Tag Archives: Muslim

Islamism and Anti-Muslim Hate – We Must Tackle Both

For secularists to stand up for secular principles, Islamism and also anti-Muslim hate must be tackled. Religious identity is used by both to undermine the concept of individual human rights, justice, and liberty for all.

Beware the binary approach that says you should only ever be critical, or focused, on one side. That you are a traitor for not being solely focused on the enemy, that you must be without concern for collateral damage. In this “for me or against me”, nuance becomes obfuscation and cowardice. You are on one side or the other in this battle for civilization, where the means will justify the ends to save it.

Bethany Blankley articulates the Christian far right view of this in her piece: As Christianity exits Europe, ‘Criminal Muslims’ fill void with rabid violence in The Washington Times

She states empty pulpits impact fertility rates and good works. Nothing apparently to do with the resin soaking through your pants. Feeling the gospel just makes you want to breed for Jesus:

Heterosexual marriage and procreation cannot be forced. But both are the natural heartfelt response to hearing the Gospel. And if there is no one preaching, teaching, or encouraging the development of family and community life, both will cease to exist.

No place for gays in the community with this theology – they are the unnatural. However, having given us this anti-gay point her attention becomes focused on “The rise of secularism, multiculturalism, and failed immigration policies created the perfect storm for crime in epic proportions to plague Europe.” She explains this a bit more in a tweet.

She claims (with no sources cited) Muslim immigration and secularism have combined to create a Muslim crime wave in Europe. The deportation of Muslims is advocated, with Dutch politician de Graaf quoted as saying “The Dutch government must commit itself to repatriation of Muslims back to Muslim countries so we will not be plagued with honor killings, cousin marriages, anti-Semitism, homophobia, animal abuse, rampant crime, rape.” This is not just about immigration, it is the criminalising of an entire people based on religious identity.

In her own words, she claims 80% Muslims as religiously inspired on welfare (really only think 20% are in employment?), that all Muslims are Islamists (notice how she interchanges in the next quote) who will kill more than the fifty million people the Nazis were responsible for:

What the EU fails to acknowledge and each country is realizing is that Muslim immigrants have no intention of integrating. Eighty percent are on welfare, following Islamic teaching to take money from the non-Muslim “Kuffar.” Both Sharia4Belgium and Sharia4Holland advocate complete extinction of Jews.

Both countries have the largest population of Muslims at 6 percent, (behind France’s 7.5 percent), with over 25 percent living in major metropolitan areas. These percentages are no small matter, represent imminent threat to European civilization.

Three generations prior, in 1936, nearly 6 million Germans were members of the Nazi Party, representing 7 percent of Germany’s population. Those 7 percent caused over 50 million deaths in less than 10 years.

The 6 and 7.5 percent of Islamists in Europe will cause even more death unless they are stopped. Unless others like de Graaf speak truth, name and fight evil, which is Islam, these countries will implode. Swedish ministers Bjorkborg and Vikstrom both identified what their people need.

The question remains, will leaders rise up and heed minister Charles Finney, who warned: “If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall, the pulpit is responsible for it.”

Believing such a raving narrative, it is no wonder 17,000 people may protest at Muslim immigration in Germany – organised by the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident” (Pegida).

Most PEGIDA followers insisted they had no connection to Nazis, calling themselves “patriots” concerned by the “watering down” of Germany’s Christian-rooted culture and traditions. They often accuse mainstream political parties of betraying them, and the media of lying.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), called Monday for citizens to launch a “rebellion of the decent” against the anti-foreigner movement, telling a weekly magazine “that’s the kind of public reaction we need now.” [DW]

Chancellor Merkel had a message for those demonstrating “I say to all those who go to such demonstrations: do not follow those who have called the rallies because all too often they have prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts”

Xenophobia and racism find cover by saying they are attacking Islam, not a race. Yet when you read the thinking and claims behind it, it is white christian supremacist nonsense directed at all Muslims. Advocating unjust mass action against all Muslims as self defense.

