Atheism, Christianity, ISIS, Islam, Moderate Muslims, Reza Aslan, USA

An open letter to Reza Aslan

Hello Reza,

I have recently heard your outburst at Bill Maher, although you are normally a nice inclusion to the show, and you sometimes have important things to say, I think you have sadly diminished any respect I once had for you by your recent lies on CNN. It seems that after being told a truth you dislike on HBO, and being subjected to other humans who actually have the ability to call bullshit on your claims – you have run to CNN to discuss your point with two people who know as much about Islam as you do about the inner workings of time travel.

When you claim Islam is peaceful, ISIS is not Islamic & people are the problem not religion,two random eye-candy anchors from CNN can do nothing but smile and try to sound interesting, how can their media study diplomas come in useful here? Whereas Bill Maher (or his research team) could actually use evidence – like the Quran, the unchanged & perfect word of your God – to prove you wrong. You gained many fans and book sales by looking rather smart on fox news, but let’s be honest, that’s like being the nicest looking 62 year old virgin in Milwaukee – its value is nil.

Maher stated this:
if vast numbers of Muslims across the world believe, and they do, that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea or drawing a cartoon or writing a book or eloping with the wrong person, not only does the Muslim world have something in common with ISIS; it has too much in common with ISIS.”

If you deny any of this, 1) Wake up and smell the coffee 2) Stop lying  & 3) You best go out there and tell more than 112 million Muslims that they are doing it wrong (that is the conservative number of political radicalised Muslims, the ones who adhere to apostasy threats, family shame and cartoon anger are near the absolute majority.)

On CNN you go on to say regarding female genital mutilation:

“I mean, the argument about the female genital mutilation being an Islamic problem is a perfect example of that. It’s not an Islamic problem. It’s an African problem …And that’s actually empirically factually incorrect … It’s a Central African problem. Eritrea has almost 90 percent female genital mutilation. It’s a Christian country. Ethiopia has 75 percent female genital mutilation. It’s a Christian country. Nowhere else in the Muslim, Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue.”

WOW, hold on, you think Eritea is a Christian country? How strange that only 50% of the country is Christian, and 48% is Islamic. You forgot to mention that, maybe you thought nobody would fact check you, my bad.

Also Ethiopia a Christian country? Of course in the 4th century it adopted Christianity as the state religion – but unless you forgot, it is not the 4th century any more, how embarrassing of a “historian” to forget – Christianity is no longer the state religion, and only has 62% Christians and 34% Muslims which is no doubt more than 50%, but if the best evidence you have is calling 50% & 62% Christian majorities, then you have a big problem. Sorry again, I guess you thought being on CNN you wouldn’t get fact checked.
Let us look at the evidence against you, as the evidence you used yourself was dire and counter-productive to your own means. Is female genital mutilation an Islamic problem or not?

Somalia 98% FGM – 99.8% Muslim & less than 0.1% Christian
Djibouti 93% FGM – 94% Muslim 6% Christian
Eqypt 91% FGM – 94.9% Muslim & only <5.1% Christian
Guinea 96% FGM – 85% Muslim & only 8% Christian
Mali 89% FGM – 90% Muslim only 5% Christian
Sudan 88% FGM – 98% Muslim >2% Christian
Sierra Leone 88% FGM – 71% Muslim 27% Christian

Out of the 29 main countries that conduct female genital mutilation in Africa – only 8 are Christian majority countries, with the remaining 21 all being an Islamic majority, go figure! Why didn’t you mention these statistics? Because they clearly prove you wrong, that’s why.

Let’s look at your mathematics; you believe that because 21 out of 47 African countries adhere to the barbaric procedure of female genital mutilation, that it is an African problem. 21 out of 47 = 44.6%

But you don’t believe female genital mutilation is an Islamic problem, even when 21 out of the 30 countries in the world that practise FGM are Islamic? That’s = 70%

So 44.6% of African countries = African problem!
but 70% of Islamic countries = erm … nothing to do with Islam!

Logic fail.

The fact you dared to say “Nowhere else in the Muslim, Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue.” is disgustingly untrue, tell that statement to the 98% of women in somalia who have no clitoris or labia left you lying toad; it’s so untrue it is almost wickedly offensive, the evidence above shows you are either a liar or as you said on CNN, “stupid”.

I will not question your credentials (like many others have) I will simply remind people that when we listen to you, we are not hearing a moderate non-biased unaffiliated scholar, but a very confused individual that has taken to not only one true religion, but two, and three times at that. Instead of studying the truth of the scientific & historical claims (which would almost certainly lead to non-belief) you have bounced between religions like Katie Price through husbands – this plays out like a man who just cannot get over the fact he will die, so needs to fill the void by being subservient to a none answer.

“Where did the universe come from?”

“Let’s make up something that cannot be verified, tested or even proven to exist, and call it that!”

