Arguments Worth Having

Art = Absurdity = Provocation = Contemplation = Wisdom = Love

Archive for the ‘Bullshit Religion’ Category

Guest Post by Waseem Altaf: The Condemned

leave a comment »

Sabeeb

The Condemned

Sabeen Mahmud was a human rights activist. Human rights activists are respected in countries ruled by “non-believers.” But since she was involved in human rights activism in a country where perhaps it was not required, she was murdered by the “believers!”

Doctor Mehdi Ali Qamar belonged to a minority community who came all the way from the US and was voluntarily giving treatment to his poor countrymen. Minorities generally enjoy equal rights in countries ruled by “non-believers.” But since he was from a minority community working in a country where perhaps minorities have no right to be treated as humans, he was murdered by the “believers.”

Alisha was a transgender from Peshawar. A transgender generally enjoys equal rights in countries ruled by “non-believers.” But since she was living in a country where perhaps transgenders have no right to live, she was murdered by the “believers.”

Saleem Shahzad was a bold journalist. Bold journalists are generally held in high esteem in countries governed by “non-believers” But since he was working in a country where perhaps bold journalism is not required, he was murdered by the “believers.”

Doctor Shabbir Hussain Shah was a liberal professor at the University of Gujrat. Liberal and progressive thought is greatly appreciated in countries governed by “non-believers.” But since he was promoting his liberal thoughts in a country where perhaps liberalism is not required, he was murdered by the “believers.”

Amjad Sabri was a renowned artiste. Artistes are highly revered in countries ruled by the “non-believers” But since he was performing in a country where perhaps art is not required, he was murdered by the “believers.”

–  Waseem Altaf

Letter to Ali A Rizvi

leave a comment »

Ali A. Rizvi, author of The Atheist Muslim (forthcoming from St. Martins), and man with a sense of humor, shared the following:

Letter to Ali:

How do you manage to look at your Muslim family, knowing your (sic) supporting men that want to strip away Muslim human rights and the dignity of your family, stop Islamic immigration (As highlighted in Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation) and other things. You think religion is inherently evil? Fine. But Islam isn’t unique in it’s teachings on this subject in any way.

Ali Hanging with the Fundamentalists

Maajid Nawaz at least acknowledges that, (sic) there is a religious component, but also political.

You wonder why Kashif ‘Mr. Banana‘ Chaudhry gets on your ass so much? This is why.”

Ali’s Response: 

The only people who actually wanted to take away my Muslim family’s rights or mine were the governments of Muslim majority countries, as well as the societies within them. Secular society is the only system that gives both Muslims and apostates the rights they deserve.

As for the false religion-politics dichotomy: the Abrahamic religions are inherently political. Holding masses of billions to archaic codes of belief and behavior, and manipulating them with promises of eternal reward or horrific torture – is inherently political – and fascist.

I don’t judge Islam by the acts of a few, whether it’s people like you and Reza Aslan, or ISIS and Al Qaeda. I judge it by the one thing that is common to all of them – the Quran. And I assume its writer actually meant the words he wrote. If everything has 20 different interpretations, the writer is either grossly inarticulate or grossly incompetent. I don’t buy the idea that distortions of words and sentences to mean the opposite of what they say is a form of ‘interpretation’. If you’re interpreting ‘beat your wife‘ to mean ‘women are equal to men’ – you lose credibility.”

Written by Caleb Powell

August 6, 2015 at 12:24 pm

The PEN Six vs. Charlie Hebdo: The “Conditionalists”

with 5 comments


“I think most people would agree on what to do about PEN and Charlie Hebdo if they could agree on the question: Were there racist or bigoted cartoons in Charlie Hebdo?”- Caleb Crain

Are the PEN Six and followers cowards? Probably not, but.

They open themselves to scrutiny. At the Express Tribune I suggest they excised their “vertebrates.” There has to be a reason why they misjudge CH as bigoted, perhaps a lack of nuance combined with misplaced empathy, but to question their courage nowhere near as egregious as their misjudgment.

