Hate Speech is Not Free Speech, Mr. Wilders and Mr. Horowitz

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It is absolutely appalling that Temple University, an institution of higher learning, would allow a blatantly Islamophobic propagandist like Geert Wilders to spew his hate speech on campus. My initial reaction upon hearing this, I must say, was the following: Would Temple University invite KKK members to speak on their campus as well?

Mr. Wilder’s scheduled visit, Tuesday, October 20th, is sponsored by some on-campus clubs, but there is one off-campus organization that stands out the most: The David Horowitz Freedom Center. Yes, this is the same David Horowitz who organized “Islamofascism Awareness Week” on some college campuses because, according to him, most universities in the United States are “bastions of liberal indoctrination.” I believe that is code for something like: “We need to indoctrinate students to think like me!”

But I will get to Mr. Horowitz later.

Geert Wilders, who is trying to promote his anti-Qur’an, um, “short film” or “documentary,” is not the kind of person who tries to code his hateful, xenophobic, and Islamophobic views. On the contrary, he is quite blunt about what he believes about Islam.

For instance, Wilders has gone on record to say the following:

Islam is not a religion… the Qur’an is a book that calls for hatred, that calls for violence, for murder, for terrorism, for war, and submission…We should also stop pretending that Islam is a religion…the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam.

Yeah.

These words came directly from his mouth at a so-called “Free Speech” summit in Florida. If you’re skeptical about the quote I cited above, click on the link below to watch the video and hear Mr. Wilders say it himself:

Geert Wilders Declares Islam is Not a Religion

The fact that Mr. Wilders was banned from traveling to England should be enough to indicate how hostile his views and attitudes are towards Islam and Muslims (although recently, the ban was overturned and now Wilders apparently believes he has accomplished something with, well, hate speech). He is not someone who is genuinely interested in any kind of intellectual, inter-faith, or inter-cultural dialogue. In addition to accusing Islam of not being a religion, he demands to end Muslim immigration and propagates that Western culture is “better” and “superior” to “Islamic culture.” He argues that Islam “threatens” the West’s “Judeo-Christian values,” ignoring the fact that Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is also an Abrahamic faith! He calls for all Muslim schools in the West to be shut down and he wants to tax Muslim women who wear the hijaab (or “head-rag” as he described it).

Upon hearing about this event, Muslims like myself are outraged that organizations and clubs on the Temple University campus invited Mr. Wilders to speak. The Muslim Student Association (MSA) expressed their concerns to the university via a strong and solid letter to the institution. CAIR, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, was contacted immediately by many local Muslims as well.

Here is where David Horowitz and his band of Islamophobes come into the picture.

Horowitz not only wrote a pathetic reply to the MSA, but also made incredibly offensive and inflammatory accusations against the student organization and implied that it “supported terrorism.” Other Islamophobic blogs are vilifying the MSA with absurd titles like, “Wilders Event at Temple University Attacked by Muslim Student Association” or “Jihad is Joined at Temple University.”

It isn’t difficult to see how Horowitz tries really hard to hide his Islamophobia. Rather than saying “Islam,” he will refer to it as “Radical Islam.” Rather than saying “Muslims,” he will tag it with the word “extremist.” In other words, he is very careful at how he phrases things because he likes to hide under the guise of not being racist, prejudice, or xenophobic.

But poor Horowitz doesn’t seem to realize that his Islamophobia and filthy racism is quite obvious. In his reply to the MSA, one can easily see that he is regurgitating his cliched anti-Muslim rhetoric rather than actually defending Geert Wilders. It is because it is impossible to defend Wilders and present him as a non-racist or non-Islamophobic speaker.  So Horowitz opts to do what he does best: twist the facts and lie.  Shamelessly.

In his letter, for instance, Horowitz writes:  “Geert Wilders…has been an outspoken critic of Islamic terrorists and Islamic attacks on Jews and other religions.”  Actually, Wilders has been outspoken about his hostile and antagonistic views towards Islam in general.  As I cited earlier, Mr. Wilders does not believe Islam is a religion, nor does he believe it deserves religious freedom.  That is not being an outspoken critic of terrorism or extremism, it’s being a hatemonger of an entire religion and group of people.  There is no such thing as simply hating a religion, but not the followers.  Generalizing and vilifying Islam is the same as demonizing the people who follow the faith, no matter how much Mr. Wilders and Mr. Horowitz want to convince (read: brainwash) their readers and viewers otherwise.

Horowitz lies again in the next paragraph of his letter:  “It is the height of hypocrisy for the Muslim Students Association to accuse Geert Wilders of spreading hate or anyone of being a hate group.”  Really?  Can you prove to us that Geert Wilders isn’t spreading hate about Islam?  Wilders expresses his hate explicitly when he says the Qur’an is “fascist” and that all Muslim immigration must be stopped.  I wonder how Horowitz would defend the video clip of Wilders saying that Islam should not be called a religion or deserve religious freedom.  The hypocrisy is in Horowitz’s own words.

