RAMA-WHAT?

Thoughts

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is considered a Holy month by Muslims across the globe. Muslims endure a month of daily fasting in order to honor the first time the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him), according to Islamic belief. This month lasts 29–30 days based on the sightings of the crescent moon.

This year, Ramadan begins on June 6 and lasts until July 5. We celebrate the end of Ramadan with the religious holiday Eid al-Fitr (or just Eid).

I Felt Numb After Watching 13 Reasons Why

Thoughts

For those of you who have been living under a rock with Patrick Star, Selena Gomez has produced a Netflix original series — an adaptation of the Jay Asher novel, 13 Reasons Why. The entire plot revolves around suicide. If you are sensitive to this issue, consider this a trigger warning, in which case, please do not read on. Also *SPOILER ALERT* if you haven’t seen/completed the show.

This post is a response to this article written by a psychotherapist.

Are You Afraid of a Little Meat?

Thoughts

No need to be scared of halal meat. Don’t worry, halal meat in no way funds or sponsors ISIS and neither are any of us halal meat-eating muslims pledging allegiance to them by eating this healthy meat. Halal meat is simply cut in a way that provides minimal physical and emotional pain to animals (hence, no other animals must be present while the butcher slaughters their friend). Draining the bad blood (preach, T-Swift) from animals rids them of many diseases that we may potentially ingest otherwise.

Halal meat is required to be slaughtered for consumption, which means you can’t just pick up roadkill somewhere and serve that on a platter. And don’t fear the “prayer” that the butchers read. It’s not some kind of black magic voodoo. They just bless the meat by saying “God is great” and then thanking God for his wonderful creations and the food he has provided us. It’s kind of like saying grace, but to bless the entire process of making the meat until (and after) it reaches your super markets.

Being scared of halal meat makes you as ridiculous as this woman here:

Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Her Formula for Awesome

Thoughts

I recently had the privilege of meeting renowned Australian TED Talk speaker, Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Looking at that gorgeous feature photo of her, what kind of person do you think she is?

An oppressed woman trudging through the world wearing colorful scarves to alleviate her every day pain of being a woman? Is she a musician? An artist? An activist?

The Orlando Shooting: Little Did We Know

Thoughts

It was like any other day when I woke up on Sunday morning. I sat up in my bed, groggy  and a tad bit hungry since I was fasting for Ramadan. My first instinct was to check my phone, as if I am immobile unless I am constantly updated. I checked my e-mail hoping to hear back from an online magazine I had applied to write for. No luck.

“Oh my God, my group chat is blowing up again. These people stay up all night talking about who knows what,” I thought to myself. Little did I know that America had its deadliest mass shooting a few hours before, in the city of Orlando.

I grabbed my laptop and scanned the headlines sprawled across Yahoo News. The first thought that sprung to my mind was “Please don’t tell me the shooter was Muslim.” We already get so much loathing from several people as it is. We don’t need psychopaths stirring up any more trouble for us.

Omar Mateen. Such a beautiful Arabic name, meaning long-lived, powerful, and eloquent speaker. It’s a shame the shooter didn’t know how to live up to it. If his heart was suffused with that much rage against the LGBTQ community, why not post a Facebook rant? Worst comes to worst, he may have lost a few online friends. Not literally.

This man was enraged when he saw two men kissing at Pulse night club that night. What did we assume? We assumed he was a radically religious man who wanted to put an end to something he hated, gays. But what we didn’t know was that this man wasn’t as religious as he seemed. If he was, he wouldn’t have picked up his Sig Sauer MCX that day and snatched the innocent souls out of 49 bodies ruthlessly. But what did we do wrong? Assume. We assumed his motives before we had any evidence. Just because he was a “Muslim”.

Little did we know that he was gay. All the dating apps he used prove it, but this man was too cowardly to come to terms with it. Sources say that most of the people he reached out to blocked him because he was too emotionally unstable. Maybe he was furious at the men he saw not because he was repulsed, but because he was jealous. Little did we know that he was trying to fight his inner demons and get rid of his homosexuality that he didn’t want to deal with. So he took out his gun and killed the joyous spirits of those who accepted themselves and were proud of their identities.

