Chapel Hill: No wonder others don’t get the Muslim and Ex-Muslim Community

Even in the atheist community that prides itself on intellectualism, we often speak for and even instead of Muslims and Ex-Muslims. We have a listening problem.  Sadaf Ali, who helped found Ex-Muslims of North Americanails it…

Mostly likely they have the answer to your questions.

Mostly likely they have the answer to your questions.

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Bosche – irreligious detective?

I haven’t seen this, because I haven’t turned on a TV since the turn of the century, but according to this ad that keeps popping up on every video I try to watch, we have a new leading good guy portrayed as an atheist.  That’s good, I guess.  It doesn’t happen very often.  I guess Hugh Laurie’s House M.D. must have done pretty well if they’re doing Bosch P.D. now.

50 Shades of Meh

Yeah, spoilers.

My wife just wrote a review of this movie, so I guess I will too. We only went to see it because some Bishop at the Catholic church urged people not to.  Prior to that, I asked my wife if I could pay her not to make me see it. I went into the theater, certain that I couldn’t possibly enjoy this film.  It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it still wasn’t any good.
The movie struck me as sort-of a remake of Pretty Woman, except that it wasn’t even THAT good. I didn’t like pretty woman either, because I don’t connect with the fantasy of a billionaire who buys a penniless woman lavish gifts for two hours until the movie ends.  Nor could I consider it ‘erotica’.  It’s too disproportionate.  He’s young and good-looking, but impossibly rich and powerful at the same time.  However she is plain and mousey, with no strength or passionate interests; she didn’t have any charm to her personality, and she frankly doesn’t have a good enough body for an erotic film.  Really gorgeous women can be captivating, even with no other attributes, but she just wasn’t that pretty.  Speaking personally there was nothing there to pique an interest, especially not the interests of a handsome physically-obsessed corporate tycoon.  Not a psychologically healthy one anyway.  So it was like watching a predator toying with his prey, except that somehow she was in control of him throughout the whole movie.  So there wasn’t really anything to like from either angle.

Just let me rule you, and I will be yours.

Yeah, it reminded me of that movie too.

Throwing money at a woman when you have an inexhaustible supply of it is, ironically a cheap fantasy. Otherwise I winced at everything he did wrong, which was almost everything he did.  Controlling her through monitoring and following her, creating dependance and being visibly jealous of anything that didn’t directly involve or revolve around him. I know people like that, and I’d rather I didn’t.
Ultimately the movie was not erotic and not fun or funny either.  And it’s strange that Catholics would object to it, because, (in a sense) it was the first time for both of them, as improbable as that is.  She was still a virgin in college?  He had never been photographed with a woman despite owning 15 prior sex slaves?  He was indomitable and in command, and their sex was portrayed as an uncomfortable experience resulting from some form of self-loathing. That’s what the Catholic clergy teaches, isn’t it?

Should you boycott 50 Shades of Grey?(Spoilers and Trigger Warning)

I admit I couldn’t make it through the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy for many of the reasons already widely discussed in the BDSM community. The books also blur consent lines and the line between sexual role playing and emotional and physical abuse.

Who has to hold another person's face to dominate their attention?

Who has to hold another person’s face to dominate their attention?

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Exceeded expectations thanks to FTBCon3

Although, some of the audience wasn’t sure what to expect, The Secular Asian Community panel was well received. It is now posted on youtube. Despite large numbers of Asians in Asia and non-Asian countries, we have yet to see an offline conference that addressed Asian issues both South and East Asian. So we took the opportunity that FTBCon offered us to take the initiative, and add our voices to the freethought community.

We were missing some of our past South Asian panelists like Hemant Mehta, Heina Dadabhoy, Razib Khan because of schedule conflicts.  We still had a diverse contribution from panelists with East Asian heritage. We had the ebullient Yau Man Chan, organizer extraordinaire Vic Wang, the warm-hearted Marissa Torres Langseth, the erudite  Michael Nam, and science educator Cindy Cooper.

The talk ranged from how Asia is not a country and other offputting stereotyping to downright racism, successes in the freethought community, where it is missing the mark, Asian privilege, and how to maintain a secular country with China set to become the largest Christian country as a model.

