Ex-Muslim Atheist Activists Being Targeted With Arbitrary Suspensions, Bans, and Shadowbans on Twitter

“Injustice and filth cast they at the lonesome one: but, my brother, if thou wouldst be a star, thou must shine for them none the less on that account! And be on thy guard against the good and just! They would fain crucify those who devise their own virtue—they hate the lonesome ones. Be on thy guard, also, against holy simplicity! All is unholy to it that is not simple; fain, likewise, would it play with the fire—of the fagot and stake.” Thus Spake Zarathustra Pg. 67. Thomas Common Edition.

The most recent example today on 6/2/19 is Rayhana Sultan, founder of emexs.org, which seeks to combat both issues like domestic violence in Muslim communities and violence from the far-right who try to co-opt her work.

As some of you may already know, Ex-Muslim Atheist Ridvan Aydemir, the Apostate Prophet, was outright banned from Twitter with no explanation.

Ex-Muslim Anti-Theist Zara Kay temporarily dealt with this a few months ago.

Things are getting worse and, while my anti-theism was growing during this process, I feel it has blossomed because I cannot believe we live in a world where people who are literally just trying to argue for their right to exist, be heard, and have the same civil liberties as us all are being targeted, silenced, and banned for the crime of wanting to live their lives. This is all because of religious tolerance. Hitchens was absolutely right, Religion Poisons Everything. While Sam Harris has dealt with this crap for what is effectively 12 years now, at least he wasn’t being silenced, even if mockery, derision, and manipulation of his words is hardly any better.

This behavior is completely ridiculous and I am just so frustrated right now. I can’t believe we live in this kind of world. To get my point across further…

President Barack Obama was rebuffed by social media companies, including Twitter, when he requested that they take down ISIS terrorist content. Yet, Twitter has a new policy against so-called hate speech right around the time a Saudi Prince became the second majority shareholder of Twitter. Coincidentally, the selective targeting against Ex-Muslims just so happened to have begun around this point while “respected” Saudi Imams can continue to argue freely on Twitter that marital rape doesn’t exist.

A correction: Twitter has banned ISIS content over the years, but is also targeting human rights activists critical of Islamic despots and giving their information to the law enforcement of Islamic countries.  Even those living overseas who have escaped such despots.

I am absolutely livid right now. Just thought I’d share to continue in any small way I can in having their voices heard. I worry things will only get worse since Twitter seems to be acting more pernicious as the months go by.

What The Fuck Happened To Intelligent Discourse?

Dear Reader,

Do you remember when intelligent interviews and discussions were the norm? When you got to learn something of incredible value from an interview and it wasn’t a pissing contest with an interviewee leaving the stage because they couldn’t take a few basic questions that journalists asked so they could clarify any confusion for audiences? Or when people could just be part of a panel and not have someone storm off for hashtags and tweets and then be rewarded by the worthless rabble for refusing to even be part of a discussion?

Free Speech seems to already be dead and it is dead because so-called advocates of it don’t even follow its core tenants. The people who behave like the recent so-called “public intellectuals” have killed it and continue to defecate on its corpse while claiming to be its paragons.

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The Intolerance of Nerdfighteria: How Discussing Human Rights Gets You Muted And Banned

So, awhile back I attempted to share Ex-Muslims of North America content on Nerdfighteria Discords in an effort to join their communities while sharing information on an important human rights topic. When doing this, I was immediately accused of bigotry, when talking about human rights I was accused of making a strawman (even though no opposing argument was given nor any discernible information regarding any opposing argument), and I was told that I was posting on “incorrect channels” — the channels I selected were related to Politics and stated it was for divisive and controversial topics. Evidently, human rights wasn’t included in that package as I was muted by one Nerdfighteria community and the other refused to respond to my question of whether they valued the human rights of Ex-Muslims.

A part of me just didn’t want to believe that Nerdfighteria, a community that seemed so calm, compassionate, and open to polite communication of ideas could be so intolerant towards the human rights of some of the most vulnerable people in the world today who live in fear within their own societies for the crime of having their own opinions. So, I made and used an alternative account to check and see if I could open discussions about the human rights of Ex-Muslims who essentially have to live in fear for their very lives and the human rights abuses that women in Islamic majority communities suffer. I primarily did this because as far as cost-benefits analysis, the human rights of people should outweigh the woeful ideal of religious tolerance. If that seems like an excuse for “trolling” then I would honestly respond by pointing out that the human rights of these people and the ability to give their human rights issues a platform should be paramount to the public discourse. Just as we discuss Yazidi and Christian women being abused as sex slaves by ISIS, Ex-Muslims being hunted down and killed for the crime of freedom of thought is just as relevant of a human rights issue. Also, I find it astonishing and sickening that fellow Liberals can dismiss the human rights of these people so callously without any regard for what they’re condemning these people too. I suspect it’s because people don’t want to open the discussion on the hot topic of religion in order to protect their own religious traditions. As such, I suspect that their own religion is more important than people’s human rights. Furthermore, trolling seems to just be a meaningless personal attack for shutting down discussion whenever a topic that is personally uncomfortable comes up. It’s a meaningless term that ignores critical examination of the content in order to swipe away all nuanced discussion due to personal comfort levels. I personally feel a sense of frustration and disbelief that this crucial human rights issue hasn’t found a stronger acceptance in Left-leaning public discourse.

