Monthly Archives: July 2012

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Gareth Bryant...

These two men have a lot in common: al-Hajjaj lived over a thousand years ago; but, apparently, tyranny in the Muslim-World, unfortunately, didn’t die with him. Bashar has seemed to be the geo-political reincarnation of al-Hajjaj, basically picking up where he left off. And, the irony is that they’ve both been leaders in the same region of  the world. al-Hajjaj was once the Governor of Iraq, during the Umayyi-period, the neighboring country to Syria, which Bashar is now the current President of, more than a millennium later. What makes these two men so distant from one another historically, yet character-wise, so similar, referring to their thirst for absolute-power, bloodshed & ruthless-tactics in the administration of government?
Let’s take a look into each of their respective lives to learn more about what drove them to the madness of their reigns of terror:al-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf-
Originally named Kulayb, changing his name to al-Hajjaj…

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Gareth Bryant...

Bashar al-Assad: Syria’s Abusive Father!!!

Take a look at what my own father has done:

I’ve been beaten & maimed in the pleasure of he.
He has repeatedly raped & brought shame to me.

His wrath is just overbearing and it has never been mild.
He’s violated the sacred trust between parent and child.

The only thing that I’ve ever done was:

Express the yearn to be a child who is loyal.
To strive tirelessly, via blood, sweat and toil.

I have done my best, yet he has not done the rest.
He has been a lifelong puppeted dog of the West.

This is what my father has done:

He’s banned the Niqab, I’m forced to live like a slob & all I can do is cry to my god.
But, I can only call out to Him in secret; my father’s temper is as vicious as a hot rod.

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Gareth Bryant...

Author’s note:
It’s very ironic how in a place like New York City, by far, the wealthiest city on the planet, in Human history, can actually have a significant homeless population. What’s also just as sadly amazing is how so many of us do nothing about it. I mean, sure there’s various organizations & food-banks. But, the real cure to homelessness is through the individual efforts of you & I, regular, everyday, nine-to-five kind of people, who see something within our society that’s a serious problem, and set out to do something about it. Well, fortunately, a very near & dear good Muslim brother of mine has taken on this mighty task, and has been doing something about it, for quite some time. His name, Yusef Ramelize, his efforts, going homeless, for one whole week, to get a serious, authentic sense of how the other half truly lives, in a…

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My thoughts on Batman: The Dark Knight Rises & James Holmes: Humanity Falls

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It’s been an entire week since the Batman movie massacre, that has shaken Aurora, Co, and has forced a nation into deep uproar, about gun-control, as well as, the two front-running Presidential candidates to make public outcries about gun-violence. However, when a Muslim observes this tragedy, and, a tragedy it definitely was, we must also reflect upon many of our own aspirations to catch the very first viewing of Batman: Dark Knight Rises. Muslims were making any & all types of excuses, asking all types of religious questions, to various religious personalities, concerning the religious permissibility of watching this final segment of this newest Hollywood spin on the well-known Batman saga, instead of preparing to concentrate on fasting during the Month of Ramadhan, whose first day coincided with the 20th of July. Muslims around the world annually anticipate the coming of Ramadhan, as a way to redeem ourselves & reform ourselves, to make us better Muslims & overall better Human beings, through our fasting & various other positive actions, while at the same time, disregarding any & all negative actions & behaviour.

Now, in spite of what had happened, at the hands of one James Eagan Holmes, responsible for the carnage in Aurora, we, as Muslims, must honestly ask ourselves, “If I were in Aurora, knowing what I know about what had happened, would I still go to see the Batman movie?” Not surprisingly, many Muslims would definitely say “Yes” if they were to ask themselves this question. It shows a true disconnect with reality. And, the reality is that death will come for all of us, both Muslim & Non-Muslim, alike. The question now, is whether we will be ready to meet our Lord.

Let’s go off on a tangent, just a lil’ bit, and place some focus on James Holmes & the victims. James Holmes seemed like the typical all-American boy: straight-A student, Ph.D. candidate, the works. But, there was a dark void inside of him, that he felt necessary to fulfill at any cost, regardless of its consequences. He was haunted by some demons that was consuming him, and, in turn would destroy precious lives, without any type of justification what so ever. Then, there are the victims of this tragedy, whom they & their families deserve our utmost sympathies & condolences. Death is never an easy thing to cope with, especially when it hits home-base, effecting those whom we love, and, especially when it’s a direct result of senseless violence.

These people, cut down by Holmes just wanted to see a movie, enjoy the weekend. But, they meet their end in a very horrific way, that has sent their families into unspeakable turmoil, and, for what reason? So, some guy can live out a demonic fantasy, to be the Joker?!!! The actions of Holmes have sparked a nation-wide discussion, among politicians, community-activists, public personalities, etc., about gun-control. But, what about the discussion to help the families of these victims heal?!!! That’s just as much of a prevalent issue as the weapons that these people claim to want off of the streets.

