Criticism of Islam Is Not ‘Islamophobia’

Sam HarrisThe End of Faith opens with a fictional account of a suicide bomber killing innocent people on a bus with the press of a button. We don’t know much about the bomber… but Harris suggests we do have a good idea of one thing: His faith.

Why is it so easy, then, so trivially easy — you-could-almost-bet-your-life-on-it easy — to guess the young man’s religion?

It’s writing like this, which has only grown stronger over the years, that has led many of Harris’ critics to call him “Islamophobic.” Harris, of course, contends that he’s criticizing faith and dogma, not people — and I agree with him. When I’m reading his books and blog posts, I see a writer who is raising controversial questions and answering them in ways that may not be politically correct, but none of those things are coming from a place of hate. Even when he suggested looking specifically for Muslims (or at least people who look like them) at airport security checkpoints, I didn’t get a sense he was being racist or anti-Islamic. Even if he ended up being way off the mark, his overall suggestion was more tactical and practical than anything racially motivated.

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Young Science Advocate Zack Kopplin Will be a Guest on Real Time with Bill Maher

Zack Kopplin, the 19-year-old leading the charge against the Republican War on Science in his home state of Louisiana, will be a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher tomorrow night:

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Arkansas State Representative Tells Pro-Choice Mother She’s a Murderer

In the span of just a couple of days, we have yet another Arkansas legislator who dismisses the legitimate concerns of his constituent with a flippant response.

On Monday, Rep. John Payton responded to a mother’s concern about her atheist daughter having to sit through a moment of silence (and the inevitable bullying of students who know she’s not praying) by tossing out a couple of Bible verses calling atheists fools.

But there’s more where he came from. Last week, a Pagan woman wrote to Rep. Nate Bell — a Republican, of course — urging him to reconsider the state’s strict new veto-overridden anti-abortion laws.

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Republicans in North Carolina File Legislation To Establish a State Religion

In North Carolina, Rep. Harry Warren and Rep. Carl Ford, both Republicans who represent Rowan County, filed a bill on April 1st that’s no joke.

In short: It says the state should be allowed to declare an official religion, Constitution be damned. (And I wonder what that religion would be…)

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Three Atheist Bloggers in Bangladesh Arrested on Blasphemy Charges

It’s been a rough few months for outspoken atheists in Bangladesh. Violence broke out after some bloggers were accused of criticizing Islam. They’ve been censored and threatened to no end. And one citizen has already been brutally attacked.

And now, earlier today, three atheist bloggers were arrested for the crime of saying things that hurt religious sensitivities:

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