Aug 23, 2019

Sexual harassment during Hajj

I saw this image circulating on social media, which has become a subject of both ridicule and embarrassment. The text alongside the image said:

“Turkish brothers protect their sisters and wives during Hajj. The power of a society is reflected in how much the men value, protect and care for their women.”

Most of Muslim men and women reacted to the photo emphatically sympathetic towards the women who are surrounded by men, but they also mentioned that creating such a wall may result to trample other women or men.
Non-Muslims have reacted with contempt and scorn. Some said that Muslims have no moral and have no respect towards women even at the most sacred site like the great mosque of Mecca.

Sexual harassment during Hajj has been rampant but it has recently came to light. Here I found a couple of personal narratives of those women who have been sexually harassed during Hajj at Mecca.

1. 'I never told anyone': 5 women's stories of sexual abuse at the Hajj
2. Sexual Assault During Hajj: Will #MosqueMeToo Lead to Reforms in Mecca
3. 100 Women: Muslim women rally round #MosqueMeToo

Aug 14, 2019

The depiction of ideal masculinity

I saw this sculpture at a restaurant called Laughing Horse Lodge at Swan Lake in Montana. I took a picture of it and I thought this is a beautiful piece of art. One can see how art is capable of depicting the ideal male body in its best. It seems that masculinity has been commodified, selling not only an idea, but the quality, maybe more than the value of money. This sculpture is a perfect example besides its symbolic and allegorical meanings. 

It is interesting how muscle has replaced other features of manliness. I often hear people saying things like "he goes to the gym, he looks good." On the other hand a kind and gentle man might be looked as weak due to not having muscles.

Update: After showing this image to a friend of mine, today, I have to redact what I earlier said in this text. Initially I thought the person at the bottom is a woman, but I realized it is a lion. What a thoughtless observation! I am slightly embarrassed. I don't know how many people have read this post and did not bring it to my attention.

It is Heracles who fought the Nemean lion, the vicious creature in Greek mythology. I am not sure who is the other person, but the crushed one beneath him is a lion. 

Aug 13, 2019

Getting ready for another semester

So it is again the beginning of another beginning, another semester, I'm as happy as I was before - well, maybe, I think I was happy for the past two semester and well before that. And I'm now back at this stage, beginning, which is so exciting.
Today, I deactivated my Facebook account, I was offered lots of incentives like you will miss so and so, and I reasoned that I hate Facebook, it told me, maybe I don't have enough friends, it gave me an option to look up for some. I didn't Facebook, I thought, would be a distraction, and honestly, it is.

I sent a few messages to friends with whom I have been in touch regularly and with people with whom I worked this summer in Washington DC, telling them I'm leaving Facebook and here is my contact details in case you would like to reach out to me.
I'm feeling gloriously fine, leaving a distraction behind. I am pretty much flexible at this point to leave social media if I don't find it worthy.

I will continue blogging because this is where I can express myself without distraction and not even being worried if anyone would come by and read it because at the end of the day, I'm writing for myself and it is a cathartic experience that I have been doing for a while. Back in Afghanistan, I did blogging professionally, where I labored from dawn to dusk to create content both informative and useful for all. But not anymore. From now on, this platform for my random thoughts and I like the functionality of it.

Aug 11, 2019

At the Natural History Museum

May 16, 2019

Pakistani Girls Sold into Marriage

I just read this sad story on BBC website about young girls as brides belonging to minority Christian and in some cases Muslim groups trafficked to China. This tragic story could be the tip of the ice berg. Who knows how many innocent and naive girls are being sold by their parents who have gone unnoticed.

In early 2000s, there were some rumors about Afghan refugees in Pakistan who were sold into marriages in the Gulf countries. A few of them were smuggled into Dubai and kept in the houses of wealthy local Arabs. At one point one of the brides was drowned and some were seen working in brothels in Dubai. It is unfortunate and yes, poverty takes the largest toll on poor and vulnerable people who always happen to be women and children.

Mar 16, 2019

Christchurch Shootings and Muslim Hypocrisy About Terror Attacks

India: Muslims ulama (religious scholars) hold placards during a condolence meeting and protest in Mumbai. Credit: AP
The Christchurch shootings were act of evil and must be condemned universally, but honestly, do Muslims condemn the attacks carried out by Muslims on other Muslims? The answer is simply no. In the aftermath of mosque shootings in New Zealand, Muslims around the world decried the shootings. This was an attack from a non-Muslim on Muslims. The Taliban and ISIS have been targeting Hazaras in Afghanistan for years, no one has come out carrying a placard condemning their acts. For the past few years over hundreds of attacks have been carried out in Hazara communities in Kabul and have killed over a thousand.

Just one example, last year in August 2018, a suicide attacker entered a classroom in Kabul which killed 48 teenagers and wounded hundreds of others. What is the difference between this kind of attack and that of Christchurch shootings? No one condemned such attack, neither Muslims inside Afghanistan, nor Muslims in other countries. Instead, they convened a meeting in Kabul to investigate whether suicide bombing is mentioned in the Qur'an or not.

There are dozens of other examples of incidents where Muslim terrorists killed innocent people all over the world. No one has forgotten the Yazidi genocide in which over 5,000 men and women were killed and thousands of young women and children abducted and put into slavery. Where were these Muslims back then to come out and condemn the evil acts of their ilk?

In the past few years, Muslim terrorists have ran their vehicles over pedestrians in European cities several times. Were they condemned by Muslims? How about Orlando nightclub shooting and Manchester Arena bombing? Did Muslims condemn those attacks? No. They rejoiced over the death of non-Muslims and especially gay people and they praised the attackers. The fact is that hypocrisy and contradictions are rooted in Muslim's faith that makes it almost impossible for them to see if their own act of evil is really evil, rather than seeing it as a gift to please and glorify their God.