Faux boycott

Boycott Starbucks, reads the WhatsApp message, which goes on to highlight a series of completely (and obviously) made up facts about the company and its alleged support for Israel’s armed forces. Continue reading “Faux boycott”

The lesser evil

Most people don’t vote for the perfect candidate, only for the lesser evil.

Many who vote for the ruling party do so, not because they are fanatical supporters, but because they remember the old days of poverty, persecution and failing public services.

The problem for the ruling party is that the burgeoning youth, who now make up the majority of voters, hardly know of those days at all, and only know of life under this government, with its increasing cronyism and pursuit of economic growth at the expense of all else.

Only time will tell if populist electioneering, capitalising on the misfortune of others elsewhere, will be enough to sway the masses inclined to vote the other way.

Will voters see that grand saviour of the Holy Land, standing up for the oppressed everywhere. Or will they simply decide to vote for the lesser evil, however they perceive it and wherever they stand?

Ramadan goals

Here are my two core, intertwined Ramadan goals: to be less cynical and to be more grateful.

How will I achieve this? I will try to ignore and cut myself off from both Muslim and anti-Muslim propaganda. I will try to minimise my exposure to politics, media and sectarian self-righteousness. I will try to see goodness with my eyes and utter gratitude with my tongue. I will try to find the good in others and overlook their mistakes or assumed intentions.

I will try to withdraw on social media from all who light the spark on cynicism by posting unfounded, bombastic or ridiculous claims, and where not possible, to resist the urge to comment or respond, and instead content my eyes with photos of rivers, gardens and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

And in my home — though this will take much more effort — I will try to see goodness in place of constant provocations, to reward good behaviour and not just censure transgressions. To become more tolerant of noise and more forgiving of the daily riots; to praise more and condemn less. I will try to be more mindful of blessings, more grateful in my actions, more humble in my opinions, less easy to anger, and I will, if the Most Merciful wills, try to be more truthful and more sincere, and rid my heart of the hypocrisies which overwhelm me.

Oh dear. What a mammoth task I have set myself!

Relative sins

It is amazing that we forget what sin is when it is our beloved sages that stand accused. All of a sudden we are charitable, telling each other that it is not so bad, and certainly not as bad as it could have been. How utterly bizarre. Would you be so charitable to the unknown or the poor? Or is it only the rich and famous who escape rebuke?

1984

Critics come to me demanding to know where I stand on political violence, but despite making absolutely clear exactly where I stand, that is still not enough. Because I grant to people the rights granted to them by international law, and do not simply roll over and capitulate to the demands to deny our enemies those rights. Continue reading “1984”

Acts of faith

They come to you brandishing what they claim to be an undoubtable historical work, in which they have absolute faith — faith much like that of any believer — which proves your misguidance. Ask them if that work is extant and they will grudgingly admit that the original has not survived. Ask if his student’s work survived, and once more we learn, no, not so. So what is our source? Various students of the student, who passed the information on to others that we don’t know much about, who then edited their versions of the work, resulting in significant differences between editions.   Continue reading “Acts of faith”

Viral outrage

For all I know, the “Punish a Muslim Day” hoax — now the talk of Muslamic social media — could have been started by mischievous Muslims. Clearly, was it intended to incite real violence and not just fear, the letters would have been sent out not to high profile Muslims, but to mean white nationalists.

As it is, the only people promoting this event are Muslims, who have taken to reposting old news, videos of unrelated incidents and exaggerations (such as that it is an official holiday) as proof that a terrible scheme of victimisation is in full swing. It all reminds me of Barry from Four Lions and his plan to blow up a mosque in order to radicalise the moderate Muslims and mobilise them to action.

For my part, I am tired of activism based on propaganda, half truths and outright lies. Left and right, Muslim, Christian and atheist: they all do it. Repurposing images from one setting to represent persecution in another; starting websites documenting every alleged misdemeanour of the other; using underhand means to sow the seeds of conflict between communities: all these methods and more are deemed appropriate methods to achieve one’s ultimate goal. However those that believe there to be no harm in mixing truth and lies if it ultimately serves a higher goal are sorely mistaken…

“And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know it.” — Qur’an 2:43

So much better is it to be people of peace, than people striving for strife and conflict. Whoever really created the “Punish a Muslim Day” letter — be it Muslims or their opponents — ought to reflect on that. Taking us down the road to conflict will only end in disaster.

Cost

Everyone says these rulers are pious sages, but to me they seem to be hyper capitalists, bamboozled by development above all else, be it the environment, tradition or social welfare. They will build a glorious state, perhaps, but it will come at an enormous cost.

Natural rebels

Being a Muslim as a minority may make you vulnerable to hostile currents, but at least you can be driven by conscience. Come to a place where Muslims are the majority and you will notice that the people of conscience are not the masses, but the dissenting minorities.