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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: November 10, 2009, 09:03:50 AM

Irshad Manji - a fairly well know ( at least in Canada) Canadian-Pakistani Lesbian Muslim Journalist


Irshad Manji

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
Published on Monday, Nov. 09, 2009 5:35PM EST
Last updated on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 4:09AM EST

.Only hours after news broke of a mass shooting at Fort Hood, the largest military base in the United States, I began receiving e-mails from agonized Americans. “What does it mean that the suspect has a Muslim name?” asked one.

“Does it matter that he seems to be a Muslim?” asked another. Overnight, more such messages poured in, their tone being confused instead of confrontational.

The fact that these Americans are posing questions rather than rushing to judgment is a sign they're not all bigots. They're genuinely wrestling with how to react beyond immediate shock and grief.

The grappling surely intensified after reports that Major Nidal Malik Hasan visited radical Islamist websites, chatted approvingly of suicide bombers and shouted “Allahu akbar” as he let loose on comrades. Video of him roaming a convenience store in traditional Arab garb, days after having told the store clerk he didn't want to fight fellow Muslims, offers another reason to reflect on the role of religious affinity.

Let's be clear: If an alleged criminal merely happens to be a Muslim, then religion may well be immaterial. But if his crime is committed in the name of Islam, then religion serves to motivate. In that case, the suspect's Muslim identity absolutely matters. Words, gestures and images should be analyzed – fully, openly and honestly.

Not just in America. Three years ago, police arrested young Muslim Canadians for reportedly plotting to blow up Parliament and behead the PM. The Toronto 17, soon to number 18, dubbed their campaign Operation Badr. This refers to the Battle of Badr, the first decisive military victory achieved by the Prophet Mohammed and his ragtag followers, who were outmanned and outarmed by the other side.

The seventh-century story of triumph against all odds is the stuff of legend in Islam – proof, we Muslims are often reminded, that God intended the Prophet to be a warrior and not merely a statesman. As Iranians could attest during their war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Badr provides potent religious inspiration to generations of Muslim soldiers the world over.

Admittedly, this is uncomfortable for millions of Canadians to hear. So uncomfortable that, on arresting the Toronto 17, police didn't once refer to “Islam” or “Muslims” during a press briefing. At a second presser, police boasted about avoiding the words “Islam” and “Muslims.” They characterized their omission as an exercise in sensitivity. I considered it an exercise in denial about the role of religion in the alleged plot.

Later, when I raised my concern at an RCMP conference on communication, assorted staff and members of the force confided that their lawyers prevented them from mentioning the offending words.

Of course, Canada is hardly alone in avoiding this most public of questions. Some European countries are electing ultra-right politicians precisely because mainstream elites fear touching the “Muslim problem,” thereby creating a vacuum for vulgar populists to fill.

Media are among the worst culprits. In the wake of the 2005 London transit bombings, respectable journalists repeatedly quoted ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan railing against British foreign policy. But, in the same video, he emphasized that “Islam is our religion” and “the Prophet is our role model.” Tellingly, he made these statements before bringing up the invasion of Iraq.

Religious mythology also manifests in unexpected ways. Consider Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch-born Moroccan Muslim who murdered artist-turned-satirist Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam in 2004. Mr. Bouyeri pumped several bullets into Mr. van Gogh's body. Knowing this would be enough to finish him off, why didn't he stop there? Why did he pull out a blade to decapitate Mr. van Gogh?

Yet again, we must face the religious dimension. The blade – or sword – is an implement associated with seventh-century tribal warfare. Using it thus becomes a tribute to the founding moment of Islam. Even the note stabbed into Mr. van Gogh's body, though scrawled in Dutch, had the unmistakable rhythms of Arabic poetry. Small wonder that, at his trial, Mr. Bouyeri proudly confessed to being animated by “religious conviction.”

The past few days have revealed much about the complex Major Hasan: a patriotic American dissenter, a brooding recluse, yet a kind neighbour, occasionally taunted by fellow soldiers but more frequently haunted by his conscience and the religious direction in which it turned. While we should be careful not to reduce the story to Islam, let us be equally alert not to erase Islam altogether. Understanding is served by analyzing, not sanitizing.

Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble with Islam Today, is a scholar with New York University and the European Foundation for Democracy.
2  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: llustrisimo- Any one know of Locations in So.Cali on: February 26, 2008, 08:54:08 AM
Master Christopher Ricketts is in LA ( is this considered So Cal ? sorry I'm a Eastcoast Canadian) His website is

aka Black Grass

3  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Don't know where this goes but "The Keysi Fighting Method" on: January 02, 2008, 11:13:40 AM
When I was at a Guro Dan seminar in the UK in 1998 Justo Diéguez received his apprentice instructorship from Guro Dan on the recommendation of Bob Breen.

aka Black Grass
4  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Parkour on: April 19, 2007, 08:06:47 AM

Any thoughts on how many reps to do?  How many days rest between?  How to modulate other training?  How age affects these answers?  And what about those forward rolls that we see in these clips?  Is this a show-off technique or is it one that allows for greater absorbancy of the shock of the impact?  Do we have a people who parachute who can give us some pointers?

I have a vauge memory of an airborne military person telling me something about if you were falling from a really big height that after the feet hit that it was better to fall to one side of the body than the other; something to do about the organs inside.  Anyone?


This guy trained every day, in fact he gave up martial arts altogether to train exclusively in parkour. There wasn't a set number of reps or time, most of the training sessions were 1 - 2 hrs. However, every day the would work on different things, jumps, landings, underbar ( going through under or inbetween railings), wall climbing etc... in between free runs.

Its like going to a skate boarding, although there are names to techniques there are no set ways to train them, its what atracts kids to these things, true freedom of expression.  And they are kids.  All the guys I saw doing this were under 25. As for the effect of age, the art hasn't been around long enough, the 2 founders are only in the early 30.

At 35, personally I found 10 min every day enough to increase my static landing. But for the most part its about listening to your body if something hurts stop move on to something else. For many (including me) it is about being goal driven, trying to beat a particular obstical, especially something like wall climbing. Repeating until you succeed ( or don't).

As for the rolls, yes it is an absorbtion technique. The goal in parkour is to keep moving, hence when you roll you keep you forward momentum  so you can continue to run with out a break.

I used to hate to run, I found it completely boring and mind numbing. But by incorporating some parkour into it  like rail jumping, wall vault, ledge balancing it make running more interesting (although some people might think you look like an idiot). Other added bonuses are upper body stregth development,  balance, enviromental awareness and focus,  you simply can't go on auto pilot like regular distance running. You can also do this type of running in woods (off trail) to get the same effect.

London Jump is a documentary about free running featuring the guy from Casino Royale.

aka Black grass

5  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Parkour on: April 18, 2007, 08:33:22 AM
The art started in France, I don't think Capoeria influenced it. There is two 'styles' of parkour.

1) 'parkour' which is now more about  making your way through/around obsticals
2) ' free running'  an offshoot which is more about  'tricks'

Sébastien Foucan (freerunning)  was the guy in Casino Royale, David Belle (parkour) was the guy in B13 are the founders of the art.

I was teaching eskrima to a guy, who did parkour/free running and shared with me some of the training methods. To train jumping from heights, you simple jump initially from a height where you feel no pain. I started @ 4 feet but found it to hard on my knees so I when down to 2 feet and did this for a week. The next week i increased it to 3 ft, the follwong week, 4 and then to 5 ft which for a time was my upper limit.

I think this kind of training can be a valuable part of ones self defense/preservation often instructors talking about running if you can to escape a bad situation. This type of running is very different than a flat out run something in the city you might now be able to do.

aka Black Grass
6  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog (Canine) Training (why did you pick the breed you have ?) on: September 19, 2006, 08:57:50 AM
Ryan, Crafty, and everyone.

Lots of great advise from everyone thx.

We started obiedience classes last week and crate trained him from the get go. All in all he has been pretty good, not to much chewing of things, and the accidents in the house are really mine and my wife's fault for not listening to him at times. I have been working on my own pateince as the brred is not stuborn so much as pensive, if call a Berner to "come" he might cock his head and think about it a little before he does. Although, the trainer is very good I am not sure she has expeirence with dogs and martial arts.

"Berners" (Bernese Mountain Dog) although a large breed (110-130 lbs) are not domineering or aggressive in general. They are the "People person" of the dog world, like people,other dogs, animals, and children. Might possibly be the worst guard dog ever, as they are more likely to want to make friends with a burglar then attack him. Its the freindliness that attracted us to the breed.

