Can Christians Be Friends with a Muslim? An NPE Discussion with an American Muslim

On this edition of the Non-Partisan Evangelical Podcast, host Paul Swearengin takes a look at how the word “Islam” often creates fear in Christians. Should it be so? We talk a Muslim American, a patriotic citizen of the United States who practices the Islamic faith. Hear and learn how a Muslim American views Middle East conflicts, the possibility of Sharia Law, and the threat of being viewed as a terrorist, rather than a neighbor. Watch the podcast on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube Channel

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Transcript of the Pod – Transcribed by AI, might not be 100% accurate.

081420_EmadMeerza_FullPod
[00:00:00] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:00:00] And, but in the event that there was peace and there was dialogue and was understanding, never can a nonbeliever be compelled to faith at all to war, even in war and peace in discussions in prison and imprisonment. Uh, never can a nonbeliever, the forced to convert to a snap that is unaccepted by God and absolutely forbidden in the Koran and forbidden in the yeah.
[00:00:30] And the prophet peace be upon him so that the Koran says that if you take a life unjustly, You know, by murder. Uh it’s if you kill a person that way it’s as if you’ve killed all of me in kind and likened that passage to the passage and that’s all wrong on the Bible, right?
[00:00:56] Paul Swearengin: [00:00:56] hi. Welcome to the nonpartisan evangelical podcast. Paul [00:01:00] Swearingen, the nonpartisan evangelical with you today. Glad you’re with us. Hope you’re staying cool in very hot central California, if you’re around here. Although I hardly no notice that it’s hot anymore because I’m in the house all day long. I don’t, I don’t go to baseball games or any of that stuff anymore.
[00:01:15] So it’s hard to tell how hot it is outside, but hope you’re staying cool and staying safe out there. And we’ve got a great guest to talk to today and I think it, I think it’s going to be a guest that may be. Interesting. Maybe even difficult for some of our listeners is his name is and he is a Muslim friend of mine.
[00:01:37] Recently, we got acquainted through, through a mutual friend, Bob Prater. Who’s been on this pod podcast with us a few times in mod and Bob do a podcast together called a Christian and a Muslim walk into a studio. He is a former Emir and a mom of Kern County from Bakersfield and, uh, Is a, is a, uh, an [00:02:00] American who was born in Kuwait, but has lived in Kern County, much of his life.
[00:02:05] So in mod, welcome to the show. Thank you for joining me today.
[00:02:09] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:02:09] Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited about this opportunity to talk to you and to talk to your audience, or at least to have them hear what we have to say.
[00:02:17] Paul Swearengin: [00:02:17] Did I get all that intro right there?
[00:02:20] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:02:20] Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s totally fine.
[00:02:21] I, uh, here for 50 years of my 55 years, Uh, an American, obviously a Muslim Arab American, and, uh, and the, I was the elected leader of the Muslim community in Kern County in Bakersfield. Um, and we call that EMEAR also any man and a healthy, which is a lecture and, uh, especially on comparative Middle-Eastern religion, uh, language, history, law, et cetera.
[00:02:44] And I’ve been doing that for over two decades.
[00:02:47] Paul Swearengin: [00:02:47] You’re right. You’re a great book.
[00:02:49] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:02:49] Liquidly,
[00:02:50] Paul Swearengin: [00:02:50] you’re a very active representative of your faith.
[00:02:52] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:02:52] Very much, so very much so.
[00:02:54] Paul Swearengin: [00:02:54] And so what any mom would that equate to sort of like a priest in the Catholic tradition? [00:03:00] What is, what is any mom?
[00:03:01] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:03:01] Yeah. As any mom? I wasn’t acting email for a few years.
[00:03:04] That is similar to what the duties of a rabbi or a pastor or minister, even a priest to a certain extent. Um, uh, but then I was mostly a healthy, which is a lecturer. And a debater. And then as the Amir, that was really my, my solid title. I, I was in that position for five years. Uh, I founded our or nonprofit organization, the assignment short council of Bakersfield, and that oversees the activities of all the 5,000 Muslims in Kern County and also, uh, oversees the activities of the mosques that we have here in Kern County.
[00:03:35] And so, uh, I’m no longer in a formal role in the organization or an alum or the Amir. I, I resigned five years, five years ago or so. And, um, But I’m still, you know, with the community in an advisory role and things like that, and still active in Bakersfield community as well. You know, my voice and the debate series that I’m doing with pastor Chad Vegas and the [00:04:00] podcast I do with Bob and, and the, the numerous encounters that I do in the community with others.
[00:04:05] Paul Swearengin: [00:04:05] So you hang around Christians. A lot of
[00:04:08] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:04:08] Christians, you’re pretty close to the Jewish community here in Kern County. And Bakersfield, we have made very good friends in the Jewish community over the years. Um, and definitely in the Christian communities from all denominations and all the entire Christian spectrum, if you can imagine.
[00:04:23] And so, uh, and then, uh, you know, in the academic community here at Baker, Aristotle. So college and CSUB, and also in law enforcement and whatnot, I have a pretty good and media, so a bit, been a very active and current County for, for many years. And, uh, and it’s been a pleasure for me and it’s a time to a real challenge.
[00:04:42] Paul Swearengin: [00:04:42] Yeah. And so I met you through our mutual friend a few years ago. Um, one of the things I liked to do on this podcast is bringing proximity to. Christian evangelicals to people. They don’t get much proximity to. And I
[00:04:56] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:04:56] know the second I got a post, I got an update from Facebook [00:05:00] that three years ago today I did this podcast with Wayne and with, with, with Bob, I think that’s the one you attended.
[00:05:07] Paul Swearengin: [00:05:07] That’s the day we met.
[00:05:08] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:05:08] Right. And so I sent it to Wayne, uh, and he, and he goes the good times. And I said, yeah, that was fun. I’m going to see him Sunday. So I think that was it. I think it was three years ago. I believe three years ago, today that we met. And it was, it was a pleasant meeting. I enjoyed getting to know you
[00:05:22] Paul Swearengin: [00:05:22] well, and I’m a little embarrassed to say.
[00:05:25] I have had not spent a significant amount of time with a Muslim. I know I have some friends that, that practice the faith, but probably have not set and really ever explored. What it’s all about because, you know, I think as angelical, sometimes we feel like if we get in the room with you, something’s going to jump on us or, or, or something.
[00:05:45] And I say that jokingly a little bit, but I think there is a little bit of hesitation around Muslims with them in, in the American evangelical church. Because when we hear. Islam or Islamic people. We start to think of [00:06:00] enemies of the United States. We think of nine 11 and buildings being flown into. And so how do you, how do you navigate that as you have relationships with Christians and Jews and all of these, how much do you run into sort of these presuppositions that some of us may have about, about people who practice your faith?
[00:06:18] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:06:18] Well here, let me start by saying in the name of God. The most gracious, the most merciful, one of the submitted ways to say God’s name. Um,
[00:06:28] Paul Swearengin: [00:06:28] by the way, if I say anything just totally offensive, it’s because I’m an idiot and just say,
[00:06:32] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:06:32] Oh brother, it’s a great concern. It’s a great constant concern for me. I’ll tell you, I’ll start out by saying this.
[00:06:40] I think any Christian that thinks. But that somehow their command did not to sit with Muslims and discuss matters with Muslims. Somehow it’s a grave sin to sit with Muslims. I have no idea how in any way, shape or form, they can do any type of missionary working where around the world, where they have to sit with nonbelievers and discuss the, you know, Christ with them or the love of Christ or share the, you know, [00:07:00] the gospel with them or any of that, any type of salvation equation.
