Tag Archives: Islam

Beards and Politics….!

 

Beadrd BBC

 

Notes From America

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.”
― William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Facial hair in Islam is complicated and the politics of wearing a beard brings lots of heated debate and political wrangling. Besides the religious and Sharia one the beard-wearing debate also has important cultural components to it, which it may entangle in and complicate the religious one. The Arab Spring and the election of President Mohamed Morse and the Muslim Brotherhood’s success in securing political power brought a new brand of Arab leader to the public arena — men with beards. Arab Military dictators don’t usually wear beards; they substitute big beards with big black glasses (no idea ). Some like Sadat and now Sisi shave their beards while letting their praying-mark (Zebeebah) grow. Other Arab dictators wore mustaches as a sign of vitality and masculinity. The look was popularized by Saddam Hussein of Iraq, where almost every man has a mustache. Saudi kings came up with their own goatee beards. Yasser Arafat, of course, had a soft beard, but to most westerners he simply seemed to be unshaven.

Beard Arabs
Beards come in different shapes, length and styles. They aren’t only signify different religious identities but have also socioeconomic implications that may be confusing for untrained Western eyes only exposed to terrorists with beards.

Beard Ben LadinYet many terrorists don’t have beards. None of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 had a beard. Right after the assassination of Sadat, and after Al Sisi coup lots of bearded men were randomly snatched out of their homes, put in jail and tortured. Their beards were sufficient evidence for incriminating them. Western media has focused on the attire of Muslim women, such as the hijab, but not enough on Arab men’s facial fashions. Growing a beard under Islam is mandatory for some men; for others it is a matter of identity and a choice, just like hijab for women.

Beard Salfy big
According to brother Burhan from Islamhelpline.com, during the Prophet’s time growing a beard was considered normal and natural for a man. “The Prophet only asked Muslims to trim the mustache (as the Amish do) to distinguish themselves from the pagans” however the prophet left the details and the up-keep to interpretation and religious zealous.

Beard Salafy 3
Western men grow beards mostly for convenience or sex appeal. Muslim men grow beards to indicate their devotion to their faith. Among the Salafy (orthodox Muslim) the longer and more unkempt the beard, the more traditional and pious is the man.

Beard in StarbucksThe Brotherhood beard is more organized and controlled which a reflection of their organizational skills too. During the Jan25th revolution Salafy and Muslim Brotherhood had their one million man marches in Tahrir Square for. Each time the Square was full of bearded men, confident, proud and jolly. Unlike the Salafy, the Brotherhood beard seemed shorter and trimmed. The Salafy beard is rough, thick long and out of control. At one of the fast food chain overlooking Tahrir Square, the place was full of young revolutionaries who were taken a break.

Beard Salfy Ihkwan and Azhar

Confident bearded men walked in and instead of asking for burgers or fries, they asked if they could do the pre praying wash (wodoua). After Military coup in Egypt, this toppled not only the first civilian elected president but toppled the first elected bearded president. During Morse’s one-year tenure beards are worn by almost everyone — taxi drivers, shopkeepers, teachers, ministers, bank robbers. Even policemen and some military personnel demand the right to wear beards. General Al-Sisi heavy-handed treatment of Brotherhood and his new jihad for “Moderate Islam” lots of brotherhood bearded men shaved or went underground away from public eyes. In ex- dictator Mubarak days, you didn’t notice bearded men that much; having a bearded friend in one’s group was a public eyesore, which could limit your access to only beard-friendly places. As private clubs and some restaurants started refusing to admit bearded customers, even have signs to profess their beard policy. At Egyptian airport (as in Western airports), you would see bearded men undergoing a lengthy humiliating facial profiling from airport security.
Beard Morsi 2You don’t have to be a Salafy or a Muslim Brother to have a beard — even men of the secular left can wear a beard, a political one, as popularized by Che Guevara. In Egypt, in post Arab Spring elections beards have played a vital political role. Because many Egyptians are illiterate, people didn’t vote based on how long is candidate records, but based on how long is their beards. Officials use a pictorial ballot; and having a beard could give a candidate an edge. Egyptians voted heavily for bearded candidates Muslim Brotherhood and Salafy candidates have dominated. In hindsight, the problem with Morse and his brotherhood clans, they paid more attention managing their beards than managing the country affairs.

 

Bush Salafy
Ahmed Tharwat. Host/Producer /Public Speaker
Arab American TV show BelAhdan (with open Arms)
Weekly Talk show airs on MN Public TV,
Blogs at Notes From America
www.ahmediatv.com
You can follow him at fBook and Twitter/YouTube/ ahmediatv
email: ahmediatv@gmail.com
Minnetonka, MN

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The last honest city in America … !!

