An important message for all Muslims in the world, not just in France

I was browsing through LiveLeak, and came across this video by a French Muslim, passionately calling on his Muslim countrymen to report to the authorities if they encounter anyone talking about commiting acts of terrorism, anyone even hinting in the slightest that such a thing is alright. Report them immediately to the authorities.

Click here to go to the version with English subtitles as featured on LiveLeak.

The following is the original video as featured on his Facebook and Youtube, without subtitles.

You know, what he says is such basic common sense, something all of us are supposed to already know, and don’t need reminding. And yet apparently common sense and basic decency are so sorely lacking among some people, that this video is absolutely necessary.

Please, for the love of God, for the love of our religion and the love of all our fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike, please report anyone you come across who you suspect of being involved with terrorist activities. The great majority of us will be fortunate enough to never come across such people in our lifetime, but for those who do, anyone who speaks of commiting murder and other crimes must be reported. No ifs and buts. I don’t see how any of us can look at ourselves in the mirror again and not feel like a heinous criminal ourselves if we come across such people, yet keep quiet for whatever reason.

In case you’re reading this but you’re not going to watch the video (I really hope you will, plus it’s less than 3 minutes) here are the English subtitles that was part of the video on LiveLeak (I think courtesy of the person who posted the video there, Denidorm). I took the bother to type it out because his message is so important.

Peace be upon you

 

I’m making this video because I’m sick of it

I’m sick of all these attacks

I’m sick to see it going to shit like that

This way we’re gonna end up with a civil war

An idealogical war

and it can get very ugly

 

So I say to all Muslims of France

protect our beautiful religion

let’s track these imposters down

who pass for Muslims and kill people

It’s not the government that’s gonna do the work

Not state security or the intelligence services or all that

It’s us, us Muslims who go to the mosque

Us Muslims who share the values of the republic

It’s up to us to do the work

To track these sons of bitches down

To inform the authorities at the slightest

 

That doesn’t make you a snitch, the opposite

Because with that mentality

tomorrow they’ll blow you up

Or your mother or sister will be there

 

So it’s up to us, Muslims of France

who have our religion in our hearts

the values and principles of Islam,

religion of peace and sharing

It’s up to us to fuck up

the shit that’s inside our religion

 

The people who don’t frequent the mosque

don’t succeed cause it’s a never ending job

So rise up, rise up and show who we are

Even if we don’t have to justify anything,

because the smart know

that’s not what Islam stands for

 

But it’s up to us, to fuck them up,

wherever we or they are

If they come to talk and try to brainwash you,

track them down and break their jaws

 

Because the solution can only come from us Muslims, from inside

Because these people, sadly, they come to the same places of worship as us

 

So I repeat, it’s up to us, us Muslims of France

who share the values of the republic

who share the values of Islam

It’s up to us to track them down

and bring them before the competent authority

Even if we have to beat them down with our fists, we will beat them down with our fists

 

Enough with these cunt pseudo-Muslims

who incriminate 2 billion Muslims

 

Because whether you like it or not,

they will lump us together, every day

A brother will put in his resume, he has a beard? They will put it aside

There’s so many examples of that

It’s up to us to not stay silent, deaf and blind

Hit them hard

The solution will come from us, French Muslims

 

Peace be upon you

*

Related:

 

 

This Ramadan, I was taught kindness and forgiveness by a Catholic.

Ramadan is coming to a close. I was thinking of this holy month. Of what it means to me. If I had learnt anything more of myself from it this year. I even typed ‘spirit of Ramadan‘ online, hoping to read posts of what that means to other Muslims. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that without a doubt, the most impact an individual has personally had on me this Ramadan is Mr. Sim Siak Heong, who is a Malaysian Chinese and a Catholic. Through his actual actions. Not just words, or prayer, or advice but through actual deed.

67-year-old Mr. Sim was the victim of a terrible road bully incident earlier this month, where he had accidentally hit the new Peugeot car of 30-year-old Siti Fairrah in a car park in Kuantan, Malaysia. She not only got out the car and heaped abuse on him like some crazy thug, and demanded cash on the spot, but hit his car repeatedly with a steering lock.

