Coke Commercial-Are all bigots really Conservatives?

I shared the Coke ad on my facebook profile like many others. A friend of mine who enjoyed the ad and its message, but couldn’t understand why everyone who responded with bigotry was branded as being a Conservative. She tried to Google the tweets that followed after the infamous coke commercial and found that there were comments filled with hatred towards Conservatives without any proof that all those bigots were really actually Conservative. Now, this friend of mine is a lovely woman, and I understand that we as humans could differ in our political inclinations and as part of my ideological framework, I have to accept and respect that difference of opinion without being reductive by terming everyone who is a Conservative=racist/bigot/white. I personally detest being   pigeonholed into one term or another. I hate the idea that if you are White, then you must also be Conservative, and if you are non-White, then you cannot possibly be Conservative. Or if you are making bigoted comments, you must therefore be a Conservative. These are not mutually exclusive. So I understand my friend’s frustration at the rapid hatred fired at the bigoted comments following the Coke Commercial on Super Bowl night that it MUST be…it HAS to be all Conservatives.

I also have to accept that although Conservatives attract majority White votes but that is not to deny that there is no Ethnic make up for Conservatives. I know for a fact at least in Canada that there are definitely many Ethnic supporters and Ethnic elected officials who are right-leaning.  I mean how else could we explain the Conservatives winning a landslide in Canada? (oh Right Mass rigging, but that’s a total aside). We can see that the voter bank of the Conservatives in the US is Primarily Non-Hispanic White (check link here again). What this chart proves is that there is just enough colour in the Conservative mix to be termed racially diverse, but it just isn’t enough to really affect decision making, policy shift to challenge the status quo of the White Conservative mandate. I also won’t deny that many policies and bills passed by Conservatives are generally racist and anti-multiculturalism. That happens because there are some deep seeded attitudes and beliefs that are part of the ideological framework, and because of a thing called White-privilege that makes you blind/unaware/not in tune with the struggles of minorities.

At some level there is some truth that your political alliances/preferences do define your ideologies and your framework, but the political process/affiliations are a lot more complex than simply ideologies and policies.  In fact, prior to 2002, most Muslims voted Republican in the US for many reasons, economics being one of them. Having worked in enough election campaigns in BC, Canada myself, I know first hand that in Ethnic heavy constituencies/ridings, Conservatives run Ethnic candidates to split the ethnic vote. It optically looks great, but it also beats having a White Candidate lose to a Non-white Candidate from any of the other parties. The game is to gain the most seats in the House and sometimes that gamble works. Unfortunately, sometimes the skin of your colour is enough to determine your voting alliance over actual policies.

My friend’s frustration posed a challenge to me when she said that her Google search showed more tweets about the reaction to the racist/bigoted comments and not the original tweets of bigotry. I, for one  enjoy a challenge, especially one that doesn’t require much by way of actual physical labour. So I took to the twitterverse and tried to find the bigots cited in all the publicshaming articles. My research showed that some of those users were now either sending protected tweets or had retroactively deleted their old tweets. So, I took my search a bit further. I looked for #cocacola #fail and lo and behold in all its glory I was shown the ugly face of racism rear its head.

I have compiled for your pleasure print shots of the comments hurled in the name of American homogeneity and preserving the purity of the American Race (yeah sounds oddly familiar to the infamous words uttered not too long ago in Europe). But, I do take my friend’s words seriously, I am truly curious whether all those tweeting their hatred for the true depiction of a colurful and multi-ethnic America were really Conservatives? Perhaps, what might be truer is that these people really have no political affiliation, rather an affiliation to ignorance and racism.

tweets

Well found two who are definitely Conservatives

tweets

tweets

I also found this article: which is by a Republican.. http://allenbwest.com/2014/02/coca-cola-ad-super-bowl-americans-brand-hm/ but he is NOT White, proving my point about enough ethnic support within the conservative folds.

