Last night Canada came one step closer to officially recognizing same-sex marriage. Bill C-38 was passed 158-133, with the NDP and Bloc supporting the (minority) government. The legislation awaits its rubber stamp of approval from the Senate and the Governor-General. The vote (and the debate leading up to it) was highly contentious: Liberal backbenchers were allowed a free vote, and many of them did not support their party. Former MP Joe Comuzzi resigned from Cabinet to vote against the legislation.
Many Canadians believe this is a historic occasion, as evidenced by Prime Minister Paul Martin's speech in Parliament. The legislation makes Canada the third country to officially recognize gay and lesbian marriage, though same-sex marriage has already been legalized and is now performed in most parts of the country due to lower-court decisions in various provinces that redefine marriage.
Bill C-38 will only apply to civic marriages. It includes provisions for the protection of religious minorities and institutions. Religious leaders can refuse to take part in same-sex marriages. There had been talk of repealing the charitable status of religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage. Recently, the bill was amended to protect the charitable status of those groups. It will be fascinating to watch the balancing act between religious (and group) rights and the equality rights of same-sex couples – after all, both rights are explicitly protected in the Charter.
I've been thinking about profane language quite a bit lately. Why does it bother me so? And why do I find it so offensive? Is it because I was brought up with my speech carefully monitored? A great deal of coarse language makes reference to body parts or bodily functions. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. So what is it about some words that make them taboo?
And how does one determine whether a word can be used in regular speech or not? Several years back, when the term "screwed up" peppered my speech, my father would insist that I not use that term because it had a vulgar meaning. When I told him it hadn't that meaning any longer – I felt it meant someone was acting in an odd or "crazy" manner - he insisted I shouldn't use it because 1) I just wasn't aware of its connotations; 2) older people still consider it vulgar and wouldn't appreciate its common usage; and 3) I had been exposed to that word at school so often that it no longer had the intended effect on me. I thought his rationale was very convincing, but lately I've come to realize that many words that were once considered offensive have now entered public discourse. So perhaps the term "screwed up" no longer has the negative connotation my father thought it had – perhaps it can no longer be considered coarse language.
Unanswered questions tend to trouble me, so I emailed an old professor to ask her my question:
Dear Professor "Wordy": I was wondering whether you'd be able to answer this burning question of mine. At what point do swear words lose their force? A few years ago, my father would gently rebuke us when we used phrases like, "he's screwed up" to mean someone has problems or isn't fully normal, because he believed the word has sexual connotations. Yet I'm sure there are some words we use today that might have been considered profanities in the past, and I know there are some words which have quite innocent meanings but have come to refer to sexual activity. How do we judge whether a word is socially acceptable or not? Safiyyah
My professor responded the next day:
Hi Safiyyah, I wish I had an easy answer to your questions. You are right that swear words tend to lose their force over time and also that they are more acceptable in some situations (say, with your friends) than in others (with your parents). It is not easy to judge when they have become acceptable. One way might be, if you hear them on a family TV show, they have probably become acceptable. I am still shocked when I see an advertisement announcing that something 'sucks' - that is still profane for me, but obviously not for a lot of other people. I would think that most former swear words even if they are no longer profane still remain acceptable in informal language only. A dictionary like the Canadian Oxford Dictionary can give some guidance; it marks words that the editor considers profane as 'coarse' – for example, 'screw up' is marked as slang (meaning informal language only) but not as 'coarse'. I hope that helps. Professor "Wordy"
I'm not entirely satisfied with this response, but perhaps there simply isn't a concrete answer to my questions. In any case, I thought I'd pose them to my readers once again:
What is it about some words that make them unacceptable for use in polite company? When does profane language become part of the public discourse? And what happens when seemingly harmless words are hijacked and made profane over time? Can these words be used in their original manner or would it be anachronistic to do so?
So Sr. Shaila had forced us onto our desks as punishment for chatting in class. There we stood, hands clasped atop our heads, waiting for her to come to her senses. We'd been standing there for quite some time when our principal walked in unexpectedly and paused, taken aback at the discovery of thirty sombre statues set upon thirty tiny desks.
"What's going on here?" he asked. His eyes swept the room, baffled at the strange tableau before him. "Get down, all of you! What're you doing up there?!"
But we stood there, shame-faced and silent, knowing we had no choice in the matter. It was either him or the scary lady, and the scary lady we could not ignore.
Our teacher broke the unsettling silence. "I told them to stand there, Br. Abdurrahman. I've had it with them! I've had enough!"
"No, Sr. Shaila, they must come down! It's unsafe. Get down, all of you! Get down!"
We fidgeted uncertainly, waiting for her word. Our principal looked at us, then at her. Finally he gestured to Sr. Shaila. "Can I speak with you outside?" he asked.
She nodded, and he led the way. But before shutting the door, she perused the classroom one last time. "Not a word from any of you. Do you understand? DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!"
We didn't respond. We knew what would happen if we did. Instead, our eyes remained fixed upon the door as we sought to listen in on the secret conversation – in vain.
Minutes later, the door inched open. Sr. Shaila strode straight to her desk, her mouth still set in a stubborn frown. It was Br. Abdurrahman who addressed us: "Get down, everyone. Off your desks! I don't want to see you there again, okay? And I want this to be a lesson to all of you. Have your textbooks out and be ready for class. Is that clear?"
We nodded wordlessly, then scrambled down from our desks, involuntary sighs of relief slipping out as we settled into our seats. Br. Abdurrahman left quietly, shutting the door behind him.
But before we'd managed to pull our textbooks out, before we'd even managed to get comfortable in our chairs, Sr. Shaila's familiar voice startled us: "You know, Br. Abdurrahman is too kind. You people will never learn this way. GET BACK UP ON YOUR DESKS!"
In shock, we stumbled from our seats yet again; disobeying simply wasn't an option. She glared at us from behind her spectacles. "AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEAD!!!" she commanded.
My eyes lingered on the second hand of the clock. I was bored to death and willing the period to end. Before long, i was thoroughly agitated. This was simply ridiculous. We were twelve year olds, and she had us standing on our desks? Wasn't there anything we could do to end this madness?
And then, unexpectedly, I hit upon an idea. What would happen if I apologized - on behalf of the class? Would she let us off? It was worth a try. But I was terrified. What if she yelled at me? Or concocted some unique sort of punishment for me? On the other hand, perhaps I was the best chance we had. She had taken a liking to me for some reason. It was worth a try, I thought. But why risk it? Why not someone else?
The clock ticked away as I pondered my options. Several times I made to speak, only to realize I hadn't the courage to do so. Finally, I could stand it no longer. "Sr. Shaila?" I whispered. I cleared my throat and tried again. "Sr. Shaila?" I asked, more loudly this time.
Her head jerked up from the jumble of newspapers before her. She'd heard. It was too late to back down. My heart beat wildly as I adjusted my clasped hands. "Sr. Shaila, can we please sit down? We're really sorry."
"What are you sorry for, Saffya?" Yes, she called me Saffya and I hated it. She also called me variations of that name, including Soofya and Sowfya. But Saffya was the most popular, it seemed.
Why were we sorry, she'd asked. She was making me spell it out. "We're sorry for not being quiet and for not being ready for class." I felt like a snivelling four-year old begging to play outside.
She slowly turned a page and continued perusing the page before her. She said nothing. Nothing! Oh God, it hadn't worked! Oh, the shame!
Minutes passed. My arms were throbbing. And I silently berated myself for sucking up to her.
Then suddenly, without looking up from her paper, she murmured, "Soofya, sit down."
Did she say what I thought she said? It took a moment for her words to sink in. She looked up to see me still standing. "Soofya, I said sit down!"
Huh? Just me? But I'd already tried my luck; I wasn't brave enough to speak again. Red-faced, I climbed down from my desk and sank into my chair, the rest of the class still towering over me. I felt even worse now, knowing I'd been the only one spared. I suppose I'd learned a lesson: It's not smart to negotiate with a crazy woman.
Time passed slowly in the strangely still room. Then, ten minutes were all that remained. I could see and hear classmates shuffling around, adjusting their hands, rotating their necks – all to alleviate the discomfort they were in. I was suffering almost as much as those who remained standing - not physically, of course, but from the embarrassment of being singled out. So it was a relief to finally hear her voice.
"You know," she said, her voice deceptively casual, "you people have no shame. The least you could do is apologize. But you people are too proud for even that. And what grade are you in? Grade 7? GRADE 7?! What kind of example are you? WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE?! La halla wa laa quwwataa!" She shook her head at the class, mouth twisted in disgust, the anger just barely veiled.
