S.L. Wisenberg is the author of three books, the most recent of which is The Adventures of Cancer Bitch (also available as an audio book). She is an occasional photographer and collagist and is taking part in the Women’s 1/21 March on Chicago.
RIP, USA. Providence, RI. November 9, 2016.
by Kevin James
Reader Discretion Advised: The following piece contains graphic descriptions of the most extreme radical Islam imaginable – the Islam that begins and ends in the individual! This may cause distress in persons not accustomed to thinking.
Feeling blue due to the 2016 Presidential election results? Do you yearn for a party of your peers who question the ground they walk on, no matter how painful to the self or status quo? Are you a tired of being cast as unpatriotic or an apostate because you think for yourself? Then the Disenfranchised Alt-Radical Muslim Movement (DisARMM) is for you! Free thinkers of the world unite – you have nothing to lose but your blinders!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are you kidding me?
No. DisARMM aspires to be a pacifist, non-religious party that recognizes the contributions of Muslims and radicals of all stripes to the innovation and diversity of America. Fed up by the unwitting dupes who kill innocents in the name of religion and the disinformation that elected a twittering doof for President, we seek to break the global spell of rage and Breitbartism.
Our defining moment came with the President-elect’s choice for chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon, the former executive chairman of the Alt-right website Breitbart News. Who can forget such memorable tweets that another Crusade would do a lot of good, that Indians never bothered to build more than a few teepees and that slaves built the US the way cows built McDonalds?
In contrast to Breitbart’s stereotyping and fear mongering, DisARMM’s policy positions rely on the historicity of fact and documentary evidence. The facts show that America’s wealth was built on the stolen land and labor of indigenous peoples and African slaves. And as Sylviane A. Diouf documented, about one-third of African slaves were Muslim, showing there was a significant Muslim presence in America before the Revolutionary War, albeit involuntary.
DisARMM views the hospitality of indigenous Americans toward immigrant Europeans as strength, not weakness. We honor their practices of inclusive participatory governance that influenced the drafting of the U.S. Constitution as well as the immense tribal diversity that networked pre-Columbian America. We also offer an alternative version of America’s “discovery” with Dr. Ivan Van Sertima’s evidence of African visitation to America prior to Columbus that contrasts the driving spirit of discovery with one of conquest and genocide. Accordingly, DisARMM exposes the lethal triad of originalism, exceptionalism, and manifest destiny haunting America.
Thinking outside the Kaaba, we see Prophet Muhammad and the Quran as a point of departure for remedying the metastasizing oncology of violence with a critical ontology of thought. Thus we continually seek incarnations of the Quran in any work that questions the status quo with demonstrable evidence
A critical ontology of thought – say what?
Yes, ontology requires reflecting on the nature of reality, while critical ontology calls for questioning the presuppositions with which one examines reality. We recognize Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as the seal of the old school Prophets who ushered in the age of learning by calling on his followers to seek knowledge from cradle to grave. So powerful was the original Islamic impulse to preserve and develop the wisdom of antiquity that it lit the way for Europe to emerge from the Dark Ages. Once again the United States stands in dire need of such a lamp in the Trump age.
It is well known that one of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, read the Quran long before the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, Rep. Keith Ellison placed his hand on Jefferson’s Quran when sworn into Congress. So there are striking parallels between the Quran’s command that there shall be no compulsion in religion and Jefferson’s separation of church and state expressed in the First Amendment’s Establishment and Free Exercise clauses. Jefferson’s view that the Constitution should be reviewed every twenty years also echoes the Quran’s directive to question practices passed down by our forebears. And while he likely did not seek dispensation from the Quran, Jefferson engaged in de facto plural marriage by siring several children with his slave Sarah Hemings.
DisARMM thumbs its nose at the Saudi and Iranian clerics embedded in hypocrisy and the abuses of State power that Trump will similarly seek to enact in America. We doubt that the Prophet would make Hajj to a Mecca that executes people for their beliefs and trains their religious police to allow uncovered school girls to burn to death out of a misogynistic modesty. Saudi theocracy would behead Prophet Muhammad as an apostate were he alive today.
So whose lead do you follow, if not Iran or Saudi Arabia?
DisARMM deems free thinkers Prophets with the list growing every day. They include Robert Ingersoll, Susan B. Davis, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. Dubois, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama, Luther Standing Bear, Fatema Mernissi, Mahmoud Taha, Angela Davis, and Malcolm X. Anyone can add anybody to the list who inspires them to question authority, think for themselves, and work toward the mutual understanding and empowerment of all people.
We recognize that justice knows no borders, and that wherever one faces there is the countenance of truth. Hence until Saudi Arabia disbands their thought police, ceases executions for free expression, and ensures the safety of Hajjis, we encourage Muslim Americans to pray facing Mato Tipila in South Dakota to remember they inhabit lands stolen from slaughtered indigenous peoples. This comports with the Quran instructing Muhammad to change the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca as a means of distinguishing his faith.
What’s more, Mato Tipila signifies the ethnocentrism of European Americans who demeaned Lakota Sioux beliefs by naming it Bad God’s Tower, aka Devil’s Tower, without seeking to understand their spiritual practices. The colonel who named the natural monument would have likely benefitted from partaking in a peyote ceremony or sweat lodge purification, as might Trump’s choice for national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
DisARMM will also propose to the world Muslim community that Hajj be performed a rotating basis to international sites where human life was subordinated to expediency or ideology, such as Ground Zero of the World Trade Center, Wounded Knee, Auschwitz, Dresden, Hiroshima, the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the Cambodian Killing Fields, the Turkish Death March of Kurds, and the Shatila refugee camp for Palestinians. Since the list is endless, you are encouraged to commemorate any of these sites on your own whenever you feel the need for somber reflection and introspection.
