This week, we profile four women who are fighting for feminist change within their conservative religions: Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, and Islam. Read that series and these other great stories from around BuzzFeed and the web. 1. Feminism in Faith: Four Women Who Are
On account for my 2 year anniversary from the date I moved to Dubai, I felt it was appropriate to catch up on my blog to show how life can change so dramatically in 2 years! My life has been completely turned upside down these past few months which has resulted in me shying away from writing this blog at all. To be honest, I just didn’t know where to start and I didn’t know how to start. I have been broken, confused and, well I’ve been extremely lost. SubhanAllah it is amazing to me how Allah can give you sign after sign indicating whether or not something is going to work out – it is equally amazing how I have the ability to ignore such signs over and over again due to my overpowering emotions. And in the end of the day, I find myself back at square 1 wondering to myself “How the hell did I get here again?” Because, unfortunately, I have been in this situation several times before.
My college soccer coach always told us, “The definition of an ‘idiot’ is someone that does the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” It really is the truth though – I mean how many times can I repeatedly give everything I have to a relationship whereby in the end, I’m alone. These past few weeks, I literally have no energy to do anything because I have been so emotionally and mentally exhausted. It is even to the point where I genuinely couldn’t workout for awhile because my body just didn’t want to move for an extended period of time. And yet again, my question remains, “How the hell did I get here again?”
I know I am being very vague in the language used so far in this post. I don’t know if it is shame or my pride getting in the way but despite the underlying reason, I am still broken. But, if I have learned anything about these past few months it is this… You cannot move forward in a positive direction in your life unless you are brutally honest with yourself. OK, so let’s be brutally honest…
I went from living in Dubai with a job I thought would open many door for me and recently getting engaged to the man I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with to getting terminated from my job because an old company threatened to file a case against me and the new company, breaking off the engagement, leaving Dubai and moving back to the U.S. and breaking up the relationship completely and not speaking anymore. This all took place in less than a 6 month period…
All I can keep saying to myself is “How the hell did I get here again?” How did I get to a point where I feel like I gave up everything for someone AGAIN and I ended up alone? How did I let myself become so vulnerable where I have completely shattered by the end? How did I ignore every sign that was telling me this wasn’t going to work out? How can I be so out of touch with reality?
In order to wrap my head around all these life-changing events that has happened to me in such a short period of time, it took me a few weeks of just sitting down and grasping it all. After finally being able to breathe and eat (because it was Ramadan when I first got home so I had to cope with that as well), it took a lot of soul searching to understand what mistakes I have been making and how can I improve so this doesn’t happen again. It was extremely heart wrenching looking at the core of my issues and trying to piece them together. And after looking at all these events in a vacuum scenario and trying to figure out what was all common amongst them, I have come to some conclusions.
So, that is what I have been going through these past 6 months, but the past is the past and the more important thing is what is going on now and how am I going to move forward from what I have experienced and learned.
To start off with, I decided to open up my own law firm called “The Law Offices of Samantha M. Salamon” (I know so creative but unfortunately in America you cannot be too creative with law firm names.) I am helping people in a variety of areas of law, from immigration to criminal to trademark, but ultimately I think I would like to focus on immigration and criminal, but who knows what Allah has planned for me. It is extremely difficult getting this thing off the ground but I am loving the freedom and flexibility I have being my own boss :)
I am getting involved with various non-profits and organizations, which is really helping me focus on what is importantly for me and how I can build myself back up because let me tell you, I was broke down to my foundation and even that was a bit broken. And while this has been very hard for me to accept and move on from, it has shown me that Allah wanted a different path for me and I am so excited to finally be in the spot to start laying down the roots of my entire life. And I have a lot planned for this :) While I am unable to put it down here, I have paths I am making that are really going to help me make a positive difference in this world before my time is up Inshallah.
As of date, I am probably in the worse financial situation I have ever been in, in my life, but for some reason, I feel more stable than ever. I realized that while money is important, it is not what makes a person feel stable or unstable – it is the support you have around you and that is something I didn’t have in Dubai. While there were some great and amazing people I have met during my time there, I did not have the stability I have now and Alhumdulilah I am so incredibly blessed.
I’m done waiting around for life to happen to me… I’m done looking for someone to fulfill me and make me whole…. I am done feeling sorry for myself because of the crappy situations I put myself in…. I am done and now it is time for me to stand up and take the initiative in moving forward. Yes, I am still quite broken but I am gluing myself together no matter what. I am finally feeling like I am the person I am suppose to be and damn does it feel good! Everybody watch out – because I am about to make my mark in this world and it is going to rock some peoples’ boats :)
PI-NEWS author Michael Stürzenberger was given a six-month prison sentence by the criminal court of Munich for “disseminating propaganda material of unconstitutional organizations”.
Spectators in the crowded hall of the criminal court reacted shocked after the verdict. They witnessed a significant moment in Germany, just a few hours after the Islamic mass murder of Barcelona.
Stürzenberger reviewed the article “Swastika and Crescent” by newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, in which he was mentioned by name. In his well-researched historical essay, he also used two original photographs, which showed the then Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Amin Al-Husseini with Nazi leaders.
The use of Nazi symbols for historical reporting to aid civic enlightenment is expressly exempted from punishment by § 86 (3) of the German Criminal Code. The Süddeutsche Zeitung used similar original photos. Stürzenberger showed the historical intersections of the two ideologies “Islamism” and “National Socialism”.
In a Facebook entry, he justifies his PI news article with the Süddeutsche Zeitung article “Swastika and Crescent” and the research results of the renowned Egyptian political scientist Hamed Abdel Samad.Prosecutor’s office: “Hate speech against Islam”
The prosecutor objected to his, as he calls it, “fight against Islam” and points out that the photo won’t show the Mufti with a crescent. He claims that a “transient observer” would be led to degrade the religion. The “transient observer would not recognize in his “timeline” that this is a historical review of the subject.”
A suspicious “Herr Fisch”, a police officer, who also obediently submitted the complaint against Stürzenberger to the public prosecutor, was heard as a witness. His account was hardly comprehensible to trial observers – the request to the High Court to use the microphones was refused by the judge.
