Friday, August 19, 2016

Sharia Booze Collection

"Why do you have to bring religion into everything, Eiynah?" is something I often hear in reference to my blog.

The answer is simple. I started writing about *sexuality* in Pakistan and soon discovered that it was impossible to speak about the limitations and sex-related oppression without pointing to the ways in which religion is used to stifle sexuality and oppress women. Yes, this is a blog about sexuality - but it has to encompass so much more to speak of a bigger picture.

So....this post will be about booze and religion. Our lovely booze-less, humourless religion to be specific.


I've been working on this for a long time now, since around christmas. I started it before the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, but I must admit... I slowed down right around then...contemplating whether I should go forward with it or not. I decided to go ahead, because I thought it was time to start injecting more humour into our culture. I thought I should do my part at least.

What inspired me to do this post was the number of religious-themed craft beers I've been seeing around. Usually christian, but I long for references to my laugh at the familiarity and the cheekiness of it. It doesn't exist, because people are afraid to joke about one faith in particular. I mean no offence by this post to anyone, so unbunch your undies or stop reading...I long for the day where we too can demonstrate that we can take a joke.

Here are some examples of other religiously themed beer (there's an entire article about it here), and while it may cause offence to some, they can simply choose not to support the product. No need for fatwas, for beheadings, lashings or shootings:

In these divided times, what could bring people together better than booze, eh? 

I present to you my Shariah Booze collection..complete with complete with accessories, beer flights and our very own pub. Enjoy!

(please note: I am not a beer writer by profession, so please forgive any technical inaccuracies in the beer styles/descriptions)

Blank beer bottle image from
Beer labels designed by Eiynah
Haraam Lite

A light premium lager - This IPA has lower calories AND lower sin-levels too! For those who aren’t a fan of strong flavours or well as those who are too timid to sin boldly... this is your stepping stone. 

Start slow with Haraam Lite and work your way up to beverages that’ll make your face feel warm, as if you are experiencing the fires of jahannum (hell) firsthand!

Blasphemer’s Brew

This French Saison, is spicy, bold and strong. Bound to light a fire inside your heart and make you want to push boundaries. Not for the faint of heart of course. It is not the nectar of gods, but the nectar of those who mock gods!  Some advice for those who find the strong taste ‘offensive’ - just don’t drink it! Yes, it IS that easy. Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. 

For others who wish to honour our fallen soldiers, questioners and thinkers - this is for you...raise a glass of Blasphemer’s Brew today!

Blonde in a Burqa

Inside the dark veil of this bottle, is a rich crisp Belgian blonde ale. The brewing process has in no way oppressed the character of this beer, It has chosen this vessel for itself. It was a miracle, the beer flowed towards the darker tinted bottles for modesty reasons. Brewed in a strictly halal (permissible) way, it is ok to put your lips to this blonde. Characterized by its restrained fruity flavour and upfront sweetness like any good Belgian ale, Blonde in a Burqa has a creamy overall mouthfeel and will finish dry. Halal on the outside, fun on the inside.

Midnight Minaret

This luxurious, velvety dark chocolate porter is the stuff of dreams. Its elegance is entwined with a strong chocolatey aroma - it will take you back to the feeling of sinking your teeth into a chocolate bar ...or gazing upon a the tall silhouette of a beautiful minaret against a midnight sky. You will be unable to resist the temptation, we guarantee total submission to its silkiness at first sip. 

Ramadan HOP-ocrisy

A mixture of both hoppy and malty or sinful and pious, this bittersweet brew is a seasonal blend. Brewed during that special time of year where hypocrisy comes out to play! This Ramadan special has a subtle date flavour as a nod to the holy month. Lets not forget, this is the time where people pull out the big guns, everyone is religious all of a sudden...*Magic*

It’s a beautiful sight, false piety. If you’re dusting off your headscarf for that special time of year, this beverage is for you! Are you a booze-guzzler all year round, but act like alcohol is a big sin during the holy month?  What better way to make an honest statement while breaking your fast, than with a bottle of Ramadan HOP-ocrisy … 

My Four Wives

Variety is the spice of life. Sometimes a beer needs more than one flavour like a man needs more than one wife - to keep things fresh. We were granted divine permission to infuse four different flavours into this special brew. Our combination creates plural marriage perfection. In one taste you will experience hints of peach, apple, melon and lime. Why would you want taste-bud monogamy when you can experience so much more simultaneously?

