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Hypocrisy and the Intolerance of Religion

Dear Saudi Arabia

I understand we don’t see eye to eye. I know you have a rich history and a rich culture, I also know that you are setting fire to it. It is not the decadent west destroying Arab culture.

It is Islam.

The best example is the sort that breeds the sort of idiot who can question Norway’s Human Rights record.

Saudi Arabia has criticised Norway’s Human Rights Record by claiming the country is failing to protect Muslim Citizens and has not made criticism of the Prophet Mohammed illegal.

To which I say “Islam is just another religion, no different from the rest. If your gods and prophets are real then we will have to deal with them when we die. We live good lives and if that is not enough for your god? Then he is not a good god but a tyrant. A megalomaniacal dictator who brings pain and sadness.

This unflinching faith in a god has lead Saudi Arabia down a dangerous and blind road. A road where they think Norway is breaking more human rights than Saudi Arabia. Oh don’t worry Saudi, Russia is on your side too.

Well Saudi is demanding that all criticism of Islam and Mohammed to be made illegal. To which I have a response?

Any atheist muslims who are leaving Islam in the Manchester Region? We will go out and eat the most blasphemous meal EVER. I offer this to Hindus and Jews and anyone with a dietary restriction dictated by an imaginary being. We can make it a pot luck. We each bring something blasphemous and we eat it together. Just to fuck with Saudi Arabia’s completely clueless lot. Hell! I am back in August and am ever the optimist! Let us make it a BBQ. Any takers?

The real hilarity was Saudi Arabia also brought up Domestic Violence (Legal In Saudi Arabia), Rape (Marital Rape and rape of workers is common) and Inequality (Are you kidding me? Saudi Arabia is one of the prime locations for human traffic for workers on the planet). It’s not the pot calling the kettle black, it’s the chimney telling the silver that it’s got a bit of tarnish on it.

“It is a paradox that countries which do not support fundamental human rights have influence on the council, but that is the United Nations,”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I am extremely serious about the First Ever Million Gods Blasphemous BBQ though. Mainly cause I like BBQ and I haven’t had one in ages. So any takers? You don’t have to have a religious dietary restriction to break it.

Comments

  1. machintelligence says

    I fear that I won’t be able to attend, but I would be willing to submit a 100+ year old family recipe for German potato salad that is served warm. It contains bacon as a primary ingredient, and is so good that it has been known to make brave men blanch and women weep.

  2. dgrasett says

    Umm. Excuse me?
    Blanch: : to put (food items) in boiling water or steam for a short time
    Blench: to draw back or turn aside from lack of courage
    I will admit that I rather approve of having strong men take over the kitchen. I will let them do the cooking if they will do the cleanup.

  3. kraut says

    “I know you have a rich history and a rich culture,”

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

    . “The region has twice in world history had a global impact. The first was in the 7th century when it became the cradle of Islam. The second was from the mid-20th century when the discovery of vast oil deposits propelled it into a key economic and geo-political role. At other times, the region existed in relative obscurity and isolation, although from the 7th century the cities of Mecca and Medina had the highest spiritual significance for the Muslim world, Mecca being the destination for the Hajj annual pilgrimage.”

    So the “rich culture and history” consist of Islam and Oil – I would not call either a benefit to humanity.

  4. lpetrich says

    Seems to me that Saudi Arabia is a textbook example of the “resource curse”: oil wealth combined with social and political backwardness.

    Resource-poor nations have tended to become more democratic as they develop; resource-rich nations less so.

  5. lpetrich says

    Less so? Oops, that’s a misstatement, I think. I meant that they don’t become democratic as fast as resource-poor ones. That’s because the wealth of resource-poor nations depends on their labors, and the wealth of resource-rich ones doesn’t. Furthermore, control of resource wealth is often rather centralized, and politics often becomes a contest over who controls it and who gets the resource earnings.

    In the Middle East and the West, Oil and Democracy Don’t Mix — Research | Columbia News
    Egypt, Oil and Democracy | FiveThirtyEight

  6. lpetrich says

    My previous post had 2 links. They were to articles discussing how oil and democracy don’t mix very well.

  7. exi5tentialist says

    It is not the decadent west destroying Arab culture.

    That’s ridiculously dramatic. Arab culture is the culture of Arabs. It lives and is developing.

    Why not in Saudi Arabia, you ask?

    It is Islam.

    More demonising rubbish. I’m expecting more and more of this reactionary claptrap from FTB bloggers.

    You’re utterly ignored the role of capitalism in creating oppressive social structures in the middle east. You’ve also ignored the way that oppressive governments like Saudi Arabia co-opt religion as an intimidatory mechanism to impose oppressive rule in that country. You’ve ignored the fact that the way they use religion is just one of many tools they have at their disposal; others include vast military arsenals (much US-supplied) and an extremely well-resourced state.

