Empty

When the annual Islam Awareness Week reduces our religion to the hijab and the beard without fail, it is not surprising that when a woman removes her hijab she feels the full weight of the condemnation of the community, whilst a man associated with hypocrisy and sexual impropriety is defended to the last. When those who promulgate religion refuse to talk about morality, piety and godliness, it is no surprise that the masses have nothing to contribute but vapid platitudes. This is what happens when those promoting awareness are those most in need of awareness.

Talk radio

Even though I consider myself a liberal snowflake, James O’Brien’s show on LBC is extremely hard-going. Unlike his truncated rants frequently liked and shared on Muslamic social media, for his apparently piercing insight and compassion, listening to his show is like wading through treacle. He is so tiresome to listen to, and so repetitive and self-absorbed, speaking at length between calls and then constantly interupting when he finally allows his callers to speak. I’m sorry to admit, however much I agree with him, that I prefer listening to the broadcasters on the right with whom I disagree. At least they get to their point and don’t bore you to tears. Ah, but not my old friend, who still behaves exactly as he did 20 years ago, although his arguments have changed. Another self-absorbed bore. Oh, but give me a right-wing demagogue any day: their callers are far more entertaining. At least you will die from the adrenaline rush of disagreement, rather than senseless boredom. Such is the joy of talk radio.

Looping samples

I used to love a cappella music, until the nasheed business butchered the artform, with its mediocre vocal harmonies becoming the backing track for every viral Muslamic video published online. Whoever would have thought that substandard a cappella renditions would become the themetune of popular Islam?

Man vs message

The defenders of the activist aristocracy tell us:

Stop treating celebrity faith leaders as if they’re infallible… instead, focus on the messages / ideas they present.

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Hidden innards

Couplets that keep on returning to mind:

To London Imam Faustus came to learn
The sciences of Islam and Iman.
But in his heart-of-hearts already burned
A darker and a more Satanic plan

— from The Demise of Imam Faustus

Best frenemies

Beware of men who publicly spar and argue with famously hostile opponents — rousing passions on all sides — who in private are the best of friends. You might be surprised, but there are many like this. Men who seem to be the foremost vanguards against the rising tide of Islamophobia, adopting the most veracious stance against proponents of hatred, who, it turns out, laugh and joke with the very same folk when the cameras are off and the microphones have stopped recording.

Continue reading “Best frenemies”