For this new attempt, I used another username and shared videos of human rights crimes.

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Why Criticize Islam?

Islam is an innately violent, hateful, racist, sexist, and bigoted religion. It is the most barbaric of the Major religions.

Islam is a hateful and dangerous death cult. The Sharia (Islamic Divine Law of the Abrahamic God) must be accepted as unquestioned fact that nobody can argue against to be a Muslim. The only people allowed to interpret the Hadiths are so-called “Islamic Scholars” which are composed of people who know Arabic and are an Islamic theologian (Imam or some other priestly equivalent) so a “scholar” is a theologian who accepts the Quran as unquestioned fact that can’t be challenged. Obviously, there is no room for critical thinking there.

The average Muslim will then seek the Islamic “scholar’s” advice on how to live and the Theologian’s duty is to categorically assess what parts of the outside world are allowed or not allowed for a Muslim to follow. Two more rules further solidify Muslims largely being incapable of critical thinking or even thinking in general. Fitna, i.e. you can’t distress a Muslim for believing in Islam or make them question it. And finally, Bidah which is referred to as “invention” i.e. you can’t change any aspect of Islam with a new teaching or idea because the Quran is suppose to be the perfect book on how to live life for all-time for Muslims.

In effect, this religion categorically goes to war with all outside logic and reasoning so that Muslims learn only to value other Muslims. It’s a cult in every sense of the word. The highest authority is considered the Quran and Muslims must seek Imams or equivalent “Islamic scholars” for their opinions. Oh, and Muhammad is regarded as the perfect human being to model after.

Therefore, Muslims can’t possibly be critical thinkers, they’re largely incapable of thinking itself, and they threaten to harass, insult, and kill any and all who leave the faith of Islam and who make Muslims question it.

A few facts for you:

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Islam and the Future of Tolerance Film Review

A concise and clear film on the challenges that Reformist Muslims and their allies face in order to modernize Islam. Sam Harris notes that Maajid Nawaz’s reformist movement is likely the toughest job of them all. The ultimate message of the film is that we, the public, can help with criticizing bad ideas such as in internet forums, twitter, facebook, and other places. This film is recommended for those who want to help reformist and Ex-Muslims into changing the conversation and getting liberals and centrist conservatives to help regain the narrative on the problems of Islam. Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz go into the concentric circles and differences between Jihadism (violence in the name of Islam for a political goal of imposing an Islamist order), Islamism (a movement trying to impose an Islamist order, but not all do so by violent methods), Conservative Muslims (Muslims who don’t want Sharia as the law of the land, but want to maintain their own Islamic conditions in their families; potentially including hatred for Jews, hatred for Gays, and honor killing), and then the smallest group would be the Reformist Muslims that Maajid Nawaz is a part of.

The majority of the film centers around Maajid’s early life, how he was mistreated in British schools by his classmates at a very early age, and how his isolation became more pronounced when Neo-Nazi groups had a resurgence in Great Britain. The immediate consequence of which resulted in numerous beatings, racial epithets hurled at him daily, and witnessing his friends severely injured by Neo-Nazis using knives to stab his friends in the neck or other areas throughout his early life. His safety was constantly threatened and he witnessed the bloodied bodies of his friends far too often. His parents were actually quite normal and did their best, but the political climate of the youth during his time resulted in him withdrawing from others. He spent his time listening to rap music and that’s when radical Islamic recruitment organizations were able to exploit him.

I have to say that this explanation made way more sense than the tripe he had said in the Bill Maher interview. I had been interested in his viewpoints, but I had thought he was lying when he mentioned how rap music got him into an Islamist group. That explanation made absolutely no sense to me and I had assumed that Sam Harris had been duped by a man who was clearly a dishonest actor. It wasn’t until much later – after listening to the Ex-Muslims of North America panel – that I decided to give him a second chance. While Ex-MNA seemed like legitimate actors, I was still unwilling to believe that Maajid Nawaz was until they had mentioned his work in one of their panels because his explanation about rap music was the silliest thing I had ever heard as an excuse to join an Islamist group. His more detailed and honest explanation here seems far more believable and reasonable. To my own chagrin, Maajid Nawaz clearly has difficulty speaking openly about his early life because it was so painful for him. Considering the conditions he lived in and what he witnessed due to the Neo-Nazis of Britain, it’s not surprising or unreasonable to expect that he was easy pickings for an Islamist group at the time.