Charlie Hebdo stood/stands with the homosexuals in Iran, the blasphemers in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the Raif Badawis of the world, the bloggers in Bangladesh, all the oppressed. Hebdo shouldered the threats with courage. They knew they had been targeted, and still supported the right for any Muslim to say, “I disagree with this interpretation, here’s why.” Or, “I think apostasy and blasphemy laws and suicide bombings are wrong.” Or, “Muslim women have equal rights.” And Hebdo made fun of the religious bigots.

Those who would kill Charlie Hebdo are the same who imprison Raif, the same mentality that shot Salman Taseer. They silence w/violence. The idea that Hebdo was “racist” or “bigoted” lessens the meaning of these words. Hebdo did not believe any individual was inferior to another based on race.

The PEN Six:  NPR reported that six authors have recused themselves from attending a PEN awards ceremony “in protest against the free-speech organization’s decision to give the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award.” The PEN six, along with cartoonist Garry Trudeau, err.

Racism:  “The belief one race is superior to another.”

One of the PEN Six, Teju Cole, said Hebdo “has gone specifically for racist and Islamophobic provocations.” What? Not by definition. Mr. Cole, you misdirect your rage. Cole is joined by Peter Carey, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, and Taiye Selasi. These six, along with later signatories, have betrayed the mostly Muslim bloggers and dissidents who write for universal peace and face threats, assassinations, and imprisonment because they support coexistence and tolerance of agnostics, atheists, apostates, homosexuals, Jews, Christians, and all religious minorities.

Further: On May 5th I became a member of PEN.

“Why we’re honoring Charlie Hebdo” – Andrew Soloman & Suzanne Nossel, The New York Times
“Is Charlie Hebdo racist?” – Laura Miller at Salon
“What everyone gets wrong about Charlie Hebdo and racism,” – VOX
“Charlie Hebdo, Pen, Ondaatje” – Stan Persky at DooneysCafe.com
Pen has every right to honor Charlie Hebdo“- Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker
The Wrong Kind of Free Speech” – 33 Revolutions
“Dee Jay NDN Is a Racist Hypocrite” – GSpellchecker
Hebdo Turds That Won’t Flush” – Gerasites
If Charlie Hebdo is Racist…so Am I” –  Zineb al Rhazoui
In Paris, Pen Boycott Makes Americans Look Like Crude Provincials” – Tablet
Living in Diversity” – Kenan Malik
CH Receives Standing Ovation” – NYTimes
Charlie Hebdo Issue Skewers PEN Critics” – NYTimes
Apologist to the left, bigots to the right” – Pangea
Defend Free Speech” – Ian McEwan, TIME

Written by Caleb Powell

May 4, 2015 at 6:08 am

Judging Aasia Bibi, Judging Islam

leave a comment »

State Sanctioned Murder:  The Pakistani courts, after a lengthy trial, verdict, sentencing, and appeals regarding Aasia (Asia) Bibi’s alleged blasphemy, ruled in support of “Judicial Murder.” The accused will not be the only one to receive judgment. My take at the Express Tribune:

“Aasia Bibi, mother of five, sits in prison hoping one last appeal will save her from death row. If she is executed, as with the lynching of Shahzad and Shama Masih and the assassination of Salman Taseer, Islam will be judged…” Will Islam be judged if Aasia Bibi is executed?

Further Thoughts:  The injustice with blasphemy cases are two fold. First, they often are flimsy, the guilt of the accused is dubious, and the accusers often are settling scores. Second, even if the accused is guilty, the accused should not face capital punishment, not to mention that any penalty can seem absurd from the outside. More later.

