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Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: February 8, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,847

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Yasmine Mohammed is an Author and the Founder of Free Hearts, Free Minds. She discusses: CSIS and personal life; religious history and its influence on her via education; a rising tide of ex-Muslim community and activism; current work; and current teaching.

Keywords: FHFM, Islam, Ex-Muslim, Yasmine Mohammed.

Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression: Author; Founder, Free Hearts, Free Minds (Part Two)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview was conducted in early 2018.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: I want to pause and touch upon some themes discussed so far. One, you started with a phrase in the earliest part that “Islam is a religion by men for men.” That might be a direct quote.

Then you mentioned scared, then you mentioned feared, but then you mentioned also, intervention into your life from external forces of benevolence including CSIS or the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service.

It, in some ways, seems to energize and say, “I can get out of this,” to get away from the husband and your mother who had their own different forms of abuse if I can say. However, when it comes to a course, so it is the primal response of fear.

Then it is followed by you wanting to be free. That is another word you used, of that release and so you left. Then it was becoming more intellectual, which was the world religion or History of Religion course with the Lebanese professor.

First, it was instinct, then it was intellectual. My suspicion is that the next stage then would be working through a lot more of the emotional stuff?

Yasmine Mohammed: Definitely. So, on everything, I did not mention something that adds to those themes. I wanted to get away from that house and get away from him, but I was really scared. Then I found out I was pregnant again.

Then, I was depressed because I felt that I had lost my opportunity. I was disappointed in myself that I did not leave as quickly as I could because now here I was pregnant again. So, I started accepting that this was my life.

I was not going to be a single mom with two kids. I will never survive. I have a high school education, so this is it. I sealed my fate because I was not courageous enough to leave. Then when I went to my first doctor appointment, it turns out the baby did not have a heartbeat, so it is what they called a missed miscarriage.

So, I had to go in for a DNC – which is a procedure to get the baby out. When I did the DNC, I had general anesthesia. The nurse told me you have a young baby. You are going to be groggy and stuff, so we are going to need you to go with somebody that can help you with your little baby when you go home.

Then I said, “Good, I will go to my mom.” Because obviously, he is not going to help me with our kids. So, I said to him, “Can I go stay with my mom for a few days?” He said, “Sure, no problem.”

When I talk about getting away from him and getting away from my mom, that was the last time I ever saw him. I realized this was my opportunity to get out. I was not going to miss it. So when I went to my mom’s after the DNC, she got up the next morning and went to work.

She is the head of the Islamic Studies department at the local Islamic school. I took my kid, sorted through the yellow pages and found a lawyer, a female lawyer because she would be more empathetic with my struggle.

Having to go out all in black gloves everything, with a baby, I only realize now how ridiculous. I remember them reacting strongly, but I only now understand why. I walked into the office that day and I said, “I need to leave quickly. I have to get back before my mom gets back.”

I took the bus. This was in the days before the Skytrain. As soon as possible, I needed a restraining order, full custody, and a divorce. You cannot call the house. You cannot send any letters.

You cannot contact me, so any information you have to ask for it now because I will never be able to see you again. They said, “Done, it is fine. Do not even worry about it. Everything is okay. Do you need to get back?”

I was like, “No, no, no, I am fine.” I had no idea how dire the whole situation was. I went back and waited. For those few days, I did not know. I had no idea what I had started was going to work then, a couple days later he came.

My mom was living in an apartment building. There was security, so you had to get buzzed. I heard him downstairs screaming in Arabic, “Give me back my wife,” all this stuff.

Jacobsen: “Give me back my wife,” those two terms, “me” and “my,” are terms of being property.

Mohammed: Without a doubt, totally.

Jacobsen: He thought he owned you.

Mohammed: That is what he was angry about. He was angry that I had some agency to make my own decisions.

Jacobsen: You saw these videos of men getting mad about losing their car or their prized guns.

Mohammed: Same thing.

Jacobsen: I interrupted, please.

Mohammed: So, this guy, he is six foot four, Egyptian, dark haired, dark skinned, yelling in Arabic at the building. So, it did not take long for people to call the cops. There is some guy screaming at the building.

I was so afraid someone would leave. Then he would be able to slip, but nobody did. Then the cops came and told him this is your restraining order. You are not allowed to come near the building anymore.

They told me that we can tell him that he cannot come to this building, but we cannot restrict him out in the world. All we can say is that he cannot go within a certain number of meters, in the places you are going to be in, but that does not protect you if you happened to be in the mall and he happened to be there.

So, I stayed in the house. I was not about to risk bumping into him somewhere. I stayed in the house all the way until CSIS contacted me again. They brought me a picture of him behind bars in Egypt and asked if that was him.

I said, “That was him.” I started to get my college loans and started to go to university. So, it was not until I knew he was not going to come and get me and my daughter.

Jacobsen: So, then more positive emotions probably come into your life and assuming your child’s life as well.

Mohammed: So, at this point, my mom was so upset and so angry at me because she dis not want me to go to school. She wants to get me into another marriage, married quickly. So, she is telling me how hard it is going to be a single mom.

She is trying, pushing all of these men on me because she wants to grab the opportunity. I did not care. None of that mattered. It was not the first time around. The first time around I was scared and nervous, and her threats meant something to me.

This time around I was like, “Throw me out in the streets, please, I want nothing to do with you. I would love that.” So, I knew I was all on my own anyway. She went to visit my sister in Florida. That is when I grabbed my daughter and packed the bags.

I left her house. So, it was all happy days. I did not care. Nothing was going to bring me down, I was not sad or upset or even worried about the potential idea that my mom would not approve about what I was doing.

I do not care, but all this time I was still Muslim. I was still asking Allah for guidance to escape my mom. I do not know how to explain it. It did not even cross my mind that that belief could be wrong. It was absolute truth, like talking about: does the Sun rise in the morning? Of course, it does.

The Sun is not something you talk about. It was obvious. So, I did not take that history course a couple of years later. It is amazing that I did not question religion. It was him. I was my mom. I did not connect the dots.

Then after I stopped believing in Islam anymore, I was free to criticize Islam. When you are raised, you are not allowed to ever question. You are raised that Muslims can do bad things, but Islam is perfect, Allah is perfect, and Muhammad is perfect.

So, you do not even criticize it. I remember being a young child and finding out he was 50 something and raped a 9-year-old girl. I was like “How are we supposed to revere this? How is he a perfect man?” My mom got so angry at me because who was I?

Some kid questioning the Prophet of Allah. He was so much more than me. I could not possibly understand how divine he is. She made me feel that I could never question anything after that. She tore me down. I was at a young age. I was young when I learned that.

So, questioning is not encouraged. It is punished and that keeps on happening until you finally stop questioning. Punished so the idea that this could be the fault of the religion was not going to enter my mind.

Of course, now, the line between everything that happened to me and this scripture it is clear as day. There is evidence that everything that happened to me in the way it says to do this. My mom was a good follower.

She believed in this stuff. One thing I did not tell you is that she was raised in a secular household in Egypt. She was not even raised religious, so what happened is she was married to my dad who was agnostic.

It was fine because she did not care about religion. It was not until he left her with three children that she was looking for something. She is in Canada. So, she is looking for her community support, so she found a mosque, the local mosque, and she jumped into it.

She was a born-again Muslim. She found some guy at the mosque who was already married, but who offered to take her in as her second wife and that is what she did.

Jacobsen: Is this in BC, Canada?

Mohammed: Yes, this is in British Columbia, Canada.

Jacobsen: Bountiful BC has many aspects.

Mohammed: Yes, that is right.

2. Jacobsen: It is that old phrase: “variations of a theme.” You mentioned Ali Rizvi. He and Armin are the somewhat more prominent names in the ex-Muslim community now.

In Britain, one of the more prominent is Maryam Namazie, associated with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. So, there is a rising tide. When did you become part of that wave?

Mohammed: It was in the now infamous episode of the Bill Maher show when he had Ben Affleck and Sam Harris. So, that was the catalyst for me because after the episode aired the next day my Facebook was covered with people praising Ben Affleck, and how awesome he was for shutting down that racist Sam Harris.

I was like – hold on a minute, everything Sam Harris said was spot on. How are you guys happy about Ben Affleck? He basically had a hissy fit. He was incoherent. What is going on in this world? Have you all gone mad? So, I had to speak up.

So, it made me speak up. I started to discover things and got a face-full. I discovered the whole global secular humanist movement. I did not even hear the term ex-Muslim. I did not know it existed. At this point, I had even been identifying myself as an atheist for over a decade.

So, all that stuff was behind me. There were a lot of people that knew me that would not have known that I had been a Muslim. Even if my non-belief had never come up because I did not want it to, I wanted to leave that world behind. I want to push it down as far as possible.

3. Jacobsen: So, what is your current work that you are doing now?

Mohammed: So, I have a few irons in the fire. Everything that takes up most of my time is the podcast that I am doing with Ali Rizvi, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, and Armin Navabi, the Secular Jihadist. So, we booked Maajid Nawaz, so that is awesome.

We are going to have him on soon. We are trying to get some bigger names, so I contacted Ben Shapiro and Tommy Robinson. We are trying to get some different sides of the political spectrum, speaking to each other and trying to bridge that gap.

We will see. We will see how things turn out. If you have ever listened to our podcast, we are not aligning in thought, so it makes it difficult to get guests sometimes because they know some of us.

