With so many new faces, it can get pretty confusing! So, I have taken the liberty to compile for you a list of the fascinating menagerie of individuals we see at the good old “center” these days.Can you believe it? Rajab came by and went, Sha’ban is nearly over, and the holy month of Ramadan is almost here! In addition to the spiritual blessings, you might have noticed another side effect of the holy months – the high turnout at the Masjid. With so many new faces, it can get pretty confusing! So, I have taken the liberty to compile for you a list of the fascinating menagerie of individuals we see at the good old “center” these days.
The Conspiracy Theorist: The Conspiracy Theorist is usually in the 40-140 age range. He can be a brain surgeon or a cab driver or anything in between. The defining characteristic of the Conspiracy Theorist, however, is that he was likely born during the colonial age and therefore arrived here from the Middle East/East Africa/South Asia full of suspicion and elaborate theories about the American political system involving Jews, the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the CIA, and robots, which have been reinforced over time through a very careful and selective observation of socio-political events in the West. The Conspiracy Theorist will become quite offended if you refuse to accept his take on any number of issues, unless, of course, you are willing to offer a much more far-fetched version of your own, in which case he will develop a tremendous amount of respect for your insight and worldliness.
The Gossip Queen: The Gossip Queen is usually married to the Conspiracy Theorist. Like him, she is in the 40-140 age range, although considerably younger than him. The Gossip Queen has a complex and extensive network of friends and minions in the community, who constantly update her on the personal and private minutia of every single member of the community. What’s truly surprising is that she can somehow easily store this titanic plethora of data in her mind and retrieve it faster than a 5GHz Core 2 Duo processor, despite the fact that she often finds herself incapable of performing otherwise simple everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and balancing a checkbook. Curious if that quiet Hijabi from the youth group is still single? Wondering who just closed the deal on a new house? You know who has all the answers! At community gatherings, the Gossip Queen can usually be spotted by looking for her flashy and brightly-colored clothes, which, accentuated by the milk-white powered face, red-rosy lipstick, and 80’s hairstyle, make her strangely reminiscent of a Green-winged Macaw.
The Suburban Yuppie: The Suburban Yuppie is an American Dream success story. He came to the US sometime in his late teen or early twenties to attend a private university, where he probably studied computer engineering, finance, or medicine. Because of his academic and financial success in the Land of Opportunity, the Suburban Yuppie has an infinitesimal amount of faith and trust in the American political system and nothing but scorn for Pakistan/Lebanon/Iraq/Tanzania/wherever he came from. He loves to hike, golf, ski, shop at Whole Foods, make racist jokes about Mexicans, and engage in many such yuppie practices he has picked up from his WASP neighbors and coworkers. The Suburban Yuppie usually drives an Audi, a Nissan or an Infiniti, on which he is likely sporting an Obama ’08 sticker. Due to a combination of watching 20/20 too much, reading a few too many books by “experts” on childrearing, and probably having been beaten as a kid by his parents too much, the Suburban Yuppie seems to know everything there is to know about raising children. Unfortunately, his are usually the four-year-old brats running madly around the prayer hall making Pokemon noises while the Shaikh is likely reciting the Musibat. During dinner, the Suburban Yuppie’s favorite topic of discussion involves his recent escapade fixing the deck, installing a new wireless router, or buying a new car.
The Elliptical Aficionado: The Elliptical Aficionado is married to the Suburban Yuppie. She has spent a little too much time with her health-conscious WASP neighbors and has read a few too many back of Yoplait lids, so while she isn’t driving the kids to basketball practice, flipping through the Nordstrom catalogue or ordering new drapes for the living room, she can be found furiously working out on the elliptical/treadmill/bike/rower located in the basement of her suburban home. The Elliptical Aficionado loves to watch daytime television and subsequently bases most of her major life decisions on advice from Oprah Winfrey or Tyra Banks. She loves to tell her non-Muslim friends about the great status of women in Islam and how that makes her so inexplicably happy about her faith, but she herself has yet to be seen wearing anything remotely resembling a headscarf. At the center, the Elliptical Aficionado is often chided by the Gossip Queen for bringing pizza/sandwiches/spaghetti to the potluck dinner, since the latter had usually spent all day cooking up some ethnic delicacy to impress fellow Gossip Queens. But not to worry – the Elliptical Aficionado has nothing less than contempt for the Gossip Queen’s antiquated fashion sense, medieval childrearing skills, and inability to speak more than three words of English.