Those that claim to be secularists should see how dangerous and craven the narrative is. It is not one to copy or emulate.


Islamists want Islam to pervade throughout society, via the state, the courts, the mosque and the household. There is no freedom to form your own opinion about God, or to be free from religion. Your conscience could be your death sentence. Sharia is the legal enforcement of religious interpretation – that God rather than legislators makes the laws. The segregation of women, their marital status, how they dress, and rights are reduced. While the benefits of childbearing to reduce fasting, and menstruating to avoid daily prayers, are talked up as an advantage over men. Apostates, atheists, LGBT and those of other faiths face legal discrimination. Free speech is curtailed from the arts to literature, let alone freethought.

Secularism rejects that theology is a basis for how a community or state should be run, because it denies a citizen their freedom of religion. It denies equality of citizens when religious identity promotes differential treatment by the state and law. Nor should a religious view allow the rights of any other citizen to be diminished.

Any theocrat must therefore be opposed. As Marc Schneier mentions  “Islamist extremism is a genuine threat to world peace. But those who lump all Muslims together, and dismiss as meaningless the courageous stand of the moderate majority against extremism, aren’t helping to win that battle.”

We cannot ignore religion, and what people claim to be true about it. As Shadi Hamid and Will McCants observe:

While religion isn’t always the best way to understand the motivations of ISIS and its followers, it is, at the very least, relevant. We may not think the followers of the Islamic State are motivated by true Islam (whatever that might be). But it matters that they are motivated by what they think is true Islam.

The Islamic State has something to do with Islam. It’s only a question of what that something is.

That is why criticism of religion is essential. To point out that it is not just atheists quoting koranic verses about unbelievers being killed. There are Muslims claiming to be inspired by these verses as they kill. Naturally, the other Muslims they kill are claimed by them to be unbelievers too, so they can kill them with a clear conscience. How many Ahmadi have to be killed, while people still claim they are not Muslims?

The claim to truth is one that extremists use to justify violence against those that disagree with it. When ISIS destroy shrines they do so believing they are emulating the prophet when he destroyed idols in Mecca. When they crucify and behead they cite the koran which mentions them as punishments. Context, interpretation, the bigger picture, are used to say these things are not permissible now. Yet it exists in the verse, and ISIS are carrying it out.

Religion has something to do with it. Literalism, the infallibility and timelessness of a text have to be questioned. We can point at the book written in the Seventh Century as the problem. We can also look at the people who in the 21st century are interpreting it, their motives and reasons for enacting the way they do.

Yet the difference between criticism of religion and anti-muslim hate should be clear enough:

Moderate Muslims

Where are the moderate Muslims standing up against fundamentalists and Islamists? A good place to start is Karima Bennoune’s “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.” As Nancy Graham Holm says in her book review:

Her stories have impact. They’ll force you to re-evaluate the opinions of fashionable western cultural relativists, who sometimes justify veiling and FGM as authentic and unassailable cultural practices. She wants us to see women’s rights as human rights, and cultural relativists as misguided individuals simply purveying another kind of racism.

Bennoune’s stories will awaken you to the clash within civilizations, not just between them. Most of all, her stories will make you re-evaluate whom you consider to be Muslim moderates, followed by the question: So what? Bennoune cuts Muslim moderates no slack, if they cannot recognize the human rights of women. She warns us about cooperating with so-called Muslim moderates just because they are not jihadists.

Karima Bennoune mentioned at the Secular Conference last October in London that within a religious paradigm people are challenging theocrats and fundamentalists on the front line. Atheists here must not play into the hands of the far right, which strengthens Islamists in turn. Targeting the funding of extremism from abroad is a key factor in beating the import of fundamentalism.

Just be warned, when you do challenge extremists and the bigoted hate of muslims, you will get hateful comments. They are nothing compared to what is at stake, in the battle against religious extremists and the far right.

