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First, He Came for the Muslims

“If you force Muslims to register, we will all register as Muslims” said Feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
I stand ready to register as Muslim in  said the Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
“I stand ready to register as a Muslim in solidarity if it comes to that” said actress Mayim Bialik.
I don’t know if it is, somehow, suppose to bring comfort or relief to Muslims in this nation for the support. And perhaps, on the surface, it may very well seem to be.
But it’s not.
It’s not because this isn’t the first time this has happened in our nation. No I’m not talking about the Japanese internment.
The year was 2002. The program was called NSEERS. National Security Entry-Exit Registration System
What was it, you ask? Essentially, it required non-citizens, non-residents in the US already and those entering the United States from certain countries, predominantly Muslim countries of course, to register in the U.S., undergo more thorough interrogation and be fingerprinted. The only country on that list that wasn’t predominantly Muslim was North Korea.
Who stood up for Muslims then? Which non-Muslims signed up as Muslims then as an act of defiance? And even if they did, what difference would it have made?
We don’t need just words of solidarity. We need action. Otherwise, just as we passively let him become POTUS, we will start to face deplorable consequences such as this Muslim registry.
What’s next? Segregated water fountains?  Separate seating on public transit for people of color?
First, he is coming for the Muslims. But the question is, will it end there? Who will be next? 
We must stand up and act. Contact your congress member. Call your senator. 

#NotMyPresident… but wait? He is.

I didn’t watch the inauguration. If you know what a news and political junkies we are in this house, this was big.

News are big in our house. Domestic and international. Politics are discussed profusely.

Throughout the day, there are texts, news alerts and tweets sent among our household group text. We watch the news together nightly.

The first inauguration I can remember watching with full memory is of George Bush. I have watched every one since. I know little tidbits like the oath is always at noon and other things that do nothing for my personal gain.

But I couldn’t watch today.

This whole election cycle, I feel we sat around passively thinking it was not possible to elect such a candidate and *news flash alert* he now holds the office. I don’t know if it says more about the type of people who support him or more about the type of people who passively allowed this to happen.

A man who lashes out on twitter over minute things. Doesn’t he, or should he, have better things to do? You know… like trying to figure out what this presidency entails exactly??

A man who probably has a contradictory statement for each one he has made. Probably on his own Twitter account nonetheless.

A man who is equal about discrimination against all. A racist, sexist, ableist, a bigot.

A man who lacks the basic understanding of what this position requires suddenly holds the power and control over so many things. Let’s not even start with the nuclear codes.

His own campaign staff didn’t/couldn’t trust him with his own twitter handle leading up to the election, need I remind you, but we are suppose to trust him as the POTUS?

Where do we stand, as a nation, now?

How much weaker are we as a nation in the eyes of countries around the globe?

Was it a publicity stunt for him? Perhaps. Are we suppose to wait around holding our breaths what’s to come in the next four years? No. Way.

Popular hashtags trending on twitter include #NotMyPresident and #OptOut. But you know what? Whether we like it or not, the reality is that he is now our president. And we certainly can’t just opt out.

I tried to convince myself post-election that we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. That rooting for his failure is essentially rooting for our own demise. But you know what? No. No we don’t have to. And we certainly shouldn’t.

Enough of the “how bad can it get?” and “what worse could happen?”. All logic and common sense has gone out the window. Anything and everything is suddenly fair game and quite the possibility.

As a matter of fact, it suddenly got just that more important to be proactive and speak up for what is right and what we believe in and make our voices be heard and be heard and hold those in office accountable. Not be silenced or sit passively any longer.

One of my biggest regrets will be that I wasn’t active in the election campaign this go around like I was during the Obama campaigns.

It starts small. It starts local. I urge everyone to become more involved in their own communities.

We can’t change what happened, but we certainly can have a lot to say about what is happening and what happens in the next four years.

His slogan may be “Make America Great Again”, and we certainly need to… but he certainly isn’t the one to lead our nation to do so.

Update: This can also be found here.

Moon Sighting

Let’s start off this post first and foremost with a “Ramadan Mubarak” to all the fellow Muslims. May Allah (SWT) guide us all in the right path, and accept all our prayers, fasts, & good deeds during this blessed month. Ameen.

For my non-Muslim friends: the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar so the start of each month/year, therefore, is based on the [new] moon. Thus, the days in each month can vary by a day as a result.

The significance of the month of Ramadan? The holy Qu’ran was revealed in this blessed month.

Now onto the topic itself that is eating away at me today. It’s actually been eating away at me for years.

So, each year, when it’s time to figure out when the month of Ramadan is going to start and/or when Eid will be based on the moon sighting… well, let’s just say the days before every Ramadan/Eid [for as long as I can remember] is always full of controversy, debate and even, perhaps, arguments.

A moon is a moon. If it’s been “sighted” by one, then as a collective ummah we need to unite. The earth has but one moon.

