At the Halal MarketOnce upon a time - in a land not too far away, about a week ago --- Ahmed was walking down to the local halal meat store - ready to fill his freezer with some halal organic chicken, and he ran into his masjid buddy Ali:
Ahmed: Salaam Alaikum Ali, missed last week's friday khutba, how was it?
Ali: Walaikum Salaam Ahmed, that bhiryani you made last week was just somethin' - khutba was OK - but we're seeing too many "wahabbis" show up at the masjid these days.
Ahmed: Yeah, the "wahabbis" don't think Shias are Muslims, what do you think about that?
Ali: Shias are Muslims, they are Muslims. Those "wahabbis" are extremists, they don't understand Islam. They give a bad name to Islam. They are fanatics. Because of those "wahabbi" extremists, I am being discriminated against at my nice upper-middle class job. There should be no tolerance for those extremist "wahabbis."
Ali (continuing after a pause): Shias are Muslims, but they are deviant. I strongly oppose their theology, fiqh, and I disagree with them 100%. But, yeah, you could call them Muslims.....(pause again) can you? Let me check with my Sheikh - I'll call him right now on my brand new cell and MP3 player.
Ali (after consulting with his Sheikh): OK, yeah, Sheikh says you guys are Muslims - but you are Persianists.
Ahmed: Oh, OK - so what you think about 9/11 anniversary coming up?
Ali: I strongly condemn 9/11 - and, on this 5th anniversary, I will go to a church, a synagogue, to a Sikh gurdwara, a Hindu temple. I will also attend that "non-violence" candlelight vigle...that the local athiest group is organizing - we are all sisters and brothers in humanity. And I'm also gonna appear on CNN and maybe FOX - I don't like the media, but we must improve the image of Islam and Muslims.
Ahmed: So, the local Shia masjid is having an event, you going there?
Ali: Silence.............. let me check with my Sheikh..............
Ahmed: so.... you going to the Shia masjid?
Ali: Silence......... I have an interfaith appointment at the same time.....
Ahmed: Oh, OK, maybe next year?
to be continued.... next episode: Ahmed has a converation with a fair trade coffee drinker.