Thankfully it was recorded on video. It was very painful for me to watch the video as I can’t help but feel really bad as a Malay and a Muslim. I also felt angry that a senior citizen was abused so badly. I actually had to pause the video several times and considered closing the page, but I forced myself to watch it till the end. I am glad for the existence of the video recording. I look at it as a valuable lesson and reminder of what can happen if I experience rage at someone but fail to control it and rein it in.

Each time I watch the video, I am reminded yet again of how lacking my character is compared to Mr. Sim’s. Because he forgave her, but as for me I don’t know if I could, if it had happened to me, or worse, a loved one especially an elder relative of Mr. Sim’s age. And amazingly, not only did he forgive her, he expressed sadness when she was subsequently charged and punished by the courts, saying that she did not deserve the punishment. I read in this article that he said:

“I feel sorry for her. She doesn’t deserve it at all.”

“I have forgiven her and I urge the public to do the same. There is no need to condemn her anymore.”

I hope the person who took the video pats him or herself on the back for doing such an important public service. It’s because of the video, which understandably outraged a lot of people, that the police pursued the case. Siti Fairrah was fined RM5,000 and ordered to do 240 hours of community work after she pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage to Mr. Sim’s car.

Kudos to the Malaysian police as well for still going ahead and taking action against her despite the saintly Mr. Sim declining to lodge a report, even when the police advised him to do so. And to the general Malaysian public online regardless of race and religion who condemned the road rage incident. And yes, to Siti Fairrah as well, for admitting what she did was wrong and for apologising to Mr. Sim publicly.

***

I’d like to put here an excerpt from a beautiful post I came across on a site called Islamway.net, as I was surfing around online finding and reading what ‘spirit of Ramadan‘ means to other people.

Ramadan is a celebration of God’s guidance to humanity, through the Quran, which is a guide for doing good and a warning against evil. In order to bring the soul into harmony with the Quranic ideals of belief and virtue, fasting is prescribed as a way for individuals to come closer to God and to lift their souls to new heights of piety. In doing so, the entire human body is able to transform itself into an agent of positive moral and social change that seeks to replace miserliness with generosity, anger with patience, revenge with love, and war with peace—in effect, replacing good with evil in the world.

Of course, kindness and forgiveness are for all times, not just Ramadan, but I feel that’s when we Muslims, as we fast, are more reminded to think and do more for the lesser off and to reflect on our character.

When I say ‘spirit of Ramadan‘, I am also referring to virtues like patience and calm that Mr. Sim had displayed when confronted with such an ugly face of road rage, and the provocation it challenged him with.

I think it’s such a beautiful thing when we are taught these virtues from people of other religious faiths or even people with no religious faith as well. It reminds us that there must be mutual respect. Because at the end of the day, life comes down to treating everyone else the same way we ourselves wish to be treated. That sounds so easy and logical, it sounds so easy to remember, yet strangely and unfortunately it’s apparently so easy for some of us to forget.

***

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I can’t seem to find a decent photo of Mr. Sim. This one is taken from a still of a video. From forum.lowyat.net, via Google Image. Click to go there.

The following video is the Astro Awani interview of Mr. Sim from where the image above was from. It’s in Malay.

I just sighed in sadness when I watched it. Damn, what a terrible thing to have happened to such a kind soul.

***

“I am a Catholic. In our religion, and in all religions, it teaches us to love the ones who wrong us.”

 – Sim Siak Heong

Thank you, Mr. Sim.

***

Related:

Imran Khan vs. homophobia

I totally wasn’t prepared for how awesome this video was going to be. Found it via Gaybros. Where else but that subreddit as a reliable source for interesting gay stuff.

Just a bit of warning that there is that ‘f’ word at 1:50 and 2:10, for those who mind such things.

With winsome humour the video tackles some questions that are actually sad and dumb, but questions I can imagine going through the minds of ignorant, homophobic, or just the insistently hateful who are just hell-bent on putting down gay folks.

I laughed like crazy at so many parts, including the glitter ball and rainbow unicorn to illustrate the ‘gay AIDS DNA’, and oh my God, the stealthy gay conversion weapon. Genius.

