June 30, 2006

A Muslim Beef Cow

On my last visit to London and a Thai restaurant, the following could be found on the menu:

The first thing that came to mind was,"ok, this must be the only Halal meat option on the menu." One of my friends (MAD) wanted to go for it but was told by another friend (HM) to ask if it was Halal* first.

MAD: Excuse me, the Muslim Beef Curry, it's halal isn't it?
Waiter: No it's not, we are not a Lebanese restaurant you know, there is no belly dancing here hehehehe.
MAD: So you mean it is not halal? But why do you call it Muslim Beef?

Yes indeed, why?

My only conclusion is that the Beef cow converted to Islam while meeting a beautiful Mooooslim cow on a trip to southern Thailand where many Muslims live.

I feel strongly that any Muslim restaurant should have both Christian and Jewish Beef Curry. The latter should naturally not be Kosher because that would defeat the point. And the point here being of no point at all.

Ps. And what in the world has Lebanon and belly dancing got to do with halal meat?

*Halal meaning salughtered according to Islamic requirements, similar to that of Jewish Kosher

June 29, 2006


During the time I was away, you have been listening to the song Dervish by Iranian singer Shakila. She's a well known singer of the younger generation and is also famous for singing very spiritual songs often to the words of the poet Rumi. She is yet to be able to perform in Iran, so most of the concerts take place in the States where she lives.

My Lord, help me not to neglect You
My Lord, help me, not to be a stranger and a beggar
Help me, the book of my heart be filled with love
Help me, not to be a piece of false paper
Chorus: In Your company, I am a monk, sacrificing me
I am the least valuable of all people, sacrificing me
As a bent branch of heaviness, I am full of desire
My Lord, what would I do, if I would not turn to You?
My monk’s heart, this evident wealth of fidelity,
which is Your munificent verse, how can I not be descended?
Chorus: In Your company, I am a monk, sacrificing me
I am the least valuable of all people, sacrificing me
I am only one drop and You are the beach of Life’s Ocean
I am less than nothing if I won’t be joined to You
My Lord the most precious result of my life is my heart
Help me not to be ashamed of my life’s result
Chorus: In Your company, I am a monk, sacrificing me
I am the least valuable of all people, sacrificing me

With many thanks to Hlejac's mother for translating it for me.

June 26, 2006

The Ostrich

In Arabic poetry since the pre-Islamic era, mention of the ostrich would spark different thoughts to the reader well versed in the contemporary linguistic context of that time. The early Bedouins regarded the ostrich as being related to the camel (it is also interesting to note the scientific name for ostrich being Struthio Camelus- sparrow camel), and at that time ostriches were ridden by desert ogres.

The Arabic saying to ride the wing of an ostrich meant to devote yourself wholeheartedly to something (perhaps inspired from the way one rides on ostrich, by holding on to its wings, and the fact that ostriches are difficult to saddle and have an ill temper thus riding them would have required dedication). At the same time, the ostrich symbolized cowardice (the popular myth about sticking its head in the sand when sensing danger). That analogy was used likening the retreat of the Byzantine emperor to an ostrich by the famous Arab poet al-Mutanabbi.

In the English language Ostrich is also the noun for a person who tries to avoid disagreeable situations by refusing to face them.

I find there to be something extremely profound over the ostrich. Its eyes are larger than its brain. It's a bird created with wings, yet it cannot fly...

June 22, 2006

Foot and Farewell

The past weeks have been extremely eventful over here. The whole of last week was spent in hospital with my father and then I injured my foot and have been hopping around the place with a crutch.

I have to say one foot makes all the difference. Takes me forever to get anywhere!

I'll be off for a much needed get away, and wish you all health and happiness.


..."O my Lord! so order me that I may be grateful for Thy favors, which thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee...

