Uthman Badar: Rationalising the irrational.

“Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.”
– Robert Ingersoll.

In November last year, Recital Hall in Sydney played host to a debate with the motion: “God and Prophet’s should be protected from insult”. Arguing for the motion was Uthman Badar of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Naturally, Badar’s position was one in which he attempts very weakly to rationalise the irrational, advocate oppression, whilst trying to appear not just to be having a bit of a tantrum. I thought I’d address several of Uthman Badar’s claims in this article.

I was immediately struck by this incredibly hypocritical line from Badar:

“Here’s a frank memo to the liberals…. enough of the self indulgence.”

– If this isn’t the most ironic statement made by someone who advocates a global Caliphate based on the supremacy of his particular ideology above all others… I don’t know what is. It isn’t liberals who punish apostates, or call for the execution of those who make jokes out of our ideas. It isn’t liberals who poison and injure the minds of children with dogmatic stories of eternal torture for non-belief. It isn’t liberals who burn down embassies if someone publishes a cartoon we don’t like. It isn’t liberals who insist on banning people from marriage if they don’t have the specific set of genitals we deem to be ‘acceptable’. So it is perhaps prudent of Uthman Badar in future to look closer to home when it comes to centuries of religious self indulgence before churning out the pitiful line that it is liberals that are the self indulgent ones.

“Free speech is a liberal position. It is an ideological liberal position. Not some logical, universal position”.

– Very simplistic. Free expression absolutely is a logical, universal position. Liberals didn’t invent the idea of not being punished by oppressors for words that those oppressors don’t like. Oppressing expression requires an ideological framework of power, like, say, religion. Oppressing expression does not extinguish the thoughts, it simply reduces the person who has those thoughts, to silence through fear. It chains the tongue and instills fear into the mind. This is incredibly unnatural, very dangerous, and completely contemptible. The erected oppressive barrier is thus simply a form of control over others. Liberals may have broke down that oppressive barrier in periods of enlightenment and emphasis on human rights and individual liberty. It is the barrier itself that is not a natural one. Nature does not inherently permit the oppression of thoughts and expressions that run contrary to the dictates of a 7th Century Middle Eastern sect. The thoughts and expressions of others, are not the property of any ideology.

To be free to express oneself is a natural condition that is only subject to oppression in some form or another from ‘outside’. We erect walls of oppression around the freedom to express oneself that must also be reasonable and logical if they are to be acceptable to us collectively; defamation for example. I know of no one who would argue that defamation laws are not beneficial to us all, or that they restrict others in their pursuits. They protect us equally from damage to our reputation by those who seek to harm us. It is more than expression in that respect. Similarly, threatening through words to murder someone has implications to the safety of the person, and so is likely to encourage a visit from the police. This is entirely different from words that someone may find offensive about the ideas they quite like. We are not naturally restricted in how we express ourselves. Those who wish to do so, simply seek to enslave the mind of those they cannot win over any reasonable way.

It is therefore the burden of those seeking to erect barriers to that natural liberty, that must explain why they have that privilege, why they believe our lives are theirs to play with, and why the rest of us must acquiesce. Free expression is not ideological, it is natural.

We are also endowed with curiosity. This is expressed in terms of critiques (like this article), or artistically – through music, or comedy, or theatre, or any other form of self expression. It is this self expression – and primarily through comedy/satire/mocking – that Uthman objects to. What then Uthman Badar is arguing for, is the legitimacy of erecting further walls of oppression over a natural human condition, based solely on what he deems to be “offensive” for what he holds as sacred beliefs. It is no different to a non-Muslim advocating the banning of Islam or the Qur’an, if they find it to be offensive. For me, this is intensely irrational and dangerous. Why must we take Badar’s supremacy seriously, but not the individual wishing to restrict Islam? (Similarly, I have defended the right of Muslims to build a Mosque in Bendigo, when other supremacists demanded it stopped).