The defendant’s request to show quotes of the Quran and the relevant passages from the work of Abdel Samad’s “Islamic Fascism”, also mentioned by the prosecutor’s office was denied. However, a verdict of a Swiss court in Graz against Stürzenberger was read out in full detail and acknowledged by the public prosecutor and the judge.Tantamount to ban Stürzenberger from Working as a Journalist
The final plea for Stürzenberger was fulminant – he received “standing ovations” from the courtroom audience. The court sentenced Michael Stürzenberger to six months in prison and an additional 100 hours of social work.The period of probation is three years and six months, which is equivalent to a factual occupational ban for a journalist specialized on Islamism in the current situation.
Last but not least, the visibly annoyed judge insulted the unquiet audience along the lines “The remarks by Stürzenberger about Islam and fascism are wrong, but you on the back seats have no idea about that, because you do not know such things.”
The court made copies of the identity cards of all listeners of the trial. Stürzenberger vows to appeal the decision. He will also try to legally charge the judge herself for insult and bending the law.
based on PI News
I have been intending to write on the subject of Charlottesville all week however other obligations have prevented such; in retrospect–considering the most recent turn of events–perhaps being tardy to elucidate or even offer my opinion may have been advantageous as the left continues to show their hand and further expose their ulterior motives that are far more ominous than the destruction of statuary.
I think the order given to law enforcement to stand down at Charlottesville was intentional—given by an activist Democratic Governor—the orders to stand down and the ensuing melee between two diametrically opposed groups of protesters encouraged a small number of fringe activists to commit the unthinkable. This action by the governor and others has empowered the media to disenfranchise the entire right painting the populist right/centrist movement with the same overly broad brush and making all outside the left to appear complicit in abject racism. Perhaps the order to stand down—allowing a riot to commence—was created with the same motive in mind as the alleged historical event in which it is said that President Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Prior to December 7, 1942 most Americans felt that our interests were best served by not becoming entangled in the war; the attack on Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japanese Naval air forces so enraged Americans that the hesitance to enter the conflict ended and the events of 7 December facilitated our entry into the Second World War. Some people believe that having fore knowledge of the Japanese plan but allowing it to proceed awarded FDR the political capital to pursue his goal of entering the war. Again—perhaps—this was the intention of Governor McAuliffe et al allowing a riot between two extremist groups, overlooking participation by one or even elevating its participation to heroism while using the reprehensible actions of the other to condemn an entire political class which was not even involved. The Pearl Harbor theory combined with Saul Alinsky tactics stands to disenfranchise and turn America against the very electorate that put Trump in the White house.
If the destruction of statues depicting Confederate Soldiers were all we are witnessing I would not have basis to formulate the following opinion, however as we are seeing reports of even statuary memorializing Abraham Lincoln–the great emancipator–being defaced, I must conclude that we are witnessing the beginning of a greater effort to erase all vestiges of Western/European culture in America.
Consider just for a moment as we ask the rhetorical question of how do we differentiate between a White Nationalist and a Nationalist. The electorate that made their voices heard resulting in the election of Trump are of a multi ethnic makeup, predominately Nationalist and opposed to Globalism; which is why the slogan Make America Great Again became a virtual battle-cry. White, Black, Latino, Asian and others who are tired of seeing this great country move further and further to the left, working class middle Americans angered by watching their hold on the American dream disintegrate through illegal immigration, outsourcing of jobs, increasing misuse of the Immigration and Nationality act which allows employers to import workers and other programs. These events have galvanized a rainbow coalition of working and middle class Americans, turning them against Democrats and Republicans who are out of touch with their constituents and allowing the election of a political outsider to the highest office in the world.
This uprising of the deplorable commoners has outraged the political and academic elite who consider themselvesto be the American royalty, the faux Kings, Queens, Earls, Dukes and Duchesses of a country built on the concept that all are equal. Simply put, Trump’s base is hated more by the left and the Republican elitists than Trump is, the POTUS is just a focal point for the hate and general disdain that the Globalist Elite and Socialist Left focus their attentions on. ANTIFA and to a lesser extent BLM prove this point as it is the people of the Trump base that they attack and not Trump. The old men and middle aged women blatantly assaulted at political rallies over the last year or so, which were far from racist White Supremacist events, are proof of the animosity the left has for any one who is not in lock step with their beliefs.
It would appear that even religious groups that are lining up to condemn the right are either part of the problem or allowing themselves to be shamed–re Saul Alinsky tactics–into distancing themselves from a large part of Trump’s base. I have absolutely no compassion for racists, I find their propaganda morally reprehensible, but I also detest the agenda of the left who would turn this country into another Socialist cess pool such as we are currently witnessing in Venezuela.
I agree with Trump when he asked where does this all end, where do we draw the line? Is this the beginning of another peoples revolution? Do these events signal something similar to the hoards of Students that spread out across China with their little books of Chairman Mao’s philosophies and forced compliance to the ideals of the party upon all of their people during the Cultural Revolution? Is this event something like the Iranian revolution that forced Mohammad Rezā Pahlavi–better known as the Shah of Iran–out of office during a time of relative prosperity and which precipitated the return of the Ayatollahs and decades of the repression of civil rights under fundamentalist Islam? Perhaps the antifa and left are the American counterparts of the Islamic state of Iraq and the Taliban who embarked upon a campaign to destroy all remnants of statuary depicting culture other than Islamic such as the Buddhist icons that predated Islam itself?
No, I do not think that the attacks on symbols of Americana are out of anger related to latent racism, these vandalisms are an attempt to erase our American culture, heteronormative values, Christian tradition and any other vestiges of morale values and culture that stands in the way of global socialism.
China is officially an atheist society; many references to Buddhism exist as cultural but not religious aspects of life. Visitors might be surprised to learn of the Muslim presence here. Chinese Muslims are predominately Uighur (central Asian/middle eastern culture) or Hui (assimilated into the dominant East Asian Chinese culture).
Beijing’s Niujie area is full of Hui people and visually presents an interesting mix of traditional Chinese and Islamic aesthetics. People in Muslim headwear and halal restaurants line the street, but this unique fusion is best seen at the Niujie mosque, the largest mosque in Beijing and the spiritual center for over 10,000 Muslims.
This large vase is an example of qinghuaci, blue-and-white pottery, which has become a representation of the refinement of Chinese civilization. Unlike normal blue-and-white pottery, this vase has Arabic on it.