And then a voice broke through the tense silence that followed. "Sr. Shaila, I'm sorry."
"Sorry? Sorry for what? SORRY FOR WHAT?!"
"For talking before you came in."
"SIT DOWN!" she thundered.
Then another voice. "Sr. Shaila, I'm sorry." And another. And another. Within a few minutes, everyone had apologized and was seated, a sense of normalcy returning to the classroom.
"Open your textbooks to page 89," she commanded.
I'd never seen textbooks whipped out so quickly.
"Read quietly until the end of the period. Answer the questions at the end of the chapter. I'll check your work tomorrow." And with that, she collected the remnants of her newspaper and waltzed out the door.
That day – the day Sr. Shaila disciplined thirty twelve year olds – that was the day I finally realized my history teacher had gone berserk. She wasn't the only one. It was much later that I came to appreciate the distinct madness that pervaded that school.
I spent most of my childhood in an Islamic school – I won't mention which one. In fact, I'd appreciate if there were no guesses. I'm not out to pick on my old school. I was there until the age of fourteen or so. I loved it – well, at least parts of it. But there were lots of funny bits, and that's what I'm going to share with you right now.
The story I'm about to tell you is completely true. It happened when I was in grade 7. We were a class of about 30 students, with the boys and girls arranged on separate sides of the classroom. On that special day, we had just returned from lunch break, and we were sitting around waiting for our teacher to come in. Our teachers always seemed to take their good 'ole time, and like any other kids, we got bored. So we started chattering back and forth, not noticing what a racket we were making.
Then, BAM! We froze. In charged our history teacher, a deadly frown set within the folds of her drooping cheeks, glasses resting low upon the bridge of her dainty nose, eyes shooting angry darts at every face. She was old and very intimidating. I'll call her...Sr. Shaila. Yes, we didn't call our teachers Ms. or Mr. or any other name like that. It was either Sister or Brother. And this teacher was one sister!
"WHY AREN'T YOUR BOOKS OUT YET?!!!"
We stared at her, still stunned by her sudden appearance. We'd forgotten, we really had! But there was no arguing with this woman. Should I take out my textbook and risk having her notice I hadn't taken it out earlier? I could sense I wasn't the only one paralysed with indecision.
She continued her slow perusal of the class, glaring eyes settling upon each trembling child in turn.
"WHERE ARE YOUR BOOKS? ARE YOU DEAF?!"
A girl in the front row quietly reached into her desk and pulled out her book, her eyes still fixed upon Sr. Shaila. (No, there were no lockers in this school.) The rest of us cautiously followed suit. We were scared stiff, we really were. We stared straight ahead, casting fearful glances at her from below lowered lids, not a peep coming out of our mouths.
And then it came. The tirade we'd been anticipating.
"HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO TELL YOU THE SAME THING? YOU PEOPLE ARE WORTHLESS! I COME A FEW MINUTES LATE AND I CAN HEAR YOU ALL THE WAY DOWN THE HALL! HOW DARE YOU? HOW DARE YOU?!!"
She stopped to take a deep breath. Uh oh. This was a biggie.
"YOU KNOW, YOU PEOPLE DON'T KNOW BASIC THINGS! YOU LACK THE BASIC MANNERS! WHY HAVEN'T YOU TOLD YOUR PARENTS THEY ARE WASTING THEIR TIME? WHY HAVEN'T YOU? THEY WORK NIGHT AND DAY, SPENDING EVERYTHING OUT OF THEIR POCKETS TO SEND YOU – YOU! - TO THIS SCHOOL? FOR WHAT? FOR WHAT?! YOU PEOPLE SHOULD BE BURGER FLIPPERS (and she rolled each 'r'). IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE? TELL ME! TELL ME! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO BE?! LA HALA WA LA KOOWATTA ILLA BILLAH (this was exactly how she said it)."
But we knew by now she didn't really want us to admit we'd rather be anything but burger flippers. In fact, we knew that if we did tell her, we might get into even more trouble. (It had happened once before, you see, with a student too eager to please.) So we kept quiet, staring at the ridges in our desks, our fingernails, anything to avoid her accusatory glare. We were praying she'd soon stop and we could just get on with learning. But then we realized that wasn't going to happen any time soon:
"I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY I TRY WITH YOU PEOPLE! WHY DO I BOTHER? YOU THINK I AM DOING THIS FOR THE MONEY? YOU PEOPLE ARE WORTHLESS! WORTHLESS!"
"STAND UP! STAND UP! ALL OF YOU!!!"
I scraped back my chair as fast as I could, hastening to do as she ordered. The clang of thirty chairs was ear jarring, but she was so angry she didn't notice. What would she make us do? Hands on our heads this time?
"GET UP ON YOUR DESKS!" she screeched.
What?! We stared at her in confusion, not believing our ears. We'd had strange punishments before, but this was unbelievable.
"HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?! GET UP ON YOUR DESKS! RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW!!!"
The lady had gone bonkers. She was losing her marbles. She was...crazy. But we couldn't risk her wrath. We rose solemnly on our chairs and climbed onto our desks.
A few minutes after we'd settled in, she had one final order: "PUT YOUR HANDS ON YOUR HEADS ANDNOT A SOUND!" We put our hands on our heads. And we stood there. Waiting. And waiting some more.
She didn't seem to notice. She was sitting at her desk now, carefully flipping through the Toronto Star newspaper laid out before her. She looked comfortably happy, as if she could easily sit there for another hour.
Standing on a desk was one thing; standing on a desk with our hands atop our heads was a new experience. And it wasn't pleasant, I tell you.
My arms were starting to hurt. I glanced at the clock. Half an hour left. When would she let us off?
Then there was a knock at the door. In came our beloved principal. "Assalaamu Alaykum," he said in usual cheerful voice. Thank God! We sighed a collective sigh of relief. He was here! He'd save us! He was the kindest man on earth. And sure enough, his bright smile turned to horror as he found thirty twelve year olds standing stiffly atop their desks...
I'm looking for information from anyone who has traveled from England to Continental Europe by train. Here are some questions: What would be a reasonable time frame for someone who wants to visit a few countries in Europe? A week? A month? What sort of costs would the traveler have to consider?
If you've stayed in a hostel, what has your experience been like? Are there places to see or things to do that you'd want to recommend to a first-time visitor?
Safiyyah getting ready to play in the summer snow!
On a random tour through blogosphere, I came across a woman who is planning a trip that will pass through Montreal. She is concerned about what sorts of clothing to pack. Would it be too cold for summer gear? Reminds me of the time someone admitted she'd heard about Islam but wasn't sure who he was. I suppose people just don't know very much about Canada either. What pops into your head when you think of Canada?
We sat together at MoMo's, a bunch of old friends immersed in deep discussion about what religion meant to us. We had organized a series of peace-building initiatives on campus many months before, and we continued to meet regularly to engage in our own informal dialogue.
We were discussing prayer when "Maria", my Christian friend, suddenly revealed that she regularly prays for her mentor (who lives what she considers a very sinful lifestyle). She asks God to guide her mentor back to what she defines as the moral path.
I was surprised by her bold admission, but I kept my thoughts to myself. "Isaac", my Jewish friend, was too astonished to hold back. "You do that?" he asked.
"Yes, I do. Every day. I pray for everyone I care about."
"I wouldn't want you to pray for me," he exclaimed, consternation colouring his usually calm demeanour.
The fervent interjection startled her. She paused, eyes flickering across the faces in the room, taking time to judge each person's reaction as if unsure of what to say in response. Finally her eyes settled upon him once again. "Why?" she asked.
The table was suddenly quiet. In his usual eloquent way, he sought to explain why he deemed her prayers so distasteful. His words flowed beautifully, and I simply drank them in. But one idea stood out: "Praying for another to become a Christian, or in some cases, to become a better Christian, indicates one's deep desire to change another person. That shows a lack of acceptance for that person."
Maria was stunned. Clearly she did not really understand his unease. "My prayers are based on love," she pointed out. "I love my mentor. Because I care about him...that's the reason I pray for him to become a better person. My intention isn't at all bad."
I caught Isaac's sidelong glance. He was waiting for my perspective. "To be honest, I don't really care one way or the other," I shared. "If she wants to pray for me, that's fine. If she doesn't, that's fine too."
Always the thinker, he sat back in silent contemplation, puzzlement evident upon his face. He was likely questioning his own tolerance. How could he dictate how another person prayed? After all, praying is a very personal action. One must not be prevented from praying for whatever one desires. At the same time, praying for God to change an individual in a way that the supplicant so desired - and in a way that the person in question might not appreciate – seemed both selfish and uncaring.
