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Feminism is not against Islam, and not all feminists are cat ladies, or why “Good Brothers” are “Nice Guys”

A lot of Muslim men recently have gone on feminist-hating binges, and it is starting to get old with me. You’re all invited to my wedding with Pablito.


A few brief  thoughts on what “good Muslim brothers” and “nice guys” have in common when it comes to getting married/laid: there is a fundamental problem with how they view women, a pathology normal women pick up subconsciously (e.g. women not being good enough, having fixed ideas on how good women should be, expecting women to be grateful for basic respect and common courtesy). Saying you honor and respect women and walking the walk are two different things, and if you aren’t making that connection, check yourself and check your intention, as being nice and giving us our rights are not “gifts” and all feminists are not man hating cat ladies ignorant of Islam or culture.

i am so very tired of people offering platitudes like how islam gives women rights, when alll you have to do is look at the ummah (prayer spaces in masajid,  men going poly or otherwise “upgrading”, how no good cheating scrubs can go to jummah with their heads held high but a woman who burns the biryani better make two rakah…and so on) to know that actually, we don’t have the place our religion has promised to us.  And the same guys saying this are usually the same ones shitting on feminism.

Yes, i do have a problem with mainstream feminism- the lack of inclusion of women of color, of trans women, of anyone that isn’t Lena Dunham. But that doesn’t mean that Islam as it is practiced today by men gives me my rights as a woman, as a Muslim woman, and it doesn’t mean that Muslim men are walking the walk of the salaf.  And it gets old. Continually.  And that is why i continue to identify as a feminist, and continue to lock out muslim men who try to shit on feminism to my face.



Why yes, I do think the French model of laïcité is bullshit and no, you won’t change my mind by insulting my intelligence

A good article in the blogosphere lately  (HT Stephanie) got me thinking again about laïcité , the form of legal Islamophobia the French want to pretend has been part of their culture and society since time immemorial.  I’m not buying what the French are selling, laïcité is a giant load of crap, and nothing anyone can ever say in defense of the subject will change my mind about how utterly horrible, misguided and wrong laïcité is as it is practiced in France.  I don’t care if you call me stupid, you should care that you are a bigot if you think laïcité is awesome and I am publicly judging you. Why don’t I like it?

1. I think it is veiled (tee hee, a hijab joke, I’m so punny) “racism” masking as Islamophobia. It’s not pc any more to say you don’t like Arabs or Black people, but you can attack the religion of some of them and still feel smug in your white mainstreamness. I’m not the only one who says this.  Laïcité now is what the “integration” arguments were in the 80s and 90s. Same discourse, but this time it is about attacking Islam.

2. A lot of people equate laïcité with being anti-hijab and anti-Islam insofar as DERP ISLAM HATES WOMEN or something. I   think people who call themselves feminists should accept that their sisters in “womanity” have different ways of practicing feminism and that just because one of your sisters doesn’t agree with you 100% of the time, you still don’t have a reason to pull her feminist card.  I think it is intellectually irresponsible to base your logical argument on either the assumption that a woman who choses to veil is misguided, or that a woman can only call herself a Muslim feminist if she doesn’t wear one.

3. Laïcité doesn’t make people more equal, the only thing equal about it is all believers are at the same level when it comes to state-enforced atheism.  Muslim women suffer under it the most but in reality anyone who chooses to practice a religion gets screwed.  Again, a lot of proponents of anti-veil discourse try to say that not having a veil means women are liberated and don’t have to listen to men any more, but they discount choices freely made by women. It is demeaning to think that everyone who wears a veil is either “misguided as to the true nature of Islam because [insert pundit here] said it wasn’t necessary” in the book you read or because her father or brother made her do it.

My favorite is when the trolls come out and say Muslims disrespect other believers as if that is a reason to sign on to laïcité .  I believe in freedom for all religions. Dude wants to wear a pasta strainer on his head? LOVE IT. My Christian friend wants to homeschool her kids? When can she teach me?  Sikh dude needs his knife? Bring it. Don’t ascribe to me feelings towards other religions.  A close second to that is being told that I haven’t read enough shite French “intellectuals” have put out to truly have the knowledge necessary to have an opinion.  I don’t need to pick up and touch a steaming pile of cow dung to know that it is, in fact, cow dung.