The thing about the internet is that it is addictive. I have now expanded my search from #CocaCola #Fail to looking up the names of the trolls mentioned in the public shaming articles and I keep coming across some serious racist gems. My head is about to explode.

tweets

tweets

I honestly can no longer be searching for each and every bigot out there and wasting more of my precious time. If anyone is further interested check out the following links: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/coca-colas-multi-lingual-super-bowl-ad-inspired-a-racist-mel

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/02/02/Why-Coca-Cola-America-The-Beautiful-Ad-Was-Offensive

I have not yet confirmed whether all these bigots are conservatives, but all I know is that all of them are RACIST, IGNORANT, FULL OF THEMSELVES, GOOD FOR NOTHING FOOLS.

This hashtag that proves that they are IGNORANT!

#SpeakAmerican (Wow, REALLY?)

Some links to cheer you up

tweetshttps://twitter.com/smbreslof/status/430610036889378816/photo/1

https://twitter.com/Nice_Jewish_Boy/status/430509324251983872/photo/1

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/board-of-directors-muhtar-kent

some more proof of Conservatives supporting #boycottcoke

http://aattp.org/republican-ok-state-rep-joins-bigots-flipping-out-over-superbowl-coke-ad-promoting-multiculturalism/

tweets

http://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/2014/02/03/controversy-over-cokes-america-the-beautiful-ad-is-silly/5187173/?sf22405342=%5B%271%27%5D

I think I am done for today!

Life is a passing memorial!

Today, on my walk in my neighbourhood, I stumbled upon a memorial of Liam. I don’t know who Liam is, but this was a beautiful memorial with the words: “You’ll never walk alone” written in flowers, with pictures and messages from friends and family around the fence or tied to it. I couldn’t help but stop and take a closer look, read and try to find out who Liam was. Ironically, I probably would have never even paid a second look to Liam if he was just passing me by on the street, probably never would have bothered to smile at him or get to know him because he was a mere stranger-but in his death-this stranger’s memorial pulled me closer. There were clues; he seemed to have something to do with Liverpool and football (soccer). He enjoyed life and was loved by many. Other than that, I didn’t know who he was, or how he died. I couldn’t help but be roped in to spend more time at the memorial and try to find out more about him. A young lad, a life lost too soon. One of the pictures had a heart-breaking message on it-which read: “Liam, you are now in heaven with your bro Dan”. This broke my heart because I imagined that Liam had also lost a brother-implying that his parents now had two dead children. I could feel my heart shudder upon reading that. How cruel life is!

 

Image

This memorial was a somber reminder of the fickleness of life, and how it is fleeting us by. The memorial reminded me that once we go, we are nothing more than a collection of a few pictures, memorabilia, artifacts, words and memories strewn together by those around us. That is all that remains-a shadow of the living person. No one knows the real you-your inner demons remain unbeknownst to the world. The fight that takes place within you between good and evil; none know of it. All they remember or choose to remember once we are gone are a few special memories. As if the bad we did, erased from memories-it just doesn’t exist. The image we get of a person at a memorial or on their funeral is one who is always loved, one who was a perfect being. But, seldom is that the truth.

Human beings are complex creatures; we aren’t just black and white. There are so many shades of grey that define us. We spend majority of our lives CHOOSING to hate, CHOOSING to make enemies, CHOOSING to judge and CHOOSING to assume the worst in each other. When one of us is taken from amongst us-we are shook to our core-awakened! We realize how stupid we were to let tiny grievances get in the way. We realize how pathetic we sound for judging someone-for hating/disliking them. So, when we remember the individual who passed away, for those few moments, we aren’t even honest with ourselves-We IGNORE the hatred, dislike and reasons we judged them! We ignore everything and only remember the good in them. We forget the time they back-stabbed us, hurt us, fought with us, broke our hearts-hardly anyone ever upon hearing of someone’s death says: “Good they finally got what they deserved”.

This is the irony of life-the person when alive-the living, breathing creature, walking amongst us wasn’t worthy of a second chance, wasn’t worthy of being forgiven, but in death, when the last breath has been knocked out of them-we forgive– we forget!!! All that remains are the artifacts, the photos, and words of people to describe who we were-our sins, our good deeds tucked away with us as our remains.  Sow what you want to reap-enjoy the relations in this life now, cherish and love them. Leave a legacy and a lasting impression! Make the effort to know the human beings around you, rather than judge them by the sum of their parts because ultimately we will be left to the words of those same strangers to describe who were.

