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January 27, 2008

The Grass Still Isn't Any Greener...

Bismillah Below is a blog post I found over at Suhaib Webb's blog...and my response... Ma'Salaama, `Aishah Social Worker Seeks Muslim Family To Adopt Child January 26th, 2008 Hi. I’m a social worker and counselor working with a young Somalian woman who wants to find a Muslim family to adopt her coming child. She is telling me that she doesn’t want a Somalian family or African-American family (for very complicated reasons) and is hopeful to find a Muslim family of another background. I’m interested in networking for ALL Muslim adoptive couples regardless of cultural/racial background to present to her- any ideas? I’m having a very difficult time finding any families, so any suggestions are welcome… Heather Van Brunt, M.Ed., LSW Pregnancy Counselor Children’s Home Society and Family Services 2230 Como Avenue St. Paul, MN 55108 651-255-2410 mailto:hvanbrunt@chsfs.%20org Assalamu Alaikum,

How tragic to read that you are finding difficulty in garnering volunteers to step-up-to-the-plate to ensure that this child is raised in a Muslim home. I weep sometimes for the state of the Muslim ummah...a classic example came just last night. I was walking home from the market just after dark and I paused to speak to a shop owner near my apartment building (in Egypt). It happened that I knew someone who owed a small debt to the shop owner, and I wanted to take care of it; ironically, as I paused-for-the-cause, three women, all clothed in abayas and hijabs, were also passing by just a little further up the street, when suddenly everyone heard screaming! One of the women had just been robbed of her pocketbook! The screaming woman ran into a nearby apartment building (I would assume she lived there), one stood in the street in shock, and the third one ran after the thief! Subhan'Allah. But the most shocking thing of all was this: There I stood, one man beside me; four men behind me; and at least a dozen men who had poured out of shops in the vicinity, and not a single one moved to follow behind the WOMAN in order to catch the thief. Every one of them just stood there gawking, talking among themselves and smoking cigarettes.

La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah.

I get fussed at for being a shut-in of sorts...but is merely eyes hurt me every time I do venture out... Ma'Salaama,

`Aishah Schwartz

January 13, 2008

The Closing Comments of This Article Speak Volumes...

Was This An Honor Killing?  
Dallas Morning News Sunday, January 13, 2008  

The closing comments of this article speak volumes...

It would be preposterous to believe that all, or even most, Muslim men are wife-beating brutes. But it also would be irresponsible to ignore the cultural and religious teachings that create an environment in which females who don't behave as males command deserve to suffer. And it would be immoral not to confront them.

The Said girls had a funeral at the Dallas Central Mosque. One imam talked about the primary importance of the family in Islam and of the responsibility parents have to keep their families strong. These are arguments used to justify honor killing. But if a word against honor killing – or violence against women – was spoken in English at that service, no one heard it.  

AMERICA'S MOST WANTED: Yaser Abdel Said, Irving, TX (Murder; 2 Counts) Slain Yaser Said Sisters Mourned at Burial Services Islam and Honor Killings  

One of the gravest charges levied against Islam, in terms of its alleged antipathy towards women, is the claim that it encourages a phenomenon known as 'honor killings'…

January 12, 2008

PERSPECTIVE: Mothers and Fathers Who Murder...It Isn't Just a 'Muslim Thing'

