“Dear Atheists, We Ex-Muslims Are Waiting For You”

Reddit user zulaikha_idris makes a good point:

Dear Atheists, we ex-muslims are waiting for you guys to get over Christianity and start waging war against Islam for a change. Yeah, sure it’s really fun and all bashing the Bible, fundies, priests, young earthers, the pope, etc, but really don’t you guys think that it’s time to shift at least some attention to Islam?

We ex-muslims are a very small minority, and there’s really nothing we can we really do to change anything. We can’t form orgnaizations or voice our thoughts in most Muslim countries. We practically have no rights whatsoever besides the right to go to jail or be hanged or beheaded for our blasphemy.

But the voice of millions of atheists like all of you would significantly help us. It brings into world attention our plight, and all the horrible things Islam is responsible for, and how it has oppressed and destroyed many of our lives. It would at least help change some laws that would benefit us ex-muslims.

I heard that Ayaan Hirsi Ali (an exmuslim) has replaced Hitchens as the one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism. Maybe this is a cue that we need to concentrate more against the Religion of Peace?

To be fair, many atheist activists have spent time bashing Islam but it’s not nearly enough. While Christianity still deserves our attention since it’s the dominant faith in America, the role of Islam around the world demands our action.

As it is practiced around the world, Islam is a consummation of all the worst that religion has to offer:

  • Cult-like isolation from other world views means generation after generation is born into ignorance.
  • Circumcision of boys and girls because healthy children aren’t born perfect; they must have a knife taken to their genitals.
  • Leaving the faith means death. Apostasy is considered one of the worst crimes.
  • Treating women as sub-human pieces of property that must be beaten into obedience means at least half the population is silenced before they can speak.
  • Personalized angel duo watches you at every moment, keeping a tally of all the good and bad you do so that you can be judged when you die.
  • Reward of heaven is used as an incentive to kill and maim innocent people.
  • Unyielding dogma leaves no room for thoughtful criticism nor humor.
  • Islam means Submission. They want to be slaves to their god; it’s right there in the name.

This is not a religion of peace and we need to be more vocal about calling Muslims out when they perpetuate this lie. Moderate Muslims are softer on some of these points but still adhere to them enough to represent a very broken belief system.

At a recent street fair, I found myself debating Muslims in the booth next to the Seattle Atheists’ booth. They seemed like nice people but one of the men wouldn’t even shake my hand — out of “respect,” he said.

Is there a way to call out these “minor” episodes of dogmatic thinking to moderate Muslims in a way that fosters dialogue with them?

About Ericka M. Johnson

As a lover of science and reason, Ericka M. Johnson has an affinity for evolutionary biology and is the president of Seattle Atheists. She revels in any opportunity for a thoughtful debate on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (especially over a pint.) Follow her on twitter @ErickaMJohnson

  • Gunstargreen

    The thing most of us live in Christian countries and there isn’t really anything we could say or do to influence policy in Islamic countries. We’re having a hard enough time influencing policy in our own countries against Christianity which is the immediate threat to our laws and our way of life.

    Don’t get me wrong, we recognize all of the problems that people face at the hands of Islam and we do speak out about it but we’re not really in a position that can change those theocracies.

    If we can change the way our country views religion though, maybe we’ll be in a better position to change how the world views it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregory.shefler Gregory Shefler

    One problem is that significant parts of the political Left has turned this into a topic of Race rather than Reason.  The label of “racist” is thrown around with such abandon that few are willing to risk it.  Also, the political Right’s version of anti-Islam comes from anything but Reason (Religious rivalry), and few are willing to risk guilt by association.  That is to say nothing of actual threats of violence from Islamic fundies, though it is comparatively benign in North America.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I’m outspoken in my criticism of all religion. But from a practical standpoint, there’s only so much I can do, only so much time I have. Islam is a minor threat to me compared with Christianity. And more to the point, I have a degree of political influence over these matters in the U.S., but little or none over matters in other countries. So while I’ll vocally support atheists everywhere, and condemn foreign countries which operate in ways that violate my personal code of ethics, I have to be realistic in choosing my battles.

    Ultimately, change in any country as to come from within. It is good to see that happening recently in several Islamic nations, and I certainly support the efforts of my own government in facilitating such change.

    • Fatpie42

       I think the real issue here is “who are the leaders?”

      We can pick out the Pope pretty easily as a figure with widespread influence and clear lines of authority.

      Islam though?

      There are foreign regimes which our governments should put more pressure on because of their human rights abuses, so no change there.

      However, in terms of religious leaders in Islam, there’s not much that can be picked out.

      In spite of the problems with legitimising sharia courts, that does at least involve some attempts to ensure that rulings don’t undermine statuatory rights. Whether going through arbitration or just using independent sharia courts, the influence is mostly through peer pressure. What we have there is problems with a somewhat right-wing and conservative cultural movement, not with an organisation with a clear hierarchy.

      To look at one of the points in the OP, it’s notable that the more extreme Muslims are often the younger ones who understand better than previous generations the culture in which they live. The idea that it is just a matter of cultural isolation (in Western countries at least) simply doesn’t gel with the facts.

      Killing apostates is still murder. I don’t think there’s any fear of us anyone not caring about murder, so I don’t really what we are supposed to do about that issue.

      The final four points in the list in the OP are all issues with Christianity too. Christians believe God is watching and recording your actions. Christians have killed in the name of their religion before and it’s not strange to see some even in modern times linking current wars with religious duty. (Suicide bombing is actually primarily a political act, albeit with a gloss from cultural religious ideas. Just as Martin Luther King’s promotion of peaceful protest had a Christian gloss, while peaceful protest has occurred in non-Christian contexts before and since.)  Dogma and submission are both problems with Christianity too and the term “submission” means little different in Islam from the idea of being filled with the holy spirit in Christianity. The basic gist is doing what you believe your religion demands rather than following selfish impulses, which is fine so long as none of your religious ideas and practices are destructive to yourself or others.

      I think zulaikha_idris could do with following up with some more practical action-points.

  • I_Claudia

    Dear Muslims,

    We atheists who do not hail from Muslim backgrounds or countries understand the special challenges you face against religious cultures that are largely much more conservative and violence prone than our own. We deeply admire those who are able to break free and still have courage left over to speak out, often at considerable risk to their own safety.

    Though it is undoubtedly true that atheists in predominately Christian countries should lend their support to their formerly Muslim brethren, you must understand that there quite understandable reasons why we center our attention on the Christian fundamentalists.

    Though not universal, there is at least a plurality of understanding in the community that Muslim fundamentalists are in practice more dangerous than Christian fundamentalists, but for most western atheists, the latter are more of a problem. Jupiter is far more massive than the moon, but the moon is much closer and thus creates the tides. While Muslim fundamentalists are clearly dangerous, the average American or European atheist will be far more affected by laws and attitudes stemming from the much tamer but much closer Christian fundamentalists. Please understand that people relate more strongly to those things that affect them personally.

    For many of us, there is also a high premium placed on not lending involuntary support to those with bigoted and racist views. Muslim communities in the West are already viewed with suspicion and treated as if they were all sympathetic to terrorists, often by the very same people who view atheists with suspicion and treat us as if we were amoral nihilists. Opposing religion is important, and opposing violence absolutely essential, but understand that many of us want to take a slightly more cautious stance, lest we end up supporting those that view all of you as suspicious brown people.

    None of this is to say that the plight of former Muslims is to be ignored. Certainly attention should be paid. Strong ties should be established between the ex-Muslim community and the wider non-theist community, so we ensure we don’t leave ex-Muslims by the wayside and to learn how to address Islam in a way that does not contribute to unfair prejudice against peaceful Muslim individuals. Just please understand that our home-front is not with Islam as it is for you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jjrobert Joachim Robert

      “Please understand that people relate more strongly to those things that affect them personally.” 
      While true, this is not a good thing. This just suggests we lack empathy to set aside our own problems and focus on the vastly bigger problem of Islam, even if it doesn’t personally affect our lives. I don’t want to be that person; do you?

      • http://www.facebook.com/tyler.p.white.5 Tyler Picillo White

        Actually , in terms of world influence , Christianity is a far greater threat . While Islam is a huge problem in the middle east and has some annoying pockets in the western world , it does not reach out into every part of the world and make a huge impact like the Christians , especially the Catholic Church , Look at much of Africa ,South America ,and even the US .. on top of that 33% of the world pop is Christian while 20% is Muslim … 

        • ErickaMJohnson

           No one is saying Christianity doesn’t cause problems. Listing how much bad Christians do doesn’t reduce how much bad Muslims do.

