Mehdi Hasan is up to his usual rhetorical tricks.
On his Facebook page he links to the Richard Dawkins comments in the Huffington Post piece: Atheist Richard Dawkins Condemns Chapel Hill Shootings Of Three Muslim Students.
His comment accompanying the post:
Will we now see lots of pieces calling for ‘reform’ of New Atheism and a search for ‘moderate’ New Atheists? #justasking
So, Mehdi, if you think New Atheism is in need of reform, can you point to the New Atheist scriptures that Craig Hicks might have followed in order to justify the killing?
Can you point to New Atheist scripture that demands lashes for sex outside marriage, or stoning of adulterers? Can you point to any New Atheist scriptures that denounce atheists for apostasy, for those converting to Islam or Christianity?
Islam needs reforming so that the barbaric tenets contained in the Quran and Hadith cannot be used as an excuse to commit violence in the name of Islam.
What exactly do you think there is in New Atheism that needs reforming? You want ‘moderate’ New Atheists? New Atheism is already moderate: free speech, freedom of belief, no special privilege for any belief systems, secular government (not Christian, not Islamic, not atheist, …). There are no ‘apostasy’ rules trying to prevent atheists becoming believers. There are no ‘blasphemy’ rules denouncing anti-atheist rhetoric. There’s no lashing for sex outside marriage; no stoning of adulterers.
Exactly what reforms would you like, Mehdi?
I think I get it, you’re just whining because your precious prophet is lampooned? You don’t like to see outsiders criticise your faith?
Mehdi Hasan, like many Muslims commenting on criticisms of Islam, or on the association of self-declared Muslims doing violence in the name of their prophet, isn’t happy that Islam gets the blame when so many self-declared Muslims join ISIS and other organisations. He’s not convinced that Islam is the problem, even when they quote the passages that inspire their violence.
Look, Mehdi isn’t a violent Jihadist, so how can anyone blame Islam?
Well, it’s quite easy to explain. Mehdi and all moderate Muslims that still believe that the Quran is the inerrant word of God are stuck in denial. They have to start making up bullshit excuses about ‘context’ to explain when it’s reasonable to stone a woman to death.
And, as Coel Hellier pointed out in a recent post Mainstream Islam is not moderate.
Can we blame Richard Dawkins for this act by Craig Hicks?
This is one of the most ridiculous posts I’ve seen today:
Adeel Ahmed, you’re misguided.
There are currently many people pointing out that Craig Hicks did this in the name of atheism, that he’s an Atheist terrorist.
I think it quite legitimate to call Hicks a terrorist. It’s quite legitimate to call him an Atheist terrorist, if the reports are confirmed that Craig Hicks did this in the name of Atheism.
But that doesn’t suddenly present some parallel with the case made that Islam is a significant component of the terror committed in the name of Islam. Islam has texts that can be used to justify terrorist acts. Atheism does not. Atheism has very little in the way of doctrine. It is merely the lack of belief in gods. The ‘strident’ New Atheists are merely more outspoken about this and more willing to point out the faults of religions. That doesn’t make atheism amenable to the justification of terrorism. What Hicks has done is not only not justifiable by Atheism, New Atheism, Humanist, Scepticism, it is totally antithetical to everything that Atheists, New Atheists, Humanists and Sceptics tend to believe in.
Does that then mean Muslims have a case too, in denouncing violence in the name of Islam as antithetical to Islam, the religion of peace? No, because the claim that Islam is the religion of peace only applies when Muslims ignore the violent and warlike aspects of Islam.
If you’re an atheist bent on violence you have to depart from the values usually subscribed to by Atheists, New Atheists, Humanists and Sceptics.
If you’re a Muslim bent on violence you can find justification for it in your holy texts.
Do you see the difference? #justasking.
Here’s a more rational assessment, from Maajid Nawaz. A lesson for Mehdi Hasan.