Horowitz vilifies the Muslim Student Association by accusing it of being founded by a “Muslim terrorist organization.” It’s a pathetic and shameful attempt to discredit the hard work that Muslim students do on their campuses to organize inter-faith and/or inter-cultural events. Horowitz and Islamophobes alike do not want Muslim-Americans to speak up or defend themselves. Intellectual, well-educated, and well-spoken Muslims challenge the stereotypical and orientalist image of Muslims that Islamophobes want non-Muslims to have. Horowitz et al vilify and demonize CAIR because they do not want non-Muslims to see CAIR as a human rights organization, but rather as a “suspicious” and “dangerous” one.

The fact that Horowitz and his Islamophobes slandered the Muslim students at Temple University is very disturbing and sickening. It clearly shows the sheer amount of hatred that is filled in their hearts because before they even spoke to a single member from the student club, they went ahead and criminalized them. Rather than acknowledging that the MSA at Temple University held a fundraiser dinner during Ramadan to raise money, food, and awareness about those who starve in the world (including in the United States), Horowitz and the Islamophobes accused the MSA of “advocating terrorism” and “jihad.” As a result of these accusations, the MSA has been receiving hate mail, which totally refutes what Horowitz wrote in his letter:  “Temple MSA refers to the fact that security will be necessary at the event as proof that Geeert Wilders is dangerous.”

Yes, hate mail and death threats mean nothing to David Horowitz when they’re made against Muslims.  Based on Horowitz’s relentless attacks on Muslim organizations and civil rights groups, the only good Muslim to him is probably a dead one.  I have seen MSA’s across the nation organize events for multicultural and multi-faith understanding, and I have seen so many non-Muslims support our efforts.  I haven’t seen anything like that from Horowitz and Wilders.  Horowitz talks about “tolerance” in the last part of his letter, but has nothing in his portfolio to show for it.  All we have seen is hate, propaganda, Islamophobia, stereotypes, and generalizations.  How does that benefit society or make us less fearful of one another?

Only those with cold-hearts would say such hateful things without even engaging in any sort of communication or dialogue. The Islamophobic blogs and websites are only concerned about perpetuating the paranoia and fear that Muslims “want to take over America.” Many of these Islamophobes are the same people who believe Barack Obama is a “secret Muslim” in the White House.

The freedom of speech does not apply when it is turned into hate speech. And hate speech is nothing else but inciting hatred, prejudice, and violence against a particular group of people. This is the reason why Geert Wilders should not be permitted to speak at Temple University. By allowing him to speak, the university would not only be welcoming a hostile learning atmosphere for its Muslim students, but it would also be violating its own anti-discrimination policies.

If Wilders and Horowitz really care about their “Judeo-Christian values,” as they so often proclaim, perhaps they would benefit from a simple lesson by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him:

“Do you not Love your Creator? Love your fellow beings first!”

50 thoughts on “Hate Speech is Not Free Speech, Mr. Wilders and Mr. Horowitz

  1. Jehanzeb,
    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Temple is my Alma mater and I am writing a letter protesting Wilders’ invitation to speak on grounds that it will create an unsafe atmosphere for Muslim and Arab students on campus. As I told you, when I was a Temple student hundreds of us banded together and literally drove a representative of the racist white South African government from our campus. Creatures such as Geert Wilders hide behind the notion of “Free Speech” but he is not there to stimulate debate or represent an opposing viewpoint; he is there to assert that his is the ONLY viewpoint. There is nothing constructive to be gained by giving him an audience.

    • Thank you, Joseph, for writing a letter in protest to the event. The more voices, the better! I completely agree with you about hiding behind “free speech.” Temple University has some strict anti-hate and anti-discrimination policies, so I’m optimistic that they’ll be taking this matter seriously.

  2. This reminds me to some extent of Bibi Netanyahu’s visit to Concordia University to speak at the invitation of Hillel on campus. The resulting riots resulted in arrests, expulsions, and accusations of Islamofacism , anti-semitic rants against the administration. I know some of the Jewish leaders of that university personally and they are highly interfaith oriented, and peaceable. The problem was in allowing such an inflammatory person to speak on campus, and then underestimating the security needed. In fact he never spoke, he was holed up in his hotel room.

    An excellent documentary on the whole event called Discordia, by graduated Concordia film students Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal, shows, among other things, how little students know about the other Abrahamic faiths than their own:

    http://nfb.ca/film/discordia/

    I certainly hope Temple escapes the riots that happened at Concordia, by cancelling Wilders’ appearance. If it is “Fitna” he is showing it is not worth the viewing, intellectually or artistically–propaganda 101.

    Joseph–excellent idea.

    • Wow, I didn’t know about the Concordia University incidents. Thanks for letting me know about that. I’ll be sure to watch the documentary as well!

      I think this is why the MSA expressed their concerns in the first place. All universities need to condemn hate and avoid hostile learning atmospheres for all their students.

