Please note: From now on, I’ll be more public with my physical appearance and real name in my blog. The reasons for the pseudonym has largely exhausted itself. I had feared it being misused because the email I put on this blog was used to make materially false statements to a corporate bank about 2 years prior so I felt wary of the prospect.
“Mankind are always predisposed to believe that any subjective feeling, not otherwise accounted for, is a revelation of some objective reality.” – John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism on page 44.
I had intended to write this several days ago and I cogitated over it for a long time because I was unsure of how to articulate my growing dismay and increasing disappointment with Western Ex-Muslim internet personalities. I’m unsure of where to begin or end this blog post and I worry I’ll just be regurgitating many of the same criticisms I gave out previously, but I think it is best that my changing views be made clear and explaining the reasons why is important as I want to make sure that I’m not being callous about this issue. I want to be as impartial in this assessment I’ll be giving as possible, but I am a fallible human being so if my arguments and reasoning seem foolish then I suppose I’m showing my limits with this blog post. I derive no schadenfreude from these blog posts criticizing them; it is my intention for this to be the final one about Western Ex-Muslim personalities, perhaps of Western Ex-Muslim movements and atheist movements in general, and yet another strong personal belief falls to be open to new ideas as Annie Duke’s Thinking in Bets, Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy, and several schools of thought in Sanatana Dharma recommends for all those who seek truth.
I’d first like to reiterate my lamentations, which I mentioned previously in prior blog posts: my main disappointment comes from the complete lack of dialogue when many of these Western Ex-Muslim personalities argued either on their Normalizing Dissent panels in various colleges or in their Youtube videos that they’re open to changing their mind because they know that they can be wrong. There’s been no meaningful dialogue or openness; I initially felt that this was understandable when I considered that many of them have tens of thousands of followers and obviously cannot get to each tweet by them. However, after seven months with no response to my criticisms which I shared on their Facebook page, their various Twitter pages, or via email; I came to recognize that they weren’t listening. I was essentially talking to a wall while they continued to espouse the same views without listening to any criticisms that I gave them. Important political criticisms such as the Indian National Congress party supporting Sharia courts which could get Ex-Muslims of India killed weren’t being listened to. With respect to Ex-Muslims of North America, I know they’re aware because I had discussed it with one of their people via phone personally and made sure they looked into the email I sent where I linked the news article. Despite all of that, they have continued to retweet news supporting the Indian National Congress party and uncritically defend them. Comparatively, I had the privilege of getting into arguments on Twitter with Ridvan Aydemir (the Apostate Prophet) on our disagreements about Christianity and Western philosophers, he had more followers than many of these other Ex-Muslims at the time and yet, he could always spare time to criticize my arguments, he didn’t block me when I criticized back as I feared (while other Western Ex-Muslim Atheists simply ignore what I say), and I never felt ignored when commenting on his tweets. When he was temporarily banned from Twitter, I made sure to support and tweet his video, even pinning it onto my Twitter profile in defiance of Twitter’s actions against him until he was restored approximately a month later. I informed him that he was an inspiration for all and I still see him making time to talk to people and being willing to accept criticism from others on Twitter. This is contrary to the actions of most of the other Western Ex-Muslim personalities more affiliated with Ex-Muslims of North America and Anti-Theism which Ridvan Aydemir sees himself as separate from. Thus, throughout it all, I had a consistent example of someone open to criticism and changing their views in response to their followers arguments and he can be obstinate in some of his views just as I am, but he’s willing to listen and discuss when he has the time. When he’s going away on vacation and explaining health complications, I obviously understand and respect this wonderful person’s privacy, as I’m sure most of his fanbase does. If he had issue with something I said, he’d criticize. If other Western Ex-Muslims ever had issues with my approach or disagreed with something I said, in most cases I had no way of knowing because there was no dialogue whatsoever so how can I change my views and how do I know that what I say has any value without dialogue? Most of the other Ex-Muslims of the West largely just give unintermittent uncertainty due to this issue.
