Tag Archives: Muslims

Accomodate Or Oppose The Islamic Right? Choose Wisely

The hope is by reaching out to the Islamic Right, their participation in society will reduce the threat of extremism. It misses two key points. One, most on the Islamic right are not violent or going to be as it is their personal view, the other that this accommodating undermines the very muslims that are countering this view of Islam both in their community and by how they live their own lives. We should be standing for the liberal principles that fundamentalists oppose, instead of promoting groupthink over individual rights.

The fear that your house will be burnt down, because you have publicly left a faith. A return phone call from a company to ensure you do not break Islamic tenets, because of your name, having placed an order. Gender segregated events at a political rally, with parliamentary candidates.

Secularism supports citizens being free in their opinions regarding religion. Universal human rights promote that no authority may impose religious opinions on others by law or coercion. That should be easy enough – no one should be threatened with violence, no one should have a stranger phoning up to reprimand them on religious dietary requirements they do not follow. It is not though. As The Observer article mentions having cited those two examples:

There has been a great deal of public debate in recent years about what drives young Muslims towards radicalisation. It’s an urgent subject of study in various disciplines of academia, has spawned a library of books, and is the focus of well-funded government programmes.

What is much less known about, and far less discussed, is the plight of young Muslims going in the opposite direction – those who not only turn away from radicalisation but from Islam itself.

Although it is fraught with human drama – existential crisis, philosophical doubt, family rupture, violent threats, communal expulsion, depression, and all manner of other problems – the apostate’s journey elicits remarkably little media interest or civic concern. According to Cottee, there is not “a single sociological study… on the issue of apostasy from Islam”.

I have written about how some will argue that they oppose sharia councils, gender segregation, the veil as a face mask etc on principle but see such things as needing accommodating as a means to prevent fundamentalism having a grievance and to try and draw the muslim right into civic politics. In short, this is about preventing extremism to keep themselves safer.

[Read – The Betrayal Of Believers to Theocracy]

The problem we have, in this rush to bend over backwards out of selfish self-interest, we have suggested that the Islamic right is islam. We have compromised to suggest that Islam requires fasting and face veiling even for children, gender segregation increases participation, that children can be denied music lessons at faith schools. When there is no theological consensus on this, but a sub-cultural and subjective view in play. Most importantly everyone is free to express their opinion in matters of religion regardless of their heritage, skin colour or name. I would like to add even if they are children, and you can read my own apostasy story for more on that here.

As Alom Shaha says: “If your concern about bigotry Muslims face means you’re unwilling to admit problems ex-Muslims face, you’re doing whole liberal thing wrong.” We must be appalled by a woman being verbally abused at wearing a hijab as we are at a woman wearing a hijab fearing what her family will do if she did not. Being liberal is being concerned about individual rights, and not allowing them to be subject to communal whims of religious figures that promote group think for their own platform.

‘Why do you not ask the women at gender segregated events?’, has been the remark to me on twitter. Well I have, when I was standing as a councillor for the Liberal Democrats. I had to have conversations through letter boxes with women, who told me that their husband would make the decision how they would both vote, though they would pass on my remarks. Where people feared putting a poster up for me would result in a brick being thrown through their window. Where a Labour activist told me not to offer my hand to women as against their culture, and when some women did shake my hand I replied, will you tell them it is against their culture to have done that?

Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party, has said she hated the idea of a gender segregated public meeting, but she hated the idea of men only meetings even more. My reply would be not to attend either, just as I would not a racial segregated meeting or one where only white men were invited to attend. Would we promote women wearing a face mask, because the alternative is them being locked up indoors for the same reason – or would we say such ideas need to be challenged for they are designed to control the movement and appearance of women? We accommodate while ignoring muslims stating these things have nothing to do with Islam. We expect ex muslims and muslims to think like the muslim right – using the logic of the very racists and anti-muslim bigots that they all must be the same because of their skin and names. That should be enough to shame anyone, but the irony is ignored as they claim to be championing a suppressed minority by promoting the Islamic Right.

I really do not want to mention cartoons again on this blog. People still seem determined to kill others for putting ink to paper, as the Texas attempted massacre showed where security shot dead two armed wannabe killers at a cartoon of Mohammed event. It would be easy to go, but they are right wing bigots, accept it should not matter whether it is Pam Geller or anyone saying:

“This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters? Two men with rifles and backpacks attacked police outside our event. A cop was shot; his injuries are not life-threatening, thank Gd. Please keep him in your prayers,” she posted.

“The bomb squad has been called to the event site to investigate a backpack left at the event site. The war is here.” [Source]

Even hate group leaders organising events do not deserve to be executed at them, nor those that attend. Former President Morsi should not be executed in Egypt, and secularists should be speaking out against military juntas that decide to wear civilian clothing while subverting democracy as they should Islamists that deny human rights. Words or opinions should not mark out anyone for death – nor should we respond they were asking for it by expressing them. Unless the victim is the guilty party, not the man with the gun, or the man with his dick in his hand as he is about to rape a protester. Were the women asking for it as they demanded their human rights? Enough with blaming the victim.