But they do not know others or they had a bad experience with one of us or something like that. So, when there are four of us, we have to find a guest that is with all the four of us. Sometimes, that is hard to do, so that has taken up a lot of my time.

Also, involved in a documentary, which the whole focus is to talk about the Left-Islamist alliance and try to separate those two because our thinking is that if the liberals or if the Left wing Americans, especially atheists, understood that they were supporting a religion and not a people, they would automatically get rid of that alliance that is going on there.

So, it is heartening to see things this morning. There was an article in the New York Times of all places. It said that the hypocritical leftists are willing to give Muslim extremists a pass and this has a lot to do with Maajid Nawaz suing the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center).

So, it is showing that this alliance between the Muslim and the Left-wing is not a good thing. For the Muslim Extremist or the Left wing, it is not a good thing for the average Muslim. So, we will see how that turns out.

That documentary is still in its beginning stages. I am involved in speaking at the Ayaan Hirsi Ali campus tour. So, what that means, we are trying to get a bunch of students from different universities across the U.S., not Canada yet but we are hoping to exit to Canada soon, (we have different politics in our two countries, we have different needs), but the purpose of the campus tour is to get people who are part of the secular groups in their universities to come to listen to us speak.

It is going to be me, and Ali and Aisha, Aisha is Ali’s wife. There will be shared platforms with a bunch of people and then the students will take what they learned from us. Then spread that into their home universities.

They can also invite us to come to speak at their universities too. Ex-Muslims of North America are doing the exact same thing. They are doing a campus tour, except theirs are only ex- Muslims. The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation is for secular-minded people, so it is more much inclusive.

So, I might get involved in the Ex-Muslims of North American one. I might not. I am not sure because I am also teaching full time in September. I do not have any classes scheduled on Friday so we will see how things turn out.

What else am I doing? I am going to be in Ohio this summer speaking at a CFI conference. I am also going to be speaking in Portland in September. I am going to be sharing the stage with Dave Rubin and Steve Simpson.

We are going to be speaking about free speech. We are going to go around talking about free speech with her, not with her obviously, with her foundation.

This is an exciting program because I watched him onstage. I went when he was in LA. I got a chance to watch Dave Rubin, and Colin Moriarty was on stage with him and Steve too. Then I also watched a video with Faisal and Dave and Steve.

So, it is exciting to watch it and then get to be a part of it. Colin Moriarty, if you do not know him, he is the guy who tweeted. It was No Women Work Day or something like that and he tweeted: “ah Day of Silence” or “ah! finally silence.” Which come on, is funny!

So, his girlfriend laughs. He thought, “This is not going to be a problem.” He did not realize. The whole world, everything, blew up in his face. He lost his jobs. His friends turned on him. It was a bomb that blew up. You’d think that he tweeted something horrible. So, he is a great person to talk about free speech.

Jacobsen: It is the digital era. In America, where probably the freest speech has been won or the right to, the privilege to, free expression and speech have been won to the greatest extent.

With the digital era, people can disperse the single worst thing about you in one sentence, which, by definition, most often will be out of context. So, for instance, if he is talking with his wife privately and he tells that joke, they both laugh. It is a bonding thing.

Then it is on Twitter. It is part of a Twitter compilation of thoughts: “I am having coffee today,” “look at this big guy,” “look at that guy wearing spandex in the middle of the day,” “oh, it is ‘No Women Work Day’… so no more complaining.”

But now it’s broadcast so not only the easily offended but those that want to be offended can be, they can find a reason for it or people can deliver the reason to them.

Mohammed: It is shocking. He broke down in tears with his conversation talking with Dave Rubin. That is how bad it was. His life fell apart over a tweet, so silly. Honest to God, I did laugh at it. It was funny. I am a woman. I am not offended by it.

It is hilarious. I get over it. However, you said people want to be offended.

4. Jacobsen: It is almost, not the lowest common denominator but, something close to it, where the variables being counted are those with the thinnest skin who then determine discourse.

That is the problem, so it is one of those new communications technologies. With all of its benefits, it is one of the negatives. So, you are teaching at a university in the Fall, in September. What will you be teaching?

Mohammed: So, I teach different things in different places. At the University of Victoria, I teach teachers how to teach. So, it is because I have an education background, most university professors are knowledgeable in the field and are experts in what they research, what they teach, but do not necessarily have any pedagogy or any education experience understanding of how to teach the stuff that they know.

That is where I come in. I do that at UVic. I do this at Camosun College as well. However, that is half of my job. The other half is teaching in the arts and humanities. So, I teach mostly academic English writing, boring research skills, but, sometimes, I get to teach literature and more fun things.

Most of the time, it is research skills and academic writing. Those basic courses for the second year on how to write an essay, what is citing your source, and so on.

Jacobsen: All of the foundational stuff.

Mohammed: That is right.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Founder, Free Hearts, Free Minds.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 8, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom [Online].February 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, February 8). Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in FreedomRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, February. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (February 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):February. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Islam, Self-Ownership, and Free Speech and Expression (Part Two) [Internet]. (2019, February; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed-two.

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Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: February 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,586

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Yasmine Mohammed is an Author and the Founder of Free Hearts, Free Minds. She discusses: family background; the tone of growing up; being a Muslim girl; people who stop believing in Islam; emotions of having no one to go to; building a new community or finding a new one; going about doing so; and being forced into marriage.

Keywords: FHFM, Islam, Ex-Muslim, Yasmine Mohammed.

Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom: Founder, Free Hearts, Free Minds (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*This interview was conducted in early 2018.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: So, to begin, was there a family background in both religion and irreligion or simply religion?

Yasmine Mohammed: Wow, that is a good question. No one has ever asked me that before! There was a family background in both, but I never knew my dad. My parents divorced when I was about 2-years-old.

I saw him a few times up until I was probably about eight, but only little visits. So, I never had that father-daughter relationship with him. After that, I never saw him or had any contact with him at all.

But I knew that he was not Muslim. I knew he was not religious. I knew he was not a practicing Muslim. I knew that he did not identify as a Muslim. So, some Muslims, they identify as a Muslim, but they do not practice!

But, even he was like, “No, I do not like all that garbage.” But he was not the influence in my life, my mom was the influence in my life because she is the one who raised me.

She raised me to believe that my dad was evil and he is going to burn in hell. So, if we were being bad, she would threaten us with “I am going to send you to go live with your father,” which was the worst thing because she was going to send us to live with a non-believer.

2. Jacobsen: I want to freeze frame on the tone there, the emotional tone. You described that as the worst thing: to be with your father, not because of your father, but because he would burn in hell.

Is this a common theme that you hear in conversations with friends and others growing up? Not if non-Muslims will burn in hell, but if a threat is either tacit, or explicit, as per your mother’s statement about your father that they will burn in hell – as a threat to keep kids in line, for instance.

Mohammed: It is not a threat. It is the best way to describe it. For somebody who did not live in that world, it is when you are little. Your parents say that Santa is not going to bring you any presents.

If you believe in Santa Claus, and if you would think that you are being bad, he is not going to bring you presents. It was like that, but much worse. It was that, but it was not real. You felt it as real. Your parents thought it was real too.

So, Santa Claus is not a good parallel because parents know that they are joking, but it was these stories about what would happen to you in the grave. The punishments on the Day of Judgment. Punishments that would happen for eternity.

We are not told threats or stories. They were absolute. They were definite. These things would happen to you. It is the default. It was going to happen to you and only if you were able to do something amazing and wonderful and serve God in an over the top way would you be able to protect yourself from that.

So it is the opposite of Christianity, which has forgiveness and your people are inherently good. If they do something wrong, then they can ask for forgiveness. However, for Muslims, it is the opposite.

3. Jacobsen: As a girl and an adolescent young woman growing up in a Muslim family, what was the experience of that for you? Did you notice differences in treatment between boys and girls?

Mohammed: So, there is a difference in treatment. Islam is a religion by men for men. it is created by men for men, so it is male-centered. The female’s rule is simply to serve men, so even as a child you are raised this way.

I have a video that I shared on my Facebook, recently, with girl who is probably a seven or eight-year-old. She is wearing a niqab. Then they show her cooking and bringing drinks on a tray to serve her brother and cleaning the kitchen.

The song that is being sung is, while she is doing all this, about how wonderful she is and how she is going to go to heaven because she is such a good girl. That is how we were raised. Your whole purpose is to be a good wife one day. That is how you serve Allah.

That is the best person you could possibly be. It is to be able to serve your husband and make him happy and make babies, make more Muslims. Those kids have to be religious.

4. Jacobsen: What happens to people in the family if they stop believing in Islam?

Mohammed: I do not have any experiences of knowing anybody that has stopped believing, so I did not when I stopped believing. It is a long story. I separated myself completely from my family, from my community, from everybody because I knew the punishment for leaving Islam was death.

So, I severed all ties. I suspect that probably other people have done that too. That is why you never hear about them in the community. There is no talk about this person that left the religion.

They do not exist, so a common thing you will hear from many ex-Muslims is “I was the only one.” Then they say something like, “Me too!” I thought that I was the only one because you are raised to think that it does not happen.

It is not possible. You are raised to feel it is an identity. It is who you are, so you cannot ever decide to be non-Muslim because it is who you are. So, now that I am open, I meet many ex-Muslims all the time from all over the world. A lot of them have similar stories to mine, where they had to cut ties with their family, their friends, and everything else.

They came out and then they were ostracized and had to cut ties anyways. At the end of the day, it is a negative experience. Ali Rizvi is one of the only people that told his parents that he was not going to be Muslim anymore.

