A Mirror for You

Morning_Star
In her silent glow
the full moon shines
with her Creator’s beauty

She knows you wander down below
feeling so helpless
and wounded in the dark

Look how He made me, she says
so radiant and beautiful
serving as a mirror for you

The violet stars can feel your heart tremble
who taught you to be afraid of the dark, azizam?
bring your gaze here and dive into moonlight

Become my guest on this lonely night
and see the Creator’s work in you
look into yourself to see Him

Realize…

You,
like the moon,
luminous and beautiful

~Broken Mystic~

Delirium

+Master Doorkeeper b
The mystics invited me to their gathering
On the way, a strange man met me on the road
He stood before me, eclipsing the sun in his black robes
He said, “Come to the carnival instead”

I followed him like a ghost crossing into another world
Where everything is spoken through symbols and metaphor
I watched as we passed through the crowded fair
Of old and young lost in the recreation of ancient folklore

Wizards with their tarot cards, magicians in medieval costumes
Mimes trapped in their imaginary prisons
Fire breathers lighting up the sky in wonder
Appearing like dragons in the imagination of children

A sun-colored butterfly fluttered amidst the strange
I followed its flight to a stone-faced audience
Watching the puppet show of Crusaders and Saracens
Hypnotized by the centuries of cruelty and violence

My eyes sank in sorrow
Not realizing that the man I came with
Vanished into the unknown
Leaving only a compass around my neck

It pointed to a tall, thin man watching me with his gothic eyes
A crystal ball levitating in the palm of his hand
I looked inside and saw myself soaring through clouded skies
He veiled the image and invited me into the large tent behind him

“Come, step inside,” he said

Walking through, I listened to the magical bells
Echoing in peaceful jubilee
As a garden bloomed on the concert stage
With rose petals raining like dream-like fantasy

A young girl dressed as a princess
Whirling beneath the falling tulips
With a halo hovering over her head
And a precious smile painted on her lips

She reminds me of the ocean’s dance
When I was another child
Dreaming about portals in the sea
And escaping far, far away into self-exile

For a moment, it was all happiness and bliss
Like living in a floating sphere vibrant with color
Like beautiful words blown into the wind
Touching skin and heart softly like an Angel’s kiss

But how transitory that was
When the wild lights began to spiral
And I heard those crazy circus clowns
Laughing wickedly on their unicycles

Their laughter reminds me of hellfire
Roaring through those endless fields of mine
Burning every flower, slaughtering every dream
Leaving nothing left to grow, nothing left to find

They juggled their sharp and deadly blades
Grinning at the audience like cardboard cartoons
Each dagger spinning and slicing through the air
I can only hear violence and murder in their tune

As if they were putting on a sadistic show
Where I was the dummy flown to the highest cloud
Only to have my strings cut and fall below
Deep into the heart of the darkest abyss

I left the tent, not wanting to stay any longer
Yet it were gypsy strings that called me to another street
Beyond the ferris wheel where families gathered
Beyond the swan boats where Lovers drifted upon the lake

I saw the fiddle player sitting upon a stage
Next to a luminous unicorn glowing like a star in Heaven
A magician bowed her head as the marveled audience clapped
Her eyes searched through the sea of faces and met mine in unison

She smiled and said, “I need a volunteer”

As if it was instinct and meant to be
I rose my hand and made my way through the masses
She opened her hand, waiting for me
Like a savior offering eternal refuge and escape

Our fingers touched, our hands merged
I felt my heart tremble as a current rippled inside
She drew me silently up the steps
Like I was the seeker and she the guide

“This Way,” she whispered
While walking me to a double-sided door
Nothing behind it, nothing within
Just a frame of wood, nothing more

She wrapped a blindfold around my eyes
Mystified and blinded in darkness
She told me I could remove it soon
After I opened the door and walked inside

I took my careful steps, hoping for answers
And closed the door behind me
I finally removed the blindfold
Only to find myself in a hall of spiraling mirrors

I turned around and reached for the knob
But watched it unscrew and fall to the crimson floor
Pounding at the door, I heard nothing from the other side
The past sealed shut – no other way but forward

