We Won’t Be Silent: Muslims Speak Out Against Thought-Policing Governments

I often get emails asking me why I focus so much on Christianity when Islam is a bigger worldwide threat. My response is that, in America, Christianity is the bigger problem — they’re the ones usually attempting to legislate their religious beliefs.

But the video below makes a very strong case for why we need to also speak out against Islamic countries where simply saying you don’t accept that faith can be enough to warrant a death sentence:

The full descriptions (with links) for all those cases are here.

It’s not too late to sign the White House petition for Alexander Aan. Please do it!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Taylor

    Signing the petition! He only gets one life to live – he shouldn’t be murdered just for realizing that.

  • Octoberfurst

      We need to stand up and denounce any government or religious group that punishes people for speaking their minds.  The fact that the people in this video are either being threatened with jail terms or death simply because they have doubts about Islam is an outrage.  Freedom of expression is a human right!  Please, everyone sign the petition.

  • realproblem

    I am an atheist, so I’m not fond of religion in general.  But most of the opposition to Islam amongst atheists is grounded in plain ol’ racism and bigotry.  Sure, there are a few bad Muslims, but those that oppose Islam are largely racist against people who aren’t white and Christian.  It’s classic hatred dressed up in intellectualism.

    Christianity (and white Christians in particular) are clearly the bigger problem. 

    • ck03

      “But most of the opposition to Islam amongst atheists is grounded in plain ol’ racism and bigotry.”

      Nope but it has everything to do with them flying planes into buildings and ordering jihad on anyone who doesn’t believe as they do.  The extremists in this religion take the literal reading of the Qu’ran and use it to rule countries and would like to take over the world.  The fact that everyone is trying to appease them and say that “it isn’t all of them”, and “they don’t really mean it when they say they want to kill us all” is actually kinda scary.  End of Faith by Sam Harris.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

        give me a break. nothing you’ve just implied about islam can’t be said about american fundamentalist christians. wake the hell up. 9/11 was a long time ago. stop living in a TV show and realize who the real problem here is. 

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

          And here, enshrined in your comment, is the problem that we have in our movement.

          You just have to go and mention Christians, don’t you? Have to. I mean, if you didn’t, your head might literally explode or something.

          Look, I have mocked, ridiculed, derided, and insulted Christian fundamentalists with literal bile – such as on the Smithsonian blog fighting against creationists and conspiracy theory nutters a few days ago. I would actually say I probably was even a bit out of line in my over the top insults towards them, calling them useless morons, idiots, and telling them that I literally am pointing and laughing at them for being so stupid. (Yes, really).

          However, when I talk about Islam, and insult the believers of Islam in the same exact way, I don’t have to refer to Christians or Christianity. Likewise, I did not refer to Islam in my post about Christianity either. But it is amazing to me that I cannot say that same applies to most of the other atheists in our movement. And why? Oh because of a whole host of social, emotional, historical, and whatever other nonsensical reasons which are given to justify their platitudes about the Islamic world.

          I’m sorry, 9/11 was not a long time ago. It’s still going on today. 9/11 was a long time ago if you’re sitting comfortably at home and bitching about fundamentalist Christians – which I agree that you should do. But some of us, out here in the rest of the world, have to deal with 9/11 threats every single fucking day. I’d be so grateful if you little privileged whiners would get with the damn program and start learning what it means to be consistent about your convictions.

          I know where you’re coming from. I am American. I grew up in America. I vote on the left. I’m voting for Obama. I don’t support the right. But I also live in a different place now, and I do worry about suicide bombings. And it’s a little hard to see how my own community of atheists is supporting rationality and reason when I don’t see them talking about these very real, very pressing, issues as well as the ones which they face.

          For all the intelligence we’re supposed to have in this community, we sure don’t appear to be able to focus on more than one thing at one time, eh?

          • Warpoet

            Your sermonizing and sanctimonious tone aside, you have  not addressed her point.

            The public discourse over Islam is dripping with vile, bigoted, hate-soaked rhetoric against Muslims. It is virtually impossible to have a conversation about Islam, even in the supposedly progressive atheist community, without having to deal with xenophobic stupidity. It is everywhere. Just this week, that fucking nut Bachmann accused Clinton’s aide, and then another member of Congress, of being a Muslim Brotherhood spy based on utter bullshit.

            And I am only talking about the US here – if you want to talk about the shit that goes on in Europe then you can multiply it by ten. This is something that occurs when discussing Islam and ONLY Islam. Christianity in general gets beaten up a lot, but the outright bigotry that is hurled against Muslims on a daily basis does not enter into the equation when talking about Jews, Christians, or really anybody else. Maybe on the fringe but not in the mainstream. So yeah, atheists tend to be more careful when talking about Islam, and for pretty fucking good reason. It has nothing to do with approval or pardon. People who choose their words carefully when talking about violence in black communities, for instance, aren’t acquiescing to anything, they’re simply cognizant of some the bigoted fucking garbage that floats around out there. Same here.

            The majority of people who get on the warpath about Islam, even in the atheist community, are axe-grinding idiots who need to shut the fuck up. In most cases, they are either ex-Muslims themselves with a bad taste in their mouths, or Europeans who are pissed off about the immigrant population. They aren’t interested in human rights or dignity – they have a specific bone to pick with Islam and couldn’t give less of a shit about the rest. Why is it that we never hear a single peep from them when a few thousand (or million) African Christians butcher each other, for example? If you’re going to get on peoples’ asses about inconsistency, they’re the ones you should be a picking fight with.

    • Octoberfurst

        realproblem, I would agree that much of the anti-Islamic sentiment in this country is based on “racism and bigotry.” This  typically comes from right-wing Christians  who look upon Islam as pure evil while not noticing how much Islamic fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalism have in common.
       I would also like to know why you feel that “most” of the atheist opposition to Islam is based on racism. I do not see that at all. Granted, Hitchens and Harris have both strongly denounced Islam in very harsh terms. But I see it as just attacking Islamic doctrines and not the Muslim people themselves. (I will admit that I was quite dismayed by Hitchens pro-war views. But I digress.)
         As an atheist I have no problem with Muslims being Muslims or Christians being Christians. (I think their beliefs are silly but that is beside the point.)  It is only when they become fundamentalist and fanatical is where  I draw the line. Once they start oppressing people in the name of their God the gloves must come off and we need to fight back. So denouncing Islamic States that jail and kill people simply because they no longer believe in Allah is the right thing to do and it has nothing to do with racism.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

    to non-American freethinkers who read this blog i say this: it’s complicated. right now, saying anything against Islam is also a political statement, one that *benefits* Christian theocrats and haters. if you’re an american, you’ve got to be very, very careful about exactly how and what you say against or in opposition to some portion of the Islamic world. it’s mostly a ‘bottom line’ situation. American Muslims are mostly not the ones standing in the way of my rights and freedoms. American “Christians” are. i only have so much time in the day, yo. but yes, i respect and will stand with my sisters and brothers in free thought in Islamic cultures and nations. we are all one people. 

  • Xeon2000

    Everytime there is even a hint of criticism about Islam in my Facebook posts–even if I didn’t even mention Islam but spoke of a political issue involving a country known to be predominantly Islamic–all my Christian friends–who usually ravenously disagree with all my religion posts–come out of the woodwork to agree with me and take the opportunity to slam Islam. They never seem to grasp the irony of their posts.


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