Blue-and-white porcelain is another example of cultural sharing. From Wikipedia:
“Blue and white decoration first became widely used in Chinese porcelain in the 14th century, after the cobalt pigment for the blue began to be imported from Persia. However, the origin of this decorative style is thought to lie in Iraq, when craftsmen in Basra sought to imitate imported white Chinese stoneware with their own tin-glazed, white pottery and added decorative motifs in blue glazes that had been developed by preexisting Mesopotamian cultures. Such Abbasid-era “blue and white” pieces have been found in present-day Iraq dating to the 9th century A.D., decades after the opening of a direct sea route from Iraq to China. Later, in China, a style of decoration based on sinuous plant forms spreading across the object was perfected and most commonly used. It was widely exported, and inspired imitative wares in Islamic ceramics and later European tin-glazed earthenware such as Delftware and after the techniques were discovered in the 18th century, European porcelain.”
Cultural exchange is cool!
“At the centre of Beijing’s Hui community is the Niu Jie Mosque. Destroyed by the Mongols when they conquered Beijing in the 13th Century, the mosque was rebuilt by the Ming dynasty in 1442 and enlarged again under the Qing at the end of the 17th Century, bringing it to its elaborate, 6,000sqm layout today. As with other mosques across eastern China, and perhaps in a symbolic nod to how the Hui have adapted certain aspects of Han Chinese culture, the Niu Jie Mosque deftly blends both Arabic and Chinese influences. The prayer hall’s wooden beams are emblematic of Chinese architecture, for example, but instead of being aligned north-south, as is traditional with Chinese architecture, the sanctuary – where only Muslims are allowed to enter – is oriented toward Mecca.” BBC Travel
The “only Muslims in the prayer hall” rule was not being enforced when we were there.
In the stone courtyards, we saw a Chinese couple dressed in the clothing of a Muslim culture getting wedding photos taken.
By the exit was an exhibit of scanned book pages, in English and Chinese, about mosques.
Prayer times were by the entrance.
I’m interested in seeing some more Chinese-style mosques in the future, maybe further west in Xinjiang.
“Tell the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do”. (24:30)
Below is the beautiful story which will portray the true meaning of “ lowering the gaze”.
One day, a young man came to a holy preacher seeking advice and saying you always advice us to lower our gaze but it’s very difficult to lower the gaze and follow the commands of Allah as there are so many attractions around that he couldnt control himself. The preacher said, “I will give you the secret for it but before that you have to obey a command that I give. He instantly ageeed. The old man said, take a full glass of milk and deliver it to a man sitting right at the end of this street but remember one thing if you spill even a single drop of it my guards will be harsh on punishing you right away in the middle of the road and once you return then my punishments would beyond imagination. He carefully listened and was determined of delivering it correctly. He with utmost care and calmness carried the glass
His eyes rooted onto the filled glass. Guard was also with him to monitor. Without dropping a single drop he delivered it. On successfully accomplishing the task given he came back impatiently asking preacher. “now please tell me that how do i attain to lower my gaze?”
The wise old man inquired, “how many girls did you witness on your way to and fro?”
The young man said Alas..! ” I dare not raise my eyes”!
The Preacher asked “what made you do that”?
The young man said “I was completely focused on the glass. Because guard was constantly watching me and fear of humiliation in the centre of the market. Then your punishment… so I could not move my eyes from the glass of milk”.
Then the preacher said “Now I will tell you the secret”.
The same condition of the God fearing people when you have fear of Allah in your heart and constantly observing his commands so they always have their eyes on the bowl of their heart’s desires because they know if they sin, the bowl will spill, and the eyes will be tempted, then on the day of judgement they will have to face humiliation. Those who are always concious of Allah and the Day of humiliation will have their eyes prevented from temptations.” Allah is still aware of our thoughts and actions: Allah is with us, Allah is witnessing us, and Allah is watching us. The one who has an awareness of Allah will strive to keep their distance from sins, intentional and unintentional, knowing and unknowing. Thus every one should strive to never displease Allah because the fear of his answerability and the severe punishment thereafter. We need to develop true consciousness of Allah.
We need to understand that a major cause behind why we fall into sinning can be largely attributed to lacking fear of Allah at the time by not being conscious of His Presence. In order to avoid falling into both major and minor sins, and to reduce our sinning so that we may be of the muttaqeen insha’Allah (God-willing), we need to understand the concept of Allah’s Watchfulness over us. Developing an awareness of Allah means that we realize that NOTHING is hidden from Allah .
I’m angry, sad and disappointed with the world, the terrorists and racists.
To begin with, my condolences to the victims of Barcelona. It is horrible what has happened, and it has no justification. The world we live in today is just pathetic.
But let’s not convert this to see the Islam as the big terrorist. Islam does not represent this! Has never represented it and never will.
¨Islam means peace.¨
It is a great pity that a few retarded destroy it for the millions of other Muslims, but it is worse that we let ourselves wash our brains and believe that all Muslims are like them.
I am surrounded by Muslims 99% of my time, and I assure you that they are wonderful people. They will always welcome you, whatever you need.
They will always say goodbye to you with a “God protect you” or see you if “God wants Too”. They are respectful and polite.
It is a pity that a minority understands the Koran as a book of war, I suppose they have read the wrong version.
If you think that Islam represents terrorism, I ask you please, investigate, do not be cowards, do not believe everything they teach in the media, because they only teach what they want you to know.
We’ll never know the whole truth if it were for them.
Assalamu`alaikum dan greetings to all…
This is a retrospective story of my life. By the time you read this post, I am starting a new chapter in my nursing career. Another wish came true. Alhamdulillah… I dedicated this post to Malaysian staff nurses who plan to work in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The whole process begin since last year and here’s how it goes.
August 24, 2016 – I apply online in Melorita website and fill up the application form + attached my CV and photo.
August 29, 2016 – I received a phone call from Melorita Kuala Lumpur and they stated that they had received my CV and since I am from Sarawak, they will forward the information to Melorita Kuching.
September 6, 2016 – I saw a post in Facebook “We are hiring now for the upcoming SAUDI ARABIA DELEGATION INTERVIEW in OCTOBER 2016” and I email my CV again for the second time. In just few hours, I received an auto-generated reply from Melorita.
