13.11.07

Islamic Car

Occasionally somebody somewhere does something that makes me want to simultaneously cry, laugh and hope.

Malaysia, Turkey And Iran are collaborating on producing a car targetted at Muslims. All three of these nations are what I term 'Muslim countries of positive integer value'.

That means they are not aid dependant, unashamed of their religious identity, have not surrendered fully to 'development' and westoxification, have established systems of learning worthy of the 'Islamic' crown and can manufacture something tricky that you might actually want or like.

I cry because i think the idea has a lot to do with my lungi wearing malaysian darling bros trying desperately to save Proton, their state car manufacturer. So much money has possibly been wasted on that particular 'Malaysia boleh(can do)' project. I mean, they could have just given it all to me! Protons aren't all rubbish, my pal in KL has a limited edition 'yellow sporty one' and i liked it.

I also cry because i think we have been here before and i realise the mockery and cynicism that the Islamic label has earnt for itself thanks to lamo capitalism.

I also cry because i beleive that this project should be established by a figure or group of highly accredited engineering prowess. This prowess exists in Indonesia, though i guess they might find the islamic car concept a little naff.

I laugh because of the nature of the mockery and incredulity that this will inspire and because malays make me giggle uncontrolably-la.

I laugh because if i were to buy said vehicle, by then the situation in the uk would probably be so bleak that it would get blown up or vandalised.

I hope because this could be Our Airbus A380. An Islamic Car should be an amazing concept, not a marketting slogan based on having a compass pointing towards Qibla. (Details at the moment are thin on the ground)

When the Manarists of the past century wrote about the political economy of the turban (promoting local (unwestern) artisanery and values) i concurred. This is why i only buy 'Islamic Jeans' from Mavi. Firstly, they are lovely, then the Turkish design, marketting, cloth, dye etc... blow my mind.

Mavi established itself because of its reputation, it started small and developed its cool along the way. I have a similar argument for turkish candy However the idea of Cadbury's aquiring a large stake in them leaves me uneasy but still kinda proud that they were world class enough to be deemed worthy of corporate swallowing.

Mavi did not whinge and moan for 'access' to markets and exploit low skilled workers forever. They got good.

Henry ford's T model set new standards for the production line and may have unadvertantly set a practical limit on the size of american families. Airbus's A380 demonstrated collaborative european engineering prowess and shows us exactly how many people you can fit in an airplane who's WINGS FLAP! What can the car demonstrate?

Car's kinda suck, but there is an emerging middle class around the Ummah that want to own them. This class is not loaded with dosh, has specific values in common and an industry sector that must learn through practice. This is one of those initiatives that could generate a good result if they think it through and understand the people.

Im not like Maajid Nawaz, the exHT chap, confused and turned in an egyptian jailkhana, who thinks an Islamic State makes as much sense as an Islamic Car. I'm supple enough and concious of my histories to be 'up for' research and engineering that lives up to the moral imperetives of the religion, the lie of the land and serves the people better.

However I object to be taken for a ride. Islam is a golden standard, not a substandard.

Islamic finance, Shariappliance, Ummah caramel, Ummah Foods, Ummah films ... all targeted at the 'Slims in the west often strike me as naff and are not adding essential value. There are characteristics of self service that make me shudder.

Ummah Caramel hurts me with the way its got the unflinching support of stupid people, mainly girls, who have bad/crude taste in both ummahtic philanthropy and in chocolate. Ummah Foods mocks the state of food soveriengty in the greater muslim and developing worlds. Ummah Films is quaint and i love the bro for his commitment and chuckle in a limited fashion to his stories of bodnas and feet washing, but its naff.

Invoking the ummah to cloak ones ineptitude and lack of other gainful employment/business ideas is a habit that we need to avoid. Its the trap that the whole 'asian' thing fell into that the neo-ethnic, or religio-philosophical islamic identity should not stoop to.

Suggestions for the car, if Dato Seri is reading my blog.

-Get the best engineers and designers you can lay your hands on and give them leeway.
-Be smart about how you distribute specific tasks.
-Make sure that you utilise the relevant expertise that you already have tri national access to.
-Please dont go all halal meat shop on us.
-Please don't rip off a mitsubishi.
-Think about the roads the cars will drive along.
-Think about fuel consumption.
-Think about the diversity of fuel types.
-Remember that you are a latecomer and drivers already have a taste thats probably pro Jap.
-Think beyond qibla compasses.
-Think about enabling good driving habits and safety.
-Make it beautiful.
-Bear in mind what mechanics are used to repairing.
-Think about the ganj, do an amphibious version!
-Think about interior decor.
-Think about the cooling system, imagine you are Sinan.
-Dont use this as an employment generation exercise.
-Think about fumes in third wolrd city jams.
-Target Asia and Africa.

6 comments:

Shak said...

Hear hear. You've articulated the exact problem I have with these things. A super green environmental car would be Islamic, not one with a fold out musalah and a portion of whose profits* go to an Islamic charity.

Ever think we're just a bunch of cynical naysayers though?

*I wonder how much is left after Islamic book keeping? Reduce the price by 10% and let me donate myself I say.

Shak said...

Seems I need to post a comment in order to subscribe...

Anonymous said...

sado

Saif said...

I agree completely.


And because they are unlikely to take your advice, I am against the idea of calling any car an "Islamic" one.

fugstar said...

I think they would listen to it if i presented it in a resolutory way. Its a big dream of mine to pull of such programmes stunningly. What troubles me is that commentators in the west, muslim ones at least seem to have lost all third worldist balls of steel.

Having better data on the car industries and on the actual project would help.oh... and the faintest idea or interest in cars!

Manas Shaikh said...

"target asia and africa"

bang on!