But fun jokes aside, this video by the guys at All India Bakchod is really commendable for the effort to address discrimination and prejudice, even while it throws its hands up resignedly with a frustrated sigh at how ridiculous it all is. Sadly, here in Singapore we too have that 377A law which criminalises sex between men.

There is of course another famous Imran Khan, of Pakistan, the celebrated former cricketer who is now a politician. Who is incredibly sexy too, by the way.

But the hotness that is the host of this video with the breathtakingly beautiful eyes, is Imran Khan the actor, who works in Hindi-language films. An Indian American who was born in Madison, Wisconsin on 13 January 1983, (so he just turned 31 yesterday. Belated birthday wishes, you handsome big-hearted man.) Imran studied for and received his degree in filmmaking from the Los Angeles branch of the New York Film Academy. He is also a noted social activist, where he has taken up various causes including the elimination of violence against women.

I’m not familiar with his work, (I drool and fan myself more for his uncle Aamir) but for sure I’m going to be checking out Imran’s films very soon.

Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, it is so kind and generous of him to do this video. Risking his career and stardom, and his personal reputation to do this. I may not have watched a single film by him yet, but I’m already a huge fan of him as such a gracious human being.

***

“The point is, that you don’t need cultural approval to live and love in peace.”

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Image from the tumblr site ‘Imran Khan Fan Club’. Click it to go there.

***

Things to check out:

  • what’s elaichi? in biryani? (2:31) I love biryani. What is elaichi and why is it apparently gross in biryani? Have to check that out.
  • the question in Hindi in 5:01. Have to find the translation.

***

Update 25 January 2014:

  • A blogger I follow Nuwan Sen has kindly provided the translation in the comment section below. I’ll reproduce it here. It’s:

The guy in Hindi, states, ‘that no body has ever been arrested under section 377, do what you want in the bedroom, without talking so much nonsense (i.e. basically stop fighting for your rights, it all about sex and no love).

  • And elaichi is cardamom in Hindi as well as Punjabi, according to Wikipedia.

Gay Muslim movie ‘Naz + Maalik’ raising funds for post-production

They are doing so via Kickstarter. Click here to learn more about the campaign.

The movie by American production company Pecking Wilds is set in Brooklyn, New York City. A description from their Kickstarter page:

NAZ + MAALIK, an independent film 

A decade into the War on Terror, two first-generation Muslim teens – friends, classmates, business partners, lovers – spend their Friday hustling the streets of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. While deciding whether to tell their community about their homosexuality, Naz and Maalik’s ambiguous and secretive relationship unknowingly sets an FBI agent on their trail. As the agent grows convinced that the boys are engaged in “violent radicalism,” her pursuit becomes increasingly menacing and the stakes surrounding the boys’ hapless hustling and lies grow. What began as a struggle to protect their sexual identities evolves into a crisis much larger – a fight to stay alive.

I first read about the movie via the Facebook page Muslims Against Homophobia and LGBT Hate.

That led me to a Huffington Post article by Yasmine Hafiz, who wrote that the movie is by director Jay Dockendorf. After hearing about the FBI’s programme of secret spying on mosques in Brooklyn, Jay wanted to speak on this issue via a movie that tells the story of how two closeted Muslim teens are affected by FBI surveillance.

Yasmine also wrote:

Dockendorf was appalled by NYPD and FBI tactics, which cast suspicion on perfectly innocent groups of people without cause. He says, “Mosques and prayer and devotion and love are beautiful things. Per NYPD rules, though, a business can be labeled a location of concern if police can expect to find groups of Middle Easterners there.”

“Mosque-goers are not committing a crime. How can you not take issue with the government spying on its own people just because they’re praying in a mosque?” he asks.

… Though the American Muslim community is becoming increasingly diverse, the problem of ignorance and bigotry towards Islam is still an issue. In that sense, American Muslims share a history of prejudice with the black and gay communities, which all intersect in this film.

“The film considers Islamophobia through the lens of homophobia and homophobia through the lens of racism,” comments Dockendorf. “I know they’re very separate issues, but for some people, real people on whom these characters are based, they’re completely linked and the balance is delicate. “

Naz and Maalik 546d61cb1a9a732a7580b14592d9fcce_large

Image by Pecking Wilds / Jay Dockendorf. From kickstarter.com. Click to go there.

