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    ‘Why the Mega Mosque should not be built’

    by Sunny
    13th August, 2007 at 4:17 am    

    The Muslim Public Affairs Committee’s (MPAC) own Zulfi Bukhari explains in a podcast why the Mega Mosque project was badly conceived from the start.

    This is partly amusing because Islamophobia Watch branded anyone declaring this view to be a racist. Curiously, they’re now a bit silent that one of their own is arguing this has badly impacted community relations. Arif Ahmed made the same point recently on Pickled Politics.

    Tangentially related: The Guardian published the first column of a new (and first) regular Muslim columnist (G2 women’s section, every fortnight) on Friday. Congratulations to Noorjehan Barmania, although I wasn’t too impressed by this piece.

                  Post to del.icio.us

    Filed in: Muslim,Organisations

    22 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Radical Muslim

      Latest on the Mega Mosque…

      Browsing over at Pickled Politics I find that Zulfi Bukhari (MPACUK) has opposed the ‘Mega Mosque’ project.
      Personally, I support the project as it caters for Muslims and will be great da’wa during the 2012 Olympics. In London, I alre…

    1. Soso — on 13th August, 2007 at 3:48 pm  

      “Badly concieved” is different than actual criticism.

      Perhaps the term simply means awkwardly presented, a PR disaster, but that the idea of a mega-mosque itself remains sound and most desirable

      And as for ‘tangenitally related’; what would Guardian readers say if the paper were to feature a Christian column, by a Christian writer every second Friday?

      Would they view such a move as progressive?

      Or would they denounce it as divisive and reactionary?

      And where does Noorjehan get off believing she’s such a hottie that white males would pounce on her, if given the chance?

      Why does she insist on projecting the general backwardness of Muslim sexual apartheid on well raised western males?

      I feel sorry for those guys in the elevator.


      They’re condemned to work with a nitwit so full of preconcieved notions and prejudice, that said nitwit cannot even see them for the human beings they are.

      And you know, imagine if a white Christian columnist had expressed similar views about being in an elevator with 4 black Muslim males.

      Think of how the statment, “the closest black male
      body to me”, would sound?

      I’m only contextualising!

    2. Soso — on 13th August, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

      And as for her name; it is hard to procounce.

      Perhaps she could adopt a simple, anglophone work-place name, for the ease of everyone concerned, and call herself “Trixie”

    3. Rumbold — on 13th August, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

      It is not really hard to pronounce Soso- perhaps she just said it fast to start with. They could have called her Mehr-un-Nisaa or Nur Mahal instead. Would that have been easier?


      The article was not particularly impressive, as she mistook an idiotic and moronic remark for vicious racism; it clearly was not, as she herself notes that the white males in the lift were dreadfully embarassed by the whole thing.

    4. Sunny — on 13th August, 2007 at 3:58 pm  

      what would Guardian readers say if the paper were to feature a Christian column, by a Christian writer every second Friday?

      It’s not a Muslim column, but a column that happens to be by a Muslim. And they have one by Christians every day! Including Christine Odone every Sunday on Catholicism. Try reading once in a while, it helps.

    5. BevanKieran — on 13th August, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

      From the article:

      The Muslim segregation of sexes, metabolised into my being, made me shrink against the rear wall. God forbid I make bodily contact with those white male bodies - surely the lift would spontaneously combust.

      Is it a spoof column? Noorjehan is a similar sounding name to Norman Johnson.

    6. sonia — on 13th August, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

      that column was amusing - if anything it shows the extent of the two way suspicion and othering going on: ‘white male’ bodies ( as other and as foreign as you can get - male is bad enough - but white male! tauba tauba) and the other side, what can we call you noorjehan.

      nice, one wonders if the ‘white males’ in the lift should also not get guardian columns too?

    7. Chris Stiles — on 13th August, 2007 at 5:54 pm  

      “what can we call you noorjehan”

      Why is that necessarily an indication of suspicion/othering?

      I thought the column was mindless - it was nearly on par with Tyler Brule in terms of sheer vapidness.

    8. Soso — on 13th August, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

      Try reading once in a while, it helps.

      I stand corrected. My head hangs in shame!

      Have worked on pronouncing her name properly and Rumbold was right; it isn’t hard.

      Still, though, “white male bodies”…..

    9. Don — on 13th August, 2007 at 7:25 pm  

      If you have just been formally introduced to a new colleague, is it really that odd to ask if they have a prefered contraction? Pretty much everybody I know with a three syllable name - and about half with two syllables - uses a shortened form.

    10. justforfun — on 13th August, 2007 at 7:38 pm  

      Well said Don - If I may call you that.

