Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I thought all Muslims were terrorists?

Two minutes ago I had an adorable old man with a great sense of humor check into the clinic. After sharing a few laughs with myself and my co-worker he asks me, "Whats with the head thing? Whats with the scarf?"

I smile and say, "For my religion."

His face darkens, "Oh no, don't tell me... Muslim?"

I smile wider, "Yes!"

He shakes his head like like it was a tradgedy, "But I thought all Muslims were terrorists?!"

I tip my head and put on a sweeter smile, "Do I look like a terrorist??"

He answers, "I won't say anything." And walks away grumbling.

Do I look like a terrorist to you?

I wore my cutest pink today and everything.

In Memorium

I have said more than once on my blog that living in Minneapolis, Minnesota is good for Muslims for many different reasons.

This brother, Hesham Hussein, was one of those reasons. Many schools here owe their existence to him and a handful of other hard-working brothers and sisters who spend their lives trying to make our community thrive.

And its blossoming at an unbelievable rate.

But last Sunday in Saudi Arabia we lost our central force, the sheltering tree one might say; our bridge between the Muslims and the non-Muslims.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilahi rajioon.

Our garden will never be the same.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Egypt, Advertising, and the Hijab

There's a lot I want to say about this article from Arab Media & Society but work is just busy enough to keep me too occupied to make it cohesive if I tried.

So read up, and I'll post my notes later this afternoon when we're all sitting around and picking our noses here.


I don't have time at this moment to devote my full attention to this so its going to be shelved until I have time or until this weekend.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Qu'est-ce q'il y a?

So, how glad are you that you're not the back office "trader" from Society Generale?

Losing 4.9 billion Euros ($7,100,000,000.00) could really ruin your day.

Makes me glad I'm me.

Friday, January 25, 2008


You NEED to read this.

Guau! Qué telefonázo!

Why is it that commercials in Spanish are so much cheesier than their English counterparts? Listening to our local AM Mexican station, La Invasora, this morning on the way to work I could do nothing but laugh at the commercials. The voices, the scripting, the absurdly chipper delivery, why is there always so much cheese?

Guau! Qué telefonázo!
Wow! What a telephone!

I guess I would chalk it up to the romantic side to the Spanish language that just really does not exist in English.

In Spanish its perfectly sensible to cradle your infant son and refer to him as "mi rey, mi cielo" which translates into English as "my king, my sky."

My sky?

Yes, my sky.

It is a culture in which naming your son Inri (i.e. in the Christian tradition the four letters written in Latin on the plaque posted above Jesus' head as he hung on the cross) is entirely acceptable.

Its a tradition of romanticism that I adore. I can say things in Spanish that mean so much more than the things I can say in English (and not be sneered at).

Te adoro mi vida, mi cielo, mi corazoncito.
I adore you my life, my sky, my little heart.

You just can't pull it off in English.

Its a lot like Arabic in which you can refer to your loved one as various body parts: heart(2albi), eyes(3eini), liver(Iraqi dialect as far as I've found and can't remember what the word is); or as various celestial bodies: the sun(shamsi) or the moon(2amari). One of the most common- and overly-used- romantic phrases that I found was "eh el 2amar da?" which roughly translates to: "What a moon is this?" and is used to admire a woman's beauty comparing her to the moon.

I was once told I had a very round face. To me it meant that I looked like the michelin man, to her it meant she was telling me I was beautiful.

The most romantically surreal you could go in English would be to say that someone is the apple of your eye.

I think both languages are wonderfully expressive and rich with layered meaning. My Spanish is a thing I treasure, and learning Arabic is my beloved goal.

I just don't understand why the commercials have to be so cheesy... but maybe thats my pragmatic English side.

Mr MM ya habibi, nour 3eini, roh 2albi, bahebak geddan.
Te amo mi cielo, mi vida, mi alma.

Tuya la chonchita.

Just can't say it the same in English.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Weakly Randomness

I've got a lot of tidbits and things to sound off on. Sorry for the chaos, but you'll soon see how my mind works.

A dialogue between myself and a gentlemen I checked into the clinic earlier as I'm walking towards the cafe for my lunch:

Man: Hey my mom used to always wear those scarves, but you don't see it much nowadays.

Me: *a bit confused* Oh really? Where's your mom from?

Man: Alexandria.