Related:  Pakistan’s blasphemy laws legitimize intolerance – The Economist

Pakistani Woman Facing Death – The Guardian

Blasphemy Law Highlights Pakistan’s Hypocrisy – The Daily Beast

Written by Caleb Powell

December 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm

The Islamophobia of CAIR vs. The Honor Diaries

with 5 comments

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”Voltaire

Support those who engage in the dialectic between benevolent Islam and misanthropic fundamentalism. These include Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sushmita Banerjee (assassinated), Firoozeh Bazrafkan, Marwa Berro (Between a Veil and a Dark Place), Mona Eltahawy, Tarek Fatah, Pervez Hoodbhoy, Rana Husseini, Kenan Malik, Irshad Manji, Hamid Mir, Azar Nafisi, Maryam Namazie, Asif Mohiuddin, Taslima Nasrin, Maajid Nawaz , Ali A. Rizvi, Raza Rumi, Nawal El Saadawi, Zaiuddin Sardar (Critical Muslim), Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, Amina Wadud, Malala Yousafzai and many others. Unfortunately, CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations) too often refuses to engage.

Honor Diaries:  The film Honor Diaries, “a movement meant to inspire viewers to learn more about issues facing women in Muslim-majority societies, and to act for change,” focuses on nine women, Zainab Khan, Raheel Raza, Juliana Taimoorazy,  Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Raquel Saraswati, Fahima Hashim, Nazie Eftekhari, Jasvinder Sanghera, and Manda Zand Ervin. CAIR should want you to hear their stories:

“CAIR supports free enterprise, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.”CAIR’s principle #1

Courage:  “The ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.”For examples, see Pakistani journalists battle imbeciles who cannot argue with words and thus use violence.*

CAIR protests Honor Diaries:

“The screenings were not canceled by CAIR. They were canceled by the screening sponsors after they were informed (by CAIR) of the hate agenda and Islamophobic history of the film’s producers.” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper

The Islamophobia of CAIR:  You would think CAIR would be against Women Doused in Acid for Turning Down Marriage Proposals (Honor Diaries posted on their Facebook Page). Either CAIR fears those whom Honor Diaries might offend or they disagree with the message and want to suppress it. In the former they are cowards, in the latter they are fascists.

CAIR Principle #10:CAIR supports equal and complementary rights and responsibilities for men and women.

CAIR, on principle, should protest unequivocally honor killing, FGM, acid baths for refusing marriage proposals, not to mention laws that mandate women needing spousal permission to travel, drive, or work. According to the UN, over 90% of honor killings are within Islamic cultures, this persecution extends to homosexuals, apostates, and blasphemers. Therefore, CAIR should look at Islam with a focus on changing the culture.

Criticism:  Criticizing religion has helped the evolution of universal rights, and today the West knows more peace now than ever (See The Better Angels of our Nature:  Why Violence Has Declined). The Western media supports the rights of minorities, women, and homosexuals, especially in the West, and protests loudly against discrimination in non-Muslim majority countries like Uganda. However, the same media is not as loud when it comes to rights in Islam. The Western media allows CAIR to instill fear that “deflects from a chosen course of action.” This defines cowardice, and includes Brandeis University‘s President Fred “Urine Pants” Lawrence, who changed plans to give Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree. (For two takes on Brandeis, see Sudanese journalist Nesrine Malik at the New York Times (Freedom to Offend) and Roger Scruton at Forbes (A Triumph for the Boston Bombers).

philomena-og-badgePhilomena vs. the Catholic Church:  Philomena, a film about an unmarried young woman whose infant was taken from her by Catholic nuns, showed the crocodile’s belly of Catholicism. But did the Catholic Church protest? No. Why? Because the Catholic Church is more secure than CAIR.

Does CAIR condemn Anwar Al Awliki or Nidal Hasan? No. When the FBI searched Nidal Hasan’s mosque CAIR and Ibrahim Hooper protested: ABC News

“Nidal Hasan is a hero…The heroic act of brother Nidal also shows the dilemma of the Muslim American community. Increasingly, they are being cornered into taking stances that would either make them betray Islam or betray their nation.”  – Anwar Al Awlaki, NYTimes

It’s not censorship, but…The Honor Diaries, so far, have not been literally censored. They have been quieted. CAIR has a right to protest, but CAIR must protest ALL hate speech or none. CAIR should support the Muslim women in Honor Diaries, yet within they see a “hate agenda.” This is perplexing.

