Aziz Ansari the New Spokesperson for Muslims in America? It’s Worth a Shot An Op-ed piece from the Okra

 ENTERTAINMENT, POLITICS, RELIGION  Comments Off on Aziz Ansari the New Spokesperson for Muslims in America? It’s Worth a Shot An Op-ed piece from the Okra
Feb 122015
 

Aziz Ansari the New Spokesperson for Muslims in America? It’s Worth a Shot

An Op-ed piece from the Okra

@TheOkraNews

 AzizYes 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.

 

Ben Affleck Converts to Islam after Maher Debate According to Reports

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Oct 092014
 

Ben Affleck Converts to Islam after Maher Debate According to Reports

By Taaraz ‘TJ’ Zakhif

@TheOkranews

#Gonegirl

AP REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER A ENT USA CABoston (MA)—Reports actor and director Ben Affleck has converted to Islam generated uncanny social media applause and rave throughout the Muslim community despite no confirmation from a credible source.

Affleck, who last week went head to head on the topic of Islam and extremism with comedian, critic and all-around Islam hater Bill Maher on his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, never acknowledged himself as a Muslim. But by sporting a scruffy beard and using frequent hand gestures to make a point as is common in many Middle Eastern countries, rumors quickly swirled the 42 year-old celebrity had taken a new leap of faith. Muslims organizations took little time in proclaiming the exciting but unsubstantiated news.

“We are so thrilled Ben has decided to become a Muslim!” said ISNA public relations manager Talha Badwani. “Bill thought he was going to pull a fast one on our brother, but Hadrat Affleck kept them in check. How you like me now?!”

The Affleck-Maher debate has become the latest trend streaming through the Internet. Intense  coverage complimented with thousands of comments have been posted on a myriad of media outlets reacting to Maher’s fiery negative rhetoric on Islam which did not subscribe to his liberal platform . Affleck refuted passionately and sharply towards Maher’s remarks as well as other guest and critic Sam Harris, who called Islam “the motherlode of bad ideas.”

“What is your solution? To condemn Islam?” Affleck later questioned Maher and Harris, atheists known for ridiculing religion, but particular fondness of verbally abusing a religion of over 1 billion followers. For many Muslims, Affleck echoed a voice of reason which somehow snowballed into gossip of his conversion ad swiftly made its ways from community centers to mosques throughout the country.

“We’re pretty sure he became a Muslim as of last week,” said Imam Feisal Ataullah of the Islamic Center of North Texas in Richardson, TX. “70% of the non-Muslims who speak with such emotion are always a Muslim.”  While that made no sense, Affleck, who starred in such movies as The Town, Argo and Good Will Hunting for which he won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay had also studied Middle Eastern affairs at Occidental College. To Ataullah the trivial knowledge of his education was just the cherry on top in his assumption Affleck had turned to Islam.  “Yeah I know he hasn’t taken the shahada (Islamic creed declaring the belief in one God), but come on, he’s so damn close!”

At least one news service wasted no time in declaring Affleck a Muslim. On the October 7th edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy and guest Dr. Zuhdi Jasser accused Affleck for “for arguing against charges that Islam is uniquely prone to violence and extremism,” referring to him as “Imam Ben Affleck.” As Jasser, a cardiologist, founder of the American Islamic forum for Democracy and a terrific asshole despised by the Muslim community wanted to denigrate Affleck, he ironically added more gasoline to the Affleck conversion suspicions which to some made it official.

“Never in a thousand years would I ever believe Fox,” said Maher Siyaf, Director of Outreach Development for Orange County Islamic Foundation.  “But this is too juicy to not believe. We love you Ben!”

Affleck’s publicist Ken Sunshine has denied any truth to the rumors of him becoming a Muslim, calling it yet another stunt by social media to rile society into more controversy. But he also didn’t deny another report which claims Affleck will be opening for Cat Stevens on his Winter tour later this year. Sunshine stated Affleck hasn’t made a decision.

Oct 022014
 
abdullah

Zebras on Parade: How a Monday Night Officiating Crew Brought Islam Forever into America’s Greatest Game

By Yunus Ansari

@TheOkraNews

#HusainAbdullahNFL

abdullahYou have to practically be Gandhi-like in order to love an officiating crew. The sport is irrelevant. It could be Ping-Pong. If there is an umpire, official, a judge, odds are someone, if not many, are going to have an underlying animosity towards them. They’re blind as bats we’d like to say. Back in the day when people actually got together for games at homes or bars, there was always bonding over how much a referee blew a call. There was the time when 12-year-old Yankee fan Jeffrey Maier assisted in Derick Jeter’s catchable hit by interfering in Orioles Tony Tarasco’s catch. The kid basically went down low to grab the ball and in front of the right fielder’s glove. Umpires called it a homerun. Maradonna’s Hand of God goal in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal; he obviously touched the ball. But the ref never called it. England will never forget. And of course there is the 2000 Music City Miracle, when during the playoffs, the Tennessee Titans allegedly threw an illegal forward pass, but was ruled a lateral by the line judge which resulted in (yet another) disaster for the Buffalo Bills. These were huge, once in a lifetime moments. Not all plays have such an impact—but the feeling of an alleged blown call at any level is comparable. The not-so irony is most of the time, the refs are correct. They have to be otherwise they couldn’t do their jobs.

