I’ve been an atheist for a long time. I’ve come to expect a certain amount of bullshit and pettifoggery from the religious and political conservatives. It comes with the territory. I usually grit my teeth and get on with my day. Occasionally there’s what I call “honest criticism” usually from principled people inside a social group who wish to implement a change benefiting the status of that group. It’s uncomfortable, but worth the time and effort to listen and consider carefully their concerns. It’s how we grow as a civil society. When I’m looking to persuade people to be potential allies, my credibility and trustworthiness is my number one asset. If what I say can’t be trusted as being truthful in one instance, everything else I say becomes irrelevant. It follows that my criticism needs to be a truthful one. My motivation must be from a place of hope for improved cooperation and empathy. Any issues I put forward must have both elements; identifying the problem, and an array of suggested paths to a solution everyone can live with. In other words, consensus building.
The hallmark of rhetoric intended only to prevent dissent and maintain privilege for a mindset or ideology will contain distortions, no path to a solution and will single out a segment of society and/or individuals in order to portray them as fringe elements or to vilify them. It characterizes their ideas and opinions as bigotry dishonestly.
I invite atheists to read Mr. Choudry’s article “Talibani Atheism and How It Fuels Islamophobia”http://kashifmd.com/2014/06/21/talibani-atheism-how-it-fuels-islamophobia/ and assess which category it most closely resembles, consensus building or stifling dissent? I leave you to decide among yourselves.
Factoids: [from Pew]
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, or 23% of the world’s population, making Islam the second-largest religion.
Significant shares of Muslims don’t see the distinction between Sunni and Shia Islam as relevant. Both embrace Sharia Law.
There is no allowance for secular pluralism under Sharia.
Amadiyya Muslims comprise roughly two percent of the Muslim population world wide and can hardly be described as representative of Islam. Sharia Law can and is.
Countries with high religious populations show high percentages of overt social hostility to minority religions and the irreligious.
In more than half of all countries, religious groups make attempts to stop other religious groups from growing, sixteen percent of which include physical violence.
“In 49 countries (25%), individuals or groups used force or the threat of force to oblige adherence to religious norms. This kind of social intimidation ranges from religiously motivated harassment of women for immodest dress, which was reported by the primary sources in about one-in-ten countries (8%), to efforts by organized groups to dominate public life with their perspective on religion. Such groups – including the Ku Klux Klan in the United States, skinheads in Europe and extremist vigilantes in some Muslim-majority societies – exist in 131 countries (66%), operating at the local or regional level in 80 (41%) and at the national level in 51 (26%). At times, these groups do not appear to have a religious agenda other than to oppose certain religious minorities.” [quote pew http://www.pewforum.org/2009/12/17/social-hostilities-index-shi/ ]
“The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 1-5 among 1,504 adults, finds sizable demographic and religious differences in attitudes toward Islam and violence. And the partisan gap is as large as ever: 62% of Republicans say that Islam encourages violence more than other religions, compared with 39% of independents and just 29% of Democrats.” [quote http://www.people-press.org/2013/05/07/after-boston-little-change-in-views-of-islam-and-violence/ ]
Factoids about the “League of Militant Atheists” [A Russian Organization]
This group never existed in the US. It has zero influence on public discourse today.
It passed from political relevance in the 70’s, was only officially active from 1925-1947 in Russia. [an essay you might find interesting: http://www.3saints.com/atheism_orthodoxy.html ]
It is always a useful sophistry when wanting to discredit a group, to refer to horrific examples of past history, atheism is not exempt from it, see also the usual references to Chairman Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, et al.
I’m not aware of any examples of Western atheism having a history of these crimes, perhaps a reader could share any with me and educate us all.
To my knowledge, there are no atheist politicians in US government. If there are, the number is statistically insignificant. Seventy five percent of the US population, both Democrat and Republican comprise a religious majority. They are the demographic you must convince of the innocuity of Islam. Not a few outspoken atheists.
Given this information, who would conclude that atheism fuels Islamophobia?
Dr. Kashif N. Chaudry.
Which would “reasonable people” be more inclined to consider a larger problem, religious hostility or atheism?
Why, atheism, of course.
UPDATE: A first in my blogging life~ I had an author ask me to “rewrite” my response, and then send him the link, ostensibly for his approval, I guess. I invited him to comment here if he wished to refute any inaccuracies in my article.
Also did a quick screen grab of the tweets in case anyone develops amnesia.