Khutbas from our Kitchens, again

Urban, immigrant life estranges us from the rest of creation.  We are becoming part of the problem. So let us alter the relations between the built, lived environment and the (mal)functionings of the urban ummah which we see being stripped away from soulfulness and plunged into consumerism.

Khutbas from the Kitchen is an idea, potentially an institution,that intervenes practically in our lives to help embody Islamic principles in our relations with creation, not least the food system, family and social relations. It is as simple as recording short educative videos from eachother’s kitchens about the ethics and values behind what we eat, warts, proverbial kitchen sink and all.

Competing with slow, unjust people over reclaiming the mimbar in the mosque is probably a useful expenditure of some people's energy. It need not distract us from the potential of networking and reimagining our existing networked ummahstuctures to overcome the cultural degradation arising from some of the activities of Islam Channel, PeaceTV, ISB, the Quilliam Foundation, Saudi Arabia/America.

Khutbas from our Kitchens rehonours the domestic, creative, hospitable space. For certain, it is not some kind of come dine with me/ready steady cook/diary of a bad man goes for chicken and chips venture. The objects around this vital room tell stories that are mostly hidden and unmarked. The packet of plain flour tells us of the history and politics of American grain surpluses. The dish rack, which bears a lot of the burden, tells us of steel, geometry and evaporation. Not to be funny or anything, but the kitchen plan itself speaks about the design and food values at the time of the building’s construction.

Kitchen media is interesting, televisions entered a lot of them in the late 80s, but now the direction of travel has reversed and one–to-many communications can be exchanged for more realistic many-to–many relationships. And perhaps the people in them have changed, less learned in some ways (humanity), more so in others (web search).

The kinds of impacts I would anticipate from this collective endeavour include a practical, shared space for learning, ensouling, deciding and creating more Creator-conscious and justice-based patterns of life and consumption.


[New Word] Shit-com

As epitomised by the BBC's recent Citizen Khan*, a dated, lazy con subsidised by the UK taxpayer and characterised by an ethnic mediocrity previously known to have inspired the term Shit Lit.

When we know that Humza Badman can do similarly from his bedroom, and sigh as he is held up as a paragon of brotherly comedic virtue, this Goodness Gracious Me reproduct retards all that it touches.

*I watched about a minute of it on iPlayer to make this judgement.

I'm not a funny person, but wish to point you in the direction of Sami Shah a Pakistani stand up, and Imran JK's adorable Thank Allah its Jumma (where did you go bro?).


Non Aligned Movement Summit kicks of in Tehran, far more significant than the Olympics.

Most of the countries of the world imagine and work towards freedom and autonomy from the deathgrip of superpowers. At some level anyway. We do not see it more often because they are afraid.

The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) convenes in Tehran this week is what promises to be a gathering pregnant with decolonial possibilities. Held every 3 years, to mark the rotation of the organisation leadership, its fascinating that Iran are carrying the baton from that very different Egypt which held it's NAM summit in 2009, and will hand it over the Venezuela in 2015.

The next week will see a great deal of activity that we should follow carefully, and I wish I could be there. As PressTV was shunted of the UK airwaves a few months ago, and the western stance is hostile, insulting and disregarding decolonial actors, geeks and dreamers will have to try a little bit harder to know whats going on.  The NAM News Network have provided the following link for the latest news from the summit. The clip below features opening remarks from the Foreign Secretary of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi and a practical account of the relevance of the NAM space today from the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Mohammed Quayes. 

Formed in 1961 as an international institution to enable countries of the world to resist falling into the US-Soviet polarity, NAM holds relevance today as a way of creating unity between countries at the bum end of the United Nation's (in)security Council, resisting neoliberal western (NATO) hegemony and a space to simply be and develop positions outside the bullying US-Euro-Zionist political nexus.

Imagine that formative meeting in Belgrade, with Tito (Yugoslavia), Nasser (Egypt), Nkrumah (Ghana), Nehru (India) and Sukarno (Indonesia). What have we (un)learnt since?

It is reported that 150 countries will have representation at the summit, from top tier leaderships, to foreign ministers to less senior/serious delegations. It is worth watching the short video interview with author of The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World Vijay Prashad, where he mulls over the significance of the event simply taking place.