In recent years, Twitter and Instagram have allowed for the vortex of tweets and posts to demonize them. One demographic who surly has no issues demonstrating their passion for sports not to mention scapegoating the officiating crew is the beloved Muslim community. Now comfortably established as a second generation in this country, Muslims are as passionate as anyone when it comes to sports. They live and breathe it. They cheer when they win. They cry when they lose. They don’t like each other. You ever been to a Michigan-Ohio State game? It applies to Muslims too. Only in America—and it’s beautiful. And just like many Americans, they blame the refs rather prematurely and quite often. Scan your Muslim sports enthusiasts on your newsfeed and it’s guaranteed many will complain shamelessly about the officiating. Never mind his team is losing by 50 points in the 4th. You cannot avoid the backlash that is generated from the feeling of frustration. So when Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah intercepted a careless Tom Brady pass, ran it back to the house for a meaningless touchdown and performed a sajadah last Monday night only to be called for unsportsmanlike conduct, two things unfolded: 1. A social media riot; and 2. The new connection with Islam and the NFL.

Like riding a psychotic horse which reverses its course and runs back towards the burning barn, things got crazy. Scores of Muslims were upset by what they saw as a condescending Islamaphobic assault. They derided the call and pointed at former Florida Gator great but NFL bust Tim Tebow who often would kneel and show his gratitude towards the heavens after scoring. They avoided any transparency by declaring Abdullah’s actions as an indictment (though not an attack) on Islam.  Once again the zebras were on the hunt—and all because of a mistake.

Sean-Smith--21--Husain-Abdullah--39-jpgBut when one sits back and takes it all in can the moment be magical. Abdullah’s gesture was not just a celebration. It was a revelation. For perhaps the first time on one of the biggest stages, millions of Americans witnessed a Muslim’s humility by dropping to his knees and paying his respects to God. The act itself showed commonality among many who hold religion and sports sacred. It showed virtue and conviction of a higher power. It even silenced the conservatives, anti-Islamists, Bill Maher and Fox news for a minute. Abdullah prostrating in the end zone echoed a sentiment that an individual cannot be scorned or vindicated for being thankful, only adored. Andy Reid, head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs later obscurely said about Abdullah:

“When you go to Mecca, you should be able to slide wherever you want,” Reid said after the game. “We’ve got two priests in here. They’d probably vouch for me.” We’re not sure exactly what he meant. But a ballpark interpretation would be that Reid supported Abdullah’s right to bow his head to the Almighty after a great play. As far as the far-fetched assumptions, some Muslims were trying to rally around, let’s review them:

  • The call was made out of rejection. In reality the refs probably had no idea what a sajadah was up close and personal. They were baffled and deduced Abdullah’s move as breaking an NFL rule which reprimands any player who drops to his knees in an act of celebration.
  • The NFL prohibited Abdullah’s prayers. In reality, the NFL allows a spiritual nod or signal. It has for decades. Within hours of the game the NFL overruled the call on the field. No monetary or disciplinary fine was given.
  • The NFL demonstrated hypocrisy by allowing certain religious movement to be acceptable while punishing others. In reality, neither the NFL nor the officials were knowledgeable about prostrating to God in Islam. They plead ignorance not vindictiveness. There was no double standard. That can only happen if the league purposely punished Abdullah knowing well his celebration was religious. The Council on American Islamic Relations immediately notified the NFL last Tuesday and insisted the policy on prayer should be clarified. The NFL admitted the error and apologized.

Who knows if a Muslim ever gets the chance to celebrate religiously again and if the refs make another “mistake.” Maybe. Odds are it will be a long time before another one scores in football. NBA Muslim players, all two of them, don’t celebrate after points because there is no time to celebrate. And there are no self-acknowledging Muslims in professional baseball. But it doesn’t matter. History was made on Monday Night Football.  The NFL and other sports organizations now have an obligation to teach, as laughable as it may sound, religion in their officiating programs. It also means fans and advocacy groups can’t get riled up towards the officials. Give them time to figure it out. The best thing to do is to go back and blame the zebras for all the other botched calls they intentionally plan to make next Sunday—and thank them for bringing Islam to the game.

