Monday, September 29, 2008

Chemical irritant attack on a praying public

Chemical irritant empties Islamic Society of Greater Dayton's mosque
Update: Islamic Society baffled by incident at worship service

By Kyle Nagel

Staff Writer

Saturday, September 27, 2008

DAYTON — Baboucarr Njie was preparing for his prayer session Friday night, Sept. 26, when he heard children in the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton coughing. Soon, Njie himself was overcome with fits of coughing and, like the rest of those in the building, headed for the doors.

"I would stay outside for a minute, then go back in, there were a lot of kids," Njie said. "My throat is still itchy, I need to get some milk."

Njie was one of several affected when a suspected chemical irritant was sprayed into the mosque at 26 Josie St., bringing Dayton police, fire and hazardous material personnel to the building at 9:48 p.m.

Someone "sprayed an irritant into the mosque," Dayton fire District Chief Vince Wiley said, noting that fire investigators believe it was a hand-held spray can.

According to fire dispatch communications, a child reported seeing two men with a white can spraying something into a window. That child was brought to the supervising firefighter at the scene.

Wiley would not discuss that report, but said the investigation has been turned over to police. Police were not commenting.

The 300 or so inside were celebrating the last 10 days of Ramadan with dinner and a prayer session, but the prayer session was interrupted so those suffering from tearing, coughing and shortness of breath could receive treatment.

Wiley said an adult and juvenile were taken to area hospitals and others had their eyes or faces washed on the scene. He did not know how many people were treated at the scene.

Ismail Gula, ISGD secretary, said people were praying during the weekly service when some in the audience began to cough and experience breathing troubles, then left the building. Once outside, several of them called 911, Gula said.

Tarek Sabagh, a member of the ISGD board, wasn't present when the incident occurred.

He said his daughter called and told him to stay away because of the possibility of remaining fumes. Sabagh arrived shortly after and watched from the mosque's steps as members were allowed back inside about 11 p.m. to collect belongings.

"It's very disturbing," Sabagh said. "Something like this has never happened before."

Sabagh said members moved to a Beavercreek school to finish their prayer session as police continued to investigate.

"I don't know if people will have the feeling of trust to come back tomorrow or next week or next month," Sabagh said. "I don't know how people will feel."

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. During the month, Muslims fast (do not eat) from sunrise to sunset. In the evening and in the morning before the sun comes up, they eat small meals. During this month, they take extra time for family, inner reflection, and spiritual growth.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-7389 or

Thursday, September 25, 2008

gang banging hijabi??

yesterday I had this conversation... literally... and it just cracked me up... only because sometimes people have no clue... but anyway... I tried to throw it into a poem...

I was asked yesterday if
I was part of the bloods or crips
in class cuz i had a bandanna on, i gripped
tightly to my desk, and felt my mind flip
over, mentally preparing myself for the conversation ahead
neither... I pointed at it and said
'it's black.. is that supposed to stand for something?'
the questioner looked at me funny and laughed
and said 'you aren't black'
skeptically my hand moved away from my head
I eyed him with curiosity, strangling the dead cat
he returned that look filled with question, stare off combat
I mean, how do you respond to with 'you aren't black'
'no shit sherlock, it doesn't take a genius to deduce that'
Instead I shook my head, side to side... and just cracked up
I pointed at my head again and said 'it's a hijab'

Friday, September 12, 2008

"I am not angry, I am anger" Amir Sulaiman

So, I'm unbelievably angry.
soo unbelievably angry that the words "i am not angry, i am anger" spoken/written by Amir Sulaiman makes me feel like he was talking about me in that poem.
Lets hope I don't go into a never ending monologue, but I'd like to say this, even though in almost all my posts, almost my poems that same point is reiterated:


I am so annoyed, of people who hurt others, and justify it in their heads. People who hurt themselves (whether physically by cutting, or wasting their means of life) and then expect others to salvage what is left for them. And I am so annoyed with people who turn their backs on one another. The golden rule is golden for a reason.... BECAUSE IT WORKS. If you change yourself first, and treat people the way you want to be treated then the feeling is reciprocated. If you help others, eventually others will help you. If you want change, be the change. If you're angry, (like me) then channel that anger into something worthwhile. There's sooo much in the world that needs to be addressed, you are not the only person in the world with issues. STOP MAKING MORE PROBLEMS FOR OTHER PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM YOURSELF. and if someone is trying to help you find a way for YOU to solve your problem (not them solve it for you) then take that help seriously. No one will help you, if you think you're just going to keep on doing what you've been doing all along. Not everyone has a never-ending supply of energizer batteries. Eventually we all crash, we all burn out, we all get tired... eventually we all die. So, stop killing people with your problems, because everyone has their own to solve. And stop complaining about your problems if you aren't going to do anything about them...

Again, I am not angry, I am anger. Thanks Amir Sulaiman, for the words that touched my heart.

Lastly, this doesn't mean you can't turn to people for help, but when people help you, you need to be just as willing to help yourself. I am always available for a shoulder to 'cry' on, for a word of advice, for budgeting problems, scheduling problems, questions on philosophy, and editting, anything that my skills (if any) can be utilized for, I give them to you freely. My only condition is that you genuinely want the help, you genuinely want to change, you genuinely want to stop hurting yourself (first and foremost) and all the others that may have been hurt by your decisions. So, feel free to message me. If you do need help, i honestly don't care what the problem is, I'll try my best, but I'm just so sick of people not facing up to their realities.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th 7 years later

Okay, so this piece is about 9/11, obviously 7 years later. But the point of this poem is that people focus on the past, and disregard the present. And when they focus on the past it's all talk rather than action. If people focused on 9/11 the day it happened, rather than sat there accusing people (i.e. muslims/arabs/indopaks) then a lot more could have been done for the security of this nation, but instead we (as in America, because yes I still consider myself American even though i've been ostracize on the basis of my religious beliefs) pointed fingers and played the guessing game about who was the next probable terrorists, ruining people's lives rather than helping those live's that already needed help in the states. So, this is a plea, stop focusing on the past, stop being all talk, and truly try and make a difference in the community you live in. And yes, the means stepping out of your little suburban lifestyle and giving back to the greater community, your metro area. So, all those people who live in the suburbs of metro-detroit, your parent's make money from working in detroit, and yet you turn your back on the city that has given you so much: your nice big house, your car, your tuition, your friends, your lavish lifestyle. The least you could do is address the issues that concerns detroiters the most, currently it's foreclosure! So, all those Palestinian children you were thinking about, think about them in Detroit not even 20 miles away from you. Anyway, so this poem is to remind us (me first and foremost) that injustice wasn't 9/11 or the isreali palestinian conflict or the iraqi war, no it's INACTIVITY, SILENCE, DENIAL, SELFISHNESS, NOT HOLDING YOURSELF RESPONSIBLE!

On a side note, did you know if your house gets foreclosed, if your homeless, or get evicted you lose your ability to vote, you're stripped of your citizenship, you lose your American identity in a way.... Hold that thought.


September 11th 7 years later

She sat in the 3rd row, 7th seat in her 10th grade class room

One September morning. She waited as the principal relayed the school news

Instead of hearing about pep rallies, competitions, and student groups

She listened to him talk about crashes, death, towers, deployment of troops

She watched as the TV was rolled in

Cringed at the sight in front of her, goose bumps erupting on her skin

Tears blurred her vision, a dam had broke

She turned to her best friend, who gave her a fearful look

She eyed her English teacher who stood domineering at the front of the class

Who’s eyes stared back at her, cutting, accusing like she caused the crash

From that moment on she knew her future would change

Sighing in surrender, hands extended in front of her, ready to give in, her life would never be the same

Between those 7 years till this very day

She waged verbal war against ignorance, battled psychological demons,

She the knight, ignorance the slay

Her words served on a tray indiscriminately to anyone who would take

Her knowledge and put it to their lips, tasting a drop of wisdom, everything at stake

Her hands were callused from holding wooden signs

Marching through the years, protesting to end the open-ended wars and fights

Her shin-splintered legs carried her through 7 years of time

She spent 7 years in worn out shoes, soles giving out, covered in the grime

She spent 7 years ignoring harassment, ignoring hate crimes

She spent 7 years fighting accusations hurled about her kind

She spent 7 years deconstructing every hurtful lie

She spent 7 years building relationships greater than the infamous twin towers

More complex, more architecturally defined, bringing hope to the hopeless and courage to cowards

Every year she stood carrying a candle into the night

Standing strong in solidarity, unifying under the banner of peace, bringing forth a bit of light

She volunteered to teach those who couldn’t afford to learn

And planted seeds of faith, hope, optimism, in those who thought that life could never turn

Around. And although she was like an energizer bunny, eventually she’d crash and burn

7 years later after all the random checks, searches, keyed cars, slashed tires, she mourned

For the increased warfare, attacks, death, deception, and the futureless youth

She mourned for the insecurity of the masses, the voice of silence, the fear of speaking out the truth

She mourned for the relapse back into the dark ages

Where people blindly attacked, with swords, cannons, guns fueled by hatred

And on this September morning she let her tears fall

For fallen angels, fallen soldiers, falls from grace, fallen women, for it all

Her tears flooded her city, hurricane the world

But no one seem to notice the cries of this hiccupping girl

She stood remembering those who were buried in the earth

Buried with merit, buried forgotten, buried heroes, buried happiness and mirth

Jealous that they didn’t have to witness freedom become a curse,

Witness love become a curse, witness hope become a curse,

Witness hatred and ignorance plague the earth

She wiped away her tears, waiting for her sobs to subside

She walked up to the people gathered, her voice clear, her eyes wide

Reminding her people of these last 7 years, she said:

“I remember a time when water was less abundant that tears.

