Thursday, 26 February 2015

Open Letter to Da'esh

Salam alaykum dear sirs:
I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the issue of you destroying ancient idolatrous statues. After much careful consideration, I have developed the following well-researched response:

Khuda hafiz, aur ap ka din acha guzrae,*

* Urdu is known to piss you extremist jackasses off. Nyah.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Call Racism for What It Is (a response to the responses to Patricia Arqette)

Hi, Everyone
I get it. We don't like to admit the hard truths that exist among us. We dislike it even more when something that is deeply entrenched in us is splashed across national TV and swiftly - and rightly - condemned.

However, we need to stop using fancy words to identify the dark stain that resides in many Americans' hearts as a way of hiding what is now obvious within ourselves. We need to stop hiding behind complex concepts.

When Patricia Arquette said that LGBTIQ people (whom she merely called "gays") and people of colour needed to help women, she was being patently heterosexist and racist.

Not comfortable? You're not supposed to be comfortable. Confronting the evil within is never comfortable. Ms Arquette was being a racist. All of those who have been supporting her racist (and heterosexist) assertion are also racist (and heterosexist).

And I am here and now stating that hiding behind the concept of intersectionality, especially because we are "uncomfortable" using the term "racist" is itself an act of white privilege-clinging. Yes, Ms Arquette failed miserably at being intersectional. Yes, our society needs to be intersectional.

The fact remains that Ms Arquette was being a racist. The fact remains that our society is deeply and systemically racist. It is time for us to grow ourselves a collective spine, look this evil in the face, and take steps to destroy it.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Eliana Dockterman Cries White Tears on TIME

Trigger Warning: The article excerpts contained below are so white privilege-clinging as to be outright racist and white supremacist.

Eliana Dickerson has taken to TIME to shed a lake of white tears over criticism of Patricia Arquette's racist comments following her speech at the Oscars-So-White. I am copy-pasting huge chunks out of that god-awfully racist piece of trash so that TIME won't be graced with even more page views.

Don’t Tear Down Patricia Arquette for a Well-Intentioned Speech
Eliana Dockterman, TIME
23 February 2015

But no good deed goes unpunished — especially on social media — and within hours of the ceremony, Arquette was being attacked by people who said she was prioritizing the rights of white women over those of LGBTQ people and people of color. These criticisms are legitimate and deserve to be heard. Still, Arquette’s heart was in the right place and it’s not right to completely dismiss one of feminism’s most visible advocates.
There was a lot to criticize at this year’s ceremonies, and the well-meaning Patricia Arquette should rank a lot lower on that list than, for example, Sean Penn.
While Gay and others had more nuanced takes on Arquette’s comments — supporting her message while critiquing her phrasing — folks on Twitter are dismissing her entirely, and that’s dangerous. Even while we recognize the problems with her speech, feminists should be careful not to tear down their best and most visible advocates.
Love her or hate her, there’s no greater public advocate for feminism in pop culture than Lena Dunham.
Different women can choose to express their feminism in different ways. But when women begin to tear down their best, most popular advocates, we hurt our own cause. As Sally Kohn wrote at The New Republic after the Dunham incident: “The minute feminism becomes hypercritical and humorless, it becomes too easy for the mainstream to dismiss our more valid complaints.”

White Privilege: A Concise History of Black-White Relations in the States

TRIGGER WARNING: Racism, Racist Violence, Slavery

Image: Cartoon divided into six panels, all against natural landscape background of blue sky and green earth. People depicted are two male-appearing persons of approximately the same 19- to 25-year-old age. One is a blonde white wearing short-sleeved salmon-coloured t-shirt, blue jeans, and steel grey foot-gear. The other is a black person with dark hair wearing a ragged sleeveless t-shirt and a pair of ragged long shorts. In the first three panels, the black person is chained to a large ball. In the fourth, he breaks the chains. In the fifth and sixth, the chains and ball are not depicted. Words an actions in panels:

1. White: "This is for your own good..." with hands on black person's shoulders. Black person: [thought bubble] "Not!"

2. White: "Oof!" while climbing on the back of the black person and reaching for a platform. Black person: "Hey!" while crouched.