Second, I want to make it absolutely clear that this is not an attempt to vilify the important contributions of organizations like Secular Jihadists (run by Ali A. Rizvi and Armin Navabi), Ex-Muslims of North America (co-founded by Sarah Haider and Muhammad Syed), Faithless Hijabi (founded by Zara Kay), Faith to Faithless (run by Imtiaz Shams), and many others like their organizations which seek to stymie violence against Ex-Muslims, deal with violence against Muslims, address domestic violence against Muslim women in the Islamic communities within the West, talk about Ex-Muslim issues to help fellow Ex-Muslims, bring more interesting content to Ex-Muslim audiences across the globe, and so much more. I’m fairly certain that my social media complaints on their public relations should count on the bottom of the importance in rank of what they work on a daily basis regarding Muslim community issues and Ex-Muslim human rights. Many of the people they’re helping are hesitant to be public, so if you care about human rights and the issues that these non-profit groups are working to mitigate then I think it is plainly obvious that they deserve support and assistance to work on these domestic efforts. Not being perfect by arbitrary whims of their fanbase such as people like me is probably just as much a ridiculous standard of expectations on my part and I must put blame on my own personal drawbacks too. I am sure that, whatever I say, it should rank at the bottom of the barrel in rank of importance when they’re working hard to decrease world suck for Muslims and Ex-Muslims. Insofar as anyone concerns themselves with the human rights of Ex-Muslims and Muslims alike, you don’t need to have any parasocial relationships to appreciate their best efforts and aid them in pursuing the mutual political interest of either adjusting Islam to Western standards or getting rid of it entirely as such efforts benefit all of us. Essentially, we should be willing to support them based upon their efforts and not upon whether we personally like them as such a standard helps us all work together better for shared goals of what we want the outcomes of our actions upon the world to be. In short, we must work together to prioritize reforming, casting doubt, or destroying Islam through intellectual rigor and Free Speech for the benefit of all people.
The third issue will probably be among my harshest critiques. Upon getting some semblance of feedback after spending months trying to have a dialogue and expressing my frustrations, I was contacted in private messages by another Ex-Muslim group that explained some of the mental scars from Islam perhaps aren’t effectively healed for many Ex-Muslims and that I should just focus on those who are more open-minded since many Ex-Muslims are overly suspicious of their own supporters. In conjunction with the rather negative commentary from one of the people I had been more closely following and been a fan of, I can only adduce due to the general lack of dialogue, that prominent Western Ex-Muslim Atheist intellectuals and internet personalities fall into the in-group/out-group tribalism that they claim to oppose and don’t view the support of Hindus or Christians of the theistic variety to be anything but an anathema that they have a strict neutral policy and outsider gaze towards, but don’t really want the support of despite claiming that they would appreciate all of the support that they could receive in their panels and online. Their views on promoting Secular values isn’t so much about support for Free Thought and being open towards changing their minds, but rather the support for a strict Anti-theism towards all other religions and split support on destroying or reforming Islam. Thereby, Islam is still held to a special standard due to their erstwhile religious identity whilst the other religions are simply argued to be false as point of fact and criticisms from or reform movements in those outsider religious groups are ignored. To be sure, there are terrible comments by Christians and Hindus in various responses to social media either demanding conversion in the case of Christianity or shouting that Ex-Muslims are all performing taqiya in the case of Hindus and these responses seem to persist all around in their tweet responses and facebook post comment sections. However, while I agree there’s a disturbing minority of awful tweets, I don’t believe that this reflects any broader trends of Christian or Hindu theists who want to support Ex-Muslim Atheists out of genuine compassion for the plight of Ex-Muslims and support for Enlightenment values; if surveys on Youtube comments by the Vlogbrothers offer any indication, they reflect only 2 percent of the viewership of any given video with over 80 percent of people never wanting to comment out of dislike for comment sections and the rest reflecting indifference towards commenting in any given video. Christians and Hindus who believe in Secular values and the Enlightenment are simply viewed with suspicion and ignored as fanatical excesses that aren’t worth talking to by these prominent Western Ex-Muslim Atheists unless, in the case of people like Armin Navabi and Ali A. Rizvi, it is to retweet and respond to the dumbest of comments to make themselves look better among their main crowd of atheist supporters. For a Hindu such as myself, I found this problematic because while they’re open to identities involving Islam such as Ali A. Rizvi calling himself an Atheist Muslim despite the theology of Islam being opposed to such criteria, they mock or disdain Hindu Atheists as I’ve seen from commentary by Armin Navabi and Harris Sultan despite the theology of Sanatana Dharma being open to such a viewpoint. They don’t acknowledge this inconsistency as I asked Ali A. Rizvi in a twitter thread that he was actively commenting on and I received no response. The rest are mostly ignored; perhaps this is the intended strategy to make their audiences view them more favorably because they could credibly fear taking on harder questions leading to a decrease in subscribers or Twitter followers, but that is pure speculation on my part as I can’t possibly know what they’re thinking and can only infer from what I’ve observed of their behavior for over seven months.
