A Muslim-basher becomes an atheist-basher

I promised never to mention the name of a certain gentleman (henceforth called CG) again, on pain of having to give a free book to the reader who spots his name—and this post doesn’t count in that pledge). But I wanted to point this out because here we have a genuine example of Islamophobia. The Godless Spellchecker, responsible for earlier bringing CG low for plagiarism, now points out that CG had a past history of violent anti-Muslim sentiments. The stuff CG tw**ted is absolutely horrendous, and if you don’t think Islamophobia really exists, here we have an example—from a nonbeliever, no less.

What’s odd about CG is that his bigotry against Muslims has now turned into nasty bigotry against New Atheists, while he’s begun coddling Islam itself à la Glenn Greenwald and Reza Aslan. As for the gentleman’s previous anti-religious bigotry, he’s now issued a notapology that says this: “You see, New Atheists aren’t upset I was an anti-Muslim bigot, probable racist, in 2009. They’re upset that I’m not that now.”

“Probable” racist indeed! While Islamophobia isn’t technically racism, as Muslims aren’t a race, the “probable” part is a weasel word. And, as The Godless Spellchecker notes, none of the New Atheists whom TG continues to excoriate for “Islamophobia”, including Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins, have ever said anything as vile and anti-Muslim as TG did in his earlier incarnation. Nor can one equate TG’s deliberately antagonistic baiting of anyone who looks “Arabic” with the criticisms of Islam posted by much of our atheist community.

Frankly, I’m sick of those critics, particularly nonbelievers, who accuse New Atheists of both shrillness and Islamophobia. They are either ignorant or intellectually dishonest. (Perhaps I’m extra sensitive to this because I’m lately the receiving end of the shrillness canard.) But such accusations are always meant to deflect readers from the real issue: are the claims of religion true? How would we know? What does it mean to base ones morals, worldview, and actions on propositions lacking any evidentiary support? 

When someone plays the “strident” card, or conflates criticism of Islam with criticism of Muslims as people, you know they got nothing.

43 Comments

  1. sensorrhea
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s so pitiful, and yet annoying, when people thrash out their personality disorders in the global spotlight of the internet.

    • Posted July 4, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps we need a more specific term than the buzzword “Islamophobia”. I’d recommend “Islamofascistophobia” — fear of Islamist fundamentalist fascists — which is a perfectly reasonable fear, given their actions.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Gesundheit!

  2. Joseph Stans
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    It is apparent that people need something to hate. After the recent legal decisions, the ACA is OK, and the gays are OK so they have to find something clear and present to hate. It could have been harpsichords or hedgehogs but they chose atheists. OK.

    I don’t have the time or the interest to dwell on these shit-muffins.

    It is just important to remember that there is a whole culture of maybe millions of people in this country who hate as a hobby and are willing to do severe harm to property and and probably bodies.

  3. GBJames
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    sub

  4. Barry Lyons
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Love the last sentence. Perfect.

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow. What a lost individual in an erratic orbit. Hurtling from one apogee to another as he seeks approval from somebody.

  6. BobTerrace
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I feel that using the word Gentleman is a mislabeling of the individual. Certain Plagiarizer (CP) seems more appropriate.

    • Posted June 30, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I’m partial to “Copyist Juvenile” (CJ) myself.

  7. Posted June 29, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    “The stuff CG tw**ted is absolutely horrendous, and if you don’t think Islamophobia really exists, here we have an example—from a nonbeliever, no less.”

    No one denies that anti-Muslim sentiment exists, but I still say that calling this bigotry” Islamophobia” is wrong and only plays into the distortion of the word that we should be resisting.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we need a different word. There is a difference between fear and bigotry, although a lot of bigotry comes from fear.

      • TJR
        Posted June 30, 2015 at 3:52 am | Permalink

        Agree entirely.

    • Posted June 30, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes, muslimophobia is better, for obvious reasons. But even that still sounds like a cheap imitation of of “homophobia” — a brilliant term, because it locates the psychological mechanisms behind the problem.

      “Muslimophobia” lacks that psychological depth. And also, calling it a phobia fails to identify hatred, ignorance and stupidity, which are clearly dominant elements in this.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I can recall when the suffix “phobia” meant fear rather than hate, and I distinctly recall a period about 14 years ago when just about everyone I knew was afraid of anyone who looked or dressed like an Arab or a Muslim.