We know what happens when defensive, insecure and paranoid religious folk have power over the cogs of state. Currently, 72 year old Brit Masud Ahmad – part of the Ahmadiyya sect – faces three years in a Pakistan prison for reading the Qur’an out loud. Apparently blasphemy if carried by a ‘non-muslim’. The logic behind just what actually constitutes blasphemy in Pakistan, is irrelevant. The very fact that someone can face jail time for “blasphemy” is so utterly abhorrent, and enough to remind us of just why a state should never be governed along religious principles. When a state is governed by religious principles – the dogmatic adherence to moral ‘rules’ set out centuries ago by one group in one place in one time – human freedoms quickly erode, human progress quickly erodes, replaced by personal beliefs of the dominant group and the inevitable oppression of others.

Badar never actually explains why causing offense to a religion – blasphemy – should be off limits, yet other forms of offense shouldn’t. He never offers an explanation as to why his particular authoritarian idea – that includes political control over others – should be protected from the mocking words of those they seek to control. Defamation is quite clear cut and covers us all. Trying to ban offending someone’s beliefs isn’t as clear cut, and only seems to cover religious beliefs. If Badar’s demands for a ban on offending religious beliefs, doesn’t extend to offending political beliefs, or indeed, any form of offense that one might cause someone else through any medium including practically all forms of comedy; then immediately his argument falls down through a massive hole of inconsistency, and he is relegated to simply having a silly little child-like “I hate blasphemy” tantrum. 

Indeed, every human being ever condemned as a heretic or a blasphemer, and violently punished or killed as such across the centuries, must today be considered a hero in the cause of human freedom.

“To insult others is to treat them with gross insensitivity, insolence, or contemptuous rudeness. Those who want to allow this, the onus is on them to prove that such depravity should be allowed.”

– Yes. Exactly right, to insult others. Though it shouldn’t be banned by the state, insulting others for the sake of it certainly shouldn’t be encouraged and should indeed be discouraged. As adults, we should of course regulate ourselves as best we can. For example, Mehdi Hasan of the New Statesman failed miserably on that, when he said:

“The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God.”

– This Kuffarophobic bigotry should indeed be discouraged. I wouldn’t wish to see Mehdi Hasan punished for expressing his bigoted views toward people he’s never met. He is entitled to hold those views and to say them. I should not be trying to punish that. And I wouldn’t wish to silence the words of his God, who considers me someone of “no intelligence” apparently. This is insulting to me as a person. Not to my beliefs, but to me as a human being. Insulting other human beings is entirely separate. Challenging authoritarian ideas and concepts – be them political or religious, with critique and satire, with criticism and poking fun – should be considered uncompromisable and absolutely necessary. Authoritarian ideas like Islam must not be afforded the opportunity to regulate our thoughts and our expressions. Humanity is not to be chained by a single ideology.

In his follow up article (it’s the same wording as the video, with a few tweaks), Badar says:

“…Would we accept white people using the “n word” against blacks?”

– No. The issue here isn’t the expression, the issue is the sentiment behind the expression. The sentiment behind the expression is one rooted in the history of an oppressive, supremacist ideology based on race. It is supremacy that is the problem. Racism is institutional supremacy, and its partnered language further goes to solidify those supremacist notions. For example, if a group – such as the one Badar represents – was to openly suggest “eradicating” Jews from the Earth, we may say that the words themselves are not the issue, the issue is the sentiment behind it. A very neo-nazi sentiment seeped in violent, oppressive history.

Secularism ensures a line of equality. It affords the same rights for you as a person as it does for me as a person. My gender, my sexuality, my race, or my beliefs have no more right to oppress you, as your gender, sexuality, race or beliefs have a right to oppress me. It is the only safeguard against supremacy. Anything that deviates from that line – the elevation of one race above another, or the elevation of one system of belief in a place of power above all others – is supremacist. This is the problem. This is what Badar advocates.

Badar says:

“Insulting another person’s beliefs does not encourage them to think. Instead, it makes them more entrenched, defensive and prepared to retaliate – that’s human nature.”

– Two problems with this quote also. Firstly, Badar makes the mistake of presuming that offending religious beliefs, is primarily about trying to encourage people to think about those beliefs. Why does he presume that’s the case? I am quite certain that the ‘Life of Brian’ or ‘Father Ted’ were not intended to encourage people to think. They exist to make people laugh. Political satire equally is there to make people laugh, not primarily to make people think. Though, some is. Jon Stewart’s Daily Show exists to make people laugh, but also – as with the Kramer interview – to encourage thought. Still, Stewart mocks political ideas. For Badar, this is unacceptable.

