One does not simply walk into Nazidom


One must be guided there, gently, with a series of increasingly radical leaders.

Over at the really racist forum, “The Right Stuff”, the mob of neo-Nazi scum there were chatting about their path to open, proud, assholery, and the SPLC has dissected their commentary. There are no surprises here — they all cite the same old familiar scum, with Jared Taylor and 4chan at the top of the list of influencers.

The number of times each individual or platform was mentioned as an influence was tallied, and those mentioned by three or more posters are listed in the chart below. Disconnected as they might seem, the most cited influences — the “politically incorrect” 4chan board /pol/ and the American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor — hint at two common paths to the alt-right: either through participation in the rampantly racist and misogynistic online trolling culture of 4chan and its offshoots, or through exposure to Taylor’s variety of pseudo-academic “race realism” that couches timeworn racist tropes in the language of science.

Within alt-right spaces like TRS, these two fibers of the movement are woven together — resulting in an ironic, meme-ified version of old-school race science — and embellished with antisemitism.

Taylor is a terrible, awful fraud who pretends to be scientific, but here online you may be more familiar with the poisonous taint of 4chan, which was also heavily into promoting Gamergate. You remember Gamergate — that obnoxious movement of young men who piously declared that it was all about “ethics in gaming journalism”, a phrase that can only be uttered sarcastically, but was really about flaming misogyny. This guy admits it:

Chan culture was male-dominated and heavily misogynistic. The sexism of these spaces eventually led many into the alt-right. According to one poster, “I always hated feminism and female empowerment, despite liking many elements of the left. When I got older and realized the left was only open to feminists or allies i stopped claiming it.”

This extreme anti-feminism gave fuel to various factions of male supremacy, like Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) and MGTOWs (“Men Going Their Own Way”), who profess to forswear women completely, then complain about them constantly on the internet. Then came Gamergate, a harassment campaign against women in gaming that began in 2014. Anonymous harassers targeted women who worked in or commented on the industry for daring to enter a male-dominated space. Abusers used 4chan and other platforms to organize. After choosing their targets, the mob would dox them, send them rape and death threats, distribute fake pornographic images of them and generally stalk and torment them relentlessly.

It was an extremely important moment in the development of the alt-right, when young men from right-wing online spaces came together in a shared campaign against the “politically correct” culture of the left. One poster described the years 2012 to 2014 as a political “void,” but explained that he was brought back into politics — and entered far more extreme spaces — thanks to Gamergate. After 4chan’s founder Christopher Poole banned discussions of Gamergate from the site, the campaign’s supporters migrated to the more extreme 8chan.

It was all in good fun, right? Funny how the people who drop the word “witch hunt” into conversation so rarely apply it to Gamergate.

Also, I wish this weren’t the case, but there’s another gateway to racism low on the list.

The “skeptics” movement — whose adherents claim to challenge beliefs both scientific and spiritual by questioning the evidence and reasoning that underpin them — has also helped channel people into the alt-right by way of “human biodiversity.” Sam Harris has been one of the movement’s most public faces, and four posters on the TRS thread note his influence.

Under the guise of scientific objectivity, Harris has presented deeply flawed data to perpetuate fear of Muslims and to argue that black people are genetically inferior to whites. In a 2017 podcast, for instance, he argued that opposition to Muslim immigrants in European nations was “perfectly rational” because “you are importing, by definition, some percentage, however small, of radicalized people.” He assured viewers, “This is not an expression of xenophobia; this is the implication of statistics.” More recently, he invited Charles Murray on his podcast. Their conversation centered on an idea that lies far outside of scientific consensus: that racial differences in IQ scores are genetically based. Though mainstream behavioral scientists have demonstrated that intelligence is less significantly affected by genetics than environment (demonstrated by research that shows the IQ gap between black and white Americans is closing, and that the average American IQ has risen dramatically since the mid-twentieth century), Harris still dismissed any criticism of Murray’s work as “politically correct moral panic.”

Oh, yeah, other phrases I’ve come to despise: “politically correct” and “moral panic”. Harris is really good at using all the buzzwords frequently; no wonder he grates on me so much.

Anyway, although I’m sure there are plenty of people who’ve grown up steeped in raging racism from birth, it’s interesting to see how new blood is nurtured into pure evil.

Comments

  1. says

    PZ:

    Oh, yeah, other phrases I’ve come to despise: “politically correct” and “moral panic”. Harris is really good at using all the buzzwords frequently; no wonder he grates on me so much.

    Let’s not forget “estrogen vibe”. Harris also manages to foster misogyny.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’m so glad I rarely read Harris.

