Mike Dobbins Gives a Public Apology to Critics of Islam

Saturday

The following are excerpts from a recent article by Mike Dobbins, author of Atheism as a Religion. The article, entitled The Critics of Islam Were Right: An Apology to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Other So-Called Islamophobes, is published here. Now, here's Mike Dobbins:

Sam Harris and Ayaan Hirsi Ali
For years I was an apologist for Islam, as regrettably, many still remain. I only read books and believed those who painted Islam in a peaceful, glowing light. I made excuses for radical Muslims and lived in a flood of denial that religious teachings could still, in this modern age of drones and clones, motivate a person to commit evil. I criticized the numerous atheists including Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, and Bill Maher warning of the dangers inherent in Islamic doctrines, recklessly labeling them Islamophobes.

Today I'm writing to say I'm sorry, I apologize, and I ask for your forgiveness. We who have blindly defended Islam and called you Islamophobes are tragically wrong.

My mind first began to change last May when I read an interview by Sam Harris with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in which she addresses the misapplication of the term Islamophobia. This article, along with the seeds atheists planted over the years urging me to do more research, motivated me to delve into the religion. I read the Quran, many Hadith, the biography of Muhammad, the history of Jihad, and Islamic law. This is what I learned:

The critics of Islam are right. Islam is intrinsically, alarmingly violent, hateful and oppressive on a scale greater than all other major religions combined. To say that radical Islamists are motivated to commit atrocities and embrace oppression based on religious doctrine is the understatement of the century.

I, like most defenders of Islam, was ignorant, naïve, and in denial. I wrongly assumed all holy books have enough good messages to offset the bad. I wrongly assumed that, like Jesus, Muhammad promoted peace, love, and non-violence. I wrongly assumed criticism of Islam equates to criticism of all Muslims.

We who have carelessly thrown around the Islamophobe label including Glen Greenwald, Reza Aslan, and Karen Armstrong should lower our heads in shame and guilt. Few things are as morally depraved as attacking someone who criticizes Islam (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) rather than attacking the Islamic apostasy and blasphemy laws teaching Muslims they should kill her. We must now live with the knowledge that we've abandoned and betrayed our principles. Though we claim the mantle of human rights, free speech and equality, we lack the courage of our convictions when it offends someone. We make the cowardly lion look like Churchill.

In reality, those who criticize Islam, especially reform minded Muslims, are the bravest of the brave. They are literally putting their lives at risk by the simple act of criticizing the Quran, Muhammad, and Sharia.

It is the critics of Islam who are working steadfastly for equality and human rights for Muslims as apologists wallow in denial.

While we smearests have obsessed over shielding Islam from criticism, so-called Islamophobes were courageously standing up to oppressive Islamic doctrines and practices. While we smearests were unwittingly misinforming the public and deluding ourselves by not making the connection between Islamic religious teachings and Islamic hate and violence, so-called Islamophobes were connecting the dots and looking for solutions. While we smearests were busy tarnishing critics as bigots and racists, so called Islamophobes were busy defending equality of women, gays, and minorities, protecting free speech and religion, and advocating an end to cruel and unusual punishments.

No religion, book, prophet, law, or God, no matter how sacredly held by the follower, is exempt from criticism. No religious belief or doctrine receives preferential treatment in a free society. Either all religions, books, and prophets are open to criticism or none are. We either live in a free society or tyrannical one.

But by no means take my word for it. You owe it to yourself to do your own research and see if you too find a connection between Islamic teachings and Islamic violence and hate. I challenge everyone, especially smearests, to read the Quran, biographies of Muhammad, the history of Jihad, and the political ideology of Islam.

Perhaps you too will notice the Quran's recurring theme of hating non-believers and the desert-like absence of loving and inclusive passages to offset the vile and violent ones.

Perhaps you too will notice how Muhammad's violent life mirrors that of members of the Islamic State and that it would be dangerous for any person to follow in Muhammad's footsteps.

Perhaps you too will notice how there is no separation of Church and State in Islam and that most Islamic governments place Islamic law above Secular law.

