Being an Arab Muslim Woman in Trump’s America feat. Nour Goda of the Between Arabs Project

Nour Goda Between Arabs Project

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Around 20% of Becoming the Alpha Muslim’s readers are millennial Muslim women.

Really? Really.

This is surprising considering my brand is deliberately positioned to dissuade women from reading/listening to my work.

They are some of my most engaged readers and it’s very encouraging whenever I receive their messages of support.

They usually say something like “At first I thought you were bats*** insane but then I actually read your blog posts and listened to your podcasts.”

So, this week’s podcast is especially for them – God bless you, ladies, and thanks for the support.

In this episode of the Becoming the Alpha Muslim podcast I welcome Nour Goda, founder and editor-in-chief of the Between Arabs Project, which is a website and podcast that brings together Arabs of all faiths and Muslims of all ethnicities to discuss social issues that plague our communities.

What I like about Nour’s work and that of her colleagues at the Between Arabs Project, is its ability to take on difficult, polarizing conversations on relevant issues in the Muslim community in a constructive way.

Nour was gracious enough to invite me on her show soon after I launched Becoming the Alpha Muslim, and we recorded one of her best, if not the best, episodes.

So, it’s high time I returned the favor.

At 2 hours and 15 minutes long, this is my longest podcast interview to date, and Nour doesn’t believe people will listen to the entire thing.

I beg to differ.

I highly recommend you take the time to listen to every minute and then leave a comment below when you’re done letting her know what you thought of the episode.

(Remember to listen at 2X speed, it’s much more efficient and you’d be surprised at how fast your brain can process the conversation.)