The Lamborghini Spokesboy: The Lamborghini Spokesboy is usually the beloved son of the Conspiracy Theorist and the Gossip Queen and is in the 14-24 age range. He was either born here or arrived here with his parents at a very young age. Since birth, the Lamborghini Spokesboy has been expected to get straight A’s and pursue a career in medicine, engineering or IT. Unfortunately, his main goal in life right now is to make just enough money and upgrade his current beat-up ’89 Honda to a Lamborghini/Porsche/Jaguar. Much to his parents’ chagrin, the Lamborghini Spokesboy has therefore taken up a job at Hollister/Target/the local hookah bar in order to fundraise for his future automotive aspirations. Until then, he will spent endless hours on Wikipedia and MSN Sports in his free time, absorbing every bit of minutia regarding the automobile of his dreams, which he will insufferably regurgitate at the next youth/community gathering of any sort. He can usually be spotted by looking for his tight-fitting Armani or Abercrombie t-shirt two sizes too small, his gelled-up hair which seems like an after-effect of an electric shock, and the pungent scent of having marinated himself in cheap cologne before coming to the center.
The Drama Queen: The Drama Queen is the female specimen sired by the Conspiracy Theorist and the Gossip Queen. Also in the 14-24 age range, the Drama Queen envisions a Bollywood-esque future for herself involving a younger Shahrukh Khan and plenty of singing and dancing through lush green fields. In the meantime, her focus in life is to make everything as hysterical and melodramatic as the Indian/Lebanese/Iraqi soap operas she watches on a religious basis. Before coming to the center, the Drama Queen will spend at least an hour styling her hair, choosing the appropriately gaudy outfit, and masking her various facial blemishes. The main topic of discussion with her will therefore involve a likely exaggeration of a minor incident involving zits, broken nails, or split ends. Outside the center, the Drama Queen spends the majority of her time at the mall with fellow Drama Queens, commiserating over the latest Britney Spears/Miley Cyrus/Haifa Wehbe/Ashwarya Rai episode of melodrama and secretly hoping for similar excitement in her own life.
The Youth Activist: If the Conspiracy Theorist and Gossip Queen don’t raise a Lamborghini Spokesboy or a Drama Queen, they have likely produced a Youth Activist. Male or female, the Youth Activist is also expected to get straight A’s and pursue a career in medicine, engineering, or IT. But there is so much more to be worried about! The Youth Activist writes for Islamic Insights, argues with idiots on ShiaChat, serves as president of the youth group, coordinates various community petitions and initiatives, and sends at least half a dozen emails on the center mailing list every day, yet somehow still manages to maintain a respectable 4.0! At the center, the Youth Activist will always be sporting a Kaffiyeh and will come ambush you with a barrage of petitions for Palestine/Kashmir/Iraq/Parachinar/Darfur/Lebanon/etc. Having spent a few weeks at a summer camp in Iran two years ago, the Youth Activist now considers him-/herself an authority on religious, jurisprudential, and political matters. As a result, the Youth Activist usually has a very interesting explanation for most events occurring in the socio-political arena, and (s)he will frequently get into shouting matches with the Conspiracy Theorist over whose (ridiculous) explanation of world events is more accurate.
The Token Convert: As a basic rule of thumb, each center will have its (male or female) Token Convert. Formerly a Christian/Hindu/Jew/Buddhist/atheist, the Token Convert came to the Right Path after doing an endless amount of research, and therefore (s)he knows more about any given religious issue than everyone else in the center put together. Unfortunately, due to the Convert’s inability to speak Urdu/Farsi/Arabic/Gujrati, (s)he will often be found eating alone, with an occasional visit from the sympathetic Youth Activist. The Token Convert is always treated with great warmth and extremely high regard by the Conspiracy Theorist/Gossip Queen, until the former expresses some sort of interest in the latter’s son/daughter (usually the Youth Activist), at which point sparks begin to fly, and soon the Youth Activist receives a marriage proposal from an hitherto unheard of, no-English-speaking cousin from “back home”.
Wow, so much diversity can only mean one thing: so much fun! Or maybe not… But let’s admit it – you love hearing the Conspiracy Theorist’s explanations of elaborate Zionist schemes, the Youth Activist always puts more energy into the programs, and most people would have made poor marriage choices if it hadn’t been for some background dirt dug up by the Gossip Queen. As the holy month of Ramadan approaches us, let us appreciate our differences and come together in a massive community hug…woah, don’t touch the Drama Queen’s perfectly permed hair though!
This article is intended to be a satire. If you find the content to be inappropriate or offensive, please contact your local Youth Activist for the appropriate petition asking for a public apology from Islamic Insights and an immediate termination of the author.