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Abdulla M. Al Qasim (Bahrain)
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What Islam Did for us: Understanding Islam's Contribution to Western Civilization
What Islam Did for us: Understanding Islam's Contribution to Western Civilization
by Tim Wallace-Murphy
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Appreciate the Effort but WAY OFF!!!, 23 May 2012
When I read the title I was so keen to buy the book, even more so after reading the synopsis. I had the book for a while and I have to say that I really appreciate where the author is coming from and what he is trying to accomplish, but he was beyond ignorant about the subject!

I gave up on the book before even getting to Chapter 2! I have given up on three books in my life, this was the second, because it was just wrong and misinformed!

The author got basic undisputed facts about Islam and the origins of Islam wrong!! This is information that elementary kids know! The author states that the Prophet was born in Medina!!! No he wasn't he was born in Makka and migrated to Medina!!! It's like saying something like Jesus was born in Yemen and moved to Palestine!!!!

The author then talks about Abraham and states that Muslims believe that Abraham was actually a noble from the pharaohs and that he married his own sister!!! NO MULISM BELIEVES THAT!!! Where is he getting this from!?

So after reading these glaring mistakes that the author has made it was really difficult to take anything he said, so I just had the book shredded! Seriously!
If I could give this book a zero rating I would!

Word of Caution: Please be weary of this book... it is laden with misinformation and mistakes!


Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Lens
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Lens
Price: £569.00

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All Rounder!, 20 Oct. 2011
Initially, I was considering the 18-105mm lens, however, I found that for a minor price difference (especially that offered by Amazon.com) made it all the more worth while to go for the 18-200mm. I mainly use this lens for shooting baby and family pictures and the lens offers an excellent focal length range for a reasonable price. With this lens I can shoot relatively large groups and get in really close for tight, frame filling portraits from a comfortable distance enabling me to get more natural images or even candid shots at times.

One thing I do tend to agree with the other reviewers who already stated this, is that the lens build is not as strong as possible. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it is super fragile that you have to handle it like a new born baby, but I suspect that a good drop will be the end of it (not that I intend on trying). In any case, given the investment one makes in an SLR camera and lens, it is only natural to expect a certain amount of care when handling the camera or lens.

The lens is quite responsive when it comes to autofocus and focuses on the selected focal point rather quickly. The lens does not tend to hunt back and forth searching for the subject and focus. The zoom barrel is relatively smooth when zooming from one focal length to the other. Results are relatively sharp and crisp and 9/10 times the results are satisfactory. The weight of the lens is reasonable as well (if you are used to SLRs, if not you might find the body a lens weight a bit much if you have been used to compact cameras or point and shoot cameras).

Overall a very versatile lens with a very wide range of focal lengths, eliminating the need to buy more lenses for the average photographer who doesn't really want to spend the money on several prime lenses that would cost a mini-fortune. A recommended buy as a first lens as it serves most photographic situations.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 11, 2013 3:26 PM BST


Southern Biscuits
Southern Biscuits
by Natalie Dupree
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars For All Those Who Love Biscuits and Scones!, 20 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Southern Biscuits (Hardcover)
I've always enjoyed Southern biscuits with fried chicken... and always enjoyed scones with jam at tea time... but I've always felt that the homemade scones and biscuits were missing something no matter how many variations I tried to make... I just could match the store bought Southern biscuits... (my scones were around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10)

First of all, I believe that whenever you buy a whole book dedicated to one specific subject, you are bound to get into the nitty-gritty of that subject... and I think it is those details and specifics that separate good results from great results!

This book has a whole myriad of different types of biscuits and scones to try out at home and each one has its own subtle little difference ranging from those that require many ingredients and relatively more time to prepare, to your quick biscuit fix recipes! I have to warn readers that when attempting the more complex (relatively speaking of course) recipes, don't cut corners like not brushing the biscuits with melted butter as it will seriously affect the moistness and taste of your biscuits. Granted, there is a lot of butter involved with biscuits and scones... but I guess readers already know that biscuits and scones are not the healthiest foods on earth.

I really found the introductory chapters really beneficial where the authors discuss the different materials that might be used and what affect each has on the finished product... I really think that this kind of information is the kind that adds to your understanding of the subject and makes you better in the field. I specifically found the information on low gluten flour especially beneficial as I have been primarily focusing on high gluten flour for baking breads... you wouldn't believe how much of a difference the gluten content of flour makes on the finished product! Also, I have always wondered why certain recipes used baking powder and others used bi-carb... the section on this really clears up any confusion as to why and how and when to use each! There are also some tips and recommendations on who to actually cut the biscuits using your cutter to help improve your results!

Overall, a very specific book for a specific audience who will undoubtedly find this book interesting to read and try the recipes in it... I'm sure everyone's technique and end results will benefit from this book.


Manfrotto 337 Hotshoe Two Axis Bubble Level
Manfrotto 337 Hotshoe Two Axis Bubble Level
Price: £24.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Little Gadget!, 20 Oct. 2011
I must admit I was kind of surprised at how small this thing is at first glance, but like they say... size doesn't matter right?

