Crazy - Talk

Sometimes I feel like a hero(ine). Not because I’ve done anything heroic but because I’m the central character of THE MOVIE. I’m a non- earthly spirit, an alien, (legal ofcourse), that’s been sent down to this world to fight many fights, to fall in love, to win many wars-- to deal with my subjects justly and fairly. I deal with all sorts of fellow spirits but mostly Zombies. Sometimes I’m a zombie myself but then I wake up during sleep. While sleeping, my sprit leaves this earthly body and goes on great adventures I don’t remember the next day. Maybe because my vertical connection is weak, I remind myself occasionally I need to take care of my connection, but five times a day seems like eternity sometimes.

Just like a car without an oil change my ‘self’ is covered with rust. Performance isn’t up to standard. That’s where Lord Shaitanmort comes into play. He distracts me with ME. He’s the salt-water that makes my ‘self’ rust even faster. But he’s just an extra. I’m the real deal – the real McCoy! Only I hold the power to be the ultimate Hero(ine) or Villain.

Occasionally, though, I do report back to the Compassionate Source and occasionally I do talk to the Beings of Light that stand by me, even though I suck. Why yes, I’ve got Beings of Light protecting me, watching over me, whispering to me. Unlike Beings of Flesh they constantly pray for me, weird aint it? Actually, whats weird is that im in a middle of a science fiction movie and I have a go at the 'Oscar' but instead I choose to be a D list actress. Actually, it’s sad, especially since my mama always said I was a drama-queen.


Ali ra...

"The sin which makes you sad and repentant is more liked by Allah (swt) than the good deed which turns you arrogant."


Pedagogy of the Oppressed

“Like Paulo, become a threat, become a threat to the system!” exclaimed a very excited NYU Professor couple of years ago. (No, he wasn’t talking to Muslims; he was simply addressing a group of student-teachers).

Imagine the teaching power of a person who is banned and exiled from a country for teaching. Yup, that’s it. And no he wasn’t teaching his students how to make bombs, either. He was simply banned for his Educational Philosophies. Now that’s power.

Paulo Friere, was banned from Brazil and lived in exile for most of his life. One wonders, why and how he was able to cause so much fear among authoritarian governments?

“In Brazil, peasants who participated in the cultural circles not only acquired tools to unveil structures of domination, but also acquired literacy skills in a record time of 40 days. Thus, the reason that led to the cancellation of the literacy project and to Freire's imprisonment was clearly not its inefficiency, but the military government's fear of its potential political implications. Upon being expelled from Brazil, Freire found political asylum in Bolivia, but after three weeks another coup d'etat forced him to seek refuge in an effervescent Chile, where a few years later he would witness yet another military intervention and a new exile. These experiences played an important role in his political radicalization.”

Excerpts taken from different sources but mostly from here:

1. In 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed,' Freire examines the authoritarian educational system, and labels its practice as 'banking education.' In this model, the teacher is the subject of the learning process, and the learners are its objects; the role of the teacher is to deposit contents in the mind of the learner, as if it was a tabula rasa to be filled with information. Hence, the teacher is considered as knowledgeable and the student as ignorant. This oppressive model, says Freire, mirrors the attitudes and practices of an oppressive society in which to be is merely to have. He also deplores the dogmatic approach of authoritarian revolutionary leaders who do not want to waste time in dialogue, thinking that such time could be better used to 'reveal the truth.' For Freire, this 'vanguardist' approach is as banking and reprehensible as the education model carried out by the elites.

2. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.

3. Paulo Freire recognized through this experience that learning which affirms the dignity of people can enable even poor men and women to become producers of culture, ready to overcome the culture of silence. The central objective of this method was to create a new level of awareness, to bring about a new consciousness among the people.

4. In opposition to the banking model, Freire proposes a liberatory or emancipatory one, based on a horizontal relation between teachers and learners (co-intentionality), on critical thinking and on social transformation. In Freire's model, the teacher becomes a facilitator, the traditional class becomes a cultural circle, the emphasis shifts form lecture to problem-posing strategies, and the content, previously removed from the learners' experience, becomes relevant to the group. For Freire, literacy implies as much the acquisition of language as a political process of citizenship, in which people take history into their hands. Hence, the departure point of any educational process is not the world of the teacher, but the world of the learner. He also suggested that a critical analysis of reality could start with a critical reading of the official curriculum. He pointed out that teachers and students alike tend to consider the curriculum as something given, a neutral content to be transmitted, without understanding that education is a political act. The more teachers and students challenge this naive perspective, the easier it becomes to engage in a critical analysis of social reality.

[to be cont'...]


On Muslim Schools...