Me: *surprised* Alexandria, Egypt?

Man: Uh, Alexandria, Minnesota.

Me: Oh....

Man: Why, where are you from?

Me: Here, but I'm Muslim.

Man: Oh...

Me: ....

Man: ....

Me: So uhm, have a nice day!

Why the news makes me laugh sometimes:

1.) Not that this story really is something to laugh about because someone actually died, but when I was watching the news it illicited a very loud snort. One man shot another man after they "exchanged argumentative text messages."

First we date via myspace, then we send fightin' wurds by text.

When I think of two men fighting via text messaging brings to mind the image of two gay men slap fighting.

But thats just me. Its sad because the other man died (inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon) so just remember kids before you send that next text telling someone you're gonna kick their a$$ you might just have to put your money where your fingers are.

2.) Heath Ledger has died (see above dua) and in retaliation to losing the limelight Britney Spears went out again with the same "Muslim" papparazzo who had just appeared on a gossip show talking about his relationship with her.

And then the Feds, realizing that Britney's antics are no longer distracting the world media from our freefalling economy, decided to drop an interest rate the largest single amount in 25 years.

And it did nothing.

3.) When talking about afore-mentioned economic crisis the news played a 2 second clip of Pres Bush talking about something that must not have mattered because they didn't introduce him or play him for very long.

Also no one is quite sure when he arrived home again.

Some random things I've noticed about Masjids lately:

1.) You will never see creative parking like that at masjids during jummah time. All streetspace/parking lots within walking distance suddenly become little pieces of the Middle East where triple parking is perfectly normal. Someday it will be the Muslims who invent how to park cars on top of eachother and utilize it.

2.) The sisters enterance will never be obvious. At a new masjid sisters will circle the building three times before being directed to the door hidden behind a bush. Make time for it.

3.) Above rule will change during jummah. Good luck finding where the sisters have been moved to in order to make room for the extra men.

And finally something random about me:

I will automatically be drawn to something red. Its my new favorite color and my husband is the one who picked up on it before I did.

Good job habibi. Keep being so good at guessing what I like. It will pay out in the long run.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I should have stayed in bed today

This is one of those days where it clearly would have benefitted me, and the world at large, to stay in bed. I forgot my cell phone and my work badge at home this morning, my hijab won't stay pinned, and none of the machines will work for me.

I'm not crabby so much as resigned to my fate for today.

But can I at least go home and go back to bed?

It would benefit us all.

Also I think I lost my readers. *tear* Am I so boring?

Is it Friday yet?

I have just been informed by my coworker (who I adore and is the only reason I stay in this job) that I am, now, officially the biggest dork she's met.
Woot! I've accomplished something today.

What are everyone's thoughts today? How is your day going? Feel free to complain on my comments section. I think its a bad day for everyone so let it out.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Esta Cancion

Me lleva la sangre y me hace llorar.

This song stirs my blood and makes me cry.

Despedida(the goodbye or the one who left)- Shakira

Translation provided by me.

No hay mas vida, no hay
There is no more life, there is none

No hay mas vida, no hay
There is no more life, there is none

No hay mas lluvia, no hay
There is no more rain, there is none

No hay mas brisa, no hay
There is no more breeze, there is none

No hay mas risa, no hay
There is no more laughter, there is none

No hay mas llanto, no hay
There is no more crying out, there is none

No hay mas miedo, no hay
There is no more fear, there is none

No hay mas canto, no hay
There is no more song, there is none

Llévame donde estés, llévame
Carry me to where you are, bring me there

Llévame donde estés, llévame
Carry me to where you are, bring me there

Cuando alguien se va, él que se queda
When one leaves, the one who stays

Sufre más
Suffers more

Cuando alguien se va, él que se queda
When one leaves, the one who stays

Sufre más
Suffers more

No hay mas cielo , no hay
There is no more sky, there is none

No hay mas viento, no hay
There is no more wind, there is none

No hay mas hielo, no hay
There is no more ice, there is none

No hay mas fuego, no hay
There is no more fire, there is none

No hay mas vida, no hay
There is no more life, there is none

No hay mas vida, no hay
There is no more life, there is none

No hay mas rabia, no hay
There is no more anger, there is none

No hay mas sueño, no hay
There is no more dream, there is none

Llévame donde estés, llévame
Carry me to where you are, bring me there

Llévame donde estés, llévame
Carry me to where you are, bring me there

Cuando alguien se va, él que se queda
When one leaves, the one who stays

Sufre más
Suffer more

Cuando alguien se va, él que se queda
When one leaves, the one who stays

Sufre más...
Suffers more...

