Reza Aslan and Chris Stedman: Atheists and Muslims have lots in common and should be pals

October 20, 2014 • 6:14 am

When I stayed in England in my younger years, I used to read the Guardian, which I was told was the only good liberal newspaper in the country.

But how low it’s sunk!  I find little of interest there, and what we find is polluted with the mush-brained and predictable rants of Andrew Brown, as well as a spate of ill-tempered and poorly argued pieces attacking New Atheism, “Islamophobia”, and the like. The paper must be desperate for clicks. Whatever. It is to kneejerk liberals as the Sun is to soccer yobs.

This latest accommodationist post, though, takes the cake, or, as the Germans say, “nimmt den Kuchen” (my grammar’s probably wrong). The piece is by the unholy duo of Reza Aslan and Chris Stedman, and is called, “‘Violent’ Muslims?’ ‘Amoral’ atheists? It’s time to stop shouting and start talking to each other.

Stedman, of course, is a religion-friendly atheist (head of Humanist Community of Yale University), whose book was called Faitheist; while Aslan is the premier apologist in America for the excesses of Islam, someone who pretends to be a credentialed religious scholar. Their joint article should really have been called “Why can’t Muslims and atheists be pals?”

Here is their argument:

1. Both Muslims and atheists are reviled in America, especially by Christians.
2. Both groups are also numerical minorities.
3. American Muslims are more critical of civilian “collateral damage” in wartime than are members of other American faiths, hence, they are not only benign, but appaarently more liberal than non-Muslim Americans—if one considers this single issue.

Their conclusion: Muslims and atheists should talk to each other, find common ground, and be friends.

As the duo write:

So why hasn’t there been more dialogue and solidarity between Muslims and atheists? Can’t we all just get along?

The divide has to do in part with our natural inclination to retreat into our own communities or get defensive when confronted with difference. As a result, stereotypes about both groups not only go unchallenged – they become amplified as each side clings to its preconceived notions of the other. While it’s certainly not the only cause, the amplification of this “us against them” attitude has contributed to large majorities of Americans labeling Muslims as “violent” and atheists as “amoral”.

The irony is that when atheists and believers get to know one another, they often discover that many of their values are not so different after all. That is something that we, a Muslim and an atheist, have learned from our friendship – even as we acknowledge our differences and disagreements.

This dialogue between Muslims and Heathens is supposed to be mutually beneficial:

When 46% of Americans think Islam is more violent than other faiths but only 37% even know a Muslim, and when atheists remain one of the most distrusted groups in the country, it’s clear that a conversation between these two communities could benefit both. But that won’t happen until we Muslims and atheists commit to spending less time speaking past one another and more time speaking with one another.

Sadly, their argument is utterly ridiculous, and for several reasons. First, who really wants that dialogue? Do Muslims hunger for dialogue with atheists? No. Perhaps they want to be accepted by atheists and others, but I doubt they want to talk to atheists with the aim of benefitting themselves. I suspect that if anyone wants dialogue, it’s accommodationist faitheists like Stedman (remember, he applied the term “faitheist” to himself). Even Aslan hasn’t shown himself to be particularly desirous of conversing with atheists. So far, his “discourse” has consisted of nonstop sniping at atheists who, he claims, simply misunderstand Islam, and impute to the faith perfidies that are really cultural in origin, or stem from colonialism. Does Aslan really want a dialogue? I’ll believe that when I hear him actually listen thoughtfully to what New Atheists say.

Second, American atheists don’t revile American Muslims that much, for that group, embedded in a liberal democracy that prevents obvious extremism, is indeed far less harmful than many of their extremist coreligionists elsewhere. Nevertheless, I deplore most of the doctrine of Islam, which includes institutionalized marginalization of women, calls for death of apostates, the imposition of repressive sharia law, and so on. To the extent that Muslims adhere to this kind of belief, I criticize those beliefs.  And I will criticize them in the U.S., precisely as much as I criticize the pernicious beliefs, of, say, Catholic.

My own quarrel with Islam is not with the actions of American Muslims, but with how Islamic belief is translated into action in other places. It is odd that the Guardian, a British paper, chooses to promote friendship between American atheists and American Muslims when the real quarrel is between worldwide atheists or liberals and worldwide extremist Islam—the form that is misogynistic, oppressive, and even murderous.  Do you have to know a jihadi personally to criticize him? I don’t think so.

