Yasmine Mohammed (@yasmohammedxx) is a human rights activist who advocates for the rights of women living within Muslim-majority countries, as well as those who struggle under religious fundamentalism in general. She is the founder of Free Hearts Free Minds and the author of Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam. [This is part one of a two-part episode. You can find part two here!]
What We Discuss with Yasmine Mohammed:
- Why curtailing expression in free societies is the worst possible response to threats made by religious fundamentalists.
- How the same religious text that serves to inspire millions gets interpreted by extremists to justify gruesome acts of terrorism and tyranny.
- How fundamentalist scofflaws abuse the tolerance and goodwill of free societies to drain resources and establish footholds conducive to their extremist ideologies.
- Yasmine shares her story of growing up in a subordinate family of a religiously justified polygynous household — not in some remote, developing nation, but Canada.
- The dangers that women and secular-minded members of a society run by religious extremists face, and why such societies need to be challenged rather than given a free pass to continue their oppression for fear of offending the people in charge and their enablers — often the oppressed, themselves.
- And much more…
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Ideally, respect for the disparate populations that go into the cultural melting pot of Western society enables us, as a whole, to benefit from the diversity of the human experience and appreciate a kaleidoscopic perspective of the world. Unfortunately, there will always be segments of the populace who reject multiculturalism and work hard to enforce their narrow religious fundamentalist views on the rest of us — woe to unbelievers and those deemed “less-than” by an uncompromising interpretation of a guidebook penned in antiquity that mandates their oppression.
In this episode, we’re joined by Yasmine Mohammed, founder of Free Hearts Free Minds — an organization that provides mental health support for members of the LGBT community and freethinkers living within Muslim-majority countries (where both ‘crimes’ can be punished by execution) — and the author of Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam. Here, she shares stories of her upbringing in a subordinate family of a religiously justified polygynous household in Canada, why curtailing expression in free societies is the worst possible response to threats made by religious fundamentalists, how fundamentalist scofflaws abuse the tolerance and goodwill of free societies to drain resources and establish footholds conducive to their extremist ideologies, the dangers that women and secular-minded members of a society run by religious extremists face, and why such societies need to be challenged rather than given a free pass to continue their oppression for fear of offending the people in charge and their enablers, and much more. [This is part one of a two-part episode. You can find part two here!]
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Human Monsters is a true crime podcast about the cruel and the inhumane. These people specialize in the unthinkable. Not for the fainthearted. Listen here or wherever you find fine podcasts — if you dare!
Like true crime tales? The Court Junkie podcast shines a light on the injustices of the judicial system by delving into court documents, attending trials, and interviewing those close to these trials to root out the whole truth. Check out the Court Junkie podcast on PodcastOne here!
Thanks, Yasmine Mohammed!
If you enjoyed this session with Yasmine Mohammed, let her know by clicking on the link below and sending her a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam by Yasmine Mohammed | Amazon
- Free Hearts Free Minds
- Yasmine Mohammed | Website
- Yasmine Mohammed | Twitter
- Yasmine Mohammed | Instagram
- Yasmine Mohammed | Facebook
- Sir Salman Rushdie Attack Suspect ‘Only Read Two Pages’ of Satanic Verses | BBC News
- Charlie Hebdo Attack: Three Days of Terror | BBC News
- Beheading of Teacher Exposes Secular Divide in French Classrooms | Reuters
- CLARITy (Champions for Liberty Against the Reality of Islamist Tyranny) Coalition | AHA Foundation
- History of Fatwas, from Early Islam to Salman Rushdie to the Digital Age | The Washington Post
- Explainer: What is Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia? | The Conversation
- Understanding Sharia: The Intersection of Islam and the Law | Council on Foreign Relations
- Saudi Woman Given 34-Year Prison Sentence for Using Twitter | The Guardian
- Muslim Population by Country 2022 | World Population Review
- Polygyny in Islam | Wikipedia
- In Focus: Women in Afghanistan One Year after the Taliban Takeover | UN Women
- ISIS Foreign Fighters: Why Do Foreigners Join the Caliphate? | Vision of Humanity
- Torture at Abu Ghraib | The New Yorker
- Muhammad in Islam | Wikipedia
- Leaving the Faith on Apple Podcasts
- Yasmine Mohammed: Leaving the Faith | Making Sense with Sam Harris
- Scale of FGM in Saudi Arabia Surprises Human Rights Advocates | Global Citizen
- The Real Story Behind the FBI’s Deadly Waco Siege | Time
- Teacher Still in Hiding a Year on after Prophet Muhammed Batley Grammar School Controversy | Wales Online
- Megan Phelps-Roper | Unfollowing Westboro Baptist Church Part One | Jordan Harbinger
- Megan Phelps-Roper | Unfollowing Westboro Baptist Church Part Two | Jordan Harbinger
- Islamic Golden Age | Wikipedia
748: Yasmine Mohammed | How the West Empowers Radical Islam Part One
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Yasmine Mohammed: I mean, I've talked about it in my book, how my mom would actually name my friends. She would name them. Like Tiffany was my best friend, and she'd use her name and be like, "Are you prepared to kill Tiffany when the caliphate rises?" Like it was, it was that insidious. It was that deeply manipulative.
[00:00:28] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with scientists and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional former cult member, investigative journalist, legendary Hollywood director, war correspondent, or economic hitman. And each episode turns our guest's wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:00:55] If you're new to the show or you want to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes organized by topic. That'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Topics like persuasion and influence, negotiation, communication, China, North Korea, scams and conspiracy debunks, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:22] All right, on this episode, I hate doing trigger warning, but trigger warning, there's a lot of trauma. There's child/adult abuse stories here. It gets heavy. Our guest, Yasmine Mohammed, sums up the abuse as an IV drip of poison that never stopped. So yeah, like I said, a little bit heavy here and there. That said, this is a fascinating episode about growing up in a fundamentalist extremist religion, namely fundamentalist Islam. Our conversation today goes deep into the repression of women in fundamentalist Islam, terrorism and Islam, religious freedom and human rights, a whole lot more.
[00:01:55] Of course, I got to do the whole not all religious people thing here. I feel the need to say that before people say I'm enabling bigotry or some other such cancel culture accusations when we're talking about, one, a very insider perspective on an extremist version of a religion. So I think we can all kind of get behind that. And if you can't, well then this is not the episode for you. This is a two-parter. There's a lot to say on this subject. She is a great guest and we went pretty long here. My video guy, Ian, summed it up as, "Oh my god, this is going to take up my whole hard drive and my whole weekend." So you're welcome, Ian. And here we go with Yasmine Mohammed.
[00:02:34] I did want to do this show. Initially, your stories are so interesting. And in my defense, I wrote this joke before Salman Rushdie got stabbed, but I said, "Why should he get all the fatwas? Maybe I can be the first podcaster to get a bounty on my head by the ayatollah," but it's not funny now because he just got attacked a few days ago.
[00:02:53] And yeah, when I, when we first came on, I asked how you were doing and you said, "Yeah, it's been a weird few days." I would imagine this is a scary time for anybody speaking out against Islam or about Islam that's not speaking in favor of religious fundamentalism, essentially.
[00:03:09] Yasmine Mohammed: Yes, It's a scary time. It's also really infuriating though because more than the fear — so Salman Rushdie once said that terrorism is the art of fear and the only way to defeat terrorism is to not be afraid, and I live by that. I've been living by that for a while. Obviously, he has, you know, every reason to be living under fear and he chooses not to. And if someone like him can choose not to live in fear, then obviously the rest of us can as well.
[00:03:45] Now, as we'll get into later on with my ex being a member of Al-Qaeda, I was scared into silence for many, many years, 15 years in fact, because I was afraid of his network and who he knew and who could — I changed my name, I changed my daughter's name. We never stayed in the same place for too long. I mean, I truly lived in fear.
[00:04:07] You reach a point where you just get tired of it, you just get angry instead. You're just like, "You know what? I'm not doing. Come and kill me if you want to. I'm not doing this anymore. I'm over it." And what I felt when this whole Salman Rushdie thing happened was that same immediate sense of defiance. Like, "Oh, you don't like his book? Okay, watch us give his book out for free."
