Jun 04 2009

Mother of the Believers Book Review – I

Tag: History of Religions,World NewsMona @ 6:41 pm

About two months ago I was asked to review a book of which I was quite curious about. Renowned Hollywood screenwriter Kamran Pasha has written a novel about the birth of Islam titled

Mother of the Believers

Now that I had the chance actually to start reading it I finally realized what had bothered me all the time.

It is the Title of the Book!

I just finished the fist chapter but as a reader I take the opportunity to make this my opinion clear before actually reading it. Two things bother me after the author’s note. First is the title and secondly that he chooses to use the most controversial age (according to some hadiths) of Lady Aisha at her marriage – six years old when engaged, married at nine.

I am afraid he is ignorant of the newer historical research. From different other accounts we can reconstruct Aisha’s age to late teens or perhaps early twenties compared to the ages of Prophet’s older daughters and other Hadith’s and surviving documents.

I cannot help but thinking that Mr. Pasha is not doing a favor for Islam especially while he knows the controversy around this subject and that it is used widely against Islam as anyone surfing the internet about critical articles about Islam must have noticed. Perhaps through controversy about this he hopes to gain exposure.. bad critic is better than no critic?

On the first pages is looks to become a promising tale, worthy of a successful Hollywood writer familiar with flowery language. And please, pardon my broken English, I myself struggle living in four languages every  day.

The Title: The title Mother of Believers Prophet Mohammed gave to his first wife of 25 years Khadija as she was the first person to convert to Islam and was the only supporter of the Prophet at his crisis after receiving his first revelation.

I believe this means that the Prophet’s wives were like mothers to the believers and after his passing away they could not be married by anyone else later.

The Age of Aisha: Mr. Pasha, the Marriage to Lady Aisha lasted 10 years. According to you 6 + 10 = 16 years. Aisha was the youngest of Prohpet’s wives (the daughter of his best friend and companion) while others were in their late fifties and early sixties, mostly war widows. His first wife Khadija as we know was 15 years his senior and the marriage lasted for 25 years with 6 children and it was a very happy one. From all his other wives he married later he received only one boy who died very early.

For me personally it hard to believe that the early Muslim community would have accepted her as THE Mother Figure ( Mr. Pasha in his book: “I am the Mother of the Believers and this is my tale.” Aisha at the end of the first chapter) and as far as I know Aisha’s role after the death of the Prophet was somewhat controversial because she tried to take a political role others opposed.

Pardon my Planet, I had to bring this to my readers attention. From Amazon I can see that the book is selling well and receiving good feedback.

Salaam, for later commentary

Nov 26 2008

Books and Controversy



Today in the news:


Saviano Rushdie in Sweden

Writers Rushdie, Saviano discuss death threats at panel discussion in Sweden

Security high for visit of Rushdie and Saviano

All these years since The Satanic Verses controversy and the death sentence by Iranian Mullah’s I am wondering how it came exactly like Rushdie had planned. He wanted controversy and he knew that conservative Muslims would be infuriated. The news would go around the globe like a forest fire and he would be famous.

Why are Muslims so easy to trick to do exactly what is the aim of these provocateurs?

The same phenomenon was with the infamous Danish Islam caricatures. They were publishes i.e. in Egypt half a year earlier and nobody bothered to protest. Only after it came international news, when radical Muslims started burning Danish flags and puppets. Governments were forced to give statements that they are powerless, because there is a law for freedom of speech.   Again and again provocateurs are trying the same trick. These days, so I read, in Holland is a new cartoon movie in the making about Islam.

Fortunately Muslims are awakening and do not react as they wish anymore.  There is a sura in the Quran that advice believers to answer to provocateurs with words of  peace:

Quran [25.63“And the servants of the Beneficent God are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace.”

I am not a literature critic but at the beginning of this all I read several critics which suggested that Salman Rushdie is a mediocre writer at best. Now there are even rumors, that the Swedes would give him a Nobel literature prize soon.

Mar 30 2008

Movies and Controversy



Movies and Controversy

In need of information and Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s thoughts I contacted Hirsi Ali at the only address I found, her official website. A few days later I received an answer which I copy here partly, because this is our common interest:

“.. Unfortunately, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s schedule does not permit her to respond to every email personally, but please rest assured your message has been passed on to her.

I understand that you did not find what you were looking for on this website, which does not surprise me, as this is the very first incarnation of the site and was put together quite quickly. We are in the process of redoing the entire site, and will include much more extensive information, including interviews, speeches, blogs, and links to articles, etc. This new website should be up within the first week or two of April. Please feel free to be in touch at any time. Sincerely, Administrator”

As I suspected, she is not managing her website by herself. I invited her as guest writer to my blog, but obviously she is not interested.

Hirsi Ali came to stardom through the murder of her friend Theo Van Gogh (human life is sacred!).