Related:

Muslims form human chain to protect Christians during mass

Bravo, Pakistan. Much love and a big ‘thank you’ to these people who dared to stand up and say they’re sick of the horrific violence. A gesture like this one is so powerful and important. I’m thinking that it is also scary because they could be a target for bombers, who obviously do not want peace. That’s what makes these participants of such events even more courageous and admirable. To me they’re basically risking their lives to get together to do this. Just two weeks ago, a twin suicide bombing killed over a hundred people at All Saints Church in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. It is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians. This event was to show solidarity with the victims of that church attack. It was held last Sunday at St. Anthony’s church in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city.

I came by the heartwarming story via Bryan whose blog Bryan Patterson’s Faithworks I follow. It reminded me immediately of Egypt, when Christians there made a human chain for praying Muslims.

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Copyright: Photo by Malik Shafiq / The Express Tribune. Click photo to go to source.

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Copyright: Photo by Malik Shafiq / The Express Tribune. Click photo to go to source.

According to the article in The Express Tribune written by Aroosa Shaukat (which features other photos of the event taken by Malik Shafiq):

Standing in the small courtyard of St Anthony’s Church, as Mufti Mohammad Farooq delivered a sermon quoting a few verses of the Holy Quran that preached tolerance and respect for other beliefs, Father Nasir Gulfam stepped right next to him after having conducted a two hour long Sunday service inside the church. The two men stood should to shoulder, hand in hand as part of the human chain that was formed outside the church not just as a show of solidarity but also to send out a message, ‘One Nation, One Blood’.

The article also mentioned that this was the second such event. The first one was held the previous week at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, and organized by Pakistan For All – a collective of citizens concerned about the growing attacks on minorities.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

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It’s finally here, after a month of fasting in Ramadan, the 9th month in the Islamic calendar, Hari Raya Aidilfitri arrives on the 1st of Syawal, or 8th of August in the Gregorian calendar this year.

Another great thing here in Singapore this year, and not just for Muslims, is that the 8th falls on a Thursday. The next day Friday 9th of August is our National Day, so that’s two back to back public holidays leading to the weekend. For non-Muslims, I’m sure many have delightedly grabbed the oppurtunity a long weekend presents to enjoy a short holiday. For us Muslims, it’s a great bonus too as it means much more time to visit our relatives, which is really helpful because there are usually a lot of people to set aside time for to visit. And that’s what Hari Raya is most synonymous with. Family, relatives, visiting.

***

The first day is the most important and usually it is spent with one’s parents. That was the norm with my family too, when my parents were alive. Like most other Asians I think we usually live with them as long as we’re single, and most move out only once married. So on Hari Raya, my married siblings with their spouses and kids would flock to my parents’ residence to hang out together. Of course there are the spouse’s parents to think of too, so I think to be fair they would alternate whose parents to spend the first day with. If both sets of parents are located in tiny and compact Singapore, lucky for them, they get to visit both on the first day.

The custom is also that aunts and uncles and of course grandparents are also visited as a mark of respect, so that’s done or attempted in the next few days. If those days are working weekdays, it can get tiring as the visiting may be done in the evenings after work. So sometimes this is delayed till the next weekend. And sometimes schedules conflict because aunts and uncles may be out working themselves, or they are busy doing their own visiting too. Thank goodness for handphones.

So that’s why sometimes Hari Raya ‘celebration’ seems like it goes on for weeks.

In previous years when I visited, I had less than ten aunts and uncles to cover, and yet I rarely could cover all in those first few days of visiting. And frankly I only went because one of my sisters always kindly invited me to join her, along with her husband and two grown-up daughters. Otherwise I don’t think I would because I would just feel too awkward to go alone as a single man. (The partner tends to come along when I visit siblings he is familiar and comfortable with. Otherwise he can’t be bothered, and anyway it would be weird if he comes too.) Like other unmarried people gay or straight, I just can’t stand being asked over and over why I’m single, and I imagine I would be cornered and lectured if alone. Well, not really. My aunts and uncles are all incredibly sweet people who would never want to make me feel uncomfortable. They are very polite and diplomatic. But I’m just not good with small talk. My sister, who has a huge heart, is very social and takes real pleasure in doing this, visiting and chatting and keeping in touch with relatives. So I just let her do all the ‘work’ and just contribute the odd sentence or so, haha.