Fourth, they don’t have a clear goal of what they want the end result of their activism to be. Even worse, they don’t seem to have a long-term vision for what they want their activism to accomplish in the world as they continue arguing for Secular and Enlightenment values. In fairness, they have stated openly in their panels that they have differing views on approaches to tackling the problems within Islam. If I may make my own judgments on the broad differences among Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities and the fissures within the Ex-Muslim community that they represent: Armin Navabi, Harris Sultan, Muhammad Syed, Ali A. Rizvi and Zara Kay are entirely opposed to all supernatural beliefs and adamantly argue they should all be repudiated completely because they can only cause harm for humanity and they believe people need a filter to extricate themselves from being harmed by nonsensical beliefs. Veedu Vidz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz, and Imtiaz Shams believe that Islam can be reformed and that people shouldn’t have to abandon their religious identities as Muslims or belief in the supernatural, but that the violent tendencies of Islam need to be discussed and rebuked similar to how Christianity was slowly defanged by Enlightenment values in regards to issues such as blasphemy or some portion of women’s rights throughout the West. Some Ex-Muslims slowly change their views over a long period of self-reflection on what strategies are best, such as Mimzy Vidz explaining that she no longer agreed with Islamic reform because it felt like people were peddling a lie and that she has changed her views to criticizing Islam in order to de-convert Muslims. Other Ex-Muslims like Sarah Haider, Fay – the most Gracious, and others seem to be neutral on this issue and seem to prefer the approach that’ll get the best results for Muslim and Ex-Muslim communities. From what I’ve observed, most Ex-Muslims seem to agree with Armin’s Anti-Theist approach of rejecting all religions as harmful regardless of their theological differences and even accepting Islam is among the worst. Nevertheless, even accepting the unlikely possibility that criticism against all religions by a select few among Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities won’t be a detriment in gaining and retaining support for Ex-Muslims who are keen on strictly criticizing Islam due to how ignorant people generalize groups, the lack of a specific and unified purpose that unambiguously elaborates on the political interests being sought can have devastating consequences for their political activism of normalizing dissent against Islam. To the best of what I’ve observed, I can only ascertain that most Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities are incredibly intelligent people who are passionate about their values, but who’ve failed to follow through with a clear and consistent purpose for what they want the normalizing dissent activism to be. They’re filled with creative ideas for normalizing dissent of Islam, they have sharp critiques of Islam, they know how to engage with large audiences via explaining their personal narratives of the issues with Islam and Muslim/Ex-Muslim communities, most of them make it clear that their political activism is circumscribed to the Western world, and they make their best efforts in highlighting human rights abuses related to religion. Yet, the lack of a clear, unified goal means that they will effectively have a clunky and disjointed approach which can be best understood by the old adage of “three steps forward and two steps back” in their social media campaigns. If in tandem with wonderful political activism such as #AwesomeWithoutAllah videos by Ex-Muslims of North America showing the human experience of Ex-Muslim narratives which help to break terms like Islamophobia from the Western lexicon and the #FreeSoheilArabi protests outside of the Iranian embassy in Great Britain by the Atheist Republic founder Armin Navabi which help to shed importance on Enlightenment values for all societies throughout social media; there are photos of four prominent Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities standing atop a Berlin memorial made specifically for Holocaust victims whose bodies couldn’t be found or unearthed to be properly buried and it causes widespread condemnation with a growing minority of erstwhile supporters pulling support permanently over such decisions, then this is a major failing that has systemic consequences for future social media engagement in political activism regarding Ex-Muslim issues. The differences between the first two and the latter are plain to see for those who follow Western Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities throughout social media; the first two forms of political activism are for the specific purpose of making more people recognize the human rights of Ex-Muslims which are being stifled or ignored, the dehumanization of Ex-Muslims by Muslims, the problems with Islamic theology which is a threat to human rights, the dangers that Ex-Muslims in countries without Enlightenment values suffer, recognizing the human experience of Ex-Muslims suffering in the West and elsewhere, and the crucial importance of Free Speech in the West. All of this is achieved by the first two forms of political activism which gets widespread praise, appreciation, and support by a broad range of people who support Secular and Enlightenment values. Conversely, doubling-down on the photo-op atop a Holocaust memorial was thoughtless, tone deaf, and tweeting anyone who condemns it is seeking to be offended is a callous statement; this behavior serves no definitive political purpose, it derails the important focus of the human rights of Ex-Muslims in need of help, and it displays the exact same failings of the Cult of Woke that Armin Navabi himself criticized.