Sufre más...
Suffers more...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pink Elephant

I wonder how I look to people? How do I appear? I'm an obviously white and accent-free (regional accent aside) Muslim girl. I smile at the patients, I joke with them, I'm blatantly American and I sometimes completely forget that I am wearing a headscarf and in this small way may not be just like them.

I believe that people will only treat you as differently as you allow them to. I guess when I forget that I could be considered different it leaves no room for the patients to remember I'm different or to act on it. And at the end of our interaction it is just like any other between two Americans.

Except that I'm Muslim.

I'm at ease with who I am, but I wonder what is inside of their minds when they walk away from the desk...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gray: Of Work and Coffee

As my head continues to pound I must finally admit to myself that I am addicted to caffeine. Coffee, O Coffee, why must I hate you yet love you so? Like a crack addict I break down and feed the monster.

I find myself falling into a bleakness in these darkest, grayest months of winter. I wake up and leave for work before the sun has risen and I get out and drive home once the sun has set. Working in the black hole of this clinic filled with negative energy and people who just don't care, and then leaving the hospital to the gaunt and hopeless torn-down ghetto of Minneapolis covered in a thin layer of ash-colored snow.

My world is a lot of gray. Gray is the world when I get up. Gray is the world when I lay down. Gray is even the color of my dreams when I dream them at night.

I want to love my job. I want to love what I do. I want to wake up every morning and look forward to getting something accomplished. Doing something that is meaningful, something that just might change the world even just a little.

In the bleakness of winter it seems like I make no mark and tomorrow is the same as the uselessness of today.

Monday, January 14, 2008

You don't want to be a Muslim?

Ok. So don't.

My little cousin is dating a Muslim. I am currently the only Muslim in my entire family (that I know of) so this would make her a non-Muslim. Christian to be exact, Lutheran if you really want to get specific.

When she saw me at our family Christmas party she came over and gave me a hug and commented on how pretty my hijab was. And then she confessed that her boyfriend is a Muslim and that he wants her to be a Muslim.


I asked her if she believed in it and she said no. "Ok," I said, "so don't be a Muslim."

Just to let all of you, who believe that Islam was spread by the sword, know: we don't want forced conversions. We don't accept forced conversions. If someone is forced to convert without belief and against their wishes then its quite obvious that they are not really Muslim. End of story. We don't have the baptisms where someone's outsides are washed and they magically become Christian like the Roman Catholics did in the New World. Its an internal choice made from the heart and if its not your choice then you're not Muslim, even if you just do it to make your significant other happy.

I have an issue with men who date non-Muslims and then pull out the "I can't marry you because you're not Muslim" card when they want out of the relationship. I mean, this breaks all sorts of moral codes above and beyond the religious striction against dating. I myself have been at the receiving end of this line although it was not said as a way out but as a sort of blackmail against me.

"I love you but I can't marry you unless you're Muslim."

Oh really? I ended up converting, but it was not for him. In fact I remember saying to his face "I'm going to become a Muslim, but this doesn't mean I'm going to marry you," and I later turned down all the proposals he made for me. So you're not going to marry me unless I'm Muslim? Well, I'm Muslim and I'm not going to marry you anyways.

I converted for myself, for my heart, for my love of God, and because I knew it was right. Sure, if you look at the percentage of women who convert because they married/dated a Muslim its very high. In fact most Muslims when they first meet me assume that I converted for my husband and their first question is "where is your husband from?"

But that doesn't make it ok for a man to say that he won't marry his non-Muslim girlfriend unless she converts. Whats the point of having a spouse who says they're Muslim but really aren't?

On the upside my cousin told me that her boyfriend has never said "convert or else" and has even gone so far as to say that he would marry her no matter what but that he wants their kids to be raised Muslim. Spouses of two different religions bring up a whole other set of problems for their children, but we'll leave that for some other blog. I'm happy to know that he makes her happy and treats her well no matter what religion she is.

And thats good for him because I'd take him out at the knees if he ever tried to force her to convert.