Chapter 27, Verse 19
The Quran

June 21, 2006

Don't use your "Instinct"

According to a study done by Greenpeace* on the potentially harmful contents of certain perfumes, the spray deodorant Instinct by David Beckham apparently contains high levels of the substance DEHP. A substance that within the EU is forbidden to use in cosmetic products due to the risk of negatively affecting fertility and damaging the testicles...

...I think it's fair to say that "Becks" probably doesn't use his own products.

* As stated in an article in the Swedish newspaper Expressen 060620


And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, "peace!";
Chapter 25, verse 63
The Quran

*The Arabic word for peace is salam.

June 18, 2006

Opposites Explain

I often get the question why young people who once had no religion, or very little of it could go from that to an extreme interpretation of religion like we see across the world more and more these days. It is seldom youth who are brought up in a balanced home in terms of religious identity who fall for extremism. It is often young men and women who have no reference at home in terms of religious identity (besides the five pillar talk they got when they were 8 in Quran school) who fall for the simplistic and twisted interpretations of religion.

How one could go from being "Mo" who hadn't prayed his whole life and would do everything to fit into the host culture he was born into but parents did not come from, to suddenly one day being Mohamad, shunning all non-Muslim company, quoting hadith to every question he gets, whether it had any relevance or not. A world that suddenly went from one black and white, to another.

An Arabic proverb comes to mind and it in my opinion explains today's "extremist" phenomena:

Al shayy min al Dodd yofham
Roughly meaning, through the opposite a thing is understood (explained).

June 17, 2006

Shake-speara introducing Remmy Ongala

I guess you have noticed that a song keeps playing every time you open this page. I'll be bringing you songs from around the world you most likely have never heard. Cultural expressions that you may not linguistically understand, but soulfully can relate to.

This week's artist has been Remmy Ongala with the Swahili song Kipenda Roh, which roughly means darling of the soul, or sweetheart. He is originally from Congo/Zaire but lives in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with his English wife, 5 children and a parrot and is the most popular singer in Tanzania.

Earlier songs he was famous for like Mnyonge Hana Haki meaning The poor have no rights (notice the word haki is from Arabic haqq), display the purpose of his music which has often been to highlight social injustice or as he himself calls his music, ubungo (brain).

June 16, 2006

Tag &Tell

Ok here we go again. Opinionated in Jerzee wants more juicy info, and your tag is my command.

6 Wierdest Things About Me:

1. Whenever I wanna drink water from a tap, I pour water over the tap first to "clean" it, then fill my glass. (Yes, even at home)
2. I eat left over pasta cold with ketchup.
3. I'm half Pashtoon half Viking, can it get more weird?
4. I have a third nationality of a country I have never set my foot in nor have any blood relations with.
5. I sometimes dream things that later happen in real life.
6. I find snakes adoring, but moths creep me out.

And the next lucky 6 are: Tainted, Boo, Buj, Moryarti, D Rebel & CG
(Kaya you still haven't done the first tag so no more tagging you til you do, samjhay?)

June 14, 2006

Torture Awareness Month

For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.

-Kahlil Gibran, "The Prophet"

"Extraordinary rendition means the forcible transfer of a person from one country to another without any judicial or administrative oversight. Since September 11th, 2001, extraordinary rendition has been used for covertly transporting persons to countries for detention and interrogation where there is a danger of facing torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. "

June 12, 2006

Kosher Wine from...?

There has been a recent naming issue within System Bolaget, which is basically Sweden's state owned liquor store. The place you purchase alcohol of the heavier sort. (Totally unrelated, the Director of System Bolaget is married to our Prime Minister.)

Anyway, they also sell Kosher Wines. The problem started with labeling where the wine Yarden was produced. (Yarden is Hebrew for the Jordan River.)

It used to say Made in Israel, however System Bolaget got a lot of criticism from a few odd customers who were not pleased with that seeing as the wine was produced in the Golan areas, that are considered occupied by Israel.

So System Bolaget changed the name on the label to: Israeli-occupied Syrian Territory.

