Ex-Muslims of North America booted from Starbucks for wearing their group’s tee shirts

September 4, 2018 • 12:00 pm

I’m a great admirer of the Ex-Muslims of North America organization (EXMNA), whose President is Muhammad Syed and whose Executive Director is Sarah Haider. They actually do stuff rather than just talking, and they’re courageous to do it in public knowing that an apostate Muslim is, to many active Muslims, deserving of death. I suspect these apostates are even worse than Jews to Islamists! At any rate, to be a public ex-Muslim these days is to evince bravery.

And you also court the disapprobation of non-Muslim Leftists, who revere Muslims as Oppressed People of Color and demonize those who criticize the religion or its pervasive oppression. You’re also spurned by the many people who are simply afraid to be around ex-Muslims because their mere proximity means you might be in danger—but even if not you’re certainly around “Islamophobes.”

That explains the incident described on the EXMNA website (click on screenshot to read about it).

What happened is that EXMNA members were in Houston handing out flyers at the Islamic Society of North America’s annual conference, as well as speaking to conference attendees. That itself is a brave thing to do.  Taking a break, the EXMNA people repaired to a nearby Starbuck’s coffee shop. They weren’t protesting there, but simply looking for coffee.

But they were wearing teeshirts that said “I’m an Ex-Muslim, Ask Me Why” and “God Love is Greatest”.  Those aren’t even that “in your face”, but it was enough for Starbucks to kick them out. As the report notes:

“I was surprised. I was simply drinking my iced coffee and scrolling through my phone, and they told me I needed to leave, so I asked why”, says Lina an ex-Muslim Syrian woman who had traveled to the conference on behalf of EXMNA. “I was told that they are not allowing protestors at the property, I assured the woman that I was not a protestor. She then asked me if I was part of the event or a guest at the hotel. I was neither. I was then told that even though I was a paying customer, I was not allowed to be on the premise as it was reserved for guests and event members for the weekend and that they will not be allowing anyone else on their private property. However, I noticed the Starbucks was still open to the public and I didn’t see anyone else being asked to leave.”

In other words, Starbucks was feeding them a line of bullshit.

Upon additional inquiry after leaving the premises, the hotel employees stated on video that the EXMNA group was not welcome due to their T-shirts, and repeatedly claimed the group was “protesting”, a charge which all volunteers explicitly denied multiple times.

“This appears to be a case of discrimination,” says President of Ex-Muslims of North America, Muhammad Syed. “We were asked to leave the premises and informed that we could only enter the premises if we removed the shirts, none of which stated anything inflammatory. The treatment was unjust and especially cruel considering the plight of ex-Muslims. We are killed and abused all over the world for our disbelief. It is unconscionable that companies like Starbucks and Hilton acquiesce to conservative religious sensibilities”.

. . . Armin Navabi, an Irani atheist activist, was in Houston on behalf of EXMNA. “Our goal was to see how tolerant Muslims can be, to our delight, we found many Muslims were tolerant”, he stated. “On the other hand, we found that many Westerners were intolerant. It seems that “saviors” of Muslims are more sensitive about anything that could potentially offend Muslims than Muslims are themselves.”

Hazar, another Syrian ex-Muslim who was in Houston for ISNA, states “I expected negative pushback of our presence by ISNA itself but in fact, most Muslims we talked to were welcoming. And so I certainly didn’t expect to be discriminated against on American soil by the Hilton staff for refusing to be closeted about my ex-Muslim identity. It was important for me to represent ex Muslims at ISNA because we are some of the lucky few that are able to do so with minimal consequences in comparison to those of us who aren’t privileged enough to live in a democratic society. And yet today, the treatment we received by the staff at the Hilton felt just as dehumanizing.”

Here’s a video of the EXMNA members getting the boot, apparently because they’re considered “part of the protest”.  Even someone not wearing a shirt with any motto was apparently prohibited because he was “part of the protest”.  But I’m sure they’d let Muslims in wearing shirts that said “Allah is greatest”, or religionists saying “I’m not an atheist. Ask me why.” This is simply discrimination against ex-Muslims.

I’m not sure about the legality of what Starbucks did, but I’m certainly going to write to them in protest. (Their drinks are overpriced, anyway.) You can see where to write below the video.

Reader Patrick, who sent me a link to the EXMNA article, adds this:

The ISNA conference took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.  The nearest Hilton is the Hilton Americas, which does have a Starbucks.  Their address is 1600 Lama St., Houston, TX 77010.  Their phone number is (877) 421-9062.  Starbucks corporate complaint page is:  https://customerservice.starbucks.com/app/contact/ask/
A bit of my own complaint (I used the “In our stores” form and asked for a response):

Nick Cohen’s BBC show, “The silence of the liberals”

March 6, 2018 • 1:00 pm

“We are watching the astonishing spectacle of non-Muslims telling actual Muslims that they’re anti-Muslim bigots”

  —Nick Cohen (11:06 in the show)


I’ve often spoken how the American Left and its feminist wing largely ignore the misogyny and oppression of women in Muslim countries of the Middle East. The main reason, of course, is that Muslims are considered “people of color”, which apparently trumps the rights of those having two X chromosomes. But another excuse is that “we should deal with women’s problems closer to home and not those in distant countries.”

That excuse, however, doesn’t apply in the UK, where endemic Muslim communities also practice oppression—not just of women, but of gays, apostates, and atheists. And that’s in the West.  And as in the US, the UK Left shies away from addressing Muslim sexism and misogyny. In this BBC Radio 4 show, Observer columnist Nick Cohen, whose Leftist credentials are impeccable (read his books here and here), exposes the UK Left’s neglect of homophobia and endemic sexism among their countries’ Mulsims, as well as the Left’s lack of support for Muslim reformers like Maajid Nawaz and ex-Muslim reformers like Maryam Namazie.

Here’s the BBC’s summary:

 Observer columnist and writer Nick Cohen thinks mainstream liberal culture and left-wing politicians are failing to help progressive Muslims who want to fight inequalities endorsed by culture and religion in their their communities. He calls this the “racism of the anti-racist”.

