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  •  December 23, 2012, 09:25 PM

    Below is the post that formed the inspiration for this video.

    The wording has been altered slightly in the video, but most of it is verbatim.

    Just sent the following to an old Muslim friend of mine, following his request that I call him to "talk." Thought I'd share:

    Honestly bro, the reason I haven't really kept on touch with people is because the whole episode rerun is getting quite old. If I didn't already know how the show is likely to end, I might be interested in watching it along with you, but based on my past experiences thus far, I'm pretty familiar with how it goes.

    First, we'll likely discuss the formation of the universe and why, based on scientific knowledge, I no longer believe that a deity is a necessary part of the equation. We'll probably talk about its complexity and the likelihood that everything could have formed on its own. At which point, I'll concede that even if I agree that there could have been some type of creative force, what evidence you have to identify that force with the particular deity you believe in? I'll then point out the inconsistencies between modern scientific knowledge and the knowledge of the author of the Qur'an. I'll note that the author of the Qur'an clearly had a view of the universe that was not incompatible with a geocentric one, and, indeed, gives us no indication that he had any idea to the contrary. I'll point out the silliness of verses that talk about stars being used as missiles to drive away devils, the absurdity of the idea that the sun prostates itself under Allah's throne at night, and the falsity of the claim that our tiny and relatively insignificant planet was created before the stars and heavens. We'll go back and forth on those points, until ultimately, you'll realize that you won't convince me and I'll realize that I won't convince you. We'll then probably move on to a different topic. Maybe ethics?

    I'll talk about how torturing flawed creatures eternally is, in my view, completely incompatible with any idea of mercy, particularly infinite mercy. I'll point out the irony that the only unforgivable sin in Islam, shirk, is one where no one at all is harmed (since Allah is not harmed by shirk.)

    I'll point out the moral and ethical problems presented by the policies Muhammad initiated, including:

    • preemptive warfare and the raiding of unarmed caravans,
    • attacking villages at dawn, murdering the men, and forcing the women into sexual slavery,
    • beheading the males of an entire tribe after examining the boys genitals for pubic hair and forcing their women into sexual slavery, all for the alleged transgressions of a limited number of them,
    • and, most disturbingly, entering into a life long, sacred union with a six year old child and having sexual intercourse with a nine year old child.

    I'll mention that if you believe that these things would be acceptable today, then we have a serious problem on our hands. And if you don't believe that these things are acceptable today, then you are proving my point that Muhammad was not a model for all humanity and that Islam is not God's applicable formula for all times.

    We'll then move on to new topic, maybe evolution. I won't really argue that point, I'll let you talk about your ideas on evolution. I would assume, given your knowledge and background, that you must accept some form of evolution by natural selection. I'll then let you explain why you believe that a supernatural addition to your evolutionary model is necessary and ask you what proof you have to support your claims. I'll then point out the inconsistencies between the Islamic narrative (Adam crated from clay at sixty cubits tall and hawa created from his rib) and the fossil record, DNA evidence, and scientific consensus. I'll hear your reasons for why you still insist on believing what you believe and ask you ultimately why any one else should be expected to come to the same conclusions that you have based on the evidence. I'll then ask you if it seems just, or even reasonable, that a wise and all merciful being would subject his creatures to grotesque sadistic torture for reaching different conclusions based on the evidence they have available to them.

    We'll then move on to a different subject, maybe the so called "scientific miracles" in the quran. I'll ask two simple questions:

    • Do the brief, vague, obscure descriptions in the quran really portray the complexity of the scientific knowledge that you claim they represent?
    • And, was there really no one before Muhammad's time who ever made similar observations?

    I will argue that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding no, and therefore, the claims are not miraculous at all.

    We'll them move on, perhaps, to all the plagiarized legends in the quran. I'll recommend that you don't take my word for it. Instead, do your own research into the heretical infancy gospels and the stories of Isa in the quran, or the legends of the Alexander romance and the story of thul qarnain, or the story of the people of the cave and the Syriac legend of the seven sleepers. Our the story of the cow in Surat Al baqarah and the strange passages in Deuteronomy 21 of the Jewish Bible. None of these copied legends strike me as revelation, or indeed, anything new.

    Maybe then I'll draw your attention to the striking similarities between Muhammad's biography and that of other delusional cult leaders. I'll recommend that you research the life of Joseph Smith, founder of the mormons. He too was uneducated and claimed to have revelations from an angel that replaced, completed, and superseded earlier revelations. He too command his followers to migrate to a colony he founded to escape persecution. He too was a radical polygamist who married many women with different reasons (excuses) to justify his marriages. He too sanctioned holy war to spread and defend his faith. Indeed, a comparison between the biographies of cult leaders like Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, and David Koresh reveal many striking similarities. I have to wonder why we so vehemently rebuke some cult leaders while passionately defending others.

    Once we realize that our conversations aren't going anywhere, I'll probably end up recommending a couple of books.

    • Misquoting Jesus
    • God's problem
    • God is not great
    • Why evolution is true
    • Understanding Muhammad
    • And my favorite - The God delusion.

    You'll end up praying for me, or cursing me, or both. I'll tell you to get back in touch with me after you've read the aforementioned books. You'll either refuse to read them and call me astray, or actually read them and go through a similar process I did.