  3. Assalamu alaikum Jehanzeb,

    Wow this Wilders character is actually spreading his hate filled message in America on a college campus?? I’m surprised these Islamophobes like Horowitz and his gang still publicly proclaim their views; I was thinking they would go into hiding after taking the US down the path to ruin in instigating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!

    • Wa alaykoum salaam RCHOUDH,

      Yeah, you would think that these groups would go into hiding, but sadly, these people are more enraged now that we have a Black president. Not to mention, they think Obama is a “secret Muslim”!

      I’ll keep you updated about the event!

  4. I have listen to many of Mr Wilder’s speeches. I do not think that he promotes hate against people. He dislikes an ideology – the ideology of Islamism. Many, amny people in the West (an in the so-called Muslim world) agree with him. His is an important voice in this debate, and it should be heard. The right thing to do if you disagree with someone is to debate them and show why their ideas are wrong, not to threaten to silence that voice.

    I deplore violence and the threat of violence, and I condemn anyone who sends threatening emails to a Muslim or a non-Muslim – that’s not the right thing to for anyone. In the same vein, do you condemn those Muslims who threaten Mr Wilders and have caused him to have to live under police protection now for years? Surely that’s not right. Do you condemn the man who murdered Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands?

    Sure it’s easy to understand why someone would say “Islam is not a religion” (although I would add the word “only” – “Islam is not only a religion”). Islam asserts that it has a prescriptive way of determining whether almost any action be it public or private is either Halal or Haraam. Islam also has a political system built into it, as well as a legal framework which a minority of Muslims want to import into the West. Do you support any Sariah concepts being imported into Western Jurisprudence?

    Mr Wilders says he is not a cultural relativist, and I agree with him. Some cultures are better than others. How else to explain the massive movement of people from the so-called “muslim world” to the West and the deserted road heading in the other direction?

    Mr Wilders is an important spokesperson for a view that you disagree with. Answer his charges, respond to his questions. Do not ban him – he does not advocate violence (as the KKK does). Welcome this as an opportunity to defend you own ideas. Surely that is what a University is for?

    • Nick,

      It’s really annoying when people say they’re not racist/Islamophobic/xenophobic, but then do or say the opposite. Wilders wants to TAX Muslim women who wear the hijaab (underline, bold, italicize, etc.). There is no such thing as attacking a religion and not attacking the followers. Muslims believe the Qur’an is the Word of God, just like Christians and Jews believe the Gospel and the Torah are God’s Words, respectively. Mr. Wilders does not want Muslims to have religious freedom. How is this not hate speech?

      When he accuses Islam of being a “violent” ideology, he wants non-Muslims to be on the defensive, as well as being suspicious of their Muslim neighbors, classmates, and co-workers.

      The fact that you asked me whether or not I condemn the death threats or murder of Theo Van Gogh is insulting and reveals the kind of stereotypes you have about Muslims in general. Explore my blog and you should be able to figure out what I think. How many times do people ask YOU to condemn crimes that you weren’t responsible for? What about Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of Oklahoma City?

      Your comment also tells me that those little disclaimers in the beginning of anti-Islamic movies like “Obsession” don’t work either. In the very beginning of the film, it says most Muslims are peaceful, right? So why are you asking me if I support violence?

      As mentioned, the MSA members of Temple University are receiving hate mail and death threats, thanks to David Horowitz’s defamation of their organization. The MSA is standing up against bigotry and hostile attitudes to Islam (which is what Wilders incites), and Horowitz and other Islamophobes are calling their efforts an “attack on free speech,” or a “Jihad.” They don’t even know the members of the MSA! It’s so cruel, disrespectful, and cold-hearted to speak about STUDENTS in this manner. And what about the Muslim-Americans, Sikh-Americans, and Hindu-Americans who have been killed in post 9/11 America by bigots and racists? You’ll hear all about Theo Van Gogh’s murder, but little to nothing when non-Muslims kill Muslims (do you know who Marwa El-Sherbini is?)

      Indeed, the murder of Theo Van Gogh was wrong, but that murderers actions should not be equated with Islam. We don’t equate Marwa El-Sherbini’s murderer with a specific religion or ethnic group, do we? The difference is that you see unfairness in media coverage.

      If you really agree with Mr. Wilders’ opposition to cultural relativism, I suggest you enroll in an inter-cultural communications class. Everyone should take those classes, even people of color or religious minorities. When Wilders says one culture is better than another, he is ignoring the fact that there are AMERICAN MUSLIMS, i.e. Muslims who self-describe themselves as both Muslim and American. This is why Wilders and Horowitz want to otherize Muslims as much as possible because they’re frightened by the idea of Muslims holding high offices in the government (see Keith Ellison for example).

      I believe 50 or 60 years from now, people will look back and see this as blatant racism and Islamophobia, just like we look back and see the civil rights movement as a movement against racism and segregation. The Muslim population is growing in the United States — our generation of Muslims will become part of the education system, be more involved in US politics, write more books, and produce/inspire more films. Progress is being made, and all one needs to do is join an inter-faith and/or inter-cultural organization to see that.