I walked to the center of the room
Watching infinite reflections follow myself
Gazing deep into my own eyes, I saw a storm gather
The joys, the pain, the misery, the light, the gloom

I became lost in my own self
Not wanting the heart’s agony anymore
A desire to flee from this shell swept over me
A desire I never recognized before

I thought to myself and longed for escape:

I’d rather be a statue in the water fountain
Engraved with a smile on my face
Handing out roses to the lonely souls
Who just want to live in a beautiful place

I’d rather be a voice in your mind
Telling you that it’s going to be ok
As you drive home alone late at night
Dwelling on your sorrows and contemplating suicide

I’d rather be the ever-present spirit of Love
Holding you in arms, whispering comfort in your ears
As you weep over your broken heart
And wallow in unwanted fear

I’d rather be a guardian Angel
For an innocent prisoner sitting on death row
Adoring her paintings and releasing her from the shackles
Carrying her beautiful soul into the next life

I’d rather be a drop of rain
Kissing your cheek for comfort
Or a ray of light from the sun
Reminding your heart that it will shine again

I’d rather be the gentle breeze blowing through your hair
Accompanied by the magical tune of the santour
A sheet of wind wrapping around you
Carrying your imagination to a distant seashore

I’d rather be a vision of a better world
Rushing into the arms of artists and activists
Celebrating in tears of joy as each and every dream
Is made real and manifest

I’d rather feel nothing
No anger, no hate, no pain
No one to hurt, no one to blame
Nothing to take, nothing to gain

“I” would rather not exist

And suddenly, the hallway erupted in laughter
My eyes darted down both ends of the room
Before realizing it came from my reflection in the mirror
“Why do you laugh?” I ask

“Because you are the real lunatic,” he answered
Mysteriously, he stepped out of the reflection
Standing in front of me, he said: “Yet you remain a coward”
“For all you know how to do is merely speak of non-existence”

Without warning, like a being possessed
I broke the mirror with my fist
And with one swift motion
I slit my clone’s throat with a blade of glass

The blood splashed on the mirrors
The entire glass hallway shattered – Kshhh!!
The pieces flew into my skin
As the ground beneath me shook like an earthquake

I fell through the floor
And found myself tumbling through outer space
Debris floating around me as I plunged deeper
I became surrounded by stars, distant planets and nebulae

Comets, meteors, galaxies whirling in darkness
I spun like a pinwheel, spiraling in every direction
My arms extending, my fingers reaching
Reaching for something in desperation

Reaching for Love, hope, beauty
For happiness, joy, euphoria
For peace, balance, tranquility
For life, home – something, anything!

My skin turning pale
My body surrendering
My blood freezing to ice
My heart beginning to fail

A voice enters my mind – Look, over here!
I turn and see Simurgh – my old Friend
Soaring through the heavens like a shooting star
Oh, Simurgh, I thought you were dead

Carried by the solar winds
She swoops above me – bloodied from our past
Before I could smile, her talons dig into my chest
And violently tears me open

My screams suffocated by the cosmic void
Only tears and blood can trickle from my eyes
When murdered by the Friend of Love
Only the soul can fill the universe with my endless cries

Amidst the pain, I heard sound emerge in space
I saw Simurgh pulling stars with her flapping wings
Energy and light – They raced in my direction!
I heard music! – Like a symphony of strings!

Luminous orbs of plasma gathering like an ocean
And swirling like a solar typhoon
I heard them whistling through the dark
As they charged towards my open wound

I heard the orchestra’s crescendo
The chant of mystics resounding
The passion drums pounding
Duum! Duum! Duum!