And don’t forget that many Muslims in the U.S. and the U.K. while criticizing the barbarity of ISIS, fail to do so with respect to the other malevolent and unenlightened brands of Islam. So long as a religion oppresses the half of its members that lack a Y chromosome, I will oppose it. Do male Muslims in America allow their daughters and wives the same kind of freedom of opportunity as members of other faiths (I except here some of the Pentecostal Christians as well as some Mormon sects)? I hope so, but I’m not sure.

Now, what is the benefit of atheists talking to each Muslims? I may learn that some Muslims are nice people, but I know that already, having traveled in countries where Islam is prevalent (Turkey and Morocco, for instance). This is not news to me. But that doesn’t mean that I will become soft on Islamic theology, just as knowing Catholics doesn’t make me softer on Catholic theology. I do not hate Andrew Sullivan (in fact, I kind of like him sometimes), but I will criticize to my last breath the views of the Church to which he adheres. And I will never accept, in dialogue with Muslims, the widespread view that woman are like breeder cattle whose job is to produce nascent Muslims, and whose testimony is, in sharia court, worth but half of a man’s.

And shouldn’t atheists and Muslims be talking not to each other, but to the Christian majority who reviles both of us? Wouldn’t that effect more comity than friendship between two reviled groups? What is the point of two small minorities talking to each other rather than seeking acceptance from the majority. Aslan and Stedman don’t explain.

In the end, I see nothing substantive to be be gained by this conversation except getting to know our neighbors. What thoughtful atheists oppose is the pernicious effect of Islamic doctrine, not the existence of peaceable Muslims who live alongside us. If they embrace Islamic doctrine but don’t act on it (i.e., if they allow Muslim women complete freedom of dress, of opportunity, of mate choice, and so on), then that’s fine. But if they oppress women or gays in any way, that’s not fine, even if Muslims don’t like the killing of civilians in wars. Oppression of women and hatred of gays is also collateral damage: a byproduct of Islamic faith. And if they tacitly support coreligionist extremists by remaining silent about that excesses of Islam, that, too, is bad. Needless to say, there is no branch of atheism that supports killing those who revert to religion, or seeks to murder those who still believe in God or who have sex with someone of their own sex. Muslims don’t go around with bodyguards because they fear assassination by atheists. And atheists issue no fatwas.  You have to look hard to find any kind of “doctrinal” parity between atheists and Muslims. And there lies the problem. Finally, we have this quote from Aslan and Stedman:

“When 46% of Americans think Islam is more violent than other faiths but only 37% even know a Muslim, and when atheists remain one of the most distrusted groups in the country, it’s clear that a conversation between these two communities could benefit both.”
As a friend said who sent me this piece:
It is a complete non sequitur if you follow the implied course of actions to their logical conclusion: Muslims and atheists can become a group that is hated by the Christian majority together? How is that going to be useful or productive?

Two more points: atheists and Muslims have talked to each other, but both parties must rely on rational discourse and not extremist dogma. Productive discussion can be seen between, for example, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz. (Nawaz, as a liberal Muslim who decries coreligionist extremists, is widely hated by both Muslims and liberals.) Unproductive dialogue can be seen between Richard Dawkins and people like Mehdi Hasan, who adheres to preposterous tenets of Islam and is certainly not interested in any kind of comity.

There are many comments at the Guardian, and lots of them highlight the inanity of Aslan and Stedman’s argument, but I’ll just post the latest two comments:

Screen shot 2014-10-20 at 3.47.43 PM

63 thoughts on “Reza Aslan and Chris Stedman: Atheists and Muslims have lots in common and should be pals

  1. Yeah, because I can see Muslims* and ex-Muslim atheists getting on so well together. We all know how well that works.

    *Yes this is a generalisation to make a point!

  2. The old saw that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” doesn’t always work all that well. Atheists aren’t popular with Christians for the same reason that they aren’t popular with Muslims. Muslims and Christians are far more likely to make common cause against atheists than either group is likely to get all huggy-huggy with atheists.

    And personally, as an atheist, I just can’t see joining with Muslims on any front except asking for more toleration. And I can more readily see joining with some of the “peace religions” (Friends’ Meeting Quakers and Mennonites) than with Muslims.

    The newspaper article is just an example of journalists needing to say something, no matter how fundamentally preposterous it may be.