    I'll also direct you to the YouTube channels of CEMB Admins and strangestdude.

    We'll agree to disagree and you'll be left with the dilemma of hating one of your best friends and believing he should be killed or... agreeing with him! ... Let me know how that goes.

    Come check out more videos, and and subscribe to the CEMB Admins Youtube channel. Smiley

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  •  December 18, 2012, 11:31 PM


    Many people, whether they articulate it openly or not, wonder why certain issues seem to provoke a lot of Muslims into violent protest with great passion, while other issues are met with deafening silence or apathy.

    Much of this is due to the nature of religious identity politics, and the self-image of Islam as a collective ideology that stands in a grand and noble opposition to a hostile, non-Islamic world.

    This may also be because it is so much easier to point the finger outwards, than to introspect and deal with the dysfunctions that are internal to Islamic scriptures and traditions.

    Let's consider the growth of sharia courts in Muslim communities in Europe. Muslims often say that Islam is a religion that is concerned with matters of justice and equality.

    How then do we reconcile this self-perception with the reality of Islamic scholars, clerics and leaders promoting injustice and inequality in so many of the world's Muslim-majorty societies?

    Some forms of sharia law are gradually becoming institutionalized in Britain in stark contrast with the secular laws of the land. And the large Muslim silence and ambivalence on the matter of sharia law demonstrates how paralyzed Muslims feel.

    How is a Muslim, who defines him or her self as having surrendered to Islamic doctrines face Islamic traditions' reactionary, misogynistic and illiberal practices, which are at odds with secular modernity and equality?

    In October 2012, the second chamber of the British Parliament debated a bill introduced by Baroness Cox, that examines the influence of Islamic shariah courts in cities across Britain.

    The Daily Telegraph newspaper described how "One study estimated that there are around 85 Sharia bodies operating in Britain."

    "Rulings by informal religious councils and tribunals are sometimes no more consensual than rape, peers were told."

    The bill highlighted the horrifying levels of abuse, oppression, and denial of rights that British Muslim women were being subjected to by being coerced into submitting to sharia courts rather than appealing to common English law, which is their inalienable right as British citizens.

    One woman who spoke of her experiences said: "I feel betrayed by Britain, I came to this country to get away from all this but the situation is worse here than in my country of origin."

    Baroness Cox said: "These examples are just the tip of an iceberg as many women live in fear, so intimidated by family and community that they dare not speak out or ask for help."

    In response to this, a Muslim Member of Parliament* Baroness Uddin, said that the discussion of this bill, and the prospect of it being enacted would be seen by the Islamic community as "another assault on Muslims".

    Why would Baroness Uddin want to protect sharia courts in Britain instead of British women? Instead of fighting the misogynistic drift towards coercive sharia laws that are at odds with equality and rights for women within British society?

    This case highlights the crisis of Islam in the modern world. While sharia has been practiced all over Muslim-majority countries, it is now in the context of liberal secular societies that it is most obvious exactly how misogynistic and reactionary sharia laws are.

    Even to the average, moderate, relatively secular minded Muslim, openly disagreeing with sharia is a potentially traumatic thing - it might even be said that it is perceived in a way to be a declaration of unbelief - which is the very worst thing almost any Muslim believes she or he could do.

    Can a you remain Muslim AND admit that man-made laws, subject to human judgment, through democratic means, with room for adjustments, are superior to the fixed codes of God?

    Even if you, as a Muslim, enjoy secular liberal society, what is at stake when you admit that sharia law, like most outdated codes and laws, is misogynistic, oppressive, and regressive?

    In other words, for most Muslims to say this, in reference to Islam - which is a totalizing identity politics, along with a system of codes - is to state that the edicts enshrined in the Quran and Hadiths are somehow inferior to the laws of human society.

    That is deeply troublesome for believing Muslims to admit, even for most moderate Muslims. It strikes at the very heart of Islamic identity.

    Islam is not supposed to be subservient to anything. The sharia of Islam is not supposed to be secondary to the changeable laws of humans.

    Islam, according to Islam, is in its essence immutable and eternal - and all else must eventually submit to it, rather than the other way around.

    Or at least that is what we who were raised Muslim were taught to believe.

    We who were raised Muslim have a choice. Do we speak up for the rights of individuals among us? Or do we continue to accept a collectivized identity politics that we must never question or challenge no matter the cost?

    While support for collectivized Muslim identity politics is most loudly declared, the self-criticism that is sorely needed within Islamic communities tends to be done in whispers, out of fear of being ostracized from our family, friends, and clerics.

    But is it acceptable to live one's whole life in fear?

    Especially when we have the privilege of living in liberal, relatively free-er societies where our freedoms are guaranteed and protected by secular laws?

    If we who are here in open societies don't speak up, and don't challenge the dogma we were told we must surrender to, who will?

    Written by billy and allat
    Narrated by allat
    Produced by nesrin

    Published on 17 Dec 2012

    News article referenced in video: "Sharia courts as consensual as rape, House of Lords told"

    Music credit: Virtutes Instrumenti, by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under CC Attribution 3.0".

    *Correction: Baroness Uddin is not a Member of Parliament, but a member of the House of Lords. (Thanks to CEMB forum member David for the correction)

    Come check out more videos, and and subscribe to the CEMB Admins Youtube channel. Smiley

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