BURKINI BAN REMOVED… World order restored

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Oh thank the Lord after years of struggle with ISIS, Jihad, suicide bombers and terrorist attacks we finally have a saviour and it’s called the BURKINI BAN.

This mighty law will strike ISA where it hurts… their beachwear!
Muslim women will now have to wax, wear sunscreen and pay for triangles attached with string because of course everyone should conform to the western way of life..loh crap I meant the democracy we live in.

Or maybe this will isolate those women, it will dictate what they can and cannot wear, if they do not conform it will be clear where they can and cannot go and further pull at the string of difference… oh sorry, I got that wrong, that was her bearded Muslim husbands job , right?

We are in a grave mess that none of us are even close to understanding from meaningless wars, man made poverty, economic turmoil, natural disasters escalating and Trump…lets just throw him in there too.

Yet, we want to sit here and discuss what women can and cannot wear. In particular, one religious group of women who have been targeted because they themselves have decided that covering up their junk in the trunk by wearing nothing more different to a wet suit is an issue. But hey France you are going to free all Muslim women by telling/fining/intimidating them on what to wear…you son of a liberator.

But worry not world, everything has been put back into place because since then protests and petitions have taken place and France has decided that the Burkini Ban being enforced on the countries beaches is now illegal and a violation of fundamental liberties. Phew…

Now let’s ignore the mayors in the country that are refusing to action this, of course Burkini banning boards will be removed ASAP, fines will be refunded ASAP with compensation, those women and families who have been humiliated will wake up tomorrow as if nothing happened and everyone can enjoy their summer holidays at the beach again because of course nothings awkward now and everyone feels comfortable about who they are and what they can do.

The Burkini Ban incident has shown the world at what a pathetic stage of solving the terrorism problem we really are at and now the sexism problem might as well be dealt with since we are here.

But I’m just a vulnerable Muslim girl who doesn’t have a voice and needs to be told what to do and think…right?
Or is that how society has created the majority of us out there who browse endlessly on celebrity red carpet images, best dressed and worst dressed lists so we can comment and scrutinise who wore what, whose body has changed, what’s the new trend so we can all obsess over what we need to conform to and ignore the bigger problems in life or just life itself…there’s nothing bizarre about that right?

From the receptionist sent home earlier this year because she wasn’t wearing high heels, to Venus Williams wearing a skirt that is ‘too short’ for her powerful thighs, to the Burqa ban in France since when did women give anyone else permission to tell them what was right or wrong of them to wear.

Or did we even have this power to begin with.

Is the Burkini vs. Bikini debate a religious one? A sexist one? Or is it a symptom of scared, lost, powerless people in powerful positions?

All I know is that this is not the end.

By Sameera Rafiq

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First Year Marriage Survival Kit – Happy Anniversary Boo!

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One year ago today I said the infamous words “I DO” – well the six kalmay!

Today I’m sat here with a broken foot (I do fully believe he was behind part of the planning to my fall), rash on my face because he got my moisturisers mixed up and ever so slight constipation because he keeps feeding me Cocodamol to shut me up!

Welcome to married life!

You thought it was going to be all romantic wining and dining, dancing in the rain with him grinding on a rose between his teeth (yes only between his teeth) – well I’ve got a newsflash for you and it’s called the MIL… hey I’m only joking guys even I’m not that crazy enough to go there (yet!)

The most popular phrase newlyweds will hear is: “the first year of marriage is always the hardest” – of course after 12 months the mighty bells will ring and the fairies will sprinkle their magic dust and fix that broken man… I didn’t have time for that shiz plus last time I faked a broken tooth so I could get some £kerching£ off the tooth fairy and it didn’t work out too well, so seeing that they all belong to the same family I thought word may have got round and I’d be doomed so I took matters into my own hands…

Here are just a couple of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the past year:

1. You know the old rule your mum used to say – “don’t go to sleep angry”, listen to you mum. Let him go to sleep and just watch his vulnerable defenseless face give you that moment of peace, that’s when you attack his ego sack and start tearing at those season tickets… his brain will soon tell him whose right and whose wrong.

2. “Pairs are made in heaven” – so when he throws that line into the argument because he thinks there’s no possible way you can argue with that, you just tell him that you also believe in pairs and most importantly keeping pairs together – so that designer bag comes with a designer pair of shoes, that diamond necklace also has some diamond earrings that just can’t be parted.

3. Okay there are times in your relationship where you may need reminding of why you married each other. In such instances, boys do not underestimate the power of fried chicken wings at 1am just to say “you are the most amazing and beautiful woman in the world and I love you dearly.”