The conversation suddenly shifted direction and the issue was dropped, but as I left MoMo's that day, Isaac's reaction kept replaying in my mind. I wondered why it didn't matter to me - and why it troubled Isaac so. Was it because he was less tolerant than I was? Or was it perhaps because I wasn't tolerant enough? Maria was very dear to me, and yet I was startled by the possibility that my indifference had to do with the meaninglessness of her prayers; believing that I had the truth, her appeal to God that I be guided to the straight path couldn't do much damage.
Is one's tolerance correlated to one's belief in the invalidity of another's faith? Was I more tolerant and more willing to accept Maria's religious actions because I didn't feel they were of much consequence? Perhaps one can only afford to be tolerant of another's religious beliefs when one thinks that the other's beliefs are wrong or less legitimate than one's own. If that is so, then the concept of religious tolerance is very shallow indeed.
My identity is mired in contradiction, rendering self-definition an exercise in futility. Suffice to say that I am a devout Muslim, university student and aspiring academic struggling to find my way in the Western secular society I call my own.
I believe my writings illuminate my true self. See this blog for the real Safiyyah.
Nice blog Link me up on this blog please
who are you?
Salams I'm Brother Ahmed form UK. Striving to be a better Muslim, and sharing what I know to assist others in moving to achieve the same objective. Wasalam
i don't see your new site.
so you still have this site eh. Nice :D
miss u, saf! :(
Enlightenment “ Ilchi Lee talks about enlightenment. Enlightenment is the education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge. The enlightenment Ilchi Lee speaks of is not something extraordinary. Creating health, happiness, and peace is what Ilchi Lee calls enlightenment; it is creating a desirable environment rather than being controlled by it. When you internalize that the brain is not you but yours, you will finally be able to experience such awakenings in your life.” –SRV Danh Yoga also helps with enlightenment!
Canada Passes Same-Sex Bill
So would this be like if such a bill were passed on the federal level in the US? (I thought gay marriage was already legal in all of Canada). For example, in one state of the US we have gay marriage, but that marriage is not necessarily valid in any other state. -- UZ
UZ: Provinces opposed to same-sex marriage would obviously not allow same-sex couples to get married on their territory. Alberta was one of them. But your question is, what happens if an Albertan couple decided to get married in Ontario, where same-sex marriage is permitted? Would their marriage be recognized in Alberta? The status of that couple wasn’t clear before Bill C-37 – it would really depend on the province and how adamant it was in its opposition to same-sex marriage. It certainly wouldn’t have been recognized in Alberta. But I have heard that some provinces agreed to recognize these marriages though they were performed elsewhere. And keep in mind that same-sex marriages are already legal in 7/10 provinces and 1 territory. This piece of legislation simply establishes a uniform national law, bringing provinces like Alberta in line.
Salams Nice informative blog, keep up the good work.
swearing is bad anytime.....
i don't think it is a question of words but a question of register...since slang belongs to casual speech, it isn't something you would want to say to your grandma. just my two cents, i'm not derrida or anything
I agree that one shouldn't use profanity. The reason a person uses such words is usually to express themselves in an angry or aggressive manner. They are words of force, accent and misguided punctuation.
To use such words weakens your ability to communicate effectively as it makes a person appear common.
As per "Screwed up" I always thought it was more regarding the phrase "Head screwed on tight", so if yours is not, you are screwed up. A person who tells me "I'm all screwed up!", I'm not thinking anything sexual in thier comment.
Anyways, that's my two cents.(Although I will admit to using such words. I live in Scotland; even the Grannies cuss!)
it all depends on how much you are exposed to and how much you deem it acceptable. I used to cuss with all the really bad words until I looked back and found them really vulgar. I now am trying to stop some other people from cursing also. its one of those sins that are really easy to ignore and shrug off after a while of doing it. we must all be careful of it.
Safiyyah, there are times when I use profanity. Sometimes it is for emphasis and sometimes it just comes out. There are better ways I could express myself but such habits are difficult to break.
"screwed"? "sucked"? I think those don't have a sexual connotation anymore. They have become part of everyday language even with young children.
Have a read:
ps I've heard the origins of the word "fuck" comes from the Arabic Fiqh, which literally means to open new ground. It makes sense because the origins of the word are still disputed and are linked as far as the 16th century(beginning of the renaissance). Most want to forget the influence the Islamic world has on present day modern western civilization. More fair observations of Islamic civilization could only further our understanding of Modern Western Civilization.
Here is another site:
I was contemplating on the way language and other symbols have been hijacked. For example the word 'gay' a few years back was something I'm sure we've all read in a book of nursery rhymes. But today, you can scarcely use that word in public without inciting a chorus of giggles. And rainbows are no longer neutral objects for children to paint...
Even the new 'gay' is beginning to lose its meaning, since anything people do that is strange or out-of-whack is labelled as being 'so gay'.
As a high school teacher, we are told to nail kids the second such comments leave their mouths. I feel hypocritical doing this, when I do so myself all the time, with having any conscious intention of referring to gay people at all.
As for the word fiqh, I had always wondered what if there was a connection since my mother cringes when I mention it...thanks anonymous. However, I don't know if that's something muslims should go boasting about..
anthropologists have many theories on why non-standard speech persists, referencing hegemony and class politics and other things.
You are right the word "fuck" is nothing to be proud of. However, it can be construed as a "western" animosity towards the Islamic World and its achievements. Fiqh being a highly advanced science compared to no other.
The words "croissant", "mosque" are derived from the seething hatred Christian Europe has had of Muslims throughout history.
Read up on the words and find out for yourself.
ABM: Would you please go away? I asked you not to post again until you'd emailed me. I also previously deleted one of your posts - remember that? - because I didn't like the swearing. How easy it is to forget. Notice that none of the comments contain coarse language.
Fatima: Great to hear from you. You're telling me you use the word 'gay' to mean happy? :-)
Aasim: So what's your theory, Mr. Anthropology?This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
You're really despicable...and quite pathetic really. Don't come back here. I'll just delete your ramblings.
Until recently, I was very careful about using taboo words on my blog. But I changed my mind. I think that, properly used, some profanities add power and even humour to a piece of writing.
Qaradawi's 'Enjoining Right...', which is the conservative take on things, cautions that one should swear infrequently. So it's within the trad Shariah to use language in this way, I feel.
In English, there is also a long tradition of 'bawdy' humour that embraces Chaucer, Shakespeare and my personal favourite, Swift, not to mention contemporary musical lyrics, like 'The Electric Chairs'.
The Muslim Anarchist
Saf you have discovered the secret of getting the most comments for a blog... Talk about profanity!! :-)
Profanity similar to other fads (like clothes, etc) Depend on 2 notions:
- The 'In' thing/factor I still remember the Kris Kross years when people wore clothes backwards. Similarly did you know that a couple of hundred years ago, it was considered vulgar & disrespectful for women to wear pants in European & America too!!
On those grounds abusing was bad too. There have been times that using profanity & slang is considered the 'in' thing to do. Your friends use the f word, so what's wrong with using it or if you don't you'll be considered different.
This way such words (& also clothings, etc) being famous/infamous became so common
- Time: Another thing that you pointed out, is a word like 'screwed up' (Pardons for any aunties & uncles reading this) As you said some don't consider it bad, others do.
I try not to use it. The reason is that it was added to my vocabulary was simply coz I thought it was slang for 'I made a mistake', 'I messed up'. I had no clue about the what people used to relate it too.
The reality is that such words originally started as profanities, were related to certain 'connotations'. However due to the 'In' thing/factor and as time passed by. People kept using this word for what it is now supposed to mean & not what it used to mean.
The question that comes to mind is: Is that ok to use it now since it means something else?
Well...what is the F word or something similar replaces 'messed up/dumb/fool' then will it ok to use that word too?
I sure hope the $%#@ not :P
I tried to clarify a point about what is considered crude, and how that is different from either humour (where one often says something mildly offensive, only to turn the meaning "on it's head"); or seeking knowledge, where hadith assure us that clarity and learning necessary knowledge is more important than the shame we may experience in asking intimate questions (reference the hadith where Umm ul-muqmin'in Aisha (radhi Allahu anha) says: Don't feel shy of asking me about a thing which you can ask your mother, who gave you birth, for I am also your mother. (ie, in Islam)
my earlier post where I quoted at length didn't get submitted, so the above will have to suffice - wa Allahu alim
My goodness, I feel like such a gullible loser.
It is in fact ABM a.k.a. Anonymous who is the real loser. I took the liberty of looking up the word fiqh in my brand new Arabic dictionary (Al Mawrid, the best one there is), and found that the route f-q-h has absolutely nothing to do with the F-word. It refers to jurisprudence or doctrine and bears no resemblance at all to the meaning given by ABM.