They said, “That is okay. We still love you.” I was like, “What?!” But it is mostly because they were extremely nominal Muslims anyway. They were Muslim by culture, by heritage. They are not practicing.

So, it is not that big a deal. It is a small step. My family was hardcore. So, I was more like a Mormon. He was more of a universalist. A Unitarian or something, it is not that big of a deal for him, but it is a big deal for my family.

5. Jacobsen: If there is an identity that is implicated from a young age, and you are leaving that behind when you stop believing it yourself, but you have no one to go to, what are some of the emotions and feelings that come up?

Mohammed: These are such good questions. That was one of the hardest parts of leaving the religion. It is re-discovering and re-building who I am from the ground-up. I was always told who I was, what to think, how to act, what to say, and what to wear.

Everything is outlined in your life: how you eat, how to drink, how you go to the bathroom, how you eat, how you put on shoes, how you cut your toenails, and so on. Literally, the stuff of your life is outlined for you, so when you walk away from that it is not cold turkey. It is weird. It takes time.

It is scary. However, I did a lot of reading in those days faked it until I made it. This is who I want to be. These are the values for me. In the beginning, it was doing the opposite of what I was taught, to be honest.

If I was not sure by default, I would do the opposite. Then I would take some time to think about it. It was weird. It was one of the hardest parts of leaving Islam.

6. Jacobsen: That sounds like a reaction from an interview with the Temple of Satan, a chapter leader and spokesperson, Michelle Short and Stewart “Stu” De Haan, respectively.

They noted different branches including the Church of Satan, the Temple of Satan, and the general category of the Theistic Satanist. They noted that the Theistic Satanists are not what they are, and almost impossible, because they amount to an opposing reaction to Christianity.

They are Christianity inverted rather than something non-supernaturalist and that takes Satan as a metaphor. So, even in a different context, I see a similar development there.

Even if you have those emotions coming up, of fear and others, which is an ancient emotion evolutionarily, what becomes of you when you are trying to build a new community or at least find a community?

Mohammed: My case was different because I had a daughter. I had a baby when I ran away, so I did not have time to do much soul searching. I had to get my shit together as quickly as possible because I had to raise her.

So, when I was talking about doing a lot of reading back then, I was in university. Anytime, I could take an elective. I would take child psychology or something. I wanted to make sure that I raised my daughter in the right way.

7. Jacobsen: With those associated motions, how do you go about building or finding a community?

Mohammed: So, building or finding a community did not happen, I did not find or build a community. I lived a double life. I do not think I ever replaced that community that I lost, or even if it can be replaced.

That is a thing that a lot of ex-religious are missing. that social community connection. That tribal part is comforting and dangerous because you always have ‘the other.’ But I did not find a replacement for it.

It was scary. I was lonely, but I figured it out step by step. I do not have a good answer for that.

8. Jacobsen: You gave a completely appropriate answer as far as I am concerned, because you described the personal context. You ran away with a child. You needed to get your “shit together” as fast as possible. It is reasonable.

But there is a gap. Your father not being in the picture. Your mother said, “I am going to send you to his house and he is going to hell.” All of the sudden, you are leaving the community and escaping with your child.

What is the gap? What is in-between there?

Mohammed: That is a big gap. So, my mom has been trying to force me into marriage after marriage, ever since I finished high school. There is no option of going to college or anything.

But I did not want to get married, so I kept on sabotaging it.

So, I would not get married. She kept on getting new people and different people. Eventually, there was this one guy, she was adamant about him.

She said, “I am kicking you out to the street if you do not marry this guy. I am done with you. I am tired of you. You are marrying him, whether you like it or not.” So, these are the days before Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. So, I had no connection to my friends that I went to high school with.

I lost all the connections because I had been in Egypt for two years. That was another issue. We went to Egypt to visit as a family. Then she left me there because she wanted me to be fixed. She wanted to leave me in a Muslim Society, so I could stop being so Western.

I did not know that I was going to be staying there for two years. So, one day I woke up and my family was gone. In those two years, I had lost contact. My friends all started traveling Europe and going to university.

Anyway, they were not living at home anymore, so I had no way of contacting them. When she forced me to marry this guy, I did not think I had much choice anyway. What was I going to do? Even if I did find a friend, I had not spoken to them in two years.

So, I eventually gave in, married the guy, and got pregnant almost immediately. I did not realize until later into the marriage that he was an Al-Qaeda member because I was contacted by CSIS, who is the Canadian CIA.

They contacted me when my mom had an emergency. She started bleeding from her nose. She was coughing up blood at the same time. So, I called 911 for an ambulance. I went with her to the hospital.

Up until that moment, I had never been away. I had never been alone without my mom or him. That was the first time. CSIS, they swept into the scene. They were there, so they have been monitoring him and trying to get to me for some time.

This was the opportunity they finally got. So, when my mom was with the doctor, they came into the waiting room. Then they asked me to go into a private room together. We talked about it. They told me. He was a member of Al-Qaeda.

They started asking me about Osama bin Laden. None of these things sounded familiar to me because it was pre 9/11, so I had no idea. None of it sounded familiar to me. I knew that he had been in Afghanistan because he always talked about Peshawar.

How much he wanted to be back there, he loved it. I knew that he might have been involved in some jihad-ist activity, but it is not like he ever talked to me about it. My role was to cook, clean, and get raped. There was no actual relationship there.

So, once I realized who he was and what he was a part of, they told me that he was in Canada to be part of something. They did not know what, but there was something brewing and he was part of the network.

It turns out it was for 9/11. However, that is when I decided I needed to get out of this relationship, get away from this man and get my daughter out of this life because I realized I did not want my daughter to live the same life.

Everything was repeating itself. I was condemning her to live the same life. She is what propelled me to have the courage to get out. It was a two-step process: I had to get away from him and then I had to get away from my mother.

Because my mom, she is the same ideology as him. The only difference is that she is a woman and he is a man. She would throw things at me, but she is not as physically scary. So, I got away from him.

Then I got away from my mom eventually. That is when I started university because I am lucky enough to be living in Canada. I am able to get student loans and start my life. That is when I took a History of Religion course.

In that course, it is when I learned that this divine text that was supposedly the word of God. That was so poetic and perfect. I find out it is plagiarized, from Christianity and Judaism and Pagan stories before that.

It took away all of the divinity. All of the respect that I ever had for it. It was a joke. I was happy to learn because people talk about the sadness that they felt when they realized they have been lied to all these years.

I felt anger that I was lied to. However, initially, my first reaction, “I am so glad I do not have to follow this shit anymore,” because I was only doing it because I was so scared. I have been scared from a young age.

I was terrified about what would happen to me if I did not do what I was supposed to do and say what I was supposed to say and wear what I was supposed to wear, etc. So, I only did that stuff out of complete fear.

So, it is the Wizard of Oz once you lift the curtain. You find out that there is nothing to fear. I was elated. However, that is cognitively right. I understood logically that this was not right, but I still had all of this fear that was programmed into me.

It took me a long time to stop thinking about it, to stop worrying about it, to stop questioning myself, “What if I am wrong?” I had to own it. That took a long time. A lot of ex-Muslims that flipped. They went straight, as soon as they found out it was lies.

They went straight into outright blasphemy, bringing in the Quran. However, I did not have the need to do that. Even now, I did not find the need to do that.

I wanted to be free. I wanted to free myself. So, that History of Religion course. That was an elective. I took it because the professor was Lebanese, so I assumed he would be Muslim. So, I thought this would be an easy course because it is all about Islam.

I went to Islamic schools my whole my life. My mom was a student at a university in Medina. I am going to ace this course. It turns out he was a Lebanese Christian, but because he was a Lebanese Christian. He knew so much about my experience.

He understood Arab Muslims because he was raised in that society. Not only that, he did not have any of the apologetics that a regular Canadian professor would have had because he was Arab.

He did not care. He would say what he needed to say. He would talk with honesty about all of the issues with the religions. So, I was lucky to have taken that course. It changed my life.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Author; Founder, Free Hearts, Free Minds.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One) [Online].February 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, February 1). Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, February. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (February 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2019):February. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Interview with Yasmine Mohammed on Choosing Apostasy, Endorsing Ex-Muslims, and Living in Freedom (Part One) [Internet]. (2019, February; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mohammed.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 4,250

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Terri Hope is the Founder and Leader of the Grey Bruce Humanists and a former Humanist Officiant. She discusses: personal background; family and community reactions to a non-belief in God; being on the board of Humanist Canada; women in community; equal representation; the main attraction for women humanists; things to keep in mind for the secular community; the veracity of traditional arguments for God; upcoming events; demographics; humanists as atheists; kinds of atheists; fun conversations; humanism and humanitarianism; humanism and feminism; gender gap in humanism; #MeToo; substantive forms of behavior; science and ethics in humanism; and final feelings and thoughts.

Keywords: Grey Bruce Humanists, Humanism, humanist officiant, Terri Hope.

Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*This is a relatively accurate transcription and edit of the text, but not completely.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is personal background?

Terri Hope: I grew up with some of the practices and important values of Judaism, like education and family, but not super religious. I went to Hebrew school. By the time I was in late high school, I did not get religion. I did not understand how that could work. Then I became more interested in other things.

I had a God belief still, for a while. But then, I had to accept that I do not believe in God.