November 29, 2016 – I received a message from Melorita Kuching via Whatsapp asking to return back their call. Unfortunately, I was still on family vacation at Thailand.
December 5, 2016 – I am back to Sarawak and called Ms E at Melorita Kuching. She received my CV and she promised to help me to apply for a post in Intensive Care Unit, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Nowadays, it is not easy to get a job there and if I’m being offered, she advice me to take it as my first stepping stone for my career. One of her colleague, Ms F email to me 9 forms and skills checklist which need to be return as soon as possible.
December 14, 2016 – Finally, I manage to complete and provide all the documents required by Melorita. I failed to delivered the documents through email due to the file’s size were too big. So, I decided to courier the documents using PosLaju. Total cost: RM0.80 for brown envelope + RM7.20 for the weight of the documents.
December 16, 2016 – Melorita Kuching received my forms, skill checklist and copies of certificate. Any issue they will keep me updated.
January 13, 2017 – The agency contacted me few times to clarify some information about my working experience on Paediatric patient. Today, they informed me that my application has been submitted to the Head Quarters (HQ). I told them my priority will always be Saudi Arabia but I will also try to apply at UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai). Probably I have a better future there, insya-Allah.
February 15, 2017 – I received a phone call from Ms E and she stated that a hospital had received my CV and they would like to make a phone interview. Therefore, I need to decide three dates starting from today until 23 February 2017 and the time must be after 1400 hours. The dates exclude Friday and Saturday because it is holiday in KSA. At night, I replied her through WhatsApp and choose 19, 20, and 21 February at 1730 hours.
February 17, 2017 – I received a phone call from Ms E and the hospital decide to make a phone interview with me on Sunday, 19 February at 1800 hours. Some of the common questions that they will ask are introduce yourself, where and how is your current employment. Since I apply for Intensive Care Unit, they will give some scenario, asking about ventilated patient, ECG and anything about ICU nursing. Be prepared and do not pause too much like “erm” or “arr” during the interview.
February 19, 2017 – At 1759 hours, I received an international phone call from Makkah/Medina. The first caller was the hospital operator asking am I ready for my interview. I said yes and the operator said that she is going to connect me to another person. I can hear an Arabic tone which I totally do not understand. After a while, a man introduce himself in English language as Mr A from Medical/Surgical ICU. The first question that he asked, I cannot hear it very clearly because of his Arabic accent. He was asking me to introduce myself, where I work, what did I do, etc. After explained in details about my years of working experience and my jobs description in ICU, Mr A stop me and passed the conversation to a lady (which I do not remember her name). The lady asked about clinical questions. What are the cases that I handle in the ICU, difference between Acute Renal Failure and Chronic Renal Failure, what are ventilator mode that I know and describe them, what is RASS score, how to prevent VAP and the care bundle, what are the common inotropes that we use in ICU and nursing responsibilities if patient on IV Norephinephrine, what is normal ICP, what are the first things that we must check on post-operative neurosurgical patient, are you willing to work for 12 hours shift in 18 bedded ICU with multinational staff and attend cases like medical, surgical, oncology and neurosurgical, paperless hospital with no extended role, purely bed side nursing care, probation period and undergo training and education in order to be accepted in the hospital, are you BLS and ACLS certified and lastly when you can start working here? Anything they will update through my agency and they will submit the interview report to Nursing Recruitment. If I passed the interview, it will depend on how fast my agency can work on the next process. The duration of my interview was 20 minutes and 6 seconds.
February 22, 2017 – “Hi, I’m delighted to inform you that you’re being shortlisted for the position. But in order to get the official offer, you need to provide me two things dear: (1) One reference letter from your superior with hospital letter head (2) APC 2017.” Alhamdulillah… I passed the interview.
March 9, 2017 – It took 2 weeks for me to convince my superior to sign the reference letter. At this point, I cannot hide my intention anymore about my decision to resign from KKM and start working in KSA once everything is confirmed.
March 21, 2017 – I received 2 emails from the hospital about ‘Follow Us on Social Media’. Impressive! They have Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. However, I still have not received their offer letter. May Allah SWT make ease everything. Ameen.
March 30, 2017 – Alhamdulillah, finally I received an email about my offer had been issued. The position that being offered is STAFF NURSE I.P1.MEDICAL/SURGICAL ICU (Sec)-J.08).
March 31, 2017 – My agency send my offer letter via email. I need to give respond to my agency within 3 days. The employment offer is valid for one week only. Signed, scan and email them back. On the same day, my agency help to apply Certificate of Good Conduct from e-Consular and once again I received a confirmation email. From this point, I am going to receive an auto-generated emails and my agency advice not to respond except from the agency personnel. Other things I need to do is Mantoux Test and arrange an appointment to do medical check-up at BP Healtcare Kuching only.
April 5, 2017 – I send 3 original documents: Jadual Kelima Lembaga Jururawat Malaysia, Degree both English and Bahasa Melayu to my agency. I had never send such important document using PosLaju. Total cost RM7.20.
April 7, 2017 – Although I am one of the government hospital staff, I decided not to do Mantoux Test in the hospital. So, I went to the nearest PoliKlinik, get it done and come back again for reading after 72 hours. On the same day, I arranged appointment for my medical check-up in Kuching. It was not easy because I have to follow their timetable. Certain date that I pick was fully occupied and sometimes Dr not available. Once I blocked my date, I have to change my duty roster.
April 10, 2017 – Alhamdulillah, my Mantoux Test reading was negative. I also received few more documents for me to prepare and sign. 4 photos for visa application, 10 photos for iqama and 10 passport size photo for other purpose which cost me RM60.00.
April 11, 2017 – Today is my medical check-up day and I have to take a flight to Kuching. It cost me RM135.36 + RM26.00 for taxi. Prior to that, I was instructed by the BP Healthcare personnel to ‘fast’ for 8 hours but I can still drink some plain water. I also need to bring a passport size photo with white background (do not use black tudung because it will be rejected and standby 2 photos), report of my Mantoux Test and copy of MMR vaccine that I had received during my childhood. They measured weight, height, BMI, BP, HR, blood, urine, and stool investigation, colour blind and visual acuity test (with and without spectacle), chest X-ray and I’m going to receive IM injection vaccine for meningitis which can last for 3 years. Total cost RM1084.00 + RM25.00 for photos + RM30.00 for taxi + RM50.00 for bus ticket.
