A Muslim Woman Speaks Out Against the Libyan Protest

Nancy Shehata, one of Patheos’ Muslim bloggers, has a response to the bloodshed in Libya. I don’t have anything to add; it’s just nice to see a sane reaction to the pointless violence.

I am so god damned tired of this. Sorry, I just can’t find any literary way to put that. I am so god damned tired of Muslims allowing themselves to be manipulated by a god damned low-budget stupid YOUTUBE VIDEO. This low-rent video was put together by a few bigoted individuals who should have been ignored. Instead, they have found fame in infamy. Their worthless little film was used by “radical Muslims” to pull the strings of ignorant puppets, to whip up a crowd into a frenzied mob, to incite people to murder. I am shocked but not surprised by the film. I am horrified and really, really pissed off at my Muslim brothers.

I want to take each person who stood screaming outside of those embassies and shake them. What are you doing? Why are you protesting against the entire United States, symbolized by the embassy, for the actions of a few? Actions that were not known about, were not supported, were not endorsed by the US government or by the vast majority of Americans. Why are you standing out there screaming, shaking your fists, scrawling “Allahu Akbar” on the walls, burning, tearing, destroying? Why are you so concerned with one little video? Don’t you have something more important to do?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • DaveDodo007

    They never saw the video, murderous sheep are easily led. You can thank religion for lowering humans to that which animals would shun.

  • Collo

    Ms. Shehata seems to base her criticism of the Libyan murderers/gangs/rioters/protesters on the fact that they attacked Americans even though the video wasn’t endorsed by the majority of Americans. Hmm…..no, that’s a bologna argument. Even if it had been endorsed by every single American who ever lived, that would be no reason to kill people or damage property. The most fundamental problem here is that so many Muslims think that apostasy and blasphemy should be punishable by death. They have no concept of religious pluralism or freedom. These attitudes are most prevalent in the Middle East, but they occur everywhere, even here in the US, unfortunately.

  • Collo

    base part* of her criticism, I meant to say.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    They have reported this was a planned terrorist attack and most likely had nothing to do with the movie, at all. 

  • http://pramod.myid.net/ pramod

    TL;DR: Can’t miss a chance to point out how muslims are inferior.

  • Andrew B.

     Too lazy, indeed.

  • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

    Why are you so concerned with one little video? Don’t you have something more important to do?

    One might even say, “Why are you feeding the trolls?”

  • Coyotenose

    From her post:

    Islam does not condone blasphemy against any prophet, be that Muhammad,
    Moses, or Jesus, peace be upon them all.  As a Muslim, I condemn the
    people who made or supported this video and ask Allah to guide them or break their backs
    .  But I have no plans to seek out these fools, or kill
    any Americans, or Israelis, or anyone else for that matter.  See, I’m
    kinda busy.”

    Emphasis mine.

    Context not missing.

  • 3lemenope

    The context:

    Islam does not condone blasphemy against any prophet, be that Muhammad, Moses, or Jesus, peace be upon them all.  As a Muslim, I condemn the people who made or supported this video and ask Allah to guide them or break their backs.  But I have no plans to seek out these fools, or kill any Americans, or Israelis, or anyone else for that matter.  See, I’m kinda busy.  I’m kinda busy working to support my family.  I’m kinda busy teaching my kids to memorize the Qur’an.  I’m kinda busy writing blog posts and articles and teaching people what Islam is all about.  And now I’m MORE busy because I have to take time from teaching what Islam IS to try to convince people of the truth of what Islam is NOT.  Islam is not terrorists crashing planes into skyscrapers.  Islam is not husbands beating wives.  Islam is not RPGs blowing up ambassadors.  How can I get to the IS when I’m so busy with the ISN’T?

    I don’t have a lot of time right now because I have a life.  You young men (mostly men, though I’m sure there are some women, as well), go the hell home.  Go to school, go to work, go to the masjid and pray.  Pray for guidance.  Pray for Allah to help you be productive in your life.  Go read a book. Go learn your religion.  Because if you believe that all your problems are the fault of the US or “the West”, then you’re a damn fool and you need to go home and educate yourself.