What do I mean by that last statement? These four Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities are allowing their own followers to dwindle for the sake of consistency with the ideology of Enlightenment values; the focus is changed from defending the human rights of Ex-Muslims and Muslims alike and normalizing dissent against Islam to performing an act which offends sensibilities because they could but which doesn’t make any political statement nor further any political aim. There is no cost-benefits analysis to their actions. It is similar to an essay Sarah Haider shared on her Twitter on the problems of Yale University by a Yale graduate, in which the graduate explained how Yale students essentially ex-communicate those who make any slight disagreement with the ideology of social justice progressivism so filled with trigger warnings and shutting down offensive speech. Similarly, Armin and several of his Ex-Muslim Atheist cohorts ignore the criticisms of conducting an action due to upholding their desire for consistency with Enlightenment values. For the sake of any political aims and grassroots activism, irrespective of if the focus is Islam exclusively or upon denouncing religion in general, this is simply an act of self-sabotage that causes followers to lose commitment and focus on how religion causes human rights abuses which consequently means shifting the focus away from the human rights atrocities against Ex-Muslims throughout the world. Upholding an ideology for the sake of consistency is problematic for a plethora of reasons, I listed some in a lengthy Twitter chain criticizing them for the Berlin Memorial photo-op, but I’d argue that the major failing is that antics like the Berlin Memorial can be used by Islamists to discredit Ex-Muslim Atheist activists and they wouldn’t necessarily have to lie by misrepresenting the picture; they could simply say that Ex-Muslims lack compassion for Holocaust victims, that they’re insistent on offending for the sake of offending as thoughtlessly as possible, and are tone deaf while people hesitant to believe the information provided by Islamists would find Armin’s and others self-justifications for the picture upon conducting searches. Perhaps such a possibility seems alarming or ridiculous depending upon your point of view, but just this year alone, I’ve witnessed Ex-Muslim Atheist activists like Yasmine Mohammad, Rayhana Sultan, Ridvan Aydemir, and several Western Atheists like Godless Cranium get slammed by Twitter for criticism of Islam and some of which was made years ago back in 2012 which Twitter gave them warnings about after their rules had changed from the years those tweets were made. Ex-Muslim Atheist activists are well aware that Islamists look through their Twitter feed to try to shut down their criticisms; Twitter has softened its policy in recent months, but it was only two months ago that they were banning Saudi Asylum Seekers who needed human rights protections from Saudi Arabia hunting them down to kill them up until harsh condemnation from the Ex-Muslims, human rights supportive theists, Western Atheist communities, and mainstream journalism like Business Insider eventually caused Twitter to change its policy. We can’t possibly know if Twitter will maintain this new status quo or for how long, or if tweets from years back like the Berlin Memorial photo-op won’t retroactively be used to stifle criticism of Islam by Islamists seeking to shut them down. There’s a broad range of other issues I could add regarding just its tone deaf nature; I’ll delve into some more, but I’d first like to discuss the cascade of events which were the final nail in the coffin for my support of their views of adhering solely to Enlightenment values and how my waning support finally collapsed this past week.
