In-Laws, Non Muslim family breakthrough, and Aliens in America

19 10 2007

Well, there has been a whirlwind of activity here with my in-laws visiting, eid, and we even made a trip to my hometown with the in-laws. It was all great fun.  I have basically only found time to post articles of benefit and of course the eid around the world post which was a bit time consuming. Insh’Allah you guys liked it!?

 But now that things have wound down some, I thought that I would do a personal post.

My eid this year was fabulous. The highlight of my eid was my non muslim family members calling to wish us “Eid Mubarak.”  This is the first time that they have done so. We have truly come so far in understanding and tolerating each other.  I mean, when I first converted I was basically put out of the house. Now, years later we have built our relationship back up enough that they are comfortable participating somewhat in our holiday. It is a beautiful thing.

Another highlight was having my in-laws with us.  Eid in our medium sized community is not even close to the magnitude of eid in their home country.  I was really worried that they would be disappointed. So, I asked my husband to take us to a larger community for eid. Mash’Allah everyone had a wonderful time! My three year old is still happily chattering about it. Later, my in-laws told us that the reason their eid was so happy was because we were with them and the size of the party didn’t matter. Mash’Allah how sweet is that! Alhamdullilah, I’m blessed with lovely in-laws.  I’ll be sad to see them go home.

Having my in-laws here has also improved  my bi lingual capabilities. One of my in laws only speaks their native language. So, I was forced to speak it pretty much day in and day out. The funny thing was asking my three year old (who is quite fluent) to translate some things. loool :D But overall, my husband and in-laws have been complementing me on my usage of the language. So, I’m improving. Alhamdullilah. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

Unfortunatley, I have a strained muscle in my back which has been quite painful. I guess it is no wonder given that I haul 20-35 lbs. kids around. So, the doctor said. I finally went to the doctor and got the diagnosis. Insh’Allah it will be better soon. Alhamdulliah for everything, though.

On another note, I have been watching the new CW show: Aliens in America. It is about a midwestern family who decide to take in a foreign exchange student in hopes of boosting their dorky son’s reputation. They are expecting a white,blonde haired, blue eyed jock and instead a pakistani boy dressed in a kameez and kufi shows up (Raja). It goes on to chronical his life with the host family and highschool. 

The show has it’s sweet moments, moments of seriousness. One of those moments came at the end of the pilot episode. The mother had purchased a plane ticket back to Pakistan for Raja  but then she sees him and her son (who forms a bond with Raja) packing. She makes a comment about his parents missing him and he tells her that his parents are dead. At that moment, she sees him not as a “Muslim” or “Terrorist” but as a boy.  So,  he stays.

However, other than those few moments of seriousness and comedy, the show is basically geared more towards pre-teens. It seems as if it belongs more or less on disney channel.  I still like it though , if nothing else because it portrays Muslims as normal people rather than terrorists or terrorist supporters. 





An American Muslim speaks about 9/11 and Bin Laden’s latest video-Full Length Version

11 09 2007

Dr. Ali Shehata’s response to the endless stream of bin Laden threats that have yet to be answered by anyone else. This is the full length version.





Crazy Sexy Cancer

30 08 2007

Last night as I was channel surfing something caught my eye. The title was Crazy Sexy Cancer and it was on TLC. I paused to check it out and I was so impressed. It made me laugh, cry, hope, and the best part it’s real. I highly recommend watching. You can check the schedule on TLC.com http://tlc.discovery.com/tv-schedules/special.html?paid=2.14415.55771.0.0 . Also check out the Crazy, Sexy Cancer website: at http://www.crazysexycancer.com/

About the flim:
On Valentine’s Day 2003, 31-year-old actress/photographer Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer. Weeks later, she began filming her story. Turning a seemingly tragic situation into a creative expression, Kris revealed her intimate thoughts, struggles and fears before the camera, sharing her story of survival with courage, strength, and lots of humor. 

Said Carr, “What’s so sexy about cancer?  The women who have it! They’re crazy, sexy, vibrant, loving, normal, sparkly and whole individuals.”

With experimental treatment as her only option, Kris searched for answers where there were none. She traveled throughout the U.S., interviewing experts in alternative medicine as she tenaciously dove head-first into a fascinating and often humorous world of holistic medicine.

Along the way, she met other vivacious young women determined to become survivors.  She also met cameraman/editor Brian Fassett; they soon began a romance that finally culminated in a September 2006 wedding.  As Kris’ amazing journey unfolds, she realizes that healing is about truly living rather than fighting. 

