Saturday, May 29, 2004

Revenge of the Secular Muslims!

A touch of that Old-Time Secularism has suddenly appeared in the writing of Raed Jarrar. I had never heard Raed speak openly before about his secularism until yesterday. And then not once but twice did he reveal this scarlet letter to the unsuspecting reader. At Raed in the Middle, Raed recalls:

I was telling a French friend yesterday how miserable I feel, as a secular Muslim, when I see the current Iraqi political status. I find myself marginised, as a leftist, by both the American administration and by the main stream of local right winged mood.

Bush is helping extremist fundamentalists hijack the flag of Islam from people like me and niki.


As a secular Muslim? Marginalized? As a leftist? People like me and Niki?! Where did all of this come from? Is he trying to impress his "lady"? A Rebel with a Cause? Me and Niki against Big Brother?! Me and Niki against the World?! Me and Niki against the Capulets?!

Well, let's take a stroll over to Raed's new project called Raed and the Irani, a partnered blog with an Iranian woman named Niki -- and yet another blog without comments pages and Raed at the helm. Raed first discusses Sistani's position in Iraq. Raed writes:

Sistani is a social and spiritual leader, that used to live in Iraq even in the time of the Iraqi government and Saddam, and he didn’t have any kind of influence or political ideas.

When the bush administration occupied the country, I think some of their consultants advised them to be more “culturally sensitive” and they decided to start sucking up for Sistani, the thing that bumped him like a balloon.

I don’t believe, at all, that Sistani have a real influence or power on the ground, and I prefer, as a secular Muslim, not to give him more weight.


Over at Raed and the Irani, Raed slouches behind sunglasses, reveling in his Outsider status. People, the signs must have been there all along, yet we failed to accept or admit what was right in front of our eyes. Raed, our passionate, cynical, and sarcastic young man has become a . . . BEATNIK!


UPDATE: Yesterday I sent an email to Faiza Jarrar in which I told her that she and her husband had raised three interesting sons. You can tell Azzam thinks of his family first and Faiza has labored for years to bring her sons up the right way. I also told her that although I may be critical of her views, I hope the best for Iraq and all Iraqis. This morning I got an email from her. Faiza replied:

well thank you Jeffrey..
I hope you are doing good for Iraqis..
and be a friend for them..
you know, we don`t need more enemies
just kidding
hope you good work
and thank you for the nice feelings about our family
take care
faiza

Thanks, Faiza. We all hope that your family's and your country's future is bright and prosperous.

The meeting of family and politics is strange. This summer my parents will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. They raised eight children, always sacrificing themselves for us. As life-long Democrats, their sympathies lie with any Democratic candidate. My Mom is conflicted about what to do on November 4, while my father -- for odd personal reasons -- cannot stand George Bush. We agree to disagree and learn to tread carefully during our political debates.


ANOTHER UPDATE: Niki, Raed Jarrar's "friend," stopped by the Comments Pages and dispelled the rumor that she was Ferdowsi.


CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT: This blog is in search of a new name. We have decided to be a blog for discussing any Iraqi-related matter and ALL the Iraqi Bloggers. So we need a name. Post your name-ideas on the Comments Pages please. Many posters have already started. Spiderhole Gazette? Iraqi Tablog News? Wacky Iraqi Tobacky Lacky?? (Scott?) ... Bring both your intelligence and wit -- no matter for what reason these qualities are considered immeasurable -- to this endeavor. We'll run it through the holiday weekend and perhaps by Monday night we'll have a winner.

Connie suggests Iraqi-palooza.
Scott writes:

I'll keep working on it, Jeffrey. Now, I am liking Iraqi bloggermania or Iraqi bloggerfest or The Iraqi bloggerdome.... or something kinda pro-wrestling-like.... Something that'll make people wanna show up wearing lycra tights.....

Lycra tights? Jeffrey, don't go there.


STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Over at Raed and the Irani, the Letter N tackles the "secular Muslim" issue:

your comments here and in your main blog about being a secular muslim (something i remember you explicitly labeled yourself even when you were blogging with Salam Pax), has really thrown people off.

Check out her thoughts over there. Then come on back and discuss, if you are so inclined.



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