Conclusion:  CAIR spreads Islamophobia and religious chauvinism, propagating a culture that fears fundamental terror; and a society where citizens fear speaking.

Related: 

7 Ways Westerners Can Help Ex-Muslims – Patheos

64% of Muslims in Egypt and Pakistan Support Death Penalty for Leaving Islam – Washington Post (Hirsi Ali may be anti-Islam, but as an ex-Muslim, how should she feel? Who carries the greater hate?)

1,600 Pakistani women murdered, 370 raped in 2013 – The Nation

*Al Jazeera:  Journalism in Pakistan, a threatened existence

*A failed assassination attempt on noted Pakistani journalist

*Pakistan not safe but producing Brave Journalists

The Phobia of Being Called Islamophobic – Ali A. Rizvi @HuffPo

*Run for Your Life“Equipped with just enough religion to hate those with another faith — but not enough to love their coreligionists — Pakistanis have mostly turned their backs on religious atrocities. ” – Pervez Hoodbhoy

*The Hamid Mir Cased:  ‘In Pakistan, they used to censor journalists, now they shoot us’ – The Guardian UK

*When Words Can Kill

On Facebook:  Between a Veil and a Dark Place, Honor Diaries, Muslims Facing Tomorrow

HuffPo:  (Interview with Producer Paula Kweskin and subject Zainab Khan) ‘Honor Diaries’ Film Shows Islamic Honor Code Forces ‘Systemic, Institutionalized Misogyny’ On Women 

Written by Caleb Powell

April 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Atrocity Porn vs. Flowers & Dancing: The Taliban’s Imminent Slaughter of the Kalash

leave a comment »

“We want to make it clear to the Kalash tribe that they will be eliminated along with their protectors,the Western agents, if they don’t embrace Islam,” – Taliban Spokesman

The Kalash Tribe lives in the Chitral Valley in Pakistan. They number less than 5,000 and, as far as my limited research can discern, they have no nuclear or conventional weapons, bellicose intentions, or other major defects. They dance, welcome strangers, wear colorful clothes, and put flowers in their hair. Abominable. Enter the Taliban:  “Western NGOs are promoting Kalash wine and we warn all those individuals and hotels selling it, they should stop production and selling of wine otherwise they will be sent to hell by the will of God.”

Voltaire“Ceux qui vous font croire des absurdités, peuvent vous faire commettre des atrocities.”

Or:  “Those who can make you believe absurdity, can make you commit atrocity.”

Voltaire nails the Taliban:  The Taliban combine evil, idiocy, and fanaticism. No matter the wrongs of the U.S., U.N., or Pakistani government, their sins do not absolve the Taliban. It’s clear the Taliban will commit perpetual atrocity until they are destroyed. But let the Taliban speak for themselves:

Decapitation:  Tehreek-e-Taliban Severed Heads Video

Women’s Rights:  TTP Has 500 Female Suicide Bombers

Free Speech:  Media Now in TTP Crosshairs (Taliban threatens Pakistan media)

Science and Technology:  Local Paramedic Shot Dead (Taliban kills doctors)

Pakistan media:  The cites originate from Pakistan media, Arab media, and Western –  BBC  Pakistan: Kalash valley culture at risk from Taliban. Why not unite to use propaganda and self-defense to destroy these goblins? Though “moderate” Taliban may disapprove the following video, it depicts accurately these vile idiots:

UPDATE:  TTP Threats Panic Kalash “My seven-year-old daughter is so terrified that she’s sleepless nights. I found her awake at night on return from another valley the other day as she wanted to see me around in the wake of the Taliban threat.” / Embrace of the Kalasha

Taliban Giggle as They Kick Decapitated Heads:  Or, at least, I think it’s the Taliban…

Written by Caleb Powell

February 18, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Marwa Berro vs. “32 Badass, Ruthless, and Honest Muslim Women”

with 7 comments

muslim women against femen

On January 10, 2014, Tasneem Nashrulla posted at Buzzfeed:32 Powerful And Brutally Honest Tweets.” The subtitle explains it’s a “snippet of how badass, ruthless and honest Muslim women are.”