These next few portions are tidbits from the film and I’m going through them in a messy manner. The film organizes itself coherently and all these details make complete sense within the film, but it’s too much for me to go through in a few paragraphs. He went to college and used the idea of cultural tolerance to his advantage for the Islamist group’s purposes with the administration too flimsy to challenge him because they didn’t want to look like racists. It should be noted that it was not the professors who neglected this, but specifically the college administration that Maajid Nawaz highlights in his explanation. After a brutal murder caused by one of his fellow organizers who killed a black youth at the campus, he and his buddies were all expelled from the college. As an adult, he speaks of his regrets and how the college should have challenged them on a sexist picture they distributed around the campus, but the college administration never did due to fear of being referred to as racist. He mentions how, if they had, that murder may never have happened since they were given free access to do as they pleased in their student organization using the charge of racism as a shield. He speaks of the horrifying experiences in an Egyptian torture prison and how it was Amnesty International’s kindness and activism for his human rights that led to the first cracks in his belief in a Sharia-enforced society. Later on, in an interview on the BBC, when he was challenged on the sexist views of the Islamist group he was a part of where his views on the organization truly started to slip. Eventually, he became a former Islamist and founded Quilliam and joined with Sam Harris for both the book and the film after they had a scathing first encounter.

Sam Harris details the troubles he’s gained for differentiating religions by doctrines and how singling out Islam’s has caused wave after wave of criticism within the atheist community and the Left with clips of his debates with Hedges, Aslan, and the infamous incident with Ben Affleck. Harris explains the issues he’s had and how difficult Maajid Nawaz’s position is in reforming Islam. In fact, Ex-Muslims seem to gain higher yields in getting people to outright leave Islam than Maajid’s own activism and I’m firmly in favor of their cause. However, Harris and Nawaz are still allies in trying to change this dynamic as reforming 1.6 billion people is going to be decades of hard work. Even in the more atheist tolerant countries like the US, atheists are still discriminated against, the Christian Right continues to try to destroy women’s rights, and the Christian Right doesn’t acknowledge the targeted murders of transgender people.

Overall, this film is a 5 out of 5. It’s highly recommended if you want to learn more about the problems of Islam and how to help Ex-Muslims or Reformist Muslims.

Islam isn’t worth respecting

We protest and ridicule this hateful religion for the human rights of minorities in Islamic Majority countries such as Ex-Muslims, Muslims of minority branching faiths, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Yazidis, and others because they cannot! Stand with those who live in fear and danger of being killed for offending this so-called religion of peace! Fuck Islam! It is a religion of violence, hatred, and death! #HumanRightsForAll! #FreeSpeechForAll! #IslamWillFall!

Quran 4:24

Sahih International: And [also prohibited to you are all] married women except those your right hands possess. [This is] the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, [provided] that you seek them [in marriage] with [gifts from] your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.

Pickthall: And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.

Yusuf Ali: Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

Shakir: And all married women except those whom your right hands possess (this is) Allah’s ordinance to you, and lawful for you are (all women) besides those, provided that you seek (them) with your property, taking (them) in marriage not committing fornication. Then as to those whom you profit by, give them their dowries as appointed; and there is no blame on you about what you mutually agree after what is appointed; surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.

Muhammad Sarwar: You are forbidden to marry married women except your slave-girls. This is the decree of God. Besides these, it is lawful for you to marry other women if you pay their dower, maintain chastity and do not commit indecency. If you marry them for the appointed time you must pay their dowries. There is no harm if you reach an understanding among yourselves about the dowry, God is All-knowing and All-wise.

Mohsin Khan: Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided you seek (them in marriage) with Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) from your property, desiring chastity, not committing illegal sexual intercourse, so with those of whom you have enjoyed sexual relations, give them their Mahr as prescribed; but if after a Mahr is prescribed, you agree mutually (to give more), there is no sin on you. Surely, Allah is Ever All­Knowing, All­Wise.

Arberry: and wedded women, save what your right hands own. So God prescribes for you. Lawful for you, beyond all that, is that you may seek, using your wealth, in wedlock and not in licence. Such wives as you enjoy thereby, give them their wages apportionate; it is no fault in you in your agreeing together, after the due apportionate. God is All-knowing, All-wise.

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Arundhati Roy: A Fearless Human Rights Activist Or A Bad Joke?

I have no idea to what extent this view will be controversial or seem misinformed, but after looking into the political situation of India and its surrounding borders, I’ve come to the conclusion that this woman is either willfully ignorant, a charlatan, deeply hateful of her country and her fellow people, or some combination of each of those contentions.