Defiant and thought-provoking, Crazy Sexy Cancer documents one woman’s experience as both filmmaker and patient as she refuses to accept the status quo in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.   

Said Carr, “People often ask me why I named the film Crazy Sexy Cancer.  The answer is simple: to challenge the perceptions, to poke fun and bring humanity to a disease that is still so misperceived and feared.  No matter what happened, I refused to be saddled with the isolating stigma associated with cancer. Just because it had changed my life forever, didn’t mean that I had changed.”

Said Debbie Myers, senior vice president, programming, TLC, “As a filmmaker, Kris Carr is a born storyteller, layering personal anecdotes, interviews and lots of humor effortlessly with the hard truth about cancer. And, as a subject, she is fearless and positively riveting.  You simply can’t take your eyes off her.  We are extremely proud to premiere Crazy Sexy Cancer on TLC.”

Crazy Sexy Cancer is produced by Red House Pictures and Cactus Three for TLC.    For Red House Pictures, Kris Carr is writer, director, producer and cinematographer; Brian Fassett is producer, editor and cinematographer; Beth Nathanson is producer; Jessica Wolfson is co-producer; David Zellerford is co-producer; Lisa Cocciardi is associate producer; and Pagan Harleman is editor.  For Cactus Three, Julie Goldman, Krysanne Katsoolis and Caroline Stevens are executive producers.  For TLC, Brooke Runnette is executive producer.





Dateline NBC Defends Their Decision to Plant Muslims At A NASCAR Race

4 08 2007

 ‘Dateline’ defends planting Muslims at NASCAR race

Updated 4/6/2006 11:38 PM

After bringing Muslim men to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia to gauge the reaction of NASCAR fans, Dateline NBC won’t have its cameras at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.

In a statement released Thursday, NBC defended its reporting tactics, saying “there have been a lot of inaccurate comments” and that Dateline “had barely begun its reporting.”

Dateline is not planning a story about NASCAR,” the statement said. “We are following up on a recent poll and other articles indicating an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. We are curious about whether that is true. The NASCAR race at Martinsville was a stop we have made in our research on this story.

“There is nothing new about the technique of witnessing the experience of someone who might be discriminated against in a public setting.”

NASCAR officials were angry after learning Dateline recruited Muslims to attend the DirecTV 500. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the group walked around outside the track without any reaction from fans.

“It’s outrageous that a news organization like NBC would seek to create the news instead of reporting the news,” Poston said.

NASCAR is in the final year of a contract with NBC Sports, which will broadcast the second half of the Nextel Cup season.

Seriously!?  First of all, they are clearly sterotyping NASCAR fans. My family happens to be extreme NASCAR fanatics and so are many of their friends. Many MUSLIMS I know watch NASCAR.  I have never really been partial to it myself. Though, the people I know who watch NASCAR are not backward country bumpkins or  kkk members ready to pounce on anyone who is a different race or religion. In fact, the NASCAR fans I know LOOOOOOVE their MUSLIM DAUGHTER, SISTER, AUNT, AND FRIEND!  Maybe some NASCAR fans are racist, maybe some of them would have made rude comments or even emboldened by alcohol made a physical move. I dare say, that could happen in any sport.  Look at all the fights that break out in the stands in basketball games, baseball games, hockey games, etc. Usually they involve no Muslims at all. Yet, people still find a reason to fight.It is ridiculous the amount of sterotyping that goes on in today’s world and the amount that people are willing to endure. 





Questions asked by Non-Muslims, Atheists

7 07 2007

Again, any slurs will be deleted and I have all comments on moderation! 





Religion & TV

28 06 2007

helpwantedsign3.jpgDear friends,

I am asking for your help as a part of a survey I am conducting regarding Religion and TV habits. The questions found on this survey describe what I am studying and why. Your response to this survey is totally voluntary and anonymous, but it would be so very helpful if you do respond.

You may respond to the survey by clicking the following link:

http://www.Advanced Survey.com/ default.asp? SurveyID= 53307

(If you cannot click the link above, please copy and paste the URL in its entirety into your browser’s address bar.)

Also, if you could forward this to your friends or lists I would be so appreciative. I truly hope that this survey will point to a way where people can live in peace.

