Thursday, August 19, 2010


Asalaam Alekum and a belated Ramadan Kareem to you all!

I know we haven't posted for a long while, but here's the update for anyone who might have wondered where we were: I (Baji) moved into a beautiful house a few weeks ago so of course that meant a lot of packing and a lot of unpacking. I'm still not completely unpacked. Then my family (a lot of people) came to visit and then Ramadan started! And now I'm pleased to tell you that InshAllah tomorrow I'll be leaving for Umrah and then off to Pakistan. The whole trip will be about a month so I'm extremely excited! But as this is my first time to Saudi Arabia it obviously means this is my first time visiting Mecca. And I can't even begin to explain the emotions I'm having about visiting the House of Allah. It's almost like since the last 10 days, my feelings are growing exponentially. I'm excited. I'm scared. I'm in awe. And almost every day in the past week I have cried at the sheer idea of stepping foot into the land where our beloved Prophet salalahu alayhi wasalaam received his first revelations. The land where Ibrahim alayhi salaam and Ismail alayhi salaam built the House of Allah. And of course even these two grand historic events don't compare to the simple fact that this is the House of Allah. This is where the whole Muslim world faces when they pray. How can one NOT be in awe of this beautiful place? And after only a few days in Saudi Arabia, Poops and I will go InshAllah to Pakistan. And I can't even fathom the enormity of the crisis that has affected over 14million people there. I will do my best to update this blog while I'm in Pakistan so as to give my perspective on the situation there.

And my co-author (Zarga) is in France for most of Ramadan so InshAllah when she gets back to her home in LA she will update the blog with her story. Also you may want to check out our other blog Amreeki World Adventures (the link is posted on the sidebar ==>) for pictures from our trips.

Zarga and I both wish you all a blessed Ramadan and a blessed Eid, InshAllah. And please pray for the Ummah and those who suffer.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Liberation of the Sahrawis

The Saharawi liberation movement has been greatly overlooked by the international community and media. Along with Palestine, it is the world's last colony. Morocco considers the Sahrawis as captives.
While the situation has improved since the early 1990s, the political liberalization in Morocco has not had the same effect on Western Sahara according to Amnesty International in 2004 Some quick history- Morocco's 1975 annexation of the territory, a former Spanish colony, sparked a war between its forces and Algerian-backed Polisario guerrillas. The two sides agreed to a ceasefire in 1991 but UN-sponsored talks on Western Sahara's future have since made no headway. Rabat has pledged to grant Western Sahara widespread autonomy but rules out independence. The Polisario Front wants a referendum on self-determination, with independence as one of the options. More than 165,000 Western Saharan, or Saharawi, refugees live in the camps, according to the Polisario; 90,000 according to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). They exist mainly on international aid. The largest camp is the Dakhla camp in Southern Algeria. Human rights are repressed in the Moroccan-controlled territories of Western Sahara, according to Amnesty International in 2003 and Human Rights Watch in 2004, when it comes to having a pro-independence position.

Dakhla refugee camp

Today, the main source of misery is not lack of food, or health care, but unemployement. Even though there are small shops , a hospital and school, many are unemployed. The Sahrawis are unable to work and provide for themselves, the UNHCR distributes rations for 125,000 people and believes that the nutrition for the refugees is improving. Sadly, the Sahrawis primarily live off of rations.

The liberation of Palestine is a cause which is very dear to all Muslims, but let us not forget our brothers and sisters in the Western Sahara. May they be able to live freely on their land, inchAllah.

Miss USA 2010- A Victory for Muslims??

The new face of American beauty is- Rima Fakih, a beautiful Lebanese born American. She emigrated with her parents to the United States as a baby and attended Catholic school in New York City until her family moved to Michigan in 2003. After her win, Rima commented - "I think it would prove that Arabs don't always try to separate themselves, but instead are integrated into American culture" . She also stated that her and her family celebrate both Muslim and Christian holidays. Personally, I do not think that a person no matter what religion they belong to, should make concessions regarding their beliefs just to become "integrated" into their country's culture. To me her comment was really ignorant and just makes me say "what a sell out" lol. Okay let me stop lol. A Muslim women doesn't have to in a beauty pageant to become integrated.