Most people who have life long faith and lose it, go from believing to noticing how wrong they were and how indoctrinating religion really is – not believing in one silly man-made ideology (which you agree is the basis of faith) to another silly man-made ideology. Your life story (born in Iran to a Muslim family, converting to Christianity, converting back to Islam) doesn’t sound like a man trying to find truth, more a man trying to find faith, it doesn’t really matter which one, as long as you don’t have to own up to the reality of entropy.

Time magazine wrote “Aslan came to the conclusion that the claims of the Bible didn’t hold up.” I’m glad you used rationality, now can we sit down and place the same scrutiny on Islam? Because if you can use logic to dismiss Christianity, there is no chance you will fail at doing the same to Islam – they both make massive claims for themselves and they both fail miserably. You go on to say:

As a scientifically minded person, if you asked me is it likely that a man rose from the dead? I would say, no.

I am salivating at this, if you actually believe you can dismiss the validity of Jesus’ miracles using science (as we can) then you have either refused to investigate Mohammed and Allah, or you have done so and completely ignored the scientific findings, so which is it – are you lying or ignorant?

I have the honesty as an ex-Christian to see atrocities in the name of Christianity and accept that they are absolutely tied together – When I see Christian women being killed in Africa for speaking down to a man, or even turning her face from a man – I don’t lie, I don’t make excuses, I don’t run away from the responsibility I have given myself by having knowledge of the situation. I simply quote the passages from the bible that directly mandate these killings and say “This is why religion has no place in our society, and this is why most Christians gave up on a literal bible many moons ago.” When I remember Hitler’s use of the treatment of Jesus by Jews to justify the final solution, or the African slave trade using the bible as justification, with passages explicitly explaining how one should beat his slave, I don’t pretend those passages don’t exist, I don’t lie about them, I don’t say vapid statements like “Don’t paint all Christians like this minority” or “They are extremists” I am a grown up, I admit the bible does mandate these actions, and use this as evidence as to why I do not follow the Bible. Slave owners, much like ISIS, are not extremists, they are what I like to call ‘literalists’ as they take to a literal translation of the Bible – as all “followers” should do. How can they be marginalised by others who don’t hold to the true word of their holy books? How dare an ex-Christian like me who attended church only for funerals say that a slave owner who recited the passage below was not a Christian?:

You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

This is the word of God – that last sentence almost makes it sound like a Jew had probably written it…

So why do you not have the same ability as I? Are you too biased to be honest to your audience? Why are you not truthful enough to tell people that ISIS are not only Islamic but take their faith more seriously than any other so called Muslims? You can still stand by your fellow Muslims yet agree the only way to succeed in this century is to adapt and evolve into a more modern faith – this is why Christianity is most powerful – but to do that you must first own up and then subsequently disown the basic premise your old beliefs.

How can you, with a straight face denounce the work of ISIS yet know full well everything they do is a carbon copy of the will of Mohammed – Did the prophet attempt a peaceful caliphate? Or did he bring war? Does Islam give the freedom of leaving the faith, or does it hold a penalty of death? You know the answer to these questions, you know that ISIS have taken the Quran literally, as you should, if you truly are a Muslim, but you won’t admit it – because the current publicity campaign by Islam of using western PC sensibilities to gain popularity from moderates is working perfectly. Nevermore so in history has Islam been this favourable in the eyes of moderate Christians than in 2014. Quite ingenious of Islam I have to say; imagine if for the 500 years that Christianity spilled blood, murdered Muslims and Jews, burned converts at the stake and tortured apostates, that there had been a large Muslim community saying “Don’t be Christianophobic! Stop painting all Christians with the same brush!”

The mere thought is ridiculous.

You know you are being disingenuous, you know you are lying, your audience of low information voters and fans who line up in agreement, but won’t dare research to see what they are agreeing to don’t know any better, but you do. You have a responsibility to inform them of the truth.

You have said:

I’m a person of faith, and the language that I use to define my faith, the symbols and metaphors that I rely upon to express my faith, are those provided by Islam because they make the most sense to me. The Buddha once said, “If you want to draw water, you don’t dig six 1-ft. wells, you dig one 6-ft. well.” Islam is my 6-ft. well. But I recognize that I am drawing the same water that everyone around me is.”

This last sentence is very poignant; I base every decision on scientific scrutiny, not just the ones that suit me like you do, therefore I can’t follow you down the path of believing nonsense. You are a wishy washy Muslim, you probably don’t believe a word of the Quran, but find that it is the faith of your people, and in turn align yourself as such. This is not a problem for me, although I find it sad and useless. What is a problem is you stand as a moderate, barely Muslim by any stretch of the imagination and then dare criticise the men and woman in the middle east who actually give a damn about their faith, the people who live by every word of the Quran and truly follow Islam. How dare such a diluted Muslim born in Iran no less take snipes at real Muslims in Iran who are fighting in a holy war, specifically mandated by them from their God and Holy book (the same holy book you have seemingly studied and chosen to ignore). You’re practically the same as a cultural Jew, who holds to none of the Dogma and believes none of the Holy Book, but just likes to keep some of the traditions because they feel guilt or it reminds them of their childhood. Again, this is your prerogative, but just as they cannot deny an orthodox Jew, you cannot deny a literal Muslim.