2. Jacobsen: Did family or community react when you announced this lack of belief or the belief in the non-God?

Hope: In high school, I do not think that I announced this belief. I was not as passionate about those things. I did not do any of that stuff. Besides, I moved away, from New York to Canada at age 21. I was married then. My husband was not religious either.

He was not from a religious tradition. It was not until after a while that we became somewhat interested. I did not know that there was such a thing; that there were people who talked the way I did. Then later, my husband became interested too.

We were both involved with the Humanist Association of Toronto and then on the board of Humanist Canada. In Ontario, we started up here with humanism. I did not expect anyone here. Because it is a traditional town.

3. Jacobsen: When were you working on the board Humanist Canada and orienting towards leadership within the humanist community?

Hope: I wanted a place at the table when religious groups said one thing or another. I was not much of an activist. I had a young family. I did other things as well. I was doing it for participation and for some sense of community rather than activism work.

It was for the community. I do not know if younger people with families are interested in those things because of their other responsibilities. My children are grown and have lives of their own now.

4. Jacobsen: In some of the non-religious community and noted for a long time about the religious community, women tend to have less of a say, at the table where it counts. What was it like in the earlier years coming into the humanist community?

Hope: That is true. There were fewer women. It was more men who were very serious. We tried to offer a wider range of things to do. We had groups of people visiting others who could not come for one reason or another. We tried to have movie nights.

We tried to widen the range from serious discussion groups. Now, I do not think this is a problem. Right now, we have an equal number.

5. Jacobsen: Was this a conscious effort or not?

Hope: Interesting, at one point, we talked about it. How can we get more women involved? I think adding more options to what we did not, maybe, changing the subject a little bit. There was a conscious effort to attract more women.

Because the serious and heavy topics tended to attract more women. But now, maybe because of our age and what we were involved with before, we must involve more young people. But young people may not be as interested in joining something.

We do not have things for kids. We do not attract younger people, for sure.

6. Jacobsen: What do you find as the main attraction for different women humanists now?

Hope: Women want an opportunity to get out and talk about very interesting topics that women who are out of university are not talking about as often now. They want to share food and seeing the same people across time. They want to share and learn different and interesting things.

It is very much the affiliation and community sense. It is to learn new things. When you are no longer in university and no longer need to be available to children all the time, it is wonderful to be involved with people and talk about a variety of topics and to read books. It does attract women for those reasons.

7. Jacobsen: In a secular community, what are some of the things people must keep in mind?

Hope: Lots of things, building it up here, I started with people here. I was a non-religious officiant. I asked them if they wanted to participate in a group. We do not try to convert people or encourage membership.

When someone was here one time, people who were sitting around the living room and saying, “Sure, we can try. We can find people in the area and see if they want to give  it a try.” Over the years, between 10 and 30 people are coming out to meetings, other things to keep in mind.

One of them is the non-proselytization. I like to keep it totally open. Anyone is welcome. However, if they are coming to convert us or to present their personal religious view, that really does not work because our purpose is to have people talking comfortably with one another and to not worry that they will step on someone’s toes.

What I do, if I know someone has religious beliefs, because I have no interest in converting them if they have found what works for them, I speak with them about what our meetings are about. If they want to see come, great! If they want to see what we are about, then stay on the list and see what we are up to.

If they want to continue, fabulous, it is those kinds of things that we need to be sure that our members are comfortable, because it is a place where you can be an agnostic or an atheist, or say something that is not favorable about religion and then not have to feel as if you’re insulting or not demeaning some else who finds that important or as something positive in their life.

That is important to me. There are humanists who are very stalwart about it. Religion is idiocy. We need to let people know it. I am not that. But then there are others who are questioning, “I am not too sure.” Then there is this whole spiritual thing, “I am spiritual but not religion.” I do not know what it means. It could mean crystals or some vague sense.

But they can come. Those people do not come to think God is directing everything. Do I know whether there is a God or not? Of course not, I am assuming because I have not had any experience. Science says, “The things we don’t know, we don’t know.” That is okay.

8. Jacobsen: What do you think of these traditional arguments in religions for the veracity of some intervening God?

Hope: I would probably say, “I am happy for you. That you have found that experience of a reality of a God. But that has never happened to me.” That is probably what I would say. If they say, “God cured her cancer.” I would say, ‘I would rather trust doctors and scientists than faith.” Usually, I say, “That’s good for you.”

I am probably only different with children. When you teach your child and do not allow science into the classroom, and if you teach the faith in the church as though it were fact, that, I have a problem with.

9. Jacobsen: Since you are coming into your 12th/13th year for Grey Bruce Humanists, what are some events upcoming that we can look forward to? That come humanist or secular groups could replicate where they are at.

Hope: We have those three types of programs. We have a lot of volunteers and diverse programs. We have our roster of speakers coming up through the year. Anything from elder abuse to Gretta Vosper and being an atheist minister.

We have environmental ethics or medical ethics. We have different topics throughout the year with speakers. They can come to the library on the first Wednesday of every month. The third thing that we offer, every third month or so, is a community get together. We go to a restaurant and then have a get-together, a social. It is purely social.

We donate books or magazines to the library. We make donations. It is mostly local organizations rather than Doctors Without Borders. People, at this point, can look forward to a program. We have a lot to work with here.

10. Jacobsen: In terms of the demographics for Grey Bruce Humanists, does this population tends towards the more educated and progressive?

Hope: Yes, it tends towards the educated. People who love discussing things and ethics, and politics. I think there are some who may not have a lot of formal education. But most of them do, though. They look forward to an opportunity to discuss stuff.

We do not have many people without formal education. It is an older population as well. Those who are not consumed with kids or school as parents. Our demographics do manage Grey Bruce as Grey Bruce is an older population.

We have no programs to recruit people. We really do not want to do it. Considering, it is not a city We do not need to get bigger and bigger. We are happy to have the members that find out about us. We are happy for people who find out about us through the Facebook page. We get some members through that.

But we do not work hard to get members.

11. Jacobsen: Do most humanists identify as atheists?

Hope: We have never discussed it. But I would say, “Yes.” Atheism, the word has such a bad rap. It does mean no god. It is saying, “I know there’s no god.” Fine! A lot of people are comfortable with that. I would rather say, “Yes, I am an atheist, because there is no god in my life.”

But if I were to learn later in my life that there was some overpowering force, then, maybe, I would change. I would tend to say, “No, that would not happen. It is mythology.” I can say, “I am an atheist,” but I do not go around to other people and say, “I am an atheist. I am a nonbeliever.”

I fear that it turns people off immediately when I say, “I am atheist.” I do not want to destroy the conversation before we get into it. So, that is just me, though. Other people say, “I am an agnostic,” which makes sense. That I do not know. Most humanists identify as atheists, probably.

That would be a good meeting and conversation. It would be very interesting. Thanks! [Laughing]

12. Jacobsen: It also raises a question, “What kind of atheist, to what extent?”

Hope: That would be the question. Are you an atheist that says, “There is no god”? Or do you say, “I have no evidence of there being a God?” I guess [Laughing]. It would be interesting to ask people where they are coming from. Most of us, the vast majority, have come from or grown up in a religion.

I know in Toronto. There were people who had atheist parents. But most of us have not.

13. Jacobsen: If we look at the history of science, every generation harbors a set of findings and theories to fit those findings together. But, at some point, those findings and theories with the evidence hit a certain scope or level of fidelity, based on the framework or the level of evidence.

It is those edges and level of fidelity that we find the fun conversations. Where do you see the fun conversations?

Hope: Oh yes, absolutely, I would love to dig into that. I do not know. I maybe do not know enough science to get deeply into that subject. I tend to say, “I don’t know,” and then live with the “I don’t know.” Or I would choose to find a scientist on that subject that I respect and who has spent many years studying the subject and then go with them on it, rather than make a statement on my own.

My husband may have some different things to say about it. There are some interesting questions about science.

14. Jacobsen: Do humanists tend to be more interested in humanitarian efforts?

Hope: I would say, “Yes.” Remember, not all members identify as humanists, I do. Are they interested in compassion, giving, and sharing? I would say, “Yes.” Most of them tend to be more left of center or interested in the legislation guarding poor people, immigrants, refugees. We do have a few conservative new members.

You will find some of the conservative new members are atheists and not humanists. Rob Buckman was part of a “Can you be good without God?” presentation. It was with pastors, priests, and rabbis, and Bob was a humanist.

Someone from the Evangelical Right said, “Stalin was an atheist.” But Rob Buckman said, “But he was not a humanist” [Laughing].

Jacobsen: Most Germans in the 1940s were Christian, the vast majority.

Hope: Oh sure!

Jacobsen: It amounts to saying, “There is no true German Christian,” or no true Scotsman. It amounts to a logical fallacy in the assertion.

Hope: It is interesting how we define ourselves in so many ways. How we mesh politically, because of how we define humanism, we are interested in animal rights. But our vegan members would say, “We are not interested enough as we eat meat.” So, you have a lot of acceptable ways to be a humanist.

15. Jacobsen: Given the present politics with a sprinkling or a peppering of conservatives, do most humanists ally with feminist viewpoints, policy recommendations, and so on?

Hope: We have several members who would not call themselves feminists and who become annoyed with some of the MeToo stuff. The majority, particularly the women, are aware of those issues and would identify with it.

We are talking about caring. We are talking about compassion. We are talking about equity. We are talking about kindness. So, how do you treat a woman or a refugee, anyone struggling? If you are a humanist, you care about those things.