  5. Nick Pullar

    You have completely misrepresented the meaning of cultural relativism which in fact argues against the type of normative hierarchy you portray. Cultural relativism is an anthropological term for recognizing the need to understand in cultural context rather than evaluating by some universalist notion of what is right, true, and best. It was a major revolution in Anthropology, its theory, methods, practice and results.

    Wiki has a good entry on this and ends with the quotation below, from Anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber who had a wonderful reply to critics of cultural relativism in 1949:

    Obviously, relativism poses certain problems when from trying merely to understand the world we pass on to taking action in the world: and right decisions are not always easy to find. However, it is also obvious that authoritarians who know the complete answers beforehand will necessarily be intolerant of relativism: they should be, if there is only one truth and that is theirs.
    I admit that hatred of the intolerant for relativism does not suffice to make relativism true. But most of us are human enough for our belief in relativism to be somewhat reinforced just by that fact. At any rate, it would seem that the world has come far enough so that it is only by starting from relativism and its tolerations that we may hope to work out a new set of absolute values and standards, if such are attainable at all or prove to be desirable.

    • Hi Chiara

      I have many anthropologists as friends!

      What you say, with all due respect, is complete bullshit.

      It is as obvious as the nose on your face that some cultures are better than others. If you could choose when or where or who you would be, would you choose to be a peasant in Mideaval Europe? Would you choose to live the life of a hunter gatherer pretty much anywhere? I suspect if you were honest with yourself, you would pretty much choose the life you live now.

      Science has given us a massively increased life span, freedom from pain, freedom from backbreaking drugdery, freedom from having to scrape the ground with a pointy stick in order to bearly grow enough food to feed your family (many of whom would dies as infants)

      Humanism and the Enlightenment have given us the idea that all humans are politically equal, that we should allow others to practise their religion (no matter how mad it is, provising they don’t harm others) to allow people to express their sexuality in whatever way they see fit.

      The West is far from perfect (and we will never have a perfect society – there are too many competeing interests, and human nature is too irrational) but it seems to me that it is the best society that we have yet devised. Millions of people from the Third World tend to agree with me, and will do almost anything to immigrate to the West.

      Best

      Nick

      • Hi Nick

        I have many anthropologist friends too!

        They count me among their tribe, even though my doctorate is not through the Anthropology Department. They are academic relativists if you will, and recognize peer-reviewed publications as evidence of disciplinary competence.

        Alas, you seem to have misunderstood my comment, which addressed the term “cultural relativism” and not my personal preferences around lifestyle or country of choice. Being totally honest with myself, and you of course, I would pretty much choose the life I live now but in a better climate, including in Europe , Latin America, parts of the US, or MENA.

        I know from irrationality, Nick, I am a psychiatrist.

        What with that training, and discourse analysis training to the doctoral level, I can safely say that expressions of respect to another commentator/discussant/interlocutor do not contain phrases like: “What you say… is complete bullshit”;”It is as obvious as the nose on your face”; “I suspect if you were honest with yourself”. Nor does respectful discussion include a series of rhetorical questions arguing from extreme examples.

        Bracketing such disrespectful language with Hi and Best, and embedding in it “with all due respect” is what my psychiatrist friends call passive-aggressive.

      • Administrator Note: Your comment was deleted because it does not add anything new to the discussion. This blog encourages discussions that help build positive relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. Islamophobia and stereotyping will not be tolerated here.

  6. Hi Jehanzeb

    Thanks for taking the time to make such a comprehensive response to my comment.

    Let me begin by saying that I *am* Islamophobic. I think that the Islam practised in Afghanistan, Sudan, Northern Nigeria, many parts of Pakistan and numerous other places is a terrible thing. It deprives women, religious minorities, apostates, gays and numerous other groups of liberties which they might enjoy in a secular, liberal state. Even Muslims who don’t wish to exercise every element of Islam (perhaps a self identifying Muslim who likes a drink, or has other things that they enjoy doing rather than praying five times a day, for example) find themselves in trouble in many of these countries. Having a group of people in the West who want to make Western societies more similar to those countries is a damaging and corrosive influence on Western societies. In this way, Islamophobia is a rational and considered response to this group of Muslims, who have demonstrated on numerous occasions in very many countries that they are willing to commit mass murder to advance their aims.

    I am an atheist. When I attack the idea of the Virgin Birth, I am attacking an idea. I am not attacking the people who hold that idea. I may (and do) consider people who believe the idea to be foolish, but I respect totally their right to hold that idea and to act on it, to form opinions based on it and to try to convince others that their idea is true, or even reasonable. This is what tolerance means. It is allowing those with whom you disagree to continue to hold ideas with which you disagree. In this way it is easy to separate the belief from the believer. I tell you that the idea that Muhummed rode a magic horse to Jerusalem is nonsensical, I am not saying that you (who I presume holds that belief) are any less a human, any less deserving of rights or any less sensible in other ways. I just think that you are foolishly mistaken about your religious beliefs – and you think that people who hold contrary beliefs to you are foolishly mistaken – golden tablets and magic spectacles, anyone?