    Blaming “islam” is nice and simple and I’m sure you can quote the Quran at me with the best of them. If you want simple explanations for world politics, you stick that one. If you want truth, give it up.

    And well done for your islamophobic, anti-semitic, racist culinary attack. You can stand shoulder to shoulder with people who throw the body parts of pigs at mosques or arrange strips of bacon as the star of David on the homes of jewish families in England.

    And you dare to post your crap on a Freethought website? Your blog is repulsive.

  8. nikeeve says

    Ooooh! Count me in for the First Ever Million Gods Blasphemous BBQ! I doubt I’ll be able to make it over to Manchester from the US Midwest, but I’ll hold my own cookout with tasty blasphemous beef curry and bacon! And probably some cheeseburgers too.

  9. machintelligence says

    dgrasset @ 2 Blanch (medical), a temporary whitening of the skin due to transient ischemia
    Although your word also works, I like my usage better. :-)

  10. says

    @7. While I appreciate your understanding that there exists a “Saudi Culture”, I must point out?

    1. A lot of it is under threat due to Fundamentalist Islam. More so than “mere acquisition of money”. Acquisition of fabulous wealth has not turned Dubai into Saudi either. What Saudi’s issue is that it is the home of Wahabbism and that satiating wahabbist has caused a destruction of moderate Islam within the KSA. It is kind of like Afghan Poetry, practically non existent compared to the glory days of Peshawar.

    2. The only real difference Capitalism has made is the presence of more skyscrapers. That doesn’t change the fact that Islam has created the oppression that we currently see.

    3. Capitalism Likes Tourism. Wahabbism thinks even historical monuments are idolatory. Many of the traditional buildings, mosques and historical architecture were destroyed for the same reason the late moors smashed their own statues. Because it was declared Haraam.

    4. Saudi Arabia co-opted religion to stem a civil war that the Saud’s would have lost. Mecca already fell to the fundies, this way they kept their wealth and power in exchange for being left alone by the fundies.

    5.Should the KSA fall it will not be a place that promotes modern values. Let us be clear on this. The only difference is that there would be no new sky scrapers and the oppression machine of fundie Islam can function just fine without jet fighters.

    I have been to Saudi. I have been to all the sights including that one square in Riyadh. The only difference between Riyadh and pre-NATO Kabul is that the executioner drives a Merc instead of a Toyota pick up. You want to blame capitalism? The only thing Capitalism has done is given them Skyscrappers and imported servants. The cage they live in is gilt.

    Islamophobic, Anti-Semitic? Oh I am so sorry. Was Hinduism and Buddhism and Jainism not good enough to include on the list? You know? The religion with the dietary restrictions? You know? The religion I left? The religion that stated that eating Beef was a sin? I know how much food restrictions hurt. Sometimes I like to eat the things I was “not allowed to eat” in order to assuage the wrath of imaginary deities. I don’t eat beef in India, but I do when I am in the UK because it is then that I can indulge.

    There are ex-Muslim and ex-Jewish people out there who absolutely adore the things that they were not allowed to eat when they believed. Things that they may still have to pretend not to eat like myself. To compare it to throwing pork at Muslims and Jews is idiotic. I am not forcing anyone to come. At no point will a Rabbi be forced to eat clam chowder. At no point will a Mullah have to chow down on a BLT. At no point will a Pandit be force fed a steak.

    If you cannot understand the difference between an event where everyone is welcome and where atheists can eat the food that they were not permitted to eat and hate crimes forcing people who have a problem with “x” to confront them, then you are the one who has a problem.

    It is like claiming I am oppressing Jews because I bought a bacon sandwich to eat in Tesco and got one for my old Jewish atheist room mate who eats pork. I am not destroying Judaism, I am not throwing pork pies at Rabbis.

    I repeat this because you seem to not have grasped the notion that just because I eat beef doesn’t mean I am forcing Hindus to eat it. I am offering ex-Hindus a chance to eat beef with other ex-Hindus and the same for ex-Muslims and ex-Jews and the chance of other atheists who have supported me to come hang out and be social.

    The only way you can be insulted is by complaining that I am leading apostates away from the true path or something.

    Your post is repulsive. How dare you tell me that I should respect a system of dietary control that is used to oppress women? That exacerbates anaemia and leads to the deaths of thousands via complications and the robbing of futures via stupid diets? Will you educate me on my own religion’s diet’s? Let’s get this straight. The No beef is a very small part of Hindu dietary restrictions. It’s fast days affect millions. Particularly women who suffer the most from it.

    And you dared post it on my blog? I believe the term is? Check Your Privilege.

  11. Holms says

    You’re utterly ignored the role of capitalism in creating oppressive social structures in the middle east. You’ve also ignored the way that oppressive governments like Saudi Arabia co-opt religion as an intimidatory mechanism to impose oppressive rule in that country. You’ve ignored the fact that the way they use religion is just one of many tools they have at their disposal; others include vast military arsenals (much US-supplied) and an extremely well-resourced state.

