Terminology: ISIS vs. ISIL–Everything You Always Wanted to Know and Much, Much More

The esteemed Dr. Justice has an excellent post about the term ISIS vs. the term ISIL–two different translations for the same name of the organization in Iraq.

Click this messy-looking link to read to your heart’s content: http://worldofdrjustice.blogspot.com/2014/06/isil-vs-isis.html


This is an issue because ignoramuses keep staying stupid stuff, as ignoramuses will do. Here’s overpaid bobblehead Chuck Todd: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/chuck-todd-knows-why-obama-prefers-isil-to-isis/

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Filed under arabic, arabist, language, names, Our glorious war in Iraq, translation

A Fatwa on Trips to Mars

MBC1 published a list of the most talked-about fatwas of 2014 so far, and the one that caught my attention has to do with human beings taking trips to Mars.

Here is the link to the MBC1 article: http://www.mbc.net/ar/programs/sabah-al-khair/articles/%D8%A3%D8%BA%D8%B1%D8%A8-10-%D9%81%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%89-%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-2014-.html#comment|list

2-  الفتوى الثانية صدرت عن الهيئة العامة للشؤون الإسلامية والأوقاف في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة بأن الإقامة على سطح كوكب المريخ ليست من الإسلام في شيء.

وجاءت الفتوى بعدما أعلنت منظمة مارس ونبيانا أكدت فيه أنها تسعى لإقامة مستوطنة بشرية دائمة على الكوكب الأحمر بحلول العام 2025، موضحة أنها ستبدأ برحلات تنقل شحنات، تتبعها رحلات غير مأهولة بالبشر، تتلوها رحلات مأهولة.

وأوضحت الهيئة الإماراتية أن محاولة السكن في المريخ ستكون خطرة جدا، وترقى إلى درجة اعتبارها انتحارا وقتلا للنفس حرّمه الإسلام، وفقا لما ذكرته صحيفة خليج تايمزالإماراتية.

وقالت الهيئة: إن مثل هذه الرحلة ذات الاتجاه الواحد تشكل خطراً على الحياة، ولا يمكن مطلقاً إيجاد مبرر لها في الإسلام، فهناك احتمال ألا يكون الإنسان المسافر إلى كوكب المريخ قادرا على البقاء على قيد الحياة، ويكون معرضا للموت“.

وسجل أكثر من 20 ألف شخص، بينهم 500 سعودي، أسماءهم للمشاركة في تلك الرحلات ليكونوا سفراء للبشريةعلى سطح الكوكب الأحمر.

The fatwa comes from United Arab Emirates, from the Islamic Affairs and Religious Endowments office. Apparently Mars One announced the desire to have settlements on Mars by 2025(?)

The Emirati government office opined that since a trip to Mars would be a one-way trip, it would be tantamount to a suicide mission. Wait, maybe that’s my own thoughts interfering. Let me parse more carefully. The Emirati government office said that a one-way trip like this would be very dangerous to life and no justification for such a trip could be found in Islam. A person might have trouble staying alive on Mars.

The article also notes that more than 20,000 people have signed up for such a trip, including 500 Saudis.

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Here’s a New (to Me) Guy with a Fake Name


Wonkette has a post about this guy who had the super brilliant idea of asking panhandlers for money. Whatever, but the important thing is, this tool calls himself Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, and refers to himself as Abdul.

As you know, Abdul means “worshipper of the,” and is therefore only half of a name. And that hyphen there, that hyphen should be between Abdul and Hakim, not between Hakim and Shabazz.

But since Shabazz is a made-up name that Malcolm X thought sounded cool and Arabic when he invented the name and the fake backstory to go with it, I can’t be surprised.

Mr Hakim-Shabazz, or Abdul, appears to be about middle aged, so it’s possible that he has nothing to do with this travesty of name he’s carrying around. Maybe his parents foisted that on him. It happens.

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My Free-Thinking Father, for Father’s Day

When I was a wee slip of a girl, around the time I was learning to read, I remember one day being fed up with having to pick up my room, and I said, “I wish there was still slavery.”

Dad had no idea why I said that, so he asked, “Why do you say that?” (Why is my small child a tiny Southern racist?)

“So the slave would pick up my room,” I said.

And Dad asked, “What if you were the slave?” I hadn’t thought of that.

Thanks, Dad, for asking me that question!

Here are a few random reasons I’m glad my dad is who he is:

1. Although he’s over 70, Dad still walks by bouncing on the balls of his feet.

2. Dad dated women his own age instead of girls my age.

3. He coached my soccer team for years, and let us choose our own team name.

4. There used to be a dirty, white tomcat that hung around our house, sometimes sleeping inside during the day when no one was home. It always ran away when any of us came home. One day it got hit by a car, and Dad paid all its medical bills and adopted it.