To Him we belong, to Him shall we return

 

 

 

Mercy for all of Mankind

And We have sent u not but as a Mercy to all the worlds" Al Qur'an. 21:107

And We have sent u not but as a Mercy to all the worlds” Al Qur’an. 21:107
Calligraphy by Sana Naveed at http://www.muhammadanart.com/

 

The last post I wrote was on the topic of Christmas-The birth of Jesus –Prophet ISA (Peace be upon him). It only seems befitting that today I would write about the Birth of my beloved Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him). It turns out that the celebration of the birth of this central figure of Islam is just as controversial as Jesus’. There are two camps on the topic of the celebration of the birth of the Prophet (PBUH). Group One vehemently opposes any such celebration or even the existence of such a celebration. They are also the same faction that opposes Christmas. The pretext being that there are only two festival allowed by the religion: the celebration of the two Eids. They further prove this by saying no such event ever took place during the life or after the death of the Prophet (PBUH). Group two is the group that supports the celebration of the birthday, presenting all sorts of references in support for this. Their prime argument is that the faith of the Believers of Islam is incomplete without the love of their beloved Prophet (PBUH).What is the extent of the love of the Prophet (PBUH)? As per them there is no such thing as the limit of that love because where that extent ends, begins the love of the Almighty. These groups are further sub-divided by their views on the levels of the Haram-ness on the topic of the celebration and about the levels of the extent through which you can celebrate this blessed day.

Now, like most things in my life I don’t belong to one camp over the other. I understand the debate prohibiting the celebration, but I also understand the reasons for celebration. I am most definitely wary of using Haram (prohibited)/Kuffar (disbelief)/Bidaa (innovation) to define the practice of celebration, just as much as I am against those who believe in the Mawlid (birthday) referring to the non-believers of Mawlid as infidels. I tend to hold a middle ground, and believe that excess of anything is generally a bad thing. But, anti-exorbitance is the framework through which I like to live my life. I am constantly questioning excessiveness and wastefulness of our material means. So, I do not support any extravagance in celebration whether be personal or religious. Now, having cleared that, I don’t think wishing a happy Mawlid un nabi, or promoting the recitation of Darud is wrong; nor do I necessarily support the idea of fancy Milaad gatherings. Milaad is a gathering where through poetry a person praises the Prophet (PBUH), him and expresses one’s love for him. Nothing wrong with poetry and nothing wrong with expressing your love for the Prophet (PBUH). I often enjoy Nasheeds and Naats myself. The problem comes when people go to extreme measures to arrange these gatherings; spending lots of money, using lots of lighting and flags to decorate the streets and calling anyone who doesn’t support the idea of Milaad as an infidel. Recently, I came across a video that showcased an extreme example of the celebration of the birth, which included dancing to a song that objectified women, and likened them to alcohol. Both objectification and intoxication are prohibited in Islam and seems like a contradictory way to celebrate the birth of the man whose Prophethood is the birth of Islam. This definitely is where I would draw the line on celebration.

What does the day of birth of the Prophet (Pbuh) mean for me? His birthday is a reminder of the beautiful blessing that Allah Almighty bestowed upon this world and the next world; therefore, a cause for jubilation. It is a reminder for me as a Muslim to be thankful to be from his Ummah. It is a moment for me to ponder and really live the essence of his teachings. It is a chance for me to understand the importance of the precious gift of Shahadah (belief in the oneness of God) that I share with my fellow Muslims. I wish, instead of engaging in debates about the actual practice of celebrating Mawlid, perhaps we would live our lives being exemplary of the teachings of this great man. To me a better celebration would be to showcase mercy, kindness, good behaviour, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, charity and piety on a daily basis, but if not, then at least just on the day of his birth. Wouldn’t that be the greatest way to commemorate his birth? If instead of wasting tons of money on the Milaad celebration, we fed the orphans; or used the money to invest in medical or education for the poor; we would be upholding the real essence of the teachings of the Great Prophet of Islam. Sure, if you must show your love through hosting a Milaad, by all means, but let’s not turn it into a mockery by hosting elaborate events, competing and outdoing each other in the size of the events, using it as an excuse to buy the most expensive outfits for the gathering or wasting food at those said events.