Forty years ago, Edward Said coined the term “Orientalism” to condemn the West’s patronising representations of the “exotic” East, whose inhabitants were too irrational to handle the freedoms Americans and Europeans enjoyed.

In this programme, Nick Cohen examines evidence that this old colonial condescension is re-emerging in 2018, He interviews frustrated Muslims tackling discrimination – Muslims who feel betrayed by the Liberal left who, they say, should be their natural allies in their campaigning for women’s rights and tackling discrimination such as homophobia in Muslim communities.

In this authored documentary, Nick draws from the experiences of a range of organisations and progressive Muslim individuals – Tell Mama which supports victims of anti-Muslim hate crime, Maryam Namazie from One Law for All campaigning for women’s rights against Islamic Sharia law and Jewish Beth din courts, and Amina Lone who says her outspoken views including a campaign against young girls wearing the hijab in school led to her losing her seat as a Manchester city councillor. The local Labour party failed to re-select her, blaming her attendance record.

Tell Mama founder Fiyaz Mugal’s said that those who’raised their head above the parapet to speak out were intimidated and threatened, not only by the white far right but also by Islamist extremists, while Maajid Nawaz founder of counter-extremism organisation Quilliam was on a Jihadist’s hit list.

As Peter Tatchell notes in the show, the failure of the British Left to support Muslims reformers fighting for basic human rights has denied those Lefists the moral authority to be an effective force in British politics. Somehow, intersectionalism doesn’t intersect when the oppressed groups are a. women and b. Muslims.

Click on the screenshot to go to the 28-minute show:

h/t: Grania

Garry Wills whitewashes the Qur’an

December 25, 2017 • 11:30 am

Garry Wills is one of those smart people—one of those prolific and thoughtful intellectuals—who baffles me because he’s an observant Catholic. I can never fully understand how people who are smart and reality-oriented, and whose lives are prosperous and well ordered, can nevertheless go to church and pray to a being for whom there’s no evidence. If he believes in the Transubstantiation and Resurrection, so much the worse.

In one way all religions occupy the same boat: that vessel floating on the sea of supernatural belief. And so it’s common for believers in one sect to defend those in others, even if those other sects fosters dangerous extremism.

And so we have scholar and author Garry Wills pulling a Karen Armstrong/Reza Aslan tactic: writing a book about the Qu’ran and telling us that we’ve all misunderstood it—that’s it’s not only not that bad, but actually a wonderful book about the love of God for humans, and about how humans should love each other.

The review notes that Wills claims that the Qu’ran is basicially a document of concordat, of love, and even of respect for women. And of course “jihad” doesn’t mean crusade, but something nice:

In fact, [Wills[ points out, jihad does not mean “holy war.” It means “striving” — as in striving to lead a moral life. The main point of the Quran’s discussion of violence is to establish limitations on its use, and to “abstain from violence to the degree that that is possible.” While a few endlessly cited verses have to do with violence, “the overall tenor is one of mercy and forgiveness, which are evoked everywhere, almost obsessively.” This is what is striven for in the Quran, not war.

Well, I’ve read the Qur’an, and this is not the Quran I find—the one that’s filled with threats of hell and calls to smite unbelievers and apostates.  Yes, there is no explicit call in the Qur’an for women to cover their bodies, and yes, jihad has several meanings, but for some sects of Islam that doctrine has been turned even more violent through interpretation. This is the opposite of Christianity, in which secular morality has tamed the more violent behavior of its adherents. Islam has yet to undergo such a reformation, and is less likely to do so because because its words are taken more literally.

What Wills has done, apparently (and I will read his book to check) is construe the Qur’an in as favorable a light as possible, just as Karen Armstrong has done. Why? I can only guess that because he’s religious, he has a propensity to see only the good in other religions and in their gods. And you don’t make yourself popular by writing a book showing that the Qur’an is filled with threats, violence, and hatred.

I urge you to read the Qur’an for yourself (be sure to get a translation that is generally approved by scholars) and see if you can find the benignity, love, and peace that Wills sees. Judge for yourselves.

But I wonder how Wills would excuse the god of the Old Testament, who is explicitly genocidal, judgmental, and thoroughly nasty. And how does he deal with the fact that some branches of Islam, using the very words of the Qur’an, have used their faith to justify horrible acts. Does he know more about what it means than do the imams?

UPDATE: Oct. 6, 2018. Here’s an interesting discussion of the Qu’ran at the podcast site Made You Think. Go here to hear it.  Some topics:

  • The different writing styles of the Quran at the beginning and the end
  • Interpretation of Arabic and context at the time of Muhammad
  • Strategies to build and spread virally a set of beliefs
  • Changing views on sex, alcohol and women
  • The validity of 600 AD concepts on today’s world
Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 2.45.04 PM.png
Enter a caption

Confirmation bias writ large: C. J. W*rl*m*n argues that the slaughter at the Sufi mosque wasn’t religious but political

November 26, 2017 • 9:00 am

I’m not able to print the full name of the man who wrote what’s below on Twitter (if I do I’ll have to pay someone), but the name does appear in some of the tweets. The Person In Question has undergone a sea change from being a diehard atheist to an inveterate denier that religion—especially Islam—can ever do anything bad. (He also left mainstream journalism after being found guilty of multiple instances of plagiarism.) This, of course, is the position of the Regressive Left.

The religion-can-do-no-wrong stand, however, becomes problematic when considering the recent Islamist terrorist attack on the Sufi mosque in the Sinai peninsula, where the death toll has now climbed to at least 305, including 27 children. Given that Sufis are considered heretical Muslims, and have long been the victims of persecution by other Muslims, wouldn’t it be likely that this attack was motivated by religious differences?

Not according to the Man Who Shall Not Be Named. (Note: don’t watch the video if you don’t like the sight of blood or dead bodies.)