          • m0x0

             All religion is mind bendingly bad.  It serves only to cause the human race to hate each other for reasons that are illogical and pointless…

            • Foy

              except buddhism and they are atheists

              • WJ Murray

                Buddhists don’t get a free pass either.  Tibetan Buddhists still have aspects of Bon in their insanity and worship Dharma protectors.  And if you have any knowledge of their history, you know that they are also guilty of bloodshed.  They have a history of sects killing each other over the correct form of buddism.  And lets not leave out the fact that there is still the same nonsense of holding the soul ransom through the doctrine of rebirth if one does not follow the correct dharma to reach enlightenment.  No, Buddhists are just as guilty of BS as the rest of them.     

        • izak

          No sister more than 40 per cent of the world are muslim now check your resersh again Islam is the relegion of love of mercy of respect of building of women rights islam is the solution of our this centry problems and all the time, please iam not good in English but you can do your reserch i bet if you open your mind and read about Islam you will change your opinion about this great relegion.

          • Pjsavoie

            It is not 40%, it is less than 20%.  Only the high birth-rate (which relates to the injustices committed against women, forcing women to act as only baby-factories) seems to give them large numbers.  But in free and democratic countries (and ALL countries were supposed to sign the United Nations statutes on freedom of religion and thought) mean you can’t guarantee your children will stick to the Muslim religion.  There is no incentive to; it is getting a very bad reputation in ALL parts of the world, even itself.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684104883 John Ostrowick
          • Clarissa

             You may not do research, but we do.
            Only just over 20% of the world’s population is muslim.
            Out of 7 billion people, there are between 1.4 to 1.6 billion muslims in total.
            And we are all reading about islam now, and what we see is violence, bloodshed, wife beating, bombs, terrorists, murder and madness.
            Far from being a religion of peace, islam is a political machine intent on world domination.
            Do you research before you open your lying mouth.
            Taqiyya is your shield to hiode behind.
            We are not fools here.

            • m0x0

               You know it!

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1632044135 Mohamad Ali Fudin

              yeah, that is what we all see and heard from the media that is not being controlled by anyone and always speak the truth. internet,tv, radio never lies.
               it is true said in the  koran in 4:34 about the wife beating, but if you think that beating them like an animal is what koran said, you are deeply wrong.there is always a limit in everything.  some words of koran can not be directly interpreted, as they have other meaning. like a shakespeare poem, it always have other subjective meaning which can be found after learning through out. 

              http://www.muslimaccess.com/articles/Women/wife_beating.asp

              please tell me if i do lie as the media is.

              • Nimal

                oh common, you guys interpret the kuran as you want it. And I am yet to see someone blindly believe in shakespeare and kills thousand of people.

            • Furqan Nisar Sheikh

              Taqiyya as you say was never a part of the Holy Quran. The Shiya sect produced the idea of self-defense. There was no verse revealed to ward off crises under any circumstances. Islam was presented to the world as an ideology. All humans perceive ideas differently. There’s no reason to condemn anyone. Like Ayyan, i consider myself as a passive muslim now but i believe that no religion i have studied so far safeguards the rights of muslims better than Islam. Muslims aren’t terrorizing the world, those people are extremist; brainwashed dummies calling out for jehad for their own dirty business. I have had frequent debates with atheists. Instead of bashing islam ‘moderately’ and calling all of us people with extreme views :)
              Here’s a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqiyya
              I hope it helps and we dont shake hands with our women out of respect just so that our minds dont get any wrong ideas. If anyone of you needs to have a little debate here’s my fb link(https://www.facebook.com/furqan.nisar?ref=tn_tnmn&__req=k). I have questions that have no answers but mind you they are on more of a ideological ground. The practices designed of the ‘real’ islam are fair and just to the society in every way. It is simply flawless but it is the idea of belief that troubles me.

              • Pedo Prophet.

                You are a fucking idiot.

          • markumx

            HAHAHAHAHAHA..as an ex muslim this is the biggest lie or fantasy that muslims believe. Please IZak there is Zero respect for women in islam and it’s certainly not a religion of love. spread your lies elsewhere

            • Furqan Nisar Sheikh

              The book teaches us of respect. Again, not everyone practices the same. :)

              • littlechild

                The book teaches us respect… that’s yes and no. Yes, according to Makkiyah surahs. No, according to Madaniyah surahs.

                When muslims were small in number, in the first years of Muhammad’s prophecy, the book told them to be tolerance and respect. When muslims were stronger, it was different.

                For example: verses like 6:108, 6:151, yes, the book teaches about respect. Verses like 4:89, 2:191, maybe not.

                So the answer is yes and no. CMIIW.

          • M0x0

             You are sooo sadly mistaken.  Get your head out the sand brother.

          • rahul

            1st: I liked by mistake so deduct 1 from likes
            2nd: If you are so open minded why dont you take on Ali Sina and win USD 50,000.
            3rd: Well lets come to womens right. Why dont you try wearing Burqa for a few days and you will know what they go through daily, moron.

            • Furqan Nisar Sheikh

              Most of the muslims respect their muslim women who wear Burqa. No one respects a woman who likes to expose her body more than she should. You ask for a debate and then you start cursing. Islam asks for modesty. If we see a woman who hasn’t really covered up much; we are to lower our gaze. How bad is that?

              • Johan

                Furqan, why should a woman wear Burka? Muslim women wear Burka because Mohammad ordered his 12 wives to wear it. He became impotent at the age of 63. His wives were very beautiful and young. Aiysha was 19 and others were between 23 to 30. He did not want his wives to marry other men after his death so he ordered them to cover from head to toe. Eventually this has become a modest dress for Muslim women. Why his first wife Kadhija did not wear Burka? You Muslims will never ask sensible questions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/LookingGlassAlice Alice Poetry Denton

             As a woman who has read EXTENSIVELY about the muslim culture as it relates to women, I can tell you that the way that women are treated in Islam, terrifies me.  I am incredibly grateful that I was not born in a muslim country.  If your truth is the truth, you do not need to beat your women into submission, or murder people who don’t believe the same as you.  If your truth is the truth, it can be discussed civilly, rather than shoved down our throats at the point of a sword.  Until women are treated as human beings worthy of respect and freedom by muslims, you will never convince me that it is peaceful, or worthy.   Women are human beings.  We have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that men do.  We have the same capacity for learning.  We have the same capacity for intellect.  We have the right to live our lives as we decide – women are not just sex slaves, sold by their fathers to men who will beat and rape them, and possibly even kill them.   The way that muslim women are treated is shameful.  You will never convince me that those women actually want to be treated that badly.  They are just too terrified to speak up because they know that if they do speak up for their rights, they will just be beaten to death by some fundamentalist monster.

        • Clarissa

           You make many mistakes in your letter, but I expect its because you have done little research.
          Africa as a continent is more than 47% of the population being Muslim, accounting for 1/4 of the world’s Muslims.
          Christianity accounts for less than 40%.
          Christianity is on the wane worldwide, whereas islam is growing fast owing not to the number of people converting (which is small), but  to the very high birthrates among muslim women.
          You may be unaware that islam, far from being a simple religion, is a totalitarian political dogma which is hell bent on dominating the world by force of necessary.
          This is clearly stated intention on the koran, and all muslim followers have to abide by that intent on pain of ostracization, beatings and even death.
          Muslims in the West will deny this, but lies (taqiyya) are part of  what every man, woman and child are taught in this dreadful religion. They lie to protect islam – nothing more.
          They are the facts, and if you have any sense, you will learn about the danger and threat of islam before it is too late.

          • http://www.facebook.com/derek.martin.1994 Derek Martin

            Yes, but all the more reason to focus on Christianity. As a declining faith, it is the primary source of worldwide Atheists and in many cases it is on the verge of collapse. If it gets pushed over the edge and the current trend suggests it will, then atheists will grow in number and more importantly, political clout. The more influential we are in the West, the less time that has to be devoted to Christian attempts to force their beliefs and the greater our ability to oppose Islam wherever it manifests.

          • Rahul

            I think you are absolutely right. Christianity can never be as bad as Islam and everyone must do their bits to defeat it to live in a peaceful world. The biggest problem of modern world is not Climate change but Islam. Period.

        • m0x0

           Dear Tyler,

          Whilst your statistics may be doubtable, your assertion is entirely incorrect.

    • Him

       Actually, there might be a good opportunity here if we recognize it. United we stand, divided we fall. If atheists in Christian countries (who can speak out) can help the ex-muslims who currently can’t speak out, it will create more who can speak out in the future against Christianity. Right now, ex-muslims are a null value, but they don’t have to be. Their stone could join ours if we use ours to knock theirs free.

    • m0x0

       There can be no such thing as a true “peaceful” Muslim, not if they follow the “word”  This leaves a problem…. does it not?

