tv How to Be a Muslim CSPAN August 8, 2017 8:00pm-8:58pm EDT
>> bipartisan agreement. let's thank everybody. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. where top nonfiction book and the authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> next on booktv we look at some of the memoirs published this year. including the bush sisters that talked about spending a childhood in formative years and the white house in their book, sisters first. and - former dallas police chief david brown shares stories from his 33 year long career in the book call to rise. first, we have haroon moghul on growing up muslim in his book
how to be a muslim, an american story. >> okay, we are going to start. good evening everyone thanks so much for joining us. i am the community relations manager here at the nyu bookstore. this is part of our event series that we have been having here for the past seven years. featuring nyu alumni like tonight with haroon moghul. as well as nyu faculty and the general community as well. it is a real pleasure to be
hosting tonight. haroon moghul is an nyu alum, welcome back to nyu. it is a real pleasure to have you here. we are going to hear from haroon moghul and we will have time for a, for questions and answers and a book signing. i want to start the evening by giving a brief introduction. haroon moghul i think - is been very active since graduating from nyu. i do not know how cover everything. but i will leave it up to him to fill in the gaps. he is currently a senior fellow and director of the development center for global studies. policy, excuse me. he is a commentator and
broadcaster who wishes he could be a writer and i think you are haroon moghul, so i very much enjoyed your writing. among other things, haroon is also the muslim leadership initiative facilitator at the - institute. he has appeared in all major networks and essays and reviews have been published at such publications as the "washington post", the new york times, cnn, the guardian, foreign policy and in israel. he is author of a novel, the order of light published by penguin in 2006. tonight's event is the launch of his new book, how to be a muslim: an american story.
published by beacon press in boston. and we think beacon press, we thank you for helping us make this event happen. a little bit more about haroon , he is previously a fellow at fordham law school center of national security. and a fellow in the national security studies program at new america foundation.he served as director of public relations at the islamic center here at nyu from 2007 until 2009. haroon moghul holds an ma in middle east and south asia studies from columbia university. i understand you are still currently a phd candidate. you can tell us more about that.
his field of study includes muslim nationalism in south asia, colonial and postcolonial islamic politics. and the development of the indian ocean economy. i think that sort of, differently than your previous work this is a very personal book. i am going to leave it at that. if i may, it is a real pleasure to welcome haroon moghul and we will talk a bit later and have time for questions and answers. please welcome, haroon moghul. thanks so much. [applause] >> hello. i am pretty loud so i do not know if i need a microphone but you do since you are recording. cameras follow me everywhere.
it's called being muslim. that is a joke. you can laugh. so what i wanted to do is read a section of the book which the cover is orange in honor of the president. because i saw it coming so i thought it would be a nice gesture. ironically, i asked the publisher if we could maybe change the subtitle to a north american story in case i flew to canada but they were not amenable. the section i'm going to read is one personally terrifying to me. because when you write something obviously, as a writer there are things that you find more affecting and readers find other parts more affecting. so there is this constant search for where is that happy middle ground. this book is very personal, it took a lot out of me to write it. i come for a very conservative family religiously speaking. i talked about a lot of things
that i don't think my family would have been particularly excited for me to talk about. and so, i had this weeklong panic attack over whether or not i should invite my family members to my readings. because it would be rude not to but then if i read the book out loud, i would no longer be part of the family. so it was a very exciting balance. what i'm going to read is actually mentioned reasonably early in the book when i was 17 years old. and it was before i started nyu. i was in high school and i had come up with a plan to sneak out to prom. i had a girlfriend sickly. my parents had no idea. i lived in a farm town so there were about 95 kids in the entire high school. everybody in the town except my parents knew i was going to prom. it was amazing. so this is a section where it basically opens with my parents beginning to figure out that i was not the kid i thought it
was. when i finally got to the kitchen a pit in my stomach my parents were waiting amherst. my father fired first. what do you have a girl in your car yesterday? my eyes went wide. my mind went into overdrive, my face compensated by retreating in confusion perhaps disbelief. a girl?as if i did not know what one was. perhaps if i defined the female species, your embarrassment would have prevented them from continuing the interrogation. on reflection it would have worked perfectly. as it turns out, someone in the local muslim community had snitched on me. this is what i got for driving around in a liability of a toyota land cruiser. i wish there were only two in the entire town.one of which belonged to my family and the other that belonged to the mosque present which was the only other muslim family in town. the two land cruises were additionally the same color beige with brown paneling.
