Married life

I would like to dedicate this post to my dear husband. I am so happy to be your wife, love you, mwah!

                                                                                                                                                                 On several occasions, he has been asking me if I had ever told “my readers” how “good” he was as a husband. He is right I have to let you know that I am blessed to have him in my life although I do often moan at him for being a child. I do complain a lot. As I mentioned previously, I am the “Mo Farah of impatience”. But Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), my husband is the “Jessica Ennis of patience” (with me).

Having an healthy relationship with my husband has definitely a positive impact on my children. Marriage is not always easy. Nothing to do with Fairy tales. Don’t be lured: “happily ever after”, not always! Marriage is more of a work in progress. It is also an institution that can be endangered by the stress caused by the handling of day-to-day life, financial issues, health issues, children, bugging in-laws etc…

In the past, my husband and I did have big downs but we have been both determined to make things work. We “enforced” strong family ties out of love for each other and for the sake of the girls. The children mean everything to us and we are doing a lot of concessions on our own needs and desires for them. Nevertheless, too many concessions can lead to frustrations and frustrations to conflicts. To compensate, we are striving to maximize the time we are spending together, only the two of us.  We both work and we don’t have family leaving nearby to babysit so it is quite a huge struggle.  But we have to do it even if it is only to sit down on the sofa together and watch TV. I don’t want to end up meeting with him only for arguing. I don’t want the word husband to be synonymous of anger, rage, resentment but I’d rather like to think about horse, charming, Snow White. Lol, just kidding but I know, you did get my point.

Finally, how much does my daughter’s condition affect our relationship? Believe me, not that  much!  Rushing around for workshops, therapies, appointments, of course, requires a big deal of organization, structure and discipline. Oops! My husband is an artist, a freestyler, guided by his own vibe. I am the Ruler in all the “Academic” bit of our life and he is the “Emotional support” Coordinator. He is the laid-back buddy.We are opposites who complement each other, Alhamdulillah!

Autisticazation!

Autisticazation!

It is funny how once your child is diagnosed with Autism, his being, his identity seems to vanish.

His main feature is Autism

His personality is defined by Autism.

His tastes are consequences of his Autism.

Your child doesn’t have a gender anymore. He is not a girl or a boy.

He doesn’t belong to any ethnicity. He ain’t no longer a Black or a White child.

No, my friend, from the moment, your child is diagnosed, he is no longer Karima, Fatima, Adam or Yacub. No, from now on, just forget about it! He is just Autistic…

My point here is that, even as a parent, if you do not pay attention, you will end up considering your child exclusively from his Autistic angle. I am going to give you an example. Let’s say, on a sunny afternoon, your child “behaved”, no tantrums, everything went perfectly fine. So, you can’t wait for your hubby to come home. As soon as he will be opening the front door, you will tell him something like this :“ Assalam aleikoum, I hope you had a good day at work. Adam and I had a fantastic one. He has been really good MashAllah. Like a perfect normal boy!” Duh!!!

From another perspective, you have the parent who feels that he has to let everyone know that his child is Autistic. Of course, my relatives do know that my daughter has autism. Of course, I won’t hide it from my friends. Of course, I will inform people who care for her like the medical staff, the childminder etc…                                                           That is already a lot of people, don’t you think?  But what about strangers? What about the person who will be sitting next to my daughter on Public transport? Is it a duty to inform him or her?  I will say that it just depends on how my daughter will be behaving. As long as she is not having a massive tantrum and as long as I feel that I am in control, I will keep my mouth shut. Not out of shame but why should I introduce my daughter by first emphasizing on her being different from us “neurotypicals”. (I didn’t know how to turn the above sentence for you to get my point without sounding silly and arrogant but InshAllah, I hope you understand what I meant. )

It also relies upon the way the Stranger will be dealing with me and my daughter. If the individual is reprimanding my daughter for being naughty or for not behaving in accordance with her age, then, yes, obviously, I will step up to the plate.