Silence is not an option. Islamism and anti-Muslim hate both need to be tackled. They feed off each other. In their death grip on each other as they spiral downwards to the depths of dehumanising, the liberal and secular values that have given Europe it’s freedom will fall with them unless we stand against both of them.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Andrew Brown: Hating Islam Means Hating Muslims

To hate a religion according to Andrew Brown is to hate religious believers. To the point you want to make them victims. My hatred of religion for endorsing slavery makes me apparently hate modern religious believers, which is equivalent to rascism.

It is a trope among people who loathe and fear Islam that their fear and loathing has nothing in common with racism because Islam is not a race, the implication being that hating Muslims is rational and wise whereas hating black people is deeply irrational and stupid.

Racial and religious hatreds have one thing in common: they are not inspired by the race or religion of the hater, but by the religion or race of the victim. This is clearest in the case of antisemitism, which can appear as either a racial or a religious hatred, or indeed both. What’s constant is that it involves hating Jewish people, whatever the reasons given. Similarly, if you hate black people, you hate them on racist grounds whatever the colour of your own skin, and if you hate Muslims, Catholics, Quakers or Mormons, you hate them for their religion – whatever your own beliefs. So it is perfectly possible for religious hatred to be motivated by atheism and it may be quite common in the modern world. [Guardian Comment Is Free: Why I Don’t Believe People Who Say They Loathe Islam But Not Muslims

The article ends with Stalin and Mao being motivated in their religious hate by atheism. That these mass murderers would endorse Sam Harris, whose photo appears at the top of the article. That communism as an ideology promoted the hatred and brutal destruction of religion in society is not mentioned, just atheism.

The distinction between religion and its practitioners is an important one. Ideas do not have the rights, privileges and civility that people are entitled to enjoy. For me it is important to draw a distinction between Islamism and Islam, in that the former calls for society to be transformed along fundamentalist lines. Muslims that disagree and cross those lines are the first victims of such fundamentalists.

The body count is far higher for muslims killed by fundamentalists than it is for non muslims, when we look at the modern day blood bath playing out. The fundamentalist view that people are inseparable from their religion is one Brown is endorising.

Far right extremists need challenging because they promote discrimination (from immigration controls to no mosques being built) on back of religious critique debate. Secularism matters because it treats people regardless of their beliefs as equal citizens before the law and with the same universal human rights.

There is too much anti-muslim hate out there, when it is the fundamentalists and extremists which deserve our rancour. The oppressed by Theocratic States need solidarity, and to hell with people who suggest humanism is just a cover here to hate religion.

People matter not Gods. That is why I will continue to dislike religion, but stand up for people whether they have faith or not.

Andrew Brown offers no way to unite the religious and non religious to tackle extremism. Rather, he promotes that atheists are quite prepared to become mass murderers on the basis of other’s religious beliefs (just like plagiarist CJ does). Without specifying the context of what Sam Harris was saying about actions caused by beliefs that threaten humanity.

Feeding the paranoia of religious extremists, and deliberately misrepresenting how atheists feel about religious people is counter productive.

Those that discriminate against religious people need to be challenged. When it comes to religious freedom, atheists will be there supporting it. For it also means freedom from religion too.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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The Damnation of Pakistan’s Second Amendment and Imran Khan

Four million people are discriminated against in a land of 180 million. The Second Amendment of the constitution is devoted to enshrining the legal basis to do so. The second; a religious ruling as constitutional law. It reads:

1- Short title and commencement.

(1) This Act may be called the CONSTITUTION (SECOND AMENDMENT) ACT, 1974

(2) It shall come into force at once.
2- Amendment of Article 106 of the Constitution.

In the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to as the Constitution in Article 106, in clause (3) after the words “communities” the words and brackets “and persons of Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’)” shall be inserted.

3- Amendment of Article 260 of the Constitution.
In the Constitution, in Article 260, after clause (2) the following new clause shall be added, namely–

(3) A person who does not believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of The Prophethood of MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets or claims to be a Prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after MUHAMMAD (Peace be upon him), or recognizes such a claimant as a Prophet or religious reformer, is not a Muslim for the purposes of the Constitution or law.”

