Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

Monthly Archives: October 2010

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Where’s my lawyer, waaaaaanh!

(Iman, laying in her bed and protesting the gross injustices that are forcing her to be subjected to an obvious violation of her civil rights – a nap – resorts to bargaining.)


— (no response from Momma)

I want coffee!

I want milk!

I want water!

(I offer her a sippy cup of water, she refuses it)

I want masjid!

My nose hurts, ow!

I want wake up!

(Iman falls asleep)


I don’t know why I’m even blogging right now, except that occupying my mind helps distract me from the state my body is in right now. I slept until 1pm today. Straight- or nearly straight- through from ten pm the night before. And I woke up in a pile of toys and books and vaguely remember Khalid and Iman coming to jump on me and kiss me and yell MOMMA YAKE UP! enthusiastically, but then Joy and Cindy very kindly removed them from my dream and sleep continued.

And here I am at 8:45 pm, HF is putting Khalid to bed, Iman is already asleep, and my stomach is churning itself in bright green waves of turbulence. On the plus side though, I did manage to get out of the house today and met not one, but two nice people.

Nice Lady No. 1 gently tapped me on the shoulder while I was morosely nursing a cup of coffee outside of the Ikea in Festival City. She had a free spot at her table, and invited me to join her and her adorable hot-dog eating six year old. May Allah bless her for her kindness, we chatted for about twenty minutes and I even almost forgot how sick I was feeling.

Nice Lady No. 2 is, apparently, a neighbor from up the street who Joy introduced me to, and she sat with me in the park this afternoon while we let the kids have their daily run-amok. Warm late-afternoon sun, sounds of children laughing, nice conversation- it was another mini-vacation from being sick and exhausted, and I think I may be beginning to understand why it is such a blessed act in Islam to visit the sick. Conversation helps. Thinking about something other than how toxic you feel helps take your mind off how toxic you feel. I need to remember how good it felt to talk to someone and why I must remember to pass this on to someone else if I get the chance.

And of course, there’s HF- who helped me make dinner, and yesterday ordered lunch, and is putting Khalid to sleep right now, and who gently wakes me up for Fajr after having turned the water heater on first, who covers me up when I fall asleep in an arm chair and goes out of his way after work to buy Khalid’s hypo-allergenic breakfast cereal.

May Allah bless you, HF, and Nice Ladies No. 1 and No. 2. May the kindness you’ve shown me be returned to you a hundred fold in this life and the next.

Beware of Panda Chinese in the Sharjah City Center

Day four of noodle-induced food poisoning. Being brave and having an egg for breakfast. If anyone needs me, I’ll be laying down on this soft, soft keyboard.


Why I feel sorry for Spiderman

So there are special needs school in Bahrain that do a wonderful job of catering to children with Down’s Syndrome and CP, but not a single ABA therapy center for children with autism on the whole island. There is one doctor qualified to diagnose for autism, but he doesn’t, because he feels he is cheating parents by presenting their children with a plan of action that no one in the entire country can implement. We met over forty parents desperate for a diagnosis, and people begging us to open up as soon as possible because there were no treatment options for their children and time was ticking. Bahrain was eye-opening, welcoming, depressing, and amazing in so many ways.

And Pakistan- wow, I didn’t even talk about Pakistan. People are pretty much in the same boat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, if you have a child with autism, you’re on your own.

I go to sleep at night with half-baked ideas churning in my head for how the heck ABA therapy can be brought to Pakistan and Bahrain. We have someone in Bahrain who is well-placed to become a local partner, but no one in Pakistan yet. And when I think of the thousands and thousands of children never getting diagnosis or help, and the stress their parents are in, and the paralyzing fear of watching a non-verbal, completely dependent child grow into a non-verbal, completely dependent adults with no way of earning a living, caring for themselves, or even being able to feed themselves- I get really, really overwhelmed.

And being unable to separate my professional self from the parental self, it just makes me want to cry. I can’t help everyone. I can’t save the world. I’m one single parent and I’m starting with four ABA therapists and I’m starting in Dubai and it may be a very, very long time before I can do anything in Pakistan. The only thing I can think of is appealing to wealthy overseas Pakistanis to help sponsor the training of Pakistanis so that we begin to grow a community of local therapists, because the cost of importing therapists to Pakistan (as well as Bahrain, btw) is well beyond unsustainable. The distance between a Dubai salary and a Pakistan salary can be measured in light years. People spend, for a nice family dinner one night in Dubai, the amount that a middle class family in Pakistan will earn in a whole month.