If you have any questions, please write to me and I will be happy to address any questions, concerns or comments. Thank you very much in advance. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Dr. Ali Shehata

****Please forward this to all your contacts****





Celebrities and Charities

28 06 2007

moneybags.jpgIt seems that most celebrities could care less about anyone other than themselves. Many of them spend their time in and out of rehab or jail, partying, and going on lavish shopping sprees day after day while looking down on the rest of us “peasants.” However, there are those few who will actually give back to the world. Though, when I look at the list of charities that they donate to, I can’t help but wonder if the money is really reaching the people in need.  I wonder if it is being used to make a change.  So many of these so called aid organizations have been caught time and time again with their hands in the cookie jar (so to speak).

We all know of the many U.N. and Christian charity fund scandals. Some other Examples of charity organization scandals include (I’m sure there are many more):
Red Cross:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/29/eveningnews/main516700.shtml

United Way:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A31702-2004Mar4&notFound=true

You can also check charitynavigator.org to read more about charities and their validity.

Also, I question these celebrities. Are they doing this for publicity and/or tax benefits or are they honestly sincere?  Insh’Allah some of them are sincere. I have my own assumptions about which are sincere and which are not. Though, If nothing else, these celebrities seem to be able to raise awareness as all eyes appear to be on them. I have to give them that much.





Does Skin Color Still Matter Today???

26 06 2007

I came across this news story today. I saw it on CNN. However, the only article that I can find now is below:

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/222422/

It basically tells of an instance in a small white majority Louisiana town. In a nut shell, some white students hung three nooses on a tree(which is a felony that carries prision time) in which it was known that the African American students congregated around . They were sentenced by the principal to three days of in school suspension. Fast forward, a fight broke out in the school. It is alleged that six African American students attacked a white student while he was coming out of a locker room. He had allegedly been a friend of the boys who hung the nooses on the tree. The boy ended up in the hospital with non life threatening injuries. Now those five African American students are charged with attempted murder and could face up to 100 years in prision, one of the six got his charges reduced. This appears to come in a long line of similar incidences in this county and throughout the southern United States. Which you can read in the article.

As Muslims, we are taught that Islam abolished racism. People were no longer defined by what they had or where they came from but by the taqwa (fear of Allah, piety) in their hearts.

The Prophet(saw) said: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white-except by piety and good action.(Saheeh Bukhari, Vol.7, Ch.3)

O mankind! We (God Almighty) created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (English interpretaion of the Qur’an 49:13)

Hajj is an excellent example of this. People from every corner of the earth and every station in life travel to Mecca, wearing the same clothes, going through all the same actions. The prayer is another example. We all pray shoulder to shoulder no matter our wealth, color, or background.

So, anyway, this brings me to the Questions of the Day…….

Do you think this instance is race related?

Do you think that the color of a person’s skin still makes a difference in his or her treatment today?

Do you think racism is still prominent in the Muslim community even though Islam speaks against it so clearly?

Do you think it is possible to eliminate racism and if so, do you have any ideas on how it can be done?





Should Muslims Apologize?

16 06 2007

A few days ago someone asked me: “Why don’t all you Muslims apologize for all this terrorism?”

First of all, two definitions that I want everyone to understand. To condemn: The act of speaking out against something, To apologize: The act of asking forgiveness for something. Understanding these two definitions in of itself should be enough to answer the question.

To apologize for something would imply that I carried out or aided in an injustice which is simply not true. You see, i do not know any of these terrorists nor do I wish to know them. I have never met them. I don’t subscribe to their twisted ideologies or murderous ways. Moreover, this is the case with millions of other Muslims worldwide. Most of us have no similarities with these people whatsover. We had no part in their plans. We had no idea what they were plotting. We felt the horror and agony along with everyone else.

So, why should we be made to feel like we have committed the crime along with them when in actuality we are victims? When these people carry out their horrific crimes, we are made to look like villans. It is the idea in some religions that people can bear the crimes of others. An example of how absurd this idea is: If a woman (completely unknown to me) goes into a bank one day and robs it should I apologize because I am also a woman, should all women then apologize? No way! This should be obvious.

Now, the second part. Condemnation. Why aren’t the Muslims speaking out and condemning these acts? That is the question. I wish I had the answer. I can say in my own community that this issue is adressed every opportunity. The leaders warn the young Muslims not to get caught up in terrorism and not to be “sweet talked” by these wolves who go around praying on our youth, filling their heads with ideas of fame and grandour. When, in reality, the Prophet(saw) said: Anyone who kills himself will be killing himself over and over with the method he used in the Hereafter (example: he blows himself up in this word then that’s what he will be doing in the Hereafter) (Bukhari) and in the Qur’an it is clearly mentioned that there is to be no innocent lives taken and the punishment for doing so is severe.

I have also noticed Islamic organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, etc. speak out against terrorism. However, I rarely see this make the news. If anything, it is running across the bottom of the screen in tiny letters while the main story is about the acts of terror that is being carried out. Occasionaly, the press conferences they hold speaking out against terrorism is airedon C-SPAN. Rarely, an Islamic representive will be brought on one of these major news shows and will try to condemn these acts, though, usually the interviewer cuts him/her off mid-sentence. The sad fact is, terror sells and those of us who readily speak out against terrorism are not being heard. So, why aren’t more Muslims speaking out? Maybe because they aren’t being heard or broadcast.

This is the question all of us Muslims need to be asking ourselves: Are we doing everything in our power to speak out against terrorism and bring our brothers and sisters in Islam back to the Qur’an and Sunnah? Or are we siting idly by while Islam is being misinterpreted as a religion of violence and hate?

Here are the questions for the non Muslims: Are you willing to blame an entire religion for the actions carried out by a few? Are you willing to put the Muslims who speak out on the front page of the news? Are you willing to take these press conferences off of C-Span and have them on CNN, FOX, or MSNBC? Are you really listening to those of us who try to speak out against terrorism?

To read some of the open condemnations of terrorism by Muslims:

http://www.cair-net.org/html/911statements.html

http://www.whyislam.org/877/Social_Order/Muslim_Condemnation_of_Terrorism.asp
 





Children and TV: My Week without Television

8 06 2007

I will be the first to admit that I have used my television as a babysitter. I would often try to get my children to sit there long enough to get dinner on the stove, to take my turn reading Arabic in the on-line class I attend,or just for a moment to myself. They would usually sit a couple minutes then be up again looking for something to do. The TV would be there for background noise.

Growing up, My family basically had 2 channels(well 3 if we could position the rabbit ears perfectly). I lived in an area that was not cable accessible. The only option was a satellite dish and my mother wasn’t keen on the idea. I spent my summers running around all day outside and would stay in Saturday for the morning cartoons. It seemed such a treat to be able to watch the cartoons every Saturday morning. So, naturally, I assumed, my kids would love to watch tv too.

So, a couple of weeks ago we were notified that our rental house has been sold. I thought we had a week to get out so I unhooked the television and packed it up to go. Well, our moving date kept changing due to maintenance issues in the new place. One day, my kids were being particularly rambunctious so I decided to hook the TV back up and try to get them to settle down for a few minutes. Well, I plugged it in and hooked the cable up. Then, I turned it on. The cable wouldn’t work. It was a blank screen. I tried everything and still couldn’t get it to work. So, I decided to have them “help me cook.” The next week was spent with no television and no DVDs. Instead of the TV more time was spent as a family unit. We spent more time playing outside together and doing crafts and other activities.

I have noticed in the past week without the television a major change in my kids. They don’t seem to fight with each other as much. Their attention spans have improved. Now, they actually can sit and focus while reading a book with no visuals or while giving them directions. Their overall mannerisms and behavior have gone a complete 180 for the better. I am pleasantly amazed.

So, it seems, in my quest to give my children everything that I thought I would have wanted as a child it has backfired. Perhaps, in doing so, I was depriving them of the one thing they really did need and want, me and more of my time and attention. Today, I was out and thought of buying a new tv. I hesitated and then walked away. I like my family better this way.

Now, don’t think I’m going on a rant saying television is evil and it’s the devil. Not at all, I realize some television in moderation can be educational for children. I am just sharing my experience of a week without television.

Abdullah ibn Umar t reported that he heard the Prophet Muhammad (saw)saying: “Every one of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it. A man is a guardian of his father’s property and is responsible for it so all of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and things under your care).” (Bukhâri 3/592)

Abu Hurairah t narrated that Allah’ Messenger said, “When a man dies, accrual of merit in his favor from good deeds ceases except from three actions: 1. A charity which continues after his death; 2. Knowledge left behind from which men continue to benefit, and 3. Righteous offspring who pray for him.” (Muslim 4005)

Some cool craft websites(of course use your discretion as to picking out what is Islamic):

http://www.littlegiraffes.com/purple.html

http://www.activitypad.com/

http://www.kidsmedia.net/

http://www.kidsdomain.com/craft/

http://www.islamichomeeducation.co.uk/EDUCATIONAL%20ACTIVITIES%20FOR%20CHILDREN.htm








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