Someone asked him about the non-religious basis of terrorism:


And here is the man’s response.

Now I’m not sure what he means but “weaponizing”, or who the “political entrepeneurs” are, and it’s not true that Sufis, as he implies, are Shiites (some are, but most consider themselves from an offshoot of Sunni Islam).  What I don’t understand is why politics, often infused with ideology, can be responsible for mass killings, yet somehow religion (also a form of ideology) is immune. A priori there would seem to be no difference: in fact, people often consider their identities to be based more on religious than political beliefs. So there’s no reason to draw a distinction from the outset between politics and religion.

But the real evidence against the man’s thesis is empirical. Historically, religions have undoubtedly played a role, often a substantial one, in warfare and killing. In Europe, many died because they were the wrong kind of Christian. And what we see here is similar: many Sufis died because they were the wrong kind of Muslim. Muslim terrorists kill more Muslims than they do Westerners: is that the result of “political mobilization”? Some might be instigated by Western interference, but not incidents like this mosque, or the killing of apostates and gays, not to mention the oppression of women.

Finally, we have ISIS’s explicit announcement, in their own magazine Dabiq (see the article “Why we hate you and why we fight you“), that the main reasons this group kills non-Muslims involve Western rejection of Islam and of the hegemony of Allah, their mockery of Islam, and their secularism. Here’s reason #1 out of six (the first four four all involve rejecting Islam and Allah):

We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son, you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices. It is for this reason that we were commanded to openly declare our hatred for you and our enmity towards you. “There has already been for you an excellent example in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, ‘Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone’” (Al-Mumtahanah 4). Furthermore, just as your disbelief is the primary reason we hate you, your disbelief is the primary reason we fight you, as we have been commanded to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam, either by becoming Muslims, or by paying jizyah – for those afforded this option – and living in humiliation under the rule of the Muslims. Thus, even if you were to stop fighting us, your best-case scenario in a state of war would be that we would suspend our attacks against you – if we deemed it necessary – in order to focus on the closer and more immediate threats, before eventually resuming our campaigns against you. Apart from the option of a temporary truce, this is the only likely scenario that would bring you fleeting respite from our attacks. So in the end, you cannot bring an indefinite halt to our war against you. At most, you could only delay it temporarily. “And fight them until there is no fitnah [paganism] and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah” (Al-Baqarah 193).

Is ISIS lying here, covering up explicitly political motivations (#5 and #6) in favor of religious ones? Why would they do that?

Now it’s not yet clear whether ISIS was responsible for this horrific attack on Sufis (reports claim that the attackers were carrying ISIS flags), but ISIS is a major cause of terrorism, and they’ve stated their reasons explicitly. On what grounds does W*rl*m*n claim that ISIS is lying and that he alone knows the real reasons for their terrorism?

Well, we know why: he is lying for his cause. I won’t speculate on the psychological reasons for his transition from denigrating religion to being an avid defender of Islam. What’s clear is that because his thesis cannot be disproven by any evidence, it need not be taken seriously.  I would ask him this: What evidence would it take to convince you that religion played a substantial role in terrorist attacks? 

The unconstitutional presentation (and whitewashing) of Islam in American public schools

September 4, 2017 • 9:00 am

The Clarion Project, a think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., states that its mission is “to [educate] the public about the dangers of radical Islam” and “[to deliver] news, expert analysis, videos, and unique perspectives about radical Islam, while giving a platform to moderate Muslims and human rights activists to speak out against extremism.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, of course, has designated Clarion as a group that spreads “Isalmophobia.”

A new post on Clarion’s site, “Pro-Islamic indoctrination in public schools?”, by Meira Sversky, paints a disturbing picture of American secondary schools not only teaching Islam over other religions (a violation of the First Amendment), but also whitewashing the religion à la Reza Aslan.  The motivation, I suspect, is admirable: to stamp out bigotry against Muslims, but you can’t do that by violating the Constitution and distorting a religion in the service of liberalism.

One aspect of this “indoctrination” is a U.S. Department of Education program—yes, funded by the taxpayers—called “Access Islam“.  Clarion also notes that the program is also supported by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and the Smithsonian.

Below is a video from that program aimed at children from grades 5-12 (note that it’s presented by the “Christian Action Network”, which surely has its own agenda). Since I haven’t found the original government materials myself, take this with a grain of salt. But note as well that there are no similar programs for other faiths—a clear violation of the First Amendment’s prohibition of the government favoring one religion over others. Clarion notes:

Parents across the U.S. have objected to a Department of Education program called “Access Islam.” The federally-funded program is directed at children from grades 5-12 and is also featured on various websites, including PBS Learning Media.

The Smithsonian also promotes the course as does the Indiana Department of Education and the United Nations.

Parents charge that the course amounts to nothing less than proselytizing about Islam in public schools. In addition, they note that the Department of Education provides no comparable study or promotion of any other religion.

A video from the course prominently features a Christian convert to Islam, who declares emotionally how he has found the true religion without any “intermediaries.”

In addition to videos, students are given worksheets to learn the Five Pillars of Islam and how to pray. Children are also expected to memorize verses from the Quran and know the meaning of those verses.

The video (with its Christian gloss):

Note that there is a link to a Snopes investigation of this charge of “indoctrination”.  Examining the claim that “Seventh graders in California are subjected to an intense three-week course in Islam that requires them to pray to Allah and memorize Koran verses”, Snopes judges the claim “mixed” (you can see the California history and social science standards here, which certainly do privilege Islam over other faiths). Snopes criticized the use of this curriculum in one California school district:

We think the Byron School District erred badly on the side of liberalism in how it chose to teach this segment and that it displayed an appalling lack of sensitivity to the fears that even more will be drawn to the fundamentalist Islamic faiths that spawned the terrorist attacks on America if Islam is made attractive enough, but that’s a judgment call, not a matter of fact. What can be argued is whether the line separating teaching about a religion and teaching the religion itself was blurred by how the district chose to fulfill the Islamic history element of the Grade 7 social studies curriculum. Whether that line was actually crossed remains a matter of debate (the district is not at this time addressing charges that it had students memorize Koran verses), but it must be said if the shoe were on the other foot — had the portions of world history centering on the spread of Christianity been taught in similar manner — the outcry would have been thunderous.