I’m a proponent of secularism, when it means secularism is the only way to give each religion equal footing. When I was in high school- a state-funded public high school in the state of Lousiana- our principal at the time “got saved” and decided we needed to have a moment of prayer each morning.  I would have been cool with that except for the fact that around Ramadan time, one of the sole Muslim students there (who wasn’t practicing but wanted to test what Principal Jerkwad would say) asked if he could have ten minutes out of class to pray asr.  OF COURSE NOT. But we could spend ten minutes in the morning doing Christian stuff in our public school.

The problem with French laïcité however, is that it creates inequality. You aren’t allowed to believe anything, but Christmas is still holiday, no one can touch all the ponts in May, and oh noes, not Pentecost or Assumption. Meanwhile Muslim women can’t even walk in the street, much less work or go to school.  You can twist that all you want, but Muslim women are the ones who suffer under laïcité and to maintain the fiction that laïcité  actually protects them or anyone else is foolish and dangerous.

But of course, far be it from any Muslim to say that. Any time any Muslim says anything about laïcité , it turns into an argument about how we want to create a khalifah in Europe, how we aren’t intellectually sophisticated enough to understand what laïcité  REALLY means, or that we are stuck in a victim cycle where we think everything is about us.

What is really going on is that I am absolutely tired- tired of the Caroline Fourests and the Manuel Valls of this world, tired of being treated like a demented child for choosing a religion, tired of having to constantly listen to the same old trite memes about Islam from ignorant bigots who think they are smart.


Everyday Islamophobia

Some people buried a dead pig and some pig heads on the land of a mosque being built in Solothurn. Oh, and I forgot the 120 liters pig blood they poured on it for good measure. They justified their actions saying they were worried about the “rampant Islamization” of Switzerland.

For a short English article from Swissinfo on the topic, click here.

It’s a slippery slope from every day Islamophobia like “Well *we* can’t have churches in Saudi Arabia” and “Minarets are against the Swiss way of life” to burying dead pigs on mosque grounds. I’m just saying.

I get so tired of the lame ass Swiss excuses like “well ‘these people’ need to integrate and learn the language and understand how ‘the West’ is.” Stupid Oskar Freysinger made money off Muslims then dared hold his post-minaret vote press conference in the Lausanne mosque. And that’s supposed to be ok even when it is blatant media manipulation. No one asks for minarets and supposedly *we* are the ones Islam-izing Switzerland? What, was this mosque in Solothurn a Mecca Mega Mall mosque? Did we start a popular initiative for all women to wear headscarves? What is this “Islamization?” Come on people.

And maybe people wouldn’t put all Islamophobes in the SVP basket if all Muslims weren’t in the Terrorists on Welfare basket. I feel like I have to justify my existence every day when frankly all I have done in this country is pay my taxes and keep my head down.

The worst part is that I am a convert and what I go through can’t compare to the hell someone with a “Yugo” or an “Arab” name who may identify as Muslim goes through just by virtue of being “ethnic.” So it is all fine and good that people are quick to condemn the pig attacks as an isolated incident, but remember that next time you “tut tut” at a chick walking down the street in a headscarf. Slippery slope indeed.

I’m working very hard on a project this weekend but had to blog on this. It makes me angry.


Convert Truths: Some Girls Just Don’t Get It

This post is my contribution to the Convert Truths Blog Carnival. I’m in sleepless rant mode but always try to be professional 🙂

One of the classic hallmarks of the feminist movement is that women sell each other out (for men), but men stand by Bros Before Hoes until the bitter end. Girls never, even if a man is not involved, ever miss a chance to bingo another girl. It is one of the rules of the animal kingdom. Since I converted, I have been blessed with the support of a lot of people, Muslim and non-Muslim and convert and non-Convert. And while I am lucky to count some dear converts as friends and shoulders to cry on (holla at my girls), those who have hurt me the most in my spiritual journey have been convert women. The rantings of a convert inspired me to do this blog carnival, and so I’m going to hate on converts for this post. That must make me a self-hating convert. Anyway.

