A Death

It is usually never a good thing when you get a telephone call at five in the morning. So when the phone rang at that time and I started to answer the phone my wife instructed me not to answer the phone. When I asked her why she said “ it is my mother and I know if she is calling me at this time it can only be one thing and I don’t want to know.” She said this referring to her ailing grandmother, who raised her as my grandparents raised me, in her mind there was no doubt that the phone call was meant to give her the news of her grandmothers death.

I decided to pick up the phone anyway and hand it to her and it was her brother who was calling to tell her that her fears had come true.

Her grandmother was born in a rural area of Puerto Rico and was the oldest daughter out of eleven kids. At about the age of eight she began caring for several of her younger siblings and never went any farther in school and never had a childhood. She would work hard taking care of her younger brothers and sisters, and the sick elderly people in the family, until she got married in her early-twenties and moved to Bayamon (a suburb of San Juan) like hundreds of thousands of rural Boricuas who came to the city for the promise of jobs and a better life. Just like in America, when millions of southern blacks flooded the Northern cities in the early and mid 20th century, the rural peasants soon found that they had left sub-standard housing and backbreaking work in the country for life in a dangerous, crowded and noisy urban ghetto.

Living in Bayamon she gave birth to 4 kids, and raised one other, and she didn’t move to New York until she was in her late fifties and never learned English. Like so many other older Latinos in America my wife’s grandparents went to Spanish-speaking churches, watched Spanish TV, and while their bodies were in Brooklyn their hearts were in Puerto Rico. As a child my wife had to translate for her grandparents to the bill collectors and the doctors, telephone companies, and utility companies. They didn’t get out much, and that was part of the problem with their health, because they lived in the Albany Projects in Crown Heights Brooklyn and were terrified to go out at night and only nominally confident to go out in the daytime.

The Grandmother would sit in her small apartment and watch Spanish TV and read the Bible with five locks on the door and hear the gunshots, drug feuds, police sirens, loud music, and lovers quarrels and that was all the America she ever got to see. Well, not all the America; she did have a front row seat to the infamous Crown Heights Riot between African-Americans and Hasidic Jews. But, for old people like her, who have no money and live in bad neighborhoods the last days are usually harsh unless you have family that will help you out and that is only so good. My mother-in-law did help her towards the end; but she moved from one projects to another (from bad to worse) and lost the ability to walk because she never walked (use it or lose it) and she just slowly died away.

In her last days, before she lost consciousness, she found solace in reading the Bible and religious tracts. Like a growing number of people in Latin America she had rejected the Catholic Church and become a born-again Christian (Pentecostal) and she will be buried besides her husband, a tough but gentle old-school Puerto Rican man, in New Jersey ( in New York even the commute to the cemetery is long).

Night at the Hospital

I hate hospitals and going to them for any reason but yesterday I was encouraged to do so by a few different people. I knew I had a hernia and I could see and feel the bulge (or whatever it is) in my stomach; but I didn’t take it that’s serious. However, I visited my local pizzeria, a classic New York joint, and talked to Joe the old Italian guy behind the counter who had just had a heart attack four days ago but was already back at work because he said staying at home drives him crazy.

After telling Joe about my stomach he wouldn’t shut up and went on and on about me having to get it checked out and then admonished me for my diet of pizza, Philly cheesesteaks, strombolis and the like, which of course I buy from him. After leaving there I called my grandmother and nothing gets her excited more than any hint of sickness or ailments and then my wife and they both I agreed I should have it checked out so I went to Wyckoff Hospital in Brooklyn.

Wyckoff is like most inner-city hospitals in that it is a third-world operation. It is crowded, dirty, unorganized and is manned by staff who just kind of leisurely stroll around and don’t get excited about anything and are not in a hurry to serve anyone. After waiting a few hours and being rudely interviewed and checked on by a gay Asian nurse I sat in the waiting room for three hours as Puerto Rican teen mothers sat with their unruly kids and baby-daddies ( all black btw), transvestites, a woman telling how she puts vegetable oil in her car engine, and a guy telling how his uncle works at the post office but gets a social security check in a dead guys name, so I couldn’t wait to be seen and get the hell out of there.

When I got in the back it was crowded and police officers were hovering over someone who had been assaulted trying to get info on the attackers while I sat next to a young gang-banger who was threatening to shoot up the place unless he got some attention. On the other side of me an elderly Puerto Rican woman was having some religious tracts read to her by her daughter.

I got a bed, and because my name is Lee, was sent a Chinese female doctor to see me, and she was rude and nasty and abruptly walked away without saying anything when she found out I wasn’t Chinese.

So, it was going bad; but then I was sent two residents, one a Muslim woman from India and another a young man from Vietnam and both had did their med school in the Caribbean island of Dominica, and they were very friendly and nice and talked to me until the regular doctor came, a guy from India, and he confirmed I had a hernia and gave me an appointment with the surgical clinic on June 30th. Hopefully two years from now those two residents will be that warm and friendly.

The White Masjid of the Future

An African-American Muslim brother recently told me that Islam would be a true success in America when we have mostly white masjids in cities throughout America like we have predominantly African-American masjids in every sizeable American city (and several in many). The brother constructed a vision of the white masjid in his mind as being one in the suburbs with a golf course and akin to a megachurch and I have a different vision. Given the demographics of the white people who come to Islam and those descendants of immigrant Muslims who mix with white Muslims I see the white masjid as being an urban masjid more like a Reformed Jewish Synagogue or an Episcopalian Church. So here is my vision,

-The Imam has a degree from al-Azhar and an English Litterateur Degree from a liberal arts college and you can still see the whole in his ear from where the ring was. In his khutbah he often references things such as butterflies, rainbows and waterfalls and kind of sounds like Garrison Keeler.