    Particularly on an airplane.

    At the time I worked for a company that organized conferences. The company had bet its existence on a large conference scheduled for October, 2001.

    Everyone cancelled, leaving my company with the tab for 600 hotel reservations.

    The fear is not an accident. It is the calculated product of quasi-military campaign. The fear may be largely irrational, but it is not racism. It is a reaction to actions calculated to induce fear.

    • Posted June 29, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      …everyone I knew was afraid of anyone who looked or dressed like an Arab or a Muslim.

      Or a Sikh, for that matter.

  9. Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I can recall when the suffix “phobia” meant fear rather than hate, and I distinctly recall a period about 14 years ago when just about everyone I knew was afraid of anyone who looked or dressed like an Arab or a Muslim.

    Particularly on an airplane.

    At the time I worked for a company that organized conferences. The company had bet its existence on a large conference scheduled for October, 2001.

    Everyone cancelled, leaving my company with the tab for 600 hotel reservations.

    The fear is not an accident. It is the calculated product of quasi-military campaign. The fear may be largely irrational, but it is not racism. It is a reaction to actions calculated to induce fear.

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    CGW is just a revolting person. When I first saw those tw**ts in the Godless Spellchecker’s blog a few days ago, I was horrified at the bigotry.

    I’m constantly annoyed at the mentality of those unable to separate criticism of a religion from people who follow that religion. A religion’s followers may or may not also be subject to criticism, depending on the way they conduct themselves. Most people have no problem separating the people from the theology when Christianity, Judaism etc are criticized, but can’t do it when Islam is questioned. Most Christians and Jews will laugh when extreme members of their faith are mocked by comedians, but in the West, it’s likely to invite violent jihad and accusations of bigotry.

    The irony is that in places like Egypt, Islamists are being mocked by Muslim comedians on TV as a way of fighting back against the romantic image they have for too many young people.

    • TJR
      Posted June 30, 2015 at 3:55 am | Permalink

      We need to keep emphasizing that when we criticise a religion we are supporting the victims of that religion, and the main victims of any religion are the followers of that religion.

  11. Hyde_Hill
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I agree with John Salerno. Really should stop using that non sense word. Muslimophobia is correct term if any. Also you switched from calling him CG to TG in the piece.

  12. revelator60
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Some happier news that isn’t too far off-topic–Foreign Affairs recently reviewed Simon Cottee’s book “The Apostates: When Muslims Leave Islam” and had this to say:

    “Several of Cottee’s subjects reported that their doubts about Islam and the existence of a God were further fueled by the ‘New Atheist’ movement and secular scholars, such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who were appealing both because of the authority of scientific critiques of religious myths, and philosophical and moral objections to Islamic prescriptions and proscriptions. Many of them reported regularly reading online materials and watching YouTube videos of other atheists and skeptics. Many of the young people named notable ex-Muslim skeptics such as Harvard Fellow Ayyan Hirsi Ali and Faith Freedom International Founder Ali Sina as helping them clarify their doubts and to understand their rejection of Islam in a way that Western atheists likely could not. […] What is clear from Cottee’s work is that the atheist movement is finding converts among Muslims.”

    The full review is here: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/2015-06-22/losing-their-religion

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Good. As is the case for young people over here subjugated under Christianity, members of other religions can also discover new ways of thinking thru the ubiquitous internet. The internet ranks up there with fire, printing, and the internal combustion engine.

  13. Posted June 29, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    sub

  14. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad you are pledging to never mention his name again. Most of the commenters on this site have better writing skills, intelligence and integrity than this person, who seems just to want fame and admiration yet they are not as well known. It’s just as I say with Anne Coulter and Donald Trump – just don’t engage them and they will fade into oblivion. It’s like the episode in the Simpson’s where they had to get rid of monstrous statues come to life by not looking at them. As Lisa Simpson sang, “just don’t look! Just don’t look!”

    • BobTerrace
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Most of the commenters on this site have better writing skills, intelligence and integrity than this person…

      Can we get a list of the exceptions to this? 😬

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      I see the short-fingered vulgarian Trump got canned from his idiotic TV show today because of his mindless jabbering against Mexicans.

      Look who’s fired now, shit-for-brains.