As many converts know, the sisterhood when you first convert only goes so far. You get the headscarf and the translated koran and everyone has a party and loves you…until you learn enough about the deen to start becoming a threat. A man-stealing threat. Converts are fresh meat at the masjid- the men know it, the women know it. And sadly, in a lot of masajid, structures aren’t in place to actually LET PEOPLE LEARN ABOUT THE RELIGION BEFORE ENTERING INTO SOMETHING THAT IS HALF THE DEEN. They give you this fundie bullshit about how it is better to get married to avoid fornication and all that bs. So you get married and you’re neutralized, but again this is temporary. After you get married, it becomes a competition of who has the better husband. As my husband looked pretty damn good on paper (good school, good job, good looking ma sha Allah), the only way to gig me at the masjid was thus my Islam. When my marriage broke down, that opened up another set of opportunities to bingo me on how I just wasn’t Muslim enough to keep my man and “oh honey my hubby is so awesome that will never happen to us because we live for the deen.” And did I EVER get gigged. I get gigged to this day. Every day is another bingo for Teh Convert. I cannot spend a day without getting my Islam called into question, and more often than not, it is another female convert. Why? Why can’t we stick together?

I’ve told the story in this paragraph before online in several iterations, and even though it happened many years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. (Note: I’m telling this story that breaks my heart and you know some asshole is going to come up here and gig me for spreading namimah and ghibah on the teacher) I had just gotten married and was at the masjid. The masjid I went to in Paris had these come-as-you-are type lessons. A lot of times what I did was go hang out until a lesson started. On that day, a convert girl was leading a class on reciting the Koran. So I joined in because hey, you can’t stop learning right? Aside: In all of the languages I speak, I have a hard time pronouncing glottal rhotics. It’s painfully obvious in Dutch, German and Arabic. In French, I speak it well enough that I can fake out in short sentences, but extended conversation shows I am not a native speaker (also, I learned French in Canada, Rs in Canadian French are usually alveolar trills, and it drops liquid Rs in terminal positions so I have less opportunity to eff up. But a real Parisian guttural R? No can do.) Guess what happened in Koran class? Got bingoed not only on some glottal rhotics but on Al-Fatihah to boot. After ten minutes of trying to get me to say “غَيرِ” and screaming at me, she proudly informed me that 1) none of my prayers past present and future would ever be valid; 2) my husband was a bad husband for not teaching me proper Arabic (he was a Kabyle born in France for crying out loud); and 3) how can I dare call myself a Muslim if even the most basic act of worship, prayer, is ZOMGS IMPERFECT AND INCORRECT. So let’s recap: she negated my shahada, dissed my husband and CALLED IT ISLAM. Every day when I say the fatihah, do I think of God, or do I think of the mean convert girl who told me I was going to the hellfire because I can’t pronounce ghayn? Both. Good job enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, chica.

Hijab- I won’t say I “de-jabed” completely because I never wore hijab at work because I live in Switzerland. Try wearing hijab to work here when you are already an immigrant. I was worried about getting a job and contributing to the country which chose to allow me here at its discretion (had I stayed in the US…another topic for another post). But until my divorce I wore hijab outside of working hours and on weekends- e.g. if I went somewhere socially, I had hijab on. I refused to let pictures be taken of me without hijab. I de-jabed a year ago and the response was mainly positive. Except from… a couple of converts who just had to “give me nasihah” on my choice. My reasons are my own, and not worth discussing in this post because it will just stir more hijab talk. And again, masked in the convenient excuse of “enjoining the good”, I got told about my hijab. Put on blast, even. I KNOW it is safe to say that every Muslim woman on this planet has had it up to her ears with hijab talk. So these sisters coming at me when I de-jabed with their fake ass holy pious apologist discourse on the veil which everyone has heard in every iteration at least five hundred times before…just no. Stop acting like you are a better convert than me because you a) live in a country that allows you to work with hijab, or live in your own country PERIOD and aren’t an expat in Europe b) have a husband who gives you cash so you don’t have to work and can go get manis and pedis in hijab c) like you know more about the ins and outs of the entire hijab debate and can change my mind with “logic” etc etc etc. My point is, converts never treat other converts like we have made an informed decision. If we think differently from a convert, then obviously one is less deeni than the other. Converts don’t have enough confidence in our own knowledge to accept that two different points of view can either be valid or informed.