3. White: [thought bubble] "Puff! Puff!" while standing on black person's back, settling arms on platform. Black person, on all fours: "Get OFF Me!"

4. White: [thought bubble] "Phew!" while climbing onto platform using black person's head. Black person: "Enough's ENOUGH! I'm getting UP!"

5. White: "I'm REAL sorry about being racist before. I know BETTER now," while resting on platform. Black person glares at white with arms crossed over chest.

6. Black Person: "SWELL, give me a hand up, willya?" while extending hand to white. White: "Of COURSE not! That would be REVERSE racism! Look, if I got myself up here, why can't you?" while reclining on platform.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

How to Cling to Privilege and Look Like a Jerk

Religion, Gender, Sexuality, Ethnicity - these are all intrinsic identities from which one cannot separate oneself.

Racism, militant anti-theism, heterosexism, cissexism, sexism, ableism - these are attitudes. Parting with them might be painful, but it certainly will not shred the soul as would trying to shed part of one's own identity would.

Asking someone to accept the later, as though it were somehow an intrinsic aspect of someone's identity, while complaining that showing respect for the former is so PC as to be tiring is a form of privilege-clinging and is unacceptable.

Wake, Beloved One

Wake, Beloved One
(a poem about asexual romance)

Sweet Darling,
Wake up. Surely you are hungry,
You are thirsty.
Open those lovely eyes of yours.
Rise with me, come with me
To meet the Light,
So that She may kiss
Our upturned faces
And caress our cheeks
With Her breezy hands.

Come, precious one -
Come greet the Dawn with me.

[Image: My photograph of a sunrise in August 2014. 0713 2014.08.11. 07.00]

Friday, 20 February 2015

Rethink Masculinity: A Reader


Impact of today's media on university student's body image in Pakistan: a conservative, developing country's perspective
Amad Naseer Khan, Aga Khan University
Salema Khalid, Aga Khan University
Hussain I. Khan, Aga Khan University
Mehnaz Jabeen, Aga Khan University

Children sexually abused on Pakistan's streets
AFP via Dawn
26 August 2011

Pakistan’s Hidden Shame: Exposing child sexual abuse and Pakistan’s ‘see no evil’ attitude
Faraz Talat, Express Tribune
06 September 2014

Mohajir Militancy in Pakistan: Violence and Transformation in the Karachi Conflict
Nichola Khan
Ch 3. See also Ch 7, "Conclusion."

Illegal Migration and Gender in a Global and Historical Perspective
Marlou Schrover
pp 131, 147

Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender, and National Culture in Postcolonial India
Kavita Daiya
Ch 2: class, perceptions of religious and ethnic differences as pretext for Partition, gendered nature of violence surrounding Partition, national identity, the male body
poss Ch 3
Ch 5, possibly beginning with Conclusion on p 180 and then reading on from beginning of chapter

All-male sonic gatherings, Islamic reform, and masculinity in northern Pakistan

Katharine Charsley

Islam sport and masculinity: Some observations on the experiences of Pakistanis in Pakistan and Bangladeshis in Britain
S Fleming, NM Khan, P Duffy, L Dugdale - HPER–Moving around the 21st century, 1994

On Muslim Male Privilege
Bina Shah
22 February 2015
"These are examples of how Muslim men can begin to undo their male privilege - by being flexible, by understanding that their individual cases must match the conditions set by the Quran, that these conditions do not translate to universal circumstances that can then be twisted and justified for anything less than the great spiritual benefit and mercy that God intended them to be. I do not believe that Islam set down rules that men could then use to their advantage, and torture women with for the rest of all eternity."

Prophecy and Masculinities: The Case of the Qur’anic Joseph
Amanullah De Sondy

Punjab Under the Mughals

South Asian Masculinity and queer identity in the family.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

On TV 17 Feb 2015

Watching the Westminster Dog Show and crying over things like ears and tails.

Photo for Facebook visibility purposes.

Racism vs Prejudice: A Reader

Please accept my apologies for the image. It is the only way that I could convince Facebook to be nice to this post. Just scroll a bit. Until I get a chance to fix the reading images below, click them to get legible sizes. Sorry.