First, I’d like to dissuade any readers that might jeer at me for being some BJP street thug as I’m often accused of online when making any opinion on Indian politics – particularly on websites like Quora. I’m a US-born and raised Indian and I’m only looking at this from a political science lens. I had initially been swept up by the anti-BJP rhetoric that seems to be permeating throughout the mainstream US media as of now, but after looking into matters further, I’ve concluded that the US government and media are too dumb to adequately understand the dangers of this anti-BJP narrative and the Christian missionaries who are pushing for forced conversions are only going to cause an utter bloodbath between Muslims and Christians thanks to the age-old Abrahamic cultural hate that’s existed since Islam emerged in world history.

I’ve since changed my mind after researching the political climate of India and its neighbors. But I’d like to add that the BJP and so-called Right-wing of India’s political culture is overly sensitive to criticism and incredibly stupid in its responses. Thankfully, Modi and his administration are quite competent in deftly handling situations otherwise the corruption and anti-nationalist politics would continue dominating India. Instead of defending rapists, his government has pushed for reforms to punish child rapists, he’s pushed for job growth through environmental initiatives, he’s pushed for policies for child safety measures from abusive households, he’s pushed for women’s rights and celebrated International Women’s Day , and pushed for anti-corruption. The problem seems to be this overly paternalistic and frankly idiotic narrative towards college kids who want to protest for the rights of a convicted terrorist, a terrorist who clearly wants to kill the civilian public, and the college kids protest for that guy’s rights… for whatever reason. Nevertheless, admonishing them for drinking habits and sex is completely stupid. In a democracy, they should have the freedom to do as they please with their life choices. The BJP should have put more effort into the convicted terrorist’s criminal activity instead of personally insulting college youth.

I’m of the opinion that Arundhati Roy genuinely doesn’t give a shit about her fellow Indians based on her actions. The level of loathing and vindictiveness that this woman seems to have for India as a whole leaves me speechless at times. I don’t think any other democracy would have made her look like some activist fighting for human rights or presuming she has credentials where she really doesn’t since all she has offer is having written a best-selling novel once. I only speak harshly because it seems increasingly obvious to me that this woman, through her actions, deliberately tries to increase tensions and spur loathing and contempt among India’s civilian population. Under veneers of reconciliation and human rights, all she really offers is writing content that exploits scheduled castes, Muslim minorities, and so forth into hating their government and the majority population. I would actually contrast her with Amartya Sen, who I find gets just as much backlash from the BJP supporters but for far less justifiable reasons. Amartya Sen is ridiculed and lumped with Marxists like Pankaj Mishra, but having read his book The Argumentative Indian, I have not found this to be true. He’s further been criticized for wanting to “break India” by many BJP bloggers and Twitter handlers, but this is again untrue. Amartya Sen took extensive pains to celebrate the unity of India by pointing out the Heterodox tradition that foreign travelers independently detailed during ancient times. India is a heterodox culture which he feels proud to be a part of; from what I recall, he explicitly says this and suggests reading about great intellectual icons of India. I had assumed the BJP supporters had similar misapprehensions about Roy, but after looking at the evidence, I can only conclude that their criticisms about her are justified.

The reason being is that only someone willfully ignorant would ignore the devastating realities happening in each Muslim majority country around India’s borders and the selective narrative of the Rohingya refugee crisis that genuinely horrified me when I read more into it. I’d first like to begin with Afghanistan and detail what happened there when Islamic fascists consisting of the Mujahideen took over:

From journalist and Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at UCLA, Nushin Arbabzadah, in what was an attempt by a lecturer from a Liberal College to warn the US public about the dangers of Islam in an article about the Mujahideen and Islam:

28 April marks the 19th anniversary of the mujahideen’s victory over the Red Army forces in Afghanistan. The original mujahideen of the 1980s and today’s Taliban may use the same language of holy war, but their understanding of jihad is worlds apart. The key difference between the original mujahideen and the Taliban is that the former waged a traditional type of jihad. In a traditional jihad, if waged locally, a contest over control of resources takes place between rival strongmen who each run their own private armies. In this scenario, the ultimate legitimacy to rule draws upon military strength, but the contest itself is called jihad simply because Islam is the sole language of political legitimacy.

Crucially, in a traditional jihad, the victorious party has an unspoken right to pillage, rape and loot the conquered population. This is because militia fighters are not paid soldiers in a regular army and hence looting is the material reward they receive for fighting. The original mujahideen followed this traditional pattern of jihad upon coming to power in 1992. Since competition over resources rather than ideology is key to traditional jihad, the mujahideen’s war focused on Kabul where the nation’s wealth and the foreign embassies, another potential source of funding, were to be found.

