Ramadan Reset – #19 The Two White Muslims – A New Eid Culture

Lauren Booth


Channel: Lauren Booth


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Welcome to Ramadan reset with me Your host Lauren booth. This podcast series is sponsored by what handled org.uk delivering services to Syrians in need. Salam, alaikum, warahmatullahi wabarakatuh brothers and sisters, we're here. How are you feeling in the last moments? Are you feeling tearful? Are you just planning for eat now you're in the full throttle. I'm guessing that if you're in Malaysia, you're probably about to give might be getting up fury prayer. I mean, you can be seven, eight hours ahead or you five hours I think, from Turkey. So Pamela, the two white Muslims have become well known for their special brand of introducing Islam to people around the world, in a

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simple and yet clear format with lots and lots of North English humor. I've been a new Muslim now for almost 30 years now. Sharla. So you're right, it's ages and ages ago, I've almost forgotten what life was like back then. I've been, I've been Muslim now for longer than I was non Muslim. So hamdulillah.

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So I'm from the UK, born and bred in a small town in the north of England, called Wakefield. And here's where I still am handling law.

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A number of years ago, my colleague Junaid and I decided that we've had good lives. And had it not been for somebody introducing us to this blessing and beautiful religion. We don't know where we'd be now. Yeah. So given that somebody did that, for us, we took it. We took it upon ourselves to do that for other people too. And we've been doing that now via the to white Muslims YouTube channel for just over two years. humbling that, compared to using a mere cherub, I'm just a babe in arms about 1718 years ago. And as used to describe it, we feel like we were given a gift. You know, we were given the gift of Islam, and had the people who introduced us to it not coming into our lives

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at that time. Who knows where we've been now. So we just want to pass it on, we just want to give that gift to as many people as we possibly can. And that's to both Muslims and non Muslims. Because there are Muslims who really enjoy our work as well. Because as Muslims, we love talking about Islam, we love celebrating our faith. And every now and again, another Penny drops and another Penny drop just by comparison with people. So it's a privilege and a pleasure for us just to be here. And, you know, to be able to touch people worldwide. Now, I think this internet thing might catch on.

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Yeah, you never know.

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In these difficult times, politically worldwide, there are many, many Muslims who try to hide the Islamic identity. For whatever reason, you know, that they do. And some people are actually afraid of showing that they're Muslim. Now, I believe that everybody should know that I'm Muslim. And I'm quite happy to shout it from the rooftops Alhamdulillah. Because Allah has given me this beautiful gift. And I want to tell everybody in the world, how beautiful this gift is, and how perfect this religion actually is, and how wonderful Muslims are certainly the ones that I know Alhamdulillah the great people. So there's nothing wrong with with shouting this. There's nothing wrong with telling

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everybody Oh, hamdulillah The tapware is Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Illa. Allah, we all know that I want your thoughts on explaining Allahu Akbar to non Muslims, because I know you've done a video on that, if you will talk to you know, some of the Jewish traders, you know, God does brilliant in God, fantastic. They're not going to reject that as a statement. And even if you walk up to an awful lot of atheists, if you said, I believe that God is amazing, then if they're nice people, if they will go Well, great. I'm glad you think that you don't mean so as a just as a phrase. People love it. People have a problem with the phrase. The issue is when we say in our big

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if people don't understand what we're saying, some people what we use, even I always say what people fear what they don't understand. Yeah, so if they don't understand something, that automatic reaction is just to be scared of it. So if you've got somebody chanting Allahu Akbar, it can be a bit intimidating to people when you say no, I'm just saying God's brilliant. And I Oh,

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yes. A sudden people start to appreciate it and when they hear it because it's a very

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It's a very definitive and very simple sound when they hear it they go Ah, that's just somebody saying God's brilliant guts the greatest actually put into that context. Why Why would we not be saying that all the time? You know, somebody sneezes you say God bless you.

