More Open Questions for Muslims

Note: These are not rhetorical questions. I really would like to know.Q: What is blasphemy against the Prophet? Is any criticism of Islam or the Qur'an or Mohammed considered blasphemy? If not, can you cite any instances of such critiques that are not blasphemous?Q: On the other hand, if even the mildest and most respectful critique is considered blasphemous, does this mean that non-Muslims may not, respectfully, express their reasons for not accepting Islam?Q: What about a religious … [Read more...]

Open Question to Muslims

Let me preface this post by saying I know very little about Islam.After reading the news about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya and the U.S. embassy in Egypt, I'm really starting to wonder about how the attacks fit together with "mainstream" Islam. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here are the facts as I understand them.Morris Sadek, an Egyptian-born Christian who lives in  the U.S., made a movie which shows the prophet Muhammad having sex and calling for massacres. At the risk … [Read more...]

New Mosque opens in Dogpatch

I see that after much opposition, including vandalism and arson--committed by "good Christians" I'm sure--a new mosque has finally opened in Dogpatch, er, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/11/after-long-fight-opening-day_n_1768915.html The article notes that the ambient idiots did hire some lawyers (I guess they paid them with chickens and jugs of moonshine). The lawyers argued that Islam is not a "real" religion, and so does not deserve Constitutional … [Read more...]

Free speech for Muslims?

I often complain about how conservative Muslims' overdeveloped sensitivity to religious insult erects barriers to the freedom of speech, and particularly speech criticizing anything Islamic. That's a serious problem for nonbelievers and anyone who cares about freedom of expression.But here in the US, where we so love to posture about how we're so much freer than those benighted Muslim countries, our paranoia about terrorism has created an environment where American Muslims cannot feel free to … [Read more...]

Islam and Evolution discussion from 2010

I just found that the video of a discussion about Islam and Evolution that I took part in 2010 is available on the web. It turned into a more general discussion about science and religion as well. Ehab Abouheif, a biologist, leads off by explaining why evolution and Islam are compatible for him; I come in with a more skeptical point of view.Anyway, since I enjoyed this event, and I think of it as a good example of what can happen in the context of a dialogue between a believer and a nonbeliever, … [Read more...]

Ramadan

I'm visiting Turkey right now, and two days of my stay will overlap with Ramadan, starting tomorrow.It's a country where it's very hard to get away from religion in the best of times. (Plus everyone always assumes everyone else is Muslim.) Now, on the eve of Ramadan, it's all Islam all the time. I've already had enough. At least I'm in a big city, so I expect I'll still be able to get some food and drink during the daytime in areas tourists are likely to hang around in. … [Read more...]

Books on Islam

I occasionally get asked for recommendations about books to read on Islam, particularly if lately I've been grumbling about superficial descriptions of the religion.Usually I pull out some intro-to-Islam undergraduate textbooks. There are many good examples. But I wonder if they are really not to the point. After all, especially for skeptics, there may be little useful in learning about ritual details, the history of the Sunni-Shia split, Muslim legal doctrines, specifically Islamic theological … [Read more...]

“Ground Zero” Islamophobia

Surprising though that may be, I still run into people who think that "Islamophobia" is an illegitimate term. I don't see how anyone observing right wing politics in the US can seriously say that deep-seated irrational hatred of Islam is not a widespread problem.Mind you, Islamophobia does get used by Muslim groups and Muslim-majority countries as an excuse to attempt to stifle criticism. But then, every ethnic and religious group does that. To some supporters of Israeli nationalism, every … [Read more...]


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