That was of course not seen favorably by the larger group of customers buying the wine. System Bolaget received many requests to rename it again and said they might consider it after consulting the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

They have now decided to write on the bottle: ... nothing at all.

June 11, 2006

Whale Vision

Is it not curious, that so vast a
being as the whale should see the world
through so small an eye?
-Moby Dick

Lemongrass & Relationships

I planted a few small lemongrass seeds last summer, and I was told I had to wait at least a year before they would bear any fruit. Patiently I waited and tended to my seeds, watering them through fall, winter and spring. Trying to understand what they needed, understand what made them grow, and what made them stagger.

During all this time, I had no guarantee from my lemongrass seeds that they would actually blossom, that they would, by the end of that year and all effort, present themselves to me in their glory. Hope is what watered them and patience is what nourished them.

Summer is here again and my seeds are now proud long stems of lemongrass with the sweetest citrus scent, and I tend to them with gratitude, for as I nurtured them into what they were destined for, I am now nurtured in return.

June 10, 2006


If I were to try and explain how I felt,
no words or books would suffice to verbally express.
And if I were to surrender like the man that knelt,
before that which hurt him, under the Cypress.
Man would still roar in anger as my feelings are emptied.

If you were to bear the weight of my vessel,
No wells could fill it nor strength carry.
But should you give me a gift, then make it a nestle,
To still the howling winds and our hatchet bury.
Man would still roar in anger though my vessel not emptied.

Gibran on "Love"

When love beckons to you, follow him
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you, believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.


Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks to yet another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

By: Kahlil Gibran
excerpt from The Prophet

June 09, 2006


Diligent Candy has decided I need to reveal all by tagging me.

20 years ago I . . .
1. Talked too much, and like they say, some things never change.
2. Wore mittens in the summer, and threw them off in the winter.
3. Loved to listen to my mother reading me A thousand and one nights out loud and cutting out all the juicy parts.

10 years ago I . . .
1. was a teenager
2. was a hippy
3. was a chicken-eating vegetarian. I like to call it a desitarian. One just cannot give up chicken if one is Pakistani, believe me, I tried.

5 years ago I . . .
1. Got my first poem published
2. Was hungry and looking for a place that was open late at night in Lahore, Pakistan, only to end up in the Red Light District… not the meal I was expecting.
3. Visited Ireland and a breathtakingly beautiful place where one of the scenes in Braveheart was shot.

3 years ago I . . .
1. Went up a hill in Petra, Jordan on a donkey
2. Roamed the streets of Cairo looking for ice cream yet ending up in a perfume sellers shop where he tried to lure me to Fayyoum to “smell his flowers.”
3. Left Damascus with 144 kg of luggage and an equally heavy heart.

1 year ago I . . .
1. Got a job offer I couldn’t refuse
2. I first saw the Mona Lisa (La Giaconda) and thought, “Oh, is that it?”
3. Hosted Scandinavia’s biggest Eid Festival.

So far this year I . . .
1. found a “treyer”
2. that brought me “pleyer”
3. beyond any “meyer”(lol)

Yesterday I . . .
1. dreamt I was in Australia looking for lassi (the yoghurt drink, not dog)
2. forgot to have dinner
3. realised how ungrateful I am. To have my loved ones alive with me in good health, is a blessing and what more could one ask for.

Today . . .
1. Ti
2. Amo
3. Molto

Tomorrow. . .
1. Ti
2. Amo
3. Tuttavia

In the next year I will . . .
1. look back and smile at this year
2. get more than I asked for
3. still be blogging. See you then!

God willing

Four people I am tagging: Buj, D rebel , CG and Kaya

June 08, 2006

The world's first lie detector

I came across La Bocca della Veritá (Italian for The Mouth of Truth) in Rome. It is remembered as the world's first lie detector. It is part of the exterior of the church Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, and used to be an ancient drain.