since the mosque president's wife and my mother both headscarves, the neighbors thought they looked the same. she needed i said a ride home. and since offering a girly ride home was already a trespass, maybe that and that alone would be good reason for the momentary panic in my eyes. i folded and the lawful and half and shoved most of it into my mouth. washing it down with a glass of chocolate milk. it was nothing i said. but i have been sloppy. i would have to pursue my secret life with even greater deception. mcdonald's never called back so i found another job. when that would be easier to hide, softening the blow being rejected by a chain restaurant. it might have been unethical and possibly illegal. i help students write their thesis papers from scratch or a rewrite. technically therefore do not graduate high school once but several times. i profited from my business in order to pay for a life that i was trying to desperately
escape from. i walked past carla every morning because - my friends tease me for not making out with her. i also wondered why i held back even as a new, i was scared. but there was an absence of opportunity also. her friend samantha presented one. financing a pool party at the end of may which i knew i had to attend. i would make my move then and there. but of course, samantha's house had to be beside the mosque president. which meant, he might see my car which as noted was also his car. a huge risk to take two weeks before prom but this new haroon love the edge. not however, enough to drive over it. i asked my friend jacob to be my right. jake was a bright kid that sometime in the course of senior year developed a habit of falling asleep during everything. he was bright enough to do this right well but the warning signs were there. judging by his snoozing he deemed most of his life to unimportant to be present for it. also he almost always were
oversized handknit sweaters. meaning he looked like his mother had purposely got in -- also in case you forgot he was usually asleep. at least not when driving. incidentally his mother took a liking to me. she wasn't particularly religious but always asked me to find jacob a nice jewish girl. as it as an adolescent muslim stranded and mostly christian connecticut i had some special access to jewish women that she lacked. on the way to the party, naturally, jacob's nose started bleeding. so badly that we drove right past sam's house and almost to massachusetts in the apparent belief that the closer we get to canada, the further we were from harm. no luck. jacob practically ran his non-station -- his mother's station wagon aground. it took me a moment to realize he was repurchasing leaves as napkins. then we met the homeowner who had real napkins which they happily shared after we explained -- this unfathomable
moment aside, i and up that night exactly where wanted to be. on samantha's pool deck. with carla, her beautiful legs pushing on mine. my knee displacement, blind children learn how to update his deep instinct inside them. which in the right time and place comes to the surface. some force reach entirely around my insecure agitated cowardly impediments of a self and shoved it to the floor. i had never felt so overcome. but here is the thing. i could sense it some radar i did not know i had, that she wanted the same. the energy hung in the air. we were opposite ends of the magnet.fusion releases more energy than fission. i just reach over, put my arms around her and watch her mom's station wagon full up. and immediately jumped away from each other. i walked carla to her car dejected with mere consolation. as she made her way to the backseat, she offered me her
hand and apology. it was so much in that that i fear i have spent my entire life trying only to return to that squeeze. somewhere i can be held with someone instead of just myself. i let my parents to believe that on the friday night, the first week of june, convenient. i sleep over at a friend's house. this friend's mother conspired with me as did everyone else. to leave school early on the day of prom.one had to have parental permission. both parents gave theirs. mind you do not need to ask. so the principal granted my leaving. i showered and shaved and returned in time for the evening event. jacob's neighbors were on vacation. so i parked my toyota land cruiser not nearly in the backyard but under the deck. having been caught once before i would not make the same mistake twice. i jacob's house, i finally relaxed.