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You're constantly invoking an invoke inventing, you know, Allah God. We're just going to give the language you know, a lot of people in the UK they say they say the English version of Liverpool Akhbar or Tottenham, hotspurs Akhbar. Actually, I don't think anybody says spurs Akhbar anymore. But you know, it's the greatest, the greatest right and Liverpool Akhbar.

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I went to a

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Manchester United match,

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you won't be happy with.

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I wanted to see

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a football game, and I couldn't afford to get the Liverpool so I went to Manchester.

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But I saw Wayne Rooney score. And at that point, at that moment, I saw 50,000 people get on their feet and scream, Rooney who Akbar Rooney is the greatest.

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And this is what people follow. people follow their idols, people follow, you know, that the the pop stars and the rock stars and the football was in the actors and actresses, with the models and etc, etc. And so they think that they're great. They think that and they think that they are a role model that they think that there's something to follow, okay. Well, there is only one to follow one, one alone. And that person lives on this

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14 130 seats some years ago, he was called Muhammad, may the peace blessings and mercy of God be with him. And he is the only example. The only human being that we should be looking to follow his actions, his deeds, his words, the way that we live the way that he was, this is who we should be trying to emulate. This is who we should be trying to, to copy in every respect, a handle the law. You know, these these people, these celebrities are the rock stars, the the football and they act as the famous people. How many of these people are in therapy.

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The fame has got them no work. They can't cope. They have shallow lines, the emptiness, they may have all the money, the recognition and the fame behind the actually they're just tempted to think

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they need all of the NCC for that we seem to say need slums, they just don't know.

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we all needed Islam that and we feel very blessed to to have been called Allahu Akbar, to Islam. I mean, it's just it's to say life changing is really to underestimate but you said some time ago? Well, we we got together some time ago, I used to live in Sheffield. And I moved up north use it since I got promoted and moved to Wakefield. And as you know, we moved on to February in England. And we moved on a Friday, which of course is Juma. And so I moved because we're moving during the day, I missed Juma prayer, but I didn't want to miss. So as soon as we finished and we've got a settlement, possibly called I went to find a mosque, I found what was not actually the closest

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mosque but I just happened to find this mosque, walked into the office sat down and who should be in that mosque for the user. And he came out and he basically said engaged alarm, which was lovely. And then said what you're doing in it. I'm the only white guy here.

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What's your friendship that's continued for well over two five days.

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It's gonna be 15 years now that you said 15 years.

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I mean,

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I've been trying to shake him off for the last 14 of those years, but I'm very

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I'm very, you

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we just put together a format and a series of videos and explained to people everything they ever wanted to know about Islam and Muslim culture books. Could be

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fantastic. And we created a series of 22 videos.

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And we did it with, you know, with computer generated imagery, CGI, and it made me look as cool and as accessible as possible. Because let's be honest, it was just two old blokes with beards. And that doesn't necessarily work. So we had to make it look a little bit better than that said we did. And we, we put those on the internet, we put those on the on YouTube. And the response was extraordinary. It's far beyond anything we could have, we could have anticipated. And so we thought we could then move on to the to the next thing. He said, No, no, no, no, you have to carry this on your, you know, please carry this on. And so, you know, as you're very kind introduces under the

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moniker under the, under the pseudonym or nickname of the two white Muslims. And we now do that on YouTube, we do podcasts, we do live streams, we go give talks, and, you know, people seem to enjoy hearing our story and, and it inspires people and helps people. And if all it does is allow people to see that Muslims are really nice, then our hunger is a great start. And then just sharing information. And as we keep saying, with with Muslim, and non Muslim, we want to bring non Muslims to the fold of Islam. But we have certainly a lot of youth and a lot of younger Muslims who find themselves a little bit confused and a little bit

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just in a state of flux. They don't really all inmates a non Muslim, they might be in a school where they started by non Muslims, all these kids are doing very different things to them. And to just say that, actually, Islam is cool. Islam is really cool when you understand the basics of Islam, and you get to share it. When you start doing that your mates will see how cool you are. And it's surreal that the response that we get is just, it's all inspiring it to us. It's just amazing. Let me give you an example. Okay, so we had a competition on our radio show.