  3. Porivil Sorrens says

    Its funny because, at least in the “skeptic”/atheist community online, you got to see this slow devolution from like bemoaning the comparative scarcity of women in the community (and failing to see that it was because of the rampant misogyny and creepiness in said spaces), to going full MGTOW and ranting about how women destroyed Rome and shouldn’t be in Businesses (see: the Lobsters).

  4. Mark Dowd says

    It’s terrifying to contemplate how close I, a young man suffering severe depression and social anxiety, came to being one of these people a few years ago. I watched Gleen Beck for a short period of time and thought he was sensible. I read a bit of Harris and thought it was sensible. I came across parts of the MRA movement and was almost tempted to read further.

    Basically what I’m saying to PZ is, thank you for being one of the beacons of compassion and sensibility that have helped me see through the darkness. Words cannot express how grateful I am for that.

  5. says

    Mark Dowd:

    It’s terrifying to contemplate how close I, a young man suffering severe depression and social anxiety, came to being one of these people a few years ago.

    Holy shit, I’m glad you didn’t go that way! It goes to show that expressing compassion, acceptance, and empathy really is a force for good. Sometimes, I get discouraged when it comes to Affinity, but hearing you, I realize there might be people I have helped, even if I never know about it. Thank you, Mark.

  6. blf says

    Apropos of nothing much, albeit somewhat related, the Encyclopedia of American Loons has now reached 2000 entries. Entry 2000 is Harry Mihet, “the current vice president of legal affairs and chief litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel”, who are a “hate group for whom ‘religious freedom’ means the freedom of fundamentalist, radical wingnuts to suppress other people’s religious freedom.”

  7. leerudolph says

    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    Don’t assume there are no autodidacts out there, too.

  8. says

    @ 6:

    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    It starts before teaching, at least of the formal kind. I’d say a person’s overall environment has a great deal to do with it. If you’re surrounded primarily by empathetic, ethical, accepting people, you’re more likely to lean that way. That’s not a guarantee though, in any way.

    I grew up with a dyed-in-the-wool bigot, and I went in the opposite direction, rather than embracing the bigotry surrounding me. Someone else might grow up in an empathetic, ethical, and accepting environment and turn out to embrace bigotry. There are a hell of a lot of factors involved with each individual, and “carefully taught” doesn’t begin to cover all these people; it just ends up being a general blanket tossed over a complex problem.

  9. raaak says

    I just listened to Harris’ “postmortem” (Oh, I am misrepresenting Sam Harris. He only gave a “short” ten-minute analysis of his conversation with Klein and explicitly said he didn’t want to do a postmortem). It was so obnoxious that I don’t know how anyone can give Harris the benefit of the doubt (he is just ignorant,misguided, didn’t do his homework, etc) on these subjects anymore.

    What I found funny though was his announcement that he was going to bring on more African-Americans to his show. Apparently, Klein’s statistics that he had only 2 African-American guests in more than hundred episodes has touched a nerve!

    Also, he thinks his outlandish thought experiment (what would have happened if it was announced only Africans had 2.7% Neanderthal DNA in their genes as opposed to only non-Africans?) was a profound and revealing point which Klein evaded. What???

  10. Walter Solomon says

    I was reading the the original hateful asshole of the internet, Stormfront, recently since I occasionally find their ignorance funny. Interestingly, one of the posters there wrote that he got started down the path to nazidom through 4chan.he

    He said he stopped going to the website but it does seem to be gateway drug.

  11. pita says

    It’s fascinating, but I guess ultimately unsurprising, to me that 4chan is the start of this for so many people. Tbh I’ve always traced the alt-right back to gamergate back to the Scientology “Raids.” Thematically they’re disparate, but the Scientology thing taught 4chan that it had the potential to coordinate protests and spread information fast…

  12. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Honestly, I’m a little surprised Sean Hannity isn’t on that chart. He has a fairly similar method of delivery of gently delivered racism and far-right nationalism.

  13. gijoel says

    @4 I think that’s why I find MRAs so repulsively fascinating. I could have been one. Hell, I should have been one thanks to my abusive mother and social phobia. But for some reason the whole Iron John, bro culture never appealed to me. I don’t know why, maybe I don’t like seeing people being abused.

  14. says

    Sam “how could any reasonable person possibly think I, of all people, am racist?” Harris landed himself on a list that includes many open nazis. I hope his jewish relatives call his blithe ass in from the darkness. Slap him on the back of the dome and say “how did you become such a shmendrick?”

  15. billyjoe says

    From the link:

    The YouTube algorithm, which determines what will autoplay after one video has finished and places recommended videos in the sidebar, also plays a role in coaxing viewers to more extreme sites.

    This is an annoying algorithm that they need to change.
    If you go to a video simply out of curiosity to find out a little about something with which you not familiar, it sometimes takes weeks before YouTube stops offering you similar videos in its sidebar, especially if you accidentally continued onto the next auto-played video. A similar thing happens in search engines.
    I can see how it could be a factor in the echochambre effect.