Which leads me to my next question, what attracted everyone to choose the breed of dog they have ?

7  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog (Canine) Training on: September 12, 2006, 08:19:26 AM
I recently got a Bernese Mountain Puppy (3 months old now) and want some advise on introducing him to sitting and waiting while I train.

I recently brought him to a grappling class and he did not like it at all. He didn't bark or cry he just want to leave. He just sat facing the door wanting to get out. I thought grappling would be a good introduction because it most resembles dogs playing. I have been socializing him and seems to not be freaked out at the dog park when dogs are involved in rough play. A pit bull and Lab were really playing aggressively the other day (almost turned into a fight), and he sat there queitly happily observing.

Crafty or anyone any advise ? This issue has not come up on "The Dog Whisperer" yet.

aka Black Grass
Bakbakan International
Kali Ilustrisimo USA
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Supreme Court rules kirpans okay in school - CANADA on: March 02, 2006, 10:13:45 AM
Not sure if this the right tread to post but I though you all would find this interesting. This is from the globe and mail a national newspaper in canada. A kirpan looks like a kerambit without the ring.

Supreme Court rules kirpans okay in school

Globe and Mail Update

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Sikh students can carry ceremonial daggers to class and that doing so does not pose a undue danger to others in the schools.

The top court overturned Thursday morning a Quebec Court of Appeals ruling that had barred the kirpan from schools in the province. The Quebec court had said a limit on religious freedom was reasonable, given the safety concerns from carrying the daggers to school.

"Religious tolerance is a very important value of Canadian society," the top court judges wrote in their decision.

"A total prohibition against wearing a kirpan to school undermines the value of this religious symbol and sends students the message that some religious practices do not merit the same protection as others."

If the kirpan is sealed inside clothing the risk of it being used for violent purposes, or being taken away by other students is very low, the judges said. "There are many objects in schools that could be used to commit violent acts and that are much more easily obtained by students, such as scissors, pencils and baseball bats."

Several other provinces have long ago reached compromises with the Sikh community, allowing the carrying of the kirpan ? a requirement for baptized followers of the Sikh religion ? as long as it is safely sheathed and concealed.

The 2004 ruling from the Quebec appeal court, however, dismissed any possibility of a compromise in that province.

The specific case that went to the Supreme Court involves Gurbaj Singh Multani, now 17. Five years ago, he accidentally dropped his kirpan in the schoolyard of a Montreal elementary school.

Parents of other children pressured the local school board to ban the dagger, because of a zero-tolerance policy concerning weapons.

Gurbaj's parents sued, and the case wound its way through the courts for several years.

When the Supreme Court heard the arguments last April, several organizations ? including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the World Sikh Organization of Canada ? intervened to support the family.

They noted that there have been no examples of any violent acts in schools as a result of wearing of the kirpan.

The youth transferred to a private school soon after the controversy erupted in 2001, and some of the intervenors were concerned that there would be a mass exodus by Sikh students from public schools across the country if the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the ban.

In its intervention, the Quebec government supported the ban, arguing that any potential weapon can cause a unnecessary risk in the schools.
9  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Thx Marc Denny cause of you I am getting married! on: August 23, 2005, 01:33:32 PM
Well Marc Denny can add another item to his already lengthy resume, that of match maker.

I met my fiance at of all things a Dog Brothers seminar in Toronto 3 years ago. As we both came alone to the seminar, we ended up training together and well, as they say the rest is history. I am getting married this labour day weekend.


aka Black Grass
10  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: May 04, 2005, 08:18:16 AM
Quote from: Crafty_Dog
I enjoyed Conan 1 (Sandahl Bergman smiley o==8 ) simply by putting aside the knowing that it could have been so more more.  Howard's Conan is a figure deep in the dark primal archetypes.  If only someone had been at the helm with the vision and courage to have gone there something truly great could have been made.  Ah well, forward.

Conan 2 was a joke-- and a waste of Wilt Chamberlain.  PG Conan!?!  Oy vey.

A new Conan movie is in the works "King Conan". Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) is set to direct replacing John Milius ( the director of Conan the Barbarian). Rodriguez still hopes to get Governor Arnie in the lead role.

So I ask "what is best in life ?"

Black Grass
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