Archive | January, 2011

Politicians: “We can argue louder than you guys at Masjid Tawheed”

25 Jan

Lies, Wives and Videogames

20 Jan

Rarely does any discussion on Islamic forums get as heated as that on the topic of polygyny. Those who speak for it are as vocal in their arguments as those who oppose it. But in the main, such discussion is theoretical, with most of it set in Western countries where civil law bans the practise (except, of course, Germantown Masjid in Philly).

So with a trip on the cards to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I felt the time was right to sidestep the theoretical and speak to real people who live in a country whose laws uphold the right for a man to take multiple wives.

So as soon as I’d landed and dropped my bags off at the hotel, I headed straight for the coffee shops on Tahliya Street in downtown Riyadh, and found that just as with everything else in the 21st century, things were changing, even in this desert kingdom.

“Its not like the old days” sighed one man. “When I was in my twenties and thirties I could marry new wives and hide them from each other; I used to blame it on the sheep and camels keeping me late. But now these damn mobile phones means my wives can reach me anywhere anytime.”

As word spread of the discussion I was soon surrounded by a group of men on all sides wanting to give their two cents.

“Its great fun!” told me one, while another forcefully reminded me that it is his God-given right as a man to take more than one wife.

But barely had the interviews started when I was passed a message that someone outside was waiting to speak to me urgently. Worried that the feared Mutawieen [religious police] were onto me, I quickly packed away my recordings and stepped outside to find, not a member of the committee for prevention of vice, but a lone woman dressed in an abaya, the traditional Islamic dress for women.

“I need your help”

Speaking at first nervously, and then growing in confidence she told me her story.

“My husband and I had a great relationship for 6 years but out of the blue the stinker told me that he has taken a second wife, and my life has fallen to pieces. I noticed that he had become a little withdrawn of late, but I thought that was because of stress at work. I really miss the good old days when he did everything I told him to do. I mean everything. He’s left me with a couple of servants, but its just not the same.”

And then the discussion got interesting. She said that she had asked her driver to follow him secretly to his second wife’s apartment.

“It was difficult to trace, because he was very suspicious, and changes the route he takes to her house everytime he goes. Why be so suspicious? Its not as if he is the first to take a second wife, and its not as if he is doing something haram. But anyway, sharing my husband just doesn’t work for me, and it took over 3 weeks of trying to follow him until we identified the house.”

So now in possession of the location of the apartment, this scorned wife wanted my help: to be on hand when she confronted her husband and his new wife and demand that they divorce for the simple reason “I want my old life back again.”

With some reservations, but trusting my journalistic instincts, I agreed.

So that evening, feeling a great deal of anxiety, I sat waiting in a parked taxi outside the second wife’s apartment. What was I doing here? I asked myself. This was a private matter between married adults and by all rights I should be keeping my nose out of it. But the opportunity to change my mind was soon lost as she pulled up in a 4×4. She stepped out clearly pumped up and like a woman on a mission. “Follow me” the only words she spoke before heading straight into the apartment complex.

Three flights of steps later and we were there – standing silently outside the door. I felt a slight sense of disgust hearing the sounds of his laughter – this guy was really enjoying his dunya. Then to my surprise she pulled out a key, “he always keeps a spare key in the second plant pot to the left of the building entrance,” she whispered.

She stopped for a moment, undoubtedly steeling herself for the ensuing confrontation then slowly turned the key.

The lock clicked, then holding up her left hand she counted down from three and then burst in through the door. The next few seconds were a blur of flying objects and cries of “Ya Baba!”

And then she was off running from room to room screaming “Where is she? Come out you cow! You daughter of a cow! How dare you steal my husband!”

It gave me the chance to take in the scene before me: a small room with a single-bed in the corner and a thin Arab man sitting in front of a TV with an X-Box controller in his hands.

And then she was back “Where is she? Tell me now, or i’ll get the scissors out!”

Her husband’s face was red but strangely not with a look of anger, but more like he was going to burst into tears.

A neighbour and his wife walked in shouting “haraam alaik – vyy you wake us uuup?” I motioned to them to take my host outside to cool her down, and also to give me a chance to speak to her husband.

His story was shocking.

“I’m sick of her. She bullies me all the time, and is always nagging me. In the end I got sick of it and faked up a second wife. It was the only way to keep my sanity: the knowledge that every two nights I’d be away from her nagging and her never-ending requests and her ‘don’t-you-know-my-rights-over-you?’ and ‘I’m-Muslimah-Queen-Sheba’ lectures”

I looked around the room. It didn’t look like there was anyone else living there, what with empty takeaway containers piled up to one side, and a crate of Coke bottles next to them. No woman could live in a place like this. A small explosion on the TV showed his online character getting fragged; up till a few moments ago he had been playing “Call of Duty: Black Ops”.

Nope, this guy definitely didn’t have a second wife.

Instructor leaves institute in queer circumstances

14 Jan

In what is turning out to be a major embarrassment for AlHawd Institute, a former instructor is suing the US’s premier Islamic Institute in a case of constructive dismissal.

When in 2009 the Institute announced that veteran Islamic Preacher Abdul-Kareem Whooosh was joining the team, students and instructors alike were overjoyed.

