Channel: Fatima Barkatulla
Series: Fatima Barkatulla - Ummah Talk
welcome to the OMA talk podcast with me, Fatima Mercato Allah be led the OMA rise.
In this podcast episode, I spoke to you on Vancouver.
He was a
politician in the Netherlands.
And it was a really interesting conversation. It was, Wow, it really got me thinking about so many things. And I just wanted to bounce ideas of him as well. You know,
I know that some people they like listening to podcasts where you're just like, allowing the guest to speak. And I hope I did that. But my podcast is about a discussion. You know, it's not just a one way conversation. It's it's two way and it is about me, sharing my ideas and bouncing them off my guests, especially esteemed guests, such as your own.
So yeah, enjoy the podcast. Let me know what you thought of it. Like, leave a comment. Let me know like, what which ideas stood out for you? Or if there's something you agree with or disagree with? Perhaps there's a point of view that I haven't considered or taken on board. I'm always open to changing my mind about things. So yeah, share away Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato. Mr. Miller Alhamdulillah wa Salatu was Salam ala Rasulillah. Dear brothers and sisters As salam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and welcome to my talk. Today I have with me, somebody I've been intrigued to talk with, and I know that a lot of you will also be really interested to hear from I
have with me your RAM Van Cliburn, also known as the Crown Prince of builders. He was a famous critic of Islam. As a former member of the Dutch parliament and a representative of the Party for Freedom. He, in his past, he submitted numerous bills related to Islam, such as those calling for the closing of mosques, for removing the Quran from Parliament and for banning Islam from the Netherlands. But today, he is a Muslim of Hamdulillah. And I have his book with me. It's called apostate. And it's all about his,
his journey to Islam. So, salaam alaikum. Brother, you're
like, I'm Salam, thank you very much for inviting me on the show. It's a great honor.
And humbly lies. No, it's a real honor to speak to you. And I see that you've been collaborating or at least speaking with
Chef Hamza Yusuf and Professor Abdullah Hakim Murad. So that's, that's nice. How did you get to know them?
of course, I was writing a book and an anti Islamic book. At least that was what I wanted to do. And I started writing.
But during during the writing, I came across so much information that was at odds with things I thought I knew that in the end, because I wanted to be a book of truth with a capital T, that I had to make sure that certain things that I was writing down were correct. So
and in the Netherlands, I wrote to various academic
scholars, when it came to Islam, but the answers weren't always satisfying. So I started writing to other authorities on this subject, and one of the persons I wrote to was a blocking motorists are shaped from
occasion to thirsty.
So that's, that's how it started. And I was riding him, while knowing of course, it was the chancellor, pretty small that he was riding back because, of course, I was a member of an anti Islamic political party in another country writing anti. So there was not a real reason for him to answer me and I, to be honest, I put a little link of my Wikipedia page in English in the mail, so he would know who I was so that he wouldn't have the feeling that I was tricking him or something. And it took a lot of days, I think, six weeks or something. And all of a sudden he wrote back and it was very extensive mail with your answer and he answered numerous questions I asked. He pointed to
books, articles, other persons I could ask about Islam and certain specific topics when it came to certain arena related topics when it came to Islam for example,
Law, or Aqeedah, stuff like that. And he says, Well, if you want to know more about this certain point you asked this person or write this book or read this book or that article. So that's how I came in contact with the chef after working with that. And after my book
almost finished, I
was invited by
Hamza Yusuf in California.
So he asked me, Are you willing to do a video with me? Talking about your journey? And that's what I did. So I came in contact with him. And it was even before the English translation. So when I said will be translated to English, I asked them both. Do you want to write something in the book? Because I have a lot of context with you guys. Especially shout outs. Congrats in the beginning.
Yeah, they were very, of course, for me, it was a great honor that they were thinking about doing it. And when they really did write something as a foreword, it's a great honor, of course, and I hope it benefits the book.
I think that's great. So So for people who don't know you have writing a book, to refute Islam to criticize Islam, right, initially. And so you were researching for this book? And so it seems like you were really doing a very sincere type of research, because not many people who have anti Islam sentiments would go to the trouble to actually contact, you know, like, Orthodox or traditional Muslims, you know,
they probably just rely on second secondary sources or, you know, their own Western academics who may be anti Islam, whatever. So it seems like you
were like what made you take it so seriously, that you would actually contact somebody who had so Abdullah Kimora, of course, he's convinced himself, right.
Was that part of the reason why you contacted him? No, because I didn't know I just saw his name. And I thought, well, it's a great scholar. I didn't know him. So I didn't know he was a confort. I didn't know who he was, what his background, but the only thing I knew was information I got from, from a small paper in the Netherlands. It said it gave some names of scholars in the UK and US in Singapore, Malaysia, Egypt and other countries, and one of the personal chef outdoor Kimura. And as I was reading what he do, he came up to the study. And then I said, Well, this must be someone who knows a lot. I write a roadie. So it wasn't that I thought, well, he's a confidant or whatever. I
didn't know that. Okay. So now, but when when I was writing my book, it has a little bit to do with my background, I was brought up in, in,
in a church, and that was a pretty traditional denomination.
And denomination was that. Yeah, the Reformed Church of the Netherlands, okay. Specific? Well, of course, if, when you look at Christianity, there are three big denominations, of course, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and the Protestant church. And within the Protestant church, there are almost 1000 denominations. And one of the places I was in in the Netherlands because some are specific Dutch, there was the Reformed Church of the Netherlands. But it was a pretty when you look at the look at the theology and the whole culture. It was pretty traditional. And it wasn't that I was brought up in a very strict way. But theology was so we prayed when, especially when I
was younger, with braids. Before dinner, after dinner, we went to church, everybody had biblical names, we were all baptized, we went to Sunday school, stuff like that. So it was real practicing Christian, especially in the in the setting. But when when I reached the age of around 15 1617, of course, you start having your questions when it comes to religion. All youngsters have, whether you are Christian, or Muslim, or Hindu or whatever, you start questioning the things that you were taught, is this the truth? Why do we believe this? Who wrote those books and stuff like that? So and then I for the first time, I got a little, my doubts when it came, for example, to the concept of
God in Christianity, because in Christianity, you have the Trinity and God the Father, God, the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And that was the first time that I thought, Well, it sounds kind of complex a little bit illogical to me then
So I started questioning, so that says a teenager, right? Yes, a teenager, right? So, and I was very, I was kind of a nerdy guy. So I, I was, I love reading. So I read a lot of books, especially books from the scholars of my own tradition, like Martin Luther,
the guy who started every formation and the Protestant church, but also calcium and people like that. And they were very anti Islam. When you read those books, of course, it had to do with the context back then. And it was between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, of course. But those people were very hostile when it came to Islam in a theological sense, but also in a cultural sense. Because they said, Well, it's the enemy, and they're a threat to Christian Europe back then. So that's what I was reading. And so of course, that's form shoe. And when you ask, there's no people in your, in the church or in the denomination you're brought up in. And people confirm that. Yes.