April 17, 2017 – I request for email verification of my qualification from my university. The email verification must be from current Head of Nursing Department, UNIMAS to the Saudi Culture email address. Alhamdulillah, I received a prompt reply and invitation to join UNIMAS nursing programme once I have had enough of globetrotting.
April 21, 2017 – I approached my Matron for verification of reference letter and this time it runs smoothly.
April 27, 2017 – My ward Sister also signed the verification letter of reference letter. Just a soft reminder, both the testimonial or reference letters must be different in terms of contain.
May 2, 2017 – I went to a private lawyer aka Commissioner for Oath accompanied by my father to sign the Statutory Declaration. Payment of RM4.00 will be charge. I also went to a private medical centre for another medical check-up in view of abnormalities in my chest X-ray. Total cost: RM80.00 for X-ray + RM80.00 for Consultation.
May 4, 2017 – I went to UNIMAS main campus at Kota Samarahan to get verification of my education certificate. I learnt that only officer at Canselory can verified document and the procedure took 3 days at Undergraduate Student Division.
May 17, 2017 – Application for Certificate of Good Conduct in Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) – Status: Completed.
May 22, 2017 – My license just came out from Malaysia Nursing Board. Next, awaiting for medical clearance from hospital before my documents can enter Saudi Culture.
May 25, 2017 – All praise to Allah SWT my medical clearance from hospital Family Medicine status: Completed.
May 29, 2017 – As my document entered Saudi Culture – Saudi Embassy – Visa Stamping, I was ordered to submit resignation letter with 30 days notice. Due to time constraint, I decided to inform my Head of Department about my resignation through email. It would be better if they hear about this news from myself rather than hear it from other people’s mouth.
June 6, 2017 – I must get a Confirmation of Employment (COE) letter and verification of employment from Human Resource Department. Another troublesome procedure as all the letters must be written in English and KKM letter always in Bahasa Melayu. My COE being rejected twice due to spelling and contain error.
June 8, 2017 – Payment SAR800 (RM931.03) done using credit card only in DataFlow Group website. Id and password will be provided by the agency. So, click Verification Services > Start Your Verification > Saudi Commission For Health Specialties > Apply > I’m an applicant > Log in. Remember! Don’t change anything in the website. Just click save and next until payment is secured. A payment receipt will be send after 48 hours.
July 1, 2017 – I’m officially unemployed.
July 4, 2017 – My education check status in DataFlow is completed. Malaysian Nursing Board and employment check status still in progress. I’m still waiting for my document to be release from Saudi Culture to Saudi Embassy before I can proceed to visa stamping.
July 6, 2017 – My employment check status: Completed. Only health license check status in progress now. Application status can be check online in DataFlow Group website. Just search by Reference Number > Saudi Commission for Health Specialties > Passport Number > Check Status.
July 17, 2017 – Alhamdulillah.. all my documents has been released by Saudi Culture. If everything runs smoothly, my agency informed me that my visa can be secured within this week.
July 20, 2017 – Somehow I am not able to check my application status in DataFlow Group. Is it because I check every hours? Anyway, my documents just came out from Saudi Embassy and will proceed with visa stamping next Monday or Tuesday. Insya-Allah, may Allah SWT make ease everything.
July 26, 2017 – “We are pleased to inform that your primary source verification has been completed. DataFlow Barcode XXXX Reference Number XXXX. Please find attached copy of the Report” – A confirmation email I received in my inbox.
August 2, 2017 – I received a shocking news from my agency today. My visa application was rejected by Saudi Embassy due to incomplete documentation done by Saudi Culture. “Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” Surah Ash-Sharh 94:6.
August 14, 2017 – My agency informed me that they have moved my documents for visa stamping for the second time this morning. Waiting for 2 weeks is so nerve wrecking. In the evening, they informed me that my entry visa is secured.
August 17, 2017 – Finally, my travelling date has confirmed on August 20, 2017 from Kuching to KL. Then, KL to KSA. Start packing all the stuff needed. Payment need to be done to the agency RM912.66 only for all the services.
August 19, 2017 – This will be my last entry from Malaysia. Just to summarize the above information – Duration: ±1 year, Total cost: +RM3 428.45. Indeed, working abroad is not an easy road. Wish me all the best readers!!!
Musa berdoa: “Ya Tuhanku! Lapangkanlah untukku dadaku. Dan mudahkanlah untukku urusanku. Dan lepaskanlah kekakuan daripada lidahku. Supaya mereka mengerti perkataanku.”
(Surah Taha 20 : 25-28)
Until we meet again.
May peace be upon you.
We said don’t let them in, you said, but they can’t swim,
You said they’re dying on the shores, we said, but they’re coming to wage a war,
We said they would bring the whole lot, but you said we were a bigot,
We said they’re forming an army, you said, we were barmy,
Who’s barmy now?
It was you who allowed,
For them to come in, and smash us from within,
With the peacefuls here, at which we now fear.
We said shut the flood-gates, you said, there’s no debate,
We said look after our own, you said, reap what you’ve sown!
You said we bombed their lands, we said, they will bring their commands,
We said that wasn’t us, you said, there’s nothing left to discuss,
We said, they will bring their way, you said, you need to pay,
For what we have done, but they’re sending their sons!
You said they were victims, the streets then turned crimson,
It was the city of romance, it was you who made us take that chance,
Whilst people were in shock, you began to mock,
We were still mourning the dead, whilst they were planning more bloodshed.
It was on Merkel’s orders to open the borders, we said they wanted slaughter, and to rape your daughters,
But you compare us to nazis, whilst they’re killing the Yazidis.
It’s now every week, but you are still asleep, soundly in your beds, whilst we count the dead,
Maybe it will take your own, to take back reap what you’ve sown.
It’s all in their book, you could still take a look,
Don’t say we didn’t warn you, when it’s your daughter,
Or your own son, who has that gun,
held to his head, will it all still be misread?
What will you do? Will you stop it coming true?
If we say don’t let them in, will you still say,
But they can’t swim?
In tribute to the people who died in the name of Allah this week.
