Thursday, 4 June 2009

My Welsh Blogosphere - MECCAnopsis Cambrica

I am always late. It’s a character defect. I have lost the battle against tardiness and am contemplating moving to warmer climes where the pace of life is slower and I might get confused for someone punctual. And so, like many things before it I come late to the blogosphere and when I am asked to write about it by Cynical Dragon I take over a month to get around to it.

When I discovered this alternative reality by accidentally moving my mouse over a link on Plaid Cymru’s website two months ago my interest was piqued. Clearly a medium of communication that seems to be gaining in popularity, I could see the benefits of joining a community of individuals who may hold differing opinions on any number of given subjects but who at least care enough to air their views and share their ideas. Yes in the past I have felt strongly enough about things to write the odd letter to the editor of one paper or another but there is often a lag of a few days and no guarantee that it will find its way into print. Blogging is instantaneous; you get your words out there as soon as your thoughts on a given topic are formed. You may not know who your readership is, much less your circulation, but unlike the random appearance on a ‘letters page’, if you weren’t coherent enough the first time around, at least on here your right of reply is open-ended and you can clarify yourself to your heart’s content.

My motivation for blogging comes from a perception that a ‘Muslim viewpoint’ rarely finds its way into mainstream discourse (even when we are the very topic of discussion and debate) unless of course that viewpoint is coming from one extreme or the other. Sure, Islam is a ‘broad mosque’ but it’s disingenuous to portray it through the distorted lens of only the fringe groups or, on occasion, those whose claim to be following Islam is beyond tenuous. Frothing-at-the-mouth fanatics make great bogeymen and I am sure in a neo-con’s wet dream the world would be a better place if all Muslims enjoyed pork scratchings with our pints, shortened our names to something more pronounceable and just assimilated quietly – and the media manages to trot out those kind of ‘Muslims’ too for a bit of ‘balance’ now and then. I’m not saying such people on the extremes don’t exist (those are not actors in our newspapers and on our TVs dressing up as Muslims and burning flags and calling for death to this, that or the other) but my beef is regarding how representative are they of an entire faith community, stretching the globe and encompassing so many races and cultures. When you only see or hear from the extremes do you correctly guess that the ‘norm’ is something in between or do you try to work out which extreme is the most representative one?

As human beings we all have multiple identities and being a Muslim is not absolutely everything about me, I’m Welsh and Muslim and a lot of other things too. It will probably appear to some that I am over-emphasising the Muslim aspect of me through the issues I tackle on the blog but only because I feel there is something of a void here, and especially in Wales. I may not be the most prolific blogger, I only just about manage a posting a week, but I’ll try to be consistent and I won’t post for the sake of it. I’ve found that I actually spend more time on here reading what others have to say and I am enjoying that rather more than seeing my own words up in front of me. I find being exposed to the range of people on the Welsh blogosphere from across the political spectrum very enriching. I am against the idea of only mixing with those who agree with you, whether in the real world or the often anonymous domain of the Internet. It’s a safe option if you don’t want to have to deal with your views being challenged or tested. I hope to challenge and test and be challenged and tested in equal measure. I also hope I may change some people’s views about Muslims on the way.

(Written by MC, Welsh blogger, owner and author of the of the MECCAnopsis Cambrica blog)

This is the Nineteenth of a series of posts giving a chance for Welsh bloggers to have their say on the state of the blogosphere and where it's going. If you're interested in contributing place feel free to contact me at

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