-Jummahu and prayers start on time and anyone late will miss out and once the building reaches its capacity, as set by the fire marshals, no one will be allowed to enter by the sisters guarding the door. Carpooling to the masjid will be encouraged and there will be bike paths leading to the masjid.

-Low-fat and low-calorie Ramadan iftar dinners will be served. You will be able to sign up for an Atkins compliant, South Beach compliant, and veggie compliant dish.

-Fundraisers will include bake sales, craft shows, and canoe trips.

-The imam will be an employee of the female dominated shura.

-The masjid will have sports teams for the youth but they will all be non-contact and low-risk sports and helmets and padding will be required for bike riding on masjid premises.

-The masjid will be a public polling place for elections.

-The masjid will host community events such as neighborhood association meetings, Red Cross events, fundraisers, interfaith events and self-help seminars.
-There will be a Muslim therapist on staff.

Responding to Extremism, Taylor and DR. Paul, and Tough Karl Rove

A lot of people have told me over the last few days that I should have just let Suhaib Jobst be and we should just leave people like that alone and I can respect that opinion but I take a different one. It is important that we as Muslims stand on the frontlines in condemning extremism in our own community. This is not done to appease some non-Muslims who are never going to be appeased no matter what you do; but to encourage what is good and forbid the evil as we are commanded. This also must be done so that the youth will not be led astray by the likes of Jobst and others. If the likes of Jobst, others in America, and the legions of Muslim lunatics in Britain, are followed the youth will be thrown into destruction by going to killing people, being killed and going to prison. Many Muslim families have already been destroyed because of things of this nature and it is important that when we have a chance that we confront this. Not talking about it will not make the problem go away.

Liberia Documentary and DR. KA Paul
For those of you who have not had the opportunity to see the documentary film Liberia: An Uncivil War I highly recommend it. It shows frontline, of there are lines, footage of the fighting in Liberia which includes acts of looting, torture and cannibalism. The film also addresses the historic kinship between Liberians and Americans and the process that led to then President Charles Taylor leaving the country for Nigeria where he was arrested this year to stand trial for crimes against humanity. The US prosecutor handling the case said that Taylor had links to al-Qadea , Hamas and Hezbollah and there is very little evidence to support that although it is well known that Arabs are prominent in the illegal West African diamond industry and that they sell their diamonds to Jewish diamond dealers more often than not. What the American prosecutor did not mention, perhaps for political reasons, is that the biggest supporters for the born-again Taylor is the Christian-right in America and most notably Pat Robertson who was intimately connected to Taylor. As Taylor left the county he was accompanied by DR. KA Paul an India Christian minister who is said to be the “Billy Graham of Africa” and who is featured regularly on American Evangelical programming. I first came to know Paul when he was bilking Evander Holyfield out of money and campaigned to have Holyfields boxing license reinstated after Chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission Ron Scott Stevens revoked his license after a humiliating defeat to Larry Donald. How a man of the cloth could put the life on the boxing legend on the line by prolonging his career is unconscionable. This story from the Dallas Observer sheds some light on Paul.

Karl Rove Talking Tough
Karl Rove is talking tough on Iraq, big deal! He is talking tough just like David Brooks, William Kristal, Richard Perle, Rich Lowry and the rest of these guys; but can you imagine any of them actually fighting? I mean not even in the military but could you picture any of these guys in a fistfight? Can you think of any group of men that is softer? At least Kerry can windsurf, Rove and Lowry are too soft to play even a wimpy sport like lacrosse. Could you imagine them walking the streets of New York or DC late at night, much less Baghdad or Tikrit? Then again maybe these guys could have been in the army choir or something.

PS You Have to Play D
For all the English football fans; what a poor way to end that match. Talk about giving a win away.

Al-Maghrib, Alshareef and Depression

Over the weekend I was able to attend some ( but not all) of the class on Rizq Management taught by Muhammad alshareef of the Al-Maghrib Institute. Alshareef and al-Maghrib represent a new generation of Islamic dawah in America. He comes from a Salafi background and from a fiqh and aqeedah standpoint teaches from that perspective; but he does this in a very contemporary way and his talks are full of a kind of Canadian sense of humor and real life examples. This is important because most Islamic classes are taught in the abstract but are not related to the lives of the believers but alshareef teaches you the knowledge and then relates it to the present time and our daily lives.

The attendees also represent a new generation of American-Islam. The majority of those attending are second-generation Muslims with origins in India and Pakistan with a sprinkling of Arabs and American converts. As the crowd is very American the presentation is very American and geared to a modern and educated crowd and unlike most Muslim gatherings in America there are very few sounds of heavily accented English in the room. Rules are also strictly enforced and anyone late to class will have to sit out the session ( so it is not running on CPT or Middle-eastern time).

This type of dawah, represented by Muhammad alshareef and Yasir Qadhi, is very important for the educated and middle to upper-class Muslims who have often felt alienated by the unprofessionalism and backwardness of the community. Another example of this perhaps is the al-Zaytuna Institute which basically teaches the same kind of courses but comes from a different fiqh perspective ( madhabist).

However, I do not believe al-Maghrib is for everyone, and nor does it have to be to be ( it is already a huge success). It caters to a specific group and that is young professionals and college students and some older professionals who are interested in knowing more about the deen. It is not for the entire community because of the fact that it has such steep fees for the courses. To the attendees of the courses, most all coming from financially stable and prosperous homes, the fees are insignificant; but to many in the community they represent a barrier.

Alshareef said that if people had the choice to get a free CD and one that costs one-hundred dollars, and both CD’s contained the same thing, then most people would choose the pricey one. I am not saying he is wrong on this, but we move in different crowds and have a different perspective, because my friends and family would choose the free one 100% of the time. Yet when he says something like that in a room full of children of doctors and engineers it makes sense. The better argument is this; if you are going to expect prosessional full-time Islamic workers should they not be paid a professional salary and this salary comes from the fees from courses and the sales of merhcandise.

