What we talk about when we talk about religion

Every month the losers who went to my university have alumni cocktails at the Punjab Club (doesn’t the venue and choice of drink tell you everything). I only went once and talked to some old guy who spent most of the evening trying to tell me God isn’t real. Coronavirus started a mere week later, I’m not saying the two are linked but it would be premature to rule it out completely. As a God-fearing woman from KP i attempted to rebut this with something vague and so shit that honestly if i had said ‘sshhh He’ll hear you’ it would have sounded better. When i am eventually interviewed by the FBI or CIA or whoever about this i’ll have to say no it wasn’t 9/11, the war in iraq? gimme a break, it was some old guy telling me God isn’t real while having cocktails at Punjab Club, that’s what did it, it radicalised me. 

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I still think of atheist Muslims as Muslims, the only Muslims I don’t think of as Muslims are the ones that eat pork. I was once at some ridiculously pointless training in budapest and went to the after session dinner and had these cheese puffs which were amazing. I mean like amazing amazing. I turn to the guy next to me and go ‘what kind of cheese is this’ and he goes that’s not cheese that’s bacon. Not to be dramatic but i immediately wanted to detonate my vest. I said WHAT then i said very seriously this is why we need to have sharia law in the west. He had the good nature to laugh. White people love jokes like this. I think they laugh the loudest because they’re trying so hard to be woke, my friend says it’s cos they still wouldn’t date you.

what is this, cheddar?

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One of the nicest things I’ve read about religion was this idea that in each of us is an actor on a stage and God is the audience. The author says she likes this image because it suggests God might actually enjoy us. I like it too, for some reason it makes me more forgiving of all the theatre, following stage directions is hard. There’s also something in the drama of religion which touches you – your most party-hard friend being the one to blow quls on you before you board a flight, your friend with the same halal-haram ratio yelling at the end of one of the worst romcoms you’ve ever seen ya Allah mainu chukle, or your religious friend hearing something nice said about another and adding a soft mash’Allah. The play is for the audience, but the cast enjoys it too. 

“Hello I’m going to sing twinkle twinkle little star”

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I hate the Pakistani left because they denigrate the two things most Pakistanis hold dear; family and religion. I once went to a leftist meeting in Lahore where a bunch of hippie socialists were lambasting Islam for the country’s ills. Coronavirus started a mere year and a half later i’m just saying. I feel like thinking nothing of religion’s role in a redistribution jihad misunderstands it entirely. Religion is blazing fire and intense passion and above all absolutely terrifying, it’s the spiritually infinite opposed to earthly power, it’s at its root entirely radical, the sigh of the oppressed, sure you could have a socialist project which ignores religion, but why would you? it injects it with a vitality and fervour that only comes from the faithful, or K-pop stans.  

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I have only had bad interactions with people called Ali, either personally or professionally they have wronged me somehow. I am telling my friend my theory that this is down to an Islamic parallel – Ayesha’s and Ali’s can’t get on, it’s pure history. She points out that all of the Ali’s I’m talking about are sunni and accuses me of trying to foment sectarian strife. She’s probably right but I can’t pass up a chance to foment sectarian strife. As we’re talking I’m pulling out of my driveway badly, caught up as I am in trying to foment sectarian strife, and scratch the entire side of my neighbour’s car. My neighbour is incidentally called Ali. I drive off, where in the Qur’an does it say you have to be honest all the time. 

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