Lauren Booth – Naked Society And Muslim Women

Lauren Booth
AI: Summary © The "will" of Islam is discussed, including the "will of the culture" and "will of the people," as well as the "will of the culture" and "will of the community." The French Ministry of Education's ban on buyers and wearing face masks in public buildings has caused issues for women across Europe, and the "has been erased" problem of women in society is discussed. The "has been erased" problem of women in society is also discussed, along with the "has been erased" problem of women in Turkey and being treated differently in the West.
AI: Transcript ©
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ban the wearing of a bias in school. You've raised it. And I'd forgotten how surprising that is today. You've got teachers who see it as their duty to proselytize to converge. Muslim kids. If we are very good to look at, then we are stripped of our dignity. Oh my god, I think I'm a misogynist. This is a really deep podcast going into society and politics in places hope you enjoy it. It's no exaggeration to say that in their quest to malign Islam, some in the West target Muslim women, her position within the family, her place in society and of course her dress are placed under the microscope. And like colonialists in the days of empire, her emancipation is seen to be a means to a

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greater Islamic reformation. In recent days, France's Minister of modesty will be banned from schools. Apparently a piece of clothing is an affront to fence secularism, and yet again, another sign of separatism. In the UK former Prime Minister Boris Johnson likened burqa wearing Muslim women as those that chose to look like letter boxes and bank robbers. young Muslim women are subjected to a barrage of what can only be called propaganda, producing their religious dress and promising to liberate them from their religion. Now to help us understand how this works, and to caution against some of the extremes by which the community can handle this onslaught. I am delighted here on the

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thinking Muslim to invite the writer and activist Lauren booth. Lauren booth is a broadcaster turned activist and author. She is known for her principled activism on Palestine and regularly comments on Muslim affairs. And she is also the author of his memoir in search of a holy land, which is available on Amazon and all good book shops. I think in fine. Lauren, I'm amazed that you've got a recommendation here from Nicky Campbell, a fascinating read. I couldn't put it down. I mean, Nicky Campbell, often is characterized as someone who doesn't really have a good word to say about Islam and Muslim women. How did you how did you get that? So that Miley come rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

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Weissmuller, mela Rahim. Thanks very much for inviting me. I wanted to come on the thinking Muslim podcast for quite a number of years now. I really enjoy your content and your interviews. Nicky Campbell. Yeah, that was you've raised it. And I'd forgotten how surprising that is and how it started. So about five years ago, we were having a spat on Twitter, because he had said something so obnoxious, that I just had to really pull him up about it. We'd worked together previously, radio five, we've got on well in my former incarnation as a non Muslim broadcaster. And yesterday, say he said on Twitter, right, he said, I would, it was about the burqa not being allowed in France. And it

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was, you know, really, we knew that a ban towards hijab ban towards the veil, all of these things were coming up in France, and he said, I would rather my 15 year old daughter went mostly * on a beach than she covered up like that, and I'm sure you use something like look like a letterbox or but it was really obnoxious. And so a lot of Muslims underneath had commented, and I just put that on my on my feed look that is out of order. It's a disgraceful thing to say it's awful on your daughter, it's Islamophobic. It causes all kinds of problems. You have no idea about this, and you actually have no right to put your foot into this. And I said, everybody who agrees with me bombard

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Nicky Campbell Right now, within the hour, his Twitter feed had almost crashed with furious Muslims. Just, you know, really going at it and saying, Take this down, take this down. So he got in touch with me in the DMS and he said, Lauren, I'm being harassed online, because of you. I said, No, Nicki, you're being harassed online, because if your obnoxious views he said, Okay, that says maybe, could you call off your attack dogs? I said, Don't call my people dogs. And but what I might do, and then he said something, he said, I thought Islam was about being polite. And I'm like, they

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he's pulled it'd be nice card and are what would the Prophet do? said, You know what, if you're feeling harassed, I will ask people to tone it down. But you and I need to talk. So we got into a discussion. And I tried to make him see talked about the hijab, and he asked some really good questions. He said, can you advise me, and it led to, when my book came out, I said, Nikki, I feel you should read this. As a friend, we've come to a kind of very warm impasse.