    Actually, I agree with Wilders – I think that Islam *is* a violent ideology. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other violent ideologies in the world, white supremacists in particular have a wicked and notorious history of violence and mayhem, but Islam looms large on the world stage today in the range and scale of the violence that some members of the Muslim ummah are prepared to commit, and to commit in the name of their religion. I think this is a key point. Islamic terrorists, by their own words, commit their acts of terror and carnage because they believe that Islam gives them an obligation to do this. Later in your reply you say in relation to the murder of Theo Van Gogh, “Indeed, the murder of Theo Van Gogh was wrong, but that murderers [sic] actions should not be equated with Islam”. But, au contraire! The note left pinned to Van Gogh’s chest reads (in part):

    “AYAAN HIRSHI ALI YOU SHALL BREAK YOURSELF TO PIECES ON ISLAM !
    “You and your companions know very well that the current Islamic youth is a rough diamond that only needs polishing, so that it may spread it’s all-pervading light of Truth. Your intellectual terrorism will not stop this, on the contrary you will only hasten it.
    “Islam will conquer by the blood of the martyrs. It will spread its light to every corner of this Earth and it will, if necessary, drive evil to its dark hole by the sword.
    “This unleashed battle is different from previous battles. The unbelieving fundamentalists have started it and Insha Allah the true believers will end it.
    “There shall be no mercy for the unjust, only the sword raised at them. No discussion, no demonstrations, no parades, no petitions; merely DEATH shall separate the Truth from the LIE.
    “Say: Lo! the death from which Ye shrink will surely meet you, and afterward Ye will be returned unto the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, and He will tell you what Ye used to do. (62:8)”

    It is obvious that Mohammed Bouyeri believed that he had divine sanction for his work (the Koran is quoted numerous times in the letter). Many of your fellow co-religionists share similar views and many are prepared to act on them. That is why we worry.

    I understand that you are not personally responsible for any terrorist atrocities, but as demonstrated above, there are people who share your religion who use your own sacred texts to justify the violence they perpetrate. So what people are really asking is whether you also share an interpretation of those Holy texts to justify violence, and if not, please tell us why not – what is the alternative interpretation of many of these verses (and it seems to me that the whole Koran is filled from beginning to end with threats and violence most particularly the Medinan verses – and the Hadiths are also written in blood).

    You say “In the very beginning of the film, it says most Muslims are peaceful, right? So why are you asking me if I support violence?” Because almost every time there is an atrocity, the perpetrator’s friends and family come out and say “we had no idea! He was such a lovely man, I can’t believe he did this”. Really, how can we tell who are the terrorists and who aren’t? The only common factor seems to be an increase in perceived religiosity before the attack.

    I agree with you that it is terrible that people should be killed over their religion! I think everyone should be free to practise their religion without the fear of violence. I have no idea who Marwa El-Sherbini is, but if they were harmed because they are a Muslim, then I condemn that, and I hope the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. This doesn’t mean that religion trumps all other considerations. I think that a woman is entitled to wear a niqab (I think she’s an idiot, but there you go) but if a bank, for example, has a policy of no face coverings (so no motorcycle helmets for example) then they are perfectly in their rights to prevent her from entering the bank.

    WRT cultural relativism, I point you towards the culture of the Aztecs, who revelled in human sacrifice, and engaged in wars of conquest in order to please their gods. By any standard, this culture is worse than the culture in the West today. I agree that there are Muslim-Americans. America to its great credit has the First Amendment which keeps government and religion separate and ensures that people are able to practise their religion (personally, I think that free exercise of religion ends when it begins to impinge on someone else). So it’s perfectly possible to be a Muslim American, in the sense of an American citizen who is also a Muslim. But that is irrelevant, isn’t it? Many Islamic ideas are inferior and intolerable to people living in the West. The idea that a Muslim woman should inherit only half that which her brother does is wicked. The idea that the life of a Muslim man is worth more than the life of another class of person is appalling. The idea that one should not charge or receive interest is nonsense. The idea of not eating bacon sandwiches is ludicrous! One only has to look at the majority of Muslim majority countries to see what living in an “Islamic Paradise” would be like. The very fact of mass Muslim migration to the West screams that this is so. And many Muslims come to the West for the very freedoms that the fanatics deplore – especially freedom to act and dress and believe as they please.

    I have no problem with Muslims who do not want to impose Muslim ideas on the rest of us. If you want to live your life according to a book written by iron age people, it’s your life, but I hope you join with me in saying that everyone should have the freedom top live as they choose – even if they choose to live as a kaffir.

  7. Jehanzeb, great post and thank you for letting us know about this. Joseph, as always, you’re not just an activist – you’re a man of action. :D

    @Nick Pullar: Ya know, I had this long, painstakingly-detailed point-by-point response to your comments. However, I see that Jehanzeb and Chiara have already posted rebuttals to your earlier statements. “It is as obvious as the nose on your face that some cultures are better than others”? Wowwww. The cultural chauvinism in that statement alone made me slightly ill. Rather than attempt to engage yet ANOTHER Islamophobe in what I already know will be a circular dialogue, I’m just gonna call you a jackhole and leave it. You must be delightful at parties. Stay classy!

  8. Jehanzeb–my “Well-stated as usual!” comment above was for you, the computer bounced it down.

    Nick–so much ratiocination, so much space wasted.

    “I have no problem with Muslims who do not want to impose Muslim ideas on the rest of us. If you want to live your life according to a book written by iron age people, it’s your life, but I hope you join with me in saying that everyone should have the freedom top live as they choose – even if they choose to live as a kaffir.”

    Good then you are a believer in Surah 109 (one of my favourites):

    AL-KAFIROON (THE DISBELIEVERS, ATHEISTS)
    YUSUF ALI translation:

    109.001 Say: O ye that reject Faith!
    109.002 I worship not that which ye worship,
    109.003 Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
    109.004 And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,
    109.005 Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
    109.006 To you be your Way, and to me mine.

    However, your “a book written by iron age people” is out by about 2000 years. Ask the paleontologists among your anthropologist friends.

    • Do you know what abrogation is?

      Since it is a Meccan verse, Sura 109 verse 6 is abrogated by the (in)famous “Verse of the Sword”, which reads,

      “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush” Sura 9, verse 5.

      Do you agree with the doctrine of Abrogation? If not, can you explain to me why many of your co-religionists do believe it.

      If you do agree with the Doctrine of Abrogation, could you explain how this is not a case of kitman?

      Cheers!

      NIck

      • Nick,

        It seems that I am wasting my time with you. It doesn’t seem like you got anything out of my reply to you

        You are making a fundamental mistake that all Islamophobes make: you are cherry picking verses from the Qur’an and you are not contextualizing them. You have to read the Qur’an in its entirety. Why don’t you include the verses that precede and follow 9:5? Allow me to post them:

        [9:4] If the idol worshipers sign a peace treaty with you, and do not violate it, nor band together with others against you, you shall fulfill your treaty with them until the expiration date. GOD loves the righteous.

        [9:5] Once the Sacred Months are past, (and they refuse to make peace) you may kill the idol worshipers when you encounter them, punish them, and resist every move they make. If they repent and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), you shall let them go. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

        [9:6] If one of the idol worshipers sought safe passage with you, you shall grant him safe passage, so that he can hear the word of GOD, then send him back to his place of security. That is because they are people who do not know.

        What’s so frightening about these verses? They’re directed specifically at the Quraysh — the ones who waged war upon the early Muslims. Historically, Muslims taxed non-Muslims for PROTECTION. Christians and Jews, for instance, did not fight in the military, therefore they paid a tax for their protection.

        It is also incorrect to attribute this verse to every violent Muslim you see. Do you think every single Christian, Jew, Hindu, or Buddhist follows their religion correctly? There are so many murders that take place inside the United States; why don’t you blame their religious affiliation? Why don’t you just pick out some violent verses from the Bible and attribute it to them?

        The violence in the Middle-East is due to radicalization caused by the wars, occupation, and oppression from outside forces. If someone loses their children, how can they not be radicalized? If you support war, then do you expect the other side to not fire back? No one wakes up in the morning and looks at the Qur’an and says, “Hey, let’s kill some people today!” Common sense tells us that violence begets violence. If you send an army into Iraq, there is going to be resistance, and do not deny that thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed.

  9. Jehanzeb–at what point do Nick’s comments transgress your commenting policy; and at what point does responding constitute, “feeding a troll” (in blogospheric language)?

    • Hey Chiara,

      Had I read Nick’s comment sooner, I would have deleted it right away because I found it to be very disrespectful. Since others replied to him, I will keep it posted. I just wrote a long reply to his comment to set the record straight. We’ll see where it goes from here.

      • Jehanzeb–no worries, I know you are an excellent blog moderator. I was just curious, in part because of the shenanigans going on at another blog where the moderator is not of your calibre.

      • Administrator Note: Nick, please review my comment policy. Making stereotypical remarks about “religious people,” or speaking to me in a condescending manner is not civilized discussion.

  10. Nick,

    First and foremost, I request that you review my comment policy before you disrespect my readers again. Unlike you, they are frequent readers of my blog and they deserve to be treated with respect. Ridiculing them and making passive aggressive remarks is not going to fly here.

    Secondly, if you are Islamophobic (as you call yourself), then why are you commenting on here? This is a Muslim blog. If someone is afraid of the dark, they would try to avoid darkness as much as possible, right? Don’t you fear me because I believe in Islam, a religion that you call a “violent ideology”? (or is this sort of like your way of “facing your fears” by engaging in a discussion with Muslims online?)