    Sure dude, poor Saudi Arabia was helpless in the inexorable march of capitalism, as it chipped away at their beautiful culture. Alternatively, capitalism was embraced by the leaders of SA, who cashed in to become super rich once oil fields were discovered to be valuable.

    Unless you are claiming that there was military conquest of some sort forcing SA to mine and sell their resources? Because all I can see is an apologist refusing to place blame for SA’s current oil-derived weath at the door of those that are truly responsible for it: the SA government.

    And well done for your islamophobic, anti-semitic, racist culinary attack. You can stand shoulder to shoulder with people who throw the body parts of pigs at mosques or arrange strips of bacon as the star of David on the homes of jewish families in England.

    How does having a barbecue with willing participants identifying themselves as ex-[religion] resemble your examples of unwilling participation? You are using the language of those opposed to prejudice in an attempt to accuse Avicenna of said prejudice, but all you are doing is duisplaying your own lack of understanding.

    And you dare to post your crap on a Freethought website? Your blog is repulsive.

    Concern: noted. Move along.

    ***

    Getting back to the barbecue though, I would love to attend but am unlikely able to do so, as I am a resident of – wait for it – SA.

    Alright, not that SA, but rather South Australia. Anyway, just let me know the date an I’ll get into the spirit of the event by eating something with as many religious taboos on it as possible.

  12. says

    It seems like this hypocrisy shows up every few days, of someone who only sees the flaws with everyone else’s religion and never the flaws of their own. There are many ways that Muslims and majority-Muslim countries have been harmed (and continue to be) by the West, but we can’t just blame everything that is done by Muslims to other Muslims on outsiders. This reminds of something I read recently by Marwa Berro over at Between a Veil and a Dark Place: “The racism of the white wolf who cried Islamophobia”. Basically, she points out that while Western imperialism is one contributing factor, it is not the whole picture, and it’s incomplete to not include the imperialistic and discriminatory actions within Islam.

  13. exi5tentialist says

    capitalism was embraced by the leaders of SA, who cashed in to become super rich once oil fields were discovered to be valuable. Unless you are claiming that there was military conquest of some sort forcing SA to mine and sell their resources?

    Well I would put it a little differently. A ruling class emerged in Saudi Arabia which submitted to the needs of western capitalism with the help of a little incentive in the form of vast sums of money for oil. The oil would of course have to be made available to western markets on the terms dictated by the US. Any resistance to the US agenda would in turn be dealt with in the same way that Iraq was. I don’t think it was islam that destroyed that country. The US has shown several times that it is prepared to be ruthless to any country that doesn’t submit to its will.

    all I can see is an apologist refusing to place blame for SA’s current oil-derived weath at the door of those that are truly responsible for it: the SA government.

    Apologist for what? I’ll put the Saudi Arabian government in the dock any day of the week. But Avicenna has gone further than that, and blamed islam as a whole for the oppressive state of Saudi Arabia, and I think that’s a simplistic and reductionist analysis.

    How does having a barbecue with willing participants identifying themselves as ex-[religion] resemble your examples of unwilling participation?

    Well if you were being fair you would have realised Avicenna’s words were “I offer this to Hindus and Jews and anyone with a dietary restriction dictated by an imaginary being.” So no, I didn’t take that to mean participants “identifying themselves as ex-[religion]”. You might argue that Avicenna’s use of the term “atheist muslims” in the first sentence of that paragraph provides the plausible deniability in the face of my accusation that Avicenna is generalising about religions. Actually I think Avicenna was just being sloppy, and deliberately; the context is Avicenna blaming Islam for the destruction of Saudi culture and avowedly letting capitalism off the hook completely.

    I’m just saying Avicenna’s post is skewed and plays into islamophobic culture.

  14. exi5tentialist says

    @10

    I repeat this because you seem to not have grasped the notion that just because I eat beef doesn’t mean I am forcing Hindus to eat it. I am offering ex-Hindus a chance to eat beef with other ex-Hindus and the same for ex-Muslims and ex-Jews and the chance of other atheists who have supported me to come hang out and be social.

    That isn’t what your blog post said.

    If you really think that the only effect of capitalism in Saudi Arabia was to produce a few skyscrapers you’ve got a lot to learn. Blaming oppression in Saudi Arabia just on islam while sweeping capitalism under the carpet is really skewed. To the right.

  15. Holms says

    But Avicenna has gone further than that, and blamed islam as a whole for the oppressive state of Saudi Arabia, and I think that’s a simplistic and reductionist analysis.

    The impression I got was was that Islam is responsible for a large share (but not 100%) of the blame for the ills in an Islamic theocracy; and that while Islam can harm other nations via terrorism, it harms its own in a more pervasive manner.

