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|
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.