This Week on teh Interwebs


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.


Christmas Trees and Fake Nasihah

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.

I usually don’t go out on the “Command the Good and Forbid the Evil” tip because too often it turns into pseudo-dogmatic judgemental drivel whose only result is driving people away from Islam. When in doubt, unless someone is telling me straight-up kufr, I shut my mouth. A lot of times, I find that people who want to give so-called nasihah are doing it for themselves and not for me. Once this person who shall remain nameless, gave my husband a lecture about how I needed to pray more. This person had seen me pray every prayer I was supposed to pray on time in this person’s presence, and yet still felt the need to give me fake nasihah on how I needed to pray. Now was that for me or for this person? This person wasn’t even talking about sunnah prayers, this person was talking about fard. If this person had said sunnah I would have been like ok whatevers and considered it nasihah. Misguided nasihah but still. One of the rules of nasihah is to be reasonably sure of what you are going to talk about. So if this person had SEEN me pray all fard, why was this person all up in my grill about fard? I think it was more for this person’s need to feel spiritually and morally superior, because why do you tell someone that if you were in a position to see them pray every day yet still felt the need to give that little precision? I call bullshit. The end result was that it pissed me off. It didn’t make me question my deen and try to be a better Muslim, it made me angry against these so called pious people who do nothing but judge other Muslims about how Muslim they should be. So when you talk about deen with people, filter it. I am not saying kiss up and bow down to the kuffar, but when in doubt, shut it, or do like NH does- say it once, nicely, and then drop it because you have done the minimum of commanding the good. That is how I roll. And if a Kabyle has enough self-restraint to drop a subject because he knows it will make people mad, that should tell you something about nasihah, because Kabyles NEVER LET ANYTHING GO. You will never find another culture more hardheaded. Talking deen with some people only raises your blood pressure. And your response can sometimes drive someone away from Islam insted of towards Islam. There is nothing I hate more in Muslims than fake nasihah. I hate it. People forget that we are accountable to God, not the Joneses. And at the end of the day, who cares, you or God, if I didn’t pray 43 times that day or do 200 subhas? It is real easy to judge someone and far harder to walk the walk. Anyways.

So my point is that I am going to have a little rant about Christmas trees and I apologize in advance if I offend any mixed families here but I just want to rant about how I roll, as I generally avoid sensitive subjects here. I ain’t judging, and I don’t consider myself holy pious enough to give advice, but this is how I do. So not advice, just complaining. If you don’t like it, carry on.

For those of you who read French, I read this article in the Bondy Blog about whether or not Muslims should be celebrating Christmas in France. It had my blood boiling, and I don’t get mad easily.

There is this family where the wife wants a Christmas tree, and the husband, in good holy pious patriarch fasion, says no. Typical sterotypical set up. The wife says (they ALWAYS DO) “Oh I’m a practicing Muslim, I pray but I want my kids to be integrated in [French] society so let’s put a Christmas tree at home.” She goes on to say, “oh but it is not religious for me, I just like the idea of family and presents.”

Then they set up the dude in the article to be this Fred Flinstone fist banging dude who says no, and the wife goes on gushing about how it is the social part of Christmas she wants her kids to be a part of. Oh come on. The best part was when the husband said, “In Islam,”I am the God of my household so what I say goes until the kids leave the house.” Audhu billah.

As a general rule, the Bondy Blog isn’t so much interesting for its articles, but for the little comment wars that go on, and the comments are hilarious knee-slappers for this article.

So here’s my rant. Aside from the fact that the article was written to set up the husband as a dumbass, when, except for the God of the House comment, he had a defendable point of view. The wife, on the other hand, was set up to be this integrative, introspective, wanting the best for her kids chick. Let’s get to my opinions regarding Christmas trees.

The short version is no, no way, no how, I will not have a Christmas tree in my house if I have kids. Yeah, I think the lights are pretty, yeah I remember having the nice pine smell in the living room growing up, but I don’t think having a Christian symbol in the privacy of my own home is a symbol of our multiculturalism. If a Muslim cannot be 100% Muslim in his own home, where can we live our Islam? So I don’t get the wife’s premise- how is a Christmas tree at home going to help my kids function in society?

I am not even going to get into the discussion about other Muslim holidays because it has already been said before- there are so many other opportunites to give gifts and connect as a family on Muslim holidays. That is a given.

BUt as far as the social aspect of Christmas is concerned, I agree that when you live in a non-Muslim society, you need to be aware of what is going on around you even if you don’t participate. NH and I have both been down the road where we had to go to office Christmas parties because they were part of working hours, or because it was understood that if you didn’t go it looked really bad. And Big Beard Police better not come up in here and say that “you just think it looks bad”- no, I can tell you stories about it getting noted down on performance reviews. That’s how the Swiss roll, they like their office Christmas parties. I know sometimes kids are forced to draw stuff at school or make pictures of Santa Claus or whatever. You can fight some of it but you can’t win every battle on the outside. There is a difference between “being aware of Christian holidays” and inviting the Christian holidays into your house. That is where I draw the line. I want my house to be a Christmas free zone because I have already spent all my Christmas capital dealing with coworkers, busy stores, stuff being closed etc etc.

I don’t have kids yet, maybe it is different or something, but I am just having trouble of following the logic that Christmas trees make children better citizens. I just get so tired of having Christmas shoved down my throat that i don’t understand when people pick Christmas to be “multicultural.” Also I am pissed off about it. My former job forced me to take a week off at Christmas because the office closes, but because of that, I had to work on Eid. I usually have to work on Eid. Both Eids. The most I ever got off of work was a half day once, except for one year when it fell in the magic Christmas-New Years window. I am not going to celebrate Christmas when I can’t even make it to the mosque for “my” holidays. Of which there are tons.

So I ain’t gonna hate for your Christmas trees if I don’t know your deal, no fake nasihah here so don’t get me wrong. I just don’t find this particular woman’s point of view particularly defendable and it made me mad.