Scientists Give Less Than 10 years for Muslim Republicans to Become Extinct

 POLITICS, RELIGION  Comments Off on Scientists Give Less Than 10 years for Muslim Republicans to Become Extinct
Sep 112014
 
Cover-muslim republicans

Scientists Give Less Than 10 years for Muslim Republicans to Become Extinct

By Saif Hashim

@Theokranews

Cover-muslim republicansSan 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.”

Jasser demonstrates his patriotism and and love for Islamaphobia.

Jasser demonstrates his patriotism and and love for Islamaphobia.

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.

Jasser demonstrates his patriotism and and love for Islamaphobia.

Jasser demonstrates his patriotism and and love for Islamaphobia.

“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 Organizations Defend Pamela Geller—Claim She’s making them Tons of Money

 POLITICS  Comments Off on Muslim Organizations Defend Pamela Geller—Claim She’s making them Tons of Money
May 222014
 

Muslim Organizations Defend Pamela Geller—Claim She’s making them Tons of Money

By Dina Darrak

@Theokranews

pam geller #1Washington DC—Over 100 Muslim organizations throughout the United States announced today they would defend blogger and activist Pamela Geller for conveying any inflammatory or hateful remarks towards Islam due to the staggering amount of money she has generated for Muslim advocacy and civic relation groups.

In a joint press release commissioned by the Islamic Peace Coalition for North America, 121 Muslim representatives signed a declaration of support for Geller, because her antics, hostility and Islamaphobic rhetoric has brought in millions of dollars for their respective organizations which in the past several years had stagnated from limited revenue because of the relative calm and decline of negative press on Islam. Coincidentally, the release came just days after Geller received criticism for promoting a DC metro ad which referenced alleged Jewish hatred in the Quran.

“I think she’s fantastic and a fine lady,” said Yaya Vafi, Executive Director of BURAQ, a civil rights group based in Houston. “I mean with so many Americans using common sense these days, you would think Islam is as ordinary and boring as Christianity. But then Pam decides to scare everyone by opening her big mouth and what do you know—we’ve got tons of Muslims giving us thousands of  dollars all on account of her.” Vafi said he had spoken to 20 other organizations around the country, each confirming they had made their average yearly donation total within the first three weeks of May. Anonymous sources in multiple Muslim communities also observed non-profit employees purchasing large homes, clothes and trips to Fiji, which normally would not be an option for individuals with nominal salaries.

Geller, 58, who has been an outspoken critic of Islam, is the creator of The Atlas Shrug, a right-wing conservative online blog which focuses on negatively portraying the global religion of 1.6 billion followers with unsubstantiated reports of Muslims attempting to overtake the United States through various subversive programs. Such demented coverage includes Sharia Law, support of Muslim terrorists, Sharia Law, Muslim pirates, Sharia Law and more Sharia Law. In 2010, she and self-proclaimed scholar of Islam, Robert Spencer, founded the organization Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), committed to vilifying Islam through the use of smear campaigns. A highlight of such tactics was in 2012 when SIOA ran a series of ads in New York City’s subway which read “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” Not surprisingly, The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have labeled SIOA, a hate group.

“Well, let’s be honest—the bitch (Geller) is crazy,” said Ibrahim Tawfik, Chairperson of the Dove Initiative, a Washington DC based interfaith group which

Tawfik takes a stroll to the bank to cash his organization's latest checks.

Tawfik takes a stroll to the bank to cash his organization’s latest checks.

promotes religious equality. “I mean is she as crazy as Solange Knowles, I don’t know. But the great thing about Geller is that she scares Muslims. And when she does that, they all come to us with checks in order to combat people like her. In the end, we reap the benefits.”  However, not everyone is finding the latest anti-Islamic vitriol by Geller acceptable.

“This woman was the single biggest instigator towards Park 51, denigrated Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagen by posting a picture of her wearing a graphically cropped Nazi uniform and has countlessly berated President Obama,” said Lydsey Varnick, Senior Strategy Adviser for the RAND Corporation. “And now she’s got an ad on buses showing Hitler and the Mufti of Palestine in order to create tensions between Jews and Muslims. Pam is like Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars, constantly babbling and annoying.” Still, Geller has her supporters, many of which ironically come from the Muslim community.

“I think we all need to calm down and let her demonize Islam,” asserted Murtaaz Sadir, Director of Public Relations for The Advancement of American Muslims in Politics and the brand new owner of a 2014 Mercedes 500SL. “When Geller gets out of hand we’ll handle it. Just give us your money and we’ll take care of everything. You guys worry too much.”