[00:04:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:34] Yasmine Mohammed: It's kind of like after the Charlie Hebdo — actually it was Samuel Paty, he's the teacher in France who was beheaded because he showed some Charlie Hebdo cartoons and after that, some cities in France like Montpellier, took those cartoons and they projected them on buildings. And I thought that was the most perfect response. That's what you do. In the face of these people that are telling you, "You are not allowed to have free expression, you are not allowed to have free speech, you are not allowed to have an opinion," you say, "Okay, watch this. Watch my opinion, watch my free expression express itself."
[00:05:13] And that's what I want to do right now. So I'm working with a group called the Clarity Coalition. So we're a coalition of Muslims, ex-Muslims, Jews, Christians, atheists. It doesn't matter. Just that all of us are working towards the same goal of defending liberties against Islamists. And so what we're going to try and do is have an event in the actual same place where Salman Rushdie was attacked. And that event will be all about free expression, and it's going to be just to show that we will not capitulate, we will not be terrorized. We refuse to cower.
[00:05:57] Jordan Harbinger: It's so interesting. This event, where he was stabbed, I was talking online, someone said, You know, this is what he had coming." It's just, you know, Instagram trolls or whatever, Reddit trolls and other people said, "Well, we don't have a motive yet." And I said, "Come on guys. This is a guy who's had a fatwa—" so like a religious, what is a fatwa? It's like Ayatollah Khomeini said, "Go kill this guy and I'll give you three million bucks." It's like a contract on your head, like the mafia, but for Islam, I guess, right?
[00:06:24] Yasmine Mohammed: Absolutely correct. A fatwa just means a decree.
[00:06:26] Jordan Harbinger: Decree, yeah.
[00:06:27] Yasmine Mohammed: So it could be anything. And this one is saying, "Any Muslims who believe in a law and want to protect the prophet, go and kill Salman Rushdie. And you will be a hero for all Muslims." I mean, if you read the wording of it, it could not be more like you just said—
[00:06:44] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:06:44] Yasmine Mohammed: It's a mafia hit on the guy's head, kill him, and we'll give you three million dollars, and we will all worship you and congratulate you.
[00:06:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So when people say they don't have a motive yet, I'm like, "Come on, this is ridiculous. Let's not pretend we don't know what this is about." And people were like, "You're racially profiling because of the guy's name." And I'm like, "Well, I'm using clues that everyone else has to come to a conclusion that's quite reasonable. It's totally different." It's not like we don't know if the guy committed the crime. I didn't say, "Look, there's a brown guy in the audience. It must have been him."
[00:07:12] Yasmine Mohammed: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:13] Jordan Harbinger: It's that guy who did it. He's on camera, he's there. And it's this kind of ridiculous gymnastics that people go through to say, "Well, we can't jump to conclusions. We can't say we know why this happened." And it's just unbelievable how much blowback I got. People were like, "Oh yeah, look what Israel is doing." And I'm like, "Yes, that stuff's bad. But also we're not talking about that right now. That's not the same issue."
[00:07:36] Yasmine Mohammed: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:36] Jordan Harbinger: "Oh, well, America uses drone strikes." "Yeah. I'm not for those either, but look, that's the guy that stabbed that guy in New York. Let's not get off topic." It's unbelievable how much blowback I got from seemingly real people online that were just, who otherwise might even be reasonable, but just lose their freaking mind when it comes to being politically correct. And, look, we'll get into that in a second because there's so much more to your story.
[00:07:59] I sort of got to experience just a tiny droplet of what you've experienced in your journey to speak out against this in the last few days where — if anybody thinks you're exaggerating about the PC blowback of criticizing fundamentalist terrorism from Islamist or other fundamentalists, like, just go online and start talking about this, and you will find seemingly otherwise normal people just take their brain out and throw it in the trash can and type a response to you. It's just un-freaking-believable.
[00:08:30] I think what's most shocking about your story, one of the things that's most shocking, yes, there's crazy abuse that you suffered. The abuse was intertwined with your religion, but all of these seemingly stone age practices and abuses that happened to you actually happened in Canada. And what you describe in the book sounds like something you'd hear, I expect to read that from somebody who says, "I grew up in a rural province in Afghanistan and or Pakistan Peshawar," or something like that. Not, "I grew up in White Rock or outside of Vancouver." You know, that's not what you expect to hear.
[00:08:59] Yasmine Mohammed: I was actually surprised that that was the most surprising part of my book for so many people.
[00:09:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. We should freaking know better.
[00:09:06] Yasmine Mohammed: I mean—
[00:09:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right?
[00:09:09] Yasmine Mohammed: —when people cross geographical boundaries their ideology is carried with them in their mind. It doesn't matter if they're in Canada or in America, or in Germany or in France or in Sweden. They're the same. These belief systems are carried within them. So yeah, when you have these Islamic schools, when you have these mosques when you see these young girls in hijab, it's no different than what's happening in Afghanistan. It's no different than what's happening in Saudi Arabia. It's just a different geographic location, but they're all following the same book. It's the same ideology.
[00:09:46] Jordan Harbinger: It's literally, in many cases, the same book. Because isn't there kind of — is it a Wahhabi version of the Koran that the Saudis give out everywhere? And it's more extreme than a lot of the other versions I think. I don't have a good comparison of Korans in my head, but I know that the Saudis—
[00:10:02] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:10:02] Jordan Harbinger: —are pretty conservative when it comes to this stuff.
[00:10:04] Yasmine Mohammed: Well, actually the Koran is not any different. It's always the same in Arabic. What is different is the translation.
[00:10:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:13] Yasmine Mohammed: So the Saudi translation is not quite as whitewashed as watered down as some other translations. So it's more direct and it offers some interpretations that are seen as like extremist interpretations.
[00:10:30] So if you read the Koran in Arabic, let's just take chapter four, verse 34, for example, because this is the thing that I would like to express. In the Koran, it says in that chapter, verse 34, it says, "If you fear arrogance or disobedience from your wife, then first admonish her. And if she doesn't listen, then don't share the bed with her. And if she still doesn't listen, then beat her." That's what it says in Koran verbatim. Those are the words, supposedly the words of a law. So you'll find some translators won't translate it as beat her. They'll translate it as hit her lightly—
[00:11:12] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:11:12] Yasmine Mohammed: Or hit her gently, you know? But the Saudi version will say beat her. This is what I mean by interpretations. Like when you're like me and Arabic is your first language and you read these kinds of things, when you read it, the interpretation is it's understood the way you understand the language, you know?
[00:11:30] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:30] Yasmine Mohammed: But when you're translating it into different languages, people can soften it a little bit, change things a little bit. And what I said by they offer their own interpretation is there's another A in the Koran that talks about cursing. There's many verses that talks about cursing Jews and Christians and non-believers, but this one just talks about cursing those who do wrong and those who have gone astray. And then the Saudi version will translate, in practice, they'll say like the Jews and Christ. And so others will say, "Oh no, no, no. You're making this more extreme. You shouldn't be doing that." So it's important to note that although the Saudi version in English looks more extreme and it is the more extremist interpretation, the Koran does not change. It's the same—
[00:12:15] Jordan Harbinger: Gotcha.
[00:12:15] Yasmine Mohammed: —and it's all violent.
[00:12:17] Jordan Harbinger: Because I'm picturing people that I know that, that grew up in the United States that don't speak Arabic but are Muslim, and they're like, "Dude, the book my parents gave me does not say that. I swear it doesn't say that. Like, come over and read it for yourself." But they're not reading the original Arabic. They're reading the, like you have the Jews that are just reformed Jews that are like, "I'm Jewish, but only in holidays." They're kind of maybe that way in terms of Muslims. They're like, "I would never do this. My parents never taught me this," and it's because they weren't taught this, but when you look at what it actually says, you're just looking at — it's like Old Testament where it's like, so I'm supposed to stone you to death because you stepped, you wore two, what is it? Mixed fabrics or something like that in your clothing. And it's like, well, nobody does that. Well, actually—
[00:12:57] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:12:57] Jordan Harbinger: —there for sure are Christians that would do that. They live in other places or they did that thousands or hundreds of years ago. That's part of the, it's what it says. It doesn't get—
[00:13:06] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:13:06] Jordan Harbinger: —translated into the version that you get at your local church down the road, because it's fricking creepy. It's weird.
