam? Huh? Go and research that maybe.. And if you had any faith in your own words- you would stand behind them proudly- not hide behind pathetic anonymity!

05 September 2007

Thank you fans:P

I would like to thank my parents and the Academy:)
No, seriously- I would like to thank the following people:
-To all those that attended Make Laugh Not War! Thank you!
-To Dr Riaad Moosa- Thanks for an awesome show! & thanks for giving me the chance to try out!
-To Islamic Relief- Thanks for coming on board and also making this work!
-To Azhar Usman, Mo Amer & Preacher Moss- you guys rock! Thanks for the tips!
-To all my friends- thanks for giving me so much material:P
-To the Jamiat- thanks for letting the comedians speak at the Musjid and share the positive message with South African Muslims. (& thanks for lunch!)
-To Al-Jazeera- Thanks for the interview:) [p.s Watch out for me on Al-Jaz English!]
-To FaizalKnow [NoIslam] & ChannelMufti- thanks for the reverse marketing- people flocked & left feeling sorry for those silly enough to boycott!

24 August 2007

Are u joking? Laughing is Haraam!?!

I don't believe it! I thought for once the South African Muslim community can get together and laugh together, for a good cause, and at the same time break some of the myths that exist about us, as well as laughing away some of the stupidities that exist- how else to bring about change- change in thoughts and mindsets- if not by realising through comedy how stupid we have been!!

But anyways, this week, in the run up to the biggest Muslim Comedy Show that South Africa has ever seen, I have been seeing emails about why we should boycott the show! Are you serious?!

One guy sends out a khutba of an email that is soo long, and largely irrelavant to the point he is trying to back up, that I doubt anyone will waste much time reading through the whole thing- just makes you think how much he could achieve if he was constructive, rather that just being plain stupid!

And got these emails from a high ranking celebrity Mufti:

----------------------------------------
Assalaamu alaikum

It is haraam for you to advertise this mockery of Islam.

mufti@####sa.net
----------------------------------------


What?! Are you for real! Is this a another one liner fatwa, with no reasonable argument, and clearly with little knowledge of the comedy show- and you expect me to accept this!

And I saw this on Maks blog:

This is from the UK Mirror " It's not an offence to offend somebody..."

For 20 years he's (Dave John) been in the business of entertaining hip, young audiences with surreal whimsy. He's used to hecklers, habitual mobile phone-users talking through acts and awkward customers. All comedians are, it's an occupational hazard.

So, one recent Saturday night at Manchester Comedy Club, after seeing a group of 10 noisy Israeli students behaving obnoxiously he decided to nip it in the bud."Are you the Israeli students?" he asked at the start of his act. "Because there's 10 Palestinians at the box office saying you lot are occupying their seats."

Well, it made me laugh.

LOL, you have to admit the joke is pretty funny and clever for the situation... but read the whole story to get what happened after... talk about not having a sense of humour.

Click here to book NOW!

19 August 2007

Wanabe stand up comedian!!!

Been trying stand up recently. First show was in the Nino's in Lenz- on for 3 mins and people laughed. Maybe at me, but it was fine for the first time:)
Tried again at Riaad Moosa's Strictly Halaal show at the Civic- on for about 10 mins and had an awesome time- was actually having fun up there!
Now tried again, but this time in Cape Town and lasted over 15 mins!! But my jokes are Joburg and Durban specific (well, more just about me!) and I found the Cape audiences just slightly tough- they did laugh a lot though, so I guess there is still a chance I can take another crack at it..
But for now, not giving up my day job just yet;)

p.s I have recorded most of my trials- place orders for the DVD now:)
p.p.s No seriously- not selling DVD's just yet- but willing to show it to whoever wants to see! [Not giving any copies away though- you can see it on my PC!]

08 August 2007

Wanted: Scuba divers!

Anyone keen on a super long weekend away in Mozambique?!
see: Moz Scuba 05 for details on the last trip we hit...

02 August 2007

click here to book the biggest show of the year!

Tickets now open for Cape Town and Joburg! Durban will open soon. Book now or you not going to get:P And tell all your friends- Muslims and not- this is going to be awesome:)

01 August 2007

Mumia Abu-Jamal said...

