Death for tweeting: the insanity of Islam (a guest post)

Alert reader Sigmund has contributed a guest post showing the combination of malevolence and insanity that is “radical” Islam (though the form displayed below might not be seen as that radical).  You won’t believe the weeping cleric in the video below, blubbering noisily as he calls for the death of an apostate.

Why freedom of expression for atheists is dangerous for all

by Sigmund

The issue of free speech versus blasphemy is currently subject to much debate in the atheist community. While attempts by various UK student unions to restrict the free speech of atheist groups demands a serious response, the danger faced by those who question religion in the Western world is mild compared to that faced by individuals living under theocratic governments, and none more so than those living in majority Islamic regimes. The recent arrest of Indonesian atheist Alexander Aan and the nine-month jail sentence served by Palestinian atheist Walid Husayin—both for “insulting Islam”—happened in countries on the liberal end of the Islamic religious spectrum.

In the more conservative Islamic states, things are taken altogether more seriously. It is not even necessary to declare yourself an atheist to bring down the wrath of the righteous—merely posing questions about religion can be sufficient.

One such incident currently hitting the news involves Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgiri, who is a Muslim, but one who made the fatal mistake of not showing enough deference to his religion in some Twitter posts.

According to the Saudijeans website:

“In his tweets, Kashgari imagined a conversation with the Prophet in which he said they are equal, and that although he admires many of the Prophet’s characteristics there are also others that he disliked.”

Apparently the act of not treating Muhammad as the best of all possible men in every regard is quite enough to ignite the gunpowder of Islamist fury.

“Saudi users on Twitter erupted with outrage, posting nearly 30,000 tweets on the topic in less than 24 hours. Many people believed that he insulted the Prophet by addressing him and speaking about him like that. They accused Kashgari of blasphemy, atheism and apostasy. Many said he must be punished and some said he should be killed.”

Kashgari, who had by now probably figured out where this was (be)heading, immediately deleted the contentious tweets and issued an apology, describing his messages as “feelings I erred in describing and writing, and that I ask God for forgiveness, but they don’t really represent my belief in the Prophet.”

His apology, however, was not enough for the guardians of religion. Kashgari had offended God and Muhammad and so must pay the price—and the price of apostasy is death. Kashgiri is believed to have fled Saudi Arabia in fear of his life and the Saudi authorities are facing calls to arrest and extradite him to face trial.

Here’s the Saudi version of Glenn Beck, cleric Sheik Nasser Al Omar, pleading to the Saudi king for Kashgari’s execution— and helpfully explaining why such an action is necessary.

I’ve transcribed his words about Kashgari (I hope the YouTube translation is correct – if not please let me know the correct words in the comments) and his thoughts on how and why Muslims must deal with atheists.

“Lord forgive us for the deeds of the foolish ones among us.

Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger.

Allah has cursed them in this world and in the hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment.”
[begins to weep]
“Forgive me, O brothers” [what about sisters?]
“I am not able to lecture you today.
How can I when Allah and His Prophet are being cursed publicly.”

[more floods of tears]
“I fear that a swift punishment will be sent upon us from the complacency we’re seeing in regards to the rights of God and His Prophet”
“And as Ibn Al-Arabi
[12th century Andalusian muslim scholar] said when he was told:
“we should argue with atheists through intellectual debates”
He replied: “thats a cold reaction, that should be warmed up with the heat of the sword”
That’s what Ibn Al-Arabi said back then about those atheists.
Petitions should be sent to the king and the crown prince, to associations, to the Supreme Judicial Council of the Supreme Court,
before God sends down his punishment on us.
And that will guarantee you security.
If you perform your duty be assured that Allah will spare and protect you.
I plead to the king and crown prince, God bless them, that these people are taken to the Islamic courts for punishment that would implement the Islamic ruling.
And it’s known that cursing Allah and Muhammad is apostasy (Punishable by death)
As for what has been mentioned about his repentence, which was expressed in a cold manner, with COLD words!
That is of no use to him in our judiciary system.
What’s between him and God, we are not discussing that.
And the scholars have mentioned: whosoever curses God and His Prophet should be sentenced for Apostasy, Even if he repented.