[00:13:11] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:13:12] Jordan Harbinger: It doesn't fit.
[00:13:12] Yasmine Mohammed: You're absolutely correct. And what's worse here is that it's not up to personal interpretation. It's up to the sh*tty law people—
[00:13:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:22] Yasmine Mohammed: —the scholars of the religion, the scholars of Islamic law. It's up to their interpretation. And that's why in 15 different countries, if you're gay, you're executed. Or if you leave Islam, you're executed, all sorts of punishments. There's a woman that I just posted about right before I started this interview with you, who got sentenced to 34 years in prison in Saudi Arabia. She's considered a terrorist.
[00:13:47] Jordan Harbinger: I saw that.
[00:13:48] Yasmine Mohammed: Because she retweeted a few things in support of Saudi Arabian feminists. It's not like talking about, "Oh, if you mix fabrics, they're going to stone you." Like that's something that never happens. These things happen. These things are happening every single day all across the globe. What is in that book is actually reality. Nobody's following the Old Testament anymore. None of those punishments are in any laws of any countries, but the Islamic law is in many countries around the globe, people are suffering daily because of it.
[00:14:19] Jordan Harbinger: I'd like to say, Oh my god, I couldn't believe that she got that harsh prison sentence for not, she's not even an activist on Twitter who's stirring up trouble.
[00:14:26] Yasmine Mohammed: Right.
[00:14:27] Jordan Harbinger: She retweeted and followed people who were activists, and then if they carry out the sentence, her life is over. She's probably like, how old is she? 30, 25?
[00:14:35] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:14:36] Jordan Harbinger: She's young.
[00:14:36] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:14:36] Jordan Harbinger: So she's going to be in prison until she is the age of a lot of people, you know, like who have grown kids, she's not going to have a life now, basically.
[00:14:45] Yasmine Mohammed: And she has young children as well that she's not going to get to see.
[00:14:48] Jordan Harbinger: That's even worse. I'm hoping they go, "Oh, okay, maybe we're going to let her go. We got the news story. Everybody's scared, let her out." But I just don't know if that's how Saudi Arabian justice system works when it comes to religious police. They don't seem like people who are thinking rationally because they are religious police, which two things that are from an American/Western perspective totally should be separate and not part of the same thing. But religious police, it's a foreign concept for us, literally and figuratively.
[00:15:15] So you recount from childhood abuse for not memorizing the Koran, which is interesting because it seems like it, are you memorizing it in Arabic or are you memorizing it in English?
[00:15:26] Yasmine Mohammed: No, it's in Arabic. And memorizing Koran is what's valued.
[00:15:31] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:31] Yasmine Mohammed: Not understanding it.
[00:15:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:15:33] Yasmine Mohammed: Not discussing it. Not critically analyzing it or anything. It's just regurgitating it. And so they teach kids from a young age to just repeat it. Now, it is written, it's Fusha, it's classical Arabic. So it's not exactly the kind of Arabic that we would speak today, but if you are an Arabic speaker, it is pretty clear what's being said most of the time. Some things you have to look up and say it's a word that we don't use anymore or something like that. 80 percent of Muslims don't even speak Arabic. I have to say that. Like, it's—
[00:16:10] Jordan Harbinger: That's a good point.
[00:16:11] Yasmine Mohammed: —a vast majority.
[00:16:12] Jordan Harbinger: People don't really realize that, and that proves other points that you've made in your book and elsewhere, which is a lot of Muslims don't share any cultural — what would you even call this? Like facets or cohesion, right? You're talking about people who live in Indonesia, they live in Dubai. I mean, they don't share food. They don't share clothing other than traditional Islamic garb maybe on women, for the most part. They don't share language. They don't have a shared history other than stuff that happened, you know, supposedly thousands of years ago that appears in the Koran. They're on the other side of the world and they haven't communicated until recently for a long time.
[00:16:45] Yasmine Mohammed: Absolutely correct. Absolutely correct. It's like expecting a Catholic person in Mexico to share the same culture as a Catholic person in Italy. Well, no, they don't. They're completely different people. The different language, like you said, all of the things that you said, but they share a religion and so they're going to have some things that overlap and those things that overlap are always religion. And so people always refer to Muslims as some monolithic cultural group — first of all, there's nothing monolithic about Muslims.
[00:17:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:14] Yasmine Mohammed: Second of all, they are not one cultural group at all. They're very, very distinct, different cultural groups. And even when I say Arabs, within that, there's like 22 different kinds of Arabs. And within the Arab countries, you know, there are other ethnic groups that don't have their own state, you know, like the Kurds—
[00:17:34] Jordan Harbinger: Bedouin—
[00:17:34] Yasmine Mohammed: —and the Jews—
[00:17:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah
[00:17:35] Yasmine Mohammed: Exactly, yeah, the Yazidis. So there's so many different kinds of people in there that are just being erased. And there's these memes that show because this is the most visual way to show the contrast of women. There's like 25 different women on this meme dressed in their traditional garb from all these different countries, Yemen, Egypt, everywhere, what they used to look like before, Indonesia, and then everybody covered in black head to toe and saying — you have to understand that these people were colonized by Muslims.
[00:18:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:10] Yasmine Mohammed: These people's cultures were erased by Islam. We talked today, you know, we puff up our chest and we speak up so loudly against, you know, when the United Kingdom would colonize or when France would colonize, rightfully so—
[00:18:25] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:26] Yasmine Mohammed: I'm Egyptian. My family is from North Africa. We don't even have anything to do with Arabs. And Egypt is now called the Arab Republic of Egypt.
[00:18:37] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:38] Yasmine Mohammed: And our language is Arabic and a lot of Egyptians call themselves Arabs. A lot of them these days are saying, "I'm not an Arab, I'm an Egyptian." Same thing is happening in Iraq. Even in Saudi Arabia, like you said, the Bedouin groups and the groups in Morocco and Algeria and all over, their cultures have been erased and they're trying to get them back again now.
[00:18:59] Jordan Harbinger: Bosnia comes to mind — when I lived in former Yugoslavia, a lot of the Serbs would say, "What are these Bosnians doing?" They were just colonized by Arabs or by Moors or whatever it was back in the day. And now they're saying, they are almost like, "We're here to rescue you from this bullsh*t. You know, what are you doing? You're trying to defend this thing?"
[00:19:16] Yasmine Mohammed: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:16] Jordan Harbinger: So a lot of Serbs were saying like, "Yeah, we're destroying mosques. We're not trying to destroy your culture. We're destroying these occupiers that came in hundreds of years ago. Why are you so bent out of shape about it?" Which obviously that argument doesn't hold a lot of water if somebody's grown up that way for five generations, you know? Yeah, you're going to hurt their feelings when you destroy their places of worship and their holy sites. But I kind of understand where the line of thought comes from at least even if I don't agree with it.
[00:19:38] Your mom married this guy who had other wives, which, you know, in case you weren't paying attention illegal in Canada. He had the wives apply for social assistance. I assume that's illegal to do, to have multiple wives.
[00:19:49] Yasmine Mohammed: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:50] Jordan Harbinger: And then have them all apply for assistance.
[00:19:51] Yasmine Mohammed: But it happens all the time.
[00:19:52] Jordan Harbinger: That seems like a kind of, I mean that's a despicable practice to have a bunch of single mothers that really aren't single. They're married to you, so you just don't have to do anything because you have five welfare families or three, that's kind of gross no matter what.
[00:20:07] Yasmine Mohammed: Absolutely.
[00:20:07] Jordan Harbinger: Way you look at it. Yeah, you're just leeching at that point for no good reason.
[00:20:12] Yasmine Mohammed: Oh yeah. But they don't think of it as leeching. They think of it as if the infidels are stupid enough to do this, then why would we not take advantage of it?
[00:20:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:20:24] Yasmine Mohammed: It's there. We're doing it right in front of them and they're letting us. And they are very aware of this happening. They're very aware of it happening, not just in Canada, but all over the United Kingdom as well, and probably in other countries. I wouldn't be surprised, but they don't do anything about it. They don't want to rock the boat. They don't want to offend Muslims. The millions of dollars of taxpayers' money. That's being funneled to people who don't need it is not important to them to investigate.