    Which (apparently too subtly) makes a different point than you think she’s making. She’s situating her anger against those who defame the prophets of her religion into a similar headspace as, say, folks who comment that they wouldn’t cry too hard if an errant lightning bolt ashed Pat Robertson; they don’t want to actually kill dear ol’ Pat, but if random chance and/or any convenient God wished to do so, oh well. And so while that anger (and likely schadenfreude if it ever actually transpired)  exists, it is compartmentalized and shunted away from action because indulging in revenge fantasies against those who insult you is far less important than living your own life productively.

  • Coyotenose

     She’s praying for the asshole moviemakers to be crippled for “blasphemy against a prophet”*, while asking the rioters to please grow up, with a little harshness tacked on the end. The point is pretty clear. There’s nothing in the later text that alters it.

    “I wouldn’t cry if Pat Robertson died” is not equivalent to “Pat Robertson needs to shut up or die”, especially given the way religionists sometimes take the latter sentiment as approval to act out their revenge fantasies. Oh, if only somehow we could stop these baby-killing doctors, but alas, we are too kind and peaceful. Won’t God help SOMEone put an end to their wicked ways?

    *Interesting that she implies she also prays for people who speak ill of Christianity to either shut up or suffer. Know anyone like that?

  • Philovaihinger

    Because they are Muslims and this is what Muslims do when offended.

    Riot, murder, even rape.

    And that is why Islam is the most dangerous and horrible, hateful religion in the world.

    And why every attack on it is deserved, and yet too mild.


  • 3lemenope

     She’s praying for the asshole moviemakers to be crippled for “blasphemy against a prophet”*

    Uh, yeah. She’s angry at them. Let me ask you, when someone is angry (as she is and as the protesters undoubtably also are), is the best strategy to ameliorate the outpouring of that anger to tell them to just not be angry anymore? She’s owning the fact that she was offended, and then goes on to exhaustively explain why acting on that impulse is stupid beyond belief. Idly wishing someone harm is worlds apart from doing someone harm. I could give my asshole boss the evil eye all day every day and all I’d get for my trouble would be a strained eye muscle and a few popped capillaries.

    …while asking the rioters to please grow up, with a little harshness tacked on the end. The point is pretty clear. There’s nothing in the later text that alters it.

    Yes. The point is that being angry is not license to act violently. The point *is* to grow up. Everyone, everyone has at least one of these, most people have a handful. Religious people, unsurprisingly, often have one or two particularly pertaining to their own religious beliefs. Instead of bemoaning the fact that humans are humans and have the capacity for rage, a mature person comes to recognize their own berserk buttons and then channels the rage into more productive and/or psychologically healthy avenues. One of those–though one that, due to the whole Christian obsession of thinking being the same as doing, morally speaking, is disfavored publicly in our culture–is idly wishing harm on the button-pusher. Others have to do with employing humor, or finding a physical outlet (like exercise, or martial arts). There are many others. All of which are more productive than either pretending the anger doesn’t exist and remains unvocalized and unnamed, or with taking violent destructive action against people who you are implicated (rightly or wrongly) in offending you.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    That’s very Christian of you to say so. Clearly.

  • Proletariat57

    It is easy to imagine some point in the not too distant future when Xtians will do the same, but perhaps with laws and weapons as opposed to mobs.  I fear American xtianity as much as I fear islam.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    What this debacle boils down to is this: Blasphemy happens. Deal with it.

    Immature people either cannot or will not deal with it, hence they respond with riotous tantrums. Mature adults manage to move on with their lives and don’t really care about the blasphemy, because they’re secure enough in their religion not to concern themselves over the fact that someone else in the world is insolent enough to disrespect it.

  • Brent

    Interesting fact.  No one would have heard of this little snippet of a “trailer” (probably) had Terry Jones (Koran burning moron) not endorsed it whole heartedly and spread the word of it everywhere.  He and some accomplices decided that this was the best movie of the year and had to tell everyone about it.  Sadly the people that he told were the entire Muslim community…  everywhere.  From there it was spread by rumor from Cairo to Lybia.  If there is blame to go around for “Screaming fire in a crowded theater,” then this asshole nearly deserves equal time with the filmmakers.  The sad and funny part is that very few people have “seen” this “movie.”  It’s possible that the whole of the thing was only what was posted on Youtube.