72 Brew

A taste of heaven on earth. Believe it or not, we hire 72 virgins for the brewing process of this beer. Their dainty fair-skinned hands are responsible for the entirety of this creation. The result is a full-bodied, voluptuous honey beer with ethereal, unearthly qualities. A drink of this is oft described as ’sitting on a cloud'. Close your eyes and listen, some say you can even hear our virgins giggle as they bathe naked in tubs of honey beer. 

Arabian Flight

Can’t make up your mind about which of our lovely craft beers you’d like to try? We don’t blame you. Luckily we offer a special 'Arabian Flight’ - so your tastebuds can traverse our entire selection. Who doesn’t love a good beer flight? 

Beer Beheader

For those pesky moments when your beer pour is less than perfect. No one likes too much head on their pint. We now offer a simple, shariah-compliant solution to your problems. Why... chop the head off of course!…The Beer Beheader makes this tedious task simpler, with one swift strike, you can have the perfect headless beer. Slice that foam off!  Order today at 1-800-BHEADBEER

Blank Tequila bottle image from
Label designed by Eiynah
Shakila’s Takila

Shakila got bored of the poor selection of local Pakistani spirits and decided to get creative. She got down to business with some green chills for extra spice. BAM - Shakila’s Takila was born... in the basement of her father’s achaar (pickle) shop. This aged, desi take on Takila (Tequila) is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. This stuff is the SHIT....the S-H-I-T ... a bit rough around the edges, but sit back and relax…let Shakila seduce you. 

Djinn & Tonic

The perfect spirit, or ‘Djinn' as we like to call it in the Muslim world, to go with your lime and tonic. Flavourful, light-bodied and clean. Certified halal, any intoxication might be a result of the supernatural - definitely not the result of alcohol. 

background picture taken from Pig & Whistle pub

Kafir’s Keg

Imagine if there was a (real) "safe space", a sacred spot where blasphemers could convene, without being threatened for their life. Where jokes and cartoons wouldn’t result in death, where words, whether spoken or written, wouldn’t result in lashings. A place where it was ok to have a sense of humour, where Muslims treated others with compassion and tolerance…a place where archaic law based on unprovable ancient texts was not considered valid….a place where rationality and reason prevailed, where debate was encouraged…Just one spot... in one corner of the earth, where the non-religious received the same respect as the religious…. this place would serve all my Shariah booze of course, without fear - this place would be known as the Kafir’s Keg. There would be no bans on pig imagery, there would be no taboos associated with ex-muslims. We could exist freely and in the open... imagine that. 

The Kafir’s Keg is a dream of mine, a place where every infidel knows your name.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reclaiming the Left : The Space Between Terror & Trump

Dear Readers, 

some of you have asked for a transcript to my speech at the Non Conference this past weekend. So here it is. Thank you to those who came out (even though I was only there via skype) , and thank you to those who listened via Soundcloud. It is your support that motivates me to keep speaking up, in the face of so much hatred from all sides. 

Much Love,

(here is a link to the audio. The sound is a bit rough during the first minute, my apologies...but then the event 'noise' is no more after that) 


Hello doubters, skeptics, heathens, reformers and apostates. Thank you for coming out today, its an honour to be speaking to you.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an ex-Muslim…a Pakistani-Canadian blogger illustrator and children’s book author…

My name is Eiynah, well its not my real name…and there’s a reason for that

…and also a reason for why you don’t see me standing up there in front of you today. I would’ve loved to have been there, lots of people I wanted to meet. And this is one of the *many* opportunities I’ve had to miss out on, because of safety concerns….

Unfortunately, in a world where leaving Islam is met with almost no allyship , where instead it goes without saying, that it will be met with death threats…and rape threats too... if you’re a woman...

In a world where being tainted with the word "islamophobe" can have serious effects on your career, social life… unfortunately....a world like that just doesn’t make me feel safe enough to publicly come out of the ‘apostate closet’ as it were. 

Perhaps someday my circumstances will be different, but for now…you’ll have to hear me from behind a screen….it was either that, or I show up in a burqa… I opted for the non burqa option. 

So screen it is... 


Something that really colours my views on religion is having grown up in an Islamic theocracy… Saudi Arabia. 

I grew up there as a Pakistani expat, and lived in a compound for foreigners, a reverse amish compound if u will…where within the safety of the compound walls, there was some sense of normalcy… no morality police, no need to dress modestly...