In other words, the Sheik is saying that Allah and Muhammad are so touchy that allowing atheists to say anything critical will result in divine retribution being meted out on the population at large. Freedom of expression for atheists can only result in an inevitable bout of mass destruction by a furious deity and his intern!
Any chance of sending Karen Armstrong over to convince him of the error of his ways?

77 Comments

  1. Ray Moscow
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Any chance of sending Karen Armstrong over to convince him of the error of his ways?

    Ha — you beat me to it. I always advocate putting Karen Armstrong on a plane to go explain to these people how they don’t understand their own religion.

    • Chris Slaby
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      +1.

    • Sunny
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Armstrong would probably say that Kashgiri were a provocation.

      • Sunny
        Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        I meant: Kashgiri’s words were a provocation.

    • Jim Jones
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Ummm. Can I vote for Ann Coulter instead?

  2. Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Astonishing. (Although we probably should expect this by now.)

    Islam seems destined never to get out of its mediæval mindset. With extreme, repressive responses like this, is an “Islamic Enlightenment” even possible?

    /@

    • Posted February 9, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      If thse religious Muslims keep up what they are doing, I don’t think I’ll ever live to see an “Islamic Enlightenment.”

      • Posted February 9, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        “I don’t think I’ll ever live to see an “Islamic Enlightenment.””

        We didn’t see a “communist enlightenment” and we didn’t see a “Nazi enlightenment”, instead people just stopped believing those things. And to a large extent we didn’t see a “Christian enlightenment”, instead large numbers simply stopped believing. In the places where the majority really do still believe Christianity (such as the US Bible Belt) it is not that enlightened.

        Can we hope that the internet will eventually do for Islam what the printing press did for Christianity in the West (namely, allow people to think about it and discuss it)?

        • Sigmund
          Posted February 9, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          I think that you are right about the likely effects of the internet. The marketplace of religious ideas has never previously been open in that part of the world and that explains the violent reaction of clerics like the weeping sheik in this video. I think they can sense the effect this is going to have on the population at large and are doing their utmost to frighten people into submission.

        • Posted February 9, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          Hence the scare quotes.

          Yes, we can hope… as long as Muslims have continued access to the Internet without censorship.

          Muslims in Europe certainly seem to benefit; one of the commenters on Eric MacDonald’s discussed the situation in the Netherlands which seemed encouraging… 

          … it turns out that Muslims in the Netherlands are secularizing very fast – faster than any other group. Mosque attendance among Muslims has dropped over the last decade to levels considerably below church attendance of protestants, and not incomparable to where Catholics were a decade ago (see this 2009 article from the Dutch statistics office). So we are not seeing an increase in Islam in the Netherlands, quite the opposite. — Deen

          But I don’t anticipate that trend in countries with Islamic governments…

          /@

        • cgilson
          Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          You’re right in that you can’t “enlighten” religious beliefs. Only God can change what’s written in those books, and he’s imaginary, so…

          Fortunately, you CAN elighten people!

        • ColdThinker
          Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          There might be hope.

          In your assessment of ”communist enlightenment” you’re either somewhat mistaken or perhaps defining political opinions differently from me. Having lived most of my life in a democratic Scandinavian society, I would say there certainly was something of a ”communist enlightenment”.

          Many of my friends have defined their political ideals as communist. In their vague definition communism means social fairness and more equal distribution of wealth. With this in mind, they supported the parties and social policies that are against wealth cumulating to private individuals, and apparently they also oppose the free market defining the value of things. None of them opposed freedom of expression, human rights or free elections. They were decent citizens, worked hard and paid their taxes, and were a lot of fun to argue with at a dinner table. We just differed on how we think economy works. (I do believe ”fascist enlightenment” would be harder, since the very idea of fascism is against even any vague idea of equality between human beings and positions certain ethnic groups above others.)

          So, in my experience, some vaguely communist ideas can easily be integrated into a democratic society. In fact, if there hadn’t been communists pushing for certain policies, we might not have free medical care or free universities, which not even the right wing politicians oppose today. The important thing is not to let the more extreme ideologies have their way, but take part in the conversation and peaceful political activism.

          As to the possible benefits of Islam, I don’t know. But I’ve seen a few civilized discussions between muslims, christians and atheists. The most important thing is to first develop a society where the prevailing sentiment isn’t fear, poverty or inequality. Saudi Arabia being the prime example of all three, most other muslim countries are generations away from this.

