Tag Archive: Islamic

I recently received a comment from Ali Naqash on a blog that I wrote a while back called Can Democracy and Islam Coexist? It’s stupidity is mind-blowing. I really don’t know where to start in the criticism of this comment.  Without question, it deserves the title of “The Dumbest Comment”. Here it is, enjoy:

“Democracy is not the way of forward, since it gives no right to women like they deserve to be given. It treats them like waste. But it is only through morality and justice as in Islam that one can expect women to be treated like Queens. This article proves that Muslims are sick and tired of people like you trying to FORCE democracy on us! We DONT want your democracy. Thank you. We would be much happier without it.”

…. ask me if I’m surprised. (The answer is ‘no’)

Islamic Republic of the Maldives Sentences Child Rape Victim to 100 Lashes

A girl is repeatedly raped by her father in law and other men. So what does the Islamic nation of the Maldives do? They sentence the girl to 100 lashes because she had sex outside of marriage.


I wrote a blog post about this a while back here.

I didn’t know Hitchens debated Tariq Ramadan on this subject before I wrote this post. The real irony is that one poster, musingsaudi, who I debated back and forth with on this subject, suggested I read Tariq Ramadan in order to understand this subject better.

What a perfect surprise to see Hitchens spank the same guy on the same subject!

I’m not going to analyze the video for you, but it starts with a great intro by Hitchens, after which Tariq Ramadan immediately denies the claim that Islam is a religion of peace! I’m not kidding. He hedges and says it depends on the reader and it therefore can be a religion of peace or violence! This is in his INTRO! I don’t think I need to dig any deeper into this guy’s analysis of Islam after seeing this video.

I remember watching a YouTube clip in which Richard Dawkins interviews a Muslim guy, seen here. In this clip, there was one quote that was particularly annoying. I will paraphrase to make the statement neater since it was a back and forth discussion. Essentially he stated that Western men dressed their women as whores. I assume he meant, we let them dress like whores; regardless, it’s still a ridiculous statement.

This statement is rude and offensive due to its sexist slant; however, I will let feminists attack this point. I am more concerned with something more overarching: it is an ignorant and unfair comparison.

Ignorant because Muslims who make these kinds of statements don’t realize why it is an unfair comparison.

The explanation of its unfairness of this comparison may not be intuitive; however, once dissected, it is quite easy to notice. There are many aspects of culture, and for this reason, it is quite easy to compare apples and oranges without realizing it.

In this instance, the Muslim being interviewed is comparing modern Western culture with traditional Islamic culture. This is not fair. Of course there are traditional Western women who never reveal their bodies in a sexual manner. Of course there are Islamic women who dress provocatively and behave sexually (there are brothels in Islamic countries).

Now, of course women in Western countries are more likely to dress provocatively, but why is this? Is this what Western culture was like traditionally? No. Not at all. The reason why more Western women dress this way is because they can. Specifically, it is because of the continuous fight against the oppression of women in Western culture. In modern Western societies, women are free to dress as they please with little risk of being given dirty looks and no risk of being imprisoned or beheaded.

This same fight against the oppression of women has not happened in Islamic countries. This is not something to brag about. This is something to be ashamed about.

The same advancement of the rights of homosexuals and religious minorities has not occurred in Islamic countries either and we see the same desire by many Muslims to be proud of this lack of advancement. This can be illustrated by the infamous quote by the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “Our country doesn’t have homosexuals.” Again, was this always the case in Western societies? Have Westerners always loved homosexuals and religious minorities? Again, no. The acceptance of the rights of these aforementioned groups are not Western ideals: they are universal ideals.

So, when a Muslim compares Western and Islamic cultures, they should either compare modern Western women and modern Muslim women or traditional Western women and traditional Muslim women. Muslims have no reason to be proud of comparing traditional Islamic culture with modern Western culture. This is an unfair comparison.

Moreover, this is desire to brag about how “modest” Muslim women are in Islamic countries is actually something to be ashamed of, not proud of, since it illustrates how backward the rights of women are in their country. That is, Islamic countries have failed to discover these universal ideals.

There is no evidence that women in Islamic countries innately desire to cover themselves more than any other women. They are products of the society in which they live and these products have not been taken care of. So, whenever a Muslim asserts that their women are more modest than Western women, it is our duty as global citizens to criticize this behavior for the protection of minorities everywhere.


Among many other global catastrophes, religion does cause climate change. It also causes war, illiteracy and the spread of disease.

How does religion cause climate change? The answer is manifold. Firstly, with the example of Abrahamic religions, the eschatological worldview presents a serious problem. The sad irony of having a belief that the world will end (and many believe that this will happen within their lifetime), is that it acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Why should we care if we are polluting the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere? The end is coming when we will all be judged anyway, so there is no purpose preserving this planet. It’s God’s will. The result is that there is no strong environmentalist movement stemming from churches, synagogues or mosques. The focus is on the present and the end times. The idea of sacrificing for the future of our planet is not a hot topic amongst the religious. Yet, something that would seem to be a parallel, the idea of sacrificing for the future in heaven, is a hot topic.

