Calling Londoners: Free food and epic vibes 

If you’re around London in the evening I recommend you pop down to the Ramadan Tent in Malet Street (nearest train stations: Russel Sq, Euston or Euston Sq).

This is an awesome initiative that provides hot, fresh food and water to anyone who comes along so the community can break their fast together. Muslims and people of other faiths and none, and people from all walks of life (students, parents, the homeless) are welcome to share a meal and get to know each other. And the best thing – it’s completely free!

I’ve been a few times this year and each time I’ve been blown away by the warm atmosphere and loving feels. Families bring along children and the whole tent is just buzzing. I’ve been able to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while and make new ones. So you can come along alone or with people – either way you’re bound to have a great time.

And the food is scrummy too! So far we’ve been treated with rice and chicken curry, mince pasta and lahmacun (Turkish pizza). Vegetarian options are provided and there’s dessert!

So heartwarming to see initiatives like this blooming at times where we’re told to fear and hate each other.

Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is associated with the company. – Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

Check out their website for more details. The London tent opens from 8.45 – 10 PM on Monday – Saturday. Most cities have similar initiatives so try finding yours. There is a place to pray in congregation for Magrib and on Saturday they also pray Taraweeh together. The project will continue throughout Ramadan. 

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Being Woke

Thought I’d write a quick post on why I chose the name of my blog. Perhaps this should have come first – but I didn’t feel the need at the time and it’s here now.

Recently a friend and I were talking about the struggles of finding other Bengali friends who are woke. The context behind the conversation: traditionally, Bengali parents (and families in general) would prefer it if their child married someone who is also Bengali. In some families this is more than just preference and more of a requirement.

This angered me a lot as I was growing up. I could see the local boys hurting my friends, being immature and I guess being like all other boys at the age. But I internalised this as a Bengali thing and was determined not to marry a Bengali person. And slowly, as I realised my father would probably never allow me marry the mixed-race, tattoo covered revert of my dreams*, I decided I would never get married.  Continue reading

Staying hopeful

me to myself when I’m procrastinating. Source

Ramadan is amazing. I could write pages on how blessed this month is and how it magically transforms our souls. But people have already done this and they’ve done it way better than I ever could. So this post is about me.

My heart feels void. Even after 10 days I do not have the Ramadan feeling that it so desperately earns for, that feeling I have basked in before and that feeling I hear people talk about now. My prayers feel empty, my mind distracted and my body reluctant.

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Jouska

BuzzFeed 

I talk through conversations with guys I wish would date me and guys who I would not date but would like them to notice me anyway. I make up interesting stories I would tell them and hear their replies. They love me.

I talk through meetings I have attended and will attend. I say the things I am not brave enough to say and show the sass I would not usually present. I am right and I prove them wrong. They respect me.

I talk through scenarios I wish I had with my father and mum. I imagine things I would have said and the way they would have responded. He does not hurt me and she listens to me. I am not rude and I do not hurt her. She is proud of me.

The voices in my head belong to my closest male friend. He argues with me when I am unsure of my decisions. He goes through hypothetical scenarios and hashes out all my comebacks. He replays embarrassing stories to me with added alternatives on how it should have happened. He keeps me awake with conversations I would love to have but am too shy to have.

And the voice keeps talking until I forget which of the memories is real and which is just my friend’s.

What do the voices in your head tell you?

The passing of time

Me: All the time. Source

My first concept of the passing of time begins in year four. Our classroom had a blackboard and on the top right hand corner my teacher wrote the day, date, month and year in pretty yellow chalk. Every day she would change the day and date. I would notice how the month would change after some passing of time. But I remember impatiently waiting for the year to change. It remained 1998 day after day and I even asked her when she would change it.

Time past by so slowly then.

I remember the day she finally changed the numbers at the end. 1999. I was so excited and relieved. Finally!

Time passes so differently now that I know how many months make up the year and how many days make up those months and how many hours in that day. Now, rather than waiting for time to pass I try and make it stop. So much of my time is spent worrying about how little time I have – the upcoming deadlines, the forgotten projects, the pile of books I’ve not yet explored.

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The tale of two terrorists

Failed logic. Source

I loudly, unequivocally condemn ISIS. I condemn them because they twist my faith, they harm more of my brothers and sisters in Islam in the global south than they do the Western World, and I condemn them because I am a decent human being.

I hate that I need to start this blog like that but I will anyway because too many times Muslims talking about the issues I am about to are told they need to do more to stop terrorism. And whilst too many non-Muslims let islamophobia go on, and too many white people let white supremacy and state violence go on, it is of course Muslims who are continuously reminded to fix our own. Now I can dedicate a whole post on how problematic this is and why statement such as the one given by our own PM a few days ago is so reckless but I’ll save that for another day.

Today I want to ask as very simple question. Why does the government have policies and strategies and spend so much time and money on stopping Muslims from fighting in Syria but allow Jewish people to fight in the IDF?

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Dear white people

These are the things I want to say to the white left. To the white right – I can’t even deal. 

Racism is not classism. I will not elaborate on that here today because I have so many little things I want to start with. The basics (…for basic people…) – let’s go:

Why is it offensive to call you white? Are you not white? We need to tick the same boxes you tick ‘white, black, asian, arab’ (and what is up with those categories – ethnicities, races, geographical places all mixed into one – why haven’t they fixed it yet?). How am I meant to call you out of your racism, or on institutional racism if I can’t even name my oppressor?

Black people and brown people are called such every day. And yes we are lowered when we are called such. And yes yes many brown and black people get offended when they are called these terms because of that but you are not. And yes yes yes I acknowledge the viewpoint that we are all human and we should stop using these terms. But we are not living in a post-racial world yet (if you believe you are, you’re wrong). Stop getting offended and start listening to what I am saying before or after I say ‘white people’.

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You can’t sit with us

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What do you do when your whole life has been built on layers of lies on top of lies? Who you are, who the people are around you, what you like, what you want from life, who you trust, what you dislike and where you’re from.

I guess it’s a a matter of finding yourself. But that is an isolating process. You need to get rid of things and peoples and memories you thought were the truth or important or even relevant. And you need to let in things and peoples and memories you don’t fully understand. Yet people expect you to fully understand and to be where they are already. Because you are now one of them. One of us.

How do you start all over again when where you want to be will take years but you only have days? You talk the talk and even walk the walk but how much of it is faking it till you make it? And how many of them know this about you, resent you for it and are waiting for you to go away again, just as quickly and suddenly as you had come? Go away to find this new version of yourself that you once again think is yourself until proven otherwise. How many more reinventions until you find your truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

And can it be that you have always known and you will always keep knowing – you don’t belong here – you can’t sit with us.

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