The fifth and final matter relates to their bigotry towards Hindus and Christians and not simply the ones who vilify Muslims as is often claimed on their social media, but rather the conflation of any Christian or Hindu who has genuine criticisms and who supports the human rights of Ex-Muslims is simply labeled a far-right extremist; their voices are simply treated as beneath the Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities who fashion themselves as rising above hate instead of having a dialogue with genuine criticisms. I’m not referring to proselytizers or annoying commentators, of which there is an overabundance in hate-filled social media responses that even tangentially relates to any sort of politics and especially religious politics, but the larger crowd of Hindus and Christians who have genuine criticisms because they believe in Enlightenment values and Secular values. Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities tend to conflate them; for instance, Zara Kay and Armin Navabi ridicule any criticism from Hindus as “Hindu Nationalist” and quite clearly never checked what the term meant, what their political aims are, and in the case of Armin, he doesn’t even seem to be aware that debates against the consequences of British imperialism for India rage even within Great Britain or that British imperialism supported blasphemy, genocide, and is primarily responsible for the Islamic State of Pakistan existing which has had so many dire consequences for people living in Pakistan especially Sikh, Christian, and Hindu minorities suffering torture, gang rapes, rape conversions, the merciless slaughter of their children for drinking the wrong cup of water or saying something perceived slightly critical of the precious pedophile Prophet of Islam, the destruction of religious places of worship, and even the destruction of their homes. One of the BJP’s political aims has been to support a bill that resettles Hindu, Christian, Sikh, and Parsi refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to be reintegrated into India; this doesn’t include Muslims and considering that all three surrounding countries harbor Al Qaeda, Taliban, or ISIS affiliated terrorist threats, there’s severe security reasons for why India is disinclined to add Sunni or Shia Muslims to the list. Even the Rohingya refugees could bring militants seeking to slaughter entire non-Muslim villages as what happened in Myanmar against an entire village of Hindu men, women, and children who were all civilians. Let’s face facts, from a logical standpoint, those countries were specifically made to be Muslim-majority and carved out of India itself, they’ve all become Failed States due to Islam, and now Muslim illegal immigrants wish to enter India after three different Islamic majority countries have completely failed to prosper or be safe for anyone to live in. All this focus on Muslim on Muslim violence and special pleading arguments for their human rights ignores how these people actually behave across the world towards Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus and the suffering that these three groups endure simply because we can’t call out this violent religion of Islam for what it is and even in India, it can’t be allowed due to British imperial laws still in effect in India’s penal code which Muslim enclaves support because it shuts down criticism of Islam as the British intended. It isn’t rational to allow them entry given this history and given what we already know what the consequences will be with three different historic case studies that self-identify as their own sovereign countries. There’s severe narrow-mindedness over this issue since Western Ex-Muslim personalities speak out against Islamic immigration into Europe and are neutral to the US taking in immigrants, but condemn India for its policies when it has the best historic reasons to uphold deportation policies of Muslim illegal immigrants. How does that work? I don’t derive any joy in saying any of this, I’m simply pointing out that we need to be honest and realistic about the consequences, especially given how much Europe itself is validly making complaints about refugee immigration. The short-sided nature of Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities extends to their own Christian and Hindu supporters, it seems they’re keen on only elevating those who describe themselves as Ex-Christian and Ex-Hindu. Criticizing the abhorrent nature of the Caste system or insulting Hindu deities is fine with me, criticizing or badmouthing the teachings of Jesus are fine to me, but shouting down people who want to support Ex-Muslim human rights or supporting the normalization of discrimination against Hindus and Christians is where I draw the line. Here’s what made me decide to cut ties, the normalization of anti-Hindu and anti-Christian bigotry within their group starting chronologically in their Twitter responses:
The first occurred on September the 11th, 2019 in a tweet by Ex-Muslims of North America President Muhammad Syed which was retweeted by Sarah Haider. It revealed to me that they had both held anti-Hindu bigotry the entire time and the feeling like I was talking to a wall made more sense since they both held this sort of view. Muhammad Syed shared a tweet criticizing the resigning of an NPR producer located in New Delhi for her explicit violation of NPR’s ethics guidelines on the grounds of Free Speech. Their argument of it being a Free Speech issue will be critiqued below. Here is Muhammad Syed’s tweet commentary, retweeted by Sarah Haider:
Before beginning the critique of their defense of her message, it’s important to show the message. This was the tweet that NPR’s New Delhi producer, Furkan Khan, stated on Twitter that violated NPR’s Ethics guidelines which Sarah Haider and Muhammad Syed are defending on the grounds of Free Speech:
This one is relatively easy to dispute and that fact that the Co-Founders of Ex-MNA tried to suggest this was anti-Free Speech either speaks volumes of their lack of understanding of Enlightenment values or their bigotry against Hindus. As I’m sure they’re well-versed in Western philosophy having watched their lengthy Youtube videos and considering the contents being defended, I can adduce that it is the latter. This is explicit anti-Hindu bigotry and it is shameful that they would do this while passionately demarcating and denouncing anti-Muslim bigotry from criticism of Islam. Now, I don’t agree with Hindutva groups who try to preach “Hinduphobia” which is just a pathetic attempt at co-opting the modern-day blasphemy term of “Islamophobia” due to its success as a result of the idiocies of Western culture in which Islamists have successfully portrayed Islam as a race and gullible Westerners have accepted the term because they don’t want their own religions criticized. I do agree with Enlightenment values of Free Speech, Free Expression, and Free Inquiry; I don’t agree with Hindutva groups who try to jail Furkan Khan for insulting Hinduism or for insulting Hindus, but I can understand their frustration since Islamists in India always seem to manage to get Hindus jailed for any criticism of Islam within India and so Hindus want equal respect, but enforcing more blasphemy rules is something I cannot morally agree with. I would prefer the opposite, the freedom to insult Islam in India unprovoked because I believe that it would destroy Islam in India within a 50-year timeframe and decrease its adherents to a miniscule level in India but that can only happen once the police to public ratio is better able to address crime in India. That all being established, Furkan Khan has a right to her opinion as per Free Speech, but she doesn’t have a right to keep her job after violating the ethics guidelines that she had to have signed to contractually obtain her job with the private corporation of NPR. This is far removed from corporations like Twitter shutting down the public voices of Ex-Muslims on social media, it is a private corporation reprimanding an employee for violating its ethics guidelines. NPR is a private organization and Furkan Khan’s behavior is a representation of their company, especially since she had NPR New Delhi Producer on her Twitter biography. Therefore, this is not a Free Speech issue, nor an instance of corporations shutting down dissent. It is a private company forcing a paid employee to resign over violation of its mission statement and ethics guidelines to send a message within its ranks and to the public that NPR doesn’t stand for anti-Hindu bigotry. For whatever reason, Sarah Haider and Muhammad Syed don’t feel the same about that decision and seem to support anti-Hindu bigotry except in cases where violence is committed against Hindus from what I can surmise. In fact, many of their Ex-Muslim followers when I criticized this tweet by Muhammad Syed didn’t even seem to be aware that what Furkan Khan stated about dung worshipping was a false statement purposefully meant to insult and seemed to actually believe that Khan had stated something true when responding to my tweets. It speaks volumes for the normalization of anti-Hindu bigotry by Ex-Muslims of North America’s co-founders and some of their followers.
The next was on September 13th by Ali A. Rizvi and was one of the most nonsensical forms of anti-Christian bigotry against Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch and author of The History of Jihad; I publically condemned Rizvi for this since Spencer’s arguments in the second chain of his tweets were on point and entirely valid in defense of the human rights of Ex-Muslims. Ex-Muslims living in despotic regimes need our help but Rizvi condemns their help with a ridiculous ad hominem. It seems to me like Rizvi has created an arbitrary purity test analogous to Islamic communities maintaining that they’re pure and everyone outside of it is sinful. Why make a campaign expressing how Ex-Muslim human rights issues need more support by the Western public, but then vilify Christian theists who honestly want to help out of sincere compassion for Ex-Muslim human rights and in defense of the Enlightenment values that the Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities speak of regarding free thought and free expression? Rizvi’s claims went further than Spencer’s politics and went so far as to denounce Christians who are genuinely concerned about Ex-Muslim human rights and who aren’t viewing any people in the patronizing sense of potential Christian converts as Christian missionaries do:
To me, this looks like anti-Christian bigotry at its finest. It’s as if Rizvi is saying Christians are defective and therefore can’t be allowed to criticize Islam. This is completely adverse to the Enlightenment values that Ex-Muslim Atheist personalities preach. I flat out called it stupid, because Rizvi should quite frankly be smarter than this and below is what his response was. It seems that they had thought I was some sort of Right-wing extremist when simply talking to me would have allowed them to adjust their views, which they didn’t do for over seven months and still don’t. There has been no meaningful dialogue, but I get accusatory responses like this:
I don’t know enough about Robert Spencer’s politics to truly judge, but similar to Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali being accused of holding Far-right fascist opinions by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the only reason given by them for Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch and books being labeled as such is the claim that he doesn’t understand Islam and I’ve not found anything else for why he’s being labeled Far-right. Needless to say, I was surprised that Rizvi would make such comments and be so blatantly bigoted to Christians.
