I was born in England, I have roots in Pakistan, NWFP where most settlers are of afghan origin, but I consider myself a Muslim first and British next, and then followed by the others. I would stand at arms with my fellow non Muslim counter parts to defend the country that I live in against all invaders. I live by the rules/laws of my country (as stated in the Quran) as well as those of my religion (both laws are very similar; there is little contradiction, ok apart from the death sentence).
I try to pray 5 times a day, and abide by my religion in all aspects of my life, in many ways I am no different from people on this site. When I need to pray, I pray in my car, mosque or place of work. When at work I pray in a print room, staff room or my office without putting anybody else out or asking anyone to move so I can pray. (I don?t see myself as being more important then my fellow man/woman just because of my religion)
I have a vast array of friends both Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Seikh, Buddhists (sorry about spelling dudes, big apologies to dad, who paid for my education and my encyclopaedias with his one months pay , still have not read them all, and I have had them since I was 12, now I am 32) and a few Goths :).
I have a vast array of interests, weight lifting, eating, watching films, cycling, climbing as well as reading, the list is endless?food and variety is the spice of life
I was brought up in an average household, with my brother and sisters by my parents, who worked hard to gets us through college and university, and often we went without a lot of luxuries, but we would not consider ourselves
To be hard done by.
Our mother taught us to read the Quran, like in most Muslim families, the mother is the main sources or religious guidance (woman play a very important part in Islam) Islam gives more rights to women than to men, unfortunately most Asian, eastern countries do not recognise these rights due to their culture and political stances (had to put that one in). But we were lucky as kids because our parents looked upon their marriage as a partnership not as a dictatorship. Good role models for us.
Dad taught us our sense of morality and was my hero. He worked hard all his life, and did some really crap jobs when he immigrated to England, he did what he had to do to look after his family so we would have an easier life and better future, so really got little time with him, what we did get we are truly grateful for. I wanted to be like my dad. We wanted to be strong and big like him, he would do press ups and stop take puff on his cig and carry on! , once me and my brother rolled tea leafs in note paper, and tried to smoke it (my dad looked cool, in his suits with cig in hand, he does not smoke now, but he?s still cool)
I remember taking a puff and turning green, my brother turned a very pale shade of yellow, despite our change in colour we carried on until we had finished. I suffered from a bad headache all day, but for a moment in the mirror with my feet up on the dresser I thought I looked cool! And my brother well he just looked silly? Ha ha ha? sorry bruv you looked like an idiot smoking a piece of paper, I looked like the real deal man!
(Some lurkers reading this may know who I am oops…)
I should add after that event neither I nor my brother smoke. I get a head ache just thinking about it.
My sisters were given the same amount of love, caring and education,
My oldest sister is a qualified genetic engineer and my younger sister is a dentist, my brother is an architect, so they all achieved their dreams and gained employment in their chosen professions making my parents very proud, although I think you need to be pretty crazy to want to be a dentist?
Me I still don?t know what I want to be, despite a degree in engineering and a whole host of other qualifications. Currently I am in IT. (Or a professional bum)
Maybe my younger sister banged her head, when I tried to pull her buggy up the stairs, as some kind of junior GPP routine, instead of using weight I put my sister in the buggy, of course by the time I got up the stairs about four times I was tired and tripped, the buggy went down the stairs baby and all, to the sound of my dad coming home from work, just in time to see the whole thing, there?s no way I could blame my brother or the cats (we did not have a dog, apart from uncle anwar) , man that belt hurt. (Lesson learnt, next time pad out the buggy with pillows so sis won?t get hurt)
Health and fitness has played a major role in my life, always reading, and writing routines, and expanding my knowledge. My cousin was heavily into bodybuilding and martial arts, muscle and fitness, and martial arts magazines all over his bedroom, posters of Bruce lee, Sergio Olivia posters spiralled around the place, and of course corona Everson. (Wow!) We lived and still do live around the corner from wag gym, where Arnold used to train/live when he was in London, England. I went to Wags with my cousin and couldn?t believe the atmosphere and dumb-bells which are still too heavy for me now. I still have my first set of plastic DP dumb-bells, I know they are crap but the memories are good, I still use them, on occasion, but over the years they have become lighter, obliviously I am stronger, I got them when I was eleven, but over the years the concrete filler has fallen out. The day I got them, I was with my dad, at Argos, He asked if I really wanted them, and I said yes, they weighed forty kg complete (about 88lbs). I walked with and dragged the box about 100 yards, before I asked my dad to help; he carried them home in one arm for the two and half miles to the house. When we got to the door of the house he let me carry them in through the door and told everyone I carried them all the way home to the disbelief of everyone.
Where am I going with this, just like you I come from a normal?
Family background if my family can be called normal from events I recalled above?