Judging by a historical account from the 1920s, back then the women and girls of the conquered populations also belonged to the pillage package offered to militia jihadis. Hence, in the diaries of court chronicler Katib Hazara on the siege of Kabul in 1929, we read that the victorious mujahideen of the time had demanded to see the list of girls registered at a Kabul school so as to allocate female students to militia fighters.

Katib’s account might be exaggerated, but the story still reveals that there was an unspoken rule that women and girls were part of the conquest package. As such, the mujahideen’s struggle over Kabul was a continuation of traditional jihad complete with internal rivalries, pillage and looting. The mujahideen were part of the realm of traditional politics in which a conquered region is a turf that can be exploited by strongmen, who call themselves mujahideen so as to appear respectable.

Now, a Hard-Leftist may credibly argue that US foreign policy helped shape that situation. However, it doesn’t explain the utter catastrophe that is Pakistan, which a Pakistani government official has bravely spoken up about and extensively detailed in a book under threat to her own life. Pakistani Farahnaz Ispahani’s book, Purifying the Land of the Pure, goes into the extensive history and effects of the Islamic Republic upon Pakistani minorities who have been ruthlessly slaughtered by the Muslim majority country. The situation of Asia Bibi is only the tip of the iceberg for how destructive, violent, and outright murderous Pakistan is for Sikhs, Christians, and Hindus living as minority groups under Muslim rule. The vast majority of these groups have all fled due to a variety of reasons. From having hands chopped off for blasphemy offenses, to women in these religious minority groups being raped and then being forced to marry their Muslim rapists, to being murdered over a cup of water, being randomly attacked, and now that they’re a fringe minority, the majority Sunni Muslims have turned their sights on Shia Muslims and began murdering them en masse to continue these historic genocidal abuses.

The interview with Farahnaz Ispahani:

From 23% in 1947, Pakistan’s minorities today constitute a mere 3-4% of the population, says Farahnaz Ispahani, media advisor to the president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2012 in her book Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities.

She blames the successive Pakistan presidents and prime ministers for launching a slow genocide against minorities in the country to shore up their political base. She specifically blames Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the Pak army general who was the country’s 6th president, for creating a militant group to target Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians. Edited excerpts from an interview:

Could you tell us something about the title of your book Purifying the Land of the Pure: Pakistan’s Religious Minorities?

Pakistan itself means pure land. The reason I chose it is because I have traced in my book, using historical archives, how Pakistan which set out to be a secular albeit Muslims majority state, ended up becoming what it is today. When Pakistan was being formed in 1947, Pakistan’s population of non-Muslims was 23%, today we are somewhere between 3%-4%. So there has been a purification of minorities.

So my big question was where have they gone? What I have uncovered is quite devastating because it has not been one government or one man who has been culpable. It’s not only (former president) General Zia ul Haq. It has been from the time of Mr (Mohammed Ali) Jinnah, the Qaid-e-Azam of Pakistan, as he lay dying, already the political and bureaucratic wheels were moving towards a more Muslim state.

I am saying that for all religious minorities—Muslim and non-Muslim—there has been a purification. This is what I call drip drip genocide. Normally when people talk about genocide, they talk about Nazi Germany or they talk about Yugoslavia. In the case of Pakistan, this is slow genocide, this drip, drip, drip over 76 years.

You refer to the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) founder and ideologue Maulana Abul Ala Maududi in your book. Was this purification the handiwork of politicians only or did religious leaders and scholars also have a role?

Maulana Maududi did not support the formation of Pakistan; he did not think it would be Muslim enough. Mr. Jinnah, as he was dying, talked at length about Pakistan’s minorities and said no matter what someone’s faith was would not matter in Pakistan. But after he died what happened was, most of the people who were in leadership positions in Pakistan, in the Muslim League like our first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, were not from Pakistan. So they did not have natural constituencies as politicians.

You have a man like Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan who himself was very secular in most ways. He becomes the man who brings about the resolution which went into every single constitution we ever had, which was very clear in that it said that Pakistan was a Muslim state. And that the Quran and Shariat and Sunnah (verbally transmitted teachings of the Prophet) are to be part and parcel of the state. It was the ugliest form of realpolitik.

What people like Liaquat and Chaudhury Mohammed Ali (fourth prime minister of Pakistan), etc., did was that they revived “Islam is in danger” as the glue to keep them in their positions. Mr. Maududi and his fellow clergymen therefore became of great value to the political leadership of Pakistan to justify their decisions, to keep them in power.

And as you go on, when you have the first proper martial law in Pakistan when General Ayub (Khan) takes over, you see the nexus of the military with the mullahs and politicians who were acceptable to the military.

You have talked of the links between politics, religion and the military. How did militancy come to be linked with this?

The first well-known and well-organised terrorist militia that we know about that dealt with religious minorities was created by Zia-ul-Haq. It was called the Sipah-e-Sahaba and its sole job was to harass Shias. So, that is the first group that we see that is armed and trained and reasonably openly by the (Pakistani) government of that time.