I understood now
As the realization came to me
“Death before death”
The Way to eternity

O Giver of Love and Mercy!
You have cut me open
Pull Your storm
Into me

Flames shooting out of my eyes
And infinite rays of light beaming in every direction
As my heart swallowed Heaven’s fire
Every star filling me with divine resurrection

I have exploded into infinity
Sailing to that Love I cannot name
Expanding forever with the universe
Bidding farewell to yesterday’s “me”

And upon those memories of sorrow, I smile at you

I am Supernova
And you are Stargazer
Watch the multi-colored flame
Of my Being shine anew

~ Broken Mystic~

Don Cherry’s Xenophobic Remarks on Ovechkin Should Not Be Tolerated

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Someone needs to call Don Cherry out on his childish xenophobic rants.  Regarded as a legendary ice hockey analyst and Canadian icon, Don Cherry is known for his often inflammatory and controversial remarks, but it seems that the general public recurrently lets his ethnocentric diatribes slide rather than holding him accountable.

For years, Cherry has been characterizing European players as “cowards” for not understanding the “Canadian way” of hockey.  When asked to comment on why he didn’t have any European players on his junior team, he said, “They call me a racist because I don’t want any Europeans coming to play for my Ice Dogs. If a kid comes over here and becomes a Canadian, I’ll put him on in a minute. But I will not parachute him in so that he can grab the money and run.”  Cherry took similar jabs at the dazzling Czech center, Jaromir Jagr, accusing him of being “everything that’s wrong with the NHL.  He gets hit, he goes down and stays there. Get up!”  In the same interview, Cherry compared Jagr to another hockey legend, Tim Horton, a player who, according to Cherry, would stay on the ice and finish his shift even if “blood would be coming down his face.”  Apparently, Cherry thinks only Canadians know how to play “tough.”

So what’s eating at Don Cherry these days?  See number 8 on the Washington Capitals, a remarkably talented Russian left-winger named Alexander Ovechkin. Actually, to say he is “remarkably talented” is an understatement.  The guy is a magician with the puck and arguably the most exciting player to watch in the NHL today.  Playing in his fourth season, Ovechkin not only led the league in goals, but he has also earned his place in the pantheon of hockey superstars.  Cherry’s beef?  Ovechkin’s goal celebrations are too “over-the-top.”  That’s right.  Ovechkin’s enthusiasm is too much for Cherry’s “Canadian” standards.

On CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, Cherry complained that Ovechkin was acting like “those goofy soccer guys” by “jumping up and down” after scoring goals.  In pure dogmatic fashion, Cherry pointed at the screen and lectured Canadian kids not to act like Ovechkin.  Instead, he tells kids that they should behave the “Canadian way” and act like Joe Thornton, Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan, Jarome Iginla, and Bobby Orr (all Canadian-born players).  I didn’t realize the NHL had a “Canadians only” stamp on it.

What’s more disturbing is how ethnocentric and racist Cherry’s presentation is.  He shows clips of dark-skinned international soccer players jubilantly celebrating on the field, calls them “goofs” and says, “Look at this! This is what we want our hockey players to act with?”  Then he shows clips of Ovechkin’s celebrations and yammers, “Look at this!  Does he not remind you of a soccer player?”  For those who missed it, here is the clip:

Cherry receives plenty of criticism for his remarks, but the problem is not just his unapologetic ego, it’s also how the media and the NHL simply brush off his words as if they don’t generate negative and stereotypical perceptions of European players (or any player who is not from North America).  On the CBC Sports website, Cherry is showcased for his opinionated views, no matter how bigoted or how xenophobic, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere.  Cherry undeniably crossed it right here (and it isn’t the first time either, he once went as far as saying Russian players have “zero heart”).  Not holding him accountable is to ignore the weight of the issue altogether.

Around college campuses and street hockey courts, I hear hockey fans debating about Ovechkin’s exuberant celebrations.  I’ve been watching ice hockey since 1997 when the Philadelphia Flyers went to the Stanley Cup finals (and were swept by the Detroit Red Wings), and I’ve never heard this kind of debate before.  It’s no doubt that the “celebration controversy” was generated by Don Cherry’s commentary, but whether people realize it or not, it reinforces this new idea that there is a Canadian/North American “unwritten law” on how hockey players are supposed to celebrate goals.  When Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season, Cherry ripped on Ovechkin’s “hot stick” celebration and had these words for the young star, “Have a little class and do it right.”  In other words:  Be Canadian, otherwise you’re “threatening” the “Canadian way” of hockey and aren’t worthy of admiration or praise.  It’s sort of like the Bush administration on ice.

