Aziz Ansari the New Spokesperson for Muslims in America? It’s Worth a Shot
An Op-ed piece from the Okra
Yes he’s an atheist. He probably couldn’t quote you any verse from the Quran or how to get to the local mosque in his neighborhood. He’s not going to be an honorary member of CAIR anytime soon. The only fasting he may have done for the last 10 years is a 24-hour cleanse most likely to get in shape for some blockbuster movie he’ll be co-starring. And The Hajj for him might be some quaint bar in Santa Barbara. But God, come on! If there is one person out there who could possibly pacify most Americans completely clueless about Muslims or filled with the fury of Islamaphobia, it’s this guy. Aziz Ansari—born and bred in South Carolina. For the small minority that don’t bother plugging into any form of social media, Aziz is a comedian by trade, but also a big actor, known for playing the sly and sarcastic government official on NBC’s Parks and Recreations. He’s one of Judd Apatow’s boys. He might be a feminist too but that’s not important here. What we do know of him is the 31 year-old, who was raised as a Muslim, in a Muslim family, is famous; far more famous than any American Muslim albeit he’s not technically a Muslim. But does it matter?
Last month Ansari took on Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch when the latter tweeted all Muslims should be held responsible for the actions of extremists. Not surprisingly, in Murdoch’s demented and senile world, the entire Muslim population is liable for the antics of say, ISIS. Ansari’s response was brilliant: “Rups can we get a step by step guide? How many 60 year old parents in NC help destroy terrorist groups? Plz advise.” But it didn’t stop there. Ansari went on the verbal tirade following that up by two more tweets which said: “rupertmurdoch you are Catholic, why are you not hunting pedophiles?” and “rupertmurdoch is responsible for all pedophilia committed by anyone Catholic. @rupertmurdoch why are you pro-pedophile :(“ Touché. Plenty of responses and retweets.
The irony is something did happen in North Carolina this past Tuesday—and it had nothing to with the Jihadists but more with a hateful American who decided to put a bullet in the heads of three young promising Muslims because he allegedly got into a dispute over a parking spot. Yeah right. We’re not stupid. And neither is Aziz. He obviously is a smart dude; the kind you can hang with and laugh, but not in a stoner way. His strongest weapon is his wit. It’s cunning if it was ever evil. But thankfully he uses it to generate applause throughout the country. There is a lack of those qualities in most Muslims as by default our nature tends to become more consciously aware of our non-Muslim surroundings transforming us into introverts. Even some of our best and brightest shine only in front of Muslim faces. Isolation among the common folk creates safety and confidence. But it doesn’t do anything to the scared and unaware.
Some might argue that even if Ansari was Muslim, his shtick is too provocative to be accepted as an accurate representation of Muslim etiquette. Justifiably, if one has watched his comedy, the vulgarity is forthright, demeaning in some ways. He’s no Richard Pryor or Katt Williams. But Aziz can catch the conservative off guard with some scathing monologue sure to create some anger. Well, so what? Would we be happier with stoic solemn gentlemen who discuss Muslim problems with Americans on television through comprehensive religious opinions conveyed through a lukewarm monotone voice? Or do we want someone zany who understands the communicative nuances of people and can provide remediation, calm, logic and most importantly laughter to a nation that is filled with Islamaphobic paranoia? Our gut relies on scholars to bail us out when things go sour. But scholars are meant to preach, not work the room. They don’t live in the perplexing and dangerous media vacuum. One could refute handing the reigns to a celebrity as a desperate move to appease and that a Muslim convert perhaps could do a better job. It’s possible. Yet, in a society filled with 24X7 infatuation of big names and the far too exaggerated assumptions in which mediums such as Instagram and Twitter can make them much more intimate with their fans, a celebrity status is more than just the pre-requisite. It’s a condition in which Pavlov would be proud of ringing the bell.