If you do not care about those things, you may be an atheist, but you may not be a humanist.

16. Jacobsen: What is the explanatory gap or filter for the gender-based split between humanism and feminism? Men are far less likely to be than women.

Hope: Yes, I think experience or the typically privileged groups have not experienced what it feels like to be a female in our culture. Some have gone to fabulous heights and others are trapped in male domination. More women are thinking about these issues.

If women come together and talk about what happened to them, and feeling about them, they can talk about things. They can say, “I can’t believe that we actually put up with that.” Men have not experienced that. Tonight, we will be having a meeting talking about the “Baby it’s cold outside” phenomenon or the Christmas card of the man with the tape over the family member’s mouths. He is saying how peaceful Christmas comes from this.

So many things that are “ha, ha, ha,” funny are not now. We are talking more about it. We are not accepting being treated as a lesser being. It is talking about it. Those of us who are older are. What accounts for the gap between men and women, and they are older, they are probably used to a world of comfort and not having been used to not walking around in a position of power.

They do not see their endemic privilege. Of course, white people have the same issue. I am a white person. Do we recognize our privilege as white people? We should! Because that is a very big issue. Any black person can talk to you about what it means to walk the streets as a black person, and how different that is.

If we have not experienced something, then the more likely we are to hold onto our privilege. It may go unrecognized.

17. Jacobsen: If we look to the earlier portion of that response, the #MeToo phenomenon starting from Tarana Burke in 2006. The statistics are only 8%, which is relatively high even in the other ranges given in terms of false claims [ed. False rape claims at 8%]. There, yes, may be the Rolling Stone case.

Hope: I do not think there is any question about there being false claims. But there are far more women who have never made claims about what has happened to them than ones who have made claims and are making false claims.

The ones who are out for some money and to get some guy back. I am sure that they happen. But just as women claim who have been sexually abused, I am sure there is a false memory. But is that the highest percentage? No, I do not think so.

Jacobsen: I would go back to two basic sources. One is the FBI with only 12.5 to 1 being false claims. Then the World Health Organization having 1/3 women having sexual or physical violence in their lifetime.

Hope: Oh, my heavens, it goes so much further than that. In my own case, a friend’s father; in my own case, a man got into my car and starts fondled my legs. Neither of them really hurts me, but they did scare the living daylights out of me.

They never really hurt me. I never went after them. If this happened today, I would be at the police station. My mother would never. I would say millions of women. When women get together, they talk about those things. They never report it.

Not trivial things too, because they did not damage us for life, but they did affect us. [Laughing] There is a feeling of entitlement. We have not studied male sexuality to really understand male sexuality and, particularly, young men. [Laughing] Well, no we have plenty of examples of them too.

But we do not want to do that. Because we do not want to pretend, we are them. Because we are not! My husband and I have been married for 50 years. [Laughing] So, it is not like I am anti-male. But they have their bit. The endless, endless examples of male privilege and feeling of privilege as an entitlement. Yes, absolutely!

Do all men acknowledge it, I do not think so? Not all, some do.

18. Jacobsen: Does the acknowledgment come in the more substantive form of behavior or only in the signifiers of words?

Hope: It would be saying, “You know, we’re not all bad. He went overboard.” I do not know. In the humanist group, it will be different. On Fox News, it will be different. I thought that when I saw Donald Trump make his statement about grabbing women that that would be it. I thought he would be finished.

When he made fun of the person with Cerebral Palsy, I thought, “He’s finished.” But he was not. What is the evidence? In our groups, the evidence of that would be a little more speaking out, “Come one, you’re going too far with that.”

Some strong women would say, “You can say that. But this is what happened to me.”

19. Jacobsen: Given the linkage of science and evidence with ethics in humanism, how can this new wave of information that may be novel to many, many men of women’s experiences in general with men in their lives create or inform new ethic and behavior question in humanist groups?

Hope: You start introducing this in elementary school. Being kind to people, being considerate of people and not just girls and women, all people should be treated respectfully and fairly. You start that in elementary school.

Boys start growing up understanding their own proclivities. I can say. Males are programmed to spread the seed from the time that they are 16. They will be looking for opportunities. Girls need to understand that. Boys need to understand that and need to fulfill those needs that are not assaulting girls.

That is a really, big question. I think it has a lot to do with education, teachers, and parents. Parents sometimes do not know as they do not have a glimpse of that. It is going to be a generational thing to start, right now, with little kids. It is to treat all people well.

I mean, the same technique used with teaching kids about handling people who are different than you: the other. Gay people who are very often teased in school. That should never be tolerated. No teacher should tolerate it if he or she hears it. But it was.

So, it is all part, to me, of learning to be a decent human being.

20. Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts in conclusion based on the conversation today?

Hope: I wish there was more of it. If there were more discussions like this in the mainstream, if we had a place at the table in the media more and could help people understand where we are coming from, it is not to destroy their history of Christianity and whatever traditions.

It is not to destroy their whole way of life, but to introduce and to induce a more compassionate future. But it does not sell.

Jacobsen: People want magic in the same way they want easy answers, ethically, scientifically, and otherwise.

Hope: Yeah, I guess you are right. I can see how fun it would be to believe in magic. But somehow, I do not have that gene. I think 7% of us are like this. It should start very early. It is harder. You lose out on certain things. But I do not believe for any of that stuff and do not see any evidence for it.

So, what can I do about that?

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Terri.

Hope: [Laughing] You’re very welcome.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 22, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant [Online].November 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, January 22). Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist OfficiantRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, November. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (January 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist OfficiantIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist OfficiantIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):January. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Interview with Terri Hope on Humanism: Founder and Leader, Grey Bruce Humanists; Former Humanist Officiant [Internet]. (2019, January; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hope.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,636

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Stacey Piercey is the Co-Chair of the Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights for CFUW FCFDU and Vice Chair of the National Women’s Liberal Commission for the Liberal Party of Canada. She discusses: opinions about the transgender citizens in Canada by some of the media and some movements; the impacts on transgender youth in Canada in hearing neutral and curiosity-driven news; the impact on transgender youth in Canada in hearing mean-spirited news; moving into 2020 for acceptance of the transgender community; help for transgender individuals moving into the 2020s; and transgender health issues being addressed and respected.

Keywords: Co-Chair, Liberal Party of Canada, Ministry of Status of Women, Stacey Piercey, Vice Chair.

An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns: Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In the public conversation now, we can observe a wide variety of reactionary, not movements but, outspoken individuals or small coalitions with platforms on the moderate fringe expressing opinions on the transgender community varying degrees of veracity. With or without mentioning individuals or small coalitions, what tend to be the modern expressed opinions coming from them?

Piercey: I see significantly less negativity in the media as I did years ago. Everyday life is pleasant for the most part. There have been changes for the better as of late. I do hear, and it is seldom, a message from those who have concerns, and from those who have an issue with transgender people. It is often one of fear of the unknown or a resistance to change.

They are seldom transgender or are affected by the fact someone transitioned genders. I think you should always be your best self, let alone be afraid to be yourself. I find most people are friendly and efforts are made to be accommodating. Many have gone through the transition process with the knowledge gained. I believe everyone heard about the problems that we encountered, from all the transgender advocates the last several years. It is important to note. This is not a priority in most people’s lives. It was, for a time, in mine.

2. Jacobsen: What seems like the impact on the lives of the young in the transgender community who see or hear the more benign, inquiring, and curiosity-driven opinions expressed in the public sphere?

Piercey: The generation of younger transgender adults that I do encounter. Most have healthy lives; some are open about being transgender, some are not. It isn’t that big of a deal. People are not bound as much by gender roles as I was growing up in the seventies. I changed with the times. I honestly don’t think about gender that much.

I do see more positive media regarding transgender people. That was missing for me to have good role models when I started. There are shows, celebrities, and stories with happy endings now. It is not all doom and gloom. I see other transgender people when I am about town, not often, but you do notice when you get served by or pass each other on the street.

3. Jacobsen: What seems like the impact on the lives of the young in the transgender community who see or hear the more aggressive, judgmental, and denialist opinions expressed in the public sphere?

Piercey: It is terrible, I don’t understand why anyone would want to scare or hurt anybody. This kind of rhetoric does tremendous harm. Once you start believing another person’s opinion of you, you lost who you are, your identity or individuality. Imagine living with being judged all the time, discriminated against or harassed. That is not a life and shouldn’t be tolerated by anybody. There is no room for hate. There is no argument if transgender is real or acceptable. It is. Now it is time to help transgender people integrate into everyday society not fight with them.

4. Jacobsen: Moving forward into the 2020s, what would best help the public acceptance of the transgender community?

Piercey: Education is vital. It isn’t difficult to be kind to others. People are people. I never saw transgender people as different. For me, it would have helped to move through the system much quicker. I lost years in comparison back then. My problems are behind me now. I transitioned, and I have a normal life. I get to contribute back to society. The public accepts me. I can take care of myself. I am independent. That is what was important on my journey. I am now on to the next step. Life as a woman, problem solved. That is what the public needs to hear to help acceptance.

5. Jacobsen: Moving forward into the 2020s, what would best help the transition of the trans individuals within the transgender community in coordination with their medical provider?

Piercey: Supports should be in place. Your doctor is one aspect of your life, what about housing, employment, poverty and other issues faced. This is about productive lives and providing the help needed for these individuals to move forward. There are unique challenges that are to be addressed and can no longer be dismissed or misunderstood. Removing the need for advocacy will improve lives.