          • Persto
            Posted February 9, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            “most other muslim countries are generations away from this.”

            Not in the Middle East and Africa.

            • ColdThinker
              Posted February 9, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

              Do you really mean to say the muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa are havens of safety, wealth and equality? Or did I express my point poorly?

              My point was that while Saudi Arabia is arguably the worst one, most other muslim countries suffer from living in fear, poverty and inequality, being generations away from societal well-being.

              • Persto
                Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

                Whoa!! Haha. I agree with your more precise statement regarding the current governmental, societal, and economic state of affairs in Saudi Arabia and different Muslim countries. I was subservient to the impression you were asserting separate Muslim nations are generations away from being homologous to Saudi Arabia. My apologies, but you undeniably conveyed your viewpoint deficiently.

  3. Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    How do you insult a dead man? These idiots need to grow up.

    • Posted February 9, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Apparently, extremist Muslims treat their prophet as if he were some narcissist egomaniac and that being one is a good thing. Muslims need to chill the fuck out and stop getting over-reactive when they think that their prophet is getting mildly disrespected.

      • Chris Booth
        Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        The weeping cleric is saying that a human must be sacrificed before goD comes to smite everyone.

        Even if Kashgari repented and apologized, goD will run amok in a petulant frenzy, laying waste to others.

        His goD has as bad an aim and is as easily injured as Pat Robertson’s.

        Its funny how goD can adjust the smallest chemical bond with perfect and absolute precision and create the universe with absolute power and precision, and yet, when these guys want to exercise their own authority, goD is so vulnerable he has to be “protected” by them.

  4. Dodo
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    You have to admire Islam, in a way.
    Like the acid-bleeding monster in Alien, it has a perfect defense mechanism. It responds to any perceived threat with immediate and unrestrained violence.

    • Steven in Tokyo
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink

      Admire?

      • Aj
        Posted February 9, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink

        “I admire its purity. A survivor … unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.”

        Actually scratch that, the xenomorph has at least one over Islam; which is pretty much nothing but a delusion of morality.

        • Posted February 9, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Would a Buddhist alien be a zenomorph?

          (I’ll get my coat… )

          /@

          • Posted February 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            You can get your coat and I’ll get my cat – his name is Zeno, and I often call him “Zenomorph”.

            As for the weeping cleric, at least I now understand why Muslims take such affront when people insult their God and their Prophet – they are afraid of a lack of precision in the Divine Retribution, so they want to take the blasphemer out with a surgical strike lest they suffer collateral damage from the Holy Thunderbolt.

    • cgilson
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      I kind of have to admire it, as well, but not for any reasons that salvage it. If religions are tools for controlling a society, which is probably its most important trait. Islam is the most complete, and the most airtight.
      – All things can be classified either Halal (acceptable to God) or Harem (forbidden by God) and only the clerics get to say what is which.
      – If you leave the faith, you’re executed.
      – Women are forbidden from marrying outside of the faith, (though men can marry women of other monotheistic faiths).
      – There is no separation of religion and governance. Governments MUST follow God’s law, as judged by the clerics.

      I couldn’t have thought up a better, more self-fullfilling fraud myself!

  5. Posted February 9, 2012 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    I have patiently tried reasoning with even ‘moderate’ Muslims who are educated in science (well, like many Creationists studying evolution that attend class and pass exams). When I say ‘moderate’ I really mean only that they do not openly express their feelings on issues such as death for apostates – they are either personally disapproving and manage to ignore that aspect of the faith, or are just being canny to avoid censure.

    Some of them can explain sufficient details of logic, and construct valid arguments, on many topics – except Islam.

    There’s something about their commitment to their religion such that when you try to point our that their argument affirming Islam and Islamic prescriptions is either invalid, or has dubious premises, their brains go into ‘Does not compute!’ mode.

    If you break down a long argument of theirs step by step they may even agree with you each step of the way – until you get round to showing a contradiction that has occurred, or that an earlier sub-argument or premise is unfounded. Then they reject the whole lot and make the very same re-affirming noises that comply with their faith. They are mercilessly critical of any of the contingent premises that are inevitable in a science based sceptical world view, but give similar contingencies regarding their faith a free pass to absolute certainty.