The fact of the matter is that many aspiring hockey players admire Alexander Ovechkin, not because of his nationality, but for his extraordinary display of talent and leadership.  What worries me is how people like Don Cherry want to make Ovechkin’s nationality an issue.  It seems that he wants us to perceive Ovechkin’s style of play as “foreign” and “un-Canadian,” while making us forget the fact that Canadian-born players such as Theoren Fluery, Tiger Williams, Wayne Gretzky, and countless others have also displayed plenty of dramatic celebrations in the past.

Dictating how NHL players should celebrate their goals isn’t so much about hockey than it is about fascism.  Calling all European players “cowards,” accusing them of having no “heart,” and then comparing them with “goofy” dark-skinned soccer players is not about hockey either.  It’s called racism.  If Don Cherry is not held accountable, then what’s to stop him and other sports commentators from making racially charged statements about athletes outside of North America?  What’s to stop the xenophobia and ethnocentrism from spilling out on the ice?  Everyone remembers what happened to that other Don (Imus), right?

It’s funny because amidst all this controversy, whether its Cherry yapping on about the “Canadian” way of hockey or our generation’s hockey fans engaging in superficial debates about goal celebrations, a simple truth lies beneath it all:  Alexander Ovechkin is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game.

Great athletes don’t always have to be North American.

~Broken Mystic~

Dunkin’ Donuts, Allah, and Quantum Physics

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So, I’ve been speaking to some of my friends about quantum physics lately (by the way, isn’t the picture above amazing?) and how our thoughts carry vibrations that affect the world around us. As a result, I’ve been thinking deeper about the connections we make with other human beings as well as the world. I have a book called “The Sense of Being Stared At” by Rupert Sheldrake and it argues that our experiences with “coincidences” and “unexplained phenomena” (such as sensing who’s on the phone before answering it) are rooted in our biology. It’s really fascinating because he grounds a lot of his theories in scientific research. These experiences are so common and yet they’re rarely studied or taken seriously. We tend to overlook them too and dismiss them as mere “coincidences.”

I’m sure all of us have had experiences that we can’t explain. I know those who delve into spirituality/mysticism talk a lot about how everything happens for a reason. As the Qur’an says: “And with Allah are the keys of the unseen, no one knows them except Allah. He knows all that is in the ocean and on the land. No leaf falls without His knowledge, nor any particle in the dark recesses of the earth, nor anything green and fresh or dry and withered but that it is in a clear book.” (6:59)

I don’t believe in “coincidences” and I’ve always believed them to be signs. Even with my friends or when I meet new people, I know there is some greater purpose and significance there. We meet people for a reason, we go to certain places for a reason, we experience joy and sorrow for a reason, and so on. Talking about energy, morphic fields, and vibrations is so fascinating because, as a friend put it, it’s “science affirming mystic thought!”

Yesterday, I had one of those experiences. The weather was absolutely beautiful, so my friends and I made plans to play roller hockey. Prior to our game, I oddly felt in the mood for one of those supreme omelet croissants at Dunkin’ Donuts. Yeah, I know. Dunkin’ Donuts, not healthy, not good for you, lol. But I went through the drive thru and, as expected, there was a nice Indian woman who took my order. I drove up to the window and said, “No bacon or meat on it, right?” She shook her head and said, “no.” Then she asked, “From where you are from?” I replied, “Lahore, Pakistan.” She smiled and asked, “Hindi nahi aati?” (You don’t speak Hindi?) I smiled back and replied, “Tori se aati hain” (I know a little bit).

I laughed because I tried to carry a conversation with her in Urdu/Hindi. She asked if I was born here, and I was like, “Nahi, Lahore mein peda howa” (No, I was born in Lahore — I don’t know if I said it right, lol, so feel free to correct me!) She responded, “And you still don’t know how to speak it?” (She said that in Urdu/Hindi, but if I try to transliterate what she said, I’ll butcher it!) Then I had to drop the Urdu/Hindi and tell her that I was born there but never lived in Pakistan since my parents moved us to the United States. “I’m learning though,” I added. “Yeah, you should!” she replied.