When opportunities are available for services provided such as surgeries, counselling or other requirements, then you will see less of urgency in the community. Transitioning at an older age, may be rare in the future. It will be diagnosed and monitored earlier. Then like most health decisions, they are made by families or the individual. People may never know about a prolonged period of transitioning, dealing with a stigma or being outside of the system.

6. Jacobsen: What medical and other options are becoming better, more precise, safer, and so on, for the transgender community? Typically, as technology gets better and wider spread, it becomes cheaper and comes with fewer complications.

Piercey: Access to the current medical system will be profound. Forget about new technologies. Transgender health issues are now being addressed and respected. We are all going to learn from each other and over time improve the delivery of services. That is a start.

The excuses of the past about the costs and lack of adequate professionals available with expertise in transgender health will eventually be solved. Most transgender surgeries are the same procedures performed for other reasons. It is not necessary to label transgender health as different. With social acceptance, we can get back to helping people become healthy. If a surgery can help you, and doctors do it all the time, why not help people. Transgender people shouldn’t have to wait five to ten years to get a surgery that others can get in six months for a different reason in a government hospital.

In the past to have my gender change recognized I had to go through the government medical system, and I did. If you went out of the country or had it done by an uncertified medical profession your application to change gender could be rejected. Today, you can change your gender on your identification by filling out a form. The government shouldn’t make life harder for anybody. If someone is living as the opposite sex than they were born in, they get to have a valid id. It is undeniably essential to have proper identification. Changes like this are all relatively new and will help over time.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Co-Chair – Ministry of Status of Women Sub-Committee of Human Rights, CFUW FCFDU; Vice Chair National Women’s Liberal Commission at Liberal Party of Canada | Parti libéral du Canada; Mentor, Canadian Association for Business Economics.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 15, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three) [Online].November 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, January 15). An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, November. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (January 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):January. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Stacey Piercey on the Transgender Canadian Citizens, the Media, and Health Concerns (Part Three) [Internet]. (2019, January; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/piercey-three.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 8, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,483

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Joseph Emmanuel Yaba is the CEO of Youth Initiative for Sustainable Human Development in Africa (YiSHDA). He discusses: background; sustainability; the reason for the focus on the young; building human capacity for young people; providing a bigger net of support; feedback; difficulties in the midst of the work of YiSHDA; and moving into 2019.

Keywords: Africa, CEO, Joseph Emmanuel Yaba, sustainability, Youth Initiative for Sustainable Human Development in Africa (YiSHDA).

An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa: CEO, Youth Initiative for Sustainable Human Development in Africa (YiSHDA)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let us simply start on some of the background for you.

Joseph Emmanuel Yaba: Thank you very much. My story proves that every young person can succeed and help others get there. I was not born with a silver spoon and I grew up in a home where I was taught that the best service one can give is service to humanity and that influenced my decision and calling into the civil society sector and has also impacted my work.

2. Jacobsen: In terms of sustainability, why is this such a particularly important goal or objective currently?

Yaba: For sustainability, we believe that the best form of sustainability is building the human capacity. There is a need to build human capacity, to continue to advocate for policies and programs that will impact positively in the society. Sustainability is key because it enables us to build tomorrow’s leader today so that they can meet the needs of the present without compromising the future.

3. Jacobsen: Is that the reason for the focus on the young as well?

Yaba: Yes, because there is a need for young people to be empowered and to harness their potential. For sustainable development to be achieved, young people need to be at the center of sustainable development and to be prepared also to work across all the thematic areas of sustainability and value creation.

As I said, human capacity is the best form of sustainability. Yes, we can build infrastructure. But it will, in time, go away, which is why human capacity in the most important. It is important for young people to take on leadership positions and to be part of the value creation.

4. Jacobsen: When you are trying to build the human capacity of young people, how are you going about doing that?

Yaba: We have carved a niche for ourselves in the areas of design and implementation of programs, especially in the areas of economic empowerment as our key special area. When people are empowered economically, they will be able to build a sustainable livelihood for themselves, families and the immediate community.

We have also carved a niche in governance and civic engagement. There is a need for young people to get into governance and work on accountability and transparency. Young people need to question why things are not working and how they should work.

We have also identified health and environmental sustainability. Our organization builds the human capacity through the above thematic areas.

5. Jacobsen: With this global emphasis or this emphasis on humanity, how does this provide a bigger net of not only support within a specific country or region, but also within the general populace and potential investors and supporters?

Yaba: Of course, Sustainable Development Goals is the center now, it is what the world is pursuing now. Our programs and projects have been designed to also aim at achieving the bigger goals, which is the SDGs. It is what the world leaders have set aside to achieve by 2030 and it is our collective responsibility to work towards it attainment.

It is not only the SDGs we are targeting. We are also targeting the African Union Agenda 2063. We are not just implementing on the smaller scale; we are also looking at the bigger picture. We call it working and acting locally but also making a global impact.

6. Jacobsen: What has been the feedback from people around the program involved in it, directly or indirectly?

Yaba: The feedback has been amazing. Of course, we have one or two challenges, but we are always committed regardless of the challenge. We are very much committed as an organization; we are very optimistic and very encouraged with the feedback from most of the beneficiaries.

It would be important to note that through our programs and activities we have impacted cumulatively a total of 20,000 young people. These are young people who are currently empowered, who have found something worthwhile. They are currently doing well in most of the fields that they have found themselves. We have track records of success with the young people who have been in the programs.

We have success stories and are still optimistic about still attaining more success stories.

7. Jacobsen: In terms of the difficulties, what have they been? How have you overcome them?

Yaba: As an organization, the number one challenge has always been the issue of funding. But we are not discouraged by the funding issue that we do not get too often. We still go ahead and make sure that we squeeze resources because we must keep the activities and programs running and maintained.

Regardless of our challenges, our organization takes pride in having young people who have tremendous skills. We use our skills to break our barriers. We use our skills as young people to push ahead. We take responsibility for our actions, for our beneficiaries and partner organization. We never let things weigh us down. We still go ahead to make sure we achieve our goals and our aims.

8. Jacobsen: Looking into 2019, what are some of the targeted objectives now?

Yaba: 2019 is a year of expansion and growth and leveraging on some of our success stories and to work on some of our programs as well. We are trying to see how we can explore better opportunities, leverage partnerships, leverage collaborations more; no organization or nobody is an island.

We all need collaboration. We all need assistance. To us, 2019 will be a year where we will expand and leverage on some of our success stories while, at the same time, looking for even better opportunities and also to achieve better results in terms of working on some of our programs and to getting into more community schools as well.

9. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Joseph.

Yaba: Thank you very much, Scott, and thank you for the opportunity.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] CEO, Youth Initiative for Sustainable Human Development in Africa (YiSHDA).

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 8, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa [Online].November 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, January 8). An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in AfricaRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, November. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (January 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in AfricaIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in AfricaIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):January. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Joseph Emmanuel Yaba on Youth Sustainable Development in Africa [Internet]. (2019, January; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/yaba.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 19.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fifteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,599

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy is the Founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the Founder of the Muslims Against Terrorism. He discusses: opening on creationism, evolution, and Islam; science and Islam; Christian young earth creationism; cosmology and textual analysis; Jinn; and Sufi Islam.

Keywords: Islam, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, Jinn, Muslim, Muslims Against Terrorism, Sufi, Syed Soharwardy, young earth creationism.

An Interview with Sufi Imam Syed Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam: Founder, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada; Founder, Muslims Against Terrorism[1],[2],[3]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s talk creationism, evolution, and Islam. 

Imam Soharwardy: It is the difference between the modern theory of evolution and Islamic Sufi theology. This is what we believe Islam is all about. It is an interpretation of some scholars of Islam over the past 14 centuries and in this last century or two.

There are new sects. They refer to new interpretations. Creation: Islam says there is the first point of creation. Science calls it Big Bang. We believe it, too. So, there was a big bang. It all started from a small, tiny particle.

It does not conflict with the teachings of Islam. But after that, once that big bang or starting point of creation, there is evolution. Evolution is the new transformation and creation of new species via Almighty Allah, into new shapes and forms.

But we also believe humans are not people from apes. We do not believe that. Science also rejected that theory. That human came from them. But we definitely believe everything that has started; they began as creations from Almighty God.

That’s what we call God. But the creation of things or species, or various types of the creation of God evolved from a point. That is what Sufiism gives. It is a beautiful description.

That the starting point is Almighty God Himself. He started God from this one big bang, and then it evolved into many, many millions and countless forms of God or species. If you reverse your creation process back to the original point, then that’s what it is all about.

It is what Sufis call going back to Almighty God. You will return to Him. This is what the Holy Quran says. The “return to Him” means that we will not exist and He will still exist. God will still exist. He is the starting point and the end of all creation.

But He Himself does not have any beginning or end.

2. Jacobsen: That’s interesting. The only stated that would not necessarily be within the mainstream biologists of all religious and non-religious stripes is, basically, human beings are another branch of an animal within the Great Primates.

We share a common ancestry with chimpanzees, gorillas,  and bonobos, and other primates. That would be the only thing. In terms of the statement, ‘Human beings did not come from apes.’

It would be insofar as a Sufi understanding, or as an Islamic, as you noted more general understanding, would take it. In terms of creation from a point and so on, none of that would contradict the modern scientific understanding in any way. 