Badar appears to believe any criticism of ideas must only be encouragement to think. I reject this wholeheartedly. Indeed, even when it is presented as a thoughtful discussion, it tends to be claimed to “insult” those who hold beliefs to be sacred. Thomas Paine’s “Age of Reason” was so insulting to Christians, that in Britain he was condemned:

“…as an enemy of proper thought and of the morality of decent, enlightened people.”

– In this respect, Paine was writing to make people think, and simultaneously managed to insult people. Centuries earlier, the Syrian al-Ma’arri wrote poetry that openly mocked religion, but it is also conducive to thought and understanding; the history of non-belief in this case. This immediately shows just how mistaken Badar was when he claimed insulting beliefs does not encourage thought. It doesn’t have to be primarily about encouraging thought, but often when that is the primary point, it is still considered insulting anyway. It is often true, that most great leaps forward intellectually, were considered incredibly insulting and offensive when first proposed.

Secondly, in insisting that insulting another person’s beliefs is fundamentally wrong, Badar appears to be disagreeing with his own God. And he goes on to contradict the words of his own Holy Book again later, when he states:

“When it comes to critique – as opposed to insult – I’d say, bring it on. Any attempt to quash or stifle serious debate is unacceptable in Islam.”

– And yet, the Qur’an begins almost every chapter with a vivid description of the punishment awaiting we non-believers if – even through serious debate – we conclude there is no God. Here, a quick example:

“Surely it is He Who brings about the creation of all and He will repeat it so that He may justly reward those who believe and do righteous deeds, and those who disbelieve may have a draught of boiling water and suffer a painful chastisement for their denying the Truth.”

– Essentially, let’s debate it… but if you don’t end up agreeing with me, you will be tortured forever. This should be insulting to anyone who values free thought, and critical inquiry. It is insulting to me as a non-believer. It is a threat. I am insulted by this. It isn’t encouraging me to think. It is nothing but intimidation. When I point this out to Muslims, most say “You don’t believe it, so you shouldn’t be offended.” This cop-out completely misses the point. Just as it is not my place to tell you that you shouldn’t be offended by a cartoon of the Prophet, it is not your place to tell me I shouldn’t be offended by what is written in a Holy Book I find to be repugnant. And if a Holy Book spends so much time insisting that I as a non-believer deserve to be tortured for eternity, then I absolutely reserve the right to mock it. It deserves nothing less from me. There is no inherent right for this one particular ideology to be respected without question. It must earn our respect, and for me it has managed the complete opposite.

Further, the suggestion seems to be that if we non-believers do not inherently respect your religion, and your Prophet, then we should be forced to respect your religion, and your Prophet through threat of punishment. It seems rather obvious to me, that if you need to force people to respect your religion through blasphemy laws – chances are, it’s not a respectable religion.

Indeed, what I defend as a freedom for myself to express without force or punishment, I defend for those whose actual existence I am so vehemently offended by. I am insulted that Hizb ut-Tahrir wishes to establish a Theocratic system whereby I am relegated to a social rank below Muslims who are to have power over me, protected by a thoroughly Islamic constitutional framework. I am offended by Badar’s expression of this goal, but I do not wish to punish him for having it or expressing it. The same freedom that allowed for Graham Linehan’s wonderful ‘Father Ted’ blasphemous comedy, allows for Hizb ut-Tahrir to announce on their East Africa website that:

“Homosexuality is an Evil that Destroys Societies!”

– This is insulting on such a grand scale. Incredibly offensive. It is this that we can compare to use of the “n word” Badar mentioned earlier. When I read this statement, it is like reading a KKK white supremacist pronouncement of the evils of those with darker skin. It is supremacy based on the idea that one biological trait is supreme and must have control over others, for the benefit of that one trait. This is hideous to me. Sexuality, like race, is largely genetic and a vast spectrum that has no “right” or “wrong” and the only reason sexuality has been oppressed so viciously over the centuries, is entirely down to religious supremacy; a heterosexual male dominated sphere of influence. Similarly, the only reason those with darker skin tones have been so viciously oppressed over the centuries, is racial supremacy. The poison is the same; the irrational oppression of freedom forged by those with power over those with no power, in order to ensure conformity to that particular oppressive ideology.