Of course the gun is not always the weapon of choice. With the machete, a third secular blogger in Bangladesh is killed this year. Chased down the street as he went to work, Ananta Bijoy Das was hacked to death in what is increasingly seen as a “culture of impunity” for religiously motivated killings.

His murder comes a week after al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent claimed responsibility for Roy’s killing on 26 February in which his wife was badly injured. An Islamist has been arrested over his murder. Another atheist blogger, Washiqur Rahman, was hacked to death in Dhaka in March. Two madrassa students have been arrested over that attack. [Source]

Religion does not deserve a culture of impunity in a free society. Yet, that is exactly what we are in danger of doing, not out of principle but expediency. I have met too many people who have been threatened and shot at, read about too many who I will never get to meet because they have been killed. Like Sabeen Mahmud, shot dead in April:

In Karachi, Sabeen established a not-for-profit organization “to promote democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement,” called The Second Floor (T2F). T2F worked to keep its doors open for artists, performers and marginalized voices, with Sabeen’s fearless and welcoming attitude creating a home and a safe space for conversations, discourse and peace in Pakistan. [Source]

If we want intellectual and cultural engagement, we cannot accommodate the very reactionary ideology that stands against it. The religious right have to be challenged for the sake of a free and open society for everyone. The islamic right should be no exception. Just as we should condemn the words of the French Mayor that said “The Muslim religion must be banned in France”, who has been suspended by his party for this tweeted remark to former President Sarkozy.

Do not kid yourself that you can appease the fundamentalists with gestures. It never does. Death or surrender is the choice they offer. We should want neither, as we promote liberty and freedom for all, while tackling bigotry against muslims and ex muslims.

Free speech for everyone, whether they are Anjem Choudary or Pamela Geller, is the way to allow this to happen.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Filed under British Politics, British Society

Parody: Eric Pickles Writes To Muslim Community Leaders On Extremism

For some reason this first draft was not used when the Government Communities Secretary wrote a letter to a thousand Muslim faith leaders …

We are shit scared that something like what happened in Paris, especially given this is an election year, might occur here in the UK. For God’s sake help us find the right response that tackles extremism but will not alienate Muslim voters. With over three million people marching in Paris saying “Je suis Charlie” we are just glad Muslims here did not say they got what was coming to them. Or if they did, I am not going to draw attention to it in this letter. Gunmen will not undermine our values of free speech, the rule of law and democracy. That is for a Conservative majority government to do at the next election. With your help we can achieve just that.

Young people are our future, and in an election year this message becomes even more useful to look like we care. They must be able to express their disagreement. Just not using extremist ideology. Or against what we define as British values. We must show them that there are other democratic options for expressing hatred. Like voting UKIP.

We need Muslims in the community to do the work of the government and the security services. You are best placed to help, and we are open to suggestions. For example whether informing on someone should have a cash incentive, or whether that might be haram. However we do it, we need you to be strong and do exactly what we tell you. Not that we do not trust you to know what you are doing.

You as faith leaders can help, by insisting British values are Muslim values. In return we will mention that acts of violence by people shouting “God is Great” or “we have avenged the prophet” has nothing to do with Islam. We will call it “hijacking” and not representative of the many violent acts in multiple countries which claim it is done in the name of Allah. If we concentrate on the alms that you give the poor and not the arms that are financed by islamist charities connected to terrorist groups, we might just be able to do this.

Anyway, if you can stress being British Muslims is something to be proud of, we will continue to say that Islamist fundamentalism has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.

Eric Pickles

If you want to read the actual letter, that can be read here.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Pope Francis: Violence At Insulting Faith Is Normal


“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”… [Source]

Speaking of our mothers, the Muslim Council of Britain made clear:

1. For Muslims, love of the Prophet ( ﷺ peace be upon him) is a NECESSARY part of our FAITH. He is dearer to us than our parents and children. We prefer him to our own self.

So if punching someone for mocking your mother is normal, than what of mocking someone you are told to esteem beyond your mother? A fatal knockout blow perhaps because you have to punch that much harder as it is not your mother, but Mohammed. Show the love.

The Pope did say killing in the name of religion is wrong, but his comment is the apology any fundamentalist needs to whitewash the bloodstains. They so love Mohammed, that if ever they were to look on him:

“My eyes have never seen anyone more perfect than you

No woman has given birth to anyone more handsome than you

You have been created free from all defects

As if you were created the way you wished”

That a Charlie Hebdo caricature, that showed him crying at the thought of murder done in his name, would be a provocation to further murder. Idolatry is meant to be avoided, yet the very image of Mohammed portrayed goes beyond esteem as the couplet above mentions (again via MCB).