Life was great as a kid in the artificial bubble of a western compound …till you had to leave for some reason, to get groceries, or go to the mall, etc. That was when we’d encounter the "muttawas", who were tasked with enforcing shariah and policing morality…literally - all part of our friendly neighbourhood Committee for The Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice


...I know

They walked around hitting women’s ankles with a cane if their headscarves slipped….there was always a lingering fear when you entered the public sphere as a woman….anything could happen. It did to my mom when I was little - I witnessed a muttawa whip his cane at her ankle as she passed by. I was terrified. We scurried past him as quickly as we could, and my mom fixed her headscarf… but the fear and disgust at enforced religious modesty never quite left me. 

Imagine my surprise as an immigrant, moving to a secular country from an Islamic theocracy, relieved to be leaving extreme religiosity behind… Imagine my surprise in Canada...when face veils are trotted out as some sort of symbol of liberal tolerance - the women who choose to veil, and who fight for the right to veil are our trump equivalents ... they are our extreme bigots (I’m not referring to the women who have no choice of course)….


In a bizarre twist of fate -here in the west- conservative muslims are tight with the liberals. The term 'strange bedfellows' doesn’t even begin to cover it. 

When western liberals betray liberals from muslim backgrounds...those of us who fight to break free from the orthodox interpretations of our birth religion are left abandoned. 

Our every effort is thwarted by those in the west who share our values but fail to be allies… who fail to stand with us, support us in our extremely difficult task of walking against the tide of our strict community. There are those who will cheer and laugh when Christianity is being mocked on late night TV, but will try to silence those of us with muslim background who only want the same privilege…of poking fun at the absurdities, intolerance and inconsistencies we have grown up with. 

In this time of trump and terrorism, I a liberal ex-muslim find myself walking a narrow tightrope... every day… because the conversation is constantly being volleyed between two shrieky extremes… the 'ban all muslims' crew, and the 'everything is Islamophobia' crew. Both of which are problematic, feed off one another, and not at all accurate in their assessments of the issues we face today, nor in how they think we should deal with such issues. 

One of the biggest problems, nowadays,  is Islamic extremism and radicalization. 
A close second is the reactionary anti-muslim sentiment which solves nothing…
Another is the denial of any problems within Islam…

It is the spaces *between* these concerns, these inaccuracies we must occupy and grow… we need to foster and cultivate a liberal critique of Islam which deals with the problems we’re facing as a global community, in unison...not in divided tribalism or bigotry. 

Being an *ex* muslim in this time is interesting, It’s a time where people are scrambling to defend Islamists or Trumpists, where people are looking for an easy solution.

It puts us apostates in a unique position, where the mainstream left don’t want to have anything to do with us, lest they be labeled Islamophobes…and parts of the right are constantly trying to co opt our words, our struggle to make xenophobic, anti-muslim points.

Its a hard position to be in…because either you go it basically alone, or you accept unwanted support. 


I have a problem with the word Islamophobia, because it conflates people and ideology, which is something i spend majority of my time highlighting the difference between. Terms like Islamophobia make it easy for muslim conservatives to accuse critics of bigotry. 

As an apostate, my death is commanded in many interpretations of the religion, simply for turning my back on the faith….why would I not be terrified of such an ideology? 

At the same time, some of the people I love most in the world are muslims, my parents who raised me, who were great secular role models….who didn’t force religion on us….*this* is the difference between Islam and Muslims. 

I love and treasure many muslims…it is islam i don’t love. 

I am a critic of the religion, but also of anti muslim bigotry… this is a statement that many people find confusing,  contradictory even… because the separation of ideas and people is not as clear yet, as it needs to be. 

Apologists cannot make this distinction…for them any criticism of the faith is a direct attack on them… and also anti muslim bigots are unable to separate people from ideas….for them each and every muslim embodies, lives by and endorses every single verse in scripture. For them, much like apologists... Muslims *are* Islam…

This is simply untrue... easily disproved by the many different ways and degrees to which people practice. 

..And the difference I work so hard to make clearer. 

We won’t get anywhere in this discussion if we can’t unwed people from ideas. It is of utmost importance to demonstrate that our critique comes from a genuine place…and not one of malice...

It is the left I and others like me hope to reclaim, we must once again stand up for liberal ideas and humanity in this battle of extremes…we must be careful not to glorify purity culture, slut shaming, religious orthodoxy, when it comes to minorities….we’re in this together…pushing back against Trump by denying problems in Islam just isn’t helping, we need to face the problems head on. 

I once wrote an anti homophobia children’s book set in Pakistan, the first of its kind... My Chacha is Gay, (which means my uncle is gay) - and for this innocent book about love, I was deemed "worthy of death", an "enemy of god"…people even wished death and venereal diseases on my fictional character Chacha…

But despite that...