Today any discourse on Islam unfortunately leads to a deliberation and debate on terrorism. Whenever Islam is mentioned or talked about the first thing that comes into people’s mind is terrorism and terrorists. Now that is one of the most unfortunate things that happens today. It is regrettable that religion of pacifism and modesty should be linked to sach violence and terrorism. That the perpetrators of violence and terrorism carry it out in the name of religion is blasphemous, leading to the coinage of terms such as “Islamic terrorism” , “Islamic extremism” whereas “Islam” means peace and “Muslim” means someone who submits to the will of God. Islam is not Justin identity of a religion, it is a path of Grace and harmony followed by those whom god favours.
It means any person who submits in purity to the will of God, would attain peace in his life and grace in the hereafter. He will therefore be in a state of ISLAM and be called a MUSLIM. A Muslim greets another with the salutation, ‘Salaam’ – Peace. He prays for peace, fasts for peace and does charity to attain ultimate peace. He starts a conversation with ‘Salaam’ and ends his prayers with ‘Salaam’.
“Salaam (peace) a word from the Lord,the most merciful,”
Hypocrisy in religion leads to deliberate misinterpretation of the Commandments of God. It leads to the repudiation of Islamic laws of compassion, generosity ,benevolence and forgiveness. These are the very things that form the charter of the Quran. These are the Commandments of Prophet Mohammed propagated by his family and their descendants for hundreds of years after his demise.
In today’s context there can be no Jihad in battle ,simply because there is no one person who is competent enough,learnt enough, erudite enough or universally accepted to declare Jihad. No Imam of a mosque,not even of the holy mosques of Makkah and Medina, no Sheikh or head of an Islamic state and definitely not the followers of the unlamented Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda nor the skulking one-eyed Mullah Omar of taliban have ever had any Universal religious sanction to lead Muslims into battle.
Since the time of the Prophet, there have been saboteurs and hypocrites in the rank of the Muslim Ummah. These are the modern day terrorists who have unleashed a reign of fear, tarnishing the name of ISLAM. Verses in the Quran, revealed over 1400 years ago, warned Muslims against them. Gathered under the heading of “The Hypocrites” the verses are there for all to read and take heed even today –
“THEY OBSTRUCT FROM THE WAY OF GOD,TRULY EVIL IS WHAT THEY DO.” “SO BEWARE THOU OF THEM,MAY GID ANNIHILATE THEM” – QURAN(63:2,3).
The Prophet was poisoned,His daughter Fatima was a victim of a terrorist attack when the door of her house was burnt down.The Projects brother Imam Ali was assassinated while his grandson was also poisoned.But the greatest tragedy to befaal Islam was the massacre of his youngest grandson Imam Hussain, who was mercilessly butchered by Kuni Yazid, the ruling caliph. Knowing he was marching to his death Imam Hussain advanced in a peaceful protest with sons and daughters, women and children, family and friends till he was stored in the sands of Karbala.Here after three days of thirst and hunger, he laid down his life to save and uphold the message of Prophet of peace.
This is rather a long post but I feel very strongly about these issues.
There have been two terrorist attacks using vehicles that have dominated the news this week but the reactions to each event from the hyper-moralists in Britain’s Establishment have been very different. The hysterical comments after the death of a protester in Charlottesville and the condemnation of President Trump’s foolish remarks about what happened have shown that those who claim the moral high ground in the British media absolutely love to condemn racism and bigotry, so long as it is a particular kind of racism and bigotry. The reaction to events in Barcelona – 14 killed and dozens injured – has been far more muted, with the usual calls for unity and against hatred. The Guardian has run several opinion pieces about Charlottesville highlighting the alleged “racism” of Trump’s America but choose to publish an attack on Sarah Champion and “Islamophobia” the day after Barcelona instead of condemning the violence, racism and general misanthropy of Islamism. Here’s some thoughts on these events…1/ A strange obsession with skin colour
The knuckle-dragging white supremacists demonstrating in Charlottesville share a bizarre obsession with the apostles of identity politics – they simply cannot get past the colour of another human being’s skin. Whilst white supremacists think the colour of their skin makes them somehow superior, the identity-obsessives think it makes you either a victim or a perpetrator of historical injustices. I am reminded of the Star Trek episode “Let That be Your Last Battlefield” where the crew of the Enterprise encounter the last two members of an alien society who have destroyed their planet in a race war caused by the fact that one half of the planet are black on the left and white on the right and the other half is white on the left and black on the right. We need to get past the 19th century nonsense about the various “races” of humanity. There is far more difference between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua but we are content to call them both dogs.
2/ Is racial bigotry worse than religious bigotry?
Racial bigotry certainly gets the media more upset than religious bigotry. And you’re got to feel sorry for Jewish folks. In the early to mid 20th century, racial hatred was all the rage and the Jews suffered the worst from the Nazis’ “scientific” racism. Not too many people (outside the aforementioned knuckle-draggers in Charlottesville) claim to be a “master race” these days but Jewish folks are still getting the worst of the hostility from what could be termed the “master religion.”
3/ Racism is racism
Racism is always wrong. Unfortunately, the bizarre creed of “intersectionality” means that far too many people hold people of colour to lower standards of behaviour than white people (previous post – What is White Supremacism”?). And there does appear to be a nasty racial edge in some of the sex cases that have come to light in recent years and in the fascist beliefs of the Islamists. One of the people convicted of sexually abusing girls in Newcastle is said to have commented…
“All white women are only good for one thing. For men like me to fuck and use like trash. That’s all women like you are worth.”
Sounds like racism doesn’t it? And there does seem some Arab racial supremacism in Islamism. Search “racist hadiths” if you don’t believe me. (FYI, a hadith is one of the collected sayings of the semi-historical Muhammad who allegedly “revealed” the Koran. Think of the parables ascribed to the magic carpenter in Christian mythology but with violence and hatred thrown in for good measure). These hadiths demonstrate…
Arab supremacism – “Arabs are the most noble of people in lineage, the most prominent, and the best in deeds”
intra-Arab racism – “The Arabs of the desert are the worst in Unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to His Messenger”
and a quite shocking contempt for black Africans – “Ham [Africans] begat all those who are black and curly-haired, while Japheth [Turks] begat all those who are full-faced with small eyes, and Shem [Arabs] begat everyone who is handsome of face with beautiful hair. Noah prayed that the hair of Ham’s descendants would not grow beyond their ears, and that whenever his descendants met Shem’s, the latter would enslave them.”