And of course, that becomes part of the things you think that is true, and that are true. So that's, that's what happened when it came to Islam. And but when I, when I was
to foreword to the book, when I was writing my book, The questions I was doubting as a, as a youngster, like, for example, the Trinity, but also the atonement that Jesus Christ had to die as a sacrifice for mankind, and his death and resurrection are essential. Otherwise, God couldn't forgive mankind. And that's a central dogma in Christianity, especially guys, of course, because he was sacrificed for the sins of mankind. And I always thought it was kind of strange, because in the Bible itself, especially in the Old Testament, it says that the fathers are not responsible for the sins of their sons, and the other way around. So
when you're an adult, of course, when you're an adult, you're responsible for your own deeds. You cannot say, Well, my grandfather is dead. So now I'm saved or the other way around.
You cannot blame people for things, their father, or grandfather or whatever, just like you cannot blame their children for you being a bad person. But when I was reading that, that's kind of strange, because we see this concept. It's essential to Christianity because you say, were original sin. Yeah. Because it's, and because his sin, everybody will go to hell, when you look at the denomination I was brought up. And they said, Well, there's only one way to salvation, and that is believing in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But when I was young, I also asked people about, for example, Adam, and Noah and Abraham and Moses, and I said, What are those people
in hell? And the minister said, No, of course, not the strange question. I said, No, that's a strange question. Because you said the only way to salvation is believing in a crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but they couldn't believe in him because he wasn't born yet. So if that's the only way to salvation, they must be in hell. And they said, No, of course not. Then I thought to myself, well, they're probably two ways then the old way. More than one way. Yes. And so that these type of questions, and it had all had to do with the darkness of Christianity. Were something I was struggling with as a youngster. When I was writing my book,
those questions popped up again. Because sites and I thought, Well, perhaps I don't get it. I'm not smart enough, or it's too it's a mystery, whatever. I parked it, and I just live my life. But when I was writing, my answer is and look, I compared Christianity to, to Islam, because a lot of people think that a book is a very political book, but it isn't. It's a very theological book, because it wasn't so much that I was writing out of the context that I was a member of an extreme anti Islamic political party, but it was, I was a Christian. And that's why that's why I was anti Islam for myself, was that. And because I was comparing Christianity with Islam the questions about, for
example, the concept of God popped up again. And then I saw this concept. And of course, I studied comparative religion. So I knew about it, for example, but there was the descriptive way because you learn it as objective study, and not so much as an alternative for the truth, the truth.
So when I was writing about God, for example, and I compared to heat with Trinity, I thought, well, I have much more in common in a logical sense. And also when I look at the Old Testament with Tao heat concept and with the Trinity, so that's how it started. So it wasn't that I felt like I didn't want to use Western sources because there was
was because I saw that a lot of things that were written down by Westerners or of course, are written from a Christian perspective, especially the old books. So I had thought to myself, if I want to really want to know what they are believing and how they are believing and why I have to ask them. Yes, exactly. How I ended up with the Muslim scholars. Okay, right. Yeah. But you know, you'd be, you probably know that a lot of people don't take the trouble to do that. Because they, they'll learn, you know,
rely on maybe just the people they know. So it's great that you took that extra effort, you know, and I think that really speaks to your sincerity. Really, you know, Mashallah. I wanted to ask you, like, I'm a lady who, you know, I usually wear the face veil when I go out. Not always, but you know, I do if if in your past life in when you were in the party,
if you'd come across somebody like me on the street, or? I don't know, I don't know, where we would meet the university or something like that. What?
What would your reaction have been internally like, and even externally?
Yeah, I think that has to do with it. Because the difference? Of course, it's not that old people in the in the anti Islamic political parties all over Europe or the world have the same state of mind. Of course, yeah, because I was a Christian, I was familiar with the with, for example, the heat job and not like a job in Islamic way. But when you look at nons, for example, in the Catholic Church, they are failed to of course, and in the tradition, I was brought up in, when you look at the denomination, and the specific
things you have to do as a religious person, when you look at men and women, you see that women, for example, have to wear hats, or scarf when they enter church church. Yeah. So it's not in all churches, especially not in the modern evangelical churches. But in the old churches, that is something that has to be done by the women. So it wasn't that I thought, well, she spells you scary. But it, it was, and that was because of I think that the Christian background that you knew that it had to do with the concept of God, but in and that's perhaps it's something new for a lot of people in my old party. And I know, that is, for example, in other anti Islamic parties in Europe, it's the
same concept that lives there. That is that they say, well, Islam is like a colonization force.
Come into Europe. And it's that they, they, they objectified in a military sense. So what they say is, the girls who are failed, or face or whatever, they are wearing a uniform.
So they say there are soldiers for Islam.
For men, it's, for example, it's the beard, or holding, but the girls always have to feel their sales force. And when you're using what doesn't matter what kind of form, but they say it's like a uniform. So they say, well, the masks are for, so to say, their, their military basis, the people or the military and the way they are dressing our uniform. So they and of course it's very twisted, in a very ridiculous way of seeing it. But that's how they feel it. And of course, it has to do with the ideology that Islam is the enemy. So what they do is they say, well, they're you're, you're wearing a uniform. So in a political sense, I would say she's, she's an enemy, because of what you
mean. So in other words, it's like a symbol. Right? It's a symbol of the Muslim takeover. Right? Yeah. True of Europe. See, because that's interesting, because when I'm I'm of Indian origin, right. My parents were
migrated to Britain. Right. And 70s I actually, I think we're born in the same in the same year. 79. Yep. So I was born in sorry, was a good year. Yeah.
I was born here in London in 79. And
I must say, growing up, my mom was like, the only woman wearing hijab, you know, like, it wasn't normal at all. It was like, rare, very rare. In fact, she would get she didn't understand English, but she would get Swarna you know, like when we were walking together. Some racist people would just say something, you know, whenever they saw her because she looked so different. But slowly but surely by the time then even myself at
school I was the only girl wearing hijab growing up in the 90s 80s and 90s.
But now I get it, you know, like the landscape of Europe has changed, like even you can.
It's like the hijab is normal. It's like literally normal. So within I guess, two decades, or something.
Suddenly, the hijab became so much more visible because this new generation of Muslims actually rediscovered their faith, right? They rediscovered Islam, sometimes their parents were not religious, or their parents didn't encourage religion at all. But I guess when you're in a growing up in a country where you face racism, casually, sometimes and you're just you're a minority, right? You, you ask yourself, actually, who am I, you know, am I British? Am I? What is it to be British? What is it? What do I actually believe? And so I think, in a strange sort of way, even our generation had to rediscover our faith, you know, so you've been on a journey, right?