  16. says

    ^I find myself wondering if my comments were too extreme, but seeing people promote racism the way Harris does gets me extremely fucking mad. I hate nazis more than practically anything else in the world, and he’s helping create them. And he should goddamn well know better.

  17. billyjoe says

    GAS,

    Just because someone sees a particular person as being their conduit to racism doesn’t necessarily mean that that particular person supports racism.

    Sam Harris’ problem is his poor knowledge of the consensus view on “IQ and Race” which led led him to mistake the fringe view for the mainstream view. He compounded this by uncritically interviewing a proponent of this fringe view. This does not mean he is a racist. In fact he seems to have been blinded by his reaction towards the “regressive left”, who he sees as trying to suppress what he sees, incorrectly, as scientific facts. It could even be argued, heaven forbid, that this over-reaction against him by the left is pushing him towards the right.

    Of course, for some, Sam Harris is never going to be able to do anything right. In this very comment section even his expressed intention to interview more African Americans (once it was pointed put the him how few he has interviewed to date) is seen to be “funny”. Because nothing positive can ever be said about him ever again on this blog.

  18. billyjoe says

    GAS,

    Stop wondering.
    Your comments were too extreme.
    His [expletive] mom? Really?

    Don’t worry, though, you aren’t likely to suffer any repercussions on this blog.

  19. says

    billyjoe, I’d take a rebuke from someone who gives a shit about the consequences of actions as much as “intentions,” but that ain’t you. You’re a goddamn tool. Peace.

  20. lemurcatta says

    “Under the guise of scientific objectivity, Harris has presented deeply flawed data to perpetuate fear of Muslims and to argue that black people are genetically inferior to whites.”

    This is incredibly disingenuous. Harris has not presented data to argue that black people are genetically inferior to whites. What does that even mean? Authors here are apparently hoping their readers will not have actually listened to the podcast with Murray. I was very disappointed that Sam didn’t push back harder against Murray’s ideas in that episode. And I share the belief that differences in intelligence across human populations is not interesting from a research perspective, and also toxic. But it is very disappointing to see deliberate misrepresentation from the SPLC. Harris never said blacks are genetically inferior to whites, which really isn’t an intelligible statement anyways.

  21. chrislawson says

    lemurcatta — if Harris invites Murray onto his podcast and “doesn’t push back” against Murray’s demonstrably unscientific racist ideas, then he’s promoting racism even if he doesn’t mean to.

  22. Holms says

    In tangentially related better news, SPLC has now ceased claiming Maajid Nawaz to be an anti-Islamic bigot.

    _________________
    #23 lemurcatta
    What do you mean by saying you were disappointed at Harris not pushing back ‘harder’ against Murray’s ideas? Not only did Harris not push back at all, he agreed with them.

  23. chrislawson says

    billyjoe–

    Harris promotes racist thinking. He has demonstrated this time and again. The excuse that he’s just misinformed might have held water if he’d changed his views 15-20 years ago.

    The cherry on the cake is you trying to blame his critics for his drift to the right. You yourself said he was misinformed. If people criticise him for being misinformed and his response is to move even further away from humanistic, rational beliefs because it makes him feel better to surround himself with people who praise him for his errors, then that is entirely on him. In what sort of stunted moral world does pointing out people’s misinformed racist views make one responsible for them becoming more racist?

  24. Holms says

    Oops, slight correction/addendum to the above: the term SPLC used was actually Anti-Muslim extremist. Which was always utterly ludicrous.

  25. KG says

    Holms@30,

    Maajid Nawaz is just an opportunist fraud who pals around with anti-Muslim extremists. Quite different.

  26. KG says

    Harris never said blacks are genetically inferior to whites, which really isn’t an intelligible statement anyways. – lemurcatta@23

    And of course any racist would immediately recognise that it “really isn’t an intelligible statement”, wouldn’t they?

  27. blf says

    What I’m seeing at the moment are claims the SPLC has removed a list of alleged Anti-Muslim Extremists, which included Maajid Nawaz (and 14 others, such as Robert Spencer), possibly due to a threat from Nawaz to sue. That list, the Field Guide To Anti-Muslim Extremists (PDF) is still accessible (which is not the same as still having an active link on the SPLC’s site). However, both the claims-of-removal and claims-of-lawsuit are (to-date), as far as I can see, made by sites I have extremely low confidence in. Just what, if anything, is going on seems murky.

  28. erik333 says

    @34 blf
    Maajid Nawaz personally said on JRE 1107 that he was suing SPLC for defamation, and that they had removed the list the day previous. He’d previously successfully sued a similar list in Britain (“Thompson Reuters world check database” or somesuch) where he was listed as a muslim terrorist. He was thus in the unusual position of simultaneously being called a muslim terrorist and an anti-muslim extremist.