Racism vs Prejudice: A Reader

Racism: From Slavery to Advanced Capitalism
Carter A. Wilson
1996, Sage Publications, Inc, Thousand Oaks, CA

p 16
The Model
Racism assumed different forms in different countries and historical periods. In the United States, it appeared with the establishment of a slave-based economy.

It persisted throughout American history, and it changed forms in different stages of history. In this chapter, we develop a model designed to illustrate processes that sustain racial oppression and to identify changes in forms of racism. This model focuses on the economic, political, and cultural dimensions of racism.

It examines each dimension separately and briefly explains how each interacts with the others. The general view that emerges from this model is that racial oppression is sustained within an exploitative and oppressive economic structure. This structure shapes the formation of a racist culture that functions to reinforce patterns of racial oppression. The state, operating within this economic and cultural context, generally supports and legitimizes oppressive relations. However, its role is the most indeterminate because it is alterable by social movements, depressions, wars, technological changes, and international pressures. We begin our analysis with a discussion of the economic dimension, then proceed to the political and cultural dimensions. We conclude with a discussion of how the three dimensions interact.

Understanding Prejudice, Racism, and Social Conflict
ed Martha Augoustinos, Katherine Jane Reynolds
2001, Sage Publications Ltd, Thousand Oakes, CA
p 3

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
2014, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Plymouth, England
p 26

Albert Memmi
2000, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN
pp 92-93

Robert Miles
2004, Routledge, London England
pp 67-68

The Everyday Language of White Racism
Jane H. Hill
2009, John Wiley & Sons, Malden, MA
p 4

Race, Class, and Gender in the United States
Paula S. Rothenberg
2008, Worth Publishers, New York, NY
p 126

New Racism: Revisiting Researcher Accountabilities
Norma Romm
2010, Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg, New York, NY
p 91

New Racism: Revisiting Researcher Accountabilities
Norma Romm
2010, Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg, New York, NY
p 448

New Racism: Revisiting Researcher Accountabilities
Norma Romm
2010, Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg, New York, NY
p 449

'That’s Racist Against White People!' A Discussion on Power and Privilege
Jami Utt, Everday Feminism
20 August 2013

Now aside from the mountains of evidence that makes someone look a little silly when they claim that those with seemingly endless identity privilege are widely oppressed in society, I am realizing more and more that we have a problem of language precision. Too often, when people are talking about racism or sexism or heterosexism or any other form of oppression, they’re simply referring to when a person was made to feel bad for or about their identity.
Yes. Any person of any identity can be an asshole to any person of any other identity. But that doesn’t make it oppression. It doesn’t even make it racism or sexism or heterosexim or any other -ism. There is a profound danger in watering down our discussion of identity by removing any mention of societal power, oppression, and privilege.

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
Gina Crosley-Corcoran, Huffington Post
08 May 2014

As you can see, belonging to one or more category of privilege, especially being a straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied male, can be like winning a lottery you didn't even know you were playing. But this is not to imply that any form of privilege is exactly the same as another, or that people lacking in one area of privilege understand what it's like to be lacking in other areas. Race discrimination is not equal to sex discrimination and so forth.

And listen: Recognizing privilege doesn't mean suffering guilt or shame for your lot in life. Nobody's saying that straight, white, middle-class, able-bodied males are all a bunch of assholes who don't work hard for what they have. Recognizing privilege simply means being aware that some people have to work much harder just to experience the things you take for granted (if they ever can experience them at all).

I know now that I am privileged in many ways. I am privileged as a natural-born white citizen. I am privileged as a cisgender woman. I am privileged as an able-bodied person. I am privileged that my first language is also our national language, and that I was born with an intellect and ambition that pulled me out of the poverty that I was otherwise destined for. I was privileged to be able to marry my way "up" by partnering with a privileged, middle-class, educated male who fully expected me to earn a college degree.

