Search Results for: islam 

There Was Nothing Wrong with Richard Dawkins’ Tweet That “Islam Needs a Feminist Revolution”

I’ve disagreed with Richard Dawkins before on his insensitivity to women, feminism, and majority privilege. Some of it he’s apologized for, so I’d like to think we’re starting to be heard. I know all too well from environmental campaigns the importance of acknowledging our successes.

And thus, I part with my fellow Friendly Atheist contributor Lauren Nelson in her recent post, which struck out scathingly at Dawkins for the following single tweet:

There is nothing wrong with those words.  The question deserves answers, not attacks.

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Sam Harris on the Chapel Hill Murders and Militant Atheism… and Why He Now Fears For His Safety

In his latest podcast, posted last night, Sam Harris addresses the tragic murders of Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad, and Razan Mohammad. After saying that he feels nothing but horror over the crime, and that the victims were by all accounts marvelous people, he addresses the assertion that New Atheists like him have “blood on their hands,” in the lovely phrasing of C.J. Werleman.

The deluge of claims of equivalence between this crime, and the Charlie Hebdo atrocity and the daily behavior of a group like ISIS, has been astonishing to witness. You can sense that people have just been waiting for a crime like this that could conceivably be pinned on atheism.

But of course the analogy between militant atheism and militant Islam is a terrible one. It’s an anti-analogy. It is false in every respect. Atheists are simply not out there are harming people on the basis of their atheism. Now, there may be atheists who do terrible things, but there is no atheist doctrine or scripture; and insofar as any of us have written books or created arguments that have persuaded people, these books and arguments … only relate to the bad evidence put forward in defense of a belief in God. There’s no argument in atheism to suggest that you should hate or victimize or stigmatize whole groups of people, as there often is in revealed religion.

And what we’re seeing is that people like Glenn Greenwald and Reza Aslan, the usual suspects, the bevy of apologists for theocracy in the Muslim world, are using this very real tragedy in Chapel Hill to try to stoke a kind of mob mentality around an imagined atheist campaign of bigotry against Muslims. It’s an incredibly cynical and tendentious and opportunistic and ultimately dangerous thing to do.

Of course people like Glenn Greenwald and Reza Aslan are alleging that there is some kind of double standard here – that atheists are so quick to detect a religious motivation in the misbehavior of Muslims worldwide, [but] when it comes to their own, well, then they discount the role played by atheism. But this is just a total misrepresentation of how an atheist like myself thinks about human violence.



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Imprisoned Five Percenter, Practicing a Wacky Faith, Demands the Freedom To Read His Religious Texts

Kevin Harris‘ religion deserves brickbats and derision, as well as all the rights to which the Constitution entitles him.

He is a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths, an offshoot of the Nation of Islam more commonly known as the Five Percenters, which was founded in New York in the 1960s. The group promotes black empowerment and teaches that black men are Gods. …

The Nation of Gods and Earths teaches that only 5 percent of the population knows and teaches the truth. Ten percent conspire to hide the truth, are devils and enslave the poor. The rest, 85 percent, have not yet received knowledge. Its philosophy has been included in the lyrics of hip-hop music by such artists as Busta Rhymes and Wu Tang Clan.

Harris, who is behind bars for a 1993 murder, alleges in a new lawsuit that, in 2013, prison officials confiscated religious literature “necessary to the practice of my religion” from his cell. His pleas to get the “contraband” texts back have fallen on deaf ears.



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Why We Can’t Be Sure If We Can Believe Yusuf Islam When He Sings “Peace Train” On His Current U.S. Tour

Via the Huffington Post’s religion channel, we learn that the folk-pop artist formerly known as Cat Stevens is currently on a tour of the United States. What we inexplicably don’t pick up from the article is why Stevens, who has gone by Yusuf Islam since the late 1970s, is persona non grata among many people who care about free speech (the HuffPo just gives us some vague allusions to “dragon-sized myths” and “unsavory controversies”).

I’d like to correct that oversight. We’re going to have to time-travel back to 1989.

Only a week after Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued an Islamic death sentence against Salman Rushdie for publishing the supposedly blasphemous novel The Satanic Verses, Stevens/Islam was asked about the affair.

Before an audience of London college students, he answered:

“[Rushdie] must be killed. The Qur’an makes it clear — if someone defames the prophet, then he must die.”

The next day, he walked back that statement by explaining that he had only meant to illustrate what the Qur’an says about blasphemers and apostates. Mr. Islam hadn’t personally advocated Rushdie’s execution, he said.

And at that point, he might still have deserved the benefit of the doubt (although why anyone would follow a religion with such barbaric, illiberal precepts remains, as always, an open question).



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When Influential Muslims Speak Out Against Islamist Terrorism, Do the Media Ignore Them?

Qasim Rashid, who writes for the Huffington Post, is frustrated with the mainstream media (join the club).

There exist two scenarios where no one can hear you scream. The first is of course, in space because there’s no oxygen. And the second is on Earth, but only if you’re a global Muslim leader condemning ISIS and promoting universal religious freedom.

Such was the result of the landmark address His Holiness the Khalifa of Islam, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, delivered last week in London before 1,000 dignitaries, politicians, faith and thought leaders, and academics at the 2014 Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Symposium.

To Mr. Rashid’s chagrin, the event didn’t get much press, despite the fact that Mr. Ahmad condemned forced conversions (“all people are free to believe or not to believe”) and, without naming names, called upon “certain powers,” including “oil-rich states,” to stop financing extremist groups. Admittedly, that’s decent-to-good stuff.

The term “His Holiness” appears 13 times in Rashid’s 800-word article, by the way, so it’s fair to say that he’s quite the fan.

And why wouldn’t he be? Like Sufi Islam, Ahmaddiyya Islam is generally a peaceful faith; a key website of the movement has the URL LoveForAllHatredForNone.org. Works for me.



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