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And I'd like to send it to you and he read it. And I said, he loved it. And I said, I'm going to use your review on the front. Is that okay? He said, Lauren, go for it.

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So it just shows that you'd be people don't like to think of themselves. Nobody wakes up in the morning goes, You know what, I'm really going to annoy you.

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Today, I'm really going to pour hatred out. They're not if they're in any way ethically, morally not bankrupt.

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And they have half a mind, you know, for for what words mean. They want to be talked around. So let's engage. That's my message. Now I provocatively use the word onslaught against the Muslim women or against womanhood in my introduction, and I suspect many may dispute but this is hyperbole.

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How do you assess the current discourse surrounding Muslim women?

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Well, I look up. First and foremost, we use our own experiences as jumping off points. And I know for certain that there are arenas where I am and my views, legitimate, well informed journalistic views have no space anymore. Because I dress as a Muslim. Really. Yeah. So I used to work part time for the BBC, I used to do reports on Sky News, or mommy in the newspaper reviews, etc. And when I put on the hijab that ended overnight, that's not a coincidence. And that is experienced, more importantly, of women across Europe, there is something that the European Union, and there, the parliament there, in a report has accepted and acknowledged, it's called the triple bind. So if

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you're a Muslim woman in Europe, you've got your degree, and you want to go into the workplace, you have these three factors against you, one, you're a woman anyway. Two, you're in hijab, and three, if you have a Muslim name. And that means that that three has pretty much three strikes, and you're out. And that is a real difficulty. It's a real prejudice. And that's what we've been facing for a long time. Recently, we're talking in the week where the French Ministry of, of Education has banned the buyers in schools or ban the wearing of a buyers in school.

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And that follows, you know, a series of bans a ban of the face veil, in in France and on streets as a fine for someone who wears a face veil. In fact, in fact, I remember, they even passed a law which prohibited Muslim women from asking for a female doctor, potentially, they would get a fine if they requested a female doctor. So there is this obsession and of course, in France is a ban on the hijab as well in public buildings. So there is this obsession with women's dress in France and across Europe, what lays what lays behind what lies behind rather these this obsession? You know what, I'm going to agree with that, but I'm actually going to extend it to a socially unwell society, right?

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Because I was on a plane yesterday, coming from Istanbul, we were waiting for our plane, actually, everything had been backed up. And I got into a conversation with a woman who lives in France. And she said, and I was saying exactly what you're saying, What is this obsession with women's dress? She said, hey, it goes deeper than that. She her friend had taken her six year old son to a swimming pool. And he had long shorts on. And they said, No, you can't come in. Why not? Because you have to wear Speedos. And she said, Are you seriously saying that my six year old should be in budgie smugglers don't even think about what that means.

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And that's an obsession with a sexualization of the human body. Yeah, and a minimal amount of dress so that everybody is accessible to everyone else. So on the one hand, if you're French, sorry, if you're Muslim, and you're living in France, you know, it's about being Muslim. But if you're a French person who wants a different level of modesty, you also know that there is a catchment area where you are different from the rest of the society. So there's a sickness that that really causes that society does focus on the Muslims there. But it goes deep into every arena. I mean, to me, France is a failed state, it's a failing culture. When you actually have to put a gun to a woman who

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is modestly dressed on a beach and tell her take your clothes off. You've lost your mind. And when you're telling children, little boys, you can only wear a strip of material like this or not come swimming, you are really in an unhealthy situation. Now the online space and generally popular culture is a very confusing place, I think, for Muslim girls or young Muslim women in particular.

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And I've got a daughter and I think that, unlike maybe my son, she is impacted by a barrage of confusing messages about a Muslim nurse about a hijab.