i was going to get away with this. he went into the backyard and posed for the camera. back then you had to wait for pictures to develop. you actually got to live in the moment instead of watching yourself living in a few seconds later. the six of us, jacob, jeremy and i with our days were dressed to the nines. and the smiles we were for the camera belied what was around the corner. for reasons that will become obvious are no other pictures of me with carla. at prom practically every student went out of his way to congratulate me, amazed i had made it. moore encouraged that i wanted to attend in the first place good everyone belief system appreciated validation. and i wanted theirs. maybe so one day i would not need it. maybe soon, i'd done rejection letters but also admission letters. between boston university and nyu i picked the latter. all good things must come to an end. i would never see many of my classmates again. i would never see this me again. it would be like it never
happened. carla and i slow danced to sarah mclachlan.which i cannot listen to the song even now without breaking out goosebumps. i still ask myself who she is, watching us so we haven't done anything wrong and why i was receiving an islamic name, here of all places. and satan asked ada charlie view to a tree and a kingdom that never dies? the apple taste better than a digests. but islam has no original sent. adam is tempted by the desire to live forever. yes, he fails and falls. but only if only does he become what he was meant to be.maybe we missed the point of the story all along. you can do the wrong thing for the right reasons. adam and eve ate from the treatment they repented. they were forgiven, they stuck together. i was just a 17-year-old who wanted more than anything in the world to belong. to believe that there was a world he could just be inside and a part of. that he did not need to analyze, being prejudged,
condemned, or be excommunicated from. if only for one night let the stars circle me. the flare of genes, the bracelets, the wallet hooked on a chained to a belt loop. these were tribal markers of a snowboarder. meant to validate me by nothing i was other than me. sticking out to fit in. but those emblems cannot tell you how badly i wanted this cheerleader. we can want what others want, because they want it and we still wanted for ourselves. sometimes you are unable to point to our desires begin in others and. after prom might have stopped at friendly's but i can't remember. carla wanted nothing to do with me. the last thing she did was chide me. you cannot drink she said. give got to drive. the next afternoon, alone in an empty bedroom in someone else's house, carla chose aol instant messenger to shock me. we should break up. sure i typed, agreed, died.
i did not imagine this would end even as i made plans to go with propose purity to hold two contradictory hopes in your head and still be devastated when one of them gives way. it is wanting to have your cake and eat it too. but what the hell else would you do with cake? i drove with my parents to new york the very night after prom to see my family. i set broken indents begin in the back seat to my mother would pass away less than a decade later by cancer. my father is still with us, another decade after that. but i could not admit to them then or ever after that my runaround and had failed because i was in the end, them. carla and i never move beyond that first kiss. i had been more catholic than the catholic girl. while i troubled even to meet her lips, she told me in casual detail what intimacies she would and would not be okay with. i nodded determinedly as if this is a subject i had long ago mastered. and yet, for me, raised on the idea of marriage once and
forever, i believed dating was no different from marrying. once we were together we would remain together. terminology was technicality. so i was ruined like i could not believe. it is one thing not to go to prom and another to be dumped the day after he pulled off the greatest deception in your life history. every person has one great test, mine was and may still be parting. i learned to deal with death. but i cannot accept that lives could get entangled to be pulled apart.how can you live together and be apart forever? that is death. it will and without resurrection. a place where islam cannot go does not help trevor had carla not broken up with me, could have broken it off with her? -- once at the deeper sorrow because unto the more joy you can contain. from which i learned this lesson. the further you let a person into your soul, the longer it takes her to leave. i could not have guessed then
how much it would hurt to give anyone anything of my heart but had stupidly given all of mine. presuming the future existed while the present was still coming together. the following spring i stopped by carla's house to put up a good friend of mine. though he lived on the other side of town. jeremy who also lived on the other side of town was standing beside me. number this memory makes any sense. but it is probably because i was focused on and i can see so many years later his carla at the top of the stairs putting dishes away. she might have waived. a year later he ended up across from each other at a diner in connecticut and shared her life and taken us. jeremy laughed as he and i walked back from my car. that he said, was the longest conversation you ever had with her. maybe i should ask her out. i never spoke to her or even saw her again.maybe we do not live one life but many. some overlap, some apart and some never intersect. ab i tell myself this to keep feeling the way because i know they can unfold somewhere else,
i do not need to know what they mean in this universe. my religion is a man should not be alone with a woman but someone should have told him it should not be so long that he needs to be alone with a woman to feel like his life is worth living. her smile, her likeness, kindness, she provided to a universe i otherwise felt misplaced by. but what i miss most of all in the months after we broke up with her hand. for the first time she offered hers at a rollerskating rink until the last one left the dance floor. it may be god says, you hate anything and it is good for you. jan my desire for her was an awesome loneliness.a feeling of living in a nothing place only briefly interrupted. like bereft of love was no life at all. from time to time the emptiness made the world 's dark and even beautiful.but most of all it haunted and pursued me. something always comes from nothing. with every difficulty he says, there is relief. it could be that this is me or all of us.