I think I’ve got you kind of covered for the first 12 months or so. Of course there will be those irritating Dr wannabe Aunts who constantly want to examine, feel and probe the womb area because nothing’s popped out yet so some serious family meetings need to take place and apparently a bowl of ghee, sugar, flour and almonds will give you the strength to bring that baby into the world. Oh and don’t forget the work to married lifestyle digs yet to hear because fish finger buttys may not cut it as an evening meal for two (goodbye childhood).

But at the end of it all you live happily ever after…

You know why… because all those crazy moments in married life is part of this new adventure of two best friends which you wouldn’t change for the world.
Yes he snores, yes he has morning breath, yes he farts and doesn’t always flush but ladies lets not pretend that only pixie dust leaves our butt cheeks.

The biggest thing I’ve learnt in my year of marriage is that you marry the whole person…not only his cheeky grin that gave you butterflies when you met or his charm that gave those goosebumps but he is also the same man who farts, snores has temper issues and a whole lot of other drama to deal with. But he’s your man and you can’t ignore half and love the other half you need to bring the best out of each other, you’re one unit and you represent each other.

From snorkeling, to swimming with dolphins, gondola rides and wearing Christmas socks in mid summer we’ve done a whole load of crazy stuff together that I wouldn’t have done otherwise .

Thank you for always being the Cray in my Crazy.

Here’s to a lifetime and hereafter together…

P.s. Whilst writing this blog I thought it’d be a good idea to get some marriage advice from other married couples and here are the tools they recommended for the marriage survival kit:

• Don’t over-complicate issues
• Communication
• Patience
• Compromise
• Tent making skills for those lonely nights
• Make him believe he is the decision maker (advice from the lady who got married last week – she’s a smart one!)

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You choose…Sun or Rain?

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The most beautiful of souls are those who have been timelessly burdened before scars can even heal, yet still guard the flame of light with their forlorn hands.

candle-in-hands-400x400But forget not my friend that even guarding the light for too long can only burn those hands that once reassured into nothing more than skin and bone.

Remember that darkness, that once leaked through like a raindrop on a summer’s day, then there was thunder, maybe some lightning and why not add a dash of hail stoning. Until we were left with nothing but believing our summers were full of rain and thunder that even when a scarce beam of sunlight flickered through that summer’s morning we just waited for the inevitable rain and thunder. Even if on that day the beam was strong enough to carry through til the night we still awaited the next morning or the next week or for the next year for rain and thunder – oh and hail stone.

But then again even if it was just for a short moment why did we not dance in that light

Why did we not forget the rain and just for a moment humour ourselves on what it feels like when the sunlight touches our unwitting skin.

How did we start believing in the rain and thunder and forget that ever longing summer where we were reminded of tranquillity, peace, joyous times in the parks and BBQ’s on the weekend.

Was it because if the rain wasn’t enough to make us believe in our lost summer, then the thunder was, and if the thunder wasn’t enough then the hail stoning was and if the hail stoning was still questioned by those wise few then there was something else waiting until it was Us Vs Summer…is that all it takes for such a grave crime against humanity to take place?

Push those barriers, break through those locks that exist only in our minds – take an umbrella to the park or a raincoat to the BBQ but never let something else convince you that, that beam of sunlight will never return.

And to those that decided to go against the weather forecast, never lower yourself to such a state where you have to justify why today you decided to wear a summers dress.

If the light doesn’t shine today, don’t trap your soul in memories of those long days or bare the burden of guarding the light alone for too long because too much of anything is destructive.

Instead sunbathe on that cloudy grim porch and keep sunbathing even if the biggest storm hits you, it can’t hurt more than believing that there is nothing you can do… You ALWAYS have a choice

P.S Black Friday has some amazing deals on sunscreen and swim suits!

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Afterall, who said only sunshine brings happiness…

PLEDGE FOR THE SREBRENICA GENOCIDE

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The past week marked the first UK memorial service for the Srebrenica genocide where people gathered to offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.

Before I witter on, let’s put things into context and begin with a short history lesson…

During the Balkans conflict of 1992-1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was declared a UN Safe Area in 1993, under the watch of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).

In July 1995, General Ratko Mladić and his Serbian paramilitary units overran and captured the town.
Yeah, not so much of a UN Safe Area afterall…

The following days witnessed the systematic massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys and the forced removal of 30,000 Muslim women and girls including thousands of them brutally tortured and raped.

It was the greatest atrocity on European soil since World War Two.

Eighteen years on, the legacy of Srebrenica and the conflict of the 1990s still haunts Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Victims remain unidentified despite the work of International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the perpetrators of these crimes remain at large.