Finally, leaving my husband really brought out the haters. I choose to live a public life online. I blog under my real name. Some level of hate comes with the territory and I take it willingly. But I expect hate from trolls. Not girls who claim to be my sisters. Now is the time for my tears. Now is the time to listen to me and my experience when I warn you that your man doesn’t appear to be on the up and up. I see so many new converts get all smug when they talk to me about poor divorced Nicole ma sha Allah isn’t my hubby great, when everyone sees but them that their dude looks like he is a) playing them for papers b) playing them for money c) fucking around on the side d) potentially all of the above. And as I said in my original post, those of us dinosaurs who have been in the blogosphere five and ten years, we have seen a lot of marriages come and go. It may not have been ours, but we saw a LOT of failed Muslim marriages so when new converts come along like they have all the answers rather than watching and learning, it bothers me. And sadly, the stories are all the same and follow a series of patterns. Oh, your dude didn’t tell his parents? Oh, y’all didn’t have a big reception? Oh, he wants to wait “seven’ years for kids? Mmm kay. I already put up with your facebook updates where you mush and gush over your new man but have no idea what the next five or ten years will bring, so dont come at me with any more fake-ass nasihah about how to run a Muslim marriage until you have been married as long as I was.

I wish those of us who used to blog in the Muslim blogging heyday hadn’t deleted or hidden our blogs (myself included). I wish we could tell all these new online Muslims what we saw and read in 2005-2007. So even though New-Convert-itis has been around since there were Muslims, I feel like maybe if we had maintained that online presence just for stuff to be googled, that it would give even one newb food for thought. The whole Insta-Holy Pious way some converts go about our deen is disrespectful, it is rude and sadly symptomatic of the arrogance ignorant Muslims transmit as the so-called “pride in the superiority of our deen.” I’ve been Muslim for ten years, I was married for six. I’m so tired of getting bingoed on deen and on men by new converts who have been married and Muslim for less time than myself. I love it when they call the card of “you never stop learning” You wanna argue with me on some finer point of fiqh? Bring it on but please, I think I have wudu down by now. You wanna talk to me about hijab? I’ve been there and I’ve done that too. Niqab, abaya, you name it. You can’t tell me anything I haven’t already experienced, so don’t judge me for going sans hijab now. Muslim marriage? I know it, I lived it. I was a fucking awesome wife and incha Allah the next guy will get even better that what the last one got. Come tell me about how to run a Muslim marriage when you’ve walked in my shoes.


Kicking it old school: the Carmex Intervention Post

This post appeared on my old blog on April 27th, 2005. I was a newlywed housewife in Zurich at the time. Things have changed a lot since then, but the truisms of this post remain. Number 3 is a strange omen for the breakdown in my marriage. Anyway, man, I love me some Carmex. For more old skool fun, here is the picture that accompanied the original post:

The original photo for my original carmex intervention post

Don't let people touch your stash!

I used to know this person in college. This is the same person married to Jabba the…never mind. Anyway, he decided I was a totally, deeply flawed person and completely out of control. I was messy, I didn’t pay my bills on time, and worst of all, I was addicted to Carmex. This person, in his infinte wisdom, decided one day to HIDE MY STASH. He read somewhere or saw on tv how the feeling of dry lips was provoked by repeated applications of petroleum-based products and that if the person could get off lip balm for a while, the natural moisture balance in his or her lips would be restored.
Yeah. I’m one of those people who has the purse stash, the nightstand stash, the next to the computer stash, and the emergency-in-my-suitcase stash. I also have jars in my makeup bag, but I rarely wear makeup; I also have an emergency jar hidden at my mother-in-law’s house and my best friend who lives near my mother-in-law.
Don’t you hate those men that decide they’re going to be your hero and make you a better woman? I sure do. Actually scratch that. I like heroes, but only when they put their money where their mouth is, and to put it frankly, he had no place telling me how I paid my bills when his mom did all his “accounting”. Men are just jealous of women because we can multitask and they can’t. Anyway…So Butthole decided that he was going to get me off of Carmex. Big mistake. You see, he hadn’t figured out all of my hiding places, like the one behind the bookcase. But that’s not my point. It’s not that he wanted to get me off of Carmex that made me mad, because it was a foolish stupid idea to think I would ever leave Carmex. It’s what is foolish idea stood for–that something utterly inexpensive (Even when I splurge and buy luxury lip balms, my yearly lip balm expenditures are in the 30 dollar range per annum, including my pot-a-month of Carmex, which is less than most people spend on their hobbies like music, books and Starbucks) and, more importantly, SOMETHING THAT MADE ME HAPPY in a rather bleak life with two jobs and full-time school, was something he was going to squash out and change so that he could make me a better person, for my OWN GOOD.
So the “intervention” went down like this: I walk into my apartment and realize that the five or six random pots of carmex on various surfaces are no longer there. Butthole explains that he doesn’t want to catch me smearing that godforsaken substance on my lips anymore. I told him he needed to stop mixing barbituates and pot while we were at kicking addictions, and the throwdown began. After the “truce”, where I realized that he was too stupid to see how stupid he was, and he decided that I was a hopeless cow with a pitiful addiction, I went out for a walk. And the first thing I did was take a hit off the pot of Carmex in my pocket. Sucka.