The Subtle Linguistics Of Polite White Supremacy
Yaro Brown, The Magical Negro
03 August 2015

Prejudice, though harmful, is not necessarily systemic and can be committed by anyone. It simply requires one to pre-judge. It does not require its user to have any access to the ruling class or status of whiteness. However, you have to be part of or support the ruling class to wield the power of racism. Those who are not part of the white ruling class, yet support white supremacy of any form, are called agents of white supremacy. They are not white, but benefit in some direct way from empowering and enforcing white supremacy often times on their own people. Historically black overseers and house slaves were bestowed more rights, and ultimately more power during slavery. These were employed agents of white supremacy who oppressed their fellow blacks. This employment was a status. It was a form of racist power that white slave owners gave to black overseers as a way to also instill mistrust within the black community. Prejudice alone, has no real power without the system of control and power to support it.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

LGBTQ Muslim Retreat: Excitement and a Blissful Release

This is the first time that I am excited. No, it is not the first time that I have ever been excited in my life. It is, though, the first time in three years that I have remembered some old tree friends of mine, thought of human friends who had become a second family for me, and talked with new friends - and got excited about mixing all of them together in one wild week-end.

In a few short months, I hope to attend the LGBTQ Muslim Retreat for my third year. Each of the two times that I have attended so far, I have brought back with me so much that is priceless. I fell in love with a whole new "family" of trees. I am indeed a tree-lover. *smile* I met people whom I had only known online. Some became for me an instant new family. I learned so much - about me, about others, about religion, about the world around me.

Retreat provides approximately three days of scheduled and spontaneous opportunities to explore Islam and our various ways of interacting with ourselves and Islam. In some cases, our physical health and mental health are explored. Various folk discuss the Qur'an, Islamic history, religious diversity. Some of us discuss relationships and sex. Others play card games. Others yet have wild discussions that we daren't have back at home. We have the chance to participate in congregational worship in a way that, for many of us, is a blissful release from the tight strictures to which we have been bound back home.

Have you read the Harry Potter books? Have you watched the movies? Believe me when I say that, for me, stepping onto the bus or van in Detroit is like stepping onto the Hogwarts Express (I live in Michigan). The hair on the arms rises in goosebumps. Sleep is pushed away by excitement. Knowing that others are on similar trips around the world, realising that already, we are sharing similar experiences, is thrilling.

Of course, at some point one's bottomside does get sore and sleep feels like that long-lost lover whom one misses so much that one could cry. But what does it matter when we are on our way to a place that is as magickal as Hogwarts - right?

The LGBTQ Muslim Retreat is, above all, a place where we can be precisely who we are, in all of our myriad shades and hues. And this is what makes Retreat so important. You see, many of us come from situations in which we cannot be ourselves. Shoving ourselves into tight, dark boxes - this goes beyond a mere closet - can become fatal. These precious few days in which we can be wholly ourselves, unquestioned, is sometimes a thin dividing line between surviving that stress or not surviving. For others among us, it is essential to our mental or emotional health in other ways. In fact, some of us derive benefits from Retreat that have nothing to do with the intersection of our religion and sexuality.

I invite you now to action. Whether you are an LGBTQ Muslim or not, you have something to offer. To my siblings in religion/culture who are LGBTQ, I invite you to this Retreat which, for me, has been magickal. Sign up, even if you are unsure that you can afford to (apply for a scholarship here). To my Allies who are not Muslim or who are straight/cisgender, I invite you to support us all. If you know a Retreater, communicate your support to that person. If you pray, do pray for us. In addition, if you are able, I invite you to donate to the Retreat so that those of us who cannot afford the costs can attend, anyway. Anything that you can do or give is so welcome, so needed, so appreciated.

Thank you.

Ghalib: A Reader

Love Sonnets of Ghalib Hardcover – January 10, 2009
by Dr. Sarfaraz K. Niazi
for glossary

Masterpieces of Urdu Ghazal from the 17th to the 20th Century
Chapter on Ghalib

Intik̲h̲āb-i Dīvān-i G̲h̲ālib
Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

Amazigh Freedom: A Reader

Power to the People

Typed: ⵣ
Google search: [tifinagh yaz "free man"]

Amazigh Arts in Morocco: Women Shaping Berber Identity
Cynthia Becker

Nouvelle publication de l'IRCAM (Rabat) sur la culture amazighe

De l'art de la narration tamazight (berbère): 200 ans d'études : état des lieux et perspectives
Daniela Merolla

Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity: The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts
Joshua Fishman, Ofelia Garcia