It would be one thing if Islamic doctrines said Muslims should love non-Muslims and love their enemy. It would be one thing if the prophet Muhammad preached non-violence. It would be one thing if Islamic Laws supported equality for women, minorities, freedom of expression, and valued human rights. It would be one thing if the Quran taught the golden rule.

It is because they do the complete opposite that I am now speaking out.

Read the whole article here.

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Conversation About Islam Conversations

Wednesday

I was talking to a friend about Islam, and I could tell he was thinking that I talk about Islam too much, so I said, "The reason I am so fascinated with talking about Islam is first, it's really relevant these days."

He interrupted me and said, "Yeah, I get that. It's definitely relevant."

"And," I continued, "the resistance people give me intrigues me. I've been an avid reader all my life. Only non-fiction. I don't even like reading fiction. I like learning stuff, and I enjoy sharing what I'm learning."

He nodded. To people who know me, this is probably one of the most obvious things about me.

"And all my life the reaction I've gotten from all the different things I've learned and shared has been almost entirely interest. Fascination even. Very rarely has anyone ever shown any kind of resistance to what I say. But on the subject of Islam, I had people arguing with me — people who didn't know anything at all about Islam. They would say, 'Christians do bad things too' — as if that has anything to do with anything!"

He laughed.

"I mean, I wasn't trying to justify Christianity by saying that about Islam!" He knows that I'm not a Christian, so he found this amusing. "But people say, 'the Crusades were bad too and not all Muslims are terrorists and the majority of Muslims are peace-loving people, and besides, what are you suggesting? That we go to war with 1.6 billion people?!'"

He smiled and said, "I think I said all of those to you!" He and I have had many conversations about Islam, and he has slowly started to wonder if Islam might be a bigger problem than he originally thought.

And I said, "I think there are a lot of reasons people respond this way. Of course it's scary. They don't want it to be true. And there are other things. It seems like picking on a minority. It seems like implying that we shouldn't have freedom of religion. It sort of seems like racism, but that's not right, of course, because Islam isn't a race. I think people just don't know how to deal with the information. And that has really intrigued me."

As it happened, the guy I was talking to is the one who recommended the book "Night" (which I've written about here). So I said, "That's what captured me so much about the book by Elie Wiesel — that old man that came back to the little town and tried to tell people what happened, and not one person believed him! That's so much like what has been happening about Islam. People didn't want to believe Islam's core doctrines are hateful and intolerant. They didn't want to believe that the founder of Islam owned slaves, raped women, tortured, assassinated and beheaded people, because the implications of such a terrible fact are too much. And besides, I know this Muslim and he's really nice — as if someone's niceness can tell you anything about a person's ideology. Ted Bundy was supposedly nice. Hitler was nice. Some lady just came out after all these years — she was his maid — and admitted that she thought Hitler was a really nice man!"

At this point, he seemed well won over, so I let the conversation drift into other topics.

The reason I share these conversations with you is because I think we all ought to be sharing our conversations with each other — especially when a conversation goes particularly well. I think it helps give us ideas about how to have these conversations so that they move the ball forward instead of those conversations that we've all had where we share information about Islam that seems like the ball moved backwards — like the person you're talking to is now even more against your point of view at the end of the conversation than the beginning. We need less of those, and more of the moving-the-ball-forward kind — even if it only moves the person just a little bit toward the ultimate acceptance of the painful and disturbing truth that Islam is at its heart intolerant, violent, misogynistic, and supremacist. Any given conversation doesn't have to bring someone all the way to that horrifying realization. But moving in that direction is good enough.

If you have a conversation like this, I want to hear it. You can post it on our web site: Talk About Islam Among Non-Muslims (and I read all the comments on that site) or you can email it directly to me here: Email CW. Let's help each other with these conversations.

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The Importance of Blasphemy

Tuesday

The following was written by Daniel Greenfield, creator of the Sultan Knish blog. He makes a vital point: We need to allow blasphemy. The only religion threatening violence against blasphemers is Islam, and so if we wish to keep the freedom of expression which is so vital to all the other freedoms we cherish, blaspheming against Islam is not just a good idea, but necessary. 

The Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest is coming up next month. Please find some way to participate. Attend or send a drawing or share about it on Facebook or something. Read more about the contest here. And now, here is Daniel Greenfield:

As a deeply religious person, I have no fondness for blasphemy. My religion and its holy books are sacred to me. And I understand perfectly well why a Muslim would not relish a cartoon of a naked Mohammed.

But the debates over freedom of speech and the sensitivity of religious feelings also miss the point.

Blasphemy is the price we pay for not having a theocracy. Muslims are not only outraged but baffled by the Mohammed cartoons because they come from a world in which Islamic law dominates their countries and through its special place proclaims the superiority of Islam to all other religions.

Almost all Muslim countries are theocracies of one sort or another as a legacy of the Islamic conquests which Islamized them.

Egyptian President Sisi’s gesture of attending a Coptic mass was so revolutionary because it challenged the idea that Egyptian identity must be exclusively Islamic.

And Egypt is far from the most hard line of Islamic countries in the Middle East, despite a brief takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood in the aftermath of Obama’s Arab Spring.

In a theocracy, not only is government Islamic from the top down, but society is also Islamic from the bottom up.

Citizenship is linked to religion and even in countries such as Egypt, where non-Muslims may be citizens, there are fundamental restrictions in place that link Islamic identity to Egyptian citizenship. For example, Egyptian Muslims who attempt to convert to Christianity have found it extremely difficult to have the government recognize their change of religion by issuing them new identification cards.

While we may think of blasphemy in terms of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, each religion is mutually blasphemous.

Muslims argue that the West should “respect prophets” by outlawing insults to Mohammed and a panoply of prophets gathered from Judaism and Christianity. But the Islamic view of Jesus is equally blasphemous to Christianity. And Islam considers Christianity’s view of Jesus to be blasphemous.

If we were to truly prosecute blasphemy, the legal system would have to pick a side between the two religions and either prosecute Christians for blaspheming against Islam or Muslims for blaspheming against Christianity. And indeed in Muslim countries, Christians are frequently accused of blasphemy.

Malaysia’s blasphemy laws were used to ban Christians from employing the word “Allah” for god and to seize children’s books depicting Noah and Moses. The reason for seizing the children’s books was the same as the reason for the attack on Charlie Hebdo; both were featuring cartoons of prophets.

While Charlie Hebdo pushed the outer limits of blasphemy, every religion that is not Islam, and even various alternative flavors of Islam, are also blasphemous.

It isn’t only secularist cartoonists who blaspheme against Islam.

“Mohammed seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure,” St. Thomas Aquinas wrote. Maimonides called him a madman.

To Bill Donohue, there may be a world of difference between Charlie Hebdo and Aquinas, but not to a Muslim.

In a multi-religious society, in which every religion has its own variant theological streams, the right to blaspheme is also the right to believe. Liberal theology can contrive interchangeable beliefs which do not contradict or claim special knowledge over any other religion. But traditionalist faiths are exclusive.

Everyone’s religion is someone else’s blasphemy. If we forget that, we need only look to Saudi Arabia, where no other religion is allowed, as a reminder.

Muslims who question freedom of speech are not calling for a special status for all religions, but only for their religion. They don’t intend to censor their own Hadiths which claim that Jesus will return and break the cross or that the apocalypse will climax with Muslims exterminating the Jews. Their objections aren’t liberal, but exclusively theocratic. They want a blasphemy law that exclusively revolves around them.

Islam relates to other religions on its terms. It grants special treatment to Christianity and Judaism, despite nevertheless persecuting them, because of their relationship to Islam. It persecutes other religions even more severely because of their greater distance from Islam. Islamic theocracies are not respectful of religion, but respectful of Islam and disrespectful of all other religions.

Religious people need not embrace the extremes of French secularism or the anti-religious positions of the ACLU to see that some distance between religion and state is a good thing for both. A separation between religion and state should not mean compulsory secularism, but at the same time it avoids the religious tests for office which existed in colonial times in states with established churches that banned Catholics, Quakers and Jews, among others, from holding political office.

A neutral state allows us to believe what we please. Islamic efforts on blasphemy however warp us all around the theology of Islam.