      • hasan

        I am an atheist living in a muslim country, I think I have  a more “objective” look at the subject than most of you.  
         Yes, Islam is the biggest danger the humanity is facing now. I am 46 and I will not see this happen but if we care for next generations, we must find a way to STOP islam. 
         But unfortunately, there is no way, because you  people are in a deep sleep…

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.j.prorok Matthew James Prorok

    I think the issue stems from the fact that those of us who aren’t actually ex-Muslims have less credibility with Muslims.  We as a group should definitely lend our support to those who’ve left Islam, and should be willing to speak out against Islamic religious superstition as much as we do Christianity.  But to the Muslims, our words won’t matter as much.  You really need an Ayaan Hirsi Ali or an Ibn Warraq to get Muslims themselves to prick up their ears and listen.

  • ganner918

    I responded in that thread saying that while we certainly can’t ignore Islam, we have the most knowledge of our own culture and the religions of our culture, and we can have the most impact within our own culture. As an outsider, it’s hard for us to drive change within a foreign culture. The change, largely, has to come from within. We can sit over here and criticize and debate, but what good does it do? Europeans can have a greater effect, with larger Muslim populations there, but even then I feel that ex-muslims can be 10 times as effective at causing change within their communities than others can.

  • Forrest Cahoon

    Here in America, the stunning bigotry of some Christians against American Muslims often makes it seem important to defend Muslims’ essential humanity, and leave addressing their religious delusions for another day.

    Christina Rad addresses this conundrum (I hope my link to a place in the middle of this video works):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh5fHLrmiW0#t=10m56s

    • Kodie

       My impression of the common anti-Muslim sentiment in the US is that they hate us and want to kill us. I don’t generally hear criticisms of their other policies. That pretty much sums up why it’s difficult in this situation. I’m against them all for their policies, but I also believe in religious freedom. So Muslims can build a mosque – that’s religious freedom. Christians think it is disrespectful or scary? So I side with a Muslim to build their mosque and side against a Christian with the double-standard. I side against Christians who make threats of violence to Muslims or Hindus or brown people who seem too “Muslim” (like the president) or abortion doctors, etc., and I side against Muslims who make threats of violence to Christians or Americans or cartoonists, etc. What they each do inside their own homes or communities to fulfill their religious beliefs is part difference of opinion to me and part disgusting and should end. I do not choose to hate religions on the basis they are nearer to me or more common – Muslims DO have consequences on US policies. Laws are made based on fear of Muslims, young people go to war and don’t come back because of Muslims. Christians want to impose their beliefs on us from the inside; Muslims also want to terrorize us into enacting laws that inhibit the freedoms we were founded upon. 

      I do not believe in stopping religion. I do oppose many things religious people believe, especially if it has consequences of harm on someone else. Like stoning someone. Or prohibiting medical procedures. Or filling a young child’s head with garbage and paranoia. That’s not healthy. Atheism is for everyone who wants it, and atheism should be more diverse, more concerned about the power of religion in all the world. “They” don’t live only “over there” anymore, out of sight, out of mind. I don’t divide my a-theism or what, to me, are ridiculous beliefs. They are all ridiculous, some are more dangerous than others, and apostates from all religions are welcome to their voice in atheism.

      I sort of disagree with being “challenged” by some ex-Muslims. If you have something to say, join in the conversation, broaden the scope of what you now perceive atheism to be. Don’t stand on some side of a fence and call us out for having too narrow a focus.

  • http://twitter.com/ErnestValdemar Ernest Valdemar

    Things Western atheists can do:

    1) We can listen to ex-Muslims, and amplify their voices.

    2) We can provide a safe place for ex-Muslims, up to and including sanctuary for ex-Muslims facing fatwahs.

    Things we cannot do:

    1)  We can’t speak directly to the lived experience of ex-Muslims and apostates living in or fleeing from majority Muslim countries.

    2) We can’t form a reasoned critique of contemporary Islam based on reading translations of the Koran and reading wire-service news items.

    One thing I wish more atheists spoke to is the history (recent history!) of the changes in the complexion of Islam that have occurred in just the last 40 years or so, most of which is blowback from U.S Cold War policy of propping up corrupt royal families and military dictators, and suppressing democratic trends in the Muslim world.

    Remember when the biggest threat the Western world faced from Islamic nations was “creeping Socialism”? I do, and I’m only 48. The past is another country.

    Islam pretends to be some ancient text-based religion, and for folks under 40, contemporary Islamism is all they’ve ever known. But the forms of Islam we see today (fatwahs, terrorism, FGM, etc.) are actually recent practices — just as contemporary Fundamentalism in the US only really began during the Reagan era.

    The religious threats that global atheists face in the 21st century are new. Our problem isn’t Bronze-Age texts and medieval theology. Our problem with religion is the politicization of religion in a post-Cold War world.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Amazing. You’ve managed to blame one country for the entire world’s problems.

      • jdm8

        Some of that is deserved.  That’s the consequence of decades of meddling in the affairs of others.    Al Queda’s predecessor was aided by the CIA.  Bin Laden was on “our side” at that time, but that was only an alliance of convenience.  The US propped up Egypt’s Mubarak despite it being clear that he was an evil man.  The US aided Saddam Hussein in the 80′s.  The CIA helped overthrow a functioning democracy in Iran in the 50′s, propped up an unpopular and ruthless Shah, and that might be why we have an anti-American Ayatollah.

        • The Other Weirdo

           Incredible. You’ve just managed to state the completely obvious without any sign of understanding why these things were going on.

          • jdm8

            Those aren’t obvious facts, they’re often ignored or forgotten.

            I understand the whys, some of those reasons may be considered justifiable, but others weren’t.

          • Fatpie42

             Whereas you’ve shown SO much understanding in that one sentence, so I can see why you are justified in your condescending remarks.

            But seriously… if you have so much more understanding, how about demonstrating a little bit of it, eh?

            • DeadInHell

              His silence is illuminating.

      • Forrest Cahoon

         

        Amazing. You’ve managed to blame one country for the entire world’s problems.

        He just mentioned one factor affecting one of the world’s many problems. Your outrageous exaggeration is a form of trolling, right?

  • Rick Wigton

      I thought the comments here were all very well thought out and reasonable & I agree with all of them. But if Imay add my 2 cents worth. My concern is that if we start attacking the tenents of Islam too vigorously that it will give encouragement to the nutcases on the Religious Right to amp up their hatred of everything Muslim. Vandalism against mosques could increase as could attacks on individual Muslims. I would prefer that former Muslims take on the task of taking on their former faith as opposed to former Christians turned atheists attacking Islam. (It would have a lot more impact.)
      I also agree that fundamentalist Islam is the more violent cousin of fundamentalist Christianity. Both are dangerous in my view but since this nation is overwhelmingly Christian we should be more focused on the wackos we have here than the ones overseas.
       As an aside I would like to point out that even the beliefs of “nice” Muslims can cause problems. Let me explain. I volunteer  on a crisis line and I recently met a fellow volunteer who happened to be a devout Muslim. (She wore the traditional scarf on her head.)  When we were introduced I went to shake her hand but she politely  demurred saying that it was against her religion to touch a man who was not a family member. I remember thinking how silly that was and I wondered what she would do if I had a heart attack in front of her and required CPR.  Would she not touch me for fear of “offending” Allah? These are the kinds of beliefs that cause problems.    

    • The Other Weirdo

       So you propose to do nothing because to do otherwise might incite some random people to violence? Congratulations. You’ve already been defeated.

      • Rick Wigton

         Well I didn’t say do nothing. I was just worried about giving the haters more ammo against a group that is a tiny minority in this country.  I think we DO need to speak up against any and all religious nonsense but I am just worried about other people’s safety since they are, as I said, a minority in this country which makes them easy to persecute.

        • Tom

          Do you also worry about attacking the tenets of Christianity in your own country, for fear of further egging on other countries to persecute the minority Christian groups over there?

          Violent, hateful people always find reasons to do harm, whether they’re playground bullies or theocratic despots.  If you don’t give them a reason, they’ll manufacture one.  If they can’t even do that for some reason, they’ll pick a target at random.  By refusing to act for fear of giving such people an excuse to hurt others, you actually imply that they’d somehow be justified in their action if you did provide one; you take responsibility for the decisions made by others.  It’s just a variant of the thought process that leads to victim blaming, and you shouldn’t think like that.

          We seem to see this well-meaning but highly naive and unhealthy mindset in an ever increasing number of places in modern society, from the relatively mundane (for example, schools that refuse to inspect for and treat lice infestations, for fear that the infected kids will be bullied, sending the implicit message that having nits is a valid reason to be bullied and also allowing the infestations to spread unchecked) to things that are seriously toxic to a safe, free, healthy society (“helpful” advice to women on how to avoid being raped, etc).