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

31 July 2007

Persistence in Error is Reckless

By Hadia Mubarak

Of course the Iraqi people want us out. Not only because we’ve unjustly invaded their sovereign country, but because they don’t trust us.

24 July 2007

20/07/2007

- Happy belated birthday to Mr Mandela. 89 is a good number.

- Last week attended the F-R-E-E-D-O-M through music event with youth from Palestine and Soweto~ great show!

- People continue to protest for basic services. Scenes on TV look like Apartheid stuff! Rubber bullets, tear gas and marches to Kliptown, home of the Freedom Charter. Signs of something gone wrong? Huh? No?

- Met with big shots on ABSA Islamic Banking Sharia Advisory Board: there seems to be no hope:( All hail capitalismmmmm........

- And while the world, and this country, is getting screwed up by oppression and capitalism- I was able to make people laugh! Don't get me wrong, I loved making people laugh~ but can humour honestly be used to get some important messages out there? I wonder...

- Think I have forgotten to link this: East Africa Explore so here it is almost 1 year later!!!

17 July 2007

An idiot’s guide to camping in winter.

Based on my vast camping experiences, I feel that it is my duty to mankind, to document guidance around the winter camping experience. The following rules/tips will be invaluable to the novice camper:

1. Try to plan your camping trip more than 24 hours in advance.
2. Leave the camera tripod at home- that space can be used better.
3. Take camping chairs- at least one each- almost as important as food!
4. If the temperature is expected to be below 0 deg, do not take a tent called ‘Coral Cabin’- this model is probably designed for warmer coastal climates.
5. Draw up a proper list and make sure everyone knows what they need to buy so that you have the right quantity of food.
6. Marshmallows and nutella go well together after a braai.
7. If you taking a blow up mattress- carrying the pump will be a good idea!
8. 3 hours of chopping wood = 30 min of camp fire! Pack 2 axes...
9. All liquids left outside the tent freeze overnight- so does the river you camp next to! Pack a beanie!
10. Be sure to pack lots of excitement and a huge dose of adventure spirit.

[A tea bag that froze in the cup overnight...]

10 July 2007

Only from the heart can you touch the sky (2)

Brought forward from prior years. Yup, I am currently back in audit for a few weeks:( This is what I did last year this time: {click here}

"Conventional wisdom would have one believe that it is insane to resist this, the mightiest of empires... But what history really shows is that today's empire is tomorrow's ashes, that nothing lasts forever, and that to not resist is to acquiesce in your own oppression. The greatest form of sanity that anyone can exercise is to resist that force that is trying to repress, oppress, and fight down the human spirit." - Mumia Abu Jamal

05 July 2007

Omar from Liberia in Joburg

Omar is from Liberia. He has been in South Africa for 5 days. He finds it very cold on the streets of Johannesburg, where I met him wandering after getting off a truck from Durban. He came to South Africa on a ship, to look for work and make a good life for himself. From our brief discussion, I found that he is very intelligent.

How old are you?
I’m a cancer. Recently 23.
Cancer? You have cancer? [I know, my blonde moment!]
No, my star sign is Cancer. [Smile to himself and probably thinking, “What a goofy!”]

We discuss his country. He is from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. In the early 1800’s Liberia was colonised by the Americans, under the pretence of making it a ‘home’ for freed Afro-American slaves. In the mid-1800’s they gained independence, but the ruling class, American immigrants who referred to themselves as Americans, or Americo-Liberians, maintained a strong American influence on politics, society and culture. This explains Omars pseudo-American accent!

Liberia has recently seen some of the most devastating civil wars in modern history. The wars are over now but the country lies in ruins. Their first (and Africa’s perhaps) female president was recently voted in and, in Omar’s opinion, she has quite a HUGE job on her hands.

Go back to Liberia, I tell him. Life in South Africa is just as difficult for the poor. And it seems like that’s how its going to be for a while.

Look. The Golden Highway to Lenz is closed down coz of people protesting for basic services. Water, electricity and shelter.

02 July 2007

Another waste of time Jumah?

