Muslims shut down university screenings of film about Islam and women

American colleges, it seems, are hardly bastions of free speech, a thesis eloquently documented on the website of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and in the book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of Debate, by FIRE founder Greg Lukianoff .(I have a spare copy which I’ll soon offer as a prize in a contest, but this book is mandatory reading for free-speech advocates).

We’ve already seen this with the revocation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s honorary degree at Brandeis (shame be upon them) this week.  Now we have yet another example of campuses caving into to Muslim threats, and in some ways it’s even worse.

There’s a new film, “Honor Diaries”, in which Muslim women speak out against the oppression of women endemic to their faith.  The description is here, and I’ll give an excerpt:

The film gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster.  Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.

Spurred by the Arab Spring, women who were once silent are starting to speak out about gender inequality and are bringing visibility to a long history of oppression. This project draws together leading women’s rights activists and provides a platform where their voices can be heard and serves as inspiration to motivate others to speak out.

It was scheduled to be screened on two campuses: the University of Michigan at Dearborn and the University of Illinois in Chicago. The results were almost predictable. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)—the same group that complained to Brandeis University—protested that the film was “Islamophobic”, and the two school duly canceled the screenings.

FOX News reports: (sadly, it is to such conservative venues we must turn to for this kind of information):

CAIR started a Twitter campaign a few days ago against the film, calling it ‘Islamophobic,’ the term groups such as CAIR use not to mean prejudice or fear against the religion, but a fabricated term used to denote anything unflattering to Islam.

It’s a tactic used by CAIR and others to successfully and often indefinitely quiet any criticism of Islam, even when it’s shining light upon the practice of honor violence and depriving young women of education, two central themes in the film.

This films is about genital mutilation, honor killing, and forced marriage of underage girls—as well as other misogynistic practices in many Islamic countries. It features nine Muslim women discussing and decrying such practices. And still, an American group of Muslims bays and whines, for they don’t want the dark side of their faith exposed.

This scenario is all too familiar, and we must stop giving in to that kind of pressure. College and universities, sadly, are even less open to such views than America in general, as Lukianoff documents in his book. Wedded to political correctness, American universities are all to ready to bow to ridiculous accusations of “Islamophobia.” How can Muslim women be Islamophobic.” They’re afraid of the trouble Muslims could cause if their feelings are hurt.

One of the women in the film, the eloquent activist Qanta Ahmed, a self-described “observant Muslim” and a physician in New York, speaks out against the canceling of the film:

With this act of censorship, the movie has become a metaphor for its message. Just like the women and girls it portrays, the movie has been silenced and its progenitors shamed.

While honor crimes take place in many cultures, they are most prevalent today in the Muslim-majority world and increasingly in Muslim diaspora communities settled in the West. Our movie examines the work of nine women activists, many of them Muslim, in defending and rescuing these victims.

 As an observant Muslim who has lived in Saudi Arabia, the center of the Muslim-majority world, as a woman of Pakistani heritage, and as a female physician who has identified and reported both adult and child victims of abuse, I contributed to the expert commentary in Honor Diaries, and did so willingly without compensation of any form. I did so in accordance with my values as a Muslim: We are mandated by Islam to expose any injustice, including among our own.

 Crying Islamophobia, and thus slandering the movie’s backers, Muslim groups have demanded that universities cancel these screenings. Contrast this with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last weekend, where my colleague Dr. Maha Al-Muneef was honored by President Obama for the humanitarian work she as a Saudi Muslim physician has performed in exposing the abuse of women and girls in her own country — work that won first the admiration and later the patronage of the Saudi monarch himself. If a country as religiously restrictive and theocratic as Saudi Arabia can tolerate educational and social campaigns exposing the violence against women and girls, why in a country as robust as the United States are Muslim groups permitted to stifle public discourse in the academic sphere?

. . . American universities, especially vulnerable to accusations of discrimination or even marginalization, are easily frightened and persuaded to do the bidding of entrenched political Islamists.

. . .True to their core Islamist — not Islamic — values, they seek to silence any examination of the deep-rooted plight of the most vulnerable in our own communities. Such examination would expose Islamist ideals as hollow and fundamentally misogynist. By crying Islamophobia, the critics marginalize women and girls, who are utterly dispensable when it comes to realizing the Islamist political vision.