[00:20:55] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Yasmine Mohammed. We'll be right back.
[00:21:00] This episode is sponsored in part by TextExpander. TextExpander is on my short list of tools that I cannot live without. It saves me and my entire team, literal hours each month. TextExpander is basically keyboard shortcuts but on a whole other level. You're probably thinking I can just copy and paste, or I already have keyboard shortcuts, but TextExpander is way more powerful than that. You can create custom message templates where you can fill in a name or a date, or you can include a dropdown of different message options depending on what you want to send. I use it all the time, but it's especially handy if you need to send out mass messages that are customized, like responding to LinkedIn or social media, or other business. TextExpander is so smart, it'll actually suggest snippets you should be creating based on your typing. It can even send you weekly or monthly reports on how many hours it's saved you or your team members. So don't waste time typing out things you've already worded perfectly. Capture the important pieces of your emails, directions, messages, and data so you just never have to retype them again. It works on desktop and mobile.
[00:21:59] Jen Harbinger: Try TextExpander for free. And when you're ready to sign up, get 20 percent off your first year at textexpander.com/jordan. Go to textexpander.com/jordan to learn more about TextExpander.
[00:22:12] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Squarespace. Have you ever thought, "I'm just an ordinary dude or dudette? Do I really need a website?" The answer is a resounding yes, especially if you run a business, you do freelance work or even work as an employee, a website is indispensable. Having a website will make you easier to find and it'll make you more hireable because it builds your credibility as well as your personal brand. And whether you think those are annoying or cringe or not, they exist. You'll definitely stand out in the sea of resumes if you have your own website. It's never been easier or more affordable to create a website with Squarespace. You don't need to know how to code with Squarespace. Just pick a template, a design theme, then customize it. Squarespace has all the tools you need to get your personal site or online business off the ground. You can even generate revenue through gated members-only content, manage your members, send email communications, leverage audience insights, all in one, easy-to-use platform. I'm not even scratching the surface of what you can do on Squarespace. Give it a try for free at squarespace.com/jordan. That's squarespace.com/jordan. Use the code JORDAN to save 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain.
[00:23:15] If you're wondering how I managed to book all these amazing folks for the show, a lot of them are authors, thinkers, creators. They got a publicist, right? But a lot of them come from my network because they're harder to find, harder to reach out to. I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. It's not a course about booking freaking podcast guests, obviously. This is about improving your networking skills, your connection skills in non-gross non-schmoozy ways. I want to show you how to develop a personal and professional relationship with people for business or personal reasons. This is going to make you a better networker, a better connector, and more importantly, it's going to make you a better thinker. That's all at jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, many of the guests on our show already subscribe and contribute to this course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:24:00] Now back to Yasmine Mohammed.
[00:24:03] It's an annoying practice and what really sucks is there probably are tons of single moms, Muslim or not, that are now going to go through an extra rigorous process to verify—
[00:24:11] Yasmine Mohammed: Exactly.
[00:24:11] Jordan Harbinger: —that they're not doing. So they're just making it harder for people who actually need this, because maybe not the presumption, but certainly there is some evidence that people are abusing the system. So it's just annoying to hear about this in so many ways because I'm married and I have two kids and we have a lot of help from family. I can't even imagine how hard it is to be a single parent that has a nine-to-five job. I work from home. Like I'm on easy street and it's still really, really hard with two kids. So to have a single mom who's now got to like get documents together and prove that they're not scamming the system because some people are like, "Ah, stupid infidels are going to pay me to have three wives." It just really gets under my skin and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who feels that way.
[00:24:50] Yasmine Mohammed: No.
[00:24:51] Jordan Harbinger: Describe your living situation with this so-called uncle and his first wife, because it's bizarre by any measure.
[00:24:57] Yasmine Mohammed: The first wife is a French Canadian convert to Islam, and she lived upstairs, so she lived in like the normal house and my mom was the second wife, so she was the subordinate. So we live downstairs in the unfinished basement, basically.
[00:25:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:12] Yasmine Mohammed: And so there is a real hierarchy between first wife and second wife. And this is a common thing all across the Arab world and even the western world when there are people that have more than one wife. The first wife is sort of the dominant and then every subsequent wife after that is subordinate to her. So yeah, so that was us. We were the subordinate family and we knew it. It's really horrible now to look back and realize how much I internalized that and you just don't—
[00:25:46] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:25:46] Yasmine Mohammed: I didn't realize how much it affected me to know that I was subordinate growing up.
[00:25:53] Jordan Harbinger: It's like, "Oh, these are the kids that are most important and I'm part of the family that's not as important." So an emotional and physical abuse aside, it would be like if you had two kids and you said, "Now, listen, your brother's the one I love the most. I mean, you're not a close second, but you're a second, and you over there, you're the third. So you're kind of on the chopping block. If I ever decide, I don't like your mom, but all right kids, we're just going to live like one happy family." And the kids, of course, they're not going to ignore that that exists. They're going to act that way, and they're going to grow up with that idea that you are second class or third class citizen even in your own home. So why would anybody outside your house treat you well if that's how you're treated by your dad?
[00:26:31] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah. The whole idea of polygamy is such a misogynist idea. It's so insidious. It is so manipulative. It is used to control women in so many ways. There's this constant kind of hanging over your head that if you don't have a boy, if you just keep on having girls, then he's going to marry another wife. If you get sick and require and aren't able to like clean the house and cook and do the dishes or whatever, then he'll get another wife. It's just like this constant threat. If you start to get fat, if you get wrinkly, he's going to get another younger wife. Like it's just this, women are commodities, women are chattel, women are this thing that needs to perform up to his standard or he's just going to replace her with another one.
[00:27:28] And what often happens too is that, yeah, he'll be filled up with four, but then if one of them misbehaves or whatever, then he'll just get rid of her and then fill in another one in her place because the four is the maximum. And what's important to note here is that men can divorce women very easily. They just have to use their magical voice. They have to just say the words, "You are divorced." If they say the words, "You are divorced," three times, by the third time, poof, they're divorced. That's it. There is no mechanism for a woman to divorce a man.
[00:28:07] These days, when a woman wants to divorce a man, she can go to an Islamic court and hope and pray that the judge will listen to her and will grant her the divorce. But there's no actual mechanism in Islam for that to happen. So it's completely up to the judge to decide. So if you look at the imbalance between how easy it is for a man to divorce his wife and how just unheard of it is for a woman to divorce her husband, that gives you another inkling as to the misogyny.
[00:28:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. The power imbalance is just not, it's not even in the same universe as — and I was reading online that if in order for a woman to get divorced in an Islamic court, you have to say something like, "My husband is forcing me into prostitution."
[00:28:50] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:28:50] Jordan Harbinger: "And it's against the Koran for me to do this because I'm a mother of—" And then they're like, "Oh, is that true?" And the guy basically has to say, "Yep," and admit the whole thing.
[00:28:58] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:28:58] Jordan Harbinger: Or have like real obvious evidence like other people, men testifying or like a video recording of him being like, "You have to go bang that dude for money so I can buy a new car." I mean, it's really not like, "Look, we don't get along. He hits me sometimes." It's not even that. That's tough rocks, you're the wife. It has to be so egregious that actually these men's rights in the Koran are superseded by these other things that are in the Koran that say you just can't do that to humans. And that's a tall bar.
[00:29:24] Yasmine Mohammed: Yes, absolutely.
[00:29:25] Jordan Harbinger: Like a really tall bar.
[00:29:26] Yasmine Mohammed: It's impossible.
[00:29:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Because you have, you can light people on freaking fire according to certain things in the book or so I've read online. Again, I'm not a scholar here. You can throw people off roofs if they're gay. So you really have to like, the mind struggles to imagine what you would need to do to get a divorce as a woman under Islam. Other than like I said with the prostitution thing.
[00:29:44] Tell me what your life was like with this man because your mother — look, I know she's your mom. This isn't going to sound super polite. She is nuts.
[00:29:52] Yasmine Mohammed: I mean, that is super polite actually.