Marwa Berro, Lebanese, wore the veil until the age of twenty-four. She writes Between a Veil and a Hard Place. Let’s compare Tasneem Nashrulla’s Tweeters with Marwa’s blog:

Brutally Honest Tweeter #1 – نورالعين شاحد @YxxngHippie: White fems want to pull your hijab off and ‘liberate’ you and Muslims tell you you don’t need feminism (See Muslim Women Against Femen)

Amina Tyler – Arrested for conducting “provocative acts,” Imams have called for stoning as punishment

Marwa Berro: “…a white Western woman, Lauren Rankin, attempts to make the case that it is not Islam that contributes to misogyny and oppression of Muslim women…Rankin has engaged in what I say is a dangerous refusal to examine the very real influences and intermingling of religion and patriarchy in violence and oppression against women and children in Muslim-majority countries. / My oppression is not a lie, Ms. Rankin.” – The Bigger Lies You’ve Been Told in Denial of Muslim Women’s Oppression

BHT #2 – Aniqah @AniqahC : Constantly having to prove to white fems that Islamic feminism DOES exist so stop trying to “free” me from Islam.

Happy Muslimah woman

MB: “I wonder about us–Muslims, ex-Muslims, Muslim-ish people, queer and LGBT Muslims and citizens of Muslim-majority countries, Arabs, South Asians, North Africans, Southeast Asians, Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, people from traditional patriarchal societies in the third world, immigrants, et al. I wonder if all of us, if any of us, can reconcile our spiritual, personal, and worldly identities and still do justice to the phenomenally unique pain and/or diversity of experience we carry.” – A Call for Mercy Because of What Muslims and ex-Muslims Share

BHT #3 – Noor يحيى Amr @noor3amoor: Dear FEMEN: Your pasty tits don’t liberate me. (See Amina Quits FEMEN)

Alia Elmahdy – Received death threats for posting photos of herself online

MB: “We are all Amina Tyler. We are all Aliaa Elmahdy.” A Call for Mercy Because of What Muslims and ex-Muslims Share

BHT #4 – n.s @nsyakiras: white feminists simply love malala yet will not stand in solidarity with other muslim women.

MB: Respect, respect, love to you, Malala. Can you tell me I have hope when someone with your belonging is so hated? – A Call for Mercy Because of What Muslims and ex-Muslims Share

BHT #5 – Zahraa @loredsaviour: White feminists argue women should be able to dress how they want to, yet refuse to let me wear my hijab in peace

The UK protects her right to wear the veil

MB: “I was forced to wear this shit for 14 years, and ten of those years were in ‘liberal’ Lebanon. Unless the choice to NOT wear the hijab is free of ANY social or legal or material costs by institutions or social structures EVERYWHERE then it’s not a free choice and it can and should be discussed.” – Stop Pretending Your Right to Hijab Is at Risk

It doesn’t take “brutal honesty” to conform to your culture.  Ynxxg Hippie & Crew vs Marwa argue against one other. And what’s with the simplistic reductive attack on “white feminists?” Any human who cares about the issue should be welcome to weigh in. As to who takes the risk, bravery is a willingness to face danger without fear. Until Western governments start stoning women who wear the veil, I’m not really buying the “brutally honest” and “powerful” Tweets.

Update:  The Death of a Muslim Woman (Details honor killings in Germany of women who want to escape, like Marwa, one woman killed for not “wearing hijab”)

Written by Caleb Powell

January 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm