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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Islamic Ninjas...

Posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009, at 8:40 AM

When I began my college career, one of my goals was to develop more depth with the many cultures within our society. One of the geography classes I registered for promised to do just that: unveil different societies and religions to those of us who were unknowing and therefore socially ignorant.

Since I'm not a geographical genius, I teamed up with my best friend -- we'll call her Kitty Kardashian (she swears she's the long lost Kardashian sister, and strikingly enough, she does favor them) -- to manhandle this Course-O-Maps.

Attending this particular class proved harder than necessary to begin with. My professor had an extra long pinky finger on her left hand that always caught my ADD's attention. She could have been lecturing about Santa Claus' affair with a pre-teen homosexual and it wouldn't have held my attention; her pinky finger was no less than three inches longer than her others, and when she used it to point at images on the projection screen, I cringed. As far as I was concerned, that pinky finger was dangerous and therefore should have been dealt with by the likes of a hacksaw of some sort.

It was no surprise to me when Kitty brought up an assignment that was discussed in class; I hadn't a clue what she was referring to. My brain had wandered into the realm of the striking resemblance between The Pinky and a bendy straw that comes with a Big Gulp soda. Apparently, we were to visit the local mosque (because those are common) and study the worship of Muslims. The only requirement was that our head be covered, and no shorts were allowed.

My intellect for the Islamic religion was faint, and due to the following events, it still is. My world was about to crash in a large Islamic foot-in-mouth ordeal that would do nothing more than secure my faith in Christianity.

After careful preparation over a large selection of the Taco Bell menu, Kitty and I got ready to meet Pinky Extraordinaire at Head Covering Headquarters. Since the "no shorts" rule left much to be deciphered, Kitty and I decided black was the official color of Islam. All black. Black from head to toe. Black turtlenecks, black pants, black socks, shoes, underwear and... head scarves? Who has head scarves lying around? Black ones at that! Kitty decided a "scarf belt" was the same thing, so she donned a hot pink one with glitter and I grabbed a white-with-black-polka-dots combination. For purity reasons, we decided make-up was a no-no. Black is obviously pure, but make-up is Satan's Paint. Once we looked each other over, we decided we were the hottest things to prance around the mosque since Allah put it on 'em back in the day.

We took my car (it's black) and drove to the mosque in silence. We had no idea what to expect, but music seemed like an evil thing in the spectrum of what we were about to do so we turned it off. We parked the car and proceeded to walk around the building to the front when we heard... that. A man's voice singing-- or chanting more so. The only applicable description is "KjadlfkkjowijefljLFKJOIIWJOIWlkjdkfljaldjjifeljKLJdifjajwiIU F KDFJlkljowsdfj Allllaaaaaahhhhh."

Exchanging glances, Kitty and I decided this foreign chant was creepy enough to skip the ceremony altogether and ditch the assignment. As far as we were concerned, Al Qaeda was in there and we were but mice in a big game of Foreign Policy: Guess Again. Just as we turned to run away, another girl from our class came running up the sidewalk and pleaded with us to go in with her so she wouldn't have to go alone. Being the natural born people pleasers we are, we decided against our better judgment and let her lead us toward the double doors. I was convinced suicide bombers were training inside. I wasn't up for target practice.

As soon as we walked in, the entire congregation (or Islam group, or whatever) turned to see who had entered. Suddenly, it became a scene from a Muslim comedy film entitled "Two White Girls Dressed As Ninjas Bust Inside The Mosque And Look Ridiculously Out Of Place." One could hear crickets in the background as the chanting abruptly ended. We wondered why no one else was dressed like us; they wondered why we looked like pallbearers. After what seemed like thirty minutes of staring, they finally went back to bending and chanting and twirling and howling. Kitty and I slid into the nearest corner and gawked at each other. Suddenly, we realized that maybe the dress code wasn't as strict as we'd imagined in our heads. It would be a long night, especially for those of us who were dressed like ninjas.

After an hour of the "Koajsdkfiel Allah" chant, we were ushered into the dining hall for a short film on all that is Islam. As we sat alone in the middle section, we realized no one wanted to be affiliated with the Wannabe Ninjas. It appeared we had offended some of the institution, with our blacked out dress code and belted heads. I had decided to focus my attention on the film when Kitty elbowed me ever-so-gently.

"Cover your head!" she half whispered, half hollered. My hands flew to my head, and I realized my belt scarf thing had slipped off my skull and was draped around my neck. I suddenly had mental flashes as to how bad Islam Hell could be. I feverishly wrapped the belt around my head numerous times and finished it off with a tight knot under my chin that threatened to cease circulation to my brain. Breathing or not, I was not visiting Islamic Hell.

When the film ended, a young Muslim took center stage and began talking about the difference between Christianity and Islamic faiths. I'd stopped thinking about Islam Hell when a phrase she kept saying distracted me. "Peacebeuponhim" kept coming up in random sentences. Kitty and I both grew more and more annoyed. I looked around; we were the only two that seemed confused by what she was saying.

"What is she saying?" I asked.

"It sounds like... 'bees pee up on him'?" Kitty said.

"No, 'please be up on him' I think."

"Maybe it's 'peace bip hanim'?"

"No! It's 'peace be upon him!'" Kitty screeched.

"Peace be upon who?" I was confused.

"Umm... Jesus?"

After further study, we decided this "peace be upon him" business came after any name spoken. We thought it sounded cute on our names, too, but decided that may be a form of blasphemy.