    Blame this idiot for making the movie, blame the people who killed our Ambassador and 3 other Americans, but look into how Terry Jones decided to throw napalm onto the fire.  And if you’re surprised by this, you know nothing about this moron.  

    The blame for our Ambassador’s death, along with his staff belongs with the people who attacked the embassy.  Perhaps there is some more blame to add to the situation when someone decides to yell “Fire!”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    You also have to remember that she’s talking to other Muslims. She’s relating to them in that she was also offended and she also hates this guy, but she’s letting them know that being angry doesn’t mean you have to do something with that anger. And if she wasn’t angry, her message wouldn’t be as effective to Muslims. Anger is an automatic reaction. If someone purposely offends you, your automatic reaction is to be angry and it takes time to let go of the anger. Telling someone they shouldn’t be angry in the first place does nothing because you can’t control other people’s emotions and they can’t control them either. What they can control is what they do with those emotions. She’s simply expressing that she feels similar emotions, but that there are better ways of dealing with them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith
  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith
  • Agnostic

    Trouble from within, trouble from without. No other country air their dirty laundry as much as US own citizens. Does every problem arises because of the US? Many citizens have shouted ‘Yes’. So the protesters are just replying ‘We agree’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Scoggin/100000044792747 Aaron Scoggin

    Did we really need another reason to say that religion fails?

  • http://www.facebook.com/asadoun Alice Sadoun

    I, as a Muslim,  she condems with such words the people who made or supported this video… then, from there to action…. (what happens when a mob is angry or condemning) there is only one step !!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gavin.kemp.7 Gavin Kemp

    Hitler said the same about the jews. I hope you feel in good company. You can’t judge an entire religion by the actions of a few. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/goodman.adam Adam Goodman

    Sorry, I can’t stand beside someone who wants to see my back broken because she is too lazy to break it herself.  I can’t stand beside someone who wants me to burn forever just because they think their idiot sky fairy told them I should.  These things need to be excised from their thinking before I can see their statements about being upset about “radical” muslims as anything to taken seriously.

  • Philo Vaihinger

    I am an atheist. And Hitler was lying about the Jews.

  • Tom_Nightingale

    Wow, that’s quite an imagination.  You might wanna get that checked out.  Especially that part where laws murder and rape people.

  • IntotheNightSky

    I really don’t think it’s necessary to dehumanize people with radical religious beliefs in order to vehemently rebuke them.

  • brianmacker

    How does she come to the conclusion the film makers were bigoted? The short trailer I saw pretty much followed the biography of Muhammad as outlined in the Qur’an and Hadith.

  • brianmacker

    That’s worse. She’s too busy otherwise she’d be making plans to murder people.

  • brianmacker

    So you think to relate to Muslims one needs to communicate one’s desire to see their backs broken and make plans to murder people if one wasn’t so busy?

  • brianmacker

    She certainly is morally inferior and he said “many”.

  • brianmacker

    Her article was full of factual inaccuracies that prevent her from seeing the light. Islam not only condones blasphemy against other religions prophets but teaches it. The Qur’an in fact contains many such blasphemes, as do the Hadith, and the living religion of Islam. According to the bible Christ claimed to be the son of God. Islam teaches that he was lying in that claim.

    Qur’an Sura 9:30 “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!”

    She’s either ignorant or a liar. We’ve already established that she is hateful. It’s not surprising at all that a Christian Copt would make a video exposing truths about Mohammed. They’ve suffered from Muhammad’s intolerant teachings for more than a millennia. No more surprising than an exposé on Hitler by a Jew. No bigotry need be involved.

  • brianmacker

    Her “exhaustive” explanation was morally bankrupt and missed the most important ethical points. It’s not our responsibility to calm down angry people we did nothing wrong to. Especially when their anger is unjustified, as is the case when a movie is made with the same content as the religion being mocked. The people she’s focused her anger on who made this film aren’t bigots. She’s ignorant.

    What she doesn’t understand is the protester doing the murdering are acting in a way that is quite consistent with the behavior of that hypocrite Mohammad. He too murdered innocents when he became insulted by any confrontation with the truth about himself. She needs to get over her anger and buy the entire video so she can learn something about her faith.

