Monthly Archives: July 2011

Lessons learned from the bombing and mass shooting in Norway

As much as the news from Oslo was devastating, Muslims around the world breathed a sigh of relief when they knew the incident wasn’t executed by an Islamic terrorist group. Thanks to Al-Qaeda and the terrorist groups alike Muslims are put in a very bad situation and were judged harshly because of these groups. These terrorist groups succeeded in making Muslims:

  • Pray day and night that the terrorist is not a Muslim
  • Feel apologetic whenever there is an act of terror, assuming the incident is executed by a Muslim
  • Feel it is necessary to explain to non-Muslims that although these groups call themselves Muslims what they do is not in the Islamic teaching
  • Work hard and sometimes unnecessary to find ways to polish their image as good citizens in America and Europe

But I also noticed something I haven’t witnessed before in the past 10 years in America. American News Media (Fox, CNN and MSNBC) failed BIG time when it comes to reporting about this incident. Here are my observations:

  • After the religion and identity of the terrorist was revealed, the American media almost stopped its coverage about the incident. Today and yesterday there was hardly any news about the incident
  • No political analysts, Professors, experts, witnesses or what not are invited to explain to the American viewers what happened and to dig deeper and deeper and squeeze every bit of information to know everything about anything related to the incident, terrorist and victims
  • No matter how many are killed in a terror act the news is not worth the American viewers time unless the terrorist is a Muslim
  • A failed bombing attack by a Muslim terrorist gets ten times more coverage hours than a massacre by a Christian fundamentalist
  • If couple of people were killed by a Muslim terrorist, the American media will spend hundreds of hours to find everything about the victims. We will know their names, what jobs they had, whom they left behind and we will even learn about their dreams and what they wanted to achieve if they weren’t killed by a Muslim. On the other hand, when more than 90 people are killed by a non-Muslim they are just victims and the news coverage stop here.

Killing unarmed and innocent people is just wrong. The news coverage quality about the victims and the incident should be the same regardless of the religion or race or ethnicity of the terrorist(s). People should learn by now that “good” and “evil” have no religion.

I know no one from Norway but I feel sad for their loss especially those parents who lost their children in the camp. I don’t know their pain but I can imagine the magnitude of such catastrophe of loosing a child especially in cold blood.

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Peace, food and fasting

The 3-year-old son woke up in the middle of the night and begged his mother to feed him. His mother hugged him tightly while crying hysterically out of hunger. She was also starving and tired. She cried as well but silently while she was trying to put her son to sleep again. Her crying was not only because she was tired and starving but also because she could do nothing for her son. Her eyes were so dry to shed any tears. They both have been walking in the desert under the burning son for more than a week. But they are not alone; they are accompanied by more than 70 people from her village. They were forced to flee their homes after a severe drought killed the village’s animals and left them without food and water.

During the long journey the villagers have already buried three children. They all witnessed the extreme stages of starvation were death is inevitable in such case.

The exodus of people is heading to a UN camp that will provide them with food and water. The small portion of food and water left can barely sustain them for the next two days before they reach the camp as they hope.

The mother tried very hard not to think of what may happen to her only child. She knows that nothing in the world could be compared to seeing her own son dies in front of her because she could not provide him with food. She closed her eyes and wished for a decent death for both of them. She could not handle it any more. Under such severe situation she just wanted to end her and her son’s suffering.

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[Source: A snapshot from a video by nytimes]

The above, is just an imaginative story of what might be happening during such weeks of long walk in the heat of the desert from Somalia to Kenya seeking “peace and food.”

In about 10 days hundreds of millions of Muslims are going to refrain from eating and drinking starting from just before sunrise to sundown in a period of 30 days. Unfortunately, many Muslims think of Ramadan (the month of fasting) as the month of Taraweeh (a 60 to 90 minutes prayer after the last obligatory prayer) only. Many believe that the more we pray the better Muslims we are forgetting that performing our obligations to Allah are not enough since we have also other obligations toward our brothers and sisters. In Islam, one is not considered a good believer if he or she doesn’t do good deeds to others.

We fast 30 days to learn about how those less fortunate live theirs during the entire year. Hence, we get a better understanding of their lives and try to help them more.

Dear Muslims, every day before you break your fast remember those people who are forced to fast not because they choose to. Remember that while you managed to fast for 14 or 16 hours those people are fasting for days.