Giles Fraser calls Charlie Hebdo iconoclasts for this reason. I am inclined to agree. The need to challenge the idea that any man must be lionised in this manner, and worse that we must kowtow before this idea is preposterous. An image of the mind that must never be made real, and certainly not satirically depicted. We are expected to be as a devout believer.

Power is the right subject for satire. This is why religious figures are legitimate subjects. It is dangerous to suggest violence against this is normal, that insults lead to murder for those things we care passionately about. Honour killings, and persecution of other religions and sects are justified this way too.

We would do well to include persecution of atheists, often at the forefront of questioning religious ideas, and opinions:

Karim Ashraf Mohamed al-Banna was arrested with a group of people at a cafe in November, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression. An Egyptian minor offenses court sentenced him on blasphemy charges Saturday in what Human Rights Watch called “part of a wider government push to combat atheism and other forms of dissent.” [CNN]

Karim’s parents so much loved the prophet more that they lured him to the cafe so the police could arrest him. His father testified in court against his son. This is the pure love demanded when you must place a dead man you never knew before your own living child.

The Pope says people make a game of insulting religion. This is no game. The ideas of religion as sacrosanct need to be shown for what they are. The pretentious nature of sycophancy to a man’s physique, the requirement to love him beyond that of your own children so that to betray them for him is right.

We must continue to lampoon religion not because it hurts others, but because the hurt done by religion is very real. Offence because piety demands you must react that way is not natural; your emotions to your children are natural. If the choice is the welfare of your children or your religion no holy book need be reached for or cleric called for the answer. A loving parent should know which comes first, every, single, time.

The need to smash idols is ever present, and the apologetics for massacres. It means very little to say murder is wrong when you then justify it. When you demand the implausible is done, the unthinkable will happen.


Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Filed under atheism, Religion, secular, World

“The Crime of abandoning Islam” – Will The UK Government Stop Incitement To Kill Apostates?


Regular readers will recall the chairman of the Luton Islamic Centre stating in an ideal Islamic State homosexuals will be killed. I also wrote about Abdul Qadeer Baksh other views.

The Centre has got my attention again with its advice that apostates, those that leave the Islamic faith, must be killed. In a three page answer written by Jalal Abualrub on the question it argues that “no compulsion in religion” only applies to those that have never been muslim – not to apostates:

These are two completely different topics: forcing non-Muslims to embrace Islam vs. the punishment, carried out by the Islamic State, of those who were Muslim but committed the crime of abandoning Islam.

The punishment for the crime? They quote a Hadith:

“The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Messenger, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas (Law of Equity) for murder; a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse; and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.”

The writer continues:

Should we also abandon the punishment for the adulterer, since ‘there is no compulsion in religion’? Should we also abandon other parts of the Islamic Penal code if the offense does not really harm others, such as abandoning Prayer, drinking, cursing the Prophet, salla-llahu `alaihi wa-sallam, etc., since ‘there is no compulsion in religion’? Who has any right to contradict the Prophet of Allah, salla-llahu `alaihi wa-sallam, who says, “He who reverts from his religion, then kill him”; [as- Silsilah as-Sahihah 487]? And those who contradict him, had they been alive during his time, salla-llahu `alaihi wa-sallam, would they have corrected the Prophet, who received the Quran, by reminding him that in Islam, which he brought from Allah, ‘there is no compulsion in religion’? Muslims should be strong and stand behind every part of their Law, if they seek Allah’s Help and Support that is.

Having established that the punishment for the “crime” of apostasy is death, the writer continues rather chilling to say no muslim can stand by and let them go unpunished:

if we leave the apostate un-punished he might go back to Islam, then what is stopping him from doing so before being killed, even if to become a hypocrite? What if he does not repent in the future and tempts others who have weak hearts and faith to follow him, should we stand idle while whole segments of the Muslim Society becomes non-Muslim?

Fundamentalism and literalism – someone said this and I must do it because it is my religion, no matter how blood thirsty, inhumane and cruel such an action would be. The incitement to kill those that leave a faith is in clear breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let alone English Law.

Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, wants to get tough on extremism.

Here is your chance to act. Or do you want to see the body count of ex muslims stacking up on the streets of Britain before doing something that might tell the extremists their threats will not be allowed to stand?

My thanks to the Council of Ex-Muslims Forum for drawing attention and for the work they do. Please support them and ex Muslims.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Filed under British Politics, British Society, Religion, secular, World

Why Have An Issue With @JihadistJoe tweets?

Recently the @jihadistjoe and myself were mentioned in an article. Soon after, his account was suspended. Richard Dawkins led the Twitter charge to have his account reinstated as he is a “clever satirist.”

Can you support these recent tweets Richard, which Tom Owolade highlighted, as what secular activists should call satire?

As Tom succinctly puts it:

Dawkins though still does not get it …

Which is regrettable because:

My article outlying the issues with Jihadistjoe can be read here.


As not everyone is reading the original post, or is aware I am a free speech advocate:

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Filed under British Society, Religion, Richard Dawkins, secular