But we've all been on the journey too. And so that manifestation that you see of her job is, you know, people adopting a job, each generation, probably more and more,
is actually got nothing to do with, you know, military things, or even political things. It's literally, it's literally people rediscovering their faith and choosing to adopt it. Sometimes it's also because growing up, like, when I used to observe some of the problems in society, and some of the things that troubled me, like,
the objectification of women, you know, on television, i in the 80s, television was terrible, like, women were literally used as objects, you know, like, in every movie, every film. And so something inside me would always dislike that and feel that that was very cheap. And do you know what I mean? So So I think sometimes even the fact that we saw the opposite of Islam, the opposite way of life, in a way, enacted in front of us, and the problems of that made us feel stronger when it came to when we, when we read about Islam, what Islam says, we thought, you know, this makes sense, because I can see the problems caused when this isn't there. Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. But I
also think that it has to do with the fact that a lot of people are scared of
the triumphs of Islam, so to say him because he's so low. And when when you look at the political ideology and the theory that we wrote, For,
we always said, we have to take down the triumphs of Islam. That's why we said we want to ban of minarets. That's why we want to ban. That's why we said we don't want to have a curse like things, things that show that Islam as prominent that Islam is growing, right? They say, Well, we have to take it down. We have to marginalize it. We have to show them it's nothing. It's something you can walk over like Like, like, like a carpet. So to say.
Those things minarets, he jobs in a
The Quran itself, what did you say after Hello? Food? Sorry? Books.
Books, yes, certain books that they said, well, for example, the Quran, they said, Well, it's a very prominent book, of course, it's the holy book. It's a central Islam. So when you when you can ban that from the Netherlands, you say it's nothing for us. We, we in and it's it's very harsh to say but back then, and that has been done numerous times. But they also compare the Quran with my uncomf. For example, in my conference, the book that was written by Adolf Hitler,
that he said, Well, it's the same as license to kill that something literally that we said Quran isn't Licensed to Kill, look at all the terrorists, so we have to take it down. It's a train for them. We don't want to hear.
So, so I'm just trying to understand the trajectory of somebody like you. So when you're, you're a Christian, you're, you've been introduced to some anti Islamic rhetoric from Christian sources already. Right? That's kind of understandable, right because of the history. But then what? What took you from that to this party like, and were you fully down with what they were saying, or did you just join them because it was
Cool, I don't know the thing to do or the most aligned to what you were, you know, I was really down I was sometimes more done than the others himself, I think. Okay, so I was really, really anti summit I've had to do, like I said, with,
with the books with the denomination I was brought up in, but also the first day I went to college was 911. So firstly, I was introduced to
our introduction, weekend and the first day we started really having
a psychologist was 911. So in the morning, we went with the train to the university. And then he said, Well, there's something happened something really bad. And then everybody stopped in television, and it was 911. So I thought to myself, Oh, yeah, that was right, those crazy people, the Muslims. And then of course, they attacked the World Trade Center, 3000 people that cetera, et cetera. But after that, I started with MIT with my study, of course, and it was at the Free University in Amsterdam. So it wasn't that there were no Muslims, for example, I knew back then also, but
when I talked to them, we never really discussed religion in a in a,
in a real way, not in a deep way. We never
know it was just like a you were a Muslim. Okay, I don't like Islam, but I'm a Christian, and perhaps you don't like Christianity. That was it. And then of course, there was no like that.
But after that in and I was still in college, because I studied from 2001 to 2005.
Or I got my doctorate and
in 2004, there was this famous filmmaker in the Netherlands. Perhaps you ever heard of him, his name was fail for hope. Until for hope he was shut down, and his throat was slit in the middle of the streets of Amsterdam by a guy who called himself a jihadi. And then he only we call him feel Van Gough. Okay.
Well, he was murdered in the streets. They put a knife
on the knife. There was a letter as well. And a lot of people don't know that. But there was a letter for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Yes, yes, well, you will be next. So when I saw that after I already was kind of anti Islam, then 911 happened. And then two blocks away from my old house. This guy was killed in the middle of the street, slitting his throat shooting him with a knife in his stomach. I thought, Okay, well, I have to do something to protect the country against this evil. This is sick ideology of Islam. So what can I do? What person is most anti Islam in politics, because I thought to myself, I had to do something in politics, then I can change the law, otherwise, I cannot make a
difference. So and in 2004, before, therefore, Hulk was killed, he had will was split away from his old party, he was in the same party as our current Prime Minister, the Liberal Party, and he was the right side of the right wing, so to say the conservative of that political party, and he split away because there were talks with Turkey, the country
because they said, well, perhaps you can be a member of the European Union. And the Liberal Party says, Well, we do we have to say this is an option. But for his bills, of course, he said, Well, this is crazy. We cannot have an Islamic country becoming a member of the European Union, especially if it's not in Europe, and it is our historical enemy, well, etc, etc. So he's Yeah, and and it would, it would only increase that feeling of, you know, the freedom of movement think would mean that Europeans
are gonna be swamped by the checks, right? That's that's exactly the rhetoric here as well in UK. Yeah, well, it's the same in the Netherlands in Austria and Switzerland, in France. And like you say, in the UK as well, though, the Brits are a bit more polite about it. Like the Brits would never say that blatantly.
Very, yeah, perhaps you're a little bit more polite. But but but they say you're very in your face. So
people are trying to hide something.
Of course, I saw him and I saw well, he must be the guy who will fix it, fix the problem. So I'll joined his party. And then I became, I became a member of the Freedom Party. At first I was a policymaker behind the scenes, per se. But after after a few years, there were elections and builders asked me don't you want to be a member of parliament because you studied comparative religion? So you can say something about Islam and they cannot say you don't know anything because you can say something about Islam so, and I said, Well, yeah, of course, and that's what I did. And I was in Parliament till 2017. So altogether
these eight years almost and, and I was also in politics in provincial states, The Netherlands is in 12 pieces. You if you're messy, so districts, I think every constituencies here, and in the military, you have 12. And I was a member of one of those constituencies here where I live, also next to the job I had in Parliament, but it was also in the city council. So it was in all three levels of politics in Annapolis for 12 years altogether. What was your subject at uni? So he said comparative religion? And what about PhD level?
Oh, well, I'm still working on the PhD. Okay, sorry. Yeah. Okay. So that's, that's something I'm doing right now. But
it was the subject. Because I'm at uni as well. So interested in Nice. Well, yeah, I'm, there's the subject about conference in the Netherlands and a way back there were a lot of people leaving for Syria, for example.
What that what we saw, there's
no one that's leaving for Syria. Yeah. A lot of people were leaving for Syria conference, a non conference, but look at statistics. And that something is not really.
They didn't do anything with it, when it when it comes to research yet. Just just, we see that one out of five comforts that were conferred in those periods. Some people said they left for Syria. So it's an extreme amount, and we compare it to the normal born and raised Muslim. That's extreme. So yeah. So how is it post high proportion? Relatively? Yeah. How was it possible that those persons they prefer to go all the way so to say, and?
So that's something that's interesting. Yeah, it is. Yes.
But to answer your question, or the to finalize the answer, yeah, I became a member of parliament. And in 2014, I left the party. I still was in Parliament, even three years after that, but because the elders asked during a rally on more or less Moroccans in the Netherlands, and, again, will does asked what Sorry, do you want more or less Moroccans, Moroccan people in the Netherlands? And he asked her during Google rally, and everybody starts shouting less less, let's
make that happen. So he said, Well, I want to expel them. So to say, he said a little bit different, but that was the was the message. Netherlands got a special thing about, like, Americans, the majority immigrants or something from
one of the biggest minority groups. Yeah. Why? Why did he say Moroccans? I'm just interested to know.