  3. In the end, I see nothing substantive to be be gained by this conversation except getting to know our neighbors.

    Well, but that is substantive. If we’re ever going to get non-token atheist or muslim representatives in government, it’s going to be due to personal familiarity with each other (and familiarity of the majority with each).

    At the risk of straw-manning, I also don’t see why atheists can’t or shouldn’t reach across to muslims for support for secularism. Traditionally, minority religious groups in the US have been very supportive of separation of church and state, for obvious reasons. Islam is a minority religion here; I think they would likely make good allies in the fight(s) to keep creationism out of schools, prayer out of local government meetings, ten commandments monuments out of our courthouses, and such.

    It would be silly to only ally with people who share every aspect of your ideology. When/where humanist groups and muslim groups agree on the value of a secular society, we should reach out to them and seek to support each other in secular political activism.

    1. If you don’t want to straw-man then don’t immediately jump in and straw-man. Please provide examples of atheists refusing to ally with Muslims (or any other religious folk) when working toward secular goals.

      It might also be interesting to see your list of Muslims working for secular government. (There are some…. OP cites one example, Maajid Nawaz, but I look forward to a much more lengthy list.)

    2. Of course, fellow Me (I’m also Eric…hi!). In so far as any religious group follows their book a bit less than normal and aligns themselves with Humanist principles of equality and separation of church and state, we should work with them. We’re all Humans together.

      The…oh, who were they? British Muslim Youth Association? Something like that–they had a huge Peace Rally a couple weeks ago where they reportedly lauded Loyalty to their country and decried Extremism.

      In that idea, we can all agree and rejoice! But, of course, if that group happens to also think that women are less equal, or that Halal should be everywhere (this is hypothetical–I do not know any views of the group other than their Peace Rally), then atheist groups would not be able to work with them based on those ideas.

    3. I have seen positive effects of just being good around people who are religious. They notice when a family raises their children in a secular environment and they lessen their prejudice against the idea that atheists can not be good. I would do no more than that. Be yourself. People will inevitably be unable to avoid the truth: a secular life is the freest life.

  4. Here is the thing that gets me, The Guardian and Salon are very happy to champion Resa Aslan right?

    But when #anapostatesexperience started trending in response to Aslan, they were dead silent about it.

    In fact only one news vendor covered it – Times LIVE.

    A South African news website.

  5. 1. Both Muslims and atheists are reviled in America, especially by Christians.

    Well pedophiles are reviled, hence we should hang out with them.

    Aslan once contacted me, about five years ago via YouTube in response to a very positive comment of mine to a vid of his. He wanted to know why I, an atheist, liked his vid, and I said because he was very open, engaging, and willing to share info. Let me take back my original assessment because what I now see is only empty charm.

    1. I was going to say something similar to your pedophile comment. My example was going to be cannibals, a reviled minority we need to dialog with. I guess.

      1. You could discuss with them what’s for dinner (a variation on the definition of ‘democracy’ as two wolves and a sheep voting what’s for dinner).

  6. “The divide has to do in part with our natural inclination to retreat into our own communities or get defensive when confronted with difference.”

    That’s one of the more clueless analyses of a situation that I’ve read. Surely they can’t seriously hold this view?

    1. Aslan/Stedman need to sort out their priorities.

      Most atheists associate with other atheists about as much as cats do and would therefore have nothing to retreat to or from.

  7. YES it’s possible in the west while they are a minority .
    NO , it’s a dream in the middle east even among normal people who does not know much about their religion

  8. I went to the Guardian site and commented. I work with and know Muslims, and suggested a cross-religion panel discussion that happened. The panel consisted of a Buddhist, a Christian, a Hindu, and a Muslim, someone that I knew. Nevertheless, it was driven home for me again that I had the most in common with the Buddhist who I did not know, and the least in common with the Muslim who is a respected colleague.

    Of course it is important to know about religion, and to get to know people who practice religions. I have made an effort to do so. However, the fact remains that Islam is particularly rule-based, and unless one hangs out with Muslims who disregard the prohibitions against drinking, eating pork, etc. (I know them, too), one is going to find a serious chasm between their worldview and my atheist one.

    1. Be aware that the Buddist you mentioned might just be an atheist. I was told to fill a questionnaire as Buddist by my friends because “it is bad to be not religious” many years ago.

      1. He was asked that and is not. I am “out” at work as an atheist, as are my atheist colleagues, who have also hosted panel discussions alongside agnostics and freethinkers.

  9. Dialogue is usually productive when both sides acknowledge that their views are provisional working hypotheses. Thus a dialogue between William James (pragmatic/provisional theism) and Bertrand Russell (“technically agnostic but for practical purposes atheist”) is far more likely to be productive than a dialogue between William Lane Craig and stronger atheists.
    Craig is convinced that the “testimony of the Holy Spirit” has vindicated all of his religious convictions, while James thinks there may be something supernatural out there which we nonetheless know very little about specifically.

    Aslan’s degree is in sociology. Lots of interesting academic work in religion has been done by sociologists rather than historians (A fine history of the Mormons was done by a trained sociologist and sociology professor Thomas O’Dea). However, Aslan has labeled himself particularly as as “historian of religion”.

    “takes the cake” is not a common German idiom, but “nimmmt den Kuchen” is correct.

  10. Friendships which cross divides (religious, political, cultural, etc.) are a fine thing. A wonderful thing. But who has been arguing otherwise?

    The image of the angry New Atheist who refuses to work the school fundraiser if they have to sell cakes while standing next to a Person of Faith — no pleasant chatting! — is some sort of reverse straw-man boogeyman. If anything, the people who need to be reminded that it’s okay to be friends with someone on the Other Side are the people who think their salvation is in danger if they do.

    1. You got the strawman wrong. It’s not “angry New Atheist” , the correct straw man is “Militant Atheist”.

      1. I just realised that my comment may have come off as offensive. I meant to imply that you are correct except the it is more egregious than that!

        Anecdotal example: I like in the bible belt and my step daughter came home from a short visit with some of her family to inform me that they were upset that she was being raised by a satanist! Because in their mind atheist = satanist. How do you find mutual ground with people who make such derogatory assumptions (or are so ignorant that it doesn’t make a difference) ?!?!?

        1. O don’t know. Sometimes the people who have the most bizarre, mistaken, and derogatory assumptions about atheists are the easiest to persuade in a positive direction. That’s because all you have to do is get them to understand some very basic things and there’s a tremendous improvement. Usually it’s ignorance. A smiling face dispels stereotypes. Any movement is a plus.

          Sometimes it’s ignorance on our own part. If they’d call you a ‘satanist’ even if you were a Catholic, a Mormon, a Muslim, a Jew, or a Hindu, then they’re obviously using the term in a different way than we are — and it’s oddly comforting, if so. As Stedman is pointing out, politics can make strange bedfellows… sometimes. In limited ways.

          I don’t live in the Bible Belt, but I’ve found that the easiest way to deal with fundamentalists with whom you have to deal (like parents of children’s friends) is to edge the word “love” into your explanations and discussions as often as you possibly can. Own that sucker. Talk friendship, understanding, caring, and kindness (heh.) That way they’re more likely to think you’re sappy and deluded than actively evil.

          They’ll also likely mistake you for a New Ager, but they probably already do that. Christians who live in a conservative bubble get “liberals” mixed up.

      2. Same thing 😉

        Since Stedman the “Faitheist” pits himself against the atheists who refuse to consider faith as either virtue or identity, I figured he was addressing the gnus.

    2. But who has been arguing otherwise?

      The image of the angry New Atheist who refuses to work the school fundraiser if they have to sell cakes while standing next to a Person of Faith — no pleasant chatting! — is some sort of reverse straw-man boogeyman.

      Why are evolutionists so mean? Because the creationists are the good guys, standing up for truth and faith against liars, hypocrites, and godless cynics.

      I don’t think it’s a “boogeyman”, so to speak. It’s just a natural consequence of a worldview that both casts doubt on objective means of gaining truth (such as science) and insists everyone share their own subjective alternatives. It’s a short hop from there to treating atheism and Islam as if they were just two different tribes who need to get along, rather than two collections of ideas that fare differently in the face of evidence and observation and critical analysis. David Brin captures the general idea here:

      “Having said that, I feel some clarifications are in order before I do the next section.

      “1) about the matter of objective reality, please don’t imagine that we are the first to face this quandary. In fact, the most common (and boring!) of all “wise” pronouncements… offered by Socrates, Plato, Buddha, Jesus, Confucius, Carlos Castaneda and ten thousand other sages has boiled down to — “We cannot trust our fallible senses.”

      “Now at first sight that sounds like the key to science, and indeed, it is a good 1st step. But it hasn’t worked out that way, because for 6,000 years they never took the vital second step! In fact, nearly all of these great sages – and countless others – followed this great insight with a calamitous follow-up.