Over all I have to recommend this classes to anyone who can afford them. Some of the exercises are corny; but the knowledge you get from the brothers more than make up for any of the shortcomings.

Two gems from Muhammad al-Sharieff;

“Those who have a negative attitude towards wealth will find a way to sabotage their wealth” and I have seen this happen many times.

“Many Muslims are depressed because they live two lives. One life when they are in here with Muslims and the other life they lead when they walk out of the door.” This is something we can all relate to but is seldom talked about.

On the depression issue I went a long time thinking it was just me who led that double life of being with the Muslims and then when I am separated from the community I don’t know how to act or am forced to act and speak in a different manner. That is why many of us tried to inbed ourselves deep into the Muslim community so that we did not have to interact with that many non-Muslims.

Over the long-haul this is impossible since we are a tiny-minority in this country and many of us come from non-Muslim families. Therefore, we are forced to deal with people in a different manner then what we believe is right, because it is the only way we feel we can survive. After years, and especially due to the current political climate, many Muslims living this double life have become depressed and many have left the Muslim community or become fanaticized within the community ( a case against reverse-hijrah?). It has driven others to drug and alcohol addiction, and yes those are real issues in the community especially amongst alienated and isolated converts.

A brother recently told me that he drives around all night in his car by himself because he feels he has no home anywhere and no one he can talk to that will relate to him and I know the feeling. Over the years I have found that unless you are wiling to get down with someones program in the Muslim community and be an absolute flunkie then you will be ostracized and since Muslims have no one to run to but the community isolation in our own community can be painful and lead to depression.

Other Weekend Notes;
-Whats up with all the bleached-blonde Korean and Japanesse soccer players at the World Cup? Maybe they can make friends with all the Iranians, including emasculated males, who are getting nose jobs because they dont like the way they were created and want to look more Western.

-You cannot get a good donut in NYC and I am a donut lover. Eating Dunkin Donuts is like chewing on plastic and those who donot know anything but Dunkin Donuts, have never had a good donut.

-I scored the Jermain Taylor-Winky Wright fight 115-113 for Taylor and it was a draw on the judges scorecards. It was a great fight, maybe the fight of the year, and there needs to be a rematch.

Religous Policeman on Saudi Racism

I am linking to an excellent piece from an excellent blog about the mistreatment of workers and racism in Saudi Arabia and this is from 10-05. Because the brother is so thorough on the topic and lives in Saudi Arabia there is very little that I can add to the topic but I will relate a few stories about Saudi Arabia.

A good friend of mine was a student at the Islamic University of Medina and left the school to go and do some things in Riyadh and he decided to do an experiment. Because he is a Latino he has a look that could pass for a lot of things in the Middle-east and one day he went out dressed as a Pakistani and gave the greetings to Saudis and they didn’t’t return his greeting. He went on to do this with a few different styles of clothing and still got no greeting from the Saudis until he put on the traditional Saudi garb at which point he got the greeting from everyone.

Another friend of mine, a Palestinian, told me that at his school in the KSA non-Saudi boys were raped and that they were beaten by Saudi boys and if they tried to fight back they would be punished by the schools who would take the side of the Saudi.

The brother in his article also mentions the aspect of house cleaning that many Saudi do not even know how to do simple household chores anymore because they are entirely dependent on their maids ( maybe slaves is a better term). I can attest to this because in the 1990’s I interacted with many Saudi students in the US and most of their homes were absolutely filthy and the brothers explained to me that their wives were used to having maids cook and clean for them and were not used to having to do the work themselves so they lived in squalor in suburban condos. On a seperate note in my opinion most people who have maids are just too damn lazy to clean up after their own mess and no matter how much money I get I will never hire a maid.

I am not a big Saudi basher, even though I know that there is rampant racism in the kingdom, insane tribalism, wild government corruption, and a sexual abuse epidemic, and I should be a big Saudi critic. Perhaps the reason for me not wanting to attack the situation in the KSA is due to the fact that I have known so many pious Saudi brothers over the years, was educated by Saudis, admired many of the ulema of the KSA, and have friends of mine who have made hijrah there and love it ( and there are many Muslim attackers of the KSA who are admirers of the corrupt and incompetent Uthmani Khilafah that drove the ummah into the ground). But, there are very serious issues in the KSA that need to be addressed and this brother does a good job of exposing them.

Night at the Fights

Madison Square Garden is known as the Mecca of Boxing. This title does not come from the modern era but from the decades between the thirties and eighties when it was the home to regular shows to sellout crowds featuring many ethnic fighters and ethnic rivalries of course it was home to the fight of the 20th Century between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali (the first fight in which Smokin Joe won).

Over the last two decades as the sport of boxing has declined the state of things at MSG has declined; but last Saturday night I witnessed some of that old Garden magic as I saw the most exciting night at the fights in my life. Let me first state that I have been to many fights in my life, and have seen many exciting crowds, and in America the two fighters that have had the most exciting fan base are Felix Trinidad of Puerto Rico and the Mexican-American Oscar De La Hoya and when they fought I was not there. I did see Trinidad fight at the Garden in front of an electric Puerto Rican crowd and that was something special. With Trinidad out of the game there are only three fighters that can bring that sort of excitement and that is De La Hoya, whose next fight is his retirement fight, Fernando Vargas (whose fight with DLH featured a wild and divided crowd) and the Englishman Ricky Hatton. Insha’Allah it is a dream of mine to get to travel to England to see Hatton fight and maybe even see the DLH finale.

The card at the Garden maybe didn’t feature any stars that big; but it did feature some up and coming fan favorites with strong ethnic followings. The fight was on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on 5th Avenue in Manhattan which brings millions of people to the city (mostly men there to check out the women and women to floss for the men) and hundreds of wild parties through the city). New York becomes a sea of Puerto Rican flags and it is kind of like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for people of color. The main event featured a young and rising Puerto Rican star named Miguel Cotto against an undefeated Italian-American from Brooklyn named Paulie Malignaggi.

