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Defenders of Islam ‘tragically wrong’

Defenders of Islam ‘tragically wrong’

Mike Dobbins, above, first came to my notice around Easter, 2014, when he penned a piece for Christian Post, drawing attention to the newly-founded Freedom From Atheism Foundation (FFAF).

The article  – entitled “Freedom from Religion? How about Freedom from Atheism” – began thus:

This Easter the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) posted another offensive, and historically inaccurate, sign touting Jesus as ‘a myth’.  However, did you know an organization exists to counter the FFRF and other intolerant atheists? If you or someone you know has been the victim of militant, confrontational atheism then the place to turn is the Freedom From Atheism Foundation (FFAF).

Being a firm believer in getting to know one’s enemies better, I did a little digging into Dobbins’ background. Apart from learning that Dobbins is the author of The Case Against Atheism and Atheism as a Religion, I discovered that he had a bad case of the hots for Islam.

But all that’s changed. This week he announced that his love affair with the “Religion of Peace” is now over, and that folk he attacked for being “Islamophobes” were right all along. He begins a lengthy piece by saying:

For years I was an apologist for Islam, as regrettably, many still remain. I only read books and believed those who painted Islam in a peaceful, glowing light. I made excuses for radical Muslims and lived in a flood of denial that religious teachings could still, in this modern age of drones and clones, motivate a person to commit evil. I criticized the numerous atheists including Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, and Bill Maher warning of the dangers inherent in Islamic doctrines, recklessly labeling them Islamophobes.

Today I’m writing to say I’m sorry, I apologize, and I ask for your forgiveness. We who have blindly defended Islam and called you Islamophobes are tragically wrong.

My mind first began to change last May when I read an interview by Sam Harris with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in which she addresses the misapplication of the term Islamophobia. This article, along with the seeds atheists planted over the years urging me to do more research, motivated me to delve into the religion. I read the Quran, many Hadith, the biography of Muhammad, the history of Jihad, and Islamic law. This is what I learned:

The critics of Islam are right. Islam is intrinsically, alarmingly violent, hateful and oppressive on a scale greater than all other major religions combined. To say that radical Islamists are motivated to commit atrocities and embrace oppression based on religious doctrine is the understatement of the century.

I, like most defenders of Islam, was ignorant, naïve, and in denial. I wrongly assumed all holy books have enough good messages to offset the bad. I wrongly assumed that, like Jesus, Muhammad promoted peace, love, and non-violence. I wrongly assumed criticism of Islam equates to criticism of all Muslims.

He adds:

While I apologize to those wrongly labeled Islamophobes, my biggest apology is owed to Muslims. Muslims have needlessly suffered under oppressive Islamic religious and political doctrines as thousands of uninformed smearests like myself rushed to judge and silence critics of Islam. By not acknowledging the Islamic link to radical violence and hate, smearests have unwittingly allowed it to spread. The smearests, denialists, and the naïve have, unknowingly, turned their back on moderate Muslims and a reformed, peaceful Islam.

He continues:

While we smearests have obsessed over shielding Islam from criticism, so-called Islamophobes were courageously standing up to oppressive Islamic doctrines and practices. While we smearests were unwittingly misinforming the public and deluding ourselves by not making the connection between Islamic religious teachings and Islamic hate and violence, so-called Islamophobes were connecting the dots and looking for solutions.

While we smearests were busy tarnishing critics as bigots and racists, so called Islamophobes were busy defending equality of women, gays, and minorities, protecting free speech and religion, and advocating an end to cruel and unusual punishments.

Labeling every critic of Islam an Islamophobe has seriously diminished the smearests credibility. By grouping valid critics of Islam with bigots we water downed the meaning of Islamophobe and appear cruel and repressive of free speech.

He goes on to brand Islam as:

A man-made religion (emphasis on the man part) and like all man-made religions, has serious moral shortcomings and requires rigorous criticism. Rather than self-censoring and abiding by Islamic blasphemy laws, we should be defending the importance of free speech, encouraging Islam to purge itself of blasphemy laws, and demonstrating the benefits free speech can bring to Islam.

And he adds:

Now, we smearests must make up for lost time and lost chances. We must double our efforts to criticize oppressive Islamic practices, doctrines, and regimes and demand reform. We must embrace Muslims who truly are moderate, acknowledge the faults in Islam, and are striving for coexistence, peace, equality, human rights, and freedom of expression and worship. All non-Muslims can support Muslims best by doing the same.

19 responses to “Defenders of Islam ‘tragically wrong’”

  1. Daz says:

    What a confused rant. He’s projecting his own frankly silly definition of the word ‘Islamophobia’ onto a whole bunch of people who never used it in the way he did in the first place, and telling them to stop doing what they already weren’t doing. He is a prat of the first water, and useth not his thinky-organ for aught but keeping his ears apart.

  2. Lucy1 says:

    @daz. Yes,but no. What impressed me,a bit, was this man’s efforts to educate himself and then take the hard leap into acknowledging that religions can be intrinsically inclined to lead to bad stuff. His next step might be to accept that all religions are man made, and move happily into the sunny and peaceful uplands of atheism.

  3. Mephistopheles says:

    D’ya know what?…he might be half way there. Let’s hope his next project is learning about what’s in the bible.

  4. Lucy1 says:

    @daz. Yes, but no. What impressed me a bit, was that this guy was prepared to do the reading and research, and then come to the conclusion that this religion has some intrinsic inclination towards bad stuff. All we need now is for him to apply the same scrutiny to all man-made religions, i.e.all religions, and emerge onto the peaceful plains of atheism.

  5. Lucy1 says:

    I have tried responding twice. A problem?

  6. Lonbo says:

    Mike is on the verge of realizing that Christianity too,like her wicked sisters Judaism and Islam, is intrinsically and alarmingly violent, hateful and oppressive. To say that radical Christians, Jews and Islamists are motivated to commit atrocities and embrace oppression based on religious doctrine is indeed the understatement of the century. Come on home Mike. You’re almost there.

  7. Rob Andrews says:

    IF Islamophobia means fear of Islam, as it’s root word indicate, than gay people have a right to be phobic of islam. We are persecuted in most muslims countries. At least the ones that have a theocratic form of government.

    “An atheist is a person with no invisible means of support.”

  8. Broga says:

    I haven’t come across “smearests” before. If Mike hangs in there he might muddle his way into atheism and enjoy the satisfactions of free thinking outside the cage of religious belief. Once free he won’t want to return to the shackles of religion.

  9. Vanity Unfair says:

    One step at a time.

  10. carlynot says:

    Pretty obvious this guy had never read the koran. Being an atheist I have forced myself to read the bible, koran and a few other religious texts. After all, how can you argue with theists if you haven’t poured over their books of hatred.

  11. RussellW says:

    The most reliable indicators of the nature of Islam are the way its believers behave and the characteristics of majority Muslim countries, therefore Islam is a violent, backward and primitive ideology.QED.
    Dobbins appears to have been a typical apologist for Islam, ie just plain ignorant in regard to its history and current practices.

  12. Laura Roberts says:

    I’m impressed with anyone who takes the time to read through religious texts, but take issue with the idea that you can’t argue with theists if you haven’t read their books. Since they are the ones with hypotheses about gods, angels and emons, they have the burden of proof. Hence all you really need to do is ask good questions.

    I also agree with Lucy1 and others that there’s hope for a guy like this who revises his opinion based on new evidence. I wish some of my religious relatives were as open-minded.

  13. Newspaniard says:

    Following a suggestion in “Freethinker”, I read Robert Spencer’s book, “Did Muhammad Exist?” which saved me all the problem of reading the Arab text, or the original Klingon (might just as well have been). An interesting read and the conclusions devastating ,if you are a muslim. I repeat my mantra that the only good muslim is an ex-muslim. Atheists don’t generally cut people’s heads off to make a point.

  14. AgentCormac says:

    Perhaps Dobbins will now turn his attention to the bible and assess that, together with those who defend it, in the same light.

  15. barriejohn says:

    This piece was very interesting:

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/blog/2015/04/why-we-should-stop-saying-islamophobia

    There are obviously some who oppose Islam because of latent racism, and I have no time for them, but we need to assign the term “Islamophobia” to the dustbin of history, as everyone uses it in a different way, and interprets it differently to others. “Antisemitism” is going the same way now!

  16. Rob Andrews says:

    @RussellW:
    The most reliable indicators of the nature of Islam are the way its believers behave and the characteristics of majority Muslim countries,

    Right… they try to behave the way the prophet did. The persona of Mohammed was that of a general. He carried a sword and led men into combat. A least during the later ,’Medina’ period; when he had the power to do so.

  17. gedediah says:

    The irony. Has this dumbass not read his own religion’s scripture? If he had he’d realise it has the same source with the same inducements to do violence to others, and for the exact same reasons.

  18. Santa says:

    So, now he is useful idiot ?
    No? Of course not, how could one idiot be useful to a bunch of idiots ?

    For some time now, you are successfully turning atheism into political ideology, garnered with hate, racial and cultural prejudices, to serve rabid imperialism and colonialism, with Zionism always close by to feed on great propaganda, and gain some sympathy for their disgusting apartheid and occupation.
    That’s why you and your cause losing young and educated atheists en-masse !