Civilized Discussion on Religion & Politics

When meeting someone after many years, there aren’t many times I would recommend discussing religion and politics but that was part of a rather pleasant conversation I found myself in recently. My friend’s mother who I possibly had not seen since my high school years was genuinely curious about how I felt about the aforementioned topics but that left me in a curious spot about whether I should say the politically correct answer or go with what I really felt. I decided that since my friend usually has no filter and is often pretty blunt with statements, it would probably make sense to go with the no non-sense, brutally honest approach in hopes of having a genuinely good dialogue… and I’m glad I did.

One of the first things I was asked was what my religion was and subsequently a follow-up on what my thoughts were about how I was treated in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 – much of which I already provided in greater details (September 11th Aftermath – My Story) on how I was treated but can be summarized that no matter how great everyone may be, there are always a few bad apples which you can’t always avoid. As we continued the discussion, we moved onto topics about why groups like al-Qaeda on what I thought about their affiliation with the religion immediately made me think of a reference back to West Wing that I used and which I have linked below:

The conversation did take a turn towards racial profiling and when it may be beneficial for authorities to do their jobs without sacrificing civil liberties or breaking laws. Having agreed on majority of the topics of discussion like the treatment of Muslims after 9/11 and how religious fundamentalists isn’t limited to just Islam, I would say the one thing I did disagree on was the effective use of racial profiling in catching criminals or potential-criminals. One thing that I took away immediately was having to explain the difference between the terms Islam and Muslims which is maybe something I took for granted.

Regardless, it was simply enjoyable to have a civil conversation with people I don’t regularly speak to on topics that have the potential to get very heated and one, that I hope I could have again in the future.

September 11th Aftermath: My Story

I had actually begun writing this post last month but for some reason divine intervention, I decided that I should just hold off a little while longer before publishing. Throughout the years I had this idea continue to build up in my head but I never really felt I could write a full composed post on it until last month. So instead of putting it off, I decided I should finish writing it and post it now anyway when it seems relevant. The topic of my post this entire time: my life in the immediate aftermath of September 11th.

We had just moved to New Jersey in 2000, when I was in 8th grade and was just getting settled in and decided to apply to this brand new “Academy” school which had opened up just across the street from my complex. I didn’t have any initial interest but my math teacher really encouraged me and my parents really saw potential in going to such a school (I’m sure the proximity played a role as well). I paid them a visit, liked what they pitched, gave an entrance exam and here I am, almost a whole decade later.

I remember the Tuesday morning like it was yesterday, we had just come out of our first period engineering classes when our principal called us all (and by all I mean the 70 kids that attended the school at the time) to the common area. He announced the events that had taken place and had any student whose parent(s) worked in the area or might have been affected, to go to the office and give a call to make sure they were okay. The rest proceeded to our next class where we all watched the events unfold in horror and amazement.

Being the only Muslim in my school was quite the unique experience but I had hopes of being to be a normal kid and go on my way without sticking out. That wasn’t going to be the case any more and to a certain extent, I am glad about it. I was able to stand out, defend my beliefs and religion against these atrocities and be able to learn from and educate my peers and teachers. As much as I didn’t want to be singled out, I look back on that as one of the best learning and growing experiences I have had. It makes you question what you stand for and ultimately I stood stronger at the end than I did coming in.

There wasn’t a single student in my freshman class that mocked me for my religion – I make that distinction because there was one racist kid in the year above me and I suppose calling me a terrorist made him feel better about himself. Most teachers were great too – again I say ‘most’ because there was one issue but I will get to that in a minute. As for the rest of the teachers, all held pretty open and fair discussions on what had happened and more importantly, why had it happened? We didn’t belittle each other, we were pretty open minded about it with far greater respect than I had expected 14 year olds to show each other in times of great tension. Maybe we didn’t know any better but through that experience I learned a great deal about the character of my peers in those very first few months of my freshman year than I would need to the remaining 3+ years. Our petty disagreements and hurt feelings on who our favourite team is or what your favourite pokemon is pale in comparison to how we treated each in time of great national distress. To this day, I’m quite grateful for the way I was treated by them and the teachers – for the most part.

The one dreaded issue that still lingers was in one class that I was sent down to the principal’s office because my actions “were not representative of a patriotic person” and “is not what the country needs at this time”. My crime: saying that actions by some Americans could be described as “idiotic”. Let me be clear, this discussion took place after we read a story in class and was not related to any 9/11 discussion whatsoever. That’s what caught me off guard with all of this. When I had said this, the teacher made no remark that somehow what I had said was wrong but a period later, when I am in another class, I was told to go down. To my dissatisfaction at the time, I didn’t receive any support from the school administration either although it is not surprising now that I look back upon it. To this day, the teacher never spoke to me about the issue and in my youthful ignorance (or better judgment), and partly I am to blame for wrongly choosing to drop the issue. I will still gladly take an apology but at this point, I better let bygones be bygones.

Why Are 911 Calls Made Public?

I have never understood why 911 calls and transcripts are made public? What public necessity resides in an emergency phone call usually made during the course of events which are often quite traumatic or life and death matters being made available to everyone?

The only thing I found was an opinion piece by the Attorney General of Florida Bill McCollum cited the “Florida Emergency Telephone Act” which states:

“Any record or information obtained by a public agency or a public safety agency for the purpose of providing services in an emergency and which reveals the name, address, or telephone number of any person requesting emergency service or reporting an emergency by accessing an emergency telephone number ‘911’ system is exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), except that such record or information may be disclosed to a public safety agency. The exemption applies only to the name, address, or telephone number of any person reporting an emergency while such information is in the custody of the public agency or public safety agency which receives the initial ‘911’ telephone call. . . .”

That basically states that information gotten from the call except for name, address and telephone number can be made public but still does not answer why such is necessary.

Anyone with any idea or if you want to point me in the right direction, feel free to let me know and I’ll put up an update and give proper credit of course.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Now Craig Ferguson Is Angry At McCain

Just a hunch but I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for McCain if keeps his stance on suspending his presidential campaign. Video is after the break but look at these strong words by Craig Ferguson. McCain camp is getting either really desperate and attempting a cheap publicity stunt that they think will win them points or they just really dropped the ball on this one.

“You can’t suspend the democratic process because we’re facing problems. At what point do you think, maybe we should suspend the election? We’ll have the elections later. Some people have done that before: Castro did it, Napoleon did it, Julius Caesar did it. You can’t do that. If you like it or not, the campaign is part of the democratic process….You wanna take your time off, that’s fine, but you don’t say we’re suspending the campaign. You can’t say that. It’s the democratic process. We didn’t suspend it for 9/11, we didn’t suspend it for Pearl Harbor, we didn’t suspend it for the Nazis, we didn’t suspend it for the damn British. We don’t do that in America!”

Freudian Slip – 9/11 Style

Well here is a Freudian slip for the ages. The more time that continues to pass by, the more slips we have about what actually took place that day… go figure. Whether these mistakes are by Rummy or the mayor or the President himself, they have come from all over the place and contradict the “official” story. He talks about the same plane being shot down that they have tried to play off as people onboard over took the hijackers and brought the plane down themselves… Who knows what you should believe?

“The kind of world we’d face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York and shot down the plane over Pennsylvania.“ – Donald Rumsfeld


This link has several other slip up by several prominent members of the public and I will show one of them.

Comments? Thoughts?