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21st December, 2005

Iran wins Arab Elections. “Mission Accomplished!”

by Rohin at 3:28 pm    

It wasn’t that long ago that PP was discussing Iran. As many have been predicting since The War on Terror™ started to go astray, Iran is now frequently uttered in the same breath as Iraq.

The Iraqi election results should be available at the start of January, but already early returns (which represent 95% of the ballots cast) demonstrate what many had hoped against; the big winners are the Shia and Sunni religious parties, including good ol’ Muqtada al-Sadr, who aren’t all that interested in ‘bringing democracy to the Middle East’. At least not the democracy America has promised Iraq and the world.

The Asia Times Online says:

“the Shi’ite religious coalition [and] the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), not only held together, but also can be expected to dominate the new 275-member National Assembly for the next four years.

More importantly, the “secular” candidates who were believed to enjoy links with the US security agencies would seem to have been routed. Former premier Iyad Allawi’s prospects of leading the new government seem virtually nil. And Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Accord suffered a shattering defeat.” [Link]

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19th December, 2005

Like a bowlful of jelly!

by Rohin at 2:46 pm    

“Of course Santa Claus is Indian. Think about it yaar, big beard, fat belly, bad suit - INDIAN!”

Come Christmas Day, I would far rather be nursing an eggnog-induced heart attack than blogging. Hence I thought I’d get festive little early and give you some background on everyone’s favourite alcoholic mince pie thief. You see, he’s from Asia! Well…Asia Minor.

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Filed under: Culture, Religion
16th December, 2005

Iranian President in need of slap

by Al-Hack at 8:41 am    

Siddartha at Golmal Press puts it like this:

When MPACuk makes horrendous racist and anti-Semitic statements in the UK, Muslim Brits should know that at some point they stop speaking on behalf of Muslims and, instead, on behalf of and paying lip service to European ultra-right wing movements. So when Ahmadinejad spouts anti-Semitic garbage, Muslims especially should know that it, and the subsequent political fallout is part of some fucked up political dance of his own making.

Ain’t that putting it nicely? I say the brotha needs a slap. Or get laid. But I prefer the first option. Oh, and well said.

Filed under: Religion, The World
11th December, 2005

On the Islam Channel ‘ummah event’ last week

by Sunny at 5:03 am    

Last week the Islam Channel organised a “global unity” event at Excel where Muslims came in their thousands. The BBC covered it here. But was it really how it was made out to be? What was it really like inside? And were reports in the Jewish press justified? One of our (Muslim) readers writes in with comments on the event.

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Filed under: Religion
10th December, 2005

The tide against Al-Qaeda gets stronger

by Sunny at 5:55 am    

Though the rudeboys in suits and self-important clowns continue to scream hysterically about Zionist conspiracies, Muslims around the world are no longer keeping quiet about their anger against religious militancy.

The bombings in Amman, Jordan, which sparked the huge anti-Zarqawi backlash and support for the USA, has inspired plenty of Jordanians to start blogging and get themselves heard, Black Iris reports.

More bombs in Bangladesh (Rewzan has good analysis) prompted leading Muslim clerics in BD to protest and denounce them. “Islam prohibits suicide bombings. These bombers are enemies of Islam,” the chief cleric, Obaidul Haq, told worshippers. Zulfikar Ali is hoping they won’t become the next Afghanistan, Salam Dhaka reckons the ruling BNP may face a rebellion.

In Indonesia, volunteers from the largest Islamic organisation will guard churches across the country on Christmas amid fears of terrorist attacks on those places.

Here, the biggest legitimate apologists for Al-Qaeda are holding a rally today to demonstrate against the government’s upcoming laws on inciting terrorism. Even most politically active Muslims ignore them on the issue, and when HuT get invited on TV to discuss it, they hide. Not surprising that the MAB is sharing a platform with these extremists.

Lastly, it looks like the rudeboys from MPAC are getting defensive over their Zionist conspiracy bollocks too.

8th December, 2005

Mossad is coming for you!

by Sunny at 2:43 pm    

David T has been following MPAC’s hysterical rantings since Westminster University banned their “debate” on Zionism.

First the rudeboys were apparently getting death threats, then they blamed a Zionist conspiracy, now its the Israeli secret service Mossad*! Who next? Bets are the Global Illuminati, the Freemasons or Mickey Mouse may also be implicated. Wmin uni has a more sane explanation.

Apparently people at Masjids and Isocs were caught sleeping again. Mpac must have them on CCTV surveillance, it catches them sleeping constantly!
* MPAC have since removed the Mossad article to save face.

Do you hate Islam?

by Al-Hack at 2:03 am    

This is the question the very, very funny Saudi Arabian blogger The Religious Policeman answers on his updated FAQ.

He answers thus:
No, but I detest the people who have hijacked the religion for their own perverted ends, be they Wahabbi fundamentalists or Al Qaeeda terrorists. They don’t represent the vast majority, but are bringing shame on all Muslims. In response to this, Muslims react in one of four ways:

(i) To ignore the problem, to perform their own devotions, but otherwise keep their heads down.