When she went to get my food, I said “sobhan’Allah” out loud and laughed. Whenever I go to Dunkin’ Donuts or other stores, the South Asian clerks rarely speak to me in Urdu/Hindi, let alone ask me about where I’m from. Of course it’s happened before, but it’s been a while. I couldn’t help but think about my most recent note, “Searching for My Pakistani Identity,” and how I mentioned feeling bad for not speaking Urdu/Hindi with South Asians. And yesterday, a day after I wrote the note, there I was talking to a South Asian in Urdu/Hindi.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. There is Beauty in these precious moments and experiences we have. They’re filled with so much meaning and, as Shah Nimatullah Wali puts it, “everything throughout the world, everywhere, end to end, is but a reflection of a ray cast from the Face of the Friend.”

After she handed me my food, I said “shukriya” (thank you) and drove away with a smile. I couldn’t help but think Allah was smiling at me :)

Ya Haqq! (Hail the Truth!)

~Broken Mystic~

With You

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I was dreaming of Mecca
The tomb in Medina
The memories in Jerusalem
The shrine in Karbala

Look at the congregations on Friday
Worshipers rushing into the Mosques
Listen to that beautiful call to prayer
It is all for You, my Creator

Believers memorize Your sacred verses
Theologians are absorbed in pursuit of Divine knowledge
Scholars fill endless books about Your Supreme Majesty
Mystics adorn Your Beauty with poetry

I am jealous of all Your Lovers
I want to be the only pilgrim in the holy city
I want to stand before the Kaabah alone
Just You and me

Call me Your slave
Tell me where I belong
Attend to my wounds
Tell me where I am wrong

I am reaching for Elysium
Remove this horrible grief and sorrow
Take me for another dance
And teach me a new lesson

Just You and me

Call it blasphemy, call it selfish
The words of those clerics cannot judge me
For my longings and prayers are only known to One

~Broken Mystic~

Meld in Ecstasy

dar_daman
Submissive on the prayer rug
Inhaling the clean scent of the night
Eyes shut – pulled into deep trance
Listen for that match to strike

There.

The soft glow of candlelight
Glistening on your skin like the moonlit sea
It is time to embrace those open arms
And feel the Beauty of the night

Hush.

Just feel the cool air
Kissing your luscious lips
Just listen for those secret whispers
Hidden in the serenity of prayer

Shhhh.

Touch that flame of desire
Yearning for body and soul to meld in ecstasy
Come – undress in the fire
Become clothed in the Seven Shades of Love

Breathe.

Divinity is Here
Just when you think you’re ready to speak
Beloved claps a hand over your mouth
And pulls you into the passionate sea

Swim with Me.

Now is not the time for words.
Let’s make music all night.

~Broken Mystic~

Checkpoint

checkpoint
You watch me closely
With your sniper rifle
A weapon you call security
An instrument I call fear

I show that I am weaponless
As I pass through your checkpoint
Spinning like a whirling dervish
Fearless in this worldly separation

I want to open your eyes
So you can see the unjust persecution
I want you to look into my soul
And listen to the endless cries of desperation

I want you to watch my heart bleed
Every time I pray for Abraham’s children
I want you to hear me gasp for air
Every time a face and name is forgotten

Why are we, brothers and sisters, so torn apart?
Here I cross again, spinning in my Sufi dance
And dancing to the song of yearning
That plays forever in my heart

Like planets dancing around the sun
This is the dance of the celestial heavens
Where even the gunman is invited
No uniforms, no flags, no bombs, no guns

As you watch, I want you to listen:

My Beloved is Here
My Love is Here

My Home is Here

~Broken Mystic~

Critics of U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution Overlook Opportunities for Global Dialogue

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Much is being made about the U.N. Anti-Blasphemy Resolution, which calls upon member nations, including the United States, to combat defamation of religion — Islam in particular.  Critics of the resolution include CNN’s Lou Dobbs, who describes the opposition against the resolution as a “fight for free speech,” author Christopher Hitchens, and Islamophobes around the blogosphere who scathingly label the resolution a step towards “spreading Sharia law to the West.”