It would seem easy to just have one huge party where everyone try to make it and have it done there and then. But such gatherings already happen in the form of weddings. With an extensive network of relatives, there always seem to be a few weddings happening each year. The exclusive visits to the elder relatives is just a Hari Raya custom as one way to show respect, to sit down together and talk, and catch up for a few hours.

For those with kids (the great majority of my cousins are married with kids), it is also to teach and encourage the younger generation to maintain this tradition, to get to know and be well-acquainted with relatives, to build and value relationships with them. Also, as a cousin of mine once pointed out, previously it was common to have, say, five or more children in a household of our parents’ generation. So a kid would have many siblings to turn to for love and support. But with the average of only two kids more common since about two decades ago, relationships and closeness with cousins and other relatives outside the immediate household is now more important and desirable than ever.

Kindness and great advice for a Muslim gay man in distress

I came across the following advice on a blog I follow on Tumblr. It is advice which touches me and strikes me as just so kind, and I want very much to put it here, because it’s a great example of compassion. My fantasy is that every single one of my Muslim relative, friend, colleague, feel the same way as the writer does, and that I know about it, so that I can shake off this awkward feeling that I don’t quite belong with them, that my life is quite separate from them. I think I end up being a bit aloof with them, as some sort of defense mechanism. It makes me sad when I think about it. I don’t know why I’m like that.

The Tumblr blog is Arabswagger. I remember thinking it’s a cute name when I first came across the blog perhaps over a year ago. I also wasn’t expecting more than what I usually come across on Tumblr, which are normally things like beautiful and interesting images, and quotes, frequently artistically and prettily presented. Well, don’t let the name fool you as it did me. The writer does share a lot like the above via posts and reblogs, and these are already very interesting as he covers ‘Arab style’ in so many things like traditional clothing, architecture, poetry, art, calligraphy, fashion, food, interior design, music, etc.

What I really enjoy though are his insight and perspective on a variety of subjects. He takes on questions from anonymous submitters asking his opinion on various aspects of Islam and Arab culture. I also recall ‘questions’ which were really just hostile attacks on him and his blog, but he takes these on with a no-nonsense approach. He doesn’t lash out but neither does he pander or persuade them to change their mind, he just answers them sensibly, with an even tone, and sometimes throws in his wry sense of humour.

Anyway, this is the advice he imparted on this post. Just for the record, unlike the anon asker, I am perfectly fine with being gay. But he’s not, and the advice he got about the need to accept himself and not to be ashamed of himself, well it’s a thing of beauty.

Anonymous asked: Assalamu aleykum; I need a piece of advice from you.. The thing is that I am a muslim man attracted to men, and I feel horrible about myself, it doesn’t matter how much I pray and ask Allah for a change in this lifestyle, I can’t help looking at men in a different way.. I really don’t want this to lead to a more serious problem, So what should I do?

Waleikum Al Salam. My brother, before anything I want you to understand that you have nothing to be ashamed of, there is nothing “mentally” deranged about you or even perverted, you are feeling something natural that even the Prophet(S) identified could be a desire in the heart of every man or woman towards their own gender. You aren’t going to change this lifestyle or your mentality, but I need you to understand how to handle it or how to channel it.

As much as I can berate you with the “sinfulness” of Homosexuality, I don’t feel someone in your position wants to have more salt on the wound.

Everything in life can be categorized as Forbidden or Allowed, and this is characterized by the general positive or negative effects that this act has. Although one person may “sin” and not reap any general negative effects on themselves, Islam is a collective guide to mankind and it is not a circumstantial message to every individual, only God judges one by their circumstance and is merciful upon them in that manner. That being said, when individuals compare Heterosexual sex to Homosexual sex, one must understand that one is only Haram outside the realm of marriage, whereas sodomy is Haram as an act itself, whether between men or women.

I need you to accept that this is a part of who you are, not something to be ashamed of, but rather to understand that this is the very challenge God has put upon you to avoid, and as much as this might seem “unfair” that this is your challenge, I often think that this can actually be a gateway to heaven for you and the reason God could bestow his utmost mercy because you withheld this desire for him.