Soharwardy: We believe humans are a separate species. The animals, the fish, and all kinds of living things; they are separate creations of God. But if you go back in a reverse cycle from now until the beginning of creation, you will see they started from one single point.

God is the Creator. God is the one point. That is the Big Bang.

3. Jacobsen: In North America, this tends to come more from the Christian community. They have various institutes. They have arks. They build creationism museums. Often, they will more likely take a young earth creationist view of the world.

It comes from Bishop James Ussher, who argued the world was about 6,000 years old. Of course, the estimates can range from 6,000-to-10,000-years-old in Young Earth Creationism.

Also, this can come from some other areas of the world, where Islam is more dominant than Christianity. For instance, one individual is Harun Yahya or Adnan Oktar who wrote The Atlas of Creation (2006).

So, what would be a proper understanding, insofar as you have it, of Islam to talk to those who may have more of a young earth creationist view of the world: Christian or Islam?

Soharwardy: I think this 5,000, 6,000, or 10,000, in terms of the teachings of the Bible, can look at Noah living to 950 years old. [Laughing] So, those who say a few thousand years old Earth. It is from the point of view of scripture an incorrect theory.

In the Holy Quran, there is no contradiction with the Quran or the Islamic theology, or what the Prophet said (PBUH).

Before Adam came to the planet Earth, there was life on the planet. There were trees. There were animals. Good existed for millions, millions, and millions of years. But we definitely believe the Earth is very, very old – millions of years.

Those who say 6,000, 10,000; it is in direct contradiction from my reading. It is not correct. It has to read millions of years.

4. Jacobsen: In terms of the Islamic cosmology with theological implications, what are some of the details other than creation from a point that comes from textual analysis of the Quran and the Hadith?

Soharwardy: According to some of the Sufis, though no exact numbers, and other smaller sects, there are 18,000 galaxies. But this is some scholars’ opinion or their observation. But the Quran counts of countless millions of galaxies.

That Allah says this is My own creation. Not my own galaxy but countless galaxies. Some, in Islamic theology, believe 18,000 galaxies, though.

5. Jacobsen: Also, for those who do not know, what are Jinnwithin Islamic theology? What other entities are mentioned as well?

Soharwardy: There are two kinds of creations. Through the Quran and the Bible, there are angels. There are Jinns. The Al-Malaa’ikah are made of light. They are not visible to us. Jinns are made of fire. They are also not visible to humans.

Jinns live in the world. There are good jinn and bad jinn just like human beings [Laughing]. One is called Lucifer or Iblis in Islam. It is the same thing. He was a Jinni made of a fire, not an angel. He lived among angels and was in the image of God before humans.

6. Jacobsen: If someone is Sufi Muslim, or if someone is Muslim generally, how would they perceive JinnAl-Malaa’ikah, orIblis influencing their daily lives?

Soharwardy: Jinn, we Muslim, based on the Holy Quran, believe in Jinn based on a whole chapter in the Holy Quran called Surah Jinn. It mentions in the Holy Quran that Satan, Lucifer, or Iblis was a Jinn. So, we believe these exist.

However, as with most stories in the Western world, or the Eastern world, we do not believe that those stories are wholly real; they are fiction. Islamic belief is a human, a righteous human being – not every human being, of course – is stronger than any Jinn.

That is why humans are higher in respect and honour in the sight of God than even of the angels.

7. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Imam Soharwardy.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada; Founder, Muslims Against Terrorism.

[2] Individual Publication Date: January 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Image Credit: Imam Syed Soharwardy.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam [Online].November 2019; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, January 1). An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and IslamRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A, November. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 19.A (January 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and IslamIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and IslamIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 19.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 19.A (2018):January. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Imam Soharwardy on Creationism, Evolution, and Islam[Internet]. (2019, January; 19(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/soharwardy.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,731

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam is a Professor at Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) and the Founder of ‎Iran Human Rights. He discusses: Iranian juvenile offenders are given the death penalty; religion as a political tool; countries telling women what they can and can’t wear; justifying the death penalty; advanced postsecondary training and neuroscientific research; problems in the brain; substantia nigra; and different cells having problems.

Keywords: Human Rights, Iran, Iran Human Rights, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, neuroscience, professor.

An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam: Professor, Universitetet i Oslo (UiO); Founder, ‎Iran Human Rights[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With respect to some human rights issues in Iran, as you founded Iran Human Rights, there are particular issues to do with juvenile offenders who are given the death penalty. Why? How does this compare to the international context?

Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam: To answer the second question first, Iran has ratified several international conventions such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which clearly bans the death penalty for offenses committed under 18 years of age.

So, it is illegal. But they still do it. Why do they do it? I would say, in general, victims of the death penalty in Iran and, probably, in many other countries belong to the weakest groups of society.

I think that it is the same in Iran. These are normally children from marginalized groups because of poverty or other socioeconomic factors. Basically, they don’t have a voice. During the last 40 years, Iran has been among the countries issuing the death sentence for juveniles, and in the last 5 years Iran has been the only country implementing death sentences for juvenile offenders, in 2018, at least 6 juveniles have been executed by the Iranian authorities.

I think the first time this issue started getting serious attention was the after 2000, thanks to the internet and the emergence of new human rights groups. So, people started focusing on issues of juvenile execution.

I think, at the same time as we started, several other rights groups started focusing on juveniles on the death row. One was in Canada, Stop Child Executions – founded by Nazanin Afshin-Jam. This (the issue of juvenile executions) has been an important issue when it comes to Iran’s international partners or countries having a dialogue with Iran, e.g., the European Union.

The death penalty is not banned by international law but the execution of children is banned. It has been on the agenda. The Iranian authorities have been subjected to lots of pressure, international pressure. But they still keep doing it.

It is, I think, because they have different excuses for the use of the death penalty. I call it “excuses.” Because I think the death penalty is a political instrument, regardless of what the person sentenced to death has done, whether it is a normal crime or anything.

But the instrument is political. It is, in my view, what Iran uses to spread fear in the society. You remember when ISIS took over parts of Syria and Iraq? What most people remember were the scenes of the executions.

It is the most powerful instrument to spread terror and fear and keep the control of a country or of a people. Iranian authorities, since they don’t have popular support, depend on instruments like the death penalty.

Until recently, the majority of those executed were charged with drug offenses. There were years when we had 1 to 2 people executed each day for drug offenses, like 2015. Iran has executed several thousand in the last 7 or 8 years.

Again, because of increasing international pressure, they had to pass new legislation that restricts the use of the death penalty for drug offenses. When it comes to the death penalty, related to the juveniles – because they have allegedly committed murder, murder, according to Iranian law and what Iranian authorities say, is punishable by retribution in kind.

If the family of the murder victim wants retribution, which is the death penalty, then they do it. That way, they put away the execution responsibility on the shoulders of the plaintiffs. So, why does Iran continue juvenile executions?

Because they use the same excuse. Their excuse is that this is according to Islam or Sharia. We cannot change it. According to Sharia, a boy has a criminal responsibility when he is 15 and girl when she is 9.

They say, “We can’t change Sharia. That’s why we have to continue these punishments.” Because once they step back from Sharia, the next step would be to back off from many of the punishments, inhumane punishments, used in Iran which are based on Sharia.

It means they could be able to back off all those punishments. Most people are sentenced to death for murder charges. If they say that they can start using 18 years of age for criminal responsibility, it means that they can make, basically, any changes in their version of Sharia.

For them, it is a kind of red line. They have already been pushed by the international community to pass the legislation to limit the use of the death penalty for drug charges. They can’t execute political opponents as easily as they used to do in the 1980s because of the high political price. It would lead to international outrage. Now, the only thing left is for them to say, “We follow the religion.” Unfortunately, juvenile execution is also part of it. They are using the religion to keep on with the policy of the death penalty, which has nothing to do with the religion.

But it is a political tool. There are so many Muslim countries that do not practice the death penalty and as I mentioned, in the past few years Iran has been the only country in the world implementing the death penalty for juveniles.

On the other hand, the age limit to get a passport or a driving license in Iran is 18, like in other countries. The authorities do not regard a 15 years old boy mature enough to get a driver’s license. But when it comes to the death penalty the age of criminal responsibility becomes 15. So, the Iranian authorities can change the age of criminal responsibility to 18, but it requires much stronger and more long-lasting international pressure.

2. Jacobsen: So, you mentioned religion in its theocratic form used as a political tool, as a last-ditch political tool, for “justification” for the death penalty. However, this probably represents a disjunction between the general population and the religious leadership.

Is there a disjunction there? How much? Why?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Absolutely, first of all, ordinary people do not think the way the authorities do, even in murder cases. For example, for the past few years, we have been monitoring many of these retribution cases.

Since the law allows plaintiffs to either forgive or ask for retribution. There are a significant number of families who choose forgiveness. According to our statistics kept for a few years, the numbers of families who choose forgiveness over the death penalty via retribution is much higher.

That’s one thing. Iran probably has the biggest or the largest abolitionist movement in the Middle East, at least in the countries practicing the death penalty. One of the reasons is people see the authorities using the death penalty as a political tool.

The authorities’ way of using religion; the whole issue of political Islam arrived to Iran 40 years ago. Before that, it was only among a small group of the priests or the clergy. So, many people were not familiar with that.

Let’s say my grandfather or other people who were practicing Muslims, who were believers, they never shared the authorities’ idea of combining religion with politics the way they do it. So, I think that it is a paradox that Iran, which was probably the least religious country of the Middle East, has had an Islamic state over the last 40 years.