    It’s astonishingly unnerving to witness a brain do this that is not otherwise medically diagnosed as being not quite right.

    I’m have no training in psychiatry, but I have a close relative who has a long term condition; and because of that have become acquainted with other people who have similar problems or have their own close relative with similar problems. You become used to spotting the stories and begin to recognise absurdities that go on in brains that aren’t quite in touch with reality.

    So, given this backdrop, that their obstinacy and pride in their own religion is so strong so that they do take offence easily, I think ridicule, offensive cartoons, and rhetorical comic abuse are about the only tools available that would eventually beat down the door of their intransigence in the face of reason.

    • Sigmund
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      I have an Iranian friend that helped me understand this mindset. A few years ago, around the time of the Danish cartoon incident, I asked him how he felt about the matter – after all, these were only cartoons, similar to the type you get about Jesus or historical figures.
      He described it as follows – those who are brought up as muslims are taught to consider Muhammad as the equivalent of a revered family figure – like a beloved parent. Any insult or ridicule on him or his teachings therefore feels like your parent is getting insulted – hence the strong and, apparently, irrational reactions to the cartoons.
      It is probably something that needs to be made explicit if we are going to tackle the problem. In other words, demands that we ‘respect’ Muhammad should be met with the answer that we understand why they might make that demand but that they are asking us to comply with an irrational request based on misplaced affection.

      • Posted February 9, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        There’s also a common dislike of disrespect to one’s family in the west, but it doesn’t seem to scale to involvement of the whole family in violence, or whole communities, as it does with honour killings, for example.

        It seems then that the culture and religion are intertwined in this regard, since dishonour in or towards a family invoke the same response.

      • Sastra
        Posted February 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        I think there’s a particular problem with the religion of Islam in that it’s placed an especially heavy emphasis on two ‘spiritual’ factors: purity and honor. That last one is responsible for a lot of violence.

        This desire to seek revenge for slights on one’s honor has been called “thar.” Here’s a good essay — “The World’s Most Toxic Value System.” The writer suggests that that characteristics of a thar culture are:

        1.) Extreme importance of personal status and sensitivity to insult
        2.) Acceptance of personal revenge including retaliatory killing
        3.) Obsessive male dominance
        4.) Paranoia over female sexual infidelity
        5.) Primacy of family rights over individual rights

        Yeah, sounds about right.

        • Chris Booth
          Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          The secret that is missing from their little list, the real dirty secret that they are hiding, is that inherent in their fear of female infidelity is a distrust of other men, and the fear of comparative inadequacy–and above all, the knowledge that they can’t trust the other man because the other man can’t trust them. Its not only about control of the woman, it is above all projection. They know what they would do (were it not for the fear of retribution).

          • Chris Booth
            Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

            I did not mean to belittle the insight with the words “their little”. I apologize for that. But if one is an adult man who never got beyond the petulance of being a spoiled boy, that list falls right into place, an elaborate construction of dominoes cascading right into the faux, mealy-mouthed piety donned to call for the death of another that we see in this video.

          • Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

            Indeed.

            A thousand times indeed.

            Which makes their misogyny all the more infuriating.

        • Zen Druid
          Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for that link, Sastra, a good essay indeed.

        • jay
          Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          Jared Diamond (and others) have observed that this approach arises in nomadic cultures where property is tenuous and easily stolen (this is also similar to street gangs in many areas).

          Where agriculture and civilization provided stable societies, where one’s livelihood were not so easily coopted, behavior is much different.

          • Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            Re Jared Diamond: Where?

            /@

            • jay
              Posted February 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

              Going from memory now, I believe it was in Guns Germs and Steel (though I’ve read quite a few of his articles so I can’t swear to it)

              • Posted February 11, 2012 at 2:04 am | Permalink

                Thanks!

                /@

      • Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        That’s still pretty incomprehensible. I and most people I know don’t default to violence when family members are insulted.

        I’d call it straight-up pathological behavior with no analogue in normal, well-adjusted people.

    • Jim Jones
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      “If you break down a long argument of theirs step by step they may even agree with you each step of the way – until you get round to showing a contradiction that has occurred, or that an earlier sub-argument or premise is unfounded.”