Of course, they're Muslims. Yes, that's the thing. But when you look at the statistics, when it comes to criminal behavior, when it comes to,
for example, leaving school without a diploma or unemployment.
And they he said, Well, it has to do with the Moroccan people, but also with their Islamic background, because Islam is retired. And because they are Muslim, they are stealing, they're robbing, etc. And so he said, it's because they are Muslim, that they are do things like that. Right. But in the end, he, he made sort of a cut between Moroccan and Islam, and he was only talking about Moroccan people. And I find it kind of strange, because in the party, the Freedom party or Moroccan people as well, of course, they were not Muslim, but they were very, most time ex Muslim, or secular Muslims, or Christians or Jews or whatever. But non Muslims? Of course, not.
But I thought it was kind of a betrayal because you say, Well, if you want to get rid of American people, you're talking about your allies as well.
They feel how did they feel about that? The Moroccans ticket? Of course, they didn't like it. But they said, Well, okay, perhaps he doesn't mean it's like, he just got a bit carried away. Yeah. But I talked to him about this topic, quite extensively. And he said, No, that's not what I say. This is literally what I say I want less Moroccan people. And so then I said, Well, I'm the spokesperson in Parliament, not you on this topic. So first, it will be nice if you inform me.
You make it and I say, well, it's really it's it's, you're changing policies now, because it's not about Islam and
ethnicity of Moroccan people. And I said, That's not why not why I'm in politics. I'm in politics because I don't like Islam. And I think we have to stop the Islamization of our society. So in the end, we got into a fight with words of course
I left the party. But I was still not liking Islam. So that's in 2014 2015. That was when I started writing my book because it broke the Freedom Party, you're not allowed to write books on Islam, because that's the main topic for here. Veals himself. And he said, of course, you can write with me like a co writer, but not yourself. Because I'm the spokesperson. I'm the I'm the CIO to say the symbol of anti.
Yeah. And then I told him, I said, Well, I finally have the time to fulfill my long held desire, writing an anti Islam book,
cleaning why we are so anti Islam, because most of the politics are only one liners and stupid debates. And it's not, you have the time to really explain how you feel, why you feel, take the sources explain etc. And I felt when I was writing a book, nobody can talk to me, I can just write it down and people will read it. So that was
how it started.
I want to ask it, there's so many other questions like, okay, so like,
you know, when you tell me that story, and you, especially the 911 thing, 911, I had just had my first child, actually, I was a mom with same age. So
I was 21, right? 21, about 21.
And I remember hearing about it on the radio as I was feeding him. And yeah, it was a shock to everybody.
But since then, I'd written for the times, like just some, just some, like interesting articles to explain things about Islam that they asked me to write, you know, like Ramadan and things like that. And I got a letter from an English lady, I got a few letters. One was like a five page letter from a man who told me why I couldn't be so positive as a Muslim in the UK, you know, you know, I tried to convey like, a positive message. But he was like, you know, these are all the things that are wrong with Islam. And it's like a five page thing, you know?
It's only five handwritten, handwritten as well.
But another lady, she sought me out. And she, she sent me a message. And she and it was like, she's an old lady, elderly lady. And, you know, she said, you know, someone like you who was the face of ale, you know, I just feel sad. I just feel sad, because I feel like my country has changed beyond recognition. And I feel like if I met you, in the street, you probably wouldn't even speak to me. And
and, you know, I feel like the things that my for Mother's fought for freedom for women have been changed by you and your co religionists, don't you think? She said, don't you think you know that you also have some responsibility or something like this, you know, and she and she was really, it was a really heartfelt letter.
And, initially, I've, you know, obviously, when you hear when somebody says that to you think, okay, you know, they've got a lot of prejudices and things like that. But I actually thought to myself, No, I'm actually gonna try to empathize with this woman, you know,
and I don't think we do that enough, by the way as Muslims like,
and I thought, yeah, I mean, come on, you know, you've got all these like, people who look different to you, they, they have a different culture. They eat different types of food to you as well, like your the nature of your high street has changed, and, you know, your people. I mean, that there's some things that have changed anyway, about British society, like, people don't even know their neighbors anymore. But that's, that's got nothing to do with Islam. Right. But, but I think on top of that, when you see this kind of very visible change, I thought to myself, you know, yeah, it's change is scary. Change is scary to anyone. Right? So I replied to her in a very empathetic way.
You know, and I said, You're right, that Muslims need to do more to build bridges and reach out and not live in ghettos and not kind of stay in their own communities. Because I do believe that more dour and more, you know, and dour when I say that I don't just mean preaching and, you know, putting out leaflets. Yeah, I mean, knowing your neighbors caring about your community, like
feeling that Britain is yours, you know, your, your, your country that you care about, you know.
And I replied in an empathetic way, and I pointed out to her that look, I know change is really hard, but I said look, some some things that you said are a misconception.
and especially like about women, don't, don't you feel upset by the objectification of women in society. You know, if I met you, I would speak to you and I don't veil in front of women, you know, we just veil in front of men.
So I would greet you, and I would welcome you to my house. And you know, but I also said to her, Look, you know, my, my sister, she's married to an English man.
And, you know, they have a child. And that's the future of Britain, you know, like, Britain has changed. People are marrying into different cultures.
And perhaps that's a beautiful thing. You know, that's something that and she responded. And she said, wow, you know, you really put my heart to rest, I was really surprised, actually, she said, You really touched me and really put my heart to rest. And I'm going to keep reading your letter again. And again, because it's really given me comfort. And I was quite surprised, actually,
of, of good behavior and of caring, empathy. I think
it's just showing, it's leaving soon, I think.
But the reason why I mentioned the word empathy is when you were just describing now, you as a student, you know, with whatever your background, and then hearing about 911.
I didn't feel that your reaction was irrational, you know, the ante
actually thought, hey, if I was him, I would probably have reacted the same way. Because like, Who are these people, you know,
these people, the audacity of these people who are coming to attack our, you know, countries or our symbols, you know, like the World Trade Center is basically a symbol of Western civilization, right? Like, how far have they reached? Right? I can actually empathize with that. And I know a lot of Muslims don't like that, you know, they'd like to say, Oh, they're just a bunch of racists or whatever. But I think you have to sometimes
actually think, Wait a minute, if I was in that situation, if I was a young person, and all I'd heard about Islam was this, and then this thing happens.