      “We cannot trust our fallible senses…. therefore GIVE UP and seek truth elsewhere.”

      “They differ only in petty details of how and where else to look INSTEAD of the real objective world.

      “Plato & Socrates say we should seek truth through incantations of so-called logic. Castaneda prefers incantations of mumbo-jumbo, cross-cultural mystery magic. Jesus says we should turn to incantations of faith. Buddha, incantations that withdraw the mind from the world… and so on.

      “Can’t you see the pattern? Every “wise man” NOTICES that the senses can’t perceive objective reality very well (true enough). But then he prescribes a path of ritualized, liturgical salvation that involves running as fast as possible away from the Real World.”

      Once you know what script they’re working from, this “Why can’t we all get along?” line is revealed as an obvious attempt to bypass rational inquiry. It’s the same style of romanticism that leads to postmodernism, faith-based thinking, and other doctrinal absurdities.

  11. Perhaps Aslan and Stedman mean that we should combine the scientific rationality of the atheist with the religious fervour of the muslim. If we gang up, we could kill all christians in a most scientific way.

    1. Yes, as a gesture of mutual comity we can have a Muslim come to the U.S. and talk about his faith on a street corner, and then have Aslan do the same thing in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. After all, this involves a mutual exchange of ideas. . .

      1. The “mutual exchange of ideas” generally has to do with looking for what we have in common — and agreeing to disagree on anything else. A faitheist blog in Saudi Arabia might pass muster in that it would respectfully avoid anything controversial or likely to cause offense. Perhaps Aslan would stand on the street corner directing traffic.

  12. > or, as the Germans say, “nimmt den Kuchen” (my grammar’s probably wrong)

    Your grammar’s fine. The proverb normally in use here is “schießt den Vogel ab” (shoots down the bird), however.

    Now what’s the same in Bulgarian?

  13. What gets lost in the emotional kerfuffle of the back-and-forth exchanges on “Why should we have religion?: Does religion produce benefit and, if so, how much?; and, “Is a particular religion ‘peaceful’, or not?” is that the REAL question is, “Which ideas are right, and which ideas are simply wrong?”

    Human understanding has evolved, over millennia, from a collection of “guesses” about the nature of our existence (based on observations that were sometimes right, sometimes entirely wrong) to the point where, with the advent of the scientific method, we finally have the opportunity to approach the determination of what ideas are “true” concerning human behavior and thus the very structure of our societies and economic systems.

    The problem is that we are still dealing with the “hold” that the old, incorrect ideas have on people and the corresponding elements of our societal structures that were determined BY them over the centuries. A primitive hunter-gatherer couldn’t afford to hang onto too many incorrect ideas as to do so would directly affect survival; when agriculture and the resultant cities-states arose, a situation was created in which “bad” ideas could more easily survive, much in the same manner as a more dependable food supply allowed for the creation of classes of people who did not directly work for their food (priests, artisans, rulers, soldiers, etc).

    Islam (and Christianity) have, at their “cores”, memes that are counter-productive to a modern, beneficial society that are based on falsehoods. You could kill every member of ISIS and other related terrorist groups today, and the memes would still be there, like “sleeper-agents” awaiting fertile ground.

  14. I like this piece! Professor Jerry Coyne, you are marvelous! And I think Maajid Nawaz is very humorous. Sam Harris is a hero!

  15. As Jerry says, the whole article is ridiculous. It’s loaded with errors of logic, many already pointed out by him and commenters above.

    One of my big criticisms of Aslan is the one he accuses New Atheists of – making sweeping statements. While we New Atheists are critical of specific beliefs in Islam – not all Muslims as Aslan says, he is saying “FGM is not a Muslim problem, it’s an African one,” and calling people bigots for saying otherwise. Further, he continues to insist that religious beliefs have no relationship with a person’s actions, which is demonstratively untrue.

    Aslan is trying a different tack with each of his recent forays into the media as each of his arguments is shown to be rubbish. He is painting himself further into a corner each time, and exposing his true colours as nothing more than an apologist for Islam.

  16. I can see atheists working with liberal Muslims toward liberal, secular goals but, as others have said, we already do that. I think what atheists can do is promote actions of liberal Muslims when they stand up against extreme Islam.