    He further explained that hed been, while younger, part of an Islamist group (motivated by the Jugoslavian conflict) which did have a kalifat as their end goal, but politics as the means rather than violence. Once he leared that Amnesty were championing his cause, he started to feel less disenfranchised and eventually left the Islamist camp.

    @KG #31
    What makes you say that? Not that i’ve ever heard of him before JRE 1107, but he did come off as sincere.
    The four points listed in SPLC list are pretty unimpressive…
    1) They pretend to not know the distinction between “Islamist” and “muslim”.
    2) Yes, you shouldn’t get a special pass to break already in place rules against wearing identity concealing headwear for “religious” reasons.
    3) What’s the problem exactly? Islamists have threatened to and actually murdered people for this “crime” in the past. If they don’t want to draw pictures of their profet, thats fine. But demanding other people follow their mandates is absurd and trying to enforce their will is evil.
    4) Doesn’t even relate to anti-muslim extremism in any conceivable way, just well poisoning.

  29. Onamission5 says

    I find it interesting when people make the claim that it is those attempting to correct and push back against harmful ideas who are responsible for the spread of those ideas, and not the people promoting and defending those ideas. The premise there is, if everyone would just shut up and let bigots and liars spew their lies and bigotry unchallenged, people would see it for what it is, but because someone stood up to say “that’s wrong” supporting bigotry now seems appealing.

    Wait, I didn’t mean interesting. I meant disingenuous.

  30. blf says

    erik333@35, I have absolutely no idea what “JRE 1107” is, why it is relevant, or its credibility.

    As for the claim 1 (supposedly “[The SPLC] pretend to not know the distinction between ‘Islamist’ and ‘muslim'”), this is what the link in @34 says (SPLC edits in {curly braces}):

    In the list sent to a top British security official in 2010, headlined “Preventing Terrorism: Where Next for Britain?” Quilliam wrote, “The ideology of non-violent Islamists is broadly the same as that of violent Islamists; they disagree only on tactics.” An official with Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit told The Guardian that “{t}he list demonises a whole range of groups that in my experience have made valuablecontributions
    to counter-terrorism.”

    The embedded link is to the Grauniad’s article, List sent to terror chief aligns peaceful Muslim groups with terrorist ideology:

    […]
    A secret list prepared for a top British security official accuses peaceful Muslim groups, politicians, a television channel and a Scotland Yard unit of sharing the ideology of terrorists.

    The list was drawn up for Charles Farr, the director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), a directorate of the Home Office. Farr is a former senior intelligence officer.

    It was sent to him in June by the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism thinktank which has received about £1m in government funding.

    Quilliam was co-founded by Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz, former activists in the radical Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir. Critics of the foundation accused it of McCarthyite smear tactics and branded its claims ridiculous. The foundation declined repeated requests for comment.

    The document sent to Farr is entitled “Preventing terrorism; where next for Britain?” It lists alleged extremist sympathisers, including the Muslim Council of Britain, the main umbrella group in Britain for Islamic organisations. It also claims that a Scotland Yard counter-terrorism squad called the Muslim Contact Unit is dominated by extremist ideology.

    Other groups include the Muslim Safety Forum, which works with the police to improve community relations, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, and even the Islam Channel, which provides television programmes for Muslims on satellite.

    Those claims are absurd (with the possible, albeit seemingly unlikely, exception of Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit, of which I know essentially nothing). As one example, the Muslim Council of Britain is by no means extremist, and in fact, is perhaps too unassertive.

    […]
    Inayat Bunglawala, chair of Muslims4Uk and a former MCB spokesperson, said: “This is just like something straight out of a Stasi manual. The advice from Quilliam is frankly appalling and incredibly self-serving.

    “This is a truly shocking document, and it is little wonder that the Quilliam Foundation marked it as being not for public disclosure. In effect, Quilliam […] are attempting to set themselves up as arbiters of who is and is not an acceptable Muslim. Their document specifically contains a McCarthy-type list of large and established Muslim organisations that they regard as suspect and smears them as being ‘Islamists’.”

    […]

    I myself have no opinion or knowledge about Maajid Nawaz, or the SPLC’s list. However, I don’t see any confusion on the SPLC’s part about those who are Muslim, and those who claim to be Muslim; such confusion would seem to be in Nawaz et al.‘s Quilliam Foundation.

  31. raaak says

    @35,
    erik333:

    the distinction between “Islamist” and “muslim”

    Hitchens took issue with the word “Islamophobia” to which I agree to some degree (more in the past than now). But it is hypocritical to come up with a much more nebulous and ill-defined term like “Islamist” and use it as a cudgel to attack critics.

