Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
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31-08-2012, 03:16 AM (This post was last modified: 31-08-2012 07:01 AM by Jeff.)
Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
From ReligionDispatches.org

"When I first heard that a white supremacist opened fire on a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin a few weeks ago, I froze. My stomach lurched and my thoughts turned to the friends I’d made in the Sikh community through my work as an atheist and interfaith activist.

In the wake of the horror I reached out to friends directly and logged on to Twitter to express my shock, outrage, disgust, and sadness—as a Millennial, I suppose you could say this is one way I engage in the collective processing of such traumas. Within minutes of my first tweet, I began to get responses from other atheists saying that interfaith work is bad, that I should be more concerned about atheists than Sikhs, and that “religion poisons everything.” The next day, I was called “a traitor” when I tweeted about efforts to raise funds to rebuild a mosque in Joplin, Missouri that was burned to the ground. When I tweeted about reaching out to the Sikh community and expressing solidarity, I was accused of trying to make atheism a religion. "

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archiv...eir_peril/
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31-08-2012, 04:28 AM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
Sorry to hear that.
I hope none of your closer friends were hurt or beeing killt.

In my country (germany) the muslims, most of them are turkish people, were bad treated by the germans and the goverment as well. We invited them to work her because we have a lack of workers since our little episode with the dream of the great leader. We also created a new word to name them as "Gastarbeiter", wich meens, you are a guest in our country, so your time is limited. Meanwile you can do the dirty work for us.
So, didn't start well, but the economy went down, things going to be worse.
We havend realysed, that there where humans with needs and hopes and perhaps an beliefsystem, called islam.
Meanwile the third generation of turks living there lifes in germany.
We also have more muslima wearing head-scarf then they do in istanbul.
The major problem is now, the integrationsprozess became a fight between there religious beliefs and our lawsystem.
They have established some kind of subcultur or paralell-society and dont move any futher towards. They sale and buy there goods under themself, the have there one meetingplaces and marriage only internal.
As a result we have serval problems her and the last thing we need her in germany is some stupid whitebread shoting at innocend people.
In think your feelings are similare in that case.

If atheism is a religion, then not playing football is an Olympic discipline.
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31-08-2012, 07:00 AM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
To clarify, the quote is from the linked article. This didn't happen to me.
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31-08-2012, 08:13 AM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
Hey, Jeff.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Straight up.

I think that was a really important article. One of the reasons I came to this site two years ago was because I believe strongly in cultural diversity and I wanted to engage with Atheists about the importance of supporting and protecting that. I felt that if Atheists ever won government or became the social majority and the DIDN'T believe in that, that we'd just be in the same shit, different pile.

I believe that the message in that article is one of the single most important messages I've seen in this forum in my two years as a member. I hope it's given serious consideration by everyone here.

On a personal note, if anyone has ever been confused by the stance I take when people just blast religion, read this article. I identify with it strongly. I'm not an apologist. I support cultural diversity and peaceful co-existence. I also believe that fundamental change can only be negotiated from a place of peace and partnership, not from fear and brutality.

I can't compliment this article enough.

I was reading it and I was just like, "Holy shit, this article is like butter." Here's a dramatic re-enactment.





Then I came upon something. Something I wasn't expecting. Something that, well, I don't have the words to explain how I felt. It gave me a warm feeling in the cockles of my heart. Maybe the sub-cockle area. Maybe even the colon. I don't know.

Quote:The problem, I think, lies in a lack of sensitivity to or awareness of the rampant Islamophobia sweeping our society. A key offender in this respect is bestselling atheist author Sam Harris.





Quote:But while Harris may be convinced that he can parse arguments for profiling people who “look Muslim” from Islamophobia, the thing about words—especially words put forth by highly visible public intellectuals—is that they have consequences. Unintentional though they may be, such sentiments reinforce and perpetuate the broader cultural climate of Islamophobia.





It was funny and a bit confusing. When they mentioned his name, I threw up like I always do... but not from my mouth.





Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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31-08-2012, 08:34 AM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
(31-08-2012 08:13 AM)Ghost Wrote:  ... "Holy shit, this article is like butter."

I'm lactose intolerant. Confused

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31-08-2012, 11:28 AM (This post was last modified: 01-09-2012 02:35 PM by Thomas.)
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?option...Itemid=189

Ghulam Abbas, a homeless male in his 40s, was burned to death by a mob of 2,000 men for allegedly desecrating the Muslim holy book. Locals complained that he had supposedly ripped pages from the Quran.

Does this also make your stomach turn? If a group of teenagers in the states set a homeless person on fire, just for fun, it would lead the news for weeks. We would be horrified that someone would do something that cruel. Instead this is just another day in the world of the reliigious nuts. We give it a pass because they did it out of religious conviction. Their "faith" drove them to set a guy on fire because it was "rumored".....

The article Jeff cites proposes a completely hollow argument that one must ignore extreme religious views that lead to wars and mass violence because you may become just like them one day. That's just stupid thinking at it's best and usually sourced by islamoapologists who say "leave us alone, you can't criticize our actions because it's our religious belief." The religious murderer claims victimhood. Bullshit!

The nutcase in Milwaukee was not a "White supremist atheist" on a killing rampage driven by atheist islamophobic rhetoric from Sam Harris and others who simply point out how dangerous dogmatic religious beliefs can be. He would probably have killed Harris for being an atheist.

God is not great; Jesus is a myth; Mohammad was a fraud; Religion poisons everything; ALL religions are based on domatic ignorance; ALL supernatural belief is intolerable for an advanced society capable of nuclear annihilation.