ABM is clearly a hate-mongering, ignorant, illiterate person who likes to give his/her opinions without having any evidence to back them. And the 'croissant' and 'mosque' stories are urban legends that have been floating around on the net for decades, without proof of any negative etymology.
As one good friend of mine always used to say, "when your mind is in the gutter", anything anyone says can be thought of with perverse connotations.
Congratulations ABM. You've shown us all where your mind is. Try and pull it out of there before it's too late.
Being an American parent to a 15 year old. I can honestly say, we use excessive profanity, myself included. We have become lax in what is acceptable language. We have also brutalized the English language.
I think your best guide will be your conscience. If you feel uncomfortable saying certain words or phrases, then you shouldn't use them. Overuse of a profanity or once unacceptable words should not make it accebtable language, nor should it be tolerated.
In some circles it is 'cool' to use profanity as an adjective and every other word. Do you really want to be associated with those circles?
As a society, we have become desensitized to too much violence, profanity & sex.
Numbness due to overexposure should not make the once unacceptable acceptable.
Islamic School Days, cont'd
Great story, couple of questions:
Did the teacher get fired?
And did the other students give you a hard time for being the only one allowed to sit down?
you are one good story teller.
other than the craziness, was she a good history teacher?
asSalaam 'aleykum wa RahmatuLlah;
I had similar experiences at an international American Christian school, private Protestant schools - and I have to add that while there are notable teachers out there always (even in public schools), educators are remiss in placing the most noble and wise in charge of educating the most defenseless and weak...
That, and I consider myself one of those who need correction, just as my students are also in need of sincere nasiha - there is little argument that Islam must have an active voice in the world, and that 'khalwa' (of the extreme '40 days of solitude' or rahbaniyya Sufi type) isn't suitable to this time - my teacher, Tosun Bayrak of Spring Valley and the Khalwati-Jerrahiyya Sufi Order of America, has advised the same. ( http://www.jerrahi.org )
Muslims must be active, speak the Truth - 'though not in every place', as Isa (alayhi Salaam) advises against "throwing your pearls before swine" - & education is one of the most direly needed of these spaces.
FethuLlah Gulen, the excellent Turkish thinker, has written well on this: http://en.fgulen.org
as salaam alaikum
We had a fourth grade teacher growing up who would use a ruler on the unruley. She decided to take that ruler on to my neighbor friend because he was late coming in from recess. That would be the last day she used it, because my friends 4ft mother went in there and beat her up.
I'm that type of mother, I will storm a school that harms my children and does something as stupid as what your teacher did. Bullying 12 yr olds for an adult who is suppose to teach children, inspire their young little minds, to only act in such a pathetic way I would have to impose similiar humiliation on her.
Please tell me one parent at least went in there and went loco on crazy woman.
Corporal punishment is a proven teaching method. Sr. Shaila got all the kids to listen to her. NO?
I had a sixth grade teacher who would poke the children when they would get out of hand. He was mean as hell but one thing is for sure, we definitely learned alot from him.
Corporal punishment is a proven teaching method. Sr. Shaila got all the kids to listen to her. NO?>>
No she didn't, she did get them to fear here. But I dont see any evidence where they got her to listen and I mean really listen.
I don't learn from brutes most people don't. Sure they can parrot things back out of fear of punishment, but is that learning?
I don't know what you think corpral punishment teaches other than fear and resentment.
You are right that it teaches fear and resentment but when used correctly will only aide in the teaching process. It is the last resort but still an option for a disobedient kid and/or bunch!
You try handling a classroom of know it all 12 years old. Most of them live to give the teacher a hard time. When words fail and disobedient still remains. The option of physical obedience should be left open.
That grade six teacher of mine taught me alot of lessons that many years later still remain.
What is your experience Saffiyah?
"It is the last resort but still an option for a disobedient kid and/or bunch!"
Even if I were to agree with this i wouldn't agree that it is a teachers place to physically discipline someones child. It is not their place to do so.
"You try handling a classroom of know it all 12 years old."
I wouldn't, this is why I'm not a teacher. This is a profession that people CHOOSE. No one is forced to become a classroom teacher. If a person is unable to productively handle the position than quit and find another profession.
The teachers that I remember the most growing up who had any positive affect on me were not abusive. They were patient, kind and in tune to the class so that it opened us up to learning. Not all people should be teachers, especially not the woman in this story.
"When words fail and disobedient still remains. The option of physical obedience should be left open."
When a persons words fail than they should learn, they being the adults and not vice versa, other ways to address the problem. You can't assume that all children will respond in the same manner to the same things. Children are individuals they have individual problems, concerns, behaviors, reactions ect. It is up to the adult to change their approach if one doesn't work.
Ya know what strikes me as really odd is that these are all Muslims we are discussing. This is a Muslim teacher with Muslim students. We wouldn't advocate that Muslims start physically abusing each other in order to solve problems. But yet its sugggested towards Muslim children.. A Muslim is not to harm another Muslim right?? so why is it ok for a Muslim adult to harm a Muslim child? That is far from a good Islamic foundation.
Agree w/ Nzingha's last post -- this is Muslims against Muslims we're discussing here.
Second, no one lays a hand on my kids but me. Nobody has the right to touch them in any fashion unless I'm standing right there and allow them to.
Third, as far as Islamic schools go, I dislike the way many of them have unwittingly or unthinkingly imported the "Ya Ihmar!" (O you Donkey!) way of dealing with students / children to our culture. Perhaps calling children donkeys and hitting them works in that particular cultural context (though I don't think it necessarily does), but it's not a part of our school culture. It's degrading -- calling children donkeys and this other stuff. I hate to go to the Islamic school and hearing the teachers screaming at the children all day like harpies. -- Umm Zaid
pardons, I feel a need to respond (these are dangerous urges, I warn you);
while teachers do need to respect children and parents should take responsibility for raising and guiding (tarbiyah wa irshad) their children, and it's certainly true that "a muslim is safe from another muslims' hand and tongue", in "honour, person, and property" (as hadith state) - this also applies to the teachers.
it's true that teachers choose their profession, but not the children they teach, which school they are placed in, or the system/culture in which they educate. saudi arabia (or arabia in general, wa Allahu alim) has a lot of parents (like wealthy and indulgent parents around the world, or tribalistic and bigoted folk [sorry, I call it as I see it - & I'm not the only one to notice that Saudi has a lot of resemblances to the 'American South' circa 1965] around the world, you take your pick)
I've witnessed teachers abused, shouted at (by children as young as 5 or 6) - and heard trustworthy reports of teachers being abused and fired on whim, because of students' complaints. When one tells a student not to bring porn on his cellphone into class, or not to call his friends, or to stop disrupting the class - should one do so 'with due respect to his wealth and property' or with respect to the need of 20 other students to learn?
When students try to throw a teacher out the window (and they've been told or 'culturally informed' that Pakistanis/ Bengalis/ Sudanese/ Egyptians/ Indians/ whomever are 'lower forms of life, capable only of servicing the noble Saudis' - well? as one fellow teacher said 'answering that child with his own medicine would be worth a ticket home'...
I'm not claiming special nobility, but racism and bigotry make me sick - and when I'm told to accept it 'because as a Canadian, it works in your benefit' - that makes me more angry. Bigotry is bigotry, why condemn America and Israel for it if we indulge it in our 'muslim brother'?
We'll get far away from the topic of children and *discipline* if we discuss the arab world, but to put it briefly - parents should not avoid responsibility for their children and blame the problems they fail to deal with at home on the parents - and though I suffered through traumas at grade school & junior high as well - and loathe bullies as much as the next - it's ridiculous to try to argue that one should accept a 10-year-old dictators' personal tantrums as one's "own problem".
as I wrote before on Izzy Mo's blog, we'd (the muslim community) better clean up our own backyard before complaining about our neighbours - is it tolerable for Mehmet to torture/ murder/ rape while it's not acceptable from John or Moishe?
sorry, some things are black and white - abuse is abuse, from parents, teachers, or children: and better answers to problems in school had better be forthcoming, or we'll have the next generation we deserve - one that subserviently services it's foreign masters while dictatorially ruling their homes like mini-[Hosni]Mubaraks...
and may Allah forgive us for our faults, mine are many. wa Allahu alim.
wa alaikum salaam
W/out feeling like I've highjacked Saffiyas comment section:) I want to briefly comment to Dawud.
I can so relate to what your saying, I have kids in Saudi schools. I have Saudi teachers in my family, I know what goes on. And I still feel the same way, corporal punishment was banned in saudi for a reason.