The resolution, “Combating the Defamation of Religion,” was adopted in 2007 and “stresses the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred, against Islam and Muslims in particular.”  Unsurprisingly, religious groups and free-speech advocates in the United States accuse the resolution of impeding on constitutional rights such as freedom of expression.  John Bolton, former U.N. Ambassador, comments:  “It’s obviously intended to have an intimidating effect on people expressing criticism of radical Islam, and the idea that you can have a defamation of a religion like this, I think, is a concept fundamentally foreign to our system of free expression in the United States.”

I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers terming this issue “freedom under fire” and I see a lot of Islamophobes pouncing on it since it “scores points” for their “argument” that Muslims want to “impose Sharia law.”  What I see missing from these reactions are efforts to engage in global dialogue between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds.  Rather than recognizing the importance of much-needed dialogue, Lou Dobbs and Christopher Hitchens spend about seven minutes defending freedom of expression, accusing the U.N. of being a “totalitarian” and “authoritarian organization,” and resorting to typical fear-mongering tactics by saying there are “Muslims who are prepared to use violence at the drop of a hat.”  Dobbs and Hitchens present us with a very singular, misconstrued, and stereotypical perspective on the situation instead of acknowledging social problems such as annually rising hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims in the West, which clearly contribute to the formation of this particular U.N. resolution.

The fact of the matter is that this is a very complicated issue.  Personally, I find the U.N. anti-blasphemy resolution flawed.  Although the resolution aims to prevent violence and discrimination against people of any religious background, I believe the defamation laws can be abused by governments.  Individuals should be allowed to express their views and opinions about religions and cultures without worrying about being criminalized.  I am not against the idea of people criticizing Islam; surely everyone is entitled to their opinion, but what I am against is dehumanization and vilification of religions and entire groups of people.  There is a difference between constructive criticism and hate speech, the latter has the potential to lead to discrimination and hate crimes.  One could argue that organizations like the KKK are entitled to “freedom of speech,” but when they advocate violence towards African-Americans, it no longer complies with the American constitution.

The “Combating the Defamation of Religion” resolution was introduced by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.  The fact that the resolution stems from a Muslim organization should indicate the importance of dialogue rather than perceiving the idea as an attempt to “impose Sharia law in the West.”  As I mentioned, I do not support the resolution, but I think it raises an important opportunity for Muslim and non-Muslim communities to achieve a richer and empathetic understanding about issues related to vilification of Islam in mainstream media, pop culture, and newspapers.  During the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan in 2007, for example, the Clarion Fund decided to distribute millions of anti-Islamic DVDs entitled “Obsession” to swing states in the U.S.  Although there are those who continue to argue that the film is an exercise of “freedom of expression,” the larger issue that is often ignored is how Islamophobic imagery was distributed on a massive scale.  Whenever Muslims protested against the DVD and wrote letters to their newspapers, they were often accused of being “over-sensitive” or “impeding on American values.”  Muslim voices were hardly given a chance to voice their own opinions about the DVD and how it made them feel.  Instead, their voices were lost and dumped into a box of Islamophobic generalizations.

The argument that people like Dobbs and Hitchens don’t seem interested in is that dehumanization and vilification of a religion and/or entire group of people is an inevitable companion of war.  In other words, in order to successfully rally supporters for war, one needs to establish an immensely contrasting divide between “us” and “them.”  Demonizing the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in the Danish cartoons is an example of attacking the very heart of Muslims and reinforcing the “differences” between non-Muslims and Muslims, not just in the Islamic world, but also within the West.  The Danish cartoons also generated such a negative perception and attitude towards the Prophet Muhammad that CAIR (the Council for American-Islamic Relations) mobilized to hold seminars to educate and enlighten non-Muslims about the truth of the Prophet.  Muslims wouldn’t have held educational programs if they weren’t so concerned about the general public’s perception of their religion after the Danish cartoons and riots.  The mainstream media didn’t seem to be concerned with these stories because they were too busy covering the violent riots in the Muslim world.  The inability to empathize with the sentiments of Muslims all over the world (including in the West) represents a failure to establish communication and understanding.