It is because of that inherently oppressive nature of supremacist ideologies – they are not just ‘beliefs’ if they seek control over others – that I maintain that not only should mockery and criticism not be punished by the state, but if that mockery or criticism is aimed at supremacist ideologies with a long history of oppression and with very imperialist, supremacist doctrines that I find offensive – then mockery and criticism become vital and necessary. Similarly, I absolutely support Badar’s right to offend my views on the superiority of secular democracy and human rights. The line of equality is essential.

If Uthman Badar wishes me not to “offend” his God, or his Prophet, then I demand with equal passion, that the Qur’an be rid of all references to the vicious eternal punishment awaiting we non-believers. Why is me feeling insulted by the words promoted in a book that believers have long used to oppress people like me, less important than the feelings of muslims with delusions of the importance of their doctrines? Why, if I find an ideology so repulsive to my own ideas of human freedom and rights, must I keep that to myself? When that faith no longer demands power over the lives of others through the mechanism of the state, when it longer seeks to indoctrinate children, when it no longer punishes apostates, when it doesn’t tell my gay friends they’re “unnatural” or shouldn’t be allowed to marry, when we’re not constantly told how awful the “kuffar” are or how evil the “west” is….. when all that self indulgence and Islamic supremacy stops, then I might cease criticising and mocking Badar’s ideology. Until then, I reserve the right without fear of punishment, to believe that all authoritarian ideas – of which Islam is certainly up there – should be open to criticism, mocking, and satire. And that those like Uthman Badar, a danger to the very basics of human liberty and dignity. Blasphemy is not just acceptable, it is absolutely vital to extinguishing the illegitimate power of religious oppression and supremacy.

It is quite simple, if you are not secularist, if you do not believe in a line of equality regardless of faith, race, gender, sexuality, then you are by definition advocating the power of one race, or one faith, or one gender, or one sexuality above all others. In Badar’s case, he advocates a state in which his particular ideology deserves power over the lives of us all, should be given special privileges over all others, simply because he believes its premise to be true. This is the advocating of oppression, regardless of how it is dressed up. No supremacist – to my knowledge – including Uthman Badar has ever provided a reasonable position as to why we should all accept their particular brand of supremacy as legitimate over our lives.

Let us be clear; free expression, freedom of belief, human and civil rights based on racial, religious, sexuality, and gender equality are not “liberal” principles. They’re not “Western” principles. They’re just not oppressive Theocratic principles. Those of us who hold those ideals; those of us with a respect for human beings before ideologies; those of us who believe in equal treatment under secular law… we should be intensely proud of those values.

19 Responses to Uthman Badar: Rationalising the irrational.

  1. Weishaupt says:

    No civilised society should have to put up with any ideology which proclaims that after death there awaits an eternal place of torment and torture for human beings.

    Anybody who defends this type of ideology is at best completely stupid and at worst completely dangerous.

  2. john zande says:

    I saw this debate some time ago and remember the rage i felt. Some people just need to be slapped.

  3. […] Incidentally, I wrote on Uthman Badar’s demand to “protect” beliefs from offence here. It’s an odd demand from a group whose draft constitution is offensive to absolutely everyone […]

  4. […] and happily expressing their own offensive views in public. Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Uthman Badar argued that Prophets and religions should be protected from insult. The same Hizb ut-Tahrir that called […]

  5. RS says:

    “[F]ree expression, freedom of belief, human and civil rights based on racial, religious, sexuality, and gender equality” ARE liberal principles, based upon the belief in the innate, equal dignity of human beings. YOUR principles.
    You just assume away the argument.

  6. Do you not get bored of trying your very hardest on every article of mine, to justify your own obsession with controlling the lives of other people?