Now their failure to address many of the other perverted thinking that goes on here doesn't give a teacher the right to phyisically harm a child. They still choose their professions KNOWING that they will not always be able to choose the children in their classrooms. There is greater change that needs to be done in the Saudi school system, beyond changing books. But allowing a teacher to physically hit a student will only create more problems. of course the thinking that phyisical force will solve any problems that one can't get control of is a relfection of this culture as well.
Maybe we'll have to take this to one of our own blogs before we get kicked out :)
UZ I hate the donkey comments, one of the more common ones here is ya kalb (dog). UGGHHHH
I don't agree with physically discipling children, either, but one comment to Nzingha.
You repeatedly state that teachers CHOOSE their profession. Fair enough, but parents also CHOOSE to have kids, and if they're going to -- especially if they're Muslim (since your standards for Islamic schools/teachers are rightfully greater, so too, should our standards for Muslim parents be higher). I've been to Islamic schools and have friends that teach in Islamic schools, and quite frankly teachers aren't the only one's at wrong here (although the one in Saf's story *is* wrong and teachers should lead by example and be punctual and just, not a nafsonic mission). Parents in Islamic school bully and degrade teachers like no parents in public schools would ever be permitted to do so. They publically humiliate them by storming into their classes, call them at home to yell at them and make demands whilst reminding themt that they "pay the teacher's salary"-- and I'm sure this (and the poor pay, and common breech of contracts) fuel teachers' dismay and frustration. Secondly, many students in Islamic school behave in a more spoiled and out of control, total lack of ihsan manner that leads one to question *what* the dude with the big beard they call their father or their muhajibah mother is teaching them about the adab due to 1) all Muslims 2) teachers -- who have traditionally had an esteemed role is Islam.
Choosing a profession doesn't mean accepting all abuse and mistreatment that comes one's way. Parents also CHOOSE to put their students in certain schools and just like they should not be expected to accept abuse, neither should teachers.
So, yes physical discipline is wrong...but it's not the only thing that's wrong with Islamic schools, and treating the ailments at the root of the problem (read: parents and administration) will insha'Allah cure much of the problems.
Just thought this discussion needed some balance to it.
wow for a minute there i thought I was in guyana. only when we qre 12 they don't do that anymore. Great story. You have a nack for stoory telling. Love the blog. thanks for visiting me. It's great to see a fellow guyanese on blogger too. but i have a question about your story, did you learn the lesson by the principal's way or the crazy teacher?
wow! ur from guyana...in south america? i know people who from from guyana and they're sooo nice but u didn't look like ur from there. r u a rare breed or what:) u should send ur story to an islamic magazine. monoligist is right, it's great!
wa alaikum salaam
Nosheen you won't get me disagreeing with anything you said. Not all fertile people are good parents. And I'm swimming in a culture where the lack of proper parenting is a HUGE problem in schools. Oh I got plenty of stories. :) But a teacher can not make a person a better parent. Many times the teachers, unfortunately, have a greater impact on children than their own parents. So one must be very careful in how they choose to handle a situation.
Some parents want to make me rethink the haramness of sterilization.
My comments spinning off of Nosheen and Nzingha are so long I think it is only polite for me to take this to my own blog as a post. Maybe tonight or tomorrow insha'Allah. -- Umm Zaid
Interesting story. I don't have a problem with corporal punishment in schools, but I do believe that it should be administered in a controlled, supervised manner. Here in S'pore, schools have "discipline mistresses" who are responsible for the disciplining of all students (thus, the punishment is taken out of the teacher's hands, as in this case).
A few years ago, I taught English to foreign students who were in their late teens-early 20s. They needed discipline, especially for coming to class late. My solution/punishment was to give them a 10-minute leeway, then require them to do - in front of the class - one push-up (or, occasionally, sit-up) for every minute they were late (with variations on the theme for other infractions). The class learned very quickly that I meant business when I said come to class on time, and I had very few problems after that.
UZ: I really don't mind your long comments. That's what makes this interesting. If I had more time, I would have joined in. I have a lot to say on this subject. I'll post my thoughts in the next few days.
Assalamu Alaikum Saffiya
LOL! I went to that very same school you went to, although I was in kindergarten or Grade 1 at the time.. you must have been in Grade 9...and we had the same teacher "Sr. Shaila" when we moved on to Grade 6, 7, and 8 for "E-Social E-Studies. I was totally imagining her in your story (you told it very well!!) and was laughing so hard, tears were coming down!
Although she screamed at us alot and told us countless times that we were "Chairwarmers" and "Stupid goats who she would like to throw out the window" and that our parents were just "wasting their money on us" ...when it came time for us to graduate in 2000, she UNBELIEVEBLY --CRIED (I kid you not) SHE CRIED AT OUR GRADUATION! and she said and I quote "I will miss you people.."
She always will remain a vivid memory from our school days. I have many stories, as you do undoubtedly, but there's no space!
Sorry for the long comment, but I couldn't resist.
p.s. She is still there, teaching my younger sister. and "La hola wa la quwatta" will ever remain a legendary expression of her rage.This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Islamic School Days
no no, how can you stop now ... please, the suspense is kiling me ...
WOW. You know, I don't even wanna talk about this - the whole punishment concept and all. But great story...please keep telling us more.
p.s. Did anyone realize that the teacher was mad at the students because SHE was late? This makes a great case for psychological study, although I'm sure it's a fairly common phenomenon
Assalaamu alaikum Safiyyah,
Thank you for that fabulous rendition of those school days. Yes, "Sr. Shaila." Ahem. (seriously, you captured it EXACTLY how I remember it.)
I remember being utterly frightened by the sight of her. But, she loves me now - my theory is that once you leave the school, the teachers finally like you, because you're not their problem anymore.
I remember she was in one of those moods once, and she said she wanted "pin-drop silence." It was all fine and dandy until I dropped my pen on the floor, at which point she kicked me out of the class. And, I was a NERD, not one of the bad kids. So I was devastated.
Speaking of the old school days, I was just looking at some old photos from my sister's album... he he he >:) Be prepared for some reminiscing at the training.
ps: she says "la hawla wa la kuwata" and doesn't complete it with "illa billah". I'll be waiting for the continuation.
Heyyyy...was I absent that day? I'm interested to know how you remember that so vividly that you're quoting her! I guess psychological damage is pretty memorable :)
Your erstwhile partner in crime, SH
p.s. very cool blog :)
I don't know whether to laugh or be horrified. Actually, I read the story all wide-eyed, and then started laughing at the end. Please do continue SOON! =) Islamic school stories always strike a bit close to home for me because, although I didn't attend one for very long, my sister and I have been teaching the 6-8 year olds at our Islamic school over the past 2 years. It's draining, it's rewarding, it's frustrating, it's hilarious, and the whole entire time I'm worried we're going to do or say something that will negatively affect their perception of their Islamic school experience down the road. InshaAllah khayr.
p.s. Did anyone realize that the teacher was mad at the students because SHE was late? This makes a great case for psychological study, although I'm sure it's a fairly common phenomenon
Well, no I didn't ... but we all had teachers whose lessons we dreaded - there was one rather nasty woman at my boarding school who used to poke people with biro pens. When she left, she did so over the summer of 1991 and nobody was told she was leaving - we were just told we couldn't do history for GCSE for reasons they couldn't tell us, and found she was gone when we came back that September.
My Mum went to a Catholic school, and told me of one nasty teacher, who used to spit when she talked, and then used to hit the girls with a ruler over the mess she'd made on their work.
Fathima: Part 2 coming up soon, I promise you.
Arafat: Yeah, the punishments were usually cruel and unusual...and completely arbitrary. And teachers didn’t know how to apologize for anything, much less their lateness. In fact, some regularly came in late but still expected the students to be waiting in silence. Ridiculous.
Asmaa: Hahahaha. The pin drop silence thing...you know, I don’t remember her saying that at all. Speaking of which...do you know how guilty I felt when I first posted this entry? I think it has to do with the fact that I still have a great deal of respect for her even though I disagree strongly with her methods. But I’m haunted by the possibility that she might still have power over me. :-(
Umm ‘Ammar: Why the kunyah? Is there something I don’t know? ;-) As for the quotes, it’s a re-creation and definitely not the real thing. But you’ll find out why I have such a strong recollection of the event in my next instalment. As for where you were, I think you hadn’t yet emerged from your cocoon at that time.
Yasmine: My experiences at Islamic School taught me just how psychologically disturbing injustice can be. I taught at an Islamic Summer School for many years, and I was always very cognizant that I had to be absolutely fair and transparent while interacting with my students. Frankly, I think the professionalism of the West needs to be emulated by Muslims.