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About the obligations of wearing certain types of dress. And it just seems to me that there is this deliberate attempt to target Muslim girls in particular. And to, dare I say, to try to read or try to make them move off the path of, of Islam. And am I exaggerating? This is what what's your, what's your perspective on this matter? And ask how old your daughter is. She's now 20. So 20 Yeah, so she's made her decisions. But all of that time, probably from the age of eight, she will have been really hyper aware of being different in the public space, different at school, spoken about not spoken to othered. All of those things are a really dynamic and drive a lot of girls into saying I

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can't do this. Most mothers have Muslim girls, say in the UK right now, specifically, they will meet a point when one of their daughters will say to them in her job, perhaps at 13, I don't know if I can do it tomorrow. I just want a day off. And at that point, you realize that that society is social engineering, the Muslim community by

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criminalizing the young men, there are more new laws in the last 20 years focusing on young Muslim men and Muslim areas to make men less successful boys less successful, you know, Muslims are dire in education. And yet we can get 30 for a 16 year old Muslim girl got 34 GCSEs at A and the young men, you know, don't worry about them, let them fail. But the pots of gold that go to Birmingham, are for secularized Muslim women women's groups, by the way. So you have that big draw if I want to be successful, the Muslim, the Muslim women's groups that the government likes, are all led by non hijabi women, and a not diverse, and we've been saying this for a long time, come on, let us be

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represented even in our own communities. So I would say actually, brother, that's it's gone so far into making us insecure, that you're beginning to see workspaces run by Muslims. And I've had this specifically with

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convert sister who was sacked, or no, she was told by the Asian men she worked for who are Muslims don't wear black all the time. It really puts off the customers. She's a convert to Islam, trying to be modest in her way and learning her face, told by Muslim bosses, you the way you look is putting off white customers. Right? I mean, where do you go with that? Right and why why what you're, you're intimating that there is a, an atmosphere that has been created, deliberately created, to shoehorn to push Muslim women in a particular direction. I mean, can you speak to that? What, why is this atmosphere being created?

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I think it's a it's clearly an insecurity in our society, about the strength of what our culture is. And when I say our I say, all of us as British people, right, you know, when you go abroad, and you're like, Well, what is Britishness? This has been something that conservatives have wanted to ask us for the last 20 years. What does it mean doing British? There's been lots of jokes about it. I mean, for me when I was 20, you know what it meant? It meant ska music. bacon sandwiches are always a biller. And yeah, Notting Hill Carnival that that was Britishness to my grandparents that would be apart from the bacon sandwiches and absolute and Massimo, right. Yes. So that what is being

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British doesn't allow yet for a diversity of experiences, and that's making everybody insecure. I mean, you've got Rishi Sunak, who has agreed to have an immigrant shoulding ship on the Thames in order to, to go along this anti diversity, this fear of foreigners movement, I mean, that that that really speaks to an insecure environment, doesn't it? Yeah. Let me ask you about the hijab in particular, because of course, but back to you know, my daughter when when she was growing up, she had conflicting messages from everywhere about the hijab, to the degree that you had, what seemed like people who were being very much sponsored by central government, or at least sponsored by NGOs

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that were linked to separate central government discouraging her from wearing a hijab. There's a lot of noise out there, about what is the appropriate what is the correct Muslim dress. Now, of course, I know that some Muslim women find it very difficult to wear the hijab and you know, that's not what I'm

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speaking to her, but I also know that there is just general confusion that probably has never been in Islamic history. I suspect most of Islamic history, Muslim women generally knew okay, this is the requirements of, of Islamic dress. How does the Muslim girl navigate this noise that seems to be out there, which is discouraging her from worshiping Allah. So first thing we have to do is to really look at who we are following. So each of us has our own individual timeline. Have you ever been shown some somebody in your family or said, Oh, here's my Instagram feed, and you're like, That is weird. What is that? It's like going into somewhere really strange. Some sometimes my husband will

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log in to his account for some reason on my laptop, and I'll end up going through his feed for half an hour. Okay. Why is it in Arabic? Why is it so weird? Kind of military trolling my husband? It's so different. So their worlds are very, very different. So number one, you have to look at who are you following? Is it hyper centralized popstars? Is it? Joker's on Instagram? Is it women who cover and where are you taking your face from? So none of us can legitimately say that we're going to be as women taking our face from a woman who looks like she's in the Barbie film. All right, that would be like, okay, okay. Haroon Yahia tried it a few years ago, that strange cult leader in Turkey, he

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surrounded himself with blonde women, hyper sexualized, and said, This is the dean and everyone went, Yeah, yeah, you've lost your mind. So if you're a young woman, and you're saying, right, on the one hand, I might like this pop music, and I like these shows on Netflix and that, right? That's just social culture. But when you come to the dean, you're not gonna go to netflix. Right? Because you know that that's outside our dean. So when you put him here's a little thing you can try

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saying the straight to your daughter and young women out there, put into Google, female Muslim scholar, not influencer, not celebrity or personality. Okay, we're talking about people who teach the actual deep and the basics, the building blocks of our Islamic Deen. Yeah, none of them will be uncovered.

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Now, if these women know, the prophetic model, and the Quranic model of expectations, and they're paid and endorsed to teach this by the Obama, by the Obama, then surely, that's enough. For me, I'm a very simple person, I have to be honest, I don't need complexities. I do something simple like that. And I say, you know, you're Dean, you're teaching me and you're all covered, then that tells me all I need to know. Right? Yeah. That's a very, very good sound piece of advice. I think.

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There is a, an argument or a discussion, but seems to have gained currency in recent months, and maybe even recent years about reinterpreting the Islamic texts, according to according to modern standards, and one such strand of discussion is that maybe some of the Sahaba would run a lie Lee May Allah reward reward them immensely for for their efforts and their struggles. Maybe some of the Sahaba had in inverted commas and misogynistic mindset. And so when they conveyed Hadith, they conveniently conveyed some Hadith, which would today be regarded as misogynistic, for example, I don't know, Hadith word that places, you know, the man's responsibility to be at the head of the

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household, for example, is that misogynistic? Or is that common sense? Well, so they call that misogynistic? Yeah. I mean, so I remember there was a Twitter and again, Twitter is in the real world. And I think that's what your what you said in the previous answer. But yeah, in one Twitter discussion, there was some discussion about Abu Huraira or de la Juana be someone who was, you know, misogynistic, and in the sense that he conveyed some Hadith which the particular person disliked. I mean, how would you address this sort of reinterpreting Islam from the modern lens? The first The first thing to note is there has definitely been a deliberate collaboration of a certain type of

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Hadith, telling people how to behave in interpersonal relationships between men and women. And it's Salafi publishing. And it has been very successful in the last 35 years in telling us one, version one very harsh bye

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Basically unlivable, I would say to up to a degree version of what it is to be a man and a woman in a marriage and marital and housing relation, you know, a family relationship. So there's been that editing.

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Most of us don't have

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the Arabic, the the thick, the Sharia knowledge to delve into these matters. Who would I be right now to give my even if I precede it with, in my humble opinion, on the on these very deep matters, I follow teachers and each one of us, each of us needs to find a teacher. And above all, our connection to Allah to Allah, our prayers, our salah, our liquor, this is our connection to the truth of the deen going and doing some search and saying it's all rubbish. Because I've seen the light I had a man come up to me, funnily enough, a lot. A lot happened in the last few days at Istanbul airport, apparently, he came up to me and he said, Oh, you're a convert to Islam. I know

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some truths about the Quran. And I said, Oh, he said, I said, Where you from? He said, I'm a rocky, I said, Are you a chef? He said, Well, it depends what you mean by Chef. I said, Well, shake is someone who, who learned from someone who learned from somebody learn from somebody that from the Prophet peace be upon him. He said, Oh, I know more than them. I said, then you're very arrogant. He said, Well, I'm walking away from this. I said, please do. Right. So

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I think we need humanity. And I think we need guides.

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What do you think about the current as I know, you live in Istanbul, and maybe you've been immune to what's been going on in the West in the last probably couple of yours. And it's a discussion about womanhood, and discuss about gender and its discussion about trans women and their status in society. And again, that's one of the complexities that we've found, we've had to navigate around as Muslim parents as, as just Muslims in this community, like how, you know, of course, we are minorities. And we we have to somewhat navigates lots of complexities and challenges. And as you said in an earlier answer, it is it sometimes is a very, it's a very, it takes a lot of bandwidth to

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be a Muslim in the West, you've got to, there's so much on the road, and you've got to just think about lots of things. But anyway, this, this issue about women who does has come along, and it's a difficult subject to broach, I mean, how would you? How would you approach what's going on here in the West in recent years? First of all, I'd like to say, I am still a journalist, and I'm married to a journalist. So if only we were out of this awful, you know, the stuff that you're hearing the question being asked, What is a woman? And people say, well, it's someone who thinks that they might be and can be if they choose would be to where not to wear but me, you know, adult, female human is

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quite a simple answer to come to really.

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We're looking at the erasure of women.

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There's no doubt about erasure of erasure. It's quite a hard statement, I can get explained that, would you? Okay, well, I'm gonna go back to the fact that eight first of all, let's start with women who are aging. Alright, I worked at I worked in I've worked in TV for 30 years now. And about round since the last 20 years, a host of TV presenters from the BBC, have complained about this female presenters over the age of 40, saying, hang on, I was ahead of three current affairs show. Suddenly I was ditched. And the BBC has had to pay out record damages to a number of women. Because this society, not the Muslim society, but this secular society judges women, based on their appeal, I

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just got off a plane how many times I mentioned in planes today, I think I'm still in the airport.

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I was for our viewers, you were stuck in Istanbul two days.

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Yes, obviously had an impact on me, but I was the way that women are used. We if we are very good to look at, then we are stripped of our dignity and put on posters next to a water bottle going by this it's pure, you know, and it's filthy. And it's horrible. And I had to look for like, you know, four hours at this and eventually I took it out was on the seat back and just turned it round. And there was a man sitting next Mr. Do you mind if I just take that out? Turn it round, because I did not want to look at it a naked woman so we're very visual as women in British society and European society if we're attractive or near naked, if you're aging. You can feel already redundant, ignored.

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I live in Istanbul. The women there are increasingly having

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duck lips, terrible amounts of Botox. They're looking ill. And so along with asking what is a woman? How should we look is an obsession to everybody in the society. And so when we have the guts, and the serenity, and the sheer, unbridled guts to say, I'm not showing you anything today, Oh, yeah. And you won't be seeing me tomorrow, either, you're just gonna get my face. And what I say, that is such a powerful statement.

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So your, your, your argument is about the hijab, in a way it it liberates women, in a sense, but it

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makes them into less of a * object, you know, a, someone that should be admired for their beauty. And that's it to someone who one needs to engage with on an intelligent level. But again, the counter argument about by many in the West would be well, where do where does that exist? I mean, you live in Istanbul are women in hijab treated, you know, in in that way, that idealistic way that you present one? Second, I'll give you a couple of examples. I where I lived in Qatar in 2015. And the first time I went there, I remember being, you know, you go to the airport, and there's the woman's line, and I was taken out by the soldier, and he goes, Oh, the customs officer, he goes over

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here, madam. And there's nobody there. And I walked through like royalty, and I'm like, okay, and all the men are queuing over there. And then I go shopping, and I have my bags picked up and carried to the car. And even now I go, I went to Qatar for the World Cup. And my husband, who's a lovely man, by the way, he always complains that when we go to Qatar, I expect to be treated like a queen afterwards, because I see the women in the airport, and I'm and they're just wafting along in black, you know, and their husbands or their sons, or other people are carrying things. My husband he carries most things. I still carry something. And I'm like, take my bag, you know? Because it does

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it elevates us and gives us a break. i There is a lot of beauty out there. Does this happen all the time? In Turkey? No. But you know what? Your job is have a superpower. We have superpowers told this by an alphabet by Albanian girls who don't wear hijab. They said, You know what, when we see you in the street, it's like you're gliding along. And we want and it's like you're you're surrounded by light, and you have a superpower. And so as a hijab wearing woman, you have that that extra meter of space. You're either beautifully invisible, because it's quite nice to be invisible in the street. Or you're just you know, you're left alone. Men don't press against you men. Men stay back a bit.

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And that's a nice experience. Because I've had the other one. Right. I've been the woman in the in the shoulder. There was there was a BBC presenter who came to visit me after I accepted Islam. She said I can't believe you're the same Lauren, that I met at the election party eight years ago. I said, Oh, whatever I said I'm sorry. She said, I would describe you as the the woman with the biggest mouth and the shorter skirts. Yeah, that would have been me. Right? And nobody space, no respect from the men

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is very different in her job. Mashallah. It's a bonus. It's a bonus.

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So you live in Istanbul? And anecdotally, it seems to me that more and more Muslims have decided to leave the West and to move to Muslim countries like Qatar or to Kuwait or to Istanbul. I think in Istanbul, we've seen you know, a probably I mean, last time I was there, I saw a growth in a number of Westerners, Western Muslims who have decided to, to live in and most of them say they, they just had enough of the the criticisms they get in the West. They've had enough of the racism, maybe they get on Islamophobia, but also they fear for their kids.

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It's now common for Muslims here to think about if not moving to a different country to think about pulling their kids out of school. I mean, where do you stand on this discussion about how intense it's become an education and just general society towards Muslims? You know what it's really interesting for 10 years, 10 years a friend of mine called an ISA. She's an educator, masha Allah, she has been raising the alert. You don't know what's in the books. She has been on these education groups that I'm on she's like mums. Wake up, asked to see the books on your kids curriculum. What age not 11 Not 10, seven and eight asked to see them. And when you asked to see them, the teacher

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say you don't need to

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Who are now increasingly you can't see them. In case you you protest, because it is such disgusting content in children's books at schools that they cannot show it on the news, the same nightly news that shows dead bodies and bombs falling and explosions and horrendous things going on, cannot show the books that are being given to our four and five year olds. This interestingly, this is a sign of a failing society. There was a study done in 1936 by a British academic, and he found the same trigger points for each failed civilization that he studied. Yes, rise in androgyny. Liberal not liberation of women. I forget the word, but it's basically no protection of the women. Right. And

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the sexualization of society, a rise in homosexuality. All of these things are happening. It's a dire situation. And I totally understand Muslim families wanting to leave it is I thought about 10 years ago, actually, rather than that. And I still do that if you really wanted to get the Muslims out of Europe. And you couldn't kill them like the French did with the Algerians just 30 years ago and then through their bodies or 40 years ago, through them in the same I was a biller

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that what you do is you just make it a little bit unlivable. A little bit unlivable. Let's say, in France, you can't have halal meat at school. Why is that? No halal meat you have to eat pork if you're at school, or go without? What if we ally? No, they don't like * with outside marriage, the Muslims? How about we talk about that all the time? And how about we force we say to their children, homosexuality is an option. And we we do that at a young age that that is kind of social engineering. Now, I'm not saying this only affects the Muslim community. We're not paranoid. This is a devaluation of the human spirit across the spectrum. But it really is helping us leave. And I

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think it's a good leave. I think it's a good a good thing. We should yeah, I think we should we should leave the sinking ship. And we should be building up our countries and offering an alternative, which is what the ottoman and the alanda Lucien society's did was say, hey, come over here. We've got beauty here. We've got fairness here. We've got a way that you can move up the ranks in society, you're not trapped. And for that reason, hundreds of 1000s Millions perhaps of Christians came and lived in our Muslim communities and the Jewish community thrived for centuries there.

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