A time when songs of hope filled the air, rather than battle cry cheers

I remember a time when people were on the rise

Empowering themselves, rather than setting up their demise

And although I stand before, a sister of this era and time

Who stood with you frozen, motionless, seeing the surplus of crime

I also stand before you as a voice to remind

That there is still more pain in the world, it has not died

Under the collapse of the two towers, not buried, it still rampant and alive

There’s still homelessness, bigotry, racism, and lies

There’s still oppression, underpay and healthcare denial

There’s still hate, manipulation, stereotyping and racial profiles

So, I stand before as a witness of these crimes

That happened not only 7 years ago, but before then and till this day, this moment of time

And I ask you to remember all those you have denied

Because injustice is not just a past moment in our time

It is recurrent, current, happening in front of our eyes

So hold that thought closely, tightly to your mind

Because the only battle that should be fought is the one with your soul

By pretending injustice doesn’t happen, remaining aloof, untouched, cold

I ask of you to remember the stories of those left untold

Because injustice is everyday when you don’t hold

Yourself accountable”

She walked away from the stage, away from the crowd gathered

Prayed that change was near, that faith and hope wasn’t shattered

She closed her eyes one last time thinking this was it

Another anniversary of that infamous day, and maybe today would be the day that reality will hit.


Monday, September 1, 2008

What's going on?!?!

salam/peace to all those who might come across this blog,
I decided to start a second blog that is solely for Quranic reflections/ruminations...
So what does that mean?
I keep a journal (handwritten) where I randomly pick a verse of the Quran and just reflect upon it... I would say that it is NOT a tafseer (scholarly interpretation) of the Quran in anyway, but just the thoughts of day to day struggling Muslim in America.
I started keeping this journal about 3 months ago, because I felt like I was completely disconnected to the book that is supposed to guide my everyday action, my every thought, in essence, my life. Rather than reading huge chunks of it, since I felt like it wouldn't help me developmentally, I started doing this... I guess, I decided, that since I'm on a computer more than not, I should might as well start it as a blog... So, again, I just pick a verse at random and reflect, I could be be wrong... I could be right... God knows, but this is a personal thing where I'm trying to tie my personal faith to my everyday life, to the book that is supposed to guide me till the day of my death...
(oh the translation of the Quran that I typically use is "The Noble Qur'an" by Al-hilali and Muhsin Khan)
so again, i just pick up the quran and flip through till a verse pops out at me....
thanks for reading, and comment away.

Surah Jathiya (45: 23)

'Have you seen him who takes his own lusts (vain desires) as his ilah (god)? And Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?'

While I sat there reading this verse, the first thought that popped into my head was this: 'damn... i'm screwed' (and yes, just because these are reflections on the Quran, doesn't mean that I'm gonna start filtering my terminology, well to an extent).. but honestly, more often than not it is our own desires that we follow most, put as our ultimate voice of reason. The interesting thing is, even when you follow the 'desires' of other people, you are in essence following your own desire to be accepted, liked, or whatever you want to call it. The point is this: when you follow your own desires, you lead yourself. When a person follows their own desires they seal their own fate. Meaning, there is only one way or the other (in my personal opinion) you could lead yourself by following your desires or you could lead yourself by following what God wants. Both ways you lead yourself, you just put one opinion over the other.
When you lead yourself in pursuit of your desires, then you become deaf to all that is around you (not literally, but to the voice of spiritual reason). This you do see all the time. Think of the big shot CEO who will do anything to get on top of the food chain. Or the video game addict, who thinks everything in the world is just a game. Or how about that sex fiend, who spreads his potentially sexually transmitted disease, just because he doesn't think it's a biggie because getting some is more important. Or that simple person who justs wants another chocolate bar, and swipes their ATM card for a dollar, and gets charged $36 for the overdraft fee, ect. It isn't about 'really bad stuff' but real stuff. I mean not everyone is going to be an evil CEO person or sex fiend, like in the movies, but everyone has some desires that they put before everything else, without really, truly considering the repercussions of their actions. For example, I personally am addicted to soda (or as michi's say, pop) and if I don't have some, I don't care if I show up half an hour late to work, or chewed off someone's head, spit it out, stomped on it, and then dug it under the ground, I want my soda. Get what I'm saying, it's not evil per se, but I guess the verse is talking about not going into extremes where your desires become the rule of thumb.
Other than a symbolic deafness, one becomes symbolically blind, which is similar to being deaf, you really don't see what's going on around you, you aren't in tune with the rest of the world, you see everything the way you want it to seem.
I think that the scariest aspect of this verse is the concept of your heart being sealed, and the concept of not remembering God. Once your heart is sealed, it seems irreversible. Like 'hi, i'm forever heartless, no one can breach my cold, frozen heart' but the verse actually isn't saying that (in my opinion), but that this is a possibility. The reality of the situation is, when you come across a verse such as this, it is a warning of sorts, telling you that, by following your vain desires, you are sealing your fate, but if at some point you change, you can turn back, and that is through remembrance of God. If you remember God, you found the proverbial key to your locked (sealed) heart. And when you remember God, your desires become secondary.
I don't know, God knows best, but what I am trying to say, is this: the verse hit home because 1) we have a tendency to follow our desires 2) vain desires are a handicapping tool, when they become your primary expression of life 3) the way to unlock your deafness, blindness, and sealed heart is by remembering God. and finally 4) desires aren't necessarily a bad thing, but following them like a blind sheep can lead you straight into the wolf's den.