Universities, of course, should be the strongest bastions of free speech, for that is where our youth learn the give-and-take of free discourse and how to weigh conflicting opinions. It’s shameful that these universities have bowed to the implicit threats of Muslims. Would they have cancelled films documenting the pedophilia of Catholic priests? I doubt it.

I have huge admiration for women like Ali and Ahmed (could someone please get them on the atheist/secularist speaker circuit?), who are, after all, endangering their lives by speaking out against the injustices of Islam. If you want to counteract this shameful censorship by American universities, the film has an Indiegogo campaign to support its screening throughout the U.S. You could do worse than donate a few bucks.

University of Michigan and University of Illinois—join Brandeis in the Dishonor Roll of Cowardice.


  1. francis
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink


  2. gbjames
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Shame and shame again.

  3. John Harshman
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that a valuable response would be to campaign for UC to show the film. As a UC graduate, I’d be up for that. But who would I write to?

    (People at other universities might want to look into that too.)

    • Robert Bray
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t it UIC rather than UC?

      • John Harshman
        Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        UC= University of Chicago. That’s where Jerry is. I was suggesting a substitute venue, in fact as many substitute venues as possible. What’s your alma mater?

    • Posted April 25, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Definitely, and I wonder about those people at Brandeis, if any are upset there school caved in to CAIR protests. Society needs to realize that CAIR spreads Islamophobia and religious chauvinism, propagating a culture that fears fundamental terror; and a society where citizens fear speaking. If CAIR wants to play Tag, You’re Islamophobic, they will lose.

  4. Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Another victory for conservative Islamists on this human rights issue, oddly supported by politically correct liberals (!?) What an odd couple!
    I can only hope that these recent clashes, and the widespread discussion they are causing, leads to more opinion pieces posted in print and online newspapers and magazines. Then, hopefully, the tide might shift and our officials will ‘grow a pair’.

  5. Posted April 10, 2014 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Contact info for U Michigan Dearborn:

    Daniel Little

  6. Sastra
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I have huge admiration for women like Ali and Ahmed (could someone please get them on the atheist/secularist speaker circuit?)

    I’ve heard Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak twice I think — iirc both times at Atheist Alliance conventions. The second time, however, was live-streamed from an undisclosed location not far from Long Beach CA where the convention was being held. Ali had received the Richard Dawkins Award and was supposed to give her acceptance speech on the Queen Mary — but there was only one entrance/exit and security (local and national) insisted it was too dangerous because of death threats from Islamists.

    • Larry Gay
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      One of my favorite memories of Hitch was from one of those meetings where Ali was accompanied by a body guard. Hitch said, from the podium, if anyone threaten her he would personally defend her. And I’m sure he would. He also said he thought everyone else would do so. That I’m not so sure about.

      • Filippo
        Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Reminds me of Dawkins’s remark: “We’ve lost our most powerful rhetorical artillery piece.”

  7. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Sad that we live in times when the institutions that embody our values and rights are subverted.

    • gravityfly
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Ain’t that the sad truth!

    • Robert Bray
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      It’s perhaps the other way around: we and our values are embodied in universities, as vestigial organs.

  8. Posted April 10, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Calling this political correctness understates the problem, in my opinion. I think it is more due to cowardice. The two of course are not mutually exclusive.

    I’m pretty sure that many people have already received death threats due to this. Unlike death-threats from other groups, like radical feminists or the far-left, death threats from Muslims tend to be taken much more seriously.

    Still, that is not a good enough excuse to back down. No one has the right to not be offended. As Mae West once said, “Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.”

    • Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      re M West’s “Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.”

      Lovely and perfect and courageous statement o’hers. I want to remember same.

      Thank you for posting.

  9. Posted April 10, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I am outrageously offended by the fear Muslims have of Enlightenment values, and I demand they immediately stop their incessant attacks upon the foundational core values of Western civilization.

    Shame on Islamophobiaphobists!


    • tinwoman
      Posted April 16, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      There’s a specific word to use for this: Boko Haram (Western education is forbidden– the name of a terrorist group)

  10. Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I posted and commented on FaceBook thus:

    Censorship speaks volumes, and allowing the worst in Islam to censor the words and experiences *of Muslim women* is to aid the powers of darkness in Islam’s internal conflict. The only possible response is to publicise, and help make the censorship itself counter-effective.