      I’ve seen exactly the same effect with certain criminal cases where the defendant is particularly hated. They grudgingly agree to each step until you get close to the point where they see that you will prove the defendant is innocent and then their brain starts screaming at them and they desperately try to divert the argument with some irrelevant or incorrect ‘fact’. It’s like trying to jam a reluctant cat into a cardboard box – won’t go there. The vast majority of the public have brains like this.

    • Vaal
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Ron,

      I agree. I’ve been in the trenches debating with theists for going on decades now, and it is always unnerving to watch what religion does to a mind when you hit that “wall” they won’t go past. It’s like talking to a normal person, who becomes brain-damaged in front of your eyes as the argument turns to his/her religious beliefs.

      I always picture deeply held religious beliefs like a sort of “Logic Black Hole” in the brain. Like physics, things “move and act normally” outside the influence of the black hole, the person can reason about non-religious subjects. But the closer you get to his religious beliefs, especially the ones most dear – the black hole – the more everything distorts and logic and reason sort of disappear into the event horizon.

      Take the person back from that black hole of belief to another topic and, like magic, they can reason again.

      Damned weird.

      (I should say that this is a generalization…it can apply to us non-theists as well on some subjects we hold dear, and not all theists believe for the same reasons. But…this effect seems most consistent and vivid when I deal with theists).

      Vaal

  6. daveau
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger.

    Count me in! They can have my soul in compensation.

  7. DMB
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I don’t suppose we’ll see an Islamic Enlightenment any time soon, but I do know good Muslims who are struggling to tow their fellow religionists out of the Dark Ages.

    • Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t Islam already HAVE its enlightenment several centuries ago? Things like mathematics, science, literature, etc were well advanced of the West.

      Then something happened. What?

  8. vel
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    as always the gods are just as pathetic as the people who worship them.

  9. Hempenstein
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Probably comparable to the attitude that drove the crowd reactions at the North Korean funeral.

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, in a word – Fear.

  10. Posted February 9, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The man is clearly bereft. This is an emotional moment for us all. Let us weep.

    In the meantime, I will be purchasing a panic room equipped with Ma Deuce and a cadre of Navy SEALS.

    • Posted February 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I’m so unfamiliar with the acronym that I can’t help but imagine them all balancing balls on their noses and honking little horns. Do take a good supply of fish.

  11. Mike Lee
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    When you are brought up in such a strait-jacketed religious world and it is made absolutely clear from an early age that criticism will never be tolerated, this type of behaviour will perpetuate itself with each generation. What’s the difference between Islamists and the devotion to the “living god” witnessed in North Korea? I find it also extraordinary how we see daily the obsenity of what is happening in parts of the Arab world – very often between Sunni and Shite Muslims and where I live in Cape Town virtually no comments in the local press!
    But let there be any altercation between Palestinians and Israelis and letters written by Muslims quckly appear in the print media here!

  12. Nicolas Perrault
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Fear of violence “proves” Islam’s “truth.” This is raw totalitarianism. One cannot conceive of a more troubling and dangerous foundation.

  13. Steve Smith
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Now Kashgari has fled SA.

    Al-Akhbar’s (LB) political analysis:

    Al-Omar and like-minded religious conservatives are in effect trying to strike a deal with the state along the following lines: “We supported you in countering unrest, strife, and the effects of the Arab Spring. We have previously resorted to violence against our jihadi sons, when they stood against you. We are not asking for much, we simple want to maintain the Islamic nature of our society.”
    For guardians of the temple, this means suppressing freedom of expression and imposing their views on the social lives of Saudis in the name of “fighting sharia violations.”
    They are more than ready to turn a blind eye to corruption, arbitrary detention, and other problems because they do not consider them “infractions against sharia.”
    Kashgari’s case has become a tool that is being used to demonstrate this movement’s present strength for several reasons.
    First, this group is concerned about the Arab Spring and its impact on the kingdom, which could limit the clergy’s power over society and incite the masses against the country’s authoritarian system. …

    A FRONTLINE interview with Al-Omar, who fought to retain anti-American and anti-western Saudi textbooks.

    • Sigmund
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      They reproduce the contentious tweets in that story.

      “On your birthday, I will say that I loved the rebel in you, which always inspired me. But I didn’t like the aura of holiness, I will not bless you.