stumble onto god in the blanks. the places we live in but do not ever really belong to. if only to be taught this mercy. we do not belong here. thank you. [applause] >> that is a chapter from the book. yes, i got dumped the day after prom. i'm not bitter at all! lately, but not really. >> thank you haroon . if i may start the q&a part of the evening. i want to refer to an article published a couple of days ago in the atlantic. by emma greene. the article is titled trying to be in a political muslim in america. haroon, the book "how to be a muslim: an american story" tries on a new genre writing
about islam. it is not about terrorism or war. how do you feel about that title? and tell us a little bit what, what brought you to try to a very different kind of book? >> in the spirit of being political, to answer a question about being apolitical. i'm going to answer different question because that's what politicians do. unless it is donald trump because then he just starts tweeting. the book is titled "how to be a muslim: an american story". the first review i got was pretty positive. by the end the reviewer was like you never answer the question of how to be a muslim. and i said i think you missed the point. even better, there's a book published in malaysia called how to be muslim which is like a guidebook. so there will be similar confused people out there who
are like why is haroon's book like this? and a kid will read it thinking is about prayer meanwhile their reading about a kid going to prom. when i came to nyu, in 1998 - this bookstore was not here. when i came to nyu, i had a very tenuous connection to my muslim identity. i grew up in a very small, very christian town. it was a very lovely town.i wanted to come to a big city so i came to new york. you have to whittle new york down to size because it is so huge that it is overwhelming. so i basically debated between joining the foundation club or the muslim club.the south asian club i went to the first event and it was a dance party and i cannot dance. so i said i'm not going to spend four years not dancing because that is stupid. that is literally why i joined the islamic club.
i said i might as well join muslims. terrible life choices! they come from very honest admissions of our failures. i am answering a question i promise. i promise i'm answering your question! i got really excited because i met all of these different kinds of people that were muslim and i thought to myself, i may not be a particularly religious person but i can help build a religious community and me and a few kids were like, we can make a massive visitation into something completely different from any muslim club anyone has seen before because it will not be about in a yet to be a certain type of muslim to come in. we were not telling anyone we just that it identifies muslim you can come in. in my head i was like it's fine because i'm just going to go to law school f that. and if i can become a dr. i will become a lawyer. so this is like south asian - we literally do not let people
reproduce until they have certain types of vehicles in the garage is. it is amazing. no one will marry you unless you have a mercedes or bmw. if you think about it we are kinda fascist. slightly less intimidating because we are south asian. the accent is just not scary. i'm still answering a question, i promise. i told myself it is fine. we can do this and i will look to law school and do what i need to do. who cares if i build a student club and spend my time. because i liked it. i was elected president of the islamic center for my senior year. i celebrated by asking a girl out. i am so sad, this is like hollywood. i wrote her a poem and decided to read it to her in a starbucks. this like my greatest memory. this is like on broadway towards soho. you have probably passed it many times. i occasionally pass and cry
here not because i'm sad! halfway through, i used to give friday sermon so i'm at the religious leader and i'm asking this girl appeared halfway through me resetting the poem her boyfriend walks in and sits down. i didn't know she had a boyfriend. like i asked a friend to do research and they completely fail. -- he is like you give the sermon at the mosque. and what are you doing here? and i am like asking a girlfriend on a date. so that went over really well. so anyway i was elected president and my third day as msa president was 9/11. we were the largest muslim community in proximity to ground zero. i'm a 21-year-old kid incredibly shine, awkward. he did not really know how to handle himself in a setting like this. it became what i call being a