Based on what we know of Aziz Ansari, the last thing he wants is to wear the crown of appointed spokesmen for a religion which he gave back to his parents. He’s got no legitimate ties to Islam and probably would want to avoid any affiliation to faith-based patriotism which tends to drown you in deep waters especially in Hollywood. But his sardonic remarks to Murdoch demonstrated he’s not willing to look the other way when blatant insults are hurled at people who tend to be the scapegoat on anything which explodes. For Aziz to accept such responsibility would be hard although he’s more than aware of how Islam operates and could probably do simple arithmetic in front of Muslim bashers to convince them the two assailants in the Charlie Hebdo attack couldn’t have gotten their orders from one billion followers much less sympathy for their stupidity.
Maybe one day, the chosen one, our very own Jedi will come—the complete package of an American Muslim who engages with this country both from a newsworthy and entertainment perspective, ala Jon Stewart (RIP from The Daily Show). He or she can shower the country with remarkable control and virtuosity, charming them with truth while dismantling the lies and prejudice. Aziz Ansari, as comical and cartoonish as he may look and sound, is the perfect blend of representation without the bravado and stuffiness which stereotype many Islamic figureheads. Yes, we know. He’s an atheist! But he’s tolerant and presumably has a soft spot for Islam. So give him the badge of honor with a microphone and let him speak. The next Muslim hate crime is right around the corner and we need to be ready with some star power. And if Aziz doesn’t work out, we can always ask Jon Stewart. He needs a job anyways.
Scientists Give Less Than 10 years for Muslim Republicans to Become Extinct
By Saif Hashim
San Diego (CA)—Despite being a small but strong herd that grazed and voiced their unpopular opinions throughout many urban centers, a group of scientists confirmed today the American Muslim Republican has a high chance of becoming extinct in the next 8 years.
Representatives with the North American Anthropological and Political Science Society (NAAPS) concluded after their annual 4 day conference themed “ Socio-Political Groups of the 21st Century” that Muslims who identified themselves as Republicans, or those who shared similar views with American conservatives such as limiting government involvement with social and private institutions, freezing minimum wage and escalating the awareness of homeland terror, would cease to exist due to a result of common sense and hostility from their own party.
“Without question, we have a species that is frowned upon by its own political platform as well as considered inferior by the majority of Muslims,” said Dr. Waylon Hampstead, a Professor at Pepperdine University who specializes in American immigration movements. “Somehow they don’t adapt well in many places and usually get horrid looks—kind of like a monkey in a town full of chimpanzees.”
“I think it’s hard for me to support the GOP any longer, especially with what has happened in the past few years,” said Haythum El-Mansouri, a podiatrist from Oceanview, CA who had been a registered Republican the past 15 years and was inspired by former Muslim Republican Muhammad Ali Hasan, the founder of Muslims for America, an advocacy group that worked with the Republican National Committee. “I really thought I was a part of the fraternity. But in reality, they (Republicans) laughed at me.”
While no sociological evidence has been found to the origin of Muslim Republicans, NAAPS speculates the first incarnation of the species evolved in 2000 when Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore decided to spice up his vice-presidential selection by choosing Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut as his running mate. The decision took many American Muslims by surprise as Lieberman was an outspoken supporter of Israel. As many took the cautious decision of supporting President Bush, his administration failed to appeal a second time mainly because of the Afghan and Iraq wars. However, a few holdouts upheld their new status as Republicans with the assumption they would be considered more favorably by the Dockers-wearing, meat and potatoes white demographic. Coincidentally the number of Muslims that participated in bowling, hunting, National Rifle Association (NRA) rallies in addition to criticizing Michael Moore and the Daly Show spiked sharply during the 2000s.
“I really didn’t think it was a problem, especially since I was a doctor,” said Akbar Shabazz, a cardiologist at Cedar-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. “I mean I never liked to do any of those recreational activities but enjoyed Republican company.” Shabazz also said it was fantastic to be “liberated” from helping anyone and finding loopholes to avoid paying higher taxes while expecting the government to generate more revenue by instigating a war somewhere in the Middle East. “It didn’t getting any better than that.”