  7. FD your basic argument is flawed in theory, disastrous in practice; insult is not a viable mode to engage. It entices acrimony and instability leading to gross human tragedies and sufferings.
    Primarily, your proposition against the Qur’an is based upon an erroneous premise; what you call or comprehend as insult, is a mere reprimand, warning and an alert against an impending danger as well as possible harm resulting out of the mal-perpetration of one’s free-will. In fact, it is a sublime piece of guidance, a prior notice, revealing both ways, the righteous and the evil, and their respective consequences. Now it’s upon the dispositions of an individual that which way he takes, he would have to face the necessary consequences of his freedom of choice; resultantly, if there is someone to blame or insult, i.e. the individual himself.
    You might say that such a narrative is irrelevant to a disbeliever like yourself, fair enough, yet it is the most relevant to the billions & billions of believers across the world, and you have to pay heed to their sensitivities, you cannot just ignore them.
    What may be an insult or a right from your perspective could be a crime or a sin from Divine frame of reference, and you have to take it into consideration regardless of your belief n’ disposition, as billions of people out there believe it such and your cannot simply ignore them.
    However, where Qur’an describes the consequences of our discretions and free will, it also demands its believers to be considerate of the people who reject its message, take for instance the following verses into account, which one might have to appreciate:
    Do not Insult other’s Beliefs:
    “Revile not ye those whom they (disbelievers) call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did.” 6:108

    Freedom to uphold any Set of Beliefs, Religion & Ideology:
    “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.” 2:256

    Human Dignity and Basic Equality:
    “We have honored the sons of Adam” (the mankind) 17:70

    “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” 49:13

    “If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people (the whole humanity): and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” 5:32

    Social Justice & Kindness:
    “O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do” 5:8

    “Worship none but Allah; treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need, and speak fair to the people” 2:83

    Rationally speaking, you cannot counter re-act to the Divine, because regardless of your beliefs, there cannot be a reciprocal linear equation between the divine and the worldly, the necessary and the possible beings.
    Put it simple you cannot insult who are more entitled to respect, being higher beings than you are for most of the human race, namely God and His Prophets (Peace and blessings be upon them all). To put it even simpler and plain, here are some examples from our routine life experiences; you cannot counter argue your Boss even being of similar race and possibly on the brighter side of an argument, it is called subordination, furthermore, manmade constitutions and by-laws, you have to abide by them no matter how controlling, unequal and disrespectful those might be, guess why? because these laws are enforced by the people of higher ranks & authority.
    Consequently, as you humble yourself in submission to State Authorities (and submission-subordination entails an insult or one may say degradation of a certain level) though you may not necessarily agree with them on particular issues, similarly you cannot reciprocate to Divine in same the capacity. Rather which offends against the Divine, is a defiance of even higher order and sensitivity.
    Moreover, there could be some specific beliefs, ideologies and acts which may be penalized in some cultures and courtiers, whereas, permissible in some others; take for example the homosexuality, there is a great deal of disparity over this issue across the cultures, so what would be the way forward? One is what you seem to suggest, to continuously engage in an offensive/insulting and counter offensive exercise; and the other could be to come to terms to a mutual acceptable compromise to allow leveled coexistence? What would be more conducive to society at large? What your pseudo intellect suggests, as regards?

  8. Pj says:

    Tawqeer, no need for the tired appeal to the old “no compulsion” canard, one of the verses that Muslim apologists — who always whine that the Quran is quoted out of context — love to quote out of context.
    As for “the Divine,” it is simply a lie created by delusional or dishonest men (whom I would exhort to rest in pain had they not ceased to exist centuries ago), which sadly you allow to rule your life.
    Pseudo-intellect rather describes the immense number of man-hours wasted worldwide in reading, interpreting and enforcing notions that have no basis in reality, such as “laws of God.”

  9. AdamF says:

    “insult is not a viable mode to engage.”

