How turkey came to our Thanksgiving table

Once shunned by my Muslim family, the bird finally found a place in our home, just like so many American traditions

http://www.salon.com/2011/11/24/how_turkey_came_to_our_thanksgiving_table/

My Pakistani and American Muslim social circles celebrate Thanksgiving each year alongside our Eid festivities and Super Bowl Sunday parties, featuring homemade guacamole dip, chips and samosas. But it wasn’t always like this. For my family, this marriage between East and West was three decades in the making.

The 1980s:  An “Amreekan Holiday”

As a child, I often asked my mother what we were eating for Thanksgiving.

“Food,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“Are we eating a turkey?” I asked.

“No, only Amreekans eat turkey.”

Any immigrant or child of immigrants understands that “Amreekan” is a code word for “the mainstream,” which really means “white people.” In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey, here are some other things we learned only “Amreekans” do:

  • Wear shoes inside the home
  • Receive “time out” as a valid form of punishment for unruly behavior
  • Talk back to elders
  • Have sex before marriage
  • Put grandparents in senior homes
  • Sleep over at friends’ homes
  • Tattoos
  • Christmas trees
  • Cable television
  • Shop at stores other than Ross, K-Mart, outlet stores, Marshalls and Mervyns (RIP)

Now, I don’t begrudge my parents their position toward turkey. It’s a confounding bird for most immigrants, who are generally more comfortable with the bleats of a goat or a lamb, the squawks of the simple-minded chicken. The turkey was an enigma: a heavy, feathered bird with its “gobbledygook” mutterings, freakish red wattle and vast supply of dry, juiceless meat.

“Do the Amreekans realize it is dry?” ask my still perplexed relatives living in Pakistan. “Where is the masala? The taste? The juices? Why do they eat this bird?”

Besides, most first-generation immigrants in America retain the romantic, deluded concept that “We will eventually go back home to the Motherland.” They will never be “Amreekan.”

Of course, they never do go back and instead firmly plant their familial, cultural, economic, religious and political roots in this foreign yet welcoming “Amreekan” soil. They have second-generation kids — yours truly — who are as “Amreekan” as apple pie, burritos and biryani.

And so Thanksgiving traditions began to leak into our old-school immigrant mentality. I watched the annual Macy’s parade, hoping to see a Spider-Man float. I played Super Mario on my Nintendo and looked forward to spending the evening with Snoopy, Linus, Charlie Brown and the gang, all the while eating a traditional Pakistani dinner. No turkey — yet.

The ’90s: Introducing the Thanksgiving Chicken

In my teen years, I discovered hair in new places and found the courage to demand authentic “Amreekan” requests from my parents.

“Give me turkey, woman!” I once commanded my mother for the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities.

“Here’s some money. You buy it and make it yourself if you like it so much,” she replied.

Foiled again. She knew my inherent culinary uselessness and overall laziness far too well. Well played, Mother. Well played. Continue reading

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The Stealth Halal Jihadist Turkey: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Muslim Trojan Horse

 Article by: Wajahat Ali, originally published at LOONWATCH

American Muslim communities celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional Turkey feast represents an encouraging sign of integration with American values and rituals.

But, of course, we Muslims fooled you.

Yet again.

You should have known that our baked, brined, and deep-fried masala turkeys were simply veiling our nefarious, anti-American plots to replace McDonald’s arches with minarets and convert the White House to the United Colors of Benetton House.

Pam Geller, our anti-Muslim Paul Revere

However, not all patriotic Americans were gullible and naïve! Nay, some America-holic crusaders, like bloggers Pam Geller and her fearless co-horts, called out our “stealth jihadist turkey plot!” Like modern-day Paul Reveres, they blogged, tweeted and mass mailed our ingenious plot “to submit unassuming Americans to Islam by feeding them halal Turkey” this holiday season. (Halal meat is slaughtered according to Islamic custom, similar to Jewish Kosher laws.)

Our nation’s Cassandra, Pam Geller – the preeminent anti-Muslim blogger and conspiracy theorist aficionado –  believes President Obama is a Muslim, illegitimate son of Malcolm X who once went to Pakistan for drugs and jihad. She also uncovered Arabic is not just a language, but actually aspearhead for anti-Americanism. Thanks to her, we discovered radical Islam has infiltrated our government, which is secretly being run by Islamic supremacists. She also accused Muslims ofengaging in stealth cultural jihad by wearing their head scarves at Disneyland.

Truth be told, we’ve already converted Goofy. Donald Duck was always our Manchurian candidate. Mickey was the first to turn Benedict Arnold.  As for Porky Pig, he better watch out; we’re coming forhim next…with our scimitars.

Damn you, Pamela Geller, your anti-Muslim, Detective nose is too evolved and sophisticated in sniffing out our dastardly plots!

I guess the feathered, red wattled bird is out of the proverbial bag. There’s no reason to hide the secret any longer.

It’s true. The turkey is our new Trojan Horse.

After spending decades learning to cook and enjoy the famously-dry turkey, we Muslims decided to use the bird to launch our turkey jihad after successfully conquering it in our respective kitchens.  We’ve evolved from creeping sharia into states to creeping cholesterol and obesity into American diets. After taking over all the street meat vendors in New York, the Islamization of the turkey bird was inevitable.