    Here is Nawaz’s definition of Islamism quoted from Wikipedia:

    What is Islamism? Islam is a religion; Islamism is the desire to impose any version of that religion on society. It’s the politicisation of my own religion.

    So according to him, his own desire for other Muslims to behave in a manner he and Harris like is just another form of Islamism. Nawaz’s real talent is self-promotion not religious scholarship.

  32. Holms says

    #39 raaak
    Strange, I thought the distinction between islam and islamism was fairly well known amongst this commentariat. Islamism involves the imposition of islam on others via law, and so is pretty much that branch of islam that wants to achieve an islamic theocracy. I think that makes it the islamic counterpart of christian dominionism.

    It is also emphatically not what Maajid is campaigning for.

  33. raaak says

    Islamism involves the imposition of islam on others via law

    Well, in that case, it hardly applies to any Western society in which the separation of church and state are already pretty well established. Muslims in the West do not even have a political party. They are not considered a serious political force by any measure. Even if they were, it is far from clear that majority of them would want to live in a country like Saudi Arabia.

    In repressive Islamic countries, the imposition has been achieved by the means of naked force and coercion not by engaging in debate with the likes of Nawaz and Hirsi Ali!

    It is also emphatically not what Maajid is campaigning for.

    Well, the definition he gave for Islamism is really flawed. We can probably chalk it up to his lack of scholarship or even seriousness in using the language. That actually goes to why I think he is a phony!

  34. Holms says

    #41 raaak
    I said not only the text you quoted, but also “…and so is pretty much that branch of islam that wants to achieve an islamic theocracy.” Islamism is the political movement whose goal is to achieve islamic theocracy. And it doesn’t matter that they have not succeeded in doing so, it is still worthwhile opposing their efforts and trying to remove the toeholds they have managed to establish.

    As for that quote of his defining islamism, I can agree that his phrasing could have been better worded, but to my eye at least his meaning is still plainly about a political movement to install a theocracy. And, phony? I’m not at all sure what that means. Are you saying he is a phony muslim? A phony academic? What…?

  35. raaak says

    @42

    I mean he is a phony intellectual.

    it is still worthwhile opposing their efforts

    Opposing how? By funding the likes of Nawaz and Hirsi Ali? What has been their track records until now? Shouldn’t we hold them accountable if they haven’t been able to curb the rise of their so-called “Islamism” despite receiving hefty funds from various sources in the West? I argue that what they are doing is actually injecting themselves into the cultural and political battles in the West hoping to find more sources of funding without making any real or meaningful contribution to Islamic scholarship or reform in the Islamic world.

    For all the money they have received, Nawaz and Hirsi Ali are only repeating what the people in the above list(i.e. the racists!) have been saying for a long time now: namely, there is an “invasion” from the Islamic world to the West; this “invasion” is in the form of “Islamist migrants” who come to the West and establish themselves with the ulterior motive of ruling the countries they have immigrated to; we need to curb immigration from large parts of the world to prevent the “invasion”; and the [regressive] left in the West is complicit in this vast conspiracy!

    Regardless of the utter stupidity and irrationality of these ideas, Nawaz and Hirsi Ali are only repeating them so they can be used as cover for the likes of Sam Harris as a credible defense against accusations of racism. That this has been a successful business model worries me much more than the nonsense they are spouting.

  36. Holms says

    Did you even read the points against him? Because they certainly did not contain anything to warrant your animosity. Perhaps you’d like to point me to something concrete that he did or said.

    But I’m beginning to think you don’t actually have anything substantive against him, because your wording hints at the possibility that you know nothing about him. For example, he didn’t ‘inject’ himself into the conversation about politics and islamic reformation, he’s actually a muslim. A moderate muslim who opposes extremism and also the injection of religion into politics. That seems pretty reasonable to me, and not something that warrants your framing it as if he were doing it for political notoriety and money.

    Nevertheless, I’ll persist in asking you for a sourced quote of some sort that warrants such ire. Where, for example, did he say or imply anything resembling your second last paragraph?

  37. raaak says

    For example, he didn’t ‘inject’ himself into the conversation about politics and islamic reformation, he’s actually a muslim.

    My claim was that he was injecting himself into the cultural and political debates in which only Western entities really have stakes (such as left-right cultural and political fights). His scholarship and debate skills are unimpressive, too. There are millions of Muslims living, working, and studying in the West who do not espouse an extreme view of Islam and don’t actually have past extremist affiliations. What is the actual contribution Nawaz has made to the debate about Islam that justifies $3.8 million funding for his group?

    This link does a good job exposing the truth about Nawaz.

    Nawaz says a lot of correct things, to be sure (unlike for example, Hirsi Ali, who explicitly advocates ideological screening among other things). But it is not what he says. It is what he does that is a concern.

