Cute Cartoons to Dispel Negative Stereotypes of Islam

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The Funaddicts began after copious cups of caffeine were consumed by a group of friends. They sat down together and ruminated over the current state of the world and the need to create a positive, fun and light hearted alternative to the ever expanding negative image of Islam, as portrayed by most media outlets. In a nut shell (pistachio of course), Muslim Funaddicts is a cool social awareness initiative, created with the hope to breakdown some of the common misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding the Muslim community.

The concept grew as a response to the inherent lack of positive imagery the Muslim community receive in popular culture, not only in Australia, but also on a global scale. The portrayal of Islam in the mass media is generally framed in a negative light and is not a correct representation of the community as a whole. This is where we come in… As a collective of engaged and socially aware young-ish peeps, we began to think of ways to initiate positive change within the wider community.

Australia is a multicultural nation, filled with a brilliant array of rich heritage and culture from all over the world. Muslim Funaddicts is a grassroots campaign that hopes to engage both the Muslim community and the wider community by bridging the disconnect between the popular negative stereotypes regarding aspects of Islam and the positive, fun side of the Muslim community.

Whats with the weird name?

Thanks to popular culture and most mainstream media, the word Islam and or Muslim is usually followed by the words fanatic, extremist, radical etc. They decided to play with that thought process. Why not create a counter narrative that uses the same words but gives them back their positive meaning? Hence the name Muslim Funaddict.

The idea is to highlight the fun and playful side of the Muslim community. It is a friendly play on words that relates to the common phrases we hear almost everyday. We are not fanatics, we are Funaddicts. We are not extremists, but we do like a bit of extreme sports. We are not radicals, but when we surf or play guitar, we are totally radical dude! We want to put the fun back into fundamentalist.

“Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace. All we want to do is remind people of that,” writes the co-founder Reuben Brand.

“The day we lose our sense of humour will be a very sad day indeed. Never forget that the Prophet himself, may Peace and Blessings be upon Him, said that even a smile is charity.So be charitable, smile and share some fun with the people around you.”

 

What you can expect from Muslim Funaddicts

 

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We have a real Sheikh-speare on our hands. He knows that you know, that we know, that they know that some English words originated from Arabic. Here are just a few:

Checkmate – Shah-mat, meaning “the king is dead.” Used in Chess.

Admiral امير البحر literally means “prince of the sea.” Take that Neptune.

Algebra الجبر al-jabr. We totally could have done without this one. Seriously, when was the last time you needed to use algebra when buying a packet of chips?

Alchemy الكيمياء al-kīmiyā, luckily for us this word was appropriated from Arabic, otherwise that awesome book, The Alchemist, would have had some lame name like “The wandering vagrant.”

Carob خرّوب kharrūb. Hippies all over the world are rejoicing with the knowledge that their less than chocolatey treat originated from Arabic!

Ream (of paper) originated from رزمة which means “package” or “bundle.”

Muslin موصلي mūsilī. No, not Muslim, muslin! The super fine lightweight fabric made in Mesopotamia. Sometimes cotton, sometimes linen and totally awesome for making cheese with. Who doesn’t love cheese!

There are so many more amazing words derived from Arabic… But that is your homework to find out what they are!

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Ever been skydiving? Guess who invented the first parachute… that’s right! It was a totes radical Muslim! Back in 852 AD, a man named Abbas Ibn Firnas decided it was time we flew.

He may have looked funny with his cloak stiffened with wooden struts and maybe even a little crazy when he jumped off that minaret in Cordoba, Spain, but he didn’t care because he was on a mission! He totally failed to “glide like an eagle” as he’d hoped… but the world’s first parachute was born! Winning!

Genius struck again in 875 AD when he perfected a flying machine of silk and eagle feathers, jumped off a mountain and remained airborne for 10 minutes. Luckily for him he had already invented the parachute.

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Appreciate intelligence? Then you’ll appreciate that the world’s first university ever was founded by a woman: Fatima al-Fihri, in 859 AD.

Fatima funded the construction and running of the entire university, which is named Al-Qarawiyyin and also doubles as a mosque.

She was totally the world’s original hipster and founded the university in Fes, Morocco… Only a true hipster would create a student hub in a city where the most hipster of all hats come from… and guess what? Al-Qarawiyyin is still functioning as a university and mosque to this day! Now that’s what you call girl power!

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Next time you’re strumming that air guitar, imagine its predecessor–the air lute. The invention of the lute (possibly taking its name from ‘Al Oud’ in Arabic) was just one way that Muslim musicians had a profound impact on Europe.

They also invented the rahab, which is the ancestor of the violin. Modern musical scales were also derived from the Arabic alphabet. Listen up Mozart, totes radical Muslims rocked out long before you did buddy.

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Wassup! The early Muslim Macassan traders from Indonesia were a totes gnarly bunch of radical dudes. They rode bigger waves than most pro surfers way back in the 1700’s, before it was cool, just to visit Australia once a year.

This could well have been the first Australian-Muslim connection ever made! They traded harmoniously with the original inhabitants of this great land and left a powerful impact on the language, art and economy of the Indigenous People of Northern Australia. Talk about an epic surfari!

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Even totes radical Muslims can end up on Failblog when their skateboarding tricks and other epic stunts don’t go to plan. Luckily, hospitals as we know them today were created in the 9th Century and were established by Muslims in Egypt.

The first hospital with wards, teaching centres, and providing free care (a policy that was based on the Muslim tradition of caring for the sick) was called Ahmad ibn Tulun Hospital and dates back to 872.

So I guess fully sick Mussies got free medical treatment in hospitals when the rest of the world was still prescribing eye of a newt, dragons tears and unicorn dust to cure the common cold.

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It was not only the early Australian settlers and bushmen who wore the glorious facial growth known as “The Man Beard,” but also the early cameleers who opened up the outback to explorers and settlers alike.They were united as brothers by the manliness sprouting from their faces.

Did you know that the humble beard fiercely increases your wood chopping ability? Having a patch of manly facial fuzz also increases your ability to navigate in the wild and locate water. It has been scientifically proven that stroking ones beard after a long day of being wise drastically increases cognitive function and philosophical theories. This is science people… Science!

Beards are also completely immune to irony. So throw away your razors and wear a beard… It may feel weird at first, but it’ll grow on you.

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The first mosques in Australia were built around the early 1860s by ‘cameleers’ who came from present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

They helped open up the outback long before cars and trains, faithfully serving communities that depended upon them for transportation of supplies like mail and water. They also helped build the telegraph system that connected Australia to the world totally before the Internet was a thing. When trains finally arrived, “The Ghan” was named in honour of their hard yakka over the decades.

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Who doesn’t like to go camping? If you don’t like camping you pretty much hate kittens and baby koalas. Camping is only the coolest way to get around and see a bit of the big wide world we live in.

It’s almost like jumping on an ancient caravan, full of goats, frankincense, coffee, silk and fragrant spices. The Silk Road was THE go to place for all culturally connected caravans and literally connected the East with the West. Merchants, pilgrims, traders, soldiers, adventurers and nomads from China to the Middle East all travelled the route and shared their wares, stories, culture and diversity along the way.

So next time you see a bunch of gray haired nomads pull up at a petrol station towing a caravan behind the family car, doff your cap, curtsey, salute, wave or just smile, because they are the ones keeping the dream alive!

To learn more about the Muslim Funaddicts and to join the radical movement of fun, head to the website and like the Facebook page.

 


The original version of this article was written by Reuben Brand and first published on Creative Ummah.

 

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