Yeah, I would sign up to the nearest party to, you know,
strongly enough about my people, my civilization, my, my religion. So this last thing you mentioned, I think that's something very important. And it's not mentioned enough, sometimes even not at all, is, is religion, because, like you said, to the women will letter that Britain changed, and But Britain change in a certain way, the same way that's society changed, or the Swedish society or Danish or whatever, Belgium, France, they all got secularized. And that's great. Because when I talked to my grandfather, when he was still alive, he ended up as a 94 year old man. And just before he passed away, I told him, I became Muslim. And he was literally on his deathbed. So it was kind of
hard to do because he was a minister. And then, of course, when one of your grandchildren tells you, Well, I leave the truth. So to say, yes, yes. That's harsh. But while he ended that said, that's another story. But he told me Well,
at least you did became Catholic.
Really? Well. I thought, well, that's that's It's deep. The anti Catholic feelings are deep. But he said, Now, that's the reason he said it was actually it. Well, because Sunni Islam is much more related to Protestant Christianity than you think.
Yeah, so it was very special. But you told me when the when Muslims would have come to Europe, for example, in the 1920s, there wouldn't have been so much problems, because a lot of problems nowadays had to do with moral issues. Because veiling of course, is a moral statement. So to say that's why the nuns are veiled as well. And that's why the church where it's not a political statement, it's
worship immoral. Yeah. And it's the same accounts, for example of using drugs, alcohol, prostitution, abortion, dressing, like you're a whore, stuff like that. And when when people see it from a religious perspective, they understand it when I say, Well, what would you say if you were a practicing Christian? I'd rather attend that even when I was a member of of the of the Freedom party at 10 times more, a one and a half Muslim practicing mosque.
laying next to me when it comes to the moral issues, then a hard
guy or girl who was living a life that I don't want to have my children in their life. So when they are, for example, walking around naked in their garden and say, well, it's just my freedom. And they're using drugs and drinking alcohol and swearing do all those things. And I'm not saying that all non believers do that. But to explain in in Yeah. Well, it's being it's being promoted in society, through coherent. Yeah. So
I think that's a big problem. Because normally when when society is in, let's say, the 1920s, it was a Christian society. So when people say, I don't want my wife to do this, or my men do that, or I don't want to have billboards saying, commit adultery, commit adultery, just call or visit this website or stuff like that. Everybody would understand, because it's the you're talking about empathy for but also understanding of religion. That's God. And I think that's a big problem, because a lot of children nowadays are so much secularized that they don't, they're almost unable to employ to feel empathy for religious or religious feelings, because they really do not understand
it, they really don't understand. So that's a big problem. And everything has been deconstructed. Everything has been deconstructed to such an extent, and relativized. Right. Yeah. And people feel lost, because the woman and I have this conversation many, many times when I was in politics, but also when I left politics,
a lot of
natives so so they said, Well, we lost our story with a capital S. And so yeah, but it's your own fault. That's not the fault of the Muslims. Because, I mean, we mean, the Christian story, right, the story that
they everything, when you look at the whole way of especially the Netherlands, how our country is formalized. And when you look at institutions, that all has to do with Christianity, the political parties even have Christian names. People have Christian names. When you walk through the landscape, you see churches, the way we are talking our language, we have certain verbs, it talks about Christianity, everything. And but people really don't understand it. Because they lost their own narrative, so to say, and, yeah, it's basically been demonized. It's been ridiculed. So much like growing up, we used to feel offended by the stuff that was said about Isa, Jesus, right. Wow.
That's logical. But nowadays, people don't see that anymore. Right? They almost brought up hostile to religion in, in general, because first it was Christianity. But I see it happening in the Netherlands. It's now becoming Islam, because Islam is the only stronghold. So to say, in a religious sense, yes. It's anchored, right. And people when there's a void, when you leave a void of religion,
it needs to be filled with something. And it's almost like, it's almost like the market, the free market, you know, like, if, if something is not available on the market, someone comes in and fulfills that need, right? Yeah. And Islam has done that, basically. And I think it's very, I don't want to say that's the hand of God. But it's, it's, it's remarkable that at the same time, the Europe is secularizing, all those people with an Islamic background come in.
So it's almost like, Okay, you're, you're not allowed to lose your religion, so to say.
And I, and I wish, I wish, and this is this, this takes me to the next question. I wish that somehow we could shift the narrative so that instead of seeing that as a curse, Europe began to see that as a blessing. Yeah. And I think there is a tiny shift happening right now. Right? With with with, you know, Jordan Peterson and the stuff that he's saying, about nihilism and how you know, the death of God so called Death of God has caused basically all of this like the very bedrock and anchor of Western civilization to be ripped out.
I think he's awakened people to that factor, like to the point that I don't know if you know,
Douglas MURRAY Right. Douglas Murray in the UK.
He I actually met him once on a TV show. But he I've seen the shift even in him right like, initially he was so anti religion, even anti any religion, right? He's, it seemed like he was an atheist and he was, like, disparaging of what and it was kind of fashionable. Isn't it like to be like a new atheist type right, or to support them in the intellectual scene? But since he's
I met Jordan Peterson and had some of those public discussions with Sam Harris. And I've noticed that even he has started to say that actually, we can't have, we can't afford to leave a void. You know, like, the void that we're leaving is going to be filled. And obviously, for them, it's like the radical left that are filling that void, but also Islam. Right. And, and I was thinking, wow, you know, like, the West is slowly waking up to that fact, you know, that, like, for example, somebody somebody like Douglas, he complains about how, you know, Islam is basically, you know, he's written that book,
the strange death of Europe, right?
Somebody like that, who complains about Islam in that way? You'd think he should be going to church, you know, he should be like, you know, getting everybody to, hey, let's revive, you know, our, our history, let's revive our civilization and its bedrock. But But No, they won't do that. They don't go to that extent.
I think that that is impossible, because I think Christianity, it has been researched so much, and ridiculed. His research, so much, not really killed, of course,
research so much that when you really
look into the religion, you see the truth of Islam in Christianity. So I really think there won't be a revival of Christianity in Europe, I think Christianity is.
But I do think that a lot of conservatives will enter Islam in the end, and it will, perhaps it will take decades. But that's something that will happen. And I think that's a very good thing. Because that's, well, Islam isn't, is, of course, part of Europe as well. Because when you look at the history of Spain, you have 800 years of Islam in Spain, when you look at, for example, Bosnia, or Albania, those are parts of Europe as well, of course, and long
exchange of ideas, exchange of culture, etc, between Christian Europe and the Muslim world. But I really think when you look at the seal, the theological concept of the first revelation for the Jews, then for the Christians, the Bible and the New Testament injeel. And then once you've got Quran as the final message, I think that's something it's like a stage of Europe as well, because of course, everybody. Yeah. And I think and I hope it makes sense. It's like, it's like, it's a long
story. That makes sense, doesn't it? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So I really hope for for this to happen, of course, but it will take a long time, I think, okay, how do we break the deadlock? Is there anything we could be doing like that, when you when you look at Muslim societies and Muslim, I don't know that that was see, you know, because you're in the Dallas scene now. Right?
How can we break the deadlock between, particularly the political right and Islam?
Yeah, well, I think the political right has to look at itself as well, because it's kind of funny that, for example,
had Villers these, he always talks about defending the Judeo Christian culture. I don't know if that's something you hear in Britain as well.
