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Just prior to the weekend, in a small town of 3000, an elderly lady in rural America approached me and asked about “surviving Pakistan.” I braced for a familiar conversation about how it is a country of a 180 million and not really just about the constant bad news you see on the media. I wondered if she, her curiosity and genuine kindness would seem less condescending to me if she had the information she needed to judge me. Perhaps she would have been angered by my response, although staring at her bright blue eyes, repeated compliments on how well I speak English and the gentleness that she exuded it seemed quite unlikely.
At Ar-Rabadha I met Abu Dhar who was wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a similar one. I could see that the pleasantness of our interaction as human beings had perhaps surprised her. I would have loved to reference for her western authors documenting Islam’s creation of a just and equal society. I worried she may have read the recent series on CNN about Slavery in Mauritania that seemingly popped up randomly and in the typical convenience of the western narrative on Islam equated slavery in Mauritania to Islam. In an instant she had assigned a face of convenience to the war on terror; The Muslim girls that the West is out to save.
I nodded with my eyes lowered and as we began to walk away I heard myself say, “Things are very different from what you see on TV.” She smiled and walked away.
I agree, but putting all blame on America and American policies is also not the solution to our problems.
If America is orchestrating this huge puppet drama in which we are, unfortunately, playing the puppets; the FIRST and FOREMOST question should be posed to US by ourselves…WHY THE HELL ARE WE PLAYING PUPPETS IN THEIR HANDS??
The second inspirational quote is from Geneen Roth, who has written many wonderful books on emotional eating. Sharon Martin, LCSWSharon Martin, a Bay Area counselor and therapist, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety in order to create a peaceful and balanced life.
Of course I can never explain in two minutes of sympathy coming my way the role of her own country in the mess in Afghanistan, the devastation of the economy that comes in the aftermath of US policies, the current corrupt lot that Washington has installed through unprecedented black laws such as the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) that resulted in a puppet dictator exiting the country to find refuge abroad and ushered in well-known corrupt figures whose corruption of billions of dollars was forgiven by the outgoing dictator. Beyond the caricatures of me and many like me that she saw on TV, this woman knew nothing of my history or faith. She may have challenged me stating that Islam does not sanction slavery and I would have invited her to sit down and have a discussion of what my faith represents. I wanted to tell her that if she saw any goodness in me it was not despite the Quran that is my guide to life, but solely because of it.
I would have loved to have a debate on the universality of human understanding of what is right and just, how America under Lincoln struggled with the same dilemma that to me Allah and his Messenger, Mohammed, Peace be upon him, showed us the wisdom to handle. It was convenient because a couple of days earlier one (or many?) US soldiers had murdered 16 Afghans. He is a “legal alien”, has a valid visa and often wonders if one can reciprocate kindness with the insincerity of not challenging half-truths that hurts all and if one really needs a blue passport to really belong to teachers, friends and colleagues.