Egypt's President Mursi is due to attend, unlike Turkey who despite recent awesomnesses on the international front are having a frosty time with Iran given their involvement in Syria and maybe even something to do with NATO. We hope that they do find a way to get there. Even the Saudis are sending a deputy Foreign Minister.

Hasina and Zardari, PMs of Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively will attend too, along with UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon. Tunisia is sending its foreign minister, as is North Korea. The Palestinians are disunited ( appears that Abbas has won over Haniyeh). And of course the ALBA countries will be in there too.

The summit is awkward and intriguing depending on your politics. Unsurprisingly, Israel and its allies (ally?) have been acting to delegitimise the event and prevent UN attendance. And Iran itself is not feild of cornflowers.  Prof Hamid Dabashi, author of Brown Skin White Masks, has an interesting analysis of this summit's interaction with Iranian politics, from Mosadegh to Mousavi.

The symbolic power of the concept still rings loud, with Non-Alignment 2.0 currently doing the rounds of Indian foreign/security policy circles. (yikes)

To temporarily conclude, its heartening that more and more country groups are demonstrating disobedience to the terrorism and intimidation of the western powers. Decolonial Duas for this gathering, and its outcomes, tangible or otherwise. For updates, intrigues and explorations, you can follow the summit on the NAM News Network's pages.


Distraction-Gate: Assange addresses supporters and cops in Knightsbridge and rape rings around*

* All of the below could be wrong of course.

Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks took the initiative on eid day this Sunday with the second of 2 eid presents, the first being Egyptian PM Mursi's decision to attend the Non Aligned Movement Summit in Tehran starting 26th August.

In his address from the balcony of the tiny Ecuadorian Embassy behind Harrods, the Gulf-owned temple of hyper consumerism he declared that Bradley Manning should be free, and that if he did what he is alleged to have done, he would be a hero.

The press  in the UK are unusually hateful of him, and this is not helped by the foolish phlegminism emanating from usually sound people, often clustering around the comments of George Galloway, but forever skirting around the socio-sequential political context of the sexual assault allegations.

There is a documentary from Australia called Sex, Lies and Julian Assange that provides a sound 'noise' inoculation and discursive accelerant. The video keeps moving from youtube link to you tube link, so if the link below doesn't work please google it.

The two accusing ladies are not the same as each other, but they are represented by the same lawyer, Claes Borgstrom, who plays for a trial when the Australian journalist, who looks like he's stepped out of a 1980s time machine, asked about how much this looks like a stitch-up.

Theres a lot of Swedish Democratic Party politics entangled in this too, which is to be expected given the events of August 2010 depicted in the documentary. Borgstom is a member and gender spokesperson. Anna Ardin, Assange's chief accuser ( and bizarrely one time fixer and host) is a member, as is her friend Irmeli Krans, the police investigator and testimony fiddler of the less assertive accuser.

The liberal phlegminist toolkit deployed to occlude the imperative of deimperialisation is the same one that enables the whiteously indignant to bomb Afghani women to liberate them. I feel like we are moving backwards and haven't learnt to avoid catching the dust thrown in our eyes.


What is with the obsession with sex that it attracts more interest and concern than the revelations of US forces mowing down civilians with their guns from helicopters and all that wiki leaking has told us about the ugly face of US aggression?

What is is about the British press that makes them so superficial and gullible if not outright corrupt?


To my political instinct, what we have here is not an opportunity to booleanise human rights and freedom of speech, but to prosecute a deimperialising agenda and not be taken for feminist fools.

There is a spectrum of viewpoints on Distraction-gate, I'll only dwell on three women's perpectives, because you probably have had contact with the general crapola out there already and the male defences by Milne, Greenwald and Murray.

First up, two years ago prominent thirdwave feminist Naomi Wolf deconstructed the allegations in an interview with Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow!

Last year she wrote an article detailing 8 things she found suspect about the case against Assange, and more recent interview with RussiaToday she talks about the US clampdown on dissent.

Laurie Penny reflects her own experience of rape as a teenager through the allegations against Assange and the weird statements of a US politician here. Its a lot more personal than her Independent article. Rape brings out primary political values and principles in a lot of young gender activists, many of whom have been busy pinning differently-informed-insertion-consent-survivors-know-best decision narratives on me. 

Lindsay German puts a more mature left perspective on the matter. Most of the Respect party people (Salma Yaqoob, Kate Hudson) are distancing themselves from the Galloway unhelpful videocast which was seized by the gendustry and usual suspects to create further dust and distraction.