[00:07:03] If you don’t think you can actually sit and dialogue and hear back. From a Muslim as well. I had a situation in the lecture and debate I did back in February with a, with the prominent, um, uh, Reformed Calvinist pastor who was, who was a friend, a good friend of mine, and two of his members of his congregation, um, husband and wife.
[00:07:23] There are only two though. Thank God. We had 600 attendees and 2,500 watching live online. Uh, the lecture of all those spokes, two people said, you know, they, they, they. Denounced what happened? They left the car corrugation because they felt that he gave me an opportunity to stop my lies and my evil. He disagreed with them and was sad.
[00:07:43] And he was honestly sadness and hurt and cause he loves them and it was okay. Yeah. But he said they’re wrong and I’m, this is not how we can pursue whether you’re, whether you don’t want to convert people or do you just want to share the faith? Or that you do want to convert people and bring them to the way you have to be willing to sit and talk to people.
[00:08:00] [00:07:59] I know from my vantage point, you know, we have ultra Orthodox Muslims that have extreme opinions of Christians and Jews and others, and they’re wrong. And then there’s an Orthodox see like me that knows that dialogue is the primary way of the profits and the messenger speaks to be upon them all, but they have to first start by.
[00:08:17] Talking to him. There’s no mental telepathy that we can do. There’s, you know, sign language, you gotta learn it, but everybody knows it. You know, you’ve got to be able to sit and talk and a lot of times break bread and have face to face dialogue. I’ve done this for years, whether it be, you know, collectively with begin organizations, law enforcement, you know, Professor as students or single li you know, coffee shops with individuals, people, folks around sitting with me one on one.
[00:08:42] This is how you share your faith, your thoughts, your ideas, spell concerns, worries, stuff like that. You don’t do that by just, I’m thinking that the other side is bad evil. You can’t sit with them and you can engage with them. That’s there’s nothing productive about that. Yeah. And
[00:08:57] Paul Swearengin: [00:08:57] I think in some
[00:08:58] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:08:58] ways, what about it [00:09:00] or chronic about it?
[00:09:01] Or is there anything ministerial in terms of, you know, profits and messengers and how they did things? This is just simply on how they did it. I mean, if Moses can go and talk to Pharaoh and Pharaoh thought he was, God, I don’t know how you can’t talk to me. I
[00:09:13] Paul Swearengin: [00:09:13] think we would, I guess would probably yes. As a missionary, we feel like we can sit and talk with anybody because we’re, we’re trying to convert people to the faith.
[00:09:22] Maybe the bigger question is, is can we be friends? If, if, if I lay out the gospel for you and you say, love it, thank you for sharing, but. I’m I’m true to my faith. Can we be friends? Does, does your or religion allow for us to be friends if I’m not willing to convert to your faith and vice versa? I think that’s part of what all of us are trying figure out.
[00:09:45] What does relationship look like outside of trying to convert one another? That’s
[00:09:50] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:09:50] a great question. Um, absolutely. Uh, what I’ve done with Bob over the years, uh, is all about understanding that we have, we can have some meta differences and yet we can be [00:10:00] personal friends on some multitude of levels. What I’m doing with Chad Vegas.
[00:10:04] Again, I told you as a reform Calvinism, very fundamental, Orthodox Christian. Um, uh, we have learned to be, uh, Absolutely try to kind of work. We try to convert each other. Literally we’re sitting across the table when we were trying to convert each other, being big bang and a, and we’re showing the congregations, the Muslims in Kern County and the Christians and Kern County.
[00:10:23] Um, the guys look at this, we’re taking this we’re, we’re literally taking this to the. To the Hey theology law, the prophecy, et cetera, et cetera. And we, we, we totally disagree on some of the most principle matters that we hold in here. We are friends. We break bread together. Every time we meet, we laugh, we would break office friends.
[00:10:41] We come together as friends, and yet we vehemently disagree on some of the most treasured matters in our hearts and find that we love each others. Decency honor, integrity, trust, uh, you know, passion and family values, neighborliness, et cetera, ethics, morality, virtue, whatever, and [00:11:00] also forgive each other since.
[00:11:01] Okay. And I’m a sinner and I know I am, and yet he forgives my sins because he knows I’m not trying to hurt him. And I had sometimes suppress myself with my sins and he does the same and I forgive his. And so you can be friends, you must be friends. You know, there was a time when I was trying to tell, I first met Bob and I had another mutual Christian friend, Don Clark.
[00:11:19] Uh, it was a well known, um, media personality and current County. Me and him had been friends for many years. And I used to tell Don, I said, Don, this matter is not about tolerance. Tolerance is what you do when you tolerate somebody who’d been an ex-convict, who was, who may be drunk in the street. Uh, you know, you kind of tolerate their behavior.
[00:11:37] You figure out a way to deal with it, et cetera. You have, you tolerate things that are, they may not be all that great, but you find a way to be torn. You don’t tolerate a good. Honorable practicing, decent, hardworking, honest, loving neighborly, Christian Jew, or even Muslim. You respect that person. You honor that person.
[00:11:56] If you know, the, the world is a better place when people like that are, [00:12:00] are living in it and they can be Christian, that can be Jew. They can be Muslim, they can be Buddhists. That can be Hindu Sikh. And believe me, I’m, I’ve known all those communities in your current County I’ve dealt with. And. And they, they are, they are, they have great family values.
[00:12:16] They love honesty and integrity. I know I’m rambling on a bit, but I’ll say one more thing. I’ve got audiences, Paul I’ve told them I pulled audiences and I said, look, guys, what do you think if anywhere you go in the world, any majority you go on the wall and you ask that majority, you say, look, do you people love the man or woman who is honest, decent, hardworking, faithful, well kind loving, ethical, moral.
[00:12:39] You know, decent neighbor leads or do you love the man who, or woman who was wicked, you know, murderous, adulterous, lying, stealing, cheating, et cetera. There isn’t a single majority of any type of ethnic, ethnic majority, the national majority or religious majority that will say to you, Oh, we love that. The wicked guy, they all are women.
[00:12:59] They [00:13:00] love. And admire and adhere to and respect the, the person of character. Okay. And so we are all the same in that way. And so we must honor each other to the point where we can be friend one, another, the honest one and other work kindly and decently ethically with one another, the decent to one another.
[00:13:18] And you can have, you can care. You can, you can, like, you can love, you can trust. But non Muslims, non Jews. non-Christians and this is a big part of my message, even though I’m, um, profoundly one that believes that I want to share my Islamic faith with people. I’m still one who absolutely respects and admires many of my Christian and Jewish friends in their lifestyles.
[00:13:39] And when I have a Hindu, a couple, few Hindu friends, the doc, my doctors who are very close friends of mine, my families. And I, I just know how they are ethically. I know they are morally, I know how they are in their modesty and their family values and their love of neighbors and their work ethic. I admire every bit of that, even though I don’t agree with her faith.
[00:13:57] Paul Swearengin: [00:13:57] Yeah, it is. And again, [00:14:00] I apologize if these are offensive, but these are what some people I think, believe and hear and feel inside. Just want us to talk at all.
[00:14:08] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:14:08] And if any, if anything, Paul, any questions? I always like the hard questions. I don’t like the easy ones because the hard questions are the ones I wanted to spend.
[00:14:16] Well, I want people to get and understand I’ve been in many audiences where it’s please don’t. Don’t think you’re going to hurt anybody’s feelings. Give me the questions that keep you up at night that make you worry about your kids. If you’re worried about your neighbors or your friends or safety or whatever, we have to deal with the issues that are out there, making people scared, worried, or hateful.
[00:14:33] Paul Swearengin: [00:14:33] So the question then is, is there something in your religion that says people who don’t convert to your religion need to be killed? And ultimately can be killed.