The fight was pretty good but what made it so exciting was the amount of enthusiasm from the crowd. Loud cheers and chats echoed for Cotto and thousands of Puerto Rican flags were waived all over the Garden. After being dropped in the second –round a spirited Paulie got up and rallied to win many rounds in front of a hostile crowd but lost the decision after 12 to the delight of the Puerto Rican crowd (I had the fight scored 115-112 for Cotto).

On the undercard Irishman John Duddy provided excitement as thousands of Irish fans and chanted and cheered his entrance to the ring and he was accompanied by the traditional Irish piper. Every blow he landed on Freddie Cuevas brought wild cheers from the Irish and every responding blow from Cuevas brought jeers until Cuevas sat on his stool after the 7th round. I asked my landlord, who is from Ireland, if he knew about the Duddy fight and he told me he didn’t think there was an Irishman in New York who wasn’t either at the fight or watching it on TV.

If that wasn’t enough excitement a Notre Dame Fighting Irish football player Tommy Zbilkowski thrilled the crowd in his professional debut with a knockout in 49 seconds of the 1st round. He entered the ring to the ND fight song and there wee hundreds of people who had driven in from the Chicago area and Indiana to see him play.

The night also included knockout wins by Julio Caesar Chavez, Jr. the son of the great Mexican fighting legend and Bobby Pacquiao (the brother of Manny) over New Yorker Kevin Kelley.

More on World Cup
American soccer fans do not worry even if we all know that the US will not make it to the second-round this time around even after being so cocky coming in. I have no doubt that there will be a day when the US will dominate world football. I am rooting for the English anyway and I think they have a shot if Wayne Rooney is healthy especially since the Brazilians did not look that good in their opening match with Croatia; but the best and most exciting game I have seen so far in the Cup was the 2-2 tie between Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. Those brothers really left it all o the pitch and their fans should be proud. By the way, is this politically incorrect, or did you also notice that almost all the Saudi players are black? I remember there being a lot of black players in 1994 and 2002 but not this many.

Dialouge With an "Aryan Muslim"

Several months ago I wrote a refutation to an “Aryan” Muslim named Suhaib Jobst, based out of Britain I believe, and the mindset of some who seek to create an alliance between Muslims and far-right racialist groups. Today he emailed me his reply so I am reposting the refutation that I have previously written and the email of Suhaib Jobst.

Here is my writings on the topic.

Today I got this response from Suhaib Jobst,

As Salaam Alaykum,

I pray this message will find you in the best of Eemaan and health. I pray to Allah (Subhanahu wa-Ta’ala) that you possess an open mind when reading. For I am merely a Muslim brother who strives to live according to Islam and uphold its tenets and principles.

Let me now introduce myself. My name is Suhaib Jobst, who you mentioned in an article of 20th August, 2005. I felt it was necessary to send this message, since you misrepresented both my views and those of the Aryan Nations organization. It is my intention to clear up any misunderstandings you possess, as regards my intentions and the objectives of the AN.

First, I stand by everything you wrote concerning the status of ‘Asabiyyah and racism in Islam. I have always admired the remarkable ability of Islam to cut through such distinctions, which in my opinion speaks greatly to its nobility. I regard my other Muslim brothers and sisters as equals, whatever their background is.

Yet you passed judgement upon me based solely on your preconceived notions of the Aryan Nations. Brother, the ADL is not a credible organization. Rather it is one which serves Zionist aims, smearing individuals and organizations as “racists” and “anti-Semites”. It is also known for its anti-Islamic stances, as shown in its opposition to the Mujahideen. So why you would rely on such an organization for your opinions is beyond me.

In reality, the leaders of Aryan Nations have been very vocal in their opposition to what Kreis has called “old-school racism”. They have questioned many of their former beliefs and have arrived at a different understanding of National Socialism, which stresses the values of honor. Due to this, it doesn’t regard non-Whites as biologically inferior, but rather see them as potential allies in the struggle against Zionism.

I myself have never regarded anyone as being inferior to me, solely because of their race or ethnicity. The “superior” would be those individuals – FROM EVERY RACE – who conduct themselves with honor, nobility and dignity, and who uphold the values of Tradition…in this era where materialist decadence and selfish individualism prevails. The most noble are those who are Muslims, i.e. submit themselves to Allah (Subhanahu wa-Ta’ala).

As for my ideology, I am not inspired by either Hizb ut-Tahrir or Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen. Rather I oppose their compromise of Islamic principles, straying from their original conception. I hold fast to the Salafi Jihadi understanding of Islam, which affirms Tawheed al-Haakimiyyah, opposes the Kaafir Murtad Tawaghut rulers, and believes in Jihad.

I reiterate: In no way, shape or form do I follow any impulses of ‘Asabiyyah. I am a Muslim, first and foremost, and Islam is the Deen to which I refer all matters. But I do possess a healthy pride in being a White Aryan and in my ethnic background (Flemish, German, Spanish), which is not tantamount to regarding others as inferior. This does not reach the level of racism or tribalism, since my allegiance is to Islam and the Muslims.

As for my opinions of jews, then they are judged by their actions….which are hostile to both Aryans and Muslims – and all of humanity. The exception are those few who embrace Islam, although they are very few in number. The Sahabah of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) who were Jews came from an entirely different background than the majority of self-styled “jews” nowadays, and they were racially related to the Arabs – the only difference being religion. They were never the Khazar followers of the Shaitaani Talmud.

Where do you get your evidence from? The Holy Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah have a wholly negative conception of the jews, since they are the enemies of Islam and the ‘Awliyaa of the Shaytaan. They have killed the prophets, distorted the scriptures, and oppressed the non-jew goyim.