Some of these groups—not all—in some seasons cross borders and in some seasons there are at home purifying the land of the pure, whether it is blowing up Ahmadi places of worship or Christian worshippers at mass or Shia imambargahs.

So the state’s policy that goes back to the very beginning of mixing religion with politics and then religion, politics and the military together has resulted in a terrible situation not just from the point of view of Pakistan’s neighbours but for us Pakistanis as well. Over 60,000 Pakistanis have died due to attacks internally by terrorists.

Of all the politicians who have done their bit for the decimation of minorities, would you say that it was president Zia-ul-Haq who did the most damage?

Yes. Two things, he legalised Islamisation—whether it was bringing in the Hudood (ordinance in 1979 under which Sharia laws applied in cases of extramarital sex, theft and prohibition). From very little things like introducing prayer times in government buildings to very, very, very harsh laws of blasphemy. The other thing would be the birth of these jihadi groups in a very, very big way.

He attempted to alter our culture—Pakistani diplomats’s wives could no longer wear saris—they were considered Hindu and un-Islamic. You could no longer say Khuda Hafiz; you had to say Allah Hafiz.

These small things have now percolated down and they have shaped an entire culture. So that’s what he did, the small things changing the way people thought, the laws which were then impossible to get around and then the Jihadi groups.

How can this state of affairs be changed?

It has to be through political leadership, even though we saw in (Punjab governor) Salman (Taseer)’s case that in spite of everything when (his security guard) Mumtaz Qadri pumped his body full (in 2011) of bullets the other people stood there and watched. Later Qadri was garlanded and the judge who found him (Qadri) guilty, we had to send the judge and his entire family out of Pakistan. I was in government then. He’s never come back.

This book is like a death sentence for me. Civil society at that time had no leadership. And the reaction was don’t even talk about it. Don’t even mention Asiya Bibi (Pakistani Christian found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Taseer opposed her punishment). Look at Salman, he was so foolish. There was no one willing to bury him. I had to find somebody, beg someone to read his last rites. And then, I had to get that person and their family out of Lahore.

So is this the worst for Pakistan and therefore can one say that change can only make things better?

I could never say something like that because its impossible to be so categorical. Pakistan is a functional state still and there is a lot of room for change. I hope things turn around. But I think a big part of it is that jihadi groups have to be dealt with. They can no longer be good jihadi groups and bad jihadi groups. There should be no jihadi groups. Countries can have militaries and countries can have diplomacy. Unless we move past this kind of a situation, the world is losing patience.

Any point when this could be changed?

From the very start. Mr. Jinnah was still alive and they have the temerity to block his speech from the radio. That entire speech was about how important Pakistan’s religious minorities were and how absolutely vital it was for pluralism and to have a successful state for all citizens to have a place. Once you end up introducing a religious law it is almost impossible to amend it or to change it because they are seen as protecting Islam and feelings of Muslims.

In the book, I break this down into four stages – and I call stage one Muslimisation. This comes about between 1945 and 1951. There is a massive decline in Hindu and Sikh populations and therefore Pakistan became more Muslim demographically.

Stage two is Islamic identity. This is where you see from 1958 onwards state-sponsored text books reject pluralism, paint religious minorities very negative, highlight and glorify Islamic history with no South Asian basis. So an attempt was made to forge a Pakistani identity purely on the basis of Islam.

The third stage is Islamisation. This is where legislation in an attempt to make the country’s laws more Islamic resulted in creating a legal framework against the minorities. It started in 1974 and continues up to 1988. This was all done in General Zia’s time.

Stage four is militant hostility towards the minorities, which is the stage at which we are and we have terrorism and organised violence.

First Published: Tue, Jan 19 2016. 12 35 PM IST

Farahnaz Ispahani is a real human rights activist, and a real academic since she has the credentials and fact-finding methods to back up her research. Link here for her book.

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Shin Megami Tensei Discussions with Beadman

Spoiler Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for the mainline Shin Megami Tensei series and other MegaTen related series such as: Majin Tensei I and II, Digital Devil Saga Duology, the Persona series, Devil Survivor series, and well . . . potentially everything MegaTen / Shin Megami Tensei related, but those are the main video game series that get spoiled.

Content Warning: In general dialogue with others online, I tend to use expletives. Not in a way to insult in this context, but as a general habit of discourse. I don’t mean any insults towards Beadman, and apologize if any such comment was inferred or directly made by me. I do admit to purposefully using expletives to properly articulate by annoyance with Eirikjrs in this discussion at one instance. More importantly, Beadman and I have an outspoken and frank discussion on Abrahamic religious theology, its plausibility, and its history based on the evidence given by modern Western academics. I hold very negative views and am frank in my crass humor when talking about religion in general. Although, if you’ve checked my blog, then you probably knew that already.

