I recently became aware that the shooter in Tennessee quoted one of my t-shirt slogans (“My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”) in his high school yearbook. My heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims. Islam doesn’t stand for the killing of innocents. It is antithetical to our values.
I wish he hadn’t quoted or worn any of my shirts just as I’m sure Ford wishes OJ hadn’t driven a Bronco and Kraft wishes Jim Jones hadn’t poisoned the Kool Aid. Obviously, none of these products made them do it or endorsed their actions, just as I do not endorse this heinous act.
Unfortunately, this “Muhammad” pulled the trigger. He is giving life to a stereotype that I am trying to defeat. My t-shirts raise awareness for the thousands of “Muhammads” who don’t and never would harm others, and are in fact good people, but are suspected just the same by mere virtue of their name. My work tries to combat Islamophobia, promote tolerance, and use humor to defuse tensions with our neighbors. This man’s actions, and his use of my material, go against everything I am trying to accomplish.
I am deeply saddened by these events. I appreciate the journalists who are taking the time to sort fact from fiction and giving me the opportunity to voice my position.
I pray for peace on this, the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, on what should be a day of celebration.
-Javed “HijabMan” Memon
A couple days ago, the advertisement (an article by design) shown above
appeared in countless college newspapers across America. It was put together by an organization called F.L.A.M.E. or “Facts And Logic About The Middle East”– only they specialize in demonizing Islam and Muslims.
In order to counteract the effects of hate speech and misinformation regarding our communities, I personally believe that Muslims should be proactive when it comes to engaging their neighbors. In addition to being proactive, I also believe it is important to respond simply and swiftly to articles and ads such as the one above.
HM’s Note: This post describes a situation of domestic violence.
I was just reading the latest article on AltMuslimah, where the author describes her experience with domestic violence. It reminded me of a chilling experience I had three days before we left Malaysia… I wrote this immediately after it happened for a newspaper there.
“It’s personal issue. Sorry. I appreciate you telling me.”
With a pat on the back, the guard in front of the KLCC Mall Taxi counter dismissed me, and let an abusive man walk away with his battered wife.
Just hours ago, my wife, 4 year old daughter, and I walked into an elevator lobby right below the Petronas Towers to find a man pummeling a woman’s head repeatedly. Her face was stained with bruises and tears were rolling down her face. Other people present were standing around as if nothing was happening.
I stared at him for a moment in shock before I ran outside to the restaurants near the water fountain. “HELP! A man is hitting a woman! Call the police, call the guards!”
While I was outside, my wife heard him say in Malay, that the woman was a ‘worthless wh**e’ and he had her number, if anyone wanted it.
I ran back into the elevator lobby just as the man escorted the woman into the lift. Without thinking, I stuck my hand out so that the elevator doors wouldn’t close and continued to yell, repeating,
“THIS MAN IS HITTING THIS WOMAN. CALL THE POLICE, CALL THE GUARDS.”
Note: The following is a guest post by WoodTurtle and originally appeared on her blog, where she shares experiences in Islamic feminism and modern motherhood.
“So, as I flew towards the Middle East, my mind was full of the usual 10pm buzzwords: radical extremists, fanatics, forced marriages, suicide bombers and jihad. Not much of a travel brochure.
My very first experience, though, could hardly have been more positive. I had arrived on the West Bank without a coat, as the Israeli airport authorities had kept my suitcase.
Walking around the centre of Ramallah, I was shivering, whereupon an old lady grabbed my hand.
Talking rapidly in Arabic, she took me into a house on a side street. Was I being kidnapped by a rather elderly terrorist? For several confusing minutes I watched her going through her daughter’s wardrobe until she pulled out a coat, a hat and a scarf.
I was then taken back to the street where I had been walking, given a kiss and sent warmly on my way. There had been not a single comprehensible word exchanged between us.” – Tony Blair’s Sister In Law
Yesterday I had an “uh-oh” moment. But a serious, “What am I doing?!” uh-oh moment.
The following is a guest post by KufiGirl
I finished Rosetta Stone Arabic. I didn’t speak Arabic when I started, and I don’t speak Arabic now.
Before you go “well, duh, no software program could –” let me interrupt you and say no, this is in fact the claim made by the company and by many, many reviewers. When you finish Rosetta Stone, you’re told, you’ll have – if not fluency – then at least two solid years of college-level foreign language learning under your belt. It’s not advertised as a _companion_ to a course or a book or an immersion language experience; it’s advertised as the new and best way to learn a foreign language, period. I didn’t go through it with that expectation, but I’m going to review it on those terms because that’s what people who pay for it think they’re getting.
Note: The following is a guest post by WoodTurtle, who blogs here.
A gay Muslim’s acceptance by the community or family is dependent upon many factors outside of religion. On the one hand, it may
be easier to come out in North America, Europe or Australia, where there is a larger gay support network as well as a secular culture pushing for gay acceptance. While in many Muslim countries, the practice of sex segregation has given rise to a kind of “homo-culture”
— where one’s first sexual experience is with a person of the same sex, simply because the opposite is unreachable.