A person I talked to on social media, when sharing his tweets and criticizing them, tried to defend the “man of faith can never credibly make an argument” tweet by Al A. Rizvi. They essentially argued that Rizvi’s criticism is that since a theist considers the foundation of a religion (which is an emotional belief according to their argument) to be a valid source of truth, then they shouldn’t be critical of the end result of other beliefs which get there the same way; since the only way to reject Jihadists is to reject their religious foundation and beliefs, but you can’t do that while holding onto your own. If religion wasn’t myth-based, then this wouldn’t be an issue. Here was my counter argument to that and by extension to Rizvi’s reasoning:
While I’ve heard and understand that point, it isn’t a very effective one. These people say they support Free Speech and people having a right to Free Thought, but if any failing on another person’s part is used to circumvent and de-legitimize their criticisms, then how can we actually move forward with a conversation to help people living in the worst of despotic regimes or even in puritanical Islamic families in the West? For any theist who may wish to help Ex-Muslims, his argument means that you can’t criticize Islam unless you’re an atheist. So, for example, what would that mean for a Ex-Muslim convert to Christianity? Should they not be allowed to criticize their own erstwhile faith, especially if they’ve been abused by family? This also ignores the fact that Jainism began as an atheistic faith and that Buddhism and Hinduism are open to atheism as schools of thought within their theology. It’s inconsistent with their rhetoric about promoting secular values, it impositions theists as defective unless they follow atheism, and it largely doesn’t work. Now, criticizing theists on the basis they believe in same quality of make-believe is absolutely fine, but saying they don’t have a right to an opinion on another form of make-believe that is more violent — because they hold certain beliefs — seems both counter intuitive and ridiculous if we’re even trying to promote healthy dialogue. Also, incidental to all this, he is being tribalistic judging from his response to me and he’s spent months criticizing tribalism which strikes me as either a lack of self-awareness or dishonesty on his part. The main purpose of criticizing Islam is human rights of Ex-Muslims and Muslims. But if you just shut down potential allies as “far-right” when they don’t advocate for violence against either group (like what actual far-right Neo-Nazis do), then we have a serious and pointless conflict due to in-group/out-group social dynamics that are largely vague and ill-defined.
Finally, there’s the tone deaf Berlin Memorial photo-op on September 14th, 2019:
As I’ve made criticisms known already in my lengthy Twitter response along with the criticisms already made here, one last point that I think could be useful is that whether it’s Atheist Republic, Ex-Muslims of North America, or some other Ex-Muslim group; if an Ex-Muslim group is inclined to spread as much dissent and rejection of Islam as possible, they should consider seeking to coordinate statistical research with large sample sizes of Muslims and Ex-Muslims to find how effective their Free Speech push against Islam has been and how much further they will need to persist in the long-term game against Islamists. Islamists from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and elsewhere spend billions peddling Islam; yet, if the US is a good example, all they can manage is keeping it stable by having as many converts to de-conversions from Islam so spreading Ex-Muslim content for both Muslims and potential converts to Islam could help make those percentages of de-conversions greater or impede conversions to Islam in the US. There would have to be credible statistical research done to observe to what degree campaigns like #AwesomeWithoutAllah has as far as impact in de-conversions from Islam. Actions like the Berlin Holocaust Memorial photo-op only serves to impede progress towards such goals. Even if they disagree with criticizing Islam exclusively, it is clear that they need to make a main priority above secondary considerations and with that I am done. I doubt any of the ones who hardly ever responded will ever read this, but on the infinitesimal possibility that they do . . . Goodbye and my sincerest wish for your good luck in ending Islam.