[00:29:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's the polite version of what I kind of wanted to say. But she grew up this very privileged situation. Was it your mother's uncle was the first president of Egypt? So she was like, I assume kind of loaded growing up, you know, living the life, living the dream.
[00:30:08] Yasmine Mohammed: She was when she was young. But as it happens in these countries, when there is a government in power and then the next government comes into power, they have to like eradicate the guy before they have to like flatten him and his family. There's no like a peaceful transfer of power ever. And so what, yes, when she was young, she was incredibly, they were very rich, she was very privileged. They had all sorts of, you know, huge mansion and servants and blah, blah, blah. But when she was still young, they lost everything. So she didn't continue growing up like that. They still thought of themselves as fancy people, even though they were all like in sardines shoved into this apartment building together. They still, in their minds, they were, you know, descendants of—
[00:30:58] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Your mother obviously endured some abuse too. She poured hot oil down her brother's throat, which as a parent just makes me want to cry immediately.
[00:31:06] Yasmine Mohammed: That wasn't my mother.
[00:31:07] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, it wasn't?
[00:31:08] Yasmine Mohammed: That was a story of a woman that was telling me that her mother had done that.
[00:31:13] Jordan Harbinger: Ah.
[00:31:13] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:31:13] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:31:14] Yasmine Mohammed: And that was to show that people read my book and they think, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe things are so horrible. I can't believe things like that happened. And as many people from Afghanistan and Somalia and Sudan and Yemen and all around the world, you know, they read my book and they think that I lived a fairytale existence.
[00:31:36] Jordan Harbinger: Because you got to go to school and things like that.
[00:31:38] Yasmine Mohammed: It's all relative, yeah. Yeah.
[00:31:40] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:31:40] Yasmine Mohammed: But think of girls in Afghanistan right now and how they're living. Just compare my life and how I grew to girls in Afghanistan right now who are not allowed to go to school, not allowed to leave the house unless they're covered head to toe in this burka. You know, they're not allowed to get educated. They're not allowed to get jobs. They're not allowed to. They're not allowed to do anything. They're barely allowed to breathe.
[00:32:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:01] Yasmine Mohammed: And so I was always very aware of it being so much worse for so many other people. And I did always feel privileged. And that's part of the reason why I didn't write the book for so long because I felt like, who am I to whine when there's so many people that have it so much worse? But then in the end, it wasn't about whining, it was about educating. And it was about letting people know this is happening in your backyard and if you don't care about what's happening in Afghanistan or what's happening in Pakistan, what's happening in Saudi Arabia, then care about what's happening on your own soil at least.
[00:32:33] Jordan Harbinger: It's creepy to think that that's happening in my neighborhood, potentially.
[00:32:37] Tell me why your mother was the perfect vessel for religious fundamentalism because it seems odd to people that somebody who grew up privileged and had everything is going to then go, "Oh, I want to live this almost acidic lifestyle where everything is kind of crappy, especially for me as a woman and my kids." I think it sheds light on the type of people who get sucked into this stuff.
[00:32:57] Yasmine Mohammed: Yes, and that's exactly right. So I had asked them myself that question so many times as well, and I have discovered through watching so many documentaries and reading so much on cults, that single mothers are uniquely vulnerable to this. They get victimized, they get pulled into cults quite easily. Like I explained in my book, my mom and my dad were together in San Francisco and they moved to Canada and that's when their marriage fell apart. So she didn't really know anybody in Canada, and he left her. And so here she was alone with three kids.
[00:33:37] So she went to the mosque looking for community, looking for support. She wasn't especially religious at all, but it was community. She spoke Arabic and she's looking for other people that speak Arabic. She was looking for that community connection, and that's when it all went pear shaped. That's where she found this guy. And the thing about Islam is it really is simple. It's a very simple religion, black and white, right and wrong.
[00:34:04] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:34:04] Yasmine Mohammed: And there's no room for nuance and there's no room for gray. And she was very depressed at that time. She was very kind of looking for guidance, looking for support, looking for something. And this religion came along. And again, she had it in her already because she grew up in Egypt. She grew up in a Muslim majority country. So all of this stuff was already familiar to her, even though she wasn't practicing. But it basically told her, "The reason why your life is bad is because you're not following the religion properly. You're not covering your hair. You're not praying five times a day. You're not, you know, reading Koran. You're not doing all the things that you're supposed to do. So if you did all the things that you're supposed to do, you would find happiness. You would find peace. You would find prosperity." Right? She bought the bullsh*t. She thought that if she repented for all of her years of wearing makeup and mini-skirts and dating boys and listening to music and whatever, and if she just started to become a better Muslim, then she would get paradise in the end.
[00:35:10] Jordan Harbinger: On the same sort of angle here, why do you think Western kids from affluent families went over to join ISIS in decent numbers? You probably have a fairly inside/unique perspective on this, because that was mystifying. You know, when I heard that people went to join ISIS, I was like, "Oh, these are going to be these like incel, alone, no friends, nothing to live for." But it turned out like, it's like a medical student who's got a residency at a hospital in the UK and you're like, "What are you doing? You're blowing up your whole life. You're going to go die in a ditch unceremoniously—"
[00:35:41] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:35:42] Jordan Harbinger: "—away from your parents and your brothers and sisters."
[00:35:44] Yasmine Mohammed: So in the same way that some people growing up Christian are hearing all the time about the apocalypse, the apocalypse is coming and blah, blah, blah—
[00:35:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:53] Yasmine Mohammed: —we always hear about how the caliphate is coming, how the Islam will rule the world, how Muslims will get rid of the infidels. We're going to kill off all the Jews and Muslims are going to control this whole world. And the whole world will go back to a law the way it should be. Everybody on the planet will be praying to Allah. And you hear about this day in and day out, every single sermon on the Friday prayers, going on and on about this, how Muslims will be victorious, blah, blah, blah. And so the virus was in our minds, in all of our minds. And all ISIS had to do was activate it.
[00:36:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:36:34] Yasmine Mohammed: Oh, Caliphate is here. And everybody that had been hearing from their birth that this was going to happen. And you have to be prepared when it happens. You have to be ready to go fight for Allah. When it happens, you have to be willing to stand with your Muslim brothers and sisters against the infidels. Are you ready for that? Are you prepared for that?"
[00:36:53] I mean, I've talked about it in my book, how my mom would actually name my friends. She would name them. Like Tiffany was my best friend, and she'd use her name and be like, "Are you prepared to kill Tiffany when the caliphate rises?" Like it was that insidious. It was that deeply manipulative. And you know, it's all kind of like, "You just say what you need to say, you do what you need to do because it's not really real and you don't think it's ever going to be real in your lifetime, but there you go, it ended up becoming real," and that's why—
[00:37:28] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:37:28] Yasmine Mohammed: —when people think that these guys or these men and women got groomed over the Internet in like six weeks or something. It's an absolute joke. No, they were not groomed over the Internet. These kids were born and raised in this ideology. This is all they heard growing up all the time. It's like when you think something isn't going to happen in your lifetime and then — like if Jesus came back, all these people that are waiting for Jesus to come back, imagine if he did how they'd react, you know? They would be so happy that they were alive when this wonderful miracle happened. And that's exactly how Muslims reacted when ISIS came to be.
[00:38:05] Jordan Harbinger: I would imagine growing up in this culture makes it more difficult to relate to your secular friends in Canada. You said your parents or your mom was asking you to pledge to kill your friends, not a hypothetical at that point either, but you're taught non-believers or enemies. And on the other hand, those are the people that are being nice to you. Your mom is like selling your clothes or giving your clothes away when you move without your permission, and your friends are giving you gifts and presents and asking you to come over and ride bikes, which you're not allowed to do because this weird obsession with girls hymens, but that's a whole nother thing. You got to really feel like a square peg trying to fit through the round hole living in the west growing up like that.
[00:38:41] Yasmine Mohammed: A hundred percent, absolutely. And as so many of us have said, it's like you feel like you're not just in a foreign country but on another planet, which is so crazy because I'm born and raised in Canada, you hear my voice. It doesn't sound like I have an accent. It sounds like I was part of Canadian culture my whole life. I was so detached from Canadian culture. I mean, my husband is Canadian now and we're around the same age and he could talk about like songs that came out or shows or movies. Like he was floored, "What do you mean you haven't seen Jaws?"