She wrote the text and her voice is heard on the controversial movie he was making about Islam. A stereotyping and simplifying peace of work, “Submission”, a 10-minute film in English.

My theory is, without knowing Ayaan Hirsi Ali personally, that she is being used by these extremist for their agenda without her realizing it. She is outspoken, she is right by criticizing the hundred of years old customs she experienced in her childhood and youth. But what Muslims do is not necessarily Islamic. From the excerpts I have found on the internet she is not familiar at all what the Qur’an really says.

Her close friend Theo Van Gogh was a right wing radical, we could say a Nazi, read for yourself: Theo Van Gogh on Jews, on Women ( including MP Ayaan HIrsi Ali)Quote:” 5. Who killed him and why?
The arrested suspect wrote a rambling five page letter and left it at Van Gogh’s body.
Though his parents were from Morocco, he was raised in The Netherlands in Dutch and apparently did not know Arabic. The letter had nothing on Van Gogh. It was a long ramble on purported quotes from the Jewish Talmud. The suspect was said to be upset by his mother’s death and TV footage of US soldiers killing wounded Iraqi civilians. There is not any proof that he did not act alone.

So, an INDIVIDUAL killed Van Gogh. Not “Islam”. Not even “political Islam.”
Again: not, NEVER ANY excuse for this terrible murder. It seems murderer and victim had something in common: both fairly intelligent but mentally disturbed.

Quoting Wikipedia: “Controversial statements-
Although Van Gogh was known as a friendly, tolerant character in person, in the 1980s he became a newspaper columnist, and through the years he used his columns to vent his anger at politicians, actors, film directors, writers and other people he considered to be part of “the establishment”.He incurred the anger of leading members of the Jewish community by making comments about what he saw as the Jewish preoccupation with Auschwitz. This quote from a 1991 magazine interview is a typical example of such commentary. Van Gogh explained a “smell of caramel” by stating that “today they’re only burning diabetic Jews”. When he was criticized by the Jewish historian Evelien Gans, he wrote in Folia Civitatis magazine: “I suspect that Ms. Gans gets wet dreams about being fucked by Dr Mengele.” He also expressed the wish that she would sue him so that she would have to explain in court why his remarks were false.

Van Gogh rejected every form of religion. In the late 1990s he started to focus on Islam. He caused widespread resentment in the Muslim community by consistently referring to them as geitenneukers (goat-fuckers). Although it is not clear whether Van Gogh actually coined the term geitenneukers, he certainly popularized it. He felt strongly that political Islam is an increasing threat to liberal western societies, and said that, if he’d been younger, he would have emigrated to the U.S.A., which he considered to be a beacon of light in a darkening world.

One of the few politicians who seemed to be exempt from Van Gogh’s criticisms was the conservative leaderPim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002. Van Gogh usually referred to him as the divine baldhead. After the death of Fortuyn, Van Gogh continued attacking the remaining members of the Lijst Pim Fortuyn as he did other politicians. His political idol from then on was Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”

Another controversial movie “Fitna” from the same Dutch right wing corner, this time from from Geert Wilders. Unfortunately the rush to watch this peace of cinematic “peace of art” is so big that the video does not download completely. But I think I am not missing much.

From the very first pictures I realized that he is taking suras of the Qur’an out of context – suras from war situations (the Qur’an came in fractions in the course of 22 years, on different occasions, pls. read the topics 2,3 and 4 on the right panel, too). Sadly enough, I must admit that the Islamic extremists are doing exactly the same while the Qur’an as a whole is an appeal for humanity, equality and righteousness.
As I suspected all along, this campaign against Islam has to be seen in a larger concept. In my opinion the main forces behind it is the worldwide Jewish community (which by the way is very influential in the country which is their main ally, USA!)

Remember the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and the Caricature contest with the theme “Islam”, the responsible editor Flemming Rose is from Jewish faith. By black-painting Islam they are trying provoce violent response from Muslim youth and “prove” that there is no peace making possible with Muslims. By now image of Muslims in the world is at its lowest point. And as the time goes by Israel is creating facts on the ground, there is not much terrirtory left for a Palestinian state.

Geert Wilders Wikipedia: “.. The Dutch newspaper Telegraaf reported in May 2007 that Geert Wilders had been shadowed by the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service for years, when he was foreign affairs spokesman for the VVD. During that time, Wilders had been regularly meeting officials at the Israeli Embassy in The Hague.[8] Sources in the security service said that the agency was surveilling conversations between Wilders and Israeli personnel.[9] The security services denied the allegations, insisting it had never shadowed or eavesdropped on Wilders.[10]“

The State of Israel is delaying the Middle East process by ever enlargening the illegal settlements and by the enclosure of the remaining Palestinian lands. One could write volumes about this theme.

But people who have closely watched the peace process since the first Oslo peace agreement cannot oversee the systematic sabotage of this undertaking. Israelis see the whole West Bank and some more conservative circles even larger areas like South Lebanon and parts of syria and Sinai to be their Promised Land.

