Jul 1 2007

No More Shisha…

After the ban on smoking in Public in the UK which came into force on TODAY, I decided maybe this was an appropriate time to move from www.blog.com (who have served me well over the last few years) to WordPress which seems to be a lot more reliable.

I know I have not been blogging for a while, but work and family is chewing up my time. My New Month’s resolution is to exercise everyday and to post everyday for the month of July. Wish me luck!

So, Bring your own Shisha? No need, there is No More Shisha

 


Jul 1 2007

No More Shisha…

After the ban on smoking in Public which came into force on 1st July 2007, I decided maybe this was an appropriate time to move from www.blog.com (who have served me well over the last few years) but WordPress seems to be a lot more reliable.

I know I have not been blogging for a while, but work and family is chewing up my time. My New Month’s resolution is to exercise everyday and to post everyday for the month of July. Wish me luck!

So, Bring your own Shisha? No need, there is No More Shisha

 


May 11 2007

Bye Bye and thanks for all the WMDs…

My mate Ant is leaving is job in a few weeks. I’m gonna miss him. It’s been good having him around. Particularly I’m gonna miss that cheeky grin he has, especially when he realises he screws something up. We’ve had some laughs at his expense, but that’s largely because he doesn’t realise when he’s being an idiot.

They should be interviewing for his job officially, but I think Don will get it. He’s been vying for the promo for years. But the problem I have is that I don’t want him to get it. I think it would be a colossal mistake if he got the role, but honestly I don’t think it matters what I or the rest of the country think. Gordon Brown will be the next Prime Minister. But he will probably only last the rest of this term the way things are going. Now THAT has to be a record. Even John ‘I like Currie’ Major managed to get elected after Maggie left.

To do the right thing, there should be a General Election as soon as he is made Labour Party leader., But let’s be honest, this guys been after this job for so long, he’ll get it and then probably cancel the 2012 elections due to a ‘State of Emergency’.

Go on Gordy..prove me wrong and call a general election. Ha, there’s more chance of a WMD landing at number 10 in 45 MINUTES!!!!

 Oh and as I sit in Frankfurt Airport waiting for the plane, I’ve realised that Illy make the best coffee!


May 10 2007

Why Starbucks are getting my goat….

Well actually if I had a goat, I doubt I would give it to Starbucks as they would most likely slaughter it, roast it and make overpriced ciabatta or panini sandwiches. Whereas I could easily use it as a lawnmower…

But talking about overpriced, a programme on BBC World which aired last night talked about the actual cost of the Venti, skinny, triple shot latte with a sugar-free vanilla shot no foam that you could order at S’bux.

Here come the figures:

1 kilo of Coffee cherries earns the picker (if on a co-operative farm) around $2.25.

1 kilo yields around 75 cups of coffee

In an average coffee shop in London, a medium latte will cost around $4. That is ONE CUP.

In terms of a markup that is around 16 times!

Ok, I will admit that it can’t be 100% profit, but if an averag farmer (not in a co-operative) only get $0.33 per kilo, then there are some serious balance issues. For now, I will stick to my bottle of tap water, flavoured with a (fairtrade) Orange.


May 1 2007

Justice done?

A long time since I put finger to keyboard to put something up here, but I had to comment on something…

5 criminals have now been convicted of what seems to have been a major plot. I was sat in a hotel room last night watching the footage on CNN of Omar Khyam looking over his bags of Ammonium Sulphate, and I am kinda convinced that this dude was upto no good.

So Islamist Terrorism has been foiled again by the Security services. Of course there were some failings, and a little closer examination could have potentially prevented the 7 July 2005 attacks in London.

But on the flipside, an interesting report found its way into my inbox. It is a report from Europol (European Police Office) who are supposed to be the glue that holds all the European Police and Security Services together, allowing for greater cooperation.

To paraphrase some of this report in pictures:

And then we have the number of arrests in Europe by types of Terrorism:

Quoting Kristoffer Larsson:

“There were 498 incidents in eleven EU countries last year labelled as “terrorist attacks.” The Basque separatist group ETA did best (136 terrorist attacks) and was responsible for the only deadly attack, killing two in Madrid. The remaining 497 fortunately cost no human lives.

How about the Islamic terrorists then? Considering the perpetual warnings in our daily papers, the findings in the Europol report is, to say the least, surprising. The truth is that Islamists only carried out one out of the 498 terrorist attacks in the European Union in 2006. Don’t believe me? The entire report is available on Europol’s website. Had Islamic fundamentalists been behind a higher number of attacks-say 136-it would have been front page news at every big daily. One attack is simply too few–it won’t do if the image of an “Islamic threat” is to live on.

The Europol report devotes several pages to Islamist terrorism, despite the low number. Except for the one attack in Germany this group was responsible for (which, by the way, failed and resulted in no victims), also Denmark and the United Kingdom reported that Islamists plotted to carry out one attack in each country respectively (incidentally, all three countries are accessory to the illegal occupation of Iraq). However, since these plans in both cases were exposed before they were set to work, they were not included among the 498. Either way, even after taking these plots into account, the report proves the genuine magnitude of Islamic terrorism in Europe–it’s not exactly a huge threat.”

You can read the full report here.


Mar 15 2007

Charity

Imagine one day that you don’t have much. That you are destitute. That you are almost living on the streets and are relying on the charity of others.