You sold me – how do I join?
Simple. There is no need to take on an Arabic name as no nation comes to the banquet of unity with clean hands; we only require you to memorize “A People’s History of the United States.” Since the Quraysh clan effectively considered Prophet Muhammad an apostate to their creed, we also suggest taking a non-binding vow of apostasy in fidelity to the novel approach Prophet Muhammad used to reorder Meccan society.
We further require DisARMM members seeking public office to demonstrate a firm understanding of the U.S. Constitution, especially if running for President.
We find wisdom in Jimi Hendrix who sang, if six turned out to be nine I would not mind…I’m the one whose gonna die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want… So act now before January 20, 2017 and exercise your right to assert any belief system or mix and match without having to register with the government!
Lastly, in contrast to the Five Pillars of political Islam that function as fear, oppression, rigidity, coercion, and elitism (FORCE), our five fields of intensity find expression in questioning, understanding, empiricism, selection, and testing (QUEST). We use a super anti-viral feedback loop for refreshing the firewall between belief and public policy that uses only evidence backed decisions that are testable, tentative, and falsifiable. Borrowing from Amazon’s search features, we also employ an automatic reset button for the filters of sacred cows and other topics deemed inviolable.
The President-elect’s top appointees include people who want to hurt you for no other reason than accidents of birth such as race and national origin, or the constitutionally protected yarmulke, kufi, or hijab on your head. So research candidates carefully before every Election Day and make sure you vote for someone responsible as though your life depended on it – because it might. But please do not write-in my name on any ballots; I’m going out to my Shinnecock sweat lodge after Jummah prayer services, then making Hajj at Mato Tipila, and I don’t plan on returning anytime soon!
The author is a former firefighter and supervising fire marshal with the New York City Fire Department who responded from home to ground zero on 9/11. He was one of several Muslim Americans profiled in the PBS Documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. After retiring from the FDNY in 2002 he was accepted into the Revson Fellows at Columbia University and later graduated from Columbia Law School as a Stone Scholar. He interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights as an Ella Baker Fellow in 2005 where he assisted in fighting racial discrimination in the FDNY on behalf of the Vulcan Society as well as finding legal counsel for Guantanamo detainees. His commentary has appeared in the New York Daily News, New York Newsday, Black Commentator, Halcyon Reader, and Islamic Monthly.
by Darren C. Demaree
The eels have found the sand. They’re not slowing down. They must plan on drowning in our throats. We were right to use our bodies as a fortress. I wish they had found a better way to sanctify their efforts. They wanted prayers. They got chants. They wanted God. They got to join the processional. There is no darkness that will not be met with an absolute resistance.
Darren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently “Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.
Darren’s Twitter: @d_c_demaree
by Joshua Everett
If Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben birthed a baby, I wonder if President Obama would pour it on his waffles
I wonder if these Black-faced products are just an inside joke of the Nu Klux Klan that our stomachs are the punch line to
How many Black kids have bellies that swell like black eyes
Bruised by blows of empty cereal bowls
And a fistful of crumbs in the pantry
How many Black kids have bellies like airbags
Stored with food to keep from crashing into reality
Meant to protect but sometimes fatal
For us, food has always been a contradiction
Most likely to suffer from hunger, most likely to be obese
Most likely to window shop at restaurants, most likely to hoard every feast
Most likely to live like a slave and eat like a king
Least likely to live long enough to quench the appetite of our dreams
What does success taste like?
While we on the subject what you digest last night?
Can’t feed you knowledge if you hungry
We force feed alleged terrorists
Yet starve those who live where hunger strikes
Fresh fruit don’t grow in the desert
They say it’s easier to deep-fry mirages
Plus the journey from soul food to Whole Foods
Creates a trail of tears from affordable housing
So we stuck
Between gentrifying greens and
Kentucky fried pleasures
The South shall rise again
Only this time it’ll be our blood pressure
Only this time the soldiers won’t have weapons
They’ll just have receipts
Only this time, we won’t have to bleed
Joshua Everett is from Leeds, Alabama and recently graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He started both writing and performing to try and impress two different women at different points in his life. He’s been swept up in a love affair with poetry ever since. His writing ranges in topics from love to racism to awkwardly stumbling through young adulthood. Music has strong influences on his writing, especially hip-hop, jazz, and soul. The goal of his writing is to infuse these distinct, yet connected African-American art forms to make work that people can really feel. He currently works as a community organizer in Jacksonville, Florida with Interfaith Coalition for Action Reconciliation and Empowerment (I.C.A.R.E).
by Sergio A. Ortiz
I’ve known you since stagnant water.
Now, I’ll have to seek
refuge in other eyes.
I am the valve you wear down.
Your body and my body
speak the love they occupy,
the love that restores us unabridged
to what we are.
We will travel
with open skin, without calm,
blind, pointing the way to the rotten,
the ones who still long to live.
I will always dig you out, my bone,
my ghost under the pillow, among men
kissing under poplars.
I’ll be there, chased. A bat flaps
in each of my wrists, then you’ll know
we’ll never be so hidden we forget each other.
Sergio A. Ortiz is a gay Puerto Rican poet and the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He is a two time Pushcart nominee, a four time Best of the Web nominee, and a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have been published in hundreds of journals and anthologies. He is currently working on his first full length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.
by Meg E. Griffitts
Meg E. Griffitts is an MFA candidate at Texas State University and is currently the poetry editor for Front Porch. Her work has appeared in Luna Luna, Hypertrophic, Evening Will Come, The Colorado Independent, and BlazeVox. She believes in black cats, spiced rum, and Audre Lorde. In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys writing essays, giving up crochet projects halfway through, and cooking as therapy. Find her online at: https://www.facebook.com/meg.griffitts and on instagram: nut_meg16