So now you know who to ask on Asian diversity issues.

Also you can still catch these discussions today before it wraps up at 7:00 PM CST:

Who stood with the prophet?

This is the conference I meant to attend, the one where they refunded my ticket after it was sold out. Organizers assured me it was just a problem with the computer system, and I believe that, since they never had an opportunity to look me up.

I still don’t know if I would have gotten in though, because another guy flew here from Florida, ticket in-hand and was denied entry at the door, because they recognized his name.  I don’t think that’s fair, but Damon Rosen is listed as an Islamiphobe on Loonwatch.  So I’m not surprised.  I don’t think I’m on any such list.

I’m still really pissed that I didn’t get to go.  As I am not on the mailing list of the reactionary redneck league, I had no idea that there would be such a massive protest of the event.

See that guy at 8 seconds in? The one who says “It’s THAT religion you need to fear“. Here’s where we saw him the first time, when he was protesting the Reason Rally in Washington DC.

I’ve seen him a number of other times too, all over the country.  How does he manage to travel everywhere, spreading hatred, and protesting reason wherever he goes?  So this time, he was in my neighborhood. Think of the video I could have made out of this!

The Muslims were even catching Hell from the Patriot Guard Riders.  I was IN the Patriot Guard Riders once upon a time! They’re a biker group formed to block the Westboro Baptist Church from ruining soldiers’ funerals.  When did they become a hate group?  So many confrontations for one venue!

Had I been able to get my ticket properly, I would have had notes or recordings of the event, and I would have been able to interview speakers or representatives on my podcast.  I might still be able to do that.  I’ve contacted organizers asking for a representative to be be on the show.  The purpose of which is to talk about the image of Islam in America. So we will talk about Charlie Hebdo, Damon Rosen, Raif Badawi, and probably any other relevant topic my audience suggests between now and then.

Event speakers say that Islam has a bad reputation because of the media.  While I agree that American news is often biased, sensationalist, inaccurate, deceptive, and unreliable, I still do not think they’re to blame for Islam’s ill-repute.  I have my own opinions of course.  I’m an antitheist, and I am not as sympathetic as some other liberals are. But neither am I a bigot.  I hate prejudice more than I hate religion.  So I don’t expect to contribute to the problem.

I don’t yet know who we’ll get on the show, and am still taking suggestions.  We might end up in a fight by the end, but that depends on my guest, and what he or she says.  I’ll be as generous as I can be.  At the very least, I will be fair.  When I interviewed Hamza Tzortzis on the Magic Sandwich Show, he told me that decapitation was the most humane way to deal with apostasy.  As soon as he said that, all civility was lost.  That’s why this time, I’m hoping to talk with a more reasonable person.

 

Stand with the Prophet?

Today in Garland Texas there was a Muslim conference to ‘Stand With the Prophet‘. If you know someone who attended this conference, I would like to talk to them.

I meant to go myself.  I bought a ticket online, and got a receipt for it, but there was some problem with the web page such that it timed-out while trying to produce proof of purchase. I had no ticket to show.  The company refunded me a day or so later, and I tried to purchase it again, but by then they were sold out. I wanted to go because there were some very controversial speakers, and I wanted to take notes, so that I wouldn’t have to rely on hearsay.  I would know first-hand what was really said.

I also wanted to talk to one of these people on my podcast, and I still do.  If anyone participating in this movement is willing to come onto my show, know that I don’t expect to agree with you on anything. But I don’t want to misrepresent anyone either, and I don’t want to be part of the problem.  If you’re taking action in attempt to fix things, and might actually make a difference, that’s what my show is all about, and I don’t have to agree with you.

This group claims that Islam has a bad reputation in this country, not because of absurd beliefs, repugnant practices, an unjust legal system, sexist oppression, or violent terrorism, but because of how all of that is portrayed in the media.  I doubt very much whether that is actually the case.  But I’d like to hear your argument none the less.  We’ll probably have an argument immediately after that too.  Just being realistic.  But that doesn’t mean that I won’t listen and give fair consideration to whatever you have to say.