I posted this originally on James Croft’s Facebook page. It included other people too, but I’m only posting my own thoughts. Might be an asshole move, but I feel what I said is important and I want to share it. Sorry for the one-sided conversation.
I think this shows that being an ex-Muslim is hard. If she had said all of that about Christianity, it wouldn’t have been a controversy. Ex-Muslims are trapped between Muslims and pro-Islam liberals who are more anxious to prove they’re not racist than to care for the people of Middle East.
I think Ali can introduce some nuance, I think she can be unfair in some of her judgment, but ultimately I consider her a persuasive and fearless fighter of Islam, and I like her for it.
And ultimately, my own opinions are in agreement with her. I do think that moderate Islam is bullshit, I do think that Islam is fascistic, and worse than any other religion. I also think that western culture and western ways of life are superior to our ways. I do think we, the Muslim world, are backward. I do think we need to put our culture in the toilet and flush it.
If that makes me “Islamophpbic”, then be it. It takes a lot of courage to claim that an Iranian or a Somalian person has a deep-seated prejudice against his or her own people as a race, Personally I think my enmity is motivated by love for my people, for seeing how they have suffered and wanting to make things better for them.
I don’t think my response was measured or thoughtful, sorry. I’m not a very thoughtful or measured person, I can’t help it.
My problem is not with people who say “we should empower moderate Islam”. My disagreement is with people who say that their existence means that we can’t critique Islam as an ideology based on its text anymore.
I think I have a better track record of fighting for moderate Muslims than anyone else here – sorry that I’m assuming. I don’t think any of you took part in a protest that a bullet crossed your face by an inch and shot someone behind you in the throat. It wasn’t an atheist rally. It was a rally for a man who is far less moderate than some Muslim moderates. I love this man so much my pen name is derived from his name.
Don’t use a blank statement and call people like me “Islamophobic” or “dangerously close to it”. It’s an unfair accusation and it HURTS because it’s the equivalent of saying someone hates their family. I have also been called a puppet of the regime, and a cleric-lover, that doesn’t hurt, this one does.
I also don’t buy this marginalization narrative. The Bahai are the most marginalized people in Iran. They’re very peaceful, tolerant, and have faced the most horrific crimes. I still feel very comfortable saying that their religion is laughable and utterly masochistic. AND, I prefer Bahai faith to Islam like a million times. Islam is at heart fascistic, and when 99% of Muslims are moderates, it’s already dead.
The reason is that Muslim countries are backward. They are more religious than the west, more radical. Pointing this out doesn’t mean he’s racist. If that were true then 90% of Iranian pro-democracy advocates – Muslims too – are racist. We ALL say that. The whole purpose of Iranian intellectuals is to make people stop nagging about the west or the regimes and recognize that problems are deeper and cultural.
In some Iranian Persian atheists, their hatred of Islam has – sadly – been married to a deep racism against Arabs. They’re not racist because of their hatred of Islam, though. And they’re certainly not capable of being Islamophobic in the way that assumes the entire Muslim world to be monolithic. They’re different topics.
Saying that = “Islam is evil”, “Moderate Islam is wrong”, “Our culture is backward”, these things are not racist. ESPECIALLY the last one which is as obvious as the sun in the sky.