But the main issue here is that many are saying that it's such a milestone for America to have the first Muslim Miss USA. But honestly, in my opinion this is not a victory for Muslim Americans, she simply represents the face of a new type of America. Rima Fakih, does not represent Islam or Muslim women.
Muslim women are modest and do not parade on stage in skimpy bikinis! She simply represents Arab Americans.
It's just a beauty pageant! Her victory is not going to bring about any type of change for Muslim Americans.
.Plus it's not like her victory is going to change the American perception of Muslims. Already right after her win, many are bringing up the fact that one of her uncles is a member of Hezbollah and how she comes from a strict Shi'a family.

Why do Muslims in Western countries have to make so many concessions in order to be accepted by the societies in which they live? Honestly, I would rather live in this world as a stranger, than have to give up aspects of my religious beliefs just to be accepted by society and become completely integrated into American culture. Yes, I am an American by birth, but for me it will always be us Muslims and them (the non Muslim Americans). I would never want to become FULLY integrated. Many disagree with me, please share your thoughts on this!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Food-ing it in Detroit - day 1

One of my greatest pet peeves is when people take pictures of their meals and add it on their Facebook accounts. Why do they do that? WHY? Now that is big time chichorapan. The only exceptions to this are if it is something really, really unusual. Like you're in Africa and a native slaughtered a cow in front of you and cooked it right there. Now, THAT'S cool. I wanna see that. But you went to the Cheesecake Factory and ordered a shrimp pasta and took a picture of it because...? So anyways, the following pictures aren't unusual at all. At the same time, this isn't Facebook and I'm not clogging up peoples' newsfeeds with my shrimp pastas. This is a blog. Plain and simple. A blog = venue for chichorapan. So let's begin.

We arrived in Detroit Sunday night. Since we'd been to Detroit many times before, we knew the one place that was going to be open FOR SURE that late was Famous Hamburger.I ordered a cheeseburger and Poops got the chicken burger. By the way, their coleslaw is pretty good. I forgot to take a picture of my meal because I was super hungry, so here's a picture of what it kinda looked like:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Teaser Trailer for: Detroit Food Extravaganza

(on the ride home from Detroit)

Poops: When's your baby due?

Me: I don't know. When's your baby due?

Poops: When's your baby due?

Me: Way after yours. When's your baby due?

Poops: No, I'm due after you. When's your baby due?

(No, none of us is with child. But both of us sure look like it. Time to hit the salads and the gym.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Detroit Extravaganza

I'm currently in Detroit for a few days. And I'm totally loving the fact that Dearborn is nearby and HAS A TON OF ARAB/HALAL RESTAURANTS. !!!!
I thought I'd be all cool and do some sort of "live blogging" but like an idiot, I forgot the cable to my iPhone and my camera. At first I thought I'd post the pictures on facebook via my iPhone and then copy and paste them on here, but then I'd be a big time chichori and I'd have to write about myself as the next example of Amreeki Chichori.

As I write, I'm looking out over Windsor and Detroit. And this pretty lake in front of me. Ah pretty...scary lake. I'm also totally afraid of heights so staying on the 55th floor of an 80something story building is new for me. New. But I use mind control techniques to get over my fear of heights (it's not really heights I'm afraid of, but I'll explain more later.) This hotel is BEAUTIFUL. Alas, we'll have to wait till the weekend to go over my pictures.

So wish me luck, because as in love with as I am with all the good food here, I still make sure my doors are locked when we're driving. (knowwhatimean?) Detroit's a ghost town, a yummy falafel ghost town bitahini.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tikka done right

We're coming back bigger and better (and badder) in a couple days so stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy these chicken tikkas!