Clarion discusses the teaching of Islamic doctrine in other states. Not all use the “Access Islam” materials, but all, by preferentially teaching the tenets of one faith and not others, seem unconstitutional.


As part of the school’s “World History” curriculum, high school students in Maryland were taught extensively about Islam — without any context of current events — and required to list the benefits of the religion.

In one homework assignment obtained by a news outlet, the question was asked: “How did Muslim conquerors treat those they conquered?” The correct answer was, “With tolerance, kindness and respect.”

One parent, John Kevin Wood, who objected to the mandatory class said, “I don’t force my religious views on them, so don’t force your religious views on me.”

His wife, Melissa, noted, “We cannot discuss our Ten Commandments in school but they can discuss Islam’s Five Pillars?”

New Jersey

Two mothers who spoke up about the courses on Islam that they charge amounted to indoctrination about Islam were smeared with the label of “Islamophobes” after bringing up the issue at a school board meeting.

The mothers objected that their children were required to learn intricacies of Islam but no similar courses were being taught about Christianity or Judaism.

Here’s one video shown to children in New Jersey, and to me it looks like material straight out of CAIR or some similar propaganda organization. Nothing similar is shown about Judaism, Hinduism, or Christianity:

Massachusetts, one of the nation’s most liberal states, has long been dogged by accusations that they show a sanitized version of Islam to students in public secondary schools. Clarion reports this:


Charges that teaching materials about the Middles East are biased and funded by Saudi, Palestinian, and other Arab states were levied against Newton high schools.

One of the books the schools recommend as reading material included extremist writings by Muslim Brotherhood leaders Sayyid Qutb and Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known for his sermons calling for the murder of Jews and homosexuals.

Newton schools officials have continuously refused to make school curricula and teaching materials available to residents. [JAC: this is unconscionable, as those residents are the ones who pay for their children’s education and, to my mind, are entitled to at least see what those kids are learning.]

Public pressure previously forced the high schools to discontinue using the Saudi-funded Arab World Studies Notebook, which makes spurious charges against Israel. The book has been rejected by a number of other school districts as well.

There’s information on other states as well; here’s one “lesson plan” that thankfully was never adopted, but shows how clueless (or biased) educators can be:

New York

A lesson plan developed in New York State and promoted by the New York State Education Department called “Dying to be a Martyr,” featured video interviews with Islamic terrorists who explain why their attacks on Israelis were justified. The lessons plan contains no instructions for teachers to denounce the views. In addition, the plan does not contain an Israeli response.

The plan was offered to teachers for a decade through the taxpayer-funded Public Broadcasting Service’s “LearningMedia” website.

Whether this form of preferential presentation was done to defuse anti-Islamic bigotry, or to show concern for what the Left sees as an “underdog faith,” the results are clear: a violation of the Constitution. This is what would happen were the Huffington Post to be put in charge of American education.

I have no objection in principle to students learning comparative religion in public schools. As Richard Dawkins has long argued, religion is an important part of human history, and you can’t understand a lot of Western literary references without understanding Judaism and Christianity. However, that cannot, at least in the U.S., justify preferential teaching of the Bible over, say, the Qur’an or Bhagavad Gita.

Further, there’s a big tactical problem in teaching comparative religion: how is it to be done? One can easily see how various groups would quarrel over how their faith is presented (which tenets are important?), and even subgroups, like Sunni versus Shia Muslims, might argue about the presentation of their differing claims. Do you teach Mormonism? And Scientology? If not, why not? After all, Scientology has official tax-exempt status in the U.S. as a “religion”. There are tens of thousands of different faiths in this world (I haven’t even mentioned “folk religions,” of which there are many), and how do you decide which ones to include and which to leave out?

Nobody ever seems to recognize that any kind of religious-studies curriculum is going to be seen as offensive to some people, particularly the dominant faith in America, Christianity. This makes me despair about the possibility of religious education, although I think it might be feasible to construct a curriculum that offends very few people.

Some say that such a curriculum will help mitigate the religious conflicts and hatreds that plague our world, but given that kids are indoctrinated at home well before they’re of an age appropriate for religious education, I’m not sure that such religious education will have the desired effect.

Do readers (especially those in America) think that religious education should be required in public schools? If so, is it possible to design a fair yet useful curriculum?

h/t: Orli, Malgorzata

The Islam apologists, including Reza Aslan, smear Sam Harris by misrepresenting his words

June 28, 2017 • 10:15 am

All too often my brother Sam Harris gets the short end of the stick, especially when people determined to take him down misuse or misrepresent his words to smear him. The “ticking time bomb torture scenario”, for instance, which Sam floated as a hypothetical scenario to inspire thought, was distorted to make it seem that he was strongly in favor of torture. I could give other examples, but this latest, reported by both Hemant at The Friendly Atheist and Clarion, is a doozy. In this case, on Sam’s podcast with Maajid Nawaz, Sam played the devil’s advocate, making a case against Muslim immigration he doesn’t believe, just to get Maajid’s response. Here’s the beginning of that bit of the conversation. Click on this video; the bit that got distorted begins about 1:10:50 (if this doesn’t start there, go to 1:10:50):

As Clarion reports:

Harris and Nawaz, who wrote a book together called Islam and the Future of Tolerance, recorded a two-hour podcast (Waking Up, Episode 59) where they spoke about issues having to do with Islamic extremism and Muslim integration in the West.

Someone else took one minute of the show and broadcast it on social media. The one-minute segment is when Harris, to make a point, presents what he believes is the line of thinking of someone who is against Muslim immigration in the West. Harris presented this argument so he could ask Nawaz how he would respond to it.

Yet, the segment was presented on social media as proof of Harris’ “genocidal rhetoric on Muslims” while Nawaz “nods along.”

