How anti-theism can contribute to violence against muslims

I wrote early this year about comments Richard Dawkins made about Islamophobia and racism. I think they're relevant today: [W]hat's relevant [to racism] is whether something disproportionately and negatively affects racial minorities, rather than whether the target is a racial minority, per se. It seems pretty undeniable that the U.S. drug policy makes life unjustly harder for black Americans. That’s what matters, not whether “drug user” as such is a race. So the question becomes whether new ath … [Read more...]

Police not ruling out hate-based motivation in Chapel Hill shooting

There are some update on the story that broke this morning of Craig Stephen Hicks, the Chapel Hill man accused of shooting three muslim students in their home.The Charlotte Observer reports:Chapel Hill police said Wednesday morning that a dispute about parking in the neighborhood of rented condominiums near Meadowmont may have led Craig Stephen Hicks to shoot his neighbors, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and Abu-Salha’s sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-S … [Read more...]

3 Muslim students killed by an anti-theist in Chapel Hill, NC


Three young Muslim students were killed in their homes yesterday. They were shot in the head.CNN reports: A 46-year-old man has been charged with murder in the shooting death of three Muslim students in an apartment near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.Police haven't said what may have compelled the accused, Craig Stephen Hicks, to allegedly carry out the attack Tuesday evening. He turned himself in to police later in the night.But given the victims' religion … [Read more...]

Putting Islamic terrorism in perspective

NPS Logo Small

In response to my calling out other atheist bloggers for fear-mongering about Islam---specifically for hand-wringing about a poll which shows that 2 in 10 Muslim-Americans say violence against civilians can sometimes be justified, without ever putting it in the proper context by noting 6 out of 10 Catholics and Protestants and 5 out of 10 "nones" believe the same---a reader writes: The concern is that it's overwhelmingly Muslims who will act on those thoughts. I haven't heard of any "nones" … [Read more...]

French Muslims have faced more violence since Charlie Hebdo than they did in all of 2014

NPS Logo Small

Tracy McNicol at The Daily Beast reports:The National Observatory Against Islamophobia says there were 128 anti-Muslim incidents reported in France between the Charlie Hebdo killings and Jan. 20, compared to 133 last year. The Islamophobia monitoring group, linked to the French Council of the Muslim Faith, notes the figure only takes into account incidents reported to law enforcement. It leaves aside victims who haven’t bothered out of fear or resignation. It also leaves out numbers not yet a … [Read more...]

Interfaith literacy: A chat with Omar Sarwar on Islam & atheism, pt 1

Omar Sarwar

Back in November, Omar Sarwar, who is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, wrote a piece for Huffington Post that thoroughly debunked some of Bill Maher and Sam Harris' go-to talking points about Islam. After he showed up to engage our readers in discussion about his piece, we figured that Sarwar had a lot more to contribute to this conversation.We asked him a few questions about himself, about his academic work, and about his views on the relationship between Muslims and … [Read more...]

Vox: asking Muslims to condemn terrorism is Islamophobic

NPS Logo Small

Max Fisher at Vox has had some spot on commentary about Islamophobia. Most recently, he wrote about the response to the Sydney hostage crisis, but his comments apply equally well in the aftermath of yesterday's tragic massacre at a Pakistani school. Fisher writes: There's a certain ritual that each and every one of the world's billion-plus Muslims, especially those living in Western countries, is expected to go through immediately following any incident of violence involving a Muslim … [Read more...]

“Serial” illustrates why prosecutors should not be allowed to invoke jurors’ prejudices


Like many others, I’ve religiously listened to Serial every Thursday for the past few  months. While I’m fascinated both by the story and the format, I do have some concerns about the journalistic ethics of the undertaking. For instance: do the advantages of highlighting problems within the criminal justice system warrant turning an actual murder case into audio entertainment?One underlying aspect of this case that has mostly been danced around, but has finally been made explicit, is the ques … [Read more...]

Omar Sarwar mythbusts Maher & Harris

Yesterday on Huffington Post, religion historian Omar Sarwar thoroughly debunked two of Bill Maher and Sam Harris' go-to Islam talking points.While the HuffPo title emphasizes Maher, the "facts" of both myths are actually pushed most forcefully by Harris. However, that may be besides the point since the points are made during Maher's show, where Harris serves as the comedian's scholarly sidekick.  I'll post a short portion of it here, but you really should take the time to go and read the who … [Read more...]

Disturbed Christian, devout Muslim?

I dont even know

Murder often functions as a cultural Rorschach test: the narratives we tell about why people kill often reveal more about ourselves than the killers. Thus begins the best article I have read about religious prejudice all year. The Religion Dispatches piece, titled "In OK, a 'Christian' and a 'Muslim' decapitation challenge 'religious' violence narrative," compares the reactions to two decapitation cases that occurred within a few weeks of each other in Oklahoma.First there is the September c … [Read more...]