Revisiting the Colonial Past in Morocco
Driss Maghraoui

The Changing Scene of Amazigh poetry
Michael Peyron
"Looking back over the past twenty years, it is obvious that the basic, complementary genres izlan and timawayin still have a bright future. The same applies to the traditional Middle-Atlas ahidus dance, which the local Berbers indulge in whenever the occasion arises, and in which many of the izlan are performed. However, there are some obvious nuances. There is, for example, a noticeable difference between a put-on show at the annual Imilchil brides’ festival, when tired-looking Ayt Hadiddou participants perform half-heartedly in broad daylight for the benefit of foreign tourists, and a spontaneous summer evening ahiduas performed round the camp-fire by shepherds and their girlfriends in some forgotten nook of Jbel ‘Ayyachi’."

Soumia Aitelhaj ’10 Rescues a Poetry of Morocco
Jane whitehead, Boston College Magazine
The young leave seeking economic opportunity, as climate change and overpopulation have led to desertification of previously arable lands, and as pollution from mining waste has further devastated agriculture. The dwindling numbers of villagers subsist on farming and carpet weaving, and most rely on aid from relatives in urban areas.

When the younger Imazighen move away, a critical bond is broken between the generations: The village elders are passing, and with them goes a vast trove of myths and village tales, handed down through generations, celebrating the spiritual and practical aspects of a life close to nature. A single poem “can go on for three or four hours,” says [Soumia] Aitelhaj, who loves the “rawness” of the poetry and the way it “transforms into song and dance.” This is what Aitelhaj wants to preserve.
Aitelhaj returned from the trip with a sense of Moroccans’ continuing discrimination against Imazighen, and awareness of a pro-Amazigh movement that is growing among the young and educated. She experienced prejudice firsthand: When she spoke Tamazight in banks and shops, the usual response was, “Why can’t you speak Arabic?” (Aitelhaj is fluent in Arabic as well as in English and French.) But she says she also had to overcome “outsider” status among the Amazigh. When she and her cousin traveled to her native village, she had to obtain permission from the elders for her work. “In my region, it’s hard to find a word for poetry, so they have a hard time understanding what I want to do,” says Aitelhaj. It took a couple of weeks sitting with the local women, drinking tea and watching them weave, before they would allow themselves to be photographed with her. One very elderly poet let her film a few minutes of chanting on a camera Aitelhaj borrowed from her uncle.

Amazigh Poetry Project--TEASER TRAILER from Alexia Prichard on Vimeo.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentine: Share the Freezer

And if some hatewad comes by your public speech with a gun and starts shooting, there's no-one I'd rather share the freezer with than you.
‪#‎BadValentinesJoke‬, ‪#‎CharlieHebdo‬, ‪#‎Copenhagen‬


OMG. I get it. Sev uses the phrase "always" BECAUSE LILY USED IT.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Islam, Art, Gender, and Sexuality

Islam, Art, Gender, and Sexuality:
A Colloquium with Professors Amanullah De Sondy and Karen Matthews

Monday 12 March 2015 at 4 pm at the Lowe Art Museum of the University of Miami. A reception will follow. RSVP at


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Ana Fasiq (Thank, Sh Hamza)

Sh Hamza Yusuf thinks that Shia Muslims are fasiqin. I am a Shia Muslim, so let me just appropriate this lable, "fasiq," and twist it around.

[image: Black background, red text. Arabic letter "fa" in Knotted Kufic Arabic script (my best attempt ate it, anyway). Below "fa" is copyright symbol in Times New Roman, followed by name "Hamza Yusuf" in Parchment, font size 50, with initial "H" and "Y" in Old English Text MT, font size 35.]

Thursday, 5 February 2015

My Soul Cries Out

My Soul Cries Out
(a poem reflecting asexual romantic desire)

a few lines:

My soul cries out
To your soul,
Seeking the nearness of yore.

(art adapted from original, possibly by Icy Andrew)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


To that voice in my head:
No. I am *not* a failure. Shut. Up.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Adapted Blessing

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make Her face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. And may God give you peace in your going out and in your coming in, in your lying down and your rising up, in your labor and in your leisure, in your laughter and in your tears until you come to stand before Her on that day in which there is no sunset, no dawning, only eternal life forevermore.
-adapted from Robert Schuler