Before 9/11 I was a Muslim, on the day everybody knew where they were.
I was standing outside the Sony shop in Chelsea London on the king?s road, around me were tourists from all over the world, most were American, we watched as planes hit the trade towers in shock and horror. People started to console each other, Chelsea is in the run path for planes going to Heathrow, as I walked back to work (3d animator/designer), and planes were flying overhead and as they passed people would look up in fear.
My family did not celebrate in the streets, we were all saddened and dismayed that a group could do such a thing, killing so many innocents and then state it was in the name of our religion. It had a profound effect on how we viewed the world. I started to believe that no Muslim in their right state of mind could do such a thing, knowing full well the consequences of such an act. I still believe we do not know everything about the event and the run up to it.
I sometimes think Osama is either dead or sunning himself on a beach somewhere at the expense of a foreign government?
After 9/11, I am still a Muslim, more devout than ever, and stronger in my beliefs, I follow the religion and not the people/animals that think they represent the religion that I follow. I refuse to be grouped as a fundamentalist an Islamist, or even a terrorist. I am a Muslim (a British Muslim).
I have travelled to parts of Africa and Middle East as well as most of Europe and have had no problems being excepted for my beliefs. I do not force my religion on anyone and neither do I criticise others for their beliefs (religious debates amongst my friends can become very lively and all nighters)
I treat people the way I want to be treated, regardless of colour, religion, culture and ability.
I think People like Barbra stock are part of the problem, I read her article and I was shocked to read what she had written. Every religion has its nut jobs.
Yes the truth has to be heard and justice has to be served, but I found a lot of her article to be lined with conspiracy and fear.
?The mistake these ‘‘intellectuals’’ made is believing that I have any intention of ‘‘understanding’’ Islam.
It has taken me since 9/11 to realize that civilized humans cannot understand Islam. I am just overjoyed and somewhat relieved that the world is finally waking up in time to see the rabid dog coming its way disguised as Islam.?
If you do not wish to understand a religion or a person?s belief you should not comment or write about it. I am a civilised human being and a Muslim, it?s my religion that makes me civilised and it is to my religion that my parents looked to teach me morality and truth and justice to my fellow human beings/animals.
My parents did not come to England to escape a regime neither did they go to England as part of a reproduction program to take over the world by producing little fundamentalist offspring ready to blow buildings up!
My older sister is not developing a genetic mutant Muslim in the basement!
(If she could, I would ask her to mix me a special blend of protein to improve my gains) although I think biotest has cornered that one.
My younger sister did not become a dentist, to replace fillings with TNT so people would explode while chewing gum! (I should get my fillings checked)
My brother did not become an architect, to build a super bunker for all Muslims on the Day of Judgment!
I like many Muslims don?t agree with Osama. Saddam and other dictatorships in the Middle East, which lets face it, were placed by foreign governments in the first place. Her article is bordering on the lines of Hitler?s propagandist team against the Jewish populations in Europe. No human being or even animal should ever be treated like the Jews were treated; there is no excuse for it, at any level. In Islam it is written that a sin against god?s creation is 70 times more punishable than a single sin against god. Are we next?
Muslims don?t have a problem with Americans or even the British; they may disagree with policies and government agendas.
But most of these problems are caused by foreign governments in the first place. A lot of the Middle Eastern governments were installed by foreign powers to control sources and reserves of that particular country after WWII.
If these installed governments repress their indigenous populations then these population will revolt, against their governments and the powers that they were installed by, it?s now these government which are paying the price,
And the price is the lives of the innocent, and those troops who have sworn to protect and serve their countries
Why is it that it?s only the nut jobs that get all the air time?
And its normal everyday folk like myself that get funny looks from Joe public, when our political aspirations are the same.
I know what happened in the Netherlands is uncalled for, personally I think it could have and should have been resolved legally, but you cant control what every individual thinks or does, that?s why we are individual.
This is not star trek and Islam is not the Borg, we do not assimilate. I have friends that are based in the gulf, and now in Afghanistan and Iraq, I have friends who have family members that are based out there, and like them I worry about there wellbeing every day.
Barbra stock?s article makes it sound like every Muslim is after the infidel?s blood. I feel sorry for the world its bad enough having loonies like, Osama, Saddam, Taliban, GW Bush, Condescending Rice and a whole host of other power hungry hippos, the list just got longer by one more!
Thanks all above for making people feel uncomfortable when I walk into my local supermarket!
Barbra Stock can sleep easy; I was brought up by my parents and not the media, dictatorship or governments of any so called free or repressive society. I will bring my kids up the same way as I was brought up, equally with my wife, with our morals and religion as a guide. The only thing they have to worry about it how many chin-ups they can beat me by when i am sixty
PS.thanks t-mag for a cool site, really fills the quiet times of day at work