I am proud of who they were because they put smiles on faces, loved one another, formed a community to withstand the hate that society throws their way, and they owned up to who they were. My condolences go out to their friends, families, and loved ones who are grieving.

Omar Mateen was not a human, nor were his actions Islamic.

 

Watch the emotional story of Orlando shooting survivor, Patience Carter here .

Are You Scared of Me?

Self, Thoughts

I am a Muslim and I have dreams and aspirations just like you.

Shortly after I was born in Missouri, my parents moved us frequently during my childhood till my dad could get a stable engineering job and till we found the perfect “home” that met all our needs. New Jersey was wonderful. I grew up there with the few cousins I have in America and I immensely crave that sense of family and homeliness.

New Jersey was too cold and pneumonia every winter wasn’t something I looked forward to every year. On the day of my 8th birthday, we hopped into our Denim Blue Mica Toyota Sienna to drive to Texas, where my dad found his ideal job. Houston is my home now and I wouldn’t want to have been raised anywhere else. I am taken aback by the beauty of this city, it’s cultural diversity, and friendly Texans who ride horses to school (don’t tell me you fell for that).

Since I was a child, I always knew I would do something artistic in life. My dream has always been to go into the film industry and it still is. Now that I started wearing a headscarf two weeks ago, I am putting acting on the hold, but I can always direct films. For now, I am focusing on becoming a journalist. It’s not going to be easy at all but this is a choice I made for myself. Not going to lie, I question my decision more frequently than I should. But I know that this scarf only makes me unique and stronger.

Maybe I am one step behind in my career. However hard others have to persevere to break into the journalism industry, I have to try twice as hard just to convince people I am capable before they even consider looking at the resume I so carefully put together. That doesn’t stop me from pursuing my dreams. I am going to strive just so I can put an end to this discrimination and make life easier for headscarf-wearing women all over the country.

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This one article of clothing changes everyone’s perception of me and I don’t understand why. I am still the same quirky, funny (at least I think I am), creative, ambitious and generous person I was two weeks ago when no one even assumed I am Muslim at first glance. Come on, I am that girl who cries when she sees an animal in pain.

My parents are somewhat lenient in these kinds of things and I am so grateful for them. Not once have they pressured me into doing something I don’t want, so don’t tell me I am oppressed. What is oppression? Merriam Webster defines oppression as “the state of being subject to unjust treatment or control.” The only people oppressing me are those people denying me jobs in a career I know I am skilled in. It sure as hell isn’t my religion.

And for those people who randomly shout “Allahu Akbar” at the Muslims they see, does anyone actually know what it means? It means “Allah (our name for the same God Christians believe is Jesus’s Father, just through the preachings of their own religion) is greatest.”Atheists and people of other religions, you do you. I still respect and love you as humans.

Just because stereotypically, terrorists scream this phrase before murdering innocent people like us (because they psychotically think that’s what God wants them to do) doesn’t mean “Allahu Akbar” is a bad phrase that you say to insult Muslims. You can kill someone saying “Potatoes.” Does that make potatoes bad? No. I still love my french fries. And you know what? God is awesome. So Allahu Akbar. I wish peace for every one of you and I hope all of you are given all the happiness you can ask for.

 

Do I still scare you?

How about now?

Please share this on your social media. Change must start now. Let’s end this struggle together.

Meet This Ten-Year-Old Journalist

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Young reporter Janna Jihad, 10, sets an example for all of us. She saw evil so she set out to inform the world about it, hoping it will provoke us to make change. This girl has a spark like no other. She is a dreamer, but she takes action. I believe it is possible for her to go to Harvard to study journalism and she will get that position at CNN or Fox.

Pray for the struggling souls in Palestine. No human deserves to die that way.

Started using my Instagram. Make sure to follow me @rafafarihah

Complete Yourself

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The empty canvas stares, mocking her

fears meant to be poured out as vibrant splatters.