    To say you are an Islamophobe is no different than saying you are a racist. A racist and an Islamophobe both hate and fear particular groups of people. You are wrong when you say attacking an idea does not mean you attack the people. A Muslim, for example, strives to live by the example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, because he epitomizes the perfect example of goodness and kindness for human beings. Every Muslim believes this. In every Muslim house, children are taught by their parents, “The Prophet once said such and such,” or “The Prophet once helped so and so,” and so on. The faith of Islam — a way of life — is not only something we hold dear in our hearts, but it also represents an important part of our identity. When you attack Islam, you attack not just an idea or belief system, but an identity. Since you are not Muslim and demonstrate a very poor understanding of Islam, I think it is important for you to understand this about us. If you have any genuine desire to establish positive relations with Muslims or learn something about Islam, then I’m sure you’ll be receptive to what I’m sharing with you.

    I am confused when you say you are an atheist, as if that implies you hate religions by default. I have atheist friends who would strongly condemn your views. I actually made some short films with them — films about Muslim-Americans experiencing discrimination and racial profiling in the United States. They have visited my Mosque as well.

    You call my beliefs foolish and then assume that I would call you foolish for not believing in God. No, I only call you foolish because you would make that assumption based on whatever I believe. In Islam, if you really understood it, Muslims are taught that every person is a fellow human being, no matter what. The Prophet’s cousin, Ali (peace be upon him), once expressed this teaching in a letter he sent out to the governor in Egypt. It’s condescending to call someone who believes in God “foolish.” No one wants to be spoken down to. It doesn’t matter if you’re atheist or a believer — speaking down to someone or thinking you’re morally or intellectually superior to someone based on stereotypes is ignorant, disrespectful, and above all, childish.

    Just like you cited hateful threats by extremist Muslims, I could do the same and cite the hateful words expressed by Michael Savage, Robert Spencer, and lead members of the private military company, Blackwater (or Xe), who use Crusader language and conspire to “destroy Islam.” Actually, just visit Robert Spencer’s website (or David Horowitz’s website) and you’ll see PLENTY of racist and hateful comments about Muslims and Islam (it reminds me of high school, actually). Marwa El-Sherbini, a pregnant Muslim woman, was stabbed to death in a German courtroom by a man who was angry that she filed charges against him. The man had cursed her off in a playground, called her a “terrorist,” and told her to “go home.” As a result of exercising her right to defend herself, the man killed her.

    You are speaking about Theo Van Gogh’s death as if every single Muslim in the world is responsible for it. You also speak as if it is the only “religiously motivated” crime that has taken place before. What about the neo-Nazi who opened fire at the Holocaust museum in New York City, or the bombing in Oklahoma City? Or better yet, look at how many people have threatened President Barack Obama — and how many people are calling him a “Muslim” as a slur? It probably doesn’t offend you because it would frighten you to death if Obama was a Muslim (relax, he’s not).

    Your ignorance of the Qur’an is exposed when you say it is filled with violence from “beginning to end.” Have you even read the Qur’an? If the Qur’an is all about violence, then why are there over a billion Muslims in the world? A recent survey reported by BBC revealed that 1 in 4 people are Muslim. How can so many people follow a religion that tells people to “kill non-Muslims?”

    Every verse that deals with “violence” in the Qur’an is about self-defense. The Qur’an must be read in its entirety and it must be contextualized because those verses dealing with warfare are directed specifically at the Quraysh tribe, which persecuted, murdered, and evicted the early Muslim followers.

    Your outlook on Islam is filled with orientalist stereotypes and misconceptions. There is no definitive interpretation of Islam. Islam practiced by the Saudi Arabian government, for example, is not seen as the authentic interpretation of Islam by many people. Most Muslim countries do not have such a strict interpretation of the religion. Islam practiced in America is integrated in the country itself. As President Obama said, Islam is part of America. I am a Muslim-American and I’m proud of it. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is an Abrahamic religion, and all religions are compatible with the American constitution.

    Therefore, to say “Islamic ideas” are “inferior” and “intolerable” to many in the West is both insulting and ignorant. Thanks to Islamic ideas, we have algebra, algorithms, and awareness of Aristotle and other Greek philosophers. Do not forget that while Europe was in the Dark Ages, Islamic civilization was excelling in education, science, medicine, astronomy, philosophy, art, architecture, poetry, and even music. Islam has had a huge impact on Europe — more so than you think. You do not know about Islam, Nick, you do not know about its beauty and how it has advanced our world in so many ways.

    Vilifying Islam is not welcome on this blog. If you are really interested in learning the truth about Islam, then why don’t you listen to Muslims like myself, who represent the majority? If I want to learn about Judaism, for example, I will speak to a practicing Jew, not to an ex-Jew or non-Jew. I will also be respectful enough to not sound as if I know everything about Judaism either. You’re speaking about Islam as if you know it completely. No, you do not. I am a Muslim and Islam is my way of life, so it boggles my mind why you would behave as if you know more about Islam than me? If you choose to ignore the voices that condemn expressions of violence in the world, then there is only so much people like myself can do.