[00:39:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:13] Yasmine Mohammed: Like he couldn't believe it. "What do you mean you haven't seen Goonies?" I'm like, I remember hearing these words, but no, I've never seen these movies. I've never listened to these songs. And it was like we were in a bubble. We were in the society, but we weren't a part of it. We were completely separate, living parallel. And you can physically see that in so many countries today, like in France or in Sweden, Europe, in the UK. My gosh, it's very clear there.
[00:39:44] One woman that I was speaking to grew up in Scotland, and she grew up in such a Pakistani ghetto that she actually does have an accent. And her mother is Scottish, her mother was a convert.
[00:39:55] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:39:55] Yasmine Mohammed: But she was so separated from the rest of the world around her. And you see the same thing with the Hasidic Jewish communities in New York.
[00:40:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:40:04] Yasmine Mohammed: You'll find people there that are like, they've only ever spoken Hebrew. Like you're in New York—
[00:40:09] Jordan Harbinger: Or Yiddish, yeah.
[00:40:10] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah. And you don't even speak English without an accent. We're physically there, but we're not a part of the society.
[00:40:21] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Yasmine Mohammed. We'll be right back.
[00:40:26] This episode is sponsored in part by HVMN. You may have heard buzz about ketone supplements and how they can boost your workouts by helping your body use fatty acids for fuel. But do they work? I was skeptical at first until I tried it. So I've been taking HVMN's Ketone-IQ supplements before my morning workouts, and I'm a believer now, I suppose. That just a shot of Ketone-IQ gives me energy but also focus. It's kind of like a feeling of being in the zone without the anxiety and jitters of coffee. You know, when you've had too much coffee, you just feel horrible and like your heart's going to explode. Ketone-IQ comes in portable, convenient shots, and HVMN wants you to know that it's back in stock. It's perfect for on-the-go cycling rides, long runs, even running from meeting to meeting back to back. One, fair warning, and I've gotten a lot of feedback from you guys about this as well, the taste is bitter. It tastes like it works. They know it. I like that they don't try to hide the flavor with sweeteners. You've had that stuff too. It's kind of gross. Just keep it pure, baby. I don't want to scare you away from trying it, but just be prepared for the taste. It does really work. I feel much more focused and less hungry during workouts. Better endurance, I don't get that slow down towards the end nearly as quick. So if you're working out hard or you're training for something, definitely give ketone-IQ a try, and I'm curious, write in and let me know what you think as well.
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[00:41:46] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Human Monsters podcast. Do you of true crime? If you're ready to take out another true crime obsession, check out Human Monsters. Fair warning, the show does not spare any details. Each episode, host Morgan Rector investigates some of the most shocking crimes going over the timeline and facts of each case and peeking into the twisted minds of the perpetrators. They don't sugarcoat things. These are in-depth accounts of well-known killers. If you're ready for a wild and frankly scary ride, check out Human Monsters' recent episodes on serial killers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, Britain's Most Hated Couple, and sexual abuse among the Amish, which is, that's the thing, I guess, both fascinating and impactful stories. If you love the thrill of peeking into the dark corners of humanity, Human Monsters will be the show for you. Check out Human Monsters on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
[00:42:35] If you like this episode of the show, I invite you to do what other smart, supportive, and considerate listeners do, which is to take a moment and support our amazing sponsors, especially the ones that go in episodes like this, because man, they are just putting their neck out sometimes going in these episodes, especially the ones that are risky, talking about China or talking about a certain religion. I mean, this is really, they are really putting their butts on the line. To learn more about our sponsors, all the discount codes, they're all at jordanharbinger.com/deals, and you can only search for sponsors using the search box on the website at jordanharbinger.com as well. Thanks so much for supporting those who support us. It really does keep things going and it makes it possible to continue creating these episodes week after week.
[00:43:15] Now for the rest of part one with Yasmine Mohammed.
[00:43:20] As a parent of small children or any children, a lot of the book was actually very, very hard to read, as you might imagine. Because you grew up in what almost sounds like Abu Ghraib level of abuse and control and yes, I realized the irony of using that example, but I do it on purpose because it really is, you're living in a basement and like even other people came over who were other, I guess sort of strict Muslims and they're like, "What are you doing? Why is your family living like this? It's just weird, man. You got to move him out." And finally, I think your, I'll say weird uncle, even though he was your mom's husband, even he was kind of finally like embarrassed into making changes just because it was so repressive. It was just weird by any standard seemingly at that point.
[00:44:03] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah. And it's not even just about normalizing child marriages, but it's about revering child marriages because Muslims are taught that the Prophet Muhammad is the best example for all humanity, for all time. So however he lived his life is the best way to live your life. So that is what they say about a man who married a six-year-old child. So that's why there are so many girls forced into sex slavery. It's essentially sex slavery. These are children. It's really upsetting how Muslim women can be victims of child marriage themselves, and then go ahead and push their daughters into child marriages as well. Like it's become such a vicious, normalized thing. It's like female genital mutilation, same thing. The most vicious things about women become so normalized. And to be honest, the women are just as responsible as the men are.
[00:45:11] Jordan Harbinger: So this sort of, I'm misusing this, but everyone misuses it, it sort of brings about the question here, the idea that, is the religion the abuse here, or is religion merely the vehicle for the abuse here? In other words, do you think you would be abused by this family and these people even if you had no organized religion? Because it sure sounds like they were a bunch of kind of kooky, nutty, abusive people.
[00:45:33] Yasmine Mohammed: So I have two responses to that question. The first one, I'm stealing from Sam Harris, where he brings the example of the family of Jehovah's Witnesses who have a little girl who needs a blood transfusion, and if she doesn't get that blood transfusion, she's going to die but they choose to let her die because blood transfusions are against their religion. When that happens, we don't think, "Are those people just crazy and, you know, wanting to just kill their daughter? Would they kill their daughter even if they weren't Jehovah's Witnesses? Are they just the kind of people that don't value human life?" Like we wouldn't ask that question in that context.
[00:46:16] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:46:16] Yasmine Mohammed: But for whatever reason, it's different when it comes to Muslims. So from that, you can glean that my answer is these people are indoctrinated into a belief system that turns them into monsters. It erases their humanity. It tells them your basic humanity and what you believe to be right and wrong you must ignore and you must follow what you are told to do. And it just like every other cult, they can be led to drinking the Kool-Aid and killing themselves and their kids or all of the other ridiculous things that cult people have done. It's indoctrination, it's brainwashing.
[00:46:59] And the second answer to that question is, this religion offers sanctuary to abusive people. So when we go back to that verse, and I mentioned about instructing a husband, "If you fear disobedience or arrogance from your wife, then you should do X, Y, Z and then beat her." Now, that's not to say that every man is going to beat his wife if he fears arrogance or disobedience from her, but it's going to say that when a Muslim man chooses to beat his wife, he's got doctrinal support. He's got support from the creator, the almighty creator of the universe to beat his wife. And so there is no court system, there's no law enforcement, there's no criminal system. There's no nothing that is going to supersede. There's no human that's going to tell him you can't beat your wife after a law has given him permission to beat his wife. So yeah, it indoctrinates them into this belief system and then it creates a protection for them to continue.
[00:48:02] Like when we were talking about the child marriage issue, that's why the child marriage issue is so difficult. This is why we can't progress. This is why these Muslim countries can't progress, and this is why it's so difficult for feminists to get any progress in these countries it's because the religion has fossilized people's minds into 1400 years ago. It's just stuck. And so while cultures grow and change and progress, this religion forces people to just get stuck in time. It is the root of so many of the evils that are happening in these countries because if you break this, if you allow people secularism if people aren't brainwashed into doing these things and feeling that if they don't do them, then they're going to burn in hell for eternity, or they're never going to go to heaven, then they won't want to naturally do them.
[00:49:00] Jordan Harbinger: That does make a lot of sense, right? It's sort of hard to separate what percentage of this is being born into the wrong family versus what percentage is cultural or what percentage is, "Hey, this is what this book encourages or even mandates in many cases." Because a lot of folks are going to say, "Hey, this is not the normal everyday experience of a Muslim woman growing up in Canada. Come on, Jordan. You're cherry-picking an example. That's particularly horrible." And on the other hand, you're right, if we don't criticize things that need to be criticized, they don't progress. They fossilize. They calcify. We got rid of slavery and other horrible things here in the west, way too late I might add.