Since the end of the fighting, only 60 cases of wartime sexual violence have been prosecuted, despite some estimates suggesting that up to 50,000 women were raped in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the violence.

The evil and barbarism of the genocide is rooted deep within Bosnia as every year remains of victims from Srebrenica and other atrocities are discovered. This opens up wounds that do not want to be revisited by families as the painful process of identification begins.

But what adds even more salt to the wound is when President
Milorad Dodik has repeatedly denied that what happened in Srebrenica constituted genocide. Despite the fact it has been established as such at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court.

Maybe he needed reminding of the definition of genocide:

“The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular nation or ethnic group”
Now tell me how the forceful killing of 8,000 Muslims alone does not fit this definition?

In 1999, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote:

“Through error, misjudgment and an inability to recognise the scope of the evil confronting us, we failed to do our part to help save the people of Srebrenica from the Serb campaign of mass murder.”

We may have marked a memorial service, taken part in a peace march, but Srebrenica is still scarred with the injustice and suffering of its people.

Children are educated separately depending on their ethnicity, politicians cannot put their ethnic agendas aside and work as a nation thus Srebrencia and Herzegovina are still not part of the EU or NATO.

The legacy of Srebrenica is a reminder of the evil, of the inhumanity, of the living definition of ethnic cleansing. How far one can go when motivated by racial hatred.

I hold the victims, families, loved ones, soil and stone, all those who witnessed the barbarism of evil deep in my prayers and call for the justice of Srebrencia… never again will humanity fail…
Have we become that cold that it is only European soil where blood shed is valued?

May we learn the lessons of the past, and not find ourselves reading the same note from the UN, apologising for their incapabilities.
If a note of apology is not good enough to excuse one from a parking ticket, then by no means is it good enough in the face of a raped, tortured, widowed mother who has watched her husband and son killed, lost her family and livelihood.

May we stand tall and pledge:

Never again to my my brothers and sisters in Gaza
Never again to my aunties and uncles in Somalia
Never again to my friends and neighbours in Burma
Never again to my mums and dads wherever they face war, conflict, oppression, famine, torture, deprivation or denial of human rights.

HUMANITY WILL NOT FAIL YOU
We pledge never again.

Written by Sameera Rafiq

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TROJAN HORSE AFFAIR: ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS

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The Trojan horse affair: with a teaspoon of curiosity, half a pound of politics, one cup of race, a pinch of education and a whole bowl of confusion – freshly served to the British public!
Now that pretty much sums up the British political scene for the past week.

Let’s have a breakdown of the drama to get our heads around the Birmingham bonanza.

It all started one brisky morning in November of last year. A letter was sent from Birmingham Islamist group to counterparts in Bradford. The letter advised them to carry out a similar attack as they had apparently done by hijacking boards of governors in predominant Muslim state schools and forced out the non-Muslim opposition.

HOWEVER, the letter was entangled with errors. Hence, it was widely believed to be a hoax. This flimsy piece of paper was passed around like a high school love note. It travelled to Birmingham city’s administration, then got passed to West Midlands police until it finally arrived at the Home Office who then decided to forward it to the Department of Education, where it gathered dust until February when it was leaked to the media.

What is astonishing is that this hoax of a paper has resulted in shaking the knees of politicians, leading into four separate inquiries, including the Ofsted inspection of 21 schools, in particular Park View Academy which has now been placed in special measures.

A little drama was also stirred in a public spat between Michael Gove and Theresa May regarding the definition of extremism. The DfE’s definition of extremism has also shifted from suicide bombers to religious conservatives. Now that my friends, is a dangerously wide definition.

Thus the confusion and uproar when a word that most associate with a bearded man taking over and throwing bombs left, right and centre is used so lightly.

Rest assured all was resolved with the predictable and sufficient public apology which was followed by the resignation of one of May’s special advisers for revealing too much… revealing too much of what may I ask?

The claims that have sent politicians dizzy include allegations of segregated classes, compulsory prayers and incendiary preachers at school assemblies.

HOWEVER, evidence of such occurrences is yet to be found.
Which explains why the focus for the investigation has slipped from extremism to “an awareness of the risks associated with extremism” is the phrase now used by Ofsted inspectors.

But the final piece of the jigsaw has to be the reputation of Ofsted – those darn reports that Ofsted previously compiled praising several of the schools for their academic results and record for improving community relations are under fire.

The real question now is which Ofsted inspection failed us? The earlier one that praised the schools? Or the one that has put them under special measures?

As a child I never really understood the game rock, paper, scissors…But now I’m coming to understand how paper can win rock… it must be one weak rock that crumbles in the face of one flimsy paper – now that I guess better explains the British political scene.

Written by Sameera Rafiq

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HALAL-ISM. The Muslims are back!

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Not these Muslims AGAIN! We are still incapable of understanding the whole veil (nikaaq) bonanza and now they hit us even harder. OUR MEAT. “British school kids are being forced to eat halal meat”, “Britain goes halal…but no one tells the public”. Oh how we owe our lives to these tabloids, otherwise no one would actually know the truth.

It is almost as if Muslims were behind some sinister plot to inflict halal meat on innocent Non-Muslim Brits.

What is the actual issue? The fact that Muslims simply have their meat slaughtered in a different manner? And ofcourse this is just news to us all as it hasn’t been the case for centuries, and I am sure nobody was taught about it during Religious Studies at High School. Or how cruel Muslims are to animals? Oh and how the 3 percent Muslim population is dominating so called multi-cultural Britain.

The theatrics stop here.

The term halal has thrown up such a frenzy lets actually take a moment to define what it means. The literal translation is “lawful” and refers to any object – not just food – or action or behaviour that is deemed permissible under Islamic law.

For meat to be considered halal, three conditions must be met:

1) The animal must be healthy and uninjured and, crucially, it must be killed with a cut to the throat.
2) All the blood must be drained from the animal’s body.
3) The slaughterer must recite the appropriate Islamic prayer at the time of slaughter.

Islam, like Judaism, prescribes a single-cut method of slaughter: the animal is killed with a quick cut to the throat using a sharp knife. This allows the blood to drain out and, it is believed, makes the meat cleaner.

I understand the image of blood draining out of an animal’s body can be quite graphic. I still remember witnessing a cow being slaughtered in Pakistan and the blood flowing through the valley. But Muslims, like Jews, insist that so-called ritual slaughter is humane and pain-free because the animal quickly loses consciousness. In the words of Dr Majid Katme, a former spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain: “There is no time to start feeling any pain.”

Joe Regenstein, professor of food science at Cornell University in the United States, who leads the university’s Kosher and Halal Food Initiative makes some worthy points, “the traditional or Prophetic method might actually be equal or possibly superior” because the initial pain of the throat cut results “in the animal releasing large quantities of endorphins, putting it in a state of euphoria and numbness”. The cut thus serves as its own stun. The scientific evidence against halal slaughter, Regenstein says, “is extremely weak and has often been done poorly with an agenda driving a desired outcome”.

To then argue that Muslims do not care about animal welfare is ludacris. There are several Quranic verses and sayings of the Prophet warning Muslims not to harm livestock; mistreatment of animals is considered a sin.

If this issue is really about animal cruelty, we should also label those meat products that have been subject to a pre-slaughter intervention – like having their skull cracked open, being electrocuted, or put in a gas chamber. More so, there should be labelling on meat that has come from animals who have been victims of “mis-stunning”, which leaves the animal conscious and in pain, and occurs “relatively frequently”, according to a 2004 report by the European Food Safety Authority.

Why not label all meat with detailed explanations of how exactly the animal in question was killed, and let consumers decide? Why is only halal meat in question here? Despite Jews having similar conditions regarding meat being slaughtered why is there no outcry towards the Jewish population? Why are there no headlines aimed at the Jews?  

To even consider for a moment that food outlets are serving halal meat is a sign of Muslim domination is beyond belief. It all comes down to the fact that we live in a capitalist society. Therefore, businesses will invest in what they believe will bring in the money, and not simply to please the Muslim population, which I would like to remind everyone, sits at 3 percent.

Whether Pizza Express or any other food outlet is ‘secretly’ halal is not a mission set up by Secret Services that has somehow been leaked, it takes looking no further than their website to see what options are available.

And if people want to turn this halal issue into a moral panic and vow never to shop at Asda again. May I remind you that also means never to have a kebab again from the takeaways that im sure you undoubtedly enjoyed after a Saturday night. And oh do you remember that curry you was just ‘gorgeous’, yep, that was halal meat too my friend.

So I think we should put this back into perspective. And remember I am the student, like many other Muslims, who in the university canteen is spoilt by choice – either it will be a cheese sandwich, or maybe we will go crazy and get a tuna panini! Your choices have not been limited.

But I would like to leave you with this thought:

Has halal become a substitute for much deeper fears and worries about the presence of a growing and vocal Muslim population.

If this was a debate about animal welfare, it would be about all forms of slaughter; if it was a debate about ritual slaughter, it would address kosher, and not just halal meat.

Is the issue really with the meat or the religion?

 

Written by Sameera Rafiq