  38. vucodlak says

    @ Great American Satan, #25

    Well, if reading passages from the Necronomicon summons the evil spirits that create deadites, I would suggest that playing episodes of Harris’ show backwards might summon the tedious spirits that create Harrisites. I am, however, unwilling to test this hypothesis. I’d rather take on a zombie apocalypse armed with a broken toothpick and a torn pair of tighty-whiteys.

    Interesting fact: because of the… let’s say “unique…” form of argument Harris employs, the recordings say exactly the same thing backwards as forwards, and remain every bit as emptymeaningful.

  39. chrislawson says

    vucodlak@46–

    Funny how affirming the consequent can be used to deny the consequence.

  40. billyjoe says

    Holms,

    I know that all the information about Maajid Nawaz and Islamism v Islam you have provided is correct. And that those arguing against you have a no idea what they’re talking about. They’re simply repeating and spreading BS about him from biased Internet sources. As a result you’re not likely to get a sensible conversation. You should know that both Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are on this blogs hate list, and for all the wrong reasons. Just like the infamous SPLC list.

  41. Holms says

    #45 raaak
    I cannot take you seriously if you are suggesting that “only western entities really have stakes [in the debate between secularism and theocracy]” is a reasonable rebuttal to a muslim taking part in said debate. And, what ‘extreme’ view of islam does he have? Again: he is a moderate muslim arguing for secularism in government and anti-extremism in religion, yet he is simultaneously being accused of being a muslim extremist and an anti-muslim extremist.

    All I’m seeing is snide well-poisoning in the rest.

  42. billyjoe says

    raaak,

    My claim was that he was injecting himself into the cultural and political debates in which only Western entities really have stakes

    Maajid Nawaz is a resident of the U.K.
    Is it your opinion that the UK is not part of the West?
    And by what reasoning should he be excluded if this was not the case?

    His scholarship and debate skills are unimpressive, too.

    That’s just your opinon.
    Other’s find him erudite and informed, and his debating skills creditable. Not that debating skills are much of a measure of a person’s worth. The blog’s host for example.

    There are millions of Muslims living, working, and studying in the West who do not espouse an extreme view of Islam…

    This may be true of the USA to some extent, but the West comprises more than just the USA. In the UK, almost all Muslims disapprove of homosexuality and about half would support a law making homosexuality illegal. A significant percentage support sharia law and the caliphate.
    But what is your point?
    Does the threat of Islamism in Muslim majority countries not concern you?
    Don’t you care that Muslim women in Muslim majority countries are second class citizen and are forced to wear head scarves, are not allowed to go out unaccompanied by a male, and cannot attend school for fear of acid attacks; and that apostates and homosexuals are executed;?
    These are the people Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are supporting. How dare they?

    ..and don’t actually have past extremist affiliations.

    It is interesting that you think Maajid Nawaz’ past affiliations count against him. Care to tell the whole story or are you afraid that will out him in a good light. Because we can’t have that can we, he’s on the blog’s hate list.

    What is the actual contribution Nawaz has made to the debate about Islam that justifies $3.8 million funding for his group?

    Who can tell? What is the measure? How would you measure it?
    However there has been no public funding since 2011.
    Quilliam is now 100% privately funded giving them total indepedence from the UK government.

    This link does a good job exposing the truth about Nawaz.

    And you know this how?
    Because it repeats the cool-aid that you’ve already swallowed?

    Nawaz says a lot of correct things, to be sure… But it is not what he says. It is what he does that is a concern.

    What exactly is it that he does that concerns you?
    (And your condemnation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is egregious. I suppose you actually know something about her history and what she actually advocates as opposed to what you’ve been told she).

  43. Holms says

    #48 billyjoe and anyone
    Bear in mind that I’m not claiming Maajid is correct on all points, only that he is most certainly not deserving of his place on the SPLC anti-muslim extremist list. Similarly for Ayaan, except that I know so little of her I can’t really talk about her at all.

  44. raaak says

    “only western entities really have stakes [in the debate between secularism and theocracy]”

    I don’t see how Islam is reformed by bashing the Western left. Of course, a Muslim or anyone else is free to comment on these things and argue

    for secularism in government and anti-extremism in religion

    which are the principles millions of Western Muslims (and mid-Eastern people) are living by. So why pay someone millions of dollars of public money to say these obvious and anodyne things without doing any real scholar work?

    he is simultaneously being accused of being a muslim extremist and an anti-muslim extremist.

    Again, it is his actions that are questionable not what he calls his beliefs. I have the impression that he would say anything that he might judge his audience like. His shtick is to add how he came to believe in secularism and separation of church and state by becoming an extremist first and then being imprisoned by a repressive regime.