It is important for freedom of speech to be protected, but when Muslim-Americans experience ignorance, verbal abuse, physical assault, and vandalism, it is society’s responsibility to recognize that they, like every other American citizen, deserve to be treated equally regardless of their skin color, culture, and religious background.  Sensitive issues need to be discussed fairly and openly between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, otherwise stereotypes and misunderstandings will continue to persist.  Islamophobic rhetoric and blindly defending “free speech” are just obstacles and barriers that are created to prevent necessary dialogue.  If people like Lou Dobbs and Christopher Hitchens took the opportunity to engage in respectful and open-minded discussions with Muslim-Americans, they may empathize with how Islamophobic material, like the Danish cartoons and the “Obsession” DVD, have been used to bully, harass, and discriminate against Muslims in the West.

In the end,  it is not simply a matter of “freedom of speech.”  It’s a matter of understanding one another better.  The Muslim-American experience needs to stop being treated as something “foreign;” on the contrary it is an American story that isn’t being given enough voice.  As Muslim students, who protested the Danish cartoons in Washington D.C., wrote on their banners, “Freedom of Speech Does Not Equal Freedom to Hate.”

Dear Love

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Dear Love,
I remember the night we met
When You climbed over those walls I built
And held my hand to show me a new horizon
Revealing a world I could never imagine

When I wanted to turn my face in the other direction
Your gentle touch brought me closer
I watched my fortress melt by Your Passion
I didn’t resist and burned it down with You

Oh Love, you tore through my Soul!
You pulled a Thunderous Storm of Fire into me!
You unfastened Your Love to unleash fiery Romance
And conquered my Being to set me Free

You pinned me to the ground
Gazed into my eyes and swallowed my words
You filled me with the sweetest pleasure I ever knew
And my heart became music to praise Your Name with every pound

Oh Love, you maddened me!
Fire in my heart, Flames in my eyes
Desire on my lips, hot blood in my veins
A human torch for Beauty

Oh Love, but then You struck me down!
While I was singing and soaring with ecstasy
Your sword plunged into my breast!
So violently, so painfully, so suddenly

I crashed so hard through the thorns
I bled for hours and searched the forest to find You
I shouted Your Name, but only heard the haunting echoes
The Garden was vacant, the flowers wounded
I shivered, I trembled, I collapsed and mourned

Oh Love, You murdered me!
Brutality to my soul, a massacre to my dreams
Betrayed, broken, shattered, butchered
Memories scattered over a forgotten sea

In rainfall I wept one day
Feeling so alone without You
Little did I know, You were right there
Wrapping Your Warm Arms around me

“I have always been Here,” You said

Tears of sorrow became tears of joy
As everything began to shine
I turned and embraced You
Oh Love, I was blind the whole time

You bring Life, You bring Death
You Destroy, You Restore
Friend, this Secret You whisper in my ear
Has become my Road to Heaven’s Door

Dear Love, it is Here where I surrender
It is Here, where I dance
Like a Flower blooming in the Garden
I am a Rose for You

Turning and ascending
Painted with Passion
Calling out Your Name
Joy or torment, it doesn’t matter

I remain Loyal to You

~Broken Mystic~

No Street Hockey at the Islamic Games?

It really doesn’t surprise me that there won’t be any street hockey matches for the 2009 Islamic Games in New Jersey.  What can I say, most Muslims just don’t seem to play hockey at all.  This is something I’ve been noticing all of my life.  Whenever I go to my cousins’ house, they’re up for playing either basketball, soccer, football, and of course, cricket.  Others are into baseball.  Or tennis.  Or badminton.  Or volleyball.  But hockey?  Forget about it.

I’m one of the coordinators for my Mosque’s Youth Club and we usually play basketball every Sunday because that’s what most of the kids want to play.  I always join in even though my shot accuracy is terrible, lol.  I’ll play just about any sport, even if I’m not very good at it, but roller hockey is my favorite sport.  I remember the look on one of the Youth coordinator’s face when my Muslim friend and I told him that we were going to play hockey after Jummah prayer.  It was one of those looks that your fellow Muslim brother/sister gives you before telling you something is haram.  But he didn’t say it was haram, alhamdullilah lol :)

I Love roller hockey.  I Love skating around and turning; I Love stick-handling, passing, and deking out the goalie.  The fast pace of the game is just so much fun.  In my feeble attempts to attract my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters to hockey, I tell them it’s not that different from soccer!  You know, instead of kicking a ball into a net, you’re hitting it with a stick.  And you’re on roller blades.  Okay, maybe they’re not completely alike, but it’s still a fun sport!

Anyway, my friends and I used to play roller hockey almost every single day when we were in high school.  After we’d get home from school, we would go out to the tennis court and play hockey.  About two months ago, we started to play hockey again after about three or four years!  Now, we play at least two times a week.  It’s really great to be playing again, especially when I’m playing with my friends.  We don’t play a rough game — we never have — because we know we would like to wake up the next morning with our arms and legs intact.  I never played ice hockey, even though I’ve ice skated a lot before.  My brother played for a league and it was quite physical, which is one of the reasons I didn’t want to play it.  I always like to joke that I’m better than my brother, but in all honesty, he’s extremely talented, masha’Allah.  He led his league in points and goals, and he scored the game-winning goal to win his team the championship.

As for the NHL, some of my friends are still really into it, but I can’t get into it anymore.  None of my favorite players are playing anymore.  Even my playing style today still has influences of Eric Lindros and John Leclair, who were both my favorite players.  Recently, however, my brother told me about this fellow playing for the Washington Capitals:  Alexander Ovechkin.  I heard people talking about him so much that I finally decided to look him up on YouTube.  And wow, I think I’m going to start watching NHL games just to see him play.  Watch the video above and check out the goal he scores at 2:36.  It’s insane!  It actually reminds me of one of my “memorable” hockey moments, lol.

Ok, true story.  I played for a roller hockey league back in high school.  My dad, with his Pakistani mustache, was our team’s coach believe it or not, and my brother and I played on the same line together.  We won two championships, which my dad likes to attribute to himself.  “See what happens when you listen to me,” he says (and still says).   Anyway, so it was a tie game and it was taking forever for either team to score.  I believe it was in the third period, but our team shot the ball down in the other team’s end.  I started to skate really fast towards the ball, which was on the far right side of the net.  I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, lol.  There was no angle at the net at all, and yet I was charging for the ball.  As I got closer, I was just like, “oh God, this is going to suck.”  Because I knew I was going to wipe out since I’m horrible at stopping when I’m going that fast!  So, since I figured I was going to fall to the ground, I decided I was just going to shoot the ball towards the net.  Here goes:  3, 2, 1…

WACK!  I took a swing at the ball, cinematically flew to the ground, and slammed into the boards.  Yep, I made myself look like an idiot.  As my teammate came to help me get to my feet, he had this amazed look on his face.  And in his suburban accent, he was like, “Awh man, that was an awesome goal!  That was sick!”  I was just like, huh?!  It went in?!  But how?!  I had like no angle at all!  Apparently I did!  I admit though, I got lucky with that one.  I think my shot accuracy is pretty darn good, but hey, not that good!  So yeah, Ovechkin’s goal reminded me of that.

Anyway, it doesn’t bother me that there aren’t any street hockey tournaments at the Islamic Games, it just makes me wonder if Muslim interests in basketball and soccer are socialized.  It’s not just Muslims, I’ve also noticed non-Muslim Middle-Easterners and South Asians who are into basketball and soccer too, but I never see them playing hockey.  Maybe it’s cultural?  Or maybe if I go to Canada, I’ll see more Muslims into hockey (I was in Canada recently, but not long enough to see whether or not Muslims play hockey).

Oh well, I’m still excited about the Islamic Games.  I’m excited about being a coach.  I’ll wear my suit and tie and yell from the sidelines like Al Pacino :P

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