          The only person responsible for rape is the rapist, the only person responsible for bullying is the bully, the only person responsible for hatred is the hater.  Limiting your own actions in the hope of not provoking such people to act only hands more power to them in the long run.

        • The Other Weirdo

          In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the most attacked group in the US turned out to be Hindus, because the people stupid enough to engage in that sort of thing turned out to be too stupid to know the difference between Hindus and Muslims. Congratulations, Rick. You’ve just managed to effect complete surrender of your autonomy to complete morons. On Star Trek, they get defeated by an stupid-looking light show. In modern times, they are rewarded.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Sorry, should’ve also added, why didn’t you ask her if she would save you from a heart attack? Not asking just encourages them to continue believing the same old thing without self-reflection.

      • Rick Wigton

        Good point. But the introduction was brief and I had neither the time nor the energy to engage her in a theological debate. Perhaps I will bring it up if/when I see her again.

  • ortcutt

    I’m not so much opposed to religion per se as I am to religious privilege and violations of state secularism.  And given that I live in the United States, religious privilege is predominantly Christian (and Jewish somewhat) privilege.  You don’t see Muslims expecting to have Ramadan displays on government property.  You don’t see Muslims insisting on Muslim prayers at public school board meetings. 

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Islam is false and harmful, but Muslims makes up less than one percent of the US population.  Some people may call than parochial, but the threats to secularism in the US are the ones that concern me most.

  • T-Rex

    outside of apostasy, that list reads very much like an evangelical christian list of idiocy.

    • Stev84

      There are also Christian sects that officially condemn apostates. Jehova’s Witnesses are one the better known examples. People who leave the cult are shunned by everyone.

      Or take Calvinist cults like Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill. They also practice shunning and are far from the only ones.

      • T-Rex

        I was referring to the killing part. I realize there are quite a few cults that insist on making the lives of former members miserable. That’s why I hate all religions equally.

  • Earli

    Circumcision of children was ruled illegal today in Germany.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Shows that even the more advanced nations can slide backwards when it comes to medical rights and science-based decision making.

      • Quazz

        Yeah, genital mutilation should clearly be legal… Are you trolling?

        And please do not post that horrible study on STDs in relation to circumcision, that study had horrible methodology that makes the results absolutely useless. 

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Not at all. I think it’s a bona fide medical procedure, not mutilation, that has multiple health benefits (including public health benefits), and it should be a decision made by parents and doctors, not by the government.

          • honestabe

            Right, because the child actually getting his or her genitals cut shouldn’t have any part in that decision. 

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              Not if there are valid medical reasons for it, which there arguably are. It’s no different than the prophylactic removal of tonsils.

              I simply don’t see this as being something the government rightfully has a role in prohibiting. It isn’t a medical procedure without value, or without purpose. If it were cultural only (like female circumcision) I’d see it differently. But that isn’t the case here.

              • http://twitter.com/glenndavey83 Glenn Davey

                It’s actually a major decision about personal genitals that an adult must live with that only an adult should make.

                As I said above, all of science refutes what you are saying. the foreskin provides lubrication, and the stuff underneath contains an anti-bacterial. There is no evidence that uncircumsized penii suffer from more infections on average. 

                It’s basically unnecessary. Unless you are saying evolution didn’t take millions of years fashioning what we are born with. 

                Don’t trust me, trust science — foreskins are meant to be there. The end. No backsies. You’re wrong.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I disagree about the science. I’m a professional scientist, and I’m competent to read and understand studies. My own view is that the evidence is compelling that circumcision has many health benefits, both personal and public. I certainly don’t consider an argument from evolution to be compelling: evolution most definitely does not produce optimally “designed” organisms. We are born with all sorts of things that are compromises or outright sources of problems. Much of the medical treatment we receive over our lives will deal with “design” flaws that evolution left us with.

                  Everybody is, of course, free to reach their own conclusions. But it is important to recognize that this is an example where there is no consensus- many physicians consider circumcision to be beneficial, and many do not. I firmly believe that in any case where there is significant medical debate, the government should stay out of it. If doctors can’t decide, I know darn well that politicians can’t.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  It’s like the appendix. Or the gallbladder. Nice to have, yes, but you don’t need one to live.

                • Gunstargreen

                  I don’t have a colon or need it to live but that doesn’t mean I wanted to lose it.

                • Libbie

                   This is like saying a woman’s clitoris is “nice to have, but you don’t need one to live.”  The foreskin contains about a third of the nerves in the penis — nerves necessary for ejaculatory control and responsible for a greater feeling of pleasure during sex.  There is no reason to remove that.  At all.  Unless it’s stenosing, which is rare, or unless the individual who owns the penis wants it removed for personal reasons.  If it’s a human rights violation for parents and doctors to remove the labia, clitoral hood, or clitoris of a girl, except when medically necessary, it’s a human rights violation for the foreskin to be removed from a boy without clear medical cause.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                   Your analogy is faulty, and your argument is based entirely on emotion rather than established medical fact.

                • m0x0

                   Errr just noticed this please clarify

                • JJ Joseph

                   Really, get a life!  This blog is about ex-Muslims.  So, please, move along.

                • amycas

                   What are the health benefits? Both personal and public? And how do you know this?

                • Gunstargreen

                  The only “personal” benefits come from the fact that we live in a society where so many people are circumcised and that would be the case if we stopped doing it.

                • Clarissa

                   You may be a scientist, but I am at a loss to know what that has to do with the validity of your opinion about circumcision.
                  It has precious little health benefits, and is proven to hugely desensitize a mans penis, and causes many other problems.
                  The choice should be left to the child when he is old enough to choose – even parents do not have such a right, which is why it is slowly being made illegal in many parts of the world.
                  Just leave the opinions in your scientific closet, because you are not a fit person to advise anyone.

                • Heather

                  I had a boyfriend who was uncircumcised as an adult and researching getting the operation. I didn’t much care whether he was or was not. He found it was more painful as an adult. He was incredibly angry that his parents didn’t do it as an infant. I don’t think male circumcision is the same as female, from the research I have done… what I have seen suggests there are benefits. But, I don’t have a son. I don’t know what I would do.

                • JJ Joseph

                   Oh, rubbish.  It’s none of your business.  It’s a prophylactic procedure for parents to decide.  Get a life.

              • Fatpie42

                 There aren’t medical reasons for using the procedure on a completely healthy person. There are (rare) cases where male circumcision treats a specific health issue. However, if you are talking about the idea that circumcision is somehow a ‘preventative’ measure then those studies have all been shown bogus and, even if taken at face value, only ever suggested negligible benefits in the first place.

                And how is male genital mutilation any less ‘cultural’ than female genital mutilation? Is it because FGM tends to geographically located, whereas male circumcision is specifically demanded by major religious groups worldwide? (If your point is that male circumcision is not limited to followers of religions, then that’s not really a difference at all. Whether FGM is seen as a religious practice or not depends on the region because it is mostly a cultural practice, as in a practice that has become popular within particular cultures or groups of people. It’s the same with circumcision.)

              • Sylvain Lersch

                My understanding is that the German law prohibits the procedure if done for religious reasons, but not when it is medically necessary.

                • JJ Joseph

                   At last, they’ve been able to strike back at the Jews!  Good move, German people.

          • Sinchsw

            To be clear, it was illegal if done for religious reasons.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              Although I’m no fan of any surgical procedure on children performed solely for religious reasons, that doesn’t make the law much better in my view. It’s probably unenforceable if anybody can simply make a medical claim, and in general, trying to distinguish between “valid” and “invalid” reasons for allowing medical procedures just puts the wrong kind of decision making in the wrong hands. I don’t see it as different from lawmakers deciding the conditions under which somebody can use birth control, or get an abortion.

              • ErickaMJohnson

                The key difference is that adults have a say whether they’re going to use birth control or have an abortion.

                Circumcisions on infants and children are done without consideration of what the man or woman would choose as adults. Many parents see it as their decision what should be done to the genitals of their children because of their own religious beliefs.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Many medical procedures are performed on children that might be contrary to their philosophical views when they grow up.

                  As long as there is a valid medical justification for a procedure (which there is in the case of circumcision) I think it needs to remains a decision between the parents and a physician, not politicians.

                • ErickaMJohnson

                  What valid medical justification are you referring to? I know there are cases when it’s necessary but the way you’re saying it, all circumcisions are medically justified.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I believe the evidence that circumcision significantly reduces HIV and HPV transmission is compelling, and that it facilitates male hygiene. I also think that there’s significant evidence linking male circumcision to reduced incidence of cervical cancer in their sexual partners.

                  That, combined with nothing that leads me to believe the procedure has significant negative consequences, means that I would choose to have my child circumcised. If I lived in Germany and was unable to do so, I’d drive across the border. I think the benefits significantly outweigh any risks or negative factors.