People don't usually say Judeo Christian. Yeah, perhaps the Christian heritage or whatever, that's something that even Christian it's very on. I don't know if you know, like, when Tony Blair, when he tried to bring God into things, you know, his famously his, his spin doctor said to him, we don't do God. He actually said to him, don't mention God, like, so in Britain. You don't talk about God? Yeah. Okay, well, that's a little bit different here.
Talk about Judeo Christian heritage, and we have to defend it. But the two main parties that promote that the leaders of those parties aren't Christian, they're not religious at all. So let's get to church. They don't know really the one of them really said I don't believe in God. So it's kind of strange to political parties who are talking about Christianity and defending the Christian heritage don't believe in God at all. And then there's an other party who's talking about we have to stop immigrants because of
their their taking over they're making too much babies, etc. But those persons that complete top I was just something I was looking in last last weekend. They all are not married. And
so basically, there's this cognitive dissonance Right? Like
we watch this but we're not willing to act it out in our own lives. Yeah, so don't they don't they ever think about that? That isn't that ever point.
out to them. No, never. So if I was still in politics, I would ask.
It's like you're not practicing. What you preach. You preach? Yeah. Hypocrisy basic. Yeah. That's really strange. That's what I mean. That's exactly what I see in someone like Douglas Murray as well. The things, the very things that he says, you know, Muslims are having, basically having so many kids that
they, they're so devoted and their whatever, whatever, okay, why don't you counter that by, you know, having kids and going to church and be voted and go and, you know, encourage more society to adopt those things. Right. But they won't encourage the society to adopt Christianity even in really, it's just so what are they offering? What do they see themselves as offering?
Well, in the end nothing, because people say, Well, it's an extreme right party, they always talk about the left and the right. I don't know if it's in
the Tories and the Labour Party, of course.
Well, in the analysis, the same but a little bit different. But if we look at in essence, it's the same, but the political right used to be the Christian side, the religious side of politics. And on the left side, already atheist, the socialist communist and there, but that changed in the Netherlands, you see that that as well. The left as well as the right are almost a religious, there's only there were two parties still here who are religious to small Christian parties. And that's it. So all those parties, so extreme liberal, so secularized, that there is no difference anymore between them, the left and the right, the only thing they're talking about now are exactly
the smaller things in life, so to say, Yeah. And it's the same here. Like there's not that much difference, to be honest. But of course, they won't admit it. And they say, Well, we are we're fighting for the working class, blah, blah, blah, of course you do. But that's not the real story. It's not that there's not a narrative you want to sell to your voters on a long term. And they both have no story. And I think that's a problem. And I think that is an opportunity as well for Muslims, because you asked, What can we do? I think, first of all, we have to do Dawa. But like you said in the beginning, not just handing out brochures, for example. But really offering a solution in in
daily life. So do you think that works? On a one to one level? Is that where it starts? Like? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And
think because because like you said, so many times, I've come across people on the right and thought, well, we've actually got the same way socially, anyway, like, we've morally, we've got very, a lot in common. And yeah, if only you could see that.
But they will. But it takes time because like you said, it's changed overnight for them. The society. But so do you think people like you should be leading that? That that's, I guess,
like, I want I want to know, like, honestly, like when you see Muslims, like Hamza Yusuf, and when you did meet the lucky Murat, so they obviously, white western
converts, right? Does that have an impact on you a different type of impact that, you know, then I don't know, someone else who might be Doctor someone or, you know, whatever, Professor something else, but but not have your own ethnicity and background? It must have a different impact?
Well, not so much for me, I think. But it is when you have discussions with people who are very anti Islam, they see Islam as something exotic, foreign, foreign, something something not from here, not localized, so to say, right? And when they then when they see a white person, whether it's a girl or a boy, it's changed, because in a way, you're one of them. Yeah, in a way, like, I don't think we should be embarrassed to say that, because that's, that's Iran. It says that, you know, every nation, God sent a messenger from within them, right. Like, there's something very powerful in that. Right. And I think it's normal because it's a sociological truth that you are the people who look
like you are the first people you go to because that's feel safe. So that's not nothing strange. Chinese people have that Dutch people, people from Pakistan, Peru, whatever. So that's normal when it comes to bridging the gap, so to say, I think it's very
important that you don't not only see people who don't look like you, but also people who do look like I think that the the strength of Islam is the universal message. And not to be all lefty show. It's not a leftist story. But I mean that everybody faces the same problems in their personal life. And everybody in the end that as a religious person is a unique God as the end solution. So Islam is the only religion that invites everybody really, explicitly say there is not a better black person, and a white person is not a better wipers and a black person. The only thing else, of course, the famous hadith is that the piety and the way you act that you a better person. And when you look at
Christianity, for example, of course, in the New Testament, there are texts that talk about equality and women and Greeks and Jews, etc. But it's not so explicitly and it's not something that's in daily life in the current context that hits so hard because it's not about Greek persons or, or Macedonian people. People talk about black and white, they say, Okay, you are white, you're black. And that's something you see in Islam. It's very explicit as for all time, so I think the message there is so so strong that even the other way around you, for example, you look at someone like Malcolm X, who was a white, very anti American. And of course, that's logical when you look at his
context, expats etc. But he also had an experience during his harch, that he saw a white person with blue eyes, handing him a cup of water, and he they drank from the same. And then he said, Well, I was messed up. I was messed up. Islam cured me in a way. And I think that is something that a lot of
white Europeans have to go through as well. But then the other way around, that they see, well, it's not that we have the same core values. We, but I have to see through the appearance of the other, do you think eventually the frustrations of you know, Europeans with the radical left, right, and the complete deconstruction that's going on, right? To the point where, for example, right now you see, like, men, or people who are born men,
who are saying that they women, and competing with women in sports, right? Like and stuff like that, right? Like That must make people go mad, you know, like just seeing that like seeing men beat up women, biological men beating up women. And that being okay, like, you know, it's gone to that extent now, right? Do you think the radical left and its excesses is going to eventually drive
Western people or Europeans to say, wait a minute, I'm done with this, like, I'm done with this entire
craziness, you know, and I need something more anchored. Do you think that could possibly lead people to Islam?
I think it will play a part will play a part. Yeah, I think But there's something else because you asked what can the Muslims do? I think that what something very important that Muslims can do as a community is don't vote for left parties. And don't become active in very progressive organizations, because you send out mixed mixed signals. Because on the one hand, you say, for example, I'm very conservative when it comes to family. But on the other way, you're promoting, for example, women sporting, competing against transgender man. So that's kind of that's really difficult, isn't it? Like, that's difficult for people because they're like, it's like, what happened in UK, you know,
Jeremy Corbyn, he's just such a, he's just such a friend of Muslims. You know, what I mean? Like, just as a person and his whole support of the Palestinian cause blah, blah, blah,
like, and then you have, on the other hand, a party that's like the conservative party where I know that certain moral values align. But actually, the leader of the party makes fun of us. Do you know what I mean? Like, there's Islamophobia that doesn't even get talked about and so it's the same year it's the same thing. It's confusing for Muslims like, okay.