  • brianmacker

    Why go to the future. This was Christian behavior in the past. The Puritans were the original American Taliban.

  • brianmacker

    You can judge a religion by what it and its founder teaches, taught, did and does.

  • brianmacker

    She wanted to murder you but was to busy, not lazy. See the difference?

  • brianmacker

    Accomplices in speaking the truth.

  • brianmacker

    This is mature Islamic behavior. They have scholars and centuries of law condoning such behavior.

  • brianmacker

    Supposed Troll (actually Copt victim of Islam): “Muhammad did and advocated X as per your own religious texts.”
    Supposed feeder of trolls: Takes action X.

  • brianmacker

    I have no problem with airing the dirty laundry of the US as long as we stick to the facts. I get pissed when people make shit up. Like when Kerry testified to Congress that he personally witnessed atrocities that he had not, or when fake soldiers from his group did the same.

  • brianmacker

    Sane reaction? She’d murder them herself but she’s too busy, but she hopes Allah will take time out from his schedule instead? Also, as humane as it sounds, back breaking in the era of Muhammad was a death penalty, and the reference is from that era.

  • brianmacker

    What is really appalling is that Mohammad invented his religion around 700 years after Christianity, and several millennia after Judaism, and yet claimed that Islam came first and that these prophets were all Muslims. He claimed that those religions are heresies of his, and that both these other religions put false words into the mouths of these prophets. This is how Muslims think they get away with claiming that Islam supports these other prophets.

    I can do the same thing. You see Mackerism came before all those religions and they are perversions of my religion. These prophets never claimed to believe in God, and based their ethics on reason. They were all atheists. Muslims, Christians, and Jews have all perverted this message. I fully support all prior prophets because they all agreed with me.

  • brianmacker

    Muslims do this with laws. Hanging homosexuals by law. Death penalty for blasphemers. Punishment of women for being raped. Village elders ruling rape as a punishment for a crime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.vonpaul Paul von Paul

    sorry to be a party-pooper (read: troll enabler) here but: as far as i’m concerned, i fully support trolling islam on a massive scale…

    maybe after a few years (or decades?) of embassy burning they will begin to see how they are being held hostage to an unpalatable belief system and then wake the fuck up?

    once they realise the pointlessness of their actions and how primitive their culture they might start to ask the hard questions…

    my view: it’s useless trying to combat islam with thought and reason… it’s probably a viable tactic to help it implode.

    troll away guys and gals….

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    The more and more I learn about this, the less and less it seems like these things happened merely because an anti-Muslim video hurt their religious feelings. The context of the situation suggests most of the protests are happening because of conspiracy theories. They believe the US government is secretly funding and if not personally creating, then at least supporting and inciting Muslim hatred. If you think it only goes as far as “they’re butthurt because someone insulted their religion,” you’re really not fully informed about what’s going on. As crazy as it sounds, they believe the world’s leading superpower country is controlled by a government that is strategically creating and fuelling a movement to destroy their religion secretly, while publicly denying it. For them, it goes much deeper than just some random citizen(s) insulting them and their beliefs.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    I don’t count rationalizing and justifying immaturity, as “mature” behavior. That’s what those “scholars” have done … created an institution that infantilizes its followers. 

    Now … if all those “reasonable” Muslims out there like Nancy Shehada, who say they object to these tantrums, were really serious about dealing with them, they’d propose reforms to Islam that remove its infantilizing elements and encourage its followers to grow up. 

    I don’t plan to hold my breath waiting for that to happen, because I don’t assume it ever will. What Shehada et al are doing, is distancing themselves from the folks who make their religion look bad, and at the same time they refuse to accept the reality that … well, their religion looks bad, and they need to fix it.

    So she and the rest can rail all they want about how they object to this behavior in their fellow Muslims … but if they were serious about their objection, they’d be doing more than just railing about it. They’d instead be working to fix their religion.

  • Manaci

    The Muslims who rioted were, and still are, looking for any excuse to do so. If they see a Koran with a torn page, that could bring on more bloodshed. It’s them, the radical Muslims, who are the problem. There will always be descent. It’s human nature. They have to mind there own affairs and not worry about what other people say.