                  I would not seek to impose that view on others. But given the large number of doctors who share my view, as well as the recommendations of the WHO and other health organizations, I think it is folly for the procedure to be restricted by politicians- as much so as restricting abortions or contraception.

                • ErickaMJohnson

                  There is not a shred of evidence that suggests female circumcision prevents HPV or HIV in women and girls, nor does it help with hygiene.The studies that suggest male circumcision reduces the risks of HIV are very flawed and I find them unconvincing. Even if they had been reliable studies, proper condom use still remains the best way to prevent transmission of HIV. And if you want your children to be safe from HPV, get them vaccinated with Gardasil.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I didn’t remotely suggest that female circumcision carries any medical value. I do find the studies supporting the merit of male circumcision to be convincing, as do many physicians. Which is why I don’t see this as something the government should be legislating.

                • Azmodon

                  you believe a lot of things with no evidence apparently. What are you a scientist of again?

                • Disqus_Monk

                  Multipoast for some reason..

                • Disqus_Monk

                    Well, that certainly shut him up fast..  Probably a Christian Scientist (the denomination, not a Christian scientist), hence why all his arguments for it are mostly bogus.  It facilitates male hygine?  Are you for real?  What is this, the middle ages where we don’t have access to soap and running water or something?  haha

                • Stev84

                  All those studies were debunked as nonsense.

                  Those effects are either non-existent or negligible.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_743663TLP4D2ZBPSMZAZM7CNJA Ernie

                  That crackpot study that said HIV or HPV transmissionis any different in circumcized men than it is in uncircumcized men also showed that the difference was less than 5%. I highly doubt that even exceeded the margin of error of the study. It certainly doesn’t qualify as a “significant” difference!

                • Bob Heaney

                   Can we have a link to the stats for those claims?

              • Fatpie42

                 Are you saying that it’s EASY to demonstrate to medical professionals that a male child or person in your care has a medical issue related to their penis so that they will then arrange a procedure to remove the foreskin?

                I find this difficult to believe. If a child is perfectly healthy, medical professionals are generally not going to elect to perform surgery on them.

                Of course, the problem here is not the use of the procedure per se, but rather the decision to perform the procedure on children who are too young to consent and for whom the procedure is entirely unnecessary.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Many medical professionals are convinced that circumcision is a proper and wise prophylactic procedure. There’s no need to convince them of anything.

                • Libbie

                   I meant to hit reply, not like, because I do not like your b.s. comment here one bit.

                  Have you, by any chance, correlated the number of medical professionals who believe circumcision is “proper and wise” with the number of medical professionals who are religious and/or politically supportive of religious encroachments on medical practice?  If you do, you might be enlightened by the results.

                • Disqus_Monk

                   What about the mild brain damage caused by the shock of having bits of your most sensitive organ shredded off with a razor blade without anesthesia?

                • Emily B

                   Not to mention that circumcision is a major cause of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

              • Azmodon


                distinguish between “valid” and “invalid” reasons for allowing medical procedures just puts the wrong kind of decision making in the wrong hands”

                Apparently doctors don’t know anything about medicine…

                As an adult, if the male needs it (like my brother did) it can be done then. Outside of that there is no reason for it. Get over it

              • Stev84

                 There is no law as such.

                What the court did was weigh religious freedom against the right of bodily integrity. Both are protected by the constitution, but the latter rightfully won out.

          • http://twitter.com/glenndavey83 Glenn Davey

            All of those things you said are false. There is evidence that an uncircumsized penis is at a deficit in numerous ways. Whatever you’ve been reading is wrong. Science wins.

            • BC

              There’s no good evidence that an uncircumcised penis is deficient in any way – if you read up on it, the evidence is completely mixed: 
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_effects_of_circumcision.

              Personally, I think the “uncircumcised penis” movement is lead by a whole bunch of whiney men looking for a reason to feel victimized.

              • ErickaMJohnson

                Having a portion of your genitals cut off against your will seems like a pretty legitimate reason to feel victimized.

          • Libbie

             It should be a decision made by the person who owns the penis.  That is, the male it’s being performed on.  Can’t be made by a baby, can it?  So it needs to wait until the baby grows up and reaches the age of consent.  Germany made he right move.  And please cite your sources if you’re actually going to claim that circumcision has “multiple health benefits.”

    • Dubliner

      About time some civilised country outlawed this barbaric practice. People who try to justify the tradition make me sick. It’s no different from chopping of a babies little toe. If a religious sect or some other kooky group decided they wanted to start a toe chopping tradition no doubt you’d still have people  (even atheists) who think they are perfectly within their rights. Such people see children as little more than the property of their parents rather than individuals with their own rights to bodily integrity.

    • Pjsavoie

      Good!  But why aren’t they stopping the massive push to circumcize 25 million adult male Africans?  A lot of big money is up in that industry.  It is somehow thought circumcision will reduce the possibility of transmitting AIDS — HOWEVER, the quality of all the make-shift African clinics means that 40% of the clinics WILL spread AIDS if they attempt such surgical procedures.  And yet this stupid, stupid initiative goes on.  And it’s kept out of the news!

      http://www.avoiceformen.com/a-voice-for-men/clinton-determined-to-push-28-million-circumcisions/

    • JJ Joseph

       At last, Germany is getting some leverage against the Jews!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002921166391 Claudia Leone

      THAT’S A GOOD NEWS 

  • MsLeading

    As several other commenters have mentioned, it’s very difficult as a white American to criticize Islam in general or radical Muslims in particular, because of the very heavy confound with racism it has here.  Although there are certainly plenty of non-white fundamentalist Christians, Christian evangelism in the States just isn’t embroiled with race in our cultural context the same way that Islam is.  Criticism of Islam more often gets bogged down in issues of cultural sensitivity and ethnocentrism and American imperialism than actually making any coherent progress against the religion itself.

    It’s seriously unfortunate, but the fact is that we’re living in a culture that’s just permeated by crap like post-9/11 fear of brown people and “wars on terror,” which creates this two-headed problem of conservative racism disguised as anti-extremism or American patriotism, and the liberal response of hyper-sensitivity to Muslim culture which ends up excusing an awful lot of unacceptable things.

    As white secular folks trying to fight against religious extremism in general, it’s a nearly impossible line to walk.  Which is why for now, most of the criticism of Islam has to come from people who have firmer ground to stand on, primarily ex-Muslims themselves.  Like I said, it sucks and we should continue to work against it, but that’s the reality we’re in right now.

    • The Other Weirdo

       On the other hand, does it really matter if some Leftist idiots call us racist?

      • MsLeading

        Yeah, it does, because it lowers our credibility with people who are otherwise mostly our allies.  But more than that, my point is really that criticisms of Islam so often just turn into endless defenses that it’s not about race, etc.  It’s so easily and powerfully derailed by the race issue that it makes it a huge waste of time.  In this case, we really need voices with more authority to take up this issue – because as white American, I personally have very little authority on Islam – and, like Ernest Valdemar just said, our job is to do our best to support and encourage those voices.

        • The Other Weirdo

           If people who are mostly our allies believe every single label that gets bandied about by various vested interests, I’m not really sure i want them as my allies. Our job shouldn’t be to surrender to bullying and dialog-blocking, but instead be upfront about our opinions. If they upset some people, and those people react by calling us racists, maybe just maybe that will light a fire under someone’s ass and make them consider the situation. Otherwise, we’re having dialog within parameters enforced by both Left and Right, and aren’t allowed to move beyond those parameters. But that’s not dialog, that’s ideological surrender.

          • Forrest Cahoon

             

            If [our opinions] upset some people, and those people react by calling us racists,
            maybe just maybe that will light a fire under someone’s ass and make
            them consider the situation.

            In my experience, a confrontational approach is more likely to make people defensive and double down on their irrational beliefs.

            I think the misperception that all criticism of Islam is racist must be addressed, but can really only be addressed effectively by “people of color”, because only they can deflect the racism charge.

            So the rest of us who are too white and possibly too male just have to support them, and it will be a long slow process, but the tide of opinion will eventually turn.

        • http://www.summerseale.com/ Summer Seale

          Dear Muslims,

          Thank you for your letter. It does mean a lot to us that you’re out there fighting against religious oppression.

          Unfortunately, while you’re fighting over there and afraid to be tortured or beheaded, we’re fighting Christians over here, afraid to be called names by very stupid people. The reason is that we think that the color of your skin actually does matter, or we’re afraid that some people who think that it does matter will make us feel a little dirty for saying that it doesn’t.

          While we would perfectly love to help you out, we think it’s just a sad fact of life that we’re not allowed to help “brown people” because we’re “too white” to do so and might be taken for the wrong kind of person. After all, isn’t the motive more important than the actual help we could give?