Turkey: The Greatest Weapon of Mass Distraction

The Turkey is our greatest weapon of distraction. Even more so than hummus, biryani, shwarmas, kebobs, naans, and Lupe Fiasco. Continue reading

UC DAVIS Law Professors’ Response to Arrest/Pepper Spray Incident

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

SCHOOL OF LAW CLINICAL PROGRAMS

ONE SHIELDS AVENUE, TB-30

DAVIS CALIFORNIA 95616-5270

TELEPHONE: (530) 752-6942

FAX: (530) 752-0822

November 23, 2011

Dear Chancellor Katehi:

We write first and foremost to express our solidarity with the courageous, nonviolent protests of the UC Davis students on November 18-23, 2011.  As teachers, we are entrusted with the education of the students at UC Davis, but in the past few days, the teachers have become the students.  We have proudly witnessed our students practice nonviolent civil disobedience against the privatization of public education and police violence.  Martin Luther King Jr., the law school’s namesake, recognized in his letter from Birmingham Jail the necessity of creating tension of the mind so that “individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal….”  The nonviolent civil disobedience of November 18, 2011, has opened a dialogue at UC Davis and created a space for our students to critically analyze police policies and the meaning of public education.

We write also to express outrage at the UC Davis Police for using chemical weapons against nonviolent, peaceful protestors. We believe the police used excessive force and we condemn any UC Davis policy that permits the use of force or chemical weapons against nonviolent protesters.  Dr. King advocated for a moral responsibility to “disobey unjust laws.”  If we are to recognize his call and invoke his name, UC Davis should allow a forum for students to safely and openly critique society’s institutions and laws.

Moreover, at the core of the protests, is a question of which we must not lose focus – the social and economic accessibility of public education for students of color, LGBTQ students and students from low income communities.  In the past few days, we have witnessed the flourishing of political and social discourse around these and other significant issues and hope the University will pause at this crucible moment to cultivate and nourish this progress.

In that vein we request that this University do the following:

1. Take meaningful steps to reduce student tuition;

2. Expedite a formal, independent investigation of the events of November 18, 2011 and request full accountability and disciplining of those found culpable for actions against student protestors.

3. Advocate for the dismissal of criminal charges pending against UCD students arrested on November 18, 2011.

4. Not pursue any academic penalty against students for exercising their rights to nonviolent civil disobedience.

5. Enact new administrative protocols immediately to avoid the brutality witnessed on November 18 on our campus by students, staff, faculty, alumni, our nation and the world.

 

Sincerely,

Holly S. Cooper

Raha Jorjani

Amagda Perez

Carter White

Millard Murphy

 

The reality of the ‘All-American Muslim’ reality TV show

The series about five American Muslim families can’t represent all of us – any more than Jersey Shore does Italian Americans

guardian.co.uk

The Jaafar family, one of the participating families in the Learning Channel's 'All-American Muslim' reality TV show

The Jaafar family, one of the participating families in the Learning Channel’s ‘All-American Muslim’ reality TV show. Photograph: TLC

For those constantly fretting about the inability of Muslims to integrate or assimilate into western culture, fret no more!

American Muslims finally have their own reality TV show – the Learning Channel’s “All-American Muslim” – focusing on the lives of five American Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, who are predominantly Lebanese and Shiite. The show’s premiere gave TLC huge ratings and made the show No 2 in its time period. Mainstream critics have embraced the show citing it as “intimate and informative” and a “deeply intriguing, uncharacteristically thoughtful reality series”.

Reality TV is the current zeitgeist of popular culture. Unlike the euro, it is the predominant cultural currency, whose value is skyrocketing. America is on a first-name basis with their cultural ambassadors: Snookie, Kate Plus 8, Paris, Ozzie and Kim. Could Shadia, the show’s tattooed, country music-loving Lebanese American Muslim, with an Irish Catholic boyfriend, belong in the pantheon?

“[All American Muslim] is just a natural fit for us …We’re always all about telling compelling stories about real families,” says TLC’s Alan Orstein, VP of production and development. But some have already taken deep offense to this “reality” show, which claims to portray the “real” lives of Muslims.

Within days of the show’s premiere, the fear-mongering Islamphobia network complained the show is actually propaganda that promotes a“submission to Islam through the hijab” and “tries to make a religionwhich believes in world domination and the inferiority of women, seem normal”. The author of this article, posted on David Horowitz’s inflammatory Front Page Magazine, also goes on to compare Muslims to Nazis: “Muslims are like us [Americans]; that’s the problem. The Nazis were like us too. So were the Communists.”

Apparently, TLC is a stealth-jihadist outfit with grand schemes to brainwash American women into burning their swimsuits and tank tops and replacing them with modest, traditional Islamic clothing as a gradual means towards converting them to Islam. I’ll be waiting for their next reality TV show: “UV Radiation Fighters.”

Pamela Geller, founder of the shrill Atlas Shrugs blog and co-founder with blogger Robert Spencer of Stop Islamization of America, is convinced the show “is an attempt to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad”. Who would have thought a reality TV show could have so much brainwashing potential? Instead of mounting violent campaigns, all our enemies needed to secure victory was to produce “The Real Housewives of al-Qaida.”

If Geller, Spencer and Horowitz were producing their version of American Muslim reality, the episodes would focus on the families’ radical stealth jihadist plots. Through eight episodes, they would attempt to turn McDonald’s golden arches into minarets, transform California to Caliph-ornia, place a burqa over the Statute of Liberty, creep sharia into the Denny’s breakfast menu, and spike the elementary school eggnog with sumac and lentils. Continue reading