      • Randy Schenck
        Posted June 29, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Let’s really call it for what it is this republican party of backward thinking people. Just the fact that they would have a loony such as Trump running within this party is indication of the condition. It is a lost political ideology that does nothing but turn the clock back and say no to everything. They have been wrong on every social issue and program since the 1930s. It’s difficult to understand why it is not dead.

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    !*Selective*! shrillness and stridency measured out in proper proportions is just fine with me.

    Even though Dawkins has mildly annoyed me once in a while (esp re Elevatorgate), he is a great exemplar of this. Look at how deferential he is to astronomer-priest George Coyne, Anglican archbishop Rowan Williams, and then compare this to his relatively shriller outrage at Ted Haggard.

    Basically, I think that’s the way to do it.

  16. Posted June 29, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    ” a genuine example of Islamophobia”

    Please, Jerry, let us jettison this misleading ideological neologism. Use “anti-Muslim bigotry”, or “anti-Arab racism”, “anti-South Asian” racism etc as each case requires.

    These terms have the virtue of having greater accuracy, while avoiding the ideological load of “Islamophobia”.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Are you saying any aversion to Islam should be described as “bigotry” or “racism”? Suppose someone wishes to leave the faith of Islam; is s/he a “bigot” or “racist” on account of wanting to so leave? Just for the record, can you (dis-)affirm whether apostasy is punishable by death in Islam?

  17. ladyatheist
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t click. I’ll take your word for it.

    Outragers tend not to have much nuance in their thinking. It doesn’t really matter what they find outrageous. When they tire of one straw man they make themselves another.

  18. ladyatheist
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t click. I’ll take your word for it.

    Outragers tend not to have much nuance in their thinking. It doesn’t really matter what they find outrageous. When they tire of one straw man they make themselves another.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes when I post the post does not appear. If I hit reload a couple times, then it should appear.

  19. Vaal
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    As a WEIT reader I was also glad that CG was not going to be mentioned on the site again. Not that I have some enmity toward CG, but more because I’m weary of the personality clashes that seem to be pervading the public atheist movement…(and on-line, blogosphere etc in general.

  20. @eightyc
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m no fan of Werleman. Heck, I’ve been blocked by him on twitter.

    But these tweets are so ridiculous that they’re probably not serious and intended as jokes.

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 29, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      The vast majority of them are clearly jokes, and honestly some of them are pretty funny. One or two make legitimate points. A couple seem just plain rude and mean-spirited. The sentiment behind the jokes may be bigoted, but overall I don’t think his posts are anywhere near horrendous.

  21. SeigeEh
    Posted June 30, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Werleman makes a lot more sense now. He is overcompensating as a form of penitence for what he was like before.

  22. Posted June 30, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I must have come late to the party but why “CG” rather than “CJ” or “CW”?

    • ALe
      Posted June 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      “a certain gentleman (henceforth called CG)”

    • Posted June 30, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering about that too. I suspect it’s either due to a strong aversion to even mentioning his true initials, or it’s the kind of typo that a geneticist would make!

  23. Slumbery
    Posted June 30, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Well, as a whole it is a nasty collection, but there are a few comments that could have been written by Jerry (in a longer, more elaborated form). For example the parts where he questioned Islam being the religion of peace based on Koran quotes.
    If that is anti Muslim bigotry for Stephen Knight, then I am anti Muslim bigot for him too.

    • ALe
      Posted June 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Stephen Knight already noted that he doesn’t consider all of the comments to be bigoted or offensive. A few of them he posts up there because he considers them hypocritical, as in CJ himself would be up in arms if a “New Atheist” had tweeted the things he tweeted.

      • Slumbery
        Posted July 1, 2015 at 1:29 am | Permalink

        Ah, thanks for the clarification. I admit I used my “quick-reading” mode for the article. I agree, while these comments are not bigotry, they still very much pass as hypocrisy in the contrast of his later agenda.

  24. Posted June 30, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I think what we have here is simply a case of someone who’s anti-theism rested on an irrational foundation of bigotry. Once he came to terms with that bigotry he had no justification for his anti-theism. Now he assumes that anyone else who is an anti-theist must also be a bigot.
    Of course now his guilt over his past bigotry forces him to overcompensate by attacking anti-theists, and defending Islam. It also precludes him from seeing the rational justifications for anti-theism, particularly criticism of Islam.


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