Islam · Videos

BBC Documentary: Muslim Extremists in Luton

I stumbled upon this BBC documentary by chance and because I love BBC documentaries, I watched it until the end. The hour-long movie is about a British journalist who goes back to her hometown of Luton to investigate why it is known as the extremist capital of Britain.

The journalist met with extremists, the EDL (English Defence League) and with some ‘moderate’ Muslims. I do have reservations on using the description moderate Muslims though. No one says moderate Christians or moderate Hindus so why moderate Muslims. There are Muslims and Muslim extremists.

In recent years, the UK became known for these Muslim extremists. I do not live there to know why they became like this. In the Middle East, I can understand why such groups had evolved but not in the free West.

The journalist mentioned that there are many Muslims in Luton but the extremists are only a tiny group. I also liked what the man who she met at the mosque said. He said these individuals encourage other Muslims to go fight in the name of Islam but they always find an excuse not to go themselves.

My question is if they believe the society they live in is immoral and corrupt why don’t they live away from others. Why do not they choose to live like the Amish away from others.

I have not seen or heard of such extremists groups in the USA. There might be individuals like those who joined ISIS or like the Boston Marathon brothers but not as a group of extremists.

I do not know why they exist in the UK more than any other Western country.

Islam · Jordan · Picture Jordan

Ramadan in Jordan

This is my first Ramadan, at home, in twelve years. For the American readers’ perspective, this is like having Thanksgiving dinner with your family after twelve years absence. However, instead of one dinner it is thirty dinners, or more accurately thirty Iftar (breakfast).

In 2010, I wrote about my Ramadan experience in the USA. Reading it now looks like I was not enjoying the experience. I do not think it was that bad. Maybe I was feeling down when I wrote it. I think the worst part is that you do not get used to spending Ramadan away from home. Ramadan is a time of the year when you should spend it with your family.

Anyway, Ramadan in Jordan is of course much better. The number one reason is family. Besides being a religion obligation, Ramadan month is the most social time of the year. In this month, more than any time of the year people invite each other to break their fast together .

Muslims love this month, it is when most of them feel more connection with their inner goodness. Muslims in this month feel they are more religious than the rest of the year. They fast, pray more and give the poor more. Ramadan is very dear to Muslims because among many other things it gives them a sense of satisfaction. It is a month that Muslims cleanse both their body and their soul.

Nothing new about Ramadan in Jordan except for one new beautiful trend that is the decoration. What a lovely habit that Jordanians picked up to decorate their homes, streets and businesses. Almost every house has Illuminated crescents, celebratory lights and/or lanterns. It looks like the same ‘good’ craziness Americans do preparing for Christmas.

A business owner decorates his restaurant with an illuminated palm tree.

A mall has a Ramadan theme decoration
Shops stay open until very late at night

The reasons I love spending Ramadan in Jordan:

  1. Mosques — In Columbia, MO where I used to live we had only one mosque. Nonetheless, we were fortunate to have a mosque in this small town. However, I like to experience praying in different mosques. I do not like to associate myself to one mosque. Here in Jordan, the situation is very different. I can walk to five different mosques, only five minutes away from home.
  2. Social life — During Ramadan, after the last prayer of the five daily prayers, we do extra prayer called Tarawih. People in the Middle East and North Africa go out to cafes or visit relatives or friends after Tarawih, which is usually after 10:30 pm. Of course, it helps that business hours change during this month. Therefore, people do not have to wake up early in the morning.
  3. The Culture — In the USA, people go beyond and above preparing for Christmas. If you are a Christian you would love being in the USA in December. Similarly, as a Muslim I love being in a Muslim country because everything change during Ramadan. The spirituality, the late night visits, the more Iftar (breaking the fast) invitations and the decoration.
  4. Food — Since people fast for 14 or 16 hours, depending on the place and time of the year, they tend to think of food more. Therefore, people cook more and eat more. You see many more dishes on the table during Iftar.

Although, I am enjoying Ramadan here more than in the United States I have to say I miss my friends and the families that used to invite me to their homes for Iftar. These people become part of your life, kind of a family that you cannot forget.

Ramadan Mubarak!


Why terrorists live in this house?

Let’s assume you live in a very beautiful house. The house is so big it has many other people living in it as well. You are very happy and feel proud living in this house. You always make sure it is clean and maintain it very well because you love living in it and you want it to look good in front of your neighbors. You also wish it will last as beautifully for your children and the generation coming after you. And you sure love others to come live in it as well, you don’t consider it an exclusive club it is a house for everybody.

Unfortunately, some people living in this house started vandalizing the house you live in and love so much. They also hurt people in the neighborhood who don’t live in this house. And if this is not enough, they set some rooms in the house on fire.

Now, when you see a room in your house on fire do you extinguish it or close your room’s door?

This is exactly how I feel  the Muslims’ reaction to those people who share this house with us. Boko Haram, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and the alike terrorists groups are not the non-Muslims’ problem they are ours; the Muslims. Muslim countries need to fix this problem as soon as possible and not depend on others to solve their problems.

These terrorists, sharing our house, are not just bullies rather they are a serious danger that needs to be dealt with swiftly.

It bothers and concerns me to read, see and hear words like ‘Islam’ and ‘terrorism’ spoken or written side by side on every single newspaper in the world daily. Yet, Muslims are silent. Nigeria’s president started allegedly going after Boko Haram after the West’s outcry. Bashar Al Assad is laughing out loud because no one helped him stay in power more than the terrorist group the ISIS. They made him look like an angel compared to what they do to people.

Something not right is going on in this beautiful house of ours and we need to fix it.