      I knew a Noorjehan in Bombay who went by the shortened Nooki :-) - Oh we were so innocent then. Perhaps it was a premptive strike to avoid this - Ps just read Life of Pi and its a similar reason for Pi.

      by the way I have an alternative view - Jehan is the equivalent to John and is the equivalent Sean - just based on a hunch.

      Justforfun ( although I don’t mind jff by my friends)

    11. Rumbold — on 13th August, 2007 at 7:45 pm  

      Jahan- ‘World’. So Nur Jahan- ‘Light of the World’.

    12. Don — on 13th August, 2007 at 7:52 pm  

      Actually, Noorjehan is a very mellifluous name.

      ‘Barmania’ on the other hand, sounds like a programme idea for Channel 5.

      I’ll get me coat.

    13. Rumbold — on 13th August, 2007 at 7:56 pm  

      I did wonder about Barmania Don. It does not sound very Muslim.

    14. justforfun — on 13th August, 2007 at 8:19 pm  

      Rumbold - You know your Persian I see. And as you can see from your wiki - Jehangir - “conqueror of the world”. But in real life just plain old Salim. Son was Shahjehan - ” King of the World”.

      I’m not a native Persian speaker, but my point about Jehan/John - very common names and very similar sounding and both from the same part of the world - but common scholarship says they are not linked, but I’m not convinced - Where is Bananabrain?


    15. http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/ — on 14th August, 2007 at 4:31 am  

      off topic, it is interesting to see Islamophobia Watch links to Radical Muslim’s site, http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch/2007/5/14/update-on-the-mega-mosque-petition.html

      as Radical Muslim links to some fairly nasty sites, one of David Duke’s ones and another by some Holocaust deniers


    16. Rumbold — on 14th August, 2007 at 9:34 am  

      I do see your point Justforfun, and the Biblical Jehu also suggests a link. However, the Persians did not really mix with the Jews, and the Jews would have been unlikely to have borrowed words (especially names) from Persian.

      Shah Jahan was a name given by Jahangir to his son Khurram, sometime after the fall of his eldest son Khusrau. Jahangir named himself Jahangir upon his accession (‘Salim’ was named after the noted Chisti saint Sheikh Salim, whom Akbar believed caused his wife to become pregnant with a male heir).

    17. justforfun — on 14th August, 2007 at 10:50 am  

      … the Persians did not really mix with the Jews, and the Jews would have been unlikely to have borrowed words (especially names) from Persian.

      Do you mean culturally, genetically or just in the general round. I always was under the impresssion there was alot of mixing of ideas back and forth across the this area of the world, especially in the religious field. Aren’t there biblical stories of Jews being high officials etc in the Achaemenid Empire - Daniel springs to mind. Also during the Parthian era , weren’t they invited in to kick out the Romans and replace Herod. Can’t remember the exact sequence but something nags in the back of my mind about this.

      Why do you think the Jews would be unlikely to have borrowed words (especially names) from Persians. Cultures do it all the time and I can’t see why Jews would be any different. Jews have already changed their language from Hebrew to Aramaic to Yidish etc so change does happen in Jewish history - so it would be odd not to borrow a few names now and then especially as they are two sets of people living side by side etc for hundreds of years.

      SheikH Salim - is he the man buried at Fatehpur Sikri? Been to his tomb 25 years ago - as you say - it brings back the memory of the women queueing to get in and now I know why.


    18. Rumbold — on 14th August, 2007 at 11:15 am  

      Jews come into contact with the Persians/Parthians, but what I meant was that the Jews were known for failing to absorb aspects of different cultures- just look at Leviticus. Even under the Roman occupation, there seemed to be very little cultural diffusion.

      Fatehpur Sikri was built in honour of Sheik Salim Chisti, and was intended by Akbar to replace Agra as the ‘capital’ of the Mughal Empire (the court frequently moved from place to place, so ‘capital’ is misleading). It was designed as the perfect city, but did not have a reliable water supply, so had to be abandoned after a few years, which is why it sits there now, deserted. Chisti was buried here (I think), as the new city stood on the site of his former village, Sikri.

    19. douglas clark — on 14th August, 2007 at 10:25 pm  


      Bloody hell you are so erudite, sometimes. I am in awe.

    20. Rumbold — on 15th August, 2007 at 9:26 am  

      Thank you Douglas. Very kind of you to say so. I, and others, are often impressed with your posts (even he who must not be named here is at times).

    21. Scott — on 25th August, 2007 at 5:46 am  

      For what it’s worth, Barmania is a fairly common Muslim surname in South Africa.
      There’s even a street in Cape Town named after a Barmania.
      The surname may not be very recognisable because it may be one of those names that got altered by English colonial officers back in the day.

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