Pawns

Is it not rather hypocritical for Turkish state media, notably TRT World (the international branch of Turkey’s public broadcaster) and Daily Sabah (the international voice of the ruling party), to lament the continued detention of Dr Tariq Ramadan — allegedly for Islamophobic reasons — given the number of imams, academics and journalists incarcerated in Turkey for alleged affiliation with Muhammed Fethullah Gülen? According to Human Rights Watch, there are currently 77,000 people held in pre-trial detention in Turkey, on charges relating to the 2016 coup attempt alone, where suspects can now be held for up to seven years. Continue reading “Pawns”

Lost comments

Alas, Muslim news websites refuse to publish my comments concerning their one-sided and biased articles. I don’t believe it is because they consider my comments spammy or trolly, because there is nothing spammy or trolly about them. I think it is because my comments do not confirm the narrative they wish to set and promote for us. They are in the game of sowing seeds of discord, not in pursuing justice even against ourselves. Facts are simply inconvenient, because speaking the truth does not come into it. They are the propaganda arm of a movement with a clear agenda and vision. Set an argument contrary to that vision, and you will find yourself sidelined and without friends. But still, I’ll go on trying.

To be trustworthy

Faith does not mean forwarding every piece of spurious crap you receive on WhatsApp, believing everything you read on Facebook, or liking every Tweet shared by a Muslim personality. You still have to verify the information you receive, even if it comes from a trusted friend.  Continue reading “To be trustworthy”

Bye bye InfoWars

So long, InfoWars. You won’t be missed. Long ago you were the beloved of Muslamic conspiracy theorists, who would insist Alex Jones was always pretty much on the money. Yes, in those heady days when 9/11 and 7/7 were inside jobs, perpetuated by the deep state in order to wage war in foreign lands and build a police state at home. Those were the days when the ranting of Paul Joseph Watson was considered cutting edge research. Ah, those were the days indeed, when everyone could vouch for your nonsense, depriving us as it did any collective responsibility for our lives. But all that is but a distant memory today. Through the Obama years, InfoWars transformed before our very eyes from spouter of nonsense that every paranoid Muslim activist could believe in, into spouter of nonsense that every paranoid anti-Muslim activist could believe in. It was all the same in the end. The gospel according to InfoWars had many disciples, and no doubt infamy will increase them in number. Alas we now have our own Muslamic Alex Jones preaching from the same gospel, only to the Islamised transcript. I guess we always will. Hate speech and spurious nonsense is very much in vogue these days. For laying those foundations you deserve full credit. If only today’s misfortunes were truly your demise.

Patriarchies

Dear rebel against the patriarchy,

Far be it from me to tell you what to or what not to wear. I too object to people passing judgment on the stripy jumpers I insist on donning on sunny days. I just want to point out that the two piece swimsuit you tell us you have finally decided to brave this summer in defiance of the patriarchal strictures that have constrained you until now was first created not by female fashionistas, breaking free of repressive societal norms, but by a male engineer by the name of Louis Réard. Interesting fact: Réard had to hire a nude dancer from the Casino de Paris to launch his bikini, for no fashion model would go near it. Though it is true that some people celebrated its arrival — most of them men — many early feminists opposed it, citing its objectification of the woman’s body. Ah, but times change and yesterday’s dehumanisation can be today’s liberation. Perhaps that is why some travel in the opposite direction. To each their own. At one time, removing your all-enveloping one piece jilbab was liberation enough for you. Today it is your two piece swimsuit. Tomorrow, who knows? Perhaps the patriarchy you have embraced is truly liberating, and perhaps the patriarchy you have left behind was truly oppressive. Perhaps one patriarchy is better than another. Perhaps patriarchy is merely in the eye of the beholder. To each their own. Their liberation and oppression. Are there different patriarchies, good and bad? If so, how do we decide which is which? If only we had been more kind.

Spurious titles

Dear social media sensation,

Why would you share on your personal social media account a poster about a lecture you are giving, in which your are referred to as a Professor, when in fact you are nothing of the kind? Sure, you have a bachelors degree from a prestigious Ivy League university, famous worldwide. True, you have a masters degree from a highly selective private university, held in high esteem. You are indeed a man of erudite learning and intellect, far more brilliant than the rest of us could ever hope to be. That was never in doubt. Continue reading “Spurious titles”

The Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. Continue reading “The Sermon on the Mount”

Political prisoner

Yes, I believe we could be political prisoners: prisoners to the politics of community, so often browbeaten into an unthinking stupor through loyalty to a common cause, shackled by that ever-present fear: of the imminent accusations of heresy and disbelief reserved for anybody who might step out of line and think for themselves.   Continue reading “Political prisoner”

Theatre

Our activists are not interested in telling the truth. That is why I no longer take them seriously. They are simply pushing an agenda, and protecting their own. Whether it’s because their own have simply become too big to fail — like banks that have to be bailed out, whatever the cost — or because they’re all in it together, their mission is no longer about the pursuit of truth, but about something else entirely. We, who hang on their every word, are taken for mugs, to be mobilised en masse in pursuit of ends we are oblivious to. Alas, the masses are led on a merry dance in the name of piety and faith, when behind the scenes there is nothing but rot and ego. Absorbed in these carnivals of religion, we have lost its essence and our heart. It is pure theatre.