Dear Muslims, let us not overindulge ourselves with many dishes and desserts when we break our fast. We need to remember those who are starving to death, those who don’t know when their next meal will be. Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “The human being has never filled a container worse than his stomach. Hence, it will be sufficient for the son of Adam to satisfy his hunger with a few bites to strengthen his backbone. If he must eat his fill then he should allow for one third food, one third water, and third air.”

This Ramadan try the following:

1. Eat less meat. You don’t have to be a vegetarian but try to be one for couple of months or weeks or even days. I once did it for three consecutive months and I liked it. Being vegetarian for a period of time is much easier than you think.

2. Cook two dishes one with meat and one without meat. Give the one with meat to the poor and experience the satisfaction of doing good while eating your vegetarian dish.

3. When you invite people keep in mind that satisfying Allah should be your first goal then satisfying your guests.  Don’t cook food for five times the number of guests, Allah does not like wasters.

4. Let your stomach eats, not your eyes. You don’t have to try all the dishes. The next day, you can try the dish you didn’t try the day before. Refrigerators work like magic when it comes to preserving food for few days.

5. Invite single expats to your house. If you are in Jordan, invite an Egyptian worker or a Malaysian student (if there still any) to break their fast with you. If you are in the Gulf invite a single expat to your house. I am sure there are millions of them in the Gulf. If you are in the US, invite a single Jordanian student to break the fast with you. I am so lucky to have friends who invite me to their houses for the whole 30 days of Ramadan.

6. Sharing is the key in this month. Eat less, distribute more.

 

Islam came to break all barriers between races, colors and social classes. Consider the mother in the above story your sister and pray for the millions of people like her in Africa. You would do all you can to help your sister or brother if in trouble, wouldn’t you? I wish I know how to help those people. I really don’t know how. I can’t imagine what they are going through. My life is so shallow, I take eating, drinking and peace for granted and worry about what electronic gadgets I can’t buy.

 

Ramadan Mubarak!

The Next Jordanian Role Model winners announced

And the winners are:

First place: Sami Hourani (read more in Arabic)

Second place: Yosra Albakkar

Third place: Hana Faouri

Congratulations to the winners!

I would also like to congratulate and commend Nadia  on her idea and effort to make such novel project not only possible but also a successful one. I hope this project continues in the future with the support of more organizations and businesses in Jordan. And thanks of course to the four judges of this competition.

Here is what this project is about:

We are looking for:

Inspiring young Jordanians with a global outlook and an open mindset who are creating change in their societies one way or another.

We are looking for young engaged Jordanians who are challenging their surroundings and working for change within the following areas:

environment and climate

social change

culture and art

politics and human rights

online activism

innovation

We want to put focus on young people who can function as positive role models for other young Jordanians – and engage more to become active in changing and developing their society in the future.

العمالة الوافدة في دول الخليج

كتب احد المدونيين الكويتيين في مدونته  تعقيبا على خبر في صحيفة محلية بأن الكويتيون سيشكلون نسبة 23 في المئه من السكان خلال الخمس سنوات القادمه

إذا كان الكويتيون يشكلون نسبة 23% من إجمالي السكّان … فمن يستهلك الكهرباء؟ ومن يستهلك الماء؟ ومن يستهلك الانترنت؟ ومن يستهلك الشوارع والباصات والمدارس والمؤسسات والجامعات والشركات؟ ومن يستفيد من كل مصادرنا؟ تقرير خطير لابد الأخذ به بعين الاعتبار .ـ

حقيقة لم أفهم ما يعنيه المدون. هل أراد للمغتربين العمل في بلاده دون استخدام الماء والكهرباء؟ هل يعقل أن يكون هذا ما عناه؟ أرجو أن أكون مخطئا.ـ

في المقابل نقرأ هنا عن انجازات الجالية الفلسطينية في الخليج والتي يجب أن تذكر وتدرس في كتب التاريخ الخليجيه. لا أتصور أن هناك من درس في الكويت ولم يكن له على الأقل معلما فلسطينيا في أي مرحلة دراسية. كان في الكويت ما يقرب من نصف مليون فلسطيني قبل الغزو العراقي على الكويت.ـ الكويت ودول الخليج نسيج جميل من الثقافات المختلفة والتي للأسف يبدو أن بعض المحليين لا يقدرونها.ـ

نعم الخليجيون أقلية في بلادهم ولكن المغتربين العاملين بها سواء كانوا عاملوا نظافة او مدراء بنوك او مدرسون هم جزء من نسيج البلد فهم لهم حقوق في هذا البلد الذي افنوا فيه جهدهم وعمرهم.ـ

New Toyota Ads Define Living

When I call my parents and no one answers the phone or my brother answers and tell me they are out I feel happy. It brings joy to my heart when I hear they are out. Being out tells me they are healthy and enjoying their life. When I saw these Toyota commercials on American TV I thought the idea is one of the most creative ads for a car targeting certain age group.