      On your birthday, I see you in my face everywhere I turn. I will say that I loved some things in you, hated some things, and I did not understand many other things.

      On your birthday, I will not bow to you. I won’t kiss your hands. I will shake hands with you as an equal, and smile at you like you smile at me, and talk to you only as a friend, nothing more.”

      • Ray Moscow
        Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        I have to admit that I didn’t realise until now that insufficient worship of Muhammed (such as considering him merely human) carried a death sentence.

        Since overtly worshipping Muhammed is also supposedly a sin, there has to be some seriously mental tension here.

        • cgilson
          Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

          You’d think that fact alone would clue people in that the whole thing is just a sham to allow the men in power to hold onto it…

          • Sigmund
            Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            As has been mentioned in this thread, the relatively recent mass availability of the internet has created an enormous culture clash in the middle east. Look at this weeping idiot or the cardboard Khomeini pictures and ask yourself what is happening when people are able to comment freely (or anonymously) rather than the previous situation where only accepted images were allowed and only one viewpoint was accepted.

            • Steve Smith
              Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

              Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s wiki bio:

              By the time she reached her teens, Saudi-funded religious education was becoming more influential among Muslims in other countries, and a charismatic religious teacher who had been trained under this aegis joined Hirsi Ali’s school. She inspired the teenaged Ayaan, as well as some fellow students, to adopt the more rigorous Saudi Arabian interpretations of Islam, as opposed to the more relaxed versions then current in Somalia and Kenya. Hirsi Ali had been impressed by the Qur’an before she could even read, and had lived “by the Book, for the Book” throughout her childhood.

              She sympathised with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and wore a hijab together with her school uniform, which was unusual at the time but gradually became more common. She agreed with the fatwa against British writer Salman Rushdie that was declared in reaction to the publication of his controversial novel The Satanic Verses. …

              Her identification as a Muslim suffered a strong blow after September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001. After listening to videotapes of Osama bin Laden citing “words of justification” in the Qur’an for the attacks, she writes, “I picked up the Quran and the hadith and started looking through them, to check. I hated to do it, because I knew that I would find Bin Laden’s quotations in there.” She decided that, despite her upbringing, she had to regard the Qur’an as relative—it was a historical record and “just another book”.

              The final blow to her faith was her reading of The Atheist Manifesto (Atheistisch Manifest) of Leiden philosopher Herman Philipse. She renounced Islam and became an atheist in 2002.

  14. raven
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Almost makes me believe in the gods again.

    Thank the gods I wasn’t born a Moslem in the middle east.

    Allah and Mohammed aren’t looking very powerful here if they are afraid of one atheist. I’ve seen scarier looking mice.

    • Chris Booth
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      You are right. A mouse couldn’t care the least if one is an atheist. That would be a non-issue. “Does the cat believe? Pffft.” Mousie cares not, aye or nay! Mightier than goD by definition. And a mouse would be delighted to frolic in the cheese right under the nose of an a-mouseist cat.

  15. raven
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    You never want to say never. Although right now an Islamic Reformation isn’t even on the far horizon.

    Hitchens: Xianity lost its best defense when it stopped burning people at the stake.

    Islam still has the power of killing in a lot of places. Religions don’t even have to kill too many people to terrorize the rest into silence.

    • Jim Jones
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Religions are spread by these four methods, usually used in order:

      Deceit
      Fear
      Torture
      Murder

      When was it ever otherwise?

      • Chris Booth
        Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Jim Jones, I like your list, but I’d suggest a difference. Your list in that sequence is how a religion is maintained. It spreads by the same list in reverse order.

  16. Knuckle Pushups
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    These picnic table cloth headed MF’s wouldn’t know an atheist if they saw one riding a camel. He gets the Oral Roberts/Jimmy Swaggart Weepy Pedophile Cleric Award for Thursday. I mean, ALLAH DAMNIT, WE’RE ALLAH’S MESSENGERS AND THEY JUST WON’T LISTEN TO US! So. let’s destroy their city. OK, bye.

    • Mary - Canada
      Posted February 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Mocking is the only thing to do at this moment in history

  17. Circe
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Since nobody has done this yet, here is a dose of the great Iranian poet Omar Khayyam:

    The Koran! well, come put me to the test–

    Lovely old book in hideous error drest–

    Believe me, I can quote the Koran too,

    The unbeliever knows his Koran best.