Secondly, we have seen that historically, religion typically has not aligned itself with science – especially recent science. Science that is very old, such as the heliocentric conception of the solar system, is accepted; science that is new, such as climatology, is scoffed at. Yet, turn the clock back a few hundred years, and the heliocentric view of the solar system was also scoffed at. As a result, many religious people do not believe in climate change, or at least that humans are causing climate change. Many of these religious folks have found their way into political positions: these are the policy makers for the rest of us. If a policy maker does not believe in climate change, of course they will vote for and press for policies that may harm the environment – God will take care of us, there’s no need to worry about the planet.

As for war, it is simply a fact for any historian that religion causes war. The problem with religion is that it is nonnegotiable. One religious group will never make concessions on behalf of their religion. Therefore, whenever two religions live within close proximity – that is, either multiple religions within one country, or two countries with different dominant religions adjacent to one another – there will always be unnecessary political and social tension. The topic of holy wars is one which has been discussed in great detail by many others, so I will not delve deeply into this topic since few will deny this corollary of religion.

Malala yousafzai paints the best contemporary picture of the repression of literacy by religion. If religion is not controlled by secular powers, the result has always been a repression of knowledge. Christianity also went through a period like this in Europe. There is a very specific reason why the Bible wasn’t translated from Latin for a long time: to suppress questioning of the Bible. Although modern theists like to claim that questioning their religion is important; this is only the case because religious authorities cannot control knowledge of the Bible, or suppress opinions, as they once did. So what is the best alternative? Let people ask questions and hope they don’t convert. Why are people able to read the Bible? Because a heretic known as Martin Luther dared to translate the Bible into German so that the common people could understand it. You may say, “But Luther was a Christian!” Well, not according to the Church. As I stated above, he was considered a heretic – he was excommunicated by the Pope. Further, his desire to spread the word of the Bible to the masses was not received from the church, but from his own desire to interpret the Bible in his own way and let others know about this interpretation. In other words, the secular concept of freedom of speech. This is the point: religion has always repressed literacy and the only antidote to this repression has been secular values.

These same secular values have also lifted the human understanding of morality. It is not enough that we treat the people who we know around us well; we should also strive to help the whole of humanity.  The fate of smallpox demonstrates this virtue. The persistence of polio and the spread of AIDS across Africa demonstrate the opposite: religion works very hard sometimes to prevent the eradication of disease.

In the case of polio, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, have been dedicating their lives to the honorable goal of eradicating polio. There have been some roadblocks, however. Some are geographical, but most are religious. In Nigeria, the conspiracy theory that the polio vaccine creates infertility in young Muslim girls, in an effort to prevent Islam from spreading, was the reason why in 2003 the polio vaccine was halted by local government. Of course, this stoppage led to an outbreak of polio shortly thereafter.

On another continent, in Pakistan’s remote region of Northern Waziristan, the Taliban used the potential of a polio outbreak among their own people as a threat against the United States. The Taliban told the U.S. that they would not allow the polio vaccine to be administered until drone strikes abated. Their statement that polio is bad but drone strikes are worse is a clear example of how the dogma of the Taliban has distorted their view of the world and allowed for the proliferation of polio.

Back in Africa, the example of the spread of AIDS is a very sad story. The Catholic Church’s stance on AIDS and condoms echoes the absurdity of the aforementioned Taliban statement: AIDS is bad, but condoms are worse. The Catholic faithful in Africa, as a result, refuse to use condoms because this is decreed by their religious leaders. The Catholic Church has even proclaimed that a husband who knows he has AIDS is not allowed to use a condom to have intercourse with his wife! The choice he has is either don’t have sex ever again, or have unprotected sex with your wife and risk the transmission of AIDS. As any rational and informed person knows, the best hope we have in the fight against the proliferation of AIDS is condoms. Any person who encourages unprotected intercourse in a continent plagued by AIDS has given up their morality in place of their religion.

Yet, morality is rarely connected with religion, as the principle of eschatology – the judgment of some humans to be forever punished in hell (an unbelievably unfair punishment for a crime) – demonstrates. Still, eschatology is a driving force for many believers around the world. In a strange twist of fate, it is this fatalism itself that will quite possibly bring about the end of the world for many of the aforementioned reasons, provided that the forces of secularism stand by and do nothing.

Hard Questions for the Religious


There are certain questions which are quite simple to answer for non-believers that are deep and perplexing issues for religious people.

This in itself should tell us something.