German also brings up something that I have got halal and tayeb beef with, even if its probably the case that both Lindsay and the post-Sunday phlegminists haven't seen the documentary.
We live in a highly sexualised culture where women are expected to be sexually available - but at the same time are still treated as if they in some way contributed to a rape or sexual assault when they dress or behave in a certain way.
I don't expect sexual availability thank you very much, I find all this availing tiresome and degrading. Haya is the value of inherent modesty, an internal moral compass, which I will use it instead of chastity. Haya is to be promoted in all manners, with dignity. modern left, and right leaders, and hackers disappoint, but haya isn't their point.

We live in a multifaceted hypocrisy where men and women get away with different wrongs at a social level and laws written to protect the dignity of women are often used by men to take out grudges. Haya is still a socio-ethical goal, so if you ask me about sex crime, id have to say they are pretty widespread and have been declassified as off limits for a while in the west.

Promiscuous people and adult starstruck political roadies have rights that are hard to discern in the midst of the sexual rites they play.  Rape is Rape is Rape is an atomising, time slicing , disempowering stubborn slogan.  Consider this, that if you are in someone's bed so fleetingly, throwing them crayfish parties after allegedly being raped by them and seemingly collaborating with copartners to create criminal facts on the ground with your pal the copper, it is difficult to to consider you a noncontributer.

Look at me, not even four witnesses and already down the rabbit hole. Knowing social realities, prevention is better than legal recourse hence the social shariah's discouragement from even approaching such relations. and speculations.


Other resources:
Seamus Milne (Tuesday) on Don't lose sight of why the US is out to get Julian Assange
Craig Murray  (Tuesday/Wednesday) on Naming Ardin on Newsnight and the BBC's opposite policies on this case and that of DSK
Glenn Greenwald (Wednesday) on The bizarre, unhealthy blinding media contempt for Julian Assange
George Galloway (Saturday, oddly) a webcast that has been chopped and recruited by the Anti Wikileaks brigades


[New Islamic Institution] Khutbas from the Kitchen

Altering the power:recognition relations between the built, lived environment and the politics of ummahtic mojo, Khutbas from the Kitchen intervene in our everyday lives to help us embody Islamic principles in our relations with creation, not least the food system, family and the distribution of creative labour.

Competing with stupid pakis over reclaiming the mimbar and the mosque is probably a useful expenditure of some people's energy, but must not blind us to the  potential of networking and reimagining our existing networked ummahstuctures to resist and superscede the ummahtic spastications endlessly pouring out of Islam Channel, PeaceTV, ISB, the Quilliam Foundation, Saudi Arabia/America and the continent formerly known as Dinia.

Come dine with me this fucking well isnt.

*Waits for concept to get appropriated by Brotherhood of Neoliberal Muslims*
*Shayks fist*


Bangladesh, The Rohingyas and Myanmar

The Myanmar government is openly calling for mass deportation, in effect ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas who it has been demonising for some time.

IF the government of Bangladesh had courage, strength and morality it would intervene in all kinds of fashions, one of which would be to receive incoming displacees another which might be to push well beyond the Naf River, deep into Myanmar to demonstrate a few things.

We are too busy playing with crappy development projects, suckling of 'peacekeeper contracts and eating our own faces to project dignity into our surrounding neighbours.

This neednt be the case.

As the petty folks of Bangladesh argue about infantalising writer Humayun Ahmed's death and bitch about his (ex)wife. As the Bangladesh government pushes refugees back wherever it can, prevents organisations from  helping along the borderand denyies the rights of the oppressed.

Myanmarese Buddhist monks, once poster boys for oriental democracy have demonstrated their worth through rascist, ethnocidal tendancies.

Imran Khan's PTI party have taken a stand 

The OIC has been outspoken on this.

The IHH, a courageous Turkish organisation that sent the flotilla in to Gaza, has been reporting and intervening.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Davudoglu and the President's wife have taken a delegation to Myanmar to set up a diplomatic bridge and direct access to Arakan.

South Africans march for the Rohingyas

and the mosques of Britain raise awareness through jumma.


An ode to Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina on her treacherous Rohingya policy

It's hard to express
The horror distress
Of fleeing from where you call home.

The killing and burning,
From Buddhists a'learning
Exclusively nationalist blows.