Hence, in our common opposition to the Zionism and the lackey governments of the jews, me and several other Muslims have allied ourselves with the Aryan Nations organization. The AN supports the struggle of the Mujahideen to liberate the Islamic lands, and they regard non-Whites as being allies of the Aryans in our struggle against Zionism.

Before you write anything else concerning me, I demand as a Muslim brother that you give me my Islamic rights – and get to know my beliefs before passing judgement. And instead of preconceived notions, you should visit the forum and read my writings and the clarifications issued by Kreis and other leaders of the AN.

May Allah (Subhanahu wa-Ta’ala) guide us both and allow us to come to a common understanding of Islam. May He make us firm upon Islam and Tawheed, and increase us in Eemaan and Taqwa. Ameen

Going for Jihad, Chechnya and 3 Days in September

For most of the early and mid 1990’s I was traveling from one Muslim community to the other in the US looking for that perfect community. Brothers like me had been advised to give ourselves to the movement and not worry about education, money and all of the things that we had been raised to think about.

Some brothers that I knew were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to alleviate the suffering of oppressed Muslims in places like Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. These brothers were not terrorists; they were more like socially conscious warriors, like those American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, who wanted to do their part for what they thought was right. These brothers opposed suicide bombings, attacks on civilians and the like, and strictly wanted to engage the armies and militias of those pledged to oppress Muslims.

We can agree or disagree as to the fact of whether or not these Muslims were oppressed or not; but have no doubt this is what the brothers believed and they acted on those beliefs. Years later the American government, with almost no knowledge of the Islamic movement and lacking the intellectual firepower at high-levels to think in complexities (not to mention the abysmally low amount of knowledge at lower-levels) when it comes to Muslims, decided that anyone who wanted to physically help Muslims were the same as al-Qadea terrorists. Therefore we have a number of American-Muslims, some of them friends of mine, in prison today for very long stretches of time, because the government needed to make cases and this was the closest thing they could find to an actual terrorist. The brothers that I know would not, and did not by anyone’s allegation, attack civilians or encourage others to do so. What they did do was stand up against the likes of armies of Serbian ethnic-cleansers and a savage Russian army that were slaughtering Muslims by the thousands.

I had the opportunity to go and fight in Bosnia but I decided not to do so at the time and regretted that decision for a few years. In 1996 I was in Northern Virginia and free of any other obligations and I decided that I would go and fight in Chechnya in order to make right my disappointment at not being able to fight in Bosnia. However, just as I as planning to go, and I only had the slimmest of connections to anyone who could help me there, the conflict ended after what most saw as a victory for the Muslims. Again I was left with disappointment. After all we are taught that those who fight in the path of Allah are at the highest level of iman and I figured since my iman is not that high, and my life is full of bad deeds, what better way to cleanse myself than to fight in the path.

The fighting in Chechnya began again in 1999 and this time I was able to get the money together to go to Chechnya from some Muslim students who did a collection for me. Many of these students were not that religious, and none of them were politically active; but they felt that helping a mujahid would help to wash away some of their bad deeds.

The problem this time is that unlike in 1996 I had no connections in Chechnya. That didn’t worry me that much because I knew brothers who had went to Bosnia without knowing anyone. They just flew into Italy, found a way to Bosnia, and walked into camps and said “I’m here to help”. I figured that I would do the same thing in Chechnya. It turned out not to be that easy as the Russians had sealed off the border with Georgia (although there are cracks in the wall) and I had a difficult time while in that region which led me to retreat to Jerusalem where I spent a long time working at a hotel.

This piece is not about my time in Jerusalem but I will just say that I learned a lot while I was there from my interactions with Israelis, Palestinians, and many Westerners living and traveling there. Praying at Masjid al-Aqsa everyday, having breakfast with old Palestinian fighters and hearing their stories, having Shabbat meals at the homes of Observant Jews, traveling in the places of Biblical lore, and having long talks with the likes of my good friend Andrew from Cambridge, England and Craig from Jersey and Simon sapped me of my will of even wanting to fight. It gave me a new outlook on things.

The question that I kept getting, from those whom I let in on my secret, is that “why would you want to travel all the way to go fight” and I asked myself this “ why I am I interjecting myself in to other peoples conflicts?”

Looking back there are certainly many things that I could have been doing that would have been a lot more beneficial to Muslims. Like working to establish my household and myself and then becoming a productive member of the community and setting a good example for others. Yet all of us young American-Muslims who wanted to go for jihad were thinking that we wanted to be bigger than our everyday lives and we wanted to make our mark in the world and not just read about the news we wanted to make the news and make history. Is this unnatural? It certainly is not and it is something in the warrior gene of the male the causes him to act in this way often at the risk of himself and others. Those who fight on the winning side of these battles are often seen as heroes and those on the losing side as monsters and terrorists and a lot of people are in jail today for being young and being Muslim. A friend of mine form New York told me “ I would have been better off joining the Latin Kings”. He thought he was getting away from the streets and trouble with the law by being a Muslim and it turned out he was wrong.

I say all of this because I think everyday about the brothers I know who are in prison such as Ismail Royer and Hammad Abdur-Raheem. Hammad, no matter what anyone says is innocent of what he was accused of and Allah will judge us all one day; but what Ismail did is known and if he had it to do over again I believe he would have done some things differently. Now I will just make duah for his family.

This came to my mind as I watched 3 Days in September yesterday on Showtime. This is a documentary, like Children of Beslan, about the siege of the school in Beslan. This doc does a great job in profiling the city, shows home videos of the Chechens, of the hostages and of the fighting that took place. After watching this I think “ how could I have ever wanted to put my life on the line with people who are willing to take children hostage and kill them”?