The latest attempt yesterday by the outgoing pres. Bush was sending Ms. Rice to Israel for negotiations, which went with the same routine as usual: the same day or the day after Israel officially announces building new settlements or enlargening older ones while these activity is prohibited in occupied territories by international law and especially a part of the Oslo Accords.

Quoting USA Today“AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had barely left Israel on Monday following her latest peacekeeping mission when Israeli officials announced plans to build 1,400 new homes on land Palestinians claim for a future state.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to keep building in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, dismissing Palestinian claims that construction on contested land is the greatest obstacle to peace.

The disclosure of the construction plans immediately after Rice’s visit demonstrated the intensity of the political pressures that Olmert faces, but it threatened to make it even harder for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to convince skeptical Palestinians that diplomacy, not violence, would win them a state….”

To be continued soon..


Mar 22 2008

Ayaan Hirsi-Ali “One of the 100 most influential people in the world” ?

“One of the 100 most influential people in the world”

Ayaan Hirsi-Ali Ayaan Hirsi-Ali

was named in 2005 by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

For some time now it has been in my mind that I should write about her, because she is spreading information as Islamic which actually is NOT and the readers of her bestsellers and articles hardly can make the difference what is true and what is her view. Everything she says should be seen on the background of her Somalian childhood. It is one of poorest and most backward countries in the world and its traditions should be seen in that perspective. There is also an interview with her on Youtube “On Losing Faith In Islam”

She is a Dutch feminist born in Somalia. When she was eight her family left Somalia for Saudi Arabia, then for Ethiopia and eventually settled in Kenya. From Germany se came to the Netherlands where she sought and obtained political asylum in 1992, under circumstances that later became the center of a political controversy.

A political crises surrounding the potential stripping of her Dutch citizenship led to her resignation from the parlament, and led indirectly to the fall of the second Balkenende cabinet.

She is known in the West by her assumed name, Hirsi Ali, instead of her original name, Hirsi Magan.

She opposes vehemently immigration to the Netherlands while she herself lied about almost everything when getting her asylum status and later her Dutch citizenship.

In its critic of Ali’s autobiography, The Economist called her a “chameleon of a woman”, referring to her talent for reinvention and opportunism.

Speaking of opportunism: her books are translated into numerous languages and turned best sellers. She is living now in the United States and  recently I came across an ad: “URGEND APPEAL: Please Help Protect Ayaan Hirsi Ali” on the website ofRichard Dawkinds, wheere she is collcting money for her personal safety. Strange, don’t you think? All these best seller -books and fame cannot pay for her bodyguards?

Hirsi Ali is today an atheist renouncing Islam. She is free to believe or not to believe, it is her decision. As it is stated in the Quran “There is no compulsion in faith” (Qur’an 2:256)

There might be Hadith’s in which a death penalty is suggested for abandoning Islam. But in light of the numerous relating passages of the holy Quran they do not weigh much.

Please read also the Topic No. 7 “What the Qur’an says about…” on the right panel. I would be delighted to have Ayaan on my blog reading these statements. All her arguing would be nullified.

I am not denying that Islam is often distorted out of ignorance or due to uneducated preachers, too much have been changed in the original Message of Peace and Humanity and it urgently needs revival.

What Hirsi Ali experienced in her early childhood in one of the 3 poorest countries of the world and during her schooling with the most strict interpretation of Islam, the Wahabism in Saudi Arabia, has influenced her thinking.

And as I surf the net trying to find specific statements from her about Islam I could not find any! Strange. There is her Homepage but there is no writing or thoughts from her, just a link to collect money for her safety. Very strange, one of the 100 most influential people in the world has nothing to say on her website.

I have to pick up lines from articles and try to answer them one by one.

Quote: “Hirsi Ali criticizes Prophet Mohammed on the grounds of both his morality and personality. In January 2003 she told the Dutch paper Trouw, “Mohammed is, seen by our Western standards, a pervert”, as he married, at the age of 52, Aisha, who was six years old, and the time of consummation, nine. “

As I have written very detailed in this blog about Aisha I just direct you, my reader, to articles on the right panel, No.4 “Biography of Mohammad” (the names and ages of the wives of Prophet Muhammed are listed at the end of the article)

Just a short reminder: from surviving documents we can estimate the age of Aisha at the time of her marriage. She must have been in her late teens or early twenties.

His first marriage with the wealthy widow Khadijah (who was his employer) lasted for 25 years, it was monogamous and very happy. She bore him all his surviving children.

His other wives where aged widows, a young slave girl Maria (a “present” from an African ruler and whom he set free and married and who gave him his only son,w ho died in infancy). Lady Aisha remained childless and after the death of the Prophet she continued teaching Islam and even participated in politics of the early Muslim community.

To be continued soon, her view vs. my view.


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