Every individual is given this type of Challenge or Balaa’, no one has it easier than another person, and if they have it harder, in the greater picture of Existence, God loves you in a manner he chooses to cleanse you through these challenges. Some individuals are sex addicts, some love the consumption of alcohol, and many often are actually lazy to pray or wish to avoid it, which I feel is the biggest challenge God can give to a person.

I really would like to pray that you can be strong in this realm, and please try to channel your energies towards the good. May the peace and blessings be upon you.

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Image, not related to post, from arabswagger.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

And, I just have to include another one here, from this post:

Anonymous asked: what do you think of the gays or trans people?

This is written so offensively.

I don’t have a generalizing opinion on any group of people because I don’t view individuals through their subscriptions to a lifestyle, religious identity or even gender identity; I treat people like how they should be treated: with dignity and respect.

What a guy, the man behind Arabswagger. I admire him.

United

I follow the blog of writer and poet Subhan Zein, and on his Facebook too, and recently on the Facebook feed I saw this photo he had posted, with the accompanying text he had written:

This is Love  ♡ –> Christian Egyptians made human shield to protect the praying Muslims during Cairo protest ♡

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Copyright: Nevine Zaki.
Anyone reading this happens to know her website, please let me know in the comments, so that I may link the image to her. Thanks.

I was deeply moved.

A quick Google search revealed the photo was taken about two and a half years ago, making headlines in February 2011. From The Daily Mail: Images of solidarity as Christians join hands to protect Muslims as they pray during Cairo protests (3 February 2011). A quote from the article:

‘Some Muslims have been guarding Coptic churches while Christians pray, and on Friday, Christians were guarding the mosques while Muslims prayed.’

And then to add to my great delight I also found from the NY Daily News: Muslims return favor, join hands with Christian protesters for Mass in Cairo’s Tahrir Square (7 February 2011), where the following photo is taken:

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Copyright ABED/GETTY. From NY Daily News. Click image to go there.

From the same article written by Helen Kennedy:

On Friday, the holy day for Islam, Christian protesters in Tahrir Square joined hands to form a protective cordon around their Muslim countrymen so they could pray in safety.

Sunday, the Muslims returned the favor.

They surrounded Christians celebrating Mass in Cairo’s central plaza, ground zero for the secular pro-democracy protests reverberating throughout the Middle East.

Isn’t that just beautiful. I wish there’s mutual respect and support like this all the time, between all of us in this world regardless of race, nationality and religious faith. And not forgetting agnostics and atheists. Grab them for the group hug too.

Ramadan Mubarak

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Image from couplewords.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

That’s ‘Have a blessed Ramadan’, and I wish that to all Muslims who read this.

I’m so happy it’s finally here again. Great timing too. Been going through some personal and work challenges. Demons rearing their head again. Feelings of hopelessness sometimes. Prayer helps, but it’s great Ramadan is here too to help me stay more focused and grounded. To remind me more to just think quietly and reflect on the many things I still have to be grateful for. What I need to do to feel better, be better. What I can do for others.

As for the little things, I’ve decided this year I won’t be buying a single thing more. Not a single decoration item for the house, not baking nor buying any cookies or cakes for Hari Raya, no new Baju Melayu, nothing, zilch. I don’t want to do any of these ‘festive’ stuff because it takes away the focus of what’s important about the month. I won’t visit the bazaars set up for the season, I won’t indulge in any of the kuehs or delicacies, because I don’t normally anyway. Basically, when it comes to shopping and food consumption, it’s just like any other time of the year.

This year I’d like to focus on a more intimate and spiritual Ramadan. And the way I see it, it’s also the perfect time for me to try go fully vegetarian again, instead of just when I eat alone. As my personal expression of compassion for God’s creatures. That sounds pompous actually haha. But it stays.

I also would love very much to pick up Arabic, to be closer to the holy Qur’an. I have a book+CD guide I bought at a bookstore, and I can’t wait to dive into that. Now that is going to be a long and challenging journey. Hopefully in some years I’ll achieve being able to speak/read/write well enough to understand the holy book in its language, insya’Allah.

Related post: Ramadan 101