So in closing, please stop lying on CNN, because although you have mindless fans who will clap along, you also have informed debaters and fervent non-believers who actually fact check, like me – We, the informed: with our google, our evidence, our love of statistics, our willingness to open a Holy Book and our attitude towards learning as many true things and discarding as many false things as possible, will be on you like a fly on shit. You will be held accountable. Your claims can and will be verified independently and it will affect your reputation as a “scholar”.

Yours fai… truly,

Jordan Smith

Advertisements
Standard

51 thoughts on “An open letter to Reza Aslan

  1. V. says:

    You are a total hypocrite, do you know that? You argue that Reza Aslam uses skewed examples to support his claims and then you write a response and do EXACTLY the same thing.

    Like

    • Strange, you say I do something – yet give no examples. Reza did not give skewed evidence – he lied – I have done no such thing. Find ANY of my statistics false, I double dare you.

      Like

    • You do realize that “Politifact” is a biased leftwing organization and not an objective media watchdog like they purport to be right? They exist merely to embarrass Fox News and lend extra credence to liberal news sources. Unfortunately the left wing is biased in favor of Islam apologizers at the moment (and by proxy in favor of religious extremism) so unfortunately, as atheists we have to go against the leftwing media machine.

      Like

  2. KSA says:

    You make some good points but you have your own Logic Fail. “70% of countries that practice FGM are Islamic” and “70% of Islamic countries practice FGM” are not the same statement at all (they’re hardly even related), but you have conflated them.

    Like

      • Lotus White says:

        Hi. I think you make a lot of good points and you have me thinking more critically about Aslan’s position, as well as Maher’s. Thank you. I am also having a little trouble with the wording of the section regarding FGM being a Muslim problem vs. African problem.

        “But you don’t believe female genital mutilation is an Islamic problem, even when 21 out of the 30 countries in the world that practise FGM are Islamic? That’s = 70%

        So 44.6% of African countries = African problem!
        but 70% of Islamic countries = erm … nothing to do with Islam!”

        I don’t think the above statistics are presented in an equivalent format. Here’s why:

        If 44.6% of African countries practice FGM, presumably this means that approximately 21 of the 47 African countries (not including the Island nations) practice FGM. You stated that “21 out of the 30 countries in the world that practise FGM are Islamic…That’s 70%” However, you’d need to compare the 44.6% to the percentage of *total* Islamic countries for an equivalent comparison. So, if there are 49 Muslim majority countries and 21 of them practice FGM, then the percentage that you should be citing is 42.8%, not 70%.

        To me, it seems that it is both an African and an Islamic problem.

        Like

      • I agree it is a problem including both Islam and Africa; I see the point about false equivalence, but that was not my intent. I was not using the comparison as equals, as the figures stated were not for all countries with a high Islamic population – Just the main top 30, which happen to be in Africa. If you google FGM, and read the wiki article you will see my point.

        Like

      • ASBroad says:

        Lotus White, no, the comparison as made by JFPSmith is valid, and this is why. Aslan’s contention is that majority of countries in Africa where FMG is practiced are Christian, and that FGM in general is an African problem. The first point is factually incorrect, as according to WHO the majority of countries with prevalence of FGM in Africa are indeed Muslim majority countries. Then comparing the % of such countries out of the total number of countries in Africa to the % of Muslim countries with prevalent FGM to the total number of countries with prevalent FGM worldwide only follows Aslan’s own claims that a) most countries where FGM is prevalent are NOT Muslim; and b) FGM is mostly an African problem, i.e. it is prevalent in majority of African countries.

        Like

  3. Alex says:

    “Eritrea has almost 90 percent female genital mutilation.” and you state that eritrea is 50% christian and 50% Muslim. This implies then, that at least 80% of christians in Eritrea practice FGM (if we assume that of the 10% in the population not practicing FGM, they are all christian). So, I think the point Reza is making is that in Africa, there is a lot of christian FGM and a lot of muslim FGM.

    Also, in the rest of the world there is very little muslim FGM and very little christian FGM. Thus, FGM is more highly correlated with ‘Africa’ than it is with ‘Islam’.

    Like

    • By that standard (which is what I am using) it stands to reason that some Christians do practise it, but the overwhelming majority is Muslims, correct?

      “Also, in the rest of the world there is very little muslim FGM and very little christian FGM”

      Also, in the rest of the world, there are very little Muslim majority countries. Therefore your last point is null;

      Like

      • I think you need to ponder your position on this a little more. Alex’s last point is spot on, IMO, and you just casually tossed it aside as “null”. When Aslan, who I agree often uses misleading and slimy logic, says that FMG is not an Islamic problem it is a Central African problem, one has to entertain the possibility that he could be correct about the second part (it is a problem largely exclusive to Central Africa) and incorrect about the first part (not being an Islamic problem) . . . the result of which is rather “slimy logic” on Aslan’s part.