          You see, it’s really perception which matters to us. And while we’re trying to communicate rational ideas every single day, and trying to redefine terms which were hijacked by others, we feel unequipped to communicate rational ideas about other things outside of the anti-Christian domain. We feel that when it comes to educating people about rational ideas outside of the Christian world, we don’t really have anything to say about it and, frankly, you’re just on your own. It’s bad enough that we get called names by Christians, but we feel that we can handle that, just as we feel that you can handle the threats of torture and death on your end.

          I’d also like to point out that a lot of people on our side feel…uncomfortable criticizing what is a minority in our country, even though it’s a majority in the rest of the world with imperialistic goals. While we think of ourselves as “humanists” for the most part, we feel as if it isn’t our place to venture beyond our borders for any reason whatsoever – including the promotion of better ideals. Once again, that could be construed as being “Imperial”, and we would rather see religion win than be accused of being “judgmental”.

          You see, while we were gazing at our own navels for a few decades, and saying how stupid and evil we are, the right-wing racists took over the conversation on one side. And now, we’re rather squeamish about trying to get it back. After all, we don’t really believe in conflict with any group or people, including people who are wrong just about all of the time – such as racists. It has very little to do with you and more about how we “feel” about things. Because, as we all know, “feelings” are the most important thing in the world.

          That’s why we “feel” for your plight, but can’t see any way of helping you. I’m so terribly sorry. If you were a woman who was being raped in the street, we might actually call the police if it was happening on our block. But if we were, say, on the west side and it was happening, for example, in central park, we might have some problems figuring out whose line of demarcation this falls under without stepping on too many toes. You see our problem, don’t you?

          I’d like to point out that some of us *have* been going on about Islam for a while, but they usually get shouted down or simply ignored. Then we politely tell them that it’s really none of our business and we’d rather just worry about our own little block instead of the larger world community.

          We’re just…the wrong skin color to really worry about your problems. I’m so sorry. Maybe we can try again in a few generations. You might not be around, of course, but feel comforted that we do think of you from time to time and, when we figure out our own little hangups, we’ll try to take on the broader and more important issues and actually practice what we preach about humanity.

          Until then, don’t lose your heads! Let’s do lunch sometime.

          Sincerely,

          Sensitive and caring atheists.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            *slow clap*

          • Libbie

             tl;dr

          • Jacob

            you think beheading someone can be compared to some few verbal abuses form a 6 year old kid? lol

            in the UK. muslims are fucking up the country badly. especially in London. and imposing their believe to everyone and making demands to act on the shariah law. even in the UK ex muslims fear death. not by the law. but by muslims. so if islam is left to roam freely. it will be our downfall. if you think that if a woman get raped is bad.  you should call the police. that is our duty as humans. and it is also our duty to prevent murder. but it seems that you won’t care anyways. so obviously, you only care for yourself. I bet if someone you love is being raped or assaulted you will get up and stop the offender yourself before calling the police. 

            which lead us to a conclusion. it is sad that there are too many evil doers in the world. but what is catastrophic is seeing the good people do nothing against them. these poor ex muslims really need help.

  • advancedatheist

    This looks like a job for applied cognitive science. We just need to find ways to interfere with children’s indoctrination into Islam, and the problem will go away in a generation.

    And we have already seen natural experiments along these lines. Just look at American youngsters’ obsessive interests in Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games. They have even shown willingness to defy their parents’ prohibitions, often based on religious objections, against immersing themselves into these fantasy worlds, while they certainly don’t display that sort of enthusiasm towards learning about Jesus. 

  • dangeroustalk

    First off, I don’t “bash” anyone. I criticize ridiculous and dangerous ideas. Second, I have very good reasons for focusing on Christianity: http://exm.nr/IGSp42

  • Newlykate

    As an American, I am much more concerned about Christianity’s impact on our country than Islam. Christianity has a stranglehold on American politics, media, and popular thought. It is a very tough foe to face. Why waste time fighting a smaller, more insignificant foe?

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    If I wanted to have more to say about Islam, I’d have to do some research.  I simply don’t know all that much about it, and I bet I’m not the only one held back by that simple barrier.  But yeah, maybe it’s time to do some more reading and thinking about this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roccim Marlo Rocci

    Atheists are doing a “threat assesment” based on the greatest religious threat in their specific location.  For most atheist, that means the main target will be Christianity.  However, type of threat also matters.  Whereas Christians want to teach creationism in my school, a local muslim in my area tried to blow up a christmas tree lighting with the hope of murdering hundreds of innocent participants.  While muslims are a tiny minority in my area, they still managed to produce a dangerous radical. 

  • BC

    >  “Circumcision of boys and girls because healthy children aren’t born perfect; they must have a knife taken to their genitals.”

    Be careful how you phrase that because it’s trivial for the anti-vax crowd to use that to their own advantage – e.g. “because healthy children aren’t born perfect; they need vaccine injections”.  The whole “healthy children are born perfect” idea is non-skeptical claptrap and shouldn’t be used on skeptical or atheist sites.

    • ErickaMJohnson

       I see your point. Maybe a better phrasing would have been, “because healthy, disease-free children need to have elective surgery to modify their genitals.” It’s more awkward in the wording but more specific to my intent.

  • LeetroyJnkns

    Proposed Anthem of /r/Atheism:

    A lot of you seem to be taking offence because you think of this as semi serious or nationalistic. This is [what](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwERapuM17k) inspired me. This is not something to be taken too seriously. 

    >United forever in friendship and laughter, 

    >Our mighty subreddits will ever endure. 

    >The great Atheist Union will live through the ages. 

    >The dream of a people their forum secure. 

    >⚛

    >⚛

    >CHORUS: 

    >Long live our Atheist Cyberland, typed by the people’s mighty hands. 

    >Long live our People, united and free. 

    >Strong in our friendship tried by fire. Long may our scarlet tag inspire, 

    >Shining in glory for all people to see. 

    >⚛

    >⚛

    >Through days dark and stormy where Great Hitchens led us 

    >Our eyes saw the bright sun of freedom above 

    >and Dawkins our Leader with faith in the People, 

    >Inspired us to build up the site that we love. 

    >⚛

    >⚛

    >CHORUS: 

    >Long live our Atheist Cyberland, typed by the people’s mighty hands. 

    >Long live our People, united and free. 

    >Strong in our friendship tried by fire. Long may our scarlet tag inspire, 

    >Shining in glory for all people to see. 

    >⚛

    >⚛

    >We fought for the future, destroyed the troll flamers, 

    >and brought to our cyberland the Laurels of Fame. 

    >Our glory will live in the memory of Reddit 

    >and all generations will honour our name.

    >⚛

    >⚛

    >CHORUS: 

    >Long live our Atheist Cyberland, typed by the people’s mighty hands. 

    >Long live our People, united and free. 

    >Strong in our friendship tried by fire. Long may our scarlet tag inspire, 

    >Shining in glory for all people to see. 

  • http://twitter.com/moother moother

    Dear zulaikha_idris,

    Thank you for your correspondence. Our movement would like to schedule the ex-Muslims for summer 2013. We are currently dealing with the pressing issue of people propositioning people in public but are happy to try slot Islam in for the next season.

    Sincerely,

    Atheists

  • anon101

    I think there is a
    significant divide between the US and Europe. I think objectively in
    the US Christianity is the bigger problem whereas in Europe Islam is
    at least equally important as Christianity.

    • http://twitter.com/moother moother

      i think you have no idea what you are talking about…

      within the historically christian countries in europe my guess (and it’s probably an overestimate) is that muslims account for about 5% of the population.

      how can “Islam [be] at least equally important as Christianity” in europe then?

      typical blind yank.

      • Skitaiskadu

        I live in europe and let me put it this way. The number of  fundamentalist christians are also about 5% of the population. The rest of christianity here is not a problem, they still believe in religious freedom and that religion is a personal matter. There’s also heavy immigration from muslim countries so it won’t take many years until islam will be an even more important topic. Yet criticism is silenced by the media because it’s not “politically correct”.

  • Dfujvd

    Go with what you know. That’s why I target christianity.

  • Ramon Casha

    Many  of us are not just atheists but ex-Christians. This means that we know the scriptures, we know their flaws, we know their arguments,and so on. This allows me to even use their own Bible to prove them wrong. I have a very superficial knowledge of Islam by comparison. Ex-Muslims are best suited to debate Muslims, but I do debate them from time to time.

  • Jimbo

    Some of the excuses listed amoung these comments made me feel a little ill.

    This has a lot to do with a very strange direction taken recently by liberals.  Liberalism used to be all about equal rights and freedom.  Now it’s aobut cultural relitavism at any cost.  We’re supposed to respect the religious views of migrants even if that means turning a blind eye to sharia courts and honour killing.