[00:14:44] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:14:44] Yeah. Fair enough. So many things are taken out of context. Um, the reality with this gem is that, uh, when, when the prophet was sent as the last messenger to mankind, according to what the Koran says and what the Muslims believe in what he said, um, his message was going to be the seal of the [00:15:00] prophets messengers and the seal of the books that God sent.
[00:15:02] And the finality of value. I have a law or the Shema, according to the Jews and the Christians Deuteronomy six, four. And of course in the gospels where, you know, Moses and you say, you know, the Lord, your God, the Lord is one. You know, he always a skimmer as it comes from, the word is smash, which is seven hours or here, listen, listen, all Israel.
[00:15:20] And so the Muhammad came saying the same thing, you know, it’s been inspired to me that the Lord, your God is one God. And so the idea was he sent letters to all of the Kings on the earth and the leaders in the emperor saying that I’m the messenger of God and the last etc. Come to common grounds with us.
[00:15:34] Stop worshiping men amongst yourself and follow on obeyed me the messenger of God. We believe that. Every messenger was sent to be obeyed. And so there was this mandate that you either had to make peace with a Muslim state. Uh, you know, you have to come to terms with the Muslim state, you have to allow for, for, uh, for there to be good relations so that people can choose to want to hear the message of the messenger, or you would fight them.
[00:15:55] And, but in the event that there was peace and there was dialogue and it was understanding, [00:16:00] uh, never can a nonbeliever be compelled to faith at all to war. Even in war, in peace, in discussions in prison and imprisonment, uh, never can a nonverbal or be forced to convert to a snap that is unaccepted by God and absolutely, uh, forbidden in the Koran and forbidden and the actions of the prophet peace be upon him.
[00:16:26] So if you can not force invert somebody. Okay. If that is not an action allowed to us, right. Uh, near, nor is, are we allowed to kill somebody for not converting to us now? I mean, th the idea there is their heart has to open to the faith and they must, you know, there there’s another, let me add this. The prophet Muhammad peace bomb said.
[00:16:47] He said a way way. Look on unlimited means Whoa, to you ask to those who are my relatives. Okay. Now you’re asking as a Christian, who was he? Who was he referring to [00:17:00] us as relatives? What he was referring to as his relatives were the Jews and the Christians who are related to him in faith. Okay. So I said, Whoa, to you, wait up, come on.
[00:17:07] Dimity uh, then meet, is there a Jew? And the Christian that we know this absolutely established scholarly Islam, nobody can deny that. And he said, If you harmed them or oppress them or are on Justin and okay. I will be your wit I will be the witness against you before God on the day of judgment. Now when a prophet says Whaler, who is it’s like Jesus saying, Whoa to him.
[00:17:32] When he was talking about Judas Iscariot, this is a major, big sabbatical loaded, loaded with like, Whoa, wait, everybody stopped listening. He just said, wait. Um, so in the prophet said, wait, Oh, He means you better. Listen to me, this is a big warning against oppression and justice and, and bad dealings with Christians and Jews, my relatives and faith.
[00:17:53] If you, if you harm them, I will be a witnessing instrument. They have judgment. I take that very seriously, very seriously. Um, and [00:18:00] so, uh, we’re never allowed to unjustly. Harm anyone. So is there just killing us now? Of course, there is just going to Christianity that just going in Judaism and Hinduism, Buddhism in America and Europe and all over, and we can just look guilty, uh, that, that, that just killing somebody has.
[00:18:18] Obviously many rules and many proofs and whatnot, no one can unjustly take a life. The Cron says that if you take a life unjustly, you know, by murder, uh it’s if you kill a person that way it’s as if you’ve killed all of me in kind and likened that pasture to the passage and that’s all wrong in the Bible.
[00:18:36] Right? Right. So initially it was in the Bible. Now it’s in the Koran and we understand this it’s as if we killed everybody. And so Paul had this. If I hunt for sport. And I kill an animal unjustly for fun for play for, I just want to Mount it on my wall. I have committed a major sentence snap. I will be accountable for that scene on the day of judgment.
[00:18:59] There is, there [00:19:00] are there, there was a story of a woman who will go to the, the hellfire for killing a cat and a man who goes to and another who goes to paradise. For saving a dog. And so if you can go to the paradise, we’re saving a dog’s life and go to hell fire for killing a cat. I can’t imagine what it would be like to kill any human being unjustly in this world.
[00:19:18] And so, yeah. Versus are taken out of context. Other verses are ignored on, you know, true, uh, trans you know, interpretation that comes through our scholars, et cetera, is, is always ignored by those that are trying to spread the hate. I’ve told mom enforcement, I’ve taught Christian clergy. I’ve thought Jewish clergy about Slims rules and.
[00:19:38] Tell I’ve told them. I said, if you take the most Orthodox of our mainstream scholars that are accepted worldwide and take their rulings, you’re not going to like them all. You’re not going to like what they might say about gay marriage or about abortion, or they might say about, you know, uh, you know, Jesus being God or, or, or Jew not believing in Jesus or Moses.
[00:19:54] I mean, you’re not gonna like those relates, but you’re definitely gonna like rulings on murder, on [00:20:00] suicide, on terrorism. They’re going to absolutely. Tell you, those are all, gonna show you all the proofs. They’re gonna take you to the Chron and have even the history. And I’m going to make it absolutely clear to you that this has always been Islamic jurisprudence and, and, you know, from the classical base to the contemporary days.
[00:20:16] And there’s just no confusion about that.
[00:20:18] Paul Swearengin: [00:20:18] And honor, and we have all those verses in the Christian Bible as well. That if taken out of context can justify a whole bunch of evil. I
[00:20:27] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:20:27] said that Paul I’ve said, guys, if I want to, if I really want to work antithetical to Christianity or Judaism mean I could just take your Bible and just rip it.
[00:20:34] Rip Christianity to shreds and rib. Your alien shirts. I would not be doing myself a favor because I believe in how and why those verses were revealed, what the timing was, what the context was, et cetera. This was from God. This was for a reason specifically, and it would hurt me in my faith to attack your faith and to attack your scripture that way.
[00:20:51] And so, yes, I think attacking us now in this way, they just think somehow they’re removing themselves from the blame of their own scriptures that have these harsh. You know, statements or whatnot, [00:21:00] I guess, because Muslims came after Christian and Jews, they think somehow that’s the forerunner. And that’s the thing that we can’t talk about, but they’re bringing us up by name of Christianity and Judaism, not realizing that what the word means.
[00:21:11] Emotion means Mussallem it means one who has submitted. To God in the Semitic language, if you say it, and he said an Aramaic, it’s some shot, which I Lim, uh, and, and very similar Hebrew. And what it means is if you, if I were to ask you, you know, Hey, tell me about Abraham. You know, peace be upon him. You know, he was, he feared God.
[00:21:29] He was a monotheist. You know, he looked loved, God loved them. He was his friend. How did he submit himself to God? What would your answer be? Yes, he did. Yes. Well, now, now speak that to Abraham or explain, give me that terminology saying God about Abraham in Hebrew, Aramaic, Hebrew, or Aramaic. And you can’t say anything but Machina.
[00:21:49] Or you have to call him a Muslim. And so it is just a word that has a meaning. And so when, when the Bible is talking about these things, it’s not saying that word Muslim is some evil guy, you [00:22:00] can’t kill, or you can distrust, or, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s describing, you know, nonbelievers, pagans, and then the way they were with God and how God judged them certain ways or not.
[00:22:08] And so Muslims, when they come back and talk about Jews and Christians, They’re talking about what became known the believers were, the Muslims became known as Jews in that time because Judah, the child is the son of Jacob who became the prominent tribe and whole of Israel kind of associated with that tribe later, Christians, because they said, Hey, these were the, these are the followers of Christ.