It was wonderfully embraced by schools in the Toronto area - at first… till religious (mostly muslim) parents complained, and even threatened to sue the school board. Islamic websites wrote panicked articles about it. They claimed the book was a misrepresentation of their culture… that it was insensitive…  instead of continuing to use this resource to reach a demographic that clearly, evidently needed it, schools quickly backed off from using it in any official capacity again. 

And even though the updated Ontario Sex Ed curriculum includes teaching children about LGBT families, and homophobic bullying….this was not a resource they could touch. Perhaps because its author is a known Islamophobe…*gasp*  

...and in that struggle it is the LGBT muslim and Pakistani children that suffer the most, that are abandoned, that are pushed back into the closet because their parents deem it unnatural and unholy… these kids should not see normalization or support in school because that, is insensitive apparently. Insensitive to the archaic, misogynistic, homophobic over-a-thousand year old value system we seem inclined to want to defend over minorities within minorities….

Girls forced into hijabs by their families, will not see support from liberal western society, from liberal western feminists…. they will not see the dismantling of such backwards ideas… because people use their tolerance of intolerance as a yardstick for how progressive and 'anti Trump' they are. 

We must fight this silence, we must pry open that space between the two ends…we must reclaim the left or leave it open for the bigots & denialists to hijack the conversation. 

Don’t be silent on this, don’t make trump a hero…don’t make conservative islam, illiberal at its core, a symbol for liberalism in the west. 

And when you speak up, remember just who you're standing in solidarity with:

  • The girl who wrote to me, terrified during the month of Ramadan, that someone would find out about her disbelief, because she secretly ate a snack in the bathroom…exhausted from pretending to fast…from starving herself against her will….exhausted from keeping up a religious facade.. because the alternative was too risky. 
  • The woman who never refused her husband sex, because she believed it was her religious duty to satisfy him any time he asked…even if it was right after childbirth and she was held together with stitches…
  • The man who emailed me terrified of coming out as a non believer to his devout wife
  • The many young impressionable LGBT kids who are turned away by their communities, shunned by their religion, because only hetero married relationships are halal..
  • The countless others trapped in their faith-shaped cages

Each time you refuse to be silent, its all these shackles you help take apart…


Thank you to my wonderful Patrons, it is because of your support I am able to grow and keep myself motivated to speak out in the face of so much hate, from all sides.  Much love xx


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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tinder dates & finding a place to shag in Pakistan

I recently heard from a student who returned home to Pakistan (from the US) to find out that, hey... you can use Tinder to find a date in Karachi... but... what happens when you do find one..and you have no place to fuck? #PakistaniProblems 


I got to Karachi last week and out of I curiosity I decided to check out Tinder.  There weren't a lot of women on there but I got a match and a date eventually.  

So it does work over here.  

Now for the complicated bit: 

I'm here visiting family so I don't have a place of my own.  She lives with her parents so her place is out of the equation also.  There are no cheap motels you can go to.  She wants to shag and I wanna shag but we don't have a place.  

It's extremely frustrating.  

Frustrating to the point where I wanna just cut my trip short and go back home.  

That's not the only complication though.  I could probably shell out the money needed to get a room in one of the nicer hotels.  However, her folks don't exactly know about her 'extra curricular activities'. We looked at her schedule and it doesn't seem like she has any days where she'd be off work and have a convincing alibi.  At least, not until I've already left. 

The good thing about it is that she's an agnostic also.  I had never known an agnostic when I lived here in Karachi.  It was refreshing talking to her about her journey towards godlessness and telling her about mine.  

I hear you, meeting someone even remotely questioning religion in Pakistan is truly a breath of fresh air... there's so much more value to it because almost everyone you meet is spouting religious nonsense...I was lucky to have a few godless friends during my brief stay in Pakistan, mostly it felt like i was drowning in religion, till i got to hang out with them on the weekends, where we could all feel a bond over the absurdities that surrounded us on a daily basis. Those were the times I came up for air...took a deep breath and held it in till the next time we met. 

It was so easy connecting with her with our shared culture and life experiences.  However, we didn't agree on everything.  She's a lot more progressive when it comes to her sexuality than I am with mine.  I asked about her relationship goals for the future and what she though about monogamy.  Let's just say her perspective was a lot more realistic than mine.  I believe I'd be okay staying with one woman (the right one of course) for the rest of my life.  Would the woman be okay with it though?  She was okay with the idea of there being affairs in her marriage on both sides or even opening up the relationship.  It was interesting to hear that from someone first hand. 