Yusuf: Poking people with biro pens (people actually use that word?!) isn’t that bad, relatively speaking. And at least your teachers got fired; ours never did. I can’t believe you’re defending these schools. You almost sound like my 'mum'!
Safiyyah, excellent post. What a vivid story!
She wasn't fired. She appears to have left of her own accord. I wondered for a while if she had cancer or something, and did not want this to be known to the boys in case it became the subject of somewhat undignified discussion. Another friend of mine thought she simply saw the writing on the wall - her older pupils were leaving and nobody further down the school had much time for her.
My school was a really quite violent place and people were attacked in public on numerous occasions, and the perpetrators got away with it because of the stupidity, laziness or downright malice of the staff. I was told by senior staff that if I couldn't "deliver the goods physically" I should basically keep quiet, and also was told to use violence rather than complain to staff about harrassment.
Oh and as regards professionalism, I have personally worked at an Islamic school very briefly, and I noticed that there were more than one husband and wife pair at the school. Did the same happen at yours, Safiyyah?
I'm not defending this sort of thing - it's just that nothing surprises me about these places, whether Islamic schools or any other kind of school. Schools which are run for the benefit of the staff rather than the pupils will always deal with petty personal cheek to a teacher (or other worker) far more sternly than injury or harrassment to a pupil.
Yusuf: Your comments about that teacher leaving made me question whether the biro pens were a euphemism for something I was too naïve to pick up! But yes, I stand corrected. My Islamic school days pale in comparison to your school experiences. How’d you survive? And may I ask where your parents were when all this was going on?
Of course, your story is also indicative of the resilience that is characteristic of children. It’s reassuring to know that people can turn out so well despite the craziness they went through. Thank you for sharing. Maybe these stories will spur you on to let go of your own childhood demons. ;-)
As for your question regarding husband-wife teams, that wasn't really an issue at my school. I have a lot to say about professionalism, but I can’t deal with it right now – perhaps in a later post. Thanks for reminding me though. This is definitely something I want to address.
The biro pen reference wasn't a euphemism - she never used them on me, and normally used her fingers to poke people, but I heard from someone else that they'd received the biro treatment. She was known as "Stitch" for this habit. But it wasn't for this that she was most disliked - she was disliked by everyone because she was incredibly moralistic and self-righteous, but also not a very nice character.
As for what my parents were doing, well, to be honest, I have always wondered why I ended up in that particular school given that my mother clearly despised the headmaster and that it was, among other things, the least generous about weekends home and that sort of thing. They did what they could to help, like visiting me far more often than anyone else's parents did and contacting the headmaster when there were serious problems, but as for why they didn't simply pull me out of the school (which is what I actually wanted), they (or rather my mother) insisted that there was nowhere else for me to go. My mother was in the middle of a degree at the time (she is now a teacher) and I'm sure she didn't want to do anything which would mean putting that on hold.
By the way, I've posted quite a bit about my school history on my blog - have a look at my Education category.
Nothing to see here...
Let me know what places you're going then specifically according to the country I can suggest some places.
England: Has a number of historical places to see, if you're into history & art, then check out the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum they have a fine collection of Islamic art (not to mention other rare items from all over the world) Museums in UK are usually free with 'suggested donations' at the entrance (last time I went there)
Hyde Park is fun too; basically its a park where all sorts of characters with all sorts of beliefs can speak their mind (end of the world, anti-everything, pro-everything, etc) so enjoy the fresh air and listen in.
Sherlock Holmes' home at 22 Baker street is interesting too (There's a house on 22 Baker street which was made a tourist attraction by converting it to look like the fictious detective's home)
So there is a variety of stuff to look for, if you mention some specific interests then I can specify.
Did you get an ISIC card? http://www.isiccard.com/isiccard/template.asp?pageId=1
Its an international student card that gives you student discounts/rates in 106 countries (student rates for bus,train and air travel, student rates or free access to museums & other places to visit that are normally not free, discounts at shops and also access to hostels etc) The card is free from GSU for Grad students. You can contact 'travel cuts' on college to get it.
Hostels: They are a very economical way of living in Europe. However unless you know someone who lived in a certain hostel & gave you details about, I would not recommend it.
Muslims tend to live 'differently' & may not like the way of life; i.e. its usually not 1 person per room, you have share it with a number of people. Some places don't have a guys only/women only rooms. Bathrooms are shared with a number of people. Some places simply provide you with a sleeping bag/matteress and you just find your location to crash in the hostel (all this depends on the cost and quality of the place) Usually travelers don't care coz you'll be sight-seeing all day & won't be in the hostel except just to sleep at night.
A good thing to do would be to go online since people usually do advertise rooms for rent. Contact Islamic centres/MSAs of the area that may know of good and affordable accomodations or simply start calling up former classmates & friends that shifted there :)
The Traveler gave some pretty good suggestions regarding the V&A and British Museums - the V&A is right near two other interesting museums, the Natural History and Science Museums - both right near South Kensington tube station. If my memory serves me right, they have both reverted to being free to enter (they became pay-to-enter at one point).
I disagree about Hyde Park and specifically Speakers' Corner. It is mostly nowadays given over to arguing between fanatical evangelical Christians and a certain sectarian group of Muslims, with a bit of Arab politicking going on, and a handful of the usual lonely guys with their placards. It's a good place to get yourself into an argument with someone who doesn't want to listen and ends up shouting you down. The park itself is, well, a park - it's large, green and it has trees in it, and it's also got a large lake, the Serpentine. I recommend the Princess Diana Memorial as a splendid example of a stupid and utterly uninspired monument - assuming it's open; they shut it down for a long while because kids kept slipping while paddling in it. You'll laugh and cry.
Hyde Park is also very convenient for Oxford Street and Edgware Road. Edgware Road is the place to go to hang out in the kebab shops and shisha bars. There are three places I recommend - the "Halal Restaurant" near to the Marylebone flyover, the "Mawar" Malay restaurant on the corner of Sussex Gardens, and the Meshwar kebab place. There is no mosque along Edgware Road, and no Islamic English-language bookshop either. For a Muslim experience, I recommend going to east London which has a very strong Asian (and also Somali) presence. See it before they destroy it for the Olympics.
As for accommodation, this is something (like immigration) I can't really help you with, as for obvious reasons I've never had to stay in any London hotel. There is Yusuf Islam's well-known hotel, the Brondesbury Park Hotel, although given that it is probably one of the best-known hotels in the Muslim community in London, it may well be booked out. You could get yourself a copy of the Muslim Directory, which has a yellow-paged classified section.
make sure you get an isic card for the trains in germany,benelux and switzerland if you go there- in france, proof of age suffices, even on the Eurostar.
call me one of those hippie sufi granola convert muslims but i always crash with muslims. i go to a local mosque and check stuff out, and someone usually takes me in. i have done hostels pre-Islam and I don't reccomend them for females of any persuasion unless you have a male with you. crashing with muslims isn't always cheaper because i often buy groceries wherever i stay, but at least i know it is clean. i think it is entirely possible, with a good plan, to do the benelux and France and a little walkabout in England in a two week span. again, with good planning, i did a ten days in paris and three weeks in manchester on 250 USD. granted i had places to stay. there's a lot of mistakes i find that north americans always make when travelling. some cities are cheaper than others. for example, paris is way cheaper than london, Amsterdam is downright budget, and brussels has expensive lodging but everything else is cheap. most of switzerland is ridiculous expensive. if paris figures into your itinerary, send me an email, i can so hook you up.
Can France be recommended as a tourist destination for Muslims, particularly women, given their policy of molesting women in hijab?
Assalamu laikum, Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. I look forward to reading yours. Thank you again.
wa alaikoum salam-- define "molesting". Between 4-6 million Muslims call France home. Yeah, I've always been the first person to say their hijab policy stinks, but a tourist shouldn't have a problem unless she is admitted into the hospital or gets arrested and taken to the police station, two places where removing hijab is compulsory, but not always enforced. In fact, I think they would be less likely to enforce the no hijab in public buildings on a tourist, and i was able to wear one when i was doing my different administrative tasks.
Visit Prague, it's awesome! Okay well I haven't been there but I hear it's the best of Europe. And, I'm leaving for Prague in 2 weeks!