[00:49:33] Do we have work to do? Yes, we know this because we hear criticism of America and Canada every single day in the news all over the place, but somehow it's just not okay to criticize these other cultures. Back to what we were talking about at the top of the show. You go online and you go, yeah, it's really backwards that this place, I was talking about Iran and North Korea on a podcast and it was a live thing. And I said, "These are terrible governments. They don't, you know, the people who live there are—" and someone was like, "Aren't you being a little ethnocentric?" And I was like, "If ethnocentric means standing up for people to have the right to be gay without getting thrown off of a roof or thrown into a concentration camp because they didn't worship the fat old leader of this country, or the old group of old men that marry kids, then yeah, I guess I'm being ethnocentric in that I stand for human rights and these people stand for authoritarian, oppressive, totalitarian nonsense." It's just like, why are we trying to draw this weird line where I'm the weirdo for sticking up for people who don't want to be raped as a child? That's just weird.
[00:50:31] Yasmine Mohammed: Absolutely agree with that 100 percent. People have taken this cultural relativism, this moral relativism, this ethnocentrism to like some ridiculous degree where they forget that we're all human beings.
[00:50:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:43] Yasmine Mohammed: So in ethnocentric, you know, that would be something like judging French people for eating frog legs or judging Chinese people for eating scorpions. You know, I know they don't all do that, but that is a thing there.
[00:50:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:50:59] Yasmine Mohammed: That's you saying, "That's gross." Meanwhile, here we are over on this side of the world eating, I don't know, deep-fried butter.
[00:51:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah, corn dogs.
[00:51:10] Yasmine Mohammed: Right, right.
[00:51:11] Jordan Harbinger: Hotdogs—
[00:51:11] Yasmine Mohammed: Corn dogs.
[00:51:11] Jordan Harbinger: —are gross if you think about it.
[00:51:12] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:51:13] Jordan Harbinger: Any hotdog-related item is gross. Yeah, when I grew up my best friend was Persian when I was a kid and they sat on the floor and ate dinner and I remember one day I said, "This is so weird." And his mom said, "It's not weird, it's just different." And I was like, "Oh, that's true. It's just different. I'm used to sitting at a table." That's ethnocentric.
[00:51:27] Yasmine Mohammed: Yes.
[00:51:27] Jordan Harbinger: I was like nine.
[00:51:28] Yasmine Mohammed: Exactly. This is different. We're talking about human rights.
[00:51:31] Jordan Harbinger: Nobody in their right mind is going, "Well, some cultures rape kids, and that's just the way they are."
[00:51:37] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[00:51:38] Jordan Harbinger: Well, actually, let's give the example of your wedding because this is a perfect example of just how bizarre this is. The story of your wedding paints such a grim image. You wrote, I'll just start you off with a quote from your own book, "I just sat there as strange women did my makeup and I kept crying and ruining their work. They would just touch it up and continue. Nobody thought to ask what was happening or why we were doing this." In Islam silences consent, so if you're getting married and you just cry through it, that's consent. And again, remember, this is Canada. This is not a village in Yemen or Saudi Arabia somewhere, or Oman or whatever. This is a girl getting married in Canada and is crying nonstop uncontrollably. And everyone's like, "Oh, okay, I'm just going to wipe that thing a mascara off and redraw it." And you'd think sane people would go, "What the hell is wrong with this picture? You're supposed to be happy, You're obviously not happy. Somebody's got to talk to your mom and say this is obviously not right. Your daughter's crying and shaking." It's like you would expect somebody to be when they're hearing the verdict in a murder case for their son or themselves. This is you in the makeup chair at your own wedding and nobody thinks, "Oh, maybe we should be concerned about this."
[00:52:49] Yasmine Mohammed: No, because that's probably what they looked like on their wedding day, and that's what they expect their daughters to look like on their wedding day. And it's just brutality, but it's normalized brutality. So it's like when I was referencing before female genital mutilation, child marriage, so many aspects of this misogynist religion are carried out by other women. This kind of brutality of women, these kinds of vicious things that happen to women wouldn't be able to happen without the consent and act of participation of other women. And it was a really difficult thing for me to come to terms with. It really was. Because it's so easy to say, "Oh, it's the men. Oh, it's patriarchy." But you know, it's women that take a razor blade to a little girl's clitoris and slice it off. It's not men that are doing that.
[00:53:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Thank you for using that example because I don't want people to be able to say that this is some kind of one-off thing. I mean, there's a practice of a lot of this in a lot of places. And also you mentioned that, yeah, maybe there's not FGM, female genital mutilation happening in Canada, although I bet there is, but you can take your daughter to another country to go visit family and she comes back without a clitoris, right? I mean, that's how this works a lot of the time.
[00:54:13] Yasmine Mohammed: That's exactly it, yeah.
[00:54:15] Jordan Harbinger: Which is horrifying.
[00:54:15] Yasmine Mohammed: From the US from everywhere. This is something that the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation is working strongly on. In the UK, the statistics were absolutely atrocious. The numbers of girls that were ending up going to the doctor because of complications, because FGM is done, you know, these are not done by professionals with their sterilized equipment, right? These are just like aunties—
[00:54:40] Jordan Harbinger: Right. It's not a dentist.
[00:54:41] Yasmine Mohammed: No, this is just random.
[00:54:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:54:43] Yasmine Mohammed: You know, stuff happening, they have like a party and it's like a, this big celebration because she's like entering womanhood or whatever. It's not regulated in any way. And so they would go for, like you said, vacation cutting. They would take the girls to wherever, Somalia, Egypt, and come back, and there would be complications. And then so they'd end up in the hospitals, in the UK, astronomical numbers of kids with complications due to this mutilating of their bodies for no reason. And even though it's against the law, even though it's a criminal offense, nobody's ever been prosecuted. When you don't prosecute people for doing a criminal activity, you're basically saying, "Hey, don't worry about it. Just keep going. Nothing's going to happen to you." You are endorsing it. It's like criminalizing. It is a waste of time anyway, and they know that nothing's going to happen to them.
[00:55:44] Jordan Harbinger: It's crazy to me to think about when you think about female genital mutilation, because look, if you circumstance a young boy, okay, it's a medical thing. It happens in a hospital and it's not the same. I think a lot of people don't realize that. This is more like cutting someone's penis in half rather than cutting off the foreskin. You're cutting away a piece of it. The foreskin, yes, it's a piece of it. I'm sure it hurts. It's different when it's a baby, although I still think it's barbaric. TMI, my son's not circumcised, but it's a completely different ball. I think people like to equate these things and it's just not the same. You're talking about taking, in many cases, a young preteen girl and cutting off a piece of her vagina, not cutting off of the tip of the skin. It's just completely different and way more painful. And again, not regulated. If you tried to circumcise your kid in your bathroom and you took him to the hospital.
[00:56:29] Yasmine Mohammed: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:29] Jordan Harbinger: And they said, "What the hell happened?" And he said, "Well, I didn't want to pay the doctor, so I took scissors to my son's penis and I may have screwed it up. And I didn't really—" They would take your kids from you and if we heard about religious fundamentalists marrying 13-year-old girls off to old men, we would kick the door in and send in a SWAT team. We did that in Waco, Texas. The Branch Davidian cult was marrying young girls and the whole country was like, "What the hell?" And we burned it down and accidentally killed pretty much everyone inside, except for the women and children who were let go, not exactly the FBI's finest moment, but we did something very drastic about that. When it happens in Canada, we say, "Well, you know, we counted respect people's religions," and it's ridiculous. It's insane. It's actually insane.
[00:57:12] Yasmine Mohammed: It's actually insane because you're talking about us all as if we are all human beings. That's why, because you're not differentiating between this group of people and this group of people. You're saying, we're all human beings. We all have the same bodies. When you beat this child or beat this child, they're going to have the same amount of bruises. They're going to have the same amount of psychological childhood trauma. When you cut this girl's clitoris or you cut this girl's clitoris, or whatever it is that you're doing, you're marrying off this nine-year-old child or you're marrying off this 13-year-old child, whether it's happening in Afghanistan or whether it's happening in Texas, these are human beings. These are young girls and they deserve to be protected.
