Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Pakistani or Pashtun?" The Frustrating Question of Identity

Apparently, the below article is very ... "controversial"... then again, I love controversy and enjoy raising it; it's sometimes the only way to get a discussion started.

It was originally published on Pashtun Women Viewpoint, of which I'm a team member and an editor, but a couple of readers misunderstood the whole point and thought it was *Pashtun Women Viewpoint's* attempt to divide Pashtuns (whereas this is written by me and nothing on the website there necessarily reflects the team's perspective), and so we had to remove it from there to stop the ignorant remarks. I decided that I want to continue this discussion on identity so am posting it here for interested readers' pleasure. I can handle "attacks" on myself but not on Pashtun Women Viewpoint, so stop being stupid, you small lot of people, and reply here instead of attacking the website! Geez, you know what one of our many problems is, folks? We can't handle disagreements and think anyone who disagrees with us is not from us, is a fake Pashtun, is trying to divide everyone. Oh the lies you tell yourselves...

Anyway, bismillah. Here it goes!

"Pakistani or Pashtun?" The Frustrating Question of Identity

One of the most frustrating questions that the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and those of Pakistan who believe in the independence of Pashtuns from Pakistan pose to Pakistani Pashtuns is: “Do you consider yourself Pakistani or Afghan?” (Sometimes also, “Are you Pashtun or Pakistani?” as though one can’t be both.) The questioner’s understanding is that the person’s answer will determine how “real” a Pashtun she/he is: if the answer is, “I am Afghan,” the person is indeed a real Pashtun; if otherwise, they must prepare themselves for a circular, exasperating, and never-ending debate that is initiated often solely so that the questioner can inform them of how brainwashed and less informed they are of their origin and history.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Muslim Women Marrying Non-Muslim Men

If you're not on my Facebook, you're missing out on this, so I'll share it here :)

Talk about the need for re-evaluating classical/medieval rules on whom Muslim women can and can't marry:
In Canada, over 40% Muslim women marry non-Muslim men, half of whom never convert to Islam (Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today by Yvonne Haddad, p. 86)--and why should they have to, right? When women's insight, experiences, and voices are completely ignored in the development of law or of a certain guideline *about them*, what you get is rules that eventually harm them and disempower them... until they can't take it anymore and have to "rebel." From a practical point of view, the situation in the West especially, where Muslims are a minority, is such that interfaith marriages become sort of a necessity to increase the pool of men available to Muslim women. An Imam in Scotland has issued a fatwa forbidding the Muslim men there from going "back home" to bring wives to Scotland and instead marry available women in the community there. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Ground Zero Mosque imam in New York, has officially allowed Muslim women to marry Christian/Jewish men because that's the "lesser evil" between letting themmarry non-Muslims and having them leave Islam to do the marriage (in his book Moving the Mountain: Beyond Ground Zero to a New Vision of Islam in America, p.131. Too many Muslim women across the West are looking to get married but cannot find compatible available Muslim men to marry. Fascinating stuff, no? So, yeah, this is a huge discussion and so many factors are involved in it, but I'm so, SO happy to learn that the number of Muslim women marry non-Muslim men is increasing. (We need similar research on women in other Western countries, too; not cool that we don't know approximately how many in the U.S. intermarry!) We tend to forget that one of the methods of interpreting Islam is actually existing realities, situations, and context generally of a society, thus allowing Muslims to replaced rules/guidelines that need to be replaced. 

Gosh, I feel so accomplished when I write out something that's on my mind for too long.

Peace to all!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Privileging American Victims of Bombing: "To Boston with Love, from Afghanistan/Iraq"

NO to these kinds of images!!
 I'm not really sure how I feel about all these images I'm seeing of Afghans and Iraqis (and others who themselves are victims of American terrorism and/or American policies abroad) holding signs of "To Boston, from Afghanistan" or "To Boston, from Iraq." Not only because most Americans have absolutely NO idea what these people themselves suffer from--and most don't even seem to care or want to find out--but also because it's another pitiful way of privileging America and everything Americans, including its victims. I understand that death is always politicized, but that is so unfair. And, so, all you folks sharing pics of Afghan victims with signs like "From Kabul to Boston with Love," posters held by little smiling children or burqa-clad women, STOP IT, DAMNIT!! Those people holding those signs probably have no idea what the signs read in the first place. What's the message there? "We're sorry for Boston"? I'm terribly sorry for Boston. My heart goes out to any and all people who were emotionally, physically, psychologically, or otherwise affected by the bombing in Boston--but I feel this and so much more also for the thousands of people killed monthly throughout much of the world outside America, people whose murder (or victimhood) does nothing to us outside of their small towns or countries or regions. We should stand up for justice no matter where and for whom. Let's be fair and treat all of them equally; no, we're no more important as Americans than the thousands and millions being killed (most because of our own political games on their lands!), so, no, our loss isn't more important. Live with it. While these images may be perceived as a moment of compassion and humanity from non-American victims, sort of saying, "Hey, we're in this boat of victims of bombing/terrorism together! We're with you!" and maybe also intended to make Americans be ashamed of themselves for not giving a damn about other people's lives and sufferings, I strongly believe this is just done to privilege Americans and American life. I highly, highly doubt most people who view these images are going to feel any shame at all; to them, it's going to be more like, "Ohhh, we're so important, and everyone knows it. We deserve so much sympathy, and good to see we're getting that from ALL OVER THE WORLD." That's so how it seems to me...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Love InshaAllah for Men: Muslim Men on Love and Relationships - Call for Stories

Below, I'm pasting the call for papers for the second round of Love InshaAllah, which is this fantastic project about which I wrote a few months ago. The first round was on American Muslim women's experiences with love and relationships; it's published. This time, the editors are seeking Muslim men's experiences. 

I urge any and every American Muslim male to send them their story or stories if you've got something to share. Pen names are acceptable. For details, please visit their website to read the Call for Papers. They are currently seeking more diversity, preferably GBTQs and men from South Asia, Central Asia, Arab, and Latino origins as well. Please share your story, using a pen name if you must.

Deadline: May 6, 2013.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily Musings - On Stress, Thesis, Morocco Trip, Daughterly Love, ... and stuff

Yesterday, a friend mentioned that she's started playing the sitar as a means of easing her mind during this stressful time of the semester. She and I are both working on our theses right now, and that's sometimes the only thing we talk about these days. Our entire Spring Break was spent working on them, and the weather has been so beautiful lately that it feels like we're missing out on too much. InshaAllah, we're going to celebrate this Saturday!!!! This semester has been the busiest so far, almost painful.

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