Tag Archives: Fresno


Ibrahim Ahmed speaks out on Trump’s disdain for Muslims


Soon after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested we bar all non-citizen Muslims from entering the U.S. and participating in American culture and life, Ibrahim Ahmed, a poet and contributing author to The Rogue Voice, who has been with us from the beginning, even during the worst of the Bush years, went into hiding.

Never before has Ibrahim, a naturalized citizen of the U.S., felt compelled to remove his face from the public square, not even during the spike in attacks on Muslims in the U.S. after 9/11.

Some of his enemies claim that he’s put on a hijab and is posing as a woman, working the streets of Las Vegas as a high-rent hooker and robbing people once he gets them into their motel rooms; others say he’s become one of the world’s first Muslim transvestites to come out of the closet and is on his way to do a TV special with Caitlin Jenner before he has “The Procedure,” both of which he would find offensive if he was as much of a hater as Donald Trump is. But Ibrahim is not a hater, and we caught up with him in Fresno, where the farmers there think he’s a Mexican, and where he’s living in a mouse-infested trailer and for the last week has been working in the fields as a farmhand. The trailer is set back deep behind a stand of old oaks beside a dried up creek bed and was probably once used as a meth lab but the crusty hovel keeps Ibrahim safe from, and out of view of, Muslim haters—at least for now.

THE ROGUE VOICE: Ibrahim, it took us awhile to track you down, why did you go into hiding? Why the sudden disappearance? We’ve been worried about you. And…how did you find this shithole?

IBRAHIM AHMED: First, let’s just say up front that I’m not a jihadist, I’m a Muslim. My religion is a peaceful one. Second, I’m not hiding. I live in a different shithole in Grover Beach. I came to Fresno to meet some friends, go have a few drinks, and maybe go dancing, and the next thing I know, I wake up and here I am, sleeping and working with a bunch of Mexicans who are really nice, not rapists. Can you help me get the fuck outta here?

RV: Seems pretty obvious to me, ‘Rahim, that you’re not a “jihadist.” Why would anyone think that?

IA: Americans are a deeply divided and fearful people. They always have been, from the very beginning. Slavery and elitism made certain of that. Even the Founders warned of how divisive this nation might become because of inequalities between slave and free. Remember the Civil War? Then, there’s ignorance, of which there seems to be plenty in America. Americans, especially Republicans, tend to be less educated than the rest of the world and have not benefited from their isolation from other nations, or from their lack of military service. Most Americans speak English only and eat their meals watching Fox News or MSNBC, and many would be considered slow or “special” in other parts of the world, and I don’t mean in the “exceptional” sense of the word where Americans think they are better than everyone else. In most cases, they are not. Does that make me a jihadist? Can we go now?

RV: ‘Rahim, federal agents from ICE visited your home recently and brought your wife in for questioning after you disappeared. I guess they’ve been monitoring your calls and reading your poetry and building a case against you, claiming you are not really who you say you are. Are you not guilty of spewing anti-American propaganda and stirring up unrest in Grover Beach, questioning the values of our political system, and calling it a rigged game for the wealthy?

IA: Well, I did not say any of those things, and my wife…she doesn’t know where I am, does she? Oh, Allah, she’s going to kick my ass when I get home. Maybe we could stop for some drinks on the way outta here. Whaddya say?

RV: Um, well, I guess your wife was pretty pissed off about you going on a drinking binge in Fresno with your friends without talking to her first about it and she told the agents that you’d flown to Syria to join ISIS, and that you could go fuck yourself for going the way of the devil. Go ahead and blow yourself up, for all she cares! The feds put out a bulletin to all local law enforcement with your mug on it. They’re looking for you, ‘Rahim. You could be in danger. It might not be safe to go home.

IA: Christ! I mean, all praise and glory to you, Allah! This is all Donald Trump’s fault. If he hadn’t declared an American jihad against Muslims, I wouldn’t be in this mess right now. I could go home and straighten things out with the wife, maybe lift up her burka and…oh, forget it! Goddamn it! This country has turned into the land of pussies not the free! Even Obama is considered a pussy now, according to Fox News. A buncha scaredy cats who wouldn’t know the difference between a Muslim, a socialist, or a jihadist, even if they met one. If you live in a free country but you’re always scared of refugees and children, you’re not really free, are you?