So, if you're saying don't join the left, then what are you doing the right? No, because I think you have to join yourself. And I think that's the point because we have elections in three weeks here.
For the City Council's and someone asked me, What are you voting for? I'm so clear.
So yeah, I'm curious myself, because I, it's like you're a political orphan. Yes, of course, when I look at the moral agenda of the left, the progressive left, I cannot vote for a progressive organization, because I don't want my children to grow up in a world that they promote. Yeah. Other hands. When I look at the Conservative parties in the Netherlands, the rights of political parties, they are so anti Islam, that I cannot vote for him, because because you create good stuff.
Of course, so I'm a political orphan. So what should happen is that I think that Muslims start organizing themselves and found institutions and not that they say, Well, you cannot vote for us or you don't belong to us because we are Muslim. Now you have to start that so to say, a new conservative organization, and not only in politics, media, stuff like that schools, where everybody's welcome. But we are organized out of this Islamic fundamentalists this concept, this is who we are, we are Muslims. And we promote Islamic values, we promote the Islamic way of life. And of course, we don't want to impose it to you, but you are welcome to follow us as well, or join us
or whatever, so that you are an open Conservative Party with an Islamic background because you have to localize and I said you said institution. Yeah. Do you mean political party? Or, for example, parties, political parties, but also media organizations, newspapers, internet, websites, schools?
Stuff like that. That is happening, though, isn't it? Slowly, but surely it is.
Yeah. And I think that that's, that will be the answer. And yeah, it's gonna be so do you see it as being slow? Organic? Yeah, yeah. Inevitable?
Yeah, and a lot of people, of course, want to a one day solution. So okay, this is what we're gonna do. And next week, it's all fixed. And that's not how it works, unfortunately. But I think in the end, about in about 4050 years, the landscape will totally be different if Muslims will be able to organize and be open to society as well, because like you said, In the beginning, I think and that's something because a lot of things society does wrong. But there are a lot of things that the Muslim community can do better as well. And that is one of them is that you adapt the country you're living and see it as your own because you are born here, your children will die here probably. So it is
your ground as well. And I think when you look at from a dour perspective, the whole world is our masjid, it was all created by by Allah. So you have to, you have to share the message here as well. It perhaps is even more important here. Because a lot of people don't know about Islam, although there are a lot of Muslims here. So that's something that's kind of strange. So that's, that's the message I always try to share with the fellow brothers and sisters. I got just two more things, please, if you don't mind, I really want to ask you. One is that we're to the elite in society. So this is something that I've been thinking about for a long time, and I just wanted your thoughts on
it. So you know, like, because I was involved in our organization, I era you might have heard of it Abdur Rahim green Hamza sources, etc, right.
And most of the bow effort I would say is grassroots, you know, very much grassroots. And at some point, I started thinking to myself, you know, I wish that there was more effort also, on the other side of society, which is, you know, the upper classes, the, the, the political leaders, the, in Britain, you know, we have like, obviously, we have, like, you know, lords and ladies, and we have barons and olds, right.
And also really, like highly influential people. So sports personalities. And so the, the new rich as well, right. And I was thinking to myself, so Pamela, like, there's this saying,
you know, actually let me let me just quickly bring it. I posted it on Twitter recently.
Basically, Abdullah bin Massoud, one of the companions, he said about Omar bin al hottap. You know, the the second Caleb, he said, Omar is embracing Islam was our victory. His migration to Medina was our success and his reign, a blessing from Allah. We didn't offer prayers in the Masjid Al haram, meaning, you know, in front of the Kaaba until Omar had accepted Islam when he accepted Islam the Quraysh So, in other words, the ruling class, were compelled to let us pray in the mosque, in front of the cabinet, right? And subhanAllah like just thinking about that and then thinking about how the prophets Allah Sonam also, he actually devoted although of course he can
About every one, he did devote some special attention, sometimes even special resources to the lower to the upper echelons of society. Right? I don't know what to call them, but elite the, in the establishment, the influentials, right. And in a way you you are from the establishment, whether you like it or not, like you were right. So I would really like to hear from you like what you think about that, because I feel like, if we could, first of all, I don't know how we would do this, but, and I'd like to hear from you on that.
If we were to also exert effort, or some kind of, you know, have some kind of even strategy to,
to talk to and influence the upper echelons. And the establishment, I feel like that would have a quicker impact, you know, then what's happening now, which is,
which is the masses, which is, you know, grassroots power only, mainly, I would say, and so in a way that's, that's organic, maybe it's, maybe it's going to end up being better, because, you know, at the end of the day, the elite, you know, they have to have to listen to their people, right. But it makes me ask, you know, like,
what efforts are being done to influence the establishment? What can we do? What do you think about, about my theory? What I've just said?
Well, I think it's very interesting. And I think it's, it's true, if you want to speed it up,
then then I of course, you have to be at the places where
laws are being made, where the message to the cultural message is being sent lated. And like I said, if you start working on organizations, you can aim inside such an organization for specific group. So, for example, if there were people in the UK Muslims, who would organize and started their own political party, they would be and they will be elected, and they are inside Parliament's. And they were able to talk to the people there, they see how they live, they see how they do that, how they act, what they what they bring, that's something that could be very strong. It's the same with with with media organizations, if you are just aiming for the masses, and you're just moving, for
example, cartoons in a very simple way. Of course, it's it can be effective for youngsters, or for people
outside the elite, but some people who want to be filled more with certain theological information, or information about the bigger the bigger story of Islam, I think you have to aim for them as well, specifically. And I think you can do that by organizing yourself by starting
organizations institution what we do in the Netherlands, I founded an organization I don't know if you ever heard of it's called Islam Experience Center. Yeah, yeah. Heard of it. Tell it tell us about it. Yeah. And what we do is that we go to schools, and where we show people, especially non Muslims, the story of Islam, through virtual reality. So we, we, all those virtual reality glasses, we bring them, we go to schools, we say, okay, let's then we have a whole class. So what we do we start first, we have an association round, and we ask, What do you think when you hear the word Islam, it doesn't matter. You can say everything he can say, terrorism or blood or whatever, you can
say, the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him or the mosque. There's, there's no good or false so and then we write it down on the board, or we let them write it on notes. So they can be anonymous. They throw it in a bowl, and then I say, well explain, explain how the VR worked. And we look at the VR video, it's about 10 minutes. And after the VR video, and it shows you the basic stuff of Islam, the Quran, Islam, history, inventions, like 1001, invention, style, and it's all in VR. So it's like an experience it for real and by themselves. And after that, we talk about the video but also about what they said when they were asked about what their association was with Islam. And then we said,
yeah, and how is it possible that those things are so different, different? Yeah. And then then they start questioning and talking and I think that's, that's, that's a good way especially because we also sometimes go to gem nations. I don't know if you have that in in the
case well, that's the highest level. So to say Ivy League schools, I don't in the United States, you have Ivy League schools. That's, that's a very, sort of the elite schools. Oh, like the private? Yeah, sort of. Yeah, it's not private finance, but it's the highest level of education you can have in high school before you enter university. And that's what we do. And we go specific sometimes to schools like that. And we have a program for those children as well. And that's different from the normal program. And you see, because we have feedback from them as well, they say, Well, it's the first time somebody tells me about religion in a way that it doesn't sound stupid.