Beastly secrets seething in the artist’s soul gather,

pounding on the doors of Hell, summoning to be released.

Into a dream of fairy tales and lovers’ sacred decree.

 

The artist must choose, a life of murder or letting go.

Release the demons within, and row

the boat in a river of untouched goals.

She escapes to become one with God, her savior truly.

Takes off like a bird, and revels in the world’s trivial beauties.

 

Travel this game of life one place at a time,

Roll the dice and see where you go,

like a drop of rain before the rainbow.

Expand the bounds of your horizons, illuminate them with pastel.

Go conquer your fears, and complete yourself.

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Follow me on Instagram @rafafarihah

America’s Got Talent: Now the World Knows Her Name

Thoughts

Here come’s Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. The latest episode featured 12-year-old Grace VanderWaal singing an original song, “I Don’t Know My Name.” At first glance, this adorable little girl from New York seems like she can steal our hearts with a cute song. But she definitely shocked the judges and America in a much different way. Just as the ukulele finished her touching song, she received a standing ovation from Cowell, Mandel and Klum.

“I think you are living, beautiful, walking miracle,” Mandel said before giving her the golden buzzer.”You’re original…I think the world is going to know your name.”

For those of you who don’t know what the golden buzzer is, the concept was introduced in Season 9 of the show. Each judge may only press it once during the season and it sends the act straight to the live shows.

“Grace, you know what I predict for you? I think you are the next Taylor Swift ,” Cowell said. Hearing something like this from a tough cookie like Cowell says a lot about her talent. VanderWaal’s unique voice and  Southern English accent in her songs make her that much harder not to love.

None of VanderWaal’s friends knew she sang. Now the whole world knows that she will become a star. This video had me tearing up. Seeing people’s dreams come true is such an inspiration to all of us. If they can do it, there is still hope for every one of us. Shoot for the stars and you shall reach them.

Follow me on Instagram @rafafarihah

5 Unsolved Mysteries Caught on Tape

Thoughts

Humans are social creatures. We make friendships and acquaintances. Some people come into our lives for a reason, and some vanish into thin air… literally.

What do you think really happened to these five people?  Let me know in the comments below.

My Conclusions:

Case #5: Jacky Sutton

Friends, family, and coworkers all express disbelief at the thought that it may have been a suicide. They believe that Sutton was too happy and passionate about impacting people’s lives to have had those thoughts. It all seems weird. Normally, I would have conceded that it may have been a suicide but why would she go shopping beforehand? Sutton was very well known as a veteran journalist. She definitely had a lot of connections and it is possible that she made several enemies along the way. I think the only remaining practical solution is that someone was out to get her and they did a good job of getting away with it.

Case #4: Lars Mittank

Varna is a common tourist destination in Bulgaria. Mittank had a successful career and a good group of friends. They stayed at a posh hotel by the beach and their booze and food was on the house. However, Mittank did not eat much during the trip. He got in a bar fight later and as he was waiting outside a fast food restaurant for his friends, some odd men from the bar came and beat him up. Since then, Mittank claimed four men were following him. My guess is that the men were part of the Bulgarian Mafia and they were constantly following Mittank, threatening his life. This could possibly have been a human trafficking case.  Here is an update on the case.

Case #3: Brian Shaffer

There is only one realistic solution here. Shaffer’s corpse is still in the building till this date. What happened to him is still up for debate. It could have been something as sinister as a homicide. Read more about it here.

Case #2: Alan Jeal

Officers believe that the man wearing a long dark coat with a fisherman hat was Jeal while he was waiting for a bus. This leads me to believe that Jeal was mugged and killed. Why else would his credit cards be missing? Not sure why the cash was left behind though.

Case #1: The Jamison Family

I am a huge horror movie fan and although I normally wouldn’t suggest this, I believe that paranormal activity was involved in the case. Since the Jamison’s house was haunted, a satanic book was involved, and the family was in a trance-like state, I think they were possessed as they packed their things into the truck. This seems like a classic ghost movie plot where someone gets possessed, murders their family in a trance-like state, and wakes up not remembering a thing.