Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Good Wife​

Image result for forced marriage
Long but worth the read. Very moving account.
One day, when I was in Grade 10, I was in my bedroom doing math homework. My mother walked in. She told me I’d received a marriage proposal. I laughed. “Mom, what are you talking about?” I asked. She didn’t crack a smile, and I realized she was serious. “I’m only 16,” I said. 
“I’m not ready for marriage.” She told me that I was lucky. The offer came from a nice man who lived in Canada. He was 28 years old and worked in IT. His sister was a friend of hers. The woman thought I’d make a perfect match for her brother—I was very tall, and he was six foot two. “They’re going to look so great together in pictures,” she had said to my mother.
For weeks, I pleaded with my mom not to make me go through with it. I’d sit at the foot of her bed, begging. She would tell me it was for my own good, and that a future in Canada would give me opportunities I wouldn’t have here at home. She assured me that she’d spoken to his family about my desire to continue my education. “You can go to school in Canada. And we don’t have to worry about you being alone,” she said. The next thing I knew, his parents were measuring my wrist for wedding bangles. The date was set for five months later, in July 1999.
In May 2001, I gave birth to our daughter. When we returned from the hospital, my husband slept on the couch while I stayed with the baby in the second bedroom. I’d never felt so alone. I fantasized about stealing money from my husband’s wallet and taking a cab to the airport, calling my parents and asking them to buy me a plane ticket home. But I didn’t want to leave my daughter behind.
When she was a few months old, we bought a four-bedroom house in Streetsville with his parents. I was rarely allowed to leave. I never had a penny to my name. My mother-in-law gave me her cast-off clothing to wear. I didn’t have a cellphone. I wasn’t allowed to go to the grocery store on my own. If I didn’t iron my husband’s shirts or make his lunch or finish my chores, he and my in-laws told me that I was a bad wife who couldn’t keep my family happy. I walked on eggshells all the time. If I asked my husband something, he would reply, “Bitch, get out of here.”
Two years in, the abuse got physical. He would grab my wrist and shove me around. I’d be sitting on the couch and he’d slap me upside the head, or grab me so hard on my upper arms that my skin would bruise. Once he tossed a glass of water in my face; I slipped on the floor and threw out my back. Another time he punched a hole in the wall next to my head and told me, “Next time, it’s going to be you.” On several occasions, he picked up a knife and said he was going to kill me and then himself.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Muslim Reform is Happening You Just Can't Always see it by Tariq Ramadan

Babar Ahmad: life, prison, war, heroes and survivors

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.
His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.
The first day the boy drove 37 nails into the fence.
Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.
He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.
He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.
The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.
You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there."
The little boy then understood how powerful his words were.
He looked up at his father and said "I hope you can forgive me father for the holes I put in you."
"Of course I can," said the father.
My blog on life, prison, war, heroes and survivors: babarahmad.com.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

400 years ago Spain forcibly converted Muslims to Christianity – then expelled them. Have we learned nothing?

Spanish Muslims

One episode is surprisingly absent from our era of terror wars and terrorist atrocity. Between 1609 and 1614 Spain expelled between 300,000 to 350,000 Muslim converts to Christianity known as Moriscos or "little Moors" from Spanish territory, and destroyed the last remnants of the Moorish kingdom of al-Andalus that had begun nearly eight centuries before.

The Moriscos were all nominal Catholics, descendants of Muslims who had been forcibly converted at the end of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The decision to expel them followed more than a century in which Spain's rulers had attempted to wipe out every trace of their Islamic faith, and their cultural and even culinary traditions.
The expulsion of the Moriscos followed more than a century in which Spain's rulers had attempted to eradicate every trace of Iberian Islam. Having forcibly transformed its Muslims into Christians, Spain made no serious attempt to instruct these "converts" in their new faith and never entirely believed that such a transformation was possible.
Many leading clerics and statesmen simply believed that the Moriscos were incapable of Christianity and even unworthy of it, and preferred repression and the Inquisition to gentleness and persuasion. Spain's rulers were unable to distinguish between Islamic religious belief and cultural practice, and punished the Moriscos for any outward expression of their "Moorishness", whether it was their festive dances, eating couscous or the wearing of the full-face veil.

Monday, 20 February 2017

'I know they are going to die.' This foster father takes in only terminally ill children

The Bzeeks opened their Azusa home to dozens of children. They taught classes on foster parenting — and how to handle a child’s illness and death — at community colleges. Dawn Bzeek was such a highly regarded foster mother that her name appeared on statewide task forces for improving foster care alongside doctors and policymakers. 
Bzeek started caring for foster children with Dawn in 1989, he said. Often, the children were ill.
Mohamed Bzeek first experienced the death of a foster child in 1991. She was the child of a farm worker who was pregnant when she breathed in toxic pesticides sprayed by crop dusters. She was born with a spinal disorder, wore a full body cast and wasn’t yet a year old when she died on July 4, 1991, as the Bzeeks prepared dinner.
“This one hurt me so badly when she died,” Bzeek said, glancing at a photograph of a tiny girl in a frilly white dress, lying in a coffin surrounded by yellow flowers. 
By the mid-1990s, the Bzeeks decided to specifically care for terminally ill children who had do-not-resuscitate orders because no one else would take them in.
There was the boy with short-gut syndrome who was admitted to the hospital 167 times in his eight-year life. He could never eat solid food, but the Bzeeks would sit him at the dinner table, with his own empty plate and spoon, so he could sit with them as a family. 
There was the girl with the same brain condition as Bzeek’s current foster daughter, who lived for eight days after they brought her home. She was so tiny that when she died a doll maker made an outfit for her funeral. Bzeek carried her coffin in his hands like a shoe box.
“The key is, you have to love them like your own,” Bzeek said recently. “I know they are sick. I know they are going to die. I do my best as a human being and leave the rest to God.” 

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Is it time more Muslims turned to veganism?

 Vegan diet food Veganism Islam Muslims
“O mankind, eat from earth what is halal (lawful) and tayyib (good/wholesome)…”  Quran 2:168
From a strictly religious standpoint, for meat to be considered halal tayyib and therefore permissible, the process needs to meet requirements beyond what many understand as halal as the draining of the blood and the recitation of Allah’s name at the time of slaughter. The other requirements needed for meat to be tayyib and thus lawful to eat, are less known.
The animal must be raised in a humane and wholesome environment, be fed and given water prior to slaughter, and not be stressed, abused or mishandled, nor witness another animal being killed, among other requirements. The reality is that most of today’s meat, even when labeled “halal,” comes from battery farms where the animals endure cramped conditions and cruel and inhumane practices and are injected with harmful steroids and hormones.
Animal welfare is essential in Islam with the Prophet (pbuh) often preaching that animals be treated with the utmost compassion, mercy and kindness. There is thus a stark contrast between Islam’s stated animal ethics and the poor conditions that thousands of mass-farmed animals endure everyday. It is worth wondering whether the Prophet (pbuh), who would curse the one who mistreated an animal would approve of such practices.