Identity and Labels Are at the Heart of #GoodMuslimBadMuslim Podcast

By Qimmah Saafir May 13, 2015

#GoodMuslimBadMuslim, a podcast created by Iranian-American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh and Bengal-American writer and activist Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed, explores what it means to be Muslim and what constitutes someone being a bad or good one. 

In an “All Things Considered” interview, Ahmed and Nookbakhsh expounded on the complications that lend to their monthly podcast discussions. Ahmed explains:

In the Muslim community we’re looked at as the bad Muslims because, you know, Zahra drinks, I go to punk shows. … Externally, in the American community, we’re looked at as bad Muslims just by default of being brown-skinned and being Muslim, so we kind of are in this gray zone.

Noorbakhsh addresses the other side of the coin, where she’s considered a better type of Muslim for being lenient with Islamic restrictions.

To complicate matter even further, many times because I identify myself as a ‘pork-eating, alcohol-drinking, premarital-sex-having Muslim,’ then I’ll have audience members say, ‘Oh, you’re the good kind of Muslim,’ because to them … I am less Muslim.

The five-month-old podcast also includes conversations around politics and hot topics, as well as less serious segments such as “Ask-a-Muslim” encounters and dishing out "Good Muslim Awards." 

Ahmed explains the point of the podcast as “re-imagining” existing definitions.

We’re always thinking about how people are being labeled as ‘bad’ or ‘good’ and we kind of wanted to disrupt that narrative and shake things up. We’re taking the good and we’re re-imagining it for ourselves.

Listen to the story, and read more. Learn more about the podcast here.