  45. Chakat Firepaw says

    @billyjoe #18

    This is an annoying algorithm that they need to change.
    If you go to a video simply out of curiosity to find out a little about something with which you not familiar, it sometimes takes weeks before YouTube stops offering you similar videos in its sidebar, especially if you accidentally continued onto the next auto-played video.

    I’ve found that pulling up the more options menu, (the three dots that appear just below the right side of the thumbnail), and hitting “Not Interested” helps clear things away faster.

  46. John Morales says

    billyjoe @48, the echochambre effect, presumably.

    PS

    You should know that both Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are on this blogs hate list, and for all the wrong reasons.

    The blog, eh? Such synecdoche!

    (What we can know is what you imagine about “this blog”)

    Holms @49:

    Again: he is a moderate muslim arguing for secularism in government and anti-extremism in religion, yet he is simultaneously being accused of being a muslim extremist and an anti-muslim extremist.

    … who now collaborates with an avowed atheist to decry Islamism. As moderate Muslims do.
    And who makes his living on that basis.

    Note that his notoriety’s genesis is that he was an extremist, before he saw the light and decided to proselyte about qualified secularism.

    (But it’s good to know Harris is fine with moderate moderate Muslims and therefore moderate Islam)

  47. raaak says

    billyjoe, 50,

    I clarified your first criticism in my response to Holms. It is not like I think others should not be allowed to comment about Western issues. But I don’t see how participating in a debate about free speech on campuses has anything to do with reform in Islam (except receiving funding money, of course).

    Does the threat of Islamism in Muslim majority countries not concern you?

    First we need to define what Islamism really is. Nawaz’s definition is worthless. That being said, I believe religiosity has a positive correlation with poverty and acceptance of repression. To the degree that a country is religious (Islamic or otherwise), it is more probable they suffer from these ills. There is no need to create a nebulous and ill-defined term which is only meant to be used against critics in the West.

    Don’t you care that Muslim women in Muslim majority countries are second class citizen and are forced to wear head scarves, are not allowed to go out unaccompanied by a male, and cannot attend school for fear of acid attacks; and that apostates and homosexuals are executed;?
    These are the people Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are supporting. How dare they?

    Let me fix this for you: Nawaz and Hrisi Ali are doing very well for themselves at the expense of these people.

    Who can tell? What is the measure? How would you measure it?

    Exactly!

    And you know this how?

    Because I read it?

    As for Hirsi Ali, she advocates the exact same thing Jihadwatch (and most of the racists and bigots in the above list) advocate.

    This (pdf, p6) is the policy she suggests for Western governments:

    The administration, … should subject immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny

  48. Clovasaurus says

    #27 @chrislawson
    Yeah, the last time I tuned into Harris’ podcast, he had Glen Loury (Economist) as a guest and said some bullshit along the lines of ‘…why can’t black people just learn how to be arrested?’ …my head almost exploded.

  49. Holms says

    #54 John Morales
    who now collaborates with an avowed atheist to decry Islamism. As moderate Muslims do.
    And who makes his living on that basis.

    Yes? That seems reasonable.

    #55 raaak
    But I don’t see how participating in a debate about free speech on campuses has anything to do with reform in Islam (except receiving funding money, of course).

    Well-poisoning-by-insinuation tripe. You’re aware that islam has gained some notoriety by attempting to forbid depictions of Mohammad, right? This is just one example of a stance common amongst muslims in which free expression of non-muslims is under pressure from muslims.

    The issue of freedom of expression – at minimum – complements the push to liberalise islam, and is quite possibly integral to it.

    First we need to define what Islamism really is. Nawaz’s definition is worthless.

    No it isn’t, it just isn’t particularly well worded. It looks like a snippet taken from a longer conversation.

  50. billyjoe says

    Raaak,

    I don’t know how you got to the end of that article. It is worthless. Firstly, I have no doubt that there are numerous inaccuracies in Maajid Nawaz’ book. It is written from memory and memory is extremely unreliable. But so are the memories of all those, mostly anonymous, “informants”. Also, I can find no other references to that article anywhere. The Wikipedia articles on Maajid Nawaz, and on the two authors of the article, do not mention it. So it doesn’t seem to have made much impact. I wonder why? Maybe because it reads like a gossip column. Maybe because it reads like a diatribe rather than a dispassionate assessment. But probably because it has nothing to do with Nawaz’ ideas on politics and religion.

    BTW, Islamism is an extremist form of Islam that strives a world wide caliphate governed by a literal interpretation of the Quran. The opposite is Secular Islam. Maajid Nawaz aligns himself with secular Islam.

    And what, pray tell, is wrong with subjecting immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny. Do you really wish to invite Islamist extremist and terrorists into the country. Okay, you may disagree, but it does not reflect badly on Ayaan Hirsi Ali that she has this view. It is an entirely reasonable view to hold.