    And who gets to define what is or is not an insult? Many ideas and beliefs deserve to be ridiculed, simply because they are ridiculous. If the person doing the ridicule is unjustified in doing so, then likewise he or she will be similarly challenged. Does this mean that in every circumstance ridicule or insult is the most effective strategy to change mindsets? No. But it can be an effective tactic, if only to point out to others listening that there is nonsense underlying a claim. Either way it’s absolutely essential that we retain the choice to take that path, simply because any decision to restrict people’s rights to insult some ideas (and it’s always just some ideas), is to grant those ideas, and the people who support them, unjustified and dangerous privilege. Privileges I might add, that are invariable unearned, as any idea that requires or demands protection from open criticism, is likely a flawed idea. Welcome to free and open discourse. It’s an excellent path to separating good ideas from the bad.

    “so what would be the way forward?”

    The best way forward is to promote secular forms of government and the right to free speech. The other direction is a step towards tyranny, of which theocracy is probably the most pernicious.

  10. Syed Tawqeer Ahemd says:

    Adam, can’t you differentiate between criticism and insult, stifling of the serious inquiry is never recommended. The Critic any set of belief or ideology in intellectual tone is allowed, whereas, insult of any beliefs or ideology is not. Simple is that. This is an essential for pragmatic co-existence. Moreover, you don’t have to define insult, it is sensed intrinsically, its quite obvious. Further more, secularism itself is an unprecedented tyrant of our times, it not only controls rather imposes/inflicts its values our others regardless of their conscience. Its may be free and accommodating for liberal ends, yet not at all for other conflicting ideologies, particular for the larger role of religion in socio-economic, political life. Resultantly, its biased against, side-taking and partial; not that liberating, impartial and free as you claim.

  11. Syed, I ignored your first post, because it was vastly circular, as well as insulting. I don’t care what you believe, nor what you think your Prophet once said. What you think your Prophet said offers nothing for me, it’s just the ramblings of an unimpressive bloke from the 7th century. None of that is relevant to me.

    “what you call or comprehend as insult, is a mere reprimand, warning and an alert against an impending danger as well as possible harm resulting out of the mal-perpetration of one’s free-will. In fact, it is a sublime piece of guidance, a prior notice, revealing both ways, the righteous and the evil, and their respective consequences”

    – Apart from sounding like a child reading a story book, you do not get to tell me what it is that I should find insulting. If I suddenly decided that my God has insisted that we must execute Muslims for their sin of being Muslim, I’d expect Muslims might be insulted by that, and for them to tell me that a threat is a threat, whether you claim the invisible man said it or not. My response here is going to be predicated entirely on just how controlling you – and people like you – are. Just how much you seek to tell the rest of us how we should live, and how we should think. I find the constant use of threats against non-believers in the Qur’an to be an insult. Whether you accept that or not, I don’t care. It is offensive to me. I therefore am under no obligation to respect that book. It offers no respect to me, it doesn’t seek to engage with me, it just outright insults me on basically every page. So until your book includes nothing that I’d consider an insult to me, I will continue to insult your book. It deserves nothing less. Indeed, every ideology that seeks to oppress or control the lives of anyone else, does not deserve an ounce of respect from those who would be chained to it, had it been allowed an inch of power. All oppressive ideologies (including those you find oppressive; like secularism) must be open to criticism, satire, and ridicule, or any form of expression that an individual feels it warrants, short of harming the liberty of an individual. How an individual perceives an ideology – especially an individual whose freedom would be at risk from that ideology – is for them alone, and not for you. You do not get to control every aspect of the lives of others, and then offer the predictable “no compulsion” nonsense that you yourself cannot live up to.

    “insult is not a viable mode to engage. It entices acrimony and instability leading to gross human tragedies and sufferings.”