  11. Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I agree, shame on these universities. They’re on a very slippery slope.

  12. Kevin
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I wonder if they’ve ever heard of the Streisand effect?

    • Buzz
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      The reality is that the Streisand effect is actually not that common. A lot of people mention it when they hear about cases of censorship, as if hoping that it will kick in and defeat the censors. Unfortunately, most material, when suppressed, stays (more or less) suppressed.

  13. paxton
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Yes, these cancellations in the face of Muslim protests are cowardly and the Muslim treatment of women is vile.

    But Islamophobia is real and dangerous. It was a major factor in the disastrous US/UK invasion of Iraq, agitated for missile strikes on Syria, and is now beating the drums for an attack on Iran. Today’s WSJ contains a prime piece of evidence that Islamophobia is still an insidious force in the US. An op-ed by one of the original neo-cons and agitator for war against Muslims, Norman Podhoretz, seeks to undermine the peace initiative in Israel.

    Islamophobes are not secularists pointing out the retrograde nature of Muslim societies, they are religionists, Christians and Jews, most of whom assert that Israel has a god-given right to the “Promised land”. The Christians take this one step further, saying that the return of the Jews to Israel is a necessary precondition for the end-times when the Christians will enter heaven and the Muslims and Jews will be consigned to hell.

    Freedom of speech yes, but with eyes wide open to the machinations of war-mongers who seek to turn criticism of Islam into justification for war on Islam.

    • gbjames
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Regarding Iraq, I think you confuse Islamophobia with Oiliophilia.

      Which is not to deny the existence of religionist hostility to other (false) religions. Does this deserves a special name, though? Or do we also need “Christianophobia” to cover attacks on Christians, especially in the Middle East and parts of Africa? (We already have “anti-semitism” to use for one traditional variant of the theme.)

      • paxton
        Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        gbjames, The animosity of religions toward one aother is one of the greatest evils religion has inflicted upon humanity. We didn’t need to invade Iraq to get access to Iraqi oil. Saddam was willing to sell it on the world market. No other good explanation has been offered, and I think it would be foolish to underestimate the role of religious fervor, even possible messianic visions, on Bush and Blair’s part. The US armed forces are heavily evangelical Christian and anti-Islamic. Those who agitate fear of sharia law, in places where few Muslims live, are expressing a general hostility towards Islam, that if directed against Judaism (e.g. outlaw the Torah) would rightly be regarded as anti-semitism.

        • Filippo
          Posted April 10, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          “Those who agitate fear of sharia law, in places where few Muslims live, are expressing a general hostility towards Islam, that if directed against Judaism (e.g. outlaw the Torah) would rightly be regarded as anti-semitism.”

          Just congenially curious: if an adherent of Islam one day decided to leave the faith and/or declined to be further beholden and subjected to sharia, would that be fine with you personally?

          • paxton
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:04 am | Permalink

            ” if an adherent of Islam one day decided to leave the faith and/or declined to be further beholden and subjected to sharia, would that be fine with you personally?”

            I think he/she should be stoned to death, of course. 🙂 If you are wondering whether I am Muslim, the answer is not even close. I grew up Presbyterian and have been a firm atheist for over 40 years. I have nothing good to say about Islam and welcome any apostasy from that benighted creed. I do have something good to say about Muslims; they are human like me. No matter how misguided, they should not be demonized or dehumanized because they are Muslim. This, demonization and dehumanization of Jews, is what I call anti-semitism. Criticism of policies of the state of Israel is not anti-semitism, nor is criticism of the policies and behaviors of Muslims or Muslim states Islamaphobia.

            David Nirenberg, who I believe is a colleague of Jerry’s at the U of Chicago, has a recent book “Anti-Judaeism: the western tradition”, in which he highlights prevailing animosity towards Jews, based on stereotypes, even in places like medieval England, where there were few or no Jews. This is similar to anti-Shariah legislation in Oklahoma. Not congenial, though I thank you for yours.

        • Marella
          Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

          I have a general hostility to all religions, with Islam in pride of place due to it’s appalling treatment of women. Islam is a totalitarian religion with the stated goal of world domination. Should it achieve its goal, women, all women would suffer. I do not wish a life in seclusion, to be wrapped in a tent when I go out, and for my daughters to be married at aged 9, to 50 year old men. The USA has shown no reluctance to invade countries with valuable resources, whatever their religion. Anti-semitism is the hatred of Jews, not of Judaism. I do not hate Jews or Arabs or Muslims, I do dislike Judaism and Islam.

          • Isaac
            Posted April 11, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            ” I do not hate Jews or Arabs or Muslims, I do dislike Judaism and Islam.”

            This shibboleth about hating Islam but not Muslims has always had a strange ring to it. It sounds noble, sure, but what does it really mean? Could we by the same token say that we hate Nazism, but we love the Nazis? Or that we’re ok with the rapist, it’s rape that we disdain. The truth is that yes, Islam is a heinous ideology as are many religions (some more than others), but Islam isn’t a ‘thing’. Islam is nothing without its members who enable and actively support its seditious and divisive tenets.

            So it is true, Islam is a problem, but only because its subscribers are a problem.

            • gbjames
              Posted April 12, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

              You have a point, but only to a certain extent. Islam is a set of ideas in the heads of people. The ideas are bad. The bad ideas motivate bad behaviors. We care most about bad behaviors.

              Because religious beliefs are just ideas believers can, and sometimes do, abandon them. The people remain. We have nothing to gain by disparaging people.

              To the extent that being Muslim is an ethnic identity in addition to a set of religious beliefs a person can not entirely abandon being one. I suppose that view is arguable. We don’t argue over whether secular Jews exist, they do. On the other other hand we don’t often hear people talk about “ethnic Christians” (although you do hear “cultural Christian” from time to time.) “Arab” is clearly an ethnic descriptor. If you are born into an Arab family you can’t stop being Arab by changing your religious ideas. It seems to me that “Muslim” sits somewhere further away from the ethnic side of the scale.

              In any case, the point being made is that ideas and people are not the same. Horrible ideas can be held by otherwise decent people. So it is reasonable to be “strident” and “harsh” when discussing bad ideas while trying our best to be respectful of the humans we’re arguing with.

        • gbjames
          Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:32 am | Permalink

          Paxton… You may want to take a gander at Why We Did It.

      • Jim Jones
        Posted April 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Reminds me of the theme from “MacKenna’s Gold” (Old Turkey Buzzard, sung by Jose Feliciano).

        Just replace ‘gold’ with ‘oil’.

        He sees men come, he sees men go,
        Crawling like ants on the rocks below
        The men will steal, the men will dream
        And die for gold on the rocks below
        Gold, Gold, Gold, they just gotta have that gold
        Gold, Gold, Gold, they’ll do anything for gold

    • Trophy
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      There is a difference between anti-Islam speech and anti-Muslim speech.

      Real “Islamophobes” use anti-Muslim propaganda and they want to vote in anti-Muslim laws (for example, preventing Muslims from building mosques). They target people and the “foreign” demographics of their country. They should be called “Muslimophobes”.

      Conflating the anti-Islam speech and the anti-muslim is a victory for people in CAIR. For them, the top priority is *not* the protection of Muslims but the protection of *Islam*. If the right-wingers are the immoral bigotted acts against a religious minority, CAIR is doing the immoral act of prioritizing religion over people. Silencing Muslim women to preserve Islam is just a typical example.

      Coming from a Muslim country, it is definitely not unusual to see Islam given more rights and higher priority than people. And it is so easy to find evidence for it. For example: “Preservation of public expediency and Islam has priority over that of the individual.” from here. The idea is basically the Islamic version of “liars for Jesus”.

    • Korean Kat
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      When the Iraq War actually happened the well-understood reasons were oil, closure for the first Gulf War, revenge for Saddam’s attempt on Bush Sr.’s life, neo-con hubris vis-à-vis democracy building, and the infamous ‘9/11 link’ nonsense.

      Then as now, the dominant media discourse was one of deference to faith, with the ‘Religion of Peace’ meme in full bloom at the time.

      People like you only began to cite the Iraq War as ‘Islamophobia’ in recent years when the dearth of actual Islamophobic violence in the West became apparent (and when it became clear President Obama was not going to oblige your political views).