For right now I'm content to be a source of knowledge and support for her when she has any questions. I'd love for her to be a Muslim, but only if she herself decides thats what she wants.

Its the only right way to do it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thank God its Friday

Last night I had a dream where we were having primary elections in this gated community we all lived in and the person I hated the most out of all of the candidates won. I was furious, who the hell was I going to vote for now? I certainly wasn't going to vote for him. It was a depressing dream and an even more depressing wake up. I'm so preoccupied with politics that they are even invading my most precious of vacations.


I also hate my new job.

*le sigh*

Thank God its Friday.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Just Stating The Obvious: Why Bush Will Accomplish Nothing in Israel

So, the really funny thing to me is that even most news sources have pretty much written off Bush's visit to Israel. In fact except for reading the BBC and AlJazeera I probably would not have even known Bush was in Israel. Why? Because Britney losing her mind means a lot more to this country and this country's media, obviously, than a fake attempt to "bring peace to the Middle East." Although really, I don't think Bush or anyone involved actually believes that they are going to do anything of consequence on this trip let alone bring peace to the region. Especially when they are so keen and proactive on destabalizing it instead. And just to further unacknowledge the trip the media here is also now in the grip of the 2008 election primaries- they're so focused on who the next president might be that they've pretty much forgotten the old (who is still current and still f**ing our country up).

What they are trying to find an outlet in celebrity insanity for is to cover up whats really going on: the recession that this wonderful and imperishable country is currently in. We're losing jobs. Our currency has taken a complete nosedive to the point that Europeans have started to take vacations in the US because its so cheap. And there are a lot of people I know who are locked into houses they can't afford on a salary that hasn't risen in proportion to inflation and rising gas prices because the housing market is at an almost complete standstill.

The goverment won't admit that we're screwed because thats bad publicity. So far the Bush administration hasn't made any statements on Merrill Lynch's findings, Bush is focused on lessening the chance of the country falling into a recession rather than addressing the all too obvious proof that we're already there. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if Britney's convenient loss of rationality isn't gov't backed (in true wag the dog fashion) to distract the nation's focus.

But these are all issues here on the homefront. Nice cozy problems for Bush to ignore when he comes home from his tax-payer-sponsored vacation to the Holy Land. What I want to discuss is the curious and yet unsurprising disregard that the U.S. media is holding this trip to Israel in. I haven't heard a peep about it on the local news and a quick stop by CNN (no matter how painful it was to type that website in) turned up not a single mention of Bush in Israel (on the front page headlines at least). There was something about Bush calling Iran another bad name but nothing about the possibility of Bush solving all of the Middle East's problems.

One would think that the first presidential trip to this ravaged land in nine years would merit some kind of flurry of forecasted outcomes. But it seems that everyone has given it up for a lost cause. Why? Hm maybe it was because they all made a fuss about the Annapolis peace talks last month and the only response that got on Israel's part was to funnel more money into building more houses on an illegal settlement within the West Bank. Of course the end to the "peace talks" was blamed on the Palestinians and their inability to control Hamas. I only heard about the continuing construction of the illegal settlement by watching Link TV (check it out) finding a link about it was a bit more trouble.

So why will Bush accomplish nothing in Israel?

Because no one is willing to address the real problem.


I told you it was obvious.

I'll let SubZero Blue wrap it up for me:

Of course in the end, the failure of any peace negotiations will be pinned on the Palestinians, as usual, and things will go on like they have been for years; until we approach the end of another US president's term and they suddenly feel like leaving on a bright note: that they at least gave Middle East peace a shot.

I don't know why we even bother let our hopes get lifted by these peace conferences, agreements, negotiations and crap anymore. It's obvious that until Israel is held accountable for its actions just like Palestinians are, there will be no peace!

Well said.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Free Fouad 2

Saudi blogger Fouad Alfarhan is still currently in jail. Please get the word out! Not enough of a fuss is being made about this. I'm lucky enough to live in the US and to be able to criticize my government at free will, but I don't think I will always have that right. Since the Patriot Act was passed our freedom of expression has been slowly squeezed into a smaller and smaller box. How much can we allow?

Make some noise friends, kick up some dust. And sign the petition HERE for his release.

More info:
Free Fouad
Fouad's Blog (in arabic)