Dalia Mogahed On Muslim Engagement
Being a Muslim in the modern world carries multiple dilemmas and paradoxes. Forced into the public spotlight all so suddenly, the political arena which Muslims are compelled to navigate is nothing short of frantic. There are so many questions but it seems there are so little answers: How should we engage? What should we do? Should we even engage?
Dalia Mogahed began grappling with these questions at the tender age of 15. Armed with the autobiography of Malcolm X, and an inquisitive eye into the justice embodied in Islamic scripture, social justice was all that was on Dalia’s mind. Not soon after, an event occurred which made this so much more real than an intellectual endeavour; September 11.
From here, Muslims were thrown into a fast, hostile and confusing political space. Dalia’s activism began in fear – fear for her community, for her child and for her religion. There was a need to act and do something to fight back, to secure a place for the American Muslim. So it started with outreach work – classrooms in colleges, later training law enforcement and eventually advising President Obama on policy related to Islam and Muslims. From the outside at least, things seemed to be moving.
But were they in reality?
As we sit with Dalia on The Transit Lounge, we explore the paradoxes and uncertainties of modern Muslim activism. A seasoned activist, Dalia delivers a deep truth we often lose sight of: it is never about the result, but always about the journey. To stay in the game and prevent burning out, one must recognise that as Muslims, we must strive, but it is only through God that we may arrive.
In the public spotlight having to constantly deal with the stress, death threats and backlash from within the community, Dalia’s unwavering commitment to spirituality is an essential. Whether that be daily dhikr, night prayers or constantly reaffirming her intention, there is a deep inner strength that Dalia appeals to.
In Episode 3 of The Transit Lounge, Dalia delves deep into practical lessons learnt from engaging the Obama administration, the dilemmas and absurdities in engaging the current administration and a peek at her new research on interesting aspects of the Muslim community.