Ayah. 2:78 - 2:82

My respected brothers in Islam. Asalaamualaikum. These ayah I have recited all deal with interest- or the Arabic word riba. Now firstly, the word Riba is often understood to mean only interest, the type we pay to and receive from banks and other financial institutions. But Riba is much more than that. Without going into too much detail, I would like to ask the question- why?
Why does Allah wage war on the person that indulges in this sin- a sin consistent in all the Abrahamic religions. Is it because Allah does not want me to buy a house, a car, or any other item on credit or HP? I believe it is this and more. We need to understand what effect interest has on society as a whole.

The current world economy is largely based on the model of capitalism- which very simply, gives power to those that have capital- they earn interest on this capital, which remains intact, and those that don’t have continue to work and toil to pay the interest on the loans that they need to survive. Interest is the life blood of capitalism and without it, the system will not survive. It simply, makes the rich richer and poor poorer.

So on a macro level, this causes problems that need to be solved. The World Islamic Eco Forum was recently held in Malaysia. Alhumdulillah I had the privilege of attending and being able to participate in forums where this was discussed. The WIEF brings together the Muslim world to discuss important issues- the role of Muslims from non-Muslim majority countries is also important- South Africa, England and the US Muslim communities have much to offer as well.

The objective of the WIEF was an aim of “reducing poverty and closing the income gap”. The discussions were generally around strategies aimed at achieving this- through education, trade and business- looking at multi-pronged approaches to be used as methodologies to reduce poverty in the world. Emphasis was on action-oriented programmes and not to continue dwelling on theories.

As Muslims, we often look back and name all the Islamic Scientists and scholars that dot history for being forefathers of their respective fields, setting the base for even greater global progress. How is it that a civilisation that reached such great heights, now finds itself in the opposite position- an Islamic Ummah today whose countries rank among the poorest in the world? Out of 31 countries with Muslim majorities, 13 are reported to have 15% & more of their populations living under USD 1 a day. There are 1.3 billion Muslims with 70% of the worlds energy resources and minerals. Statistic after statistic will show the squalor and poverty Muslims live in- what a contrast to our proud heritage and history.

For those that are interested, you can follow the discussions of the WIEF from their website- for important discussions around youth, leadership and the Muslim businesswomen. For efforts to establish a network of young, exuberant and promising Muslim leaders from various fields of knowledge and experience, who hold a common purpose to improve the well-being of the Muslim world. And to empower and accord young Muslim leaders with the necessary leadership opportunities to take ownership of the responsibilities of the Muslim world in the near future.

I believe that initiatives like the WIEF are important, and need to continue happening to ensure that we can come up with solutions. However, economics cannot be looked at in isolation- politics, society, it’s all intertwined. But we also need to be careful- the principles of Islam, which need to be applied to economics as well- are social justice, equality, empowerment, etc. We see the World Eco Forum focusing largely on profit- hence the need for the World Social Forum. It will be a sad day if the WIEF stops striving for a just, equitable economy- and we then need to start a World Islamic Social Forum!

But coming back to South Africa, lessons for us here at home. This is of course our priority- sorting out our problems here as well. Here in South Africa where we in our recent past had a system of oppression, racial oppression. Where race dictated who benefited and who sacrificed. But we were successful in fighting this oppressive system and overcoming it. Have we really been successful? Why did we recently see the biggest public demonstration since democracy? The images on the news, with people protesting and rioting, was similar to those old images that I had seen from the days of Apartheid.

South Africa, together with Brazil, is a model of inequality. Did we, after removing the chains of oppressive Apartheid, replace them with equally oppressive chains- a country where 20% of the population controls 80% of the resources. Where we see extreme poverty side by side with extreme wealth. As Muslims, what role do we need to play. The monster is not as easily identifiable- Apartheid was clear- the lines were drawn. Today, which side of the fence do we sit on- are our economic practices oppressive?

When Apartheid was over thrown, we embraced globalisation at neck breaking speed. The systems that existed in the world had many features that we had hoped to defeat in the old SA. Does the Apartheid quality of life continue? How will we break the chains? As I recently heard a scholar ask- are we breaking the chains or just polishing them?

As Muslims, it is our obligation to fight oppression. We need to play a more active role in economic development. Concentrate on empowerment, rather than just hand outs. Have we accepted mediocrity? Our obligations in terms of charity, should not be merely discharged- we need to aim for maximum benefit from our charity. Our Zakaat, Waqfs, etc. Its not just about giving to some organisation- the organisations that exist are doing a good job- but our concern and efforts will assist them and maybe even push them further in the right direction. Give the organisations the support that they need to improve the work and results. We need to apply our minds to the problems that exist- to change mindsets.

Singapore can teach us some lessons in this regard- there I saw them running their affairs very professionally- and have made great progress. Again, it’s a mindset that we need to change. Someone like me, studied and trained as an accountant, but the dichotomy in my thought makes me think that my Islamic obligation is to give my Zakaat and Sadaqah to some organisation to utilise for their projects. But what about me looking around and trying to figure out how I can use my skills and talents to bring about change, to make lives better for those around me?

A number of other things come to mind- the environment. What stances are we taking as Muslims? This world is an amaanah to us- we need to curb our consumption, cut down on unnecessary wastage of energy, and take greater interest in recycling and other ‘green’ initiatives. These are all Islamic obligations, not just things which will make us feel good.

Social justice, economic equality, redistribution of wealth- I have thrown these words around throughout my entire lecture. I ask, lets think about this. What do there mean to me as an individual. Lets discuss there concepts around the dinner table, that we are so fortunate to have, with family and friends that we are so fortunate to have.

The following I read from a paper written in 1990 by a Sayed Iqbal Mohd. I am not sure who he is or who exactly he addressed this to. But 17 years later, it’s still very relevant:

Q. What role can Muslims play in contributing to a just socio-economic order in South Africa?
A. The first thing that must be done is role definition- what do they want to do for the upliftment of the oppressed community and how do they intend to achieve this? Short-term plans clearly defined, that is, ways in which a meaningful contribution can be made within the present system.

The basis of the Muslim entrepreneurs (businessmen, shopkeepers) must be to empower the disadvantaged, disfranchised masses. Business resources must be pooled perhaps into an investment corporation. Interest-free loans could be advanced to establish businesses or to assist existing businesses in black areas. Extended credit facilities could be another aspect of the short-term objectives.

For myself? What can I do? As an accountant, how can I justify going to work every morning- if, if my being at work means that I am indirectly assisting a system that is based on Riba, a system that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. A system that is oppressive and unjust- how can I justify my being an integral part of this. Especially if, my sole purpose of being there is so that I can amass wealth. So that I too can earn loads of cash to buy nice things, so that I can send my kids to private school.

These are things most people want and aspire for. But if all I achieve in an entire lifetime, for however long Allah lets me live, is material possessions. If my understanding of Islamic obligations is to just fulfil my obligations, how will I answer when questioned on the day of judgement about how I used this Amaanah, this education and skill Allah allowed me to gain?

I am just a cog in the wheel of this oppressive system. I think its silly to just leave though- to leave my job and then do what? How many Muslims are out there, cogs in this system? All, indirectly assisting a system of oppression. Without asking anyone to leave their jobs, can we all rethink our objectives- I will no longer be totally focused on my career, focused on amassing wealth. I will change the intention of being out there, working- I will try to see what ISLAM REQUIRES of me in my profession. How I can use my skills to bring about change in the world. To establish social justice, equality, redistribution of wealth.

If every Muslim makes this their long term objective, if we all sincerely strive for this, not that many before us don’t or have not- I speak to myself and my generation. If we begin now, we could bring about real change and make the lives of others better. Even if we don’t achieve a just and equitable economy, based on Islamic principles, we can at least die trying.


{Announcement: next meeting of Muslim Professionals is 10 July 2007 @7pm, Nana Memorial}

27 June 2007

Snow

It was really awesome driving through the snow as midnight last night. The snow falls slowly and the light catches the flakes as they float earthwards. Switching on your brights just enhances the experience. But I also caught sight of a homeless guy, wrapped in plastic, scuttling down the road, probably looking for better shelter. Snow floats downwards, settles, and forms ice. Definitely not pleasant waking up at that hour and finding slush all over your ‘bed’.

But anyways, I went home and had a great nights sleep in my warm bed. Snow is a good excuse to use for being late for work! Woke up to find that the snow had done a great job of icing up everything! But the white blanket over every thing looked cool. As I pulled out of the garage, I see a guy going for the bin, probably looking for food as he normally does every morning. Sadly, the snow had sealed the bin shut with a layer of ice. No breakfast today for this guy.

But all that aside, doesn’t it make you think. All this El Nino stuff, Mexican guy or not, should be freaking us out. Or is this not global warming. More like global cooling as some say. Perhaps we should be taking the energy conservation stuff more seriously. Before we proper screw up this planet…

**disclaimer- this picture is of me near Jerusalem last Dec. Had no pictures of me in last nights snow..**

26 June 2007

Hit & Run..


Some idiot knocked me. Hit and run. Damage not that bad, but it sucks! If you see a white bantam with metallic blue paint on his front right fender, run him off the road!

22 June 2007

A historic breakthrough in the Islamic alcohol industry...

An attempt to highlight some dangers of not adequately applying our minds.
-------------------------------------------------
A historic breakthrough in the Islamic alcohol industry was announced at a recent gathering of industry experts...

By Abu Eesa -- The innovative Islamic alcohol industry is estimated to have a potential annual turnover of 150 billion pints of beer.

This potential turnover has been growing at some 15% per annum for several years, as many Muslims grow increasingly impatient in expectation of their first halal drink.

Now, thanks to the pioneering efforts of a small group of dedicated researchers at the International Institute for Islamic Beer, Muslims across the globe can look forward to spending Friday nights in their local pub just like the kaafirs.

"For many Muslims, access to the kind of social opportunities enjoyed by non-Muslims has not been forthcoming. We believe that by allowing the average Muslim to enjoy a drink down the pub with his non-Muslim friends, a wider variety of job and business opportunities will become available. This can only be good for the Ummah" commented Yaqoob Goldstone, developer of the ground-breaking al-Beer contract.

Using al-Beer, the group of specialists demonstrated how Muslim clients will be able to enjoy their new found freedom.

The Muslim (called the "al-Muslim" in the contract documents) first makes an agreement with the bar manager (the "al-Manager") that he will lay down on the floor of the bar facing upwards with his mouth wide open.

The al-Manager then fills a specially reinforced glass with an alcoholic beverage.

One end of a string is now carefully wrapped around the reinforced glass and the other end is tied to the front door.

The al-Manager now appoints an agent, who is not connected with the al-Muslim, and requires the agent to enter the bar after all the other arrangements have been put in place.

As soon as the agent enters the bar, the string tips the glass over and empties the contents into the al-Muslim's mouth.

So how easy was it to obtain Shariah approval for the al-Beer contract? "Not too difficult", explains Goldstone.

"We asked the Sheikhs whether it is halal to wrap a string around a glass, and they said yes. We asked them is it halal to lay down on a floor, and they said yes. Then we asked them is it halal to open a door, and again they said yes it is halal."

Market commentators say that the main problem with the al-Beer contract at the moment is that the al-Muslim cannot specify which beverage he wants the al-Manager to put in the glass.

"For the al-Muslim to specify that he wants an alcoholic drink in the glass would be a contravention of Shariah, and that is haram" explains Dr. Abdul Iwanto, a well known commentator.

"On the other hand if the al-Muslim finds that an alcoholic drink accidentally spills into this mouth, then there is no sin upon him. That is the essence of the al-Beer contract."

But how many drinks can the al-Muslim reasonably have before it is no longer possible to see the arrangement as an accident?

The specialists have of course foreseen this issue and have placed a limit of six upon the number of accidents that the al-Muslim can have in any one evening.

"It's a well established fact that Muslims aren't allowed to get themselves drunk", remarks Iwanto.

Other commentators are not so impressed. At a fringe meeting outside the main conference hall, one complained that the Islamic Alcohol Industry was a contradiction in terms.

"We keep on telling them that you can't have Islamic alcoholic drinks but they just don't listen".

