CelebrateMercy, with Tarek El-Messidi
I am. I am really psyched about this episode. Is i knew. I'd say that about everything but We have a guest on today of that is tarek on mri muslim american speaker activists social entrepreneur on you probably know him best from The celebrate mercy of project which he founded dark is. I'm just citing excited because it was really kind of like ven diagram if we were to compose a ven diagram of where i think a lot of guests that we've had on the show and a lot of People that we consider to be mentors influencers on us are the same people who have been on not only in celebrate mercy's programming but also You know have been mentors and thought leaders that i know therapists As as as also has has been has made an indelible impact on the work that arctic does and so Without really further ado dark. I mean i know. We'll get into a lot of Not only your own background at as well as of course celebrate mercies while we have you on mike. So i'll i'll keep the introduction short. Because i want to do true justice to you and the work you do so welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. It's an honor to be here in the mushroom you've had such great Thought leaders scholars activists. You know On this show so it's definitely an honor thank you yeah and You know and i you know we always get. We always start with an origin story. Dark and and i know i know eventually you'll get this particular point in your own story but where i think. Our paths crossed Was years and years ago. I wanna say oh. I'm terrible with dates. But it had to have been in the late nineties I mean you could probably place it better better because you were. I believe of msa president at the time. But i visited the university of tennessee. Knoxville For a weekend with lectures and and i think i was just one of the speakers that was Was in attendance. But i think that's probably the first time we met. I don't know if you remember that. I i i remember that trip. Very very fondly So in fact. What now i remember. It had to been like two thousand and two two thousand three two dozen three because on one of the partying presence that the msa gave was my wife. And i were expecting our first our eldest daughter and so we were pregnant. And i think i mentioned that and it was like this. Beautiful little The volunteers onesie I remember that ryan for right. Yeah it's a great little parting gift at the. Msa gave me in so it had to been yet. It does not was like Maybe the year. After i i was president of the year after i graduated undergrad. That was still there in knoxville. But i definitely remember when you visited. I definitely remember that although our paths. Have i think across over the years in fact it was a mutual friend. An old friend of yours but again going back to the knoxville. Msa days iran. Kodi she who i want to mention his name on on air as as putting it sort of in touch in together and Iran is a listener of this show. We're honored to have folks. Like ron listening. So dan high school together. Actually wow saturday at high school. So yeah i guess Like i said we like to dive into kind of an origin story so tell us about You know growing up in tennessee of all places. That's really where your origin story begins. Yeah this manasseh so My parents were both immigrants. From egypt's that's where the story begins. That coming over in the late seventies mom Not too much later after that and he came for grad school and just has been his state ever since from egypt. Civil engineer And we moved around quite a bit. I was born in houston. Actually i think you're early. You're from houston right. I am. I was born in texas. Although it's spent most of my young life in in any in houston and Omar also overlapped in houston for a little bit on and was born in new orleans so help another southern boy. I actually the only sibling not born in texas. That's liar yeah. I still have relatives there. Actually in we moved around a bit new mexico. Pennsylvania eventually settled in knoxville with my dad's work. You know moving moving around So since the second grade. I grew up in east tennessee Near the smoky mountains in knoxville tennessee. The third largest city and it was really then that we became active with the local muslim community. I remember you know. I vaguely remember them like bill building their first mosque from scratch. You know i i. It was like a rented home. And then i remember like in the early eighties mid eighties when they were building. That first mosque purpose built mosque and sunday. School was really like where. I began to learn about my faith. And that's where everything began. I think like where. I where i really became know growing up in like a ninety percent white very evangelical out bipolar belts City in tennessee. Although is you know it's it's a university city But you know where where. I grew up in west knoxville. You know the the baptist and and people are often trying to convert you who you know. Sometimes you know you classmates.