What’s wrong with this country, I ask you? I’ll tell you. People stopped being decent to one another. There’s no decency, not in the media, not in the social networks, not on talk radio, not in the government…have you ever tried driving LA freeways? No one talks to anyone any more. No one listens. Everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs, honking their horns. The rich started crying and whimpering and complaining, and the working class started crying and whimpering and complaining. Where does it end? Who’s going to fix it? I’ll tell you as soon as we leave this Allah-forsaken place. Can we go now?

RV: One last thing, ‘Rahim. It’s getting dark soon and we can leave under cover of darkness. OK? Until then, what advice would you give Americans who think we should keep Muslims out of the country?

IA: I would say, yes, be afraid, America, be very afraid, but do not fear the Muslims; fear instead the Donald Trumps, the haters, and the small-minded, who would convince you that we all are jihadists and work for ISIS. Americans must understand after all that ISIS has killed more Muslims than Americans and Europeans. But the Donald Trumps do not tell you that. They say we are all dangerous, that we pose a threat, that we must shut down our mosques, but then a crazy white guy goes into a health clinic or a school and blows a bunch of people away. Who can you trust? Be afraid.

RV: You can trust me, ‘Rahim. Let’s get outta here! And leave your gun here, don’t take it with you. Give it to your Mexican friends. Come on, let’s scram! §

Stacey Warde is a farmhand and publisher of The Rogue Voice. This interview was not recorded and no notes were taken.

Rush hour traffic in Fresno


photo by Stacey Warde

by Greg West

“YOU THINK YOUR DICK’S MADE OF GOLD?!?!” Anne yells, bare heels pounding the triple-digit pavement, tears sizzling down veined face, half-smoked Benson & Hedges between trembling fingers, threadbare nightie she’s been in for days, crawling up old white thighs. She’d have kept coming too, if she hadn’t had to stop and cough. She was up to three packs a day.

At the stop sign he looks in the side mirror and sees her stooped and hacking. If he wants an image, here’s one. It’s rush hour and no one’s letting anyone on the road anyway.

The next time he looks in the mirror she’s on the curb, bent over, clutching her stomach, a safe distance away. The whole point in giving her a week had been to avoid something like this, give her time to vent and yell, purge and talk it out, on the phone mostly, with her best friend Kay Miller, the one who’d helped her conclude that he was an incurably selfish man, a coward, that he thought his dick was made of gold, that it wasn’t, and that he was going to fall on his face wherever he was running away to.

He’d given Anne a week and Anne had told him she’d come to terms with things. Anne had even thanked him.

Hearing his trunk shut in her driveway must have been what changed her mind. He had it in reverse when the front door had opened and she’d bolted out into what could have been her first sunlight in days, leaping off the porch and moving across the dead yard like a stalking panther, lips pressed grotesquely together, kicking and pounding his car, reiterating with each fist and heel, her and Kay Miller’s findings about him, mustering enough strength to leave a fist-sized depression in his hood.

Still no opening on the road, he glances in the mirror one last time, and seeing no sign of Anne, breathes and nudges into traffic. It’s bumper to bumper on this road west, this road taking him and his dick of gold away forever and when he tries to remember how he’d ended up in this smothering grid of hopelessness, or even how he’d ended up with Anne, he couldn’t. It would take an hour for him to clear the tentacles of Fresno and even after that there would be miles of dry beige dirtscape, but by dusk he’d be climbing lumpy hills that descended on the other side into cool moist coastal air.


Somehow Anne makes it to his window, and with the tears and sweat of a second wind rolling through week-old makeup, eyes pink with fear, beating the glass with forceful rabbit punches, she reminds him in the heat of that city: “YOUR DICK IS NOT MADE OF GOLD!!”  Forcing his way into traffic, horns blasting, tires chirping, Anne running alongside and punching, he looks at her through the crackled glass and yells: “I NEVER SAID IT WAS!!” §

Greg West lives in a hole-in-the-wall motel in Nevada where he writes in his spare time between jobs.