        The question to ask first about Aslan’s statement is “does FGM happen to any significant degree anywhere outside of Central Africa?”. If the answer is “no, FGM does not occur to any significant degree anywhere outside of Central Africa” . . . then it’s pretty clear FGM is exclusivley a Central Africa problem..Second, ask about whether FGM is a Muslim problem or not . . . “what is the percentage of Muslim countries in which FGM occurs?”. My cursory look at this shows that there are 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world, So a bit less than half of all Muslim-majority countries have FGM occurring in them, all of which are in Central Africa. As Alex says, the correlation is that FGM is a Central Africa problem more than it is a Muslim problem, but as I look at the numbers, it appears to me that it is more a “Central African predominantly Muslim” problem. At this point, I would have to agree that Maher used a generalization too broad on this particular point.

        Now if I may get a little bit picky, when you write “Also, in the rest of the world, there are very little Muslim majority countries.” Surely you don’t mean that the Muslim majority countries in the rest of the world are each geographically small. Surely you meant to say ” . . . there are very few Muslim majority countries” . If you did mean “very few” instead of “very little”, do you really want to stand by that statement? I would consider 29 (or 28, different sources seem to have different numbers) to be a fair number of other countries in the world that are Muslim majority.

        Like

      • Thanks for the comment. Believe me I have thought a lot on this issue. As I don’t have a link at band to Alex’s point I can only reply to yours. FGM is a problem in central Africa, because they tradition has creeper over to Christian tribes in a smaller manner. But outside of Africa there is much evidence of Muslim FGM and not much of Christian FGM. My piece, as I have said many times is about Reza clearly lying on TV, which he does often. Year later and no one has proven me wrong. For clarity, cases of FGM have recently been found in the UK, France, Denmark, Australia, Germany, the US and many more. None of these cases are Jewish or Christian – all are Islamic. Now please explain how that fits I to yours and Reza’s logic of a central African problem.

        To save time, it doesn’t.

        Like

  4. J. Brenneman says:

    Regarding FGM:

    I read through your open letter, and took the time to compile a spreadsheet with facts taken from Wikipedia on population, % of population effected by FGM, and % of population who practice Islam to check out some of the claims you made. (https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=65FF54B95D4B6325!1481&authkey=!AHKwTIpPcGRJUx8&ithint=file%2cxlsx)

    To the point: 50% and 62% are, in the literal sense of the definition (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/majority), majorities. Also, Somalia is an African country (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Somalia&oldid=628078347). How many non-african nations practice FGM – Yemen and Iraq (which is found almost exclusively in the Kurdistan region), and in much lower percentages (23%, and 8% respectively) than their African counterparts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Female_genital_mutilation&oldid=628272260)

    http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/female-genital-cutting.html also supports the idea that FGM is not about religion, as it crosses religious boundaries. It is practiced by Muslims, Christians, and Jews. No religious texts mention FGM, and in fact, in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Niger it is more prevalent among Christians than Muslims. By far, the majority of countries who practice FGM are African. What’s the percentage – 27/29, or 93%.

    I’m now going to start citing my spreadsheet, with figures taken from the formerly cited Wikipedia article on Female Genital Mutilation, and taken from independent, and most current estimates of each countries population, and demographic breakdowns:

    While I can say it’s not only an African problem (because clearly there are people around the world who are affected by it from all religions and walks of life), it is a problem overwhelmingly found in African countries. Out of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, 415 million of them (F2->F30) live in these countries with serious FGM issues (effects > 1% of total population), which means that 70% of the “muslim countries” in the world hold only 26% of the world’s Muslim population. Moreover, of the 169.4 million women effected by FGM, 165.2 million live in Africa. That’s even more of an important percentage – 97.5%.

    When you break it down country-by-country, the % of muslim population does not correlate with the % of FGM victims. Ethiopia, Liberia, and Kenya, which has 74%, 66%, and 27% of their female population effected by FGM, has a muslim population of only 33.8%, 12.8%, and 7% respectively. Iraq, Yemen, and Niger, which has a muslim population of 98.9%, 99%, and 98.3% has an FGM percentage of 8%, 23%, and 2% respectively.

    70% of Muslim countries is a majority, of course (though only barely more than the 62% figure you brought up earlier), but to pawn it off as being a “Muslim problem” is
    disingenuous. 97.5% of the effected population lives in Africa, and there’s little correlation between muslim populations and the % of those effected by FGM.

    Like

    • Many of these points if not all have already been explained by myself or on the article on AtheistAnalysis.com. Just for clarification my piece was a response to Reza saying it had nothing to do with Islam, whilst using stats that would show it very much has. He did not say the cause of FGM is Islam, nor did I. If he spoke on a global scale – I would have also. I did not say it was a “Muslim” problem, so your being unhappy at that is nothing I can help – you’re unhappy with something I have not done. I think it is false to completely deny it has anything to do with Islam. That would be nonsense.