We have to find our own faults first…wrong and self-centered policies adopted by America does not justify the Taliban mistreating and torturing our women. Since the begining till the very end, i was looking at my minds mirror where my thoughts and emotions were being revealed by your words! They are my favorites because I have found them all to be very true for myself and my clients. This quote really speaks to me because I frequently see clients who are trying to emotionally shield themselves from getting hurt (again). Sometimes we get caught up in what we think our life should be and what we’d hoped and planned it would be.
Sharon helps adults and teenagers heal, succeed, and grow happiness through her counseling services. They do not replace professional mental health care nor do they establish a therapeutic relationship with Sharon Martin, LCSW. I catch a glimpse of her curly locks as she intercepts the sunlight crashing through the living room window.
I wanted to tell her that these are not crazy conspiracy theories but the very deception that alienates good people like herself and her fellow citizens from the “Muslim world.” I wanted to tell her diplomacy in the Muslim world to the US is the mockery of democracy. I thought of Hazrat Bilal who had been a black Ethiopian slave in Makkah prior to the advent of Islam and who came to adore Mohammed (Peace be upon him) and was one of his closest companions and who was tortured for accepting Islam as he was made to lay naked in the desert sand, burnt and crushed under the weight of stones on his chest as he continued to chant “Ahad … Ahad”, a proclamation of his faith in the Oneness of God.
I would have loved to tell her the wisdom behind gradual phasing out of slavery that Islam represented. In my mind thoughts raced of how to pick words to share the experience of watching the poorest amongst us lead us in prayers, pray side by side or in the front rows while many more affluent would stand way in the back of the mosque.
Lest any humanity of the other seep through the mirage created by the media a diversion is created to “contain” opinion. I wanted to tell her that the same puppets that her country has mounted as rulers, and who move around in security convoys of 100’s of cars while citizens give birth and die on their way to the hospital in resultant traffic jams, had failed to give any security to this girl against a fringe element of criminals.
In reality, the hurt has already happened and your efforts to protect yourself emotionally just leads to more problems in the present. She has had a private psychotherapy practice in San Jose for the past 15 years where she is available for counseling and clinical supervision. My smile disappears instantly as I focus on the picture of a girl, some years senior to the child who filled my universe just minutes ago.
That what I was saying to her was not a secret but documented by numerous western writers including the very officials in the midst of these ugly hijacking of the will of millions such as the former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice writing about her role in this wonderful piece of diplomacy in her book, believe it or not, titled “No higher honour.” Within the borders of the US she is celebrated as the first Afro-American secretary of state, a testament to how America is overcoming its prejudices and simultaneously doing ‘good’ around the world.
As I contemplated this elaborate conversation all in my mind I found eagerness to share how Islam had shaped for us an classless society based on justice.
Did you abuse him by calling his mother with bad names You still have some characteristics of ignorance.


I wanted to tell her that a 7 year old child praying next to me can ask me to align my feet with the rest right before the prayer commences with “Allahu Akbar” which to us means that our Creator is greater than anything and everything, be it the most comforts I can acquire in this world or the biggest calamity that can befall me. I was surprised at the extensive and random thoughts running through my head and was looking for a polite way to end our interaction when her next comment caught me off guard. I am filled with sadness for Malala, for her family, for us as humanity in general and for us as Muslims in particular. I wondered what she would think if I told her what this “other” from a distant land of murderers believes. The very interests of the US leave it in need for feudals and dictators and works against the justice in society that Muslims long for. I wanted to tell her that if China had drones killing people on the east coast with the US government not just failing to protect its citizens but being complicit in the murder of its civilians, surely there will be a segment of society that will take up arms against the government.
Letting go of the life you had planned, allows you to embrace your reality and find joy in it.
A familiar anguish registers forcefully yet again and I watch, like the majority of Muslims globally, as we fail to undo, the curse of a black and white world that George W.
I would have loved to speak for myself instead of the convenience of her hearing a convenient truth about a complex world through the TV.
So whoever has a brother under his command should feed him of what he eats and dress him of what he wears.
I wished to have the wisdom to express that for every Malala that America has the delusion of being out to save; there are a million Iraqi children that die due to sanctions that did not target the dictators of yesteryears but the very people of the countries that you are out to save. A loss that Muslims around the world hear justified by Madeleine Albright as “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it. An endless war rooted in grandiosity, condescendence and greed as much as it is supposedly about an endless stream of terror that masquerades as forces of absolute evil against forces of darkness.
The narrative that unfolds and as it is retold endlessly, around the clock, with slight variations in flavour but absolute unanimity in incriminating the religion of the “other”, is shouted from the television screens and Radios across the west. Is it the by and large wonderful people I have had the pleasure to meet in the US, my teachers, colleagues and friends? Or is it the people who sanctioned two wars, one supposedly over but with great dividends of control of energy resources and somewhere along the way re-elected a President who started these war on lies, while simultaneously asking Muslims to chant in unison, their denunciation of the acts of people who they, like the west, sees as obscure figures on television when they come out with reported videos threatening to kill everyone and everything that breathes?



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