I'm glad you guys were open to discussing these two people will think exactly alike, but having these conversations is so important. Usually our culture/tradition dictates how things will be, end of story. Questioning, moulding it into your own, is what will move us forward. And for some that will look like traditional monogamous relationships....there's nothing wrong with that either... but at least some thought was put into arriving at that conclusion. 

And I somehow confessed to having hooked up with guys and she was pretty cool about it.  That was refreshing as well.  

That's great. I'm glad she was cool about it.

The ironic part is that I've never been with a woman before.  If this goes through, she'd be the first woman I ever slept with.  Why have I never been with a woman before?  Am I gay?  You'd assume with me having been with several guys.  I don't think so though.  

Sorry for Sexualitysplaining here (but u did ask): Sexuality is complex, it's often not as black and white as the world makes it out to be. You could be bi with more of an attraction to women, or you could simply be more comfortable around men than around women because of being raised in a culture that provides little opportunity for intermingling with the opposite sex. I've spoken to several Pakistani men who claim not to enjoy sex with men as much, but just do it because it's easier or because that's whats available. I hate to make this comparison, but its kind of like in prison people will have sex with who's available, its situational, not necessarily related to orientation. But on the other hand i've also spoken to some Pakistani men who are uncomfortable admitting they are attracted to men, and will more easily admit to sleeping with them for convenience. Which it is, only you can know...

After moving to the US I lived with a parent who places a lot of restrictions on what I could and couldn't do.  He basically planned my life for me almost on a daily basis.  Why didn't this grown ass man move out?  I'm somewhat of a schemer.  I like to think long term and staying with him made sense long term.  I did not consider the emotional cost of the arrangement though.  My social life suffered to the point where I have made just one or two friends in my 4 years in the States.  Stayed in the same city all those years.  I didn't date, out of the question.  It was work, home, laundry, grocery store, repeat.  I didn't have a car and public transportation sucks where I live.

That sounds truly awful :( If you can move out, I'd recommend moving out...because enough of this.. you need to get out there and live life! I'm sorry it had to be like this.. but its quite common with more conservative desi parents.

Finding guys willing to provide sexual favours was so easy that I decided to give it a go for the sake of some human contact.  That journey is a story for another time. 

Yeah, I thought as much. As for finding a place to shag, well...there are no safe, cheap, clean motels in Pakistan that I know of... you would be best shelling out a few extra Rupees for a room in one of the big hotels. Depends on how much you want this to happen. Be safe and discrete (cuz ppl can get into serious trouble for trying to have sex outside of wedlock in Pakistan), also...use condoms. 

But yes her finding a way to be out of work and away from home long enough for this to happen may prove difficult, as we all know how closely unmarried girls are monitored by their families.

I can't help you there, I'm afraid.. but if there are any Pakistanis reading this who have gone through a similar situation, if you have any tips please do leave them below in the comments.

I used to have a larger Pakistani audience once, but since I became more open about my distaste for religion and it's effects on sexuality.... they've mostly stopped being interested in what I have to say. I have a larger international audience now, but I don't think many people would be able to provide helpful tips on specific situations in Pakistan. Still putting this out there. 

Hope you sort it out, good luck! 



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Announcement : Folks I'm honoured to be speaking at the upcoming non-conference (via audio Skype) alongside Maajid Nawaz, Ali Rizvi and many more awesome peeps. Do attend if you can, its gonna be great. And if not, you can check out the live streaming option!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Broke my fast Today. Secretly in the Bathroom...


I broke my fast today. Secretly in the bathroom by eating candy. I don't even know why I am fasting when I am faking my prayers and don't even really  believe in Islam anymore. I am at the phase where I am questioning Islam watching videos of ex muslims and discovered  a side of islam that is not taught to us and found cherry picked about 'religion of peace' and mercy to mankind but I feel free when I am not caging my own mind.

I thought shaitaan was leading me astray by making me doubt Muhammad 's character etc.. so I tried to resist and it was/is taking a toll on my mental health. I am reading the quran randomly and in one line Allah is cursing a non believer and the next say he is the most merciful — and this is just random, not an active search for contradiction. 

My mind and "heart" still rebel when I dislike or question something. I tell myself a scholar can explain this... and people who criticise  islam (idea) are bigots etc  (more like, people make u feel that u are evil for not seeing  the "beauty & eloquence" of the quran and tell you that doubts are from satan). 

I was reading ur article on menstruation /quran and my mind knew it didn’t make sense but I couldn't  accept the whole of it and my mind was like "there is probably a good explanation and allah is wise and menstruation is dirty" because we have been indoctrinated  since birth (I am a Pashtun Pakistani American by the way ) and I realize how toxic this way of thinking is. I think of myself, ME as dirty and I just am tired of defending statements  like "Islam empowers women"  and much more like wife beating (*sorry light beating* sarcasm). 

My question is how do you start unlearning how to see the world without the lens of islam? I know this email was long but I want someone  to talk to and everyone around me is a Muslim who supports 'death for apostasy' (but in a true Islamic  state of course they are make sure to point out and I am just sitting  there like "what?") And if they found I am no longer a "true beliver" idk what will happen so I want to give you sincere thnx for having this and the comfort of knowing that they are a people who left and I can someday too *Inshallah (*wrote it out of habit so I decided to keep it) 

So a sincere Thank You from a closeted questioning muslimah  


Dear Questioning Muslimah,

My heart goes out to you. What a struggle you must be facing this Ramadan. Its an especially hard time of year for questioning or ex-muslims. Please know that you are not alone. There are many others in your position, only now investigating things that have been deeply ingrained since childhood. It's not easy, but it is possible - and you're definitely on track for it to happen. The first thing to do is ask questions, look for answers... and don't settle for unsatisfactory ones.

I am honoured that one of my blogposts could help that questioning process along, even a little. Yes, its hard and your instinct will be to shut down critical thinking, because you've been told it's wrong and the work of 'shaitaan' since the beginning. Power through that feeling, keep looking for answers, and watch all that unlearning come naturally. It's a gradual process, but the more you read up, and scrutinize - the more layers you'll shed, the more free you'll feel.

Read, watch and listen to alternative perspectives. I'm glad you're looking into ex-muslim views. Because they have been where you are now. With the internet, we have so much information available to us, it's harder for people to teach us cherry picked versions of Islam. Just be careful, if your family is the type that would look up your search history.

I don't quite know how liberal or illiberal your family is, on the wide spectrum of what being 'muslim' means, but if they support death for apostasy that is worrying. I'd make sure to keep my views to myself at least till it's time to move away, for work, uni - something?

Be patient with yourself, don't worry if you still feel like saying a dua before eating or sleeping...small steps. Just let it unfold organically...don't pressure yourself...the occasional inshallah, alhamdulillah will come big deal. I still say those words...more facetiously now than anything... but i do enjoy retaining parts of the culture that I grew up with. I love arabic calligraphy (even religious)  - i think it's breathtakingly beautiful... I don't fast but occasionally i'll enjoy iftar with my family, I celebrate one can retain parts of their old identity and even reconcile them with being an ex or questioning muslim. Some traditions, sights, sounds, words.... are lovely to hold on to if you take the religious conviction out from behind them. Then they are just remnants of our past, that hold no power over us....they are part of our story.

Good luck to you!


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Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Poem in the Language of my Colonizers

Stop the internet. I have read the worst poem ever. I can't suffer alone through this, So I will share it with you...

It's astounding that serious, educated people subscribe to this type of hateful politics.

Finding yourself is for white girls. 

Someone actually wrote this... believes this..

scary times.

It was shared on twitter, I was stupid enough to click the link. And here we are:

I decided to take a few mins and jot down a 'poem' in response. It's clunky, it's not my best writing...
but a poem like this doesn't deserve my best writing tbh.

Being anti racism doesn't mean being anti white... something that escapes many anti racists unfortunately. 

Instead they turn racism into a laughing matter, where real instances of it are camouflaged in the midst of such nonsense. Where white nationalists and the alt-right have more fodder to laugh at the 'stupidity of the left', more reason to deny the existence of real bigotry, real racism. 


A Poem in the language of my colonizers: Finding yourself is for everyone.
Alternative title: Fuck White People

Do you really believe women of colour don’t have the capacity to search for themselves?
Do you really think our diverse identities are that un-complex and so easily defined? 
Not much space is needed to lose oneself, 
This is a ‘luxury' us poor WoC can afford too. 

Just ask the farm girl in Punjab who searches day and night for who she is,
Who battles her parents to win an inch of her own identity.
Ask the slum dweller in Karachi
The henna artist at a high street salon in Pakistan

She looks for fragments of herself in the glistening jewels of her wealthy clients
She looks for fragments of herself in the intricate patterns on the walls of the mausoleum 
Praying day and night into the empty sky
But nothing looks back at her.
She too searches for inspiration in the eyes of the glamorous local TV star. 
She too dares to dream…she too dares to explore.
Do not erase her.