      Like

  5. Alex says:

    Not sure what you mean when you say ‘by that standard’. In my example of eritrea, the worst case scenario is that 100% of muslims practice FGM, but 80% of christians practice it. That scenario I would not call an overwhelming majority.

    Note that there isn’t much correlation between muslim countries:

    and FGM countries:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_female_genital_mutilation_by_country#mediaviewer/File:2013_Female_Genital_Mutilation_Cutting_Circumcision_FGM_World_Map_UNICEF.SVG

    Explicitly, here are those two data sets plotted showing very low correlation (note all of the high-ly muslim data points at 0% FGM). Hosted here:
    http://imgur.com/cgdwcIN

    Like

    • I’m not sure why people keep showing me the same map I used to write the piece?

      “note all of the high-ly muslim data points at 0% FGM)”

      Notice how that is not the case at all? Notice how out of the 29 countries highlighted, 21 are Muslim majorities?

      Like

    • I would and have done, the numbers regarding Christians practising v Muslims are overwhelming on the Muslim side. In most of the countries highlighted Christians are also victims, but most of these are of course Muslim majority countries – some as high as 98-99%

      Like

  6. I think you’d make your point a bit better by showing a survey of FMG worldwide. It’s actually most prevalent in Africa (Muslim Africa) but not unknown around the world in Muslim immigrant communities.

    Like

    • If I was writing a piece about FGM worldwide, then that would make perfect sense; but that is not the case. My piece is a reaction to Reza Aslan discussing FGM in Central Africa – therefore I replied by discussing the truths of FGM in central Africa, anything else would seem irrelevant to me. Thank you for the comment.

      Like

  7. Kai says:

    I don’t think Bill Maher and Ben Affleck know the fact that Muslims in US are DIFFERENT than the Muslims in “Islamic” countries and the fact that Islam is full of SCHISMS like Christianity does.

    Take the Al-Kitab issue in Malaysia for example, the Muslims in the Peninsular cannot accept Christians and Sikhs to use Allah’s name while the Muslims in Borneo can still accept that.

    Muslim women in Malaysia can still drive cars while Muslim women in Arab countries aren’t allowed to drive

    Young Muslim girls are mostly banned to attend schools in “Islamic” countries, the Talibans even shoot Malala in the head for that

    What more, Muslims in Islamic countries cannot accept female imams leading prayers like those in US do.

    Shias are still widely prosecuted by Sunnis just because they are minority that follow different teachings.

    Muslims in America are by far more educated, well to do and liberal while the Muslims in most “Islamic” countries are still mostly illiterate, poor, conservative and prone to extremist teachings and terrorism.

    Liberalism and feminism are well accepted by Muslims in the western countries but condemned as UN-ISLAMIC in “Islamic” countries

    Worst of all, most Muslims don’t even know what the Quran says at all and that is why they were always confused and often rely on some insane ulamaks telling them all sorts of nonsenses.

    Therefore, I don’t see Bill Maher and Ben Affleck did look at the bigger picture at all when all they did are nitpicking on one piece fragment from the fractured picture, which also show that they are just as CONFUSED like those ISIL fighters.

    Stereotyping is just as ignorant as living in denial, 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Bill Maher is leading the example of steretyping while Ben Affleck is showing how to live in denial~

    Like

    • Sorry Kai,

      Your first paragraph is really silly. You are unhappy about generalisations about Islam, and the way you show it, is to make a generalisation about Bill Maher and Ben Affleck’s education regarding religion.

      Irony.

      Like

  8. KVR says:

    Nicely stated. Finally more voices I can follow about this problem. Thanks and please keep speaking out. People are having a really hard time thinking clearly about this subject.

    Like

    • Thank you! It is a tough issue for many people – in this day and age it is scary to be branded bigoted so many people who see sense are afraid to mention it. It comes and goes through history, I hope this special pleading for Islam doesn’t last.

      Like

  9. Fenk Leed says:

    hmmm you got your math wrong about FGM so I didn’t read the rest of your article.
    You say 21 out of 47 African countries do FGM; You should say 29 out of 47 countries do FGM. You said yourself that out of 29 countries who do FGM 21 are Muslim and they are all in Africa. So, 29 out of 47 countires in africa do FGM. That’s 61% of African countries regardless of religion.
    You say 21 countries out of 29 countries “who practice FGM” are muslim. This ration can’t be compared by the previous one as it’s not apple-to-apple. What can be compared is ratio of FGM practicing countries to all Musilim majority countries in the world. That is 21 muslim countries who do FGM out of 50 countries who have muslim majority population. that’s 42% of all islamic countries in the world who practice FGM.
    Now, I don’t think one can draw conclusion from these numbers as whether this is a African problem or Islam problem. It’s a complex problem with many factors and it’s stupid to oversimplify as Reza or you have done.
    But it doesn’t change the fact that your numbers were bullshit. hehe

    Like

    • You misunderstand; you claim my numbers are wrong in your first sentence, then go on to explain that I should explain my numbers in a way you would be happier with – So what is it? The numbers are wrong, or you would like a different set of number for comparison?

