Monday, 23 May 2011

awkward moments in prayer

i've been a bad blogger again over the last week, although i did put up a couple of posts at the hand mirror: one filled with links to budget-related stuff and another on the campaign by carers to get a better deal from the government. there was a good interview on this topic this morning, on radio nz (nine to noon, 9.25am).

i loved this article by wajahat ali (who i last quoted when i wrote about SATC 2), mostly because it's so familiar. most muslims living in the west would have similar experiences of trying to find a place to pray when you're away from home & away from the mosque. i too have prayed in a dressing room, in sylvia park, when caught short of time & space. i've found a special place at westfield shopping centre (hamilton) away from prying eyes, which i've used more than once. then there are the parking lots, the landings on staircases, the rest areas on public highways, between the trees outside seddon park or at the hamilton gardens, the parents' room at wellington airport, the back seat of the car if i'm really desperate, and sometimes just out in plain public because there is no other choice.

unlike mr ali, i don't try to keep out of the public gaze because i'm afraid of hostility - i've never felt unsafe because i pray. it's more that i don't like to be stared at, or to have someone ask me questions when i know i can't reply. it's the fact that i'll find it harder to concentrate on my prayer and fulfill the main reason behind it ie that spiritual connection and inner peace that is at the heart of prayer. and also, i don't really want to feel like an exhibit at the circus or to look like i'm showing off. so yeah, privacy tends to be an important requirement for prayer.

oh, and i love the BIP (before iPhone) acronym - even though i don't have an iphone & don't intend to get one any time soon. and as usual, avoid comments on the piece, some of them aren't pretty.

also in my travels through the e-world, i found this piece co-authored by sahar ghumkhor. it's an intelligent & challenging look at the death of osama bin laden and the rise of islamophobia:

What is ignored in the rush to step over the dead body of bin Laden for the hope of a new beginning in the Islam-West relationship is the way his death has been seen as a sacrifice for reconciliation. Should thinking people be so quick to accept that the tensions Muslims have faced since the appearance of bin Laden was entirely as a result of one man’s actions? Or are the discourses emerging about his death more about what prominent Australian anthropologist Ghassan Hage elsewhere has described as ‘colonial necrophilia’ - a pathology involving a type of relation with those killed socially or politically. In other words, those who resist the imposed narrative must be killed, pacified, their voice silenced, in order for an ‘acceptable’ historical account to emerge. Whatever the case, now that Osama is dead, what does it mean for the fractured relationship between Muslims and the broader West?


The erroneous assumption that Osama’s death marks the decline in Islamophobia and its’ battering of Islam and marginalisation of Muslims throughout the West, needs to be revised. Reports continue to show anti-Muslim incidents in the U.S. Two Muslim clerics were escorted off a plane recently, and the vandalism of a Muslim community centre spray-painted with the words “Osama today, Islam tomorrow”.

Furthermore, Islamophobia existed before the events of 11 September 2001. In the year that saw the assassination of bin Laden, we have also witnessed a feverish rise in Islamophobia: the banning of veils and minarets in Europe, violent acts against Muslims around the world, and an incessant demand for Muslims to condemn any acts of terrorism involving Muslims.

i'd really recommend the whole thing.

1 comment:

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