ISNA Pool Party and Fun in the Sun (Satire)

ISNA Pool Party and Fun in The Sun

Tired of the same old boring speeches, endless array of items in the bazaar, and uncles and aunties constantly trying to find you a husband at ISNA? Want a little Muslim fun without all the Islam? The Spiritual Global Artistic Association of Muslim Professionals is presenting our first annual pool party. This will not just be a time to swim and have fun in the pool. We will also have lectures and activities. Activities include:

-          Readings on the life of the Beloved ( peace be upon him) from the book of Deepak Chopra

-          Plastic surgery “When you know it’s time to get work done” A lecture by the Metrosexual Mullah

-          Muslima makeup tips. “How to get 14 layers of makeup off in 4 minutes” by Sister May al-Faye Baker

-          Relationship advice for same-sex couples and pre-marital counseling

-          Whose got the tightest jeans on contest ( for brothers only)

-          Muslim dancing. The Dhikr Dougie and Sufi Shoulder Lean led by Muslim rappers.

-          A Message of Support To the 99% by the Top 10%: How to Support the Poor With No Interaction or Losing Your Privilege.

Prayers will be held following yoga sessions, our Zen reading of the day, and a reading of our favorite poems by Rumi. There will be two gatherings. One traditional prayer for the unenlightened and one co-ed led by a woman imama (Amina Wadud invited).

Dress and Conduct Code strictly enforced:

-          No non-GQ beards allowed. Long beards NOT ALLOWED

-          No thobes or Islamic dress

-          Kufis and Baduees allowed as a fashion statement

-          No niqaabs or jelbabs unless you are making a political statement

-          No loose-fitting clothing for men

-          Only 1 and 2 piece swimwear allowed. No burkinis.

-          No separation of the genders

-          No bullying of same-sex couples

Bonuses

-          Pool is made up of fresh spring water from Tibet blessed by the Dalai Lama

-          Imam’s and wali rentals are available for onsite mutah marriages

-          Hiring booths by State Department, International Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, and other NGO’s who need you to spread their message and help them change the Muslim World creating “Modern Islam”

-          $300 Admission ( have to keep out Southeast DC and PG this event is for Muslim professionals and not the lower classes) Paper bag test strictly-enforced (rappers and artists excluded)

Just added NEW LECTURE by the metro mullah ” How to Spot a Wahabbi and a Shariah Sufi”!

A Brother Observes ISNA

I did not make it to the Sheraton (out of solidarity with the workers) and did not make it to the Radisson either because I was not feeling well. I did get an update on what happened from some brothers who attended.

 

Brother Amir informed me that Imam Zaid Shakir mentioned the strike and the conditions of the Sheraton workers before every talk from the Radisson which is very commendable. Especially given, as commenters have pointed out, ISNA and those young people who grew-up in ISNA either have no knowledge of the fact that they benefit from the Labor Movement or are steeped in a caste-lite mentality.

 

An African-American brother and friend of mine mentioned to me that he saw only a handful of non-immigrant Muslims or their children. Those that he did see were white Muslims married to Desi or Arab sisters who were basically assimilating into the culture of their women (he did not add, as I do now, that Islamically lineage is passed down from the father). He told me that in his mind what he was seeing was an example that Islam in America is on two different trajectories and that it is not necessarily a bad thing. African-American Muslims and Muslims such as myself are just not going to ever see the world or Islamic activism in the way that ISNA does. I am never going to be comfortable in a deep-suburban masjid full of clean-shaven doctors and hijab-less women in which the biggest religious event they have as an interfaith gathering.  

 

As an example of this division the brother told me that at the convention an immigrant brother from India said “15% of Muslims live in India. So we should take 15% of all the money raised by Muslims here and send it to India.”

 

Now, I am sure that brother thought he made a lot of sense. Just like brothers who say we should send all of the resources from the Muslim community here to Palestine or wherever do as well. But, the fact of the matter is, you are not going to get that many American-Muslim converts or their children who think it is a good idea to neglect community-building and infrastructure in America, where it is sorely needed, to send it halfway across the world. The money raised in our communities for the most part needs to stay local as the vast-majority of Muslim communities in America don’t even have the basics they need to prosper.

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ISNA at a Crossroads in Baltimore

Muslims in America are at a relatively infantile stage. We are developing as a community and are striving to put our unique imprint on society. The major organizations representing the Muslim community have to decide if they are going to stand with people struggling for just causes, or if they are going to sacrifice their principals at the altar of convenience.

In light of this, I am most distressed that ISNA has decided to go ahead and hold their Eastern Zone conference, despite a boycott of the Baltimore Sheraton hotel by the workers. One ISNA official even said, “What has a union ever done”. While ISNA is standing in solidarity with the Sheraton, and those who treat their workers unjustly, MAS, CAIR, Imam Zaid Shakir, and others have expressed solidarity with the workers and displeasure with ISNA.

The displeasure with ISNA comes with the sentiment that we as Muslims in America want to be a people who stand for justice, with the oppressed, and when need be, stand with people over power. More so it is better to be known as a community who stands for justice no matter the cost, financial or otherwise, rather than a community whose path to the mainstream is through silence.
I will say to the ISNA official who said “What has a union ever done”, lets list a few:
The 40 hour work week
The weekend
Child labor laws
Workplace safety standards
Paid sick days
Paid holidays
Healthcare benefits

There are much more. Without unions, none of these things would exist for American workers. I for one come from a long line of union members, so the value of unions was given to me from a young age. There are those at ISNA, perhaps a majority, which have immigrated to America from other countries. Many of the countries that they have immigrated from are filled with workers who toil in deplorable conditions. The dream was to come to America where one can earn a fair days wages, and be treated with dignity and respect on the job. Unfortunately many of our brothers and sisters new to this country do not know that whatever fair conditions workers have today was paid for by the blood, sweat, and tears of the Labor Movement.

ISNA is at a crossroads in Baltimore, a great American city. MAS, CAIR, Imam Zaid Shakir are taking a stand with the call for justice. That sweet call of justice has fallen upon deaf ears at ISNA.

ISNA Crossing a Picket Line?

It has come to my attention that the ISNA Zonal Conference will be held from May 24-26 in Baltimore, MD at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center. There are a lot of great speakers planned for this event and it should be worthwhile to attend. I always enjoy attending ISNA-sponsored events no matter where they are held and always enjoy hearing the likes of Altaf Hussein and Abdullah Ali.

 

However, it has come to my attention that the Hotel Workers at this location are on strike because of the poor conditions under which they work. It is important for the American-Muslim community to stand up as a people that support just causes from people of all faiths and races. A part of the spirit of social justice that Muslims in America need to embrace is in aligning ourselves with organized labor as they strike and negotiate for better conditions and wages for their workers.

 

The major Muslim organizations led by those such as the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation have also came to this conclusion and held a number of events and seminars in conjunction with the labor movement. A basic part of having solidarity with labor is honoring striking workers by not frequented the companies which they are striking and therefore bringing economic consequences on those being targeted. Crossing a picket line, especially for any organization, is a sign that the struggle of the workers is not important and you see no value in a strike.

 

That is why it is most unfortunate that ISNA is holdings its event at a hotel that is currently having a strike. As I am writing this I am trying to find out more details; but if the strike is still ongoing and ISNA goes forward with this conference I will be very disappointed. If the strike is resolved this is a non-issue; but if it appears that this picket line will be crossed by ISNA then I will encourage all readers who are about the rights of workers to make their displeasure heard. And, to give credit it where it is due, if ISNA does the right thing in the event the strike is ongoing I will be the first to sing their praises. I am still seeking more info.