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A Fun Fact About Faiqa

From pre-K until the 5th grade, I went to a very strict Baptist school.

I always forget to ask my parents what the heck they were thinking enrolling their child there.  I suppose they figured that Islam can be puritanical and so can Baptists, so common ground might exist?  Knowing them, though, it was probably because it was the closest private school to their office.

Anyway, as a result of studying in that school, I'm very familiar with the Bible.  My favorite chapter is the book of Psalms, in case you're wondering.  In the long run, I think attending the school affected me quite positively.  Plus, when I got to public school, I was waaaaay ahead of everyone else in reading.  I'm pretty sure reading and memorizing the King James Bible as a five year old is the reason.

I was also extremely shocked to learn when I transferred to public school that not everyone referred to the period of human history predating 100 A.D.* as "back in bible times."

*Yeah, I know, the "PC" term is C.E., feel free to blame the lack of usage on my "Baptist upbringing".

Madagascar 2: First Trip to the Movies

Last Saturday, I took N. to her very first movie in a theater, Madagascar II.

We had a great time. O.K., the truth is she was completely freaked out the whole time.  I never realized how loud a movie theater was until now.  She kept asking me, "Why is it so loud in here?"

My suspicions have been confirmed.  My daughter is a seventy year old woman trapped in a three year old's body.

This is what she did during the entire movie.  I'm not exaggerating, and, yes, I brought a camera to the movie theater.

I'm no Dawg or Slyde when it comes to writing movie reviews, but in case you're wondering, I thought the movie was pretty good.  It was a little over the top in terms of violence, though.  I know most people categorize violence as someone shooting someone else and blood gushing all over the place, but I'm a little conservative (WHAT??!) when it comes to defining violent behavior.

Remember the old lady that beats Alex the Lion up with her purse in the first one?  Well, she's in this one, too.  And the animals hit her back.  Over and over again.  I thought it was funny, but my daughter, who has been taught that under no circumstances is she to hit anyone ever, was horrified.  She actually asked me why they were hitting each other, and I was like, "Well, honey, it's called suspension of disbelief and even though it seems real, it's not.  And that's why it's funny, understand?"

No, I didn't really say that.

See why I don't review movies?

A Public Affair

Growing up, there were very few Muslim families in our town.  Muslims have two major holidays that they celebrate: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Eids, though we always celebrated them, were an essentially private affair when I was growing up.  We celebrated by performing the Eid prayer as a community, eating food, getting money from our parents, going to the houses of our few Muslim friends and getting money from their parents, eating more food, taking off school as long as we didn't have a test, and then, finally, eating even more food.  Come to think of it, I never really knew Eid in the sense of being a highly public or a "community affair" until I was about twenty, when the Muslim community in our area had grown significantly

In the public sense, though, I have always "celebrated" Christmas (my willingness to do so or not being pretty much irrelevant).

We didn't have a Christmas tree or presents in my home, but outside of our home, we did celebrate.  Trips to the mall, local businesses, our friend's houses, our own neighborhood and our schools offered us the richness of another religion's culture and practice through decorations, class projects, music, specialty foods and general holiday spirit.  Somewhere in there, we may have even learned a little bit about how Jesus came into this world.

I think, for the most part, American Muslims are better for having been exposed to Christmas, and for viewing its public celebration.  I probably feel this way because I'm not one of those people that thinks you can be a better Muslim/Christian/Jew/Hindu/Etc. by acting like other religions don't exist.  In the end, that just leads to unhealthy isolation, fear and hatred.

Obviously, though, there were no Eid decorations in downtown nor in our local mall.  Truth be told, neither my parents nor I minded much or even thought twice about that.  After all, the way my family saw it when I was growing up, Eid was not an American holiday.  I don't feel that way now, but when I was growing up, "diversity" and "inclusion" weren't as fashionable as they are today.

Imagine my surprise, then, when on a visit to my hometown on Saturday night, I pulled into the parking lot of a grocery store and saw this painted on one of the windows:

"Eid al-Adha: Grocery Store Window.  Taken with my iPhone.  Photography, not one of my strong points.