I bought this level because the bubble level on my tripod dried out for some reason... and so I needed a way to ensure that my horizons were perfectly levelled. There is nothing more annoying than a slanted horizon on a landscape shot or a panoramic shot!

This little item easily solves that problem for you in a snap... I have to admit that when you consider how small it is and that it is made out of plastic, then I agree with reviewers when they say that it is expensive... but is worth taking shots with slanted horizons? No!

I like the fact that the item can fit both horizontally and vertically into the camera's hot shoe making for easier use under different circumstances.

A nice to have little gadget in your photographic bag of tricks!


Prestige Main Ingredients Egg Separator
Prestige Main Ingredients Egg Separator

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small but Highly Effective, 27 Sept. 2011
This little baby will save you having to split eggs in your hands like the chefs do... it is very reliable as in it won't allow any of the yolk to seep into the white and is very easy to clean...

Especially recommended for those who make custards and meringues!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2013 12:17 PM BST


Prestige BakeMaster 2 - Single Non-stick Pizza Crisper
Prestige BakeMaster 2 - Single Non-stick Pizza Crisper

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Makes a Difference but Can Be Better, 27 Sept. 2011
If you were to compare making a pizza on a baking sheet to using this pan then you would definitely notice the difference. When using a baking sheet the pizza crust doesn't really rise up as it does with this pan... using the pan you get a well risen crust with a nice crumb on the inside! With a baking sheet the pizza comes out very flat and that doesn't help keep the cheese where you want it. Baking with a stone does help brown the crust better on the bottom but you also face that flat pizza issue again... also you will hit another snag when using a pizza stone... you NEED a pizza peel to slide the assembled pizza onto the stone that has been preheating in the oven for at least 45 minutes! Trust me, without a peel things will get very clumsy and messy really quick! (TIP: No, you cannot just move the pizza from your counter onto the stone with your hands... just take it from me.)

Using this pan, it is super easy to assemble the pizza in the pan, you don't even need to roll out the dough too much... before you plonk your dough into the pan just lightly oil it with olive oil and give it a light sprinkle of semolina and that is a sure fire guarantee that you pizza will not stick and you will be able to effortlessly slide it out! Once you have your dough in the pan, you can stretch it out to fit the pan by hand, that will reserve some of the air in the dough and that give you a better crumb and texture as opposed to using a rolling pin which knocks out all the air in the dough!

Another advantage of using the pan is you have control over the shape of your pizza, you get a perfect round every time, guaranteed! This is a crucial point for when you are hosting or entertaining guests... it's one thing to have a great tasting, wonky shaped pizza and a perfectly round great tasting pizza!! The pan will help you keep the sauce and cheese off the crust and you will have a well risen crust! Also, I sometimes feel like having thin and crispy pizzas... I do everything exactly the same using this pan except that I use half of the dough and it is really great... in fact I am beginning to like it more than the deep pan pizza!

For your average home baker, this item is really great and does fine... however, I am on a quest to perfect my pizza making skills... so I find that there is some room for improving this item (I hope someone from the company reads this and takes the following points into consideration).

1) Whilst the coating is great, if you really research the equipment that the pizzerias use, you will find that it is the coating on the pan that makes the difference... there is black anodized coating on their pans (these pans are only available at wholesalers and are not available at a retail level). The black coating is far more heat absorbent and helps distribute the heat faster and more evenly. So I hope that Prestige will take this into consideration and make the change.

2) The holes in the bottom of the pan doe help brown the bottom of the pizza, but through research and comparing with pizza screens, I have found that the holes on this pan are too few and too big... if they had made more holes of smaller size then I think this pan would be one ripping pizza pan and I would definitely buy a few (not just one)!

3) The size of the pan is only fine when you either want to feed a really hungry couple or a peckish group of three... beyond that you need to make more pizzas!! I hope that Prestige will also take this into consideration and make larger pizza pans (maybe even a New York pizza sized pan... I don't know something like 18 inches!?

Most of my kitchenware is Prestige stuff, I really hope that they do take these tips into consideration and come up with something like a pro version of this pan... don't get me wrong I am using the life out of this pan, it makes great pizza crusts and is definitely worth the buy if you love pizza!

ADDED BONUS:
My Pizza Dough Recipe

- 1 ½ Cups Strong White Flour (not all purpose... somthing like bread flour if you can get it)
- ½ Cups Semolina
- ¾ Cups Lukewarm Water
- 1 tsp Salt
- 4 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Active Yeast (not instant)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil (not extra virgin)

1) Sprinkle the yeast into the water and leave for about five minutes (do not allow to become foamy).
2) In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, semolina, salt, and sugar.
3) Using a spoon, stir the yeast into the water until fully dissolved and them pour into the dry ingredients with the olive oil.
4) Using a hand / stand mixer knead dough for 15 min (very important).
5) Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1 - 1 ½ hours.
6) Now the dough is ready to be used!

Hope you enjoy it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 24, 2012 1:00 PM BST


Prestige BakeMaster 2 - Single Non-stick Chip Tray
Prestige BakeMaster 2 - Single Non-stick Chip Tray

4.0 out of 5 stars Great for Even More than Just Chips!, 27 Sept. 2011
Ok, I'll admit that I don't make oven chips by only baking them... I fry them and then allow them to bake for a shorter period in the oven... I get really good results!