      I note the overlap between attitude like yours and:

      a. Paternalism that strips Iraqis (and foreign militants) of moral agency and instead literally blames the U.S. for every alleged post-invasion violent death.

      b. Refusal to distinguish between inadvertent civilian deaths (e.g. a drone strike) and deliberately-causing civilian deaths (e.g. terrorism). This is like refusing to see a moral difference between manslaughter and premeditated murder.

      c. That fixated hatred of Israel that some leftist display out of all proportion to the size of the conflict. But how dare someone call you an ‘antisemite!’

      • paxton
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Korean Kat: call me an anti-semite if you wish, but criticism of Israeli policies or the supernatural claims of the Jewish religion is not anti-semitism. I am also criticizing my own country’s policies, but I am not anti-American (I am a strong supporter of Obama and most of his policies, are his critics anti-American?).

        Your other allegations are just as unfounded: I am being paternalistic and denying Iraqis moral agency by blaming the coalition for the deaths in the Iraq war. Yes, I am aware that the majority of deaths was muslim om muslim, but how many of those deaths would have happened if we had not invaded? Are you being paternalistic in denying the US/UK coalition moral agency?

        And your excusing “inadvertent civilian deaths” in a military strike is heinous. If someone plants a bomb to murder you and misses you but kills your whole family, are they just “inadvertent civilian deaths”?

    • JBlilie
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      “But Islamophobia is real and dangerous. It was a major factor in the disastrous US/UK invasion of Iraq, agitated for missile strikes on Syria, and is now beating the drums for an attack on Iran.”

      Really? A major factor you say? A major factor?

      Syria is Muslim on Muslim.

      Iraq is in the hands of (and was always intended to be) … Muslims. It was the second verse to the 1991 Gulf War, which threw Muslim Iraq out of Muslim Kuwait. Don’t get me wrong, I was mostly against it (hard to argue against getting rid of Saddam and his entourage; but the rest of it, no). But Islmaophobia?

      Iran is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons (maybe) and, based on their past behavior, if they acquired them, they would use them to attack or blackmail their neighbors (and maybe others). Seems to me the “west’ has been pretty restrained towards Iraq since 1979 (aside from encouraging Saddam in the 1980s).

      Islamophobia? No.

      Now, for REAL Islamophobia, I think there is justifcation. We should be afraid of Islam. At least the kinds that favor a global caliphate, killing “infidels” and apostates, and placing the hwole world under their idiotic, medieval “legal” system. We should oppose this with everything we have.

      Muslims should be free to exercise their religion (in my country the US). But they must adhere to US norms. They don’t get to impose Shariah or gag free speech.

      You should be afraid. They are already winning: viz. Brandeis, Michigan, and Indiana.

      Read this.

      • JBlilie
        Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        … towards Iran since 1979 …

      • paxton
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        JBlilie: “Syria is Muslim on Muslim.”

        Do you really think the Syrian civil war would be happening had we not stirred up sunni-shiah hostilities and destabilized neighboring Iraq?

        “hard to argue against getting rid of Saddam and his entourage”

        And that justifies a military invasion leading to the deaths of more than 100,000 Iraqis? Yes, Iraq is still Muslim, but dominated by shiites rather than sunni. Is it a surprise that Iraq, formerly Iran’s biggest enemy is now their biggest ally? So now we should do a repeat on Iran?
        (to whom you say we have been so “restrained”, harmful sanctions notwithstanding.)

        “Iran is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons (maybe)”

        Yes, and our “allies” Israel and Pakistan already have nuclear weapons, and based on their past behaviors, do you think they will not use them?

        “You should be afraid [of Islam]. They are already winning: viz. Brandeis, Michigan, and Indiana.”

        So you are saying the withdrawal of an honorary degree or the refusal to show a film gives us reason to fear and hate (“for REAL Islamophobia, I think there is justification”) them, but invasions, mass slaughter, and holding millions of people captive gives them no reason to fear and hate us? I think your sense of proportion is skewed.

    • John K.
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      It can get tricky when a religion dominates a culture and an ethnic group as well. Surely there are people who fear and attack those who practice Islam on the basis of xenophobia, the different and unfamiliar religion is just piled on all the other unfamiliar cultural aspects that some racists will use to bolster their case.

