A Response to “Talibani Atheism” How it Fuels Islamophobia

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.

in_case_of_choudry_being _a_tweet_deleting_weasel

 

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About Egg Zackly

Retired amateur pundit.
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13 Responses to A Response to “Talibani Atheism” How it Fuels Islamophobia

  1. Talibani atheism is a ridiculous term.

  2. ZachsMind says:

    Reblogged this on ZachsMind and commented:
    “If what I say can’t be trusted as being truthful in one instance, everything else I say becomes irrelevant.” I do that all the time. I mean, I don’t mean everything I say. Sometimes I say something cuz I think it’s funny, but I don’t really mean it, but the upshot of this is when I want ppl to know i mean what I say, they don’t. So nothing I say is relevant, and that’s usually fine with me cuz I’m not trying necessarily to be relevant. usually. However, when it comes to the idea that “not all muslims are violent..” it only takes one. I think that’s relevant. Also, it only takes one mistake in Abrahamic texts to prove the Quran, New Testament, Torah, and any other word that pretends to be “Of God” demonstrably isn’t. There’s countless errors in the alleged words of god, but I can scream that from the rooftops and nobody will take me seriously. So sometimes being demonstrably The Boy Who Cried Wolf isn’t very useful, when the wolves actually start hounding at the door. These thoughts were on my mind when @moinedeisme over on Twitter said “You’ll love this guy then” and introduced me to mywishfortoday.wordpress.com. Birds of a feather and all that.

    • P Yew says:

      Thanks, Zach. I always enjoy when you visit. I agree with you. When I hear temporizing over all the Muslims who “aren’t like that” or they “disagree with violence” I like to draw what I call the analogy of breaking the speed limit. Many drivers don’t agree with posted limits. Some will disregard them and drive faster. Those that get caught pay their fines or accept the legal consequence. They all ultimately bow to established authority. Those who live in Sharia are no exception and to pooh pooh the reality of floggings, delimbings, beheadings, and all the ways Islam is a “religion of peace”, because “not everyone agrees” is to be in serious denial of a brutal reality. Those who wish to live in a free pluralistic society are justified in their concern over Sharia Law. It’s not a “phobia”.

  3. eyeontheuniverse says:

    You might want to include this Pew data which present opinions and beliefs among Muslims around the world:

    http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/

  4. P Yew says:

    Thanks Eye for your visit and comment. You will note I was careful to not single out Islam as being the sole problem in social unrest. Religious majorities whatever their sect all act in the same way. It is why I advocate for complete separation of church and state. It’s the only rational path to a thriving open society.

  5. tildeb says:

    I read Chaudhry’s post and responded. This is what I wrote:

    They (‘Talibani’ atheists Sam Harris and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) argue that a good Muslim and a good human are mutually exclusive.

    Sources, please.

    Taliban atheists are directly responsible for Islamophobia.

    Evidence, please.

    Look, anyone can make these kinds of claims and then use them as premises to justify their demonizing conclusions by conveniently ignoring what’s true. For example, it’s not you who has to pay for 24 hour protection against these ‘Talibani atheists’ is it? Harris helps pay for Ali’s yet you conveniently lump these two as equivalent to those who would kill them. This is disingenuous and apologetics of the worst kind.

    Both Harris and Ali unequivocally support muslims as people who are the greatest victims of islam. The cause of this victimization is not atheism as you hint in your final paragraphs; it’s other muslims who hold their religious beliefs to be of greater value than the dignity of real people in real life they harm in its name.

    Both Harris and Ali condemn islam for producing such popular values contrary to the central enlightenment values of western liberal secular democracies, namely, the recognition of personal autonomy and legal equality. Harris and Ali have spoken and written at length about why these values apply to all people – including any and all muslims – and that any religious doctrine – especially islam – that subjugates personal autonomy and grants this authority to the rule of some divine being is contrary to and in conflict with the root values on which liberal secular democracies have been built.

    To claim that New Atheists Harris and Ali are promoters of bigotry when, in fact and deed, they demonstrate inclusiveness for all people with sacrosanct equality legal rights and autonomy, is beyond ludicrous: it is lying. It is an intentional falsehood used solely not to represent what’s true, not to be honest in description, but stated to intentionally malign their characters.

    Not satisfied with just maligning their characters with this false accusation of bigotry, you equate their justified criticism of islam (based on scriptural authority to reject legal equality and autonomy of individuals) to be equivalent to people who throw acid in the faces of girls who want to go to school and learn. This makes your assertion malicious. That’s what this post of your demonstrates and that is your post’s demonstrated intentions. You vilify those who champion your right to be able to form your own opinions and then vilify them for doing the same (in the name of moderate islam, of course). This is religious apolgetics at its finest, and you should be ashamed for your lack of character to participate in spewing it.

    • P Yew says:

      TilDeb-
      I popped over to see if any comments had been allowed, and to my amazement, there you were. I’m sure there are other comments that haven’t been published though. Zach’s being one of them. Thank you for mirroring your thoughts here. Excellent comment! I’m very grateful. If only atheism had half the influence on public opinion the apologists blame/credit us with, we’d live in a much better society.

  6. The Syed Atheist says:

    Reblogged this on The Syed Atheist.

    • P Yew says:

      I am so sorry for not acknowledging this post. Please accept my sincerest apologies. I’m honored you chose my post for reblogging.

  7. P Yew says:

    Just when I thought I had thoroughly made my point, going through the news/blogs today, I find this gem that really illustrates religious hostility and difficulties of comingling religion and government in the US. This thinking IS worthy of all the criticism it gets.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Jody Hice, a Republican candidate seeking to represent Georgia’s 10th U.S. House district believes that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty does not apply to followers of Islam.

    “Although Islam has a religious component, it is much more than a simple religious ideology,” Rev. Jody Hice wrote in his 2012 book It’s Now Or Never, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It is a complete geo-political structure and, as such, does not deserve First Amendment protection.”

    The House candidate also believes the Muslim Brotherhood is secretly infiltrating the United States in a plot to impose Sharia law on the entire country, a conspiracy theory he shares with Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

    [quote Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/23/georgia-gop-candidate-jody-hice-muslims-not-protected-by-the-first-amendment/ ]

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It’s worth noting none of the above mentioned are atheists. Perhaps Choudry will coin a new term for his next hack piece titled “Republicans and how Talibani atheists cause them to fuel Islamophobia.”

    • tildeb says:

      Ironically, it is the ‘Talibani atheists’ – aka New Atheists – who are Chaudhry’s staunchest allies against any loss of individual rights… including his freedom of religion. Pointed criticism about the Koran being used as the perfect word of god is not equivalent to condemning muslims as people… people that New Atheists assume have identical rights to their own.

      That he doesn’t get this fact is a sad commentary revealing a tremendous depth and scope of ignorance he then fills in with his highly negative beliefs to describe and condemn these vocal atheists. Perhaps he might come to the realization that he IS ignorant, that his beliefs ARE factually wrong, and take steps to rectify this lazy lack of knowledge rather than spend time and effort vilifying New Atheists based on his faith-based beliefs that are disconnected from the reality he presumes they describe.

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