The consequence of this is the state has a religious test if you want to vote or have a passport:

Ahmadi Muslims are forced to make a decision if they choose to vote—either register as a non-Mus- lim or sign a document declaring the founder of their community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to be an apostate and a liar.161 In other words, members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community must either denounce their faith, denounce their Community’s Founder, or be forbidden from voting. The July-December 2010 UN International Religious Freedom Report on Pakistan explains:

“The government [of Pakistan] designated religious affili- ation on passports and requested religious information in national identity card applications. A citizen must have a national identity card to vote. Those wishing to be listed as Muslims must swear their belief that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet and denounce the Ahmadiyya movement’s founder [Mirza Ghulam Ahmad] as a false prophet and his followers as non-Mus- lims, a provision designed to discriminate against Ahmadis. As a result Ahmadis continued to boycott elections.” [Source]

The form you have to fill in for a passport:


The hypocrisy the Pakistan Government forces on its citzens, when it is a universal human right to choose your religion or none. That it is no business of government telling it’s citizens what to believe. That it is risible to demand public statements of faith. That it is an abomination to deny what is a citizen’s by birth alone. Not by bits of paper issued by theocratic bureaucrats.

For forty years Pakistan has played the charade of a modern nation state when it cannot even get this fundamental thing right. Far longer some may argue. So long, some friends are leaving you. While others I know lament the failure of their state, and the lie they must give to have the rights that are theirs by birth alone.

The reason I write this post is this Facebook post calling attention to this:


The Ahmadi rise up, not with protests or placards. Rather, they try to do so by their deeds. Whilst raising consciousness by articles, social media and books – the political process is staked against them as a means. They are four million in a land of 180 million that goes along with the discrimination the constitution allows in an Islamic country.

Imran Khan will not take up their cause. As he stated:

“PTI totally subscribes to the article in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the Ahmadis. It is not part of the PTI agenda to seek amendment of the said article in the Constitution.”

There is no mass protest on the streets of Pakistan. There may never be. Even the Muslim Council of Britain cannot bring itself to condemn the sectarianism against them. The world has to give voice, it must tip it’s denouncement in the scales of justice.

The Ahmadi are denied access to shops, to vote, to travel. They are murdered in the light of day, and their murderers at liberty to sleep at night while their loved ones mourn crying out for justice beyond the new break of day. Many have claimed less of a reason for Londoner’s to take up arms with ISIS.

The Ahmadi instead take up alms. The sorrow continues, yet as more learn of the injustice inflicted based on religious fatwa, the fractured state that is Pakistan might be understood.

You may yet join the chorus demanding change. Nothing less than solidarity with the Ahmadi can be expected of the secular community, let alone humanity.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Trojan Horse, Non Violent Extremism And Schools

Watching the above segment on Newsnight, Maajid Nawaz again found another person who was unwilling to condemn the application of sharia such as stoning an adulterer to death. Ibrahim Hewitt is an educationalist, whose private school Al-Aqasa in Leicester offers, from age 7, gender segregated education. It promises:

“a broad and balanced holistic curriculum that integrates Islamic perspectives throughout all academic subject areas, with a focus on the Qur’an and character development.”

In the video above Hewitt refuses to condemn stoning or amputation saying when it comes to sharia it is not “black and white.” He promises that such punishments are not advocated in schools. His perspective on Islam matters given the school he has founded and runs. Thankfully he wrote a book “What does Islam Say?” to enlighten us.


From MailOnline:

In it he advocates the killing of adulterers by stoning. The book says: ‘Any act that destabilises marriage will also destabilise society. Hence the Islamic punishments for such acts are severe… Married men and women found guilty of adultery are to be stoned to death.’

The book also advocates 100 lashes for fornication and sodomy with both men and women, and condemns homosexuality as a ‘grave sin’.
Mr Hewitt says in the book: ‘Islam, like most other major faiths of the world, categorically forbids homosexual practices (sexual relations between two men or between two women), regarding them as a great sin. In a society under Islamic law, such would be severely punished.’