4/ Far Right is Far Right
The leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood, tweeted in response to the attack in Barcelona…
“Ofnadwy/terrible. Is this more far right terrorism? My thoughts are with all those affected.”
She has been criticised for trying to link Barcelona to the idiots in Charlottesville but, in fact, she is right. Islamists are “Far Right.” In fact, Islamism is by far the most right-wing ideology in the world today and far more dangerous that universally-reviled white supremacists.
5/ Rape Culture is Rape Culture
I mentioned in my introduction that the Guardian choose the day after Barcelona to mount a vicious ad hominem attack on the Labour MP for Rotherham, Sarah Champion. Champion dared to write an opinion piece in The Sun that suggested some people of Pakistani- heritage have a less than enlightened view of women. For this heresy, Champion was kicked out of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet and arraigned for the thoughtcrime of “Islamophobia.” No-one with more than half a brain (I am discounting any white supremacists out there) believes all Muslim men are child-rapists or even all men of Pakistani-heritage are child-rapists. However, there is a toxic mixture of religion, culture and misogyny that leads SOME (NOT ALL) Pakistani-heritage men to believe that they can sexually abuse white girls with impunity.
I have noticed that some of the people who are loudest in condemning Sarah Champion and others in suggesting that there may be a cultural aspect to the actions of some abusers were loudest in attacking a “campus rape culture” in American universities.
6/ We need to find a way to disagree
I dislike all religions, as I have said repeatedly on this blog from my very first post. But, at this particular point in time, it appears that conservative Islam and its fascist political offshoot Islamism are the biggest threats to the values of free speech and free thought I support. I do not believe that everyone of South Asian or Middle Eastern heritage should be labelled “Muslim” as though it is an ethnicity. Islamism must be defeated with words as well as with security. Islamists must have their repugnant views aired and repudiated not protected by false accusations of “racism.”
I think Donald Trump is unfit to be President of the United States and I think that he demeans the office once held by people such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. But some elements of media are so blinded by their hatred of Trump that they always put the worst possible spin on anything he says. If Trump said “I like cookies” at least one media outlet would run the story “Trump supports childhood obesity.”
I think Brexit is an error but I acknowledge the democratic rights of the majority of those voted in the referendum. I do not think the majority of those who vote “Leave” did so out of malice or racism.
I reject the bizarre ideology of “intersectionality” that treats people of colour as somehow less responsible for their actions than white people. I believe some of the apostles of identity politics are so blinded by ideology that they have become the racists of our time.
As far as I am aware it was not a white supremacist that barred Richard Dawkins from speaking at a university in California.
We have to find some way to disagree with one another. We must stop looking for ways to divide ourselves. We need to stop thinking up ways to label our opponents and to attempt to find common ground. Shrieking insults at people is guaranteed to get their backs up. I have no doubt that some people voted for Trump or for Brexit as a giant “f*** you” to the Establishment that hates them.
Lately, I’ve been asked one common question: Why did you become a Muslim? Rather than answering everyone individually, I decided to dedicate a post about it. After all, this space is dedicated to sharing aspects of my life, from DIY to lifestyle. Islam is part of my everyday life, and in honor of my 7th year anniversary of embracing Islam, here’s my story.
From an early age I was always a thinker and an observer. I also felt an immense emptiness inside; I could not understand why such a young girl like me would feel this way. I was intrigued by life and a very common question: Is there anything worth living for? There was a part of me, on the other hand, that had an inclination for a way of life unknown to me, a religion I had never heard of nor seen, I would get scarves and put them on my head, I would pretend I was Muslim, when I had never seen nor met one. It wasn’t until 911 that I saw a Muslim for the first time. I could not believe what was being said, and instead I tried my best to befriend any Muslim girl in my classes (they were creeped, poor kids! haha). In middle school I became friends with a Muslim girl named Nadia; I was so curious about her faith, yet too shy to ask. We were indeed too young and she was not very open about it due to the atmosphere. By the time I entered high school, I started attending a Christian church with my mom and friends, although I didn’t agree with half the things they said, nor considered myself a Christian, going to that Church was also in one way or another a gateway to Islam. I was that girl who asked too many questions and wanted to know it all. I began to do research; reading a bit about different religions, although I started focusing on Judaism slightly more. I wanted to know more about my Jewish ancestors and my roots, how they lived and what their faith taught. Fortunately, growing up, I was given the liberty by my mother to choose what I wanted when it came to faith. Thus, I studied world religions; Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, etc. In the end, the only faith that I fell in love with and answered ALL my questions was Islam. In High school I met a few Muslim students, however, I was always afraid to ask them questions or tell them that I wanted to embrace Islam. By 11th grade, I came across a Muslim at school, although not a practicing one, I thought maybe I could learn some more from an actual person, unfortunately, instead of learning Islam, I was pushed away from it. After mentioning the fact I wanted to revert to Islam, and how much I agreed with Islam, I was told I’d be a shame to Islam, that through my veins ran the blood of a Jew and I wouldn’t be welcomed. This is something I never mentioned to anyone, thinking it was unnecessary, but now I know this tiny part is quite important. That students actions were not Islamic, they were beyond what this faith teaches, incited by cultural and nationalist hate. Yet, I felt discouraged, hurt and discriminated against; I was scared and decided not to revert right away. Moving forward, I always lived worried about what my family and friends would say. I was the weird kid, doesn’t like to go out, doesn’t eat animal products, reads too much, dresses like a nun, and now I was going to add Islam to the list. I thought, great, I’ll surely never fit in. So, I kept postponing it in fear I would disappoint or be hated by them. Until one night, I finally had reached my limit; I was exhausted of living without being my true self. I remember I went on an Islamic chat, where I met another Muslim, I told him my story and why I didn’t revert, with his words of guidance I realized something, I’m not a shame to Islam, I am a creation of Allah s.w.t, He has guided me, and what would really be a shame, would be if I did not accept His guidance. It was then I realized how wrong I had been, how miserable I made myself for the simple words of a mere human, a human that had no right to judge me or anyone. I remember after this, I had decided to revert, but I kept postponing it because I didn’t know how to have the conversation with my mom. Until one night after a very beautiful dream, I woke up so convinced, I googled a mosque and I emailed them, told them I wanted to revert and waited for their response. After a day, a woman called me, the mosque turned out to be in a city far from mine, so she forwarded me to a sister in my community who then called me to schedule a meeting. Finally, I embraced Islam officially on August 19th, 2010, at exactly 1:45 pm. I said my Shahada, La ilaha ilAllah Muhammadan rasulAllah and I was a Muslim.
