Thanksgiving and Eid Aladha

Isn’t amazing that both Thanksgiving and Eid Aladha are both in the same week this year! Happy Eid for everyone and I wish everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving day.

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A True Story

A little kid setting on the back of the car and yelling: Daddy, Daddy, I saw a camel from my window!  His sister, who was sitting next to him, was dreaming about something wonderful in her future while contemplating the outside view of the desert. Her dreams were so big and so wonderful.

Mamma, she asked her mom, I wanna be a writer! her mom respond: what do you want to write about! The girl thought for a while and said: I wanna write about love! how simple and innocent that word when it comes from the child’s mouth. Her father is driving the car while talking with his pregnant wife about choosing the name for their coming baby. The mother decided to do the vote. The girl chose the name Yousif  while the boy chose the name Majid because of Kabtin Majid cartoon that he watched crazily.

In the opposite direction of the road, hotheaded teenager driving his car with crazy speeds. His friends are shouting, if you are a man, speed up! after 15 minutes of hesitation, he did. The car eventually got out of his control.

The car now is moving by itself toward the opposite direction of the road with very high speeds while the dad in the other vehicle is thinking again about choosing a beautiful name for his coming baby while the girl is dreaming about something new every minute.

Suddenly, the dad realized that he will not see his coming baby anymore, and the girl realized that her big dreams will vanish so shortly. The mom put her hand on her stomach in the final moments as a hopeless attempt to protect her child. The only one who have no idea about what will happen was the boy. He was looking only on the view from his window , trying to find another camel.

The two cars crashed into each other. The dad, the the girl and the boy died before they got to hospital. The mother died in the hospital but after she made it for her new baby. The baby will not remember the voice of his father, nor the last touch of his mother, nor the dreams of his sister, nor the smile of his brother. But he surly will remember that one imprudent and foolish guy took all that away from him!

The story happened about five years ago in Dahran highway, in Saudi Arabia.

Two Open Letters

Dear Muslims,
  • I don’t understand why Muslims’ communities in US and around the world don’t speak up publicly in the mosques against terroristic acts like Fort Hood shooting incident and other terrorist incidents. I honestly believe that terrorists who kill innocent people in the name of Islam insult the prophet, peace be upon him, and his teaching more than the danish cartoon, because terrorist commit this awful act on Prophet’s name and damage the image of Islam around the world. So, why Muslim’s reaction is different when it comes to Fort Hood shooting. Shouldn’t you go to street, protest and speak out-load that you are against these terrorist and their message!
  • I think Muslims in US enjoy the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion more than in any country in Muslim nation. So, dear beloved Muslims, if you don’t appreciate the blessing you have here, you are more than welcome to come to live in any Middle eastern country you choose.
  • Muslims always complain that they can’t rise their children in Islam teaching and keep them away from all the seductions and immoralities of the Western society. Well, I think the seductions and immoralities are in everywhere. People can find them whether in Saudi from the TV channel and internet, or in US by simply going to night and strip clubs. So if you don’t know how to rise your child to be a good Muslim and represent the teaching of Islam here in US, you will never be able to rise them even in any of very conservative Islamic society. So stop blaming the society and start blaming your self.

Dear Non-Muslims,

  • Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan once wrote in his article Blowback from the GOP’s holy war “One most certainly does insult Muslims by tying their religion to movements such as terrorism or fascism. Muslims perceive a double standard in this regard: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols would never be called ‘Christian terrorists’ even though they were in close contact with the Christian Identity Movement. No one would speak of Christo-fascism or Judeo-fascism as the Republican[s] … speak of Islam-o-fascism. … [Many people also] point out that [it was] persons of Christian heritage [who] invented fascism, not Muslims.” That is simple what I wanna say for my dear american.
  • I am really sick of american coming to me asking these questions like: why Islam treat women badly, why Islam support terrorism! There are extremists in every religion. Catholic church has killed massive number of people when it was in power in Europe, now would it be legitimate to call the whole religion as bad religion! of course not! What about the Zionist soldiers when they kill palestine kids in the name of Judaism, would it be legitimate to blame that on all Jews! of course not.

Inside The kingdom

The following piece is from the book Inside The Kingdom by Robert Lacy. I got the book from the publisher last month but I wasn’t able to finish reading it until last week. I will write a book review about it soon. By the way, I don’t think this book would be allowed to be sold in Saudi Arabia.