      Antisemitism is most certainly racially motivated, even those Judaism is a religion and not a race. There are bigots who make the religion racial, and it become racism. Yet criticism of Jewish doctrine is seldom attacked as being racially motivated, and for good reason. That type of accusation is little more than an ad hominem. Even if the one uttering criticisms is motivated by racism, it is the content of the criticism that matters.

      One does not get the right to place their feelings ransom against criticism. I have no desire to outright offend or ignore the feelings of other people, but should someone use those things as a shield to terrible practices I have no choice. In the same way that fighting against child soldiers results in harm to children, the fault lies more with those who put the children in that situation than those left with only terrible options to choose from in dealing with them.

    • paxton
      Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      I just finished Sam Harris’ End of Faith and I was taken aback by his venom toward Islam. He criticizes Christianity for past evils, like the Inquisition and witch hunts. But his hatred of Islam is visceral and even violent. “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them,” writes Harris in reference to Islam. And he largely gives Christians and Jews a pass in the middle east conflicts, as if Muslim atrocities on others arose from a vacuum.

      CJ Werleman of Alternet has an excellent article out today that emphasizes the strange alliance of atheists with right wing Christians in Muslim bashing, that I have noticed in some of the comments here:

      While commenters here criticize Christians for many things, one seldom hears comments about the Christian role in the devastation of the rest of the world by Europeans between 1500 and the present. Inevitably, with the flag came the cross, and even after the withdrawal of the colonial occupiers, the missionaries stayed on to compound the damage done. Suggestions that Muslim violence may owe something to the Imperialism to which they have been subjected are usually met with ridicule. Atheists who are quick to condemn Christians for every incursion into the secular realm (e.g. 10 commandments in courthouses) seem to think it is delusional to suggest that Christian zealotry and prejudice may have played a role in the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US/UK led coalition of the willing.

      Judaism gets an even bigger pass. How often do we see atheist denunciation of the misogyny of Orthodox Jews, much less the brutality of Israeli policies in the occupied territories, or the ludicrous claim that the Jews have a god-given right to the “promised land”. Buddhism too is usually regarded tolerantly. Seldom mentioned is the Buddhist persecution of Muslims in Myanmar, or Hindu persecution of Muslims in India.

      All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. And when push comes to shove, it always seems that our kinds of animals are the most equal.

      • gbjames
        Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        I think you hear atheist complaints about these other forms of religious persecution in general proportion to the scale and proximity of the offenses. Islam gets the brunt of it because that’s where the highest frequency and most deeply rooted offenses tend to occur.

        • paxton
          Posted April 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          Confirmation bias?

          • Isaac
            Posted April 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            Paxton, can you name one religion that is causing more trouble than Islam today? Do you actually believe that all religions are equally pernicious all of the time? Wouldn’t you agree that criticism of religion ( or any ideology for that matter) should be commensurate with the danger that this represents? If we were living in XVI century Spain, trust me, Islam would not be receiving this much attention. Catholicism would.

  14. Marie
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Ain’t it ironic how the very reason that institutions are revoking and censoring is due to knowing the truth about all that Islam stands for and stepping back in fear of it. If I were a devout Muslim with any intelligence I would view this as a form of mistrust rather than any form of respect.If you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t then it is far better to take the stand against religious oppression and mutilation.

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    “FOX News reports: (sadly, it is to such conservative venues we must turn to for this kind of information):”

    A clock which is stopped is correct twice a day!!

    (Come to think of it, a clock running backwards is correct 4 times a day!)

  16. JBlilie
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Speechless with disgust. 😦

  17. Bhagwan
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    FOX NEWS is on the right side of this! HAHA. About bleeping time the liberals woke up. Rachel Maddow? Stop talking to CAIR ffs

  18. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    We should condemn the critiqueophobic position of the religious.

  19. krzysztof1
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    This is shameful. Those Muslims calling for censorship seem to be wanting to cover up the seamy underside of this religion. They think they can get away with it by calling the film “un-Islamic.” I don’t notice that they are saying that the film lies or exaggerates. I think they fear that people will find out the truth!

  20. krzysztof1
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    . . . Also, I think the universities are mostly afraid of rocking the boat. I don’t see much “principle” going on here. They just don’t want demonstrations (or worse) to have to deal with. I do know something about the administrative mentality.