    As I recommend to all Islamophobes, I recommend that you read “The Muslim Next Door” by Sumbul Ali-Karamali. I have shared this book with my professors, classmates, and friends, and they all agree that is one of the most important reads. It will open your mind and correct all of the misconceptions and stereotypes you have about Islam and Muslims.

    Peace.

  11. Jehanzeb–kudos on your patience, and your reply to Nick. I would only add that Marwan El-Sherbini was killed during a court hearing about the assault charges against her neighbour/killer, a Russian of German origin recently immigrated to Germany. He had tried to forcibly remove her headscarf from her when they met in front of their homes. That, of course, constitutes assault. The court appearance in which she was killed, was not their first, as like other haters, he escalated from verbal and psychological abuse to physical violence.

  12. “I know from irrationality, Nick, I am a psychiatrist.”

    “… your “a book written by iron age people” is out by about 2000 years. Ask the paleontologists among your anthropologist friends.”

    LOL.

    Chiara = Awesome.

    What I find maddening (or hilarious, depending) is that these “The West/Europe is obviously superior” types are often so ignorant of their own cultural history. I suppose it is too much to ask that they have even a child’s basic working knowledge of Middle Eastern history… but they so clearly have no idea about the important events of their own.

    And, not for nothing, can we just put an end to this “I am an atheist, therefore everything I am saying is rational” meme. It’s getting kinda old.

    • Joseph–shokran! And I agree, people like Nick give atheists a bad name. Some of the most ethical, respectful people I know are atheists. Nick, and the like minded are bringing them down.

  13. Jehanzeb, Chiara, Joseph: This discussion needs to be a BINGO card. Has anyone done an Islamophobia BINGO card yet? They should. And by “they,” I mean YOU, J-Heezy. :D

    • Good idea! Nick is not offering anything new to the discussion and he is just repeating the same things over and over again (even though I took the time to address everything in a long reply). He is not receptive to what Muslims have to share, therefore I banned him.

    • Considering the way in which Darwin, and to a greater degree his teachings and legacy, have been condemned, silenced and ostracized I think he would think Wilders and his ilk were oppressive, ignorant jerks scared of change. If you can’t see the parrallel between those who try to keep evolution out of schools, use junk science and distortions of what evolution and natural selection really mean, and create a climate in which no one even wants to distribute the Darwin movie in America and those who want to tax women who wear hijab, put out blatant distortions about the Quran and what Muslims believe you are either blinded by self-imposed ignorance or deliberatedly trolling.
      Either way, pleae don’t take the name of Darwin in vain.

      And Jehanzeb they should have your picture next to “class” in the dictionary. As for that quote Nick pulled I’m willing to bet he didn’t read the Quran and pulled it from some documentary like Fiqah or a hate site. I know because I watched Fiqah with a copy of the Quran downloaded to my computer and as soon as that quote came up I paused the movie and looked it up. When I say the lines preceding it I was beyond ticked that the maker had been so blatant in their cherry-picking.

      • Thank you, Tracey! Great points about Darwin. I was actually thinking along the same lines because I highly doubt Darwin would agree with Dave’s hate. I don’t think Darwin would want people to worship him either ;)

        Thank you for your kind words. Anyone can cherry-pick verses from any scripture and twist it for their own agenda. That is what people like Robert Spencer and Geert Wilders do. They talk about “free speech” so much, but they’re hell-bent in discouraging intellectual and free thinking when it comes to Islam.

  14. Admin Note: Calling Islam a “psychopathic death cult,” slandering the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and vilifying Muslims violates the comment policy of this blog. Take your hatred and share it in your Klan meetings because that’s the only place where your hate speech will be tolerated. You are banned from commenting here. Good luck finding something better to do with your time!

  15. Darrius–you seem to have confused a post against hate speech with an invitation to give an example of hate speech.

    Jehanzeb–I would be happy to have this comment go into the bin if you put Darrius there, where it belongs. Hopefully we won’t be in the same bin.

  16. Pingback: C L O S E R » Blog Archive » Closing the week 45 – Featuring Theo van Gogh
  17. Salaams brothers and sisters,

    Firstly,I would like to sincerely thank the muslims who run this website and the contributors of comments showing their love of Islam. The opposite of hatred is love .
    Secondly, I urge our muslims to join the media war and protect Islam against open hatred and bias.
    Thirdly, It is a duty of muslims to educate all human beings with wisdom and rational arguments about the deen .
    Fourthly, more monitoring of the media is necessary by all muslims so that counter arguments can be articulated for rational minds with real open minds.
    Fifthly, let us assist our deen by responding to the open Islamaphobes and challenge them with wise debate. Of course bigotted people may not understand reality and sense as their hearts are sealed . Let us communicate with those who care to understand .

    May Allah guide us from the plots of Shaitaan.
    Hussein

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