Dear Rabia Chaudry: Why Do You Defend Bilal Philips and Attack Bill Maher?
Update 1/2/2015: Serial – In Defense of Rabia Chaudry – Serial chat pages have used this post as evidence of her extremism. Rabia is an apologist and defender of extremists, like many Christians, she is a religious chauvinist. Though she calls out terrorists and sympathizes with tragedies of non-Muslims, while condemning misogyny, spousal rape, and violence, Rabia contradicts herself in supporting someone like Bilal Philips. All supporters of peace must stand against the extremists.
“In Islamic Law, the punishment for homosexuality is no different from the punishment for adultery and fornication. It can be death. It’s looked at as a deviation, just as if somebody is involved in bestiality. It is a punishment for deviant behavior which threatens the family structure of the society” – Bilal Philips
“In Islam a woman is obliged to give herself to her husband and he may not be charged with rape.”– Bilal Philips
Dear Rabia, I’ve been very puzzled ever since your defense of hate preacher Bilal Philips. Especially considering your take on the arrest of Anjem Choudary. Bilal Philips is banned in the U.K. and the U.S., and was recently deported from the Philippines. He’s accused of supporting terrorism and has justified suicide bombing. He supports capital punishment for homosexuality, adultery, and fornication, not to mention he condones spousal rape. Is his the side you want to be on?
“Ben Affleck, as a former War on Terror era Prisoner who witnessed torture in Egypt…you’ve missed the point. 500-1,000 British Muslims don’t join ISIL in a vacuum. There’s an ideological current among Muslims globally generating sympathy for the same ‘aims’ as ISIL.” – Maajid Nawaz
Affleck vs. Maajid Nawaz: In the recent debate between Affleck and Bill Maher your crush on Ben evaded how Ben missed the root problem of extremism. Ben Affleck’s game of Tag, You’re Racist (Islam isn’t a race) exacerbates the polemics. Let me explain.
“Two people attempted to begin a dialogue and you wouldn’t even listen. Why should any set of ideas be above criticism, Ben?” – Eiynah, An Open Letter to Ben Affleck
Islamophobia: Hate crimes against Muslims increase because of prejudice, people wrongly blame all Muslims for the acts of a minority. In the US the majority of Muslims share secular ideas. This is not the case in places like Egypt and Pakistan. Sure, Bill Maher needs to focus on these places. But radicals are not an extreme fringe, they are a sizable chunk of the Muslim population (PEW Research shows over 20% of Muslims support extreme ideology, less than 5% in the West, greater than 40% in Islamic countries). So when moderates/apologists spend more energy attacking Honor Diaries (CAIR), or Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Yale Muslim Student Association), and accusing critics of bigotry, rather than calling out radicals, the result is unsettling and counter-productive.
“If ISIS (aka Daesh) is not Islamic, then the Inquisition was not Catholic.” – Jerry Coyne, The New Republic
Rabia Chaudry vs. Ali A. Rizvi: Ali A. Rizvi , who grew up in Saudi Arabia, and other secular reformers are now taking the lead. They are not bigots, and they understand Islamic culture. Why aren’t you and them aligned regarding Maher?
The Sixteenth Century: When you focus on Bill Maher, or when you post how Christian Conquistadores in the 16th Century committed atrocities equal to Islam now, you lose me. You do not like seeing Islam associated with atrocity, so your response is to show another religion committing atrocity? Imagine defending a murderer by pointing out that someone else committed murder.
Daesh: As Maajid Nawaz notes, the ideology that fuels Daesh (aka ISIS) is not happening in a vacuum. Zakir Naik, Bilal Philips, Iran hanging people for questioning Jonah and the whale, and Daesh raping and decapitating, do more to harm Islam than 100 Bill Mahers. Christianity has problems, sure, Old Testament calls to murder homosexuals give credence to the Westboro Baptist Church and countries like Uganda and Russia, but is there a double standard?
One Standard, Two Religions: You may say so, but the standard is equal rights for everyone, the right to choose faith or not, to criticize, and protection by rule of law that protects minorities, homosexuals, and religions. Between Pakistan and Canada, using this standard, there’s more contrast, just ask an Ahmadi.
“We can continue to be in denial and claim that ISIS’s ideology has nothing to do with Islam, hoping to dissuade the jihadis and silence the anti-Muslim bigots. Thing is, with the Quran at so many people’s fingertips these days, neither the jihadis nor the anti-Muslim bigots are believing this anymore and we are simply hurting our own credibility.” – Fathima Imra Nazeer at HuffPo
Reform: In this battle between Ayaan Hirsi Ali against Irshad Manji, I applaud Manji’s view. Maher and Hirsi Ali could learn from Manji. So could you. Because it’s time to stop the ping-pong game of “which religion has more radicals?”
“Islam is the most antisemitic, genocidal ideology in the world.” – Pamela Geller
Anti-Islam Hatred: Bill Maher, Hirsi Ali to a degree, unapologetic Zionists like Chloé Simone Valdary, and right-wingers like Ann Coulter, Pamela Geller, and Bridgette Gabriel feed this. Let a secular humanist like me call them out. We need reformers like Mubin Shaikh, Fathima Imra Nazeer, Maajid Nawaz, and Irhsad Manji unequivocally calling out terrorists. They do not equivocate. Join them.
Your friend Anjum Ali: Now let’s examine your friend Anjum Ali’s comments. Anjum admits thinking homosexuality is a sin, as many Christians also do, but also calls out the extremists.
Anjum Ali: “Muslims need to have a wake up call on recognizing that if those of us who understand the call to balance and moderation don’t ourselves crack down on the zealots and wahabbit agenda that has been propagated then we cannot complain when someone else does it for us.”
“In a matter of seconds, Affleck has managed to package my identity for American viewership: a decent guy who believes in Allah and just wants to mind his own business. How dehumanizing!” – Zouhaïr Mazouz @Free Arabs
Reza Aslan is Wrong on Islam and This Is Why – Muhammad Syed and Sarah Haider
An Open Letter to Moderate Muslims – Ali A. Rizvi
Muslim Rabia Chaudry Blames “Islamophobes” for Terrorism
Leaving Islam for Atheism – NY Times
UAE Designates CAIR as Terrorist Group – Washington Post