In light of recent 'honor killing' headlines, i.e., Aqsa Parvez of Canada, and the Said sisters, Amina and Sarah of Texas, and the negative impact these tragic stories inevitably has on the Muslim community at-large, I just thought it was equally important to point out that headlines such as these know no boundaries. It isn't just a 'Muslim thing'. RELATED National Declaration by Religious and Spiritual Leaders to Address Violence Against Women Mothers and Fathers Who Murder Recent String of Family Killings Points to Commonalities in Homicidal Parents WASHINGTON (ABCNews) Jan. 10, 2008 - In separate and horrific incidents, a mother and father in different parts of the United States were accused this week of killing their children in two apparent group murders that shocked their respective communities. The killings appear to be the most recent in a disturbing series of family-related murders, sometimes murder-suicides, which criminologists and forensic psychiatrists call familicides. A woman found in her Washington, D.C., home with the decomposing bodies of four girls was charged Thursday with four counts of first-degree murder. Banita Jacks, 33, who is thought to be the mother of the four youths, who ranged in age from 5 to 17, faces up to life in prison if convicted. Jacks told police the children were "possessed by demons" and had died in their sleep, court documents say, according to the Associated Press. In the small town of Bayou La Batre, Ala., a father was charged with four counts of capital murder Wednesday for allegedly throwing his four kids, all age 3 and under, off a bridge. Rescue workers said the children could not have survived and they're attempting to find the bodies. Police say Lam Luong, 37, confessed to the crime, though his attorney said that Luong denied killing them and he was coerced by police into making a false confession The attorney, Joe Kulakowski, told ABC News that he believed the children were not, in fact, thrown off the bridge and were still alive. Last year, ABC News spoke with several medical and forensic experts about familicides. They said then that men and women are often motivated to kill their children for different reasons. Unlike men, who often are driven to familicide by feelings that they have failed to adequately provide for their kids, women often kill their children out of a delusional sense of altruism. Authorities in Washington said they were operating on the assumption that Jacks was the mother of the four girls whose bodies were found in her house, though they did not have conclusive proof. Marie Pierre-Louis, the medical examiner, said the bodies were probably in Jacks' house more than 15 days, "based on the insects that were found there." The cause of death was unclear, though Pierre-Louis said at a news conference today that it appeared that the eldest girl may have been stabbed and that the others may have been asphyxiated. Jacks faces four murder charges and up to life in prison if convicted. She was ordered held without bond on Thursday. "I don't think anyone in the city can remember a case involving this many young people who have died in such a tragic way," Mayor Adrian Fenty said. In the Alabama case, police think Luong threw the children, who ranged in age 4 months to 3, from the bridge after an argument with his wife, The Associated Press reported. Luong had a crack cocaine possession charge pending in Georgia, and his wife's brother-in-law described Luong as a drug addict, according to the AP. Some men and women who kill their children, forensic psychologists and criminologists told ABC News, tend to be severely depressed or psychotic and do not simply "snap" but usually have long histories of mental illness. In June, wrestler Chris Benoit made headlines when he killed his wife, his 7-year-old son and himself in the family's Fayetteville, Ga., home. Benoit's wife, Nancy, 43, and son, Daniel, were each found in different rooms and were believed to have been killed days before the wrestler took his own life. Less than a week before the Benoit killings, New Jersey engineer Thomas Reilly and California businessman Kevin Morrissey each decided to kill their children and then themselves. Reilly, 46, drowned his two young daughters, ages 5 and 6, in the bathtub of their Montclair, N.J., home before hanging himself from the attic rafters. Morrissey, 51, shot his wife and two daughters in a parked car at a popular park near Berkeley, Calif., before turning his .357 handgun on himself. Police investigating the deaths of Morrissey and his family said they found a note in which he said he was distressed over the family's financial situation. Morissey ran a skin-care clinic with his wife, Mamiko Kawai, 40. The couple's two daughters were Nikki Morrissey, 8, and Kim Morrissey, 6. Phillip Resnick, a psychiatry professor at Case Western Reserve University, said Morrissey may have been "severely depressed and believed his family was similarly miserable. He was ending the entire family's pain." "Money is often an issue. The man sees himself as a breadwinner and may feel like he has to take the whole family out with him," Resnick said. Local, state and federal agencies do not specifically track familicides, and discrepancies in the way the crimes are classified make getting an accurate count difficult. ----------------------- Fair Use Notice This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. 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January 11, 2008

Cat Tales Part II

Sakinah was initially fiercely angry with me the first two days after Jessica's arrival, oh my! Al-hamdulillah, by the end of the third day, was warming up to momma again, and by the fourth day back in my lap purring. *smile* Momma happy. *lol*

Around the third day, after being chastised numerous times for biting Jessica a little too aggressively, Sakinah decided it was okay to play nice. Al-hamdulillah. Today they have been playing like best friends - what a relief!

Another observation. The first two days I had to feed Sakinah and Jessica from separate bowls. On the first day Sakinah even tried to run Jessica off from her own bowl, but I was sitting nearby on the floor monitoring all eating activity, so Sakinah learned she wasn't going to get away with any nasty business. Then, subhan'Allah…last night I could not believe my eyes! I prepared a fresh dish of IAMS dry kitten food with a little bit of tuna fish mixed in. When I had the tuna blended in nicely, I decided to spread the mixture out onto a plate; hoping maybe Sakinah would let Jessica share. Subhan'Allah, subhan'Allah, tuna fish smell and all, Sakinah sat down on the floor to the right of where I was sitting, and let Jessica eat first!!! Wallahi!!! Talk about being a proud momma!

The other day I bought a cute, padded traveling case for my pair of sweeties. Jessica already knew what that was all about, but to Sakinah it was like a foreign object to be eyed with the utmost suspicion, for sure! To help alleviate Sakinah's discomfort, I left the travel case out on the floor with the front door open - to be freely investigated at whim. In the first two days Jessica used the back end of travel case to hide from Sakinah - *lol* - which worked, because Sakinah wouldn't dare to enter! Ha! But, subhan'Allah (again!), this morning, Sakinah is dashing in and out of the case playing hide-and-seek with Jessica!

Commercial Break: Jessica learned today not to put her little nose into anything that smells like coffee…Ouch! Hot! *lol*

She is also learning the house rules; a sharply spoken "La!" unequivocally means "No!", and any of the numerous cords dangling in the vicinity of mommy's desk are off limits for nibbling. *smile* Wallahi! This morning my astonished eyes actually witnessed Sakinah making Jessica get away from the cords! Wallahi! After the first time, it happened a second time, and all I could do was sit here thinking, "Subhan'Allah..." (It's just been a Subhan'Allah kind of morning, sa?)