I feel sorry for superheroes sometimes. If he were real, I’m sure Spiderman would lie awake at night (when, and if he attempted to sleep) beating himself up about crimes that happened two blocks away from another crime that he was busy preventing, because he can only be in one place in one time, and he can’t save everyone from everything.

But here is where I have an advantage over Spiderman. I believe in Allah. And I know that he will only ask me about what I was capable of doing, and that the ultimate responsibility and care and guardianship of every one of those non-verbal, completely dependent children is with Allah. Whatever their situation is, whatever their parents and families are going through, Allah has promised that it isn’t more than they can handle, and the entire purpose of hardship is purification, fortification, and evolution of the soul. And I remember how proud one mother in Bahrain was as she told me that her blind, autistic, non-verbal daughter was inventing her own sign language. She was beaming, and I could tell from the look in her eyes that there was joy, not bitterness.

If Spiderman were real, he would have to believe in God, and he would have to believe in a Day of Judgment where all the muggers, murderers, rapists, child molesters who managed to get away with crimes while he slept were given their due. If he didn’t, he would have gone mad out of the sheer frustration and futility. He would be a man with his back against a tidal wave, being able to protect only the sand under his feet, if at all.

I am so, so grateful, SubhanAllahi wabihamdihi!- to know that the world has a Caretaker, and He’s not expecting me to do His job. I can help my fellow man, my fellow autism parents, the children that I think of like my own beautiful and silly son, and it is a benefit to myself and a purpose for my life, but it is not the filling in of any sort of gap. Allah leaves no gaps. Everything happens for a reason, and His reasons are always good ones.

So, if you happen to a rich Pakistani or Bahraini, or a human being who loves other human beings, and you’re interested in helping train ABA therapists for families who would otherwise not have access to ABA therapy for Allah knows how long, email me. Or leave a comment. Or just make dua. We can’t save the world, but there’s a little bit of sand in the palm of my hand, and if you can help me, we can try to keep it from getting washed away.

Fox Host: All Terrorists are Muslim


Rick Sanchez was fired by CNN this month within 24 hours of his sort-of suggesting that Jews run the media.

Compare the response to that episode to the non-reaction of the media today after Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslim.”

Kilmeade’s statement is both inaccurate and prejudiced, in a way that’s more clear-cut than Sanchez’s semi-coherent rant.

But it’s been instructive to watch how Kilmeade’s comments haven’t created much of a stir at all. Maybe it’s because this sort of thing is expected from Fox. Or maybe it’s because you can say a lot of bad stuff about Muslims with impunity.

Just in case we’re wrong about this, we’ve put in a request with Fox (and reached out to Kilmeade on Twitter) to see if the network has any comment about the appropriateness of his rhetoric.

Abez sez sigh.

Look out, Bahrain!

Leaving tomorrow morning for Bahrain. Here’s why- Alhamdulillah. 🙂

Would you like fries with that?

Me: Iman, what would you like for breakfast?

Iman: Hmm?

Me: What would you like for breakfast? Would you like some cereal?

Iman: No. I wanna helicopter.

Khalid: Hummus!

And later he told me that he had a race car bed, but I don’t think I believe him.

Sometimes your eyes are sleepy but your brain is awake. And that’s why it’s past midnight and I’m on the computer. (Sorry HF, I tried!) And I will probably just put in half an hour of trying to figure out my shiny new wordpress theme at AutismUAE.com, but first, something I want to remember.

Khalid and I went to Ace Hardware today. We were browsing through the garden section, and Khalid found a swing and sat down. So I sat down next to him and we starting swinging. Then he laid down and put his head in my lap. And I looked and him and said “Hey, what’s your name?”

And he said Khalid.

And I pointed to myself and asked, “What’s my name?”

And he answered the same- Khalid.

And I said “No, my name is Momma!”

And he looked at me and said “Momma. I know.”

And that was amazing. You may not understand why. And I don’t think I can explain it. But I don’t want to forget it. SubhanAllahi wa bihamdihi.