[00:22:27] And so other started calling them Christians. But in essence, they were those who submitted to God, they were Muslim. And so, you know, th there’s a lot of confusion in terminology too. And I think because Sam. Specifically mentioned Christians and Jews, and then there’s harsh verses about them. And there’s the non harsh verses about them.
[00:22:44] And people just look at the harsh verses about them. There’s about over what 6,000 versus them calling maybe a hundred that have to do a hundred plus that have to be with, you know, violence and difficulty and whatnot. But all so many are just absolutely taken out of context. It’s it’s it saddens me.
[00:22:58] Paul Swearengin: [00:22:58] And so we have these ongoing [00:23:00] conflicts with the middle East and the United States, which how much of that do you, from your perspective is a religious.
[00:23:07] Struggle versus, I mean, let’s be honest. We were fighting in Iraq because we put a dictator in place there. Then we didn’t like him anymore and we wanted to take him out. And, and so how much of it is a conflict born out of a history of, of conflict and maybe in some ways of the United States sort of taking what we needed from that area for a considerable amount of
[00:23:28] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:23:28] time.
[00:23:29] Yeah, that’s another great question. I know it brings in politics, you know, kind of a religious discussion, but the idea here is that over time, uh, before used to be very political and, and, you know, we had agendas and we had things that we wanted from these areas. Yeah. You know, the geographical concerns.
[00:23:44] So we had the geopolitical concerns that we had, the, the material concerns we had with oil and things like that. And you know what, now, you know, our national security and the private multinational corporations have benefited greatly from a lot of the different policies that we had, whether it was Iraq or Iran.
[00:23:58] Or Saudi Arabia or the middle East or [00:24:00] whatever. But I think Paul really, as those were certainly motivators for us, you know, our policies were with those that were just policy and those are unjust policies. Um, they definitely motors. I agree with you there, but I think what we’re seeing happening. As things are moving along.
[00:24:16] Okay. And the trends that we’re seeing is that now, uh, extreme religious opinions are really starting to get into, um, not only into the political sphere and into places of power, you know, power is concentrator or it’s or. You know, power machinations are, are, you know, formed and formulated, but they’re, they’re actually, I think getting in the, the, those folks are getting a positions of power and a lot of their decisions are being motivated by their actual extreme religious opinions on one thing or the other.
[00:24:48] Okay. Whether it has to be with this time, I must have been direct. The view of Israel is really policy or Jews. Or whether it has to do with temple Mount or whether it has to do with things here or abroad or whatever. I think we’re seeing more of the religious component [00:25:00] enter into the situation that it becomes very concerning too, because this is one interpretation.
[00:25:03] It might be an extreme interpretation one way or the other words, liberal, real liberal or real conservative, or real far, you know, very extreme in one way or the other. But to have that become the driving force behind any of our policies becomes extremely concerning. I’m seeing more of that.
[00:25:18] Paul Swearengin: [00:25:18] And more of that from, um, so like say an S Osama bin Ladin, he is taking the Koran from your perspective and, and twisting it to sort of meet a political agenda and using a religious covering for that.
[00:25:34] Or how do you see that?
[00:25:36] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:25:36] Well, I think if we would have, if we, as you know, we used to scream, Muslim leaders are like scream, please listen to us. Please listen to our scholars, please come and hear what we have to say about these people. You know, and that’s why the majority of the Sonic world didn’t follow Al Qaeda.
[00:25:50] They didn’t follow ISIS. They, you know, because the majority of the Muslim scholars around the world and all their leaders, both secular and religious, uh, you know, local moms, [00:26:00] teachers, educators, Color to their faith. Everyone redound denounced all of this insanity and pointed to our people. It’s just wrong.
[00:26:06] You know how you have to tell your own people first and foremost, don’t follow guys. You know, we do that. We do that all the time. I mean, it was always a nightmare scenario when it, when a Wolf, you know, it’s a sky’s then Shepherd’s gloating is trying to guide your sheep. And so you as a real shepherd epithet man, and in this, in discard that clothing and show them that it’s okay.
[00:26:23] We do that all the time and we come back and we’ll tell them. You know, good old fashioned American folks, guys, criminalist into our scholars, say about this, or hear what we’re saying about this. It’s there’s always this notion why the Muslim speaking out. I mean, if we spoke out any louder, I don’t know, we’d be brave windows, but we don’t, we just don’t have access.
[00:26:39] Access says to all these, you know, I have access to your audience right now, but I think I’m going to have access to them. Walks out audience or Washington or the audience, or I don’t have access in order all the mainstream Simon scholars or the scholars that I know in North, North America that have been my dear and close friends.
[00:26:52] They don’t have access. They simply don’t have access. So you don’t hear from us about these issues. You instead you hear from the news, from the pundents from some [00:27:00] politicians and from the extremists Mt. Themselves, a lot of times they have, they find they have microphones playing. Those mounts easily.
[00:27:07] Okay. They don’t find much, or people are like, people like me. We have been the frustrated, you know, silent majority are not silent. The frustrated, silenced majority. And that’s really what we’ve felt like for, for a generation. We’ve just been silenced in the, in the, in the West and especially in America and America and the circles that we really need to get to.
[00:27:30] And we just can’t get to them. We can’t bust through. And that’s the real sad reality.
[00:27:35] Paul Swearengin: [00:27:35] And, and again, I know you don’t want me to, I almost feel bad asking the question, but, but you, instead of yourself, an American, right? I know, I know you weren’t born here, but you’ve lived here most of your life and in Kern County.
[00:27:46] And I would, I assume you consider yourself a Bakersfield then if that’s the right term for Bakersfield, California, and, and an American.
[00:27:55] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:27:55] Yeah, I think it’s if, if American, if an American hat yeah. To be born here, I, [00:28:00] so many Americans that, that, that made this country great and made it what it is today would not be considered.
[00:28:05] Americans just don’t belong in America. I think that’s insanity to, to in any way, shape or form adopt that thought process to an American, someone has to be born here. And you have Americans that are born here that we all wish never were born. The moons stayed on. Okay. They’re rapists and killers and gang bangers and all these are bad.
[00:28:24] Things they have, they might be horrible white collar criminals that push old ladies out of their home just to make a bar, make a buck. You know, these are born here, Americans that we wish we could, you know, they weren’t a part of our society or we definitely need a reform, great reform then that then you have immigrants that have just been the most amazing people.
[00:28:39] The most accomplished people, people that have just done just some of the most amazing thing in this country, from the original founding, you know, from some of the founders and some of the people that were here. In the 18th century on or 16th century on or whatever you want to call it, you know, on and on and on from the 19th century, the 20th century.
[00:28:54] And now the 21st century. Um, it’s all about the person. It’s all about the, it’s all about the [00:29:00] net effect of a life of that person, the efforts that they go through, the things that they do in their morality, their virtue, their modesty, and their love of country and love of love of God, in my opinion, other, in love of decency and kindness and goodness, um, that make them, uh, That make them good Americans.
[00:29:15] If you don’t think that you should value your views, you’re American federal American citizen based on those good characteristics and qualities and not the fact that they were born one place or the other. Again, there’s a defect in you. And
[00:29:28] Paul Swearengin: [00:29:28] we have a, and embarrassing to me, some Christians, uh, believe we’ve we shouldn’t allow Muslims to be elected to office, or we have, um, the lady in Minnesota who just got, or I think pastor or preliminary election there again this year.
[00:29:45] Yeah. And I think it’s crazy. I think it’s great. So there’s no
[00:29:50] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:29:50] rationale behind it. I can get into if you want me to, if you’re
[00:29:53] Paul Swearengin: [00:29:53] yeah, sure. Absolutely. I mean, again, These are people who are as much American as the [00:30:00] rest of us, that she doesn’t have some, overamped sorry, I can’t remember her name now off the top of my head.
