I recently gave a brief interview to The Independent on the topic of my Twitter suspension and free speech. I’m as surprised as you are.
This is the first of, the admittedly few, media requests I’ve accepted. I’ve no desire for the attention and I’m always mindful of the intentions of those wishing to speak to me.
After a brief email back and forth with the friendly journalist at The Independent, it became apparent that they were genuinely interested in reporting on the topics at hand, rather than sensationalism – so I decided it was worthwhile to have a discussion. I’m pleasantly surprised and pleased with being accurately quoted and having the larger issues highlighted in the piece. Seems my cynicism towards journalism was misplaced on this occasion.
This has led to a follow-up opinion piece in The Telegraph, which is perfectly fine and well, but given I’ve had accusations of ‘targeting’ before, I feel compelled to address a misconception in the article (emphasis Mine):
I also knew I didn’t want to get into quick-fire religious debate, the kind that was exemplified in yesterday’s news story about an atheist tweeter called the ‘Godless Spellchecker’, who had been temporarily suspended from the site for apparently abusing the (mainly Muslim) religious tweeters he disagreed with – a story which ended up seeming all the more poignant as the horrific, incomprehensive events in Paris unfolded.
I’m grateful that the article also reiterates that I am in fact innocent of any abuse on Twitter, but the above paragraph appears to suggest my account mostly targets (or abuses) actual Muslims. This is objectively false. Yes, it is true that I’m especially critical of Islamism over other ideologies – and my criticism of it is considerably more frequent.
I see nothing sinister in giving special attention to the current most dangerous strain of Abrahamic Faith. Perhaps I’ve misread and the article is actually saying it was predominantly Muslims who complained about my account. Still, there is no way to confirm if this is actually true.
However, for the sake of clarification on my part; interactions with actual Muslims are particularly rare. In fact, the majority of my interactions are of the Christian Zealot flavour. I’d say the overwhelming amount of misspelled anti-atheist sentiment I respond to on Twitter comes via a Christian denomination. Who knows what I’d discover were I to learn Arabic though.
When I interact with Christians I’m often told I ‘wouldn’t dare criticise Islam in the same way’, and when I criticise Islam, I’m informed of my potent ‘Islamophobia’. The game is rigged, but I enjoy playing anyway.