I read in one of your posts that you understand/speak some Arabic. How did you accomplish that? Through books or socializing with Arabs/Arabic speakers?
I took some formal Arabic classes with a couple of teachers and briefly studied at the Mahad in Virginia. However, having said that, my Arabic is not great and I have learned much more just from talking to people than I did in classes as I am not a fan of the classroom setting.
You are critical of immigrant Muslims especially of Desis and Arabs so what’s more better or less difficult? Socializing with Desis or Arabs. I don’t have much experience and want to be in an environment that is helpful. My very limited experience is with Desis but I haven’t found as much issues with them as you have written but I’ll in the future(??). Who’s more religious in your view and who’s more moderate or are they all the same?
Well who is more religious Desis or Arabs is a question that is subjective. Amongst both groups you will find the good and the bad. Over the years I have attended Masjids where both groups dominate. As far as who I get along with better I would say I get along much better with Arabs, but that is just me, and other people may get along better with Desis. Arab Masjids tend to be a little more traditional and conservative like I like and the Arab brothers like to sit around and laugh and tell stories and as a big BS’er I guess that is right up my alley. I have trouble connecting to a lot of Desi immigrants as I find most either have no sense of humor or one that is much different from mine and the second-generation Desis tend to be yuppies. Religiously they also tend to be either strict Hanafi or Tablique Masjids in the cities or very liberal upscale social club oriented places in suburbia. The concept of a “moderate Muslim” is also one I reject and when I think of the word moderate I think of it being used in phrases such as “moderate drinker” or “moderate smoker” and it is always used to describe something bad. It is saying; Islam is something negative, but don’t worry I am only moderately Muslim.
I know you want Americans to marry Americans but let’s say I don’t want to marry a “white”. What would be your recommendation about which immigrant community to choose a wife from?
I am not saying that Americans should always marry Americans; but I am saying that if we want a healthy and vibrant American-Muslim community we have to stop thinking of Muslim sisters born and raised here, or who have lived here for a number of years, as less valuable than Muslim women from back home. If you don’t want to marry a white Muslim sister that is fine, although I will say that there are a lot of very sincere white Muslim sisters out there, but maybe your dislike for marrying a white woman is physical or cultural which is understandable and comes down to taste (myself I cant really envision a scenario of ever being married to a white woman). The American-Muslim community is very diverse and you have African-American, Arab, Desi, Latina, Asian and all sorts of Muslimas to choose from right here without raiding a village in Morocco or an island in Indonesia.
To further clarify my position I think it is healthy for Muslims studying overseas to marry a woman they met there or for American-Muslims who have some genuine connection, whether it be religious or shared interests, with a brother or sister from overseas; but almost all the brothers I know married to sisters from overseas, who did not live in the West prior to the marriage, are not happy, and believe me this is an issue I have thought long and hard about as I have had the opportunity to raid a Moroccan village myself. Finding a Muslim wife, or husband, in America is not easy (trust me, I know, and this is something I am thinking about daily).
What is the most rewarding/challenging thing about being Muslim?
The most rewarding thing about being Muslim is that Allah has promised the believer paradise and I am comforted by the blessing of the knowledge of the Oneness of Allah (Islamic Monotheism) and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). A further blessing is that I live on the frontiers of Islam and here in America we are opening a new chapter in the history of the Ummah and there is an excitement in the air. The challenge is I live in America and in this nation there is a tremendous hostility and hatred towards Islam and Muslims from a lot of people and I feel at this point in time a Muslim is basically a second-class citizen under the law in this country. The challenge is to try and clear the image my fellow Americans have towards Muslims.
How do you (personally) “keep it real” why simultaneously maintaining a sense of taqwa?
I can only be me, so I am not sure I even consciously think about something like that.
Do you think that African-American women are generally emasculating? If so why?
Yes, in general, and I feel this is because the majority of black women have had to be the mother and father and have had to take on a lot of that manly toughness and have had to change out of necessity for survival.