If you have some time, definately try to go to Spain and Portugal. I went there last summer and I loved both! In Spain, I went to Madrid and Andalusia. I also stayed in a hostel with two of my friends for a few nights, and to be honest, it was awesome. The three of us had a small but comfy room, with our own washroom, and we each payed less than 10€ per night. We had free internet, our hostel had security -you had to buzz to get entry, and we were in downtown Madrid. I was initially hesistant to stay in a hostel, and I probably wouldnt alone, but if you have company, then it is not a bad possibility. The worst thing was a lot of cigarette smoke in the halls, but I think that is standard in Europe.
Portugal was really nice too. But as a visible Muslim, I felt more comfortable in Spain (other than the fact that everyone had a staring problem.)
In both Portugal and Spain, there is SO much to do. If you want more details, let me know. I have TONS of stories and advice.
Hi. I traveled around europe for 3 months staying in a mix of hostels (when i wasn't planning in advance) and in local people's houses - the best ever!! www.couchsurfing.com or hospitalityclub.org are 2 places you can look into this. i recommend the first one. I traveled to: UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Italy and Hungary. 3 months was a good amount of time and i spent about 20 euros on food each day (i went out everyday) not much on accomodations (i stayed 3 mights in hostels in 3 months costing me 70 euros total) and had the time of my life! let me know if you want more info on this, some people think it's dangerous or weird...i am a girl and i was travelling alone and mostly staying with single men - i never had a problem. as for the weirdness, they are just likeminded people, if you meet them and dont like them - dont stay with them - very simple. but i never met anyone i didnt like and i did make some lifelong friends. you get experiences staying with locals that no other traveling can provide.
Canada – brrrr!
looks like you are an artist too Mashallah. :D
do you live in an igloo? :D
you already know about my deep love for Canada, did you know that I spent a month in Newfoundland during one summer?
so i know better. and i can sing o canada in french. but i digress..
when i told people i went to newfoundland, they were like "oh is that like anne of green gables?" no that's pei, peeps. and no there's no snow in most of newfoundland in july.
my friend's mom cracked me up in newfoundland when she said, "be careful in the sun today, it's going to be 82 degrees! in new orleans it is 82 in december.
Canada is freakin cool.
Oh my, I LOVE your picture!!! It looks just like you, Saf:) The igloo is soooo cool.
It doesn't beat your Sikh photo though, that rocked!!!
Cncz: Eastern Canada is amazing. There's a lot of great outdoorsy stuff to do there. My family went on a long roadtrip one summer, and it was a blast. And the people were incredibly friendly.
Asmaa: But then you're biased, aren't you? ;-)
Dalia: The Sikh pic is too controversial to post. It was done on a silly whim, and I only intended for it to be shown to my family. I can't believe so many people saw it. Random people were asking me how I made the turban. I had no idea what they were talking about, which I found very frightening indeed. That's the danger with online operations. We never know where our things will go.
as salaam alaikum
Say Canada I think of: Hockey, beer, canibus, expensive (7.50 falafel plate.. comeon), fight over shariah in family matters, cold, muslim americans being finger printed at the border.
oh and the word 'eh'
I think of southpark. Sorry.
But I really love Canada... I love almost everything about it except that the warmest place in Canada is NORTH of the US. BRR!!!
Canada - I think about Degrassi Junior High (the old one with Steph K and Joey!), maple syrup and yeah.."aboot".
Have been north three times: Que, Ont, and BC.
South Park song, "Blame Canada." Polite Mounties. Polite people. Snow shoes. Maple syrup. Beer. Hockey. Aboot. Eh. Actors exported to the US. Very clean. Vancouver is probably the cleanest place I've ever seen.
Snow, snow, and more snow.
Ha ha Degrassi! LOL I used to watch that show. -- UZ
When I think of Canada, I see images of large, lush forests, rolling hills and snow peaked mountains. I see small towns and friendly people. I see a multi-culture that may have more success than any other melting pot around. I see amazing, free wildlife and endless wilderness.
and Niagra Falls.
My 4 day trip to Canada is just about to end (my bus will leave in an hour!), and I can't say I've been too impressed, but I can't see it's bad either. One thing though has really impressed me - the number of Muslims in Toronto. Man! I spent just an hour in Scarborough Town Center today, and I saw like tons of muhajjabas! I couldn't believe I was still in North America.
Oh, and about the cold? Gotta say, it's soo hot here today! Americans will have no clue.
how could i forget something so funny as the tammy skit from the kids in the hall: "segregation...indian nation... and dance".
a few days ago i had a long conversation with someone about the bears and lumberjacks that live in canada, and the igloos, and the log houses. it made me feel warm inside.
A Question of Tolerance
excellent post =)
awesome post macha Allah
I figure it this way (having had a number of Christians pray for me, or tell me they pray for me): if God really is on the other end of the telephone line, no matter what they ask God isn't going to do something or lead me somewhere that isn't for my own good anyway. Thus, I reckon it can't hurt to have someone petition God on your behalf - even if what they pray for may not be what you'd choose. And it's not about acceptance because I know that the Christians who *do* pray for me, most of them don't truly 'accept' me as a Muslim anyway, so what can praying about it hurt me? Maybe God will give them an answer along the lines of "hey thanks for praying for Umm Yasmin and I'll take it on board, but maybe she's happy following the path I chose for her."
a link for Momos eh? Thats the first time I've seen product placement in a blog :-)
Do you always have such discussions? what happened to simple stuff like "hey how's it going, after we graduate what are you going to do, stuff like...Do you alway have multi-faith dialogue in everything you do? :D (interesting life!)
as salaam alaikum
Falafel plate is 7.50 OH MY!!! thats expensive!! OH MY
7.50 canadian... i think that's a deal
but then again maybe i have been in switzerland too long. salam
thats still almost 23 SR.. way expensive. OH MY. I wouldn't pay that much for a falafel plate, I don't even like falafels but we can get a whole bag for a few riyal.
OH MY!! No tolerance for those prices :)
Regarding Momo's: It's a once-a-month thing. Doesn't happen all the time. But it's become "our meeting place", because the setting is absolutely perfect for the type of dialogue we have, and the restaurant now has sentimental value. $7.50 is pretty decent for a meal. Plus the falafel plate is really way more than just the falafel. It's a full meal - so full that the last time I went there, I had absolutely no space for dessert. And if there's one thing you know about me, it's that I never miss dessert.
As for the type of discussions we have, I really treasure my time with these individuals. We learn a great deal from each other. There are some exceptionally bright people in the group - and they're not just smart, they're very decent individuals with sound principles. We don't meet often anymore, because everyone's gone off in different directions, but there's still a strong connection there.
Maryam: Interesting insight. I know a lot of Muslims pray for non-Muslims too, so I suppose it goes both ways.
good to hear about your friends and your friendly discussions, but what I was referring to was; your discussions are so serious Mashallah. That must be a good thing too I guess.
Let me guess, when you & your friends were small you used to even have multi-faith Barbie dolls tea parties right?! :D
There's nothing wrong with praying for another person...
I suppose it is odd that your friend would admit doing so, simply considering the secular type of society we live in.
I've prayed for people; my friends, teachers, family... I still don't think there's anything wrong with it.
Remember, when making duaa for people in their absence. the angels say "Ameen. And for you the like."
No, I don't see anything wrong with it either. I was trying to understand why my Jewish friend would have such a different point of view.
Safiyyah, thanks for stopping by at Light Within and leaving me a comment that lead me here. I have been exploring your site since then. I am trying to know the real and your About Me blurb is of course not sufficient. See you here more.
my family prays regularly for me (to be blessed with accepting Christ's salvation through the cross) - how do I feel? that they love me, they believe the path to salvation lies only through the cross, and that they think they'll be saved [salvation from the Fire is a *Good Thing*, I agree] - and they fear me not being 'saved'.
Should I write angry letters saying 'You don't believe in God as He deserves, nor in the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon him; the Qur'an, which is the last book to be revealed by God, and Islam, which is fairly described by scholars [A.H.Murad] as 'the last bus home' - our Prophet is the Paraclete in the bible, why don't you get it?' - that wouldn't be polite, I think. Wouldn't communicate the message, would alienate them from what I'm trying to communicate - just as my arguments about biblical authority and Christian denominations (when I was a teenager, before I entered Islam and met my teacher / shuyukh) served no purpose but to frustrate them.
I pray for their Guidance, send them emails telling them 'Peace upon those who accept Guidance' and sit down and read Surah Maryam or other texts when appropriate (surah Maryam, alayha Salaam during Christmas, for instance)...
Do pray for me & my family - my nephew as well; if you don't know, he had a chest operation on his aorta leading from his heart to the lower body - not life-endangering, the Prophet Muhammed (Sal Allahu alayhi wa Salaam) had the same when he was a child, by angels in the desert... but certainly distressing for the family and friends.