According to legend, if you stick your hand in the mouth while telling a lie, it will be bitten off. In order to perpetuate the myth, it is said that priests used to place scorpions inside. A famous scene in the movie world where that happens can be found in Roman Holiday starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.

June 07, 2006

5 reasons to "Go Wahabi"

  1. If you happen to be a woman and still not gotten that driver's license although you're way past 25, don't fret. According to Wahabism in Saudi you ain't allowed to drive anyway so no more feeling embarrassed about your lack of license, instead you will gain the respect of your fellow Wahabis in not only not driving, but not knowing how to drive as well. What piety! (Arab News article here)
  2. If you're a man and you really wanna save money, Wahabism is the way to go. How you ask? Well, you can use your old pants, or even your younger sibling's or children's pants, because they are supposed to be short on you and reach just above your ankles. Now you don't have to feel embarrassed that you look like Steve Urkel, and also, imagine the money you save being able to use the pants you once wore when you were 12?
  3. If you're a girl and you happen to be lazy, I have the solution for you. Go Wahabi. Next time your mom tells you to go to the shop to buy milk you can simply say "Mom, I am not allowed to leave the home without a male member (mahram) of the family accompanying me". Now your brother will have to go every time while you sit at home chilling. Great isn't it?
  4. If you're a woman who is conscious about protecting your skin from ageing or even cancer, well then there is no better sun screen than wahabilotion. Make sure you find a nice thick cloth (preferably black and synthetic so you sweat to death in the 50 degree sunshine) and cover your whole body and face, one eye is allowed open for the sake of seeing where you're going although popping on a pair of black sunglasses will enhance the look. No wrinkles, no cancer.
  5. Last but not least, to all the unmarried girls out there who are tired of feeling compelled to exercise and learn Pilates, yoga (haram haram) and aerobics, Wahabism has catered to your needs. Like in schools in Saudi Arabia where exercise is forbidden for girls so as not to make their hymen break out of "strenuous activity", you can now feel good about popping that Hershey Bar in your mouth while flicking the channels on the satellite dish. (Arab News article here)

And they say Wahabism is oppressive to women! Look at all the perks...

June 06, 2006

Swedish National Day

Today, June 6th (060606 scaryyyy), is the official Swedish National Day. I say official because it wasn't always so. It used to be called "The Day of The Swedish Flag", but as from 1983 it was established as our National Day and everyone gets a day off from work or school from 2005.

Any reason to celebrate and eat cake is fine with me! And as you can see from the picture, that is exactly what I did today.

June 05, 2006

Do you speak snake?

Or was it called parsel tongue?

Well, Harry Puttar* might wanna get down to India and figure this one out, for I sure as hell can't.

According to Press Trust of India and a recent article in the Swedish news paper Dagens Nyheter, a woman, Bimbala Das aged 30, fell in love with a snake, and married him.

Well I know it's hard to find a decent bloke out there, but come on?

2000 wedding guests. A bride in a beautiful silk saari. A King Cobra that refuses to come out of the ant hill that is his home, to partake in his own wedding. Maybe he had cold ssssskin? Instead a brass statue was placed before the bride, representing the love of her life.

-Even if snakes don't talk we can communicate in a special way, Bimb(o)la Das claims.

The bride in question has now moved into a hutt next to the ant hill. I am guessing she is living with her in-laws in traditional Desi style. Mama in-law, a cobra. I will leave you to ponder over that last allegory.

I wonder, was it love at first ssssssssssight?

* Puttar is punjabi for son

The picture is of India's first female snake charmer, Imrana Mukhtar.

Poll result: Pepsi vs. Coke

This must be so far, the most useless poll I have put up, yet, the one most people have replied to. Anyways there is apparently a difference in taste. There Sam, it has been established.

Ah well. Do vote in my next poll, is Fanta tastier than Sprite?

Just kidding...

Next Poll: The world's first pair of jeans were made of...?