Foto Friday – Statues


Many will be aware of the terrible destruction wrought by the ISIS/DAISH group throughout their areas of occupation in the Middle East. Destruction of statues at the world heritage site of Palmyra, amongst others, received huge international attention. The acts of destruction have their basis in certain teachings of Sunni Islam, from whom ISIS has spawned. Those teaching state that the recreation of the human form is prohibited, albeit the principle is not included in the Quran. That such thinking can lead to the destruction of antiquities of world importance is obviously unfathomable for most reasonable people.

MB was explaining to a Sunni Muslim colleague in recent weeks that if ever he will travel to Ireland, he will see religious statues along public roads as he explores the country. Many of those statues date from 1954, which was a year dedicated by the Vatican authorities to the honouring of the virgin Mary – the Marian Year.

MB caught these shots on his May 2017 trip to his homeland. They are not atypical of what one will find in numerous Irish locations.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Atop


Atop.

For 900 years, since the middle of the 6th century approx, the Hagia Sophia Greek Orthodox Bassicila in Istanbul (known as the Ayasofia in Turkish) was the largest cathedral in the Christian world – atop the pile, so to speak. It then became a Mosque for 500 years, until it was converted into a museum in 1935 by a secular Turkish government. Its dome roof is still studied by architectural and engineering students worldwide, and it was a groundbreaking structure in its day, and even beyond.

If you follow Turkish politics in more recent times, then you will be aware that the Hagie Sophia has become one of the meats (there are many) in the internal Turkish conflict sandwich. There is much demand from Islamists that it reconverts to a Mosque, and in recent months a Muslim performed Islamic prayer on the floor of the building. There are also some other smaller buildings with the same name, but in different towns in Turkey, which are also the similar targets of the Islamic brothers. To the best of MB’s knowledge, some have already fallen.

Prime Minister Erdogan is a master fox in the overall political scheme of things, playing and relying very much on the less educated strands of society, who are also more prone to the urgings of the Muslim Imams. Turkish politics are in a huge state of flux at present, and it remains to be seen which way Erdogan will eventually go on this Hagia Sophia matter. If he wins the constitutional election next month, he will become an all-powerful President, and may very well not bother too much with this issue thereafter. Inshallah.

MB is now thinking back to a conversation he had a few short years back with a young Istanbul tourist guide who had taken part in the mass demonstrations in Taksim Square/Gezi Park of 2013. There were multiple groups involved in the protests and many seemed to have different agendas. MB’s young Turkish friend explained that all the groups, albeit from different strands of society, had one common bond. They did not want any further Islamisation of Turkey.

MB recently discussed this point with a Turkish friend in Qatar. He was of the opinion, given recent history and particularly the fact that Erdogan has used the recent military coup attempt to castrate the more secular opposition to his government, it will only be a few short years before Turkey becomes akin to Saudi Arabia in many Islamic respects. MB spent two years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (2012 to 2014) and has visited Istanbul multiple times so he can speak with a little authority on the subject. Suffice it to say, that many, if not the majority, in Saudi Arabia wish they could have what Turkey presently enjoys in terms of social life and culture. It’s sad, to put it mildly, that Erdogan should be taking his people in the opposite direction.

OK! MB knows this is just a Weekly Photo Challenge post, but he recently thought of posting something on the current Turkish situation. Today’s theme just opened the door, and MB decided to walk right in!

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Let there be music


Unknown to most in MB’s homeland is the fact that in the majority land area of the Middle East, music is forbidden. In the local lingo, it’s haram. Allegedly, according to those of such beliefs, it’s not God’s will that people should sing or play or listen to music. Read More

Eid Mubarak


Today is the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the Eid Al-Fitr (the festival of the breaking of the fast) three-day holiday. The new lunar month of ‘Shawwal’ starts with the new crescent moon tonight, which is the 1oth month of the Islamic calendar.

The new lunar month of ‘Shawwal’ starts with the new crescent moon tonight, which is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. Shawwal means to ‘lift’ or ‘carry’, as MB has just discovered on researching it, so named because a female camel would normally be carrying a fetus at this time of year.

‘Eid Mubarak’ is the common greeting to colleagues and friends out these parts leading up to and during the festival, meaning ‘Blessed’ or ‘Holy’ Eid.

So to any and all concerned, especially to friends & colleagues of MB out these parts – Eid Mubarak to all.

Eid Mub

A Suitable Girl


MB is very often a first port of call when life’s winds are howling. And so it came to pass again in recent days, when MB received the following email from a young Saudi friend:

Hi MB
Do you know a European Muslim girl living in uae?
I want a wife.
I did not find wife here.
Please help me.
The email was entitled – URGENT

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We think we are old but we’re only babes


The Middle East (ME) gets lots of nasty press around the world, for many obvious and sad reasons. But MB can assure you, given his many years there, that it’s full of characters who would be right at home in any Irish pub on any given night – Muslim of not! – telling tales and spinning yarns over a beer or three.  Read More

Eid Al Adha


Eid mubarak to all lads.

It’s the 2015 Islamic Eid holiday. The Feast of the Sacrifice. MB went to Doha animal market (Qatar) earlier today. Read More

Photo Story – 4 of 7


The Islamic religious holiday of Eid Al Adha is the nearest thing that Muslims have to a Christmas. It’s a great family occasion and a big meal is consumed. It is a religious duty of all Muslims to sacrifice an animal at this time, normally a sheep or a goat. Cows, cattle, camels and others are also used when groups or extended families may pool together for the purchase of larger animals. The sacrifice is to honour the story from the holy book when Abraham gave thanks to God for sparing his son, after God had earlier tested Abraham by asking him to kill him. Abraham then killed a sheep as a sacrifice in thanksgiving. The same story appears in the Christian Bible, albeit both books state different sons names (Ishmael in the Quran and Isaac in the Bible). Read More

Going Backwards – A Lament


“Seems like this whole region is going backwards”, said a friend to MB a few days back. Read More

The King Is Dead


The King is dead. Long live the long living King. Etc.

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Museum Of Islamic Art (Inside) – Doha, Qatar


MB is presently in Doha. Read More

Who is Malala?


09 October 2012. Swat Valley, Pakistan. Mid afternoon.

A member of the Pakistani Taliban boards a bus and shouts ‘Who is Malala?‘ On identifying the 12 year old girl, he fires three shots from a hand gun. One of the bullets enters her forehead, travels the length of her head, and lodges in her shoulder. Fate, providence, luck, or God, if you believe in a God, decides she will live. If God has intervened, then it isn’t the God of the Taliban. Someone else’s God. Maybe Malala’s God. Or your God. Or mine. Read More

But At The End Of The Day (Eid Al Adha)


I’d rather be a Muslim than a goat

Yes I would

If I only could

I surely would

(From the song ‘El Condor Pasa‘ by Simon & Garfunkel – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pey29CLID3I – if you want to take a listen)

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Eid Al Adha/The Feast Of The Sacrifice


Photos below from Sharjah animal market today 03 October 2014. Sharjah is one of the seven Emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Read More

Sudan – Wedding


And so to the wedding…..
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