This is also one of the reasons why they have to use force to enforce the rules. For example, you have for the compulsory hijab. They have thousands of specific police forces to go around and make sure people are following the hijab rules.

You have probably seen the pictures. When ordinary people have the chance, they violate these rules. I would say Iranians do not share the authorities’ opinion. Not all, some have the same views. But I would say a larger group or, maybe, a majority do not share the authorities’ view on it, or on the tools used to continue their rule.

3. Jacobsen: As a caveat or an add-on to that [Laughing], we see some countries in the world with either an interest in telling women what they have to wear or [Laughing] what they can’t wear [Laughing].

Amiry-Moghaddam: Right, that’s the thing. It is when what you wear becomes the main issue. It is for all sides [Laughing]. The real issue is much different than what people wear. The clothing becomes a symbol of something.

People forget that it is just a symbol. For them, it becomes a real thing.

4. Jacobsen: Outside of juvenile cases and the death penalty as a political tool through religious excuses, fundamentalist religious excuses, what cases, either in history or at present, would the death penalty seem justifiable to you, as you know more about this than me?

Amiry-Moghaddam: To me, the death penalty is not justifiable in any cases. First of all, it is an inhumane punishment. I can come back to that. Another thing, there is no indication or there are no studies showing that it has a preemptive effect on crimes.

It’s not reversible. We have seen so many cases where many years later; they find the person was innocent. I think that the law is responsible for the values that we’re transferring to our children and society.

When the law says, “Violence is not good. Murder is not good,” they cannot have exceptions for themselves. Not talking about self-defense, the law says, “It (killing) is wrong,” but when they practice the death penalty that is what they are doing.

Basically, it means that there are exceptions to things that are our deepest values, “Killing is wrong; unless, I decide it.” It sends the wrong signal. There are so many negative sides to the death penalty. It outnumbers the possible benefits if any.

So, that’s why. For example, in Norway, where I live, you probably remember. There was this guy who first put a bomb in a government office. Then, he went to an island and started killing young people. He shot to death 69 people. Most of them were teenagers.

In some countries, he would probably have been executed. So, what happened to him? The Norwegian judicial system spent thousands of Norwegian Kroner to have a proper trial for him. He could choose his lawyer.

It took several months. He could appeal again. Finally, he was sentenced to a lifetime in prison. I think, let’s say, what this process did to the society was extremely important, also with regards to healing the wounds of those directly injured or those who lost loved ones, it says, “This man did not manage to change our values.”

The society showed it has much stronger values than what one man can do to them. Probably, there were some people who wanted to see him dead. A good thing about a society with rule of law is that the authorities do not put the responsibility of the decision on the shoulders of someone who is a victim of violence. They do not have to think about it.

They have their grief. That is more than enough responsibility. Imagine if, in addition to what they went through, they had also to decide if this person should live or die; eventually, it is for the benefit of anyone, including those directly affected by violence or crime.

I don’t say that we should not have punishments, but the punishments we have should not violate our deepest values, the respect for the right to life and that killing is wrong.

5. Jacobsen: To pivot into the other research work, you are highly trained. You have a Ph.D. and an M.D. You worked at Harvard Medical School. It comes from an interesting background as a refugee and then went to Norway, as a kid.

This leads to questions about interesting work and background, and the diverse set of education. Most people do not have that level of education. So, what is the main question you’re asking in the neuroscientific research?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Right now, we are working at what we call the neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Those diseases that affect the central nervous system. Mainly, as we get older, but these diseases can affect younger people as well.

We do not have any preemptive treatment. We don’t have any cure. The reason for that is we still do not know enough about how our brain works and what happens to the brain when these diseases occur.

If I simplify it, in Parkinson’s disease, a hallmark is a loss of a specific population of brain cells, neurons, at a specific part of the brain called substantia nigra. Nobody knows why exactly those cells start dying. By the time people are diagnosed, more than 60-70% of the cells are dead. We do not have a cure.

Despite several decades of research, we don’t know enough about it. The brain is fascinating enough as an organ. I find research on these diseases meaningful, because I know there are so many people who suffer because of those diseases.

That is what we are focusing on right now. But I think, as a scientist, we are very privileged because my job is to be curious and try to make new discoveries in one of our most complex organs. I really feel privileged for that.

6. Jacobsen: If you look at the substantia nigra, and if I remember right, it produces dopamine. So, in a way, this amounts to a dopamine depletion syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease. As with any evolved system, it will have flaws.

Anyone can look at the list of cognitive biases of the human mind to know how many are known just about the mind. We also know in other organs the failures which arise. We see this with diabetes. We see this with eyes. We see this with auditory disorders.

But people get mechanical devices to replace some of the function that is lost. Not to the same degree, but to some sufficient level for functionality in the world. I am thinking of people who take insulin, diabetics.

Others who need hearing aids. Others, such as you and I, who get glasses because our eyesight is bad in some way. Others that I remember or recall reading about, which were fascinating, and shoed a potential line, not necessarily solving but, of alleviating the problems for some people who have Parkinson’s.

Something akin to the pacemaker for the heart, a Parkinson’s pacemaker. Is this an area of newer research? Is it a hopeful area for research? Or is it, more or less, going off the rail? What is its status?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Yes, there are some, let’s say, more modern attempts to help people with Parkinson’s. First of all, let’s call it the dopamine pacemaker, we don’t have it. It wouldn’t stop or cure the disease.

Because, right now, the most efficient treatment, which has been helping many patients for many, many years is giving medication that increases the levels of released dopamine in the affected areas of the brain.

6. Jacobsen: That’s intriguing.

Amiry-Moghaddam: Yes, but it works as long as there are dopamine-producing neurons. When there are no more dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, this medication does not help so much. After that, people are trying. Things are still going on regarding the use of stem cells because the regeneration of new dopamine-generating neurons is something fascinating.

There are some trials. There is also deep brain stimulation. But in my field, it is much more basic. What I am trying to look at, why these specific neurons are vulnerable? Because there is something else interesting about Parkinson’s.

One finds a clear link with environmental toxins and Parkinson’s disease. That’s interesting. It means that these neurons are selectively vulnerable to toxins. What makes them vulnerable? Let’s say, my research goes much more back to basics. Why? What is the reason?

But, of course, we believe the knowledge about that would help us to find a cure or contribute to thinking differently about Parkinson’s disease. With all respects to all those who are at the same time trying to find a treatment, an efficient treatment with the current knowledge. I think both of them are necessary.

So, we haven’t been looking into how to increase the dopamine levels in the brain. We wonder why the dopaminergic neurons start dying. Specifically, the reasons for why they are vulnerable to particular toxins and why other neurons in the brain are not.

7. Jacobsen: When the substantia nigra begins to deteriorate, or to 60-70% fewer than the original number this may have cascade effects. If this is the case, what other systems deteriorate alongside it over time?

Amiry-Moghaddam: When the dopamine release falls below a certain level, the connections between the substantia nigra and other parts of the brain do not function as they should. These dopaminergic connections are among others important for modulation of our movements. That’s why some of the most apparent symptoms are related to our movements. The symptoms typically start at around 50-60 years of age, which is not old, but it gets worse with aging. There is also an increase in the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease as people get older.

Age is an important risk factor. As people get older, we see there is comorbidity between Parkinson’s disease and other kinds of dementia. That’s the reason. Parkinson’s, whether some people have several of the diseases at the same time. One of them starts first; we do not know much about it.

But there is comorbidity. At the very minimum, the higher the age, the more we see general dementia but also specific types like Alzheimer’s Disease.

There are also several common features among Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, even ALS.

You have an accumulation of specific kinds of protein, either inside or outside the cells, e.g. beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s Disease. In Parkinson’s Disease, we have α-Synuclein. It gets too specialized for a general reader.

But other parts of the brain and other organs of the body are also affected. We still don’t know as much about that. As science develops or progresses, we find out more about how the disease affects other parts of the body, like the gut and other parts of the brain.

But the reason we haven’t been looking at it or focusing on it, previously, is that it is typical for us looking at the areas that give the stronger symptoms – or more characteristic symptoms. Because of the dopaminergic neuronal loss.

The Parkinson’s patients have a very specific way they walk. You have probably seen the way they walk. It is similar to other parts of the body. I would say that the more we dig into these diseases; we find that there is a lot more to find out and learn.

Another focus of my research. It is looking at the other cell types in the brain other than the neurons. It is called neurology or neuroscience because most of the focus or activity has been on the principal cells of the brain, the neurons. We want to see how the other cell types contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease.

8. Jacobsen: So, for instance, compared to the glial cells or something like this?

Amiry-Moghaddam: Yes, especially the astrocytes, the star-like cells.

Jacobsen: Yes.

Amiry-Moghaddam: According to some studies, they are the most abundant cell type in the brain. I think they play a more important role than previously anticipated. I think one of the reasons we lag behind when it comes to finding treatments for neurological disorders – compared to other parts of the body – is that the focus has been too neurocentric.

My main focus is on astrocytes or much of my research is on astrocytes.

9. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Professor Amiry-Moghaddam.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Professor, Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) Founder, ‎Iran Human Rights – سازمان حقوق بشر ایران‎.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam [Online].December 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, December 22). An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-MoghaddamRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, December. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (December 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-MoghaddamIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-MoghaddamIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):December. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Professor Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam [Internet]. (2018, December; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/amiry-moghaddam.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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