Yet every year, without a shadow of a doubt, there is at least one group of people that decides to vary from the pact and do it a different day. There have been times in the past when the difference in days has been two days. How that is even possible, I don’t know, considering a month can have either 29 or 30 days in the Islamic calendar.

For there to be different days of Eid, or to argue which day is the first day of the blessed month of Ramadan is to essentially accuse the other half of the ummah of deceit and lies. That “we know you say you saw the moon, but we don’t believe you”… which in itself is something major and something for you to ponder.

There is an hadith that says something to the likes of that:

“Whenever you sight the new moon (of the month of Ramadan) observe fast, and when you sight it (the new moon of Shawwal) break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then observe fast for thirty days.”

Which is very ironic because so many times the argument made in previous years is that it was too cloudy for the moon to be visible so Ramadan doesn’t start tomorrow.

Which brings me to my next point. Technology. Technology has come a long way. We now can very easily figure out when there is [or will be] a new [visible] moon. We need to come together and create an Islamic calendar based on the help of indisputable astronomical information and all of the advancements in science and technology over the years.

I read a quote online by the national coordinator and moon sighting consultant to ISNA that said:

“Today, Muslims have expertise and access to technology to understand the calculations of when and where the sighting occurs. Recorded data shows how the science of moon sighting is compared with the actual observations. The results show that calculations of sighting and observations have matched every month since 1993. Calculations of moon sighting and actual sighting are not two different things for an Islamic Calendar when it was found that they both match.”

Don’t even get me started on the argument that back in the day, there wasn’t all this science and astronomical information. Because most of the people who argue this are the ones who open their fasts based on the exact time of maghrib down to the minute/second as listed on the prayer schedule [and are not so particular about prayer times the other 11 months of the year]. Never mind the fact that back in the day there weren’t cell phones, computers, TVs, and all these other technological advanced things available either.

Religion isn’t meant to complicate your life, rather it’s meant to simplify it. If you dig deep enough, it will always help you find an answer to every single one of your questions.

I am not sure if I completely agree with leaving it all completely to science. Some part of me believes that there needs to be a reliance on a physical sighting IF it’s not cloudy because of the hadith. I think science and technology should be used to help, not hinder. I think we need to establish and follow a universal “moon sighting” at the very least [that if it’s visible to one, then it’s as if it’s visible to all]. I think we need to get our acts together and work on establishing an Islamic calendar.

Again, these are my thoughts and thoughts alone. I’m not an expert by any means… and I don’t claim to be one either.

Allah knows best.

I Met Two Presidents in Two Days

I don’t know how many people get to say that… or when i will ever get the chance to meet even ONE other president, but the last two days have been amazing for someone like me who LOVES politics and who is such a big fan of Barack Obama!

by the way, i’m going to throw in the past two days in one HUMONGOUS post because otherwise, one or the other would never get done… as i’ve been getting about one post done per month for the last few months. I have a post that i barely started two weeks ago still sitting in my drafts that i just haven’t had time to write out! 🙁 hopefully, soon… because i definitely want to get it done.

Anyhow, after being hesitant for a few days whether i was even going to attend the political rally where Bill Clinton was coming to rally for Corzine at my own school (Rutgers) because of a long and tiring day, i did end up going right after class… and i had a great time. The waiting line was decently long by the time we got there, and soon it had become much much longer! One thing that surprised me was there were no security checks (considering a former president was going to be present).

I know my brother Ayaz and i were discussing this, and many others feel the same way… but those rallying for Corzine seem to be doing a better job for him than Corzine is himself. and of course, Clinton is a great speaker as it is.

On a sidenote, after the event my brother and I met a reporter/fellow tweep (one uses twitter) Mike Memoli and it was so interesting to meet someone you communicate with online! We saw and talked with him at the Clinton/Corzine and the Obama/Corzine event (and met his sister and nephew there too).

Until attending the Clinton/Corzine rally, i was 100 percent sure that i was absolutely not going to be attending the Obama/Corzine rally the following day at FDU because of work, school work, and whatnot. But then, after the Clinton/Corzine rally…i realized no matter how much else was going… they could all take a back seat, because who knows when i would get such an amazing opportunity again in my life (or if i would ever!).

Luckily, i have no classes on Wednesday and was able to get someone to cover my shift at work on campus. I am SO SO SO glad i convinced myself to go!

Ayaz and I left home around 12ish (it was about 40 – 50 minute drive without traffic to get to Farleigh Dickinson University) and doors opened at 3 PM. We got there around 1:15ish i would say, and somehow, there were no real lines of any sorts and we were lucky enough to get to the front of the line!! To think that i wasn’t even going to go, and then i ended up in the front row!!! (Can you tell how great of a time i had? 🙂 )

One of the many speakers before we finally hear from Obama, was freeholder/reverend Vernon Walton (the first African-American to serve as a Bergen County Freeholder). He was a great speaker and he was amazing at getting the crowd going and was definitely a tough act to follow. he was probably my favorite speaker, aside from Obama of course, from last night.