I am really curious about how religious people would answer some of the following questions. When I say “really curious” this is not a lie. I am not trying to disprove peoples’ religious views by setting up trap questions. The reason I am curious is because these questions are not interesting if you ask a non-believer, but it’s hard for a non-believer to wrap their heads around how a religious person thinks about these questions.

1) Do you ever question whether your worldview is correct?

2) If you pray, why do you do this? Do you believe that God is on your side? Doesn’t all the bad things in your life give you a reason to be skeptical of praying?

3) What do you make of people who believe other religions or other sects of your same religion, often more strongly that you do (ie, enough to fly planes into buildings)?

4) Do you notice the parts of life that you do not get to enjoy because of your religion?

5) If you believe in heaven, do you really look forward to the idea of living forever? Think deeply, not superficially, about this. Of course, I don’t want to die, just like you, but living for eternity is a different can of worms altogether. After millions of years, how can anything be interesting anymore?

6) Do you like the fact that God can know everything you think? Do you feel embarrassed about some thoughts you have? (I know I do!)

I have more, but I want to keep this short enough that someone (hopefully a religious person) might want to give their thoughts on these questions.

If a religious person does answer, I’ll give my honest answers to whatever questions they have for me, as a non-believer. 🙂

Religion of Peace?

It seems that I keep running into people who, whenever a terrorist action such as a suicide bombing occurs, they want to attach, “but Islam is a religion of peace”  into the conversation — as if that makes it all acceptable.

Moreover, Islam is not a religion of peace. Neither is Christianity or Judaism.

But, the politically incorrect stance that Islam is NOT a religion of peace, and further, that it is the most violent major religion in existence today (emphasis on “today” because I know people are going to say “Oh the Crusades, or the Inquisition!” Yes, I know about these. At that time, Christianity was the most violent religion. I’m talking about today, however.)

People are quick to throw around terms like “racist” or “religious intolerance” when a statement like this is made. This just kills the conversation and prevents people from seeing the reality.

Let’s go through a few facts that demonstrate that Islam is not a religion of peace:

First, Mohammed was a warlord. He spread Islam by the sword. Muslim theologians will give excuses or reasons why these different wars were just wars and so on, but none of them deny that he waged wars on other people. Mohammed was not a figure like Jesus (and I have no love for Jesus).

Second, Islam provides many rewards for dying in battle. Almost everyone knows about the 72 virgins acquired after the death of a martyr. Again, theologians will try to say here that the word “virgin” that is translated from the Koran is not actually virgins but angels or something like that. This doesn’t matter for two reasons. Firstly, it’s still a reward for killing other people and dying in the name of Islam. Secondly, the young men who commit atrocities, such as suicide bombings, don’t talk to theologians, they talk to their elders or their imams who tell them that they will have 72 virgins to do with what they want.

In this way, suicide and violence against infidels is encouraged.

There are other reasons that Islam is not a religion of peace, but they are more debatable. The two points I have outlined here are basic tenets of Islam:  Mohammed was a wartime leader and killing and dying for Islam is rewarded. They are both violent. Saying otherwise would be comparable to saying George W. Bush was a president of peace.

Further, I don’t think it’s fair to use the nebulous speech of theologians to discuss topics like this because their focus is on obfuscation, not fact. We have to look at what the average Muslim or the average Christian believes to determine what their religion is all about. You may say that all the Muslims or Christians you meet are peaceful. That may be so. However, the media is what gives us a larger picture. The daily reports of suicide bombings tell us that there is a large number of very violent Muslims in existence today.

Lastly, I’ll say something surprising. I am not a peace-lover. I think violence is necessary in certain situations. Therefore, my life is not a life of peace! I admit this to myself and others.

The reason that I think Muslims and guilt-stricken liberals claim Islam is a religion of peace is because they know that it isn’t and they feel guilty about it.

I’m not guilty about the fact that I think violence is necessary sometimes. Islam needs to stop lying to itself and admit that it isn’t a religion of peace.


The Muslim Brotherhood has recently been elected with Mohamed Morsi as it’s leader — a strict Islamist.

In a recent discussion I’ve had with another blogger, musingsaudi,on a post she made Are We Just Not ‘Democratizable’?, I questioned whether a strict interpretation of Islam is possible in a democracy.

To be honest, I don’t think it can, but I am open to other opinions about how this could be so. Problems exist in Sharia that appear, to me at least, incompatible with the rule of law and sexual and religious equality, not to name many other critical institutions. Without these cornerstones, I can’t see how a democracy could flourish.

With regards to the rule of law, is it possible that Sharia can be looked to as a guide for the legal system? Can problems like adultery and apostasy be punishable by death in a democratic society? Do most Muslim agree with this? And if they don’t, then democratically speaking, these laws must run counter to Sharia.