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Show Notes

  • What are the essential differences between Western and Eastern Muslims?
    • The relationship between race and religious identity.
    • The myth of freedom of religion in secular societies.
  • What’s changed for Muslims living in Trump’s America?
    • Trump as the continuation of endless imperialism and capitalist domination.
    • Better relationships with non-Muslims at the grass roots level.
    • The Islamophobia/victimhood narrative and hate-crime hoaxes by Muslims.
    • “Breaking stereotypes” and “pushing boundaries.”
    •  Neo-orientalist fetishization of the Muslim woman.
  • Trump’s recent airstrike on Syria
    • The Muslim armchair quarterback – overnight PhDs in political science and foreign policy
    • Forget the politics for a second, are the innocent Muslims safe?
    • What’s a more productive way for Muslims to channel their outrage, instead of pontificating on social media?
      • Intellectual empathy, the principle of charity, and husn adh-dhann.
      • Listen more than you speak, ask more questions than you give opinions.
      • “Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change that which is within themselves.”
  • WTF is Critical Race Theory?
    • How race, power, and law work to maintain “white supremacy.”
    • The apex fallacy – do homeless white people have white supremacy too?
    • Is racial discrimination systemic or a reaction to life experiences?
    • Racial stereotypes – Ego Trip’s Big Book of Racism.
  • Why should Muslims support Black Lives Matter (BLM?)
    • Getting back to the agenda of civil rights.
    • Opportunistic Muslim support of BLM not based on an Islamic paradigm.
    • A branding problem – the linguistic meaning of “black lives matter” vs. “Black Lives Matter” the organization.
    • The BLM organization, funded and led by radical liberals, feminists, and homosexuals – “Herstory,” promoting LGBTQ, destroying the nuclear family.
    • The communal obligation of Muslims to invite people to Islam.
    • Secularism is not and has never been “live and let live.”
    • Black-on-Black crime – why doesn’t BLM care about this?
    • The subversion of movements for social change and the illusion of political protest.
    • Hotep vs. BLM – Hotep is a movement of self-improvement, self-reliance, self-accountability, and refusing to be victims. Shoutout to Uncle Hotep, @handymayhem on Twitter.
    • The two-pronged strategy of working to improve yourself and working to improve the system.
    • “You ain’t ready to revolt against s***” – Killer Mike.
  • Older Muslim women finding it difficult to get married.
    • The marriage marketplace – men age like wine, women age like milk.
    • The Prophetic model of marriage.
    • How Feminism is destroying Muslim women’s ability to find a husband.
    • The practical considerations of male-female attraction are human, not culture, and cannot be ignored.
    • Recipe for disaster – expecting a religious Muslim man in his 20s who has little-to-no experience with the opposite sex to marry an older woman.
    • How some Muslim women are “settling” just so they can have kids or marrying outside the faith.
    • How “I’m a strong, independent Muslim woman who don’t need no man” is BS.
    • “The Wall” – the point of no-return for a Muslim woman.
    • What’s wrong with marrying young? Don’t make the halal so difficult that Muslims are forced into haram.
    • Marrying young needs enlightened, forward-thinking Muslim parents.
    • The current generation of Muslims is part of the global Islamic awakening.
  • Nour Goda’s own experience as a divorcee trying to get re-married.
    • Marrying up – Nabeel Azeez’s experience is not the norm.
    • The late 20s and early 30s are the new mid-20s when it comes to marriage in our times – education and parental pressure causing the delay.
    • Men and women with a “past” finding a partner willing to give them a chance.
    • Muslim women as victims of the sexualization of women in American culture.
    • Religious, virgin Muslim men who have no Game or social skills with the opposite gender being brow-beaten by the Muslim community to marry women who have previous sexual experience.
    • The nature of the male-female dynamic – how women’s nature to let men lead has been beaten out of them by Feminism.
    • She wants to be your wife, not your mother – seduction, passion, romance, etc.
    • Men are not taught how to be men anymore – one of the motivations behind Becoming the Alpha Muslim.
    • Criticizing Feminism does not mean we are against women’s rights.
    • Feminism has serious problems with respect to how it views men and masculinity.
    • Masculinity is attractive and should be appreciated.
    • P***y-whipped Muslim husbands are not a good look.
    • An Alpha woman is a beta wife with the right man.
    • Manosphere/Red-pill dating/relationship advice has a lot of overlap with Islam – shoutout to Pat Stedman, friend of Becoming the Alpha Muslim.
  • The Between Arab Project’s upcoming work.
    • Live event at Connecticut College on April 14th, 2017 – details here.
    • Short hiatus from publishing new content for the past 4-5 months because of Nour’s work commitments.
    • More content will be published on the Between Arabs Youtube channel – subscribe here.
  • How Feminism enslaves, not liberates, women.
    • Nour has written about this – Did Western.
    • How work-life balance is important for women and stay-at-home moms are looked down on.
    • How Feminism and Capitalism work hand-in-hand – the Corporate Overlords can’t have 50% of the population not consuming.
    • The paradox of female happiness – the more liberation and equality women get, the more miserable they become.
    • One-in-four women have mental health issues and are on antidepressants.
    • Feminism encourages women to act against their fitrah (natural disposition.)
    • Allah prescribed different roles and responsibilities for men and women because as our Creator, He knows best how we ought to live so we can be happy.
  • Becoming the Alpha Muslim is not a misogynist website
    • Encouragement and support from female readers who, like Nour, have noticed the dysfunctional gender dynamics being promoted among Western Muslim communities.
    • This extended episode is a gift to my female readers, to thank them for their support.
  • On Western Muslims attempting to silence others and prevent difficult, yet necessary, conversations from happening.
    • How Nour/Between Arabs Project and the Mad Mamluks podcast take criticism from the community for associating with me.
    • On intellectual honesty, open discussion, exposing yourselves to ideas you disagree with or find offensive, and the spiritual growth that happens as a result.
    • Nour’s journey through being an atheist and finding her way back to Islam, and how her faith is much stronger than it ever was. Related reading: Interview with an Ex-ex-Muslim.

Where can you find the Between Arabs Project online?

If you enjoyed the episode…

Please leave me a rating and review on iTunes.

Nour’s challenge to my listeners

She thinks the episode is too long and people won’t listen to all of it.

I think you all will find the discussion super interesting and will listen to every minute.

So, please listen to it all and then leave a comment below telling me what you thought of the episode.

(Pro-tip: listen to the episode at 2x speed. That’s what I did and you can comfortably understand everything that’s said.)