      What you have failed to realise, is I have replied to many people claiming the same thing – and I will say the same thing to you. If Reza’s point was about Glogal FGM, I would have included the other countries, if Reza’s point was about countries outside of Africa I would have included them, but he never. My piece was strictly to disregard his point of FGM having “nothing to do with Islam”, whilst he strangely feels it has everything to do with Africa. This is again, strange, as there is a higher percentage of Muslims in the area committing FGM, then there are African countries in the world committing FGM. Lastly, my other point could be said that there are some other countries that also do FGM, that have nothing to do with Africa, but have Muslim majority populations – therefore my point is very clear – you just didn’t get it. Don’t worry, you aren’t the first. hehe

      Like

  10. branislav says:

    Maher stated this:
    ” if vast numbers of Muslims across the world believe, and they do, that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea or drawing a cartoon or writing a book or eloping with the wrong person, not only does the Muslim world have something in common with ISIS; it has too much in common with ISIS.”

    What a preposterous claim …. any substantial proof of this? Vast numbers of Muslims across the world believe, and they do, that humans deserve to die ….

    Total unscientific BS … how can anyone in his right mind support such a claim?

    Like

    • I don’t mean to offend, but it seems you have no idea what you are discussing. Maybe you don’t watch Bill Maher’s show? But he often cites poll results and evidence about Islam and Muslim beliefs (so called “moderates” – which is wholly scientific. If you have not seen this, then you are ignorant of the facts, but just because you didn’t know, doesn’t make Bill’s words “unscientific BS”.

      Here are some facts from an old article of mine, which prove a bit of what Bill was saying. These are poll results, totally scientific just as you like them.

      5% of Muslims think 9/11 was perfectly justified (that is 104 million people – 3 times the population of Canada)

      7% of Muslims known to be politically radicalised by intelligence agencies (that is 112 million people – 3 times the population of Sudan.

      70% of worldwide terrorism in 2011 committed by just Sunni Muslims (8,886 out of 12,533)

      91% of all convictions of child grooming/rape cases in the U.K. between 1997 & 2013 were Muslim; whilst the U.K. is only 4% Muslim, therefore a Muslim man is about 200 times more likely to commit this crime.

      More than 95% of all suicide bombing attacks conducted worldwide is carried out by Muslims.

      Four independent studies show 80% of U.S. mosques “were teaching jihad, Islamic supremacy, and hatred and contempt for Jews and Christians,”

      The hyperlinks have not copied for some reason, so scroll down to “Will the real moderate Muslims please stand up?” And you will see all the evidence you desire.

      Furthermore, the amount of Muslims that agreed with the death and/or prosecution of the cartoonist who drew Mohammed was a massive majority, the amount that believe (as the Quran says) to kill apostates is a majority, the amount who believe marrying someone of another faith as being shameful is a majority, so yes, Muslims, even moderate Muslims have too Much in common with ISIS. DO MORE RESEARCH.

      Like

  11. I’m confused by this whole thing. You seem to be passionate about your view that Islam is a problem and that its followers constitute a danger. And on the other side are people who take a more nuanced view that we shouldn’t judge Muslims this way.

    So what is the point of this debate? What is so important about it to you, and Bill Maher and Sam Harris, et al? If we all suddenly came to our senses and adopted your critique of Islam, what changes? Are you calling for a different approach to Muslims? Those squishy people like me who think the vast majority of Muslims are good people whose religion is none of our business…what are we doing wrong? What should we be doing differently? In a lot of critiques like yours and Harris’ I read a lot about how we must all “recognize” this and “acknowledge” that.

    So as a non-religious person who is definitely on the other side of you in this debate, let me ask you, is there some real-world reason you want to change my mind, or are you only merely interested getting people to share your beliefs?

    Like

    • “I’m confused by this whole thing … its followers constitute a danger”

      I see you’re confused, as this is nonsensical, every human can constitute danger.

      “Those squishy people like me who think the vast majority of Muslims are good people”

      I feel the same way, the fact that you don’t understand that clearly from my piece, shows a lack of intellect – not on my part. Most Christians I know don’t believe that Noah built and arc – they need to be honest with themselves and admit it’s all bollocks, that is the same thing Muslims should do with their silly stories (Mohammed flew on a winged horse into the heavens…)

      You are on the other side of this debate because you don’t understand the debate. Most Muslims in your opinion may be good people, like most Jews and most Christians – but most Christians don’t believe you should be prosecuted for drawing Jesus do they? Most Christians don’t think you should die if you leave Christianity do they? The numbers and evidence proving Muslims in their majority feel this way is very damaging, you either know this and ignore it, or you don’t know it. And now that I have informed you, the earlier excuse is not valid. Check my earlier blog about “moderate Muslims” and look at the facts regarding the “majority” of Muslims.