Our brothers and mothers,
and countless more others,
Seek refuge upon our green fields.

Our leaders just spurn them,
Say "Let the Maghs burn them,
Those extremist, rajakar foes."

I hate you Hasina,
Political dustbin cleaner,
The most unworthy leader I know.

Lets launch you to Mars,
Blow you up to the stars


Mercy Mission KONY2012ism bullshit: #savemaryam

Check this out, couldnt make it up.

Unfortunately the outfit behind this is the same parent org behing the NZF.  The point on poverty pornography and nongroundedness seems telling as some folks seem to have drawn the wrong lesson from #STOPKONY2012

Can someone tell the shayk and his techocrats this is shit?

Are the Indian Musalmans bound by conscience to mirror the institutions of white power at every given opportunity?


There have been a few critical and creative responses to the #savemaryam insult, which is so embarrasing i want to wring the bumwavers neck. Including this article from Rukia Dhadhiwala and the following video


The Campaign itself has press released a defence of its maths and concerns.


National Zakat Foundation: Establishing Zakat provision for the needy in the UK

The National Zakat Foundation (NZF) is a startlingly obvious project that nobody seems to have gotten around to so far, but around which considerable talent is organising. Last month, I spoke with Iqbal Nasim of the NZF, who had been quietly working on the project for 6 months prior to rolling out the public engagement and champion programme.

Iqbal is a Cambridge grad in his mid 20s who worked as a stockbroker before joining Mercy Mission (the NZF’s parent organisation) last year. I first met him on a trip to the World Islamic Economic Forum in Kuwait during 2008, a rather obese affair to which Tony Blair was invited to advise the Muslim national corporati. In 5 star hotels we were wastefully catered for and patronised with talks of food crises, enough said really, other than the challenge of substance over style for our generation. 

Mercy Mission which was founded by Shaykh Dr Tawfique Chowdhury in Australia extends globally and is relatively new to the UK. It describes itself as a community empowerment organisation and has built a strong reputation and volunteer base through its activities in Islamic education provision via the Al Kauthar Institute. With NZF and a philosophy of unpretentious practical partnership working, they are providing one of the more real examples of Muslim mobilisation in the UK.

The provision of Zakat for Muslims in the UK has generally been thought of as a lesser priority when compared with causes more established in the Musalmind. Many of our ancestral lands are very much still needy places. They suffer everyday violence, inept and corrupt government, structural injustices of neoliberal capitalism, developmentia, war and environmental calamity. Directing our Zakat solely their way, or towards vivid flashpoints in the ummah heartlands seemed a no brainer until relatively recently.

The Quran, His Divine Speech, continually calls us to the virtues and beauty of establishing Salah and Zakat. For reference, the eight categories of persons eligible for Zakat are detailed in Surah Taubah, Ayah 60. Zakat is the poor’s due. We do not get to slap ourselves on the back for paying it as it is not even ours. In spite of state welfare provision, which we observe the withdrawal off, there is a significant body of people in need in the UK. This ranges from newcomers who have fallen between the cracks of an increasingly shrill immigration system, to new Muslims often young and female vulnerable to exclusion.

The NZF’s bread and butter, as Iqbal puts it, is dealing with applications from people seeking Zakat assistance on a case by case basis. By analysing applicant forms submitted on their website the team make a raw financial assessment of the application and proceed from there.

“It’s not just financial,” Iqbal continues, “everybody who has a financial problem, doesn’t just have a financial problem.” This directness is significant, we are all too familiar with bureaucratic workings of organisations with narrow boxes, remits and agendas. That an organisation is this open minded and approachable to the needy is an example to us all.

In addition, the NZF is working with St Mungo’s, a homeless people’s charity, to establish refuges for Muslim women suffering domestic violence in London, Birmingham and Manchester. It is heartening to see this group neither denying nor exploiting the uglier face of our malaise, but addressing its impacts by providing solid Ummahstructure.

Against a backdrop of PREVENT funded, posture organisations vying for the policy limelight, of corporate charities with overseas focus and exploitative public relations practices, and a rapidly shrinking welfare state, the UK Muslim Millet is broadly welcoming this initiative. A few weeks ago I bumped into some city workers I had not seen in a while. Not only had they bought fully in to the NZF idea, they were speculating as to the amount of unpaid Zakat simply floating around Canary Wharf and how it might be liberated. There is growing support from scholars and community institutions for this. We pray for the protection, success, integrity and longevity of this project.