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15 comments… add one
  • tom/dick/harry Apr 11, 2017 @ 21:54

    I agree with the point about breaking stereotypes not always being good. If there’s any benefit in doing it, then you should do it, but there’s no point in breaking stereotypes just for the sake of breaking stereotypes. It’s usually worse in the latter case since there’s less experience and help, so it’s added difficulty with no benefit.

    It sounds a bit like some ethnic communities in America are inadvertently causing their own problems by enforcing the bad stereotypes themselves (like the whole thing you mentioned about African Americans discouraging others in the race from studying) and the verse about communities not changing until people change themselves sounds like it applies well to that situation. Just wondering it might be useful for some dawah efforts to non-Muslims had some material gain for those people as well instead of only spiritual/deen-related benefits..

    Protests definitely don’t seem very effective at this point. I think the media (social media, news websites, etc.) provides some immediate gratification with protests,and the participants of the protests think that there’s a difference being made because of that, even though there actually isn’t. Most successful activists (like the ssuffragettes) only succeeded because they didn’t limit themselves to playing with the rules that the people in power were comfortable with (I don’t think things like violent protests are a good idea, but there are probably better actions that you can take to improve the situation).

    Not much else to say since I don’t have much experience with the other topics. It was a good episode!

  • Ahsan Irfan Apr 11, 2017 @ 22:39

    as salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Nour & Nabeel,

    I heard every minute of the 2 hours and 15 minutes of this episode. So there you go, Nour. Challenge accepted and fulfilled!

    Subhan Allah, this is perhaps one of Nabeel’s best episodes, if not the best episode.

    There was much good in this episode, and there’s lots to talk about. But, for now, I’d like to stick to the issue of white supremacy / white power / critical race theory.

    Nabeel, I’m a “Hotep man” myself. And I agree with you that blacks (and by extension all minorities including Muslims) should be working to develop their self-reliance and independence. However, I think that Nour could have done a lot better in making a case for the existence of systemic “White power.”

    Nour, you could have focused on more concrete examples like: For the same crimes, on average, blacks get far harsher sentences than whites, which accounts for the far higher black representation in the US prison system. This is true for marijuana possession convictions or rape convictions, or anything in between.

    Or in the case of schools, you could have explained that this has a lot to do with taxes. The higher tax-paying districts get better teachers than lower tax-paying districts. This effectively excludes black populations simply account of their poverty, when, theoretically, public education is meant to be “equal.”

    There are many such examples that can be used to make a case for the existence of systemic racism against blacks.

    In the broader context, let us not forget that in the last 500 years, the race that has been most responsible for conquests of indigenous populations and their destruction, whether in the Muslim world or otherwise, has been the white race. There was this guy who tallied up the numbers of people killed in wars and conflicts over the last two thousand years (look up the Body Count Project on Google). I took some of that data and did my own analysis on it, and I discovered that the VAST majority of deaths occur in the last 500 years, the VAST majority of which happened either within Europe or on account of European wars of conquest against other cultures. Muslims were no where near their numbers.

    The white race has much to answer for.

    That leads me to something you guys didn’t touch upon, and that is the issue of white nationalism, which has made its resurgence with the election of Trump. I’m not necessarily against tribal mentality, whether Indian, Chinese, Black, White, Muslim, Christian, etc.You want to celebrate your ethnicity? Be my guest. You want to practice your own laws? Go ahead, That’s why the Muslims have the Dhimma contract. But in the case of white nationalism, don’t expect me to feel sorry for white people on account of the reactions they face from other ethnicities. Because white people sowed the seeds of those reactions themselves.

    And so that brings us full circle to something you mentioned in the episode. And that is the idea of your experiences shaping your reactions. You give credence to a white man’s experiences with people of color. Fair point, but turn that around, too. With centuries of colonial nonsense, what about the the Muslims’s collective experiences of white people? Along with the millennial lack of critical thinking (which is true enough), let’s also consider the fact that the Muslim millennials are inheritors of a shared colonial experience, and dare I say, that in the case of Palestine, are facing this experience themselves.