Unfortunately, it took just one incident to change the Muslim Republican conservation status from ‘Least Concerned’ to ‘Critically Endangered’ when Saba Ahmed, a Republican and a law student from Oregon was attacked by her own party at a Heritage House discussion on Benghazi this past July. Apparently, the guest panelists were angered and bashed Ahmed after she said that “We portray Islam and all Muslims as bad, but there’s 1.8 billion followers of Islam,” and “We have 8 million-plus Muslim Americans in this country and I don’t see them represented here.” The event was reported in multiple news outlets; to NAAPS, it may have been the death knell for Muslim Republicans. Still, a few remain at large though at a distance, very much like Siberian Tigers in the wild.
“There’s always going to be a few that will go rogue like Zudhi Jasser, who likes to play the Uncle Tom card, panders to the Right with his ridiculous Islamic Leadership Coalition and thinks he speaks on our behalf,” said Ibrahim Nadar, Director of Strategic Development for the Muslim Alliance of Political Equality in Washington, DC. “In about five years he’ll realize that Republicans placed a ‘Kick Me-I’m Muslim sign’ on his back and will change his stripes. Even if Jasser doesn’t, he’ll be at least held captive in the GOP zoo.”
Muslim Leaders Attend Washington Fundraiser—Brag About Posts and Bowling with Dalai Lama
By Ahmad Muneer
Washington (DC)—Close to 30 American-Muslim leaders, mostly under the age of 45, were present at the Dialogue for Interfaith Council Symposium’s (DICS) 3rd annual fundraising dinner last night to discuss the success of their Facebook posts which ranged from modest brag ado to all-out narcissism.
The event, held at the Four Seasons Hotel, generated more than $85,000 which would go towards the leaders’ Facebook page so they could purchase more ‘likes’ in order to help raise awareness about themselves and the extraordinary things they tend to do every few hours of the day.
“I think its fantastic people came out for the great cause to love me,” said Riyaz Murtaza, a civil-rights attorney from Chicago with a Facebook following of 30,000, mostly from Nigerian sheepherders. “I want my fans to know that they mean everything to me. Last month I dedicated my climb to Machu Pichu with an orangutan strapped to my back for them.” Murtaza, who acknowledges himself as the Muslim Don Draper, also confirmed he taught the monkey Arabic to expand on his Islamic knowledge.
“I’m pretty happy with myself,” smiled Abid Al-Fawdi, a social activist whose credentials include an online self-help book on gardening and two interviews with Fox News on the Muslim swimsuit, the Burqini. “I was actually in Hong Kong earlier this week bowling with the Dali Lama, when I realized I had to be here. If it wasn’t for the business class upgrade I received, I probably would have been too tired to attend this function.” Al-Fawdi, who during a Q&A session, sported a Babushka which allegedly was a recent gift from former Soviet Union’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Gromyko (Gromyko has been dead since 1989), said he thinks it’s important American Muslim leaders get the attention they deserve because of their knowledge. “Let’s face it—King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me! Leaders are a rare breed because we know more than most Muslims. Therefore, we need to have the spotlight.” When a reporter asked him what ‘more’ did he know, Al-Fawdi arrogantly responded “well I know I have more Tweets than you.”
American Muslim leaders have been under fire recently for demonstrating an attitude which borders on swagger and cockiness in media blogs and posts, characteristics that were unheard of with their predecessors. Some of the younger ones have been criticized for supporting just about any politically correct organization because its “cool” and blogging ambiguous philosophical quotes like teenagers who’ve smoked weed for the first time.
As a result, many have felt the need for the experts on Islam to minimize the number of updates on their latest and greatest conquests. A handful of protestors demonstrated peacefully outside the hotel lobby with signs expressing their disapproval. “Do people actually consider them as intellects?” said Fareed Shamil of Bethesda, Maryland. “I followed Murtaza on Facebook for a week while the Gaza Flotilla raid was happening in 2010. Instead of some insight to the actual incident, all he kept posting were pictures of his socks that he bought from Target and how uncomfortable they were.” Shamil asserted the new Muslim evangelists have gone overboard with their fame and are actually making it tempting for others to become part of their fraternity. “They’re basking in some demented form of rock stardom and telling us about the fun they are having. If it’s really true—than where do I apply?!”