To my unmarried sisters and brothers, what can we glean from the Carmex intervention episode? Several things, my friends. Listen up.
1. 88 cents a month (based on one pot of carmex per month from Wal Mart) is not going to keep your children from eating. Granted I probably spend two or three dollars a month. However, marijuana, alcohol, obsessive cd/book buying, a penchant for Prada, stock trading and fast cars will all deplete your checking account.
2. You don’t need to “change” people or “fix” people. People aren’t vintage cars or old apartments. People are people. And imagine how you would feel if you had someone nagging you all the time about something that isn’t worth it when you think about life, death and the universe. Flip the situation and ask yourself if you would want to be treated the same.
3. People have hiding places; whether or not we use them is a product of many factors. It could be a hidden email or bank account, a carmex stash, a cafe or bar that nobody knows about, or even a random fantasy or daydream. And if you aggravate us enough about something, we’ll just do it behind your back (obviously un-Islamic but hey), thus assuring a trust and honesty breakdown on both sides.

Also, the Carmex intervention was one of the many contributing factors in my first shahada. Why? Because I decided at that point that it was my life and I was going to do things my way, including religion, which up until that point was a product of pleasing other people besides myself. And I didn’t want someone so petty around that couldn’t handle something that frankly didn’t bother anyone. Don’t let anyone take your Carmex, people. It’s just freekin lip balm. If people are going to get all uptight about that, imagine how they’ll get about other stuff, like fires, miscarriages, floods, unemployment or bankruptcy. Someone tore up over lip balm obviously never said Alhamdoulillah that their life was so easy this was all they had to be upset about.


Friendly reminder on LGBT issues and LGBT Muslims

As a friendly reminder- I will not tolerate any negative comments that go beyond polite discussion on LGBT issues and especially LGBT Muslim issues in any of the fora in which I participate, be it here, Twitter or FB or on my other blogs. I judge you in private. And now in public.

To rehash something I have already said in a private forum, My position on LGBT Muslims is simple, I want them to identify as Muslim. I don’t particularly care who they sleep with. Islam teaches me that other people’s sex lives aren’t my biznass. I’m tired of jobless no-good, welfare-cheating, multiple-wife-beating ignorant scrubs (all also “forbidden” in Islam) being able to hold their head up high at jummah and dirty MY religion by being called a good brother when we, as a community, don’t have any more answers for LGBT Muslims other than “ZOMGS teh Islamz sez being gay is HARAAAAAAAAAAM.” I’m over it. It’s the same head-up-the-ass type of philosophy that people apply to

-Muslims engaging in politics or political activism (ZOMGS teh Islamz says No Politics Without Khalifah don’t talk to TEH KUFFAR)

-Muslims engaging in interfaith dialogue (ZOMGS teh Islamz is the final monotheistic religion, talking to TEH KUFFAR makes us TEH KUFFAR ASTARGHFIRULLAH)

-Muslims glossing over Domestic Violence issues in the community: “in Islam our Prophet Salla Allahou Alaihi wa Sallam was the best of examples, so all your husband needs to do to stop beating you is follow the religion. Have some sabr sister (and lose weight/stop nagging/clean more/cook better so that he will stop beating you), but DON’T go to counseling or a mental health professional or a DV shelter or anything because teh Islamz says that is HARAAAAAM.”

I don’t care whether you believe being LGBT is a choice or not a choice. It’s about recognizing the fact that LGBT Muslims EXIST, have a right to exist as members of humanity, and recognizing that our ummah has to do better to make sure all Muslims are in the fold. And by in the fold, I don’t mean “on the haqq.” In the fold means “Islam is for everyone.” We do not have an exclusive right on Islam, and it is poor dawah to think otherwise. And very, very very few of us are specialists in doctrine. I don’t want any of you assholes to go google Bukhari or something, I can do that myself. We, as simple Muslims, are not here to decide who is and isn’t burning in the hellfire. The stuff we learn about the religion is first to be applied to ourselves, but sadly people we Muslims never check ourselves and instead go and google Bukhari to spread namimah and be all Judgy McJudgerson.