The true issue is that our societies glorify violence & carnage, via entertainment, The Godfather, Scarface, The Sopranos, The Wire, Spartacus, etc. However, when someone goes off, and starts to want to manifest violence that they see, being depicted through media, no one wants to take responsibility for their contribution to our violent world. Now, don’t get me wrong: James Holmes was dead-wrong for what he’s done-I’m sure that he’ll receive the maximum available punishment for his crimes in Colorado, and, also, in the Hereafter, he’ll have to be held accountable, to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, for his actions. But, what about our own actions, which encourage violence on the big screen, but condemn it in reality.

Honestly, this is very hypocritical-We must hate violence all-around, not jst when some monster takes a weapon & massacres people in a theater, but, also, as well, when we’re watching our favorite mob & crime films & T.V. shows. We’ve become so desensitized by violence & its effects, that eventually, if not corrected by our societies, will promote not only more copy-cat incidents like this, but the nearly irreversible disregard for the sacredness of life itself. We all, regardless to whether you’re a politician, an actor, an executive producer of a show, a radio host, a music star, an educator, a parent, an older sibling, a religious leader, whomever, and, what ever you may be, we all have significant influences over one another, whether we’re willing to accept this or not. So, it’s really up to all of us, to change the tide of violence in our societies, to prevent Humanity from falling into the abyss of violence.

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Gareth Bryant...

Salam/What up?

Please, nominate “Gareth Bryant’s Writing Page” for the ninth Annual Brass Crescent Awards!!!

The Brass Crescent Awards is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners.

What are the Brass Crescent Awards? They are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Islamsphere is forging a new synthesis of Islam and modernity, and is the intellectual heir to the traditions of philosophy and learning that was once the hallmark of Islamic civilization – a heritage scarcely recognizable today in the Islamic world after a century’s ravages of colonialism, tyrants, and religious fundamentalism. We believe that Islam transcends history, and we are forging history anew for tomorrow’s Islam. These awards are a means to…

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My thoughts on Myanmar (formerly known as Burma)

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Author’s note:
The following poem is about the recent string of violent religious & ethnic-cleansing episodes, in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), which have barely been reported, on any major news circuits, to the extent that it needs to be.

Myanmar has lost its way:

My homeland, once peaceful, has become a breeding-ground for religious fighting.
Yesterday, it was in Bosnia & today, it’s here-the battleground of ethnic-cleansing.
All around the world, people know of the plight of my country; yet, no one has intervened.
News reports are scarce, as to what’s really goin’ on, and, it’s more tragic than perceived.
Murder is the malice of the day; there’s so much bloodshed that it hurts.
Angry mobs, of people, from all sides, rioting, makes things a lot worse.
Rampant, countless, raping of women, this shameful act, is commonplace.

Hatred has fueled this conflict; for those suffering, this isn’t fair.
Apathy is what people have decided to use, to no longer care.
Sorrow, and despair, has overcast this land, like clouds of air.

Love, as well as respect, is just gone, it has no place here.
Oppression took over, while justice lives in a state of fear.
Systematic terror, used to keep people down has not been thwarted.
The need to deliver the people out of darkness isn’t so much desired.

It’s truly a shame, how a place with such beauty is leaving a legacy that’s so ugly.
The time to act is now, to rescue those tied-down, by tyranny, swiftly & urgently.
Sadness deepens in my heart, those who can change the world, do so only rarely.

Why is it so much easier to support wrong & so much more difficult to stand and do right?
Anyone can bully; but, it takes a special person to relieve the downtrodden, of their plight.
You & I must learn, from the tragedies of others-never must we use hate to enforce might.

Gareth Bryant/2012

I’m goin’ L.A.M.B.!!!

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Author’s note:
This poem is dedicated to my new personal-phrase, “I’m goin’ LAMB”, which is an acronym for L.ivin’ life to the fullest A.nd M.akin’ moves like a B.oss. I recently came up with this phrase, as a parody of the Jay-Z & Kanye West song, “H.A.M.”. And, since, as a Muslim, pork is Islamically prohibited, I just figured that it’d be nice for us, as Muslims, to use a phrase that wasn’t connected to a food-product that we’re not religiously allowed to eat. Anyway, this poem, that I hope you’ll enjoy, gives some highlights, as to what goin’ LAMB really means to me.

#Enjoy

I’m goin’ L.A.M.B.!!!

I’m forever & always a self-made masterpiece.
My will is like a dynasty, no end to my streak.

God-given talents are the roots of my success.
On my agenda is simplicity, my ear to the ground.
Independent of foolishness, too old to be a clown.
Never subjugating myself, to defeat, or duress.