(ii) To deny that there is a problem, or when the problem is obvious, to deny that Muslims are involved, or when it’s obvious that Muslims are involved, to deny that Islam is anything to do with it, or when it’s obvious that Islam is a factor, to say that it’s a “special case”, etc. etc.

(iii) To become apologists. “You need to understand our history / our culture / our being victims of colonization /our persecution etc. etc.”

(iv) To criticize. Again, this makes (i) to (iii) feel very uncomfortable. So internal critics get labelled as “apostates”, “Islamophobes”, “bad Muslims”, “traitors” etc. However, history tells us again and again that (i) to (iii) don’t bring about change; it either comes from internal criticism, or it is forced from outside. And I don’t want to see Islam “reformed” by some neo-conservative Christian fundamentalist “Holy War”.

Technorati tags: Muslims, Islam
Filed under: Religion, The World
7th December, 2005

Women in Islam - veils of the mind

by Fe'reeha at 8:22 pm    

One question that I have been asked from everyone about Islam is regarding its message about the role of women.

In fact, it is one question I have often asked myself as a little girl. Coming from a family of three girls which was condoled at male absence by the typical South Asian inquisitors, but raised by a father who never made us feel unequal in any way, I was always dissected by clashing ideas.

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Filed under: Culture, Religion
6th December, 2005

Girl power, India-Gates and French Sikhs

by Rohin at 6:25 pm    

Just wanted to bring your attention to some interesting stories briefly.

Vani is the Pakistani custom of paying off debts by marrying off your daughters. Three Punjabi Pakistani girls have dared to say no to what they consider a death sentence.

Bill and Melinda Gates leave Bangladesh having pledged to nurture their fledgling IT industry and arrive in neighbouring computing powerhouse, India. AIDS is at the forefront of his mind.

The French High Court, the Conseil d’Etat, ruled today that a French Sikh has a right to wear his Turban for his driver’s licence photo. The court ordered that Shingara Singh Mann be given his driver’s licence within a month.

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4th December, 2005

British Muslims, faith and Sharia law

by Shariq at 6:10 am    

One argument used by moderate Muslims to argue against Sharia is the point that Sharia as we see it today is largely the implementation of Muslim values by 10th and 11th century jurists to the world that they lived in. Since then the gates of ijtihad have been closed and there has not been much jurisprudential development to update Islamic law so that it can provide guidance in the modern world.

I would not disagree with this, but I think that it is difficult to win the argument against traditionalist Muslims if the debate is shaped in the above terms. Therefore I would ask those Muslims who would like Sharia law the following.

Reformist Muslim asks why fellow brothers and sisters find it necessary to impose their notions of piety upon other Muslims and Non-Muslims.

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Filed under: Culture, Religion
29th November, 2005

East Indian Jews representin’ in TO

by Sunny at 1:32 am    

East Indian JewA bit belated, but I found this ad (on the right) funny.

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival ran it in May this year [via SM]. You just feel like giving him a big hug.

More on Indian Jews can be found here and here.

I have to be honest, I don’t know much about that community, and they generally seem to keep to themselves like the Parsis.

And just for a laugh, here is funny picture from the Sikh Spinning Wheel film festival, also in Toronto, earlier this year.

Filed under: Religion, Humour
27th November, 2005

A weekly round-up of blog chatter

by Sunny at 4:36 am    

Ok, so I haven’t actually done a blogosphere round up for three weeks, but I’m trying to make amends dammit. This is by no means comprehensive coverage. Simply mentions of blog entries (and two articles) I’ve found interesting recently.

  • The Renegade of Junk is furious that the Indian Supreme Court is making it worse for rape victims with their use of language.
  • Sakshi finds it bizarre that Jackie Chan wants the Asian (Chinese and Indian) film industry to “unite” against the Americans.
  • Riz has launched a new blog on market trading called Always Bet on Black.
  • Sepia Mutiny points to a Daily Show clip that satirises religious outrage.
  • Rezwan refers to a conference set up to deal with racism in Saudi Arabia.
  • Sonia Faleiro has written another great article, this time on Mumbai’s top transexual actor Bobby Darling.
  • Neha says that Global Voices, who she contributes to, is having a London meet. One for the diary folks.
  • 360 East reports on how the Amman bombings put Jordanian bloggers on the map.
  • Lenin points out the lies during Hurricane Katrina of people supposedly shooting at rescue helicopters.
  • Away from the blogosphere, The Register says there is one man to save the internet. And he is the Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador.
  • And finally, Maniac Muslim has written a funny article on Muslims at Hogwarts university trying to convert everyone.
  • Update: Philobiblion has this week’s Brit-blog roundup. Two entries stand out: Tim Ireland’s flash film for Tony Blair’s son Leo, and The Religious Policeman on executions in Saudi Arabia.