    And do you think that unto such as you,

    A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew,

    God gave the Secret, and denied it me?–

    Well, well, what matters it! believe that too.

    Old Khayyám, say you, is a debauchee;

    If only you were half so good as he!

    He sins no sins but gentle drunkenness,

    Great-hearted mirth, and kind adultery.

    But yours the cold heart, and the murderous tongue,

    The wintry soul that hates to hear a song,

    The close-shut fist, the mean and measuring eye,

    And all the little poisoned ways of wrong.

    (from the Richard Le Gallienne translation)

    • Circe
      Posted February 9, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      that should have read “great Iranian mathematician, poet and philosopher, among other things” rather than just “great Iranian poet”. It’s a pity nobody would call for my head for having disrespected the great Khayyam by failing to list all of his greatness.

      • Mary - Canada
        Posted February 11, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for posting

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes, thanks. Most apt.

  18. Chris Booth
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Ibn al Kill’em called for the sWord,
         And wept for an apostate’s death:
    “Vengance is mine, for I wield the Lord,
         And I pray with the holiest breath.”

  19. Marella
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    The sobbing cleric calls for Kashgari’s punishment for ‘cursing the prophet’ but I can’t see where the prophet was actually cursed. So it appears that just saying you won’t worship the prophet curses him. I also note that the cleric is guilty of ‘shirk’ in that he associates God and Mohammad calling Mo “the crown prince”. This is the worst sin in the whole of Islam (or one of them) and carries a death penalty too, so before he beheads Kashgari he’d better behead himself.

  20. Veroxitatis
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s a grave mistake to single out a person such as this. It merely allows people such as the Archbishops of Canterbury & York (and fellow travellers such as ex. PM Blair) to differentiate radicals from peaceful Muslims, as if all would be well were Islamism to become Islangicanism. We need to remember this is what the Abrahamic Faiths are about. That Christianity for the most part does not share views such as this cleric owes nothing whatever to insight gained within the church but everything to The Enlightenment, the march of science and the development of secular administrations and judicial systems.
    The madness which they are no longer able to practise has merely been posponed to the “Day of Judgment”.

  21. dunstar
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    lolz. I guess God is very sensitive.

  22. DV
    Posted February 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    You’d think an all powerful God would be perfectly able to mete out appropriate punishment on the offender without help. But apparently God’s rights and honor have to be defended by mere humans. And why? Because God threatens to unleash punishment on the faithful if they don’t punish the apostate? Oh I get it. God is powerless against those who don’t believe in him!

  23. John Weiss
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    It would help to clarify religious thought if you had your cat on the keyboard. It solidifies thought in strangest way.

    Gods abound and we silly nits will never ascertain their true nature, as we will never ascertain ours. Congruencey perhaps?

  24. Tim Harris
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    According to the BBC Kashgari has been ‘detained’ in Malaysia after a request from Interpol, preumably in consequence of a request from the Saudi government. ‘It is unclear whether he will be extradited,’ says the BBC. Diawl! (Welsh for ‘the devil!’)

    • Chris Booth
      Posted February 10, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Wow. That is worrisome news. Perhaps he should have fled to a non-Muslim country.

      And perhaps Interpol should review its policies regarding the extradition of innocents to face death. Here in the U.S., we acquiesced to the NAZI/Vichy requests to round up and pack off to France those of Jewish extraction who were French citizens. (My favorite professor married his first wife, a young French woman who was Jewish; this saved her life, but all her family disappeared.) The U.S. did wrong in taking part in the rounding-up and sending-off. It might be in accord with the everyday interchanges of sovereign nations, but when innocents face death on repatriation because authorities are murderously bonkers, it should probably not be acceded to. That is why we have asylum and refugee categories.

      Then again, he gets to be another type of Muslim martyr. But as an apostate, he’ll probably get the clerics’ damaged goods….

      • Mary - Canada
        Posted February 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Very disconcerting when international agencies acquiesce to such ridiculous, hysterical demands

  25. Kharamatha
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    This reminds me, I just read that Arceus flips the hell out over a small theft and throws a universe-shattering fit in the new Pokemon movie.


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