professional muslim. one of the reasons wrote the book is because it is like a lifestyle of constantly commenting about islam and muslims and having to defend your identity. explain who you are and reducing every single conversation of muslim going down to terrorism. the keyword is always terrorist. so i wanted to write something that was, something that challenge that. i didn't want to write a book about politics or national security. even though it is in the background. because it affects me in a lot of different ways. but i did not want to write that book.because that's the book everyone wants to read and it doesn't really tell the story about why actually think most muslims go through.so that is my very long answer to your question. yes? >> thank you. i'm going to open up for any questions and i see hands already. hold on and i will bring you the microphone. >> have you familiarize
yourself with a muslim mystic writers? >> in the book i talk a lot about a few people i guess depending on how you want to define mysticism. that were very influential for me. rumi, some south asian poets and - if you do not know who they are is fine. i explained in the book. but i was a philosophy major. which is a great major to do if you do not want to have a job. because you can analyze anything. without pay. it is a great career choice. i do talk a lot about that and towards the end of the book i have a few encounters with i guess what you call mystical teachers or - for lack of a better term. this book is basically how i
felt. it's like how my life crashed and burned when i was about 32 years old and how i tried to pick up the pieces and make sense of how to die as a person who supposedly had so much promise on paper. ending up driving my car into a ditch. and then trying to make sense of it. don't worry is not a painful memory. it's fine now, i can laugh about it.i am doing okay, you know? yet, i am a happy person. i have accepted hair loss, it is fine. yeah. >>. [inaudible question] >> do i feel for my mom? my mom passed away.it is one of these things recall irony. my mother was, there were 16 women who, let me actually go backwards on that. my grandfather and on up were religious scholars.so they were, they spoke arabic and persian.
my grandfather was very interesting because he was very religiously conservative. but he was not, he would've been completely like, he would he wouldn't have left or been disgusted by what is happening today.because it didn't write sent to him. he wrote poetry, he spoke arabic, english, he did yoga. he was a religious human that you can be very common before -- what's interesting is he had seven daughters. no sons. he educated and to be all educated women.so i was in an interesting environment where i was spared this incredibly unfortunate but common association of religiosity and patriarchy. my mother's family was all women and they all outshined their husbands. like he didn't even of the husband was in the room half the time because the woman was such personalities that were stronger.
her mother was one of only 16 women in the entire country pakistan way back in the day was in medical school. she became a radiation oncologist. i was actually in seattle two years ago and i was at a shabbat dinner service with people that were like probably had made in the tens of millions. and when was amazed that my mother was educated. and you are like what did you expect? i literally just left a cave? so my mother was a radiation oncologist and she died of cancer. so the irony is kind of you know, but i'm very much my mother's child. because she loves music. she love poetry, movies, a star trek fan. she loved eddie vedder . -- she was very creative person and a teacher in addition to
being a dr. but she was very religiously conservative. it was an interesting childhood to have. she was very loosely conservative and very creative. of course i miss her but i also think that it is like in many ways the book is sort of an extension of how she raised me. >> a question for you. you talk about a lot of your vulnerabilities, failures and it is not an easy thing to do. you mentioned a week long panic you had.kane talk about the process that went through to overcome that panic and you to where you are today? >> about one month ago, my boss, a woman named rachel. got an advance copy of my book. and then i had a panic attack. and i said people are going to actually read this. you think it is fine, i am writing about but then you realize people are going to read this.rachel is a jewish
mom. so she is my boss. she read the book and every time she looked at me like she wants to give me a hug. which is really weird to be in a position like that professionally. i feel like she felt bad for me. she is like you know and pakistani mother's archive of jewish moms. i got over this, i think for me writing the book was actually awake out of it. so trying to put thoughts to paper feel it when you say something or you write something you break its power over you.when i'm struggling with a lot of these things and started to write it out and write it down. i was able to make sense of what i was going through and find something out of it. at my lowest point in my life when i was severely suicidal and depressed, writing the book was good. because there was excited i am working on something. i do not know what will become of it.