 

vetage LV

 

The last honest city in America …

I just visited Las Vegas for the first time. In all of these years in America, Sin City had never successfully seduced me in spite of its flashy façade screaming its invitation and its attractive moral slogan, promising to keep everything I do a secret. But recently, I found myself in the heart of the beast. I stayed at one of the big chain hotels where a multinational company was holding an international sales conference for the Middle and Far Eastern branches. This event brought lots of Muslims to the desert city for an unlikely pilgrimage, where they could be seen congregating and strolling in the casinos at ease. I thought the casino should have offered footbaths and praying rooms to handle the influx of gambling brothers. It also occurred to me that for those of you who think Muslims are coming to America to change our Judeo-Christian values, you can relax a little. Gambling and other hedonistic pleasures are alive and well and have become an American pastime and sport.  Americans spend almost $50 billion on gaming every year, more than what they spend on movies tickets. 70% of all gambling revenue comes from these wonderful, colorful entertaining slot machines, where millions of people spend most of their time trying their unlucky fate, cut off from time and the pressures of modern life. However I was very skeptical about what Sin City could offer me, since I don’t enjoy gambling or rental sex. But there was something very refreshing about Las Vegas, something I didn’t find in other major cities on the east or west coasts like Boston, New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco, those big shot cities with their tired sophistication and pretense of “higher culture.”  Las Vegas offers an honest artificiality. Vegas is in your face, brutally honest about its shallowness. Las Vegas doesn’t promise the illusion of hope that our free market consumer culture tries to every minute of our life. Las Vegas is the illusion. The miniature Las Vegas version of the Statue of Liberty doesn’t represent or claim liberty, and they make sure it stays that way. The Egyptian-style pyramid of the Luxor hotel, the replica Eiffel tower over the Paris hotel, the Venetian, and Caesar’s Palace are all imitations, fakes to lure you in for gambling and paid pleasures. Forget about the Eastern sophistication and pretension of New Yorkers, Bostonians, or the fantasy ideal of the west coast epitomized in Walt Disney and Hollywood beauty. Those cultural ideals, not real, are all merely facades displayed in museums and culture centers. Las Vegas doesn’t exhibit culture in museums, doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it really is – a place for fun, gambling and sex for sale. “For me,” writes author Marc Cooper, “Las Vegas is the American market ethic stripped completely bare, a mini-world totally free of the pretenses and protocols of modern consumer capitalism. Watching it operate with barely any mediation generates nothing short of an intellectual frisson.” If the desert produced religion in the Middle East, the Las Vegas desert produced heaven!

Everything happening in the casinos on the strip, these cathedrals of commerce, has replaced culture. Even at the airport, once you get through security, you can start getting busy gambling where the real terrorist you will face is your luck. You don’t see a church, a temple or a mosque. You don’t see a cultural center, no government buildings – they’re not worth faking. This city is governed by a higher moral code where no one cares who you are or how much money you make. The slot machines and prostitutes don’t care either and both treat you the same. Latino immigrants standing in the street with wallet-sized cards of naked young women promoting the only literature of the Sin City to its visitors. You don’t have to pretend in Las Vegas, since whatever happens there is honesty. You don’t have to pretend that you are going to make it there because you know you are going to lose, and so is everyone else.  You don’t have to pretend to love someone to have sex; you know you are going to pay and there is no use feigning otherwise. People come from all walks of life to indulge in an “honest” world of artificiality. To have a true fake city like Las Vegas, you need to always admit the original source of the falseness, make no claims. In Vegas unlike in other cities, they don’t claim liberty with the original Statue of Liberty; they don’t claim history by displaying a model Sphinx; they don’t claim sophistication with the replica canals of the Venetian. American East Coast cities in which they profess sophistication and great cultural history make the mistake of also trying to claim its origins. New Yorkers didn’t give us modern life and liberty, the French did. Bostonians didn’t give us sophistication and culture, the British did. So if you lost your heart in San Francisco or couldn’t make it in New York, go to Las Vegas, where you may find your soul.
Ahmed Tharwat

Host of the Arab-American TV show, Belahdan
Belahdan airs on Minnesota Public Television

Ahmed blogs at: Notes From America www.ahmediaTV.com

Can be followed on fBook and Twitter: @ahmediaTV

 

 

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ISIS Halloween Costumes…. a white privilege!

ISIS costum

Halloween is one of the biggest party holiday on American calendar, ranking third behind New Years Eve Parties at number one and Super Bowl parties at number two. In terms of consumer culture, The Huffington Post reported, that Halloween ranks right behind Christmas in the amount of money people spent on it, about $6billion ever year, $4B of it on costumes alone. . Halloween supposes to be a fun secular holiday enjoyable to anyone despite his or her personal cultural or religious beliefs. The Halloween season remains a yearly celebration and the fun of wearing costumes is a huge part of this cultural festival. Each year we see infusion of new costumes based on our own pop culture and our entertainments industry mandate, however world events and wars plays a role in American Halloween costume celebrations. It seems based on the country with which we are having a war, our war machines propaganda, tends to demonize our enemies to rally the Americans people around wars, ..exp. Germens, Japanese, Vietnamese; and Halloween costume used to reflect our attitude toward this countries and its people. In the last 30 years or so most of our wars are wagged in countries with majorities Muslim populations which makes Arabs and Muslims an easy target for Halloween costumes fun. And culture caricatures. Costumes that range from, Ayatollahs, Taliban fighter, Hamas, to Arab sheicks, and hijabs,. Halloween party, which also called a masquerade party is a day where millions of Americans let their hair down sort to speak , and show our inner selves celebrate our ignorance and bigotries . Halloween costume moved from mythological scary caricatures, witches, monsters, superman, pat man, to more of cultural appropriation stereotypes costumes. Native chief, red nick, wicked greedy Jew, to Arab sheikh. According to Wikipedia: cultural “appropriation” or “misappropriation” refers to the adoption of these cultural elements, taken from minority cultures by members of the dominant culture, and then using these elements outside of their original cultural context. This cultural property may be forms of dress or personal adornment, music or art, religion, language, intellectual property or social behavior, all of which may have deep cultural meaning to the original culture, but may be used as fashion by those from outside that culture.
“Cultural appropriation is itself a real issue because it demonstrates the imbalance of power that still remains between cultures that have been colonized and the ex-colonizers.” Explained Jarune Uwujaren, a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism.
And she went on to explain that, “One of the reasons that cultural appropriation is a hard concept to grasp for so many is that Westerners are used to pressing their own culture onto others and taking what they want in return. In the post ISIS craze era that swept the western psychological landscape, with media hype and social chatters, people find it amusing to wear ISIS costumes in so many take and interpretation, and actually posted them on social media. You are not going to find an Arab/Muslim being that amused or daring to wear ISIS costume this year, only white folks have the privilege to have fun with ISIS costumes. The host of one of Halloween party that I was invited to, asked me about my costume this year, I jokingly said ISIS costume, suddenly, more than 20 years of friendship almost wiped out on the phone.
Looking on some of the ISIS costumes posted on the social media , Women and men wearing them, young and old, but the overall arch images used in the ISIS Halloween costumes, that bring them all together, man always fully covered, even the face with Niqab, but women almost always, are wearing scantily tight black leather costumes with guns in her hands, not sure about leather and jihad, something only those people know, women ISIS still a sexy object with a gun, men look like cool gangsters, gothic, in one of the costume, you can see a man wearing black ISIS dress, with hip hop jacket, holding a young woman wearing a very tight leather short leaning on him in a seductive way. ISIS western woman hasn’t given up totally on her sexuality even during her jihad. These ISIS costumes doesn’t really tell the whole story about ISIS, or teach us anything about Islam or Muslims, these ISIS costumes reducing a rich divers culture and history to just a simple stereotype of a complicated historical phenomenon, that Muslims themselves don’t understand and  grapple with .
The Halloween ISIS costume doesn’t not just appropriate the Muslim culture, but also it appropriates western women body as ISIS does; where ISIS men cover their women’s bodies, and western ISIS uncover them.

Ahmed Tharwat
Host/producer TV show
Public Speaker, Freelance Writer

 

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Eid Celebration in America, during a wedding trade show …

How Muslim Celebrate Eid in America… , a contrast of cultures during a wedding trade show.

 

093008_eid_text-4.thumbnail

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Top Ten New Rules… for Bill Maher !

The King & I
The King & I

 

Top Ten New Rules… for Bill Maher to follow!

#10: Rant senselessly, you can always say Im just a comedian

#9: when all fails, there is alway Islam to pick on.

#8 Dont let facts stand in your way of making a joke.

#7 Always ignore context

#6 Real Time is not real.

#5 Always bring experts who aren’t expert on anything

#4 When you run out of vulgarity, insult religion

#3 Dont mess with Jewish Jihadists or Jewish State

#2 You can always take a break.

and # 1New Rules… for Bill Maher to follow!

#1 Devoted Christians suddenly taking an atheist views on religion seriously.

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