However, despite the fact that Jessica is learning not to nibble on electrical cords, she still enjoys nibbling on my fingers. *smile*

I initially set out a secondary kitty toilet box considering that it might take Jessica a little while to learn the lay of the new land, so-to-speak, and I am happy to report that it seems she is taking the lead from Sakinah in using the main box, Al-hamdulillah. Why Al-hamdulillah? Because I've accidentally hit the back-up box with the toe my foot twice, sending loose litter scattering all over the floor. Grrrr! Double that 'grrrr' when you add the pain factor... I will happily retire said box.

Jessica got a bath last night. She squirmed uncomfortably for a minute, before deciding to relax her upper body in my left hand as the warm water flowed down over her back, along with the shampoo. Apparently she decided the warm water felt pretty good. *smile* I wrapped her up in a towel for a little bit, gently rubbing out the excess moisture from her furry little body, before letting her finish the grooming job herself. I purposely did this around bedtime because I felt sure she wouldn't mind snuggling up next to me for extra warmth, and before long all three of us were fast asleep.

Sakinah has worn Jessica out this afternoon racing up and down the hallway, so she is now curled up on a chair in the sitting room. Another observation; Sakinah has never fancied any of the furniture in that room, but I find Jessica perched in the middle of a chair cushion often.

The Jummah shout-fest between the mosques has commenced and Sakinah is protesting by meowing and bouncing off the furniture here in my office. Can't say as I blame her…I want to turn the sound off, too! Astifurgallah Al-Azeem. And Al-hamdulillah that I am not a man, as Muslim men are required to attend Jummah services, whereas for women it is optional. Having to sit toe-to-toe on the floor in a crowded mosque subjecting myself to the abusive noise coming from the lecturer is not my idea of a pleasant way to spend Jummah.

Sakinah says it's a good time for a nap. I agree.

January 08, 2008

Aishah's Baby Brag Book

Assalamu Alaikum! Broke down after 5-years and got a new kitten. Named it on the 2nd day (Sakinah)...4 weeks later...I discovered it was a boy - not a girl! *lol* But he/she learned his/her name the first day...thought of changing it...but he/she's stuck with it...and a complex to boot, I'm sure! *lol* She is abyssian by heritage (it's an Egyptian thing going back 4,000 years!). In some photos you can see the distinguishing black circle (like a frame) around the outer part of the green in her eyes. It was funny, the other day I was outside at the Yacht club over here on the Mediterranean Sea with some friends having lunch, and there were a few stray cats roaming around looking for handouts. Two of them were beside me at one point, and I paid closer attention to their eyes...looking for the black circle around the green color (they both had green eyes) - but neither cat had it like Sakinah. She/he *lol* is really a handful, I'll tell ya. The characteristics and personality traits described for the aby cat are all there, but with Sakinah two are different. It says that abys aren't usually talkers or lap cats...but Sakinah talks up a storm, purrs like crazy, and can't stay out of my darn lap! Sometimes in the morning I wake up and she is sitting on my chest, curled up, looking dead into my eyes as if to say, "It's about darn time! I'm ready to play!" Favorite past-time: gnawing on my right forearm as if it were corn-on-the-cob; got the perpetual healing scratches and bite marks to prove it. Geez...what we will do/tolerate for the love of a critter... But I have to admit...even though I was totally unsure the first two or three days...(boy, I was nervous)...I mean...I wasn't sure I was ready...when Benji died I was crushed...and it can still make me cry if I think about I didn't know if I wanted to let myself go there again with a new cat...but I guess that's all history now! Anyhow, it's been nice to have this little one running around here - and let me tell ya, wherever I am, there she gotta be! But she has learned not to move too quickly; it's funny! She used to jump every time I moved, but now she's got it figured out that 9 times out of 10, if she chills out and waits a few minutes, I come right back to where I left her - and even though she doesn't move, when I reappear, her head is upright and looking expectantly for my arrival - and she sleeps on the rug near the apartment door waiting for me to return to say welcome home. We play hide-and-seek, too. Most of the time I get the other day she surprised the daylights out of me and GOT ME! I stood in the hallway laughing my tail off; it was too funny. She is always doing her little Halloween cat dance up to me when she wants to play. She'll bounce from the floor to the chair next to my desk. Pause on the arm of the chair with her hair-raising pose, and then pounce up onto the corner of my desk to the right of my laptop and, ears flat against her head freeze-frame - staring me down. I just look at her and say, "Who do you think you're talking to?" *lol* and she'll fly off the corner of the desk and race out of the room, down the hallway - for a minute. *lol* Then she's back again; tempting me to chase after her. And I actually do sometimes. Don't want any hidden cameras catching that action! *lol* OMG... I was told by her namesake that the name Sakinah means peace and tranquility...but I wondered why my Egyptian friends' eyes would pop when I shared the name with them...turns out that in Egypt there is a famous mass-murderer who's name was SAKINAH! intentions were good!!!

FYI...about a month into this relationship...*lol*...I discovered that Sakinah is a BOY! And that's the end of THIS cat tale! *lol* Ma'Salaama! `Aishah