The younger generation is spending less time outdoor and more time indoor socializing via palm-size electronic devices and bragging about how many online friends they have. Thanks to Google we even categorize our cousins, friends and people we know, and don’t know, into circles. Limiting living happily with the number of our followers.

These Toyota Venza 2011 TV commercials are really smart and break the stereotype of how we define living.

Mating among snails living far apart is possible

Researchers in Japan discovered that snails can transport from one place to another via birds’ guts. This discovery led scientists to know the answer of how different snail populations made contact despite their geographical isolation.

Tornatellides boeningi (c) Shinichiro Wada

T. boeningi is the most common species of snail on Hahajima

Japanese white eye (c) Shinichiro Wada

The Japanese white-eye

This evidence suggests that bird predation could be a key factor in how snail populations spread.

Previous research has shown that pond snails can survive being eaten by fish but the same was not known for land snails.

In the lab scientists fed the birds with the snails to find out whether any survived the digestive process.

“We were surprised that a high rate, about 15 percent, of snails were still alive after passing through the gut of [the] birds,” explained researcher Shinichiro Wada.

Shinichiro Wada Tohoku University, Japan

“This is the first study showing that birds can indeed transport a substantial [number of] micro land snails in their gut alive.”

The main factor allowing the snails to survive being eaten is their small size, according to the scientists. [via BBC Nature]

Storytelling

Today, I went to Barnes & Noble one of my favorite places to hangout in town. I go there very often to see what is new in the world of books and to learn more about this fascinating business. I hope one day to be able to open a nice bookstore in Jordan, with the goal of attracting more Jordanians to “reading books”.

I wanted to buy George Orwel’s 1984 novel since I have never read it before. But since I am super busy this summer I decided I just want a light read.

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So, I went to the Magazines’ section browsing for something new.

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I found these two interesting publications. The first is a periodical that is roughly new, couple of years old only. Human’s brain fascinates me so I always like learning something new about this mysterious organ.  The second one is a one time publication by Writer’s Digest. It has interesting articles about writing skills and publishing.

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After I bought these two publications, I sat in the coffee shop inside Barnes & Noble to read while enjoying a nice Earl Grey tea.

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Here are some excerpts from an interesting article, Tell me a story by Gabrielle Selz, I read in Brain World magazine.

What is the relationship between storytelling and the brain?

We use stories to pass on information, to communicate and influence people.

The telling of stories connects regions within our brains which are instantaneously mirrored in the listener’s brain, acting as social glue cognitively and emotionally.

For years, educators like professor Roger Schank have pointed out that information is retained better through stories.

And studies have shown that people retain about one-fifth of what they read, but four-fifth of the images in their minds.

Narratives are an influential method of persuasion. They provoke interest, invite involvement and encourage empathy. For years now, advertisers, lawyers, journalists and politicians have been using the ability to shape facts into compelling storytelling to convince us to buy products, judge events, read articles and vote.

Telling stories does far more than link disparate images together; it allows us to understand information and unites us in our beliefs.

So, this was my story today!

The Obedient Wives Club

Why in the world an honorable Muslim wife would call herself a first-class prostitute? If this is not enough these women call themselves hookers and whores as well. I wonder according to these women what being sexually submissive entitles. On another note, I don’t want to know. Dear OWC, whatever the goal of your club is you just don’t call yourself a whore, do you understand?

The Obedient Wives Club (OWC), which has chapters in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore and intends to open in London and Paris later this year, says it intends to curb various social problems, including prostitution and gambling, by showing Muslim wives how to “be submissive and keep their spouses happy in the bedroom”. This, in turn, would lead to more harmonious marriages and societies, it says.

The OWC, which launched in Jordan this year, opened a branch in Malaysia last month and in Indonesia last week. In Malaysia, it caused a furore when its international vice-president, Rohaya Mohamad, declared that, by becoming a “good whore … to your husband” and serving him “better than a first-class prostitute”, women could help “curb social ills like prostitution, domestic violence, human trafficking and abandoned babies” – all of which she attributed to unfulfilled sexual needs.

“We are talking about first-class elite types, not street hooker types … Ordinary prostitutes can only provide good sex, but not love and affection, which only a wife can provide,” she told the Malay Mail.

read more…