In my college’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) there was a brother named Kawsar. Kawsar was a first generation Bangladeshi American. He had moved to the United States at age 17 and brought with him conservative Islamic values. He grew out his beard to honor Prophet Muhammad and dressed in traditional Islamic garments every day.
When I had met Kawsar he was very timid, shy. He would walk very nervously and always lower his gaze. He seldom spoke and had a strong Bangladeshi accent.
Kawsar’s confidence improved when he began to go to the gym. His style began to change from one of traditional Islamic garments to fitted T-shirts and jeans. He began to trim his beard to have a groomed clean look. Exercise gave him confidence.
When I became less religious and eventually an apostate, I distanced myself from the MSA. Because of this, I would run into Kawsar much less frequently.
One day I was studying in the library. I was sitting near Kawsar. I was seeing him after two years. He was with his friends. Kawsar carried himself more like a typical Americanized young man than a traditional Muslim. He was incredibly stylish and at that moment he was obsessively talking to his friends about girls. At the time, I was with my ex girlfriend so this conversation did not interest me. That didn’t stop me from overhearing though.
Friend 1: “Damn bro, did you see this girl?”
Kawsar: “Yeah. She looks super in that dress. It shows good butt.”
Friend 2: “Haha Right? You should go holler.”
Kawsar: “Yeah I saw her in cafeteria. She always looks so fine. I want get inside at least once.”
Friend 1: “Yeah bro. You should just add her [on Facebook] right now and hit her up.”
Kawsar: “Yeah. I’ll add and send message.”
[Kawsar begins typing]
Friend 2: “What did you write bro?”
Kawsar: “I told her I saw her few times in cafeteria. And we should make friendship.”
Friend 1: “What if she gets freaked out?”
Kawsar: “Are you kidding me? My picture has my muscle. Girls love the boys with the muscle. That’s why you should do the exercise.”
As he said that, I chucked to myself and began focusing on studies again. What an amateur, I thought. He really doesn’t know how to speak to women. That woman is going to flat out reject his offer. He’ll learn the hard way. I went on about my business and began moving on with my own life. This isn’t any of my business, I thought.
Except it was.
Later that night, I discovered that he messaged my girlfriend of the time. She showed me the message and it read word for word what I overheard him read. I was shocked at the crazy coincidence that the girl’s boyfriend just happened to be sitting near him around the time he messaged her. I told her that I know him, and he is just getting into dating and speaking to women. As annoyed as I was that he objectified my girlfriend right in front of me, I told her to tell him outright that she has a boyfriend. She did.
He replied. And his response wasn’t very classy. It was outright creepy.
“Come on. I can be your friend on the side. You can still make friends? You should leave for me. In fact you don’t have to leave. You can have me on side like scandal type thing. Just look at my muscle. I carry you with my strong arms and throw you on bed. My dick real good. I suck your pussy real nice.”
When I read that, my mood went from annoyed to flat out angry. I knew that any polite response from my (ex) girlfriend wouldn’t deter him. I had to play the “respect your bro” card to appease his respectful side. I got on her keyboard and messaged him:
“Hey it’s Hassan. From MSA remember? This is my girlfriend you’re messaging. Please stop messaging her this way. This message is going to be a nice one because we used to be brothers in the MSA. But the next time we have to talk about this again it won’t be as calm. I will beat the living shit out of you. I will literally hit you, and shit will come out. They will convert to Islam and then enact Jihad on your ass. I will beat the fucking Jihadi shit out of you man.”
My ex chuckled that I was showing signs of possessiveness for the first time.
He never messaged her again. After that he would avoid making eye contact with or greeting me when we would run into each other. No problem.
The repressive nature of Islam’s sexuality values and the social structure of MSA produced this man. After he gained social confidence, Kawsar stopped using religion as his security blanket for social situations around women. After removing the barrier of faith over his sexuality, he became sexually infatuated.
In the MSA there was severe gender segregation. Men and women would have their own spaces and never spoke to each other past basic greetings. This segregation of genders is prevalent in most Muslim environments as well and it built up Kawsar sexually when he was religious and presumably avoiding sexual contact with women.
I speculate that he never had any substantial interactions with women except for maybe women in his immediate family. Therefore, he did not know how to approach women. He only knew about what he would see on TV and movies where all you need are muscles to succeed with women. He lacked in basic conversation skills on how to approach women. His naivety on social dynamics in dating was a result of Islamic values on sexuality he attempted to uphold for much of his life.
In the end we have Kawsar, a sexually repressed young man allowing himself to explore his sexuality without an understanding on how to speak to women. He consequentially begins “creeping” on women with hopes that his biceps will have a magnetic influence on their sexual interest in him.
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