And those children are the future of tomorrow, of course, those are the elites of tomorrow. So when you start going to them any young at a young age, and you start giving them information and tools and, and the truth and why it's not to be ridiculous to be a religious person, especially when it comes to Islam, that you give them something that perhaps, when they grow up or get older, they don't have this anti is negative.
But also, perhaps they will be Muslim. We have two guys now.
One is 21. One is what all he told us. Yeah, I became Muslim, mainly because you started with it. And it is two years ago, and that was two of those persons are from those so to say Ivy League schools.
So perhaps, you know, what did they say cause them to
Islam Experience Center visit, and it was just 1/5 of what such an impact on us. And the way how we see Islam and what you gave us answers. And that's not me as a person, but the organization of the people who work with us. So they gave us such normal answers. And they explained Islam and religion in such a rational way. Because I think that's important for the Western mind is very rational.
And they said, Well, this is the first time I could relate to it as a well, perhaps that is the truth. So I mean, there are two of them ended up being Muslim.
And I think those those are youngsters, so they are the future. So you don't know where they end up? Yes, yes, absolutely. Well, yes. You know, it makes me think it because it My experience was like that as well at school, like, as a Muslim, my dad is a Islamic scholar as well. So I grew up religious, you know, like, that wasn't normal in that time.
But my, the Christians in my class, the religious Christians, they were always my good friends, you know, they always saw me as like, wow, she's, you know, she's, she's wears her hijab with pride, and we get made fun of just for being Christians, you know,
without even looking different, right.
And other friends of mine later on, when we left school now, now, you know, however old we are, they've reached out to me, and they'll say, you know, what you really impact impacted us just because of simple things, you know, like, having certain principles, not backbiting, for example, you know, like, the really simple things that, that I just did, because that was my upbringing. And, you know, like, but also, it's sometimes they would ask me questions, you know, like, what does Islam say about this? What does Islam say about that? And, and the answers for them were refreshing, you know? Yeah, so I can definitely see the impact of that. Yeah. And I think that that can be
another way of
speeding up the process.
But also, your one thing I wanted to say is, you know, when I lived in Egypt, I was a student in Egypt. I think that was the first 16
That was the first time I realized how much I love Britain, you know, and how British I am, actually, because there were certain values that I saw had been, had just disappeared from what is ostensibly a Muslim society. Yeah, that I felt that I had a gut feeling for simply because I was British. And I'll give you an example of that. So I remember we were in exams. And this is supposed to be like a religious school. And of course, like, not all Muslims are like this, you know, with all the normal caveats. But this is a Muslim country, it's all as her right. I'm going to I'm going to a to religious class, I want to be a scholar of Islam. I want to go back to Britain, you know,
like, knowledgeable etc. And we're in exams and a teacher comes in and tells all the students the answers to the questions. Okay.
He helps them cheat basically. And I am sitting there
with you know, like, completely enraged because I've I've lived
Last year just sat my GCSE is a Britain, okay? Where we had such an amazing sense of, you know, fairness, you know, we would walk in and nobody, nobody looks anywhere else you you're not allowed to talk you're not allowed to you know, there's no, there's no question of cheating, you know? And and I remember sitting and thinking, Where did I get that sense of, like, no one here actually thinks there's anything wrong with what's going on right? And I've just revised and I you know I'm I was a really good student I was like a straight A student, so somebody like that when you're somebody who studies a lot, it really affects you, you know, when you see people cheating and, and I
was thinking, you know what it's actually Britain and being British that gave me that sense of that very heightened sense of, you know, fairplay
is a very British thing. I'm not saying that Islam didn't teach me that, but the British culture is what I'm trying to say, really instill that in me. And I feel like, it made me really appreciate a lot of things about Britain like, even like the politeness that we learned that even just me as a, as a Muslim, a British Muslim, you know, there's a certain level of politeness that you learn, there's a certain level of I mean, there's so so many good things in society. So I don't want people to think that what we're talking about is like, Oh, the West is so bad. And
I see us I see myself as a Westerner, right? I feel like sometimes you have to see the opposite, or the opposite of your culture to realize the value of that British culture that that is instilled in you, you know, the beginning it has, I think it's something we have to do. Because if you want Islam to be spread all over the world, you have to be a Western Muslim. Because just like someone who lives in Indonesia, has his Islam in his Indonesian context, just like someone in Turkey has, or in Morocco, or in England.
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, we should we should write a book together. I think we should write a book, I think, Bill bridging the gap. That would be a good one.
Yeah. Would you be open to that? Seriously? Oh, really? Yeah. Yeah, I'm not joking, either. You know, I've got some publishers here, actually, who are interested in me writing books. So I really think that message is a very powerful one, bridging the gap, like what? What, basically a message I think, to Muslims, but also to, to Westerners.
I think it would be very powerful coming from somebody who was from an immigrant background, like my parents from another country and somebody who's a native European, I think that would be
I think, I think we've got a lot of ideas in common, you know.
So thank you so much does, you've really, it's been very interesting. I hope you've enjoyed the conversation as well. And Absolutely.
Do you have any kind of parting message that you'd like to share?
Well, what a lot of people ask me what when I, when I go to schools? Well, what do you want to say to the class? Sometimes? The teacher asked us, and when I'm with Muslims, and I think we have a Muslim audience,
perhaps some non Muslim who's lost, listening, but I think most people are Muslim. But what I always try to give them when I when I leave class is that they have to be aware of the fact that a lot of non Muslims don't read the Quran, and they don't read the Hadith. They read you and me, that's the only thing they see about Islam. As a person, yes. Only thing they see. And if that's enough, they will think, Well, if that's Islam, I don't want to be part of that. And if that's a beautiful thing, and they see something that they say, well, that's inspiring, they get interested and they want to know more. So you are and it's not always a fair thing, and it's very heavy on the shoulders of the
believers, you me and all the other graduates you are so to say a cart, a cart a business cards for for Islam. So I think very important to be aware of, so you can you can do your data in your Aflac and your edit, and a lot of people forget
to hire and prod the urine. Really appreciate that. And thank you for your time. I'll let you go back to your family now.
All right. Let's talk about the book.
Yeah, we will. We will and, yeah, in the future. I'd love to talk to you about like, what you think about, like,
you know what your plans are actually for the next 10 years what you seek, are you going to be building that institution that you're talking about?
Okay, I think that's a good place to finish. Salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakato.
Okay, dear brothers and sisters you had that amazing discussion with Brother URL.
I think I got a book deal out of it as well. A book collaboration
Subhanallah lots to think about
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Just ah, Camilla heron, or Salam aleikum. wa rahmatullah wa barakato. Subhanak. Allahu mobi handig. Shadow Allah Illa illa Anta esto Fuuka wa to be like,