      Lastly, I don’t have a set of beliefs on this issue, I look at the facts and show them to people, no belief necessary- you have been duped by a PR scam of being respectful to people who hold beliefs that are not respectful to yourself, I will not be nice about a people whose holy book says my family and all my friends are lesser beings that should be decapitated or crucified – cowardice just doesn’t fit me well, but you wear it like a warm coat.

      Like

  12. I read your article over a few times, I am not going to argue stats with you nor argue the existence of God because I know I cannot change your views as you cannot change mine. I think you hit on a very good point however; It should be the responsibility of all the major religions to take a good look at their teachings and decide if certain passages need to be edited out. Like you said, there are people who take the books to heart and commit acts of murder and violence based off of what they read. We blame video games and movies that promote violence so why not hold religions accountable for the violence they promote. After all, these books also talk about Love and peace and being kind to each other and that should be the ideas that are promoted today in this century. I had a personal problem with focusing only on Islam as an ideology where so many people have died in its name. By this logic I think it is hypocritical to not include democracy and communism as well. These are basically ideologies and how many people have died because of the ideas and teachings that, Freedom is not free, we must spread freedom and democracy all over the world. And we know Communism has massacred its fear share of people In its name. I would argue that these political systems are even more dangerous than a religion in many aspects. I wanted to also add that I am a Catholic who is married to a Muslim and I have met many Muslim families here in the states and none of them are as you describe. In fact it was my father in law who told me during a discussion about religion that in his view we are all praying to the same god and the only message that should be taught is Love for each other. And my coworker who is a devout Christian told me that my wife and her family will all burn in hell because blah, blah, blah. I totally agree that the Middle east is F-UP and religion is being used as a form of control of the masses as well as a justification for war. But I disagree in condemning everyone who believes in a religion and we should be thankful for the people who do that have evolved and realized that Science is valid and many of the thousand plus year old teachings are not. That in no way should make anyone less of a believer or devoted follower. Anyway, I know this was a philosophical rebuttal to a statement that was being made based on statistics and facts. I just think we all want to say that everything is either black or white when the reality is there is a lot more gray in between. So, good points, I agree with a lot but not all of what you said. I respect how accurate you are trying to be in presenting your point of view. More people should spend time thinking about what they say before they say it!

    Like

    • “because I know I cannot change your views as you cannot change mine. ”

      Don’t be silly, evidence can change my views, as soon as any credible evidence is shown I will “believe”, it says a lot about you that nothing with change your view.

      “It should be the responsibility of all the major religions to take a good look at their teachings and decide if certain passages need to be edited out”

      I see your point, but that is not how it should work – the holy book is either perfect or flawed.

      “We blame video games and movies that promote violence so why not hold religions accountable for the violence they promote”

      “we” don’t do anything, I would not be asinine enough to blame a video game; although there is a vast difference between a violent video game that you can turn on & off which you know is fiction, and a book that actually tells you to kill in real life and is meant to be the perfect word of God.

      ” After all, these books also talk about Love and peace and being kind to each other and that should be the ideas that are promoted today in this century”

      Imagine, sadly, the majority of Abrahamic holy books teach peace to hate at about a 18:1 ratio. You are cherry picking for nice things. Again, your holy book should not only be valid for a certain un-modern century, proof alone that it is false.

      ” I had a personal problem with focusing only on Islam ”

      The piece is about Islam? What problem can you find? I also never mentioned Beyonce or Transportation Departments, because they have nothing to do with this piece. In other pieces I have written strictly about Christianity, guess what I speak about in those pieces? Christianity! If you expected me to address another religion when writing about Islam specifically and a Muslims specifically, then you’re being a tad unreasonable.

      “By this logic I think it is hypocritical to not include democracy and communism as well”

      False, democracy and communism have no specific tenants or rules that say “kill this guy”, people that kill who are democrats are not the same as people who read a bible quote to “kill anyone who works on the Sabbath” and goes out and kills his friend. They are two separate things.

      “These are basically ideologies and how many people have died because of the ideas and teachings that”

      False, again, nothing in the democratic “ideology” says – and thou shalt kill a woman if…” They are constructs about political socio-economics and systems. Very different from an infallible God forcing you to kill in his name or burn in hell for not doing so.

      “Freedom is not free”
      Says who? I was free today, cost me nothing.

      “we must spread freedom and democracy all over the world”

      You can if you must, but remember, if you have a good idea, you don’t need to force it on people – if it’s good enough, they will steal it – Dick Gregory

      ” And we know Communism has massacred its fear share of people In its name”

      I think you mean “fair” not “fear”, also false, communism has killed exactly zero people, men who are communists have killed many people, not nearly as many as the Roman Catholics have but who’s counting? Communism hasn’t killed people the same way Vegetarianism hasn’t killed people, sure vegetarians might kill lots of people – but the vegetarianism has little to do with it, do you follow?

      “. I would argue that these political systems are even more dangerous than a religion in many aspects”

      Argue no more, I proved you wrong.