    If you disagree with this direction, you’re associated fascists anti-Islam groups and branded a racist.

    You are quite right to question the lack of support from western atheists and I emplore you to also take this argument to the greater liberal movement and also western feminists.

  • John

    Only religious people view atheists as being at war with them. A true atheist with solid ethics does not seek war with anyone, but rather a greater understanding. That understanding leads me to believe the greatest obstacle may be in keeping people ignorant. Atheism thrives amongst the intelligent (not same as educated), and often the older who live in a free society where they are able to think and express freely, and so enter dialogues conducive to logic and truth. People indoctrinated through fear, coercion or force are likely to cling to their faith or deny their own atheism. Those who impose religion on others do so out of fear for their own mortality – that if enough people agree with them, then what they believe is more likely to be true.

    Conversion to atheism cannot be effected by force or ridicule or ‘missionary work’. True atheists come to their own realizations through self evident logical and clear thinking. Addressing these issues will likely engender far more positive results, I would think.

    • djupp

      True atheists don’t believe there is such a thing as a true atheist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003466708398 Kisin Stocks

    I will translate this for the hispanic community, sharing the link of your blog of course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1225757117 Jay Sah

    lol

  • No

    Because Christians are closer to sanity and not outside our reach….

  • Uhila24

    I love this post. And am glad ure out creating dialogue abs honest conversation with Muslims.

    Keep up the good work

  • http://www.facebook.com/EdwinWNorth Rev-Edwin North Hazell

    Dear ex-Muslims,
    There are many of us here in the US who do rail against  Islam as well. Culturally we are dealing more intimately with christians simply because they are our largest presence and our biggest opponent. Join us, learn and yes some of will rally with you. There are many resources that will explain the fallacies of the Q’ ran and the religion ,the science we use is there for you, the debate points can be altered with little effort to set your course. Watch Dawkins, Harris Hitch on youtube. Most of it may be geared to Christianity much is neutral (so useful) some is specific. Most of all do something you may have not really done, sit down read your Q’ran like a book, front to back. Read it again, take notes, use a critical eye, delve expose contradictions, absurtities than go research the real science and history to support your view.
    I realize in many places to speak out openly may be a much higher risk for you than us. But how committed are you?  For us , most atheists use reason not hate and violence (but yes rage does come ito play) In our case the pen truly is mightier than the sword. Yes on rare occasions we take a beating, but defensive action isn’t violence. Sadly that may be very escalated for you, death and violence may be a higher risk. While we atheists avoid it, I am sure if pushed we’d assemble and fight back literally.
    Reason, Logic, Science History, and Facts..these are your greatest tools, your most effective weapons.
    We might not always be able to be there, but we are here, talk to us, we are everywhere, Facebook, Youtube, social sites and message boards.

  • Joe Bruemmer77

    Hemant, you are so right. I try to reach out to those living under Islamic oppression as much as possible. We have it bad with the Christian right, but they have it worse.

  • A girl from Chile

    Desde mi país es casi irrelevamte, imaginen que el 70% es católico, el otro 15% protestante. Pero en realidad tienen toda la razón. Aquí haremos lo posible.
     

    • ErickaMJohnson

      ¿Cuál es el otro 15%? ¿Existe una comunidad de ateos signifigant en Chile?

  • Deckard Cain

    after 9/11, I’ll deal with christianity first before I risk the lives of any other us citizens. sorry.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-De-Fleuriot/611844223 Mike De Fleuriot

       And Mohammed thanks you for that kind break, it will give him time to train up more Jihadists to kill more Americans.

  • Christopher Thomas

    Great Article!

  • Tom

    Solving the problem on a personal level, for me, comes through hating all religion. The only religious practice I have any amount of respect for is Buddhism. That’s it. Religion is responsible for, oh I would say, 99% of world strife. Fuck them. Fuck them!

  • RedOnTheHead

    Ok, how bout this…Challenge to Ex-Islamic Muslims from oppressed countries: you pick both a physical and a virtual (meaning via the WWW or skype chat or something) place for Atheists in western societies to gather in protest on your behalf, and we can start the ball rolling for the visibility you crave. BTW, if you pick some city in Iran or Afghanista, that ain’t happening. I don’t want to be beheaded. Pick a high-profile western city like London or New York. In the meantime, most of us will battle Islamic stupidity the same way we do Xtian stupidity: when it presents itself. Just remember that in our countries, Islam isn’t the dominant religion, so naturally, we’re going to battle the Xtian stuff more often.

    On a side note, I really sympathize with you. As an American who has always had the benefits of a (generally) free society, the thought of being in a closed and oppressed one fills me with fear on many levels. Although I cannot truly understand what it is to be trapped in such desperate cirucumstances, I do respect your struggles and wish to help you.

    I believe that the issues facing your variety of religious choke-hold is a many faceted problem. First, your society and the type of intellectual stagnation it supports breeds that fundamentalist level of hatred, xenophobia and intolerance that is so prevalent in Islamic countries. Second, the West, which is filled with people who are terrified of appearing publicly “intolerant”, equate fighting the anti-humanist ideals of the Islamic religion to prejudice and bigotry. To equate these shows that not only is our society unable to understand the difference between intolerance and revolution, but that we are not collectively mentally aware of the Basic Rights of Man. That is an extreme failing of our culture and one that must be remedied before the West will be willing and able to help Islamic Fundamentalist countries join the 21st century.

    I cannot speak for all Western countries, but I can say that, in America, we are fighting a religious revolution of our own. Barely half of our country believes in scientifically proven concepts like Evolution. Christian Fundamentalists are, via propaganda, eroding the benefits brought to society by scientific knowledge. They prohibit sexual rights and education that would prevent societally and personally damaging things like STDs and teen pregnancy. Their elitest views also threaten our already precarious economic situation. They may seem like lofty problems compared to yours, but to us, these are dangrous times…and we are frightened, too.

    No matter what our struggles, believe that we are united in a common goal: to see reason and compassion triumph over irrationalism and intolerance. I cannot speak for every Atheist, but I can tell you that this one stands ready to help you in whatever way I am able, and there are many more out there just like me. The World Wide Web brings us together to fight the good fight. Keep telling us how we can help you and you will find people willing to do so. Good luck to you, my brave friends.

  • Plasma Engineer
  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    Ericka M. Johnson

    I  Think to be fair one has to say that the Islam practiced by one Muslim is not the same as the Islam practiced by another.   To be fair we really need to distinguish between the extremists and those Muslims who are reasonable  and rational.  Many people including Pat Condel, over generalize when it comes to Muslims as a group.  This does a lot of harm, because clearly not all of them have an interpration of their sacred text that is as incompatible with modern liberalism as Anjem Choudry.  Also he uses a lot of really bad sources for his speeches on Islam. 

    British “Dhim”bulb

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3WOccG9y9E&feature=youtu.be

  • SHARONFPN

    If you guys are going to criticise Islam, don’t cite misleading examples to prove your Piont. For example circumsion. This is cumpolsory for boys and not girls. Where it has been used for girls it’s due to people’s ignorance and based on cultural practices for example in Africa.
    In terms of circumsion on boys , this has been confirmed by the medical profession that it is better for males to be circumcised as it is healthier.

    You also state

    • ErickaMJohnson

      You are mistaken about circumcision being healthier for boys. It is only medically necessary in the most extreme of cases.

  • SHARONFPN

    You also state that women are treated as sub humans. That is incorrect. Women and men’s roles are clearly defined in Islam. Women are given the right to property , to work , to their own money etc 1400 yrs. women in the west were only given this right in the last 100 yrs if that.
    Throughout history women have been exploited , used and abused in all societies and cultures. Even now if you watch the commercials on tv in the west , women are used as sex objects to

    • ErickaMJohnson

      In much of the Muslim world, particularly in the Islamic theocracies, women are treated as sub-human. They have to fight for a divorce while men can just demand it. If they are raped, their word does not carry the same weight in court as the rapist. And they can be raped by their husbands without any recourse because a wife’s body is considered like a field belonging to her husband for him to plow. Girls are married off against their will, often to men much older than them. They are seen as their father’s property and ownership of them is handed to these men.

      It is not like this everywhere. Fortunately, Muslim women in places like the US are treated as full people and are treated with basic human dignity. But don’t pretend what I described above isn’t true for many Muslim women around the world.