In the segment, Harris, assuming the voice of an anti-immigrant Western citizen, says how it’s rational to not want any more Muslims in one’s country, given the rampant Islamic terror taking place worldwide. Nawaz says “mmh, mmh” and, at the end, answers with a solitary “yes.”

In actuality, both men have spoken out against such rhetoric repeatedly in the past and, I imagine, will continue to do so in the future. As Harris said in response to this slander doing the rounds, “I’ve said on multiple occasions that I think we have a moral obligation to let in as many Syrian refugees as we can properly vet. I’ve also said that secular, liberal, tolerant Muslims are the most important people on earth — and that if I had control of our immigration policy, I’d move them to the front of the line for citizenship.”

. . . In other words, the one-minute segment presents Harris as believing almost the opposite of what he actually believes.

It takes a certain amount of mendacity to listen to Sam’s words, which are perfectly clear, and distort them to make it seem that Sam wants to stop all Muslim immigration to Europe and the U.S. But we see that mendacity in many apologists for Islam, and most notably in the odious Reza Aslan, whose reputation rests solely on whitewashing religion, especially Islam. Below is a tw**t from a person I don’t know, but is spreading lies on Twitter, and appears to have started the distortion. You can hear the out-of-context excerpt in the tw**t below. Do listen to it, but then listen to what Sam really said below:

Since the cowardly Aslan has blocked me from viewing his tweets (I’ve never engaged him on Twitter), I’ll give a screenshot of how he bought into this scam. Perhaps he was taken in and wasn’t deliberately distorting Harris, but remember that Aslan purports to be a “scholar”. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to do some checking before you start smearing? Here he links to Sacha Saeen’s tweet above.

And from Max Blumenthal, another creepy Islamist apologist

and from Dean Obeidallah:

Sam responded to this quote-mining with anger at The Friendly Atheist. Among other stuff, he says this (Hemant’s emphasis):

The most charitable interpretation of what followed is that the more prominent Muslims who circulated the clip were just intellectually lazy and guilty of confirmation bias. But there is far too much history here for that to have been the case. I’ve said on multiple occasions that I think we have a moral obligation to let in as many Syrian refugees as we can properly vet. I’ve also said that secular, liberal, tolerant Muslims are the most important people on earth — and that if I had control of our immigration policy, I’d move them to the front of the line for citizenship. As you probably know, I’ve also been very supportive of ex-Muslims and Muslim reformers and count several among my friends. And yet, Reza Aslan, Rula Jebreal, Dean Obeidallah, along with dozens of other “moderate” Muslims (and their Left-wing enablers) have spent years attacking me as a “racist” who favors a “genocide” against Muslims.

. . . I want to point out something that many of our readers will not have thought about, but which all these Muslim apologists well understand: Spreading lies about a person’s “racism” and support for “genocide” is dangerous. We are nowhere near the terrain of good faith debate here. These are utterly irresponsible, malicious people, doing conscious harm to our public conversation — and doing whatever they can to destroy the reputations (and more) of those of us who, at considerable personal risk, attempt to have rational conversations about some of the most important issues of our time. This is asymmetric warfare: One side has few security concerns and no scruples. (None of these Muslims is worried about being killed by an atheist or a Muslim reformer.) The other is frequently threatened and does its best to abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty.

These apologists are like creationists: they take stuff out of context to distort a person’s views and smear him or her—and to defend creationism. At least some of the slanderers above must be lying for Mohammed, just as creationists lie for Jesus. And instead of doing this in the cause of promoting creationism, they’re doing it in the cause of defending Islam.

Now you can argue that Sam should have known that his statements would be taken out of context, as this has happened time after time with him. Why didn’t he speak more carefully? But that’s crazy: you can’t micro-filter everything you say lest it be distorted, for then you lose your spontaneity and become timorous.

You may disagree with Sam on some issues (for instance, I take issue with his claim that there are objective moral values), but you have to admit that in this case he was badly wronged. As he says in the second paragraph above, this is done simply to smear him, a Ctrl-Left tactic used to destroy someone’s credibility. It shows the mendacity of those like Aslan who will defend the tenets of Islam at all costs.

HuffPo ignores Islam in report on three British terror attacks

June 4, 2017 • 12:34 pm

Here’s today’s Puffho piece on the terror attacks in London last night (click screenshot to go to article).

We do not yet know for certain whether the latest attacks these were committed by Islamists, but it seems likely, and the New York Times reported this:

Britain’s home secretary, Amber Rudd, said on Sunday that the government was confident the attackers were “radical Islamist terrorists.” Speaking on ITV television, Ms. Rudd said, “As the prime minister said, we are confident about the fact that they were radical Islamist terrorists, the way they were inspired, and we need to find out more about where this radicalization came from.”


PuffHo also mention the Westminster Bridge attack and the Ariana Grande concert bombing, clearly instances of Islamist terrorism. There is not a single mention of “ISIS”, “Islam”, or “Muslim” in the whole article. That, of course, is deliberate, as the HuffPo wants to avoid at all costs—and may be under instructions about that— connecting terrorism with Islam. But as Ali Rizvi said in his excellent talk last night, “We need to speak up about these things.”

Oh wait. . there is one mention of Muslime in this report; here it is; it’s a denigration of Trump:

The president appeared to use the unfolding chaos in London as a hook to reissue his internationally condemned call for a travel ban affecting several Muslim-majority nations.

And there’s one recent addition of “Islam”:

As police raided several locations in the U.K. capital and arrested 12 people, May promised to step up the fight against Islamic terrorism and review the country’s counterterrorism strategy.

We need to speak up. We can’t count on Regressive Leftist rags like HuffPo to call it like it is.