What’s my final point? Sticking our heads up our collective asses as an ummah is why Islam and Muslims have a major PR problem. There’s a way to “enjoin the good and forbid the evil” without being a bigoted, close-minded asshole. What breaks my heart the most is that LGBT people of Muslim culture usually just wind up not being Muslim any more and LGBT people not from Muslim backgrounds have absolutely no reason to convert given the current state of affairs. Our goal as Muslims, as a I have said countless times before, is threefold: 1) check our own Islam; 2) make the Muslims around us happy to be Muslim and treat them in the way Islam tells us to do (regardless of their supposed “shortcomings’); 3) make people around us who aren’t Muslim think Islam is pretty cool by being examples of human deceny, kindness and fair treatment. We are failing BIG TIME on all three as an ummah.


Some people just don’t get it

Had a conversation this weekend with a Muslim friend of mine who means a lot to me. We disagree a lot on Islam, however, and our latest conversation was no exception.

“Yeah so I met this brother the other day and he was going on and on about how he bought an apartment for his mom and he is bringing her down for Ramadan so I thought he was a good brother, right? Then I saw him having champagne at a office party and I was like, soooo hurt. And he always acts like he doesn’t want to hang out with us, he never comes to jummah with the crew. ”

Well maybe he is a good brother, I said. Maybe he has a little weakness for the sauce (been there). Look at all the stuff he is doing for his mom. He can’t be all bad, I argued.

“Well where is the logic in drinking champagne and then going on and on about Ramadan?” Friend asked.

I wanted to cut the conversation short because we had been down this road before (whereby I pull out my “judgemental Muslims who live in glass houses really fucking piss me off” card) and politely asked to change the subject.

Friend wouldn’t let go. Said, “No, before we stop the conversation, what is the logic of someone who does Ramadan but drinks?”

OH. HELLZ. TO. THE. NO. Let’s go:

1. What is the logic of some asshole who beats his wife or cheats on her but goes to jummah every Friday? The brothers at the masjid probably think he is a mighty fine brother because he never misses a week. Look at homie, he does all five prayers and doesn’t drink, ma sha Allah! I’m supposed to give him a cookie for that? I mean, I’m just saying. It’s not like being booze-free=holy pious.

2. RAMADAN IS A PILLAR OF ISLAM. That means it is incumbent upon all responsible Muslims. That means NO EXCUSES. Alcoholics don’t get a free pass out of Ramadan. So I am going to go down the road of thinking that this champagne drinking-dude said his shahada and he is doing his Ramadan like people are supposed to. So tell me, holy pious dude, is our drinking buddy not supposed to do Ramadan or pray because he drinks? Astarghfirullah. And yes, I know the hadith about the prayers not being accepted if alcohol is in the stomach or the person is intoxicated but are you still telling me that you would tell a Muslim not to PRAY? Are you effing kidding me?

3. One of our goals as Muslims is to make other people wanna be Muslim and make other Muslims happy to be Muslim (see: dawah.) I don’t know how you can give dawah to someone when you are being all Hypocrite Judgy McJudgerson. What problems do you have in your black, black heart which only Allah swt sees and are far more toxic than a glass of bubbly? And you know what? Champagne dude is probably feeling the judgement which is why he doesn’t want to hang out with the Muslims.

In my limited experience (still a good ten years) as a Muslim, I have seen more people turned away from Islam due to hypocrisy and judgemental behavior on the part of the Muslims that were supposed to love and protect them and form their communities. I know a sister born into a Muslim family with practicing parents. She goes to the mosque one Eid as a teenager and the Holy Pious Police start bitching about her hijab, about how she prays, about bacon or skittles or who knows what and guess what? Sister has never been back. I don’t know if she even identifies as a Muslim any more. High five to the peanut gallery at the mosque for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. People are responsible for their own religious choices, I’ve been through a messy situation with the Muslims in my personal life and I chose to stay where others would have left, but that is my point: being one of the causes for turning someone against Islam rather than bringing that person to Islam is SERIOUS BUSINESS on the Day of Judgement y’all. Don’t forget it. That is why the Prophet (saw) enjoined Muslims to be on their best behavior. And isn’t it sad that, again in my ten years as a Muslim, the biggest assholes with the blackest hearts I have met were the ones who were prayer police, hijab police and pig police. The Muslims with the biggest hearts were ones who the Holy Pious Crew would judge for drinking, no hijab, having a boyfriend, whatever. I, like most people, follow the philosophy of “Do as I say not as I do” doesn’t even work for kids, and if you aren’t walking the walk, STFU. I don’t want to hear someone talk to me about how champagne is bad when I know for damn well he has a couple girlfriends on the side. There are very, very, very few people (I can count about five, and two of them are Imams) I allow to give me “constructive criticism” in deen.

So what would I have done had I seen the brother drinking champagne? I would have gone and talked to him, given him a big salam, and invited him and his momma over for dinner. If he made some excuses about his beverage, I would have just said, “I gave you my salams, what you do is between you and God, and if you ever wanna talk deen, I’m here. And in the meantime, come over for iftar.”


Love should always be blind

This is the stuff i think about when i get my hair did. The loss of the mullet is freeing my mind. Or something.

In Islam, there’s the old adage about making 70 excuses for people. This could mean seeing someone do something stupid and thinking there must be a reason, or forgiving someone who said something that hurt you and writing it off as that person being in a bad mood. Above all, it means assuming the best about people we deal with. Which I don’t always manage to do. As such, I have this ongoing discussion/debate with my shrink about whether or not I am a judgmental bitch. I probably am, but I pretended for years I wasn’t and that something patently had to be wrong about whoever made me mad. What I did realize, however, is that I love a lot of people -family, friends and lovers- in a ferocious, fierce kind of way. And when I “fall out of love” my désenchantement is nasty and violent. I don’t like that side of me.

There was a podcast a few years back by Hamza Yusuf about keeping mad love for those you dealt with. One of the directions he went in was that making seventy excuses for people means not falling out of love. And falling out of love happens every day. I so quickly became désenchantée if I’m not careful. I want to try harder, do better, be a better friend- and a better Muslim. Wouldn’t it be great anyway to always think the best of people? Naïve, maybe, but using much less emotional capital than thinking everyone is an asshole.

What happened to making excuses for people? My new plan is to try going through life thinking everyone is totally awesome, or at least thinking that the people who count for me are totally awesome. To love the people I consider close like I just met them and have fallen madly in love. Blindly so. And to stop myself before I get désenchantée

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Sex and Betrayal

Many years ago, prior to my conversion to Islam, I had a “relationship” with an aspiring writer (who, might I add, is still “aspiring”). Every few years since, the Aspiring Writer has attempted to revist/recreate what happened between us in what I can only assume is an utter lack of inspiration in his current life. His creative flights of fancy took the form of poems, short stories, and even podcasts. All talking about ME, the things we did together, and what he thought of as “us.” With each new episode, I was (and am still, as he continues to use me as a source of inspiration) enraged. I feel betrayed, used and completely misunderstood as I never dared go after my “droit de réponse” in public. Maybe this is my “droit de réponse.” Strangely, I always had a hard time explaining exactly why he made me so mad until I read an article on Feministe last night and discussed it with a dear friend in Paris. The Feministe article isn’t about sex per se, I think she is getting more to the point of being body-conscious, with maybe a side dig at evangelical Christianity. And I think it is well written (obviously so if I chose to blog about it). But the passage about her sexual encounter with her Mormon bf and his inability to put on a condom made me feel the same way the aspiring writer makes me feel: Sex is the no-share frontier for me.

I overshare a LOT on line, I tweet what I had for breakfast, but I cannot and will not talk about who I may or may not have had sex with. Sex is something so intimate and personal, there are details that (threesomes and orgies aside, *snort*) rightfully are only known to two people. And that includes one-night-stands as much as long-term relationships. I don’t want to share how good (or bad) someone was in bed

What does Islam have to say about “teh overshare?” First off, the slate of converts like me is wiped clean at conversion. Which means, in principle, that what I did before I converted is no longer relevant to my current life as a Muslimah. That is a debatable point of view in that our experiences shape us, whether within the shade of Islam or not, but whatever. Then you have the “good brothers” who say that “blushing Muslimahs” should be pious and shy about anything that the Hislam patriarchy thinks we shouldn’t talk about. But as a convert who truly believes that I had a series of principles before I came to Islam and those principles have stayed with me and are in line with Islamic belief (which is why I converted), sex has always been about me and my chosen partner. I have major issues with people who use sex as art, or who delight in regaling teh interwebs with tales of their bedroom exploits. My cases of overshare have always been in private with close friends, and God knows I have tried not to name names. What’s the point? In most cases, past is past, so why live in it? And if it isn’t the past, why does the world need to know about your current relationship? If sex isn’t private, what is precious and secret in this world? That doesn’t mean be a big prude in bed. That means don’t let anyone know what your game is. I could be a big prude, I could not be a big prude, but since I now take the precaution of not sleeping with bigmouths, no one will ever have to know.

