The Israeli-Palestinian YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus

Israeli and Palestinian high school students sing side by side.

Israeli and Palestinian high school students sing side by side.

Yesterday, we went to see the performance by the Israeli-Palestinian YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus at the Kennedy Center in DC. Our dearest M1 has been guiding us around in DC to see some of the attractions and so far masha’Allah, we have been having a wonderful time. This performance was one of those times. Micah Hendler, founder and director of the chorus, is right. Seeing Israelis and Palestinians sing side by side does give one the warm fuzzies – peace is possible. These are high school students performing in this chorus. The group sang it all – Arabic songs, Hebrew songs and the Prayer of St. Francis. They also did their take on some pop songs such as Home by Phillip Phillips and an Adele number. I liked their version of Home and the St. Francis prayer. In the end, Mr. Hendler made all the audience sing by giving them alto, base and soprano versions of similar phrases. All the room sang at once. It was fun. Alhumdulillah! In the end, as the Arab chorus members were leading the audience in singing, they thought we were the only Arabs with our hijabs and such. FJ said, ‘Maafi arabi’ – ‘Sorry, no Arabic.’ :) which makes you wonder if there were other Muslims (perhaps Arabs) in the room, the visiting chorus members never identified them. Muslim getup is a good thing when you are a Muslim. We get a lot of ‘Assalamoalekums’ in DC mostly from non-Muslims. Alhumdulillah!


Project Downtown DC

Project Downtown DC is a local chapter of Project Downtown whose mission is to come together with Muslim Student Associations to prepare and distribute food amongst the homeless. This June 20, on the third day of Ramadan, MSA students of George Washington University and other volunteers prepared sandwich bags and distributed them to the homeless in Franklin Park, DC. Project Downtown DC will be holding arranging food distribution events on a weekly basis in Ramadan. Here are some photos of the event.

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I wait to get into an apartment in a city in USA while my daughter unlocks the main building key. A black man that was already waiting at the door without a key, steps in along with us. We trail the man not getting in front of him in case he is dangerous. Is this man a thief or a criminal?

I walk, carrying groceries along with my children, to our apartment when I pass a pickup truck standing in a driveway. A white male sits in the driver seat. Why is this man sitting in a stopped truck? Why doesn’t he get out? Why does he stare at us? Does he have a gun? Will he shoot us all?

Two hijabi women (one me and one my daughter) walk with another Muslim but non-hijabi female (my daughter as well) to an Iftar party. Quite a few people see them walking. Why are some of them wearing head coverings? Are they carrying bombs? Will they blow someone up?


World leaders accused of shameful failure over refugee crisis | World news | The Guardian

This seriously worries me. I see scores of people trying to reach Europe with many drowning while trying to do so. Europe can’t take them all – that is a reality. So what needs to be done? I think an all earnest effort is needed by the world to create opportunities in Africa plus end all the wars driven by powers with their own vested interests. Is this the end of the world? I don’t know but this refugee situation sure makes me nervous. ~AJ

World leaders accused of shameful failure over refugee crisis | World news | The Guardian


The parallels of Gender Identity Disorder and Racial Identity Disorder

The transgender-ism of Caitlyn Jenner has moved over to the back burner while the trans-racial-ness of Rachel Dolezal has come to the forefront. I find a lot of similarity between the cases of Jenner and Dolezal. One is a person who is/was a male while internally identifying as a female. The other is a person that is white but identifies as a black. The media doesn’t see it that way. While praising one (Jenner), they bash the other (Dolezal).

If the people would only object towards the lies that Dolezal told about herself i.e. calling her adopted brother a son, or calling her white father a step-father or lying about her ethnicity (calling herself a mix of black, Native Indian and white races) when she was a purely White, I would be completely on-board about Dolezal’s deception. But when people start objecting about why Dolezal would feel black when she is in-fact white, at a time when gender identity disorder is considered acceptable, it baffles me. If a person could be confused about their gender, why can’t they be confused about their race?

It is quite a possibility that Dolezal has never been confused about her identity and as in the movie, Soul Man, where C. Thomas Howell lies about his race to qualify for a minority scholarship, she deceived people to qualify for certain black positions. But by looking at her past, it is obvious that she has cared a lot about black issues and it seems that it was confusion about her own racial identity (just like people are confused about their gender identity) that led to the deception.

Perhaps, I just see the good in her besides the obvious deception and see her position in a complete parallel with other identity disorders that get a pass. So I say, look at what she has achieved for the blacks and if that is enough that we could ignore the instances where she lied about who see was, maybe we can move beyond why she identifies as black.


Quranic Verse of the Day – God made us into different tribes to know each other

I feel exhilarated today, masha’Allah. M2 has graduated from high school and we are celebrating that tomorrow, insha’Allah. We have invited some of M2’s friends’ families tomorrow for lunch, besides others. One of them is a South Indian Hindu family. So this verse from the Quran [49:13] comes at an important time. Allah wants us all to understand each other. The haters from Muslims and non-Muslims that exploit Islam to make it out to be a religion of hate are wrong.

This verse is addressed to the mankind (Anaas) and not to people who believed (Al-Mumineen). Thus, it’s clear that Allah in this verse addresses Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In fact, the message of Quran is for all humanity and whenever Allah needs to address believers alone, he makes it clear as is apparent from previous verses of the same chapter [49:9-12] (published on this blog).

The essence of 49:13 is that Allah made us into different races, cultures, nations, tribes, etc. so that we may know one another and try to understand each other and not so that we try to annihilate and massacre each other. The most noble amongst all these people that Allah created will be the ones that do the best deeds.

Haters/spin masters chew on that.

[49:13, quran.com, Translation: Sahih International]



O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.


Quranic Verse of the Day – Do not ridicule, insult, call names, make negative assumptions, spy or backbite


O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.


O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.