but working on this it was a year long project i could not kill myself because i was working on this. so people going really bad time, having something external that you can pour yourself into is important. it can be music, art, community or something. you're building something that requires you to kind of be there for yourself in a way. i do not know if that answers your question. is also good to see you. >> i want to stop saying i love the way you - a lot of people here with different accents if, it does not sound like it. this is unrelated to your book but it is about being muslim. keeping aside what everyone
thinks that is on equals terrorism. i feel that a lot of people has this idea of being muslim. and you fast during ramadan, you pray five times a day, you do certain things. like there is a checklist of how to be a muslim.in today's time, there is a fine line between balancing your worldly and your religious responsibilities. and not all of us seem to live up to that checklist or idea of being a muslim. and i feel like when you go out into society where people who are not muslim, look at you, they feel like if you're muslim why aren't you doing a, b, c or x, y, z. based on your experience how do you deal with not feeling like you're not living up to that idea or that checklist?
i still be okay with that and still feel like you are a muslim? and it is okay. >> what i would say - first it is your own identity. no one can identify your identity for you unless you are at an airport in which case they can make you whatever they want and you don't have a choice. secondly, if you carry this book with you on an airplane, your identity will be further defined for you. that is an exciting thing to think about. it is also a good way -- along with my experience on amtrak if you open up a book on arabic, it could be cake recipes but no one will sit next to you. you're going from new york to d.c. and they will just stand. as you can tell i have add. i will answer your question. what i think personally is that to be human, to be
fundamentally human is to neither accept yourself as you are, if you fully accept yourself as you are than your donald trump. you know what i'm saying? if you just accept that i am who i am and nothing in me is in need of improvement then you have become like kind of a terrible looking person. you cannot come if you just think i'm the greatest person in the world i am perfectly fine as is is also boring. whatever it is that you choose to define as education or art or family or relationships, you do not want to be like static. and then this is the thing. i'm sure this is across-the-board and religious communities. he will then create an external standard that they aspire to. if it is too close to where you are is not actually going to inspire you. but if it is too far away from you it will crush you. does that make sense? if religion is something important to you, the thing
that you aspire to should be enough that it forces you to become better but not so much that it becomes impossible and a burden. that is for you to decide. at a certain point i think for me, and this is my own personal journey. i realize that letting other people's definitions of how i should be were not actually making me a better person. if you have a spiritual practice or religious practice, if the practice is someone else's practice and it is not organic to you, it will not make you a better person. so if you just feel worse about yourself every day you are not actually improving. i don't know if that makes sense. also, by my book. because people randomly walk by, so i'm just saying by - buy my book. quickly someone is coming to you with a judgment, maybe you
can turn the question around or we could say i am having difficulty with this, this and this. i would be interested to know how you deal with it. maybe he can help you. if he doesn't help you will then you're not doing much better. you can tell him. >> just make him buy my book. whatever, shameless plug. capitalism wins. no more questions? i know what you're thinking, i don't work out. [laughter] >> i do have a question. so - back to your title, how to be a muslim. can you talk a little bit about your own personal process in terms of self identity and how you see yourself today. >> the title i think is more profound because of the political moment that we live
in. my initial choice of the title was one tongue-in-cheek. like how to be muslim again how-to manual. at that it was funny. and also because i failed at it mostly. because like, the woman's question back here that you asked. but i have been given sort of a definition of religion that was completely, it just crushed me. over and over again destroyed me. and i was driving myself because of it. in the present political moment what i think is interesting is that every society has biases. so on the far right here a lot of people ask who is muslim because they want to know -- if the question is almost like a national security question. who is muslim, who should be let into heavy states? or gently shown out of the united states.
the door is accorded which itself would make you want to leave. laguardia so depressing. it is at the end of empire. it is like the donald trump of airports. i didn't say that. on the left, i see this a lot new york. people ask why anyone would be religious in the first place. as i who is a muslim versus why would you be a muslim? most people i know is how to do that thing. it is a constant struggle. struggle is a good thing. it's like that volatility of what does it mean? wanted to capture some of that. for me i think you can choose to have an identity that is very destructive. i am this or that. we do something very conductive. and i kind of like, was interesting to me about nyu as i can study philosophy because i wanted to make sense of the world around me. and i know that is c-span, hello. can you just make sure that nobody from nyu philosophy watches this? thank you. i appreciate that. so, look i love my philosophy
major. there was none of the thinkers i studied, they were men, white and christian, right? could even make sense of my high school classmates religiosity. it's like we are going to define the entire planet but we cannot even make sense of how most americans live their lives. which is a kind of liberal bubble that produces the kind of condescension or alienation from the rest of america, right? there was a point to this. i completely lost the point. the point of conjunction i mean, i found, i still find catholicism because of the people i grew up with to be inspirational. so i desire and this or that or i can say they're all of these different elements to my personality or identity and they may not always connect what they do.