The hijab as a Confederate flag

June 4, 2017 • 11:22 am

Ali Rizvi gave an excellent talk yesterday at the Imagine No Religion meeting, a talk about how radical Islam has cowed Leftists by using the ambiguous but nasty term “Islamophobe”, which terrifies Leftists almost as much as the word “racist”.  That’s why criticism of Islam by the Left is much more muted than criticism of other faiths. And that is exactly what those Muslims (and organizations like CAIR) want: they want not only bigotry against Muslims stopped—and I fully agree—but they also want criticism of their faith stopped.

But I don’t agree that religious dictates should be immune from criticism: as Ali said, “Ideas do not deserve respect, it is people who deserve respect.” He added that those Leftists who either refuse to criticize Islam or—like the Islam-osculators at HuffPo—even hold it up as a force for good and a “religion of peace,” are thus victims of terrorism just as much as those who are afraid of being physically attacked. Such apologists are exactly what Islamist terrorists hope to produce—as they make their religion the only one immune from criticism.

I asked Ali what he thought of the hijab fetish we see in the West: the adulation of women wearing hijabs (even “voluntarily”), and the claim, made by women like Linda Sarsour, that veiling is somehow a sign of feminism and women’s empowerment. Ali’s reply was a good one, and went something like this:

“My wife has a good take on this. She sees the hijab in the same way she sees the Confederate flag. You’re free to wear it, just as you’re free to wave the Confederate flag, but be aware of what it stands for historically.”

Ali called for all of us to speak up against the pernicious and oppressive dictates of Islam (he’s an apostate, raised as a Muslim in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia). It is through our speaking up, he said, that we will eventually dispel the opprobrium attached to the term “Islamophobe.” In truth, “Islamophobia” means “fear of Islam,” not “fear of or bigotry against individual Muslims.” In the former sense, and as a critic of Islam and one fearful of its ideological consequences, I’m an Islamophobe.

“Muslims are the true feminists”: HuffPo lies to itself and its readers

May 16, 2017 • 11:00 am

UPDATE: This article appeared on the new HuffPo, and after writing this piece I realized I’d criticized the identical article a year ago, here. Well, so I’ve done it twice. My takes aren’t the same, so if you haven’t read the other one, read this one instead. Better yet, read both, as the earlier piece, which is shorter, has other information about the “feminism” of sharia law.  The piece shows that PuffHo is brain-dead, killed by Toxic Regressive Leftism.


Well, I’m sorry folks, but, like a dog returning to its own vomit, I keep returning to the HuffPo, breaking my vow that I was done with them. The laws of physics dictated otherwise: I could not have done other than write this post. And my also-determined justification for returning to that odious site is that HuffPo may be the premier “clicky” source of news for Lefties, since it is puffier and takes less work to read than, say, the New York Times. Also, the Times is more objective, and even has conservative columnists, so if you’re a Trump-hater or Regressive Leftist who wants confirmation of your biases rather than exercise for your brain, you can reliably find that confirmation at HuffPo.

And here’s their latest, one of the most egregious pieces of doublespeak that I’ve seen, even on that site (click on screenshot to go to the article):

Doesn’t that remind you of headlines like “Assad is the true peacemaker” or “Trump is the true progressive”?

Author Gabby Aossey’s claim is that Muslims are the True Feminists because they choose to respect their bodies by covering them, while Western Feminists disrespect their own bodies by showing their skin. Why, there’s even a Free the Nipple campaign in the West, which according to Aoussey exemplifies the goals of Western Feminists: to show skin. As she says:

As American women, many of us have an idea of what feminists are; freelancing women with all the sexual freedom in the world. But this is exactly the problem with American feminism; it is all about sex and the liberation of our bodies. Certainly, things like abortion and contraception is a part of that freedom, but in today’s society the fight has taken on a much different tone.

Hip Feminist campaigns like Free the Nipple only encourage a gullible behavior of disrespect for our own bodies, leading to everyone else around us disrespecting our bodies as well. If we want to be respected as women and taken seriously in all our endeavors we should look to a new source; Muslim women. Muslim women, as well as Muslim men, see every body as a sacred temple, especially the female body. Opposed to exposing themselves, it is through modesty. When we think of modern feminists we should stray away from the new American trends and start looking to what we have always thought as a contradiction; Muslim feminists.

That’s a gross distortion of feminism in the West, whose goal is, for most, simple equality. While that equality includes the freedom to dress as one will in public, it also includes legal and moral equality: the right to be treated with as much respect as men, and to enjoy the same legal rights.

Now Aossey is willfully ignorant of several things. One, of course, is the fact that Muslim-majority countries, many of them governed by versions of sharia law—which DICTATES that women cover themselves—oppress women. But don’t take my word for it. Observe that in Saudi Arabia, a woman can’t go out with a man who is not her relative, or go out unaccompanied, must wear full covering (not just a hijab) when she does to out, and can’t even drive. In Iran and Afghanistan, women MUST cover themselves, and under sharia law have much more restricted legal rights than men (for one thing, their testimony in court is worth only half of a man’s).

And it’s not limited to those countries. Check out the 2013 Pew Survey of Muslim-majority countries (which didn’t even survey more repressive ones like Iran, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia). Here are some statistics showing the “achievements” of Muslim feminism in the Muslim world:

Even the notion that wearing a veil should be a woman’s choice (in principle, of course!) is universally accepted only in a few Muslim-majority countries, and is widely rejected in Africa and the Middle East (note the absence of Iran and Saudi Arabia):

Here’s true equality!:

Women’s oppression is codified in most instantiations of sharia law. Here are the data on those who favor such a law for everyone in Muslim-majority lands. Feminism my tuchas!

To buttress her flawed argument, Aossey calls up the image of Khadija, Muhammad’s first wife, by all accounts a powerful and independent woman. But that was fourteen hundred years ago! Are women in Saudi Arabia and Iran allowed to have such power now? Are they allowed to say whatever they want? You know the answer. Pointing to historical figures whose personalities may be largely fictional is no way to justify Muslim women as feminists today. That much is obvious.