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Heritage radio where we held a competition.

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That was for people to write in with jokes, and we would judge the best jokes. And we would then invite the winner into the studio to share some time some airtime with us. Yeah. So we decided on the winner, that the jokes were amazing. We won't share them with you on this platform, but the joke's on you.

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So the winner, we invited into the studio and he was a sister. And she came in very nervous when she came in with her sister, and her brother in law, who were just there to guide her along and make sure that she was okay. So she was very nervous as she came into the studio. But she sat down. And we had a talk with her for maybe 1015 minutes. And she was just lovely, wasn't she, she was

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just being so so nice, this young lady. But then the mic, the microphones were turned off. And we said, we've come to the end of that section, which will play the machine instead.

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And she then said something that was quite amazing. She said, I've been listening to you guys on the way to work.

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And I work occasionally on night. So some some nights when I finished my shift in the morning, I listen to you guys on my way back home from work.

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And I was born and bred and brought up as a Muslim. But I have gone so so far away from Islam, but listening to you guys in the morning. And the way that you make Islam sound so good and so cool. And the way that you make it so accessible and easy to understand. YouTube abroad brought me back to Islam. And I am now praying five times a day. I am now wearing my hijab when I go out. And I'll humbly laugh, but I just stopped back I nearly cried at that. Tears.

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And I said, you know Allah, Allah, if we have done all of what we've done, just for that, yeah, it was worked out

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The minute it was worth every minute of what we've done, I'll handle it. Now, from Part Two to being stopped in the street Janae Do you remember on Wilmslow road in Manchester, Manchester? Yeah, we've nipped out for three hours. And you do

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that in Manchester. You have to go to Winslow. Yeah.

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Yeah. So we got out, and

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chat walked up to me. And he said,

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It's you, you in it.

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I'm not somebody else.

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To white Muslims, I said are very kind. Yes. So have you. Have you seen our work on YouTube? He says, I'm just seeing it. I've watched it time after time. Because you guys, little Do you know, but I am Muslim now because of you.

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Muslim now because of you. He said, I have gone so far away from Islam.

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And I decided one day to go into a mosque after five years of no prayer. Yeah, basically, I went into a mosque, that Juma time. And after the prayer, I stopped and made a law. And the DA said, Allah, if you want me back, please show me how to come back. Show me how to come back. And that afternoon, our video popped into his inbox and he started lecturing.

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And let me watch every one of them. And slowly but surely, he said, he said, You brought me back to Islam. Again, this is just another example of somebody that we happen to meet in the street. I know that worldwide, this is happening all the time, by the grace of Allah. You see, he Daya comes from Allah alone.

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Nobody can go that far we can do is give people the information. We can train people, we can show people in a way that they understand. And sometimes in a way that maybe the law

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alone gives guidance guide. So you know, Allah chosen those 100 of law, to do this work of handling and we are doing this work on handling law. But we're now getting feedback from an awful lot of people that seeing the same kinds of things that it has worked, and they are Muslim, because of what we have done 100 amazing martial, you know, I really feel that as converts from the western come context. I have lived a life before Islam. So so we know how to speak to people and we know the push and pull of reach of that style of life. That we are signposts that if Allah wills Yeah, if we look, when you love to speak about Islam, maybe Ally's pleased with you and allowing you to do that. And

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so we're not the stopping post. Don't don't get your own from us. But get the information and then go deeper by the grace of Allah then ask Allah. Okay, I'm praying five Now. Now. Now, what do I do next? What do I do next? Yeah, what we did. in year one, I kind of went, ah, I need to learn Arabic. And then in year two, I really must learn Arabic. And then a year, three away next year, next year, 17 years.