He then compares homosexuals to paedophiles or those who commit incest. The book says: ‘If people have such desires [homosexuality], they should keep them to themselves, and control their desires to avoid forbidden practices.

‘The advice would be the same as, say, to someone who had sexual desires for minors or for close family: that having the desires does not legitimise realising them.’

The book also argues that men and women are not equal, and men have a right to assume leadership over women. ‘Islam recognises the leadership of men over women, but it does not recognise the domination of one over the other.’

He adds: ‘If a woman is unable to satisfy the sexual or other needs of her husband he may consider taking another wife, rather than the common Western practice of secretly taking a mistress.’

Hopefully then his book cannot be found in the school library. At least one would hope such a person did not own a school to educate children. But he does, charging parents fees of up to nearly £2,000 a year and receiving about a million pounds in government grants. Rest assured for the money your children’s spiritual needs are being met. Dancing and music are not allowed to protect them.

As Maajid mentions that sort of mood music of extremism is what the suicide bombers are dancing to – and it is murder on the dance floor in far off theatres of war and terrorism across the world.

The reason we are even having this discussion thrust into public discourse is because of the Trojan Horse letter suggesting there were ways for Islamists to control schools. Whilst most see the letter as a forgery, or at least not part of an organised conspiracy to infiltrate schools, the government is investigating. A leaked copy of some of the individual school reports today suggests the following:

In the Golden Hillock report, Ofsted said: “Too little is done to keep students safe from the risks associated with extremist views.”

Inspectors concluded leaders and governors were “not doing enough to mitigate against cultural isolation” and this “could leave students vulnerable to the risk of marginalisation from wider British society and the associated risks which could include radicalisation.”

These concerns about schools in Birmingham being targeted will soon be reported officially by the government’s education watchdog OFSTED, though it is thought that six of the schools will be put under special measures by the above leak. Before all this there have been attempts to rubbish the forthcoming reports. For example Assed Baig:

There is extremism is schools, I agree and accept this. Extremism exists in schools were [sic] parents pay tens of thousands a year to have their boys segregated from girls. Where an ideology of superiority is taught, where young rich boys are taught that it is their God given right to rule over the commoners. Where a skewed version of history is taught, colonialism was a good thing and the empire brought good to the world and civilized the savages. In these schools boys are forced to learn Latin, not Arabic. But we won’t see or hear politicians talking of that kind of extremism or segregation, we won’t see journalists peering through windows there, because it is not Muslims involved. Extremism of the rich is applauded, not questioned.

It is like the media reports of the Bullingdon Club, the criticisms of Nadine Dorries Conservative MP of the Conservative Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer as “arrogant posh boys” with “no passion to want to understand the lives of others” never happened. The deflection just does not work because the media has noticed and criticised the inner Cabinet’s narrow privileged background, and labour have built a campaign strategy around this for the 2015 General Election. We know Nigel Farage of UKIP went to Eton [exclusive public schooling too] – the media screamed the negativity of this as a man claiming to challenge the establishment. What has this to do with the concerns of the standard of education children were receiving in these schools?


Photo above: Quote from Michael Gove’s book Celsius 7/7

Mehdi Hasan has also before OFSTED reports tried to undermine what conclusions may be reached by suggesting the education secretary Michael Gove’s “black and white” approach will encourage extremism:

Thus, the activities, habits and practises of British Muslims – from dress codes to dietary requirements, from Sunday schools to seating arrangements at university – continue to be viewed almost exclusively through the lens of security and counter-extremism. This Gove-backed approach, Blunt reminded listeners of the Today programme, is both “impractical and counter-productive” because it encourages a dangerous, black-and-white view of the world and further alienates those young British Muslims who feel disillusioned or demonised.

“You would find that people who are in the shades of grey are then driven into being black because they are invited to choose between black and white.”