And what happens to Muslim women who become liberals, leave the faith, or speak out against Islam’s oppression of women: liberals like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Asra Nomani, or Sarah Haider? Are they heroes, like Khadija? You know the answer. They’re vilified—vilified for opposing the legal and cultural inferiority of women under Islam. People like Aossey ignore this in their mush-brained desire to claim that Muslim women are feminists.

And then there’s the small matter of the hijab. Here’s Aossey’s take:

. . . it’s no surprise to see Muslim woman today modeling themselves after these prominent female figures. Muslim girls look towards these instances of strength for guidance in this scary, patriarchal society. These modern women are not afraid to go against the grain in the name of their belief like wearing the hijab to covey their religious devotion. Hijab is the headscarf that is worn by Muslim woman and no; it is not supposed to be forced on them by their fathers and husbands. Wearing or not wearing the Hijab reflects a Muslim woman’s own a personal choice.

What nonsense! In several countries wearing the hijab (or more covering) is the law, not personal choice, and if you refuse, the morality police will beat some sense into you. In other places, including the U.S. and Europe, social pressure by family and peers ensures that veiling is far from a personal “choice”. I’ve written before about what women’s dress was like in places like Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran before veiling was either common or mandatory. Answer: women didn’t veil as much, and showed a lot more skin. See my posts here, herehere, and here. These days, women must go on websites like My Stealthy Freedom to covertly doff their veils, for they don’t want to wear them!

And remember why veiling exists: it’s based on the presumption that women have to cover themselves to avoid exciting the uncontrollable lust of men, men who would rape them if they saw a knee or even a stray wisp of hair. It puts the onus on women, not men, to prevent sexual assault, and that’s not feminism. In fact, feminists always make the point, correctly, that it’s not women’s responsibility to quash male lust, and they’re right. “Feminist” Aossey, however, has bought into the oppression side:

With all of the pressures in our American society to have a certain physical allure; to have long, luscious hair, a skinny yet curvy body, flawless facial beauty, woman go through hell. With this, we succumb to the pressures that we generally think we are free of; we oppress our natural womanhood with constant worry about how we look to others around us. We do not have the courage to stand up to this societal critique and say ‘my body is not to be ogled at’.

For many Muslim women however, they strive to achieve just that. In this way, they liberate themselves from these everyday pressures. They actually have the courage to say hey, I am not an object of pleasure, I am a woman that commands only respect for who I am and not how I look. They have the power to self-liberate as well as the courage to diverge from the American norms. And they do not get attention from showing off their figure, but they get attention by how they present themselves. Muslim woman get respect and are looked at beyond aesthetics; they are actually taken seriously in their communities.

Isn’t this what feminism should be? Don’t women deserve consistent respect and to actually be listened to without drools or criticisms over our bodies and looks?

That is what the results of feminism should be, but veiling doesn’t achieve that result. Read two articles (this and this) to see how covering a woman does not prevent sexual assault. As Grania said when she saw Aossey’s piece (which, by the way, doesn’t allow readers’ comments):

It’s the woman’s responsibility to protect her temple from the assault of the eyes of evil men who are such dogs that they cannot be trusted. What I want to know is why these candidates for a brain donation aren’t arguing for the full-on niqab? Surely that is the logical next step.

Indeed! Aossey finishes her piece with more nonsense, as if repeating lies makes them more credible:

I realized we have been conditioned to think that American women are the free and that Muslim women are the suppressed, but this is twisted to me. I finally understood who is really oppressed by a patriarchal society and it is us. Woman who wear hijab have freed themselves from a man’s and a society’s judgmental gaze; the Free the Nipplers have not. They have fallen deep into the man’s world, believing that this trend will garner respect.

So I urge my Free the Nipple gal pals to take a look at your Muslim sisters and collaborate with them to create a feminism that treats the female body as a temple and not as a toy. Let us see feminism in a different light—through modesty and the courage to savor our sugar. Let us call on the Muslim feminists of the world.

The female body is not a temple, nor is the male’s. It’s the product of natural selection—the same selection that made us desire members of the other sex.

And can Aossey go out alone, or have an unchaperoned date, or drive? I think so, for she lives in America, not Saudi Arabia. Can she wear anything she wants in public? I think so, for she lives in America, not Iran or Afghanistan. Is her testimony equal in value to a man’s in a court of law? Yes, because she lives in America, not the Middle East. By equating feminism with “modesty”—a modesty forced on women by MEN, often against women’s will—Aossey manages to at once misconstrue and devalue the kind of feminism that calls for simple freedom and equality for women.

I wonder why Aossey doesn’t move to Saudi Arabia, where she must wear a sack so she isn’t oppressed by the “patriarchy.” She’s made the HuffPo look even more stupid and regressive than it already is, and that’s a feat!

h/t: Patrick, Grania

Portland student reporter fired for reporting public statement about Islam’s demonization of nonbelievers

May 14, 2017 • 9:15 am

This story, of course, is covered by only right-wing sites (e.g., here, here, and here), but do you expect the liberal press to report on the left-wing vindictiveness of the student press? At any rate, we have video documentation and the testimony of the reporter himself.

The skinny: Andy C. Ngo, a student reporter who works for the student paper Vanguard, was covering (apparently unoffically) a student interfaith panel held April 26 at Portland State University, a notorious home of Regressive Leftist Students—and also of my friend Peter Boghossian, mentioned below.  The College Fix then reports what happened:

Ngo has covered the persecution of atheists and “apostates” in Muslim countries for The Vanguard, and he’s a member of Freethinkers of PSU, which was represented on the panel by student Benjamin Ramey.

After the Muslim student, who organized the panel, took a question about whether the Koran actually permits the killing of non-Muslims, Ngo started recording video. He ended up posting a 40-second clip, and a few hours later, a longer contextual clip with audience response.