    But, please don’t take this to mean that I am for a victim-mentality. I am not. But, if the principle of charity or intellectual empathy applies to those who’ve done us harm (i.e. white people), it also applies to those who’ve been on the receiving end of that harm. A lot of us (like yours truly) grew up hearing stories from their parents and grandparents of the policies of our colonial masters against them. That carries over into the victim mentality of us millennials. So, if we want to to apply the principle of charity to white people, apply it to those millennials first.

    I hope I made sense.

    Ahsan

    • Nabeel Azeez Apr 19, 2017 @ 12:26

      Wa alaikum assalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

      I believe it is a given that Black-Americans have faced historical oppression, still face racial discrimination to this day, and have legitimate grievances. This is something no one will disagree on because as you point out, there is empirical data to demonstrate it.

      The disagreement occurs when one claims this is a “system” of racism specifically targeted at blacks because of their skin color. For this to be the case, the “system” must affect only blacks and no other race. But this isn’t the case.

      What you’ve described are really class-based differences in availability of opportunity common to all races at the lower socio-economic level. It will affect blacks, “trailer-park white trash,” undocumented hispanics, poor Muslim immigrants, etc.

      I also appreciate your point about peoples of European descent being responsible for the majority of imperial and colonial violence, and resulting death and destruction. Rationally speaking, though, your white neighbor is no more responsible for the crimes of his ancestors than you are for Muslim abuses of the Shariah during conquests.

      The difference this last paragraph and what I described during the podcast, is that my reaction was learned by experience and proximity to those people. It is current, close, and immediately relevant. It also exists temporarily – put me in the same situation behind a cash register in a ghetto and I will not behave the same way (at least, not in the beginning.)

      All of this is a far cry from “systemic racism.” You can see why certain whites will view this as unfair, and act out in response. Hence, white identity politics. Whether you agree with their behavior or not, it is a perfectly rational reaction.

      In the same way, I can sympathize with brown people’s attitudes to white people in countries like England, because many of them who grew up in lower-class areas faced almost daily racism from whites. Here also, their attitudes are learned behavior, and not something “systemic” within their culture or religion.

      Look, the data is the data. No one can argue with facts. The problem arises when we take something descriptive, like data, and create a normative conspiracy-theory narrative around it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “white supremacy” or “the patriarchy,” these are all figments of some social psychology or gender studies pseudoscientist’s imagination.

      Please listen to the podcasts I linked in my response to tom/dick/harry, they are extremely enlightening.

  • Ahsan Irfan Apr 12, 2017 @ 7:01

    I had a comment here that didn’t show up. I guess it went to your spam?

    • Nabeel Azeez Apr 12, 2017 @ 8:20

      Yes, it did. I approved it. Jazakallahu khairan for letting me know.

      • Ahsan Irfan Apr 13, 2017 @ 23:00

        Shukran

  • Ahsan Irfan Apr 13, 2017 @ 23:05

    as salamu `alaykum

    A question occurred to me, which I hope Nour reads. And I hope that, Nabeel, you encourage her to read it and, hopefully, answer it.

    What triggered your de-conversion from Islam? What triggered your conversion back to Islam? And how do you distinguish yourself from what could generally be considered as a “mainstream orthodox” Muslim?

    Jazak Allahu Khayran
    Ahsan

    • Nour M. Goda Apr 18, 2017 @ 1:23

      Asalaam aalaykum

    • Nabeel Azeez Apr 30, 2017 @ 8:16

      Wassalaam. Nour is going to create some content around this. I don’t know if it will be a blog or video. I’ll link it here when it’s done.

      • Ahsan Irfan Apr 30, 2017 @ 21:31

        Excellent. Jazak Allahu Khayran. God bless you both.

  • Thea Apr 29, 2017 @ 23:05

    Much of what undermines intellectual empathy comes from 2 fears:
    1) Of uncertainty of having your entire mental structure challenged and possibly subverted. Imagine having a 50ft tree root severed. Not the most stable thing to happen to a big tree.
    2) Of being hurled leading questions from your ‘allies’ and being branded a traitor for showing empathy from realizing that NOBODY has a mind capable of understanding the world objectively.

    • Nabeel Azeez Apr 30, 2017 @ 8:15

      Imagine how much society has fallen when just having a civil discussion requires courage (to overcome what you described.)

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