5. He has a favorite color, and it’s orange.

6. He never let me get away with playing dumb.

7. When I was very little and wanted to play with my big brother’s Tonka trucks, Dad bought me a Tonka dumptruck.

8. Dad encouraged me to have adventures, and I did.

There are more, but I’ll save them. Happy father’s day, Dad!

white cat 80s orange

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Return to Iraq–What Could Go Wrong?


“Hush you guys. The guy who thought Sarah Palin would make a good vice-president is explaining to us what we should do in Iraq.”

And do you remember which genius said this, about how long success in Iraq would take: “It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months“?

Giving me an excuse to post this excerpt, which I love:

But imagine if “Donald Rumsfeld” was a wholly imaginary character and that the events recounted in his memoir were audacious fiction, a wicked satire describing an implausible campaign of deceit that ultimately ensnared even the deceivers themselves, leading to a catastrophically lethal blunder in which trillions were squandered and hundreds of thousands slain. Yet despite that all-too-predictable outcome, this fictional narrator with the oddly Dickensian name is unrepentant, effusively praising himself as a hero and a champion of virtue. If it were fiction — the product of conscious artifice rather than of unconscious artifice – Known and Unknown would be on the syllabus of English literature classes everywhere.

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Filed under Our glorious war in Iraq, Stupidity, War in Iraq

“He Looks Like a Muslim”

I hope we don’t all get whiplash, but suddenly we’re supposed to dislike beards. And if you have a full beard, you look like the Taliban.



Quick quiz: is the above an American icon or a terrible turncoat no-good traitor who is probably a *gasp* Muslim?



How about this one?

Okay, so remember: now we all hate beards, as they prove that you are a member of the Taliban.

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Buzzfeed Finally Does a Hijab List




28 Struggles Only Hijabis Will Understand

“Do you shower in it?” SERIOUSLY?

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Arabic Students and Speakers, Laugh Along With–errr–*at* Ergun Caner

You know how you might have a friend who lies really often and well, and you just can’t hate the guy because his incredible all-out embrace of lying as a way of life kind of perks you up? This is not that guy, because he is unlovable, but he is the most audacious liar I’ve ever seen in action in my life.

Check out the video of this guy, Ergun Caner. Now, you find all kinds of information about how he lied about his heritage, his birthplace, his early childhood, his late childhood, his dad’s career, etc., but I just want to point and laugh at his “Arabic.”

(Speaking of his curriculum vitae, he’s been a professor and president at more than one “university” and there’s nothing about his education, whatsoever, on his Wikipedia page. How can that be?)

How do you suppose he conducts his daily life these days so as to make sure he never accidentally encounters anyone who actually speaks Arabic? It probably helps a lot to be in GA, but I know there are at least some Arabic speakers there.

Is anyone else bothered as much as I am by his affected accent?

Is “Lying for Jesus” already a tag?


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Fun-Times Friday: Fake Ex-Muslim Speaks Fake Arabic

A friend told me about this guy, Ergun Caner, today, and I couldn’t wait to look him up and find out what he’s about. Here’s a youtube video of him giving an earnest speech to a gullible Christian Islamophobe audience, with plenty of fake Arabic.

If you don’t know Arabic, this may not be funny to you, but maybe it is!


Filed under arabic, arabist, bigoted idiots, language, Stupidity

What I Remember About the Satanic Verses, Before I Reread It

About fifteen years ago I read Salman Rushdie’s the Satanic Verses. I knew nothing about Islam at the time–well, only what a typical American “knows”: Muslim men can have four wives, some Muslim girls’ genitals are mutilated, images of the prophet are not allowed, and so on.

I’m going to re-read it, since it occurred to me that I might enjoy it more now that I’ve studied Islam a little bit. But this morning I read a piece on Cracked.com where the claim was made that the upset about the book was due to a mistranslated titled and not because in the book Muhammad’s revelations were delivered by a demon rather than an angel.

Well, I don’t remember that much about the book except that it was way more artsy than I like anymore and that it was a chore to get through and that I could see very well why Muslims would get upset at the book, as in the book the prophet Muhammad’s revelations were delivered by a demon rather than an angel.

Anyhow, I’m going to reread it soon. And also, as far as I remember, the meaning of the phrase the Satanic verses, while in real life may refer to some verses excised from the Qur’an, had nothing to do with the book. A lot of people seem to think it does.

So stay tuned. And share your opinion.


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Filed under books, Islamic relations, religion, translation