Two clips—a longer one and an excerpt, were published by Ngo on Twitter, and here they are:

Here’s what the Muslim student (charitably not named by Ngo, maybe because the student would be threatened by fellow Muslims for speaking the truth) said about Qur’anic dictates on killing non-Muslims:

And some, this, that you’re referring to, killing non-Muslims, that [to be a non-believer] is only considered a crime when the country’s law, the country is based on Koranic law — that means there is no other law than the Koran. In that case, you’re given the liberty to leave the country, you can go in a different country, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. So you can go in a different country, but in a Muslim country, in a country based on the Koranic laws, disbelieving, or being an infidel, is not allowed so you will be given the choice [to leave].

Here’s a longer clip:

Ngo reports about the longer clip:

This longer video includes a response by someone in the audience who disagreed with the speaker, saying it was “perfectly okay for non-Muslims to live in Muslim lands.” The audience member cited the existence of religious-minority communities in the Middle East as an example of Islamic tolerance.

Although Ngo says he shared the tweet with two colleagues at the Vanguard beforehand, with neither expressing concern, he was fired from the student paper four days later. For recording unofficially? Nope. Read on; this from Ngo’s own account at The National Review (my emphasis):

Four days later, the editor-in-chief of my school newspaper called me into a meeting. The paper’s managing editor was also present. They asked me about a Breitbart piece describing the event. It was the first time I’d seen the piece, which included my tweets and a tweet from one of the panelists. My editor, whom I deeply respected at the time, called me “predatory” and “reckless,” telling me I had put the life and well-being of the Muslim student and his family at risk. She said that my tweets implied the student advocated the killing of atheists. Another person in the meeting said I should have taken into account the plight of victimized groups in the “current political climate.” The editor claimed I had “violated the paper’s ethical standards” by not “minimizing harm” toward the speaker.

. . . In my defense, I told the two editors that I had simply been relating the speaker’s words. While dozens of Muslim states do not consider apostasy or blasphemy a crime, 13 Muslim-majority countries punish these actions with death. The speaker was admitting as much, and as someone who has covered the persecution of atheists and apostates in Muslim countries, I considered that newsworthy. Nevertheless, my editor turned to me and said, “We have to ask you to step aside.” She said I had “a history” of affiliation with conservative media, and argued that that history was toxic to the “reputation of the Vanguard.”

The Vanguard’s own account of the event, “Interfaith event sparks misunderstanding, goes viral”, does its level best to minimize or distort what happened:

Widely shared video clip leaves out event context

A video clip featuring only a portion of the organizer’s quote that addressed the Quranic law about non-believers or infidels being “given a choice” has been shared on Twitter and Facebook without the preceding and following context. This comment from the organizer, widely shared out of context was met with significant criticism by audience members who accessed it through social media and right-leaning media outlets. [JAC note: the paper shows screenshots of Ngo’s tweets, but gives no links, so there’s no way to check what the student really said.]

Another panelist, Benjamin Ramey, the representative secular humanist, also of Freethinkers, replied to the original tweet.

“As one of the panelists present at this event I would like to say that this speech is not taken out of context,” Ramey tweeted.

PSU Assistant Professor of Philosophy Peter Boghossian contributed to the Twitter conversation as well.

“The same people who want to punch ‘Nazis’ are completely silent when it comes to certain people advocating mass murder,” Boghossian wrote.

Well, the Muslim panelist clearly wasn’t advocating mass murder, but simply reporting the sentiments of those Muslims who do, which in fact is the law in some Muslim countries. And for reporting that truth, Ngo was fired. The craven Vanguard added an editor’s note at the end of its piece:

Editor’s Note: The video clip mentioned in this article was originally shared on the personal social media accounts of a former editor and contributor to the Vanguard who is no longer working for the organization. While these clips were not produced or distributed by the Vanguard, the organization and its members have a responsibility to uphold ethical standards on all fronts. 

It is our assessment that this video clip was published and shared without context in a way that placed a PSU student in significant danger. As members of the PSU community, we are compelled to protect and support this student and urge readers to consider the explanatory nature of these comments and recognize the event’s intent to foster inclusion and understanding. What could have been a dialogue of mutual understanding became a source of pain and fear for some of those involved.

The Vanguard is committed to minimizing harm and providing context that takes special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story, as per the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.  

Markedly biased media outlets have featured the event organizer’s comments without necessary context. The Vanguard does not endorse, condone or support the way this student was represented by said media outlets. We vehemently reject any association with this type of dangerous misrepresentation.

Note again what happened: a Muslim student, not named, simply agreed that the policy of some Muslim countries, based on the Qur’an, is to either allow the killing or banishment of apostates and infidels (and, of course, gays). To simply state that in public is deemed harmful, reckless, and “predatory.” And why did the clip place the student in danger? What kind of danger? Would his fellow Muslims try to harm him for simply reporting what some Muslim countries do? If so, then extremist Muslims have achieved a remarkable goal: not just prohibiting criticizing of the faith, but preventing reporting of what happens when the faith becomes part of law. It’s like saying someone’s in danger when he says that Saudi Arabia won’t let women drive.

Now the Bible mandates death for those who curse their parents or work on the Sabbath, and advocates genocide and slavery. If a Christian panelist said that, would it be deemed harmful? Perhaps not, because no country has made “Biblical morality” its official law, though some Islamic countries have sharia law as official law.

And simply for reporting that truth, a student was fired. This is, of course, part of the Left’s decision to throw atheists, women, and gays under the bus in favor of extolling Islam.  The reason, as we all know, is that the Authoritarian Left considers Muslims people of color, and oppressed to boot. Well, in many places Muslims themselves oppress other Muslims (Sunni vs. Shia), gays, women, and atheists—to the extent of officially calling for their murder. These sentiments are not only ignored by reprehensible papers like the Vanguard, but are protected by them, to the extent that honest reporting of Islamic perfidy is censored. Such papers wouldn’t, however, quash reporting of those Baptist sects which demonize homosexuality.

What we have here is a double standard based on pigmentation alone—and perceived pigmentation, for many Israelis could be deemed “people of color.” But you’ll never hear them called that.

Shame on the Vanguard and its cowardly reporting. A paper that not only ignores the inconvenient truth but covers it up is a disgusting paper.