• Ali Rizvi Exposes Muslims’ Double Standard About “Hate Speech”

    The Friendly Atheist has an excellent short piece which utterly destroys liberal and moderate Muslims in their case for Islam being a religion of peace. It is not that, as I have shown here, and due mainly to this. The problem stems from the core text, the Qu’ran. And you can’t really be a Muslim and drop the Qu’ran – they are inseparable. 

    Here is how the article starts:

    What if there was a book that described Muslims the way the Qur’an describes disbelievers? Heads would roll, says Ali A. Rizvi. Literally.

    Rizvi is talking specifically about this verse in the Islamic Good Book:

    The worst of beasts are the disbelievers. They’re the ones you make treaties with, but they break those treaties every time because they have no fear of the law.”

    If you flipped that, you’d get

    The worst of beasts are the followers of Allah. They’re the ones you make treaties with, but they break those treaties every time because they have no fear of the law.”

    Instant Islamophobia!

    Would a proud Muslim let that insult stand? If not, then why does he consider those words not just acceptable but sacred and supremely truthful if the subject is changed from “followers of Allah” to “disbelievers”?

    The core notion here is that the Qu’ran is hate-filled.You cannot contextualise it at the best of times, due to its provenance of being the direct word of God. But, further, you cannot contextualise something which makes such universal claims: that disbelievers are beasts and should be dealt with accordingly. Period.

    As Rizvi himself continues:

    The primary argument we hear against critics and satirists of religion like the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists — who satirized all religions, not just Islam — is that their speech “offends billions of people.”

    But what about the religions they’re targeting? The Abrahamic holy books — respected and revered by billions worldwide — prescribe the killing of disbelievers (Quran 8:12-1347:4; Leviticus 24:16); order their adherents to fight and enslave those with differing beliefs, à la ISIS (Quran 9:29-30, Deuteronomy 20:10-18); endorse wife-beating (Quran 4:34) and the stoning to death of non-virginal brides (Deuteronomy 22:20-21); order women to quietly submit to the authority of men (1 Timothy 2:11-12); and mandate the public lashing of fornicators (Quran 24:2) and the killing of homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13).

    Who should really be offended here? If hate speech were really the issue, these books would be the first to go.

    Let me repeat that: “If hate speech were really the issue, these books would be the first to go.”

    He continues:

    When confronted with these facts, apologists will often respond by saying these texts should not be read “literally”—a concern that is certainly well-founded considering their contents. They know how terrible these books would sound if they weren’t liberally “interpreted” (read: distorted, sanitized), or read the way one would read any other book. When the literal word of a deity requires repeated, long-winded explanations from his human followers simply to prevent it being interpreted to mean what it actually says, it doesn’t make a great case for divine authorship. If anything can mean anything, the whole thing becomes meaningless.

    The reality is, religious moderates take their scripture “out of context” more than they’d like to think. Islamic apologists, for instance, like to quote the verse 2:256, which says there is “no compulsion in religion.” They won’t tell you (and many don’t know themselves) that the very next verse, 2:257, says that those who do choose to disbelieve will be “companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.” You’ll also hear them quote verse 5:32, which says, “Whoever kills a soul…it is as if he had slain all mankind. And whoever saves one—it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” But again, if you read on to the very next verse, 5:33, you’ll see that Allah wants anyone opposing him or his messenger to “be killed or crucified…their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides,” for “causing corruption.”

    What is more offensive? Those words? Or those who choose to reject and criticize them?

    It is true that a religion should not be defined by the actions of its adherents. However, it can be defined by the contents of its canonical texts—like the Quran, which is the one thing common to all Islamic sects and denominations, fundamentalist or moderate. The fact that most Muslims are non-violent doesn’t automatically erase all of the violent verses from the Quran, in the same way that that Jews eating pork or having premarital sex doesn’t mean either act is suddenly allowed by the Jewish faith. In the words of Alishba Zarmeen: most humans are more moral than the scriptures they hold sacred. [my emphasis]

    Shabam! This is EXACTLY what I have been arguing for some time now, and coming up against fellow liberals who take issue with this. This is the idea that the “True Muslim” in as coherent a sense as one can get is the one who adheres more closely to God’s direct commands and Muhammad’s role.