When governments prosecute tearing the Koran or drawing offensive cartoons under hate crime laws, they are eroding the separation between state and mosque. Their efforts, even if well intentioned, lead inevitably to a theocracy which not only hurts critics of Islam, but destroys the religious freedom of all religions.

The legal distinction between secular blasphemy and interreligious disdain disappears in a theocracy. Each religion has beliefs that offend the other, actively or passively. When one belief becomes supreme, then religious freedom vanishes, as it has throughout the Muslim world where the practice of Christianity and Judaism are governed by how closely Muslims choose to be offended at other religions.

While some religious people may take issue with the celebration of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, equating them with such things as the infamous “Piss Christ,” there’s a fundamental difference between blasphemy against the innocent and the guilty.

Piss Christ or a museum which exhibited photos of naked women dressed in Jewish ritual garments are committed against the unresisting, making them the theological equivalent of spiteful vandalism. There are no Jews or Christians murdering artists or bombing museums. By attempting to enforce the theocracy of blasphemy laws, Muslims made the Mohammed cartoons into a symbol of free speech.

It was not the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, who specialized in offending all religions, who made their Mohammed cartoons into a symbol. It was their Muslim enemies who did it by killing them. It is intellectually dishonest for Muslims to create martyrs and then complain about their martyrdom.

Blasphemy against Christianity and Judaism fizzles because the lack of a violent response makes those responsible seem like bullies. Instead of revealing flaws in those religions, works like Piss Christ or Monster Mohel reveal the flaws in their makers. Their attempts at blasphemy prove self-destructive.

Muslim violence against the Mohammed cartoons however turns them into the bullies. The Hebdo cartoons did no damage to Christianity or Judaism. They did a great deal of damage to Islam, not because they were well done, but because Islam is shot through with violent anger and insecurity.

The spiritual power of religion balances between violence and non-violence. Most religions believe that there is a time to fight, but only Islam believes in violence as the first and final religious solution.

Mohammed cartoons exist because of the Islamic inability to cope with a non-theocratic society. Islamic Cartoonophobia is not only a danger to cartoonists. It’s a threat to all of our religious freedoms.

Written by Daniel Greenfield, originally published here: The Importance of Blasphemy.

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Muhammad's Last Will and Testament

Monday


The Counter Jihad Coalition — the good people who have a booth on the Third Street Promenade on Saturday nights in Santa Monica — have a new poster and brochure. Above is a picture of the poster, and you can read and download the brochure here.

Read more about the principles behind Muhammad's last will and testament: The Quran's Last Word on Non-Muslims.

Follow the Counter Jihad Coalition on Facebook here and stay informed about these brave warriors on the front lines of our educational battle.

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Islam's Ideology Exploits Human Weaknesses

Sunday

As I was reading F.W. Burleigh's book, It's All About Muhammad, it became crystal clear that the same human failings that are now allowing and even aiding the rise and expansion of Islamic forces in the world were also at work during Muhammad's time. Muhammad could have been easily stopped when he had only a few followers in Mecca, but the Meccans were afraid of Muhammad's uncle and didn't think Muhammad was much of a threat anyway.

Muhammad could have been stopped in Medina before he grew very powerful. Muslims were greatly outnumbered for a long time. But the residents of Medina had business to attend to and were content to let somebody else stick their neck out to deal with it, and besides, what was Muhammad and his weak little band going to do? Take over the whole town? As a matter of fact, they eventually did.

The more Muhammad asserted his willingness to murder, the more scared the Medinans were to speak up — which caused their poets (their equivalent of our modern day political cartoonists and Op-Ed writers) to silence themselves out of fear, which hindered the Medinans from expressing their mutual feelings of rising discomfort, which might have joined them together into a united resistance against their common enemy. So the Muslims were able to defeat and eliminate one tribe at a time until they ruled the town and imposed Islam on anyone left alive.

This is a deadly ideology, and it is "clever" in the same way that viruses are "clever." Deadly viruses are efficient and functional in a way that makes them hard to defeat.

We're going to have to be smart. We're going to have to muster our courage to act, and to prevent ourselves from giving up in despair. And we're going to have to unite as many of us in this cause as we can. The stakes can't get any higher.

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Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on CitizenWarrior.com is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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