All about you

Kiran Opal has a brilliant sarcastic post about kuffarsplaining. I know this person she’s talking about. I’ve encountered this person. This person is ridiculous.


  • Telling Muslims (or Ex-Muslims) that you, as a Western Non-Muslim know what Islam “really says”.
  • Converting to Islam, then using your white privilege to talk over non-white Muslims, while denouncing non-white Ex-Muslims as being ‘native informants’ and ‘Uncle Toms’.

Seriously. I have encountered that person.

  • Insisting that Islamists who murdered over a dozen people in Paris, or over 2000 people in Nigeria, or over 135 children in Pakistan were all somehow disaffected with your Western hedonistic countries’ ways, and had no agency or thoughts beyond thinking of you and how much they hate you , because the universe revolves around you and your country, and your culture, and your history, and your colonialism.
    • Note: Nobody else has a history of their own. No other cultures, communities, groups have their own power struggles, their own hierarchies, their own history of imperialism. It’s not like Muslims have had multiple empires of their own. It’s not like Muslims ran the longest running slave trade and the longest running empire in human history (look it up). It all somehow circles back to *you*.

Nailed it.

  • Making excuses for people who murder in the name of Islam.
    • Believing that calling out murderers who happen to be from Muslim faiths – who specifically murder people in the name of Islam, while reciting Quranic verses, and leaving videos about how they do it to glorify Islam – is ‘punching down’, which gives away the sense that you actually feel superior to them, without you having to admit it.

It’s all brilliant; go read the rest.


  1. brett says

    because the universe revolves around you and your country, and your culture, and your history, and your colonialism.

    Definite lesson in there for some of the Marxist folks I’ve read talking about the issue.

  2. sambarge says

    I’m totally on-board with the content of the article but kuffarsplaining? Really? Okay then.

    I think I might cross-stitch a sampler with “Proud fucking kuffar” on it. May as well own it.

  3. sambarge says

    Oh, is she a dirty non-believer too? Seriously, though, we should own that slur. What’s the term for that? “Re-claim it?”

  4. RJW says

    “I know this person she’s talking about. I’ve encountered this person. This person is ridiculous.”

    Unfortunately, I’ve also encountered that person far too many times, the most arrogant, and patronizingly racist version, usually is studying for a PhD in comparative religion or Islamic studies, and bizarrely, often has absolutely no idea of Islam’s history of imperialism.

    “…had no agency or thoughts beyond thinking of you and how much they hate you , because the universe revolves around you and your country, and your culture, and your history, and your colonialism.”

    Yes, indeed, one of the consequences of that belief is the notion that jihadis can be “de-radicalised”, as if their behavior is entirely a result of Western prejudices, the probabilty is that many are following the tenets of a 1400 year old aggressive ideology, as they interpret it. Unfortunately only the Right seems to have really comes to terms with Islam-as-an-ideology, much of the Left just doesn’t understand.

    Excellent article, Ophelia, it’s a refreshing change from the tendentious “multi-culti” apologetics for the recent atrocities in France. Of course, some of us couldn’t give a rat’s fart as to which doctrine is the “true” Islam.

  5. Brian E says

    I think that western countries do have some responsibility, carving up the Ottoman Empire and interfering in democracies to install or disinstall dictators as needed. See Iraq and Iran for examples. Perhaps that’s kuffarsplaining, but Iran would have been a different place if the U.S. Hadn’t installed the Shah and there would have been no Iraq for the U.S. To break if not for the British and French drawing lines on maps….

  6. RJW says

    @6 Brian E

    “I think that western countries do have some responsibility,”
    Of course, Western interference (including the establishment of Israel) has obviously contributed to much of the turmoil in the NE, however the author’s objections are to the rather narcissistic and patronising attitude that Islamic violence is entirely a Western creation, and that therefore, the problem is soluble by Western solutions–“Nobody else has a history of their own”.

  7. John Morales says

    Brian E @6, can of worms, that; it was done for geopolitical gain during the Cold War, and “the West” was only one side in that conflict.

  8. Silentbob says

    I think it’s understandable that some Western humanists or liberals or progressives or whatever you want to call them experience some conflict between wanting to denounce Islamic violence, and not wanting to encourage anti-Muslim bigotry. The best thing, I think, is to “shut up and listen” to ex-Muslim critics of Islam.

    So I highly recommend as a companion piece to the above this post by former guest blogger Kaveh Mousavi which is similar in thrust, but adds some ‘what to do’ in with the ‘what not to do’.

    I feel frustrated, because my criticisms against Islam are constantly met by a steady push back from people eager to defend Islam. Naturally, Muslims of all stripes, radical and moderate, defend their faith, which is to be expected and accepted, and I enjoy debating Muslims. What’s rather frustrating is the fact that non-Muslims, even atheists, usually join the chorus too, repeating some clichés. And then, some people you don’t like at all rush to defend you, which is even more frustrating. My article, when it appeared on The Proud Atheist, was shared on social media by some neo-Nazis and other right-wing elements eager to push their own xenophobic agenda. It’s frustrating because as an ex-Muslim it’s easy to feel trapped and alone.
    [… ]
    So how I think you, a western reader, an atheist yourself, passionate for liberty and equality around the world, help someone like me? These are seven suggestions.

    7 Ways Westerners Can Help Ex-Muslims

  9. Silentbob says

    @ 8 John Morales

    Well, US support for the Shah, perhaps. But obviously the (post-WWII) cold war had nothing to do with “carving up the Ottoman Empire” or “the British and French drawing lines on maps” (Sykes-Picot).

  10. Maureen Brian says

    No, Silentbob @ 10, not just Sykes-Picot and not just the Balfour Declaration, either. The impacts of those are not really in dispute.

    Scroll forward a bit to the toppling of the democratic government led by Mosadeq in Iran, 1953, still known to governments in the “West” by its CIA codename though we Brits have as much culpability.

    Now, Afghanistan in the late 1970s – the democratically elected government of Barbak Karmal, relatively weak and under attack from the mujahuddin who had support and funding from the US. So, did the government invite technical support from its neighbour the Soviet Union or did the Russian Hordes invade as an act of imperialism? Your choice!

    Now try the costly and inconclusive Iran-Iraq war – starting September 1980, just after the toppling of the Shah’s regime. Who was backing whom? For blame, where would you start? At what point did the US change its mind about Saddam?

    Or about Osama bin Laden, for that matter?

    I leave you to compile the list of truly horrendous regimes which this “West” installed and/or supported. I’d start it with Mobuto – if only because that’s as far back as my adult memory goes.

    Just because you can file something under “because of the Cold War” doesn’t mean it was either noble or justified. The Russians do exactly the same!

  11. Brian E says

    can of worms, that; it was done for geopolitical gain during the Cold War, and “the West” was only one side in that conflict.

    Pre cold-war, cold-war, and post cold-war. I guess if you want to make a case for the virulence of Islam (if I can be so prejudiced, argumentatively speaking), the Brits, French, Russian, U.S. did the same in many other places. For example, what the U.S. did in Latin America is horrendous. It beggars belief that the country of laws and liberty did what they did – I know that ordinary USians didn’t do it – yet it’s in the mid-east that we get terrorists problems. I’d put it down to Israel keeping the fire stoked, but it may just be Islam and I may be ignoring all of that and making it about us or the west. The Catholics of Latin America don’t seem to attack the ‘west’ as much for what was done to them ( or I’m ignorant of attacks that could be called terrorist by Latin Americans on ‘western’ targets), so… maybe there’s an argument. I don’t have figures or even a visceral feeling on that one. I didn’t even know that Ozzie spies and operatives were involved in Chile until a few years ago…
    And sorry if it seems I’m picking on the U.S. (no drones please! ;), it’s just the U.S. is the superpower du jour The Brits, French etc, and we petit Ozzies have done/do craptastic stuff in the name of power or indiference.

    But Latin Americans have their own histories of colonization and oppression pre columbus and so on. I honestly need to shut up as my ignorance means I have nothing to offer. Jusqu’a la prochaine fois.

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