  21. Toni
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I can not understand how a “observant Muslim” – especially an observant Muslim woman – can remain observant in the face of this kind of oppression. It boggles the mind.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I’m thinking

      • Doug
        Posted April 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        The same way that Catholics remain loyal after the revelation that the Church was protecting child molesters–they convince themselves that a good religion has been “twisted around” by people who misuse it. “Yes, humans are sinners, but humans don’t run the Church, God does.” Yadda yadda yadda.

  22. Gordon
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    It is unfortunate that universities do not stand up to pressures such as this – and it is of course not only Muslims: someone yesterday mentioned Brandeis pulling a photo-exhibition after Jewish/pro-Israeli groups put pressure on the University and I’m sure readers can come up with dozens of other examples.

    Giving into such groups not only encourages them, but also others, to adopt such tactics. Freedom of speech and the stated values of universities demand that they stand up to all such attempts at censorship. Once this form of pressure is shown to work it will be inevitably applied to individual courses and lecturers (not that it already isn’t).

    Universities generally need to develop some internal fortitude and make it explicit that this bullshit will not be tolerated.

    • paxton
      Posted April 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Excellent observation Gordon. It will be interesting to compare the publicity and venom the two cases generate.

      • Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Okay, Paxton, you’ve made 8 comments out of 56 here, and that’s more than I prefer (see the Roolz). I object to Brandeis bowing to pressure to remove any pro-Palestinian exhibits as well, but you’re always on one side of the issue and you’re getting annoying. And yes, I think your comments have an anti-Semitic tone. You appear only when this issue is discussed, and only to defend Palestine and diss Israel.

    • Mi5ael
      Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      “Sorry,” but how many Christians (and I’m not fan of Christianity by any means) tried to stop the filming, screening, or distribution of, say, “Kidnapped for Christ”?

      Yes, other religious groups do grumble from time to time, but it’s only Moslems who get this vocal, bellicose, and often violent.

  23. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    “One of the women in the film, the eloquent activist Qanta Ahmed, a self-described “observant Muslim” and a physician in New York, speaks out against the canceling of the film:”

    I think this is an example of the general acceptance of the ‘moderate’ observers of, in this case Islam, providing both a bedrock and an umbrella for the ‘religion’ itself, and the more extreme examples of it.

    In a way she has only herself to blame for giving credence to this rubbish.

  24. Kavalkade Krew
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Andy Kaufman's Kavalkade Krew Featuring The Wandering Poet.

  25. Josh
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    It seems that all Muslims must do to defend against critisicm of their beliefs and practises is scream “Islamophobia” and have critics censured. It’s a clever tactic, really, to exploit both your minority status and the taboo surrounding criticism of religious beliefs in such as way as to successfully avoid having to make any actual arguments; something that must be difficult when your truth-claims rest upon the most palpably unreliable espitemology going: faith.

    I find it both astonishing and alarming that so many people cow to the rhetoric of “Islamophobia” in instances where legitimate and much-needed criticism is being levelled. Are these people (particularly those on the left) really prepared to give such a retrograde ideology free-reign to errode many of the hard-won rights enjoyed in the west – such as gender equality – for fear of offending Muslims? It certainly looks that way.

    The sooner we can break the taboo of criticising religious beliefs, the better!

  26. tinwoman
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    I’m just going to toss this out there– I have progressive Muslim friends who hate this film sight unseen because of its background–the film was sponsored and produced by a right wing think tank with links to Zionist groups and Fox news. It’s basically their propaganda project. I’ll have to admit this gave me pause, too. Shouldn’t we consider this when talking about the film? It’s not hard to find criticism of The Honor Diaries to back this up. I’d rather not praise anything put out by the Heritage Institute, thank you.

    • gbjames
      Posted April 13, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      I think the issue is that your progressive Muslim friends, and progressives, cede the ground of critical analysis to the right wing. (I say this as a frustrated progressive.)

      This “friend of my enemy is my enemy” thinking is poisonous and morally unsound. The Heritage Institute may be motivated by bad politics and its own religious foolishness. But the horrors of Islam really do exist.

      Progressives like these are falling into the old Association Fallacy.

  27. tinwoman
    Posted April 13, 2014 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    To be specific, it’s put out by the Clarion Project, something liberals would do well not to associate themselves with:

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