[00:30:05] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:30:05] I had it. I saw the article anyway. I can’t remember her name on
[00:30:08] Paul Swearengin: [00:30:08] it, but she doesn’t have an allegiance to any middle Eastern country or any law above the United States. Any more than, than any of the rest of us. Right.
[00:30:17] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:30:17] I know her name, Ali Ali. Is that her name?
[00:30:22] Paul Swearengin: [00:30:22] Tell me what you’re going to tell me. I’ll look her up real quick.
[00:30:24] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:30:24] Yeah. Uh, listen. Um, the, the reality here is if we back to the, one of the main founding fathers, George Washington, the first president United States, you know, one of the most, um,
[00:30:36] Paul Swearengin: [00:30:36] Ilan Omar, by the way.
[00:30:38] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:30:38] Yeah. Ian, Omar, I didn’t know Ilana Mar said that or if they sent it about her?
[00:30:42] Paul Swearengin: [00:30:42] No, they said about her.
[00:30:44] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:30:44] I thought you were talking about another person who acts espoused those views.
[00:30:47] Paul Swearengin: [00:30:47] Oh, I know. Yeah. I know who you’re talking about, but
[00:30:50] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:30:50] let me say this. So, so George Washington sent a letter to, uh, one of the. Sultans in Morocco. He was, uh, he was, uh, an individual who helped the spoiling of [00:31:00] democracy come to come to some prominence and, you know, gave them a huge backhand of time when we were the fledgling very weak country.
[00:31:07] And George Washington had wrote a very, very highly praising letter of him, very humbling letter and, and various. Highly PR a praiseworthy of this Muslim Salton who had given America his backing at a time when America really needed. It’s the longest serving treaty that we had as long as street. I think we have on record in the history.
[00:31:26] Okay. And it’s the way that a Muslim assault them. And you have to read the words of George Washington, how he describes this man, how much praise he gives him and how much humility he did it in doing so how much he showed. Uh, moreover, he then also sent letters to, uh, to Ottoman rulers explaining to them that the Muslim man, you know, or the Hamlet’s followers are welcome here in America, that this society is going to be right tolerant.
[00:31:48] And then they fought that Apple. So by going to the Jewish communities and letting them know that they’re welcome to live here as well. Okay. This is gonna being open freedom of religion. Freedom of expression, uh, you know, um, [00:32:00] first amendment, right country. And so that was, you know, this there’s no debating, this is ridiculous to debate.
[00:32:04] If you go back in history and look at what the, how they talked about, you know, what they said to these Muslim leaders and what they said to the Jewish leaders in the East, and you know, the artwork at Oxford Jews, um, it’s foolish to think that this wasn’t supposed to be this way now. Why are they being told to not trust?
[00:32:19] Muslims is because of Sharia law, Australia. And so, you know, if you were to go into these Orthodox Jewish camps and, you know, Brooklyn on, you know, certain places I’ve been, I can’t remember the Bronx. I can’t exactly know the exact Queens. I don’t know where they live, but, um, but if you were to ask, you know, you watch how they live their lives and what they do here too.
[00:32:38] And, and, and a lot of their court, the way that they rule and how the courts on how them to rule because of their, their. What religion they’re trying to follow literal, you know, Jewish law, the way they’re supposed to. And you’re mandated to according their religion, they still consider themselves Americans.
[00:32:51] They still don’t try to break American law, secular laws, etc. They try to fit that system within our system and know that our system of government is the constitution, the bill of [00:33:00] rights, et cetera. Um, and, and our secular law, but there, but that allows for them to do certain things. You know, in marriage law, divorce, law, et cetera, et cetera, within their mosaic understandings and traditions, Islam has the same fundamentals that, you know, we have religious law that we have to follow literal ritual, religious law that we have to follow.
[00:33:19] Um, and, and, but if you have to go again to the experts and you have to go to what our rulings are, we are not. We are not able or half or mandated to set up a fee. It’s just not the case. And so we have to work in our assembly. I live in Kuwait, which is where I’m born. Kuwait is 99% Muslim and it’s a European parliamentary government system.
[00:33:44] Okay. If I’m almost done in Kuwait. Okay. There’s more understanding and more. Compassing of Islamic law and divorces and marriages and all these kinds of things, but the government, all the whole system is not run according to theocracy clearly, nor is it in Saudi Arabia, et cetera. And [00:34:00] so, or any other of the 55 Muslim countries.
[00:34:02] Okay. And so for Kuwait, 99% Muslim. Cannot establish itself as an Islamic theocracy and implement Sharia law. Right? How so is the Muslim house or the Muslims in America as a 1% versus 99% going to somehow establish it here or somehow advocating if I’m going to advocate for sure. Let me go to Kuwait and do it.
[00:34:25] I have a much better chance though. I’m want people are gonna agree with me there. If I’m going to do that here with 99% of the people going, huh? What? You’re going to overturn our constitution. This is just. It’s not insanity. It’s a devious, devious, wicked lie. That spun very well by, by some folks that have, you know, that make money on it, gain power political power on it, or keep souls in their, in their church, pews that continue to contribute and excuse them, scare Muslims away.
[00:34:52] Or scare them away from Muslim Muslims. So they know where the big, bad Wolf trying to do this. Never once have I cared to care to literally [00:35:00] cared to adventure all on any level, local state or federal government. It’s just not my priority. It’s not an issue. I lose sleep over it and think about it at all.
[00:35:07] I’m more interested in, in, you know, the good things in our country, justice in our country, the decency, the rule of law, uh, the freedom of speech. My God, I live here because of the freedom of speech. I don’t have the same freedom of speech in Kuwait. One of the most. Free middle Eastern countries on the planet because middle Eastern countries are mostly authoritarian.
[00:35:26] One of the most free religious, I mean, you know, countries on the planet, Muslim, I’m sorry. Muslim areas. Yeah. I don’t have the same freedoms of speech that I do here in America. Okay. And so I value that I’m, I’m an orator, I’m a lecturer, I’m a teacher, I’m a preacher. That’s what I got to do. I can’t compromise my messaging, you know?
[00:35:44] And so I don’t have to compromise my messaging here. I have to compromise my messaging. There. That’s a problem. Okay, that’s good. What is the more real concerning issue for me? Not, it’s not a gloss
[00:35:56] Paul Swearengin: [00:35:56] and, and I, I tell my folks all the time, we’re the [00:36:00] ones trying to put our religious law in place in the country.
[00:36:03] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:36:03] Most people would agree with that. Right. You talked about that a little bit.
[00:36:07] Paul Swearengin: [00:36:07] Yeah. And, and to me, we make accommodations for this. Like, you know, if in public school there’s always a non meat. Option on Fridays because Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays for a whole lot of reasons. And so to me, making accommodation, yeah.
[00:36:21] As far a religion that once that, that has certain headings gear that they wear or, or paraphernalia, of course, why don’t we make accommodations for that? Okay. Um,
[00:36:33] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:36:33] it’s like we should allow, you know, Christians to pray in school, you know, probably with born and go in areas and brain and allow for there’s a, there’s a, there’s a freedom of religion that has been somewhat oppressed by the anti-religious movement that needed to be relaxed and allowed.
[00:36:47] But there’s also this notion that religious people feel they want their government to run. According to what their religion says is the more you get into that camp and the more you demand policies that adhere to your biblical perspectives from your particular. You [00:37:00] know, vantage point. Now you’re advocating for some form of theocracy at some level, you know, you’ve got to watch yourself because you sound pretty hypocritical when you’re pointing fingers at Muslims or other saints.
[00:37:10] That’s what they’re trying to do. And that’s really what you’re doing.