We decided we were finished with our culture shock when they tried to feed us "specially prepared" food. We didn't know how Islam food was prepared, but peace be upon it, though. After refusing Koran after Koran, we finally settled on some Islam literature that we promised to read and consider (just before accidently making sure it didn't come with us). Then we headed to Taco Bell to discuss life from a ninja's perspective. Sometimes I wonder if those Mississippi Muslims ever wonder what happened to the Ninja Bombshells... peace be upon them, of course.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I feel your pain here. I took a class at Harding called Living World Religions where we studied the current living religions, Islam being one of them. We took a trip to Chicago to study Hindu, Bahai, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam.

It's amazing how out of place we felt there, especially the ladies in our group because the women can't worship with men in their religion. They typically have another room or balcony for them.

The chanting you heard is definitely an experience. "Allah-hu-akbar" is the chant, which means "Allah is great." It's their call to worship. You also likely heard the Shahada, which transliterates to "la-ilaha illa Allah; Muhammad rasul-allah," which translates to "There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is his prophet."

If you thought that was weird, try a Soka Gakkai temple. It's a sect of Buddhism where they incorporate monotone chanting toward a book known as the Lotus Sutra. Kind of freaky.

-- Posted by Brandon Higgins on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 9:57 AM

Ms. Williams - you've done it again.

The entire newsroom has been in hysterics all morning after reading this one... and it's clearly a true story because honestly - who could make that up?!

I'm going to talk with my producer and see if we can feature you on one of our Memphis entertainment early news segments. Would you be interested? It's so rare to see such raw and witty up-and-coming talent, and it would be great to introduce you and your work to all of our viewers. I'll be in touch.

Your best work yet!

-- Posted by scarlettohara on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 11:15 AM

Hahahahahahaha! Wow. Good ole geography class.

Who knew it would actually be a great thing that I am so directionally challenged... If I hadn't needed the extra credit, we wouldn't have been able to get such a stellar education.

So glad you shared this with everybody!

-- Posted by Miss Britt Bowles on Tue, Aug 11, 2009, at 12:47 PM

Very funny. As I was reading this I could picture it happening and found myself all alone and laughing out loud. Can't wait for your next blog!!1

-- Posted by PAL on Wed, Aug 12, 2009, at 7:03 AM

You are absolutely hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing while reading this.

-- Posted by jpkusmc on Wed, Aug 12, 2009, at 10:34 AM

I think you were just meant to be highly paid columnist! Your work is very fine and hilarious! Keep up the good work! You are truly an up and coming journalist! (In my opinion, anyway!)

-- Posted by mcoram on Fri, Aug 14, 2009, at 10:51 AM

Jamaica, (Is that your real or stage name??) This is absolutely the funniest thing I've read in a long, long time! I love it!

Satire is so good when it works, and your self-deprecating humor makes the satire even better! Even the most staunch Muslim could find no offense in this piece, since you have such a clear vision of how ridiculous you looked! The ninja images are priceless!

If you and your best friend Kitty have any more adventures to share, we look forward to hearing them!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Aug 16, 2009, at 9:28 AM

This is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Keep it up.

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, Aug 17, 2009, at 2:03 PM

I fail to see how being single and without kids is a disappointment for someone in their early 20s, especially in Kennett where there are no legit guys anyways.

I also don't see how you can call anything "unentellegint" considering the paragraph you just wrote. If anything, what you just wrote "don't be making no sense."

-- Posted by Brandon Higgins on Sun, Aug 23, 2009, at 4:10 PM

TT, you're back! For someone who is completely disgusted by my work, I find it awfully amusing that you've managed to read them all (five, total) and then find the strength to leave a comment. Your dedication and motivation are impressive! I like that in a reader.

I can see how this story wouldn't make sense...my four years at Mississippi State are blurred by drunken nights and repeat drug use, so I'm not even sure how I graduated. I'm definitely "unentellegint" as you point out. The gig's up. I'm a fraud.

I am, in fact, a complete loser. Twenty three and no kids OR husband? I can't believe I still have friends at this point. Who would want to be around me?

I'm getting desparate, TT. Would YOU be interested in marrying me?

-- Posted by Jamaica Williams on Sun, Aug 23, 2009, at 6:06 PM

*Sigh!* Now that my sarcasm has bled thoroughly, I want to thank everyone who continues to read my blogs, both the fans and the less-than-enthusiastic readers. Feedback has always been my favorite part of writing because it means I've done something worth someone else's time. I'm not the best writer in the world, but I do what I can with what I have.

Take care, loves! Stay tuned!

-- Posted by Jamaica Williams on Sun, Aug 23, 2009, at 6:12 PM

Having lived in Saudi Arabia for a while, I'm amazed you got into the mosque.

-- Posted by Buggs on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 9:51 AM

Really? They pretty much had an open door policy... they weren't any different than any Christian church as far as attendance in concerned.

-- Posted by Jamaica Williams on Mon, Sep 7, 2009, at 7:45 PM

Mmm...did you delete a comment? The critiques are still here, but there's no comment by a TT.

There's always gotta be a wet blanket in every crowd. Love it when someone uses horrible writing to criticize a blogger's writing...

You are a refreshing breath of cool air, Jamaica Williams!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 6:38 AM

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The Fabulous Chronicles of an Average Bombshell
Jamaica Williams
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Follow the events of a young, single female who just graduated college and is looking for the next chapter to begin. The Fabulous Chronicles of an Average Bombshell looks at what life is like for a young woman in her 20's, living in a small town, who has nothing in common with her friends: she's not interested in marriage, she wants a taste of the city life, and dating is for fun not so much for finding The One.
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