In page 250-253, Robert Lacy wrote:

“As the bombs were going off in the Saudi Capital, the columnist Hussein Al-Shobokshi wrote of his dream of a better place- of how, twenty years or so in the future, these dreadful shooting would be a distant memory. He imagined himself flying into Jeddah from Riyadh on Saudia Airlines (since this was a dream, the airline was privatized and the plane landed on time) to be met by his daughter, who would then be twenty-seven, qualified and working as high-powered trial lawyer (female lawyer can not at present appear, let alone speak, in the courts of Saudi Arabia).

“How was the trip, Daddy?” his daughter asked, as she drove her car smoothly through the Jeddah traffic. “Great,” replied Hussein. “I attended the World Conference of Human Rights in Riyadh, where the Kingdom received a special award for the fairness and efficiency of its judicial system”

“I went to congratulate our neighbor Fouad Tarshlo on his marriage to the daughter of Sheikh Golehan Al-Qtaybi,” Hussein imagined himself saying from the passanger seat. “Then I flew up to Buraydah to meet the mayor, Reza Baqir”

The satire lay in the surnames. It was quite impossible to imagine a Hijazi (Tarshlo) being accepted into the family of Nejdi Sheikh (AlQtaybi); while a Shia (Reza Baqir) could not hope to get work in a Wahhabi stronghold like Buraydah as a street cleaner, let alone become a mayor.

“Hurry up,” Hussein told his daughter. “I want to get home to watch the television.  The minister of finance is on tonight, getting grilled by the Shura members on all the details of the budget.”

perhaps it was this final fantasy that went a step too far. When the Saudi budget is published every year, no less than 40 percent (166.9 billion riyals in the budget for 2008) is labeled “Other Sectors,” which includes defense, national security, intelligence, direct investment outside the country…etc

Hussein Shobokshi himself reckons it was his religious imagination that got him into real trouble. Toward the end of his “dream” he expressed his intention of going to the Grand Mosque in Mecca to listen to the teachings of a learned member of the supreme ulema, Sheikh Taha Al-Maliki. with a name like that, the sheikh could only be a Sufi.

The call came within hours- from Hussein’s editor in chief. “I have had ten calls already,” he said, “from the Ministry of Information,”  Shobokshi was banned from being published, with immediate effect, and when he got to the TV studio, he discovered a message canceling his talk show- plus an in-box jammed with angry e-mails.

October 09 Panorama

  • “Becoming a Muslim has not stopped me from questioning. I still ask God what life is all about. No, I’m not defying God. But I have a mind and it can’t help itself but question. If God had created us for the purpose of worshipping him, what does all this hardship mean? Where does all the effort of our sincerity in everything we say and do go?” Said S.L in the email
  • “Our new mission is to shut up and represent your self in very different way, my idea is to represent our civilization not through boring lecture and movies, but rather through volunteer work in various portland communities. People are no longer interested in listening about how nice and modern saudi is, they are more interested on what impact saudi can contribute here and there” Me, giving an overview about creating a saudi group dedicated  for volunteer work in Portland.
  • “There are people who have suffered, but at least their lives appear in books. Their hardship has not gone unappreciated by the world. Sad are those millions who had passed us by and gone through even worse trials in life without having their lives and achievements recorded down. Sad are those who are suffering and have no one to turn to. Are their lives less precious than those lucky ones?” Said one of my friend
  • “I need to get married soon, otherwise, I will commit adultery fornication” one saudi guy studying in US talking about how he persuaded his parent to support him financial to get married
  • ” I love you, I love you”  an american drunk girl screaming inside the elevator!
  • “Do you know when someone should start saving money for his/her kids’ college and future! most of you don’t! You must start saving for your kids before they are actually born” My finance professor talking about investment and the future value!
  • “I think you are wasting your time on writing in your blog. Murtadha, you need to be practical and stop living in your imaginary world. You are a finance student , not an art or literature student” said one of my friend after reading my blog
  • “Folks, Believe me, you have time now more than you will ever have in the future!” said my professor after we complained that school is keeping us very busy to the extend that we don’t have time to follow up the international news and market.
  • “I think we should stop lying and be ourselves. Do we have social problem in our country? Yes, we have. so why do we fear of saying yes! every country in the world has social, political, and religious problems. You can’t hide anything anymore in this world, people would think that we are stupid if we try to present our country as ideal, rich, perfect country! ” my discussion with my fellow students in Saudi Student Club at PSU
  • “I don’t know why people kill themselves and yet it is a small step to empathize, to say, because we all experience a moment of despair that it would be much easier not to do this anymore but for most of us the sun comes out and then, well, tomorrow is another day” quote from the movie “The Bridge” the movie talks about a one year observation of the those who jumped off the Golden Bridge and committed suicide. Very shocking movie!

Note: Dear readers, I apologize for not being able to reply to your comment quickly due to a heavy load assignments and exams from the school.