[00:57:53] But what's happening is, other people do not view us as equal human beings to them. They see us as something different. They see us as something subhuman, to be honest. They really don't think that when these things happen to us, that we are just as traumatized by it as it they would be if it had happened to them. They think that for some reason when it happens to us, it's okay because of the accident of birth because we have to have been born on a different part of this spinning rock that we're all on that somehow makes us fundamentally different from them. That's one of the most difficult things for me to be able to understand from people who call themselves liberals, anti-racists, where, in one breath, they can go on and on about how they support the LGBT community, but then when you talk about, Okay, but in Iran, they'll execute people for being gay, and then they'll tell you that you're being ethnocentric or that you're being Islamophobic or whatever.
[00:58:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:59] Yasmine Mohammed: Like exactly like you said at the top of this conversation. It's like they remove their brain and they throw it in the garbage before they're able to have a conversation with you. Suddenly, they forget what feminism is. They forget what liberalism is. They forget what human rights are. They forget what religious fundamentalism is. They recognize it when it's Christian fundamentalism. Of course, they do, my god.
[00:59:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:59:22] Yasmine Mohammed: Try and not bake a cake for a gay couple, and they'll remind you that they're very aware of what Christian fundamentalism is. But when it comes to Muslim fundamentalists when it comes to Muslim extremists when it comes to them stabbing writers, the Batley grammar school teacher in the UK is in hiding with his whole family, and he's still better off than the teacher in France who was beheaded in the streets when he was on his way home to his wife and son.
[00:59:47] All of these things are happening and we can't talk about it. Are you kidding me? If these were the Westboro Baptist Church doing this, or if these were any group with white skin doing this, you would be able to have this conversation and you would understand why this criticism is very valid and why we need to have this conversation, but because they happen to have a little bit more pigmentation in their skin or because they happen to have come from a different geographical location, suddenly, they can't have this conversation and they can't recognize it. So the only difference is that they're not seeing us all as human beings.
[01:00:25] Jordan Harbinger: You're right. It's kind of like the only logical conclusion is you're just put in a separate category because of cognitive dissonance and the fact that it doesn't, these two ideas that, you know, we can't be racist, but also it's not racist to say these certain things about this one particular kind of religion. It's like, "Uh-oh, my brain can't hold these two things together. So I'm just going to err on the side of not thinking critically about this at all."
[01:00:48] You started to break free of this, especially while you were back in Egypt. You were taught to originally ignore your gut feelings and your intuition because it's from the devil. And anytime you questioned anything with respect to Islam, you were literally slapped in the face, or at least rebuffed, no room for critical thought in the household. I think your mother was kept saying, "The devil makes you question," which is really rich coming from, I mean, wasn't Islam, weren't they like the earliest scientists? I mean, there was this whole renaissance where the science was developed by these people, and then it's like, "Nah, let's throw that all out the window. Go back like 500 more years to get rid of all our gains here." You give a really good example of how your Egyptian extended family responds to curiosity and questions. Tell me about your uncle, and he's eating like this candy bar.
[01:01:30] Yasmine Mohammed: Yeah.
[01:01:30] Jordan Harbinger: This is such a great metaphor for the level of thinking that's not going on over there.
[01:01:36] Yasmine Mohammed: It was such a moment for me. It was such a shocking moment. But yeah, he was eating a candy bar with crisps in it. It had like, you know, puffed rice, Rice Krispies, and he said, "I wonder what these crispy things are in my chocolate bar." And I said, "It's rice." And he started laughing and he is like, "What do you mean it's rice? Ha-ha-ha. And I'm sure there's some chicken in there too, right? Like, ha-ha-ha." Because rice in Egyptian food is like, it's a staple. Like if you think of like Asian food or something, you know?
[01:02:05] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:02:06] Yasmine Mohammed: So it's always very savory and it's always part of every meal. So he just could not, he couldn't believe that it would be rice, puffed rice that was in his chocolate bar. And I'm like, "Read the ingredients." He's like, "I don't need to read the ingredients. What do you think? I am stupid. Of course, it's not rice." And I'm like, "Just read the packaging." Like he wouldn't even read the packaging because he was so sure that there's no way that it could be rice in there. And that it was so stupid for me to even come up with this. You know, a cockeyed idea that there could be rice in his chocolate bar. And yeah, that's pretty much what it is. Like, they're so sure that they know that they're unwilling to learn. They're unwilling to look further. Once you say, "I know," once you say, "This is the truth, I know the truth," you stop learning at that point.
[01:02:57] Jordan Harbinger: It's not just ignorance, but it's ignorance that is just celebrated and enshrined as almost like a virtue.
[01:03:05] Yasmine Mohammed: Yes.
[01:03:05] Jordan Harbinger: I'm not going to read the label because it might tell me something that I don't want to know and disagree with, and I'm so diluted that I'm not even uncomfortable saying that I might learn something else. I'm just going to pretend it can't happen.
[01:03:19] Yasmine Mohammed: Yes. And that is exactly why the term Islamophobia is used to shut down criticism, to shut down conversation because they don't even want to engage in discussion. They don't even want to engage in any kind of discourse because it's like, "This is the truth and we cannot question it, and that's it. We must move forward." And it's like cyborgs, "This is the software that's been put into them and they cannot, like, you know, like a horse with blinders, they cannot look, they cannot speak, they cannot acknowledge that there could be any other ways of looking at the world.
[01:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: I wanted to give you a quick bite of the episode I did a while back with skating legend Tony Hawk. Tony virtually defined the entire sport of skating and was innovating in the niche before anyone even gave it a second look. His marketing and business savvy and stories of some very close calls really made this a good one.
[01:04:15] Tony Hawk: I picked up skating at the tail end of its first boom in the '70s. That was the trend. And then when I discovered the possibilities and I literally saw people flying out of empty swimming pools, that was my wow moment. There was like a danger factor. There was this edgy factor, and I just devoted myself to it. I want to learn how to fly.
[01:04:34] Jordan Harbinger: For guys who considered yourselves nerds and outcasts, you were pretty tough.
[01:04:38] Tony Hawk: That is the defining moment. If you want to do this seriously or continue to do it is the moment you get hurt. One of my worst injuries in the beginning was I got a concussion. I knocked my teeth out. I knew when I woke up in the pro shop of the skate park that I wanted to get back out there and do it.
[01:04:54] I can't believe people still recognize me or I can't believe that I get recognized for skating because that was never something that was a goal. That was never something that was an option when I was younger, the most famous skaters when I started skating were only known to a very small group of skateboarders. They were in the skate magazines. They were definitely not on TV. They weren't considered sports stars. I still feel strange that I get recognized.
[01:05:19] You know, it's weird skateboarding now, some people get into it to be rich or famous. When I got into it, neither one of those things was even possible.
[01:05:27] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Tony Hawk, including how he almost lost control of his brand entirely, check out episode 324 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:05:37] All right. Like I said, lots to discuss here. That's the end of part one. Part two coming up in just a few days. May already be out depending on when you're listening to this. She's a great guest as you can hear, and much more to dig into in part two.
[01:05:47] Links to all things Yasmine Mohammed will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes, videos on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, and discount codes, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support this show, especially in controversial episodes like this one. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems, software, and tiny habits. The same stuff I use every single day. Takes a few minutes a day. It's our Six-Minute Networking course. The idea is six minutes a day, really, it's like four or five, five-minute networking was taken. Anyway, it's a free course. jordanharbinger.com/course is where you can find it. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty, and many of the guests on the show subscribe and/or contribute to the course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[01:06:36] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's really interested in this kind of extremist religion or an inside look at this kind of thing, or is like one of those hardcore atheists, they might like this too, definitely share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[01:07:17] Jillian Jalali: Hi everyone. This is Jillian with Court Junkie. Court Junkie is a true crime podcast that covers court cases and criminal trials using audio clips and interviews with people close to the cases. Court Junkie is available on Apple Podcasts and podcastone.com.
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