The answer is clear of course; because the Russians have killed thousands of Chechen children and have destroyed the land of Chechnya and the Chechen people represent the greatest suffering of any Muslim people today. Compared to Chechens Palestinians are living lives of luxury.

Today, because of Beslan, Muslims are scared to speak up on behalf of Chechnya, and even before Belsan Arab and Pakistani dominated American-Muslim organizations were doing very little for Chechnya. In this climate, with the Chechen struggle now equated with Beslan, for anyone to defend Chechens is hard; but people of reason know that there needs to be a political solution to the problem.

This means that Russians, if they can, must choose someone with a greater vision than President Putin and that Chechens, and the global Muslim community, need to crack down, and even kill if they have to, the renegade mujahudeen leaders in Chechnya and many of the Arab Mujahudeen. I know that when I wanted to go to Chechnya Belsan is not the kind of madness that I had in my mind and watching the film I was rooting for the Russian soldiers of all things.

While on Marriage….

I once had an argument at a masjid in St. Louis with a group of brothers who told me that a good Christian woman would naturally want to marry a Muslim and I told them they were nuts.

A good religious Christian woman will want to marry a Christian man and have Christian kids and operate a household based on the teachings of the Bible. In her mind, a Muslim is a kafr, a disbeliever who is damned to hell unless he accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. So why would she want to marry someone who is damned? She wouldn’t is the answer. A Christian woman who marries a Muslim nine time out of ten is not serious about her religion or just some kind of cultural Christian with no commitment to the deen.

I once heard a Muslim Imam say, who is a Salafi leader, that he had never seen a serious Muslim marry a non-Muslim, and there is a lot of truth to that; but many of these brothers became serious about the deen after getting married. Then again this particular Imam has been married and divorced more than twenty times and another well-known Imam said, “ when it comes to marriage don’t listen to him, he doesn’t know a lot about that; but when it comes to divorce he is a real expert.”

If you do not know brothers who have been married more then 20 times, or at least 10, you have not been around in the community that much amongst the converts. Of course many of you know people who have and you don’t know about that aspect of their lives. Many of the sisters, after about the 4th or 5th failed marriage swear of the deen or leave the deen; but brothers stick around and are fruitful and multiplying ensuring the job security of a future generation of correctional officers.

Abu Musluma, Imam of Masjid Ahlus-Sunnah in East Orange, NJ said he graduated from the Islamic University of Medinah and returned home and all he dealt with were family problems from local Muslims. These are serious issues and if we do not address them they are not going away and there is no escaping them because all of the Muslim community is intertwined. Brothers and sisters try and run from the problems of the American-Muslim by marrying an immigrant or someone from oversees and then run into a new set of problems.

Because of these factors I believe that every Muslim conference that is held should focus on the issue of marriage and family because that is the main priority of the community. We cannot import a failed system from Muslim countries, despite what some say, and many of us cannot rely on our upbringings. It is time for a new day. Or Muslim organizations can hold conferences talking about the value of the siwak ( Taabliquees), or who is off the minhaj (salafis), Election 2008 (Ikwaan) or the Khalifah (Hizb-ut-Tahrir); but none of that means anything if the institution of the American-Muslim family is not functioning well; and it is not at this time. We also cannot fall into this Oprah-like state were we feel everyone’s pain and fail to condemn anybody and anything because we do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. In order to move forward some peoples feelings are going to have to be hurt.

Other Notes;
Great fight card in New York at Madison Square Garden tonight for those who are opting out of the Tarver-Hopkins PPV. Ethnic pride will be on display as the undefeated Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto takes on the undefeated Italian-American from Brooklyn Paulie Malignaggi and “Irish” John Duddy , of Derry, takes on the rugged Freddie Cuevas. I’m 50-50 on going as of now but I like Cotto in 12 and Duddy by KO within 6.

New York is home to a lot of people from Trinidad and I have a good boxing buddy from Trinidad and I am sure he is happy that in their first World Cup Match ever they managed a tie with the heavily-favored Sweden. England looked shaky against Paraguay, I was waiting to see the Robot Dance from Peter Crouch but was cheated after he didn’t score in the 1-0 win. I predicted England to go all the way but after this I’m not so sure; but what the hell does an American know, I better stick to the sweet science.

The links will be back up soon, I am just doing some things with redesigning right now and my time is limited.

“Marrying the Immigrant Sister”

I must like hate emails but I am going to address this topic once more but from a different angle and I will first say that there are beautiful sisters from every Muslim country (in addition to those I described before who are victims of centuries of cousin-marriage).

I have many American-Muslim friends of mine who are married to immigrant sisters and most of these sisters are from Morocco, but some are from Yemen, Syria, Indonesia and other Muslim countries, and all of these brothers have something in common; they are constantly fighting with their wives over money.

These brothers go to Muslim countries seeking good wives who are Muslims and who can teach their kids Islam. Being Americans and going to poor countries they are also likely to get a much better looking (and often much younger) sister then they would be able to get in America. It is not uncommon for an American-Muslim who looks like Biggie Smalls or John Goodman to go to a Muslim country and get married to a girl who looks like Shakira in hijab and in the US he was probably looking at a girl who looked more like Roseanne.

The Muslim girl, and in particular the Arab girl, is trained from home by her mother and female relatives that her job is to get as much money out of the husband she can for herself and her children and for her family back home. The trade-off for this is that she gives the man sex, cooks, cleans and has his babies and that is what the marriage is all about.

Many American husbands are however looking for a little more to their marriages like companionship, intellectual stimulation, and friendship and are not that in awe of the woman’s sex (as he knows he can easily get it outside the home unlike in many Muslim countries). So these women cannot understand why their husbands are not happy because they give them all the sex they want and take care of the home. It is hard for them to understand why their husbands have a problem sending thousands of dollars back home every year for their family to live off of.