Below is a backstory if you’re curious to learn more about who Beadman and I are, why I decided to have this lengthy discussion and asked Beadman if it was okay to share it with you all, and why I believe such discussions have value. If you would like to skip it due to lack of interest, please just scroll down below to the slideshow. 

For those who may be curious or hold interest in learning about either of us more personally, I am a self-described Hindu Atheist and Beadman is a Transtheist and Surrelativist (an identifying name for the position of Emerging Theism). We had a separate discussion about how he defines his personal beliefs, but I felt it was wrong to add that to the discussion as I don’t want this to be construed as an attempt to shame or insult his beliefs as that is not my intention.

Having thought over the SMT discussion, I couldn’t help but ruminate on the many, many changes on both my beliefs and my interactions with Beadman over such a short span of time. I first met Beadman in 2013 and we had thoroughly diametrically opposed views on the Neutral ending of Shin Megami Tensei IV on the MegaTen Reddit website. He couldn’t believe that the people of the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado could be herded through Naraku in a mass exodus without casualties and criticized them all fitting into Cafe Florida at the end of Neutral. I felt he was focused on the wrong details, making a mountain out of a molehill, and quite liked the ending. I stopped following Shin Megami Tensei for awhile, because I was under the false impression that there wouldn’t be another game for another 9-10 years due to the trackrecord of mainline games usually being that far apart on initial releases. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong, and I got to enjoy a duology from the mainline series. And… a bunch of extremely personal stuff involving my near-death from a car crash happened, and I was not in the best of emotional states because my family basically told me that it didn’t matter that I almost died, didn’t believe I was in severe pain, didn’t believe I’m suffering from lifelong neck pain no matter how many times I tell them clearly and calmly, and well…. I took it out on Beadman at one point. I repeatedly apologized to him since then, but to my surprise, he didn’t remember the incident and he generally gives me the impression that he’s aloof from such things. I think it was because he was practicing Stoicism at the time, but I don’t think that he does anymore and I think he’s better off from it. He seemed to have his own bottled up annoyances, and I don’t believe that it was due to me, per se. I didn’t inquire though, but if there is anything of substance, I sincerely wish him the best in dealing with it.

I came to terms with my own personal issues upon recognizing my family, specifically my parents, are completely awful at articulating that they care in explicit terms. They’re the unique kind of… special that can’t verbally articulate or explicitly show they care, but instead do so with actions… and ignoring social problems deliberately because they’re awful at dealing with stress; but still support me through and through. It’s a very bizarre relationship; I’m living it and I don’t know how to fully describe it. I don’t go into too much detail because they have this fear and paranoia of being judged by the public that I never quite understood so on the off-chance they ever read this and know its from me, I’ve made sure to keep terms vague, because I just don’t want to deal with any potential future melodrama from them. I’m of the personal opinion that it largely doesn’t matter, anything you say about your life to the public will be absorbed for like five minutes of conversation, maybe an insulting text or a slew of insulting texts for a little while, and then promptly forgotten about because nobody truly cares about such gossip or melodrama beyond feeling better than some stranger online for however long the emotional superiority feels good to an individual.

As you can well imagine, I had to work on my own existential dread for awhile and my ire with politics, which I think affected me more deeply than most people since I am a political scientist albeit a low-level one, Beadman has publicly mentioned on Reddit that he minored in Philosophy while majoring in a STEM related field. For my part, I’ve read every major book of Friedrich Nietzsche’s and criticized his depiction of Nietzschean philosophy as it seemed to be based on Bertrand Russell’s godawful strawman depiction rather than genuine Nietzschean philosophy. At the same time, I’ve had to modify my views on Consequentialism and Utilitarianism, because that was his main focus and he clearly knows far more about it than I do. Due to Beadman’s influence, I read and finished John Stuart Mill’s Three Essays on Religion and I find it to be a fairly good critique of the failings of religion connected to State politics, but I also discovered that Mill was a racist moron. Beadman had once criticized Atlus for the “unclean” but I pointed out that if he’s right and I’m wrong about contentions I had against Law being Utilitarianism, then Atlus was completely justified in depicting Angels borderline racists against Japanese people. Mill repeatedly, and I do mean nauseatingly so, goes on and on about how Asians are untrustworthy thieves and diseased. Even if one were to argue that Atlus should focus on the philosophy and not the person, you have to keep in mind that if they did read Mill, it would be earnestly taking the time to read this man’s philosophy while he goes on paragraph upon paragraph about how diseased their culture is, how they aren’t worth trusting and should be looked upon with suspicion, and how their culture and society is a garbage heap. Atlus depicting Angels saying Japanese are “Unclean Ones” or “the Filth” is . . . incredibly benevolent and mild compared to the asinine comments that John Stuart Mill wrote repeatedly about Asian culture. Please believe me when I say that I’m not overstating this. It’s the equivalent of I, as a US-born and raised person, reading a book which falsely claims that the US is a disease-ridden group of morons with no moral values or positives repeatedly strewn across various paragraphs while a foreign person is passionately discussing their moral philosophy. It might credibly be the case that Atlus is trying their best to depict Utilitarianism in a neutral context from the standpoint of what Mill actually said about Asian societies as a culture and people in his own very homogenized context. Please keep in mind that I actually liked what I read about John Stuart Mill’s philosophy when he kept focus on the philosophy itself, but when he went into foreign cultures . . . it got very stupid, very fast. This judgment of mine is also based upon one small book of his, I have no idea how Mill addresses Asians within the context of his larger philosophical works. Nevertheless, I now realize I misunderstood what Beadman meant since I thought he was saying Law was focused on John Stuart Mill’s Pleasure-Pain principle, but in fact, he places more emphasis on Bentham before John Stuart Mill. To the best of my knowledge and based on what I read from Mill about his own personal teacher, Bentham’s views are more vague and less focused on pleasures in his Consequentialist ideology. Mill is the one who fleshed out the philosophy to be more coherent and it seems Beadman was emphasizing the more vague version of Consequentialist ethics when critiquing Law.

