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Are Jews Welcome at The American Humanist Association @AmericnHumanist?

I recently wrote about the hysteria emanating from a number of American atheist, secular and humanist organisations in response to some words tweeted by Richard Dawkins on the topic of self-identification. This circus culminated in the American Humanist Association withdrawing their 1996 Humanist of The Year Award from Richard Dawkins.

Roy Speckhardt, the executive director of American Humanists appeared to explain the decision by stating that ‘Dawkins pattern of insensitivity to groups who experience prejudice are holding our movement back from attracting diverse populations we should be seeing in droves..’.

Which got me thinking. Are Jews welcome in the American Humanist Association? You see, I only ask this question because a year after Richard Dawkins was awarded Humanist of the Year in 1996, the 1997 honour went to American activist Alice Walker.

In the intervening years Alice Walker has earned a reputation as someone that promotes anti-Semitism. It seems even after her promotion of anti-Semitism was well known and documented, American Humanists were still celebrating her on their social media.

So, if Dawkins is to be publicly condemned and have his award withdrawn on the grounds of ‘insensitivity to groups who experience prejudice’, I fully expect Roy Speckhardt and the American Humanists will be announcing their withdrawal of Humanist of The Year from Alice Walker any moment now. Unless of course Jews don’t count in the model of intersectionality they are pushing. I await a response.

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

American Atheists, American Humanists and The Secular Coalition join the woke church

A number of American atheist, secular and humanist organisation have released public statements strongly condemning atheist thought leader Richard Dawkins. American Humanists even went so far as to withdraw their ‘Humanist of the Year Award 1996’ from the evolutionary biologist. Gosh.

So, what on earth did Richard Dawkins do to attract so much ire from self-professed ‘sceptics’? It must have been very bad. One would think perhaps he joined ISIS. But no, he did something far more unforgivable in the eyes of the modern progressive—he asked questions about the concept of ‘self-identification’ as it relates to gender ideology:

‘In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss’

Richard Dawkins is clearly attempting to instigate discussion on a prominent, relevant issue that has far-reaching implications given that the self-identification model of gender identity appears to be the one taking hold. If someone is a man yesterday and claims to be a woman today, does that make it so? Well, this is the question we are all going to have to grapple with, as this specific concept of self-identification appears to be at the forefront of activism, policy and lobbying on the topic of gender identity.

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The Quilliam Foundation Is No More

The Quilliam Foundation was an anti-extremist organisation founded in 2008 by Maajid Nawaz and Ed Hussain. The goal was to challenge Islamic fundamentalism whilst promoting ‘Islamic reform’—that is to say proposing that Muslims should consider reinterpreting Islamic scripture through a less rigid lens in an effort to mesh it with modern, secular values. Today, Maajid Nawaz reported via his Twitter feed that Quilliam would close ‘down for good’.

As anyone who listens to my podcast knows, I’ve always been incredibly pessimistic and sceptical about the idea of Islamic reform. However, for a time I felt it a worthy endeavour to support a liberal Muslim organisation that would literally put their neck on the line in defence of secularism, free expression and human rights. Any pushback to Islamic fundamentalism from public Muslims is sorely needed. It’s as concerning as it is disappointing that UK individuals and groups of this sort are probably in the single digits.

It was a shame, frankly, to witness so many of those associated with Quilliam completely lose the plot over the years. Maajid Nawaz, once a dedicated champion of reason spent much of the recent US Presidential election sharing and spreading any old nonsense that suggested the election may have been illegally stolen from Donald Trump—then proceeded to threaten legal action against those that noticed his irrational behaviour. This alienated and confounded many of his long-term supporters to say the least. Since obtaining a regular slot on LBC radio, it is clear that Maajid Nawaz’s priorities have shifted away from activism in service of Islamic reform.

Nawaz cited the Covid lockdown as the main reason for Quilliam’s closure. That may well be true of course. But one can’t help the suspicion that secular non-Muslims made up the bulk of Quilliam’s support —and then lost faith in their work given the lack of tangible results and the behaviour of one of its founders. It did appear that Quilliam was not particularly popular with your average British Muslim to say the least.

Regardless of the failure of The Quilliam Foundation project and my disappointment with the trajectory of Maajid Nawaz, I’ll always consider it a worthy endeavour to support secular Muslims and ex-Muslims that publicly challenge Islamism. These people are far braver than their naysayers. They are the front line against Islamic fascism and suffer under it more than anyone.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this in the comments.

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

Why Is @TedxWarwick refusing to release @MaryamNamazie’s talk on Islamic fundamentalism?

Maryam Namazie is an activist who runs the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. I’ve followed her courageous work for a number of years now. I don’t always agree with everything she says but what is clear is that her views are underpinned by a staunch commitment to human rights—specifically where minority voices are concerned.

I was pleased to see that in Jan 2020 TedxWarwick had hosted Maryam to present her talk on ‘Creativity in protesting Islamic Fundamentalism’.

Over a year later however, the talk his yet to be released by TedxWarwick. And we have been informed via Maryam Namazie’s Twitter that it’s not going to be released either, without not so much as an explanation from the organisers.

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