I’m surprised by the papers and articles I’ve browsed in the past few hours on Islamic Schools/Education in North America. Most authors believe that sending your child to a building labeled “Islamic School” will somehow transform him into the ideal muslim/muslimah, while sending your child to a public school will transform him into the illegitimate child of Britney Spears. Gulp?

Perhaps, I wouldn’t have ‘gulped’ if the following view was that of an uncle mullah or an auntie from back home but these views were of converts – Americans who’ve converted to Islam.

I went to a public school yet never tried drugs, wore small skirts, or had a bevy of boyfriends. I knew it was not part of the package to date before marriage even before I graduated kindergarten thanks to a very concerned mother. I don’t know why I didn’t try drugs, maybe because most students in my school weren’t selling drugs, or maybe because I was afraid my mother would whoop my arse (yes, we’re immigrants).
I’ve attended secular institutions all my life yet have always held a firm belief in God.

My learning of Islam began informally at an early age, at home. I grew up watching parents/grandparents reading salah, fasting, celebrating Ramadan and Eid. I learned maths and science in the morning and learned to read the quran in the afternoons. Solving mathematical problems or learning the Arabic language didn’t change my personality. Rather the change was the result of personal observation of models/stimuli around me.
I learned respecting elders was a virtue not from reading the Quran in Arabic but watching the way my mother treated her elders. I learned to love my elders not by reading salah in Arabic but by watching the lips of my grandfather which constantly moved sending durood on the Prophet (peace be upon him). My cousins and I used to try to outdo each other to bring water to one of my grandmothers sisters because she gave the best duas. Sometimes she would have to drink 5 glasses of water because we all wanted bonus points with Allah.

Having worked with two different Muslim Schools, I find it weird that the setting was only concerned with content but not how we learn to learn. Adding a Quranic Language and Islamic history course to a secular curriculum is somehow magically supposed to create an ideal muslim/muslimah? In most Muslim countries the practice of Islam is taught informally, outside of regular schools, not through formal settings like Islamic Schools or Sunday schools.

Learning is not something that takes place only in a classroom setting. In actuality, most of the learning takes place outside of the “classroom.” Even within the constructs of the classroom students not just observe the content but how the content is presented.
One could argue that learning how to learn is more important than the content itself.

Take Student X, a very bright child, placed in Hifz School XYZ at an early age. He can’t help peeking out of the door when ‘regular’ school-age students pass by during lunch break. He tells me he got hit by a hanger for doing it and is trying to learn his lesson so he can have his gaming rights back again from his parents. I wonder how much he’d love his religion when he grows up? (caution: example should not to be used to form ignorant generalizations about muslim schools in general.)
Meanwhile, theres student Y, an equally bright child, who is encouraged from an early age to question and explore, whose teachers treats him with unconditional respect, and whose parents lead a life that serves as a semi-good example for him. I wonder how different his perspective on life would be compared to student X?

I’m sure as new converts/reverts, lacking the moral support that comes with a practicing Muslim family unit, we strive to the best of our intentions and abilities to create an environment whose aim is to foster good moral values (Islamic values) and a desirability for God. But the creation of such environment isn’t found within cement or a concrete block with Arabic calligraphy; it is a process which begins with the birth of your child and ends with your last breath. If the child has the right support and role models from an early age, even a public/secular institution won’t lure him into sex and drugs. Similarly, abandoning your child to a poorly run Islamic school or once a week Sunday school won’t turn him into a Muslim scholar.

In conclusion, im not advocating one mode of schooling over another (heck, im thinking of home schooling, and I don’t even have kids, hah!), im just saying there are better arguments for creating Muslim schools than suggesting your kids will turn into cross-eyed-drugged out- sex offenders if you sent them to a public school. Really.


Excerpts from Gifts From The Sea

"...I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the languages of the saints – to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible."


“... Because we cannot deal with the many as individuals, we sometimes try to simplify the many into an abstraction called the mass. Because we cannot deal with the complexity of the present, we often over-ride it and live in a simplified dream of the future. Because we cannot solve our own problems right here at home, we talk about problems out there in the world...
But can one really feel deeply for an abstraction called the mass? Can one make the future a substitute for the present? And what guarantee have we that the future will be any better if we neglect the present? Can one solve world problems when one is unable to solve one’s own? Where have we arrived in this process? Have we been successful, working at the periphery of the circle and not at the center?

If we stop to think about it, are not the real casualties in modern life just these centers I have been discussing; the here, the now, the individual and his[/her] relationships? The present is passed over in the race for the future; the here is neglected in favor of the there; and the individual is dwarfed by the enormity of the mass...”

"Life is a gift, given in trust - like a child."
"The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh