Len Sayn, originally Saqlain Hussayn, 70, whose real estate career never took off, and Sit Wakes, originally Basit Waqqas, 71, whose several travel agency initiatives flopped, are meeting at the Union of India Restaurant in a neighborhood popularly dubbed as Desiville.
“Saqlain … I mean Len … We are in similar situations and we need to find our ways to stardom. It has evaded us far too long.”
“You are right Sit. Indeed we are meeting at the right moment and in the right environment. Things are really shaping up. I am sure that we are going to find winners!”
“Indeed Len, indeed.”
“Let me tell you that right now, I am awaiting for delivery of my order from Overnite Prints for my new set up. And it is not real estate. I have a whole new venture, which is called PiR and it stands for Pluralism is Religion.
“Sit we all know that religion, especially Islam is turning out as a winner. I am sure that my PiR will be as great a wealth creator as the pirs, the spiritual spin-doctors, of South Asia.
“Sit, have you read President Trump’s Ramadan message? I have embedded it in my memory. It is full of opportunities for initiatives like my PiR. He told us, Muslims, that we have a ‘shared obligation to reject violence, to pursue peace, and to give to those in need who are suffering from poverty or conflict’. Now just focus on the word ‘violence,’ and then on his saying ‘our resolve to defeat the terrorists and their perverted ideology’. Plus, and more importantly for my project, is his declaration that ‘America will always stand with our partners against terrorism and the ideology that fuels it’.”
“Len let me interject here. We are thinking on the same plane. Like you, I too, am waiting for my delivery from QuickStationary for my stationary set for MuM, which as you may have understood is for ‘Muslims under the Microscope’.
“Len, I got the idea for this project when I was seeing Fox TV news telling how much money Saudi Arabia is giving to our country, the United States. Surely there is some in store for my MuM.”
“Sit, I must say that it is a capital idea!
“You know Sit, in the late 1980s, my business was really down, I’d say dead, when I ran into someone who told me that I could benefit from the Saudi petrodollars. You know I write. So he suggested that I start publishing articles in any publication that would accept them, criticizing people like Imam Abu Hanifa, and heaping praise on scholars associated with the thought of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab.
“Sit, it worked. I was invited to so many conferences and given so many gifts. But then came 9/11 and the Saudis lost interests in their religious work. I turned back to my real estate business, but to-date it has failed to pick up.
“You know the chain, Sit. George Bush and wars and Obama … I picked up the pluralism path quickly but I was still trying to raise my real estate career. But now, after Trump has been elected, I am going full throttle for pluralism.
“Sit, I know you have good contacts in the liberal and secular crowds. You tell me about attending all those Aligarh Alumni events and all those interfaith events.
“I am now all focused on the pluralism project. Sometimes your luck leads you to the right source. I source all the letters to editors from the Alt-Right types and list all the verses of the Quran that upset them. In my articles, I criticize the translations and interpretations of these verses by people like ibn Kathir, Maududi, and al-Banna. I label them as the source of extremism among Muslims.
“Sit, allow me to digress here. I have launched an online fatwa initiative. You know how the American Right despises CAIR … this Council on American Relations … they are a pain everywhere. Their hijab obsession! I mean are girls and women playing with their heads! They want hijab for basketball and what not. So my first fatwa declares the dress choice of Sania Mirza, the great Muslim tennis player. I mean she is playing tennis with all the big names and at all the big places, Wimbledon and all. She can’t go there with her head, arms and legs covered. Who will watch her? Imagine.”
“Len you are a genius!”
“Sit you can get me invited as a speaker to a few of these liberal events and I am in take off mode!”
“Len that is no problem. I will indeed. Now let me tell you about my MuM. I will start bidding for Countering Violent Extremism projects with the Department of Homeland Security. I mean with all the big funds from the Saudis, they will have some spare change for my MuM.
“Sit, I tell you that my PiR and your MuM can work together! In the CVE proposals you can include a budget for seminars on extremism among Muslims and the need to establish pluralism in their lives.
“Sit, we can draw the list of speakers. You have people like Brigitte Gabriel, the founder and chairperson of ACT for America. She was even invited to the White House! She went there in March, with her message on fighting radical Islam. In fact, her anti-Sharia efforts match mine. ACT has helped introduce legislation to ban the use of Sharia law by state courts.
“She will readily accept speaking at a MuM-PiR seminar.
“You have Anne Coulter. You have American Freedom Defense Initiative’s Pamela Geller.”
“Len, what about a Muslim name.”
“I mean apart from us.”
“Oh. Up north in Canada, there is Tarek Fatah who is very vocal against Sharia. He even uses the Right’s language like ‘Islamofascists’. But I doubt if he can spare the time. He is too busy with Indian project in Baluchistan.”
“Len, I must say that we have found the perfect formula. This is our eureka moment.”
“Yes, it is our very Eureka Moment!”
They high-five, and order a second helping of pistachio qulfi with falooda.