For his part, Goldstone believes that just as Islamic banking products have opened up a world of financial opportunities to Muslims in the last few years, so too the al-Beer contract will open up the social scene of nightclubs and pub-crawls.

He certainly is an interesting character, and seems to have the genuine interests of Islam at heart.

We look forward to seeing where his innovative product development takes us in years to come.

(
http://tyo.ca/islambank.community/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2842)

16 June 2007

16 June 2007

Hector Pieterson (1964 – 16 June 1976) became the iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising in apartheid South Africa when a news photograph of the dying Hector being carried by a fellow student, was published around the world. He was killed at the age of 12 when the police opened fire on protesting students. For years, June 16 stood as a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the Apartheid government.

Today, it is known as National Youth Day — a day on which South Africans honour young people and bring attention to their needs. Let us not forget that Apartheid that still exists. The Apartheid under which the Palestinian Hector Pietersons are being killed.

Lest we forget...

pic courtesy of peace and quite

13 June 2007

your thoughts?

Read below, excerpts from a gtalk convo. Share your thoughts. Or start a rebellion.
*also see previous post- Muslims don't help..*


C: Support the striking workers... it's a move to equality
A: slmz
support how?

C: wslm
hehe
be imaginative
or just ditch work and dance in the street
no... really i think they have a worthy cause
cause
and perhaps we should start a petition
-
south africans supporting the increase of municipal workers wage increase?
or write open letters to newspapers
or hold a friday meeting about it
when we were small they used say, when you are school your teachers are your mothers
i wouldn't wish this hell on my mother any day

Sent at 2:09 PM on Wednesday

A: i agree with most of what you have to say
i believe that perhaps more drastic action should be taken

C: like?

A: i would support and encourage them to take what is righfully theirs

C: ie?


A: my car for example- i got it mainly due to the prevailing economic situation- that should entitle someone who suffers for precisely the same reasons to be equally entitled to it
we need riots, land grabs, total social chaos
coz without that, gov will continue to suck up to big business and candy floss our capitalist economy

C: total rev, hey...hehe


A: imaams should be declaring all forms of luxury totally forbidden in Islam
and those imaams who do not, should be removed from their pulpits
luxury cars should be stoned on the road
all stores that carry goods above the affordability of the masses, should be looted and shut
Sent at 2:19 PM on Wednesday

C: i agree with the 1st part bt imaams forbidding luxury...but i also believe that it starts with us giving up our own luxuries

A: nobody will do it
they need to be forced

10 June 2007

Muslims don’t help!

Michael Anthony. Born and bred in Stanger on the east coast. Divorced about 6 years ago and now lives in the streets, making quite a bit of money, but drinking it away on a daily basis to forget his problems and drown his sorrows.

A noticeably intelligent and witty guy, able to caution a fellow volunteer for smoking and harming his body, a gift from God, in the process.
What about drinking?’, he is asked.
“Hey ekse, you don’t come choon me about harming my body. I know I have problems, I know I sin, I live on the street. I am still trying to sort out my life! But you, you are here as a man of God, a man of religion. Rather help yourself and stop smoking than come here and try to help me!”
Clearly a strong minded and sharp individual. But someone not yet ready to sort out his life and face his problems.

“Your name is Bilal. What kind of Christian name is that! That is a Muslim name. What? Are you Muslim Christian, Christian Muslim, whats your story bra?”
‘No. My name is Bilal and I am a Muslim. I am here with my Christian brothers to also try and help’
“Humphh!! Muslims don’t help!”

05 June 2007

Did Mandela say this:

What is our greatest fear?

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,

But that we are powerful beyond measure...


Should have asked him when we met [two years] ago!!
----------------------------------------
[its 03:04pm on the 05/06/07]
----------------------------------------

04 June 2007

The grape...

Why is it there? All on its own. Probably yearning for the rest of the bunch. I just don’t get it!

Not that I get the rest of airline food anyways. Don’t get me wrong- Singapore airlines the best food the skys have to offer. [Pretty good air hostesses as well :-) (read: well-trained!!) ]

But why? Who do they hire to pluck one grape at a time and drop it into the little bowl. The slice of pineapple and peach are slightly better. But the grape!