As a conclusion, I would like to say that my child has a personality. My child has feelings. My child has weaknesses and strengths. My child is a bit of me and a bit of her father. Autism is a piece of her but Autism is not her.

Image

Copyright

Dear Readers,

Your attention, please!

To illustrate my posts, I am using images and pictures that I do not own. These are freely available on Internet. I do not own the Copyrights and all images and pictures  belong to its original authors.

Special message to authors: If you are not happy with your creation to be displayed on my blog, please feel free to notify me and I will remove it as  soon as possible.

Thank you!

Stop the Abuse! Part 2

Addressing this subject and researching about it are draining me emotionally. You can find so many links on google by simply typing Autism and Abuse on the search box. But come on, let’s break the Ice in order to eradicate Abuse O-N-C-E   A-N-D  F-O-R   A-L-L  InshAllah

The Family Unit

First and foremost, I would like to salute  the effort and honesty of DESIblitz.com* for recently releasing an article ” The Asian Stigma  with Disability”**. To acknowledge spontaneously ones shortcomings may not be “in” but MashAllah   it is incredibly brave . Self-criticism is definitely the right track towards rectification, progress and InshAllah Success.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Although DESIblitz ‘aim was to depict behaviours spotted within the Asian community, I would like to make clear that these are also seen among other ethnic groups.

Ignorance, lack of understanding , lack of education or denial, on their own or combined, may result in devastating consequences in the lives of those affected by disabilities.In this regard, DESIblitz quoted some examples of verbal abuse such as being  openly mocked at Family gatherings, being called names such as “sick” , “mad” or being accused of playing the “disability card” out oflaziness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This sets the perfect tone for a sexual predator and/ or a physical abuser  to hit with great impunity.The “Sick or mad” is a very easy target, served on a plate by his own family who openly denied his  right to be respected and  treated with dignity. If the victim manages to report the abuser to one of his family member, he may find nobody willing to confront the perpretator and advocate for him. The scandal will be hidden under the family carpet and the abuser will re-offend as much as he wishes. DESIblitz even provided us with the following tragic example: ‘In a slum in India, a mother refused to allow her daughter to be taken away to an institution, although her father was abusing her, saying: “At least here she is only abused by one person.” ‘ SubhanAllah! A child you carried for 9 months, your skin and your blood…

 I am now done with this subject. It has been really hard , really really hard but it’s worth it. These things have to be openly condemned as being evil and reprehensible. I am ready to  fight for  my daughter to be safe as well as every single  individual inshAllah. What about you?

*DESIblitz.com is an online magazine which readership is of British Asian descent. http://www.desiblitz.com

** ” The Asian Stigma with Disability”:http://www.desiblitz.com/content/the-asian-stigma-with-disability

Stop the abuse! Part 1

This is a very delicate topic to write about. I will be mentioning the most extreme cases so it might be distressful for some of you.

Abuse in Care homes

Many of us watched the BBC Panorama programm* where a reporter posed as a carer and filmed with an hidden camera the abuse that disabled patients were  subjected to at winterbourne Care home  near  Bristol.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        SubhanAllah since I have seen that programm, the same image keeps coming back and forth in my head. I will never forget how this male member of staff positioned a chair on top of a young woman who was laying on the floor in  order to restrain her movements. I will never forget how she was telling him that she will call the Police on  him.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I watched this programm entirely. I was sitting on my sofa, paralyzed  from shock.My eyes were  scanning frenetically the screen, up down, right and left. Worst nigthmare for a parent.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           La Ilaha Illallah! How can someone be so cruel? I mean if you dislike so much disabled people, if you dislike working with them. Do yourself a favour, quit and look for another job before you end up like those loosers with a Criminal record. Generally speaking, if you don’t feel comfortable with working with children or elderly people, don’t make it your occupation too! At the end of the day, you are dealing wih Human beings. They are sensitive to your frustrations, anger and heavy-handed care. And by the way, how can somebody dare slapping an elderly?   Astaghfirullah!