It is worth dwelling for a moment on a growing problem in the Muslim third sector, that it has begun to adopt much of the language and PR imprint of the development industry. This superficial industry tends to make dramatic, heroic claims and portray its victims in a disempowering light. It exploits human emotion, distracts from the causes of our problems and is difficult to argue against as it wears the cloak of virtue and charity. It could even be called “poverty pornography”. We need not make this mistake; resemblances to such infantilising PR schemes are not an inevitable short term consequence of ‘reaching out’ to the wider community. It is not beyond the wit of Muslims to establish and respond to a language which is reflective, grounded and soulful. ‘Poverty alleviation’ is not it.

Cultivating discerning support is a strategic asset; perhaps the NZF might see it this way as it develops its participant base further outside Muslim youth. The Zakatable community does not have the same social view as the audience of the Badman videos on YouTube. It comprises a mixed population of savvy, world weary professionals, business people and workers in all sectors, who would not mind being treated as adults.

By altering the reach of Zakat NZF has embarked on leading work, complementing our current overseas Zakat relations with a much needed contract to the needy closer to hand.

As we parted company, I suggested that we institute Khums, the Shi‘i practice of giving 20% of one’s earnings into the communal cause. Iqbal smiled, “Let’s start with 2.5% Zakat and see where that gets us”.

For a whole host of tools, from Zakat calculators to educational aids do visit www.nzf.org.uk

UPDATE (8/8/12)
Sorry to say that the relationship between the NZF and the dubious #STOPKONY2012esque #savemaryam campaign (also from Mercy Mission) needs probing. This immense imitative bumwave, alarmist and insulting of Indonesian Islamic culture undermines the credibility of what the NZF is committed to doing. 'Diasporas' mustnt be colonial.


Mid Ramadhan Movements at home and abroad

It is half way through Ramadhan, the moon has fattened up.

The Bangladesh Government is stopping groups from assisting Rohingyas it deems terrorist/ extremist, in line with that authority on mercy and humanity, the Myanmarese Buddhist Monk-Government complex. I understand that the Ansar approach is our starting point, and that the Awami League, who created Bangladesh largely with Indian Assistance and Refuge have turned the country into a porch of Developmentishire and beggardom.We know from the video below that all Bangladeshis aren't such arseholes.

To donate, the Turkish IHH is getting through, the Government of Bangladesh probably wouldn't dare close down its operations. However the political solution mustn't be sidelined and the debate must find its ovaries. We must pour scorn on the mean minded awami-think that has produced such a shameless approach to those fleeing despicable conditions.

On the Olympic front, The Brotherhood of neoliberal Muslims continues to suckle on the teat of its Olympic credibility cow, with FOSIS recently joining the fray with "Olympic Iftar" and the MCB leadership backing the ISBs Ramadhan Disasterval 'Inspired by London 2012'. Its dawa, mainstreaming and good apparently.

Meanwhile, last week, as many enjoyed Danny Boyle's Showcialist Opening Ceremony that completely airbrushed out British imperial legacy but gave the nearleft a warm glow inside,  scores of cyclists on a regular city ride with the #CriticalMass group were being kettled, arrested and bundled away outside the stadium.   For cycling.

In the next video we see a poetic Muslim articulating his need for iftar being denied by the police and arrested. Allahumma accept his roza and those of all your servants with a taste for justice.


The River Displaced

Ya Allah, open up the doors of strength and prosperity for the families and communities by the rivers in Bangladesh.
That our political, epistemic and engineering society may flourish to protect their lives, property, dignity and progeny.
By the Jamuna.

Allahumma protect them from the ill impacts of being ignored, or being the victims of developmentees and developmentors.
Grant them, grant us a better leadership guided by Your Speech to navigate these uncertain times.
Deliver us from the Awami League, and its mirror parties towards something altogether more generative.

These people, who libel the oppressed Rohingyas fleeing over the Naaf as 'extremist fundamentalists' , beg the world for development dollars, defy the responsibility of being Ansar and prevent others from helping the Rohingyas themselves.
They do not belong in the front of our ranks.

The Rivers Naaf and Jamuna bring such sorrow and trial these days.
Cascading through the lives of thousands away from the boom microphones of the corporate musalmedia.
Ya Haqq.