[00:37:13] Paul Swearengin: [00:37:13] Yeah. There was a
[00:37:14] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:37:14] far more. Able ear and a more able position with the, both your numbers, your money, your political prowess, you know, all the events, you know, the evangelicals and Christians around the country. And they’re there they’re influenced both voluntarily, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:37:28] You have a far more, better chance of getting policy than we do. There
[00:37:32] Paul Swearengin: [00:37:32] was a high school in Texas that had a, they would put up a banner for their football team to run through that would have a Bible verse from the Christian Bible and a court ruled that illegal and people hit the roof and, and, you know, I just, I asked people, so what, what if somebody says, okay, next week, we’re going to put a verse from the, from the Quran up there and have the team run through that.
[00:37:53] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:37:53] Um, it just, you gotta think that way. Yeah. Well, that’s why I said, I think some upper, there are some oppressions in religious freedoms. We [00:38:00] do stuff like that. I mean, aren’t you saying one thing, this is the only right way. And you’re going to force no non Christians to run through that. And I just think, can you think twice about this, a bit way to share Christianity?
[00:38:11] There’s a better way to honor Christianity. Uh, certainly those students should be allowed to pray on, you know, somewhere on campus. Nobody should be offended by that, but there shouldn’t be any forced group prayer. They shouldn’t be principal, principal mandating a prayer, a teacher mandating a prayer, a school district mandating the prayer, a coach mandating a prayer.
[00:38:28] You know, they shouldn’t, I think that the kids want to do on their own. They want to do in their groups. I think we need to understand that we need to really re I think I spoke with someone the other day and I said, you know, what is the fundamental rich. That, that, that dictates how I think it wasn’t. You and me were talking.
[00:38:44] I remember maybe you, yeah, the fundamental writ that we should turn to, if we want to understand Christianity, the fundamental right. That we should turn to understand a snap. How about if we want to understand America, right. It’s the constitution and it’s not him. It’s the Koran and in Christianity is the Bible and, and [00:39:00] in America is the constitution.
[00:39:01] Well, go ahead and read the constitution and tell me, you know, what it’s really saying about religious freedom. What is it saying about, you know, expression, you know, Yeah, freedom of speech assembly, et cetera. And then, and then there’s some of the restrictions at this point. There’s is it saying that you got to read the Bible this way?
[00:39:15] You gotta be a Trinitarian Christian, you have to believe in this top form of salvation, you have to be reformed Calvinist. You know, you gotta be a Baptist Southern Baptist. No, it doesn’t, you know, we it’s just the opposite. You know, the framers look to me like they’re trying to be so. Uh, accepting and so worried of tyrannical religious, they do not want a tyrannical.
[00:39:36] They don’t want it one religious interpretation to run the day because they know they saw what happened in Europe and they saw the person that it led to and the amount of just sheer, you know, uh, atrocity and injustice. And they’d made sure to protect us from that. And I think by doing so sometimes we’d go to the extreme.
[00:39:53] In those protections. I agree with some of my Christian friends and neighbors and whatnot, but, but most of the [00:40:00] times we are not, it’s not a worry. This is not a religious persecution. You are allowed to advocate Christianity all day long through the airwaves, through media, with nonprofit, you know, money that you don’t have to pay taxes on tidy things up the Gazoo so much money to work with us.
[00:40:16] So much influence and whatnot to speak your religion and share it and preach it and teach it and teach it and teach it. So there’s no religious persecution. There are people being religiously persecuted, both Christians and Muslims around the world and China and other places. Certainly not here, not by these policies.
[00:40:31] All we got to do is amend some of these issues or just attack the one, the things that are truly extreme or oppressive and everything else. We just, we do it out in a fair. Unbiased way where we share our opinions. You and me can talk. You can defend your ideology. I defend mine, your faith, my faith. Oh, we advocate on behalf of one or the other.
[00:40:50] That’s all fine. That’s why we got freedom of speech. That’s why we can talk or we can spend our money in this thing. We could advocate for certain policies we can vote and all this kind of stuff. So don’t feel [00:41:00] oppressed when you’re not. Well,
[00:41:01] Paul Swearengin: [00:41:01] I don’t have a ton of time left. We’ll have to do this again.
[00:41:03] Cause I would love to talk more just about the religions themselves. And that would be great. Um, but, but you had told me a story and you can share this if you feel comfortable too, but after nine 11, you said things sorta changed around you as a, as a Muslim living in Kern County
[00:41:21] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:41:21] in central
[00:41:22] Paul Swearengin: [00:41:22] California.
[00:41:23] Can you tell us a little bit of what that experience was like for you?
[00:41:26] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:41:26] Yeah, I think, you know, for me being, not just a Muslim, but being the most highly prolific Muslim figure in the current County, I was the face of Assam current County. I was the leader of the Muslims and current County. I was the most seen on in media, the most seen and you know, other print media, radio, TV, et cetera, and, and very active along around the community and speeches and lectures and debates and whatnot.
[00:41:46] And so at some point, yeah, at some point I got, we got a lot of hate. We got some. You know, threats. Um, you know, I saw that for, for quite a while. I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to, but in regards to what we saw after nine 11, um, you know, there was, there was a time at our [00:42:00] mosque when, uh, there was a church pastor in Florida that wanted to burn the Koran.
[00:42:04] And, uh, we decided to open that mosque on nine 11 and teach the Cron. And so we did pressers that, you know, went all over and, and some of the comments on those on my press, My press release that I spoke on the, uh, the comments were horrific. Um, and they wanted, they said we should, uh, you know, we should, we should lay, you know, we should put poison in their Kool-Aid so that, you know, et cetera, we should rape their girls with, uh, you know, uh, pig, skin, condoms.
[00:42:29] Um, you know, just things that I just remember, my wife, God rest her soul and she read them. She teared up. I couldn’t believe it. I tried to tell her, no, this is just a small group of people. I knew it wasn’t I knew this was a movement. I knew this was very dangerous. I, you know, I’m with I’m on the hate crimes, task force from the us attorney’s office for many years.
[00:42:46] I think all that’s going on, I knew this was a very serious movement. It was a very antithetical to the ground movement. Uh, they, they, they say some of their most hurtful things. They throw out some animals, hurtful, uh, threats. Uh, you know, how do I young under [00:43:00] 18 high school graduate, uh, on nine 11, uh, some years back, I just mentioned to the chief of police.
[00:43:05] Just yesterday in the zoom meeting that he had said that, Hey, who wants to join me today? It was go shoot some rag heads, you know, and, and BPD, our police department reacted at that time by saying, Hey, you know, he didn’t say anything illegal on the exercise. It’s freedom. It’s freedom with that. I was, I told chief, I said, if this is, if this is your message, because I know nobody’s going to release something from them, the BD like that, unless it’s approved all the way to the top, then we got a real concern here.
[00:43:31] If you can, if you can’t just say how wrong he said, he shouldn’t be saying that and no one should be listening to this. I try to just sit with him and his parents. And they rejected sitting with me. And the BPD made that release that head of the FBI called me, said, Monica can’t believe they did that.
[00:43:43] This was hideous. I’m going to talk to them. I said, Hey man, it is what it is. Those were some of the reasons that I eventually. Caused me to resign simply because my wife had passed away. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I was tired. I remember I would tear up over it. I would cry over it because I was thinking of my wife.
[00:43:59] And I [00:44:00] would think of these people. I hate me and saying the things that they say and have come to say, and I thought, you know, I just can’t get through to these people anymore. And they’re crisp. Since I grew up with people I’ve known all my life or people that not, not that they said that, but they kind of seem to be okay with it.