An insider tells us that the relationship started off well with Whooosh delivering several of AlHawd’s trademark double-weekend seminars.

A student who attended one of those seminars spoke to us telling us that the Instructor won over his audiences immediately.

“He was just so cool, he walked in to the auditorium and we could see his humility in the way he walked. And then he gave us salaams and then said ‘wugawaaaan bredders!’ I mean is that cool or what? And like the noor from his face is so blinding. He is truly a blessed guy.”

So where did it go wrong?

In early 2010 rumours began to circulate that Whooosh was on record making “irresponsible and intolerant statements”. Our contact within the Institute told us more:

“Well it all began about 3 months ago. It was brought to our attention that somewhere in the past, about 15 years ago, he had made some anti-gay remarks. Now, we’re traditional sunni muslims, so you have to understand that we’re not in agreement with gay practices. But hey, we’re traditional sunni Muslims living in America and we still love everybody. And because we love everybody – even Amr Moussa – we had to investigate. And we found that he was responsible for all manner of intolerant remarks, calling homosexuals perverse & sick and calling for all manner of horrible things to be done to them, like pulling off their nipples with pliers.”

But the immediate reaction of the Institute was not to kick him out. Instead they chose to wait.

“Sh. Abdul-Kareem was a big find for us. We’d been asking him for years to join us, so we were hesitant to ask him to leave after having finally got him. At the same time we had to be clear: we will not tolerate any anti-gay, bigoted speech by any member of our staff. Our message is a message of love. So after an internal meeting of the executive committee we decided to send him to teach at our Bay Area class.”

The Bay Area, also known as the Gay Area.

And that gay influence has worked its way into the Muslim community too. So when Whooosh walked into the auditorium he was in for a surprise: half the class was made up of overweight, butch-type students with short spikey hair; and the brothers side was made up of guys in tight pants, gelled hair and shaped eyebrows.

Allegations then surfaced that Whooosh had verbally abused a student. The student, Tarak Batah, gave us his side of the story.

“I was like so excited to meet the shaikh, i mean like, I’ve heard so many good things about him. I put on all my best clothes and perfume that day. When i saw him, something came over me and i rushed forward to give him salaams. I put out my hand, and he looked at me and then said something weird and pushed me away.”

Eyewitnesses claim that Whoosh’s words to the students were : “Wa yah dween? Gweh yah batty-man!”

Whoosh claims that he was provoked by the student who came up on to the stage holding a pink handbag on his left arm.

Based on this and other similar incidents Whoosh left the Institute and eventually filed a suit claiming constructive dismissal.

“This is a big shame,” says our contact inside the Institute. “We loved him. We had big plans for hims. We even trademarked the third ‘O’ in his name Whooosh(TM). But at the end of the day we had to do what we had to do.”

It Ain’t Half Hot – Mustafa

9 Jan

After winning the world cup bid, Qataris discover that their summers can be on the hot side.

Link

Congresswoman’s shooting condemned by all sides

9 Jan

Groups from across the political spectrum have come out today to express their sadness at the horrific shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, the Republican senator for Arizona.

Samantha Gellar, author of popular right-wing blog “Venus’ Shoulders” issued the following statement:

“This is not fair at all. A tragedy as horrible as this happens very rarely but when it does you hope and you pray that its going to be a Mozlem thats responsible, but in this case its not. I’ve been looking up to heaven and asking God, ‘why couldn’t it be someone who was brown-skinned, with a big beard and Abdul as his surname?! Because its people like Abdul-whats-his-name who arethe real criminals here! Its just not fair!”

Across the divide a spokesperson for superamericanmuslims.com shared those same sentiments:

“This is so unfortunate. We were sitting watching CNN waiting for confirmation that the shooter was named Abdul; we would have been the first to condemn such actions.

That the shooting has been carried out by a 21 year old gora has sadly rid us of the opportunity to condemn a Muslim and show the American public who we really stand shoulder to shoulder with. And despite the fact that the American public won’t pay attention to us and keep blaming us for everything anyway, it will not swerve us from showing that we are all brothers in America.”

Saudis bolster Human Rights Coalition

2 Jan

Riyadh (TBM). The Saudi Human Rights Commission has joined a powerful coalition of human rights groups who are intensifying pressure on the UK government to abandon its use of control orders.

Parvaiz Javed, writing to TBM on behalf the Chairman of the SHRC, Dr Bandar al-Qirdi, who was unavailable due to a late night coffee-drinking session, said that control orders serve no purpose and are a waste of taxpayers money. “We are very much against this bloody waste of money. Why you cannot see that what you people are doing is wrong?” He said in an email, “Here in Saudi, we are taking no prisoners or control orders or anything. Miscreants are not existing here.”

Whitehall insiders have told TBM that such an unlikely ally is likely to strengthen the governments hand rather than weaken it.

Link

Exposed: Islamist influence at very highest levels of Pakistani government

1 Jan

Officials within the US & Indian governments reacted with alarm today following a meeting of top Pakistani ministers.

Up till now it had been believed that only elements within Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, were affected by religious fervour, leading them to aid – some claim – the Taliban with a flow of weapons and information.

But Islamism and Islamists are growing ever bolder, and it would be wise not to underestimate just how long the reach of this ideology is, and just how religious Pakistani politicians just may be.