Category Archives: Islam

Muslims Shouldn’t Be Patronised With Praise For Condemning ISIS

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As much as it must be annoying for decent Muslims to be constantly asked to denounce ISIS, I don’t think that is the question we should be asking. Muslims shouldn’t be patronised with a ‘pat on the head’ for saying how awful a murdering, raping death cult is. That’s an incredibly low bar to clear for anyone, and my expectations of Muslims aren’t so poor as to be impressed by it. ‘Moderation’ is not what we need either. We need progressive Muslims. Those that understand that secularism is vital and that a theocracy or caliphate is not a good idea under any circumstances. And by ‘we’ I mean Muslims and non-Muslims.

I know next to nothing about Sulaiman Daud except that he says he is a Muslim and has now set the gold standard with his below Facebook post in response to the recent Paris attacks:

I want to thank well-meaning non-Muslims who, in the wake of these attacks, have emphasised that they have been carried out by a small, twisted minority. A terrorist’s goal is to sow hatred and discord, and by not giving in, you are defeating their plans.

But I want to say that as a Muslim, I wish that we weren’t so quick to emphasise that this has nothing to do with us. While I personally have never killed anyone and none of my friends and family have ever resorted to violence, radicalism has everything to do with Islam. And the failure to address that out of a well-intentioned commitment to tolerance is making the problem worse.

ISIS is a Muslim organisation, and it is an Islamic problem. Let me say it again to be perfectly clear. ISIS is a Muslim organisation, and they are a cancer at the heart of Islam. And the problem will not go away until Muslims confront that.

ISIS attackers scream ‘Allah hu’akbar’ during their attacks.
ISIS recruits cite Qur’anic verses as justification for the rape and enslavement of women.
ISIS soldiers kill archaeologists, gay men and women, and people who refuse to convert to Islam because they are blasphemers.

There are no Christians in ISIS. There are no Buddhists, Jews, Pagans, Taoists, Houngans, Catholics, Wiccans, Hindus or even Scientologists in ISIS. ISIS is a Muslim organisation and they kill in the name of Islam.

So don’t say that ISIS aren’t ‘true Muslims’ or that they are ‘not really Muslims’. Like any large organisation, ISIS exists in a spectrum. You have the aimless, restless teenager who never amounted to anything in his life and traveled to Syria because he can’t find a job and doesn’t know if the Qur’an is to be read from left to right or right to left. But you also have pious professionals, businessmen, and academics who read their Qur’an cover to cover, pray every day, were seduced into radicalism, and truly believe that the Islamic State’s goal of conquest is a noble one. The so-called ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has a doctorate in Islamic studies.

So if you feel that Muslims are being oppressed or killed in Muslim countries, I expect you to also be just as outraged by ISIS. Because they have killed more Muslims in Iraq, Syria and Jordan than the entire US army. They have done more damage to the name and reputation of Islam than any Western nation. ISIS is Islam’s biggest enemy, not the US, not Israel or France or Germany or the Russians.

We have to own the problem. We have to admit that this is a religious problem, and we need to renew our commitment to a secular country which treats all religions equally. I have believed in the importance of secularism all my life, and with every day that passes that belief grows stronger. Religion is no way to govern a nation. Not any religion, and not any nation.

ISIS is not America’s problem, nor the British, nor the French. ISIS is not Syria or Iraq’s problem. ISIS is a problem for Muslims. And if you can’t admit that, you’re not really a good Muslim either.

‪#‎LibertyFraternityEquality‬
‪#‎LongLiveTheRepublic‬

Voices like Sulaiman’s are the ones we should be amplifying above all the easy spiel about how this has ‘nothing to do with Islam’. Given Sulaiman’s lucid and thoughtful response currently has over 34,000 ‘shares’ on Facebook, I’m encouraged at the thought that many feel the same too.

 Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

The ‘Voldemort Effect’ Claims Rufus Hound As Its Victim

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As information continues to pour in and the body count increases, I’m gripped with an utter sense of grief, frustration and impotence over the horrific terror attacks that have occurred in France. Seemingly, the information we do have appears to point towards Islamist extremism. Quelle surprise.

In an attempt to offset my feeling of hopelessness, I couldn’t help but take to Twitter to poke my fellow ‘liberals’ about their disgusting apologist rhetoric in service of the ideology that shall not be named  – lest we hurt some feelings.

This brings me to UK comedian and former Liberal Democrat campaigner Rufus Hound. Rufus has 1.12 million Twitter followers and has been engaging in a regressive bout of ‘nothing to do with Islam’ on his Twitter feed. To compound matters, he decided to retweet this from our favourite plagiarist hack:

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Warwick University Cancels Maryam Namazie Talk

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UPDATE 28 Sep 2015 – Warwick Student Union have now confirmed Maryam Namazie will speak as originally scheduled, and will be issuing her an apology. My original article is below.

Partially untouched by that compromising crush of the dreary adult life, you could always count on young British students, right or wrong, to quite frankly, not give a shit who they ‘offended’ with their opinions. It seems that’s still true in all but one sense: Islamism.