    Well if you were being fair you would have realised Avicenna’s words were “I offer this to Hindus and Jews and anyone with a dietary restriction dictated by an imaginary being.” So no, I didn’t take that to mean participants “identifying themselves as ex-[religion]“.

    You’re looking at the semantics of whether the language of the post can reasonably be interpreted to imply willing participation or not, but ignoring the main thrust of what I was saying. Namely, that your examples are not analogous to a barbecue at all, and the defining difference between the two activities is that one has willling participation and the other does not.

  16. exi5tentialist says

    @15

    your examples are not analogous to a barbecue at all, and the defining difference between the two activities is that one has willling participation and the other does not.

    I don’t even know what you’re talking about here.

    I was just pointing out that in the original blog post, Avicenna did not make it clear that by Jews, Hindus etc was meant Atheist Jews, Atheist Hindus. That clarification came later. And that clarification doesn’t clear up the problem that “islam” which includes all muslims (the oppressed ones as well as the oppressors) is being blamed for the destruction of Saudi culture, while other oppressive forces like capitalism are being let off the hook.

    Of course, if people don’t think capitalism is oppressive then they can go right ahead and blame islam. That’s what I’m saying is a right-wing habit of thought.

  17. Holms says

    I don’t even know what you’re talking about here.

    I was reiterating my criticism of this passage of your first reply:

    And well done for your islamophobic, anti-semitic, racist culinary attack. You can stand shoulder to shoulder with people who throw the body parts of pigs at mosques or arrange strips of bacon as the star of David on the homes of jewish families in England.

    So for a third time: no, you are incorrect to compare those things. Throwing pigs heads at a mosque is an intentionally blasphemous activity involving unwilling participants, while a barbecue that includes bacon involves willing participants. Regardless of whether the invitation was extended to ex religious or current, their involvement is entirely up to them.

    Thus, your comparison fails.

  18. exi5tentialist says

    @17 Right so you concede the original “invitation” – which was actually a public campaign to mock religious diets so not exactly a private invitation – actually was aimed at current religious believers as well. Good, because that’s what Avicenna’s original words say. You can pretend if you want that a public campaign to mock muslims, jews and hindus is a socialites’ private invitation to some close friends if you want, but I don’t believe public campaigns like that stay private, I think they contribute to a wider campaign of hatred of which mocking forms a significant part.

    If I knew that Avicenna was throwing pigs body parts at a mosque I’d call the police. Avicenna mounting a mocking campaign on the internet against the diets of religious groups doesn’t warrant that reaction. Expressing my disapproval is proportionate.

    Avicenna’s stated target is Islam. In Avicenna’s mind, capitalism and class are insignificant factors in the oppression that exists in Saudi Arabia. The main problem is islam, in Avicenna’s mind. I think the ruling class in Saudi Arabia have bent religion to their will. But to blame religion is to hit the wrong target. Hitting the wrong target in matters of oppression perpetuates that oppression.

    I don’t object to Avicenna identifying the socially or physically detrimental aspects of any religious diet. It’s the mocking of all religious diets which is a popular racist image in the west, combined with blaming muslims because of their religion for their own oppression, combined with a dismissive disregard for the role of capitalism and its accompanying class politics, that combination is what I object to.

  19. says

    Except if you paid attention you would notice another article charting the history of Wahabbism which pre-dates capitalism in the region. In addition you would notice that “I actually know more about Islam’s history than people who CLAIM to be Muslim”. Have you considered that maybe the guy who lived in the Middle East and has a streak of adventure has possibly read books and travelled about.

    You seem to think Capitalism is the only woe, or that Saudi Arabia’s ethos is promoted by greed. Fact is that it isn’t.

    If you paid attention to my other post you would know that the Ruling Class have not bent religion to their will but the ruling class were religious fundamentalists who simply promoted their bedouin spartan Islam as the one true source of Islam.

    And it may be a popular racist image in the west but for fuck sake, I have demonstrated a greater knowledge of Islam than most Muslims and it’s like whinging about Heina Dadabhoy’s “Skeptic Koran Project” because it plays in to hands of xenophobes.

    And my loyalty are to the apostates. No to the people who drove them out. This is like saying “Shh! Stop complaining about sexism among Hassidic Jews, neo-Nazis would benefit!”

    Seriously? Your argument is “Please don’t complain too much about Islam or Hinduism or Judaism, racits will benefit”. FFS, Actual Ex-Muslims think you are terrible.

  20. exi5tentialist says

    I did see your other article. I didn’t see the need for you to interrupt this conversation to start an argument on a second comment stream. Those are the comments where I get called a douchebag, aren’t they? Yeah, I’m really enthusiastic about throwing myself into that conversation.

    I put a lower a lower value on history than you do, I don’t think the history of Wahabbism dictates the pattern of oppression in today’s Saudi Arabia. I don’t see how rulers who have been dead for 50 years or more can still oppress living people. Frankly I don’t see how rulers who died yesterday can still oppress living people. Living humans are not only free to create the societies they want, they actually do: they can fundamentally change in less than a decade.

    Ruling classes constantly create and re-create in the present day the oppressive societies over which they rule. Maybe they have a better idea of their own freedom than the masses whom they make subordinate to them, and that awareness keeps them superior. For the rest of us, the liberation must start with the discarding of the belief that we are determined by history. I am sure that the Ruling Class in any country can create a historical narrative to give credence and authority to their dominance. It plays into their hands to pander to that.

    I do not think you know more about Islam’s history, because there is more than one islam, there are billions of islams and you cannot know them all. I don’t know them all, and I’m not ready to be lectured that there is only one.

    If someone claims to be muslim then as far as I am concerned they are muslim, unless they are blatently lying just to call me out on that. I don’t see the need for your capital letters in the word “CLAIM”. I don’t see the need for the word claim.

    More than once you have alleged that something I have said is “like” … and then you say something which it is not “like” at all. For example,

    It is like claiming I am oppressing Jews because I bought a bacon sandwich to eat in Tesco and got one for my old Jewish atheist room mate who eats pork.

    No… it is not “like” that at all. Launching an internet campaign on an American-based website to mock various religious diets as a way of blaming islam for all the oppression Saudi Arabia is not “like” buying a bacon sandwich in Tesco and eating it with your jewish atheist friend. I had a bacon sandwich this lunchtime and very tasty it was too. But I did not go on the internet and launch a campaign to invite “Hindus and Jews” to a beef-and-bacon-sandwich-fest dedicated to blaspheming with a view to pinning the blame for Saudi oppression on the religion of muslims and letting capitalism off the hook. Similarly,

    it’s like whinging about Heina Dadabhoy’s “Skeptic Koran Project” because it plays in to hands of xenophobes.

    Why, exactly? From what I gather Heina hasn’t published the book yet. Correct me if I’m wrong, really. How am I supposed to judge what Heina is going to say in it before publication. These things where you’re saying what I’m saying is “like” saying something that neither you nor I know what I would say is just taking the conversation off into unnecessary tangents.

    Also putting things in quotes that I’m supposed to have said or would say such as, “Please don’t complain too much about Islam or Hinduism or Judaism, racists will benefit”. Again it depends on what you mean but no I would not say that. If you’re complaining about specific things such as the way some religious nutritional restrictions lead to health problems or the oppression of women then I’ll say again and again that you should go for it, complain away, the world needs to know about our fellow humans being oppressed for no good reason. But if you then go and generalise that out to all religions and launch campaigns mocking all religious campaigns for the specific purpose of setting up the religion of muslims as being the root cause of oppression in a country, thereby demonising islam even more than it is already, then I’ll react negatively to that, and did.

    Incidentally on Saudi Arabia – let’s face it, that country’s ruling class is massively powerful because of oil. Massively powerful in terms of the impact it has on the world’s economy. A ruling class that is that well-resourced is not going to let go of their domestic grip easily. They will hang on to power and use every means at their disposal whether it’s using religion or the oppression of women and don’t tell me they are not well-resourced to do so. To say that the oppression within Saudi Arabia is not dependent on oil, and in turn that it’s not dependent on a world market whose terms have been dictated by capitalist powers, well it’s just not credible. I know Saudi Arabia uses religion as a tool of oppression; but I don’t accept that religion on its own has led to the present sorry state of affairs within Saudi Arabia. Your dismissive comments about skyscrapers are reductive and just look like you’ve made a choice to deny something that’s very real and very obvious.

    And well done for having visited Saudi Arabia. Your visit may enable you to speak with more authority but that authority won’t come from the mere fact of having been there.

  21. exi5tentialist says

    Edit: *mocking all religious campaigns = mocking all religious diets

  22. Holms says

    #18
    Right so you concede the original “invitation” – which was actually a public campaign to mock religious diets so not exactly a private invitation – actually was aimed at current religious believers as well. Good, because that’s what Avicenna’s original words say.

    I made no such concession, I simply pursued the larger point: that the event of a barbecue harms no one, and has only voluntary participation. Not only does this distinction set it well apart from your hyperbolic comparisons, but also renders your semantics moot; it does not matter if he was inviting the currently practising or the lapsed / deconverted, if the nature of the event is such that those still practising will not attend.

    To me, all you are doing is buying into the ‘all criticism is harassment’ trope.

  23. exi5tentialist says

    @22 No I am not buying into the “all criticism is harassment” trope. Criticising a particular religious diet because it undermines nutrition is quite legitimate. Inviting Hindus and Jews to a barbecue to eat beef and pork as part of a process of attacking the religion of muslims is just a bit outside my definition of legitimate criticism. It’s a problem because it adds to an already oppressive environment against religious minorities in the UK. Even those religious people who do not attend are affected by an atmosphere of oppression.

  24. Holms says

    Except it isn’t an attack, it’s mockery of an irrational belief. So long as it does not cross the line into harassment – and this doesn’t – mockery is fine, despite the blusterings of those that feel they are not recieving the respect they fancy they are due.

  25. exi5tentialist says

    Mocking muslim food while blaming islam as the root cause of oppression in Saudi Arabia is not an attack? Who’s wrapped up in semantics now?

    These are public statements encouraging more public statements against muslims. These are attacks.

  26. says

    1. You seem awfully less interested in the fact I mocked Hindu and Jain and Sikh eating habits.

    2. Yes, it should be mocked if it is harmful. The entire fast culture of Islam has changed from a learning experience about the value of food into a month of harm for developing children and women and indeed men.

    3. I understand you want to blame capitalism but frankly if the hat is religious the hat is religious. If capitalism didn’t exist, Wahabbism would still exist. Wahabbism was making Islam suck (if you read my other post) and destroying it’s culture far before Oil was discovered as a useful commodity in the region. Oil production began in the 50s there and I wrote about Wahabbist destruction of property in the 1920s and expanding religious fundamentalism since then.

    4. If telling ex-Muslims that their old food restrictions are pointless and that they can enjoy food is an attack then by gosh and golly I am attacking Islam. Because fuck all the ex-Muslims/Jews/Hindus. They cannot hang out and be atheists otherwise their parent religions will get offended… Let us continue the dialogue where the only atheists come from Christian sources.

    5. Yes it is an attack on Islam. It is an educated understanding and a clear point made using history and charting the changes in attitude of global Islam to a culture of progress to regression due to a changing dialogue towards fundamentalist Islam and excusing fundamentalism.

    This makes it different from an attack on Islam because of xenophobic fears about Muslims outbreeding us all because mine’s based on facts, experience and understanding. Not on wildly excusing bullshit behaviour.

    Saudi Arabia is fucked up and while you want to blame capitalism, I must point out that if if it did not have fabulous wealth it would still be as fucked up except it would be funded by the donations of Muslims much like the Vatican.

  27. Steve Watson says

    I’m in Stockport; if your calling a Barbie, count me in!
    Smashing posts BTW.
    Steve Watson

  28. Holms says

    Mocking muslim food while blaming islam as the root cause of oppression in Saudi Arabia is not an attack? Who’s wrapped up in semantics now?

    These are public statements encouraging more public statements against muslims. These are attacks.

    And here, your definition fo ‘attack’ has become so broad as to encompass all mockery, satire, and completely reasonable criticism, e.g.: Halal practices are frequently considered cruel, and their sole justification rests on the decree of a sky wizard who does not exist. This is no different to stepping on a communion wafer.

    This definition is beyond useless, as it buys into the silencing tactic used by muslims themselves to deny the freedom of expression of others.

  29. exi5tentialist says

    1. You seem awfully less interested in the fact I mocked Hindu and Jain and Sikh eating habits.

    An article headed “Dear Saudi Arabia” and blaming “it is islam” for all oppression there looks kinda focussed on muslims to me. I agree your later mentions of hindu, jain and sikh diets was the icing on the cake…., or rather, the message daubed using childlike script in UKIP red around the perimeter the icing. No I’m not too concerned about your latest grafitti on that icing. The problem is the cake.

    2. Yes, it should be mocked if it is harmful.

    Well there you go. I think your cake is harmful, so you won’t mind me mocking it will you?
    Let me just say that I’m not criticising you for saying that “The entire fast culture of Islam has changed from a learning experience about the value of food into a month of harm for developing children and women and indeed men.” That seems an entirely legitimate thing to postulate. I’m just not sure communicating your message to muslims, jews and hindus necessarily involves advertising on an American atheist website a pork and beef barbecue in Manchester. I’m just worried about what friends you are picking up along the way.

    3. I understand you want to blame capitalism but frankly if the hat is religious the hat is religious.

    If we’re using sartorial metaphor then yes let’s go for it. The hat may be religious, but if the cassock, thobe, jubbah or suit and tie are capitalist then I want to be able to talk about them and why the hat has been chosen to go with them: how the hat has been trimmed, re-sewn, turned inside out and upside down to sit well with the capitalist outfit.

    If capitalism didn’t exist, Wahabbism would still exist.

    Well the only way you can know that is to get in a tardis, go back in time, remove capitalism (good luck), then fast-forward again. I mean come on, Avicenna. Without a human-society simulator with a ridiculous number of terabytes to run a simulation on and even then I’d challenge the variables you were feeding into it, your version of alternative history is as good as anyone’s, so I’ll just stick to the known reality thanks.

    Wahabbism was making Islam suck (if you read my other post)

    What do you mean “IF”? Are you trying to make me out to be illiterate or something? No, don’t answer that, I’ll just sample some more of this cake… [ewwww……]

    and destroying its culture far before Oil was discovered as a useful commodity in the region. Oil production began in the 50s there and I wrote about Wahabbist destruction of property in the 1920s and expanding religious fundamentalism since then.

    Oh well if you wrote it then it must be true (not). Just because Wahabism was doing things between then and now given one economic, social and geopolitical context absolutely does not mean it would be doing the same thing between then and now given a different economic, social and geopolitical context. Re-writing history is one thing; re-writing some alternative history according to your assertions is really to have your cake and eat it.

    4. If telling ex-Muslims that their old food restrictions are pointless and that they can enjoy food is an attack then by gosh and golly I am attacking Islam.

    Well is it or isn’t it an attack? Don’t sit on the fence now. Holms @28 needs your support.

    Because fuck all the ex-Muslims/Jews/Hindus.

    No, I don’t think so. I won’t be doing that.
    I do acknowledge that in comments you have added since you wrote the original article, you changed your message away from including ALL Jews and Hindus in your nasty cake to just “EX”‘s. Well, good for you for changing what you said to make it a bit more concise, but you haven’t improved the taste of the cake any.
    Also you studiously omitted mention of your own religious background and your liberation from it in the original article, a fact you deigned to communicate in the comments. Not that that makes a lot of difference to the taste of your cake. It’s still foul.

    They cannot hang out and be atheists otherwise their parent religions will get offended…

    I don’t think this is primarily about offending religions. I think mockery of people’s cultural and religious diets is so heavily allied to racism the two things are inseparable. Just because something you’ve said is offensive to people from a religion doesn’t mean you’re not allying yourself with some highly undesirable forces. UKIP and the BNP would love your arguments, your attitude, and have such weird taste buds they would probably like that revolting cake you’ve made too. You can eat the same food as them at your barbecue if you like. I prefer to dine with friends.

    Let us continue the dialogue where the only atheists come from Christian sources.

    What are you even talking about? Atheists can come from any source, I am not excluding you or anyone from being an atheist.

    5. Yes it is an attack on Islam. It is an educated understanding and a clear point made using history

    … your version of history tainted with your prejudices and your own slant on the inevitability of one sequence in potted history following another. And your version of alternative history too, which by some strange doctrine of inevitability reaches exactly the same anti-muslim conclusion. How very educated.
    Anyway, I’m glad you agree yours was an attack on islam. Holms @28 disagrees with us both – could you go and let them know we’re in complete unity about this?

    and charting the changes in attitude of global Islam to a culture of progress to regression due to a changing dialogue towards fundamentalist Islam and excusing fundamentalism.

    What? Is that meant to be a clear point? It isn’t.

    This makes it different from an attack on Islam because of xenophobic fears about Muslims outbreeding us all because mine’s based on facts, experience and understanding.

    Ah yes, you have a monopoloy on facts. Only you have experience. Only you have understanding. Well, you must be right then. Not.

    Not on wildly excusing bullshit behaviour

    Quite

    Saudi Arabia is fucked up and while you want to blame capitalism, I must point out that if if it did not have fabulous wealth it would still be as fucked up except it would be funded by the donations of Muslims much like the Vatican.

    “Much like”? So Saudi Arabia would be a small city state somewhere in Mecca, surrounded by a secular democracy with an elected government? You obviously think you have a highly competent grasp of Saudi Arabian history, but your analogies don’t stack up.
    Let me try an analogy. I don’t know what would have happened to protestantism in england if huge coal deposits hadn’t been found on the main island of great britain. Would it still have been the uptight emotionless imperialist force it became? I honestly don’t know. But I know that ruling classes are driven by their greed for wealth; I would not put my hand on my heart and say that “England would have still been protestant without coal”, regardless of King Henry the Eighth’s conjugal manoeuvrings; for you to say “Saudi Arabia would still have been Wahabi without oil” because of 1920s history just isn’t looking convincing, and no amount of potted history and angry remarks against someone who has questioned your authority on the matter is going to help.
    There you are. There’s my answer. All that remains is for you and others to ramp up the outrage against me for making some egregrious transgression against The Truth and to annihilate me in typical internet fashion using one of the many methods you have at your disposal.

  30. exi5tentialist says

    Holms @28

    And here, your definition fo ‘attack’ has become so broad as to encompass all mockery, satire, and completely reasonable criticism, e.g.: Halal practices are frequently considered cruel, and their sole justification rests on the decree of a sky wizard who does not exist. This is no different to stepping on a communion wafer.

    This definition is beyond useless, as it buys into the silencing tactic used by muslims themselves to deny the freedom of expression of others.

    Here you are, Avicenna. You want to attack the Saudi Arabian government? You go ahead. Attack the whole Saudi Arabian ruling class if you like. I’ll join you. Here, you’re picking up friends who want to attack all muslims. I won’t go with you on that journey.

    Incidentally, Holms @28, Avicenna thinks it’s an “attack”, as evidenced Avicenna’s words @26, “Yes it is an attack” and “by gosh and golly I am attacking Islam”. You are free to go display whatever contortions you want to make it not so, but it is so.

    It’s important because to deny that muslims are being attacked on the one hand while attacking them on the other seems to be a form of hypocrisy and pretty typical behaviour on the right. I’m not accusing Avicenna of hypocrisy on the question of attacks, obviously, I’m just not ready to put up with that hypocrisy from others. Of course, it is possible to deploy the device that says, “we’re not attacking muslims, we’re attacking islam.” In which case go ahead, let the contortions begin…

  31. says

    You have learnt nothing. All you have done is simply not get what an atheist from a minority group is telling you. We have given you information, we have given you facts, we have given you nuance and deep insight.

    And you ignore that and lump people from non-Christian backgrounds.

    Your idea of Islamic History is false and your repeated blaming of capitalism rather than the empowerment of a theocratic conservative luddite force with oil wealth is just harmful and will keep ignoring the influence of such. You do not help anyone with this.

    Any person on the planet would be aware that fundamentalist Islam is quite capable of existing without traditional economic power to maintain it as it has demonstrated in places like the Boko Haram, Somalia and Afghanistan. Because it doesn’t really need all that much technology or wealth. Just angry men who think Islam’s rules must be adhered to 100% and are 100% right.

    Saudi was Wahabbi and strongly so even before Oil came to be discovered there. The first Wahabbis attacked in the 1880s causing the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. There was no capitalism back then and the Wahabbi bedouins were able to get by just fine. The only difference was that in the last Saudi Civil War they came to have a bunch of stuff they didn’t create and then find oil.

    You want to create grandiose blame for the west? Sure. Keep doing that. But your smug finger pointing at oil companies ignores the real problems faced by Muslims and indeed every religion mentioned.

    I am afraid I will be eating a nice steak. Made out of beef. And I will be inviting anyone from the Manchester region who wishes to join me or who wishes to eat something that was “illegal” due to to religion.

    If you don’t like it? Well? Bugger off, you clearly cannot tell the difference between UKIP and us. Hint…

    We have nicer tans.

  32. exi5tentialist says

    All you have done is simply not get what an atheist from a minority group is telling you.

    I get it, I just don’t agree with it, and I notice that you are continuing to adhere to the idea that just because one thing happened first in history, that thing predetermines all possible outcomes. So whatever happened in history, islam was always going the primary source of oppression in Saudi Arabia in your version of things. I just don’t agree. I don’t even agree islam is the primary source of oppression in Saudi Arabia now. I think class is.

    Also, the fact that you are from a minority group doesn’t mean you have the right to shove down my throat your doctrine that capitalism is irrelevant to oppression in Saudi Arabia. That’s just ideological claptrap. If your being from a minority means that you are right about everything, nobody would ever be allowed to disagree with you. Maybe that’s what you really mean.

    Let me put you right – we’re both adults, we both have the right to disagree with each other. Out of respect for that reality, I won’t tell you to ‘bugger off’. But if you want to have your cake and eat it, you go ahead.

  33. says

    You seem to think that the Wahabbi oppression would not exist without capitalism. Which is bloody daft considering it exists without capitalism in plenty of other countries.

  34. exi5tentialist says

    I don’t know what “would” happen in any alternative history, and I don’t know what countries in the world don’t have capitalism.

  35. Alexenor says

    Religious discussions sometimes can lead to attacks, or sometimes the discussions regarding the matter can be misconstrued as an attack, by the aggrieve party(s).

    Life is short. Why can’t we learn just to respect each other’s differences? Too many people already died on the account of religious differences.

    As to whether I should choose to eat all available Haram BBQs or the Cake (gone bad) which you are arguing about, I’d rather have the “Silly Salad” which is analogous to “A Sigh of Fresh Air” (just respect each other’s differences) and move along with life.

    If the people of Saudi Arabia has come to a point in their history that they are already fed-up putting up with their ruling class, then let them re-write their own history, any way they are considered sovereign state.

    At the present, not all Saudis are un-educated. More and more affluent Saudi families are aspiring to educate their younger generations even to the point that they have to send away their children to study technical or academic courses in Europe and America to gain internationally rated quality education. I’m sure, their education will include “How Democracy is More Efficient than Theo-Crazy or Antiquated Monarchy systems of governments”. Let their people decide how their history would turn out.

    The general people’s will is one of the biggest (if not the greatest) contributory factor in shaping the society they deserved. If the Saudi people realized that their current government system does not work for their best interests, then its up to them to decide how will they effect changes in their society (brought about by their education outside Arabia).

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