Brown girls also go on vacation might I add. (in someone else’s homeland) 
The audacity of a South Asian finding herself in Mexico, or vice versa
Traveling in the footsteps of someone else’s foremother - how dare they. 
Enjoying the delights of someone else’s culture? 

Raping their beaches with every footstep left on someone else’s sand. 
How dare they. 


Could it be…. that some of us enjoy sharing our own and experiencing other cultures…
without the ill intent you ascribe to it.
I once bought a necklace from a Colombian vendor. 
I am not ashamed.

Could it be…that some of us are not so petty 
that we have to start a hashtag movement
to reclaim our bindis
or stop white people from eating ghee.

Coloured girls are not a homogenous block
We are not held together by our colouredness
or the war torn nature of our ancestral homelands.
Many of us are running, 
from the culture that oppressed us,
that told us women are lesser,
That confined our womanhood to a black bag.
Many are shunned for daring to “find themselves” 
Many of us are shamed for being different, 
And here you are, eliminating us with a poem.

Is it white people who think they are so different to us, 
or is it you that continues to segregate us?

To see the so called ‘anti-racists’ clamouring to hit like
on anything containing hate and generalizations against people of one colour,
anything to show, we are still atop that victimhood flagpole in every way.
That they oppress us simply by what they wear,
where they travel, and by eating our food.  

Anything to continue dividing us along colour lines...
To see 'anti racists' quickly morph into the very bigots they oppose, is sad. 
The irony….lost on them. 
Like on anti-semitic protester of anti-muslim sentiment
Zakia Belkhiri, mashallah.


My birth country is not accessible to me
Because I dared to be different
Because I searched for myself.
Because I blasphemed
Because I stepped out of line. 

Girls who with a straight face 
talk about intersectionality,
But loathe those who dare to be coloured
AND dare to be areligious,

who dare to be coloured 
AND not toe the line

who dare to be coloured 
AND dare to search for themselves.

who refuse to be defined by war
who refuse to be defined by tribalism
who refuse to hate people over skin colour. 

We bear our pain, 
shattered as we may be…
a minority within a minority.
made to feel like an anomaly…

Girls who with a straight face,
Dare to tell us, who’ve left sharia lands
That their hijab is a choice. 
That it is a feminist statement.

I scream and laugh internally
Almost simultaneously...
At the absurdity of their privilege,
Claiming a tool of oppression is one of liberation.
They erase our footsteps,
And the strides we’ve made forward.
By risking our lives…

They Silence our voices,
Through poems like these...
To claim their victimhood is supreme.


People tell you, you are beautiful to pay you a compliment
Perhaps they shouldn't bother. 
If they don’t it will be because your features are not European enough, racists.
If they do it will be because they are too European, racists.

Holding everyone accountable for the sins of their ancestors…
You won’t find a single innocent person, depending on how far back you turn the clock.
Not even you are innocent.

White people are horrible for wanting to help those in a poorer country - got it. (racists)
White people are also horrible if they don’t help - got it. (racists)

White people are horrible when they protest the oppression of Muslimahs topless - got it. (racists)
White people are also horrible when they wear hijabs in solidarity - got it. (racists)

Fuck. white. people.... for writing out recipes of couscous and daal. 
Could there be a more racist act than writing out a recipe? 

Are we of colour free to enjoy each other’s food? 
You’ll have to explain the rules to me.
I’m new at this.
Are we of colour free to enjoy foods from "white” countries?
Are we free to wear jeans, or are we coerced into wearing them by our oppressors, our colonizers?

I write this poem in response to yours today,
not because I wanted to express myself
(that’s for white people)
But because I am a product of my colonial past.
I write in my colonized tongue, 
On a Western internet connection,
Because I am oppressed into it. 


----Do not diminish the importance of combatting actual racism by seeing it in everything.--- 


Sorry guys, had to rant about this. I don't often subject you to poetry... :P 

That said, please be polite and civil if you choose to engage with the writer of 
"Finding yourself is for White ppl" 


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Tuesday, March 22, 2016


So here we are again, Brussels this time. All over's happening over and over, and we find ourselves in the same place... My heart goes out to all those who lost family and friends. 

The nothing to do with Islam crew are out, as are the Ban all muslims crew. Neither have a grasp on reality.

How many more will it take before our politicians can at least identify the problem. How many more lives need to be lost before we stop shielding Islam (an idea) from criticism. Before we stop equating any criticism of it with demonizing of all Muslims (people). It's exhausting, having to repeatedly explain the difference between people and ideas to both those on the left and right. So many are confused about this. 


