Why I am Not a “Muslim”

A rant against the strange attitudes towards secularism, difference of opinion, Jews, human rights, etc.

Be forewarned that this is a rant.

I have been frustrated with a few Muslims who have the strangest of ideas and behaviors. They deplore the insult in the Muhammad cartoons but then rampage through their own cities destroying property. Cartoons enrage them enough to liken it to Yazid’s killing of Imam Hussain but don’t have anything to say about the suicide bombing on Ashura in Pakistan.

Then there are Muslims who see the hand of Jews and Israel behind everything. They deny the Holocaust or at least minimize it (a la David Irving). They think the US is controlled by Jews or Zionists. And they love the forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They don’t see the stupidity of Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s statements denying the Holocaust. And what’s more they even see the hand of Israel behind the cartoon controversy, even though Israel has a blasphemy law. These Muslims think it is all well and good for an Iranian newspaper to print Holocaust cartoons in response to the Muhammad cartoons in Denmark. These guys say something about international affairs and all I hear is “Jew … Israel … Jews … Zionist …”.

Some of these guys (and in fact most that I have had an interaction with) are well-educated. Some even pride themselves on their knowledge of science and how they can rationally convince anyone of the truth of the Quran. However, their “rational truth” consists of cribbings from The Bible, The Qur’an and Science by Maurice Bucaille, a book that I read two decades ago (it impressed my teenage mind but it is not convincing to me now.) When they talk of Islam being self-evidently right, they use the worst arguments of the Islamic apologists and do not even consider any skeptical ideas. And then when you dare bring one up, they declare you beyond all help and a kafir. The funny thing about them is their cartoonish black-and-white world where everything about their religion (and beliefs) is self-evidently true while the other side has no valid rational arguments. I have heard many a Muslim create strawman positions of others (Christians or secular folk usually) out of thin air and then demolish them.

Another pet peeve of mine is that a number of people consider the bipolar world of the United States and Soviet Union to be a much better place than the present despite all the atrocities of the communists in the Soviet Union and elsewhere in their sphere of influence. Some of the Muslims used to be very anti-communist in those days but remember the Soviet Union now like a lost love. A similar situation is true especially for Pakistanis where they think China is the greatest nation or something. They want China to be a world power, not realizing how bad of a human rights record the Chinese communists have got.

Then there are the conspiracy theorists. Anything and everything bad among Muslims is either punishment for their not being Muslim enough or the fault of some hidden hand (like the Israeli Mossad, or the Indian RAW or the American CIA, and so on). These guys have some tall tales to tell you which I must admit do sound amusing at first.

And finally sectarianism. Some people just can’t tolerate others with different beliefs. They have to denigrate the beliefs of others and even call them kafirs. It can be as simple as harassing an Ashura procession. And as deadly as killing Shia doctors in Karachi. It can be your school MSA which does not welcome all Muslim sects.

UPDATE: These crazies just never stop.

UPDATE II: The madness continues. And to prove my point, someone in an online forum blamed it on Jews; others blamed the coalition forces.

Crash

Crash is about stereotypes and bigotry and rising about it. Best movie of 2005. I rate it 8/10.

Crash is a movie about several interlinked people with a focus on stereotypes and group identity. It shows us that everyone is in some ways a bigot. But at the same time, there’s good in us too. Almost every character in the movie is racist but does rise about it as well. It reminds us that bigotry is very common, but it is can also be overcome.

Overall, this was probably the best movie of 2005. We loved it. I am rating it 8/10.

Jyllands-Posten Muhammad Cartoons

If you came here looking for my thoughts on the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad that Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, published in September and that were republished in several other newspapers this year, you have come to the wrong place. I won’t consider getting upset over freaking cartoons.

If you came here looking for my thoughts on the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad that Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, published in September and that were republished in several other newspapers this year as protests by Muslims mount, you have come to the wrong place. I won’t consider getting upset over freaking cartoons. As Aziz says:

“Islam is infinite. They can burn the Qur’an, or insult the Prophet SAW, or outlaw the hijab. But they can never erase the delicate calligraphy of Deen upon the muslim’s soul. Our religion is infinitely greater than the sum of their scorn, and as such we have no opinion on their insults as they matter, in the end, not even the tinest whit.”

Thabet of the blog towards God is our journey has a survey of the blogs as well as his own commentary on this topic. Also, read Chapati Mystery.

Brass Crescent Awards 2005

The voting for the 2nd Brass Crescent Awards for the Islamic blogosphere has started. I am nominated for best blog. Go and vote.

It is time for the Brass Crescent Awards again.

In recognition of the growing talent and creativity of the Islamic blogosphere, alt.muslim and City of Brass are hosting the Second Annual Brass Crescent Awards. The Brass Crescent Awards are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights.

Last year, I was nominated for too many categories and ended up being a runner-up in three.

Here is how I voted:

  • Best Middle-East/Asian Blogger: Cha’nad Bahraini.
  • Best Group Blog: Hu despite the fact that they don’t post often enough.
  • Most Deserving of Wider Recognition: Akram’s Razor which I discovered recently.
  • Best Thinker: Thebit of towards God is our journey whose posts are always thoughtful and thought-provoking and usually demand a second read.
  • Best Female Blog: Koonj. What can I say, I am addicted to blogs that talk about pregnancy, dissertation, baby names, etc.
  • Best Post or Series: That Terror Thing by Chapati Mystery.
  • Best Non-Muslim Blog: Velveteen Rabbi.
  • Best Blog: um, myself.

So go ahead and vote.

Meme of Four

Another meme, this one about listing 4 jobs, movies, places, tv shows, websites, foods, etc.

I have been tagged by wayfarer who owes us an Eid party (or does she?)

Four Jobs I’ve Had in My Life

  1. Design Engineer
  2. Intern
  3. Research Assistant
  4. Teaching Assistant

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over

  1. Lord of the Rings
  2. Star Wars
  3. Moulin Rouge
  4. Spider-Man 1 & 2

And a lot more. However, some of the best movies I have watched are a little too depressing to be seen over and over (for example, Hotel Rwanda).

Four Places I Have Lived

  1. Atlanta
  2. Wah Cantt
  3. Tripoli
  4. Piscataway

And a few more.

Four TV Shows I Love To Watch

The only one I watch regularly is the first one, but I am putting a few more that I catch at times nowadays.

  1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  2. Firefly (watching on DVD)
  3. Good Eats
  4. Coupling (watched a season or two)

Four Places I Have Been On Vacation

  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Istanbul
  4. England

Four Websites I Visit Daily

  1. Urdu Mehfil
  2. Urdu Planet
  3. The Head Heeb
  4. At least a few other blogs and news sites on my blogroll

Four Favorite Foods

  1. BBQ ribs
  2. Roast lamb the Balochi way
  3. Rabbit
  4. Ras Malai

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

  1. Playing with the kid
  2. Hiking the Appalachian
  3. Sleeping
  4. Italy where we have been planning to go since before Michelle was born

Four People Whom I Tag Next

Whoever wants to pick it up