(DISCLAIMER: I was not at my sharpest during this. Lots of “um” and “you know” as buffers while I spoke. You’re seriously better off reading the questions below and skipping to Mahdi’s answers throughout. My mic quality was also terrible, though that will be fixed soon. Apologies.)
Topic’s covered w/ timestamps:
(2:15) You wrote your book at the tail end of 2016, in a time when political tensions across the world were at explosive levels (relative to the time) that people thought couldn’t possibly get worse in the world of liberal democracies and free republics - yet we look at the world now and realize we have surpassed it tenfold, especially towards what is worse. One of the big parts of your book’s thesis, as I understood it, was that much of the populations of the Anglosphere had now taken a populist stance in response to the abuses they’ve suffered due to mass migration, terrorism, and the general failures of late-stage liberal democracy; which has now become an occupational oligarchy. Since then we’ve had multiple world-changing events that I think warrant mentioning with regards to the claims in your book, especially those that many I know believe have been totally vindicated and proven. The biggest one is the COVID pandemic starting in 2020, which in addition to harming many through the actual disease came the detriment to billions more the harms of the response to the disease, which many are admitting has destroyed aspects of society and the economy far more than the virus itself. You mentioned in your book how Anglosphere Muslims are almost always in line with the more liberal political parties and mainstream media narratives, and just as we saw it was mainly the Democrats in the United States for example and their voter base that has conformed the most to useless and harmful COVID restrictions, going as far as calling for violence against those who dissent against them in Canada and Australia for example. Most of us have seen Muslim communities accept these restrictions in totality, with none in the popular scholarship or leadership from our institutes warning against the harms of, for example, allowing the state to have the precedent of power to shut down your place of worship whenever they like for any reason (as we have seen in Canada, most prominently), or allowing citizens to be cut off from all aspects of public life for refusing a medical treatment. Do you share these concerns?
(20:14) Each election year, there’s this detrimental cycle I keep witnessing both around me and from the sources I have from other states thanks to my friends: Muslims grow tired, sick, and disgusted with the way Democrats are handling things (or more recently, were quite satisfied with how thing were under Trump up to the end of 2019) and it seems as if they’re almost ready to break free from liberal democrat vassalage. I had many acquaintances, first and second-generation Muslims, male and female of various income levels who were set on voting for Trump in 2020 once it became clear that Joe Biden, currently the vegetable-in-chief, was due to be his competition, due to his clear history as a war hawk and corruption. Then all it took was one mass media psychological operation, in this case it the 2020 Summer riots, that shifted almost all of them to voting for Biden instead thinking that the US was going to turn into the Third Reich any minute now. What will it take for Anglosphere Muslims to truly break free from enslavement to mainstream narratives? Are most who grow up here destined to be assimilated into riding the waves of whatever the next “big thing” is (at the time of writing this, that would be Ukraine)? (20:14)
(30:00) We started this interview quite a while before this became the next “new thing”, but it seems Allah has willed that it was prolonged so that we may actually cover it. As of this specific question, the current hysteria is over the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the catastrophically stupid Supreme Court decision that halted any sort of reasonable debate Americans could have had over the necessity of abortion (which Western Europe was able to have over a course of years, and as of now has much stricter abortion laws than American blue states, providing the reasonable exceptions for sex crimes and threatening medical issues). (As of yesterday, actually, the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade) The reason I bring this up is because much like all other issues concerning “women’s rights”, whenever this one comes up there’s a clear contrast between what we know for a fact is theologically acceptable, and what is promoted amongst the Western Muslim academic class. Particularly, this demographic of Muslims who are upper-middle-class strivers, who are now claiming that “Islam permits abortion” as a broad statement, eliminating the nuance entirely the same way extremists who are 100% anti-abortion do. It seems that radical feminism has become this sort of messianic secondary religion for Muslims of this caste, sometimes overriding their Islam entirely. What do you think about this?
(43:57) The biggest foreign policy story of this past year was the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, who are now ruling the Afghan government. I’m sure you know all the details, but beyond the actual events, I noticed something quite bizarre online - many, especially on the right and even veterans, welcomed the failure of the US and the collapse of the fake Afghan government, and took great joy in seeing the absolute destruction of the attempted liberalization of that region by Western powers. Meanwhile, many left-leaning and mainstream Muslims abhorred it and cried repeatedly about women’s rights and the “illegitimacy” of the Taliban. Twenty years ago, people would have never predicted this shift, intuitively you’d think it was the other way around. Why the switch?
(53:02) In your book, you outline on a macro-level what American Muslims and American Muslim organizations have been doing wrong for decades, and the flawed system of dawah that’s ongoing at the moment. What can individual Muslims who want to break out of this do? Mostly young Muslim men like me, of course.
(59:52) (Improvised detour to talk about recent LGBT debacle with Yaqeen Institute, Ilhan Omar stuff)
(1:09:17) The topic of “Muslim Representation in American Media” has been slowly heating up over the past few years. I’m an artist and author myself, with my debut fiction novel coming out this June which portrays a variety of Muslim characters, with my end goal and message being the glorification of my Lord and faith in the eyes of the many. Since I was a boy, I always grasped at any portrayal of my people I could find (One of my favorite movies is The Message). Since one of my main realizations as of recent has been the fact that not only is true art in media by Muslims sparse, but that it is currently being hijacked and built by the people I described; the leftist, liberal class of Muslims who are intent on destroying us through consumption of their trash while they vie for the approval of Hollyweird executives, so I decided to pursue and RECLAIM this area of artistic inquiry myself, and encourage other like-minded Muslim creators to do so. This is a topic that is very personal to me - what is the most important thing, if you are a Muslim creator of books, art, movies, etc. to keep in heart and mind if you are intent on spreading a message about your people, and if Allah wills it, have that translate into Da’wah?
Where you can find more of Mahdi Lock:
The Big Step Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Big-Step-Lock/dp/0244033013
Youtube Channel/Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheForeword