Questionable Motives

November 2, 2013

Why is islam such a dangerous foe of liberal democracies?

Because of  the teachings of the koran stand contrary to them.

The music is irritating but the video reveals what I’ve been saying forever: the koran itself – and not a ‘few bad apples’ who mistakenly take its teachings too seriously – is incompatible with Western liberal secular values.  Pointing out this fact does not make one a racist or an islamaphobe. It makes one a realist who is awake and aware.

Sam Harris makes a very good comment on it here as does Jerry Coyne here.

April 3, 2013

Is New Atheism a cover for racist hatred of Muslims?

wahhabi libertyI’ve come across this trope so many times that I realize people are actually falling for it… people (I presumed) who have great difficulty comprehending the written word. After all, I know that even in my country of Canada with its high standing in comparative public education achievements, nearly a third of the population is functionally illiterate. So it’s no surprise to find those who suffer from this unnecessary problem may have difficulty grasping the well written explanations describing why it’s a good thing to criticize ideas and doctrines that have profoundly negative effects in the public domain. And it requires a similar kind of illiteracy to fall for this lie that islamaphobia – an irrational fear of islam – is driven by racist motives rather than good reasons based on compelling evidence.

As if this willful blindness to the very real danger to our secular principles islam contains isn’t bad enough, these people who criticize us – those who have the bad manners to point out why islam requires robust and public critcism – fail to see the obvious: what is truly disturbing is how easily this blindness, this abject stupidity to blame the messenger for the message,  morphs into support for the trope that any and all criticism of the doctrine that empowers islam to be so dangerous in reality is really racism in action.

What is remarkable is that this blatant lie is so easily embraced by those who can read, who can comprehend the written word, who can understand why this misrepresentation and misapplication of what the criticism is all about matters. And to add insult to injury, those who promote and extend this dangerous trope seem to suffer no qualms to attribute the real danger to be those of us who have the moral fortitude and intellectual integrity to point out why the doctrine of islam in particular is so dangerous to us all by standing contrary to the foundational principles that support the liberal secular democracies we have inherited, namely, the New Atheists.

The doctrine of islam is the teachings of koran. If you ask any muslim a specific, straight forward question like this, “Do you believe the koran is the perfect word of god?” be prepared for the fundamentalist answer: “Yes.” This answer does not come only from some fringe element, some extreme radical group of the religion, but the mainstream, from the average muslim. If pressed about what constitutes the difference between a good muslim and a poor one, you will find out from the muslim that how closely the koran is followed determines this status. Why we delude ourselves to think that there will be some maturation of this mainstream fundamentalist thinking with exposure to western secular values is simply as mystifying as it is foolish and dangerous. (The latest evidence is from a trio of high school graduates – who classmates describe as normal and nice and typical – from London, ON who converted to islam, and then participated in mass murder in an attack on gas workers in Algeria.) The motivating factor for this travesty of misdirected young lives was islam. It was not New Atheists!

Those muslims who speak publicly about the evolution of the religion from its violent origins to become what it is not, namely, a tolerant, moderate, living doctrine that respects the rights and freedoms of its members similar to liberalized christianity and judaism, are not speaking on behalf of the religion as good muslims and they know it. The listener – eager to show common cause in the name of secular values like tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others – is ripe for the picking. Such muslims who speak publicly about islam, as if it were an equivalently tolerant religion to those who wish it were, are not moderate muslims at all and do not represent the majority: they are poor muslims by definition… unless they are lying to your face in order to promote by stealth the advancement of islam and shari’a into the public domain. This technique is called taqiyya (for anyone unaware of its religious approval) and it describes why and on what koranic authority this intentional deceit (that fools well meaning but gullible people in secular democracies) is the right thing to do for a good muslim!

At the end of the day, the point of the doctrine of islam is to live a godly life, and by faith this means living under god’s law, which is not compatible with either the secular principles of tolerance and respect showered on its adherents in the West. This law is shari’a and it is incompatible in authority with your individual rights of autonomy, your individual freedoms for legal equality, your secular principles of tolerating and accommodating religious differences, your allegiance to your nation. Shari’a is incompatible with the foundational principles of western liberal secular democracies. These are the facts and not some imaginary racist assertions meant to to slander.

But don’t take my word for. Find out for yourself (first by reading and then by asking real muslims) why claims about the peacefulness of the religion of islam are not true in practice by good muslims. Ask about their interpretation about the  verse of the sword, the one used to overturn all the previous koranic claims about promoting peace and love, when defending the faith (or watch a short video about it here). Find out for yourself why islam and shari’a are not like the doctrines of any other liberalized religion but stand firmly against any social advancement past the seventh century morality that has been encoded in the koran. Check out ongoing violence done in the name of islam and ask yourself how and why this is any different from other religions. In other words, stop pretending that tolerating and respecting freedom of religion means that it is only right and proper for you to respect islam. By doing so, you are threatening the very values of tolerance and respect you are self-righteously exercising!

Now that we have compelling evidence from reality that the doctrine of islam is incompatible with western secular values, how much sense does it make – and who does it serve – to vilify New Atheists for talking about this compelling evidence in the public domain?

You guessed it: it serves only to grant more cover for stealth jihad. How can any literate person who supports western secular values be so stupid as to be intolerant of much needed criticism towards the doctrine of islam? Well, I think there are four possibilities: illiterate, ignorant, delusional, complacent, or complicit.

For those who are illiterate, get help.

For those who are ignorant, open your mind and eyes and ears and learn.

For those who are delusional, respect reality. Recognize that your beliefs – especially religious beliefs – do not create reality but require adjudication by it if you wish to have them respected.

For those who are complacent, who wish that these inherent conflicts between faith-based beliefs and our valued principles would just go away, wake up. Recognize the danger and join in the criticism or get out the way.

For those who are complicit, who try to lay the blame for islamic intolerance on some fringe element of it rather than the doctrine that empowers the whole, who will not think for themselves but go along with the charade that islam is a religion of peace and tolerance in spite of compelling evidence to the contrary, who will not see the danger to themselves -  to their own legal welfare and that of their neighbours – or others, who allow their complicity to enable the advancement of islam and shari’a unimpeded by legitimate criticism, know that you are exposed for the ethical hypocrites and moral cowards you are.

As a shining example of what it is we face as New Atheists in this battle to get more of us to respect reality rather than faith-based beliefs about it, consider this exchange between one the Four Horsemen of New Atheism, Sam Harris, and the usually reasonable columnist Glenn Greenwald. I have extracted Sam’s final reply and added the bold for emphasis:

The idea that “new atheism” is a cover for a racist hatred of Muslims is ridiculous (and, again, crudely defamatory). I have written an entire book attacking Christianity. And do you know what happens when I or any of my “new atheist” colleagues criticize Christians for their irrational beliefs? They say, “Of course, you feel free to attack us, but you would never have the courage to criticize Islam.” As you can see, our Christian critics follow our work about as well as you do.

Needless to say, there are people who hate Arabs, Somalis, and other immigrants from predominantly Muslim societies for racist reasons. But if you can’t distinguish that sort of blind bigotry from a hatred and concern for dangerous, divisive, and irrational ideas—like a belief in martyrdom, or a notion of male “honor” that entails the virtual enslavement of women and girls—you are doing real harm to our public conversation. Everything I have ever said about Islam refers to the content and consequences of its doctrine. And, again, I have always emphasized that its primary victims are innocent Muslims—especially women and girls.

And for the money quote:

There is no such thing as “Islamophobia.” This is a term of propaganda designed to protect Islam from the forces of secularism by conflating all criticism of it with racism and xenophobia. And it is doing its job, because people like you have been taken in by it.

Exactly:, propaganda.

Are you falling for it?

January 25, 2012

When did Islam stop being a religion and become a race?

Filed under: Islam,Jesus and Mo — tildeb @ 12:12 pm

When it became handy to avoid legitimate criticism by calling those who dare do so ‘racists’!

 

September 2, 2011

How does sharia law explain why islam is an inquistition?

Filed under: Criticism,Islam — tildeb @ 1:30 pm

Maryam Namazie explains how sharia law enables anti-human theology to infect the public domain to practical effect and why islamicists are such a direct threat to the enlightenment values – through a willingness to engage in intimidation and violence against those who support and exercise them – upon which tolerant western secular democracies have been built.

(Note: the speech itself is only about 18 minutes long)

August 24, 2011

Why must we choose?

Filed under: Canada,Islam,Law — tildeb @ 12:47 pm

From Wire Service Canada:

Author Paris Dipersico has been discharged from Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital after he was dragged into a forest and beaten unconscious by two male assailants Wednesday morning. Police said the victim’s hands were bound and Det. Sgt. Anthony Odoardi said they are confident the attack was targeted due to the controversial nature of his book Wake Up Call.

Co-author Gabrielle Dipersico’s home was broken into just a day after the assault and they have received death threats by Muslim extremists for insulting Islam. The Police are currently conducting an investigation along with a safety plan for the authors.

Wake Up Call has angered several religious groups, family members and it was rejected by over a dozen publishers for being “extremely controversial” and “inflammatory.”

I thought it worth noting the author’s description of the book’s main character: “Although being brought up in a Muslim household, yet he questions the very existence of God and says: “Islam is a religion of ‘peace’ and Muslims will kill you to prove it.”

But so what? Whether the author’s views are politically correct or insane, what matters is that these threats are carried over into real world violence. And the motivation is islamic religious piety trying to police the rights and freedoms of others through intimidation and violence. This reveals why, at their core, islam and enlightenment values are in direct conflict. People need to choose which side they are on.

March 10, 2011

Why will the Egyptian revolution fail?

Filed under: belief,civil rights,Egypt,Human Rights,Islam,misogyny,Religion — tildeb @ 10:07 am

It started off with such promise, but the revolution in Egypt will fail because the right to political and social equality for half of the population is held in contempt by the vast majority of its populace. The archaic anti-enlightenment belief directly supported by islam that women do not and should not have the same political and social rights as men has not been overthrown.

A demonstration on International Women’s Day by 300 women advocating for equality reveals this truth. The group was attacked and broken up by a much larger group of men who reportedly groped and beat and chased these women from Tahrir Square.  But this depressing result should not be surprising. PEW polling data reveals the scope and breadth of beliefs held by the vast majority of Egyptians that stand diametrically opposed to establishing political and social equality for women. And without equality in law for all citizens, the revolution is simply a period of time between being ruled by different strongmen.

Move along, folks. Nothing new to see here.

August 28, 2010

Do these claims against atheists look familiar?

Excellent article by Edmund Standing over at Butterflies & Wheels well worth the reading in its entirety from which I have taken these excerpts:

Claim 1: If an atheist reads a religion’s ‘holy book’ and find it to be full of vile, ignorant, and divisive material, the atheist is being unsophisticated in his or her approach. The atheist is ‘siding with the fundamentalists’ and consequently is not worth listening to.

Claim 2: If an atheist is to understand a ‘holy book’, they cannot simply read it, but must instead read it through liberal theological interpretive frameworks, and must understand that the ‘true message’ of the ‘holy book’ is something that emerges through the reflection of generations of interpretive communities, not through the plain and clear words that are actually printed on the page.

Neither of these arguments holds water, and are no more impressive when put forward by liberal Muslim apologists than when put forward by liberal Archbishops. These ‘arguments’, in Islam and in Christianity, are fundamentally intellectually dishonest and can only be the result of massive self-deception on the part of their proponents. There is really no case to answer, but I shall quickly knock down these claims again:

Response to Claim 1:

There is no logical reason why a supposed ‘holy book’ should not be taken at face value. This is especially the case in Islam, given a central belief in Islam is the claim that the Qur’an is a perfect, divinely authored text. This is not simply a ‘fundamentalist’ belief, but rather a mainstream belief. In fact, given the centrality of this belief, the use of the term ‘fundamentalist’ in regard to Islam is more problematic than with Judaism and Christianity because, as Sam Harris notes, ‘most Muslims appear to be “fundamentalist” in the Western sense of the word’. That is not to say that most Muslims are violent extremists, but that most at least pay lip service to the idea that they intrinsically view the nature of the Qur’an itself in exactly the same way as the extremists do.

Response to Claim 2:

The idea that ‘scholars’ who present Islam as dividing the world into believers and unbelievers and believe that Islam is supreme amongst religions have somehow ‘misinterpreted’ their faith is farcical, for throughout the Qur’an this is precisely the worldview that emerges. When religious liberals sugarcoat the clear meaning of their religious texts by claiming that we should not look directly at the text but rather at the writings of liberal ‘interpreters’ of the text, they are not basing their argument on anything approaching a logically coherent position, but rather on wishful thinking and self-deception, and they offer no firm, objective criteria by which such ‘interpretation’ can be seen as authentic.

Why attack moderates?

During the debates over religion that occurred during the Enlightenment, which were often framed in extremely harsh language, it was not violent extremists under attack, but the very notion of God, supernatural authority, and so on. The result of those debates ultimately was that religion in Europe took a beating and no longer represents any sort of threat to liberal democracy. Likewise, religious arguments in the political sphere are longer accepted on ‘divine’ authority, but must be articulated in such a way that they make sense in a secular context. While Muslim moderates are doing – or trying to do – good work in hindering extremism, they must also accept that the Enlightenment critique also applies to their beliefs, and that in the adult world people have every right to make criticisms, even of liberal religion, that may appear ‘nasty’ on first reading. If liberal Muslims are willing to trample on the beliefs of their less moderate co-religionists, then they must also be prepared to have their beliefs trampled on as well. No-one would consider that their personal political views should be exempt from criticism just because they are non-violent political views, and it would be an absurd and worrying precedent to be set were that the case. Religion is no different. Despite the fact that religious people seem to have a lot emotionally invested in their ‘faith’, the fact remains that religion, just like politics, is an ideology, and as such it is a perfectly legitimate target for criticism and debate, even if it is liberal and moderate in its nature.

There is one further point about moderates which has been well articulated by Sam Harris. It’s an argument worth considering. In the short run, pragmatically speaking, moderates appear to be a good thing, but their continued identification with a belief system that is extremely open to far less liberal interpretations may actually perpetuate the survival of its more irrational and beligerent forms. While moderate Muslims can criticise Islamism and offer alternative ‘interpretations’ of the Qur’an, they still maintain in doing so that the Qur’an does have some kind of authority.

Ultimately, Islam and the Qur’an do not pose problems because of ‘misinterpretation’, but rather because they belong to a world far from modernity and are actually of no relevance to modernity. Atheists have every right to point this out, even if it means criticising those who are nonetheless doing good work against extremism. Moderate Islam and moderate Quran’ic ‘interpretation’ offer no real bulwark against those who read the text of the Qur’an and take it at face value, as a perfect and divinely authored text. Only by acknowledging that any notion of a divinely authored book is simply false, by accepting the harsh reality that this book is in fact useless (and indeed dangerous) in the modern context, and by embracing human reason and freethinking will the curse of Islamic extremism ultimately be overcome.

August 26, 2010

How is this terrorist face NOT part of the religion of peace?

Filed under: Canada,Islam,terrorism — tildeb @ 9:03 pm

This is what islam should NOT look like. From the CBC:

Three Ontario men accused of taking part in a domestic terrorist plot and possessing plans and materials to create makeshift bombs had allegedly selected specific targets in Canada, sources told CBC News.

It is not yet known what the alleged targets were, but sources told CBC News that none of them was in the United States.

The RCMP investigation, dubbed Project Samosa, found evidence that one member of the group had been trained to construct electronic and explosive devices.

During their investigation, Therriault said, police seized more than 50 electronic circuit boards they say were designed specifically to remotely detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

He said they also seized a vast quantity of terrorist literature, videos and manuals.

“This group posed a real and serious threat to the citizens of the National Capital Region and Canada’s national security,” he said.

Unless and until we face up to the fact that islam itself is the root cause of much terrorism in the world today, we will not face reality.

August 13, 2010

What kind of example is this for muslims?

Filed under: Canada,commentary,Faith,Islam,Religion — tildeb @ 6:59 pm

A terrific starting position, as it turns out (but in need of some clarification and refinement). I’ve added some bold.

From the Canadian Council of Imams come this seven part declaration:

We, the imams who have signed below, hereby affirm and declare the following fundamental points:

1. We believe in the oneness of Allah (God) and in the oneness of humanity and that all the Messengers of God, including the final Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), have taught human beings how to come closer to God and closer to one another. Islam is a religion of nature and humanity, one that teaches that a person cannot be a good Muslim until he/she becomes a good human being. All human beings are equal, and all of them are the children of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them). The best Muslim is the one who is good to his/her family and neighbors and one who avoids harming others with his/her hand or tongue.

2. We believe in peaceful coexistence, dialogue, bridge building, and cooperation among all faiths and people for the common good of humanity. Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race, or nationality. The sanctity of human life overrides the sanctity of religious laws. Islamic rulings do not – and should not – contradict natural laws. Islam is a religion that promotes peace, justice, equality, dignity, and freedom for all human beings.

3. We believe in the preservation of all the necessities of life. Islam upholds the sanctity of religion, life, intellect, family/society, and property.

4. We believe that the well-being of our fellow citizens is the well-being of Muslims, and that the well-being of Muslims is the well-being of our fellow citizens. Being law-abiding people is part of the Islamic practice, and following the pristine teachings of Islam leads to good citizenship.

5. We believe in gender equity and each man and each woman’s divine right to education, social contribution, work, and treatment with respect and dignity. Men and women complement each other, and healthy relationships between them are essential to a healthy society.

6. We believe that it is the right of every individual adult person to determine for themselves their conduct towards and within their society (for example, in matters of dress or good manners), and their personal conduct in matters of faith and belief as well, as long as their conduct does not threaten the common good. Likewise, we believe that every society must be allowed to express and celebrate humanity’s profound cultural diversity, as long as the expression of that diversity does not include the compulsion of any individual to violate their own human rights, or their personal values, or their human nature, or otherwise threaten the common good of all people.

7. We believe and strongly encourage Muslims to seriously engage in civic life and contribute to their communities and society as much as they can.

Islam must evolve into accepting these tenets as central to practicing muslims it if it is to mature into a responsible modern religion.



July 21, 2010

What’s wrong with building a mosque near Ground Zero?

Filed under: Cordoba House,Islam,Religion — tildeb @ 10:27 am

The American Muslim site assures us that the purpose of the Cordoba House is to promote integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture by providing a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, can learn about art and culture.  The center is described to be guided by the Islamic values of compassion, generosity, and respect for all. It is due to be opened on September 11, 2011.

It is neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero, so what’s the problem?

The same author assures us that the only possible problem with the building of Cordoba House must be baseless islamaphobia and irrational fear driving criticism about the project. As Americans, the author contends, concerned about the future of our nation and concerned about our values, we have to vehemently oppose these critics. The choice is presented as an issue of fears versus values.  We can stand with our values or we can stand with our fears.

The irony makes one’s head spin. Let’s take a moment and try to understand what’s really going on here and see where our values truly lie.

First of all, why the Spanish name? What does Cordoba represent?

Well, according to Answering Islam, the first Cordoba mosque was built in that Spanish city in the aftermath of the Muslim conquest of Christian Spain. This Islamic “Conquista” was followed by the killings of men, and the enslavement of women, many of whom were carried away to the Arab lands to work as servants and concubines for their Muslim masters.  For both Arabs and Muslims, the history of their conquests remains as a symbol of their past glory, and power. That such a name was selected hardly indicates an example of community cohesion, nor does it imply anything to do with compassion, generosity, and respect for all. It represents religious conquest.

The location of Cordoba House – 600 feet from Ground Zero – is similar in effect to the Japanese erecting a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbour or the Germans opening a cultural center outside the gates of Auschwitz. These sites mean something important in and of themselves as sites of sanctity, and by maintaining that sanctity we honour and remember the victims whose deaths consecrated that ground. Opening such a center directly contradicts this sanctity: of all the place NOT to build a center for islam, Ground Zero surely ranks very highly. Building Cordoba House as close as possible to the site of this islamic inspired atrocity shows a singular lack of cultural sensitivity on behalf of its supporters and is insulting and offensive to those who lost people to this islamic inspired mass murder. This building of Cordoba House is many things, but as example of showing compassionate respect for the families of victims is not one of them.

The opening date is clearly chosen to focus on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. From afar, it would seem that from the ashes of the World Trade Towers rises an islamic building ten years to the day, a sign of islam’s eventual victory over the infidels. This becomes a potent symbol that emboldens the enemies of America while it has the added benefit that promotes the cause of that righteous holy war: islam.

No matter how often we are told that islam is the religion of peace, we must keep in mind that islam means submission to god according to the rules of the quaran. There is no peace, no respect, no compassion for anything or anyone other that those who agree to share this truth. Look to 9/11, 7/7, Madrid, Bali, the response to the Danish cartoons, Fort Hood, Mumbai, Times Square, and the endless blood spilled every day in its name and understand that what islam actually brings is not peace but the sword of conquest under the banner of religion. But don’t take my word for it: read the quaran for yourself and read the haddiths that explain the correct interpretation. This is a religion of conquest that upholds values antithetical to those afforded to individuals in the West under secular governments, hence the body bags for women called burkas we are told by religious appeasers to be a sign of healthy individual freedom of expression by those who wear it and by tolerating its use  in the West we show respect for their equality of gender.

Although many western imams will cherry pick a few phrases from the quaran that seem to be about peace and respect and generosity and social cohesion and integration and tolerance seemingly in tune with human rights and the dignity of personhood, the barbarism of this Iron age religion continues to be played out throughout the world with the hanging of gays in Tehran, the stoning of women accused of adultery, acid attacks on girls going to school, daily suicide bomb attacks to kill civilians, and so on. These human rights abuses are as much a part of islam in action as a nice and shiny new cultural center funded by muslims in New York City. What’s wrong with building Cordoba House is that we show tolerance of both when we choose to think ourselves sophisticated and tolerant to support the one.

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