Nestled between Christmas, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah panels sits this one, proclaiming,  "Happy Eid Al Adha".

I'm astounded by how much the world had changed since I was a child in this country.  I realize in places like New York and Chicago, Eid has to a degree been incorporated into public celebration, but I didn't grow up in those places.  I grew up in a sandy beach town where the most diversity you could find was once a year at an annual Greek Orthodox festival.  By the way, I can positively attribute my fanatical love for a good gyros to those events.

I know we have a long way to go as a nation in terms of inclusion, but, really, so what?  That doesn't make where we are right now any less important or amazing.

I'm excited for my daughter's America, the one that will allow her to be a Muslim without the need for conscious compartmentalization. I'm overjoyed that there are, at the very least, some people in this country who've realized they don't have to be afraid of us.  (This had become a serious problem after 9/11, though I never really encountered it when I was growing up).

Most importantly, though, I'm plain ecstatic to find that there are increasingly more people in this nation who see the differences between Americans as a source of pride and a thing of beauty instead of a source of chaos and dissonance.

I'm confident that more will follow suit.

Resolution Sunday III: Thanks, honey.

I have a wonderful husband.  No, really, he's just amazing.

It's easy to say thanks for the big stuff, but I think people need to hear thank you for the small stuff, too.  I also think we deserve thank you's for simply fulfilling our responsibilities and obligations.  Just because you have to do something doesn't mean you don't deserve credit for doing it, you know?

Lately, I feel like I'm doing a poor job of showing my appreciation for my husband.  So, this week's resolution is to write a small note on a 3x5 index card every day to him to tell him how much I appreciate the things he's done that day to make my life easier, happier, and just plain amazing.  Why the handwritten note?

Documentation.  Kidding.  The note is because I think best on paper.

Check Up On Previous Resolution Sundays:

  • Sunday Resolution II: Big fat failure.  I never got around to going to the ATM to withdraw the cash.  Who has time for that?

  • Sunday Resolution I: Going strong, barring the occassional one busy day a week.  I've actually surpassed the goal of 90, and am at about 120.


Black Plus White Does Not Equal White

Extremely bizarre people live in Blogistan.  Like, say, the ones who insist on arguing about whether this election was "historically significant" in terms of race because... they, say, come on, our President elect is half white.

I hear you.  But, no, I did not make that up so I could write a post about it.

It's true, they exist.  I've seen their comments.  If you click that, I'm referring to the comments, and not the post itself.  And please don't barrage that blog with comments because the author is extremely grumpy and will metaphorically kill me. Forget it, the link doesn't work, you'll have to take my word for it, and, besides, it's not worth the potential humiliation that RW might throw my way for linking to him, anyway.  Ha ha.

Much can be said about these people.  I will say only this: they are obviously not... sepia toned, brown, mocha, light brown or even excessively tan.  They obviously have no idea that "half white" didn't mean anything to the narrow minded bigots who reside in the history books of our nation.  Or that it still doesn't mean anything to more than a few people living in our nation today.

In short, in this country, if you inherit your looks from the chocolaty goodness side of the gene pool, a racist doesn't care if the other side of the gene pool looks like whitey-mc-white-white-vanilla-land.  They don't care now, they didn't historically care.
Fun Fact: If you were born in the antebellum South, and your mom was white, then you got to be white, tooSo, yeah, If Obama had been born in the antebellum South... what-ever.

Still, I understand that some people are just more visual.  Never fear, that's why we have pictures like this one.

Barack Obama 2008 Barack Obama 2008

Thanks to Rich for posting this on his Facebook account for me to steal.  Historical significance aside, did anyone else notice how big Ford's head was?

I mean, it's just enormous compared to the other guys.

Finally, I'd like to steal the words of the very cool hellohahanarf (author of Midnight Cliff) who wrote about something that had nothing to do with this topic at all on Wednesday.  I've altered the sentence to suit my own post and purposes:

Ahem, "first one to ask me why the illustrator made him that dark gets slapped."

P.S.  My dad actually read my blog yesterday and said, verbatim, "Why are you writing like Sarah Palin speaks?"  L.  M.  A.  O.