I think some people's idea of tolerance just doesn't make much sense. It seems to me that before you can tolerate something, you first have to disagree with it. You don't tolerate people you agree with; only people you disagree with. If somebody agrees with you, there's nothing to tolerate.
But it seems like you can be considered intolerant merely for disagreeing with somebody. If so then we're all intolerant, because it's obvious that we all hold different points of view.
It's interesting this topic would come up, because lately, I've been thinking about the whole idea of accepting somebody just the way they are. Should that mean that we don't want anybody to change? Well, the way I look at it, nobody is perfect. We all have faults. While I can accept somebody, faults and all, why should that mean that I have no desire for them to change? If I care about them, wouldn't I want to see them improve?
Suppose we take this notion seriously, about accepting people the way they are and not wanting them to change. And what if I see room for improvement in myself? If somebody likes me just the way I am, are they going to be disappointed if I try to develope better habits? If I want to be a more patient person, are they going to be disappointed? Why should I even want somebody to like me just the way I am if I see room for improvement in myself? Unless I consider myself perfect, I should want to make some improvements, and I would expect those who care about me to also be in favor of it, not hope that I stay the way I am.
What's wrong with wanting those around us, especially those we care about, to develope better character? And if we think God can help them, what's wrong with praying that he does?
Oh, I wanted to say something else about Isaac. I think there is an inherent inconsistency in what Isaac was saying. On the one hand, he criticizes Maria for wanting somebody else to change. But on the other hand, he's doing the very thing he objects to Maria doing. His criticism shows that he wants Maria to change. If he didn't want her to change, he wouldn't have been so critical. His reaction is a blatant example of hypocrisy, and I see that kind of hypocrisy all the time in people who adovcate this unlivable definition of tolerance.
Sam: As usual, you’ve brought up some very interesting points. I’m glad you offered your perspective. I’m wondering what your definition of ‘tolerance’ would be then. At what point could we claim that an individual’s actions are reflective of intolerance towards another, and not just part of an effort to see another person improve?
I’m not sure I understand how your analysis of self-improvement fits this scenario. You’ve mentioned a situation where A wants to change, and B supports that decision and tries to help A become a better person. What is more applicable is the case where A doesn’t want to change, but B keeps insisting that A change to fit B’s image of what A should be. Praying might not be considered harmful to some, but the question is, how far can this persuasion go until it is deemed indicative of an intolerant attitude towards another? I ask because “Maria” was praying for her gay mentor to be brought back to her idea of moral rectitude.
I think tolerance basically has to do with not marginalizing people you disagree with, treating them with respect and kindness, being fair with them, etc.
Belittling, marginalizing, and generally being mean to people for holding a different point of view is what I'd call being intolerant.
In the case of Maria praying for her mentor, I could be mistaken, but I kind of doubt that her mentor has a different view of morality than Maria does. I'm assuming they're both Christians, probably both go to the same church, and share most of the same values. It's just that the mentor isn't living consistently with those values at the moment. In that case, I don't see anything intolerant about Maria enouraging or praying for her mentor (especially considering the fact that it ought to be the other way around).
Friends who encourage each other to do the right things aren't usually considered intolerant. In fact, they often confide in each other for just that reason--to get feedback, even if they disagree with it. But at the other extreme, you have law enforcement that pretty much uses force to get people to stop behaving the way they do. That's intolerant, but in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with being intolerant in those situations. Some things should not be tolerated, like theft, violence, etc. I don't advocate tolerance across the board.
But somewhere between these two extremes, there's a line. Where that line is, I think is a judgement call we all have to make in individual circumstances. There's no cookie cutter formula to help us decide when we've become inappropriately intolerant that applies to every situation.
Sam: I really shouldn’t be talking to you right now (ahhhhh!), so this will be a quick response and we can perhaps continue this discussion tomorrow. Maria’s mentor is a) in a position of authority over her, b) definitely has a different conception of morality than she does, c) is not a Christian, d) is not her friend but rather her advisor, and e) likely does not share the same values. :-) I’m not kidding. I know this man. He is very firm in his sexual identity – in fact, he’s a gay rights advocate – and I know for a fact that he’d have serious issues with her prayers on his behalf.
Safiyyah, I guess I misunderstood when you said he was her mentor. I assumed he was her mentor in the sense that he was somebody at her church that she went to for guidence, somebody she looked up to, and somebody who advised her.
But I still don't understand why it would bother him for her to pray for him. If he expects her to tolerate what he does in the privacy of his own home, shouldn't he tolerate what she does in the privacy of her own prayers? I really don't see any basis for him to object without becoming guilty of the same thing she's guilty of, whether that be wishing the other wouldn't be the way they are, wishing the other wouldn't think they way they do, or whatever.
I can't imagine being upset over something somebody prayed concerning me, whether I agreed with it or not, unless they were praying that I get hit by a car or something. I'd be offended by that, because that means they wish me harm. But I don't get the impression that Maria wishes any harm on her mentor at all. Her intentions seem good enough; her mentor just happens to disagree with them.
I saw a bumper sticker one time that said, "Protect the easily offended; don't say anything."
Peace upon you, and those who accept Guidance;
no offense taken, ephthatha ;)
'Isaac' (a thoughtful fellow, I'd agree) was probably dissenting because he doesn't see anything wrong, in Judaism or from his own opinion (by my knowledge of him, both) with homosexuality - a personal decision, [and one that many, especially in the West, see as a preference determined by genes and hormones, not by socialization or whim as dissenters [and most religious conservatives would see it]; whereas 'Maria' likely sees it as a 'lifestyle choice' and one that she disagrees with, most probably from religious concerns but possibly out of personal disgust - and it may be precisely that element of personal repulsion that 'Isaac' is concerned with.
I've discussed a similar matter with 'Isaac' in the past, stated my personal beliefs as encapsulated in the popular Christian statement: 'Hate the sin, love the sinner' (as Sahaba/Companions of the Prophet were known to encourage) - and was criticised for that. I don't think that most homosexuals see what they do as a choice, they see sexuality as a compulsion - and wonder at the hypocrisy of a dominant heterosexual society that sees flaunting sexuality as fine (or at least acceptable), provided it doesn't harm others.
Classical libertarian political theory states 'Freedoms and rights extend as far as one doesn't offend the freedoms & rights of others' - a statement which might be seen as being mirrored in the hadith: "Don't harm, don't be harmed" - wa Allahu alim. Living in the West, specifically in Canada, with multi-culturalism & a dominant secular worldview, requires one to accept the multiplicity of open social mores that are considerably different from one's own.
In Saudi Arabia, a certain crude and oppressively enforced social code (mostly pre-Islamic arab customs from Central Arabia, and Islam as interpreted and understood by the dominant sect here) 'erases vice from the public sphere'... whether one appreciates that depends on whether one views freedom as 'freedom to' [do what one wishes, say what one wishes, or act/live as one wishes] or 'freedom from' [vices that one loathes, evil practices, lewd behaviour, drug-dealing, etc]
wa Allahu alimThis comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sam: I apologize for the confusion. I didn't want to reveal too much about the individuals involved, thus the lack of detail. I think when someone has that close a relationship with another, one assumes (rightly or wrongly) that there is a certain basis of acceptance of one another. The sexuality of Maria's mentor is such an important part of his identity that praying for him to change would be akin (in his mind) to asking God to make a black man's skin white.
Dawud: I just spoke to 'Isaac' on Tuesday and I was shocked when he mentioned he reads my blog sometimes. Don't you dare tell him about this post!
Program on the emergence of civilization.
"14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind. 13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa. None from the sub-Saharan African continent. " Favor. And disfavor.
They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it's applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.
The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.
AIDS in Africa.
Organizational Heirarchy Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:
1. MUCK - perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as "god" 2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management 3. Mafia (evil) aliens - runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere (On planets where they approved evil.)
4. Chinese/egyptians - this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds 5. Romans - they answer to the egyptians 6. Mafia - the real-world interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality 7. Jews, corporation, women, politician - Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.
Survival of the favored.
Movies foreshadowing catastrophy 1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.
Many Muslims are being used like the Germans and Japanese of wwii::being used to hurt others and envoke condemnation upon their people.
I wish I could find a source to educate many Muslim fundamentalists. Muhammad is alive. He is a man chosen like Jesus Christ and, due to his historical status, will live forever.
They can affect the weather and Hurricane Katrina was accomplished for many reasons and involves many interests, as anything this historical is:: 1. Take heat off Sheenhan/Iraq, protecting profitable war machine/private war contracts 2. Gentrification. New Orleans median home price of $84k is among the lowest in major American cities, certainly among desirable cities.