Not talking about my sex life isn’t about me being a “blushing Muslimah”, selling out to Hislam, not being body-conscious or trying to hold on to my history for myself (which is what the Aspiring Writer accuses me of). It is respect for my past, respect for my partner(s) and respect for myself.

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Fadela Amara makes selling out an art form

…and she gets extra points for selling out the global sisterhood. Leave it to a woman to shove the knife in deeper another woman’s back.

This is part of my installment of old posts from 2008 and early 2009 which I have chosen to republish. Some links may be dead and I will try to fix them as I go. This particular post was written during the European elections fiasco when Rachida Dati wound up leaving the government and so on.

Now I am not a fan of Rama Yade, I question the sanity of anyone who chooses of their own free will to be part of the UMP and join a government led by Nicolas Sarkozy but whatevers, we all have ambition, right?

What I am not down with is the fact that Rama Yade is now getting thrown under the bus big time. So is Rachida Dati, but I have slightly less sympathy for her because I think Rachida truly harbors facist sentiment (whereas I think Rama Yade is just ambitious and would be doing the same stuff if the PS ever got its butt in gear and was in power) but that is another story for another time. Back to my girl Rama Yade. Poor Rama fell out of favor with King Nicolas 1er because she didn’t run for European elections, and as such he decreed that all people who give interviews should take turns throwing her under the bus. First was our friend Bernard Kouchner (don’t get me started on that hot mess) who, while at the same time is her mentor in the goverment, questioned why Rama Yade’s position as a cabinet post existed in the first place. Good job, Dr Death. Then some dumbass random rich old dude politician who no one would have ever heard of had he not said some truly sexist, bigoted bullshit (and because he does not deserve the publicity I will NOT link to his name)about how King Nick put Rama Yade in the government and hoped to “get a return on his investment.” Um, women in government is not the stock market. Anyways. Then Fadela Amara had to open her Straight Talk Express where it wasn’t necessary or helpful, and said that Rama Yade should have taken King Nick’s benevolent advice and golly gee, minority women have to take all the chances they can get to take on extra responsibility and gain exposure and blah blah blah and oh how she wishes that when she was in the PS that someone would have given her the chance to run for office.

Gag me with a spoon. Now Rama Yade evidently declined to stand for European elections because she felt she couldn’t give her 100% to either mandate, which pissed off King Nick. Here’s my take- there’s no such thing as a disinterested gift. I think Rama Yade was going to get thrown under the bus by Sarkogoebbels no matter what and she called his bluff on the election thing. And anyway, her excuse is a good one- I am so freakin tired of French and Swiss politicians collecting mandates, they can never do their freakin jobs. I personally think being a cabinet minister can be a full time job.

As for Ms. Amara, did she ever stop to think for just one second that sometimes shutting up is best for everyone? Or is she jockeying for position as the Head Token Minority in the governemnt now because Rachida Dati is out and she thought she could get Rama Yade while she was down? Is she trying to take the heat off the fact that Sarko himself had a cranky moment about how Fadela’s project is like a year behind? I mean, let’s admit for a moment that there are truisms to what Ms. Amara is saying- it is harder for minorities to get into government, but it is almost like she is saying they should be “grateful” to be there when she goes on about how she would love to have that kind of opportunity. Then there’s the age-old problem of women selling out women. There is no such thing as bros before hos with girls.

The only person to stand up for Ms. Yade, and rightfully so, was a surprisingly-sane-for-a-UMP member, a chick named Francoise Hostalier. She straight up went on the radio and to newspapers and said cash, “WTF, why y’all throwing Rama Yade under the bus?” Ok so she didn’t say WTF but she completely spelled it out like that and said it was straight-up SHAMEFUL. Dude if I lived in the 59 I would vote for her. Way to go Fadela, let Francoise Hostalier show you how you take care of your colleagues. BTW Francoise Hostelier got a link because she was the only one not talking BS.