and i think we live in an age where there are a lot of people who want everyone to live in a - you are american and muslim were american or brown for that sort of thing. i reject that. i think it is stupid. what's up c-span? i just called the whole political philosophy stupid. that is awesome. >> some other people have joined us. i just want to make sure that we get everyone. any other questions before we go back to michael here? >> hello michael. how are you doing? >> i am good, thank you. the big question is religion versus technocrat -
>> that is an insane question. why would you ask me that right now? even the c-span guys looking at me right now. can you explain what you mean by that? >> there are certain people that think technology would be solving all the problems. as if all they have to do is just learn the latest technology and you will be fine because you are part of the movement or whatever. and then there is opposing views that you have to take care of your spiritual self. i know that there is a common ground here somewhere. it is hard to place. >> thank you. we work together. we are like the avengers without powers. >> it seems to be hard to find the balance. to maintain spiritual outlook
and still have an i-4 -- eye for technology. >> i saw wonder woman. such a good movie by the way. and there was like, that is why i love new york sometimes. there's a couple behind us and the guy is just running commentary the whole movie. like that is greek mythology. advocates of the key is reading out loud. eddie actually made the movie more interesting because people are like what is he going to say now? then i look to my left and there's a guy playing candy crush. straight up has his phone out playing candy crush. and i was like - like you paid for this ticket, right? where is this compelling need to play candy crush right now? in his like this critical fight
scene. i guess what i'm saying is that i think that a lot of times technology has unique outcomes. but it also amplifies who we are inside. it does not necessarily bring about a new world, it just amplifies tensions already in a society. i think that a lot of, i think religious leaders especially have completely, not completely but generally failed to come to terms with questions raised by technology. moral response, technological. whether it is cloning or reproductive technology or climate change or ai or any of these things. but i also think a lot of technology, people tend to have a nacve belief that human tools to change human beings. so we saw an election and twitter basically won the election. it was amazing, right?it was actually pretty amazing for someone who mastered twitter completely crushed the political party. that was amazing! fake news.
yeah. because we did not really think about how it can be used. yeah. that's how i want to end, on the election. everything was back to the election. you have to buy the book. it can change your experience and your life at the airport. yeah. >> thank you so much. do you have any other questions? okay. would you like to read and never small piece from the book? >> yeah, because i totally prepared a section to read. i'm going to do that right now. i dropped my phone! [laughter] >> okay. what is a good section? i know one.
it's weird how like i wrote this book. what was i doing? had to have a job? okay. how long am i supposed to be for? i am a brown man with a microphone. i don't know if you know how this works. i was at a wedding recently where an uncle, uncle is a terms of asian culture for someone who is not related to you. and who is your older. and he got up on the microphone and he talked for 45 minutes.