We will coexist when we are all non-religious. Until then, welcome to a world at war driven by religious belief.

The article is the islamoapologists answer to all criticisms of islam:
"You're islamophobic and your intolerance is the real problem"

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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31-08-2012, 04:02 PM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
I don't debate much, but I avoid Muslims maybe out of a superstitious fear, but I'm worried that I'll piss off a freak. I started to be worried after the Thunderf00t Muslim drama.

Bury me with my guns on, so when I reach the other side - I can show him what it feels like to die.
Bury me with my guns on, so when I'm cast out of the sky, I can shoot the devil right between the eyes.
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31-08-2012, 06:04 PM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
I linked to the article because I thought it was interesting, but I have to say that I'm still not sure I understand the author's point of view. I think I understand Ghost's point of view, that coexistence will be enhanced through reach-outs between communities, including atheists and religious believers. But I can't tell if the author is looking to give Islamists some sort of special protection or consideration, and my guess is that that is where most atheists would start to object strongly. For example, would the author agree that my American right of free speech means that I have the right to criticize, mock, condemn, parody or otherwise offend believers of Islam or their book (Koran) or pictures of Mohammed, whether done fairly or unfairly? If we're in agreement that that is within our rights, then I think we can make a lot of progress on whatever the next step is. However if there isn't agreement on that point, then I have to wonder why Islam is afforded special protections that infringe my rights. Ghost, perhaps you can weigh in as a proxy for the author?
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31-08-2012, 07:02 PM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
Hey, Jeff.

Happy to.

I think the basic message is that there is, to use the colloquial term, rampant racism against Muslims. The appeal the author is making is, "My fellow Atheists, do not ignore or succumb to that racist movement. It is in your best interests, in every way, to confront and overcome it."

The author also says that what people like Sam Harris are doing is blurring the line between racism and something prudent, even rational. They are denying that that racism (Islamaphobia, bigotry in the same way homophobia is) even exists. They're masking racism as rational critique. Harris says, “we should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.” That's racist insanity masquerading as the reasonable thing to do. The author is saying, don't believe the hype. There's nothing different between what's going on here and antisemitism, anti-blackism, anti-anything really.

So he's not saying hang up your spurs and never criticise the religion, he's saying there is a line between criticism and racism, a line that when crossed, means that American citizens, who are equal to other citizens, but happen to be Muslims, are persecuted. He goes on to say that Atheists, a people who are themselves fighting for equality, need to stand in solidarity with Muslims looking for the same. To do otherwise is not just hypocrisy, it undermines you.

It has nothing to do with relinquishing your rights. It is saying, there is a difference between the right of free speech and the support, direct or tacit, of racism.

The rest is, as you say, a call to reach out to communities and build with each other. He makes a special point though that as a person working towards that, he has been decried by fellow Atheists and labelled a traitor and a terrorist. I don't quite know how to word this, but it's not something that can continue. I suppose it's the equivalent of a white person marching with MLK and being called a race-traitor. It isn't helping the situation. We need to allow for people to "cross the aisle" and work in solidarity with other minority groups, especially if you yourself come from a minority group.

The most important line is this:
Quote:It should go without saying that this isn’t a problem with atheism, but it is a problem among atheists and it’s one that is being largely ignored.

He is simply reaching out to his community and asking it to think about what it is doing thoughtlessly. He's saying there is a consequence that must be recognised and an alternative that must be explored, not just for social justice, but for your own benefit.

Quote:As a minority community in America’s religious milieu, it makes strategic sense for atheists to ally with Muslims, Sikhs, and others. But as a Humanist atheist, I feel a sense of moral obligation to stand up against identity-based hatred, no matter whom it’s directed at. Not only is it absurd to hope that people should care about the lack of acceptance for atheists in the United States without also hoping that society will similarly embrace other communities, it’s also selfish. Atheists who remain silent about Islamophobia aren’t just missing out on a strategic opportunity to highlight the parallels between their own experiences and those of other disenfranchised religious minorities—they’re opting out of an opportunity to do what is right, to take the moral high road, and to demonstrate what we keep telling the rest of the world: that atheists can be “good without God.”
-Bold added for emphasis

His call for interfaith cooperation is a call to reduce and even eliminate the viewpoint of Muslims as "the other".

Quote:...interfaith outreach and cooperation is imperative as it strives to decrease the distance between “others” and create opportunities for people to identify shared values and a sense of shared humanity—an understanding of identity that allows people to see another’s freedom and value as connected to their own.

This isn't about giving Islam a pass. This is about stopping an injustice, the persecution of and literal physical attacks against Muslims, against, in the humanist sense, fellow human beings, and doing so not only the interests of fostering peace and equality, but in the interests of advancing the Atheist case for respect and inclusion as well.

The counter argument to this is, well, insert slack-jawed yokel's demagoguic "Islam is evil" "Muslims are evil" "Muslims aren't human" "Muslims aren't Americans" bullshit argument. That sort of simplistic prejudiced argument has instant appeal and that, the author is saying, is the heart of the problem. That is what Atheists cannot afford to ignore.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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31-08-2012, 07:44 PM
RE: Atheists Ignore Islamophobia at their Peril
(31-08-2012 07:02 PM)Ghost Wrote:  It has nothing to do with relinquishing your rights. It is saying, there is a difference between the right of free speech and the support, direct or tacit, of racism.

I have a feeling that this argument hinges on the definition of racism. What is yours?
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