    And why are you so upset that Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are doing very well for themselves. To be honest, I’ve got no idea about their personal wealth. It’s about as irrelevant as the gossip in that article you referenced. Why are you so much more interest in gossip and a person’s wealth than their ideas.

    And what do you mean by “at the expense of these people”? Both Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are fighting the extremist for of Islam called Islamism which supports the supression of women and the killing of apostates and homosexuals. They are actually helping Musllims the world over.

  51. billyjoe says

    Typos:
    Second paragraph, second line : strives for
    Last paragraph, second line: extremist form ofIslam

  52. emergence says

    Also notice how Ben Shapiro is on that list. Listening to any asshat who whines about “political correctness” and talks shit about black people and Muslims is a potential gateway to neo-nazism. That includes supposedly “mainstream” conservatives. Fuck all of them.

  53. raaak says

    Holms, @57 :

    You’re aware that islam has gained some notoriety by attempting to forbid depictions of Mohammad, right? This is just one example of a stance common amongst muslims in which free expression of non-muslims is under pressure from muslims.

    There are so many misconceptions in this paragraph I don’t know where to begin. No, “Islam” didn’t gain notoriety by the cartoon fiasco. It is not an example of a stance common among Muslims (the event itself is rare! How can it be a basis to identify a common stance?) The free expression of non-Muslims is under 0 pressure from Muslims in the West and in the repressive regimes, it is not “pressure” that they exert. It is naked force. There is no parallel between Islamic governments and Muslim citizens or immigrants in the West.

    The issue of freedom of expression – at minimum – complements the push to liberalise islam, and is quite possibly integral to it.

    Islam is not school curriculum. There is no department that can “liberalize” Islam. I never get it when people personify religions. And if it is possible, I don’t know how it can be achieved by Nawaz or Hirsi Ali repeating right-wing propaganda.

  54. raaak says

    because it reads like a gossip column.

    Yeah, gossip, like the emails he sent to his brother threatening to ruin his life.

    Islamism is an extremist form of Islam that strives a world wide caliphate governed by a literal interpretation of the Quran. The opposite is Secular Islam. Maajid Nawaz aligns himself with secular Islam.

    This is the kind of doublespeak Atheists accuse others of when they use the word “Islamophobia”. The problem with this definition is it is useless. There is only a minuscule number of Muslims who believe in these delusions. “Islamist” is designed to be thrown against critics of Harris and Nawaz. Because anyone who criticizes these guys is either an Islamist or an Islamist ally. Nawaz losing his parliament candidacy bid because a footage of him horsing around with strippers got out? Islamist did it! Hirsi Ali being called out for her adovacy of militaristic policies? It is the Islamists. According to these guys, everyone who disagrees with them is either an Islamist or a regressive leftist. So much for avoiding labels and trying to have sane conversations with others.

    And what, pray tell, is wrong with subjecting immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny.

    Because It is a form of unjust discrimination? How would you like it if anytime you wanted to travel, you would be asked to explain your beliefs? As Klein says, this is what the majority gets to do. If others talk about ideological purity or identity, they are cultural Marxists and are playing identity politics. If Sam Harris does it, it is just a valid concern.

    And why are you so upset that Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are doing very well for themselves. To be honest, I’ve got no idea about their personal wealth.

    I don’t care about their personal wealth. My concern is that they are being invited to testify in front of the Congress or being consulted as security experts as if they have made some genuine contribution to the debate. They are part of the right wing propaganda machine.

    And what do you mean by “at the expense of these people”? Both Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are fighting the extremist for of Islam called Islamism which supports the supression of women and the killing of apostates and homosexuals. They are actually helping Musllims the world over.

    Yes, I am sure he finds time when he is not doing Jihad against the left to think about Muslims living under oppression of Islamic governments.

  55. Saad says

    I’m fairly certain moderate or liberal Muslims don’t look to Maajid Nawaz or Ayaan Hirsi Ali for reform.

  56. says

    billyjoe

    They are actually helping Musllims the world over.

    Because advocating for military subjugation is doing Muslims a lot of good currently.

    And what, pray tell, is wrong with subjecting immigrants and refugees to ideological scrutiny.

    Seeking refuge is not a privilege but an internationally acknowledged human right. They don’t lose that right because they believe in something bad. I taught young refugees. One of them was a Nazi*. To be honest, I couldn’t stand the guy for many reasons. But he was still entitled to refuge, shelter, food and care because he was still a human being horribly affected by a murderous war that killed most of his family.

    By the way, billyjoe, since you are so terribly concerned about people’s lives being destroyed by allegations, what about the risk of having your life destroyed by Nawaz falsely claiming that you are an islamist extremist?

    *Oh the forever irony of a young, brown skinned Muslim guy having a Swastika tattoo.

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