Now imagine that one day you are sleeping on the street and on a rainy evening, you wake up and of the many party goers walking past you one stops and asks if you are hungry. Of course you will respond with a Yes. You are hungry. You last found something to eat in a bin yesterday afternoon.

So this smartly dressed individual bends down to your level and hands you a half eaten sandwich, “I couldn’t eat it.”

And you look at the sandwich and think, “Ok, well it’s food.”, and you bite into it feeling the taste and texture in your mouth. It may be half eaten, but it sates your hunger well.

Now my question is, how many of give charity like this? I don’t mean the half eaten sandwich literally. But it was a rejected item of food that this person gave away as charity. It was something REJECTED.

We fill our wardrobes with clothes, which we regularly purge and put them in black bin bags and drop them off to the charity shop. And do we pick our best clothes? I don’t think so. We pick our worst. Those which we do not deem fit enough to wear. Those we bought on an impulse (with a fleeting feeling of guilt), and those which we simply do not like anymore. So what makes us think that what we do not want, our rejected items would be good enough for someone else?

The harsh amongst us may respond with, “Beggars can’t be choosers”. But honestly, what makes you think that beggars want to be beggars? One day you may find yourself in that same position. In a position where the clothes on your back are those that others threw out. Yet in times of affluence we have no qualms about giving away our rejects. Now imagine a scenario where you go to a neighbour’s house, and he has just bought a crate of fruit (Oh yes, wholesalers have a lot to answer for, but that rant will be saved for another day).

‘Hiya, look at all this fruit I bought”

‘Wow! That looks like a bargain’

‘Yeah it was. You should take some when you go home. This is waaay too much for us.’

‘Erm, ok thanks! We could do with eating healthier food, have you seen this belly I’m nurturing?!?!’

And you both laugh.

So you go home, and you look into the bag your neighbour gave to you and reach in, and pick out a wonderful looking fruit, and turn it over, to be greeted to a mouldy slimy mess. As you look at the rest of the fruit, you realise that they are all rotting. How would that feel? So your neighbour’s ‘charity’ amounts to nothing but giving you the rejects, but they feel good about it because they have given you something, and you feel like crap because what you though was a gift, turns out to be nothing but useless mush, only fit for the bin (or if you are feeling green, the compost heap).

Our giving to charity is based on principles of survival of the fittest. The “I’m alright Jack” attitude which means that as long as my stomach is full/bloated, and I have a roof over my head and all the things that I want, then maybe, on a good day, when the sun is shining and the birds are singing, I may give something to a worthy cause. THAT IS NOT CHARITY! Charity is giving away the best of what you have for the betterment of others and consequentially the rest of society. Let’s not think of charity as charity, but as the giving of gifts. That way you will realise that giving the gift of charity is about pleasing others and not about allaying our guilt.

Rant over.

 


Mar 5 2007

More RMW notes

This time from Usma…She’s put together a good roundup of all the speakers in one post. And a good job if you ask me.

 


Mar 2 2007

From Protest to Engagement – Writeup Part 1 & 2

So I made it to the event at Central Hall Westminster albeit while in a rush. And in that rush to get out of the house I forgot my camera and notebook. Which meant that the pearls of wisdom pouring forth from the mouths of these scholars sank into my heart but as with all these things they rapidly fade.

Thankfully  *Under*Cuver*Sister* was there armed with notebook and obviously a pen/pencil/quill and ink  and so I am nominating her as my favoured scribe.

She has already started writing up her notes from the various speakers including Moez Masud and Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Also if you want to download the lecture from previous events, they are available in iTunes if you search for the Radical Middle Way podcast. Some of them are also available here.


Feb 23 2007

Freedom & Peace

I’m on a bit of a Malcolm X trip at the moment…so to get us thinking…

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”

- “Prospects for Freedom in 1965,” speech, Jan. 7 1965, New York City (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 12, 1965).

 


Feb 20 2007

From Protest to Engagement

We, (Wife, Dad and I) will be going to see a few scholars who will be speaking on the topic of moving from ‘Protest to Engagement’ hosted by the Radical Middle Way.

Some of the speakers are amongst my favourites like:

Shaikh Suhaib Webb – one of the few people who can get away with using the words “hoochie-mama”, “Britney Spoons” and ”Rumpshaker”  into a lecture about the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Shaikh Hamza Yusuf – one of those speakers you either love or hate, but generally someone I can listen to quite comfortably.

I’ll post up a review next week sometime God willing, but in the meantime, lets think about this the topic to be discussed:

Moving from protest to engagement as a principle moves against all that the radical groups within the Islamic fold want and also against what the radical elements of the non-Islamic contingent want. The moment people start moving away from protest to actually talking and getting involved, we suddenly realise that we all have more in common than we would care to admit. Looking past the beards, and hijabs and hoodies and combats we are all actually just trying to get by in this world and trying to find some meaning to our lives, whether that lies in buying that 60″ plasma screen or in spending all your time looking for God.

Engaging with each other simply means that the best of our common capabilities and desires will naturally rise to the top, but as soon as we decide that one human is better than another, thats when the slope downwards begins.

If Yusuf thinks he is better than Joseph then he will try to find a way of getting one over on him. And that is the essence of what causes engagement/collaboration to fail. This ‘getting one over’ may not necessarily be financial, it could range from being just nasty so other people get the wrong impression of the victim to the the ultimate crime – murder.

Shapps the Hippy