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And to be fair, you then find yourself in a situation where Allah says, Well, okay, I'll, I'll help you. And we won't get but all three of us were sitting in a room. And suddenly we were just starting a program and we kind of need somebody to test it out.

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Would you like to test out today? I was like, Yes. And it's amazing. It's incredible. And it's working with an organization called our Jude a charity based in Kuwait. But they do it online. So my all my issues before I don't have enough time, you know, and I can't keep regular hours because my job takes me all over the place. The two white Muslim sects are all over the place. regular stuff is really, really difficult. Anyway, not a problem. It's online. It's relatively inexpensive, and you can do it whenever you want. Because he's online.

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And I was like,

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that's all my excuses. God.

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Just last week, the guys that that facilitate all of this, they wanted us to do a very short promo video. Yeah. So we got together socially a distance of goals in my background.

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This this video, okay. 30 seconds long

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and the video was delayed reading from the

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told me, he had dropped

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me. And he was reading

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from the core of how now you know, we started at the beginning

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months Alhamdulillah so I'm here with my wife and one daughter. I have got two daughters but one of them is married and off. So where there's just one down, one to go

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reverse rivers in here for tomorrow. Now just as Janae has described, my house is filled with the aroma of spices. And I'm cooking smells because all of the eat food all of the aid is currently being prepared. I've been assisting in that as well most of the afternoon because

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Youssef is hiding is likened to a bushel he uses almost all the cookies Amazing. Amazing. I was cooked for my wife. And it was so good. She actually said did you sit make this

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carry Absolutely. So so we're going to be celebrating the tomorrow. We're also going to do some in these lockdown times this Ramadan has been very strange. In a lot of ways it's been it's been difficult because we've had to not go out we've had to not go to the masjid. We've had to not do Dharavi on jamaa in the in the masjid. So what we've taken to do in our house, is that we have done our prayers. I'm Gemma, I lead in the two girls behind. We have done tarawih prayers each night with me leading and the two girls behind while handling law. It's been quite beautiful. It's been quite just simple. But really, really nice. Nice to do. humbling. So but tomorrow, where we've got all of

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the food prepared, we're going to go and do some drive bys with our family and friends, and drop off some sweets and then some food and some present for the children. Yeah, one of the benefits this Ramadan is that we can I go and work on my wife works. We've been able to spend the whole of Ramadan together myself, my wife and my three children. It's been amazing. And the youngest one is only seven. And he said that he would, because obviously he is used to going to the mosque to pray for the prayer. And he said, what what what should we do? I don't know, what do you think we should do? Today, I think we should paint in the garden. So we're going to go out and pay our easel out in the

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garden tomorrow morning. I'm really looking forward to it. If I'm honest, I'm really, really, really looking forward to it. But it's also it's interesting what you say about about keeping rather than going about it doesn't stop at ease. We get around the guy he's like, I love this how you phrase it the reset, we say it's the reset button via D. It allows you to refocus and come back to Allah and come back to garden and just kind of assess life and just realize how lucky we are and how fortunate we are to help all the people. But it doesn't have to stop at ease. We can we can keep that going. This is just as pressing reset, so that we can carry this forward so that we can keep going. I just

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pray that we've all been forgiven. And that we've that we've done enough, you know that we've done enough Yeah, Allah, that we've improved enough that we've tried enough that we've helped enough that we've grown enough that we've thanked enough that we've understood enough and that we've connected with the Quran enough to please you, Oh Allah, before we let this month ago or go against the panel and how we miss it. Allow echo. Yeah, we're taking those lessons with us in sha Allah to Allah. And we have indeed, by the grace of Allah been allowed to complete a wonderful far. One of our five pillars again, I now bout to go and do my only cooking with my husband here in Istanbul and probably

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have a bit of a week in about an hour's time about Ramadan being gone, but it's not gone. It's in our hearts and all of your in my heart. Please remember me and my family in your two hours. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please take a moment to visit well ten.org.uk to support Syrians in need.