Thursday, 10 February 2011

Life events: BMD – an income stream, presented by Sheikh Omar Wajid al Falussy

Obreption sends his apologies.  He’s had to attend a Bankers Bonus Beano in the south of France with Angela.  Obreption can’t Tweet (yet), but managed to borrow a Blackberry and I was asked to lead a discussion on life events and the importance of religious specialists in monetising these very important events throughout the generations. 

About the author

Sheikh Omar is a Sunni Muslim who lives and works in the North Wales area.  He was born and brought up in Amlwch and now lives in Rhyl.  His parents are from the Arabian Gulf and he studied in various theological colleges in the USA, Germany and Kairouan.  He specialises in designing questionnaires and government forms for the identification of future demographic needs.  He has been on various Welsh language and Arabic language boards, and continues to develop his surveys in cities around the world.  His post-doctoral thesis on ‘The Spiritual Supermarket and Cyber-religious Adherence’ was groundbreaking and has caused many religious organisations to rethink their policy regarding ‘belief’ without belonging, or as Sheikh Omar says: belonging without believing. 


Marhaba or Bore da as we say in Rhyl. 

It’s a pleasure to discuss the B in the BMD above.  Firstly, I should explain that as a practicing Sunni, we don’t go in for a lot of material culture and as a religion with around a billion of adherents we are quite low maintenance.  You can check out the five pillars of Islam and you can get on with life without anyone, in theory, telling you what to do.  This doesn’t work in practice as I’m sure you’re all used to having to deal with mad mullahs, fundamentalist fakirs, immoderate imams and very shifty sheikhs.  Obreption has asked me to produce his A to Z of religion series (Sunni Islam from alif to yeh or as some Christians might say from Alpha to Omega).  

The B section in BMD (births, marriages, deaths) is an important life event.  Usually, of the three only the M is remembered by the focus of attention.  The B concerns the parents and the D concerns the relict.  Many ceremonies follow-on from the birth of a child.  I don’t want to be side-tracked into some tosh about contraception, embryo research, genetics and when the soul actually becomes part of the ‘person’.  In many societies, following the birth of a child certain religious rites will follow.  These can range from whispering something into the child’s ear, giving the child a name, putting the child down for Eton (as many Muslims now do), and organising a circumcision usually for boys after a day or so depending on religion and custom.  After that, many parents choose to have their child ritually blessed, washed, named, sanctified, and while these can be relatively cheap it can be good business for some religions - especially those with a high social status or a need to throw money about, and thus start the child on a path to total dependency on the bank and the fortune of mum and dad thereafter. 

In Islam, there are many cultural variations on what happens when a child is born.  In our case, my wife and I decided to keep up the tradition and for the boys we slaughtered 2 sheep and welcomed many people to our fabulous barbecue.  For the girls, my wife agreed with me that 1 sheep would do.  The community in Wales is very mixed;

and one or two problems we’ve had with yobs or ‘boyos’ as they are known locally.

We get a lot of day trippers from Liverpool and Manchester, and at times Rhyl can feel quite non-Welsh.  Sometimes we Welsh people resent these English people coming and interfering with our culture and traditions.

My last study with Obreption was with a ground breaking study into diverse communities in Kendal, Cumbria.  This really surprised the Anglicans as well as the Catholics regarding demographic shifts in Kendal.  This caused a bit of a panic in the Church of England and they have now produced a new Service Order book in order to make baptism, or christening as some people would have it, accessible.  Traditionally, 4 or 5 christenings would be done on a Sunday afternoon and this paid the heating bills.  Now, like many Anglican services, you can only tell the child’s family because they’re wearing suits, have the school registration forms filled in, and desire to illustrate that the child from now on is a good member of a faith community even though the parents have no track record.  Many religious specialists regard this as a nice little earner or great source of joy and fulfilment.

I am at a loss to find any relevance between ‘presenting’ the child for XYZ in any of the Carry On series.  Carry On Matron has some funny moments regarding maternity, but nothing that springs to mind.  I have pointed out a few links concerning local Muslim institutions, sociological studies in Anglesey, and some life events in the area.

If you need more information on life events, insert life events, postcode and your religion denomination and you might be surprised.  You’ll certainly be out of pocket! 

Ma’ salama!


  1. Dear Obreption

    This post was very prescient. You managed beat the rest of the Daily Telegraph bloggers by one day in hinting something about the Archbishop of Wales. In looking at your blog and other entries, it seems you predicted the downfall of Mubarak in an earlier posting. I think you've been ripping off other journalists with your choice of the next 'domino' to break down. Will it be Algeria, Clegg, His Holiness the Pope or should we all gather at The Bull in Ambridge for a dramatic demo on the occasion of the state visit of our Future Princess of Wales and Queen?

  2. This is a story from the Jamaican Gleaner about absent bank managers and fishing trips . Is this another one of obreption's banker chums?

    'Latty' hits back - Former BOJ governor accuses finance minister of going on fishing expedition

    Former Bank of Jamaica governor, Derick Latibeaudiere, has challenged Finance Minister Audley Shaw to leave the protective cover of Parliament and tell what he knows about the so-called probe covering a decade of his tenure at the central bank. He has accused Shaw of going on a fishing expedition.

  3. I know this is a bit late but I hope you do see this (I might send it twice - tag it on to your current blog, since so often that's the one that is the BURNING topic):

    British gay Muslims seek Islamic weddings

    Get the Sheikh to stick this in his turban - and see the reaction!

  4. Anonymous 13/2

    In many religions one gets a lot of fish. Did you know that in the early Christian church, the fish symbol was used to indicate Jesus Christ, in the Greek. Jesus of course, as the myth tells it, asked Simon Peter to be a fisher of men. To this day, many boats go out and are known as trawlers; they trawl for fish. The chief fishermen resides in Rome and you can tell what he has done to the fish by the finger print on locally caught haddock round here. Many people refer to a fish as a St Peter fish. No doubt, in Jamaica they have their own fish to fry.

    Thank you for your interesting comment.

    Anonymous 20/2

    The Sheikh says:

    This is a very tricky subject and defines how we view such institutions as being sacramental or a life event. Without being non-PC, we often come across the awkward lesbian squad, though they usually want to be Anglican priests or even worse, old Catholic priests. I even heard in a report from the BBC - John Sudworth? - in Morocco, saying that the king had allowed female muslim priests. I am glad to say he is not one of my former students. If he had mentioned Christian Catholic Women Priests, there would have been instant de-ontological processes according to norms, and the Canon law (mons meg). This point is of interest to many religious specialists and we hope that we can find a suitable liturgical answer to this problem, which will manage to annoy Melanie Philips, Claire Fox, Clifford Longley and the rest of that tired out bunch.

    Thank you.