Oh, and a last minute addition to the rally was Caroline Kennedy. most of the crowd had no idea she was also going to be one of the notable speakers that we would witness, but my brother and i got a heads-up from the reporter Mike Memoli that we follow on twitter. While Weinburg teased the unknowing audience about the “she” that was about to speak, we already knew all thanks to technology. 🙂

Caroline Kennedy received a much deserved standing ovation. Like so many others, I’ve had a natural interest in the Kennedy family and the tragedies that have struck their family. and no matter what your political philosophies are, Caroline Kennedy comes of as “real” and comes off to be just one of us. Furthermore, what Ted Kennedy did throughout his life for healthcare was amazing, and hopefully the fight will continue.

It’s scary/sad to think of how many people are not covered by health insurance… and how many of those people are little helpless kids! Education and Healthcare issues are two of the main ones that i am especially concerned with. It’s nice to hear the politicians hear about what “they are going to do”, but it’ll be even nicer to see some action being taken.

I’m no huge fan of Corzine (i haven’t researched him enough to be one) but some of the things Christie is against, is so hard to believe! I can’t believe anyone would be against things such as having a 2 day hospital stay for new mothers, having mandated mammograms, and funding for education. If we elect Christie, that’s taking some major steps backwards. Christie wants to make it not mandatory for healthcare insurance providers to cover mammograms!!!! can you believe that?? who could be against such things! especially when breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for females!!! not only that, but Christie also wants to cut funding for early education… because he thinks preschool is “babysitting”. can you hear my frustration??

Anyways, getting back to the rally, talking about Caroline Kennedy reminds me of one of the funny moment as we waited for the “real” speeches. one of the secret service agents brought out a black portfolio to the podium that i am assuming was carrying Obama’s speech and the crowd was so anxious, that the secret service agent got a huge ovation from the crowd for simply bringing the portfolio out to the podium and walk back to the back area. the agent just smiled, shook his head, and headed back out. The pretty cool DJ promoted a second wave of cheers/applause from the crowd for him too. 🙂

here’s Caroline’s speech:

Loretta Weinberg spoke before Caroline Kennedy and Jon Corzine spoke after Caroline Kennedy. Weinberg’s speech was the same as the one from the night before at Rutgers. Corzine started off by saying he’ll keep his speech short because he knew the real reason we were all here was to listen to Obama. Obama, of course, spoke last. i think one of the best techniques Corzine has been doing lately is linking Christie to Palin – that’s ingenious right there and anyone with half a brain will negate them. the latest polls (from today) show Corzine leading by a three point margin (very small)… but this is the first time he’s been leading for a while. all of the powerful speakers this week have definitely helped Corzine, undoubtedly.

by the way, did you guys know Corzine’s mom is a registered republican?? i had no idea until Corzine mentioned that yesterday!

Obama came out to a loud and cheering audience, of course… and the atmosphere was amazing. and it only got better as Obama spoke. I’ve said it many times before – Obama is a great, inspirational, and eloquent speaker… and even more so in person! Ayaz and i were so lucky to meet him from so close up, and shake hands with him! I truly believe he has the potential to make a big difference for the country.

I’ve heard the “fired up” story many times before, but i heard it again last night live as Obama ended with the story (and i was wearing my ‘fired up’ shirt too!). it’s one of those things that never get old. Obama said the moral of the “fired up” story was that “one voice can change a room…and if can change a room it can change a city… and if it can change a city, it can change a state…and if it can change a state, then it can change a country…”. Obama, intelligently, connected this with urging each of us individually to go out there and knock on some doors, call some people, get our friends/family/neighbors out to vote, etc because we could make the difference.

this next image shows just how close we got:

also, during Obama’s speech… near the center in the front row alone we had three girls “faint” in the same general section. i found that really weird, but the secret service just came in and carried each of the girls out as it happened.

here’s obama’s speech btw:

I know i would have regretted it later had i not gone to either of the events (ESPECIALLY the Obama event)! This is a pretty long post as it is, but i’ll probably add more thoughts to this as i remember more things.

These past two days have been pretty amazing… and one of those things i’ll remember forever!

UPDATE: this post is as long as a 5 page essay! to think how productive i could have been school-wise today! 🙁 🙂

“Let the Issues be the Issue”

So I saw this earlier on the news and thought it was great.

The caption says it all: “Let the issues be the issue” and not a race election based on the races of the candidates.

“I’m Voting Republican Because…”

Don’t worry…I’m not really voting Republican. The following ad is called “I’m Voting Republican Because…”. I just saw this on MSNBC, and thought it was pretty neat:

This commercial is basically “a satirical look at the likely outcome of another four years of Republican government”.