There is an opportunity every year on the 12th of Rabi-Al-Awal to celebrate the legacy of this great man of history. Let’s take the time to ponder upon his lesson, his teachings and pledge to at least instill a fraction of the patience and love this man possessed for everyone. He was a man of simple means-the Prophet of the worlds, with often very little to eat, tattered clothes to wear, epitome of humbleness, patience and forgiveness. We, as his Ummah represent none of the characteristics possessed by this man. Let’s celebrate not by showing anger to someone whose idea of celebration differs from yours. Let’s celebrate by being patient, forgiving and realizing that we are all humans and can err. Love and understanding can heal and turn the evilest of hearts. Islamic history is replete with stories of such turning of the hearts all due to the mercy, and love shown by this Great man. Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) reacted not with anger or hatred-he was a visionary and knew that you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar.

I, for one am happy that today is the day of the birth of the man who was sent as a mercy to all of mankind (Al-Anbiyaa’: 107), and to whom the Quran was revealed and of the man who spent his years crying: “Allahumma Ummati, Allahumma Ummati – O Allah my Ummah, O Allah my Ummah”. We are from that Ummah and we must not disservice this great man by engaging in petty arguments, hatred, lying and deceit. Instead of arguing about the celebration, and disrespecting one another, using vulgarity and derogatory language, instead of wasting the means Allah has bestowed upon us, we should walk the earth as the representatives of his teachings. That would be the true celebration of the birth of Muhammed-The Prophet (PBUH) and the greatest man on earth.

Mawlid-Un-Nabi Mubarak!

Allahuma salle ala sayyidina Muhammedin nabi yil ummi yi wa Ala aalihi wa asabhi wasalam.

Calligraphy by Sana Naveed http://www.muhammadanart.com/

Calligraphy by Sana Naveed
http://www.muhammadanart.com/

Oh no Christmas! The Muslim Existential Crisis

mr1

Picture from Michigan, courtesy of my friend MR

As soon as the month of December rolls in, Christmas sales, Christmas cheer, Christmas lights and decoration–everything Christmas-y starts to surround you. It is a festive-cheery-get together with family-be merry-be patient-be generous-be in the Christmas Spirit- time of the year–UNLESS you happen to be Muslim!

If you are Muslim, Christmas time poses more an existential dilemma than anything else. What this leads to is a crisis and it becomes a time of panic. An OH MY GOD-I committed Blasphemy-I am going to burn in hell-I fell out of the Folds of Islam because I wished my co-workers/neighbours/friends Merry Christmas-crisis of Faith- time of the year. Of course, this sort of thinking would suck the fun and cheer right out of anything festive, and Christmas is no exception. Usually, when Christmas month starts, I start to receive facebook tagged photos, text messages or emails outlining to me the million and one reasons for why Christmas is HARAM! No wonder so many of us look unhappy during the month of December.

Recently, I received one similar text message from multiple sources, outlining the pagan history of Christmas and making the following 5 claims; Santa’s choice of Red for his attire represents fire/hell; Santa Claus if rearranged spells Satan and Lucas (which is short of Lucifer); Merry Christmas actually means Merry Death of Christ (because Mass means sacrifice by death); the disagreement on the actual date of birth of Christ, which as per the Quran should be in April, or May or June; and instead of the birth of Jesus, 25th December happens to be the birth of 13 pagan Gods/Goddesses.Now, I have not done research on the facts claimed, but I am going to analyze the text on face value.