      “I wanted to also add that I am a Catholic who is married to a Muslim”

      I’m sorry to hear that; Christmas must be a blast. I wonder what God is going to torture you first? (don’t worry, it won’t happen)

      “and I have met many Muslim families here in the states and none of them are as you describe”

      Please counter all of my sourced evidence with your credible anecdotes… I can easily answer with “I’ve met many Muslims and they say you’re a nutbag.” Anecdotes mean nothing here, I deal with facts.

      “. In fact it was my father in law who told me during a discussion about religion that in his view we are all praying to the same god ”

      In his view? IN HIS VIEW? Are you serious, of course you are praying to the same God, do you not know the story of Abraham? All 3 monolithic religions have the same God (Jews/Christians/Muslims) they just have different prophets and/or ideas about what the story of Abraham led to, please read your bible, it might fascinate you! And let your father in-law know his “view” is what is known as common sense, congratulate him.

      “and the only message that should be taught is Love for each other”

      WOW, he never read the holy book to ey? It’s hard to find all the love in the Quran, yano between the raping, beheading, child sacrifice, woman stoned to death, crucifixion, love each other, death by whip, OH LOOK IT SAID LOVE EACH OTHER! SO PEACEFUL RIGHT?.

      “And my coworker who is a devout Christian told me that my wife and her family will all burn in hell because ”

      Anecdotes…

      “I totally agree that the Middle east is F-UP and religion is being used as a form of control of the masses as well as a justification for war”

      We kind of agree, I think the area could be lovely without the 1400 year old fairy tales.

      “But I disagree in condemning everyone who believes in a religion”

      I hardly condemn everyone, but I think they should be challenged, because the majority, like yourself, have either not read the holy book, know absolutely nothing about their “faith” or just follow because of tradition.

      “and we should be thankful for the people who do that have evolved and realized that Science is valid and many of the thousand plus year old teachings are not”

      No, we should be thankful to scientists who were killed by people like you for centuries forcing you to change the stupidity of your beliefs, and to keep faith say things like “we have evolved, the bible totally agrees with science” When we both know, it clearly does not. One of us was right, one was wrong. Guess which side you’re on? You’re on the side whose pope this week agreed that evolution is real, I’m on the side that knew it was real for over 100 years, welcome to the party.

      “Anyway, I know this was a philosophical rebuttal to a statement that was being made based on statistics and facts”

      No, it was a fantastic response, I like to sink my teeth into these.

      “I just think we all want to say that everything is either black or white when the reality is there is a lot more gray in between”

      Many of these situations, as I have explained are already black and white so to speak, but there is much grey area of course.

      “I agree with a lot but not all of what you said”

      Aren’t you lucky you live in a democratic country not run by your wife’s religion, because you would probably be on trial for your life right now, isn’t western democracy just the best?

      “. I respect how accurate you are trying to be in presenting your point of view”

      Gladly, I would dislike trying the opposite.

      “More people should spend time thinking about what they say before they say it!”

      Well, I have now given you a few replied you can really think about, so enjoy.

      Really though, read the story of Abraham.

      Like

  13. Garry Burton says:

    ““Also, in the rest of the world there is very little muslim FGM and very little christian FGM”

    Also, in the rest of the world, there are very little Muslim majority countries. Therefore your last point is null;”
    I thought about half of Muslim majority countries were outside of Africa, including the most populous countries. That means well below half of Muslims practice FGM, and to suggest that MOST of them do, as you appear to be trying to do, is inaccurate and dishonest. To me that suggests that whatever your position may be it isn’t balanced and intellectually honest, which means it should be taken with a pinch of salt. I know Reza Aslan may have a position but at least he appears to understand the honesty of balance.

    Like

    • If you think reza is honest – You probably don’t know much about him. My point is honest. You misunderstand it; he speaks on muslim majorities, name some muslim majorities outside of africa or the middle east…

      Like

  14. Garry Burton says:

    How about Tajikistan 99%, Azerbaijan 98.4%, Maldives,Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh etc. If 29 out of 47 countries in Africa indulge in FGM that’s 61% of African countries. It may be that 70% of those countries are Muslim majority countries but it’s still only 42% of Muslim countries that practice it. If it isn’t practiced outside of Africa it is clearly and demonstrably an African problem, not a Muslim one. Your position is like suggesting that gun crime is a white Christian country problem because the majority of Countries in the Americas that have gun crime are white Christian majority countries.

    Like

    • False, maybe you misread or not read this comments. FGM happens in many other countries not in Africa, and in these countries it is only performed by Muslims – meaning you’re wrong. Also your gun crime false comparison logical fallacy is silly, as guns are found to be used on all other continents by those not of white skin. At least you tried.

      Like

    • Although I agree with your sentiment, your point is actually incorrect. FGM is accepted by one religion in the same way male genital mutilation is accepted in Judaism. But, of course I think you were meaning to say ‘it shouldn’t be accepted.’ Which I completely agree with. Thanks for reading, please share on social media if possible.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s