Maryam Namazie is the latest critic of Islamism to fall afoul of this liberal regressive blind spot. Not for the first time either. The latest episode comes courtesy of  Warwick University Student Union. Maryam was due to give a talk on the 28th of October after an invite from ‘Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists’ Society’.

The student union have now cancelled the talk, justifying their decision by claiming:

“There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy”.

Maryam Namazie is an ex-Muslim and tireless campaigner for human rights. I’ve been to see Maryam Namazie speak in person. I’ve also interviewed her for The #GSPodcast. Everything she says about Islam and Islamism oozes with an urgent concern for women, children, apostates and Muslims. Not hatred. Whether you agree with her or not, refusing her a platform is another example of an overflowing cesspool of liberal cowardice. It’s particularly laughable that the feelings of a 1.6 billion strong ‘group’ need to be protected here, but the voices of our minority dissenters do not.

On the University’s policy regarding guest speakers, The National Secular Society reports:

Shockingly, the policy states that external speakers on campus must “seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups, within a framework of positive debate and challenge”.

Maryam Namazie notes:

The Student Union position is of course nothing new. It is the predominant post-modernist “Left” point of view that conflates Islam, Muslims and Islamists, homogenises the “Muslim community”, thinks believers are one and the same as the religious-Right and sides with the Islamist narrative against its many dissenters.

I would encourage people to demand answers from the academic institutions we trust to uphold free speech and critical debate. You can make a complaint to Warwick Student Union here.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

Hundreds Killed In Hajj Stampede

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In the last few days, scores of people have embarked on the Hajj pilgrimage. Two million Muslims from multiple nations descended on Mecca to complete Islamic rituals.

This has tragically culminated in the death of hundreds.

I’m currently travelling in Greece, meaning access to wi-fi and news is sporadic (check privilege here), but when I first caught the story, the death toll stood at 200 or so. At the time of writing this, it’s closer to 800 – spanning over 5 nationalities. I dread to think what I will find the next opportunity I get to touch base with the modern world.

Any international event involving millions of people is always going to be a logistical and safety nightmare. And everyone has a right to their traditions. However, you can’t help but succumb to a feeling of hopeless incredulity at the sheer pointlessness of it all. If the ideas responsible for this ritual had died some time ago, as they had every obligation to, perhaps these poor people needn’t have done so instead.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

Ep#60 – Sarah Haider – Liberal Critique Of Islam

The Excellent Sarah Haider (@SarahTheHaider) returns to The #GSPodcast to talk all about her well-received speech for the AHA titled ‘Islam and The Necessity of Liberal Critique. We talk about feminism, liberal values and the reaction to the recent terror attacks across France, Kuwait and Tunisia. She’ll also be demonstrating how Reza Aslan likes to play loose with the truth and telling us about The Ex Muslims Of North America.

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

#GSPodcast Theme by Dorian Silk & The MCH


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Sky News Has a Panic Attack Over Charlie Hebdo Cartoon

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Much to the chagrin of sensible adults everywhere, a lot has been made in recent days over whether or not news networks should broadcast images of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons which depict Islam’s Prophet, Muhammad.

In the wake of the appalling terror attacks in France, it was discovered that the official BBC editorial guidelines on this opted for Sharia compliance by affirming “The prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form.” This gained a lot of negative attention – which resulted in the guidelines being replaced with some vague nonsense about obtaining senior authorisation instead. This had the whiff of hoping to maintain the previous policy whilst allowing it to go unstated. .

It was clear this issue was causing a certain level of discomfort to our journalists.  The BBC’s own Evan Davis for instance, was seen sheepishly treating us to a brief flash of the image as though he were being forced to share a log of his internet browsing history.

I did wonder though; what would happen were someone to catch a live broadcast unawares with the image? Well, thanks to the commendable efforts of French Journalist Caroline Fourest, we need wonder no more.  And it’s extraordinary:


It truly is something to behold. The reaction could barely have been different had the guest started masturbating whilst throwing Nazi salutes.

You could see the camera begin to retreat as soon as the operator had realised what was coming.  The live link to the guest was abandoned and the flustered presenter informed us that Sky had taken the decision not to show the cartoon and apologised for any ‘offense’ caused.

There we have it.  An apology for any ‘offense’ – as though this is what any of this is really about.  We know, as well as they know that this wasn’t done to spare ‘offense’ – it was censored because of fear of reprisals. Well, fair enough you might say – but at least let’s be honest about it.

The Western media is now so afraid to show a cartoon that it will apply self-censorship in order to comply with Islamic blasphemy laws.

What Sky and others fail to realise however; by not showing the imagery and ‘sharing the risk’, they isolate small publications like Charlie Hebdo – effectively painting a bull’s-eye on their back for extremists to take aim at. And make no mistake – they are always looking for something to take aim at, whether you are doing your best to avoid ‘offense’ or not.

The period after these horrific attacks were without doubt one of the most important tests our news media have ever faced.  They have failed this test miserably. We should remember that the next time they begin back-slapping during whatever self-congratulatory press awards ceremony comes along.

You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patreon here.

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