Features

Richard Dawkins attacks Muslim bigots, not just Christian ones. If only his enemies were as brave

24 August 2013

9:00 AM

24 August 2013

9:00 AM

It’s August, and you are a journalist stuck in the office without an idea in your head. What to write? What to do? Your empty mind brings you nothing but torment, until a thought strikes you, ‘I know, I’ll do Richard Dawkins.’

Dawkins is the sluggish pundit’s dream. It does not matter which paper you work for. Editors of all political persuasions and none will take an attack on Darwin’s representative on earth. With the predictability of the speaking clock, Owen Jones, the Peter Hitchens of the left, thinks the same as Craig Brown, Private Eye’s high Tory satirist. Tom Chivers, the Telegraph’s science blogger, says the same as Andrew Brown, the Guardian’s religious affairs correspondent. The BBC refuses to run contrary views. It assures the nation that ‘militant’ atheism is as fanatical as militant religion — despite the fact that no admirer of The God Delusion has ever planted a bomb, or called for the murder of homosexuals, Jews and apostates.

Sharp operators could sell the same piece a dozen times without changing a word. Read the papers, and you will suspect that is exactly what sharp operators have done.

Cultural conservatives have always hated Dawkins for challenging traditional Christian beliefs. The liberal-left is fine with knocking Christianity, but it hates Dawkins for being intellectually consistent and tweeting — yes, that’s right, tweeting — against Islam too. Many of the charges against his inappropriate tweets are extraordinary. Jones denounces Dawkins for tweeting ‘Who the hell do these Muslims think they are? At UCL of all places, tried to segregate the sexes in debate’. If Jones can’t see what is wrong with segregation, then not even an equality course for beginners can save him.

But let me try to be fair. Dawkins has also tweeted against all Muslims — not just sexist god-botherers at University College London. I accept that generalising about Muslims can incite racism. It is all very well atheists saying that religion is not the same as race, because you are free to decide what god if any you believe in, but cannot choose your ethnicity. But try telling that to the persecuted Christians, Shia and Sunni of the Middle East. Their religious persecution is no different from racial persecution. I would go further and concede that Dawkins’s critics had other arguments that weren’t wholly asinine, were it not for a telling detail. They never stick their necks out and defend real liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims who are being persecuted in Britain right now.

[Alt-Text]


They stay silent because they are frightened of breaking with the crowd, of the faint threat of Islamist retaliation, and of absurd accusations of racism. Journalists want the easy life. They want targets who cannot hurt them. Dawkins has never hurt a fly, so he’s all right. Looked at in a certain light, however, the enemies of Nahla Mahmoud might not be.

I have picked on her, not because her case is unusual, but because it is so typical. She is a Sudanese refugee who became a leading figure in the British Council of ex-Muslims. Earlier this year Channel 4 gave her one minute and 39 seconds precisely to talk about the evils of Britain’s Sharia courts in Britain. In these institutions, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s, a man can divorce his wife by simple repudiation, and women who remarry lose custody of their children. One minute and 39 seconds may not sound long enough to list their vices. But it is one minute and 39 seconds longer than the BBC has ever given her.

Nahla described how she grew up under Sharia. She was ‘always dealt with as a second-class citizen, always bought up to believe that I am an incomplete human being [who] needed a man as a guard.’

She was shocked to find the same system here in her land of refuge. ‘Muslims have been living in Britain for hundreds of years and never needed sharia courts,’ she concluded. ‘Everyone should have equal rights and live under one secular law.’

She and her family have suffered for her simple moral clarity. Salah Al Bander, a leading figure in the Cambridge Liberal Democrats, went for her. (I was going to write, ‘who, surprisingly, is a leading figure in the Cambridge Liberal Democrats’ — but given the Liberal Democrats’ awful attitudes towards women and Jews, nothing they do surprises me anymore.)

Al Bander posted an article in Arabic on the Sudanese Online website (one of the most widely read sites in Sudan and throughout the Sudanese diaspora). He called her a ‘Kafira’ (unbeliever) who was sowing discord. These are words with consequences — particularly when Al Bander added, ‘I will not forgive anyone who wants to start a battle against Islam and the beliefs of the people…’ After mosques and Sudanese newspapers took up the campaign against her, religious thugs attacked her brother and terrified her mother. Nahla told me she is now ‘very careful when I go out’.

I understand that the Cambridge Liberal Democrats have had an inquiry and decided that Al Bander’s words were misinterpreted. My point is that women like Nahla are being terrified and abused every day in Britain. I have seen Richard Dawkins speak up for them as a matter of honour and a matter of course many times, but have never heard a peep of protest from his opponents.

One day there will be a reckoning. One day, thousands who have suffered genital mutilation, religious threats and forced marriages will turn to the intellectual and political establishments of our day and ask why they did not protect them. The pathetic and discreditable reply can only be: ‘We were too busy fighting Richard Dawkins to offer you any support at all.’

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Show comments
  • Luke

    I can’t help but feeling that this writer is completely bizarrely merging two issues. I have problems with a lot of what Richard Dawkins says. Atheism seems to me logical and I have no problem with the belief, but I do believe that he is very very wrong to be so offensive to all Muslims as if they are all one and the same and no, not in the conveniently chosen tweets used here but some of his others (such as written about in the Guardian here http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/08/richard-dawkins-tweets-islam-muslim-nobel ). However, my main issue with this article is that it seems to imply that you can’t disagree with Dawkins or take issue with anything the man says AND think that female genital mutilation and many of the practices being done in the name of Sharia Law is disgusting and do whatever you can to protect these innocent girls? I’m sorry but that’s just ridiculous. Who are these specific opponents that you are talking about? Are we talking only about people who have tried to face him in a debate, or anyone who’s ever written a negative article about him? Have you actually gone through and checked who has ever said anything against Dawkins and whether they have ever said anything against FGM? The fact is, Dawkins is massively famous so obviously if he says something then it will be far more widely reported than what a less famous / not famous person would say. Obviously – FGM is FAR more important to fight than Dawkins and I believe than if you ask any of his “opponents” then they would agree, but for some reason the papers believe that the latter makes better column inches.

    • Ade Sinden

      I think that’s more or less what Mr Cohen is saying.

    • Michael Murray

      makes better column inches.

      It’s not column inches anymore. It’s hits on the website. Hits are counted and reported so that you can sell advertising. Any kind of attack on Richard Dawkins is an excellent way of getting hits and not only will those who agree with your turn up in droves but so also will Richard’s passionate supporters. It doesn’t matter who wins of course as long as there are hits and you can sell more advertising. It’s desperate times in the newspaper publishing industry.

    • http://michael-taggart.com Michael Taggart

      Atheism is not a “belief”. It’s the absence of a belief.

      • UsAndRufus

        Same difference? Believing there is no God sounds the same as not believing in God to me.

        • http://michael-taggart.com Michael Taggart

          Okay, then we all have an infinite number of “beliefs”. You, for example, are a believer in the non-existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the non-existence of a huge diamond buried in your back garden. Oh look, we just stripped the word “belief” of any meaning.

          • UsAndRufus

            Not really, because I never said I did or didn’t believe in any of those things. If they came up in discussion, I would make a point on them and decide whether I believed or didn’t believe. Until they become part of a discussion, they are irrelevant and might as well not exist. I don’t possess a belief in them because I’ve never thought of them.

            Saying “I don’t believe in God” recognises the argument and gives you an opinion/belief related to the subject.

          • NoGods

            So can I list not-windsurfing as a hobby seeing as I don’t do that?

          • UsAndRufus

            I’ll get back to you, still considering this one :) Maybe you guys are right and atheism is lack of a belief…

          • NoGods

            :-)

          • balance_and_reason

            I am likely an atheist but operating under the by name is taking the hobby a bit far methinks.

          • Spyinthesky

            Well I am an Atheist and I believe in a lot actually and specifically that it is in the power of the human mind to develop a basis of right and wrong and a moral approach to life, After all the Greek philosophers did so without modern religion and within a society where their Gods were rarely used to justify it. The human mind is freed by not believing in imaginary Gods and is more mature in not needing fear of retribution should it not comply. And above all the fact that the Human mind (in a moment of weakness granted) actually invented the existence of Gods to direct them, it actually proves that that humans are very capable of all sorts of moral judgements things, good and bad, rather like the Gods they invent behave really. The advantage is that not having those invented gods means you have to take responsibility for your own actions which within a civilised society works rather well despite the inevitable faults. thinking a Deity can remove those faults is the biggest delusion of all it just takes away the guilt.

          • UsAndRufus

            This has nothing to do with the discussion of the word “belief”. Whilst an interesting argument, it would probably be better placed elsewhere :)

          • balance_and_reason

            Yeah, but where do we go next?

          • Icebow

            I am mystified at your accruing so many positive votes. You appear to talk of an ‘infinite number’ not in the sense of pi, e.g., but in that of the reciprocal of zero.

          • balance_and_reason

            I think it proves the existence of a greater power

          • Icebow

            Pseudo-mathematics proves nothing. However, it is balanced and reasonable to assume a greater power.
            Blimey, that was going back a bit!

          • balance_and_reason

            Haha…I think the speccie is running low on articles…spinning a few old ones through the rotunda.

          • tamimisledus

            If you assume that there is a greater power, then you obviously have no evidence that there is a greater power. It is totally irrational to assume (or believe) that something exists without evidence. The essence of reason is that it has to be based on evidence. Any other contention is just fantasy.

          • Icebow

            You need a new mind.

          • tamimisledus

            Your response is a clear indication that you have no argument, much less any evidence.

          • Icebow

            What evidence do you have for your assertion that ‘It is totally irrational to assume (or believe) that something exists without evidence’?
            [Sorry, this was meant to be in response to your subsequent reply.]

        • Kurt Knittle

          Asinine comment/tired argument. “You have to believe to not believe!!1!” Der…

          • UsAndRufus

            Apologies if you’ve heard the argument before. Any link to a decent discussion on it?

          • Kurt Knittle

            You’re wording it wrong. It’s “I don’t believe it god”, not “I believe there is no god”. If there’s no proof of something It’s unnecessary to believe there’s no proof. Hope that helps.

          • UsAndRufus

            Kind of get what you’re saying. I think I’ll just leave it here rather than causing any confusion 😉

        • Jennifer Nicole

          A lack of belief is taking the null hypothesis in science whereas believing something doesn’t exist is the other hypothesis to believing something does. It is semantics to most people, but there is a difference.

      • Icebow

        It’s a belief. If only in a negative way.

    • Richard Sanderson

      “Atheism seems to me logical and I have no problem with the belief”.

      Oh dear, oh dear…

  • RomanCandle

    Very well said.

  • NoGods

    It’s odd. After 2,000 years of trying, Christians have failed to convince 70% of the world that Jesus was the son of “god”. How much more time do they need? Time to face reality.

    • Bob Hutton

      You have missed the point. People will not repent of their sins and believe in Jesus unless God’s HolySpirit enloghtens them.

      It is not that Christians have “failed” to convince people, it is that God “opens the eyes of the elect”. This is the clear teaching of the Bible in John chapter 6 verses 44 and 65.

      • NoGods

        Bob, they’re just stories that a small minority of the world believe in. Kindness needs no invented creator god, as many kind and wise people wrote long before your personal choice of stories.

        • Bob Hutton

          Of course “only a small minority” believe in the Gospel. Jesus stated that the way to eternal life is narrow “and few there be that find it”. Matthew 7 v 13-14

          • NoGods

            Yes, I think I know which stories you believe in Bob :-) Obviously, if you had been born in Asia, you’d have different stories, but it doesn’t matter that they aren’t true, if you are kind as a result. Some just don’t need these stories to be kind. No biggie.

          • Bob Hutton

            You say that if I had been born in Asia I would have “different stories”.

            God is sovereign, He will ensure that all the elect hear or read (or both) the truths of the Christian Gospel. Indeed, it should be said that many countries with no “Christian” heritage are actually seeing many people repenting of their sins and accepting Christ as their personal Saviour.

          • NoGods

            Sure Bob, sure, I know your stories, but they are not so popular in other parts of the world, where, for example, non creator religious stories are dominant. Should we believe the similar themed stories that come before yours, yours or the ones that came after? Perhaps only 1 in 10 believe your stories in Singapore, for example, where Buddhism, which clearly rejects the notion of a creator gods that defines your stories, rules the roost. As long as you are kind, who cares if you realised that from rational thought or reading old stories?

          • Andrew Wilson

            ” … God is sovereign, He will ensure that all the elect hear or read (or both) the truths of the Christian Gospel … ”

            And presumably you count yourself amongst the “elect”. How convenient.

          • Bob Hutton

            Jesus promised eternal life for the price of repentance and faith in Him (see Luke 24 v 47).

            It is not a case of believing that one is “of the elect” but simply responding to the promises of the Bible.

          • Andrew Wilson

            And you know the bible is true, how?

          • balance_and_reason

            they only come for the coffee and cookies

          • Bob Hutton

            Your flippancy does you no credit; moreover, you do not seem to realise the eternal torment that awaits you if you carry on in your rebellion against God.

          • balance_and_reason

            Is that Bob Hutton from Sutton?

          • Shadrach

            You may not need these “stories” to be kind. But then what’s your definition of kindness?

          • NoGods

            For me personally, the definition of being kind is to live this short life we have in a polite, friendly, generous and compassionate way.

            What’s yours?

          • Shadrach

            Are we to live life according to your definitions? Would you begrudge me if I decided my friendliness was diametrically opposed to yours? How about being polite, who if I decided my politeness is defined by killing all infants, would you begrudge me of this?

          • NoGods

            Hold on a minute. Polite, friendly, generous, compassionate. What a numbskull. How did I forget to include “killing all infants” in my personal list? Forgive me. Good job that you were there to pick me up.

            Call me an outlier, but I am going to be bold and say that I wouldn’t include such an action as a “kind” one for my own personal approach, but that is just me. I am most likely wrong.

          • Shadrach

            Glad to be of service, but I guess point made. Caring on with your kindness.

          • NoGods

            Um, I wasn’t sure what your point actually was.

            If it was an extreme example to show that different people have different values, then I agree with you completely. We all have to find our own path, and no-one has a right to impose their choice of path on us, no matter what their excuse or belief.

            What is right for me is unlikely to be right for anyone else.

            It is this strict definition of values, and attacking those that disagree that is common to religion and nationalism.

          • Shadrach

            I do not understand why you would call one thing extreme then turn around to criticise someone’s ‘strict definition of values’.

            Why is infant killing suddenly extreme to you?
            I thought it was each to his own, your path and my path and all…

          • NoGods

            Having an opinion on an approach is not the same as seeking to impose a different approach.

            I think belief in a god is utterly bonkers, but I wouldn’t seek to stop others believing in one of the existing gods or inventing a new one.

            I’ve seen family members in the temple praying to the money god etc. Would I stop them? Of course not.

          • Shadrach

            But haven’t you already done so, by labelling it bonkers? Aren’t you saying to the god believer, they’re so utterly ridiculous for believing in fairy god, they should give up their non-sense and be just like you? By process of elimination you are imposing your non-belief on them.

            That’s slightly hypocritical isn’t it?

          • NoGods

            lol, not at all. We have the debate often and we have a different view. It’s really not that difficult to hold opposite views to someone, and yet get on well :-)

            It really doesn’t get in the way of our lives together in any way.

            Well yes, the made up scenario that you created and projected on to me would indeed be hypocritical…

          • Shadrach

            Is it really logical for the both of us to have exclusivity in our opinion? Sure we can be amicable, but you are not seriously saying we can have opposing views on one plus one equalling 2.

          • balance_and_reason

            yes…end of …leave it shadrach…..leave it…..down.

          • balance_and_reason

            You nearly lost me there but the smiley face just brought me back on side

          • BrandeX

            lol, nutjobs. Whatever their parents told them as children is “the truth”.

        • Machaira

          “they’re just stories” – how do you know this? If you’re stating this as fact, which I’m assuming you are, you must have some proof that “they’re just stories”, right? Or do you mean “I believe they’re just stories”, which doesn’t make it true? Stating we’re wrong because you BELIEVE something without having proof of it is a bit hypocritical is it not?

          • NoGods

            OK, I am quite a simpleton. Please explain to me why I should believe the stories you believe in, and not the ones that came before, like Buddhism?

            I can’t believe both as they are diametrically opposed in terms of a belief in a creator god.

            By “stories” I mean tales written by men. Is that not what your bible is? Why should I reject stories, daodejing etc, and switch? What makes yours true and their false?

          • Machaira

            I’m not saying you should believe what I do. I’m simply saying that to state that they’re just stories, when you don’t know that to be true is hypocritical.

            “By “stories” I mean tales written by men. Is that not what your bible is?”

            Yes, the Bible was written by men, just like encyclopedias or school books were written by men. Is all of history a tale, just because it was written by men? There is plenty of evidence out there to support the history found in the Bible. It up to you to determine if that evidence is enough for you to believe in it.

            IINM, Buddhism came after the Bible (at least parts of it) since Buddha was born only 4-6 hundred years before Christ.

          • NoGods

            Um, that is why I asked you if you believe every word in the bible is factual and historically correct, to show you believe that they are not stories.

            I didn’t want to assume that you believed every word is true and accurate, and a solid historical record.

            So do you believe every word in the bible to be literally true, and historically accurate? If not, you would appear to agree with me that they are, even in part, stories.

          • Machaira

            Yes, every word of the Bible is true, but it’s not all history. Song of Solomon, for example, is a story. Genesis and most of the rest – history. Note that I don’t necessarily believe the earth is just 4000 years old. “day” in Genesis could also be interpreted as “period of time”. Revelation – true, but not completely literally as there is a lot of symbolic language in it.

          • Shadrach

            Do you believe everything you’ve written then is literally true?

          • NoGods

            lol, no. If you are gullible enough to believe a word I say, then you could be the first convert to my new God-Multiverse religion 😉

          • Jake Cattrall

            Hi Machaira, your logical fallacy is… *drumroll*… burden of proof https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/burden-of-proof. Talking snakes & donkeys, parting seas, walking on water and various other impossibilities are included in bobs story set. In order to make the stories convincing it is a believers job to prove it’s real, not a non-believers job to prove it’s not real. Until then, non-believe is the valid stance.

          • Paul Williams

            I struggle on a daily basis to understand how religion still has any part in our lives in this day and age. It is all so completely irrelevant! Man created God and not the other way round. The inability to study these texts, look at history etc and still not see this as truth is an unfortunate weakness in many people. The sooner we can all move away from it and concentrate on living out own lives positively, with the advancement of the human race and betterment of everyone’s quality of life on this planet the better.

          • Shadrach

            Move on to what? Your exclusive morality or mine? You won’t last a day in that exclusive, no religion each to his own world.

          • Paul Williams

            I don’t have an exclusive morality. The way I live my life is simply based on logic and common sense. Are you telling me you believe it is impossible to have a civilized existence on this planet without different people from different cultures all over the world believing that the God(s) they just happened to be brought up with are the only true God(s)?

          • Shadrach

            Before there is logic or common sense, shouldn’t there also be an original standard bearer to have communality.
            You used the word civilised, according to whom? How do you define civilisation without moral influences?
            Your civility might be totally different from mine, how do we decide which one is best in our new ‘civilised world’.

          • Paul Williams

            How about we have a discussion and see if there are any common themes in the way we live our lives. There are always going to be points we agree and disagree on but based on your eloquent method of debate I am sure we also have much in common as well as much not. This will be a platform for open discussion, and the basis for an agreement/compromise. I know this is a naive view. That people can be brought together and be openly responsible for their own actions with no deity to use as an excuse. But I cling to the hope that there is a way we can do it. When I referred to civilized I used it in the common dictionary definition sense of the term. As in we live in the most peaceful and civilized times since the beginning of human history. Working together without religion/race/age/sexuality getting in the way imagine how much further we can go.

          • Shadrach

            Aren’t all that utopianism, lacking the logic and common sense you talk about before?

            I guess in your new civilised world, the voiceless, underpopulated nations will have more to compromise and be subject to agree more often.

            As much as we can aim and “hope” for humanity to come to agreement, the elephant in the room will still be, who’s standard do we start with?

          • Paul Williams

            It’s a common point of attack used by the religious that morality has to somehow come from an external source and not something which is innate within us. I grant you all the miracles in the world, the existence of a Jesus, the virgin birth, the resurrection, everything. That still does not make the doctrine of Christianity true.

          • Paul Williams

            Also I may have misconstrued my point about naivety. One should not confuse naivety with logic. Einstein was a highly idealistic individual in his world views, certainly bordering on utopian. But by no means could he ever be considered illogical.

          • Machaira

            “Man created God and not the other way round.” How do you know? Because that’s what makes sense to you? Following that logic, the people that believed that the earth were flat were correct, but we know that’s not the case, right? They were only correct as long as all the information was not known or believed.

          • Paul Williams

            Irrrrrrrrelevant!

          • Machaira

            I noticed you failed to answer my question. How do you know?

          • Paul Williams
          • Machaira

            Like you said – irrelevant! I’m hoping there’s a “secondly…” that actually addresses the question, or are you going to keep dodging?

          • Paul Williams

            Ok I have studied human history, I have studied human psychology, I have studied the religious texts and scriptures and educated myself as much as I have found possible this far on a number or relevant subjects. Since the dawn of recorded mankind we have been creating gods to worship. There have been more gods created by mankind than I could list in this box. And still every year more are being created and new religions are coming into existence. It is a part of human nature to be afraid and to look for something higher than oneself for answers. But there is no one true god. There are hundreds of them that have been believed in by hundreds of different religions over hundreds and hundreds of years. All religious people basically say is “yeah but everyone else is wrong, they misinterpret the words of the true (my) god”. I never used the word “know”, that was thrust upon me by you. Having gathered and analysed all the data with no bias it is simply my logical conclusion.

          • Machaira

            “But there is no one true god.” Again, how do you know?

            “I never used the word “know”, that was thrust upon me by you.”

            I never “thrust” it on you, I was trying to get you to clarify. Your posts read as if you’re stating a fact, which implies “know”, not “believe”, just as you did in what I first quoted.

            Again, the “logical conclusion” of those who believed the earth was flat was wrong, correct? That they came to the conclusion they did didn’t mean they were right. Can you not just admit that you don’t know that your conclusion is correct and that you might be mistaken?

            I may be mistaken in my beliefs. If so, and there is no God, it won’t matter. If you’re mistaken, however, it matters greatly.

          • Paul Williams

            I believe my conclusion based purely on open minded and unbiased research into the history of humans on this planet to be correct. I also believe that you would be afraid to carry out this exact same research as you believe that it could have terrible repercussions on your soul. Don’t be afraid of what could happen after you die. I live a good life, I have a beautiful wife and great friends. Not to say I haven’t been through any tragedy or hard times but I have worked to get through it with the onus being on my responsibility to be a decent human being. God has never played any part in my life and I certainly don’t believe he will play any part in my death. If I am wrong then he is loving and forgiving (according to all those books) and I have never killed anyone or made off with my neighbors wife so I should be fine?

          • Machaira

            I didn’t just accept the Bible and God without looking into it. I’ve done in-depth research on Christian cults as well as looking at the claims of other religions. I did just what you did, but came to the opposite conclusion. Why is that do you think?

            ” If I am wrong then he is loving and forgiving (according to all those books)”

            Yes, but he is also completely righteous. You have to ask for forgiveness to be forgiven. If you wait until you’re standing before him you’re too late.

          • Paul Williams

            I think you already believed something and went out looking for a way to further justify it. I had no preconceptions and if I found proof of the one true god in anything I studied I would have become a believer. I found no such proof, I believe their never will be any. I have no place in my ‘good’ life for righteous judgement and punishment. I firmly believe I will have so much more to enjoy in life than you because of this. But if you are right you can say “I told you so” as your cruel, vengeful and downright spiteful god tosses me away from his pearly gates and down to hell simply because I didn’t believe and not based on my actions as a good human being.

          • Machaira

            Nope. I have no need to justify my beliefs. I didn’t know anything about Christianity other than it existed. I had no idea what the beliefs were just as I knew nothing about other religions until I studied them. I’ve found holes in the beliefs and “rules” of cults and other religions but none in Christianity.

            “based on my actions as a good human being”

            What is the criteria for “good” and why? That you use words like “cruel”, “vengeful” and “spiteful” suggests a bias in your definition of “good” and “righteous”.

          • Paul Williams

            You didn’t really “choose” Christianity though. If you were born in Saudi Arabia, chances are you’d be at Mecca now. If you were born in Thailand, chances are you’d be Buddhist. The notion people are free to choose a religion, and that you somehow “chose” the correct one is, metaphysically speaking, bollocks.

            You obviously haven’t read a critical text in your life. If you really did do research, you’d have to admit that Islam (which is clearly and openly based on Christianity) removed many of the Bible’s contradictions and inaccuracies and did it far more elegantly. It is by far the superior religion, the crazy extremists notwithstanding. Having read them both, there is no comparison whatsoever between the Koran and Bible.

          • Machaira

            “The notion people are free to choose a religion, and that you somehow “chose” the correct one is, metaphysically speaking, bollocks.”

            And yet there are people in China, India, the Middle East, etc. that have chosen Christianity and people in the U.S. that have chosen non-Christian religions. Imagine that. :

            If you’d done any sufficient amount of research, you’d have found explanations for the supposed contradictions in the Bible.

          • Paul Williams

            But I never said there weren’t any exceptions. Of course there are many Christians who live in the Middle East. But there’s many more that aren’t. Hence the phrase “chances are…” No contradictions in Christianity?

            Haha I am done. If you consider yourself an intelligent human being yet take the words from a book written by a bunch of men in a completely different world than we live in today to be some kind of rules to live by you are no better than the Scientology freaks I see on TV now swearing that some sci-fi writer has the right of it all in this day and age.

            They are all the words of men. Men with their own views on how things should be done.

            It is all irrelevant to me. I just wanted to have a conversation.

          • Paul Williams

            And if you actually carried out analytical research into religion and found no holes in Christianity you deserve no further debate with me as you are an inadequate opponent.

          • Machaira

            Sounds more like your research was not very thorough and your bias is showing. I admit that on the surface, Christianity may seem to have problems. What text that old and with that many sources doesn’t have problems? I’ve had the web page with the 100 or so “contradictions” thrown at me more than once. All of them are a result of cherry picking or isolating the text apart from the rest of scripture, or not taking context into account.

          • bodhi

            First time I’ve heard someone describe themselves and their history in a way that closely matches my own. Ah that’s a good feelin’.

          • Machaira

            Incorrect. “The burden of proof lies with someone who is making a claim”. It works both ways. If you make a claim that it’s just a story, the burden of proof is yours, just as it is with me if I make a claim. If you say “I believe it’s just a story”, that’s a different thing. None of you seem to be doing that though. Everything I’ve read seems to be the former, not the latter.

            Also, you need to read the whole thing:

            “… to dismiss something on the basis that it hasn’t been proven beyond all doubt is also fallacious reasoning.”

            There is evidence to support scripture. That you choose to believe it’s not valid is your choice.

          • Jake Cattrall

            Hi Machaira, your logical fallacy is… *drumroll*… black or white https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/black-or-white. Nobody here has claimed that bob’s stories are fiction, but are rejecting the claim that the stories are fact. You are correct to say that rejecting the claim outright and asserting that the stories are absolutely fictional would be equally as ignorant, however, I don’t think I need to point out evidence against talking snakes & donkeys, magical parting seas, walking on water and various other impossibilities. So it stands that in this case, as with any religious claim, non-belief is the valid stance until “proven beyond all doubt”.

          • Andrew Wilson

            Noah’s Ark, by dint of numbers alone, is nonsense.

      • ForensPsych

        This is ironic, right?

      • The End of Islam

        Why can’t He just be more obvious about what He wants, and why can’t He encapsulate what He requires in one short and well-written and definitive book?

      • balance_and_reason

        omg

        • Bob Hutton

          I suspect that the initials omg refer to a blasphemous exclamation. You must repent of this or face the eternal consequences.

    • UsAndRufus

      Since the first idea of “god” existing, atheists have been trying to convince the world that “god” does not exist. Pretty sure that’s longer than 2,000 years. How much more time do they need? Time to face reality.

      Aside from sarcasm, a few points: (1) Majority of belief is not truth. (2) A concept does not fail to be true if not definitively demonstrated within a certain time frame.

      • NoGods

        :-) Well a 70% global rejection of Jesus as the son of “god” seems pretty convincing and successful to me!

        • UsAndRufus

          I’m pretty sure 70% of the world support the idea that there is a deity, that the deity exists, and that a deity not existing is a false concept (i.e. atheism as a school of thought is wrong). Does that make atheism untrue?

          • NoGods

            Not true unfortunately. Buddhism rejects the notion of a creator god, for example. And that is by far the dominant religion in Asia.

          • UsAndRufus

            Rounding up from the CIA Factbook/Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations), being the only decent stats I could find on %age of religions/belief in a deity, and assuming all non-religious people are atheists, people who believe atheism is true number about 20% of the world’s population. Not a majority.

            Besides, surely 70% of the world believed that the world was flat at some point, or that the Sun moved round the Earth – does that make it true?

          • NoGods

            You are getting muddled. I am specifically addressing Christianity’s central belief that Jesus was the son of God. Only about 30% of the world believe this. The other 70%, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists etc, for different reasons, specifically reject this core belief.

            My point was about Christianity, not religion or belief in other types of non-creator deities etc.

            But of course, I totally agree that weight of numbers is not proof at all. However I quoted these stats as Christians often quote their number of followers against the number of out and out atheists, for example, but usually pretend that Asia doesn’t exist, where religions much older than Christianity, that reject the idea of a *creator* god, are by far the dominant faiths.

          • UsAndRufus

            Right, yes, more people believe Jesus wasn’t the son of God than that he was. Using numbers to back it up is probably not a good argument. That doesn’t make the idea untrue, rather that stat-based arguments aren’t good.

          • NoGods

            Yes, agreed :-) That was my aim, to show that the weight in numbers argument “Christianity must be right as it is the world’s largest religion” etc is nonsense.

            Being the biggest minority group is no proof of anything.

            I also find it interesting how bitter the Christian/Muslim arguments are when there is so much similarity between them. The most bitter conflict seems over the most minor differences.

            Jesus is clearly important to both religions, they just differ over whether he was a god or prophet.

          • UsAndRufus

            Ah, right. I thought you were trying to disprove God by looking at numbers of Christians. But still, the 2,000 years thing is a bit irrelevant to the truth.

            On a side note, Jesus being God is the central tenet of Christianity, so it makes quite a big difference between Islam and Christianity 😉

          • NoGods

            Nuh, I am not really interested in what people believe but how it manifests itself, i.e. so long as people are kind, who cares what drove them to be kind?

            I could confuse it all and propose a God Multiverse, where God created the Earth, got p*ssed off when his son was killed, so abandoned Earth to its own fate, hence the suffering and pain and no more interventions, and went off and created a new better version. That explains it all in a nutshell, it came to me in a vision. Now who can disprove that? 😉

          • UsAndRufus

            Right, okay. I think people get bothered about what drove them to be kind as, eventually, most religions preach an eternal consequence to belief, so them it makes a difference!!

            And about the multiverse theory, yes, it cannot be disproved. But the multiverse as a concept is completely unprovable and provable under current circumstances – like Russell’s Teapot.

          • NoGods

            Sure, I agree.

            For me, any belief in something higher than yourself, whether a god or nation, often leads to manipulation, then very dark actions in the name of some “higher” cause. I see nationalism just as dangerous as religion as a tool for evil deeds, whilst not saying either are evil in themselves.

            But God creating Earth, then getting bored and abandoning Earth to evolve by itself, and going off to create a new universe, seems to fit both sides of the debate whilst pleasing neither 😀

          • The End of Islam

            I will follow you! (Just make sure you have lots of pictures in my holy book.)

          • Jean Luke Picard

            Lets be honest here though, the divinification of Jesus wasn’t a central aspect of Christianity in the beginning and was only introduced (and forced upon other Christian sects) by the Catholics later.

          • UsAndRufus

            Err, according to what evidence? Jesus being divine is in the original gospels, and there’s a couple of thousand of those about 100 years after Jesus’ death. Every book in the New Testament asserts Jesus’ divinity, a lot even deal with it in detail. I would genuinely be interested if you anything you could point me to that would indicate your argument though :)

          • Michael Schachter

            Naturally, you have no criticism of Islam?

          • NoGods

            Out of interest, why did you choose to isolate that one amongst the mass of religions not mentioned in this specific thread and use “naturally”?

            For me, all belief in gods is bonkers. I think that covers it. Agreed? Happy now? 😉

          • Michael Schachter

            Out of interest, as a non-Christian I wonder why you exclusively attack Christianity?

          • NoGods

            I don’t. All belief in gods is bonkers. What is your point?

            But I know many kind and otherwise rational people who are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist etc. I don’t hold their belief in magic against them!

          • Michael Schachter

            That is so enlightening, thank you!

          • princeofhollis

            Would have required some education .. most “NoGod’s” .. if I may be so bold as to generalize as I’ve seen others do here .. type people .. grew up and rejected a Christian core of beliefs. Now I know I am being general but we are speaking in English so I feel safe in doing so in the manner I am.

            Being a smart atheist would behoove them not to talk about something they know not so much about.

            Now to Islam. The 0.006% of the Muslim world who are not just practicing teachings we often think of as something that was done two thousand years ago. These Muslim bigots .. racists .. whatever Islamists ( some of them) are engaged in practices that were NEVER acceptable in Islam under any law at any time. Bringing as much shame to Islam as any Klan member would to a proud tolerant Christian household.

          • crosscop

            “Islamists” like the murderers of Lee Rigby were following Koranic instructions to the letter – as they told the world at the time.

          • princeofhollis

            David Berkowitz blamed it on the Dog. You got a hate on for Dogs too?

          • princeofhollis

            … One more word. Read the Q’uran before speaking like you know what it says. Says the same thing it did the years it was written. Murder is a sin.

            Have a nice day.

          • crosscop

            Read it several times. And had it explained to me by a Muslim who was trying to get me to “revert.”
            Murder is a sin? Read Sura 5:33 and tell me that again. Go on!

          • princeofhollis

            The fifth Greater Sin is the murder of that person whose execution has not been ordered by Allah

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_views_on_sin

            Your point would speak more to War .. like

            Deuteronomy 20

            New International Version (NIV)

            Going to War

            20 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lordyour God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

            5 The officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. 6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. 7 Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.” 8 Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.”9 When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.

            10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

            16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.

            19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?[b] 20 However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.

          • princeofhollis

            Damn white people

            ​German Nazi cell murders went unnoticed for over decade

            A German neo-Nazi cell escaped the attention of authorities and went on a killing spree, which earned the country’s security forces huge criticism from a parliamentary committee. The nine racist murders the group is accused of have gone unpunished for over a decade. An investigation into the National Socialist Underground (NSU), which was suddenly uncovered in 2011, has revealed a catalogue of errors. These mistakes were made at all levels of the state and police, and led to a failure in spotting racial motives behind Greek and Turkish murders. The last living suspected member of the NSU, Beate Zchaepe, went on trial in May, for complicity in multiple murders, 15 bank robberies and two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne. She faces life imprisonment. Two of her suspected accomplices committed suicide in 2011. The case has shaken up the country’s security services and struck at the heart of German society, which has spent the better part of a century apologizing for the crimes of its long-gone national-socialist regime.

          • Keith D

            “Damn white people”You racist prick.That is all.

          • princeofhollis

            Well isn’t that what the other guy was saying? That many Muslims are killers so all Muslims are killers?

          • crosscop

            I’ve always thought it very strange that both Mohammad and Jesus are prophets of Islam when one was a “turn the other cheek” hippy who turned water into wine at a party and the other was a murdering, torturing war-criminal who banned his followers from drinking wine. Somehow I don’t think they’d ever be on the same side.

          • crosscop

            The Koran says that the earth is laid out like a carpet with mountains placed on it to stop it crumpling up – so, as the Koran is the word of Allah himself, it must indeed be flat. The sun also sets in a puddle somewhere out in the west – the Koran says so!
            If you argue that this is nonsense, you are blaspheming against Allah and you do know the punishment for that, don’t you?

          • UsAndRufus

            This isn’t really relevant to the discussion on religion by statistics…

          • Sue Ward

            I am a Buddhist as it happens but Buddhism is NOT the dominant religion of Asia.

          • NoGods

            Good for you. That certainly added to the debate. Thanks…

          • BrandeX

            quite the middle east is part of Asia, and the largest muslim country is Indonesia.

          • Elijahsreturn

            As Jesus said ‘if the world hates you, know that it hated me first’, and the eschatological texts clearly show an increase in Christian persecution at the end of the age, the fact 70% (your figures) reject Jesus as the Messiah is no surprise. As it states, every knee shall bow, and every tongue will confess Jesus is the King of Glory at the end of this age, I don’t really see your argument?

          • NoGods

            Most don’t “reject” Jesus, but believe in something different, that often existed before Christianity. Why should your different stories be more true than conflicting ones that existed either before or after yours?

            It’s funny. Most atheists would present some kind of argument/scenario that could lead to them changing their view. That is rational. When a person refuses to present any possibility that they may be wrong, then they are, imho, getting into scary territory.

      • Andrew Wilson

        Only problem is, Atheists, on the whole, don’t try to convince people that god(s) don’t exist. We just don’t believe the so called evidence that is shown to us as it isn’t really evidence.

        • UsAndRufus

          That’s fine, I don’t whether you oppose theists like Dawkins or just let them be. My main point that was that you can’t determine objective truth from statistics, i.e. the majority is not necessarily correct.

          • Andrew Wilson

            Morality isn’t decided from majority or statistics. It comes from a lot of hard thought, experience and empathy. No need for reference to some outside entity.

            Remember morality is not obedience to a set of outside rules.

          • UsAndRufus

            Yep, that’s what I was saying, morality or truth isn’t determined from statistics :)

          • Andrew Wilson

            Yes and I was saying atheists don’t use that method.

            Not even sure what form “objective truth” would take or how anyone could determine it is objective.

          • UsAndRufus

            Ah right, cool. And we got onto the problem of objective truth, which another issue entirely 😉 Except I suppose you have to concede that objective truth does exist as otherwise being an atheist makes no sense – the position is meaningless as the existence of cannot be determined! 😉

          • Andrew Wilson

            Objective truth may or may not exist. But even if it did any humans interpretation would be subjective so the existence of objective truth would actually be of no use whatsoever.

          • UsAndRufus

            Without objective truth, it is impossible to give any evidence that God does or does not exist. After all, he may exist for you, but not for me, right? That’s subjective truth.

            So surely the position of an atheist makes no sense? I suppose God may just not exist for you, and exist for everyone else, but why try to convince people if it is all subjective.

            Further, does it even make sense to say something exists for one person but does not exist for another?

          • Andrew Wilson

            God either exists or “he” doesn’t. (The idea that it would have a gender is ridiculous in the first place).

            If you are unable to demonstrate a god exists then there is no reason to believe you.

            It doesn’t matter if objective truth exists or not. Our interpretation of it would always be subjective even if it did.

        • Icebow

          The oft-repeated ‘evidence’ is something of a red herring. Evidence is prone to being misinterpreted in line with favoured theories. The idea that God either exists or does not exist is simplistic. Consciousness is fundamental, rather than being an emergent property.

          • Andrew Wilson

            That is why the scientific method requires peer-review.

            “Consciousness is fundamental”

            fundamental to what?

          • Icebow

            Peer review stinks.
            Consciousness is fundamental to existence.
            I doubt that you’re ready for this. Never mind.

          • Andrew Wilson

            Peer review, as part of the scientific method, is the best method there is for ascertaining reality (unless you have a better one).

            Consciousness is not fundamental to existence. Rocks exists and aren’t conscious.

          • Icebow

            Being the ‘least worst option’ doesn’t make it a good option.
            You appear to have not the slightest inkling as to
            the nature of consciousness.

          • Andrew Wilson

            So you can’t come up with a better one then or you’d have mentioned it.

            Consciousness is always associated with the material world, specifically brains.

            There has never been consciousness observed outwith that.

            So it looks like it is an emergent property of matter unless you have evidence of consciousness in any other circumstances.

          • Icebow

            No. You cannot observe consciousness, but only infer it in certain cases. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can help you at this stage; rain cannot make concrete fertile. Perhaps you might make a tentative start by reading Rupert Sheldrake’s latest book. Let’s leave it there.

          • Andrew Wilson

            Sheldrake? ROFL!

          • Andrew Wilson

            It doesn’t matter if science is the least worst option. You don’t have a better one.

  • Tristram

    The left is disastrously hypocritical when it comes to Islam. We should oppose all totalitarian, misogynistic, irrational, homophobic, and untrue ideologies – not just the ones we created ourselves.

    • Greenslime

      This is because it garners so many of its votes from followers of Islam. ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds you’, is more important than integrity!

      • Priyanka

        So True. Agreed.

      • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

        That’s a fundamentally conspiratorial piece of nonsense, whether it’s about public workers or Muslims.

        Of course a group of people is going to be predisposed to vote against politicians who rant about how terrible they are.

        The left garners votes from Islam because they’re the ones who aren’t frantically ranting against them. No conspiracy here.

        • Greenslime

          I think you make my point superbly.

          It is not about conspiracy, it is about fact. Labour is the party of choice for many newly arrived immigrants from places like Pakistan and Sudan because most of those new immigrants are working class.

          The Tories are not ranting against Islam. Nor are the LibDems. Nor, for that matter, is UKIP. There may be individuals within – and I can show you a good number of working class labour supporters who are also frantically ranting against the fanatical wing of Islam and its followers – but the parties most certainly are not.

          That is why Labour will not criticise militant Islam, because it will likely cost them votes. And that is also why the confected fight between Labour and the Unions over fees will come to nought too, because it will cost them votes. That is what the balancing act always comes down to in the end.

          On both, a little gently noise and lots of platitudes. Rarely the strong criticism that we should be seeing.

          My view is that if it is wrong, it is wrong and you should say so. Anything else is hypocrisy and we have had enough of that, haven’t we?

          • pdhan

            So if the tories aren’t ranting against islam, why do muslims not vote for them? Ah, because – unlike labour – they’re not appeasing the militants. So implicit in your reasoning is that all muslims harbour islamist sympathies. You are wrong.

          • woolfiesmiff

            Nearly 70% of the country don’t vote for the Tories so I’m not sure what point you think you’re trying to make

          • pdhan

            I thought that was obvious: the point is that Tories have a problem with getting votes from ethnic & religious minorities as many of its members continue to make it very clear that they’re a party for white English people and nobody else. A missed opportunity really as I imagine many Muslims’ view on eg marriage is closer to the Tories’ than the left

          • martinhoran

            Muslims–as you will see if you’ve ever bothered to read the Koran or Haddiths, which you obviously haven’t–have a religion which is inclusive of its politics and they apply to Muslims and nobody else. I didn’t know that the Tories proposed it’s okay for us to have more than one wife and that the wife should be seen and not heard. From what I recall the Tories have had a woman PM and they’ve had other women MPs. True Pakistan had one–before she was assassinated!

          • pdhan

            Ah of course all muslims are the same and they are all bound to a literal reading of their holy book, whereas Christians aren’t. Bollocks of course, even though that wasn’t my point.

          • Steve

            and even less voted for Labour , so your point is….?

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Dump Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Labour would never be elected.

          • martinhoran

            Yes they would. The lib-lab mentality runs the Tories. Have you checked Cameron’s views on things?

          • Two Bob

            60% of the country vote neither Tory or Labour if you count the abstainers.

          • roger

            How do people who can’t speak English or have little experience of British culture get a vote anyway?
            There is an informed democracy or there is a rabble whose votes can be mandated by corrupt political animals.

          • aron lipshitz

            Pakistani political traditions have been imported to Britain. The postal vote is the best scam. The “man of the house” obtains the forms and registers his wife (wives), daughter’s, Granny’s and etc. votes, and then submits them as he sees fit. The fact that there is no mechanism to check that those on the voter’s roll correlate with real, live people who may or may not exist really helps with gerrymandering and any questions to the electoral commission may earn a torrent of abuse. Although this is very much a Labour-Immigrant wheeze, the Lib-Dems are not shy either although their main hunting ground is retirement and care homes.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            “Can`t speak English”
            Everyone can speak English at least a little. “Hotel”, “taxi”, “beer”, “bank”
            Think about it, Roger. For many the purpose of coming to an English-speaking is to improve their spoken English.

          • martinhoran

            How many? Do you have the numbers?

            We know that many come here to bleed us. I suggest you read the books of former Muslims I have mentioned above.
            Many of us can speak a little Italian, French, Spanish &c., but we don’t go off to those countries to improve our French, &c. That is rarely the reason anyone goes to another country. They go there to get a living.

            Many Poles, Ukranians, Jews, Italians came here after the war and did their best to learn English. They didn’t expect to get government handouts to learn it. In fact they didn’t expect handouts for anything.
            I have known Poles, Ukranians, Italians and Jews who came to this country and took menial jobs without expecting anything in return. None were ever on the dole and they were thankful for what they got. Although these people came here in the 1940s & 50s with nothing, their children, who were pals of mine, were raised law-abiding and and they studied hard. Now my pal’s children are middle class and are as British as I–as indeed were they through the dilligence of their parents.
            If anyone wants to imporve their spoken English, then can do it on-line. And they can do it for a far sight cheaper than coming here and enrolling in classes.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            “How do people who can’t speak English or have little experience of British culture get a vote anyway?”
            Labour importing their own voters.
            Tony, could we just have a word?

          • Big Sister

            Labour doesn’t criticise militant Islam? – Well, you learn something new every day. Either that or we’re reading/hearing different accounts.

        • blindsticks

          The left garners votes from Islam because they’re the ones who aren’t frantically ranting against them. No conspiracy here.

          We know, and so do all the little girls they ignored the cries of for all those years as victims of the ‘Asian’ grooming gangs. Not only did Labour not rant off against the assailants they tried to blame the children themselves for the crimes. Crimes they as good as ignored for nearly (so it was reported) thirty years. And what about Labour’s other voter/ friends,the gays. For years there have been reports of gays being harassed in certain areas of Tower Hamlets allegedly under ‘Sharia Law’ s Gay Free Zones. (More details on the Andrew Gilligan site/DT). It was also stated by a Labour activist- when these incidents were being reported to the police – that they did nothing – or ‘were useless’. Then the various white people who have been beaten up by Muslim gangs in racially motivated attacks. The worst case cited being the gang of Somali girls who beat up the white lady saying ‘Kill the white slag’. Well, they half managed it anyway. Then the berk judge lets them off with the proverbial slapped wrist. Because ‘they were drunk’ ; and this went against their culture. (So it was our fault again, you see.) This, by the way, was not long after they were arresting and putting other white ladies in prison for something called drunken ‘race rants’. Though no violence was done and none instigated.

          Nope – ‘No conspiracy there… Even though I could cite literally a dozen other such examples where Muslims and other non whites have been given a Get out of Jail Free card while their white victims, or the odd white ‘race ranter’ or thought criminal, gets treated like it was another
          bad day in the GDR.

          Bet you don’t look so smug now.

          • JoshLRussell

            Urgh. Your such a fool. Clearly never has a violent or despicable act been committed by groups of white, atheistic men. The holocaust never happened. Joseph Fritzl didn’t repeatedly rape and impregnate his own daughter. Why are these not the domain and responsibility of atheism? Or white identity? The fact you believe the nonsense justifications of the hateful few rather than listening to the majority of peaceful forward looking Muslims shows one thing: you are committed to persecuted the group as a whole, rather than blaming the individual. And that makes you ignorant and dangerous.

          • tim

            Maybe because the Holocaust was perpetrated by one of Europes most strongly Catholic nations? Maybe because “I do not believe claims about the supernatural that cannot be supported with evidence” has never been an excuse for criminality.

          • JoshLRussell

            You really think Nazism had anything to do with Catholicism? Utter nonsense. They quoted the anti-semitism of Martin Luther as a guiding principle, the man who first started weakening the grip of the Catholic Church on Europe. And you have failed, entirely, to address my point. Why when you see violence and abuses of power in a religious person do you believe it’s an inherent part of his religion and yet the same thing in the non-religious has nothing to do with his non-religious status? People’s behaviour can’t be translated to macro-sociological groupings. Why do you think we spend so long fighting to overturn anti-Semitic stereotypes? Because we wanted to be PC? Or because anti-semitism was false, misguided and morally repugnant?

          • tim

            No, I do not think Nazism has anything to do with catholicism , nor do I think atheism had anything to do with it. Also, atheism isn’t a belief system, so I don’t see how it might relate to “violence or abuses of power. When a christian opposes gay rights for example, if he can’t give me a non-religious reason, I assume it’s his religion. And since influential Christian leaders, like Greg Laurie in Calif for examples, are leading a national campaighn againts gay rights, I feel justified in saying these christians believe and act this way because of their religious beliefs. I just dont see that among atheists. No body has ever claimed “you can’t prove gods exsist, therefore violence”

          • Slevdi

            @joshlrussel – usually because a religious person tells us their violent actions are prompted by their religion if they are whereas the non-religious person doesn’t.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Good people do good things. Bad people do bad things. If you want a good person to do a bad thing, that takes religion.

          • Lana Bulatov

            @JoshLRussell:disqus -Just wanted to make 2 points . First of all , Nazi Germans were mostly Protestants , by far exceeding Catholic population at any given time between 1932 and 1945 . Even after annexation of mostly Catholic Austria . Second , I wanted everybody to read carefully an Article 24 of the 1920 Nazi Party Platform: “We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The Party as such upholds the point of view of a positive Christianity without tying itself confessionally to any one confession. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit at home and abroad and is convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only be achieved from within on the basis of the common good before individual good.”

            Despite the open antisemitism of this statement and its linkage between confessional “freedom” and a nationalistic, racialized understanding of morality, many Christians in Germany at the time read this as an affirmation of Christian values.

          • Weyland

            Hitler, Mussollini , Franco & South American fascist dictators were all Catholic & were never excommunicated by the Pope. Catholic church support for fascist regimes was vital. Protestants were main opponents of Nazis in Germany – many ending up in concentration comps

          • Lana Bulatov

            @Weyland – What are you talking about ? Benito Mussolini was an Atheist !

            It is absurd to say that “protestants were main opponents of Nazis in Germany – many ending up in concentration comps ” –

            Where did you ever get this info from?
            There was no resistance of German population to Nazis to speak of – and german population was mostly Protestant . There were couple of pastors arrested and there was a small internal resistance within the church itself , but certainly nothing like you are trying to present.

            The Deutsche Christen (German Christian) church, was a nationalistic Protestant group that identified with Nazi ideology and hoped to create a national Reich Church that would embody Nazi ideals. The German Christians won the national elections in 1933 and greeted Hitler .

            It was simply not typical at all of the Church to fight fight National Socialism . There was some struggle for control between those who sought a “nazified” church, those who opposed it, and the so-called “neutral” church leaders .
            There was virtually no public opposition to antisemitism or any readiness by church leaders to publicly oppose the regime on the issues of antisemitism and state-sanctioned violence against the Jews.
            There were individual Catholics and Protestants who spoke out on behalf of Jews, and small groups within both churches that became involved in rescue but , again , nothing much to speak of .

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            However, Joseph Goebbels was excommunicated: His crime? He married a protestant. “You see, we do have our standards.”

          • Jambo25

            Bollocks. Once again read Burleigh’s ‘Sacred Causes’ and ‘Moral Combat’ to get very different views on this. It is true to say that much of what, very limited, opposition to the Nazis, within Germany, took place did come from traditionally conservative Protestants but there was Catholic opposition from people as diverse as Archbishop von Galen of Munster and the Weisse Rose Catholic students in Munich.

          • John Smith

            If you read Mussolini, and Hitler for that matter, they progressed well from believing in God to believing they were Gods, and being able to convince others this was true, by lying and scapegoating. If you look up a group called ‘The White Rose Collective’, you get some idea of how complex the political and social situation was in Nazi Germany. Similarly, the Samizdat movement in the USSR and any of the history of twentieth century totalitarianism, gives some idea of why the former Balkan nations are still, sadly, such a mess.

          • martinhoran

            Absolute tosh. Check my comments above. How many Catholic priests followed the example of Deitrch Bonhoffer, who was killed by the Nazis? How many of them followed the example of Richard Wumbrand or of Martin Neimoller, Protestant ministers. Name me one!
            Admittedly, many Protestants were silent. But Catholics were gung-ho. Hitler was a Catholic, as was Goebels, Goring, Schellenberg, Mengele, Barbie, &c. In fact, all of his top officers were Jesuit educated.

            Benito Mussolini an atheist! Really? Then why did Pope Pius XII sign a concordat with him?
            Jewish materialism! The Jews were so materialistic that they were living in poverty in ghettoes and schtetls throughout Europe.
            That’s the good old Catholic trick–I wonder if the Muslims learnt it from them–blame the victim of hatred for the hatred against them. The Catholic “church” have done that throughout history. That’s why Cervantes, a Catholic, ridiculed Catholicism in Don Quixote.
            As the Moslems have taqqiya, the Catholics have a similar thing with their confessionals. I remember them from my own schooldays, people confessing to creepy priests.

            Go and read Father Chinquy’s Fifty years in the Church of Rome. The man was there. He listened to confessions. You didn’t. He exposed Rome for what it was and was maligned by them for doing so. He warned Abraham Lincoln, who defended him as a young lawyer that he would pay for it with his life, because he saw a number of Jesuits sitting in the public gallery watching the proceedings. John Wilkes Booth who assassinated Lincoln was as much a Catholic as was Adolf Hitler.
            The Vatican banks to this day are the only ones not in trouble. The vatican is the world’s richest institution yet their own people are in poverty everywhere, unless they live in Protestant countries. My father’s parents lived with it in Ireland. It’s why they got out of it.

          • Lana Bulatov

            @ martinhoran Number one , you need to read my statement a little better. I said that GERMAN Protestants were never MAIN opponents of Nazis in GERMANY , because population WAS 3/4 Protestant . I never said anything about Catholics being good or bad . I said they were only a 1/4 of German population .

            Number two , Mussolini WAS an Atheist , he never made a secret of it . Mussolini declared himself an atheist and railed against the Catholic Church, going so far as to say that only idiots believed Bible stories and that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were lovers. He even authored an anti-clerical pulp novel .It is an easily checkable info.

            Number three, you asked why Mussolini sighed a concordat with Pope Pius XII ? Pope Pius XII never signed a concordat with Mussolini . It was signed by Cardinal Gasparri, on behalf of the King Victor Emmanuel III and POPE PIUS XI .

            Number four , Mussolini sighed a treaty with Pope Pius XI for practical and politiical reasons,. The Lateran Treaty was signed in 1929 between the Holy See and Mussolini . This treaty guaranteed that the Vatican City would be recognized as a separate state, a concordat was made to guide the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Italian state . The Italian government promised to pay reparations to the Vatican for the seizure of the Papal States.

            The fact that Mussolini signed it does not prove or disprove his religious views , same as the fact that despite having many mistresses himself, he also put in place harsh punishments for adultery.

            Number five, I NEVER said anything about Jewish materialism ! What in the world are you talking about ? Your remarks are just silly ! I suggest that you calm down and check your info before putting it in writing …

          • Jambo25

            Thousands of Catholic priests, nuns and laity ended up in Dachau and other camps.

          • Jambo25

            Try reading a couple of Michael Burleigh’s recent publications on the Third Reich or the general history of relations between religion and the state. He gives a very different view.

          • Weyland

            Hitler, Mussollini , Franco & South American fascist dictators were all Catholic & were never excommunicated by the Pope. Catholic church support for fascist regimes was vital. Protestants were main opponents of Nazis in Germany – many ending up in concentration camps

          • Karin Karejanrakoi

            Hitler was a catholic and he never stopped being one. Mein Kampf and his speeches are littered with references to “almighty god,” “Jesus, our lord and saviour,” “fighting against spiritual nihilism / secularism” and “stamping out
            atheism.” Millions of Germans and both catholic and protestant churches supported him against communism and socialism, “because they were atheistic, jewish philosophies that threatened the traditional German way of life and christian civilization.”

            It is true that some in the Nazi hierarchy touted one variety or another of ‘Aryan’ or ‘Germanic’ paganism, but this group was neither large nor influential – and certainly never included Hitler himself, despite his touted admiration for Wagnerian opera.

            Moreover the Vatican has never excommunicated Hitler – or the millions of German / Austrian / Italian / Spanish / Polish / Czech / Hungarian / Lithuanian / Latvian / Estonian / Croatian etc catholics who marched right on behind him. While he was killing trade unionists, socialists and social-democrats, communists, jews, Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals and ‘subhuman’ Slavs, he had the papal blessing – as well as the support of every capitalist leader, industrialist and media propagandist in the world at the time.

          • Jambo25

            Unutterable drivel. Stalin and many other Soviet leaders made appeals to defend “Holy Mother Russia” and released thousands of priests and laity from the Gulag on the German invasion of the USSR. This was, of course, after being ‘best buds’ with Hitler since 1939, carving up Eastern Europe, murdering tens of thousands of Poles and Balts and actively aiding the Nazis against capitalist, Christian France, Britain, Beligium, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark etc.

            The foul bunch who ran the USSR were simply opportunists like the Nazis and arguably worse people.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            The Catholic Church celebrated Hitler`s birthday until the year he died. And Hitler`s first international treaty was with the Vatican. Under which the Catholic Center Party stood aside in order to give the National Socialist Party a clear run in the elections, in exchange for being placed in sole charge of education in Germany. Win-win, right?

          • martinhoran

            Martin Luther was not as anti-Catholic as you think. Actually, he remained a Catholic at heart, believing in child baptism and that it was efficacious forever. Try reading Luther’s Bondage of the Will and say that he stopped becoming a Catholic! Calvinists are still under Luther’s Catholic hold. They and he could never get away from Augustine on which Unam Sanctum is built. Indeed, Calvinists believe the same thing only apply it to themselves, not to Catholics.

            As a former Catholic–like David Yallop who wrote In God’s Name, and Catholic historian John Cornwell who wrote Hitler’s Pope–I can assure you that Catholicism had a lot to do with Nazi-ism.
            Hitler himself stated that he was doing the Catholic church’s work by killing Jews. He was never condemend by the Vatican for saying so. Why would he be? He publicly stated that he built the Gestapo on the Jesuit sytem and even called Goebels his Ignatius Loyola. If you google “Vatican Rat-lines” you’ll find that Klaus Barbie, Martin Bormann, Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele got off to fascist S.America on Vatican passports. Dave Hunt also wrote a lot on the matter.

            When Hitler died Franco was reported in the Spanish press saying, “The Catholic Church has lost a great son in Adolf Hitler.” And the day after Adolf’s death, the Irish press reported that DeValera went into the German Embassy to offer his condolences and symathy. And the Catholic Irish press was not being critical of DeValera, a devout Catholic.

            It was the Catholic Church that forced Jews to wear a yellow star, long before Hitler came up with the idea. Pope Pius XII refused to condemn Hitler or the concentration camps.
            I suggest that you read former Catholic Avro Manhattan’s Catholic Terror Today, which shows pictures of Catholic priests and bishops at Nazi rallies giving Nazi salutes. Try checking up on the Ustashi and Anton Pavelic, a psychopath that even the Gestapo thought was vicious. Avro Manhattan shows pictures of him in both his priest’s cassock and his Nazi Uniform.
            I suggest that you also read The Priests and People by Michael Fitzgerald McCarthy, an Irish solicitor and journalist, to further your education. He was so disgusted by the Catholic Church that he became a Protestant.
            While you’re at it, you can check up on the Catholic atrocities being committed against Christians in Mexico.

          • John Smith

            Read Mein Kampf, and a History Book, Hitler professed his Catholicism, there were pacts with the Nazis, yes Catholics also helped Jews and others, I won’t use blankets. Catholicism, Islam et al are false, misguided and morally repugnant, so can we dispense with all of those too or at least openly say that sanctioning child abuse is wrong, religiously protected or not? Or does this cross from the PC side to the ‘lets deal with facts side’, horrible ugly facts that make people seem horridly imperfect and their institutions worse.

          • Hugh

            Except when it was the basis for Communist persecution of believers, or example. So, not really “never”.

          • tim

            Atheism was not the basis for the persecution of Christians by the communists. I know that that is a very widely held belief, but like the police were talking about it holds no basis in fact. the military dictatorship that was in control of communist Soviet Union simply did not want the risk to their power base that church is represented. in the United States the idea was that standing armies and politically powerful churches were the greatest threat to liberty. obviously a military dictatorship is not going to abolish there standing army. but citizens loyal to a church were less Loreal to the state and the communist dictatorship had to have completely loyalty. getting rid of religious organizations and replacing that loyalty with loyalty to the state was of paramount importance to them.

            In any case I believe that when believers do bad because they believe their religion tells them too, it is understandable to put the blame on that belief system. Atheism is not a belief system, and atheists do not belong to a central organization that tells them this is bad, this is not bad. you simply do not see them going out committing crimes in the name of their lack of belief.
            I do not believe that you should blame the belief system for the acts of individuals, but in many cases were not talking about odd-ball beliefs that a few people have, even if only a very few people actually act out on those beliefs.
            but blaming non religiously motivated actions on atheism makes no sense

          • Hugh

            Let’s focus on where we agree, then: since in the absence of religion people find other reasons to do terrible things, whether Communism, racisim or just personal malice, then it makes very little sense to blame the particular belief, less so religion generally. For the majority they plainly don’t have that result and there’s little evidence life would be improved if it didn’t exist.

          • tolpuddle1

            For many people, Atheism IS a religion – as it was for The League of the Militant Godless in the Soviet Union.

          • Lana Bulatov

            @tolpuddle1:disqus Contrary to popular belief ,The League of the Militant Godless was not an organization promoting aggression . “Militant” in Russian has multiple meanings . In case of saying “Militant Godless”, it means “uncompromising” , “actively struggling with something” . League of Militant Atheists was a mass voluntary organization , it had over 5 million members. League of Militant Atheists was very far from the popular propaganda image of people destroying temples, chopping icons with axes and otherwise assaulting and killing believers. First of all, it was an educational society, is constantly worked to increase the level of scientific knowledge among members and the masses. League of Militant Godless shaped the Soviet system of atheistic propaganda , it trained cadres in mass propaganda of atheism. Lower levels of the system were anti-religious circles, then regional circles of higher type, which came mainly from the leaders of the grassroots clubs.

          • tolpuddle1

            I accept your nuanced description of the League of the Militant Godless, though I believe many of its individuals used rough methods in pursuit of their atheist goal. Without state finance and backing – and a government prepared to use much more brutal methods to attack religious believers – I doubt whether the League would have made much headway.
            At its best, the League seems from your description to have had an almost religious belief in education and scientific progress, a belief quaintly Victorian to British eyes and now as vanished as the Soviet Union itself.
            Does anyone – apart from a few incurably boyish and idealistic Romantics like Richard Dawkins – still have even the tiniest belief in such faded phantasms as Science and Progress ?

          • Lana Bulatov

            @ tolpuddle1 – “Does anyone still have even the tiniest belief in such faded phantasms as Science and Progress ?”

            Argumentum ad numerum ?

          • Jambo25

            The USSR still executed and imprisoned very large numbers of Christian believers though and actively strove to stamp the Church out.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

            For “Many” People?….Really?

          • John Smith

            No, the repression of the Russian Orthodox Church was a power play after the Russian Revolution, please read a History Book. It didn’t matter where else the power was, from Lenin or Stalin’s perspectives, it’s that they wished to consolidate it for themselves. Power and Marxism were the cult of the Soviet Union, atheism was a praxis. I’m no Communist, it’s as bad as Nazism. Atheism is a lack of belief and has no dogma, it is generally a rejection of Dogma.

          • tolpuddle1

            Like many atheists nowadays, you are choosing to confuse Agnosticism (“I don’t believe that God exists”) with Atheism (“I believe that God does not exist”). The latter obviously IS a belief and the consequent statement – God does not exist – a dogma.

            A dogma is a formal statement of belief. Why is everyone so down on dogma ?.

            With regard to Soviet Communism, you’re taking the cynical modern view that Lenin, Stalin and their followers were mere power-seekers, using Marxism as a fake-religious cult.

            I disagree – I think that Lenin and Stalin were to an extent sincere fanatics with a genuine belief in Communism. Both endured much risk, danger and discomfort on its behalf, and – even at their most brutal – desperately and honestly wanted it to succeed.

            Still more so their followers, who had a passionate (and often well-read) commitment to Marxist-Leninism, which they were attached to as an (atheistic) faith.

            It is always hard for two sincerely-held religions to co-exist. In this case, Communism held – very firmly – that Christianity was a terrible obstacle in its path and thus tried to marginalize, suppress, even destroy utterly, the Christian faith. All historians are agreed on this. Atheism wasn’t merely a Communist practice – it was a crucial doctrine of the Communist faith. Atheists can be very dogmatic.

          • John Smith

            I’m not choosing to confuse them at all. You’re simply mis-representing both Agnosticism, and Atheism, either intentionally or inadvertently.

            Agnosticism posits that the truth of the existence of various supernatural and metaphysical statements isn’t known.

            Atheists, however, reject the aforementioned ideas, as they have no factual basis, unlike for instance the rising of the Sun or the falling of objects towards the Earth.

            Beliefs are things asserted without positive evidence, either for or against the position they represent or the ideas on which they are based.

            Thus Atheism (which has always irked me, as it suggests, or allows the suggestion that that there is a god/gods/et al actually present to reject, a belief that has no evidence stronger than millions of people’s personal convictions, based on some incredibly poor ‘proof’ in the form of ‘Holy’ books etc).

            I don’t ‘believe’ that God does not exist, simply that there is nothing present to accept or reject on either the very loose grounds of personal emotional conviction; belief. And almost certainly on the grounds of reasoned thinking, and scientific evidence and serious philosophy.

            It’s rejecting an idea, with no factual basis and doesn’t represent a positive belief, let alone a dogma.

            Dogma’s are set down by authorities, to be valid and stultify thinking and critical appraisal of there own ideas, assertions and consequences. They hold back people’s individual ability to change their minds, accept new ideas, adapt or reject old ones, with either new evidence or thinking and quite clearly hold back intellectual progress, or both individuals or societies. It stops doubt, whilst doubt is clearly absurd in many instances, like say being alive, or the existence, whether it is fully understood or not of say Gravity, it has great problems when asserted in political or social spheres, which tend not to operate on evidence based and falsifiable grounds.

            The only Dogma that I’ve ever found to be of any use is that to ‘hold no Dogmas’, I know this is circular, but it highlights the problem of holding them in the first place.

            On to the Marxist/Communist argument, I don’t doubt that Lenin/Stalin and others sincerely believed in Communism, but the history of it, is a clear power struggle, with horrific consequences, was also run by clearly paranoid, mad, megalomaniacal and demagogic persons. Either way, history attests to the fact that it doesn’t work, it’s praxis failed; abominably, this isn’t cynical, it is what the evidence shows. I doubt if it could work at all, no matter how it was implemented people like to own things and have some day to day control over their own lives.

            As Susan Sontag said: “Communism, is fascism with a human face’.

            Thankfully this doesn’t take with it, general ideas of say Liberal socialism, say or even more Conservative ones, and it should go down with other fascist and totalitarian ideologies of the 20th Century, in a long list of things that shouldn’t be either allowed or encouraged to happen ever again.

            To discuss the article in general, it’s sadly valid, there are indeed extremist islamists, and moderate muslims opposing them, who need the support of the society they’ve come to or chosen to live in. The extremists damage life initially for muslim communities and bring wider problems, that damage or limit many well founded principles on which our society, is however loosely based.

            Jewish people I know are worried by current trends, as the often one common feature of both extreme islam and say the far right english movements, is outright racism, anti-semitism. These things have been allowed to flourish before, with appalling consequences.

            It would serve both sides of the ‘God Debate’ and the political spectrum if we resisted these things and got back to arguing the toss, once we’re pretty sure we’ve re-established the free and open nature of democracy, and can argue about anything, in public or private, without say, Guardian readers (who I know aren’t a single group, with a single view) beating people with political correctness and encouraging self censorship until a sensible debate can’t be had.

          • tolpuddle1

            You seem to be saying that you can’t / won’t believe in anything, except what is capable of being observed or measured by the human mind. For practical purposes, this is a worship of the poor, tiddly little human mind; it certainly isn’t an argument against the existence of God or an argument against the truth of, say, the Bible.

            Human beings have to believe in something, and Science, Reason, Progress etc simply don’t fit the bill for most people – they provide us with gizmos, gadgets, physical comfort etc, but these don’t provide us with a reason for living. I don’t see how an individual’s ability to reason, doubt, change their mind, argue etc is of even the slightest practical use in living one’s life. You cannot survive on the basis of Doubt; from personal experience, I can say one can only live in the stone-cold certainty that doing so is worthwhile and that God exists.

            As for the politics – since 1945, almost everyone in the West has worshipped at the shrine of American-led prosperity. Now that this is imploding, the old demons of racism etc are seeking to return; though, as a Catholic, I think people will, sooner or later, have to choose between belief in God and Nihilism (e.g. in the form of White Lightning Cider) – those will be the only choices left when the West has fallen.

          • tamimisledus

            *moderate* muslims want the same as islamic *extremists* – that is to see the evil ideology of islam imposed on the entire world. They may differ in the means which they use to accomplish their vile objective but the end result (if they succeed) for human progress would be the same – regression to adherence to a set of barbaric personal and social mores from which humanity might never escape. The very last thing we should do is give support to *moderate* muslims (or any muslim at all) who wish to see human society regress to the anti-human and anti-rational values invented by the founders of islam.

          • tim

            “I believe that God does not exist” is not Atheism, that would be Gnostic Atheism. Atheism is simply the statement that sufficient evidence to justify a belief in the supernatural hasn’t been demonstrated. An atheist could be Gnostic OR Agnostic.
            Perhaps an atheist can be dogmatic, but atheism has no dogma. And your claim that “All historians are agreed on this” is ridiculous. At best you might claim that Marx, Lenin, perhaps even Trotsky were anti-theist, but the only “communism” that anyone thinks of is Stalins era of Dictatorship, and in that case religion in general was suppressed because the dictatorship wanted to redirect that “faith” to faith in the State. It simply was not anti-theism in pursuit of destroying religion, it was anti-theism in pursuit of acquiring religions power.

            The best example that comes to my mind is China, where they aren’t atheist, they simply don’t have religion in the first place. As evidenced by the popular tactic of US christian schools actively recruiting Chinese students because they have no natural defense against religious claims.

          • tolpuddle1

            Why the Communists were so fiercely atheistic is a point for debate, That they were fierce and fanatical atheists is not.

            The Roman Catholic Church (both the Vatican-sponsored and state-sponsored varieties!) has made millions of Chinese converts, without having recourse to American money or salesmanship.

            And religion (though non-theistic) is millennia old in China – witness Taoism and Chinese Buddhism. It’s the secular West that is the odd man out (until its secular populations finish dying off).

          • tim

            If “many people” believed that the Sun was cold, would that make it true? Atheism is a response to a single claim, it has no dogma, no rules, it is not a religion or a “belief system”.

          • martinhoran

            Atheism not a basis of persecution of Christians by the communists. Blast! What a pity you weren’t around when Solzhenistsyn was writing. You could have put him in his place.

          • T Bennett

            Hitler was an atheist who was strongly influenced by German scientists who held the Darwinist view about survival of the fittest. It is also the reason he banned all religions.
            Its the reason he saw their race as superior to others and practiced widespread euthanasia and marginalization of the handicapped. One does not need to declare their belief system in order for it to be obvious why they did it.

          • tim

            Survival of the fittest is not a “Darwinist view”, Social Darwinism is not only a completely discredited concept, it also has zero to do with the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. You obviously don’t understand the topic, as well as hold commonly held mis-conceptions about Hitlers motivations.

          • Jambo25

            Germany was probably majority Protestant at the time of the Holocaust.

          • blindsticks

            Yep, it’s always ‘the few’ with people like you. But just compare the numbers of supporters the EDL can throw up to that the Muslims can throw up whenever it comes to the clash. Neither do these UAF or Muslim counter protesters always come with words of peace and understanding. They come with coshes, bottles of bleach, knuckledusters, knives, hammers, screwdrivers and whatever. And yet when it all goes off and ends in violence (violence usually instigated by the UAF and their Muslim allies), again, it’s usually the EDL the media and establishment parties concentrate on demonising. Just saying.

            In the piece Moore rightly criticises our societal inability to deal with Islamism. In particular he criticises the switch of attention which took place immediately after the murder of Drummer Rigby thanks to bogus claims of an ‘anti-Muslim backlash’. Moore also addresses the follow-up fib that a threat equal to the jihadis – or even the primary threat to our society – comes from the English Defence League.

            Charles Moore has it just right on Woolwich » Spectator Blogs

            blogs.new.spectator.co.uk/…/charles-moore-has-it-just-right-on-woolwich/‎

            Cached

            15 Jun 2013 – It is titled ‘Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the …. I have no fear of the EDL in fact I admire them for being the only ones who …

          • JoshLRussell

            There it is. It’s the same arguments that drove anti-semitism, using one off events to imply a causation that a secret violent agenda is aiming to overthrow our society. That ended in fascism and genocide. It’s rubbish and, frankly, I’m bored of hearing it.

            And the fact that this ideas were hiding behind the opinions spread by Dawkins nicely highlights for me just why this sort of thinking is so vile and harmful.

          • ROBERT BROWN

            Try walking through asian/muslim areas in London, Bradford, etc….see how long it is before you are abused, told to get back to your own area, man-handled, or beaten-up and left bleeding in the gutter, Russell. Yes, it will happen, and of course, you wouldn’t dare, and go into denial. You stupid bastard.

          • John Smith

            I think people are concerned that a political and religious ideology,
            the two are tightly bound in Islam, read Ibn Warraq on this subject,
            for how non-secular Islamic nations are. Also saying ‘Atheism is
            responsible for Fritzl’ is nonsense, he was unhinged, he would of done
            those things as a Ba’hai or a Buddhist or whatso-ever. I don’t wish to
            persecute groups as a whole, but I’m not for Totalitarianism, of any
            kind other. It’s Popper’s Problem of Tolerance. Clearly it is
            intolerable that child-rape happens here, however it is ‘justified’, be
            that religiously, culturally, by class etc, however it is equally awful
            and incorrect to say ‘All Muslim Condone X’. The problem is this, we’re
            making choices independent of various societal, religious and cultural
            indoctrinations, many Muslims, Christians, Jews, Scientologists, are
            not. Also, have you even looked at the statistics for health, education
            and well being, in very religious countries, I know people, education,
            sane people from Pakistan, India, who are frankly ashamed of the sheer
            religious madness of their countries and want nothing than to change
            them, to be, guess what, LESS religious, MORE secular, MORE democratic,
            they’re prepared to risk death, ostricisation, to even SAY these things
            and you’re typing some canard about ‘the silent liberal majority’, just
            look at the trouble faced by the council of ex-muslims in the UK, and
            the Rushdie affair. Also it isn’t a secret, it’s clearly open, the Late Mr Bin Laden for example, was clearly serious and meant what he said, Andy Choudary, these people are not pretending about what to violently oppose ‘Western liberal ideals’. Also, Fascists will always tell, they’re not Fascists. Tell me, which is better a society that tolerates Child Rape or one that doesn’t?

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            “Your such a fool.”
            Spot the irony.

          • FrenchNewsonlin

            “peaceful forward looking Muslims” … and naturally you’ll happily name their leaders in Europe, quantify their views as majority-held among the wider 1.6 billion-strong Muslim community and offer some links to the numerous statements your ( 1.4 billion?) PF-LM have made abjuring, abhoring and vehemently denouncing Islamism’s extremist atrocities? Much obliged.

          • Sam

            Joseph Fritzl, and the Nazi party did not have a book they pointed to that told them how to behave. That is the difference.

            Let’s remove religion from the picture for a moment. Imagine a bunch of golf players brutally murder an old man. Obviously, we’d all agree that golf had nothing to do with it. But now let’s say they murdered a Jew and pointed to Mein Kampf as inspiration. Suddenly we’re aware that Mein Kampf may contain dangerous dogma.

            Fritzl was just evil. He did not have a ‘book of atheism’ or an ‘atheist cleric’ who inspired him to his deeds. He was just cruel and sadistic.

            Now, whether or not the Koran is a book of dangerous dogma is a separate debate which I won’t go into. But there is a big difference between someone simply being evil and someone being evil for dogmatic reasons.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            xx

          • tamimisledus

            Any muslim who claims to be peaceful or forward looking is lying about his/her inner beliefs which come to him/her directly from allah via the koran.

            Now you need to read the koran which commands all muslims how to think and behave. That is the koran which, in the cause of islam, promotes supremacism, sexism,
            racism, antisemitism, physical and mental abuse, a totally bankrupt moral philosophy, superstition, ignorance – and that is just the start.

            There are many who can show you where muslims throughout history have put all these *principles* into practice whenever advantageous. muslims, including those in the UK, put most of these *principles* into practice on day to day basis often in opposition to UK laws and values. When outright violence becomes advantageous to islam, their faith commands all muslims to carry out whatever necessary, including violence, in order that the world
            must submit to islam.

            All muslims believe that the world is directed by a sadistic psychopath named allah. All those ignorant of the implications of that belief, such as you appear to be, actually represent a greater danger to human progress than any of the other dangers which face this planet.

          • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

            No, your deranged rant of unsubstantiated claims and insane comparisons to Soviet repressions certainly convinced me.

          • pdhan

            Since when is it the labour party doing the sentencing in our courts?

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Well you voted for the bastards, Britisher pals. So suck it up. Us residents abroad have all but abandoned the notion of returning to UK to retire. Which means HMG can whistle for that invisible export.
            Jack, Japan Alps

        • http://my.telegraph.co.uk/members/jp99 jp99

          How terrible are they? You can see here – wholesale slaughter is their preferred modus operandi, all over the world…

          http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks

          List of Islamic Terror Attacks For the Past 30 Days

          Islam’s Latest Contributions to Peace”Mohammed is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are harsh
          to the unbelievers but merciful to one another” Quran 48:29

          2013.08.22 (Aleppo, Syria) – A suicide bomber targets a group of youth celebrating a graduation at a restaurant, killing six.

          2013.08.22 (Dujail, Iraq) – A Sunni wades into a Shia wedding party and detonates a suicide vest, slaughtering at least nine.

          2013.08.22 (Farah, Afghanistan) – A child is disassembled by Religion of Peace hardline bombers.

          2013.08.21 (Tlemcen, Algeria) – A father and son are among a group of hunters decapitated by Islamic fundamentalists.

          2013.08.21 (Gamboru Ngala, Nigeria) – Islamic radicals lure four people out of their homes and then machine-gun them.

          2013.08.21 (Karachi, Pakistan) – A 46-year-old Ahmadi is shot dead outside his home along with a neighbor by Sunni purists.

        • ROBERT BROWN

          You stupid, stupid man. Watch Labour bellyache when muslims take over their power bases, and impose their crooked, evil will on the people.

          • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

            You’re as delusional about the “threat” of Islam as the Nazis were about the “threat” posed by the Jews.

          • ROBERT BROWN

            Sigh……you are the delusionist, all Leftie idiots are in denial. The muslims supported Hitler, he even had an islamic division, in Russia i believe. The Nazis and Islam are one and the same, total state power. And of course, the Nazis were socialists, say no more. Islam threatens ALL non-muslim states, it really does want a world-wide caliphate, assisted by useful idiots like you.

      • Craig Yates

        Actually they are biting the bigger hand of non muslims right now.

      • ROBERT BROWN

        Agreed, and when the demographic curve ensures a majority of muslims in their area, watch as the likes of Blunkett, Straw, Simon Hughes et al are booted out, then you will see real problems for us ‘proper English’.

      • bionde

        Or the hand that stuffs your postal votes.

    • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

      Although the concept of an “untrue ideology” is rather a bit authoritarian for my taste, as a leftie, I do oppose totalitarianism, misogyny, irrationality, homophobia.

      I simply don’t like the utterly disingenuous logic which is continually used to paint Islam as a whole religion as uniquely predisposed to such things.

      The Right is cloaking its argumentation as criticism of religion or protection of modern values. To accept that an argument is made as criticism of religion and not mere bigotry, one should have minimum standards of intellectual robustness, which I think you fail to meet.

      I also believe that before the right declare themselves as protectors of such modernity, they could at the very least stop fighting it themselves. No conservative party has ever led the charge against homophobia or misogyny, rather fighting it tooth and nail every step of the way.

      • itbeso

        “I simply don’t like the utterly disingenuous logic which is continually
        used to paint Islam as a whole religion as uniquely predisposed to such
        things.”

        Which Islam isn’t predisposed to such things?

        • JoshLRussell

          The whole of Islam? And you conveniently dropped the ‘uniquely’ from the original comment. The point is that some Muslims do despicable things. Some white people do despicable things. Some atheists, some buddhists, some scientists, some politicians. The point is that the religion or the identity isn’t the defining factor. One can oppose individual Muslims committing violence or condoning bigotry. But that’s not the same as opposing Islam because you believe it can be reduced to the same. Some people in the Middle East see soldiers killing innocents and drone strikes causing untold suffering and they believe all westerners are inherently violent and cold. Are they right too?

          Please. Just do me a favour and open your mind before you open your mouth.

          • itbeso

            Tell you what you do me a favour too and learn to read and then to comprehend. Islam is an ideology. Yes some/many muslims ignore the worst parts of , thank Thor, it but Islam is Islam.

          • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

            The idea that Islam is an “ideology” is precisely as ludicrous as the idea that we both share ideology with Stalin by virtue of our common atheism.

            All religions are tremendously diverse; ascribing a coherent ideological system to a whole branch of a major, diverse world religion is sheer idiocy.

          • Keith D

            Absolute rubbish and thats being polite.I’m not sure if you’re being deliberately obtuse or just have your head planked firmly in the sand.
            Ideology….a set of conscious and unconscious goals characterised by its influence in politics,the social structure and its influence on ones behaviour.
            Maybe you think FGM,barbarism,constant war,murder of infidels,(oh,the list is so long) all constitute symptoms of mental illness and you’d be right.BUT,when that mindset is instilled to your children at an early age,and then reinforced all through life,what else would you call it?
            The only reason this ideology hasn’t condemned the rest of us to slavery or worse is that up until now,we’ve been far too strong.

          • Sim Chi

            The muslims can kill each other for their ideology / religion if they wish. If they want to keep women as second class citizens and stone gay fellow muslims and prohibit gay behaviour that is fine. If they wish to stop non muslims drinking that is fine too. They can do whatever they want in their own countries where their religion / ideology has been voted into government. This is the UK. It is a country based on christianity and our laws have been made over the many hundreds of years of civilization in the UK. Some muslims wish to foist their ideology / religion on our christian country and that is wrong. We should be fighting it tooth and nail as some of their ideologies / religious dogma does not sit well with the indigenous population of the UK.

          • Tristram

            Calling England a “Christian” country is like calling it a white country. Horribly bigoted and untrue.

          • Sim Chi

            Ahhh. Another useful idiot? Don’t like christianity I take it. Like it or not the UK like Ireland, Spain, Italy and others is a christian country. The UK is also a white country. If the UK isn’t a white country would you say that Kenya or the Congo is not a black country?

          • Tristram

            Find me a sizable population of white Kenyan citizens. England hasn’t been a “white” country for decades. I think you’ll find born and bred Brits of all colours, and how hideous of you to render them invisible.

            England functions for the most part as a pluralistic secular democracy. Yes, there are still strong remnants of a Christian background, but in time these too will fade.

          • Sim Chi

            ” but in time these too will fade.”

            To be replaced with Islam as the main religion. Ok. So you want to replace one religion with another in the UK is that correct? Because by accident or design that is what is happening.

            We swap christianity for Islam? The Bible for The Qu’ran?
            A peaceful religion for the religion of peace which when weighing up the what is happening all over the world is practiced through violence?

            Mmmmm……

          • pdhan

            To be replaced with NO main religion of course. Some people will be Christian, others muslim. I really don’t understand what you’re so afraid of.

          • Sim Chi

            But it is happening now. We are importing muslims as christianity fades. We have already experienced Labour muslim MP’s wanting a muslim PM and parliament. Sickening.

          • Tristram

            What? Why would I want to replace one obsolete worldview with another?

            We are heading towards a more tolerant, enlightened, secular state. Religion has had its time, and the developed world is ready to shed these cheap superstitions.

          • Icebow

            Sir, I really do try my best to avoid ad hominem statements, but I have to say that you are (currently) a deluded vainglorious twerp. As I have said elsewhere in this thread, rationalism is irrational.

          • Sim Chi

            What are you going to do with the shitholes that are the Middle East, Indonesia and Muslim Africa?

          • Sim Chi

            P.S.

            If we swap The Bible for The Qu’ran there won’t be any getting out of Sunday school like when I was young. It will be mandatory Friday prayers. You might want to think about that if you are an atheist or agnostic.

          • Sarane Hydara

            I agree with you, however when UK becomes a Muslim State (you certainly can’t imagine that) through a democratic process (you certainly can’t imagine that too) then we would be able to do all what is possible as taught be Quran and Sunnah.

          • Sim Chi

            Blood will be spilled before the UK ever becomes Muslim. We kept Hitler and his Panzer divisions sat on the French coast so a few dark skinned chaps with towels wrapped around their heads will be no problem. You forget we haven’t even got in to the ring to fight yet, nevermind taken our gloves off. Having just returned from Egypt I find that the majority of muslims there do not want your secularism.

          • Icebow

            Nothing is ‘precisely as ludicrous’ as anything. Islam is an ideology; it is a world religion; it is false.
            Stalin may have had more people killed than any other atheist, but this does not mean that Dawkins’s atheism is not just as worthless as his.

          • Sarane Hydara

            Islam is not an Ideology. Islam is complete way of life. It manages the affairs of a state, community, family and the individual. It pronounces on all subjects, most of which were recently discovered by Science. It teaches about GOD, HUMANS and other creations
            What is your yardstick for measuring a true religion if by your measurement Islam is false?

          • Icebow

            Sir, I decline to answer your question. In support of this decision, I refer you to the brief quotation (black script on red ground) that you will find on the right near the top of the Bare Naked Islam homepage. My response would probably have similar had you identified yourself as an atheist.
            May you be guided by the Divinity, in whatever it may consist.

          • Jean Luke Picard

            What it certainly does, it makes people like you apparently post delusional nonsense & lies like this: “It pronounces on all subjects, most of which were recently discovered by Science.” Sure, that’s why the Islamic world is stuck for over 800 years (!!!) in the days of translating Greek/Indian/Chinese/Roman & Jewish works at the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad (and even that, was most prominently done by Arabic Christians and Persians). Once REAL, fundamental Islam took over, even that was not possible anymore and the Middle East declined into its own version of the Dark Ages (just as happened with fundamentalist Christianity!). Oh and just an example of “Islamic Science” for you. Mohammed said, that if a fly falls into your drink, don’t spill it, but take out the fly and tunk it into the drink with its other wing; because when one wing contains the disease, the other wing contains the cure (!!!!!!!). Can you think of ANYTHING more nonsensical than this deluded bullsh*t? That’s like “Christian Science” of spotting witches and demons (of course Islam has its evil Djins as well!). Islam as a RATIONAL way of looking at the world fails just as much as ANY death-cult based on IRRATIONAL, supernatural-fairy tales superstition. Comparing it to science (another example in the Quran is the EXACT SAME MISTAKES AS THE GREEKS MADE (!!!) regarding embryology 800 years earlier, which is, where said “knowledge” in the Quran comes from) is not only deluded, but should and must be ridiculed for the NONSENSE that it is.

          • Sarane Hydara

            Allow me to ask did you read the Quran? Did you study the Quran? Your historic house of wisdom in Baghdad was how many year after the death of the Prophet of Islam? The Fly Wing teaching of the Prophet of Islam, you have the scientific test results that proof it wrong?
            Do you have proof that Quranic knowledge came from the Greeks 800 year earlier?
            You have manifested a typical Atheist approach to knowing (knowledge). By mere comparison you think you know. Please help me with answers to my question above.

          • Karin Karejanrakoi

            WTF is a “typical Atheist approach to knowing”?

            Testing hypotheses? Research? Logical reasoning? Or simply refusing to give up your own judgement in order to rely on crypto-mysto gabble spouted by ‘prophets,’ whether jewish, christian, muslim, hindu, buddhist or any other?

          • Sarane Hydara

            If one is dishonest to oneself, one would not have the ability to be honest to anything one hates.
            Where there is dishonesty, there would be no trust and in the absence of trust there is not knowing (learning).
            Yes! to you last sentence. comparison is not a method of answering questions. I would love to have answers to my questions and of course be in position to answer your questions

          • Keith D

            If brains were chocolate you couldn’t fill a smartie.

          • Sarane Hydara

            Its better said this way
            ‘If brains were chocolate, Sarane could not fill a smartie, however Keith’s entire brain being so small would not would fill a smartie.’
            Thanks Keith

          • Karin Karejanrakoi

            *ALL* religions are nonsensical and oppressive – one that is “a complete way of life” even more so.

            And a simple google search will show the falsity of the argument that your book of fairy stories anticipates science.

          • Icebow

            No, not all religions are nonsensical and oppressive. For example, you would be very hard-pressed to show that Buddhism was either. Only Mohammedanism definitively combines nonsensicality and oppressiveness, among the global religions, and it merits sustained iconoclasm.

          • Sarane Hydara

            When people talk about things they don’t know anything about, or hate or have no authority over, their statements are always hollow and dishonest.
            Can I please have the cases you got on your ‘simple Google search’

          • itbeso

            “The idea that Islam is an “ideology” is precisely as ludicrous as the
            idea that we both share ideology with Stalin by virtue of our common
            atheism.”

            What Keith D said.

          • JoshLRussell

            Yep. Like most intolerant bigots, you’re ‘just calling a spade a spade’. I can read. Better than you, I’m prepared to bet, given I’m a professional writer. Islam is an ideology. So was fascism and anti-semitism. So is Islamophobia. At least Islam has good elements along with the bad; your perspective is a hateful ideology without the redeeming qualities.

          • Sim Chi

            Professional writer? Really? Just because UAF keep you in sandwiches and lemonade whilst commenting on blogs does not make you a professional writer

          • itbeso

            UAF – insert belly laugh. That explains well everything really.

          • Alexandrovich

            “…intolerant bigots.”
            “I’m a professional writer.”
            Well spare us the tautological cliches then.

          • JoshLRussell

            Most cliches become that way because they’re true. You don’t like the label, drop the attitude.

          • Icebow

            Well, pro, it wasn’t so much the cliché as the tautology that he was referring to.

          • Icebow

            Professional writer: ‘intolerant bigots’. If that really is the day job, give it up.

          • itbeso

            Well you have resorted to name calling so you win. Oh and telling us how big you are – a professional writer no less you get another brownie point. I think you just made your case beautifully. Or have you just made mine? Well at least you finally made me laugh.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

            Islam shares at least one trait with those you mention above, it’s an ideology that requires an “Other” to vilify as the cause of all their woes. Finally all these ideologies had some “good points” as there’s not much that is 100% bad, but how does that negate the evil they promote or engage in? Putins Russia & Uganda have their good points but hatred & persecution of Gays are NOT included in them.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

            To para phrase Christoper Hitchens “It takes Religion to make good people do wicked things”!

          • bodhi

            Which was in turn a paraphrase of “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” by Steven Weinberg. =)

          • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

            Thanx for the heads up on the entomology.

          • Baron

            One of the many eye-catching but logically inconsilient quotes of his for it implies good people of no religion do not do wicked things. Hmmm

          • Lana Bulatov

            “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”Christopher Hitchens

          • Jambo25

            And as Hitchens didn’t say. It takes religion to stop people doing bad things.

          • johnslattery

            “TWO men in Saudi Arabia have been sentenced to 7000 lashes each after being convicted of sodomy and have received their first round of punishment in public, a newspaper said today.” Agence France-Presse, October 4, 2007. One of a regular stream of torture punishments you can google easily. They do the lashing in multiple sessions, you know, a few thousand a month, in public, of course.

            You are an apologist for systematic sadism, Josh, and if you cannot see that religion IS the defining factor here, you are an idiot as well.

          • Daydreamer1

            I think the issue here is that apologists eager to play devils advocate or for personal reasons don’t fully recognise the power of systematic irrationality. People use many strategies to protect religion, but they are usually based around changing its definition so it doesn’t fit that discussion. That’s fine in a sense, ‘religion’ is a very sloppy term.

            My only point would be – to all the people saying that a moral system is ok if it has some good bits as well as bad – that their own moral reasoning is deeply flawed. We should all strive to be the best we can be, and it cannot be moral to judge immorality as being acceptable because it is balanced by some morality.

            The reason religion is a problem in this is that it states that some actions that we know cause harm and cannot be rationally justified outside of the religion are moral.

            Onlookers are morally complicit if they cannot say that if the ideology as a whole cannot improve itself – if it has parts in it that function to maintain systems that produce and promote harm, that the ideology itself has a problem.

            For anyone of reasonable morality that should be easy to do. It is a question of whether a system can be self critical and analyse data to see how its actions are affecting things and how it justifies those actions. Religions have many causal relationships where they produce harm. Most of us do. But religions have a special relationship with this when they justify not changing because of their hypothesis. Again, it is a question of morality.

          • Jean Luke Picard

            Some disagree when it comes to definitions, but that’s why I differentiate between “morality” as a set of rules YOU want OTHERS to implement/follow and ethics, which is “the morality of when nobody is watching you”, the re-tuning morality to reality, the “science of questioning ones moral superlatives”. And this is where religion fails, completely. It’s fundamentalist Christians who used the Bible to justify treating Africans as slaves and it’s other fundamentalist Christians, who used THE SAME BIBLE to justify their complete OPPOSITION to said practice. I can find the passages that will tell me, that being a slavemaster & condoning said behaviour, I will land in Hell……..but then I read how Jesus told slaves to obey their masters and to be “good slaves”. The claim that religious dogmata (as seen mostly in Christianity and Islam) are OBJECTIVE MORALITY, because they are coming from a superlative of a Being (while said being’s Book of Rules contradicts itself constantly) is just as factual, as the claim that eating meat three times a day and being a vegan is the same kind of diet.

      • Tristram

        Sorry, but flying horses don’t happen. Never have, and probably never will. Angels don’t exist, nor do they recite books to people. There is no such thing as magic. Islam, like all religion, is based on myth and falsehoods and is therefore untrue and should not be taken seriously.

        The Right criticises Islam but puts Christianity on a pedestal. Both are useless and have no place in a modern society.

        I will not for a moment defend those who choose to follow such patently false and worthless superstition, no matter how hard my fellow lefties defend their abhorrent views and illogical fantasies.

        • northernobserver

          Sure, but atheism is possible in a Christian culture not so an Islamic culture. Something for atheists to meditate on.

          • Tristram

            Atheism is possible in spite of Christianity, not because of it. Look at what’s happening in Russia.

            The West has slowly neutered and watered down its ridiculous cultural myths. The Islamic world is hundreds of years behind.

          • FrenchNewsonlin

            Make that thousands…

          • pdhan

            Only because this culture is not overwhelmingly Christian anymore. It’s a lot harder being an atheist in Kansas for example.

        • Sarane Hydara

          Are you from Space? Welcome to Earth! Over a billion Muslims and Billion Christians are part of what makes the world what It is today. They all can’t have got it wrong. Tell me something we don’t know, or is it like the case of the mad man standing across the road and shouting at people passing by ” YOU ARE ALL MAD”

          • Tristram

            “If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” – Anatole France

          • Sarane Hydara

            Who is he? I hope he is also from space? I disagree with him.
            Something that is not foolish to a fifty million people and is only foolish to one person or even a few hundred, I would not call that thing foolish.
            Anatole France should have used a better word than foolish. Foolish is subjective.

          • Jean Luke Picard

            Numbers don’t count. Facts do! Up until the 18th century the majority of people covered their mouth when yawning, not to prevent a bee or wasp to fly into their mouth and possibly kill them via an allergic reaction or throat-swelling through a bite, but because religious people claimed, that “evil spirits” enter through your mouth (sic!). Today, we don’t believe that nonsense anymore.

          • Sarane Hydara

            Don’t be confused, the numbers are the total number of facts.
            Believing or disbelieving is a choice. The truth comes from knowing.

          • Karin Karejanrakoi

            And you ‘know’ because you read it in a book written nearly 1500 years ago by a primitive human living in a pre-feudal society that taught that the Earth (which was created *before* the rest of the universe) is the centre of the cosmos, that the moon is farther away than the stars and that sperm comes from somewhere between the backbone and the ribs?

            (Please do not think I am attacking just islam here – the christian and jewish ‘bibles,’ the Bhagavad-Gita and the Popol Vuh contain idiocies just as egregious).

          • Sarane Hydara

            How do you know what you know? Please answer this one honestly.

          • rw

            Please leave Britain now. Go back to where your ethnic roots are (Middle East, Africa, whatever) and go about your religion as you will. You must realize that I believe just as passionately about my country as you do about your God. I have lost all patience with your kind. No more.

    • E Roberts

      You’re not necessarily wrong (and Greenslime’s point is very valid, esp. for the Labour Party) but Cohen rightly points out that “all political persuasions” are drawn into attacking Dawkins and defending Islam without question. Why turn this discussion into an oh-so-predictable tirade against ‘the left’ when the article and debate are about a greater issue than petty 2-sided politics?

      • Tristram

        For sure. But as a leftie myself I find the double standards of those on my “side” disappointing. Was just expressing that.

        • E Roberts

          *doffs cap* fair do’s

    • JoshLRussell

      “We should oppose all totalitarian, misogynistic, irrational, homophobic, … ideologies”

      I agree. Entirely. We should oppose these ideologies. And not confuse them with unrelated things about the people who may espouse them. These things are no more the exclusive domain of Islam than they are the exclusive domain of Greece because of the Golden Dawn or the southern US because of the Klan. The ideologies are what need to be challenged and contested and until you recognise that, you’ll continue to chase ghosts.

    • pkoduah

      The West did not create Christianity or Islam. They all came from the East.

      • Tristram

        Sure, “create” was the wrong word to use. The point being Christianity is culturally our own, whereas Islam is a relatively new addition to western culture. I think this is why the left are happy to tear apart Christianity, but cry racism when Islam is held to the same standard.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “The left is disastrously hypocritical when it comes to Islam.”
      So are Feminists.

  • PeterMayhew

    Hear, hear. How refreshing.

  • George White

    Well said. Dawkins merely tells it like it is, and the religoids don’t like it up ’em!

    • The_greyhound

      Your unthinking faith in Dawkins says it all.

      • tatergumfries

        You got any evidence of unthinkin faith?

      • Badjumbly

        George White expresses his agreement with Dawkins on religion, and on that ground alone you accuse him of having “unthinking faith in Dawkins”. You certainly seem to have faith in your own presumption.

      • Icebow

        The number of apparent Dawkinsolaters around here is depressing.

  • Richard Liggins

    The left has been blind sided by their own PC tendencies on the subject of Islam, can’t be seen to criticise it, and is therefore honour-bound to support the very worst traits of an aggressive hegemony.

  • OldSlaughter

    This is painted as an either/or. I am happy to attack both in differing ways and for different reasons. Dawkins is a wind up merchant and surprisingly, for one so keenly intelligent, very small minded. I have no idea why saying so should preclude attacking religious fascists.

    • Spyinthesky

      Agreed but the point of the article was entirely based on the fact that he is an easy target while others for most critics are deemed untouchable for fear of attack of whatever nature. If they did their job properly then I suspect Dawkins would not feel the need to take on so much of the pressure to equalise matters in the first place. I am rather sick and tired of hearing the likes of ex Arch Bishops of Canterbury, Popes and Baroness Warsi amongst others attacking atheists while shouting foul when they themselves are attacked for their beliefs. Dawkins refuses to play by their rules and until society accepts consistency more power to him.

  • http://michael-taggart.com Michael Taggart

    An article of great moral clarity and the pay-off line was the best news I’ve heard all week – “Rod Liddle is away”.

    • The_greyhound

      Liddle is the chief reason to read the Spectator.

      No one has yet discovered the point of Cohen.

      • blindsticks

        Rod the ‘anti mod’.
        Top man.

  • Overmars

    Great article showing up the hypocritical of Dawkins attackers who are more interested in trying to paint Dawkins as a racist then fighting injustice and oppression. A great example is Mr Greenwald and Russia. He criticizes Dawkins yet says nothing on the bigotry and laws against homosexuals in Russia and the Middle east. That’s Hypocratical and self serving in my opinion.

  • John Murphy

    Gee, no member of the English upper-classes have “ever hurt a fly”? This is the demented worldview of Tory elites, spouted even as they bring death and destruction across the globe. This delusion is the fault, obviously, of the “Left”.

    • nogods nowars

      He said Dawkins has never hurt a fly – can you not read?

      • Spyinthesky

        Its that he doesn’t want to read sadly and is precisely the point of the article ironically. Oh I consider myself a soft socialist but I think Stalin and Mao Zedong did more than their fair share of death and destruction around the World in the name of the left, indeed practically every regime up to the power that they were able to develop and exercise no matter their politics. The difference is how many apologists they have speaking for them. Should we go into the terrible atrocities of the Ottoman Empire amongst others it would make anyone physically sick, but no that would not be pc I guess.

  • JabbaTheCat

    Good article…

    • The_greyhound

      Where?

  • Viking.

    It cannot be stated that attacking Islam and the behaviour of Muslims is racist, Muslim is not a race. Also you cannot deny that race exists and then call someone a racist. Races most definitely exist, Muslim is just not one of them. Muslims are guilty of the crimes of Islam by association, they fail to denounce Islamic misdeeds. A list of the statements reported to have issued from the mouth of Mohammed clearly demonstrates the violent and dispicable nature of Islam. I continue to be an agnostic with contempt for those that believe in imaginary beings.

    • Daniel Maris

      Are dark haired Welshmen, ginger haired Irishman and blonde haired Englishmen all part of the same race?

      • blindsticks

        Ginger haired people have been attacked merely for being ginger nuts by whites and non whites. Blond haired and blue eyed people are often linked and blamed for the crimes of Hitler. For instance when Brevwick went on his murderous rampage the press had a field day going on about his blue eyes and blond hair, as if anyone else looking like him had better be watched closely in future. Dark haired people – dunno – we’ve got dark hair in my family and have often been called pikey.

        • Sim Chi

          Be careful in your wording. I know someone who referred to a pikey as a pikey and he is up on a charge for it.

          • Icebow

            If you hurt one in an accident occurring in its commission of a crime, they’ll still come after you.

      • Daniel Maris

        Interesting how 4 people don’t even like a question to be asked. :)

      • Daniel Maris

        To answer my own question, in zoology, if you found similar animals able to cross breed but with such startling different features as different hair colouring, skin tone, height and so on, you would refer to them as different sub-species (which is what the term race means – and which was the term used by Darwin originally). In that case the “indigenous” people of these islands would be three separate sub-species.

      • Karin Karejanrakoi

        Yes, the *human* race!

    • E Roberts

      The first two Race Relations Acts defined racism as prejudice on the grounds of colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins (Hague showed how clueless he was when he protested some years ago that prejudice against Romany travellers could not be considered racist because they are white).

      The 2010 Equality Act adds religion to the mix but still distinguishes between racism and religion; so you are right. But in practice, the ‘protected characteristics’ lump race (as defined above) together with religion/belief and a variety of other categories (age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.) so to all intents and purposes an attack on Islam might be construed as akin to racism.

      You may argue whether that’s right or not, but my point is that a narrow definitional argument such as yours probably sits uneasily in the context of the current legislation. I can think of better defences of Dawkins (and I’m a Christian).

      • Icebow

        I had thought that true Romanies were dark-skinned and spoke a variant of Hindi.

        • E Roberts

          I think the variant that drew his (and the Mail’s) ire at the time, probably for camping on a common, was white enough to make him say that. On Question Time if memory serves.

          • Icebow

            The white version used to frequent a local ‘Indian’ restaurant. They were fairly frequent visitors, having been banned from many similar places; the manager welcomed the extra custom, and regarded nice salt cellars and pepper pots as a relatively modest tax in comparison. They spoke some sort of dialect with great rapidity, which I doubt was anything to do with Hindi.

    • JoshLRussell

      “Muslims are guilty of the crimes of Islam by association, they fail to denounce Islamic misdeeds.”

      God. This is why I hate these debates. Because these arguments are so demonstrably fallacious that I wonder why any enlightened person should even bother. They don’t fail to. They often, very vocally and on the record, oppose extremism. Many muslims are engaged in work in their own communities fighting radicalisation, working far harder than you or I to treat the issue. And then you think – because you believe, in your ignorance, that they are fundamentally all the same – that you should be able to heap them all together and cast your scorn upon them, not realising its exactly the behaviour that fascists, racists, bigots and zealots have also used to dehumanise the group they want to condemn.

      Stop treating people as objects. Stop blaming everyone for the actions of a few. And stop letting your ‘contempt’ speak through you, reducing you to someone who genuinely believes it’s his right to condemn other human beings whom he clearly doesn’t have a desire to understand.

      • JJF

        For Chrisake, Josh, go read the koran; then come back to renounce your sickening defence of the death cult called Islam.

        WHY is it you have been slammed comprehensively here- could it be you are WRONG??

      • northernobserver

        Everything you argue can be true and your point still fails. The problem is that Islam generates violent incidents that can be justified by cultural and religious rationalizations. Until the umma finds a way to police and control the violence, non Muslims are justified in the apprehension of Muslim nations and Muslim individuals. It is exactly the frequency of specific acts done by specific Muslim individuals that builds the empirical argument in favour of prudence towards them and principled criticism of the tenants of their faith.

      • NelRow23

        Most Muslims, in practice, are fine. Their
        Koran and Hadiths, however, if followed to the letter, can only lead to
        barbarism. Like Jews who ceremonially venerate the Torah and Christians
        who do likewise with the Bible, it is only possible for
        Muslims to be decent citizens and neighbours if, in practice, they
        ignore their weird old Holy Books. To be a true believer in any of the
        Abrahamic religions, and at the same time to respect the laws in a
        modern liberal democracy requires a degree of cognitive dissonance.

        It
        appears, however, that rigid adherence to the letter of their God
        issued texts is more prevalent amongst Muslims than amongst Jews and
        Christians.

    • Icebow

      I was going to vote you up until your last sentence; abstained. Who are you to tell anyone who or what is imaginary? Don’t bother with any reply in which the word evidence appears as a clincher.

  • rupertstubbs

    I would have a lot more sympathy for those who complain that attacks on Islam are a slur on the vast majority of “moderate” muslims if that same vast majority wasn’t so strangely silent.

    If the number of actual fundamentalists are so tiny – as we are constantly being told they are – why have I never seen the moderate majority demonstrate against the distortion of their religion? If, after every outrage like that in Woolwich, there was a march by the million (and more*) of moderate muslims against the crimes committed in their name, then it might be easier to think of Islam as something other than a backward, repressive and intolerant male power-grab.

    And if it is because well over a million people are, like Nahla, terrified of a tiny group of loonies, then isn’t it better that someone – even Dawkins – stands up for them?

    (Unlike Dawkins, I have been reading the Qu’ran – worth understanding just how massively the fundamentalists have distorted what is a surprisingly even-handed and tolerant overall message.)

    * The MCB puts the muslim population in Britain at 1.54 million.

    • Petra Thompson

      “worth understanding just how massively the extremists have distorted what is a surprisingly even-handed and tolerant overall message”

      The koran is encrypted. It interleaves the early verses from Mecca (kind of tolerant), with the later verses from Medina (violent and supremacist). Reading it in the naive and uninformed way in which you have read it, has led you to invert its meaning.

      The later verses override the earlier verses (abrogation). Those like Clegg and Obama, who deliberately miss out the central section of koran 5:32 (to tell us that killing one person is like killing the whole of humanity) are the ones who are guilty of massive distortion. In fact, they are guilty of lying to us.

      You can see from this list of koranic verses in (reverse) chronological order, that the message of the koran is a message of violence not a message of tolerance. http://4freedoms.com/group/theology/forum/topics/the-koran-verses-in-chronological-order Verses 9 and 5 (practically the last verses “revealed by allah to mohammed”) are just about the most violent and supremacist in the entire book.

      • The End of Islam

        Which is why there has never been peace in any Islamic theocracy, and why Islam can never co-exist with civilisation without resorting to separatism or domination. It’s a disgusting and backward ideology whose time for exposure and dissipation has well and truly arrived. (Albeit overdue.)

        • Sarane Hydara

          Islam is currently co-exist with all faiths and civilisations. – with minor incidents here and there

        • Icebow

          The appropriate laughter in response to Sarane Hydara’s reply would be a blend of Mr Burns and Sideshow Bob, with a duration of not less than five minutes.

          • The End of Islam

            Indeed yes. He might have deleted his comment, which stated: “Islam is currently co-exist with all faiths and civilisations. – with minor incidents here and there.”

            Continuing with his theme of a merciful god, on his Facebook page, Mr Hydara has a picture of a charred man trying to sit up on a gurney in what appears to be in ambulance. The caption for the photo reads (sic): “A man who draw Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.) cartoon. Allah burn him in fire. Please share if you love Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.S.).

            This is the true mentality afflicting so many Muslims (and religious people in general).

          • Icebow

            Comment on Disqus is supposed to be non-deletable, though this site seems to be weirdly exempt on occasion. There may or may not be something sinister going on. (A ‘delete’ option appears on Disqus, but this merely changes one’s moniker to ‘Guest’. At least when I last looked.)

      • Marcus

        After Woolwich, Medi Hasan wrote an article that quoted the verse “To kill one is to kill the whole of humanity.” Firstly, why did he do that? Does it mean no Muslim would kill anyone? Would we believe no Christian would kill anyone if someone showed that “Thou shalt not kill” was in the bible? So even on that level, it was nonsense. Fast forward a few months and there is Medi Hasan, interviewing Irshad Manji, a Muslim feminist. She brought up the subject of cherry-picking verses (perhaps without realising he’d done it), and specifically chose that one, and said, “But nobody ever says that whole verse has an “unless” in it,” which allows killing of trangressors. In fact, the whole verse would have been exactly the justification those people needed to kill a soldier. It is annoying to me that in 2013, we argue over whether fallible humans really can behave 100% towards the so-called good verses in any religious text. It is an insult to the intelligence that those texts are full of alternative texts and contradictions, that we should ignore them.

        • crosscop

          I have just posted the very next verse to the one Hasan and Clegg distorted. It justifies not only killing captured soldiers but crucifying and mutilating them. Funny they never, ever mention Sura 5:33.

        • Jean Luke Picard

          The most perverse notion about the quoted “Islam is a religion of peace”-nonsense is, that the TWO LINES in question are THE ONLY in the entire Quran, which ask Muslims for being pacifists……and even after those TWO LINES, a BIG “buuuuuut” comes right away. LOL Even the madman Jesus had A LOT of peaceful material; a man, who introduced the concept of Hell to monotheism, who condoned slavery, who asked all to abandon their families and leave their loved ones and to follow him (because he prophesized the end of the world (big surprise!)) and said of himself, that he came to bring the sword, division and hate and not peace (Waraka taught Mohammed about that passage, apparently!).

      • Shoe On Head

        haha encrypted.

    • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

      By your logic, why aren’t Christians the world over called upon to renounce the Lord’s Resistance Army, a child-soldier army based on a mangled Christian logic?

      Because they haven’t the slightest bloody association with them, that’s why, and they’d probably be quite insulted if everyone around them kept believing that if they did not actively denounce them, they supported them.

      • The End of Islam

        The Lord’s Resistance Army, Westboro Baptist Church, Traditional Values Coalition and similar organizations have been condemned the world over by other Christians. This is not the case with the conspiratorial silence normally reserved by Muslims for Muslims committing atrocities or spouting hateful nonsense.

        • tatergumfries

          There’s a couple reasons. You come out against evil Muslims, they’re more like to kill you. Also, the Koran teaches Muslims that they gotta stick together, and that’s somethin they hear over and over.

        • Tore Sinding Bekkedal

          You’re employing a double standard.

          • Sim Chi

            No disrespect, you strike me as someone for whom the term ‘useful idiot’ was coined.

            Dhimmi also springs to mind.

            What is your opinion on christianity?

          • The End of Islam

            No, you are the one employing a double standard. All over the West there is disagreement and discord about what is right and what is wrong and what is tolerable, and so on. In Islam, especially when it comes to the treatment of non-believers (or Muslims from different sects), no one protests on the behalf of anyone else. I challenge you to give me one example. Actually, I can think of one. In the States in the past week a Muslim march against terrorism attracted 20 demonstrators. You are free to check out this event and its pathetic turnout for yourself.

        • princeofhollis

          Conspiratoral silence? You mean the death threats? wow .. OK And the KKK …. have you ever heard of them?

          Brought to you by ‘ Snap out of it”

          • The End of Islam

            Who in the West approves of the KKK, apart from the KKK?

            They are listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. Can you name me any organisation similar to the Southern Poverty Law Centre in the Islamic world?

            No? Thought not.

            In fact, the doctrines of the KKK and of Islam are surprisingly similar, save that the latter formally advocates violence to enforce its supremacy, citing a god (Allah) as the bestower of such brutal permissions. One is a small group of nuts with pillowcases on their heads, concentrated primarily in the USA, and the other is a huge geopolitical project generated by a madman 1400 years ago, and with 1 billion brainwashed adherents today following (with varying degrees of zeal) its profoundly warped perspective.

            Brought to YOU by ‘Reality Check’.

          • princeofhollis

            Sorry ” The End of Islam” … I’m not sure I am getting it. Maybe I do need a reality check.

            I’m not sure you are saying anything but you hate a quarter of the worlds population

            That’s your business but your reasoning is incorrect.

            You obviously are not considering much about he who has the guns makes the rules. Islamic Extremism .. or Militancy.
            I will let you pick, and how that affects the majority into what you refer to as a ‘conspiracy silence”?

            If 1.2 billion people were actually out to get you then you do have a problem. But since they are not. Enjoy your life you certainly would not be if what you are saying was true. None of us would.

            By your logic, greater Europe and all it’s populations were all Nazi’s by 1945 as well. We’re they?

          • The End of Islam

            You said that I hate a quarter (actually a sixth) of the world’s population. I think that Islam is a very unhealthy ideology, and there is evidence of this throughout the last 1400 years. But where have I said that I hate any particular individual or group of people? I’m not a fan of religion generally, but this one is particularly unpalatable, particularly for those born into it and would rather not have been.

            Just because the West has produced its own criminals and genocidal regimes does not mean that Islam does not represent a threat to modern civilisation. It doesn’t take 1 billion people to be at constant war with the West for that to happen – merely a fanatical fraction of that.

            Oh, and no one is out to get me personally, and I’m not half as worried about the future as you suppose I am. I simply am not prepared to defend, as you are, rotten ideas.

          • princeofhollis

            Not idea’s … people. Have a nice good night.

          • The End of Islam

            You’re an idiot. Sleep well.

          • princeofhollis

            Moron

          • Dug

            Ahahaha! Well said!
            Princeofhills, whilst the reason for you being labelled an idiot is very much apparent to me, I’m not too sure on the Logic behind your response. On the subject of logic, please do some reading on the concept. A better understanding would benifit us all.

          • Icebow

            Ideas.

          • Icebow

            Its populations. Nazis. You have not been charged.

          • Icebow

            Well, I hold no brief for the KKK, any more than for Mohammedanism; but the SPLC is no better than either.

          • The End of Islam

            It is increasingly starting to look like a politically correct blacklist, isn’t it?

          • crosscop

            How many people have the KKK killed so far this century? I reading somewhere that they’d renounced violence in the 1980s and I think, therefore, that you’ll find the number is zero.
            Meanwhile, Islam keeps on killing – which is not at all surprising. Muslims can never renounce violence because Allah has told them in the Koran that they must fight until there is no other religion but Islam. Killing non-believers is an Islamic duty.

          • princeofhollis

            Really?

            Listen … are you the type of person who believes that people kill people … not guns? Wait .. nm … no need to answer. I don’t care.

            Islam kills people. Right. I’m reading the Q’uran right now. Watch out … it has a hair trigger.

            Give me break.

          • crosscop

            Islam ( the Koran, Allah, Mohammad) instructs Muslims to kill its opponents. One of the Woolwich murderers pointed this out after finishing his act of jihad. Have you got to 5:33 yet? Or Sura 9:29 – in the Chapter of the Sword?:

    • crosscop

      “the extremists have distorted what is a surprisingly even-handed and tolerant overall message.”

      Sura 5:33 – “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment”

      Yes, surprisingly even-handed and tolerant, isn’t it? So much so that it justifies the murder of people like Lee Rigby.

  • Newsfox

    Drivel. Ken Livingstone seriously lost support on the Left exactly because of his apparent support for Muslim extremism. I actually think that he refuted those claims and was harshly treated. But Nick Cohen knows fine well that many on the Left did not support Ken because of those claims. But it’s less of a Muslim scare story then isn’t it.

    • Sheumais

      Well there you go, I thought Livingstone lost because even Labour voters recognised he lacked integrity and floating voters recognised he wasn’t as bumblingly amusing as Johnson.

      • Newsfox

        yeah that too!

  • Guycpw

    Brilliant article!

  • Matt Jones

    There are a couple of statements which seem to drastically undermine your argument. Firstly, your claim that the BBC “assures the nation that ‘militant’ atheism is as fanatical as militant religion”. The problem with this is that Dawkins assures the world that non-militant religion is as dangerous as militant religion – despite this being clearly false. But humouring Dawkins for a moment and pretending it is true after all, it is conceivable that ‘militant’ atheism could be as dangerous as non-militant religion, QED ‘militant’ atheism would be as dangerous as militant religion after all.

    Secondly, your reference to Jones (whom I consistently find myself disagreeing with) is almost too laughably disingenuous to believe. Jones’ objection was not to Dawkins’ dislike of segregating students; it was to the manner in which Dawkins referred to an individual in the tweet – a reference which you chose to omit from your quote of Dawkins tweet.

  • Spyinthesky

    That is a brilliant article but I fear that day is less likely to come than the apologists and protagonists of this evil will become more and more powerful and threatening. Civilisation goes back as well as forwards and such acceptance of the unacceptable by those who should know better for selfish purposes, are the main instigators of such decline into barbarism. When they realise it is is nearly always too late and the only results are either acceptance of the evil or a brutal civil war breaks out, neither pleasant alternatives and either way the society that we so take for granted now is lost for ever.

  • Fasdunkle

    Well said

  • Marc Williams

    “Owen Jones, the Peter Hitchens of the left”……Actually think of him as more of the Richard Littlejohn myself.

    • The_greyhound

      He meant Christopher Hitchens.

      Another irrational opinionated titanic bore.

      • Marc Williams

        Isn’t Christopher Hitchens the Christopher Hitchens of the left? Peter is the right wing douchebag.

        • Icebow

          No, Peter is the highly intelligent man of the right. Christopher is the less gifted atheist whom I shall refrain from insulting as a courtesy to his brother.

          • Daniel Maris

            But it was Christopher who opposed Sharia while his brother, Peter, gave it an easy ride for many years, as a kind of conservatism (though he now seems to be backpedalling a little).

    • Icebow

      Probably better. Worthlessness incarnate in any event. Stupid boy!

  • The Church Mouse

    If this alleged support for oppressed muslims from Richard Dawkins does exist, don’t suppose anyone can provide a link?

    What I see is flat out attack on people of any religious belief whatsoever, regardless of how ‘moderate’ you are. Perhaps we should ask Mehdi Hassan? http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/21/richard-dawkins-mehdi-hasan_n_3127629.html

    • Tristram

      Mehdi Hassan is a fool, a bigot, and a homophobe. Why should we care for his views?

    • Richard Sanderson

      Is that Mehdi “Cattle” Hasan?

      • Daniel Maris

        That’s the one. The one who is still treated as a respected member of the media community despite his views on Kaffirs as being as unreflective cattle. Remember that when you next see him on TV or hear him on radio.

        • Richard Sanderson

          Indeed. You can also add George Galloway, currently a Member of Parliament, who thinks it is OK to use the term “kuffar” to refer to non-believers (or non-Muslims) on his Press TV show.

          It is a bigoted term, with a history of usage against people considered “inferior”. It has a history of being used as an insult, and to degrade. I think we know of similar words that have similar usage and effect that Galloway would be horrified of, and would NEVER think was appropriate to use.

    • ThePrussian

      Question why should we kaffirs give a damn what Mehdi Hassan thinks about anything? For that matter, why should we kaffirs give a damn about those who call us that name?

      • Daniel Maris

        Mehdi thinks we are unreflecting cattle. He still gets invited on Question Time though.

        • ThePrussian

          Time for the rail!

        • mattoid

          I would take an invitation to appear on QT as a severe insult.

  • Greenslime

    An excellent article. No doubt the fact that its author is Jewish will be used to denigrate it.

    The reason that the left will not criticise Islam is because it harvests so many votes from followers of that religion. Not biting the hand that feeds you is more important than having integrity.

    Dawkins will always be an easy target. If one believes in God, whichever God, the stock answer is that you must not ask, or you must not test, and that you must just have faith. This, as they look askance at you saying, “can you not see?” They revert to the tactic of, ‘if you can’t play the ball, play the man’. Given the passion of believers and the environment of fear (physical and mental) which they engender, it is difficult to impossible to have a rational discussion without being described as some sort of ‘ist’.

    The culture that has evolved over the last decade or so, where we must not offend anyone on anything is now getting into ‘Thought Police’ territory and the TP taliban are the BBC, its print wing the Grauniad and their disparate band of looney-left acolytes.

  • Priyanka

    Excellent article…. Made my day!!

  • monkey for sale

    It is all very well atheists saying that religion is not the same as
    race, because you are free to decide what god if any you believe in, but
    cannot choose your ethnicity. But try telling that to the persecuted
    Christians, Shia and Sunni of the Middle East. Their religious
    persecution is no different from racial persecution.

    And that’s the problem in a nutshell – we’re not in the middle east .

    There have always been wars and conflict. Famine and flood. Should we stop and stand stock still until everybody’s life is fine and dandy, or should we say – Islam is a march of filth ?

    • mattoid

      And their persecution may be ‘no different from racial persecution’ but is IS different; it is purely RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION perpetrated by people of similar racial identity. They have more to fear from their ‘own people’ than from the outsider.

      • monkey for sale

        Muslims have , and always will , kill more muslims than any other group does.I blame their reading material.

        The ‘not in my name ‘ anti-war gang are correct when they say ” Bring our troops home”, but when they get back to the UK, they should round up the muslims in this country who have no right to be here and unceremonious send them home.
        The ones who have a right to be here can be dealt with later. Legally, of course. Legally, until they’re falling over themselves to get to the nearest airport.

  • Chris Marker

    A load of drivel this, Cohen. Anyone who remotely reads or follows the news would be aware of the criticism Christianity and Islam recieve in the Media. Judaism, however, is another story. Now why your tribe should merit such authority that any whisper about your special rituals is deemed sanctimonious is anyone’s guess.
    We goyims are a preculiar race.

    • TenPillocksInARoom

      Try the Guardian. Or search Google for “Goldman Sachs” and “conspiracy”. Or rather don’t, if you want to maintain your faith in humanity.

    • Richard Sanderson

      You must have missed the potent and vocal criticism (much of it from non-believers) about the Jewish practices of circumcision, and the very dubious method of “blood sucking” circumcision that has been allowed to continue in parts of New York.

      It might appear Christianity and Islam get more flak that Judaism, but then again, how many Jews are there in the world compared to Muslims and Christians?

  • Keith D

    What is a muslim bigot?.Every true believer is a bigot,amongst other things.

    • TenPillocksInARoom

      Was that intended with or without irony?

      • Keith D

        Without.Very specific post on one faith.

        • Daniel Maris

          So Quakers are bigots?

          • Keith D

            Rubbish.I asked what is a muslim bigot.Do keep up,theres a good chap.Anyone who’s read the believers description of the rest of us in the Koran knows this.Sheeh.

          • Keith D

            Nope.Do let me flesh this out for you.There is no such thing as a Muslim non bigot.If you are a true believer in the Koran and all its diatribes against infidels and kuffar then bigotry is your core value.Wtf did you get Quakers from?

          • TenPillocksInARoom

            I am a believer in the Bible of the Christian Church, yet here I am wearing … wait for it and tremble … a mixed-fibre shirt. I do not feel particularly evil in consequence, nor do I see any particular contradiction. Faith requires us to recognise the limits of rationality, but it also does not demand that we leave our common sense in a box. I don’t see why this route is inherently shut to Muslims any more than Christians (except admittedly the guns of Islamists, but that is not the fault of every Muslim on the planet).

            Incidentally, I would avoid any sentence with a structure “all [Xs] are bigots”, which may end up more self-referential than you intend!

          • Keith D

            Not at all.I’m referring to the texts in the Koran which are taken all too literally by those that consider themselves “good muslims”.I’m not referring to muslims as a whole as I’m sure,like Christians,many take a more moderate view.You do see don’t you.If I’m in danger of being bigoted against bigotry I’ll live with that.

          • TenPillocksInARoom

            No, on your clarified comment we agree entirely.

          • Daniel Maris

            Sorry – your post was a little ambiguous, especially since many people here are making the point that all religious faith is to some extent bigoted.

          • Keith D

            Aye,it was a bit ambiguous.Apologies and have a great weekend.

  • TenPillocksInARoom

    “Cultural conservatives have always hated Dawkins for challenging traditional Christian beliefs.” Yes, and this is towards my own view.

    Having said which, one of the things that depressed me most about recycled Dawkins arguments is that they were directed against Christians by Muslim-haters as a kind of safe proxy. This included some of the most outrageous misinformation and insults. No, “PlainSpeaker28502”, despite being a sky-fairy follower, I have never stoned a homosexual, I do not confine my wife to the home, I believe in tolerance towards those who wear mixed fibres and eat black puddings, and have never sacrificed so much as a single virgin. The amount of irrational rubbish that I have had to put up with from self-(and wrongly)-described rationalists is quite extraordinary.

    Richard Dawkins has rather put a stop to this with his recent activity, which has in turn made me more likely to consider his arguments maturely. Good.

    Oh, and by the way, you are right about the Lib Dems, although Labour’s escapades in Tower Hamlets and Warsi’s parroting of Islamist propaganda were hardly moments of glory either.

    • Icebow

      As to irrational rationalists, I feel your pain.

  • Sarane Hydara

    Dawkin is no racist, however he believes in something that he is using his time, energy and resources to promote or defend because he can prove it or has ‘a’ proof.
    Athesim is ignoring God because one can’t prove Its existence or has the proof of his existence.
    All humans believes or disbelieves – that the nature of our spiritual self

    • Richard Sanderson

      “All humans believes or disbelieves – that the nature of our spiritual self”

      False dichotomy, and then a non-sequitur. Either believing in something, or not, does not entail spirituality. A decision on whether you belief can be based entirely on empirical evidence, ie, nowt at all to do with the “spiritual self”, which is a meaningless concept.

      • Sarane Hydara

        Your statement would only be true if your see humans as upgraded animals. Spend time to know yourself, you might find concepts the best tool to describe some of the things you will come to know about yourself.

        • Daniel Maris

          Well I would agree with Sarane, to the extent that at the root of this issue is consciousness. You can’t “believe” or “disbelieve” without consciousness. And science has got absolutely nowhere in trying to isolate and define consciousness, hence there is no reason why we should describe that consciousness as our spiritual self if we wish, given there is no evidence that consciousness resides in the material cosmos.

          I would also agree that Dawkins (who I have heard speak) is not indifferent in his relation to the God concept. He positively loathes it and wants to disprove it.

          • Sarane Hydara

            Very well put Daniel. Dawkins is no friend of God.

          • Richard Sanderson

            Sorry, but this comment gave me this giggles.

          • David

            I’m not a friend of God either, guy never invites me round for a couple of beers and to watch the football game.

          • Sarane Hydara

            It seems you have an inability to accept anything godly or religious or attributed to God, except your name for ‘David’. I think you should have a name that reflect more what you are or stand for? which is also not yet clear to my likes

        • Richard Sanderson

          Humans are animals, whether you think they are “upgraded” or not. It is arrogance to suggest otherwise.

          • Sarane Hydara

            A typical Atheist – They compare two unknowns and because of the comparison they believe the have reason to claim knowledge of one or both.
            In our case both (Humans and Animals) are the same. In most cases they only look for similarities. Being Honest to themselves, they don’t fully know either.
            Comparison is not a Reason.

    • bodhi

      Atheism isn’t ignoring God in particular; it’s looking at the claims of the existence of countless thousands of gods that have been made throughout human history, including whatever god(s) are prevalent in the atheist’s culture, and saying “it’s clear humans make this shit up or there wouldn’t be so many religions; but… I’d be perfectly willing to believe as soon as one of them makes itself believable”. Many atheists are very much “seekers”, but they don’t accept something as true unless there’s a good reason.

      It’s too bad that we’re brainwashed. If parents didn’t inculcate their children into religious ideologies, the world would be a much different place. Those ideologies could still exist, but I’d bet anything that religions wouldn’t be so attached to cultures. India wouldn’t be so Hindu. America wouldn’t be so Christian. People would choose religions based on what made more sense to them; right now most people don’t choose at all, they just can’t imagine life otherwise because it’s how they were raised.

      • Sarane Hydara

        I clear understand your statement and I think it does have a place in this thread of discussions. However, most Atheist would disagree with you.

        it’s looking at the claims …….. I find most atheist thinking about the claims, with the notion that, if they think, then they know and when they cannot connect the dots they reject whatever they were trying to know.
        Thinking is not knowing. A simple human fact is we are all objective with our disbelieves and subjective with our belief.
        To know, you have to be taught, told or be present, to believe its your choice.

        • bodhi

          No most atheists wouldn’t disagree with me, I’ve described what atheism actually is quite succinctly (most believers mischaracterize what atheists believe)… and I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Sarane Hydara

            I beg to differ, Experience and what the mind accept is knowledge. Knowledge id based on trust and authority. To believe you need to know whether true or false, however to believe is your choice. I agree, the child trust the parents and learns from them, grows to be the same faith as the parents. However today, thousands are leaving the Christian faith and hundreds are joining the Muslim faith.

          • bodhi

            Experience and what the mind accepts lead to your beliefs; that’s different from knowledge. For it to be knowledge, it has to be true and you have to have rational justification.

            If you were born to Hindu parents, you’d believe in their gods. You have no knowledge of Allah, only beliefs. There have been countless thousands of religions; the likelihood of yours being true is, therefore, significantly less than 0.01%… unless you have convincing reasons or evidence.

            The number of people who are leaving all faiths, the “nones” who do not affiliate with religion or identify as non-religious, is growing steadily.

            People are being more intelligent in regards to the reasons they believe things, and also see how prejudiced religions are, such as against people of other faiths and against gays/lesbians (which is ridiculous).

            The youth are calling “bullshit” on the elders, and the elders are impotent to respond in a convincing way. =P

          • Sarane Hydara

            I disagree. What one knows, is ones knowledge, whether true or false, whether one has been taught or one had experienced it.
            What a Hindu boy knows about Hinduism, I, a Muslim of age does not know anything with certainty about Hinduism. The Hindu boy does not only belief but knows.
            The Majority of all those who claim to leave Islam is economical and those seeking asylum in western countries. For other faiths your claims for their leaving their respective faiths could be true.

          • bodhi

            Hindus have knowledge of Hindu religious teachings. You have knowledge of Muslim religious teachings. Everyone has knowledge of their own personal experiences, some of which have been attributed to gods (though not one single religion; they are experiences that even meditators who believe in no gods have had).

            However the religious teachings are fiction until proven otherwise, so your knowledge of them is not the same as knowledge of reality. It is knowledge of fantasy, and so must be judged as “false” knowledge if we’re talking in terms of objective reality. Also if you tie your personal experiences of joy or ecstasy to gods, you are taking something real and mixing it up with the fantasy of religious teachings.

            It matters what is true and what is false. You can believe whatever you want, but it is foolish to not be concerned about whether or not it is actually true.

    • Pluto Animus

      So you believe in Father Christmas.

      How interesting.

      • Sarane Hydara

        No I don’t believe in father Christmas and none of my statement states that.
        The truth is not seek through believing or disbelieving, its seek through knowing (learning) and not thinking also. believing or disbelieving is a choice.

  • The_greyhound

    “no admirer of The God Delusion has ever planted a bomb, or called for the murder of homosexuals, Jews and apostates”

    Breathtakingly stupid remark. Dawkins has had less influence than others who have peddled his materialist “philosophy” – that is all. Stalin and Mao, who shared Dawkins’ moral outlook, are the embodiment of murderous evil.

    • Richard Sanderson

      Can you give us an example of how they shared the same “moral outlook”.

      (this is going to be fun!)

      • The_greyhound

        There were atheist materialists. Or haven’t you actually read any of the works of the the tireless self-publicist, Dawkins?

        There, you didn’t find it fun at all.

        • mattoid

          I’d like to know how Mao or Stalin could ‘admire The God Delusion’ when both were dead long before it was published. Straw man.

        • tom_atkins

          Stalin and Mao were also psychopathic mass murderers. Most atheists, including Professor Dawkins, are not. The fact that none of them believed in God does not mean that they shared a moral outlook.
          I seriously doubt that you have read any of Dawkins’ works. If you have, you have not understood them.

        • Stuck-Record

          And atheist materialist is synonymous with mass murder? You must have a wacky dictionary.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          What do atheism and materialism (two separate ideas that don’t necessarily have to go together, btw) have to do with “moral outlook”? You can be an “atheist materialist” and a humanitarian; or an “atheist materialist” and a genocide murderer.

    • The Blue Baron

      Stalinism & Maoism are despicable, totalitarian ideologies.

      Non-belief in god isn’t.

      • The_greyhound

        All have the same materialist basis.

        • The Blue Baron

          So did the sandwich I ate for lunch.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          So does medicine.

    • Chris_M_Ward

      “The God Delusion” was published in 2006, Stalin and Mao were long dead.

      • The_greyhound

        Can’t you even read?

        • mattoid

          you clearly can’t

    • tom_atkins

      You seriously think that Stalin, Mao and Dawkins share a moral outlook? OMG.

    • Pluto Animus

      greyhound (woof woof):

      Are you too stupid or too dishonest to mention those jerks were hardcore ideologue Communists?

    • Stuck-Record

      11 on the delusional scale. Dawkins is the same as Stalin and Mao? Really?

      He doesn’t believe in gods. That’s it. He doesn’t want to control the thoughts and actions of everyone on the planet on pain of death, torture or imprisonment.

      Spot the difference?

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Straw Dawkins. Dawkins does not share Mao and Stalin’s “moral outlook”. The only things he had in common with them were one thing they all did not believe in, gods; and, perhaps, a materialist metaphysics. In moral matters, Dawkins has more in common with Rowan Williams than he does with Mao and Stalin.

  • guardianreeder

    The author is truly living up to Dawkins’ lofty standards with this article. It’s a mishmash of ideas, all serving a rather indefensible ignorance at its core. Equating the criticism of Dawkins with the support of FGM et al is as daft as equating fanaticism with Islam. Don’t let that stop you ranting incoherently on the subject.. As Dawkins often demonstrates – there’s simply no need to engage in intelligent discussion or consider other peoples’ points of view when you can just shout your own opinions again and again and again till your opponents despair and stop listening. Here’s a clue for you – Dawkins is a scientist. The core of these discussions is about religion. Religion isn’t science. Try a different author. Mystery solved.

    • tom_atkins

      Incoherent ranting? Funny, I must have missed that.

    • pdhan

      “Religion isn’t science”. I think Dawkins’ problem with it is that it quite often claims to be.

  • ThePrussian

    Of course. “Misinterpreted”. Someone mind telling me how we ended up with Lib Dems to the right of the BNP?

    Anyone?

    Okay, next question: why don’t we run this lot out of town on a rail. Into some other town that they can be run out _again_?

  • Chris_M_Ward

    “a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s” — As Suzanna Lispcombe pointed out yesterday in a speech in Malmö (http://mediaevolution.23video.com/video/8576207/opening-keynote-presentation-by-suzannah), the similarity between the words “testimony” and “testes” is not a coincidence .

    • ThePrussian

      Very nice!

    • mattoid

      and all those shaven-headed boys walking round the estates with their hands down their trousers must be incredibly honest.

  • Erin

    Another great example of a liberal berserker is that of Benetta Adamson, formerly a leading member of the broadcasting union BECTU.

    Enraged that some people did not share her rose tinted view of Islam – sharia courts – she insists that attendance at them is entirely voluntary for women – she embarked upon a lengthy smear campaign against an ‘enemy’ that dared to suggest that all Muslims should enjoy equal rights in this country.

    Even whilst she was a member of the BECTU national executive committee she published xenophobic abuse calling one Irish person “a Mick”, “a Mick c**t” etc etc

    Not content with this she retaliated for having her behaviour reported to BECTU by going to the police and spinning a vast tissue of lies to claim she was being harassed.

    And all because somebody refused to change an opinion – an opinion in favour of equality – that she disagreed with.

    Incidentally she thought Tim Minchin’s “fuck the pope” was “spot on”.

    • Richard Sanderson

      “Enraged that some people did not share her rose tinted view of Islam –
      sharia courts – she insists that attendance at them is entirely
      voluntary for women”

      The notion that women are treated fairly, and that they attend voluntarily, at Sharia Courts, or indeed, Sharia Councils, is simply a BIG LIE. Sharia in itself in inherently sexist and unfair.

      • Erin

        Try telling that to somebody whose mind is so muddled up by so many conflicting ‘principles’ they’ll endorse as acceptable for ‘The Other’ a ‘legal’ system that they’d never dream of living under themselves.

        Adamson says sharia courts offer “spiritual guidance.”

        • Big Sister

          How odd that comments like this should appear. Sounds like ‘Erin’ is carrying out a personal vendetta (just check out his/her profile) – and I’m amazed that the Speccie allows him/her to do it. Perhaps I should start bleating on about people in my life whose opinions I don’t like. Glad you’ve got that off your chest, Erin?

          • Erin

            No, I’m not ‘bleating on’ about somebody whose opinions I dislike. (It is true, however, that I view her stance on many issues as morally repugnant.) But it is Adamson that is pursuing the vendetta. She, after all, was the one contacted by the police to tell her that she cannot try to use them to silence people she disagrees with.

      • crosscop

        Of course they attend voluntarily… or else!

  • teknokrat7

    Militant atheism is one of the signals of Nietzsche’s übermensch idelogy. I hope it will be successfull and receive support from the decision makers. Low class shouldbeannihilated immedieately. Viva Overhumans!

    • David

      “Militant atheism” is something of a misnomer, it makes it sound like there’s an atheist army out there fighting in the streets and declaring physical war on people, instead of discussing rationally – which is what is really happening.

  • Nele Schindler

    There is nothing at all wrong with attacking this evil, woman-hating stone-age ‘religion’ and doing everything we can to prevent its spread.

    There is everything, but EVERYTHING, wrong with attacking Christianity and Christians.

    As a Christian, I’m not at all surprised at the new atheism phenomenon. It’s amazingly effective to have a crazy loon blow himself up shouting ‘Allah is great’ and then pointing and saying, ‘see? religion!’.

    It’s the easiest, most effective way of undermining Christianity, and those who can see will know where it comes from.

    Because in Dawkins’s eyes, like in the eyes of most people blinded by utter ignorance and laziness, ‘all religions are evil’, he must be fought at every turn. As Christians, we should never tire of calling him out on his lies and his resistance to the gospel, no matter whether he’s right on Islam. Down with the guy.

    • http://dan.tobias.name/ dtobias

      Religionists are the ones whose minds are clouded by ignorance and superstition. People like you only criticize Islam because it’s a brand of superstitious nonsense different from the One True Brand of Superstitious Nonsense you espouse.

      • Richard Sanderson

        Indeed. One of the main criticisms directed towards religious people is that they are not very skeptical. However, that’s not quite true, because they tend to be VERY skeptical of OTHER religions.

        Skepticism brought about via critical thinking is the key.

      • Nele Schindler

        If you cannot tell the difference between Christianity, which is liberating, dignifies the individual, holds them responsible and emphasizes their eternal importance, fosters goodwill, love and forgiveness as well as respect for law, order and the state, encourages you to strive for something above yourself and make the best of your life without elevating yourself to centre of the universe … well, if you cannot tell the difference between this and anything that any other religion, including atheism, has vomited forth, you really need your head examined.

        • Pluto Animus

          You worship a murderer of helpless babies. Remember the Flood?

          We atheists can’t do that because we know right from wrong.

        • pdhan

          Your god delusion is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen

  • Nancy Mills

    I don’t understand. There is no genital mutilation in Islam. It’s an African practice that is carried out by Christians, Animists as well as Muslims in parts of Africa.

    Nevertheless all Abrahamic religions seem to have violence in them.

    This is what the Bible says: 2 Chronicles 15:13 – “Whosoever would not seek
    the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether
    man or woman.” The Bible has been used to kill many innocent people.

    • The End of Islam

      But in modern times, any violence – however it’s justified – is seen as being undesirable. This is not the case with Islam. Crying out ‘God is great’ while stoning a woman buried up to her neck in sand is not indicative of a religion which has evolved, or is capable of doing so.

    • David

      Judaism and in most parts of the world, Christianity have grown past that kind of instituted violence. Islam is the last one where it’s not only accepted, it’s celebrated

  • itbeso

    “But try telling that to the persecuted Christians, Shia and Sunni of the
    Middle East. Their religious persecution is no different from racial
    persecution.”

    Only thing i’d take issue with is the above. It isn’t racial persecution thay are suffering but religious; from one or other of the sects of the Religion of peace to another or to the people of the book. Race has sod all to do with it.

    • bodhi

      Errg… the quote says “is no different from”. I don’t think it was saying that religious persecution is racism, just comparing them as discriminatory.

  • Sergio Salazar

    Great piece. It has been refreshing, at last a voice of reason. Dawkins is not perfect, and it is perfectly valid to disagree with him, but in my opinion he has been repeatably abused mostly for saying what any reasonable, sensitive and educated twentyfirst century citizen of the world should, even when it may sound not too politically correct. I find that courageous from him, and sad that it has mostly stirred hateful uncritical responses, instead of a reasonable dialogue, I believe even from people that at heart may agree with him if they were honest to themselves or brave enough. In the world we live in what we need is more dialogue and no sacred cows.

  • hermione

    We need more people like Richard Dawkins!

  • Jack Rawlinson

    Spot on, Nick. Spot on.

  • Sam Vimes

    Fair enough I’ll stick with disliking Dawkins because he hero worships a dutch Islamophobic facsist who wants to return the Netherlands to their ‘Judeo-Christian’ Heritage. Neatly proving in one stroke that a)he’s not some secular crusader but merely another bigot and, b) that he knows precisely stuff all about Islam or he’d realise that Islam, Judaism and Christianity share fundamentally similar doctrines.

    • Nick

      ….b) that he knows precisely stuff all about Islam or he’d realise that Islam, Judaism and Christianity share fundamentally similar doctrines….
      Yeah,they like killing people for no good reason.

      • Sam Vimes

        Religion doesn’t make people bigots it just gives the bigots an excuse. Plenty of Atheists and Agnostics have killed people for no good reason too so lets not act like murder is some Theist illness. It just makes you look like a simplistic child.

        • Nick

          Yeah fine.But they still like killing people for no good reason.

          • Sam Vimes

            yeeees that would tend to be the defining character feature of people who murder well done. Again theists don’t have the monopoly on murder that would, oddly enough, belong to ummm….. oh yeah! Murderers!
            Now would you like to make a point that doesn’t rely on ridiculous levels of hyperbole?

          • Nick

            I have made my point that muslims and christians like killing people for no good reason.What’s up,can’t you see the wood for the trees?
            Are you so blinded by your faith that you can’t accept that other people have differing points of view and beliefs?
            Dawkins speaks the truth.You know it-I know it-We all know it.
            But people like you refuse to accept it.

          • Sam Vimes

            No. They don’t and certainly not as a general rule. Some theists are murderers yes but the vast majority aren’t just as some atheists are murderers and the vast majority aren’t aren’t. I’m a theist (pagan) and I’ve never killed anyone neither has my mother(methodist), my sisters (2 jews and an atheist respectively), my father (atheist), my grandfather (Church of England vicar no less), My friends (a collection of jews, pagans, christians of various stripes, muslims, atheists, agnostics, hindus, buddhists, quakers and others) in fact we are a positive orgy of ‘not murderers’.

            Your ‘point’ isn’t in fact a point so much as it’s a statement of hyperbole so demonstrably untrue as to be completely laughable. The fact that you seem utterly unable to grasp the utterly basic and surely near universally accepted concept that not all theists are murderers would rather serve to indicate that it’s you that are blinded not me.

            Bored of battles of wits with the unarmed now. byee.

          • Nick

            Well whatever all that meant……I haven’t a clue.
            But they still kill people for no good reason.

    • Tristram

      Dawkins interested in returning the west to its Judeo-Christian origins? Dawkins ignoring the similarities between the three Abrahamic religions? Have you ever read a word he’s written?

      Google Dawkins on Geert Wilders and then get back to me.

      • Sam Vimes

        Sweetie don’t be deliberately obtuse.

        The simple fact is that Dawkins is so utterly blinded by his hatred of Islam as a whole that he is allying himself with a fascist and calling him a courageous man. Wilders is not a courageous man he is a nasty little bigot and Dawkins supporting him makes him look like an utter arse. You think Wilders is going to be any more accepting of minority groups than the people he claims to hate? Bull.

        • Tristram

          What a bizarre misrepresentation of Dawkins’ position. Dawkins applauded him for making a film critical of Islam, but made it clear that he did not know or necessarily support his politics. Of course Wilders and Dawkins have radically different views on most other things – have you read a single thing Dawkins has written? You’re clutching at straws here.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          More Straw Dawkins.

  • David B

    For once an article on this issue that I can whole-heartedly applaud.

  • JoshLRussell

    “The liberal-left is fine with knocking Christianity, but it hates Dawkins for being intellectually consistent and tweeting — yes, that’s right, tweeting — against Islam too”

    No. We hate Dawkins because he is a hateful intolerant arsehole. Spreading hatred, intolerance and misunderstanding is always to be condemned, no matter whether it comes from an Imam or a science professor. Frankly, more hatred is the last thing modern times need and that’s why Dawkins belongs in ignominy and disrepute. Calling him ‘Darwin’s representative on earth’, even in jest, shows just how little you know about the one of the greatest minds Britain has ever produced. Moreover, it shows just how deluded and despicable the personality-cult that’s grown up around this odious little titwhistle really is.

    • tom_atkins

      You sound slightly unhinged.

      • JoshLRussell

        Yes. I sound unhinged. I’m the individual believing I can reduce an entire group of people to a personal, bigoted bias. Clearly thinking Islamophobia is a sociological phenomenon as ignorant and potentially destructive as anti-semitism before it is unhinged. Clearly thinking the use of scientific enquiry as a thin veil to excuse inciting intolerance of others is unhinged. Clearly finding bigotry distasteful is unhinged. Clearly looking around at the majority of innocent muslims around me in this country being tarred by these sort of poorly reasoned arguments is unhinged. Ultimately, you can try to dismiss my arguments however you want but the point is that Dawkins stirs up as much dangerous and ill-founded dogma as the religions he criticises, indirectly feeding violent fools like the EDL. I just hope he will be remembered in history the same way that anti-semites are remembered now.

        • Tristram

          Are you as appalled by Dawkin’s comments about Christianity as you are about his comments regarding Islam?

          • JoshLRussell

            Yes. Entirely. I think he’s attempting to tarnish many innocent people by pinning all war, all intolerance and all oppression on their religion. It’s feeble.

          • Tristram

            A caricature of his views, but at least you’re consistent.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Straw Dawkins.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            I like his commentaries on both.

        • Nick

          Yeah that’s all very well but would you call a spade a spade?

        • tom_atkins

          You have constructed a straw man Dawkins who bears no relation to the reality. It is always faintly amusing to hear clearly hate-filled people ranting on about how hateful and intolerant other people are.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            I call it “Straw Dawkins” or sometimes “Richard Strawkins”…

        • pdhan

          “Dawkins stirs up as much dangerous and ill-founded dogma as the religions he criticises” – if you really believe this you are certainly unhinged.

        • itbeso

          “Clearly looking around at the majority of innocent muslims around me in
          this country being tarred by these sort of poorly reasoned arguments is
          unhinged.”

          The arguments are sound (Islam is revolting by any decent standard) and no one is tarring anyone. Muslims are cosseted in the UK but that doesn’t mean their religion should be.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Straw-Dawkins.

  • SarahAB

    I’ve blogged in (moderate) criticism of Dawkins, but also about Nahla Mahmoud

    http://hurryupharry.org/2013/08/02/cemb-spokesperson-nahla-mahmoud-under-threat/

    And I can think of others who have a similar profile.

  • http://therealuntrusted.wordpress.com/ Bitethehand

    “One day there will be a reckoning. One day, thousands who have suffered genital mutilation, religious threats and forced marriages will turn to the intellectual and political establishments of our day and ask why they did not protect them. The pathetic and discreditable reply can only be – :‘We were too busy fighting Richard Dawkins to offer you any support at all.’

    Or my likely they will say they are women and they must remain subservient.

  • Yossarian’s Child

    Attacking Islam is no different to attacking Communism, National Socialism or any other intolerant and outdated ideology.

    • pdhan

      Like Christianity?

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        Indeed. The Islam of today resembles nothing more than the murderous ideology that was Christianity two or three centuries ago. Christianity was beaten into civility by the Enlightenment and what came after it.

        • bodhi

          Well said! Modern Christians tend to forget their own religion’s history. Most of them don’t know how Jews were persecuted and killed for hundreds of years by “Christians” before Hitler ever came along. That’s what really stopped them.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Indeed, most of the tropes of modern Islamic anti-Semitism (protocols of the Elders of Zion, blood libel, world conspiracy of bankers, etc) are plagiarised from Christian anti-Semitism.

  • zanzamander

    But would you Nick, or indeed anyone who is critical of Islam now, be happy and give your blessings if your daughters or sisters announced one day that they’d like to get married to their Muslim boyfriend, or would you try to dissuade them from taking that step?

    That is the key.

    • crosscop

      Any father who did not try to dissuade his daughter from marrying a Muslim would be failing in his duty to protect her. He wouldn’t have the same problem with a son – because Muslim girls are forbidden by Islam from marrying non-Muslims.

  • John Steadman

    “Militant atheism” – the consistent expression of a rational viewpoint considered offensive to zealous adherents to the medieval belief that we all have an all-seeing and all-powerful friend in the sky.
    How can it be considered an incitement to hatred to attack specific examples of this sort of absurdity?

    • Icebow

      Rationalism is irrational.

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        And how would you rationally demonstrate that?

  • mkjohn

    “despite the fact that no admirer of The God Delusion has ever planted a bomb, or called for the murder of homosexuals, Jews and apostates.”

    Don’t fall into the trap of lazy logical fallacies. What you should say is that no admirer of The God Delusion has done those things in the name of atheism. You can’t seriously claim that their are no homophobic, or anti-Semitic psychopaths who are also atheists.

    • tom_atkins

      Anybody who genuinely admires The God Delusion would presumably agree that “the knowledge that we have only one life should make it all the more precious” (TGD). Such a person is unlikely to plant bombs or call for murder.

      • mkjohn

        I’d certainly like to think so, Tom. However, the only way to beat the fanatically religious is with hard logic. The “fact” quoted is clearly not a fact at all.

        • tom_atkins

          It could have been phrased better, I admit.

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        I’m sorry to say that that looks a little too much like a “no true Scotsman” fallacy…

  • Hugh

    “The BBC refuses to run contrary views. It assures the nation that ‘militant’ atheism is as fanatical as militant religion”

    Ah, yes, fanatically anti-Dawkins is the Beeb. Whether explaining “How Richard Dawkins became the most influential evolutionary biologist of his generation” (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01glqt3 ), informing us of his views that the Northamptonshire police commissioner shoudl not have appointed a faith director (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-23604221), hosting an hour long debate with Jonahtan Sacks (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/19354861), profling him (http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/atheism/people/dawkins.shtml) or having him on Desert Island Discs one can barely escape their contempt for the man.

    Any chance you post a couple of links to programmes that show the BBC insisting that militant atheism is as fanatical as militant religion?

  • NewburyExile

    Nahla Mahmoud should havereported, and still should report, Salah Al Bander to the police for incitement to violence and threatening words and behaviour. It is time people like him were made to account for their behaviour.
    If Ms Mahmoud is, understandably, too scared to speak to the police, Nick Cohen should do it for her as a responsible citizen.

  • zakisbak

    Has he done a Faulkes yet?

  • AndyB
    • pdhan

      Ah Chivers, there’s a man with his head properly screwed on.

  • princeofhollis

    Atheism might have been born at night but not last night bud … as a dogma it has as much blood on it’s hands as anyone else. . . so you lost me at ” No Atheist has ever planted a ……..” Know your own history before you start talking shit.

    • tom_atkins

      What the article actually says is “no admirer of The God Delusion has ever planted a bomb …”. Not atheist. It is always better to read the article before starting to talk shit.

      • princeofhollis

        I read the article …. asshole ….

        • tom_atkins

          You misquoted it though.

          • princeofhollis

            I apologize for the remark.

          • tom_atkins

            Accepted.

      • princeofhollis

        So what you’re saying is that The God Delusion … those readers are ??? Muslims?? Who are we talking about here?

        I think you know. . . and you just don’t want to face it .. that violence, bigotry … faith .. these things are only related as they are human things.

  • Nick

    Dawkins speaks the truth but the 7th century minded bods can’t handle it.

  • keith

    nick Cohen hits the nail on the head with the trouble the left has with Islam, our working class hero Owen jones would never dare to upset his Muslim brothers, the Muslim sisters don’t warrant a thought, people of his ilk can never step outside the rule book they work to, so when he appears on the BBC, (he gets on there a lot, wonder why) you will never hear speak up for women like Nahla Mahmoud, its outside his comprehension that Muslim women should have a voice, unless of course he asks his Muslim brothers if its ok for them to speak

  • therealguyfaux

    But in the interest of clarity, there are aspects of shari’a law not touching upon human rights, the observance of which is not repugnant to anyone’s sensibilities. And should any adult Muslim, male or female, provide by contract with another Muslim that all these silly niceties shall be observed, and seek to have such a contract (or the decision of any arbitration based on such a contract) enforced in the secular judicial system, there ain’t a whole hell of a bloody lot you can do about it. They are free to do as they please in that regard. Such is religious liberty.

    Where the rubber meets the road is when Muslims seek to enforce aspects of shari’a that have no place in any civilised Western society.

  • NotYouNotSure

    Dawkins is an atheist bigot, he does not attack Muslim and Christian bigots he attacks ALL of them, he is no role model to follow, whether you are an atheist or not.

    • bodhi

      All he attacks are fantasies that have negative real-world impacts. If more people would grow up, I’m sure there’d be no one to attack. He actually is a pretty decent role model, as far as it goes.

      • NotYouNotSure

        That logic can also applied like this: “If everyone was Muslim then there would no one to attack”, see how is this thinking works. There are many grown up religious people and many successful ones as well and there also many non grown up atheists and many loser atheists, by claiming only by being an atheist is one an adult or superior, you just proving your own bigotry.

        • Chris915

          Actually, that would cause fighting among various Muslim groups, just as it does now… not to mention, it’s a backward belief system, as are all dogmatic beliefs… such as killing apostates, disobedient children, etc.

          Bigotry is an irrational or unfounded prejudice against viewpoints that contradict one’s own, especially with regard to religion, politics or ethnicity.

          Looking at what these religions cause, disdain for them is not bigotry, because it’s not an irrational or unfounded conclusion on them, but rather conclusions based on evidence and observation.

          • NotYouNotSure

            I tend to take the standard dictionary definition of what bigotry means: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

            Intolerance is intolerance, no matter how you try to justify it, it still earns one the bigot label. I have worked and I personally know both Muslim and Christian people, some of them are successful in what they do, some of them are good role models that do wonders in their community (and yes they are devout, not just token believers). So now I am supposed to ignore the evidence staring at my face (something the hardcore atheists like pride themselves for) and believe what Dawkins is selling, that they are all misfits and destructive to society as a whole, when the opposite is true. There are also good atheist people, Dawkins is definitely not one of them though.

          • Chris915

            That was actually the definition from Rational Wiki, not the standard dictionary…

            I didn’t say intolerance wasn’t intolerance, I said intolerance isn’t necessarily bigoted… as I said, a bigot is one who has an irrational or unfounded prejudice against viewpoints that contradict one’s own… so stop trying to play that game. I have very many rational reasons to be intolerant of dogmatic religious ideologies… harm to other human beings is a big reason and that is not bigoted, as it’s not irrational or unfounded.

            I don’t have to tolerate any ideology, etc. especially ones that causes harm to other human beings or perpetuates ignorance, it’s intellectually dishonest.

            Should I tolerate the views of the KKK? Nazis? No, I don’t think so.

            So do I, I know many people who are Muslim, Christian, Pagan and so on, not to mention, I used to be a Christian and while I never did any physical harm to people, such as some of the stupid crap I’ve read religious people have done to people and even their own children (like slitting their throats), I still perpetuated ignorance, by holding to and pushing my religious beliefs in lieu of scientifically backed positions … something I’m more than willing to admit and something I regret.

            Of course, there are very well meaning Muslims, Christians, Pagans, etc. but that’s not why they’re well meaning, sure some would more than willingly attribute their good actions to what they believe… but that’s just shifting the credit onto something else, that’s like giving credit to your boss for something you did…

            As Steven Weinberg said, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

            If they followed their religions to the letter (which they often don’t, even die hard fundamentalists), they’d end up prison, which proves that morality precedes religion and isn’t a product of religion.

            They can discern moral from immoral in their own holy books before reading them completely. However, fundamentalists are so named, because they take a literal verbatim interpretation of the Bible or the Qur’an or whatever religious text they follow as absolute truth of how the world should be.

            That is not bigotry, it may be intolerance, but not all ideas deserve tolerance.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Dawkins attacks ideas and beliefs, not people. And he attacks religious ideas in tones and terms that, had they been directed to political, social or artistic ideas or beliefs, would be considered measured and appropriate. It is only the massive residual privilege that religious ideas and beliefs have in our Western societies that makes him seem “strident”.

  • tribalterror

    What is wrong with the Left and its mouthpiece the BBC that it can tolerate the intolerance of radical Islam both within and without our own country which genuinely impacts peoples right to live whilst simultaneously working itself into a lather about the BNP and EDL who are basically pantomime puppets supported by no one and impacting no one.

  • bodhi

    People are touched in the head if they call Dawkins a militant atheist. He’s just a vocal atheist that isn’t afraid to express his views. Put “militant” in front of a religion, and you have violence and bombings and shit. Militant Christians and Militant Muslims are a scary phenomena …But Militant Atheist? LOL! That’s a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one. “Anti-Theist” would be correct terminology, without the extra baggage.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Writer`s block? Hit the road, like Jack. The backpacker trail. You`ll be spoilt for choice.

  • Daniel Maris

    Here’s JIhad Watch’s wonderfully informative commentary about Mo’s MO in the wake of the fining of the UK TV channel for advocating murder of opponents of Islam:

    This is in accord with Muhammad’s own example: the prophet of Islam
    responded to insults by ordering the murder of those who insulted him,
    including Abu ‘Afak, who was over one hundred years old, and the poetess
    ‘Asma bint Marwan. Abu ‘Afak was killed in his sleep, in response to
    Muhammad’s question, “Who will avenge me on this scoundrel?” Similarly,
    Muhammad on another occasion cried out, “Will no one rid me of this
    daughter of Marwan?” One of his followers, ‘Umayr ibn ‘Adi, went to her
    house that night, where he found her sleeping next to her children. The
    youngest, a nursing babe, was in her arms. But that didn’t stop ‘Umayr
    from murdering her and the baby as well. Muhammad commended him: “You
    have done a great service to Allah and His Messenger, ‘Umayr!” (Ibn
    Ishaq, 674-676)

    Then there was Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf. Muhammad asked: “Who is willing to
    kill Ka‘b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the
    Muslims, Muhammad bin Maslama answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you
    like that I kill him?” When Muhammad said that he would, Muhammad bin
    Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive
    Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly
    lied to Ka‘b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari
    5.59.369)

    In any case, this TV channel is fined, but still operates, while opponents of this thuggery are banned from Britain.

  • Ohtobide

    An excellent article, Mr. Cohen. I have seen this in several places on the web and I hope it will appear in many more. Thank-you.

  • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

    Richard Dawkins the speaker of truth, no matter the consequences? Well, place a comment on his American foundation website that destroy’s one of atheism’s pet frauds and that comment will be (1) taken down for inappropriate comment; and (2) the writer given a new name (the same name as all those who had their comments removed, called “Anonymous”, thereby giving the impression that Anonymous has a history of writing inappropriate comments).

    The comment was to a debate between Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins on the topic “God vs. Science” (see comment #1077 on page 36). My comment spoke to the assertion made by Stephen Hawking and others who say that based on math, universes can pop up out of nowhere without the assistance of God.

    As I said above, the website changed my name to Anonymous, and had me registering on the website eleven months previous (I registered for the first time on May 7, and posted just one comment), even though it has me posting comments from April 26, 2007! When one clicks Anonymous and scrolls down, you’ll notice that all the comments I supposedly made since April 26, 2007 were removed (so why didn’t the website suspend my account?); they’re trying to insinuate that I have a history of writing inappropriate comments.

    Here’s the inappropriate comment I posted:

    The Physics Community gives the constant 0 (zero) to Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE). The Physics community says that the constant is an arbitrary value (any value will do, they say), yet:

    (1) this value of zero for GPE is necessarily 1, since the POTENTIAL of anything at its maximum is always 100%; and

    (2) a GPE of zero is necessary for Stephen Hawking and others who use that value in order to prove that our universe popped up from nothing: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” – ‘God did not create the universe, says Hawking’, Reuters, By Michael Holden, LONDON | Thu Sep 2, 2010 9:08am EDT.

    For example, if the universe consisted of only the Earth and the Moon, and the Moon is catapulted so far away from the Earth that its gravitational energy no longer affects the Earth, the gravitational energy doesn’t disappear. According to the Law of Conservation of Energy, the gravitational energy becomes POTENTIAL energy (GPE). This GPE Stephen Hawking (and the Physics community) assigns the constant zero to. Now, when we return the Moon back to Earth’s orbit, GPE is said to be -1, according to the Physics community.

    Here’s the math for Stephen Hawking and the Physics community and my correction:

    Earth’s mass [1] + Moon’s GPE when back in Earth’s orbit [-1] = 0, so universes are for free,

    however if we use correct constants for what we are describing, the equation reads like this:

    Earth’s mass [1] + Moon’s GPE when back in Earth’s orbit [0] = 1, so universes are not for free.

    Let’s further examine the above:

    When the Moon’s GPE ceases when back in Earth’s orbit, that is when ACTUAL Gravitational Kinetic Energy (GKE) begins, which would have a constant of 1. Now GKE is simply the CONVERSE of GPE, so now let’s move the Moon away from the Earth again. KGE declines as the Moon moves further away from the Earth (.9, .8, .7, .6 and so on), and conversely GPE increases (.1, .2, .3, .4, .5 and so on until the Moon has reached infinity distance from the Earth, in which case, logically, GPE would be 1, not 0).

    GKE and GPE are the same phenomena, just separated by space, not unlike the duel sides of a coin. This converse relationship between GKE and GPE is also the discovery of what I call the Gravitational Converse Principle.

    Stephen Hawking’s (and the Physics Community) assignment of the constant zero to GPE is inexplicable.

    Clarification:

    1. If GPE is 0 (zero) at infinity, then there can be no GKE; and

    2. ask yourself how could Stephen Hawking and the Physics Community not know what “potential” means by assigning zero to something (in this particular case, Gravitation POTENTIAL Energy) that is 100% potential? Obviously, if something is 100%, the constant one would use to quantify it is 1, and such a constant wouldn’t be an arbitrary assignment (as the Physics Community says the assignment of the constant zero to GPE is, it could be any number, they say), it would be a NECESSARY assignment.

    • Chris_M_Ward

      It probably got taken down because nobody could be bothered to read all that woffle to get to whatever your point was.

      • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

        You really shouldn’t judge others by your (1) cognitive deficiency; and (2) attention deficit disorder!

    • pdhan

      I’m not saying this to be mean but you really need to get out more.

      • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

        I’m saying this to be mean to you, you’re a moron. But don’t feel to badly, the four persons that voted ^ are even bigger morons. So cheer up!

        • pdhan

          Ah another disciple of Christ, full of love and compassion for his fellow man :)

          • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

            I have no compassion for those who take pride in being wicked, and neither did Jesus. Jesus had love for all men, not compassion for the wicked who take pride in being wicked, like you, as your wicked comment proves!

            Remember, sometimes you have to be cruel to be nice! So, moron, what are you going to do now? Change your wicked and moronic behavior?

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      TL;dr.

      • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

        Well, with attention deficit disorder freely admitted by you (you didn’t even take the time to write “Too long; didn’t read”!), it’s a shame you’ll never know that the scientific community is rife with frauds.

        Of course, with ADD you also didn’t read the article, so why only express your ADD for my comment?

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          TL; dr.

    • tom_atkins

      The post was probably removed because the richarddawkins.net website has a policy of deleting posts by trolls and conspiracy theorists who do hit and run cut and paste jobs. You posted the same rambling diatribe on the Time magazine website, along with the rather bizarre view that “the Six-Day War (…) was planned (with the cooperation of the USSR) to be lost by Arab governments”.

      • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

        “hit and run cut and paste jobs.”

        What are you talking about? What hit and run cut and paste job?

        How is pointing out the error of the physics’ community assigning the inexplicable value of 0 (zero) to GPE at infinity a hit and run cut and paste job?

        Why would you be searching the Internet for other unrelated comments I’ve made in the past? What would compel you to do that, instead of critiquing my comment on GPE?

        You must be an agent for Richard Dawkins performing damage control!

        Of course, the Richard Dawkins American foundation website didn’t just remove my comment, it gave me a felonious inappropriate posting history, with a new account name, implying I had a history of posting inappropriate comments, when I had only posted ONE APPROPRIATE AND ON-SUBJECT comment THAT THEY COULDN’T CRITIQUE!

  • siva

    Love this article. Bravo Nick.

  • igor.s

    Bravo !
    The unfortunate truth is that when a nation looses belief in its own culture no number of tridents can help… this is unfortunately what i see is happening in my beloved adopted country. day after day after day…to the point when one wants to turn off tv , stop reading papers ( spectaror is probably the last bastion of ones famous british common sense, which i still read) and shut oneself out …
    tks mr. cohen for the excellent article.

  • JonBW

    Except, of course, Dawkins doesn’t just attack the religious extremists and bigots.

    He is equally keen to attack liberal, tolerant followers of all faiths.

    Yes, he’s ‘intellectually consistent’; but pretending he’s only opposing religious extremism is dishonest.

    How come, for example, the strand of fundamentalist Judaism that opposes Zionism is never mentioned? How come he overlooks all those groups working for inter-faith understanding?

    And whilst Dawkins may not advocate persecution, he’s certainly keen to restrict religious expression.

    • NotYouNotSure

      Those are my sentiments as well, and here that just earns one down votes. I am no “we are all one happy world” liberal, but to categorise a billion believers of one group and the millions of other believers of other groups as inferior, that is just not acceptable.

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        People aren’t “inferior”, certain ideas and beliefs are. People with bad ideas have enormous opportunities to fix that, particularly in the internet age. And we’ve all believed in some pretty silly ideas at some point in our lives – doesn’t makes us bad people so long as we were sufficiently sceptical, critical and open minded enough to change our minds when presented with better evidence.

        • NotYouNotSure

          Like I said, there are people with these “inferior beliefs” that don’t need fixing. Its pontificators like you who sell “mine is the one true way” (that is exactly what you are doing), that need fixing.

          • tom_atkins

            So you think that all beliefs are of equal value? Would that include belief in fairies, flying saucers, scientology? Probably not. All atheists do is to ask religious believers what evidence they have to support their beliefs and to regard as unreliable any beliefs which cannot be substantiated. Is that pontificating?

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            So you’re a post-modernist now? There is such a thing as objective truth. Some values and ideas are superior to others. The point of dialogue and argument and debate is to find that out – to minnow out the bad ideas and identify the good ones.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      He’s keen to restrict religious *privilege”. He’s fine with religious expression, so long as people are prepared to be judged and criticised on the basis of their religious expression, as they currently are on the basis of their expressions on almost any other issue. Sure, say you believe Muhammad rose into “heaven” on a “winged horse”, but expected to be judged and criticised for having that silly belief.

      • JonBW

        Unfortunately, he uses his own privileged position to spout the most appalling bilge about history, sociology and current affairs.

        Nobody else would get away with his comments on Israel (for example) without being challenged.

  • Euphobia1

    It all comes down to is there an ‘Adam’ or an ‘Eve’? Did they actually commit the ‘Sin’ or didn’t they. It is as simple as that.

    2500 years ago it was thought they did. Today thanks to DNA we know 99.99999% they didn’t. Into the bargain we know that not one of us is related to them so even if they did, which they didn’t, the curse does not work.

    It is all so silly that grown men go on with this silly myth.

    Personally as a woman Islam scares me stiff. If the Islamists had their way I’d be walking about in a black/blue bag, uneducated and pregnant. If I don’t say so it will be taken as an “agree”.

    All for a myth that we can prove is a myth.

    Sorry I am completely uneducated thanks to my faith school but I do know my ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’.

    I do wish I had access to some italics! Where are they hiding?

    • NotYouNotSure

      I am not theologist, but this is new to me that Adam and Eve are the central theme for either Islam or Christianity.

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        Jesus was sent by God to be tortured to death so that God could forgive humanity for Adam’s sin. Jesus was, literally, a sacrificial lamb to atone for Adam’s scrumping adventure. It’s crazy, but that’s how it is supposed to “work”.

        • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

          No. God did forgive man. Since God is pure in all things, including justice, then someone had to pay a price for man’s sins, and man certainly couldn’t.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            So it *was* scapegoating. Right. Clearly the central doctrine of Christianity is morally disgusting.

            As for the second para, what?? Where’s your evidence for any of that?

          • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

            “So it *was* scapegoating.”

            You’re not too bright, huh? For the cognitively impaired, Jesus’ self-sacrifice is called love.

            Interesting that you think persons who sacrifice their lives for others are “scapegoats”! By what perverted logic does that cognitive assessment come from? Oh, yeah, the logic of an [imbecile] atheist!

            “As for the second para, what?? Where’s your evidence for any of that?”

            I already gave the evidence, genius!

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            And people call us atheists rude and abusive…

          • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

            I gave that comment a vote ^, because it’s so true, but you missed cognitively deficient too, which explains the peculiar reluctance of atheists to observe that there had to be an ultimate beginning to all things, since inanimate matter can’t create itself, that means a cognitive entity outside the physical realm created the physical realm. The ancients recognized this basic proof for the existence of God, which means man is devolving, not evolving as the cretin Darwin, and his lap-dog sidekick in imbecility, Richard Dawkins, proves.
            .

          • bodhi

            Where did God come from? What was he doing all that time that he wasn’t creating the universe, twiddling his thumbs? Why can’t an infinite regress actually exist? How can something outside the realm of our physical reality interact with it? If something can’t come from nothing, wouldn’t God creating the universe actually diminish God at the rate of creation?

            Really you create more questions with this “God Hypothesis” than answers. It’s a bad answer for real questions. It’s better to not make the assumption that the universe was ever created in the first place. Instead of poofing an Infinite Creator into existence, go with Occam’s Razor and stick with an Infinite Universe.

          • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

            “Where did God come from?”

            Since God, by definition, is omniscient, He necessarily always was. One cant’ be omniscient if one was created by another, can one?!

            “How can something outside the realm of our physical reality interact with it?”

            Since God is by definition omnipotent and omniscient, are you sure you need an answer?

          • bodhi

            I was using God generically in the first paragraph to mean Creator, my bad; besides you can’t even say your God is omnipotent and omniscient, those are just more baseless beliefs (just like his existence). And even if he were omnipotent, that has to have some finite quality to it (the maximum power that is logically possible, as theologians say). The question about losing power at the rate of creation still stands, as do all the other questions, and many more I didn’t bring up. Besides, as I stated clearly in the third paragraph, the Creator doesn’t need to be _your_ deity. It’s one thing trying to argue for a Creator… it’s quite another, much messier thing, to be arguing for your God to be that Creator.

            The least messy thing is not to make so many assumptions.

            Omnipotence and omniscience aren’t necessary facets of a First Cause. As far as I see it, there could’ve been this ball of pure energy that always existed that had a reason to expand, and did… neither a being, nor all-powerful (that’s meaningless), nor omniscient (also meaningless).That could be the First Cause and it’s much more aligned with what we’ve discovered about this universe. I still wouldn’t be sold on it, but it’s a better explanation. The current scientific understanding of the universe is that matter is energy that has cooled and condensed, and that energy was all that existed in the beginning.

            [If you want to take the plunge, visit IronChariots(dot)org and you can read all the various arguments For, and Against, the existence of God. Much better than us doing it here!]

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            The *really* smart ancients, that is the Epicureans, recognised that it is not necessary that *all* things have a beginning, or even a cause; and that, given sufficient time and space, order can emerge from chaos. It only took 2000+ years for the modern sciences of evolution and quantum physics to fill in the gaps in Lucretius’ disturbingly prophetic poem…

          • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

            How could the Epicureans be the smart ones when the empirical world around screamed all things had a beginning, therefore if they had been really smart like most Greek philosophers were (applying their logic), they would have observed (1) all thing in nature have a beginning; (2) nature can’t be arbitrary; therefore (3) there was an ultimate beginning to the Physical Realm that only a cognitive entity could bring about.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            The Epicureans realised, firstly, that looking for causes would result in an infinite regress; and secondly, that a lot of “causes” were really random events, hence their obsession with “the Swerve”. Yes, it was imaginative and speculative for its time, but it turned out to be spookily closer to right than anything else before modern science.

      • Euphobia1

        You are absolutely correct. You are no theologist. Perhaps you should look at a YouTube video I made four years ago that deals with this topic

        It is called Charles Darwin vs Adam & Eve

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHlQgetztBw

        Unfortunately I cannot make the link.

        The entire bible is about ‘The Sin’ of the first humans Adam & Eve. That is what all the fuss is about because today we know this couple never existed thanks to DNA which is magnificent at identification.

        All of the three Abrahamic belief systems are based on ‘The Sin of Adam & Eve’. In Islam ‘Adam’ is the First human prophet which is a big problem too for them as he never existed. The entire human race is supposed to be related to this couple and we are all guilty by guilt by association. The snag is we are not related as DNA proves.

        This video has made FreeTThinker’s Best of Science videos. Since I made it there has been even more conclusive DNA evidence. There is no doubt at all that this unfortunate couple are works of fiction.

        Simply put No Adam & Eve = No Sin, so No Need for any of the Abrahamic belief systems.

        Problem is the media is afraid to actually spell this out. They know it. It is like pretending that the Sun goes around the earth when we know it doesn’t and sticking with it in the 2+2=5 syndrome. What a mistake!

        I have had the good fortune to have had a magnificent religious education unlike scientists so I speak from a position of strength. Nobody has proved me wrong to date.

        Enjoy the video. When it first came out I was known as ‘the woman who binned the bible in 30 seconds!’ It would be funny if it’s followers were not slaughtering themselves in the name of a myth.

  • Gary Smith

    Maybe Dawkins gets up Jones nose because Dawkins describes Altruism as the human construct to get laid quicker,and this negates jones socialism? The boy wants more cock !

    • NotYouNotSure

      Sometimes Altruism is giving up your life for somebody else, which does making getting laid a tad difficult.

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        It is in the “selfish” interests of your genome for you to give up your life for two children, four nephews, eight cousins, etc, etc, etc…

        • NotYouNotSure

          People give up their lives for complete strangers, there have cases for giving up their lives for other animals.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Yes, and from the perspective of our selfish genes, that’s a misfire…

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Dawkins said no such thing. The Selfish Gene is an explanation for genuine altruism in organisms.

  • Benjamin O’Donnell

    Finally, a fair assessment of Professor Dawkins in the British press.

  • Steve

    Certain groups of militant athiests have murdered and persecuted people of religious persuasion take Pol Pots regime for starters. I know Richard Dawkins doesnt advocate that but then again neither do most religious people. I mention it because militant atheism in some cases as with militant religious belief in some cases are capable of the same fanaticism.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Saying a person is an atheist tells you about what they do *not* believe in. it tells you nothing about what they *do* believe and hence nothing about their motivations. Aside from the negative belief of atheism and, perhaps, the positive belief of materialism, Dawkins has nothing in common with Soviet Communists. As for Pol Pot, recent revelations from the trials seem to me to suggest that the Khmer Rouge arguably weren’t even materialists, but more of a bizarre, animistic death cult hidden under a veneer of Communist rhetoric.

    • bodhi

      Hitler was a Catholic, and admirer of Martin Luther, who thought he was doing God’s work and was responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews. It’s as much a discredit to Christians to say his actions reflect on them as it is to say Pol Pot’s actions reflect on the atheists like Richard Dawkins. There are sick people in the world; but they’re not motivated by lacking belief in gods.

      Words like “militant” and “fanatic” don’t even apply to the type of atheists that you’ll find in America. These “new atheists” are simply not afraid to voice their opinions, but they’re not in any way, shape or form violent. Most atheists are Humanists and want to see everyone get along. They abhor the things that foreign dictators have done as much as anyone.

      Try to stop misrepresenting your opponents. If you want to attack new atheists, then by all means attack their beliefs (or lack thereof) and what they actually have said. Don’t say “this evil dictator was an atheist, therefore atheism is evil!”, which is simply bad logic and a non-causal correlation.

      • Daniel Maris

        Hitler was brought up a Catholic. He was not a Catholic in any meaningful sense. He used religion when it suited him. He was even mocking of Himmler’s interest in pagan religion.

        • bodhi

          He believed in God, making him at least Christian. Your religion or lack thereof isn’t going to matter if you’re a sick bastard like Hitler was… that’s my point. We can’t conflate psychopath dictators with their religion, or with atheism.

          • Daniel Maris

            Please substantiate your claim that he believed in God. Reference to God in speeches doesn’t mean he believed in God, if by God you mean anything like the God of Christianity – a deity to be worshipped, and whose commands were to be followed.

            He seemed to believe in some sort of mechanism of destiny, but his morality was pure social darwinism not the ten commandments or any other religious prescriptions.

          • bodhi

            Please substantiate your God. I’m not going to do your homework for you, the information is out there on the internet, or you can read Mein Kampf. Saying he didn’t believe because his actions are contrary would be ridiculous; there are a ton of Christians in jail. Believing doesn’t keep you from doing horrible things, and if you truly believe you’re doing God’s work it can lead to a lot of horrible things indeed.

            “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” (Stephen Weinberg)

          • Daniel Maris

            Where did I say religion was a guarantor of morality? I didn’t. You don’t seem able to argue rationally.

            Hitler’s true beliefs about religion are best found in the Table Talk which was taken down in dictation and published in the post war period.

            According to Wikipedia:

            “The remarks accepted as genuine include such quotes as ‘Christianity is the prototype of Bolshevism: the mobillization by the Jew of the masses of slaves with the object of undermining society.’ “Table Talk” also
            attributes to Hitler a confidence in science over religion: “Science cannot lie… It’s Christianity that’s the liar”. Michael Burleigh contrasted Hitler’s public pronouncements on Christianity with those in Table
            Talk, suggesting that Hitler’s real religious views were ‘a mixture of materialist biology, a faux-Nietzschean contempt for core, as distinct from secondary, Christian values, and a visceral anti-clericalism.’ Richard Evans also reiterated the view that Nazism was secular, scientific and anti-religious in outlook in the last volume of his trilogy on Nazi Germany, writing, ‘Hitler’s hostility to Christianity reached new heights, or depths, during the war;’ his source for this was the 1953 English translation of Table Talk.”

          • bodhi

            The whole point of everything I was saying is that we can’t take the religions, or non-religion, of psychopathic dictators seriously. You’re taking it seriously. LOL. I don’t have a bone in my body that cares to talk about Hitler anymore, his beliefs are beside the point that he was a Sick Twisted Mofo.

  • Chrijoh

    This article has completely missed the point of the criticism Dawkins recieves from other athiests. Dawkins is criticised because some of his comments are simply not helpful in the wider context. Very few self-proclaimed athiest ever excuses Islam for its misogyny, violence or political oppression. The distinction that most people operate under draws the line at generalising, which often gets mistaken for ignoring the issue.

    For example, tThe Owen Jones Tweet that Cohen refers did not take issue with the part about segregation, but his tendency to treat Muslims in a dismissive and generalised fashion. The fact is, Dawkins has questioned Mehdi Hassan’s credibility as a journalist simply because he is Muslim, thinks the lack of Nobel prizes reflects badly on all Muslims despite the fact that they are disproportionately held by wealthy western countries, and he has on more than one occassion expressed his respect and admiration for members of far-right groups that indulge in extreme Islamaphobia.

    No one is saying we should ignore the totalitarian-esque political manifestations of Islam, or the Sharia courts that exist in Britain or any extreme Islamist movement. What we take issue with is treating all Muslims as violent, oppressive and generally evil force in which the world would be better off without. The fact is, this argument is not helpful to the wider debate about secularism or the role of religion in wider society, and is actually doing more harm than good.

    I have a lot of respect for Richard Dawkins. His writings are brilliant and his contribution to the debate surrounding religion, as a whole, I feel has been a positive one. However, there are instances where his contentions are just plain offensive, not to just fanatical Muslims but any tolerant, understanding person.

    • itbeso

      “What we take issue with is treating all Muslims as violent, oppressive
      and generally evil force in which the world would be better off without.”

      Nice straw man you have there. We would be better off without Islam not Muslims (then ex Muslims).

      • Chrijoh

        You have clearly missed the point in what I was saying, but I shall respond nonetheless.

        First of all, what I said is not a misrepresentation as I only included instances where Richard Dawkins referred to Muslim’s, not Islam. That is what I was saying is not helpful.

        Secondly, your point is redundant as Islam would not be what it is today without western influence, just as the west would not be what it is today without the influence from the east. Would the world be better off without Christianity as well? Impossible to judge seeing as Christianity dominated the west for hundreds of years.

        What you are saying is not useful!

        • itbeso

          Of course the World would. If it [Christiianity] dies out the past it not erased.

          • Chrijoh

            I find your argument completely untenable. You take the individual out of the equation.

            History demonstrates that people do not need religion to oppress, subjugate, conquer or simply murder others. I concede that religion has many times been utilised for this purpose, but that is the will of the individual. Religion is a tool, not an implicator. Religion gets manipulated and then used to justify, giving the impression that it is dictating conditions as opposed to those who are in power.

            Science for example has been used to justify mysogeny, racism, and even social hierarchies between classes. People always find a reason to oppress and dominate. It is simply fallacious to blame religion in itself for this.

          • itbeso

            What tripe. Science has no ideology. Islam does. One is a tool with no agenda the other is an ideology preloaded with harm – no manipulation required. You work out which.

          • Daniel Maris

            Not true. Science certainly has ideology in abundance. Just because science claims to be neutral doesn’t make it so. Remember, Muslims, Christians and Jews also claim to be simply describing the world as it is, which includes God’s commands.

            One example of ideology is that all science is based on the dogma that there is no other reality beyond the physical reality of the cosmos (or its multiverse counterparts if you are that way inclined) and that the fundamental laws of the universe are givens that require no explanation. Neither proposition in my view is tenable from a philosophical point of view.

          • bodhi

            Science isn’t based on the dogma that there’s no reality beyond physical reality. That’s a gross misrepresentation of the simple fact that science (we) can’t observe or test anything other than the reality that we find ourselves in, which has not shown to include anything other than physical stuff (matter and energy) so far. As soon as anything “non-physical” becomes evident, it would be a part of science.

            This sounds like an attempt to take the religious burden of proof and shift it to science by saying science is close-minded, which is anything but the case. If you can’t demonstrate that anything non-physical actually exists, if you’re unable to even point to it, that’s your problem… it’s not science’s.

          • Daniel Maris

            The fact that you deny you can observe reality beyond the reality of physical reality, shows you are not at all open to that extradimensional reality. The fact that you describe consciousness as “an imaginary friend” shows just how biased you are.

            Lots of poets, musicians, artists, and religious believers claim to be able to relate to that reality – in fact the more renowned they are the more they tend to claim that that reality is of far greater significance than the four dimensional reality.

          • bodhi

            You’re putting words in my mouth. And I wasn’t calling consciousness an imaginary friend; God is the imaginary friend.

            Nothing unreal exists. That’s what I was saying, and that’s the only thing science would say on the subject. Science doesn’t deny unicorns or God, because it’s not in the business of denying… it’s in the business of affirming that which is observable.

          • Daniel Maris

            Yes, but hundreds of millions of religious people (Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and others) identify consciousness, the still small voice of calm, with divinity, the divine spark, ultimate reality. The fact is, you don’t like them doing that. You’re not neutral about it. You think they are wrong to link consciousness and God.

            Scientists make unsubstantiated and unfalsfiable claims all the time. I’ve lost count of the times that scientists have said that it is a meaningless question to ask what was before the Big Bang. Now, in recent years, physicists – or some at least – have concluded it isn’t a meaningless question after all.

            Lots of scientists claim the laws of physics are “just there” and require no explanation. Others – like yourself it seems – make unsubstantiated claims that neuroscience is resolving the mystery of consciousness, when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to indicate that to be the case.

          • bodhi

            Oh my god, you’re making an argument from popularity. And Buddhists, I’ll thank you very much, don’t identify consciousness with God. I’m not even going to talk to you any more dude, you’re full of it. You’re one of these pseudoscientific/mystic babblers. Buh-bye guy.

          • Daniel Maris

            No, I am making a philosophical argument here. I know Buddhists don’t believe in God – but there ultimate reality is not to be identified with the four dimensional world of the senses, so the same issue applies.

            Sorry you feel threatened by the perfectly reasonable point I am making.

            If people link consciousness to divinity – as they do – then you are quite clearly calling their consciousness part of the imaginary friend business, from their point of view.

          • bodhi

            I’m willing to continue a conversation, after getting some sleep and laughing enough, if you have something better to offer that isn’t just air.

            I’m not looking for a philosophical argument. I love philosophy, myself, and I’ve spent a lot of time studying it (along with science and religion)… but philosophy alone, just like mind alone, can not lead to valid conclusions. There has to be some form of verification, and the number of people that believe something isn’t valid verification.

            I don’t know what form of Buddhism you’re talking about, but the Buddha taught that mind was a product of form (consciousness arose due to conditions, and ceased due to conditions), and suffering was a product of mind’s attachment to form, attachment to itself (self-identification), and the craving that kept the whole thing going. Nothing that he taught was outside the realm of our reality, whether you want to call it physical or not. Nirvana was the cessation of all harmful craving; of greed, hatred and delusion; and the dis-identification and dissolution of “self”. Hindus on the other hand think the self is real (the atman) and that it’s part of a larger universal spirit called Brahman. Some forms of Buddhism have come to be “half Hindu”, being influenced by Hinduism in the 2500 years since the Buddha’s death. They’ve come to view Nirvana as a special realm or heaven that they go to after death, so long as they’ve become “enlightened”.

            “If people link consciousness to divinity – as they do – then you are quite clearly calling their consciousness part of the imaginary friend business, from their point of view.” How does that make consciousness imaginary, again? It’s the LINK that is non-existent, clearly. Or pointing to something non-existent. The absence of a divinity does not make consciousness become imaginary, hahahahahaha, oahaohaohaohaaoha!

          • KRKBAB

            Science IS neutral- the people that engage in it aren’t. That’s a huge difference. Scientists strive to be neutral. Religious followers strive not to be neutral. HOW could you possibly believe in a god and be neutral about other gods/religions as just as probable as yours?

          • Daniel Maris

            So science is a non-human entity? You are asking me to believe in fairies now.

            Science is what scientists do, not what they say.

            How could you possibly believe in science and be neutral about religion?

            Actually there are many forms of religion e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Bahai, Unitarianism and Quakerism that are NOT antithetical to other religions but rather see other religions as manifestations of the same engagement with spiritual reality. The fact you can’t see that neatly demonstrates your lack of neutrality.

          • KRKBAB

            Science can be a noun, verb or an adjective (pIease correct me if I’m wrong). The scientific method is (designed to be) neutraI. Scientists try to be neutraI, but by being individuaIs it is hard to do.
            I DON’T “beIieve” in science- I have confidence in the scientific method (confidence gained by evidence). The word beIieve is bandied about too much.
            You’re right about the reIative neutraities of the reIigions you mentioned- I’II grant that.

            I guess I was speaking more of Mono-Theism.

            IncidentaIy, you’re needIessy tossing ad hominem by citing my “Iack of neutraIity”). It’s an impossiIbe endeavor for a human to be totaIIy neutraI- but we try, don’t we?

            You’re tone is becoming quite combative- and being a New-Atheist, I’m often caIIed “miIitant and/or strident”. Oh, the irony…

          • Daniel Maris

            There is no such thing as “the scientific method” in reality. Most scientists are normally pretty strongly and emotionally committed to the hypotheses they claim to be testing in a neutral manner. That’s why they often ignore evidence to the contrary or try and make it fit with their hypothesis.

            There is no doubting that science has been very successful in many areas. But then in some areas e.g. cosmology and physics, the explanatory power of science seems to be declining as time goes on i.e. it is generating more questions than answers – rather than closing down the subject (as chemistry, meteorology and geology may fairly be said to have done).

            Science has a strong physicalist bias – believing reality is constructed out of objective matter and energy alone. This despite the fact that all our personal experience of reality is as subjective consciousness.

          • KRKBAB

            You wrote: “There is no such thing as the scientific method in reaIity” So you beIieve in absoIutes, do ya”? Yes, DanieI, the “scientific method” does actuaIIy exist- however science doesn’t deaI in absoIutes- ike reIigion and woo often does (and never with evidence)

            You aIso wrote: “Science has a strong phsyicaIist bias”. Sorry- I don’t do PhiIosophy. Once you bring PhIiosophy into things, there’s aIways an ism to attempt to de-egitimize something just through mentioning it. Oh that?- that’s nothing but yada-yada-yada-ism, my siIIy man.

          • Chrijoh

            I never said science has an ideology, merely that it has been utilised to forward an agenda in similar ways religion has. I can give you many examples if you wish?

            The fact is is that you’re placing ideologies within an institution you do not belong, inspte of the fact that the vast majority of self-proclaimed Muslims strongly disagree with you. Mainstream Muslims do not accept that they follow a God of war, or are forced to either convert or kill non-believers. They do not accept that, yet you, oh so graciously I’m sure, feel the need to correct them? How arrogant do you have to be to assume you know better than those who actually follow the religion? Disgraceful!

          • crosscop

            “Mainstream Muslims do not accept that they follow a God of war, or are forced to either convert or kill non-believers.”

            Yes they do. The Koran ( the word of Allah himself) says it is their duty to fight the unbelievers until there is no other religion. The Koran says that those who will not fight and those who take non-Muslims as friends are hypocrites and not true Muslims at all. They are all destined for hellfire! However, if they are living in non-Muslim countries the Koran allows them to bide their time and pretend…
            “We smile in their faces and curse them in our hearts” is an old Muslim saying. Don’t be fooled.

          • Chrijoh

            Good Grief!! Have you ever heard a mainstream Muslim speak about the meaning of their religion? Their interpretation? Mulsims do not see their religion as a passive, no one would ever think to argue that, but they certainly do not see the purpose of their existence is to fight other religions.

            What you do not seem to realise is that Islam was born in a time of war, which means that they suffered unbelievable levels of persecution. Much of the war like verses are responses to this. What you are doing is taking verses out of context, ignoring the fact that amount of verses or phrases advocating peace vastly outnumbers those advocating war.

          • Dashery

            How do you know all this stuff about how Muslims see their religion? Have you by any chance interviewed them all or a sizeable number of them to come up with these assertions?
            The founder of Islam participated in wars and the surrounding tribes were as much victims of his wars -if not more- as he and his party of believers claim they were of the aggression of others. So let’s cut out this ‘protectionism’ of Islam, its history and activities in the present.

          • Daniel Maris

            What we do know – from various undercover programmes – is that would is said publicly about the religion is not the same as what is taught behind closed doors, or what is offered in literature on sale at Mosques, or what is necessarily practised, e.g. in terms of “charitable” donations.

          • crosscop

            The Muslims were the ones doing the persecuting. Read up on what they did to Asma bint Marwan.
            Mainstream Muslims lie about their religion all the time. Most don’t actually seem to know much about it. I had to laugh when Robert Spencer of Jihadwatch and an imam were interviewed on a London Asian radio show recently. The imam denied that the Koran authorised the beating of women. Spencer quoted the verse from the Koran that authorises it. The clueless imam then had rings run round him by Spencer and ended up whining to the interviewer that “This is his field!” “But you are an imam,” said the presenter. Priceless.

          • KRKBAB

            Of course knowledge (science) has been misused and appropriated for ill. However, no-one says that the science is all knowing and infallible. If science was ever declared infallible, it wouldn’t be science anymore.

          • Chrijoh

            OK…but neither did I…I’m not sure what you’re challenging here?

          • KRKBAB

            My mistake- I was (trying) to respond to Daniel Maris’s comment about science having an ideology and not being neutral. I guess I clicked on your reply instead of his (Daniel’s).

          • KRKBAB

            I don’t buy that. Hatred of Jews was stirred by Hitler using Lutheran ideology AND the racial purity ideal. Also- Nazi soldiers all have “God is With Us” on their belt buckles so whether or not Hitler was an atheist is almost a moot point.
            And Yugoslavia was practically a repeat of that, except replace Jews with Muslims. Serbian purity (which definitely includes Christianity) was drummed into the populace and it worked very well.
            Even well educated people are still VERY capable of doing moved to do things with a racial/religious element infused.

          • KRKBAB

            But history shows that Religion helps justify and facilitate oppression, subjugation and mass murder ten-fold.

          • Chrijoh

            There have been some cases where religion has been used to justify horrendous acts. There have also been cases where horrendous acts have been justified using natural selection or political stability. There is always something. Whether religion is the worst of those justifications is not an established truth so I don’t know what you’re basing your claim on!

          • KRKBAB

            Natural selection (Darwin’s theory misunderstood) and modern weaponry capable of greater mass murder have only been around a few hundred years. Evey leader of people knows that if a people are not quite on board with killing others, a religious reason (a god) often moves a populace. The Muslim Conquest (nobody ever mentions THAT), the Christian Crusades and Yugoslavia are all perfect examples. Most maniacal Eastern rulers were venerated and looked upon as practically gods. A person thought to be chosen as a leader through some magical ties to earlier leaders is magical and similar to religion, no?

          • Chrijoh

            Whilst I do agree with everyhting you said, the issue I have is that the main examples you have picked up happened at a time when the general populace was generally uneducated, and those who were, were educated by religious institutions. So when you’re talking about the power of religion to mobilise, these are pretty unrepresentitive examples.

            If you look at the last two hundred years on the otherhand, more sophisticated methods have been utilised. Yes, Darwin’s theory was used out of context (not sure if it was misunderstood, but of course it wasn’t used for its intended purpose), but still provides a valid example of how people utilise ideas to forward their agenda.

            My point is is that people will always find ways to justify killing, subjugating and conquering. It is how they maintain power! I don’t believe this is a valid argument for why religion is a negative force in the world. I do, on the other hand, believe it is a very strong argument for secularism!

          • Daniel Maris

            Darwin welcomed the extermination of aboriginal peoples and praised a book that treated Irish people as a separate sub-species incapable of full civilisation. So, it is wrong to pretend that exterminatory social Darwinism has nothing to do with Darwin.

          • Chaotopia

            “Science for example has been used to justify mysogeny, racism, and even
            social hierarchies between classes.”

            Science has been misused but the very big difference is that science is self-correcting being a form of intellectual inquiry that is amenable to empirical evidence that has been systematically tested to destruction and beyond.

            Compare and contrast that with those who say that their religious texts don’t need to be corrected because they are “perfect” and “eternal” and “god given” and “divinely revealed” so, therefore, cannot be challenged.

            “People always find a reason to
            oppress and dominate”

            That may be true but religion makes it far easier to do this which has been shown throughout the whole of human history.

          • Chrijoh

            I agree with your comment that science is self-correcting. And of course, there are those who believe that their religious texts do not need correcting and some of these people are in very powerful positions which makes them incredibly dangerous. This is the problem with despotisms in general and is why it is incredibly vital that religious elements are removed from all governments because this is what happens.

            There are those however, that do not see their religion is such black and white terms, and within Islam, these people are becoming more numerous and more vocal. If you have seen the debates surrounding Islam at Intellegence Squared in the US or the debate at the Oxford Union, you will see this point of view being encouraged. I see this as very a promising development.

            Religion does make it easier to oppress and dominate. I think this is an argument for secularism, not the supression of religion itself. That is almost trading one dictatorship for another.This is the attitude the British government took in regards to Fascism. Fascism is a very dangerous ideology, but it did not suppress it, and it faded into obscurity. It still exists, but is so insignificant, why would anyone bother suppressing it?

        • Daniel Maris

          You haven’t even given one quote. Why should we believe you? Give us a quote and we can look at it.

          • Chrijoh

            I’m not quite sure what you’re referring to, but I shall assume it is the part where I accuse RIchard Dawkins of referring to Muslims as opposed to Islam? I’ll grant some general cases where Dawkins generalises, I feel, unjustifiably. These are form his Twitter:

            All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though

            “Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed [sic] flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist.

            ‘Arrogance of faith. http://bit.ly/17TuOVW They think their ridiculous religion entitles them to dictate where a woman shall sit in a bus.’

          • Chaotopia

            “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though”

            Objective Fact which is measurable.

            ““Mehdi Hasan admits to believing Muhamed [sic] flew to heaven on a winged horse. And New Statesman sees fit to print him as a serious journalist.”

            What a fact-free moron – why would anyone employ him let alone the New Statesmen?

            “‘Arrogance of faith. http://bit.ly/17TuOVW They think their ridiculous religion entitles them to dictate where a woman shall sit in a bus.”

            Indeed what incredible arrogance – their ridiculous religion makes slaves of half the planet. Haven’t they heard of Rosa Parks?

            So which of those, entirely fair and accurate, comments do you have an actual problem with?

          • Daniel Maris

            I think Chaotopia anticipates much of what I would say in response.

            The objective fact about Nobel Prizes is important because of the constant Islamic propaganda about “Muslim inventiveness” and “Muslim science” and laying claim to advances that actually belonged to other cultures e.g. Hinduism and Judaism (many of the alleged Muslim sages were actually Jewish).

            The point about the New Statesman is that one cannot imagine that rational journal employing a born again Christian in such a senior position. Also, Dawkins was being kind. He could have pointed to Hasan ‘s videoed comments about kafirs being ignorant cattle and queried how the NS employed such a man. Incidentally all believing Muslims consider Kafirs to be ignorant cattle – just as Hasan does – so generalisation is acceptable in such circumstances.

            Are we banned from taking issue with the actions of other cultures? No one (me certainly not) is denying the right of Muslims to, say, criticise our binge drinking culture if they like. But are we to be banned from pointing out that most Muslim men (not just “the religion”) have very oppressive ideas about how women should be treated? How do you think a woman feels about having a boss at work who believes women are second class citizens?

          • Chrijoh

            It is an objective and measurable fact. But correlation says nothing about causality. A scientist of Dawkins’s calibre knows this all too well, so why forget this when it comes to Islam?

            I’ve respoonded to your abhorant views about Mehdi Hassan already!

            This is a demonstration of individuals using their faith in an arrogant way. It says nothing about other followers of this faith. The article even says ‘ultra-orthadox’ demonstrating this is not a policy most Jewish people abide by so it is wildly innaccurate to utilise this article as representitive. There will be misogynists, racists and generally insufferable people from all walks of life. Faith is not a determinate of arrogance!

          • Trofim

            “It is an objective and measurable fact. But correlation says nothing about causality. A scientist of Dawkins’s calibre knows this all too well, so why forget this when it comes to Islam? ”
            Causality?
            Science consists of bold conjectures and attempts to refute them. In this case, let’s hazard a very rough initial conjecture: Islam suppresses or discourages the spirit of inquiry in a way which other religions/cultures don’t. If you have all the answers and you regard these answers as being in some way special, sacred, then it follows that one would might wish to suppress attempts to reach different, competing answers

        • Chaotopia

          “That is what I was saying is not helpful”

          So what?

          Who cares about what you think is “helpful” or not?

          Forget “helpful” – howabout being accurate, honest and simply stating an objective fact that is actually measurable?

          I don’t think it is helpful to simply call someone “unhelpful” just because they point out an inconvenient truth that others would much rather ignore out of a misplaced sense of cultural sensitivity.

          • Chrijoh

            It is an objective and measurable fact. But correlation says nothing about causality. A scientist of Dawkins’s calibre knows this all too well, so why forget this when it comes to Islam?

            You seem to be of the impression I am trying to self righteously defend Islam. I am not. I just don’t think it is as simple as you seem to think. This is not out of cultural sensitivity but simply my analysis of the situation.

      • KRKBAB

        All Muslims Christians and Jews could become violent if (for some reason) they felt God “spoke” to them. After all, if you feel a god has spoken to you and his commands were in conflict with laws and morality of the land, what would you do?

        • janswed

          Call for an ambulance and direct it to the nearest mental hospital.

    • Chaotopia

      “The fact is, Dawkins has questioned Mehdi Hassan’s credibility as a
      journalist simply because he is Muslim”

      Absolutely everyone should criticise Mehdi Hassan’s ability as a journalist and not just be because (like Owen Jones) he is just another ill-informed, reactionary rent-a-gob but also, as a Muslim, he actually believes in something ridiculously counter-factual such as flying horses.

      “thinks the lack of Nobel prizes
      reflects badly on all Muslims despite the fact that they are
      disproportionately held by wealthy western countries”

      The Good Professor simply stated the objective, measurable fact that they are disproportionately held (by one College in one University) in a Western country.

      (who are wealthy because they shaken off the shackles of religion) precisely because they are largely irreligious, secular societies that have shaken off the shackles of religion.

      The Muslim countries have a disproportionately low number of Nobel prizes and are poor precisely because of Islam. Islam has retarded the development of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, etc, etc, etc, etc which is why they has been a distinct lack of political, scientific and technological progress.

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with Professor Dawkins making this observation – there is something terribly wrong (not to mention defensive and insecure) about trying to silence simply for pointing this out.

      • Chrijoh

        First, the fact that someone follows a religion has no bearing on their intellectual capacity. Would you deny the hundreds of Muslim doctors who work for the NHS their position within the healthcare industry or any Muslim in academia purely on this basis? That is an inane assertion, and one that I do not think you’re qualified to make. I may be wrong as I do not know who you are, but that view is pretty abhorent, and I shudder to think you are in a position that allows you to judge someones capabilities in such a discriminatory way.

        The issue with the Nobel Prize comment is is that it is a strawman argument that Richard Dawkins is too intellegent to make. There are myriad factors as to why Muslims are disproportionately represented in this area, one is the education available in the East compared to the West. Which I suppose you feel supports your point that Islam has ‘retarded the development’ of Islamic countries.

        I would heavily disagree with you that it is Islam that retarded the development of these countries as in the early days of Islam, the Arab world saw huge levels of improvement sweep accross their society. This suggests that Islam is not the issue, or at the very least, not the defining one. The issue is not Islam, but political and social instability that has always existed in communities that are governed in a tribal system. This is a reason why Africa’s development did not really occur until a unifying force intervened. The tribal system is also why Africa is still unstable, Ithink the same logic can be applied to the Arab world. There are of course other factors, but attributing this instability to Islam by itself is both narrow minded and ignorant.

        Your final comment has really annoyed me. I would never even begin to presume that my opinion is superior to that of Richard Dawkins or that I have the intellectual authority to silence any one. I stated before that I was a fan of Dawkins. His books gave me the intellectual confidence to declare myself an athiest. For that, I am entirely grateful to him. However, just because I am a fan does not mean that I will be blindly following or agreeing with everything he says and does not even begin to suggest that my intention was to try and silence him. I don’t think it is me who is being insecure as it was you who had such a defensive reaction to a mere criticism of someone you clearly admire.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          Believing something without evidence, and especially against the evidence, is a sign of intellectual dishonesty and calls into question the believer’s intellectual integrity.

    • Trofim

      “some of his comments are not helpful”

      not helpful? not helpful? Since when did anyone’s opinion have to be judged to be helpful? Are we only allowed to open our mouths if our statements are helpful? And by whose standards helpful? Can I say “Nice day today”, “I don’t think Arsenal are going to win”, “I don’t like rice pudding”? Are they helpful words? Besides which, any statement which provides evidence that Islam is pernicious, ludicrous, damaging mumbo-jumbo is helpful.

      • Chrijoh

        Do you genuinely think that the comment ‘I don’t like rice pudding’ is comparable to insulting over a billion people in the world? I used the word ‘helpful’ as a diplomatic way of saying I think some of what Dawkins says is harmful to his ultimate goal. But if you want to have a discussion surrounding the semantics of phrases or expression then I’m not interested in taking this any further!

        • Trofim

          (a) I have only the vagues conception of what it means to be “insulted”. Likewise “offended”.What does it feel like? From what I observe, people who get “insulted” are pathologically thin-skinned, pathetic, narcissitic wimps, the types who talk a lot about “respect”. They need to grow up and become robust like adults.
          (b) A billion people insulted? Have you checked every one to ascertain whether they are in fact “insulted”? Did you use a standard questionnae, or do it ad hoc? Were they in fact insulted or were they, perhaps, insulted by proxy or out of solidarity?

          • Chrijoh

            I was more referring to practice of throwing insulting terms at groups of people, I do not know for sure if the billions of people were offended.

            But that is not really the point. If you have to resort to personal attacks that doesn’t show signs of a great debater. In practical terms it shows an unwillingness to engage with the other side which undermines the whole debate. This may be Dawkins’s intention, but I believe he is more dignified than that. I have seen him debate many times and he does at least listen to his challengers.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          Ridiculing ridiculous beliefs is part of how we police sanity in our public discourse. Ridiculous religious beliefs should not be immune to that process.

          • Chrijoh

            My problem is not with ridiculing beliefs. Richard Dawkins is a scientist, his job as an academic is to refute relgious explanations of how the world works. My problem is accusing religious people as being fundementally bad people because they are religious.

            I know that is not what Dawkins believes. Or atleast, I have seen many debates with Dawkins and he chategorically denies believing this, but some of his tweets and statements can be construed in this manner.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Well, it depends on what you mean by “bad”. Believing in things against the available evidence is a sign of intellectual dishonesty and is thus arguably evidence of a character flaw…

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Believing in historical nonsense – whether it’s Islam or Christianity or Mormonism or that the moon landings were faked or that 9/11 was an inside job – clearly makes you less respectable as a journalist. Journalism should require a respect for the truth and a scrupulous respect for the evidence, especially in matters of history. Educated people who believe nonsense are showing a lack of honesty and intellectual integrity and should be marked down for it.

      • Chrijoh

        I think that believing the moon landings were fake or that 9/11 was an inside job should be detimental to your professional image. However, I think you’re misunderstanding the nature of faith if you think it is an intellectual exercise. There have been some very intelligent, respected and successful religious people. I think it would be a mistake to put too much weight behind their religion over other aspects of their character, especially when we’re talking about intellectual capability.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          And there were some very “intelligent, respected and successful” people who were also intellectually dishonest enough to believe in Communism, even after Czechoslovakia. We can mark them down for their moral failure to face up to the evidence on Communism, while still acknowledging their good qualities. Their clinging to communism lessens their virtue in our eyes, but it need not necessarily negate it. The same holds for Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

          • Chrijoh

            I don’t think religion is a question of intellectual honesty. The idea suggests it is purely something one can objectively analyse and simply decide where they stand.

            My analysis of this is purely based on descriptions others have given me as I am not religious in any way and never really have been, so I understand my capability of answering this comprehensively is limited. But from what I understand of it, it is not an academic exercise so it is not accurate to view religion in this way.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Religions make truth claims. Most of those truth claims are not supported by the available evidence, indeed many are actively refuted by the available evidence. Believing something against the evidence – whether because it’s comforting or beautiful or out of family or communal loyalty – is a sign of intellectual dishonesty and a lack of intellectual integrity. This is an especially bad sign in someone whose profession requires a commitment to empirical truth-seeking – such as scientists, historians or journalists.

          • Chrijoh

            I do not think your analysis of why people follow religion is accurate, at least, not wholeheartedly. There will be those who follow religion for the reasons you put forward and in those cases, I agree with you, that is an example of intellectual dishonesty. But I think faith in general is something more powerful than simply deciding that you want to follow God out of comfort or communal loyalty.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Whatever the reason or motivation, if you “choose” to believe something against the evidence, you are compromising your intellectual integrity.

      • Terry Field

        Hobnobs should be withheld from them

    • crosscop

      Islam is a “violent, oppressive and generally evil force in which the world would be better off without.” Muslims would be far better off without it.

      • Terry Field

        islam only exists though the vector of muslim people!

  • dh

    Lazy journalism: Dawkins took flack because he stirred the pot of Islamophobia, probably in an attempt to garner publicity for his autobiography.

    But the heart of the piece chances on a truth, which applies to every press and media organisation, and everyone who writes for them:

    Shallow, ignorant, and most importantly *non threatening* hypocrisy is the only form of public opinion allowed by the corporate state which owns you all, directly and indirectly.

    • Blake Parker

      “Islamophobia”

      You say it like it’s a bad thing.

      Every rational person should fear their culture and religion, being pro islam is being pro domestic violence, child mutilation and anti freedom of speech.

      • KRKBAB

        Actually, I fear Islam, Christianity and DEFINITELY Judaism.

        • bodhi

          Out of those, I find it difficult to fear Judaism. The Jews have been so persecuted, historically, that they can’t bear it when they see it happening to others. That’s one of the reasons that 81% of Jews are pro same-sex marriage.

          The Jews are kinda like the Amish, they just want to keep their traditions to themselves. Judaism doesn’t propagate like Christianity does, because being Jewish is a cultural identity more than anything else. It’s not a faith that’s detached from culture. (That’s probably also the reason their numbers stay relatively small compared to the other faiths.)

          • Tristram

            Tell all that to the people of Palestine.

            Male genital mutilation, too, is a cancer on society that needs to be eradicated.

          • bodhi

            A lot of Christian parents have their kids circumcised in the hospital, though that number is declining. I don’t know anything about Palestine, so I won’t talk about it. I was talking more about Judaism as is common in America (minus the parts that I do take issue with, like the circumcision which takes away from sexual pleasure later in life).

          • Gerry Gagnon

            The land called
            “Palestine”:

            “In the 2nd century c.e., the last attempt of the Jews to
            achieve independence from the Roman Empire ended with the
            well-known event of Masada, that is historically documented and
            universally recognized as the fact that determined the Jewish
            Diaspora in a definitive way.

            “The Land where these things happened was until then the
            province known as Judæa , and there is no mention of any place
            called “Palestine” before that time.

            “The Roman emperor Hadrian was utterly upset with the Jewish
            Nation and wanted to erase the name of Israel and Judah from the
            face of the Earth, so that there would be no memory of the
            country that belonged to that rebel people. He decided to
            replace the denomination of that Roman province and resorted to
            ancient history in order to find a name that might appear
            appropriate…

            {“The Greek toponym Palaistínē (Παλαιστίνη), with which the
            Arabic Filastin (فلسطين) is cognate, first occurs in the work of
            the 5th. century BCE Greek historian Herodotus, where it denotes
            generally the coastal land from Phoenicia down to Egypt… Syria
            Palestina continued to be used by historians and geographers and
            others to refer to the area between the Mediterranean sea and
            the Jordan river, as in the writings of Philo, Josephus and
            Pliny the Elder. After the Romans adopted the term as the
            official administrative name for the region in the 2nd century
            CE, “Palestine” as a stand alone term came into widespread use,
            printed on coins, in inscriptions and even in rabbinic texts.”

            { http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_people
            }

            “Therefore, according to Latin spelling, he invented the new
            name: “Palæstina”, a name that would be also hateful for the
            Jews, as it reminded them their old foes. He did so with the
            explicit purpose of effacing any trace of Jewish history.

            Ancient Romans, as well as modern Palestinians, have fulfilled
            the Hebrew Scriptures Prophecy that declares: “They lay crafty
            plans against Your People… they say: ‘come, let us wipe them
            out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more’.”
            — Tehilim 83:3-4 (Psalm 83:3-4).

            They failed, as Israel is still alive.

            “Any honest person would recognize that…before the Romans
            renamed the province of Judea, that such name…is not written
            in the Bible, neither in the Hebrew Scriptures nor in the
            Christian Testament, not even in Assyrian, Persian, Macedonian,
            Ptolemaic, Seleucian or other Greek sources, and that not any
            “Palestinian” people has ever been mentioned, not even by the
            Romans that invented the term.

            “If “Palestinians” allegedly are the historic inhabitants of the
            Holy Land, why did they not fight for independence from Roman
            occupation as Jews did? How is it possible that not a single
            Palestinian leader heading for a revolt against the Roman
            invaders is mentioned in any historic record? Why there is not
            any Palestinian rebel group mentioned, as for example the Jewish
            ‘Zealots’?

            “Why every historic document mentions the Jews as the native
            inhabitants, and the Greeks, Romans and others as foreigners
            dwelling in Judea, but not any Palestinian people, neither as
            native nor as foreigner? What is more, there is no reference to
            any Palestinian people in the qur’an (Koran), although Muslims
            claim that their prophet was once in Jerusalem (an event that is
            not mentioned in the Koran, either).

            It appears evident that he did not meet any Palestinian in his
            whole life, nor did his successors, either. Caliph Salahuddin
            al-Ayyub (Saladin), knew the Jews and kindly invited them to
            settle in Jerusalem, that he recognized as their Homeland, but
            he did not know any Palestinian…

            To claim that Palestinians are the original people of Eretz
            Yisrael is not only against secular history but also against
            Islamic history!

            “The name “Falastin” that Arabs today use for “Palestine” is not
            an Arabic name, but adopted and adapted from the Latin
            ‘Palæstina’. How can an Arab people have a western name instead
            of one in their own language? Because the use of the term
            “Palestinian” for an Arab group is only a modern political
            creation without any historic or ethnic grounds, and did not
            indicate any people before 1967. An Arab writer and journalist
            declared:

            “There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by
            Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from
            Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Iraqis, etc.
            Keep in mind that the Arabs control 99.9% of the Middle East
            lands. Israel represents one-tenth of one percent of the
            landmass. But that’s too much for the Arabs. They want it all.
            And that is ultimately what the fighting in Israel is about
            today… No matter how many land concessions the Israelis make,
            it will never be enough”.

            — Joseph Farah, “Myths of the Middle East”

            **********************************

            Let us hear what other Arabs have said:

            “There is no such country as Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term
            the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our
            country was for centuries part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to
            us. It is the Zionists who introduced it”.

            — Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel
            Commission, 1937

            **********************************

            “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely
            not”.

            — Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946

            **********************************

            “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern
            Syria”.

            — Representative of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956

            **********************************

            Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation
            at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:

            “The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly
            lasted, as such, 22 years”.

            **********************************

            The preceding declarations by Arab politicians came before 1967,
            as they had not the slightest knowledge of the existence of any
            Palestinian people. How and when did they change their mind and
            decide that such people existed?

            When the State of Israel was reborn in 1948 c.e., the
            “Palestinians” did not exist yet, the Arabs had still not
            discovered that “ancient” people. They were too busy with the
            purpose of annihilating the new Sovereign State and did not
            intend to create any Palestinian entity, but only to distribute
            the land among the already-existing Arab states.

            They were defeated. They attempted again to destroy Israel in
            1967, and were humiliated in only six days, in which they lost
            the lands that they had usurped in 1948.

            “In those 19 years of Arab occupation of Jerusalem, Judea,
            Samaria and the Gaza Strip, neither Jordan nor Egypt suggested
            the creation of a “Palestinian” state, since the still
            non-existing Palestinians would have never claimed their alleged
            right to have their own state… Paradoxically, during the
            British Mandate, it was not any Arab group, but the Jews, that
            were known as “Palestinians”!

            What other Arabs declared after the Six-Day War:

            “THERE ARE NO DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JORDANIANS, PALESTINIANS,
            SYRIANS AND LEBANESE. WE ARE ALL PART OF ONE NATION. IT IS ONLY
            FOR POLITICAL REASONS THAT WE carefully UNDERLINE OUR
            PALESTINIAN IDENTITY… yes, the existence of a separate
            Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. THE FOUNDING
            OF A PALESTINIAN STATE IS A NEW TOOL IN THE CONTINUING BATTLE
            AGAINST ISRAEL”.

            — Zuhair Muhsin, military commander of the PLO and member of
            the PLO Executive Council

            *********************************

            “You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. NEVER FORGET
            THIS ONE POINT: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PALESTINIAN PEOPLE,
            there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an
            integral part of the Syrian people, PALESTINE IS AN INTEGRAL
            PART OF SYRIA. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who
            are the true representatives of the Palestinian people”.

            — Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to the PLO leader Yassir Arafat

            *********************************

            “As I lived in Palestine, everyone I knew could trace their
            heritage back to the original country their great grandparents
            came from. Everyone knew their origin was not from the
            Canaanites, but ironically, this is the kind of stuff our
            education in the Middle East included.

            “THE FACT IS THAT TODAY’S PALESTINIANS ARE IMMIGRANTS FROM THE
            SURROUNDING NATIONS!

            “I grew up well-knowing the history and origins of today’s
            Palestinians as being from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Morocco,
            Christians from Greece, Muslim Sherkas from Russia, Muslims from
            Bosnia, and the Jordanians next door. My grandfather, who was a
            dignitary in Bethlehem, almost lost his life by Abdul Qader
            Al-Husseni (the leader of the Palestinian revolution), after
            being accused of selling land to Jews. He used to tell us that
            his village Beit Sahur (‘The Shepherds Fields’) in Bethlehem
            County was empty before his father settled in the area with six
            other families. The town has now grown to 30,000 inhabitants”.

            — Walid Shoebat, an “ex-Palestinian” Arab

            ‘Islam Exposed (the truth about Islam)’

            LINK: https://www.facebook.com/TheIslamicThreat/posts/414870025284642

      • dh

        That’s like saying the EDL represent all English people. They really, really don’t, no matter how hard you wish they did.

      • hellosnackbar

        Islamophobia is a silly word which if defined means irrational fear of Islam.
        There’s nothing irrational about a culture that believes in death to opponents.
        As I think Pat Condell said Islamonausea is a more accurate descriptive view!

    • Chaotopia

      “he stirred the pot of Islamophobia”

      Actually, all he did was simply point out an objective fact.

      BTW, there is no such thing as “Islamophobia” this is just a lazy label cynically used by the unthinking in a futile attempt to silence anyone who dares to criticise the idiot ideology known as Islam. It has long lost its currency and is inaccurate by definition – a “phobia” is an irrational fear whilst it is entirely rational for anyone to fear Islam.

    • Gerry Gagnon

      “One friend alerted me
      to a discussion going on in Wikipedia on the neologism,
      “Islamophobia”. Someone has suggested that this category should
      be deleted because the term ‘Islamophobia’ is divisive,
      inflammatory and it is frequently used to inhibit very valid
      criticism of Islam.

      This suggestion…has been rejected by Muslims who have
      Islamized everything, including Wikipedia. This friend asked my
      opinion. Here is what I think:

      Islam is an ideology. Rejection of an ideology cannot be
      classified as phobia. To call the opponents of an ideology
      ‘phobic’ is a fallacy. All ideologies have their critics and
      opponents but we do not hear Christians calling the critics of
      Christianity, ‘Christianophobes’; communists calling their
      critics ‘communiphobes’ or Hindus calling theirs ‘hinduphobes’.
      The term “Islamophobia” is both technically and logically
      incorrect and misleading.

      According to Dictionary.com, ‘Phobia’ is “a persistent,
      abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation
      that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and
      reassurance that it is not dangerous.”

      Therefore, the neologism “Islamophobia” implies that Islam is
      not dangerous and the fear of it is irrational.

      This claim has not been established and it is not universally
      agreed upon. There are many who argue that Islam is indeed a
      dangerous ideology and they have their logical arguments to
      prove their claim.

      Irrespective of whether the critics of Islam are right or wrong
      about whether Islam is dangerous or not, calling them “phobic”
      implies that their criticism has been already refuted and the
      irrationality of their fear of Islamic threat has been
      established; therefore, their disagreement with Islam is not
      logical but a mental disorder.

      All ideologies have their opponents. It is sheer arrogance to
      call criticism of any ideology, phobia. This implies that the
      truth of that ideology is already established and anyone
      opposing it is adopting an irrational position and is in need of
      psychological help.

      Only Muslims are capable of this much irrationality and
      arrogance. We all recall Muhammad Abdullah, the Afghani man who
      converted to Christianity and who was facing execution. When the
      government of Afghanistan was pressured to release him, to save
      face they accused him of being insane and not fit to stand
      trial. In the minds of Muslims, only an insane person would
      disagree with Islam. This is sheer arrogance.

      Buddhism is by all accounts a peaceful religion, as non-violence
      is the core of it. Despite that, Buddhism has its critics and we
      never call then ‘Buddhistphobes’.

      The neologism ‘Islamophobia’ makes absolutely no sense. It is
      derogatory and is used in a pejorative way to discredit the
      critics of Islam from the outset.

      Phobia is a disorder. Here is a short list of a few phobias:
      Achluophobia or Lygophobia (fear of darkness), Acrophobia, (fear
      of heights), Androphobia (fear of men), Aviatophobia (fear of
      flying), Chiraptophobia (fear of being touched), Claustrophobia
      (fear of confined spaces), Coitophobia (fear of coitus),
      Decidophobia (fear of making decisions), Agrophobia or
      Demophobia (fear of crowds), Eleutherophobia (fear of freedom),
      Gynophobia (fear of women), Hadephobia (fear of hell — this is
      the phobia affecting all the Muslims), Hylophobia (fear of
      forests), Insectophobia, (fear of insects), Isolophobia (fear
      of solitude, being alone), Necrophobia, (fear of death or dead
      things), Neophobia (fear of anything new), Phasmophobia, (fear
      of ghosts), Philophobia, (fear of falling in love or being in
      love), Xenophobia, (fear of strangers or foreigners), etc.

      How can criticism of Islam fall into this category? These are
      all irrational fears that require therapy. Are Muslims
      suggesting that the critics of Islam should receive therapy?
      {They sure are!}… Phobia is irrational fear of things, people
      or situations, but not beliefs. You can’t be phobic of a belief
      system. Beliefs per se are not frightening. It’s people who
      follow nefarious beliefs that become dangerous and
      frightening…

      From whichever angle you look at Islam, you find its stupidity
      glaring at you.

      Muslims suffer from an irrational fear of the Jews. Muslim
      children are taught that the Jews are evil and that they eat
      Muslim children and make pastries with their blood. Jews are
      caricatured in derogatory and demonized ways, depicted as
      bloodsucking monsters. In a television show aired in Palestine,
      a three-year old child was interviewed and asked what she hates
      most, and she responded “the Jews” — and the journalists
      praised Allah upon hearing this stupid remark. So, the neologism
      Judeophobia (fear of Jews) is a correct lexicon, because the
      irrational fear of Jews is inculcated in all Muslims since
      childhood. Muslims gravely suffer from this disorder.

      If children anywhere were taught to fear Muslims the way Muslim
      children are taught to fear Jews, then the neologism
      ‘Muslimphobia’ would have made sense. But that is not the case.
      Islam is a belief system. It is a human right to disagree with
      any belief… Islam is the only ideology whose followers try to
      discredit its critics by calling their criticism “phobia”…

      The absurdity of the Muslim mind is such that they think it is
      okay for them to incite hate against the non-Muslims in general
      and the Jews in particular, and yet it is not okay for others to
      criticize their ideology of hate.

      What is behind this paranoia and phobia of criticism? It is the
      inability of Muslims to counter the valid criticism of Islam.
      Failing that, they resort to ad hominems and try to discredit
      its critics by undermining their character. By classifying the
      criticism of Islam as a disorder, Muslims absolve themselves
      from responding to valid criticisms against their faith.

      The neologism “Islamophobia”, is therefore the symptom of the
      intellectual bankruptcy of Muslim clerisy to come up with
      logical arguments and defend Islam against criticism in a
      rational way. “Islamophobia” is an ad hominen. It is a logical
      fallacy and an insult hurled at the critics of Islam. It
      highlights the fact that Islam is a lie, unable to withstand
      criticism. That is why Muslims need censorship and must
      eliminate the truth by brutal force (lawsuits or violence) to
      protect their lie.

      The very existence of this neologism is a tacit confession of
      Muslims that Islam is a lie which can’t be defended logically,
      and that ad hominem and censorship are the only ways to defend
      it.”

      –‘“Islamophobia” Is Ad Hominem’,

      Ali Sina /No Compulsion, Sharia Unveiled, July 22, 2013

      http://shariaunveiled.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/islamophobia-is-ad-hominem/

  • Indrakanth Yadav

    Atheist till I die..!

    • itbeso

      Amen

  • Little Black Censored

    “.. you are free to decide what god if any you believe in…”
    Not if you are concerned with truth. Is Dawkins himself “free” to believe in God? Of course not.

    • KRKBAB

      Yes he is. But there is a thing called intellectual honesty.

    • bodhi

      Dawkins is as free to believe in God as he is to believe in Ra, Zeus, Quetzalcoatl, Lord Brahma, or any of the other thousands of gods. He just doesn’t see any good reason to do so. Each religion holds itself to be the bearer of “the truth”, but none of them seem capable of proving it to everyone else. Atheists like Dawkins are just the ones sitting back and watching the endless religious tug-of-war, and all of the horrible things that religions have done to try and win, and wondering how humans got in this mess.

      If you apply Pascal’s Wager properly, you’d take all of the gods into account, which makes any one of them have an extremely (extreeemely) low probability of being real. That means you should have some damn good evidence before you believe in one! Most people just believe what their parents teach them, or what is prevalent in their society…. that’s no good reason to believe you have the one true religion (if there is one).

      • Little Black Censored

        “Dawkins is as free to believe in God as he is to believe in Ra…” etc.
        You don’t choose what to believe, you are compelled by evidence/experience, as it appears to you. If you were free to choose what to believe you would be mad. Dawkins can’t believe in any of those deities, therefore he doesn’t. Fair enough. I can’t believe in atheism, therefore I don’t.

        • bodhi

          I agree with you about belief, but atheism isn’t something to believe in. It’s not a religion or belief system to convert to… instead it’s the beliefs you already hold that are irrational and would be abandoned, if you applied proper skepticism to them.

          The fact that you understand beliefs are the result of experience, and should be able to see that the primary reason for your beliefs is tied inextricably to either your parents or your society (99.9% of cases), should lead you to see how this is the same for people of all religions. You have to make yourself see that the reasons you belief are, quite frankly, “not good enough”.

          • Little Black Censored

            “You’ve already come to irrational beliefs; it’s those that you need to question on their own merits.”
            Gosh, thanks!

            Isn’t here a certain above-it-all Quaker-Libdemmish, plague-on-all-your-houses superciliousness in those words? I think you are working with a reductionist notion of what you will allow to count as “damn good evidence” and what you will allow to be considered rational. I do object to the implication that I have chosen comfort over honesty. A compelling faith is often very uncomfortable indeed. Think of “Take this cup away from me” and the sufferings of the mystics.

          • bodhi

            No point in ad hominem attacks. Tell me what you believe, and why you believe it, and we’ll examine your “rationality” right here.

  • Mats Lindblad

    Good article, insightful. It’s a shame that the people who need to read it and learn from it won’t.

  • David Lindsay

    Is Owen Jones “the Peter Hitchens of the Left”? (A long time ago, someone once called me that.) Well, why not? They are both opponents of the neoconservative war agenda, unlike Nick Cohen. They are both enemies of the erosion of civil liberties. They are both hostile to the EU. They are both in favour of publicly owned railways and utilities. And they are both defenders of council housing.

  • mchasewalker

    Thanks Nick, although it’s hardly news that Dawkins’ loudest and most reactionary critics come from the liberal left, when Sam Harris wrote an entire book warning us about it (The End of Faith). Glenn Greenwald was doing his best to pillory and paint Harris with the same nasty brush of racism and bigotry. I am reminded they did the very same to both Sigmund Freud and Joseph Campbell who dared to demythologize the pseudo histories of the world’s religions and left an enlightened path we would all do well to study, learn and embark upon. Personally, I’ve never heard Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, or the late Christopher Hitchens ever single out or denigrate any specific race. They don’t assail the Semitic peoples, Arab or Jew. They don’t attack Persians, Christians, or Senegalese. They focus their attention on destructive belief systems that are holding entire nations, peoples, and the world back with their primitive, neolithic and parochial world views. In America, we have doctors of medicine in Congress espousing Creationism as the equal to evolution. We have university graduates and regional school curriculums instructing young people the world is a mere 6,000 years-old, or how Jesus discovered America, and guided the founding fathers to establish a “Christian nation”. I am not alarmed or troubled in the least by Dawkins enthusiasm and willingness to speak out. Lawrence Krauss recently reminded us ‘to educate is not just to disseminate knowledge, but to eradicate ignorance”. Rationalists and realist activists, speak out loudly, harshly, and critically, not to convert or condemn anyone, but to give others the courage to speak out loudly themselves and with their own voices.

  • Chaotopia

    “They stay silent because they are frightened of breaking with the crowd,
    of the faint threat of Islamist retaliation, and of absurd accusations
    of racism. Journalists want the easy life. They want targets who cannot
    hurt them. Dawkins has never hurt a fly, so he’s all right.”

    Spot-on!

    All the useful idiots and spineless apologists for utter evil from Left and Right – from Melanie Phillips, Peter Hitchens, Tim Stanley, etc on the right to Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Brown, Owen Jones, etc on the Left will form the mother of unholy alliances in their foaming-mouthed loathing of the one person who dares to actually speak out and say what everyone else is really thinking.

    It takes a tremendous amount of real bravery and genuine courage to take on this self-satisfied hegemony and the supremely lazy group-think that currently dominates journalism. When it comes to religion, the unthinking orthodoxy is one where not only is the Emperor not stark bollock naked, but the rest of us should be admiring his finery. Anyone who has the temerity to challenge this witless dogma is immediately shouted down by a cretinous chorus of cliches and pathetically predictable puff pieces about how we all should be far more respectful of something thoroughly undeserving of respect.

    Let them come, time will only favour those who actually do tell the truth and, in the end, are proven to be right. Let the assorted alliance of news papers, press barons, politicians, press, commentators, etc, etc, etc put themselves on one side of the argument and Professor Dawkins on the other and we will all eventually see who wins this debate.

    My money is on the Prof.

    • bodhi

      Love the alliteration.

      • Chaotopia

        “Love the alliteration”

        Thank you – alliteration is a bit addictive at times.

      • bodhi

        Someone doesn’t like alliteration, LOL.
        I’m thinking someone has no idea what alliteration is. =)

    • hellosnackbar

      That’s one of the best and most penetratingly sagacious,logical comments I’ve read in a while.
      Well said!

    • tom_atkins

      Mine too. Nicely put.

  • Blair

    Let’s call a spade a spade, Dawkins is an a-hole and so are most of the posters here.

    • Nick

      Do you like yourself?

    • Terry Field

      poo stick face

  • Trofim

    I’m surprised at Nick Cohen using the term “bigot”. This is a lexeme without content, a mere boo word pure and simple, employed by the user to indicate a person who has the temerity to believe in something which the user strongly disapproves of. It’s use should be avoided.

  • abilgin

    You can teach algebra to an ant but you can not teach evolution to a bigot. So don’t waste your time and energy!

    • Sarane Hydara

      How is violence built-in in Islam? Can I have examples or cases please.

      • Daniel Maris

        Mohammed had prisoners of war put to death. Mohammed had

        an old man tortured to reveal the whereabouts of treasure. Polytheists are to be put to death under Sharia law.

        All this is well attested by the Koran, the Hadith and Sharia judgement.

        Islam holds Mohammed to be the perfect example for all Muslims (well, Muslim men).

        Accordingly violence is clearly built in to Islam. You may of course be referring to Islam as an ideal state once all its opponents have been vanquished. Well, yes, there shouldn’t be too much overt violence although there would of course be slavery, beating of wives and continued subjugation of Jews and Christians.

        Of course Mohammed has also predicted the final extermination of the Jews. That is quite a violent prospect as well.

        • Terry Field

          The C of E seems to love Islam – a case of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. Seems like desperation.

        • Sarane Hydara

          Could we please have the references of the hadiths and Quranic verses you based your claims on. You probably know that there are fake stories and hadiths about the life of the Prophet of Islam.
          On the issue of Jews, final extermination yes its said and it does not stop there, it goes on to how Muslim would be finish on earth before the end of the world.
          The God, Jews, Christians and Muslims believe in and worship is a LIVING GOD. We believe it the same God if they (Jews) thing they are different let their God sort it with our God. You Atheists should not worry about that.

      • hellosnackbar

        Read the Koran!
        It’s full of nonsense written by imaginary Allah who teaches supremacy and totalitarianism ,as well as hatred and violence to bully non Muslims.
        Murder for adultery and apostasy are still supported by a large proportion of Muslims.
        Dump it and acquaint yourself with civilisation .

        • Sarane Hydara

          Who are you to decide what makes sense to me and billions of Muslims? Is it arrogance or stupidity no, wait a minute may be you are also some Atheist Saint or Prophet. Sorry I prefer the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad may Peace and Blessing of Almighty Allah be upon him. Ameen

      • crosscop

        Sura 5:33.

        “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”
        Then there’s the Banu Qurayza – hundreds of POWs butchered in cold blood. And Asma bint Marwan – assassinated in her bed by Muslim thugs on Mohammad’s orders. And the one-eyed shepherd murdered for insulting Mohammad. And… I’ll stop there or I’ll be here all bloody day!

        • Sarane Hydara

          Please read the Quranic verse with attention, try to be honest to yourself and then apply common sense, no don’t apply common sense, be scientific; how? why? when? where?. There reason and choices in that verse.
          Thank you for the verse. Next time please indicated who’s translation it is.
          On the issue on historic and hadith related stories, your source matters – there are many fake historic events and hadiths been circulated by enemies of Islam
          Visit http://www.alim.org – or sufi sites and shy away from the Jihadist Salafist.

      • Gerry Gagnon

        “Quote(s) of
        the Day” — from Muslim holy books:

        Ishaq:315 “Driving before us, infidels,
        until we subdue them with a halter above their noses and a
        branding iron. We will drive them to the ends of the earth. We
        will pursue them on horse and on foot. We will never deviate
        from fighting in our cause… Any people that disobey Muhammad
        will pay for it. If you do not surrender to Islam, then you
        will live to regret it.”

        Qur’an:59:2 “It was Allah
        who drove the [Jewish] People of the Book from their homes and
        into exile. They refused to believe and imagined that their
        strongholds would protect them against Allah. But Allah came
        at them from where they did not suspect, and filled their
        hearts with terror. Their homes were destroyed. So learn a
        lesson, O men who have eyes. This is My warning…they shall
        taste the torment of Fire.”

        Tabari IX:69 “He who believes in Allah and His Messenger has
        protected his life and possessions from us. As for those who
        disbelieve, we will fight them forever in the Cause of Allah.
        Killing them is a small matter to us.”

        Tabari VII:62 “I cut off Abu Jahl’s head and brought it to the
        Messenger. ‘O Allah’s Prophet, this is the head of the enemy of
        Allah.’ Muhammad said, ‘Praise be to Allah.’”

        Ishaq:348 “They retreated in all directions. They rejected the
        Qur’an:and called Muhammad a liar. But Allah cursed them to make
        his religion and Apostle victorious. They lay still in death.
        Their throats were severed. Their foreheads embraced the dust.
        Their nostrils were defiled with filth. Many a noble, generous
        man we slew this day. We left them as meat for the hyenas. And
        later, they shall burn in the fires of Hell.”

        Bukhari:V5B59N397 “Allah’s Apostle raised his head after bowing
        the first Rak’a of the morning prayer. He said, ‘O Allah! Curse
        so-and-so and so-and-so.’ After he had invoked evil upon them,
        Allah revealed: ‘Your Lord will send thousands of angels riding
        upon chargers sweeping down as a form of good tidings to
        reassure you that victory comes from Him. He will cut off parts
        of the unbelievers, overthrow them, and turn them back in
        frustration. For Allah is forgiving and kind.’”

        Tabari VIII:143 “He set out with fifteen men. He encountered a
        large force whom he summoned to Islam. They refused to respond
        so he killed all of them.”

        Ishaq:576 “Allah and His servant overwhelmed every coward. Allah
        honored us and made our religion victorious. We were glorified
        and destroyed them all. Allah humiliated them in the worship of
        Satan… I liked the punishment the infidels received. Killing
        them was sweeter than drink. We galloped among them panting for
        the spoil. With our loud-voiced army, the Apostle’s squadron
        advanced into the fray.”

        Ishaq:580 “During the battle the people heard our exhortations
        to fight and the smashing of skulls by swords that sent heads
        flying. We severed necks with a warrior’s blow. Often we have
        left the slain cut to pieces and a widow crying alas over her
        mutilated husband. ‘Tis Allah, not man we seek to please.”

        Ishaq:281 “A valiant band will descend upon the Quraysh which
        will leave women husbandless. It will leave men dead, with
        vultures wheeling round. It will not spare the infidels.’”

        Qur’an:8:12 “I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their
        bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His
        Apostle.”

        Qur’an:8:57 “If you gain mastery over them in battle, inflict
        such a defeat as would terrorize them, so that they would learn
        a lesson and be warned.”

        Ishaq:326 “If you come upon them, deal so forcibly as to terrify
        those who would follow, that they may be warned. Make a severe
        example of them by terrorizing Allah’s enemies.”

        Qur’an:8:67 “It is not fitting for any prophet to have prisoners
        until he has made a great slaughter in the land.”

        Ishaq:588 “When the Apostle descends on your land none of your
        people will be left when he leaves.”

        Bukhari:V4B52N220 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘I have been made
        victorious with terror.’”

        • Sarane Hydara

          Thank you for the quotations, however please allow me to do justice to the Holy Quran – the Word of Almighty Allah by giving alternative acceptable translations of the Quranic verses you’ve quoted below. The rest of your quotation are historic accounts of the ‘Horrors of War’ by Muslims found in Muslim books. You would certainly agree with me that modern warfare by Secular state with military personnel of all faiths – atheist included, is worst than the historic war accounts you are quoting. Please dig into the diaries of soldiers who went to war zone in the 20th and 21st Century.

          Please give me references of volient Islam outside conflict.
          Thank you.

          Quran 8:12
          Asad Translation
          Lo! Thy Sustainer inspired the angels [to convey this His message to the believers]: “I am with you!” 13
          [And He commanded the angels:] “And give firmness unto those who have attained to faith [with these words from Me]: 14
          ‘I shall cast terror into the hearts of those who are bent on denying the truth; strike, then, their necks, [O believers,] and strike off every one of
          their finger-tips!'” 15
          Malik Translation
          Then your Rabb revealed His will to the angels: “I am with you, give courage to the believers. I will cast panic into the hearts of the unbelievers, therefore, smite their necks and beat every joint of their bodies.”
          Pickthall Translation
          When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying:) I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.
          Yusuf Ali Translation
          Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

          Quran 8:57
          Asad Translation
          if thou find them at war [with you], make of them a fearsome example for those who follow them, so that they might take it to heart;
          Malik Translation
          If you encounter them in combat, make them a fearsome example for others who would follow them so that they all may learn a lesson.
          Pickthall Translation
          If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.
          Yusuf Ali Translations
          If ye gain the mastery over them in war disperse with them those who follow them that they may remember.

          Quran 8:67
          Asad Translation
          IT DOES NOT behove a prophet to keep captives unless he has battled strenuously on earth. You may desire the fleeting gains of this world – but God desires [for you
          the good of] the life to come: and God is almighty, wise.
          Malik Translation
          It is not fit for a Prophet that he should take prisoners of war until he has thoroughly subdued the land. Do you, O followers of Muhammad, desire the temporal goods of this world? While Allah desires for you the hereafter?
          Allah is Mighty, Wise.
          Pickthall Translation
          It is not for any Prophet to have captives until he hath made
          slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
          Yusuf Ali Translation
          It is not fitting for an apostle that he should have prisoners of war
          until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of
          this world; but Allah looketh to the hereafter; and Allah is Exalted in might
          Wise.

  • abilgin

    There is no freedom of faith and speech in Islam. So it should not be a part of modern Western cultures. Full stop.

    • Sarane Hydara

      There is freedom of faith in Islam – The Quran recognises Jews, Christian and other faiths and Muslims have lived in with these faiths since the begin of Islam.
      if you are talking about a Muslim wanting to start his own new faith and yet call himself a Muslim that is not acceptable. If you another faith move away from Muslim and go live with your new faith members.
      However, if we have a Muslim state and we are in times of conflict with other religions or belief based states (even if secular) if you leave Islam and join the enemy, you would be killed.
      Freedom of speech have its limits in all societies, communities and states. If you want to understand the limits in Islam see Islam as governing a state, or community.

      • bodhi

        As far as I understand, if you’re raised a Muslim and later in life want to follow another religion, even that is not allowed. That’s apostasy and can have some pretty harsh punishments. That’s the kind of thing that makes the Western world cringe. That isn’t freedom.

        In America, your religion is your own affair and no one (not the government, not your community, and not your family) is going to physically harm you, detain you, or pursue legal action if you decide to change your religion.

        Ibn Warraq’s “Leaving Islam” is rife with horror stories.

      • Daniel Maris

        But what is the position regarding polytheists under Islam Sarane. You aren’t going to lie and pretend there is any legal recognition for them in an Islamic state are there? Polytheists are to be put to death aren’t they?

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        The litmus test for freedom of belief is how a faith treats apostasy. Islam mandates that apostates be put to death.

        • Sarane Hydara

          Apostates during conflicts should be put to death other than that they should only get their fairly share of been shut out by their communities and in the extreme by their families. Worship of Allah is by freewill and choice without that a Muslim is wasting his time of very stupid. A most cases they would experience a lot pressure in many forms for making a wrong choice and they all fail, the world is a gobal village trot it, why would you state within a muslim community?

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Why only kill apostates “during conflicts”? Where’s the Koranic or Hadith authority for that interpretation?

            And, more importantly, why kill them at all, conflict or not? People have freedom of belief or they don’t.

          • Sarane Hydara

            please allow me to refer to Gerry Gagnon’s post

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            I don’t see how his post answers my point…

      • abilgin

        A state can not hava a religion, people can. This the problem with people like, you will never learn!

        • Sarane Hydara

          You sound like another space visitor, are you? or no, you never watched news or don’t know of states based on religion not having one.
          Sorry, I should have asked first. Who said a state cannot have a religion?

      • abilgin

        A State can not have a RELIGION, PEOPLE can. But you would not understand that. This is the problem with your lot!

        • Sarane Hydara

          You sound like another space visitor, are you? or no, you never watched news or don’t know of states based on religion not having one.
          Sorry, I should have asked first. Who said a state cannot have a religion?

  • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

    What a nonsense article.

    I have an idea: let’s all recognize that Richard Dawkins in particular, and the frantic and cult-like New Atheism in general, are both pathetic things, and have a good laugh at them now and then. AND, while doing this, we can also fight and speak out against injustices.

    I have a feeling that the author won’t be satisfied with this, however, because the concern isn’t really over the plight of Christians suffering in Egypt or muslims/ex-muslims suffering elsewhere, but over the fact that someone he admires and/or likes is getting mocked and chastized too often for his tastes.

  • Nazi

    People read Dawkins’ books before they accept or reject it..but i wonder if people read and understand the Bible or the Quran the same way before they accept or reject it..Examples of unhappy ex-muslims ( or ex-religious ppl) is not an enough argument coz we have millions more who are happy with their religion..Not because they are brainwashed..but because they understand and then accept the laws.. Testimony of a woman is NOT half of that a man..infact there are two women who go to the court coz one is going to testify and other is there for her support..its a mercy of God that He gave the women an extra support..so that if one is threatened or compelled to say something or if she forgets by chance..there is another to remind and help her..

    but I think the real issue is not the laws itself..its coming to terms with the reality that someone could actually give and enforce any kind of laws..check out A Muslim Review of the God Delusion by @ImranIbnMansur #DawkinsDelusion
    http://tinyurl.com/k4to3rt

    • Daniel Maris

      Obvious taqiyya.

  • hellosnackbar

    This article is a description of the faecal nature of political correctness!
    What we need is TV satire on the subject!

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      “Faecal”?

  • abilgin

    All you can think of is “killing” and “death”. What kind of a creature are you?

  • Two Bob

    Fantastic blog. I could not agree more.

  • mikewaller

    I have a great deal of sympathy with what Richard Dawkins has to say in this context and I would very much favour the reshaping of our school history syllabuses to include the extreme horrors of the great European religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. It seems to me just possible that some of our brighter immigrant sparks might well draw some interesting parallels.

    That said, I cannot help but note that Dawkins himself has had to make a fairly significant compromise to keep liberal agnosticism on side. Gone are the very harsh strictures of selfish genery (a thesis into which I buy entirely) in favour of a “perfectibility of personkind” model which enables him to build a much broader coalition but which I find distinctly unconvincing.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      You do know that the Selfish Gene’s title was partially ironic, right? The book is mainly an explanation of *altruism* in nature…

      • mikewaller

        You are entirely misreading the book. As Dawkins makes clear, neo-Darwinist theory currently only admits of two kind of altruism: kin selection (self-sacrifice in the interests of common genes within a family group) and reciprocal altruism (as in “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”). Genuine altruism, as in making a real sacrifice in the interests of unrelated others with no possibility of reciprocation, seems to be inherently unstable in evolutionary terms. I mean by this that if I lay down my life for you the hypothetical altruism genes that motivated me to do so die with me, ditto for yours if you do the same for someone else. However, a selfish third party who benefits from both our sacrifices but is unprepared to do the same ensures that his selfish genes will achieve evolutionary longevity. This is the issue to which Dawkins finds no credible answer.

        As it happens, several years ago a peer-reviewed paper of mine was published (Family stigma, sexual selection and the evolutionary origins of severe depression’s physiological consequences” will find it on Google) in which I belief I offer a royal road to the solution of this problem. If you read I should be most interested in your reaction.

      • mikewaller

        You are entirely misreading the book. As Dawkins makes clear, neo-Darwinist theory currently only admits of two kind of altruism: kin selection (self-sacrifice in the interests of common genes within a family group) and reciprocal altruism (as in “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”). Genuine altruism, as in making a real sacrifice in the interests of unrelated others with no possibility of reciprocation, seems to be inherently unstable in evolutionary terms. I mean by this that if I lay down my life for you the hypothetical altruism genes that motivated me to do so die with me, ditto for yours if you do the same for someone else. However, a selfish third party who benefits from both our sacrifices but is unprepared to do the same ensures that his selfish genes will achieve evolutionary longevity. This is the issue to which Dawkins finds no credible answer.

        As it happens, several years ago a peer-reviewed paper of mine was published (Family stigma, sexual selection and the evolutionary origins of severe depression’s physiological consequences” will find it on Google) in which I belief I offer a royal road to the solution of this problem. If you read I should be most interested in your reaction.

        • Daniel Maris

          Fortunately modern human society is as much about memes as genes. In terms of memes, self-sacrifice is fine as long the person sacrificed (let’s say some famous explorer who dies on and exploration) adds to the common fund of knowledge and experience, or somehow inspires others in a cultural sense.

          Of course some religions are actually more like anti-memes – they oppose the expansion of knowledge and cultural expression.

          • mikewaller

            In terms of neo-Darwinism this is group selectionist nonsense. “Common funds of knowledge and experience” do not have genes and cannot be genetically maintained. As I indicated before, a whole tribe of heroic self-sacrificial “improvers” of society would go to the wall and simply leave those who focus 100% on self-preservation to reap the entire evolutionary reward. The only way round this is to play the familial reputation card i.e. the VC’s family have much improved chances of mating with better fitted individuals than would otherwise be the case. The reverse has to apply to the kin of cowards and cheats, as in practice it usually does. See my paper for the full argument

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Aren’t you focussing too much on the organism? The unit of selection is the gene, which “selfishly” uses the organism as a temporary vehicle to make more genes. And one way a vehicle can make more genes is to sacrifice itself for other vehicles that carry the same gene – hence genes that code for altruism thrive in smal kin communities.

          • mikewaller

            My whole argument is based on the idea that genes (actually mindless specks of DNA) that code for a mechanism with the following characteristics will earn themselves genetic immortality:

            – heightened libido, sexual attractiveness and will to succeed for those family members who have proved themselves successful in relation to their kin (Dawkins calls this the “The Duke of Marlborough Effect”)

            -reduced libido, sexual attractiveness and will to succeed (even unto self-induced death) for those family members who are aware of performing very much below the fittedness level of the family group in general

            We, and all other organisms similarly afflicted, are merely their vectors.

          • Benjamin O’Donnell

            Nah, the explanation of human altruism is more about a misfiring of traits that evolved in a context where everyone you met was either kin or someone who could reciprocate because you would likely meet them again.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          Huh? Whether the “motivation” of the gene is kin or reciprocal, the *organism’s* motivation can be, an often is, genuinely altruistic. That’s one of the points of the book, as Dawkins has said multiple times: In a society where everyone you meet is either your relative or someone you will see again, the easiest way for our selfish genes to program us behave according to kin altruism and reciprocal altruism is to make us genuinely altruistic to everyone except “out group” foreigners. That pretty much describes humans through most of our evolutionary development. Which explains why we are so altruistic – it’s a “blessed misfiring” of traits evolved in a very different environment.

          • mikewaller

            It seems to me highly unlikely that the genuine altruism you describe would have survived into modern mass societies with their extreme genetically diversity. Any dewy-eyed-trust-anybody individual would and did find him or herself rapidly screwed by the myriad unrelated others who were competing for the same mates and the same resources. What holds altruism in place to the extent that it is found in such societies is not an evolutionary time-lag, but the crucial issue of reputation, particularly in a familial context. For example, those British soldiers who were shot a dawn for cowardice in WW1 were fairly recent pardoned, an action that was taken in part to lift the stigma from their family’s reputation. Take your self back to the period, and imagine the effect such death had on the marital prospects of a sister of one of those executed. Indeed, when I was in Liverpool in the late 1960s it was still not uncommon to hear the term “conscie”. applied in a very derogatory sense to individuals who had refused to fight and to their families. This, I think, is how it has always been. Indeed that is the evolutionary function of shame. Where I really depart from the evolutionary orthodoxy is to believe that the price paid by a family in the context of mate selection if “let down” by one of their members can reach a point at which the death of the individual would enhance the evolutionary prospects of the kin group (Bill Hamilton argued much the same in respect of seriously unfitted embryos and neonates). That, I believe, is why there is a very clear linkage between the depression that arises from a chronic sense of perceived failure and a whole host of life shortening physiological processes. See my paper for details.

  • peter turner

    Nick Cohen you need to get a day job because you sure can’t write. Maybe you might to explain what – “Editors of all political persuasions and none will take an attack on Darwin’s representative on earth.”means. If you are going to write an article write one that people can understand. Dawkins once repeated the nonsense line on Television that- “if you think you understand Quantum Physics then you don’t understand Quantum Physics.” So clarity of thought is not one of Dawkins strong points but just because he has no idea about anything doesn’t mean that you have to write nonsensical crap about him. Maybe I am alone among 600 plus other comments but seriously what the hell were you trying to say Mr Cohen!!!???

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      The line “if you think you understand Quantum Physics then you don’t understand Quantum Physics” was a quote from Richard Feynmann, one of the great minds in quantum physics, for which he won the Nobel Prize.

    • parge

      I understood that sentence perfectly. Read it again, with the understanding that editors a) may be of all political persuasions, b) may be of no political persuasion, and c) “take” articles from their writers, edit them, and pick which ones will be published. The sentence implies that these editors believe articles attacking Richard Dawkins – sometimes called “Darwin’s representative on Earth” – make for good journalism. Reading condensed ideas like these is easy if you take the time to learn about the world. I’d recommend spending some time on Wikipedia. Search for “Editing” and “Richard Dawkins” and go from there. Good luck in your research!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    The main advantage of buttressing the Christian wing of organized religion in UK is for it to act as a bulwark against encroaching Islamization. Grasp that and you’ve taken a significant step towards enlightenment. And if gullible mug punters want to swallow the “Jewish Book of Fairy Stories” hook, line and rapture, so much
    the better. The salesman that believes in his own product or service is a lot more plausible than one that is just going through the motions. If Blair and Bush really believed what they professed to believe, they’d never sleep at night. So clearly the smart money has grasped that religion is a comforting myth for the weak minded that can’t handle mortality. Christianity is marginally more plausible than Islam, but that’s about all.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • The Doctor

    You should read Chomsky on Dawkins. It’ll make you realize you’re a bit of a thicky, Cohen my son. You weren’t one of the pratts I went to school with are you?

  • jorge espinha

    one day our children or children’s children will ask us in which side of the fence were we. Most of us will turn our heads in shame because we did nothing to help our brothers and sisters victims of vicious religious bigotry . let’s just pray that in fact there is no god looking at us right now….

    • Chrijoh

      History is littered with examples of persecuted minorities that were all based on, what was thought to be, a commonly accepted truth. This is now often referred to as ‘commonsense racism.’ The most demonstrative example is that after scientific racism was overwhelmingly discredited by the 1950s, Britain’s black population were thought to be culturally incompatible with the British way of life. They simply thought black people inherently had a different set of morals and values; in someways, an extension of scientific racism as it deals in character traits of different ethnic groups.

      The difficulty with Islam and Muslims is that it is not quite as simple as puting it down to how a discriminated minority will be seen in times to come. This is because out of Islam has been born an incredibly dangerous and violent political ideology that has persecuted, killed, tortured and waged war against those who threaten their ideas of an Islamic utopia.

      I feel that the question is, how will Islam be seperated from Islamism? This, I think will determine whether Islam will be remembered in a similar way to fascism: a politically dead socio-political movement that persecuted, oppressed and killed those who threatened them, or whether Muslims will be seen as a minority who were unfailry tarred with the same brush? Will Muslims be seen as followers of a politcal movement, like fascism, or the followers of a religion that they felt made them better individuals.

      • Daniel Maris

        “Islamism” is a word invented in the West, precisely to avoid using the word Islam. All I think the rest of the world is asking is that Muslims abandon the Sharia implementation programme, whether through violent or peaceful means.

        • Chrijoh

          ‘Islamism’ is the politcal manifestation of Islam. It is a way of distinguishing between those who practice it privately and those who wish to force it on others. So in a way you are right, but I do not believe there is this agenda of needlessly protecting Mulsims. There is a need to distinguish the politically violent Muslims to those who practice it peacefully.

          In regards to your second point, I think that is the ultimate goal which I fundementally, and passionately, agree with. My problem is is when the objective gets skewed and all Muslims are implicated in the criticism we have of Islam.

      • http://neretva-riverinperil.blogspot.com/ Santa

        Until we all stop perceiving Islam, Muslims, Arabs, Near-Easterns, Middle-Easterns, North-Africans, Asians, through our (Western) cultural prism, until we are really able to free ourself of our social biases and cultural-religious prejudices, we won’t be able to see clearly and objectively. “Western” became measure of all things, almost a strain of nationalism, certainly reason for feel patriotic – it’s west and a rest – and “I” (Me, Myself) measure of all beings (humans and animals).
        And how many of us know and understands about concepts we hear and talk about and have strong opinions, and how much we know and understands !?

        Do we know whats “way of life” even means, because something compels me, often, to believe that most of us have pretty much superficial notion about meanings and ideas, every time we heard them from our leaders and authorities, when they mention these concepts like “way of life”, our or anybodies else, or “clash of civilizations”, and so on !

  • http://neretva-riverinperil.blogspot.com/ Santa

    It’s little bit more complicated then that (title) – he should attack Christian bigots more then Muslim, he lives and belong to Christian world not Muslim, while Christian bigots rampaging through Muslim world and not vice versa !

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      That’s a good point, except that Dawkins *does* target Christians beliefs more than he targets Islam. Indeed, until recently one of the common criticisms of him from Christians was that he was being hypocritical by *not* attacking islam as much as he attached Christianity.

  • http://www.architecturefordevelopment.com David Week

    We should all be brave enough to criticize intolerant Christians.

    We should all be brave enough to criticize intolerant Muslims.

    And we should all be brave enough to criticize intolerant atheists.

    To that end:

    Note that the author of this piece fails to get the point that what unites fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and atheists is not bombs—but a bombastic certainty of how right they are. That certainty is the root of all evil.

    Note how many of the comments here resonate with the anti-immigration policies of the fascist British Nationalist Party. We don’t want any more fascists in the world, of any religious persuasion. Be gone.

    Note that most of the people commenting here in favour of this article, which praises the courage of Richard Dawkins, do so under pseudonyms. Apparently, they only talk about courage in others: but don’t bother to be courageous themselves.

    • Bruce Long

      Middle ground fallacy again. It does not follow from the fact that someone is vocal and assertive about their stance, that they are not correct – or intolerant – or intolerant of the wrong things. Nor does it follow from the fact that they are perceived as shrill or bombastic – especially by persons making no stand when perhaps they should – that they are not correct.

      Likewise, it does not follow from the fact that one adopts an apparently moderate or moderate sounding position that one is correct or more correct than those with more overt views. Furthermore it does not follow from taking a middle ground position that one is not themselves still bombastic and intolerant. It all depends where the real evidence points.

      The opposition to Islamic abuses and anti-humanist behaviour does not amount to a any real ‘resonance’ ‘with the immigration policies of the fascist British Nationalist Party’. Even if some comment contributors are fascists that has no bearing whatsoever on Dawkins’s position. That’s just a silly non-sequitur and a strawman.

      Your statement that “what unites fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and atheists is not bombs—but a bombastic certainty of how right they are.” completely ignores content and focuses upon style and some ascription of attitudinal certainty – the sort of thing that liberal cultural conservatives and pseudo-intellectuals do all the time. Pisspottery about style and manner of assertion is empty. Dawkins’ approach is probabilistic and statistical.

      There is no 100% certainty in Dawkins’ approach. It’s just that the likelihood that there is some real god as an explanation for anything is incredibly tiny (an scientifically negligible to the point of not being data) based on the best scientific discipline and methods for observation of the natural universe that we have at our disposal.

      You are no less assertive or sure of your putative middle ground position than anyone you have criticised. You are confident that you have it right, which is presumably why your own tone is pretty superior and didactic. In fact, you could easily be accused of bombast. You seem to be 100% certain that new atheists have it wrong and are somehow no different from religionists in terms of what they do and do not tolerate. That’s just basically silly unless you equivocate nonsensically.

      I don’t think you have anything of intellectual or practical (even pragmatic) substance to offer. No new atheist questions the importance of tolerance of the right kind: we want a rejection of faith by children and women to be tolerated by everyone – including Tory Jamesian pragmatists that don’t care about much except keeping the wheels of the money-machine turning. Unbridled libertarianism is unlikely to deliver the right kind of tolerance: Randian tolerance? The point is that it is patently obvious religionism doesn’t offer it – healthy tolerance – certainly not radical Islam.The evidence for this is as stark as the radical and complete lack of any real evidence for the existence of any god of any kind.

      Perhaps opposing obvious human rights abuses and dehumanising behaviour done in the name of and because of religious institutions and faith is intolerance: intolerance of human rights abuses and dehumanising behaviour. Perhaps you need to get some intolerance of such things yourself, rather than just intolerance of apparent bombast and certainty ascribed on a dubious basis by – well – you. That would be courageous. Salman Rushdie was courageous. Dawkis is courageous. Waffling pseudo-intellectualism that leaves dehumanising doctrines and associated practices that cause needless suffering and cost to the weak and to women because of their gender? Intolerable. Not courageous.

      When we new atheists start forcing women to cover their faces on pain of physical punishment, or when we try to may it illegal for someone to be the sexual orientation that they were born with – then you can call us intolerant. When we start bailing topless women into prison and chucking bloggers that criticise the spaghetti monster in prison – then you can call us intolerant and maybe fascist. Until then – horrible religious edicts and institutions (and the Jamesian pragmatists that think its a great idea to tolerate them) will be opposed by truly courageous people. You can sit back and watch and make didactic-like ‘moderate’ liberally sounding pseudo-intellectual comments about some odd kind of indefinable intolerance that atheists supposedly have in common with religionists. You are good at that.

  • Iamreplete

    “They never stick their necks out and defend real liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims who are being persecuted in Britain right now.”

    Who is doing the persecuting?
    Of what does the persecution consist?
    Are people physically hurt, socially deprived, politically disenfranchised?

  • martinhoran

    Dawkins is a bit of a nut job. He spends most of his time and effort railing against something he doesn’t believe exists.

    Imagine spending time and effort lashing out at the Non-Existent Party and knocking on doors and asking people to vote against them and urging them, when in the ballot box, not to put their X next to the NEP candidate; though he doesn’t exist!
    If anyone did that they would either be cretins or be the kind of person on a par with Madonna or Lady Gaga–someone desperately in need of attention.
    I will give Dawkins one thing: he at least is far more brave than those liberal-lefties who attack Christianity but would never dare say a word against Islam, undoutedly the most vicious world view this planet has ever witnessed. Not even Hitler and Stalin trained their own children to be suicide bombers or used them to clear minefields.

    Some of these inconsistent & hypocritial lib-lefties need to read the books and check the sites and blogs of Wallid Shoebat, Tass Saadra (two former PLO terrorists & Muslim Brotherhood members), Mark Gabriel (a former Cairo IMAM), Bridgitte Gabriel (a Lebanese Journalist–wife of Mark–who now lives in the US.

    These are incredibly brave people who openly show what Islam preaches. As apostates they are on the Islamic hit-list. Obama and Cameron could do with reading some of their books before they intervene in Syria.

    • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

      Are you sure Dawkins does’t believe in God? What if he and his close-knit fraternity were Satanists?

      • bodhi

        I think the vast majority of the so-called Satanists don’t even believe in Satan (or God). They use the Satan concept and other religious ideas, but aren’t actually worshiping the devil.

  • Christian

    The Peter hitchens of the left? You must be joking. Hitchens would wipe the floor with the pair of you.

    • Fred Scuttle

      Peter is the dim one. Christopher died.

  • liversedge

    I am a lefty. I think Owen Jones is wrong.
    Not all lefties are hypocrites.

  • abilgin

    I said it! You are hopeless one day you too will get killed in one of those muslim states by one of your moslem brothers!

  • Sarane Hydara

    Nick Cohen
    By Natural Selection, if one spends practically his entire life studying animals, naturally that person would only see the animal in Humans. He would value the physical self and intellectual self above and beyond all other human values. Its becomes worst if that person is emotionally dead and certainly never saw animals worshipping – never had a spiritual experience.
    If he is dishonest to himself or thinks he knows everything about humans from studying animals he would act as anew age human saint or new age prophet for humanity.

  • chris heath

    I think the point is – ultimately, Muslims are motivated by what is in the Koran. Some Muslims believe that Islam is a religion of peace. How they come to that conclusion, shows how ‘blind faith’ can lead one to totally ignore facts. Others, while perpetrating atrocities, invariably call for the greatness of god. Both sets call the other ‘unislamic’. Meanwhile the ‘several’ different Muslim sects will set about each other as though they are the most demonic creatures on earth. Thank God I’m an atheist!!!

  • Sarane Hydara

    AN ATHEIST SOCIETY
    A society that draws no moral lines and believe in fun
    Turns innocent boys and girls into loose ends
    and enjoys One Night Stands between all loose ends
    As Dick with Hair-ry devour the innocence of young girls
    At the pinnacle of fun

    Now, my best friend, Dick with Hair-ry are having fun
    With Mum, my sister, our teacher, the neighbour’s wife, very
    funny
    I, Dick with Hair-ry also have fun with many and Dad wants
    to have fun
    With me and said we are not religious, very funny
    We all owe a lot to religions, many don’t know, but many do know. We should not be ungrateful.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Tell that to Sweden.

      • Sarane Hydara

        No comment

    • bodhi

      Morality does not come from religion, and indeed following a religion with archaic and deficient morality will only lead to conflict with people of higher morality (from lessons learned over time).

      Morality is the product of human societies. We have to live together, and we do not as individuals wish to be killed or stolen from… and so we agree as a group to refrain from such actions. All societies and religions make moral pronouncements, and although they vary a great deal they also have much in common (not killing and not stealing are found everywhere).

      America has a secular government, not based on religion but on shared human values and ideals (with improvements over time, such as equality of the sexes and the races). If you are so against atheism, you are actually against the type of government that America has.

      Some societies, such as Sharia-controlled Islamic territories, are hostile to freedom and must threaten their own people to prevent apostasy. They must fight now to free themselves from the shackles imposed on them by wicked tradition.

    • Fred Scuttle

      Surely that’s an islamic society.

  • barnubus

    The selective conscience has always been an attribute of the Left.
    It reminds me of when I was growing up in Britain in the 50’s.
    My father was deeply involved with the Labour party & I often accompanied him to meetings.
    These people were always very reluctant to criticise the Russians and this was the time of Hungary,the Berlin wall,the ‘Gulag’ etc.

  • John Smith

    Another brilliant article in The Spectator, thank you again. Sticking up for people who stick up for others is vital, whatever your personal politics, beliefs etc.

    Whilst technically a Left wing person, I am in no way PC when it comes to this subject, if you listen to the Syria coverage of late, almost no-one seems to mention, or hint that the conflict might have it’s roots in Islamic sectarianism and the Baathist regime, even when there are clear appeals from secular centrists from Syria itself telling people this is the case. Much like the council of ex-mulisms in the UK telling people bluntly that this is the case, here. Kudos Mr Cohen, and I say this in jest, you are clearly part of the ‘Jewish Liberal Media Controlling Zionist Lizard Aliens’ conspiracy I’ve heard so much about, I can tell this, from well your surname, obviously. It truly terrifies me when people would rather infight, or believe things as batty or battier than many religious ideas than actually look at what is going on, carefully, calmly and look at the facts. The BBC, frankly after the ‘Saville Scandal’ they’ve proved to be as morally corrupt as the Catholic Church, which is pretty scary really, as the Holy See’s record on Human Rights and Moral Laxity, takes some beating, to be fair, The BBC have never had a crusade, burned witches or had an Inquisition, but you get my general gist.

  • EWorrall

    Quote from the book Atlas Shrugged:-

    “Oh,” said Lawson; he remembered that he had seen Mouch lunching with
    Balph Eubank two weeks ago. Then he shook his head and frowned. “Still, I’m
    worried. The intellectuals are our friends. We don’t want to lose them. They
    can make an awful lot of trouble.”

    “They won’t,” said Fred Kinnan. “Your kind of intellectuals are the first
    to scream when it’s safe–and the first to shut their traps at the first sign
    of danger.
    They spend years spitting at the man who feeds them–and they lick
    the hand of the man who slaps their drooling faces. Didn’t they deliver every
    country of Europe, one after another, to committees of goons, just like this
    one here? Didn’t they scream their heads off to shut out every burglar alarm
    and to break every padlock open for the goons? Have you heard a peep out of
    them since? Didn’t they scream that they were the friends of labor? Do you
    hear them raising their voices about the chain gangs, the slave camps, the
    fourteen-hour workday and the mortality from scurvy in the People’s States of
    Europe? No, but you do hear them telling the whip-beaten wretches that
    starvation is prosperity, that slavery is freedom, that torture chambers arc
    brother-love and that if the wretches don’t understand it, then it’s their
    own fault that they suffer, and it’s the mangled corpses in the jail cellars
    who’re to blame for all their troubles, not the benevolent leaders!
    Intellectuals? You might have to worry about any other breed of men, but not
    about the modern intellectuals: they’ll swallow anything. I don’t feel so
    safe about the lousiest wharf rat in the longshoremen’s union: he’s liable to
    remember suddenly that he is a man–and then I won’t be able to keep him in
    line. But the intellectuals? That’s the one thing they’ve forgotten long ago.
    I guess it’s the one thing that all their education was aimed to make them
    forget. Do anything you please to the intellectuals. They’ll take it.”

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      What, exactly, is your point? How does this quotation from a mildly entertaining young adult fantasy novel relate to the main article?

      • balance_and_reason

        That is a beautiful summing up of the Guardian readership in the face of the recent riots…bring in the army!

  • andybbn

    This is a really nice, well worded piece. Thank you. It makes a change from the drivel Andrew Brown routinely writes over on the Guardian.

  • mchasewalker

    To those Christian apologists who persist in revising and, once again, bastardizing history, fact, and practically everything else, Adolf Hitler was NOT an atheist. In fact, he was an avowed Catholic Christian and believed he was continuing Jesus’s work in exterminating the Jews. In his own words:

    “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so” [Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941]

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      To be fair, while Hitler began his career as a Catholic, he ended it as a bizarre quasi-occult, quasi-Norse pagan nutcase. But he was never an atheist.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      To be fair, while Hitler began his career as a Catholic, he ended it as a bizarre quasi-occult, quasi-Norse pagan nutcase. But he was never an atheist.

  • CanofSand

    What a disgusting headline. (I realize writers often don’t write their own headlines but this one isn’t out of sorts with what you wrote.) You say “Richard Dawkins attacks Muslim bigots, not just Christian ones.” But the FACT is that Richard Dawkins IS clearly, by any relevant and credible definition, a bigot HIMSELF, and he attacks Muslims and Christians of ALL sorts (not just bigots) with hateful rhetoric and slander. (In fact, his targets usually AREN’T bigots including most of those he labels as such.) You cannot seriously deny this, and so I cannot take your article seriously.

    It is cowardice to not attack the Islamists but that doesn’t make the bigot Dawkins a hero nor does it lessen the need to show him as the *militant atheist* (gasp!) that he IS.

    • Canadian Apistevist

      I can’t take you seriously because you again use the label *militant atheist*. I can guess with a high chance of being right that you didn’t the article. I’ll help:

      “The BBC refuses to run contrary views. It assures the nation that ‘militant’ atheism is as fanatical as militant religion — despite the fact that no admirer of The God Delusion has ever planted a bomb, or called for the murder of homosexuals, Jews and apostates.”

  • Ed Bone

    Whatever critics may say about Dawkins, he clearly is no fan of any religion. But he is certainly not a militant, he does not go round advocating violence and repression against anyone who does not share his views.

    It is the religious groups and their poisonous ideologies who radicalise perpetrators of mass violence that I think he is trying to wake us up too.

    I too used think he was a bigot, but the more I have read about him, the more I realise that he is trying to protect democracy, freedom and equality, not to mention rational thought.

    The fact that Islam and indeed other religions might see women as inferior, or that they view both homosexuality and non-believers as wrong and ultimately punishable by death is what concerns me the most, rather than offending these fascistic religious ideologies.

    The left in the UK never cease to amaze me how confused they are and how quickly their moral compass can bent and warped out of all recognition. The fact that some religious teachings in the UK fly in the face our hard-won British laws on democracy, equality and homosexuality, normally causes both prized and championed by the left, doesn’t seem to worry the looney left one little bit.

    • Christopher Jack Martin

      Keep in mind, the Left has it’s own extreme loudmoths too, they don’t represent the actual Left. When a normal Lefty calls someone out for bigotry towards Muslims, it’s not a protectionist stance, more of pointing out their hypocrisies, you don’t actually see them defend the religion itself, but the right for people to believe, within reason, the religion of their choice, so long as they don’t inflict their will upon others, like the Christian Right does without knowing it or worst, knowing it & not caring.

  • trobrianders

    Even Dawkins doesn’t get it. No one believes in god and everybody knows it. That’s the thing about denial, no one wants to talk about it for fear their own denial will come to light. What is Dawkins hiding? I know.

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