  • Vada

    Even if I don’t activly attack islam, I do include it with all the other non-sense and superstitious mumbo jumbo.  I feel for you and your special challenges.  It is very hard to break away from any sort of brain-washing.  Good luck and all of us here at the FB athiest communities are here to listen to your venting and learn more about islam and the damage it has inflicted on you and your fellow counrtymen and women.  Pointing out contradictory verses in the Quran for all of us to see and ad to our arsenal for our personal journey to educate theist to their folly.  Love, peace, and humanity. xoxo

  • Liz

    didn’t shake your hand out of dhimmitude, more likely

  • Mariajohnsones

    wow really let people do what they want believe what they want its their life take your non believing behind and go straight to hell,

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001834819552 Stefan Perovic
  • Josh

    Sorry, but as an American citizen, dealing with the issues of my country comes first. Though it may sound selfish, or even nationalistic, if we, atheists, don’t deal with issues from within, we’ll never be able to deal with issues from without.

  • Janice

    I used to hangout with alot of ex-moslems in toronto from Iran. Most of the Iranians who came to canada from 1990 on are ex-moslems and hate Islam and all its ideologies. I am a canadian white woman and most of my canadian friends also hate Islam. We feel we are being repressed in  Canada and womens rights are going down every day due to living and working with practising moslems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zeeshan.parvez.18 Zeeshan Parvez

    Ericak M. Johnson more women convert to Islam then men…so its pretty funny to see you say the Religion subjugates women. And you must be a A-list American whore who wants to show off her ugly ass to the world for such a messed up article. Have fun

  • Guest

    “Cult-like isolation from other world views means generation after generation is born into ignorance.”

    I was surprised to learn that the whole Middle East only translates 300 foreign books into Arabic each year.  By contrast, a country like Spain translates 16,500 foreign books into Arabic each year.  –NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine, “Saudis”, October 2003.  I may be wrong, but it seemed like they were talking about the whole Middle East, not just one country.

    • Pjsavoie

      oops, I meant 16,500 books into SPANISH each year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=522353509 Stephen Matthew Davies

    @izac:disqus 

    “Islam is the relegion of love of mercy of respect of building of women rights islam is the solution of our this centry problems and all the time,”
    …..really?

    This statement furthers the cause for us non believers!

  • Banana_Phone

    Islam is a sticky subject. Anytime there is any negativity towards it, the whole “Islamophobia” argument breaches its ugly head, violence is threatened, etc. People are very aware of the realities of Islam and how dangerous it is, but in a world so politically correct, it’s difficult having a voice about it when cultural sensitivity is demanded. I personally have no problem standing up against Islam and eye-rolling every time someone tries to tell me it’s a ‘peaceful religion’, but it seems the group of us is very small. It’s also extremely difficult to stand up against something when many of its members, while fully acknowledging its shortcomings, refuse to stand up against it as well.

    You have my support, 100%, but we all need to work together on this.

  • normalice

    I disregard all faiths equally. It is probably true that the negative effects of Islam are a lot more severe – although, I’m of the opinion that any country with limited resources (particularly food) is going to have issues, and religion is only a medium for that – but there is little that I can do from across the Atlantic. The only thing I could hope to do someday is encourage my government to use our military to put an end to it: but that isn’t going to happen as long as my government continues to believe that religious people should have a license to interfere in the affairs of others. It’s hard to start a fight between two organizations that agree with each other on everything except semantics.

  • Alistair

    Please don’t call FGM Female Circumcision. It is an innacurate and offensive way to describe a horrific process, which is much, much more damaging than male circumcision. Call it what it is: genital mutilation.

  • Jsmiffy1980

    Yeah to be fair, Christians gave up burning, murdering and torturing Atheists a while back… Muslims still tend to be a bit “old school” regards such none beliefs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=586533574 Ezme Green

    I am a devoted Islam- basher(AND GENERAL RELIGION BASHER) and would LOVE to know more ex-muslims….I have had many death threats from muslims and will NEVER STOP  ripping their stupid religion to bits!!! OCEANS OF LOVE!!!XXXXXXX

  • Clarissa

     Let me tell you how we in the West learn what islam means:
    When we hear bombs, we hear islam.
    When we see women dressed in black sacks, we see islam.
    When we learn of amputations and stonings, we learn about islam.
    When we read about sexism and homophobia, we read about islam.
    When we face animality, anger and greed for power, we face islam.
    When we smell death, we smell Islam.
    When we hear muslims say peace, we know they mean war.
    Don’t say you have not been warned!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.rawlinson.98 Jack Rawlinson

    I do my little bit. I’d say that for the last couple of years I’ve been going after Islam significantly more than I’ve been going after Christianity. And yes, I wish more atheists would do so too. I find it depressing to read comments that essentially say “I don’t go after Islam because it isn’t in my back yard”. Well, as a South Londoner it is in my back yard, but that isn’t why I go after it. I go after it because it’s an awful religion whose adherents have a tendency to misbehave violently and unreasonably, and who seek to impose their vile will (via Sharia law, for example) on others.

  • Yesspam

    Don’t forget fundamentalist Jews. They commit immoral crimes, google women of the wall for starters.

  • lucifera

    athiest should help the moslims athiest too

  • Augustyjames

    The following letter explains the basics of  Islam and Mohammad. It is very popular in Indonesia.
     

    An Ex-Muslim’s Open Letter to Muslims of the
    World

    http://www.islam-watch.org/authors/63-letters/961-an-ex-muslims-open-letter-to-muslims-of-the-world.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002921166391 Claudia Leone

    WELL I HATE ALL 3  ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS 
    I STAND WITH YOU :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/navinkumar Navin Kumar

    The problem, is as an atheist when i protest online, christians block me, while muslims send me death threats, some are people whom i grew up with , old friends colleagues etc.  hence i rather not for the time being 

  • sympathy for the devil

    As an ex-muslim, I feel, ostracised by my family and the outside world(I live in the UK). I feel a loss of identity, Islam has left me numb. I have no profound love for  people, just a painful contempt for so many wasted lives,  so much ego.

  • Noman

    Try to learn Islam then talk you see Most Muslim you believe what ever the hell those Hypocrates tell you and you judge Islam by them that’s nothing. . .you don’t want to be slave of God Don’t be but then don’t be slave of any do what you really want to do be what you really are but don’t say wrong things about Islam as You will be doing fraud and then muslim will try to kill you

  • Truthseeker617

    I am an ex-muslim, 
    and I have to say, I have never felt more rational, free, and open in my life.
    Islam, I think, is far more dangerous than christianity. It is because its cult like brainwashing mechanisms continue down the generations, leaving no room for reason or argument, and apostates, are usually dealt with by death.

    I call upon the rationalist of the wests to pleaaaaase gather the courage to aid us in this struggle. 

    There are hitlers in each and every household, and those are our parents, even though they do not realize it.

    You must be strong, and help us. 

    We have suffered enough.

    Here is one of the posts in my blog:
    http://exmuslimawakening.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-probable-hidden-dark-truth-of-islam.html

  • Raja

     Dear Ericka,
    Man mind set like that believe in God. so,we have to believe on GOD.we are all part of him.Science is nothing but some concepts.that’s all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1632044135 Mohamad Ali Fudin

    er,, she can save you because it is a life threatening  situation. same goes as when someone is drowning or a car accident. it is a guideline that must be follow but there is always exception if the situation is demanding.

  • Islam Help

    Fuck atheist people. Ya are gay and want to live free. DAT is the only reason ya want to be atheist. Go Islam. Go Allah. Go Muhmmed. And their is one God and Muhmmed is his Prophet

  • Islam Help

    You gay ass mother fucker. Fuck you

  • http://twitter.com/mcdizzle2nd Michael McDowell II

    I am not religious or an atheist, but rather I believe in Science and Logic. IMHO, religion is a passé, archaic institution that should be deemed a threat to humanity. I feel it was created as a blueprint for how to be a good person, but has been manipulated to control, oppress, and scare the general populace. Many good things can be taken from the Bible, Quran, etc. but most of it is no longer applicable to current events. To wage a “Holy War” or Jihad is to be an Oxy Moron. Holy is good and war is bad so read between the lines. Those who would attack a fellow man based on religious practices are obviously incapable of critical thinking. To use said tactics against radical Islam is to be hypocritical. The best way of dealing with this threat is through denying the opportunity for said threat. Now if only our Gov’t would concur and act appropriately.

    • johan

      Although I am not a religious person I am of the opinion that religions got a bad name mainly because of Islam. It made wars from Medina to conatantinople and to Spain just to kill infidels and establish a world caliphate. As a counter measure Spain, Portugal and other maritime powers introduced Christianity by force all over the world. Christianity was bad when it was a state religion and manipulated by kings and dictators. After the separation of state and church I think Christianity is doing well..We should not forget that millions of schools, hospitals, home for the aged, home for the orphans were built and served by the missioneries. Many institutions like YMCA, Red Cross, St.John’s Ambulance are still functioning well, and hundreds of thousands of Christian oriented NGOs are working round the clock for the betterment of humanity.

  • Darren Cranor

    i am an atheist and i will wage war on any relegion that kills in the name of ther e “GOD”


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