The tray is really great in the sense that the non-stick coating is very resilient and will only get scratched if you put an effort into scratching it! It is super easy to clean, even by hand! I've had the tray for more than a year and it is still like new!

But I have found that this tray is also great for more than just oven baked chips.... Whenever we make fried chicken, we usually bake them on this tray for around ten to fifteen minutes and they come out really crisp and the excess oil get drained off!!

Really a great item to have around the kitchen, especially for those who love chips like me!


How To Lose Friends And Alienate People [DVD] [2008]
How To Lose Friends And Alienate People [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Robert B. Weide
Offered by Qoolist
Price: £2.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a Wally!, 7 Sept. 2011
Let me begin by saying that I now think that movie is even funnier since it is based on Toby Young's book and his experience in NY!! His interview is in itself hilarious!

Simon Pegg has a talent for playing characters that are just clueless, somewhat out of touch with reality, with a hint of loser! He just does it very well!!! Throw that into the quick pace lifestyle of the big apple and those characteristics become even more profound!

I will have to say that I am not really a romantic comedy type person, but the comedy side of this movie far outweighs the romance! There were some laugh out loud scenes for me, like when Simon coughs with his mouth full on the lady's overcoat... even funnier that he can't leave it alone! The scene where he gets smashed at a fourth of July party and get up and starts singing `England England England' was hilarious to me... what a complete Wally! The scene with the dog in the office is funny too! But for all those who said that there were no laugh out loud scenes, what do you call the two scene with the transvestite!? Absolutely hilarious!! (especially the stripper prank!) What a wally!!

On the more serious side, Simon's character is very serious about what he does and is uncompromising and that becomes more and more obvious as the movie progresses... you find out that his character is actually deeper than you imagined!! I liked how the movie portrays Simon as a person who is unwilling to let go of his principles in the corporate rat race... I think the movie does an excellent job of capturing the struggles that most people have to go through in terms of either selling out and climbing the corporate ladder or retaining their morals and principles and staying at the bottom of the corporate food chain! I feel your pain Sydney Young!

I really liked that the movie ended with comedic closing note rather than a romantic one... to be honest it is a romantic comedy that most guys can enjoy with their significant others! Once the movie was over and I had a big smile on my face, my wife turned to me and said `SEE! You can enjoy romantic comedies!'

A very funny but meaningful movie that I enjoyed watching and I'm sure that I will watch it again!


Baby's Day Out [DVD]
Baby's Day Out [DVD]
Dvd ~ Joe Mantegna
Price: £3.46

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gorilla is Scary for Some Reason!, 31 July 2011
This review is from: Baby's Day Out [DVD] (DVD)
If I've seen this movie once, I've seen it a hundred times! My sister used to have this one on VHS and my niece used to make us watch it everyday... sometimes twice in one day! We still enjoyed it... anything is better than watching a whole day of that Barney idiot! We would've all ended up in the loony bin!

Naturally, when I became a father I thought my daughter would enjoy a movie about a baby's adventure through the city which she did at first... till we got to the part in the zoo and the gorilla that is! She really freaked out and got really scared when the gorilla growled in one of the goons face! Now whenever I even suggest we watch this movie she gets edgy and panicky! Not sure why she is so scared... need to look into that... tried playing it the other day and she completely ignored the TV and went to play with her blocks just to avoid it... she usually turns into a mindless zombie whenever the telly is on....

That aside, having seen this movie a zillion times, I still laugh at a lot of parts in this movie... it is a great movie for the entire family to watch, even the very young audience... but I sometimes worry that all that violence and the fact that the audience is encouraged to laugh at others getting hurt might give kids ideas to try to imitate these stunts when no one is looking, but that shouldn't be an issue with appropriately aged youngsters.

A hilarious movie overall!


Elmo's Potty Time [DVD]
Elmo's Potty Time [DVD]
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Educational, Fun and Universal!, 31 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elmo's Potty Time [DVD] (DVD)
Elmo has always been one of my favourite Muppets for ages, I got this DVD for my young daughter who was about to begin potty training... we were having some trouble with getting her to accept the whole concept at first, but this DVD really made a difference!
I guess there isn't much that Cookie Monster could teach kids besides eating their teeth rotten or eating their selves into a diabetic stroke!

Let me explain what I mean when I say universal, my daughter is still not old enough to understand English, but she clearly got the message from this DVD and she kept saying "I wanna go use the big girls potty like Elmo!" Obviously she will appreciate the morals and lessons more as she understands the lingo but it seems to have worked.

I have to admit that it wasn't like those many toddler programs where they drive the adults mad! It was actually a very well produced piece of work which was put together in a very fun style! Even I enjoyed it as an adult... I could appreciate how fun it would be for kids! I especially liked the part / song where kids count out the numerous words they use for poop! Kinda fun for kids... various words for poop still make older kids in the family giggle when they hear them!

Overall, a fun and very useful tool for parents who are about to potty train their kids... just think if it can work with a kid who doesn't speak English yet, then it is bound to wok wonders with English speaking kids!


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