Anyways. Malaysia is an amazing place. Someone put it really nicely: a beautiful balance between Malay culture, Islam and good business. I went with expectations- I was impressed!!

*More on the Far East experience in the future.*

18 May 2007

Idiots: Nobody can Bomb Islam!!

"The most anti-Islamic site will die if it faces a frozen counter. That would happen if you just leave it alone. But if you are out there telling everyone about it and asking them to do the same, you are in effect volunteering as their publicity department."

The alert letters keep coming. Beware here is the latest anti-Islamic site. Then a URL so you can verify that it is indeed as described. Then a passionate request to tell all the Muslims in the world about it.

Sincere. Misguided. Counter-productive.

Little do the senders realize that they are actually helping the very sites they are trying to fight.

The failure is in realizing that the Internet is a very different medium and the rules that applied to the previous media do not always apply here. If there is a bad magazine or book out there, you can tell others about it. We can be sure that nobody will rush to the closest bookseller to buy it. The warning may be useful, if there was a chance that some people could have bought the book out of ignorance.

In the click-click world of the Internet, the first thing most people will do is to click on the URL, thereby increasing the hit counts and boasting the morale of the site owners. Second, it will help it with search engine placement, as some of them will use the increased curiosity traffic as a sign of popularity. You just helped create the monster you wanted to fight!

It is common sense. If you don't want people to visit a site, just don't tell them about it.

It is very easy to setup a page on the Internet. It is very difficult to draw traffic to it. The most anti-Islamic site will die if it faces a frozen counter. That would happen if you just leave it alone. But if you are out there telling everyone about it and asking them to do the same, you are in effect volunteering as their publicity department. That is exactly what they need.

If there is a well-established site (like CNN) it makes sense to launch a protest campaign. But for most of the sites the prudent course is just the opposite. Leave it alone. Let it die of neglect. A natural death. The greater the lack of attention, the faster will be the death of this would be monster.

So the next time you receive an alert letter about an anti-Islamic site, just delete it. If you respond to the sender, do not include the original text of his alert email, because even that may help some search engine ranking.

There were dozens of anti-Islamic sites that sprang up recently but died soon after because, luckily, our enthusiasts had not noticed them and had not publicized them through their alert letters. The ones that receive the alert letter mention will, unfortunately, survive and may thrive.

On the Internet, the best use of your energies is to promote the good Islamic sites. Let the good drive out the evil.

Source URL: http://www.islamfortoday.com/baig01.htm

16 May 2007

MIB

seeing that its apparently the week of arb blogs: (can we get judges & prizes?!)
I have not done this in a while- blog about something totally arb- but as technical guru for a world of bean counters, I find myself really short pressed for time. So here I make a prolific attempt to maintain the flow of verve through my blog and optimistically we will see some signs of intelligent life~!

Mib- an amazingly simple tool that some of us cannot do without. It serves its purpose well, but only with it’s compulsorily ingredient. But what makes me expound the unanticipated merits of this insignificant instrument is the surprising effect on its non-users!

Following a visit to the place of use of the Mib, a colleague, looking beleaguered in thought, trying to figure out the reason for the Mib. Forced to explain the use of the gadget, I endeavoured to do so in as simple a fashion as possible- not that such explanation could ever swoop over anyone’s head.

My simplicity and logic of my elucidation found the above mentioned colleague totally astonished- he seemed to struggle to find, deep in his cultured and enlightened self, the reason for not thinking before of something so vitally important and easy.

Just goes to show that you never know what could apparently insignificant item, or in that case event, could prove to pave the way forward for spreading some light.

*** Mib = mobile istinja bottle ***
** mobile istinja bottle = a vessel to carry water, in my case usually valprê or bon aqua **
* istinja = cleaning impurities *

10 May 2007

Inner City Incidents




Last night we almost had an orchestra- a set of drums beaten in tune with the regular guitar as well as an additional guitar, carried by its owner through the streets of the city in a kreepy krawly box, his only possession that he holds onto for dear life.
The setting, as usual, is an abandoned building, dark and smoky, due to the open fire in the centre of the room. The song is a prayer, of a form very different to which I am accustomed to, but have come to enjoy over the past year. What the bearded ones will think of my being there, I can imagine but care not.
There is goodness and sincerity in this room, of an intensity that I rarely get to witness. Together with what have become fond memories in a fairly short time.