I received a very thoughtful email from Iceland: 

Today we have attacks in Brussels (Islamist, I am assuming after rumours about Arabic shouting, although we don't know yet). So tensions will keep building. Anything said about Islam is considered phobic, and lots of things that need to be said are not being said.

Here in Iceland it really isn't possible to critically discuss Islamism. Real bigots and white supremacists jump aboard so quickly that the discussion turns racist in the blink of an eye. 

This is so sad, and so frustrating. 

Therefore we can't really discuss how to prevent cultural clashes in the future; we will most certainly have similar problems to those in the other Nordic countries. But as of yet we have rather few Muslims and no visible problems of that nature to speak of. But immigration is on the rise. Only a matter of time.

This is exactly why i think its important to call out and distinguish ourselves from those who are coming from a real place of bigotry. This is why I refer to it as a 3-headed beast of sorts, that we must battle. Because increasingly so, in the age of Trump, there are more and more people joining this conversation - who would simply prefer another brand of fascism in place rather than secularism and equality. Critique of Islam is so incredibly important, and not pandering to xenophobes who jump on this bandwagon, is key to keeping that conversation going productively. 

It’s such a frustrating situation, and I completely empathize. Even in Canada, it is only devout Muslims who are given platforms, any secularists or liberals from our communities are written off as ‘Islamophobes’. On the other hand we have our fox news type narrative as well...but no real space for middle ground. 

With a rise in immigration and no proper critique, heightened relativism because people refuse to address problems within Islam, this polarization will certainly get worse. We need to start recognizing forms of non violent extremism as well, and we need to start calling it out. Gender segregation, burqas, fundamentalist religious schools…these things should not be acceptable to the general public. Banning of course is not the solution, as it will only have the opposite effect. ...but public opposition is important. One law for everyone in terms of face coverings in banks, airports, courts, etc. is important.

In Denmark all kinds of ideas are being discussed after a recent hidden camera show revealed fundamentalist teachings in many large danish mosques, going against local laws and restricting women from working in the Danish community. Ideas discussed, for example: banning radical imams form countries such as Pakistan and making Danish the mandatory language for prayer.

In Sweden immigrants end up in high rise housing projects with future crime and segregation problems.

This is unsurprising :( Such awful beliefs are prevalent, and there are little to no challenges. Absolutely, hate-preachers should not be allowed immigration. I assumed that much was already in effect! I doubt that people would be willing to forego the traditional Arabic recitations in the mosque. But mosques and religious schools do need to be regulated and scrutinized. 

If only the governments/media were to stop demonizing/ignoring people of Muslim descent - who do criticize such radical ideologies….and instead prop them up, a world of difference could be made. They don’t because they fear the take over from legit bigots, its a fair concern, but people need to learn to distinguish between rational critics and fear mongers. Otherwise the only option left for frustrated people will be those like Trump, and Pegida. It’s a terrible direction we’re headed in, one that will undoubtedly cause a rise in actual anti-muslim bigotry. If the left doesn’t get on the 'right side' (no pun intended) of this…many will shift to the actual right.

Very interesting dilemma. And for people such as yourself of course very strange, not to be able to discuss women's rights and the Islamist right without being called a bigot.

It is rather strange, isn’t it. Such a frustrating position to be in. I’ve been bumped off of shows, and panel discussions once they find out I’m a critic of religion, and an ex-Muslim atheist.

I worry that if we can't discuss these things properly with solutions being proposed and researched, we will leave the discussion to the far right, like Sam Harris has mentioned, and thus we will get a far right nationalist party very soon I think. We already see signs that these kinds of political powers are on the rise here and I think that is very sad.

It’s not even that it will happen… it is happening. I’ve seen a clear shift to the right from many atheists too (Pictured below is a group that many 'secularists have recently supported or refused to denounce). And alliances being formed with far-right anti ‘islamization' groups, very worrying. And also alienating for atheists and liberals of muslim descent.

Pegida Rally - Image from:

An Arabic cultural center has been started in Iceland. Hopefully such moves will help Arab and Muslim immigrants to thrive here without resorting to fundamentalist Islam as a cultural beacon in search of identity.

I really hope so. But more efforts to encourage secularism within Muslim communities are needed. I’ve written some children’s books that I received lovely death threats for. Instead of highlighting their importance, especially for children of immigrant parents, the schools have been bullied into silence and abandoning such resources. Meanwhile we fight for LGBT equality and updated sex ed curriculums in our schools in Canada, but nothing to specifically encourage this acceptance among (muslim) immigrants. 

Thank you for your interesting email. 



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