If it seems that red is the colour of fire/hell then perhaps none of us should own/wear/come near anything red. As far as rearranging the names of Santa Claus to get Satan and Lucas is concerned, well I can rearrange my name to spell Ham-een (Ham pluralized in Arabic) and since Ham is Haram in Islam, then that means–I am haram (wow, this got really depressing really fast). The one I can give some weight to is whether Merry Christmas really means Merry Death of Christ, it seems quite morbid to be celebrating the death of Jesus. In that case, perhaps we need to change the name of Christmas to something more appropriate like Christbirth, . So, this is then a question of semantics. Now onto the date of the actual birth of Jesus and the birth of other Pagan Gods coinciding on that date. I believe most Christians accept that 25th December does NOT represent the actual date of birth of Jesus. According to one theory this date was chosen as the Winter Solstice and an ancient Roman Pagan festival celebrations used to already take place around this time. It perhaps  then seemed to be a date chosen out of convenience than historical authenticity. Quite frankly, I would be happier to have Christmas in April (coinciding with my birthday, giving me full rights to say I was born in the month of Jesus (beats sharing the month with Hitler). Who wouldn’t want an early Summer Christmas-the sun is out, the temperatures are well above zero, flowers are blooming-all in all it would be a much more convenient and happier time for Christmas Alas, we are stuck with December-cold-grey, below freezing-snowy-wet-weather is likely the forecast  (in the northern hemisphere at least).

The point of my rant is not to undermine the decision of those who do not wish to celebrate Christmas. I respect individual’s and communities’ decision to not celebrate Christmas. If it is considered strictly a festival of the Christian faith, then all others do not have to celebrate just as the rest of the world doesn’t join in to celebrate Eid, Diwali, Hannukah, etc with the other faiths. My bone of contention is that such viral message undermine any good will that may arise out of the spirit of the season between communities, they create paranoia, suspicion and lead to bigger chasm between faiths. In a world that is fraught with so much war and hatred, there really is no need for more hateful messages. Plus, wishing someone a happy Christmas does not throw one out of the folds of Islam. One does not have to partake in the traditional festivities of Christmas if the desire is to preserve your faith and not emulate those of others.

I, for one am celebrating Christmas. I have not partook in putting up a Christmas tree, lighting up my home, dealing with the mad holiday rush or exchanging presents (although, I have done this in the past), nor does this mean that I believe Jesus to be the Son of God, (because I don’t, I accept him as a very revered Prophet of Islam). Nor does it mean I believe in the 13 Pagan Gods/Goddesses because that goes against my monotheistic belief system. But what it means is that I have taken the off day and decided to do spend some time with my family and friends, who were otherwise unavailable for a get together during other times in the year and London completely shuts down on Christmas day, thereby giving you no other option  but to spend it with family. Christmas day aka December 25th if nothing else, presents me with a day off and I for one welcome any public holiday! It offers me a chance to spend some more time with my husband, whose work demands long working hours. In all fairness, I was equally overjoyed to know that he will be off on boxing day (December 26th) as well. In our modern busy lives, any time off provides an opportunity to unwind and spend it with our loved ones.

If Christmas provides that opportunity to reconnect with my loved ones, I will gladly take it. My husband was unable to take a day off on both the Eids this year, and our eid festivities ended shortly after offering the Eid prayers at the Masjid. I will gladly make up for those missed days with the day off on Christmas. No one said that one should leave the practices of their faith and just adopt other practices, however there is no harm in enjoying the atmosphere that is created. If Christmas guilt induces the spirit of generosity, happiness, good relations, politeness etc, how is that a bad thing? Doesn’t Ramadan tend to invoke similar good behaviour in us Muslims? If all it takes for people to be smiling on their commute home, be polite, be cordial, and be generous is Christmas then I would wish the entire year to be Christmas. If it takes one day out of the year for us to remember our loved ones, guilting us into spending time with our loved ones, wearing that ugly sweater knitted by our grandmothers-then why not? Any day out of the 365 days of the year which manages to awaken our sense of communal and familial relations is a good day in my dictionary and worth celebrating. I am of course not suggesting that we should only do these things once a year, but once a year sure offers a starting point.

So a very Happy Christmas to those who are celebrating and a happy day off to all those who are not celebrating. I wish everyone gets a chance to let loose, put their feet up, eat yummy food and share their love, generosity and laughter with their loved ones and their community at large.

Share with me how you are spending your Christmas/day off on my facebook page with pictures and anecdotes from around the globe. Join me on twitter @fieryfury1 and share  your pictures #xmasaroundtheglobe.

THE MUSLIM STORY OF CHRISTMAS

Telling My Kids We Don’t Celebrate Christmas

My home used to be a Christmas-free zone. No longer

Some Muslim leaders still criticize Christmas celebrations as assimilation gone too far

 

Is that Santa at the door? No, its the Shia community of Multan