Ebrahim is 60 years old and has been living on the streets for 11 months. He is clearly a stubborn man, especially when it comes to family politics. But regardless of what happened, we are there to try and convince those who can, to get off the streets and make a life.
Uncle Eb: Ok, I guess you are right.
Me: Of course. (I guess the cold of the night, helped my argument!) Whatever happened, your family is probably missing you now and worried about you.
Uncle Eb: I will give you the number, call my sister. Is this soup Halaal, I haven’t eaten the whole day?
Me: I don’t know, but if I was you I would eat it. (I honestly don’t care if it is Halaal or not!)

It’s a busy night, the streets are full. Mr Louw knows a Bilal in Eldo’s. What a character: so drunk so often, that he is actually quite sober and coherent now, even while drunk!

The numbers grow on the street coz of the constant inflow. Rashid is from Ghana. Came down 2 months ago on a ship with 3 others- but still no jobs, no money and no food! Dreams of gold and glitter in the ‘City of Gold’, the economic powerhouse of Africa- clearly not so glamorous after all.
My advice- I visited Ghana last year- Accra, your hometown, is a growing city.
The work I did there for a major bank indicated that there was significant economic growth. Maybe only growth of the first economy, but spill offs must create more opportunities back home than here. Back as a home that you definitely have. With friends and family and everything you know and like. That’s the best.
Accra is better than Joburg inner city!


From the past: click here

07 May 2007

Road Trip 2007

African Safari: Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia & Namibia!
**This post is currently under construction- watch this space:)**

17 April 2007

see joburg through my eyes (click here)

Bail

I sat there staring forward in disbelief. Three of them stood in the dock. It was such a surreal feeling. Somebody was speaking. I could hear words but they made no sense.

I was in the dock. Those three were me. It was me in the dock. It was everyone else in the dock. Those above me, those below me and those around me. Everybody else and me. But I stood there alone.

The words I could hear. What words are these? They were accusations. No, it was pure slander. I had done no such thing. I have committed no such sin. And most definitely, no such virtues can be ascribed to me. I am not capable of being so virtuous and good.

Why were such words being flung at me? What had I done wrong? Oh, so the words were meant for others, but for me too! How is that? How can I be responsible for the sins of others? How can I share in the rewards of the virtues of others?

Nobody told me that I am part of everyone. Everyone does not even know this. This fact which I now understand. This fact of life which I should have known.

So the problem of one is a reflection of all? But what could I do? Were my eyes open to what goes on around me? I call myself a Muslim, but I live not according to the guidebook for Muslims.

Is being a Muslim growing a beard? Or performing the 5 prayers as ritualistic as the norm. Or is it paying charity, and in doing so, at times, just appeasing my conscience? Is being a Muslim just being able to talk about what others say is Islam?

These are good but how will they help me in the dock? When I have deep love for wealth and power. When I am deeply racist and savagely materialistic. When I ignore the orphan, the widow and the wayfarer. When I say the greeting of Peace to many, but care not whether they have peace in their lives… Coz what is peace? Does a child without food, a widow without assistance, a society without knowledge and compassion, a people without sincerity; does anyone of know peace?

How did I come to the conclusion that others will understand Quran for me? That I merely need to ask others what to do and when. Why did I just accept it when I was told that Islam is a way of life? How can Islam merely be a way- a way that is followed blindly!

Islam is most definitely a way of life. It is a way of thinking. Living Islam means to use the framework established by the Quran to guide all your thoughts and actions. Not doing something, thinking it to be part of Islam, but not knowing or understanding why or what you are doing. No, that can’t be Islam.

So I step down from the dock. This dream is far from over. This experience is far from a dream. One day I will step into a dock, and after I step out of THAT dock, then only is the dream over. And the Judge of THAT dock, is Judge to whom I need to answer and prove my innocence.