In America when we get married we are used to just worrying about financially taking care of our household and we do not expect to have to care of the in-laws; but the only reasons these sisters choose to marry Americans is for the financial well-being of their families back home, the possibility of relatives getting visas, and the chance for her to “live it up” while in America and go back home once a year and show-off her goodies from the states like a big Muslim pimpstress.

The finances are what cause the friction in all of these brothers marriage because the sisters always ask for me and nothing is ever good enough. They will tell you their family is starving back home and they need money and you go see the and they have bought a new house off the money you have sent them and they still want more, more and more and they are just doing what they have been trained to do. Back home this worked because the guy she was married to was a virgin when they got married and couldn’t get another woman if he tried so he is more than willing to trick off his money and many of the immigrant brothers in America are halal Sugar Daddies; but a lot of brothers just aint going for that.

If you do decide to go to a Muslim country to get married, and are being shown a photo of a fine young tender, this is something you may wanna keep in mind, and if you do not heed this warning, start looking for a second job. This does not apply to all sisters from Muslim countries; just to the brothers I know who are married ( maybe Abu Sinan is an exception because he is married to a Saudi).

Tariq Nelson on Slogansim, World Cup, and Hopkins

Tariq Nelson Piece on Muslim Slogansim
This is a must read for all of your Muslims out there as Tariq lays paints the mentality of many Muslims who ignore our problems and resort to sloganism. The comments section to the post contains some back and forth discussion about the issue of khilifah that many will find informative. One of the stories that Tariq relates in his post is the tale of a poor American-Muslim he knew who planned to make hijrah to Bangladesh with no money and no job skills and every thing would be OK because the Muslims would take care of him. I knew a brother like this a few years ago who took his two children to live in the mountains of Yemen but didn’t even have twenty dollars on him when he got there. Like the brother Tariq knew, this brother was depending on the generosity of Muslims but these brothers seemed to not get the memo that these are two very poor and backwards countries that cant even take care of their own citizens.

World Cup Starts
I watched both games to do and being that there are a lot of Polish and Ecuadorians in my neighborhood it was the game that everyone was talking about in the street and at the shops and lets just say there are a lot of mad and drunk Polish guys roaming the streets and a lot of horn-honking and flag-waving by the Ecuaz. I notices that in Germanys win over Costa Rica, in Germany, the crowd was pretty tame and not like you are used to seeing. Are Germans still ashamed of showing national pride? Are football matches the only time Europeans get to express national pride?

Hopkins KO and Hopkins-Tarver
While on sports I saw a classic knockout on ESPN2 the other night when Demetrius Hopkins knocked Michael Warrick out cold in the 9th with a beautiful right-hand. I was rooting for Warrick, who was winning, because we had hung out together a few years ago when he was fighting in New York. The uncle of Demetrius, Bernard Hopkins, will be fighting Antonio Tarver Saturday in Atlantic City and as always will have the Muslim brothers from North Philly in his corner. I like Nard, UD-12.

Attraction to Latinas and Muslim Inbreeding

Over the last several months there have been a number of articles in the mainstream American media about the growing number of Latino Muslims in the US. This comes after years of dawah efforts by a number of Muslim organizations geared towards Spanish-language dawah such as the Latin American Dawah Organization, the work of Brother Juan Lopez in Chicago, AMANA in Florida, Alianza Islamica in the Bronx and others (there is a brother named Abdul-Rahman in DC who has been doing Spanish-language dawah for years but I cannot remember the name to his organization but his office used to be on 20th and I NW).

Brother Haroon points out that Latinos becoming Muslims mean that Latinas will be becoming Muslims and many Muslim brothers see this as a very good thing as they find Latina sisters to be very attractive and I can count myself as one of them as I am married to a Puerto Rican woman. Others, such as Umm Zaid, have pointed out that this may be an unhealthy “fetish” and that Latinas entering Islam are often coveted by brothers who see them as nothing more than sex objects and they discard them once they are done with them.

I do not think the attraction of many men to Latinas is a “fetish”, such as with what you see with Asian women and the like, but it is a matter of physical attraction and preference. I for one have always been attracted to Latinas from the Caribbean (Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban) and South America (Brazilian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Argentinean, etc.); but not that attracted to Mexican and Central American women and other more mestizo women (although I have seen many attractive women from those groups). To me a “fetish” is when you like to get tied up and beaten or pissed on or any of those other decadent behaviors that stem from urban liberal lifestyles; an attraction to a certain group like Latinas is just a physical preference.

Historically in the West, and in modern American, tall and skinny blondes who may have large breasts (whether natural or unnatural), have been the sex symbols, movie stars, and models and they have been put up as the ideal of beauty. However, many men that I have known over the years have not been attracted to these kinds of women, or at least did not find them to be the most attractive women on Earth. Yet regular middle-income heterosexual men do not dominate the industries that produce beauty icons; rather those industries are dominated by affluent women, the upper-class male, and homosexuals and they seek to create an image of beauty that is in their image.

Most men that I know prefer a curvy woman (with “junk in the trunk”) who looks a lot more like Jennifer Lopez than Nichole Kidman; yet until recently you would never see a J.Lo, Vida Guerra, or a Shakira in the spotlight. This meant that many men living in parts of the country, and the world, that had not been exposed to these women still had the leggy blonde as their image of beauty who may have had a pretty face but had the body of a heroin-addict and the ass of a six-year old.

So why do we find the Latinas attractive? As I mentioned before Latinas are not one monolithic group and some Latinas look different than others and the ones that have become sex symbols are those that come from places where there is a lot of racial and ethnic mixing.

Puerto Rican women, who many men think are the most beautiful in the world, tend to be mixed with Spanish, African and Native American blood and this produces a unique mix and you can find this in many Latin American countries such as Brazil. Therefore many of the women have the best of both worlds; the bodies of a black woman, long hair, and facial features and a skin tone that are a nice mixture of all of what they have in them. Therefore when these women enter Islam they are coveted and the community should protect them from those with ill intentions.

