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Allah in L.A.
Is it just me, or is something terribly wrong with this picture?

By Solmaz Ziad
March 11, 2002
The Iranian

Anyone who has every been to Los Angeles has witnessed the way that Iranians have created a name for themselves. This has been accomplished with the aid of signature bleached blond tresses, nose jobs, Benzes, and the fact that we are all engineers and doctors.

All of these attributes are aside from the fact that we have established ourselves as a people cursed with having a nature of being poolakee, which is something we are all a little guilty of from time to time.

I enjoy a good Gucci bag just as much as any other Persian gal, but the trends I have spotted lately are enough to make anyone with even just a little "shakhseeyat" sick to their stomachs. God has officially become a fashion statement in Westwood Village.

The latest fashion "do" in the Iranian community seems to be sported by the young, trend setting crowd that mingles in LA on nights and weekends. These twentysomethings can be seen on any given Friday or Saturday night, walking around or loafing in front coffee shops, sipping cigarettes as fast as they are lit.

"Allah" necklaces seem to be the rage, with most of them diamond-studded and made of platinum. Some of the versions worn by the young men can be seen expanding three inches in every direction, which is something that would even bring Mr. T to tears.

The ironic part of this whole new phenomenon comes from the people seen adorning these jewels. I'm not surprised that they chose to put up the huge bucks to show their piety. In fact, the comedy stems from the fact that there is nothing else representative of being religious outside of wearing this necklace.

There just seems to be a dichotomy of sorts when spotting young men chain smoking and discussing their next sexual conquest with the vulgarity of a sailor, while wearing a holy enscription. Is it just me, or is something terribly wrong with this picture?

Another practice that sent me into shock came as a result of over hearing a conversation between a few Persian girls on campus. One girl was explaining how she wanted to get a tattoo that was "meaningful and representative" of who she was. She had decided on getting "Allah" tattooed on the small of her back, and now all she needed was someone with good writing to give her a design for the tattoo artist to trace off of. I nearly fell of my chair. I wanted to scream, "divooneyee dokhtar?" ("Girl, are you nuts?")

I knew for a fact that this girl had never read a word from the "KHoran", and that she thought Mohammad was the guy who worked the graveyard shift at 7-11. I am not an expert on religion, and I do not claim to be a religious authority in the least, but I do know that something as holy and precious as the word God itself should be guarded, not stamped across someone's ass.

It seems to me that anyone who has studied Islam or has an understanding of the basic concepts of the religion would refrain from putting a tattoo of God's name anywhere. It came as a complete shock to see this dullard whine about wanting an "intelligent" tattoo.

Both of these practices of flossin' and flauntin' religion seem to be as fake as the "Prado Shoes" or the "Kate Splade" bags that some people still try to shamelessly pull off. It seems to be a disgrace to the people who have devoted their lives to a religion that they truly believe has provided hope and meaning to their lives.

I wouldn't be brazen enough in making the claim that these kids are frauds if I hadn't witnessed friendships with people like them and had not witnessed it time and time again as I went out.

Call me crazy, but I think that if we consulted God on this matter, he would want nothing to do with being a fashion statement. I think the job of working miracles and answering prayers is enough to keep His To Do List full for eternity. It's time we look somewhere else for fashion inspiration or signature style.

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