Anyhow, before I began the discussion presented below, I had given him my explanation for why Nietzsche has a very big emphasis with Atlus’s work. I’m fairly sure my essay had an impact as I showed the various forms of symbolism and allegories to Nietzschean philosophy throughout the Shin Megami Tensei IV-IVA duology. I had always wanted this sort of discussion with him because I feel such a discussion, and publicly sharing such a discussion, has far more to offer than the nonsensical travesty that has become Eirikrjs blog. To emphasize this further, and to give more credence to my argument about the Anarchy route foreshadowing from a year ago, consider the fact that Dagda’s Theme is a remix of The White’s Theme.

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To all readers who follow the Abrahamic faiths, please read your holy book

For the purposes of this post, I’d like to declare a challenge to anyone who follows the Abrahamic faiths, or any religious faith in general, but mainly those who follow the Abrahamic faith traditions.

I have three things I’d like to say, consider each of the following seriously:

First: Assume any religion is true. Just any. Every other religion is thereby false.

For example, in the book I am currently writing, I argue the following: if Judaism is true, then it doesn’t matter however many Christians or Muslims there are in the world or how many Christians or Muslims died for their religious faith. None of it would matter; the history, the sacrifices, the population size, or the culture. It wouldn’t mean anything because Judaism is proven true.

Second: What’s the evidence any of these so-called miracles ever even happened? Nothing. Literally nothing.

Welcome to my worldview when I was just 14 years old. I’m now well into adulthood. I still can’t believe people don’t grow out of that rubbish when they’re adults. I can’t believe there are adults who literally believe in these so-called holy books. It took me awhile to process this, because I was thinking about it in terms of my IQ level compared to theirs.

For awhile, I thought I was the ignorant one and that surely there was some grounding, some small worm of usefulness of some sort, that led people to convince themselves to believe in these poorly written fantasy novels. Instead, I discovered that unlike Hinduism or Buddhism, you’re not allowed to question in Islam or Christianity.

It took me some time to understand how vacuous those beliefs that people had were. The New Atheists were pointing out common sense and the religious couldn’t handle it; so they came up with insults like “angtheists”, “edgelords”, or “Islamaphobia” in order to ignore the actual criticisms.

I don’t understand how others can still live like they do; living with unquestioned obedience to a book they don’t even read based on a personal relationship with a man they don’t know from a time period before they were even born. I don’t understand how people can honestly believe that any of it is associated with “love” while telling you to hate your body, the physical world, and seeing “sin” in your own children. I don’t understand any of you, and I don’t think I ever want to.

If you believe anything I said was bigoted, well then . . .

Third, Here is a proposal for you all:

If you truly believe I’m wrong, then I challenge you to read your holy book from beginning to end. No scholars, no community advice, and no sparknotes. You are choosing this book to live by and define your entire life; you should consider spending at least an hour a day reading the holy book from beginning to end, finishing it, and having your own thoughts on it. Not for me, not for your immediate community, but just for yourself. Seriously consider this proposal, don’t just live under a system because your family, community, or even country say it is the literal word of a God. Decide on your own terms whether you believe in it and believe it is good for you to live by it after reading through all of it. If you’re willing to place such strong faith and argue in favor of it, you should be willing to read the entirety of your holy book. What would you have to lose besides becoming more informed, if I am so wrong about my beliefs about your book?

Just. Read. It. All.