Yes, by this logic, ensuring that children are taught music and dance might well push them to become suicide bombers in the future to rebel against the decadence of a former colonial power that made them jig as kids. In class, an exploration of capital punishment as going against human rights might force them to protect the importance of marriage by insisting on the stoning of adulterers. Because what Hasan is saying is you are provoking disillusioned demonised young Muslims to the edge of reason to defend their faith. Never mind that the schools currently are doing this if the leak is correct.

We are not going to tackle extremism or people being attracted to Islamism by burying our heads in the sand or believe that we should let sleeping non violent extremists lie undisturbed in case they become violently militant. Neither is this going to be helped by treating every Muslim as a security threat or less equal as a citizen. I was delighted that TellMAMA (a charity that looks at anti-Muslim hatred) recently advocated ending religious segregation in the British education system as a means to reduce fear and hatred and also to promote a cohesive society.

It is the ultimate way by which a school like Al-Aqasa when stating (my emphasis) “The national curriculum is, with minor adjustments, taught at Al-Aqsa within an Islamic framework and perspective” no longer need cause concern about a kids education as all children from different religious, social and economic backgrounds can learn, play, and dance together.

Without any religious agenda being foisted on them by anyone at school.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Critiquing Islam


Brandeis University offered an honorary doctorate to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, then withdrew it after protest because on further scrutiny “We cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” Absolute shambles whatever your view of Ayaan. The giving then not giving undermines the notion of being “a world-class research institution with the intimacy and personal attention of a small liberal arts college” if they could not work this out for themselves.

Dialogue between ex Muslims and Muslims is important. In a pluralistic society that values religious freedom it is possible to exist and interact with each other. The death threats that Ayaan Hirsi Ali experiences are unacceptable. Bomb threats were made against her, not Hitchens, Dawkins or Harris, when I attended a conference they were all speaking at. As volunteers we were asked if we should cancel, I said no. If Ayaan Hirsi Ali was prepared to speak then we should be prepared to listen.

Which is difficult to hear if you think she demands military action against 1.5 billion Muslims to crush them. A variant of this is doing the rounds on the Internet, taken from an interview in 2007. The person that interviewed Ayaan agreed with Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta’s view:

It takes a very uncharitable interpretation of Hirsi Ali’s words to think her goal of “defeating Islam” means we should commit violence against peaceful law-abiding Muslims or descends into hate speech. Her goal is full-scale reform of Islam, not genocide against all Muslims.

When the quote is reproduced it might be useful to have the context, especially as first paragraph (which I emphasise) of her answer is on a different page, so does not appear in a screen shot of the quote from Reason:

[Bottom page 2:]

Reason: Should we acknowledge that organized religion has sometimes sparked precisely the kinds of emancipation movements that could lift Islam into modern times? Slavery in the United States ended in part because of opposition by prominent church members and the communities they galvanized. The Polish Catholic Church helped defeat the Jaruzelski puppet regime. Do you think Islam could bring about similar social and political changes?

Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

Reason: Don’t you mean defeating radical Islam?

[Page 3:]

Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace.

Reason: We have to crush the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims under our boot? In concrete terms, what does that mean, “defeat Islam”?

Hirsi Ali: I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars. Islam can be defeated in many ways. For starters, you stop the spread of the ideology itself; at present, there are native Westerners converting to Islam, and they’re the most fanatical sometimes. There is infiltration of Islam in the schools and universities of the West. You stop that. You stop the symbol burning and the effigy burning, and you look them in the eye and flex your muscles and you say, “This is a warning. We won’t accept this anymore.” There comes a moment when you crush your enemy.

Reason: Militarily?

Hirsi Ali: In all forms, and if you don’t do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed.

So no, she does not want all Muslims murdered by Black-Ops, or bombed into submission, nor did she say crush 1.5 billion Muslims. She does employ an atheist carpet bombing critique covering all Muslims. That moderate Muslims are a problem too as Islam lends itself to violent extremism, and by it’s nature looking to dominate society. Islamism rather than something within Islam becomes one and the same thing. This view of all Muslims is justified by this critique because an atheist reading of the Koran is the true canonical definition, as if a literalist interpretation by them is the truth. Any Muslim that promotes pluralism, or questions a literalist or atheist interpretation, is declared to not be a true Muslim. Or one that has been secularised first to be more civilised than the text promotes. In effect fundamentalists are the true belivers. Needless to say, I find such a view horrid, misleading and willfully inaccurate of how most Muslims I meet articulate what Islam means.