By far the biggest moment of the evening was when CNN reporter Zayd Hamadullah showed up in a limousine driven by his wife, wearing a leopard-print Nehru jacket, a Fez and Armani sunglasses. Taking a cue from legendary Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, Hamadullah, a.k.a PrimeTime walked into the gala shaking hands with the throngs of onlookers and flashing peace signs. “That’s right baby—the show is here,” the 27 year-old said.
While discussions among a few leaders did turn serious as there was concern on the possible shortage of new bragging material, most stayed positive and felt confident that their fan base and level of commitment as douchebags on social media sites would only increase in 2014. “This isn’t going to be like The Jersey Shore,” said Mohid Barir, Director of Urban Community Development for the Council of Arab Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a self-described Muslim intellect despite not having a degree in any Islamic subject. “We’re not going away. We’ll be on television more, at speaking events and writing more posts about our escapades of deep sea fishing on a yacht in St. Tropez. This is how we connect to other Muslims and let them know that we are their representatives to the world.”
Media Outlets Furious Ethiopian Hijacker Was Not Muslim
By Riaz Hamzavi
Washington (DC)—Despite the relief many Muslims felt when it was confirmed the man who attempted to hijack an Ethiopian airlines flight this past Monday, was not a Muslim, many media outlets were upset by the outcome.
“I cannot tell you how much time we spent, how many cue cards we wrote up, so we could be ready to take down yet another terrorist. Then we find out he’s not Muslim!” said Max Hellstrom, co-executive producer for Fox News Washington. “Here’s a toast to the good old days when we could count on one of these nuts to take over a plane and give us plenty of stories to get ratings.”
Hellstrom was not alone in his disappointment. The Associated Press cited more than 60 complaints from global media sources angry the thirty-something Ethiopian assailant, who also was the co-pilot on the flight, had no ties to Islam.
“When this broke, we were so excited, said Byron Hathaway, Senior Vice-President of Digital Content for NewsMax.com, the conservative online media organization based in Tampa. “Muslim articles were kind of in a lull ever since the Boston Marathon died down. I was hoping this was going to be the return of Islamaphobia so we could all listen to the hits one more time. It would have been fun and trippy—like seeing a Black Sabbath reunion.”
However, the right-wing press was not the only side upset on the non-Muslim hijacking. CNN was a “little stunned” with the discovery of the man’s religious profile. “There were so many re-writes to do that our editing team was pissed,” said Brendan Anderson, a senior writer for Wolf Blitzer’s show, The Situation Room. He made mention of a new three hour segment the network had produced in 72 hours about Islamic attacks on airplanes called “Please Don’t Fasten Your Seatbelts: We’re Never Landing.”
“I’m not going to say we’re stereotyping Muslims when it comes to hijackings. But I do think we like to hedge our bets a little and go for the obvious choice,” said Brian Strazzante. “It’s kind of like picking the Yankees to go to the World Series every year. It’s not guaranteed. But come on—it’s the Yankees. You wouldn’t expect anything less from them.”
Racial profiling and discrimination towards Muslims at airport has been on a decline for the past 5 years. While some media personalities such as Emmy Award winner Juan Williams and all-around bigoted bitch Anne Coulter had been vocal with their opinions on flying the un-friendly skies with Muslims on board, the loosening of TSA profiling coupled with advanced security screening has eased many passenger concerns with safety.
Still, Margaret George, a research analyst for the popular London news source, The Guardian says, there’s always sense in beating a dead horse. “It’s so much easier when it’s the same ethnic or religious group that conducts a crime. It makes our lives as journalists easier because then we don’t have to fact-check. The name of the game is speed, not accuracy.” George also stipulated that because the hijacker was not a Muslim and only wanted asylum in Switzerland (even though he threatened to crash the plane), news of the incident was short-lived because it didn’t have that brand to make it sensational. “When you say Chanel, I think of perfume. When you say hijack, I think of Islam. It’s a marketed commodity. Cheers.”
Apparently the only news station which had no problems with the story of the non-Muslim Ethiopian hijacker was New York’s Atlantis Cable News (ACN), However, ACN is a fictitious television network created by Aaron Sorkin which was on HBO for two seasons before it was cancelled. Reports have surfaced the show was terminated because it was purely objective and told the truth in all circumstances of a story, which to many within the business was a complete fabrication of reality.