[00:44:14] And, um, and I I’m, I’m just, I can’t do this this way. I can’t be duty bound as I was with it as being the official leader of the community to always engage, always engage, always engage. When I was seeing some of the most hateful things in informal meetings that had to do with government. Officials informal meetings have to do with the community, you know, statements, the community was making threats and things like that that were coming towards our mosque.
[00:44:36] For me personally, I remember an event in which, uh, not to two different events with national security experts that were brought in by extreme organizations that hate Muslims act for America. Things like that. They specifically were talking about me by name or by my community about my community and telling lies just bold face lies.
[00:44:53] Don Parker. My good friends who happen to sit on a meeting, which they told a lie about me by name FBI. [00:45:00] Everybody knew this was a lie. And, and, uh, he was very offended, wrote them and said, you you’ve just, you know, that was character assassination. That was false accusations. My friend, you own an apology, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:45:10] You know what they told me about when he asked me about being American. They, they got a message to my friend and said to him, well, then you tell him after lying about me and allowing this guy to lie about me, fought race worms, telling lies about me and my community. Um, I mean, bad lies, Paul. Uh, they said, you told him OD he, instead of us apologizing to him and giving him like an option to lecture us or something.
[00:45:33] Matter of fact about a son, you tell him that he needs to come before us and tell us why he loves America. Wow. And I said, damn, I said, you ha you, you called me to meet with you to tell me that. I said, no, you tell them I don’t love America. There’s things about America. I don’t love, I love what America can be.
[00:45:50] What America was originated originally made to be, et cetera. There are things about my country that I’m unhappy about. I want to fix it to make it a better country. Okay. And so I don’t want, I didn’t like my country when, when, [00:46:00] when slavery was going on, I didn’t like my country during Jim Crow. I didn’t like my.
[00:46:03] Hunter during the segregation in the South and people were okay with some little school girl being ushered by to, you know, by marshals us marshals. So she didn’t get killed. Cause she’s black trying to go to all white school or, or somebody that’s black trying to eat in a restaurant or sit on a bus. I didn’t like my country.
[00:46:18] Then I thought there was a problem with my country then. Okay. And so they need that. They need that. They need to be the ones that need to ask themselves, are they really American, by the way, they’re looking to be talking to me. I don’t like, I don’t want them any explanation as to why I’m an American, I’m an American through and through.
[00:46:32] I’m a Muslim first, I’m there by ethnicity and I’m an American by my national affiliation and my national loyalty. And, and yes, as an American, sometimes I dissent when I say injustice, oppression, things that are bad, things that I don’t like, things, I think my country is better than we are more just country.
[00:46:48] We’re nothing. If we’re not just, I’ll tell you this. In the court in the court on, in slam, it says that God will support a just non-believing country. Over [00:47:00] an unjust believing contrary belief does not give you God’s support. Justice does though injustice will remove God’s support from you, even if you are a believing nation.
[00:47:12] And so I want my nation to be just an honorable and trustworthy and non oppressive. Yeah.
[00:47:17] Paul Swearengin: [00:47:17] Well, thank you for sharing that. I
[00:47:18] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:47:18] believe I’m an American because of that.
[00:47:21] Paul Swearengin: [00:47:21] One of the things, the thing I was referring to, you had said to me that you went from being called a raghead or one of the other horrible terms we may use to being called a terrorist.
[00:47:30] And that changed around you. Yeah,
[00:47:33] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:47:33] right? That’s right. Yeah.
[00:47:34] Paul Swearengin: [00:47:34] Our
[00:47:35] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:47:35] normal jockey, then it was rag head and it’s all fine. But when he was like, You’re a terrorist. You’re just not the murder us thing. I’m like, Whoa, Whoa, guys, slow down here. I mean, we’ve been living together for 40 years, you know, what’s wrong.
[00:47:47] You, you see me coming out to try it, Julia. But I, I put out the fire on your roof the other day I did this and that, you know, are you, are you okay? You know, I grabbed, I came in, knocked out and your door because your little girl was playing outside. Nobody was watching and I just couldn’t stand it. I drove home.
[00:47:59] I told my [00:48:00] wife, I can’t stand this. You sound like she’s on a main road. Nobody’s around. She’s like five, um, it’s just bugging me. And I went over and knocked on the door. Like, guys, please. I can’t, I know this sounds bad or something, but I just can’t watch your daughter out here by herself in the street.
[00:48:14] And they’re like, Oh, okay. Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Ron. I just walked away. Oh my God. Did I do something wrong? You know, no, I’m not trying to hurt you. If you believe that. Go talk to all of my neighbors throughout all the years that I’ve lived through. Just talk to my neighbors. If you want to know me, talk to my neighbors, talk to my friends, talk to my community, talk to the people that know me the most intimate.
[00:48:33] Relations with me both. If they’re Christian Jewish or Muslim, talk to them about me. And I think then you might understand how I live by my is the best that I can. I live by my principles and my principles are, are in to safeguard people’s safety and whatnot, not to put them in any way. And
[00:48:50] Paul Swearengin: [00:48:50] I do think we as Christians missed that in our Bible, that.
[00:48:55] You know, Jesus sitting with Samaritans was they were a [00:49:00] despised people inside his people group because they worshiped differently than the Jews did. And so Jews felt very justified in that time to despise that group. And Jesus went out of his way to tell stories that made Samaritans, the heroes sit with them, be seen with, with Samaritans.
[00:49:21] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:49:21] Right. I
[00:49:21] Paul Swearengin: [00:49:21] think that’s, that’s our, that’s our, what we’re taught by our leader of, of Christ the way to live. And I would say it would be very, very much equating to sitting with, with you and, and any other Muslim person in the country and said, it doesn’t really matter where you worship, how you worship.
[00:49:37] Where to defend you in that situation?
[00:49:40] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:49:40] Yeah. I think the story of the good Samaritan, I think the fact that Jesus compared him to these, these Jewish leaders and experts of Alami, these people that were judgmental, but knew the religion right. And were positions of authority and religion and comparing them to this, you know, outcast type of, you know, this, this group that was hated and showing [00:50:00] him as that good Samaritan.
[00:50:01] Right, right. Actually doing the right thing because of his heart and those because of their heartbeat, the wrong place are considered the wrong. According to Jesus. I think that’s a great example. And if you can want me to finish with this? I think when we talk about terrorism, we talk about suicide bombings, or we talk about violence, or we talk about wanting to kill whatnot.
[00:50:20] Please let your, your audience needs to understand the snap. There is explicit teaching on all these issues, the Koran. For bids, explicitly suicide. There was a case in which great combatant fighting with the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was the great, was the best thing. Battle, you know, accumulator, most wounds, they weren’t, they were, there were, they were going to take it.
[00:50:44] They were more, as he bled out. And died. The companions went to the prophet. Hamilton said of assurety, that man is in paradise, right? Because if you die in battle, you’re going to go straight to paradise and you get all these wonderful things and wives and whatnot. And the prophet said, no, I’ll be sure to, he isn’t the helpline.
[00:50:59] And [00:51:00] every companion is like what? We watched them in bed. He was the most brave courageous. He took the most wounds. He took down the most enemy battens and even died in battle. And he said he’s he’s in the hellfire because he did not await death to come to him. He took his sword and he stabbed himself in the stomach.
[00:51:15] Oh, wow. He took his own life. Yeah. By taking his own life. He guaranteed hell fire. You cannot commit suicide Sam. And so just that alone is now. He didn’t go hurt anybody else. And when he did it, When you take, when you hurt, when you go blow up, you hurt yourself and hurt all these kids and women and children, all this stuff right now.
[00:51:32] You’ve got the other verse about you destroying all of mankind. If you take a life on justly now you’ve also killed yourself, which is, it takes you to the hell fire. And there’s always detail about that. This man didn’t hurt anybody else. When he killed himself, he just killed himself. He did it with a sword.
