Monday, April 28, 2008

Ummah: Be Part of It (Or Else)

If you’re a Muslim in the West and you want to be in style, then Style Islam is the website you want to visit.

Style IslamIt’s a sophisticated operation with a variety of products and a design-your-own feature for T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other apparel. Some of the designs feature slogans such as “Go Halal” and “Hijab Supporter”.

And then there’s “Hijab: My Right, My Choice, My Life”. Hmm… I wonder if a girl’s father, brothers, uncles, and cousins agree that it’s her choice. Do you think she ever removes her hijab to find out?

Then there’s a new version of an old hippy-dippy standard, “Drop Love, Not Bombs”. And did you know “Jesus Was a Muslim”?

Why stop with Jesus? Socrates was a Muslim. Holger Danske was a Muslim. Copernicus was a Muslim. Karl Marx was a Muslim…

The brains behind Style Islam is a German-born ethnic Turkish Muslim named Melih Kesmen. According to Today’s Zaman, Mr. Kesmen was inspired to start his business by the crisis over the Danish Motoons:
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When cartoons insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohammed hit the headlines around the world, his first reaction was to design a T-shirt with the message, “I Love My Prophet — Mohammed” and hit the street in London. Upon seeing the great positive reaction he received — peppered with the few verbal assaults he had anticipated — he began brainstorming possible ways of spreading Islam’s message through a more contemporary and esthetically appealing manner, and came up with slogan-bearing T-shirts.

“We aim to interact with people around us through the messages written on the T-shirts. Basically, we call on non-Muslims to learn about Islam not from the Western media, but from the very people they walk past in the street every day,” Kesmen explained, adding that this street fashion aims to present the message in a more appealing way to the youth of Europe.

But what about the youth of Europe who can’t walk past these inspiring T-shirts on the street, because they’re not allowed on the street? The ones who are in prison, I mean. More specifically, drug-addled hedonistic British rock stars who are doing time for their misdeeds.

Take, for example, Pete Doherty. If you’re looking for a visual definition of the word “dissipated”, click the Al-Arabiya link and examine the photo. Fortunately for Pete, being incarcerated hasn’t kept him from finding Allah:

Drug-addict UK rocker turns to Islam in jail

Drug-addicted British rocker Pete Doherty is a changed man since he began reading the Quran while in jail, his friends were quoted as saying in British newspapers on Sunday.

Doherty, the lead singer of the hugely successful Babyshambles group, is being held in isolation at London’s notoriously tough Wormwood Scrubs prison, after being sentenced to 14-weeks in jail for violating his probation by taking drugs.

Friends of the British pop star said he asked for an English copy of the Quran and has been reading it ever since, British tabloid The Sun reported.

“He’s got a lot of Muslim friends and they’ve been [on] him for ages to study it. Now he’s on his own he’s got time on his hands to study it,” The Sun quoted a friend as saying.

Friends say the troubled rocker — who The Sun earlier this year described as a “bleeding, bloated, greasy, drug-addled junkie” — has now found solace in Islam’s holy book.

[…]

In the past, Doherty was obsessed with Scientology after being introduced to the cult-like religion by his then girlfriend.

From Scientology to Islam. I won’t venture an opinion as to which one is the frying pan and which one the fire.

But what about conversions the other way? If a Muslim discovers Jesus (who was also a Muslim, after all), is there an inspiring T-shirt for him?

Not if he’s a second-generation Muslim in the UK. If he happens to find Christ, he’d better keep his mouth shut, or he’s likely to face a can of petrol, a match, and the indifference of the police — and not necessarily in that order.

According to the Times Online:

British Muslim ‘bullied’ for converting to Christianity

A British citizen who converted to Christianity from Islam and then complained to police when locals threatened to burn his house down was told by officers to “stop being a crusader”, according to a new report.

Nissar Hussein, 43, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who was born and raised in Britain, converted from Islam to Christianity with his wife, Qubra, in 1996. The report says that he was subjected to a number of attacks and, after being told that his house would be burnt down if he did not repent and return to Islam, reported the threat to the police. It says he was told that such threats were rarely carried out and the police officer told him to “stop being a crusader and move to another place”. A few days later the unoccupied house next door was set on fire.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British human rights organisation whose president is the former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, is calling on the UN and the international community to take action against nations and communities that punish apostasy.

Its report, No Place to Call Home, claims that apostates from Islam are subject to “gross and wideranging human rights abuses”. It adds that in countries such as Britain, with large Muslim populations in a Westernised culture, the demand to maintain a Muslim identity is intense. “When identities are precarious, their enforcement will take an aggressive form.”

Drop Love, Not Bombs.

Except for apostates. For them, bombs are perfectly appropriate.


Hat tips: for Style Islam, Steen; for the Al-Arabiya article, TB; for the Times Online story, Doug.

9 comments:

Dymphna said...

I read the piece about the t-shirt maker and was glad to see that he had a Western entrepreneur attitude. Instead of a rage-fest, he figured out a way to make money. Good on him. Beats burning down buildings.

Just think: we could have a t-shirt war in Israel and Palestine.

OTOH, the fellow who went from Scientology to Islam may find himself in danger from the former. Scientologists don't take well to apostates, either...for mercenary reasons, not doctrinal ones.

costin said...

and when Pete Doherty will be out of his hangover for not taking drugs and will have another cool idea, like leaving islam, he will realize a thing or two about the world he lives in

anon said...

On this theme of pushing propaganda through fashion, the counter-Jihad movement should counter by getting the cool cats, the rebels, the bad-ass kids, et cetera, to wear T-shirts with the truly anti-establishment and thought-provoking "The Other Islamic Bomb" image by D.T. Devareaux.

randian said...

.

Zenster said...

Then there’s a new version of an old hippy-dippy standard, “Drop Love, Not Bombs”.

TURN ON, TUNE IN ANDROPOV.

Nilk said...

As a christian, I happen to find the tshirt "Jesus was a muslim" grossly offensive.

Does this mean I can start burning embassies?

I should I just resort to an anonymous email via a proxy to express my outrage?

Homophobic Horse said...

Jesus also said he was the son of god, which is repudiated by the Koran and in any case constitutes "joining gods with god".

Islam as a life style choice. I wish. It's so disingenous I have to wonder if this is technically taqiya.

costin said...

They have a T-shirt with "Jesus is Muslim" written on it? There will be no reactions really on this.
But somebody should try wearing a T-shirt saying "Mohamed is a Christians" and wait for the reactions.

Moko said...

Why stop with Jesus?---

did you know that jews are... MUSLIMS!!!!!