like start to finish, 45 minutes. and someone went up to try and take the microphone from him and he started yelling at that person. it was the greatest thing has seen in my life. because two people were screaming at each other at a wedding.yes. years after my family had left connecticut i had a chance to go back. my mother was buried in a muslim cemetery and after i finished reading why us in the quran. that is the chapter she died too. i drove 15 minutes in the wrong direction to see what had become of the place we lived together for so long. it had been nearly 4 years since she passed away. we just began to hit turbulence and i was rattled enough that i needed something from before her and before us to hold onto. in a gunmetal great camry i drove down turnpike road up
mountain road and took the second left of the long hill all the way to the end. i reached the cul-de-sac and brought my car up was was once our driveway well aware of the no trespassing signs that i myself had nailed up long before. one is i never conceived could be used against me. the new occupants painted in white windows glaxo left me more and be less than envious. my former home was darker and kinder surprisingly. i got out of the car and walked a circle around the house from the swimming pool to the rock on the other end that i transforms when i was younger as a fortress. i wanted to peered through the windows, to be in my room. i remember when i worked up the courage to ask carl out and thought their afterlife would get better. a man is only not alone when he is with a woman. i would look at all of the rooms, imagined decorating or redesigning. like when we lived somewhere we do so permanently. i hoped to walk in, light a fire in the chimneys we never
tested, pass out beverages to whoever happened to be home and tell the replacements how much each oversized room meant to me. i didn't such a good job of describing what the new placement to me that people would ask why did i leave? i finally belonged somewhere. and when it seemed that i had it all figured out, carla closed the door in my face. i believe it was nicholas meyer who said that if high school lasted one more year he would have ruled. was he somehow me? i thought i made it at nyu forgetting it was just four years. i should have had plans for after. i got my dream job in washington d.c.. but too bad when i was - i went to dubai. i wondered if whatever great-great-grandfather left mesopotamia felt the same way. but i had to leave dubai before i was ready to. forced by circumstances made of finances. but that is not for them to decide he said. all we have to decide is what to do with the time given us. there were many wonderful things about dubai. none of these fit my skill set
or had room for me. that even nyu abu dhabi. i guess it wasn't meant to be. there was nothing there for me, nothing i could do full time to permit me to build a life there is a preferred, a life rooted there but reaching ever. a good instrument concerned by the fact of having to leave and desperately search for other places to live besides america. i tried hard for its temple for example. no such luck. i remember landing at jfk standing outside terminal one and being surprised it felt familiar. but the greatest blows were yet to come. my career had just been interrupted. ipod for position hoping i would get something that would allow me to finish my dissertation before the clock ran out. but i received almost no responses nevermind the courtesy of rejections. from mississippi to oregon, nothing. while they wanted to complete my project the prospectus which already submitted and defended, i could not.
there was no way i could dedicate the time and energy needed to write five full chapters to complete the research necessary to sit in the library for hours on end i had to cobble together enough assignments, gigs and project just to address my debt. never mind build a life. maybe i would be stuck in the same jobs, none ending up to one proper job. maybe i would be back on another bridge and another few years and this time it would stop me. when i received the invitation for the muslim public affairs council to speak at their los angeles conference, i told myself i wanted to go. and maybe i did. more importantly i had to. hamster was back on his wheel. the last impact panel i spoke about dance around almost the same topic. it was 2013 and the empire was striking back. the day i flew out and historic snowstorm whitewashed the middle east. look i treated attaching the picture. global warming someone asked
where the end of days? yes, i responded. if you are expecting epiphany might want to stop reading. it took me 20 years to begin a synthesis. i would not come from the close that i put on, the woman i was left, the drinks that i drank. for a man that had to start moving to get himself out the door i could think of no better place to finish than los angeles. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. i do remember that snowstorm. it was quite a scene. thank you so much to haroon moghul. thank you all for being here. i also want to wish ramadan tripper for those of you celebrating ramadan this month. thank you for joining us at nyu bookstore. we will continue with a book signing.
the books are on sale today with 20 percent off. we are trying to encourage sales. keep in mind we are closing at 8:00 p.m. tonight. you're welcome to stay until then. thank you so much and have a good evening. good night. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> we will return to her focus
on memoirs in a moment. we will go look at -- a conversation occupational licensing and the state laws that govern them. we will take you to the federalist society live at 1215 eastern on c-span2. >> live coverage of the 2017 conference thursday and friday on c-span. thursday at 10:30 a.m. eastern. there is a q&a about elections happening this year. plus a look at the 2018 midterm landscape. on friday at 1:00 p.m. eastern, a discussion on standing up for working families and embracing progressive values.at 2:30 pm eastern a look at how to win back progressive power through organizing.then at 4:00 p.m. eastern, developing vision statements for the type of
society progressives want to see. join us for live coverage for the conference on c-span. >> now our focus on memoirs continues with sisters, the bush sisters and living in the white house. he spoke at the book expo in new york city. >> jenna bush hager and barbara pierce bush have a new book called sisters first. why that title? >> why that title? because we are sisters first. and it is a play on first daughters. we had been so lucky in our life to have a twin which meant we always had a partner in what we were doing. whether it was an ordinary experience in texas everything was more fun. there was someone with us