    Not the moderate or liberal.

    The problem is, what do we do with this? Because, to me, it looks like there is no reformation on the horizon and no real tangible soolution, without somehow dropping the Qu’ran; and that ain’t never gonna happen.

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

    • im-skeptical

      As Sam Harris points out, the Qur’an is loaded with intolerant rantings. If they are not supposed to be taken literally, I wonder exactly what we should make of them.

    • pboyfloyd

      I wonder what a Muslim would say in the face of this? I’m thinking the old, “I am not a theologian!”, might satisfy themselves and fellow Muslims.
      There’s also the notion that fundamentalist Muslims are being ahistorical, that they’re not taking into account that generation upon generation of Muslim has not been interpreting the Quran the way it is written.
      Of course this is simply weaseling out of it.

    • Graham Martin-Royle

      Atheist Revolution has a good piece about this subject,

      http://www.atheistrev.com/2015/03/my-holy-book-says-that-people-like-you.html

    • Travelman

      “most humans are more moral than the scriptures they hold sacred.”

      What a great quote

    • sir_russ

      Truly odd this: “It is true that a religion should not be defined by the actions of its adherents.”

      Religions are, and should be, defined by the actions of its adherents.

      Case in point:
      The language comprising a religion’s definition is no consolation whatsoever when its priests are raping children; when the religion institutionally condones, supports, and protects that rape; when the church has so morally compromised the parents of raped children that those parents are not only incapable of protecting their children, but often indict the child with what amounts to “my eight year old boy must have seduced the priest”; and, when everyone involved in running the institution knew of the child-rape, while none came to the aid of the children.

      De facto Roman Catholicism: a Christian organization which generously condones, supports and protects the rape of children by its clerical moral leaders until outside secular forces coerce it to stop.

      Does any of us seriously believe that whatever words it is that Roman Catholics use to define Roman Catholicism would have led to children being made safe from child-raping priests? No, no and no some more. Roman Catholics only addressed their priests-raping-children-is-acceptable policy because secular forces, emboldened by broad media exposure, enforced secular laws and allowed civil lawsuits to proceed, taking the only thing the Vatican actually cares about, money.

      Christians killing, maiming and torturing children as witches defines them in a hard and fast way that has no equal in words strung together as definitions. And, such behaviors make it perfectly clear that this action-defined Christianity has eradicated any sense of the normal human emotions of love, caring, empathy, and compassion. Does any Christianity partially define itself by spelling out the words, “we will inhumanly abuse children to wipe out witches”? No, but their actions spell out that part of the definition for us.

      Religions are, and should be, defined by the actions of its adherents.

      • Hi Russ, and thanks for the comment. I would sort of disagree-ish. I think a parallel can be drawn with morality. in morality we have descriptive morality (what we see in a given section of people) , prescriptive/normative morality (what people should believe) and meta-ethics (what the words good or ought actually mean).

        In the same way we have descriptive religion, what people believe, normative religion, what they should believe given, say, the holy text and history (Muhammad) and meta-ethics (I suppose theology).

    • sir_russ

      “The fact that most Muslims are non-violent doesn’t automatically
      erase all of the violent verses from the Quran, in the same way that
      that Jews eating pork or having premarital sex doesn’t mean either act
      is suddenly allowed by the Jewish faith.”

      Since we observe that religious believers behave however they like, maybe it’s time we all acknowledge that faiths and creeds are binding on no one, even those who openly profess them. The violent acts commanded in the Qur’an clearly are not binding on Muslims. Jewish edicts against this food item or that sex act are clearly not binding on Jews. And, Christian’s behaviors are so all over hell’s half acre that we have no reason to think they are bound by anything other than their own wants and desires.

      Religions are infinitely construable. If, for instance, some religionist wants to kill someone, they can always find support and justification in their holy book.

      No one is bound by faith. No one. A religion which did not supply infinite forgiveness of sins would be defunct in short order.

      Layman: Oh, damn, I fucked up, again.
      Cleric: Well, we really need you to keep throwing money, so we forgive you, again, just like last time, the time before and the next time, too.

      Please, let us stop pretending that religions are binding on anyone.