[00:51:44] He was good. Anyway, he was even dying. He was going to bleed out. And if you can’t take that. Pit of knowledge and say, well, Muslims can’t kill themselves. They can’t kill anybody on justly. You know, they’re, they’re, they’re counted accountable for killing animals for sport. I can’t just go hot. [00:52:00] Like somebody else.
[00:52:00] If Ryan Hunt, I got to give part, if I have food already, I get to be a part of my kill for the poor. If I, if I hunt. And keep all the keel and have no other way to feed my family, but to hunt otherwise I have no right to kill animals. Okay. How about human beings? So if your Christian audience can just for a minute, focus on that and then say to me, come back and say, show me proof, show me the verses.
[00:52:20] I want to know that this is real, as you really saying this, I’ll show them all that. Okay. And then we can at least say, well, at least we can set that one aside. You know what I mean? And not, not go there anymore.
[00:52:30] Paul Swearengin: [00:52:30] I love it. I love it. And I love like, again, we’ll have another conversation cause I want people to know at some point I told him, I, you know, my Bible better than I do.
[00:52:39] And I was a pastor for 10 years. I love
[00:52:41] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:52:41] the Bible. I read the Bible quite often. I’ve been doing it for 25 years. I love Christian mature. I love Jewish material. I love the town, you know, read the Talmud and. And all that. So yeah, I do have an intimacy with those scriptures just because they’re an ex, we feel that we’re just an extension and, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re alone, Abrahamic tradition and law and continue.
[00:52:59] And so [00:53:00] of course, I don’t see them as porn books. I see them as encompassed. They’re a part of it we believe and same with the profits and the measures are a part of it. I have to learn about them and study them and understand them. Yeah. People like me who speak to Jews and Christian quite often, we’re allowed to go out and.
[00:53:13] To really study those books and not just focused only on a stand. And so our, our knowledge is more general. Whereas all of my scholarly friends, their knowledge is more specific, but they tend to also get a lot of advice from me because of that general knowledge about all the faith, this Abrahamic faith.
[00:53:27] So I, that’s something that I’m honored and I love reading the Bible. Well, I’ll say this to your audience. Anytime your audience wants me, or you want me to teach you? It’s not from the Bible. I can teach you just about every fundamental, real issue in a stamp from the Bible itself.
[00:53:42] Paul Swearengin: [00:53:42] Interesting stuff. Well, I think it’s important that people know.
[00:53:47] Not only do we not have anything to fear from the Muslims in our midst? You are us. We are, we are one people and
[00:53:56] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:53:56] yeah, well, I didn’t want to cut you off, but we have some times [00:54:00] we need the fear. Sometimes some of the extreme Christians are on this, some of the extreme right. Others in our midst, some of the extreme Muslims army.
[00:54:05] That’s true, but not from your Muslim neighbor friend, not from your Christian neighbor from not from generalist, non Christian, not from mainstream, not from the real values and traditions of core beliefs of the religion. No. And of the practitioners, no extremists. Yes. There are extremists in every situation.
[00:54:21] We know that we don’t, I never ignored that. The first conversation I ever had with the FBI was, yeah, we have, we have some problems. We have some, some stupid, you know, and, and, uh, so I don’t mean to in any way, say that there isn’t. An element out there. I worked in national security issues to make sure to safeguard my community firsthand with the us attorney’s office out of Fresno, out of Sacramento, out of Bakersfield with FBI and all these areas, et cetera, and local law enforcement.
[00:54:46] So we, there are worse, some problems, very minor, nothing major, nothing. You know, on a large scale, um, but very minor, but the majority vast majority, the Muslims you live around or see, or work with a deal with, they’re just good people trying to do good things, just like you, they care about their family, their [00:55:00] careers, their education, their wives, their children, you know, they’re getting fights.
[00:55:03] They, you know, the kids do bad things. You know, we have all our issues, right? Just like all of you. And we just want to live a happy, nice, peaceful life.
[00:55:10] Paul Swearengin: [00:55:10] And we have,
[00:55:11] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:55:11] that’s why we’re jealous of you and your wife out in Pismo beach, drinking that coffee.
[00:55:17] Paul Swearengin: [00:55:17] And we have our extremist people that I’m scared of and people who want to blow up abortion clinics and crazy things like that.
[00:55:24] So as a, as an it of angelical Christian, though, my mind in this, in this forum, I would love to tell you that I am sorry. Hey that I have been as ignorant as I’ve been most of my life about people like you and people of your belief system, and that there are leaders in our mood, men who say horrible things about Islam, about Muslims.
[00:55:47] And so I just. I, I, you know, I don’t know if I represent anybody other than me, but as an evangelical, I’m sorry that we have been very poor representatives of Christ in building relationship and having those [00:56:00] relationships. And, uh, and it is embarrassing when our leaders do that. And more of us, I think, need to call out, uh, Franklin Graham when he says.
[00:56:08] Horrible things about Muslims or Donald Trump when he says horrible things about Muslims or Islamic nations around the world. So if I can just share that with you person to person, that’s, that’s a sense that I have to tell you today.
[00:56:21] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:56:21] Can I respond by saying that’s extremely gracious of you. Um, I think it’s something that you don’t need to do yourself, but, but I accept that.
[00:56:29] I thank you so much for that. I will say this to you and your audience that, uh, Billy Graham, um, and my father, uh, had lunch together at a house of a mutual friend and they, and Billy Graham asked my father to hold his hand while they prayed over the food. Um, and so my father had that experience of doing Ram and they went on and died.
[00:56:47] I walked for a few hours while they were there together. I don’t expect that I’ll be having that kind of inter interaction with Franklin Graham. My, you know, my, my father’s son, Billy Graham’s son, aren’t going to have that same interaction. I think [00:57:00] that is a travesty for Christian though. Not for a son. I think that my father.
[00:57:05] When he told me that story. And when he repeatedly told me to do, we talked about it again, just last time I was with him, we talked about many things, and that was one of the things we talked about. He’s never had anything but a fond memory of Billy Graham because of that. He never anything but a fond memory.
[00:57:17] He cannot find hate against Christians because of that. Right. Because of that. And some other experiences that he had, um, yeah, with Christian evangelicals and whatnot, people, he lived with a year per County and love and all that. But Billy Graham in specific, I’m bringing that up simply because you mentioned Franklin Graham.
[00:57:33] And Franklin Graham is one of those very concerning, you know, preachers that have just gone so far the extreme. And so I don’t anticipate I’m going to have that same feeling. And that’s a sad thing. You can say. That’s a sad thing for me because I’m not going to experience my father experienced, but I think it’s a sad thing for Christian or not Christianity, but for the Christians out there to say, why have we lost that grace?
[00:57:54] Why have we lost that? Grace? Why are we allowing ourselves to lose that grace?
[00:57:58] Paul Swearengin: [00:57:58] Very cool. That’s a [00:58:00] great story. Uh, love that. All right. So we’re out of time today or we’ll have you back again and we’ll do some more talk about religions and stuff. I really would like our audience to, to hear more of the story just.
[00:58:11] Even what, what living as a Muslim is like and all of those things, but thank you so much for sitting and letting me ask stupid questions. And I think, yeah,
[00:58:23] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:58:23] no question. It’s stupid. You know that as educators ask the questions, let us get out.
[00:58:29] Paul Swearengin: [00:58:29] And I think you’ve given people some good insight and some good proximity to you today.
[00:58:33] So thank you for being a, a great friend and a great sport and a, and a great Bakersfield in.
[00:58:38] Emad Meerza, Guest: [00:58:38] Thanks man. Thanks man. Appreciate it. .

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