Answering Children: “Can I Draw Muhammad?”


People like the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo are the vanguards of the battle for freedom. While here at Patheos we want to host a civil friendly conversation on faith, that conversation would never take place without people bravely pushing forward the boundary of “permissible” and “acceptable” speech, people bravely breaking taboos and defiling sacred idols. I welcome our civil discussion, but I never forget that our discussion takes place next to the corpses of those who have died for our freedom to have this discussion. And that’s why you should draw Muhammad. [Read more...]

Pilgrim’s Regress: An Anti-Theist Visits a Holy Shia Shrine


Many of my friends, Muslims and atheists friendlier towards religion than me, had told me “if you just go to a holy place of worship, like Imam Reza’s shrine, you’ll see why people value religion, and your stance towards religion will be softened and you’ll understand some of its value.” So, why not and go see for myself? [Read more...]

Iran’s Sexist Women’s Day


The representative of women has absolutely no contribution of her own to history, no claim to fame but her connection to her male relatives, she was married off at nine and died at 18, did nothing but serve men and their purposes. Women’s day is named after someone who in Shiite narrative plays only a secondary role in men’s stories. [Read more...]

In the Wake of Chapel Hill Shooting, Let Us Not Resort to Atheist Tribalism

We must refrain from tribalism at this moment. Our first instinct should not be to protect our tribe. When you want to say the shooter today wasn’t a real atheist, or you want to minimize or shrug away his connection to atheism, remember all the times you ridiculed “no true Christian/Muslim” arguments, and don’t make the same mistake. Let us simply condemn the attacks, and expresses solidarity, rather than attempt to defend our tribe instinctively. We expect Muslims and other religious people (rightly so) to look at their community critically and do not let it fester hatred. We have the same responsibility towards them and the humanity. We need to be critical of ourselves, be diligent of the possibilities of hatred and bigotry within our own ranks, and if we’re not, we will lose all moral legitimacy when we expect religious people to do so. [Read more...]

Understanding Ex-Muslims Panel

So I fucked this one up. I went through a lot of ordeal for this one. I had technical difficulties at home. Then I was originally planning on going to a friend’s house, but he had an emergency and I had to go to another friend’s house and then the anti-filtering proxy simply stopped working [Read More...]

Conversion Before Deconversion: How I Became a Sunni Muslim


Before I became an atheist, I was born to a Shiite dominated culture, and I was indoctrinated to the Shiite religion at the elementary school and when I began to question my faith, I converted and became a Sunni. And it all began with a single question. “Why can’t we draw the picture of Muhammad?” [Read more...]

#JeSuisCharlie: Why I Won’t Let the Muslims Off the Hook

#JeSuisCharlie: Muslim reformists should not deceive themselves into thinking that this extremism is only a tiny minority of “fake” Muslims that is being exaggerated by the hostile colonialists media. While extremists such as these shooters indeed are a minority (though not that tiny) within the Muslim community, they are not the disease, they are merely the symptom of a greater disease that is much more prevalent. And Muslims reformists, in alliance with secularists, have a duty to cure this disease, albeit slowly. The first step is admitting – stop shifting the blame and accept that the demon lies within and not without. [Read more...]

Sexual Liberation: Work in Progress

The effects of living in a theocracy are much stronger and more lasting than you wish them to be. Simply because you stop ascribing to the hegemonic religion of your culture, it doesn’t mean you are able to break free from all the taboos and prohibitions and barriers of your society. It is a myth that breaking away from religion is an instant moment of liberation from all the prejudices. Even if you know that they are wrong. In addition to that, living in a theocracy forces you to assume everyone follows these rules, so they still preoccupy a large part of your life. That is why I don’t think I’m sexually liberated. [Read more...]

Check Out Heina Dadabhoy’s Speech on Islam and Taboos

Heina Dadabhoy’s talk at Skepticon7 covers Islam and taboos and it’s awesome. [Read more...]

Two Muslim Arguments for Monotheism

The basic argument of a post by Eric Steinhart is that Christian philosophers and theologians have provided no reasoning to prove that there is only one God, and based on their argument’s for God’s existence, there’s no rational reason to assume that monotheism is more rational than polytheism. I quote two Shiite Muslim arguments in defense of monotheism, one based on the unity of the universe and the other an extension of the ontological argument. [Read more...]