Regarding sexual and religious equality, it isn’t difficult to see where numerous problems will exist. If women and non-Muslims are not treated on a par with men, then the majority of the population will be discriminated against. Again, a big problem in a democracy.

As to the question of whether Middle Eastern countries can become democracies, I answer with a strong “Yes”. However, my guess is that an Islamic Reformation of some sort would be required to accomplish this. Only with a tempered interpretation of Islam could a true democracy exist.


As an update, I disappointingly found an article with the exact same title as mine, which discusses the title’s question in terms of cultural imperialism. That is, the term democracy is something the West is thrusting upon Islamic countries with rules decided by the West. This is an assertion that I am wholeheartedly against for a couple reasons. First, it merely heightens the West-East dichotomy that fuels anti-West rhetoric. Democracy is not the West’s attempt to destroy Islam, it’s a political system that is not supposed to be affected by religion. Second, the author is implying that democracy for Muslims must be modified in order to fit with Islam, not the other way around (that Islam must be modified to fit with democracy). There have been many attempts at democracy throughout history. The most successful ones, like America’s, instituted checks to prevent the perversion of democracy by religion or other dogmas. This is my whole point: a strict interpretation of Islam (or any religion for that matter) will, over time, erode the “democracy” in that country.

The Fall of Theism


For millennia, humans have been subjected to the whims of many kinds of powerful individuals and organizations.  Of these people and organizations, none has caused such devastation with immunity to criticism as religious leaders and their corresponding organizations.  Fortunately, the increasing number of educated individuals in the world in addition to the great access to information the Internet provides has led to a Renaissance of rationalism.  In the coming years, the chokehold of theism on the minds of the masses will slowly come undone.

The result of this Renaissance will be manifold, however, of fundamental importance are two key areas of improvement: a spur in scientific and technological development – no longer held back by superstitious beliefs – and a higher level of morality among the vast majority of the world’s population.

As even those with a minute knowledge of history understand that time and time again, organized theistic religions have hampered or completely blocked scientific and technological development. From the case of Galileo, being forced to recant his findings that the solar system is heliocentric and not – as the church believed then, geocentric – to the more recent criticism of stem cell research, to numerous other examples, theistic religious organizations have continuously impeded the advancement of science and technology throughout history.

Without organized religion, science will prosper for two reasons contemporarily.  First, religious organizations will no longer sponsor political parties (financially and otherwise) in order to influence party politics.  The examples of the fundamentalist Christian movement in America and the fundamentalist Islamic movement in numerous Arab countries demonstrate the strong influence of religious organizations have on political parties to this day.  Obviously, these religious organizations demand certain restrictions on science, such as stem cell research and – according to the Catholic Church’s recently released Seven Modern Deadly Sins – genetic modification. Second, if organized religions disappear, more people who would have lived under the haze of religious dogma will likely venture into scientific fields.  The sheer number of people who alter their understanding of the world according to their religion – that is, away from reason and science – is exceedingly large.  This untapped human capital will only help the development of science and technology in the future.

Additionally, non-religious people are simply more moral than religious people.  Of course, this statement is provocative, and extremely hard to believe by religious people; however, it is true.  As Christopher Hitchens often asks, “Name one thing that a religious person would do that a non-religious person wouldn’t” – that is name one noble act that a religious person does that a non-religious person would never do.  Unfortunately, for theists, there is no answer to that question because humans are fundamentally moral with or without religion.  Further, Hitchens follows up this question with another: “Name something that a non-religious person would never do that a religious person would do”.  Unfortunately for religious people again, this question is quite easily answered: suicide bombers, covering up pedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church, female genital mutilation, circumcision of infants or young children, knocking on people’s doors in an attempt to change said people’s beliefs, and the list goes on.   Thus, in a future without organized religion, people will no longer go against their natural morality in order to fulfill the artificial morality of their religion.

Sadly, people often dismiss this idea with the belief that more deaths occurred in the 20th century from atheism or secularism than religion.  The argument states that because Hitler, Stalin, and others were not religious, the reason they killed or allowed people to die was because of their atheism.  However, this is a non sequitur because there is no connection between these leaders’ atheism and the crimes they committed.  Hitler killed Jews because he hated Jews, not because he was an atheist; Stalin starved millions because he was blindly and callously committed to a political ideology, not because he was an atheist.  At no point did either of these leaders say that they were killing on behalf of atheism.  In fact, during the Nazi era, the Catholic Church sided with the Nazi regime.  Therefore, if a theist wants to argue that Hitler went to war and exterminated Jews because he was an atheist, then they must also accept that the Catholic Church agreed with the idea of Hitler going to war and killing Jews.   Further, any religious organization that had a Holy War of any sort is not in a position to criticize other war criminals without first looking in the mirror.

Thus, the proliferation of scientific curiosity and a greater understanding of morality, are both exciting reasons to look forward to a future without theistic religion – hopefully a near future.

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