Lessons from life’s twists & turns keeps me humble.
Ambition to conquer makes the hard work beautiful.
My courage has compelled me to never run or hide.
Because of all these many tests & trials, I’ve arrived.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Yusef Ramelize & his amazing project: “Homeless For One Week”

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Author’s note:
It’s very ironic how in a place like New York City, by far, the wealthiest city on the planet, in Human history, can actually have a significant homeless population. What’s also just as sadly amazing is how so many of us do nothing about it. I mean, sure there’s various organizations & food-banks. But, the real cure to homelessness is through the individual efforts of you & I, regular, everyday, nine-to-five kind of people, who see something within our society that’s a serious problem, and set out to do something about it. Well, fortunately, a very near & dear good Muslim brother of mine has taken on this mighty task, and has been doing something about it, for quite some time. His name, Yusef Ramelize, his efforts, going homeless, for one whole week, to get a serious, authentic sense of how the other half truly lives, in a place like New York City. Every year, during the annual, Islamic, fasting month of Ramadhan, he’s out on the streets, attempting to expose the realities of homelessness, to do his part in helping others whom have been abandoned in many ways, or have gone completely unnoticed by most of us, which is very easy, since many of us get caught in the matrix, of our mundane, nine-to-five lives. However, Mr. Ramelize takes off time from his job, to help expose the need to help people whom he’s never even met, and will probably never meet. With that being said, it is so very important that we support this man’s efforts, because he is truly doing a great thing, for his city, for his country, for his Humanity.

Yusef Ramelize: A great Muslim, a great Human being, with a great mission:

Going above & beyond passionate emotionally soothing talk, of wanting to make a difference, Mr. Ramelize has taken a very honest, pragmatic action, as the Founder and Project Director of the “Homeless For One Week” project, an annual initiative that he had began in 2009, to raise awareness about homelessness in New York City. His plan is to be homeless for one week, every year, during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadhan, while raising money and awareness about homelessness, through video-blogs and interviews.

His amazing humanitarian project, “Homeless For One Week”:

To Mr. Ramelize, the preparation for this particular project is mostly spiritual. The reason is not to mock the homeless; but, rather, it is an excuse to become closer to Allah, in obedience, via reflection about the other, especially during the month of Ramadhan, when reflection, as well as internal & external purification are typically at an all-time high anyway. This project focuses on reflection of how the other half truly lives & is forced to live. Over the past four years, money has been raised, for various Tri-State area based organizations, like, CAMBA (Church Avenue Merchants Block Association), Coalition for the Homeless, as well as Food Bank for New York City, to help spread awareness about the need to help the homeless.
Every year, the money that he has raised, as a result of his amazing efforts, goes to one, or more different charities, that work exclusively to help end homelessness & hunger. This year, he is raising monies for “Muslims Against Hunger”, based in the Tri-State area. Each year, he does something unique, as well, to really encapsulate the homeless-experience, not to patronize or mock the homeless, but, to rather truly know how it feels to have to go day-to-day, without the simplest luxuries, that so many of us either take completely for granted, waste, or both. For instance, last year, he did his “Homeless For One Week” project, without any footwear. The main reason for this was for him to sacrifice simple things, that so many people take for granted, far too often. This project is essentially geared toward consciousness & gratitude for all that we have & to help inspire others to help those who have less and/or nothing in comparison.

One of the main themes that he wants to face head-on are the very unfair & cruel “Stereotypes of the Homeless”: Lazy, shiftless, unskilled, jaded, poor work-ethic, scam-artists, etc. This year, he’s planning to make more of an effort to interact with homeless persons. Weather plays a very significant part in the effectiveness of this project. People don’t realize how weather affects people, who don’t have proper access to food, clothing and shelter. And, as Muslims, we owe it to Allah, then to our fellow man to make the lives of others better.

The positive results yielded thus far:

As a result of Mr. Ramelize’s extraordinary work, for this most noble project, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer had honored him, with a proclamation, as “Artist and Activist against Homelessness” and was also nominated as NY1 News’ “Queens, NY Person of The Week”, for his charitable spirit and promotion of awareness through his “Homeless For One Week” project. The “Homeless For One Week” project has been featured in the NYDaily News, NY Post, RT News, The Village Voice, ELAN Magazine, Arabnews.com, America.gov and DNAinfo.com.

Yusef Ramelize’s bio:
Currently working as the Production and Creative Manager
of Informa plc, one of the largest publishing companies in the world.
He holds a BFA in Electronic Design and Multimedia from the City College of New York. In his spare time, Ramelize does freelance marketing projects ranging from print ads for pop culture magazines, catalogs to business logos. In addition, Yusef Ramelize also works on various community projects, such as being the Community Outreach Director for CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals), and as a Creative Consultant for Elan Online Magazine (A Muslim lifestyle online magazine).

So, in conclusion, if you are at all inspired by the great work, of such a great Human being, then, by all means, please support his noble efforts.

You can help him make a difference, by first visiting his website:

http://www.homelessforoneweek.com