      1. Yes, that’s what Harris does and I think he has it right. I’m still skeptical though that anything defining will happen in my lifetime. This Islamic tree has much girth and the deepest of roots.

        1. I’m optimistic, I think science and rising of wowen’s rights will corrupt the base of religion. So, education, education, science education & women’s education! :)).

  17. I’m surprised no one attacked the ludicrous idea that Muslims care more about collateral damage in war than other American faiths. Then again, there are so many logical errors and idiocy in this article it’s difficult to refute everything.

    The fact of the matter is that most Muslims only seem to care about collateral damage when the civilians are Muslim and are due to a conflict with a non-Muslim country. I see no compelling evidence that they care deeply about non-Muslim victims of war. When it is Muslim on Muslim violence and there are civilian deaths, there is little protest.

    This isn’t even really a shortcoming of Muslims, all or most groups are like this, except maybe some peace-groups or the far left.

    1. That conclusion is a disingenuous extrapolation of the Pew data re: drone strikes. It is not surprising that American Muslims would have a more negative view of drone strikes than non-Muslims. It says nothing about Muslim views on collateral damage when the victims are not Muslim. What are their views on “collateral damage” in places like Sudan?

    2. I agree, and was going to make a similar point: that US Muslims are more exposed to collateral damage amongst civilians because they see “fellow muslim” civilians as being on the receiving end of this all over the Middle East.

      It’s hard to properly compare that attitude with that of, say, Christians, but possibly it makes the Muslims’ attitude worse, because (as is customary in Islam) they self-identify stronger with Muslims in another country than with their compatriots of differing faith. Muslim first, (US) citizen second. This is mostly an alien concept in western culture.

  18. This continued ineffective plea for reconciliation reminds me of a silver lining to NSA eavesdropping.

    Individual members of DHS and NSA may believe some (if not all) violent actions are motivated not by religion but by other socio-economic patterns, but the data that is mined to establish connections between future high probability risks and religion will be unavoidable. When looking for threats, a nation state cannot (should not) prejudice its judgements based on voluntarily ignoring the other guys beliefs because it might hurt someone’s feelings.

  19. Salman Rushdie is an intellectual. A good writer. Someone who published a book far from the islamists crowds. His book was forbidden anyway there. He has a money prize on his head. And any religious nut can claim it.

    Abu Bakr is a savage. Master of child rapists and murderers. Praying to a pedophile prophet. He might just well be an apostate according to most of the islamic sects. And who made him caliph? Also he gives islam, its god and prophet a bad name, so says Tariq Ramadan. Do I hear about islamists training to bring peace in Iraq?

  20. [The Guardian]: “It is to kneejerk liberals as the Sun is to soccer yobs.”

    Worse. It hasn’t got Page 3.


  21. Colin Christian’s comment is spot on. As a tourist, I might survive walking some streets in Pakistan wearing an atheist t-shirt. If a Pakistani tried it in a good share of the country, there is a high probability they would be killed there and then by his neighbors. I suspect the reason would not be related to colonialism.

  22. This was my own contribution to the commentary after the CiF article (slightly emended):

    This is one of the most astonishing and disturbing op-ed pieces ever to have been printed by the Guardian. This can be shown quite simply. In Pew survey referenced in the article we are told that

    Four in 10 said Muslims in America should not be judged by U.S. law and the Constitution, but by Islamic Shariah law.

    Moreover, the same poll indicates that

    7.2 percent of the respondents said they “strongly agree” with the idea of execution for those who parody Islam, and another 4.3 percent said they somewhat agree,

    and yet the article itself argues, based on an Abu Dhabi Gallop poll, that

    Muslims are actually more likely than any other religious or ethical group in America to reject violence against civilians.

    But that is not what the [Abu Dhabi] poll is about. The question asked was about military force used against civilians. It does not speak of general violence against civilians at all. In other words, it does not address the question of Islamic jihad, and violence against civilians on religious grounds. Given other answers on the poll, Muslims are much more likely to think that civil violence against civilians who insult Islam (punishment by the state, even to the extent of execution) is higher than members of other religions.

    In other words, the article itself is a tissue of lies, half-truths, and misleading claims, demonstrating, once again, that Reza Aslan is not to be relied upon to tell the truth when it comes to Islam, and that Chris Steadman is one of the most easily led (or misled) atheists around. Even to imagine that atheists and Muslims could somehow get together and understand each other, based on the evidence presented, is nothing short of laughable.

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