Feel free to add your links in the comments section. As ever, contact me to put forward your entries for next week.

25th November, 2005

Fight the BK ice cream ban

by Al-Hack at 9:21 pm    

Remember the infamous BK cone episode we first highlighted on Pickled Politics a few months ago? Because the design of the swirl, when tilted and seen when high on weed, vaguely resembled the Arabic word Allah, one man started a personal jihad backed up by Eastern Eye newspaper.

Guess what? Now they’re trying to put pressure on the chain by rustling up quotes from the usual suspects.

Well, I have a suggestion for you. Why not complain to the chain and threaten that unless they retain the design - you will boycott it. Maybe that will stop this madness.

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The Islamic dance party

by Fe'reeha at 4:42 am    

It was but fate that after reading posts on South Asian hypocrisy here on Pickled Politics that I ended up being at such an interesting event this week.

The best way to describe the experience of being at what the organisers called “an Islamic dance party” is perhaps - unbelievably interesting…

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Filed under: Religion, Humour
23rd November, 2005

Imperial imposes empirical dresscode

by Rohin at 7:45 pm    

The country’s second most stuck-up university (don’t deny it Sajini!) has banned hoodies, scarves that obscure the face and veils. As a University of London hack, I actually heard about this about a month ago and I do apologise for taking so long to bring it to your attention. However it has allowed me to cobble together a bit more information. The story first broke in my paper’s big sister, London Student and has been covered widely in the student press, including Imperial College’s own paper (boo! hiss!), Felix.

As the religious implications are likely to cause intense debate, it begs the question - what if other universities adopt similar policies? Hoodies and Hijabis beware!

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20th November, 2005

Is the Sikh community on the brink of crisis?

by Jay Singh at 1:46 pm    

Last weekend a confrontation took place at a Gurdwara in Leamington Spa lead by as yet unknown people who objected to meat and alcohol being consumed in a building that is associated with a local Gurdwara. In the ensuing melee old men were attacked and a visiting MP was hurt.

However, this situation has highlighted a worrying trend, and that is the eagerness with which some young British Sikhs are willing to use unrestricted mob violence to enforce their way. Ever since the storming of the Birmingham Rep over the play Behzti these extremists have become emboldened and speak openly on message boards of their intention to ‘teach people lessons’ and how they are willing to give up their lives in their riots and confrontations.

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19th November, 2005

Sex! Scandal! Balls! Sania Mirza serves up more controversy

by Rohin at 3:33 am    

In a fascinating update to studious Sunny’s previous post on the south Indian sex scandal, it looks like Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has comprehensively joined the fracas.

Sania Mirza, heroine to the masses and at least one of PP’s stalwart staff, has come out in support of Khushboo, the south Indian film star harassed by local politicians for her views on sex. You may remember, Sania (who turned 19 on Tuesday) has been no stranger to controversy throughout her fledgling career.

At a recent conference she not only defended her short skirt but also the south Indian film star on her views on safe sex. Except that only triggered more protests, effigy burning and condemnations…

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18th November, 2005

Film on Islam’s attitude to homosexuality

by Sunny at 3:46 am    

The Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is planning to make a film on Islam’s attitude to homosexuality, BBC reports. Considering ‘Submission I’ got Theo Van Gogh killed, people will be watching this one closely.

“I examine the position of homosexuals in Islam in the film Submission II,” she told the De Volkskrant newspaper. “In the movie, they are called Allah’s creatures,” she added. The MP is an outspoken critic of Islamic values and describes herself as a “lapsed” Muslim.

I wonder if Qaradawi will have a starring role.

Filed under: Religion, The World
16th November, 2005

What will jolt us Muslims out of denial?

by Fe'reeha at 3:18 am    

I have become so used to watching and listening horrifically misinterpreted versions of Islam on media, that it takes serious jolts to get me out of lethargic indifference.

But the latest footage of Sadiq Khan, one of the suicide bombers, on Channel 4 News was just plain astounding.

What exactly will it take to make the Muslim community need to understand the implications of the problem this constant denial has caused? I say if a bunch of misguided Muslims have created terror on the streets of London, proclaiming it in the name of my religion, it is indeed my problem as well…

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15th November, 2005

UK gets first Hindu state school

by Al-Hack at 2:28 am    

The government has quietly approved the first Hindu state school, the Indy reported last week. The primary school will be in Harrow (by 2010), where 20% of the population is Hindu - by far the biggest concentration in the country. Currently there are 6,000 CoE and Catholic schools, 45 Jewish, five Islamic, two Sikh, one Greek Orthodox and one Seventh Day Adventist school.

Ramesh Kallidai from the Hindu Forum, who has an aversion to historical stamps, said it was the start: “This is the beginning, not the end. Brent, in northwest London has the second highest concentration of Hindus, after which comes the city of Leicester.”

An MP is not happy, neither am I. Are you? Though Hindus deserve one, on numbers, isn’t this all slowly getting out of hand?

Filed under: Party politics, Religion
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