For more of a critique on such black and white thinking do read Qasim Rashid’s opinion piece: A Muslim’s invitation to the new atheists: Dawkins, Ali and Harris.

Whether gender segregation at British Universities, the Al-Madinah school in Derby, and the British Government admitting it has not done enough to help tackle Islamic extremism these issues are not that of a bigot to raise. Theses issues concern us all whether Muslim or not. The solution is working together, not targeting Muslims with special measures that amount to discrimination.

The language of the interview above being critiqued does not take into account that Ayaan has evolved in her thinking, and especially expression, from that 2007 interview to now. For example watch this 25 minute debate between her and Tariq Ramadan:

To my mind, she brings out an interesting discussion with Ramadan, and he does well to respond. The sticking point in rhetoric though is that carpet bomb approach to Muslims. It offends by suggesting to people: well you are not a real Muslim are you, because if you were you would be a bigot, racist and misogynist would you not? Ramadan points out that is unhelpful let alone wrong when talking about Muslims in Europe and America.

A much longer panel discussion with Ayaan (about an hour and a half before a local studio discussion of debate) took place in December 2013 featuring Maajid Nawaz and Feisal Abdul Rauf:

Here is more detail about the jurisprudence being up for revision and discussion. Rather than an eternal set in stone idea from God. Maajid comments that reading such scholarly work from about seven centuries ago helped him to renounce his extremism.

The approach that religion and all it’s followers are the issue period, will not work if we cannot take seriously people of faith being secularists and human rights activists. Muslims are at the forefront of tackling Islamism, not atheist best selling authors that cannot read Arabic, let alone have not read a translation of the Koran. They are not the ones on the front line literally laying down their lives.

In turn, vilifying the critics of Islam as islamophobes and haters does not help engage with constructive criticism and legitimate points they raise. Ex Muslims and Muslims have much to discuss as Maajid mentions in the above video. It is going to be painful, perhaps offensive. But it needs to happen if a free society is going to celebrate pluralism and challenge extremisim. Free speech means hearing something and deciding how to deal with what we hear. Making the degree a free speech issue is ludicrous; as the two videos show she is being heard and the university invited her to speak when available in a debate. Thing is, being offended is not a licence to defame back in a discussion.

Brandeis University have not helped that discussion by their actions. Ayaan’s work on FGM and women’s rights is worthy of honor (as I am sure many other people’s are), and an atheist view on religion being the problem is no reason to deny an honor because it is applied to Islam. The icing on the cake is twisting Ayaan’s words as wanting the slaughter of Muslims and seeing all Muslims as blood thirsty savages waiting for the right moment to strike – that to defeat Islam ideologically is code for genocide. Watch the videos above – this is not true.

If the honor had been for promoting secularism then I would concede there is something to be concerned about. Her recommendations on immigration, citizenship, come across as close to  being anti-Muslim rather than promoting freedom of religion. We cannot defend human rights by undermining the very liberties everyone deserves, even to those we may wish to ideologically oppose. Any rhetoric that sounds like war or the battle for civilization is counter productive. I can understand a nonsectarian Jewish sponsored University having second thoughts, though it looks more like they lost their backbone with the protest rather than just found out about statements already available via Google.

The dialogue which is clearly happening with Ayaan is not going to be easy. It will not be welcomed by some. Ayaan has a credible death threat on her head. Disagree with her, agree with her, use the democratic process for that. As protesters of the honorary degree did rather well.

Ayaan has a platform, and watching the videos above the discussion will reach more people because of the engagement by Muslims with her. It is a discussion worth having. Long may it continue, as we learn to understand each other rather than give in to tribalism hate mentality. Because the persecution ex Muslims face is real enough, as is anti-Muslim sentiment.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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