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Sara Al Iraqiya on Bad and Good Writing


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/10/17

Sara Al Iraqiya is a USA-based 2nd generation Iraqi-American social scientist, writer, and activist. Raised under Sunni Islam and a survivor of attempted radicalization in American mosques and centers — she has both lived experience as well as academic experience with Islam. By age 20, after gaining the freedom to live autonomously and exercising her right to protect herself, she left Islam altogether. Sara aims to educate her fellow Americans and lovers of Western civilization on the horrors, inequalities, and injustices that occur in Western-based mosques and Islamic centers. Sara has been published in two languages (and counting). A world traveler, she briefly lived in France, Jordan, and even Cuba in order to complete her Masters of Arts in Global Affairs specializing in Global Culture and Society. Sara Al Iraqiya has been published in Conatus News and Spain’s ALDE Group.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When it comes to the written word, when did you get a start? How did this develop over time into education and professional life?

Sara Al Iraqiya: As soon as I could take a pen to paper. I recall a project in elementary school where we learned about the concept of the biography versus the autobiography. We were asked to write a “tentative autobiography” up to retirement age. I left the graded assignment which was bound like a small booklet in my family home. My dad read it. Since that day, he encouraged me to not only continue writing but to share it with others. He did not know I enjoyed writing up until then. His sister is also a writer and she and I have a special bond — particularly when it comes to our passion for global human rights and of course the cliché “strange writer habits” that we share.

Jacobsen: What seems to demarcate a good and a bad writer, and a great writer from the two of those?

Al Iraqiya: I want to be corny and say there is no such thing as a good writer or a bad writer but I also want to answer your question. Perhaps a bad writer is one who commits plagiarism — I really have zero tolerance for that. Also, I understand that many folks use ghost writers, but that concept has just gone over my head. A great writer takes his or her time. They feel emotionally and perhaps in a sense spiritually moved by words. A great writer is either extremely afraid or extremely unafraid of his or her feelings. The point is to not be afraid to record those sentiments and share them with the world. These are simply my own personal observations.

Jacobsen: We did an interview before. What else is new? What are some new initiatives or projects ongoing at the moment for you?

Al Iraqiya: I am a bit low key when discussing these things. I work in television which is interesting because I do not own a television! I stay posted on the global liberty movement. I notice the liberty movement brings in many different folks with differing proposals to increase freedom and I find it intellectually beneficial to hear from as many of them as I can. Even if I disagree with them. Perhaps especially if I disagree with them.

I moved to New York City — the Big Apple! I absolutely love it because I can be fucking weird and it’s normal here, you know? The city is full of candor. Washington, D.C. was a bit uppity but again I will be corny and say going back to D.C. is very sentimental for me and I enjoy my frequent visits back to my nation’s capital. It is a place I called home for 20+ years. I also love going into the historical outskirts of D.C. such as Mount Vernon. It’s nice to get away from the incessant city noise — but I always have to be back where the action is! I cannot stay away.

Jacobsen: What article are you most proud of writing, and why?

Al Iraqiya: “Muslim-American Femicide and the Intersectional Feminist Enablers” for Conatus News. Because it pissed people off. But many of those same people actually took a step back, questioned their own beliefs, and thought critically about why their visceral reaction was adverse. Thought provoking — I think every writer wants to be thought provoking. Also, it lit a fire under the asses of feminists who did not realize their own bigotry, hypocrisy, and yes — misogyny. I wrote that article for my missing friend. I wrote it for the young women who died for their authenticity. I wrote it for the women who continue to suffer in silence. I also received interesting criticisms which I welcome. Come to me with respect and I am all ears. Civil discourse is not dead!

Jacobsen: Men can be the source of a lot of inspiring work and a lot of horrifying catastrophes. What can men do, and women encourage, for a healthier sense of masculinity for boys becoming men and guys becoming more mature men?

Al Iraqiya: It was the men in my life who inspired me to be the woman I am today. Male family members, male friends, and male mentors. What they all had in common, when I was sort of an isolated walking stereotype of a writer, was “Sara you need to get out there!” They really pumped me up! I cannot thank the wonderful men in my life enough.

What all of the aforementioned men in my life have in common is a high level of success due to their work ethic. As for boys becoming men and men becoming more mature men — the advice I can give regarding healthy masculinity from a woman’s perspective is to embrace your masculinity in a way that makes the most sense to you.

Some men embrace what many call a “feminine” side. Why are we calling it that? Some examples of men who have been described as “feminine” would be artists who incorporate striking and flamboyant physical appearances such as David Bowie, Prince, and Freddie Mercury but I say this is still masculinity. Because it is a male doing it. Merely existing is masculinity. All three were go-getters and trailblazers for their time and place. They were “out there!” Masculinity is not all about being rugged, rough, and tough. It is about vision, determination, and innovation.

Too often I’ve seen men from certain cultural or religious enclaves where there is a pressure to — and I’ll be frank — there is a pressure in those communities to treat women like garbage in order to be considered a so-called “real man.” This is detrimental to something very important for a man’s growth — his relationships with women. You have to take a step back from any toxic communities and practice intellectual autonomy. It is the most precious thing we as free human beings have. I think the healthiest thing a man can do is think for himself. Stay away from counterproductive modes of thought. Just act natural.

Jacobsen: Thank you!

Al Iraqiya: Thank you for interviewing me, Scott. Anytime.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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