What this programm demonstrates is that there has been so far an appealing lack of regulations on Care homes in this country.It feels like for too long anybody would have had the opportunity to open a Care home without worrying about ethics, procedures, qualifications, experience, rules of conduct etc…

   Is it about to change? Yes, apparently! On an article published today by The telegraph**,it is reported that  the Government warned that ” tougher regulation, including possible new criminal laws to strengthen corporate accountability, could also be introduced”.”Other measures announced yesterday include a care plan must be in place for all children, young people and adults with learning disabilities by April 2014. “The Care Quality Commission, the watchdog, will also carry out unannounced inspections of all hospitals and care homes, while new guidance on the use of restraint to control the behaviour of people with learning disabilities will be introduced.” At the moment, these are proposals. We need to make sure that these measures will be agreed, voted and legislated. We need to monitor all these decisions makers closely until what they have announced yesterday becomes a reality.

As a parent, I pray that my daughter would never have to live in a care home. Although I am sure that there is also  fantastic staff amoung care workers, I pray that Allah will always keep her among her relatives. Loved and safe. Aameen!

*BBC panorama programm : http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01nqn4d/Panorama_The_Hospital_That_Stopped_Caring/

* The Telegrap:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9736258/Winterbourne-View-abuse-scandal-care-patients-to-be-moved-from-private-hospitals.html

The vulnerables at our doorsteps

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]


A lot of our brothers and sisters accross the Globe are going through hardship and Alhamdulillah our community is very receptive to it. We seem to strive to provide a quick and effective response to their needs via awareness campaigns, donations, demonstrations or boycotts .
But how unfortunate it is that we ignore the sufferings of those who are leaving at our doorsteps?

New muslims

Alhamdulillah, by the Grace of Allah, more and more people are entering the fold of Islam. With  nowadays’ social climate, this is probably one of the bravest things to do.Our new brothers and sisters have sometimes to do drastic changes in their everyday life. They might  even loose friends they have known all of their lives or be let down by their own family.

The least they should expect from us is support. Do you know that most reverts celebrate Eid on their own? Alhamdulillah I was thrilled with my local moske’s initiave on last Eid organizing a lunch for reverts and those who were on their own.  Please,  be there for your new brothers and sisters in the Deen so that they could feel that they are part of a big family that cares for them. You can also support or get involved in  charities and associations such as Solace* or The Revert Muslims Association**.

The divorcees, the single mothers  and their offsprings

A divorce, whether it is a Talaq or a Khula, whether it has been chosen or imposed, is not an an easy affair. Both spouses are usually left devastated, struggling emotionally and/or financially.

Nowadays, we are all so busy with our lives, rushing around, juggling between studies, work, married life, children, relatives and friends.But that should not put us off from trying to assist. We should find a compromise geared to our timetables. Why not visiting them, accompanying them to appointments, calling them , emailing them or  texting them?

From another perspective, the very last thing we should do is to belittle them or look down upon them. Sadly, I have  witnessed that type of behaviours from  some sisters who consider divorcees as outcasts and  to some extent would even cut off any relationship with them. Duh!!! As if being a divorcee was a contagious disease! This kind of behaviour possibly reflects that the person is not in a happy marriage, Allahu Ahlam.What is clear is that there is not such thing in the Sunnah.  The Prophet ( Salallahu Alayhi  Wa Salam) married his cusin, Zaynab (Radi Allahu Anha)  who was a divorcee.

Victims of Domestic Violence

“There is no place for Domestic Violence in Islam!”                                                                                                                                          Alhamdulillah, last year, Nour DV*** in partnership with local moskes and imams in London set up a campaign to tackle this issue. Imams were adressing this topic on Jummah prayers and on Islamic TV  channels.    Domestic Violence Awareness Round Sticker                                                                                                                                                  However, DV is still  taboo topic for a part of our community. Although in Islam it is a 100% valid reason for divorce, victims often feel ashamed to speak out . I do believe that the worst justification for remaining silent is when it comes to preserving the family’s honour. What a disgrace! There is no honour in  having an oppressor part of ones family.

Individuals with disabilities

Allah Wa ta ala has created all of us. He has created some of us black, some of us white. Some of us tall, some of us short. Some of us petite, Some of us chubby. Some of us ill, some of us healthy. Some of us with disabilities, some of us with none. Some of us with mental disabilities and some of us with physical disabilities.                                                                                             Allah Wa ta Ala mentioned in the Koran that he created us in nations so that we get to know each other.  Nowhere did he state and no hadith does recall  that we are  allowed to mock A-N-Y-O-N-E because of his social status, ethnic background or IQ.  (By the way, don’t get me wrong,I don’t consider these criterias as disabilities)

Let me go back now to  disabilities and autism. This is painful when I see children  laughing at my daughter because she keeps on repeting words or sentences. This is her way of processing information.Laughing becomes then ridiculouswhen you actually know why she is doing it, isn’t? Don’t let ignorance turn you into a silly person. Ask if you are puzzled. SubhanAllah, that is a sign of cleverness!

I don’t feel anger towards these children because at the end of the day, it is their parents’ role to explain that such behaviour is unacceptable. But believe me or not, a lot of parents won’t intervene. How can they tell them off when their kids are just copying them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         You send your child to the Madrassa,  you encourage him to memorize the Koran but at the same time, you don’t prevent him from ending up as a bully. Bullying is oppression. Oppression is darkness on the Day of Judgement. Beware! The one who is oppressed, if he supplicates to Allaah against the oppressor then there is no barrier which stops his supplication going up to Allaah to be answered.

So my last exhortation would be: let’s be muslims, let’s be tolerant, let’s be respectful and let’s be generous! InshAllah

*Solace: www.solaceuk.org

** The Revert Muslims Association:www.revertmuslims.com

*** Nour DV: www.nourdv.org.uk

Autism awareness within the British Muslim press

I have been surfing on internet for a while looking for sections featuring Autism. MashAllah I came across a lot of blogs but unfortunately, I only found one single  article on that subject.  If you do know more, please do share it with me!

In April 2011, Emel magazine* dedicated one article to Autism entitled “Behind the Silence – A health feature on Autism”. As a parent of an autistic child, the title’s choice seems ok.It sounds like a ‘don’t be lured by appearances,’ kind of thing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then, we, readers are rapidly introduced to Dr Noreen Kasseem who assisted in the writing. However, we are not provided with any hint on her area of expertise? Is she a GP, a paeditrician, a psychiatrist?  If Dr kasseem is a GP and if she is as bad as my GP when it comes to Autism, it is a disaster! Consequently,  I am sorry Emel magazine but  I am going to give you my first thumb down.
I carry on reading and find myself completely disagreeing with below statement :”Autism is a complex developmental disability, and is growing among children. It is more common in western, developed nations with one out of 110 children diagnosed.” It is certainly more common in the West because there are more effective means to diagnose it. Autism might be less diagnosed in the Third World because of a lack of finances and ressources.Thus, one should not jump on the conclusion that it is not as widespread as in the West.Anyway, just browsing on Facebook, one could note that there is a growing awareness going on in these countries with loads of support groups based in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Saudi, Dubai, Tunisia, etc . So guys, Thumb down again!

Furthermore, at the very beginning, we are advised that Dr Noreen Kasseem will ” investigate this debilitating condition and identifies possible strategies to help.” MashAllah, we are being given a very detailed presentation but there are no strategies at all. For not keeping your word, another thumb down

The very last negative bit is that on its whole, this article is quite boring. It is not catchy at all except its title. It is just a simple succession of facts.  If Autism would not have been part of my everyday life, would I have been willing to read it til  its end?

Dear Emel Magazine, I would like to end my review on a positive note thanking you to address Autism. Indeed, as far as I know, you guys seem to be the only one who have done so in the UK. So JazakhAllah Khairan.

P.S: Emel Magazine, I have sent you a feedback email  recently where I  approximatively submitted the same comments. InshAllah, I would appreciate if you could at least acknowledge receipt of it.

* Emel Magazine: http://www.emel.com/article?id=84&a_id=2345