Contrast this to the Muslim community, and many Muslim countries, as brothers like Osama Saeed have mentioned before. In many Muslim countries where cousin-marriage is rampant people are the products of not just one cousin-marriage but have been inbred over generations so that over the course of centuries they have gotten either none or very little new blood in their systems. Medically this produces higher level of mental retardation, blindness, deafness and much more. I am not saying this is haram, because it obviously isn’t, but when it becomes the norm it is a problem.

When you travel to Muslim countries it is often common to see families where everyone, male and female, look the same, and that look is often a deformed look. If you have ever seen the film Deliverance about inbred people in the hills of West Virginian then you have a good idea of what the majority of society is like in many Muslim countries and if you remember the goofy characters from the film they are in abundance in Muslim countries.

When Muslims immigrate to the US and they are being pressured by their parents to marry their cousin, who may look just like their unattractive uncle, and they have a choice to marry, or at least dream about, a nice-looking Latina whose beauty has been created by the exact opposite of cousin marriage, then he will probably go for that. Muslim converts are often offered to marry products of such Muslim inbreeding and it isn’t really an option most take seriously; if we are gonna marry immigrant Muslim women we want the cream of the crop and more often than not in America she will prefer us over her cousin. Those American Muslims who do marry their cousins (many leave their families and the deen before doing so unlike in Britain where it is common) are usually those who have no independence from their families and cant say no or are either just hard –up and wouldn’t do to well on the American-Muslim free-market.

Somali Islamists a new Taliban? They fought corrupt warlods under the banner of Islam and untited tribes, were oppossed by America, and now are restoring order, is this the African Taliban in the worlds most dysfunctional state ( please do not send us any more cabbies to St. Louis)? This article examines the issue.

When An American Couple Only Eats Arab-Pakistani Food

So I am having a conversation with this brother about his intentions to place take his children from their home in Jamaica Queens and send them down to Virginia to go to school and he asked me if I want to accompany him to the halal supermarket and I said sure.

The store has an Indian-Pakistani section, an Afghani-Iranian section, and an Arabic section. Other parts of the store sell only meat, canned goods, rice, vegetables, breads, spices and other items that could be from anywhere in the Muslim World. The only thing that is uniquely American in the place is the halal bacon, hot dogs, hamburger patties and chicken nuggets and the brother I was shopping with did not purchase any of those items (although women that didn’t speak English were picking them up left and right).

The brother did buy a lot of things, some of them Arabic foods, and some more Indian-Pakistani, and left with several bags of groceries. I then asked him where he went shopping for his regular food, you know all the normal stuff that people eat in America (whatever that means to you and wherever you grew-up) and he said, “what you are you talking about, I just bought all of my groceries.”

I found that odd since there was no milk, soda, or any other common American beverage that he had bought. No, he just had a few jugs of mango juice to drink. When I asked him if he ate this kind of food everyday he said yes and that he never ate the food he grew-up with anymore.

This seemed odd given the fact that he is an African-American and he is married to an African-American. You mean to tell me, I asked him, that you have suddenly lost a taste for all of those foods your mother and grandmother fed you and you craved growing-up?

“Brother these are Muslim foods that I eat now and I only eat Muslim food. The food I grew-up with in this country is kafr food and when you go and eat pizza, cheeseburgers, fried chicken and stuff like that you are imitating the kufar and The Prophet (s) said “whoever imitates a people is of that people.”

So in this brothers mind, and he is far from being the only one, eating hummus or biryani everyday is equivalent to an article of faith. Never mind the fact that much of Arabic and Indian food predates Islam and is eaten by Non-Muslims in the region and never mind the fact that there is no Islamic injunction against eating any kind of halal food anywhere in the world.

If one travels across the ummah you will find that the food varies greatly. Turkish food doesn’t taste like Egyptian food and Senegalese food doesn’t taste like Malay food. Yet these are all Muslim peoples and the food is cooked and prepared in a halal manner and they will not tell you “this is Muslim food” they will tell you “this is the food from my country”.

Yet in America, and maybe elsewhere amongst Western Muslims, we have a group that wants to eat only “Muslim food”. As for me I can, and do, and enjoy food from all over the Muslim World; but at the end of the day I want my pancakes, waffles, beef sausages, mashed potatoes, macaroni, fried chicken, meatloaf, hamburgers, deli sandwiches, pizza, pasta, soups, sweets, cheeses and everything else that I grew up eating.

I like Moroccan and Indian food but I can’t eat anything everyday and that may be a difference between a lot of people in America and in the Muslim World. When I lived In Palestine I enjoyed the food but after a few weeks I didn’t want to eat the same thing everyday; but that is what the brothers there do and they never get tired off it. Brothers who have married sisters from Morocco tell me the same thing that their wives can eat the same thing everyday. Most Americans need variety, we need to innovate, and we need to mix things up, and eating the same thing everyday just doesn’t work for a lot for people (unless you are my grandfather who eats cornbread and buttermilk everyday).

If Bulgarian or Palestinian Muslims can merge their jahiliya foods into their Islamic diets then why cant American-Muslims do the same thing? Thankfully many are and you can go to places like the Coney Island Restaurant in Newark, NJ and get a nice greasy halal breakfast of bacon, sausages, eggs and pancakes with hot syrup. Or you can go to a Kennedy Fried Chicken in New York (and there are dozens) and get some halal fried yardbird. One of the best days I had as a Muslim was when the masjid in Wichita, KS decided to have American Iftar night and served all food a brother had made from a Churches Chicken franchise he owned. What I enjoyed most of all was watching these immigrant brothers eat our food; because every other night that Ramadan, and it was one of my best, I had to eat theirs.