Islam has taught me many things since I embraced it; among the many things it has taught me kindness, forgiveness, love, respect, and patience. From the importance of seeking knowledge to helping the needy, Islam is a beautiful guide to life. Islam has answered my questions regarding life and life after death. It has given me happiness and a purpose. Seek knowledge, learn from the true source and learn correctly, do not allow culture/traditions/politics to deviate and instill hate and intolerance in your heart. No matter what we believe in, we always crave purpose and meaning, I found that through Islam. I have made many choices (many mistakes) but one thing is certain, embracing Islam and serving Allah s.w.t, is the most beautiful and important choice I ever made. Today it’s 7 years since that choice. A lot has happened since then, a lot of trials and obstacles, where I was alone in my faith and was not welcomed by many. A lot of “friends” lost and a lot of people who only accepted me if I didn’t mention Islam or wore the Hijab. But through all this, I have kept my faith. It is important to remember that the only way to live peacefully is to be yourself. Be your true self, embrace your faith and your personality and don’t be afraid of who you might lose. Only those who are truly worth staying by your side will. This is who I am, who I have been since I can remember and who I always wanted to be. I am a Muslim.
& here are my favorites Islamic quotes from Prophet Muhammad sal allahu alayhi wasalam:
Thank you for reading, Claudia.
Two types of worship happen in Taghazout, and both start by getting to your knees. Both answer a call at sunrise- the scratchy sound of a 90’s sound system blasting out the call to prayer, and the other, the crashing of a decent wave on the shore. I had arrived in Taghazout, Morocco to answer the latter. Although, I wouldn’t know what a decent wave looked like even if it hit me in the face- which, over the coming weeks, they did with an unrelenting ferocity.
Having spent most of my life with a love of the ocean, I wasn’t a stranger to surfing. I watched Blue Crush diligently, learning that surfing gives you abs and a hot boyfriend. I wore the Puka shell necklace and the baggy Billabong board shorts with pride. I even took a few lessons; frustrated when the whole class was just me flopping around on a board wedged into the sand. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that ‘surfing’ has always been on the aspirational to-do list. Perhaps even occupying a spot at the top.
However, I can’t imagine it was very high on the list for the population of Taghazout. Content with a simple existence where days spent fishing were broken up only by trips to the Mosque and bowls of steaming hot Tagine. Little did they know they were sitting on a veritable gold mine; The gold being a coastline which rolled in world-class surf every month of the year.
There would have been a moment when the first surfers rocked up in the Moroccan coastal town in their board shorts, boards wedged under their arms. In a country that regards shorts as underwear, you can only imagine what they thought of them; There’s no doubt that over cups of mint tea, they would have been the talk of the town. The town gossips would have had to move onto juicier topics though because the late 60’s and 70’s saw Taghazout becoming a favourite stop on the Moroccan Hippie trail. Of course, this was inevitable especially when you consider the area was fast becoming known for its cheap and plentiful hash. When Jimi Hendrix gave the place a tick of approval- his song Castles Made of Sand was supposedly written about the area- he sealed the town’s fate, and the VW’s came in droves.
I arrived, not in a clanking VW, but folded into a taxi after making the three-hour bus drive from Marrakesh. The blue and white mosque marks the town centre. The door to the mosque, wooden and heavy, and completely off limits to me and all women. Adjacent to the door, the local Tagine store with its fiery pots of food, and next to that, a surf shop. Nothing could sum up Taghazout better than this trifecta of shops.
Taghazout is a Berber (Amazigh), not Arab, village. Forget to make the distinction, and you will be kindly reminded. Pride in their Berber origins has not changed as the locals swapped out their Djellabas for boardies and bleached hair.
As the indigenous people of North Africa, to be confused as Arabs, the people who oppressed and alienated them, is an insult. But the mistake, often born out of ignorance, has lost its sting. The Berbers are just used to it. While Berbers make up half of Morocco’s population, it’s only recently their culture and language have been officially recognised. Like many oppressed minorities, Berber’s have cultivated a fiercely independent spirit- many prefer to be called ‘Amazigh’ or ‘the free people’; A pursuit they have in common with wave seekers all over the world.
But in spite of the Berber pride, the majority have turned to Islam. Before the spread of Islam, Berber groups were Christian, Jewish or Animist- some still are- but in Taghazout life moves around the Mosque in the centre of town. While the men of the village shuffle towards the place of prayer, they bump shoulders with pink-skinned tourists looking to rent a board at one of the local surf shops.
It was in a group of these pink-skinned wave seekers that I first stood up on a wave. Like dishes in a dishwasher, we allowed ourselves to be scrubbed raw by the sea floor and our eyes to become prickly with the salty water. Our pursuit was noble, but our attempts floundering.
My board was as wide and long as they come; A garish yellow beast that earned itself the nickname ‘the banana’. But after a few tumultuous lessons, I was standing amongst the wash on my banana with pride. The quick downfall of my surfing career came swiftly after as my surf teacher stubbornly refused to graduate me onto the blue (less embarrassingly large) surf boards. My peers moved on to bigger breaks, bumping fists when they caught a good wave. With my absolute inability to determine a good surfing wave and a few harsh words from my teacher, I resigned myself to the fact that maybe surfing and I was never meant to be. But like any scorned lover, I imagine that one day I’ll pick it up again, and we’ll magically work. Maybe when those abs finally pop through.
The word ‘freedom’ gets thrown around a lot. Uttered when leaving our desks for the weekend, at the end of a divorce, or that first break away from the city on a new road trip. Yet, I’m not sure we know what it means. We see glimpses of it sometimes. In the months where we throw away our phones, and in days with no shoes and sandy feet. It’s always just within our reach, brushing the tips of our fingers. Taghazout is a closed iron fist that has grasped freedom; A place where it hasn’t yet slipped away. It’s a burning identity, a refusal to let go, and a perfect, green wave rolling into shore.