    – Here, I would substitute the word “insult” for “Religious states”. Religious states entice acrimony and instability leading to gross human tragedies and sufferings. It is people like you claiming ownership of the lives of everyone else, to be tied to your personal supernatural beliefs. And then you demand respect for that. It is difficult to look at a Muslim majority country, and not see horrendous tragedies and violations of human rights based on apostasy or sexuality. And here is the crux of why I reserve the right to insult and offend ideologies that I find to be so putrid, and poisonous and oppressive; if you wish the right to use your faith to harm the liberty of others, indeed, to end the life of others based on what you believe to be the rules of a magic sky man, or you seek to promote the privilege of one sexuality, one gender, or belief above all others… your ideology deserves every bit of ridicule and insult that it gets. You do not get to promote an ideology that I find to be dangerously violent and oppressive, and then demand we be nice about it.
    Secondly, why would you presume that insulting an ideology, is an attempt to “engage”? ‘The Life of Brian’ insulted Christianity, it wasn’t an attempt to engage in discussion, it was a comedy film, and very funny. As well as not getting to tell me what it is I should find insulting, you also don’t get to tell me what my purpose is when I mock ideologies. That’s up to me. Not you. Similarly, the Qur’an doesn’t seek to “engage” with me (again, you don’t get to tell me that it does). It seeks to tell you just how shit I am, for not believing in it, and just how violently punished I will be, for eternity, for simply saying “I’m not sure I buy any of this”. It offends me that you people believe that I will spend eternity being tortured, and that you love a being who would provide that sort of grotesque punishment. That offends me. It offends my sense of human decency. I would not respect a human being who openly worshiped another human being for setting people on fire for not believing him to be all powerful. Whether you accept that it’s insulting or not, it insults me.

    “manmade constitutions and by-laws”

    – All constitutions and laws are man made. Yours just happen to have been made in the 7th century. The rest of us have progressed.

    “… you have to abide by them no matter how controlling, unequal and disrespectful those might be, guess why? because these laws are enforced by the people of higher ranks & authority.”

    – I also get an equal say, with everyone else, on how those laws are framed, and who gets to frame them. I can vote, I can run for Parliament (without having to be male, muslim, and heterosexual – as per al-Nabhani’s demands in his ridiculous draft constitution), I can form pressure groups, I can advocate for progress, I can scruntinise and I can produce material that shows a law to be based on outdated information. All of those things; voting, running for office, scrutinising, applying pressure; depend on my debate points and my intelligence and how I frame my argument, not on my sexuality or my gender or religion. Those are irrelevant to what we can all offer society with our ideas. Secular, liberal democracies have their problems, they’re not perfect. But the system is a mechanism by which unequal societies (unequal, mainly due to what they inherited from their Theocratic pasts) updates the moment new information is present. It has its problems – because humanity is flawed in itself – but it is absolutely the best system we have to allow the talents of all to flourish without oppression based on faith/sexuality/ethnicity/gender. It is far better than the qualification for high public office being restricted to heterosexual, male, muslim, whilst ex-muslims are punished and gay people are mistreated and their lives ended. But I look forward to you arguing otherwise.

    “Further more, secularism itself is an unprecedented tyrant of our times, it not only controls rather imposes/inflicts its values our others regardless of their conscience. Its may be free and accommodating for liberal ends, yet not at all for other conflicting ideologies, particular for the larger role of religion in socio-economic, political life. “

    – A ramble with no substance and a complete lack of understanding what secularism is. This is common among Islamists. Secularism merely prevents you from inflicting your desire to chain others to your beliefs. Your religion gets to play no role in my life. You are not privileged. You’re going to have to learn to deal with that. Secularism protects your right to believe whatever you want to believe, it simply restricts your ability to inflict that upon me. It isn’t asking you to accept liberal values, I am not asking you to be fine with homosexuality; you’re entitled to be disgusted by anything you wish. You’re simply not allowed to build an Allah sized barrier around gay people, to placate your disgust that they exist.

    Secularism protects religious minorities and sects, sects that are often abused in states that enshrine one religion or one sect of one religion. It is a fair way to organise a society, because it privileges neither your personal supernatural beliefs, nor mine. My civil rights do not end where your religion begins. If you believe you are oppressed, because you’re not allowed to punish me according to your religious beliefs; I’m fine with that. That’s a wonderful kind of oppression. If you believe the restriction on your presumed right to throw the rest of us in the cage of Islam qualifies as an “unprecendented tyrant”, you’re going to have to convince me why I should give up my liberty, to be wholly owned by your myths. You’re going to have to start by proving to me that your myths are in fact, truth. Until you do that, secularism is the only protection against the violation of rights by religious thugs. I put you in this category, because you seem to be unhappy that you have no right to inflict your faith upon the rest of us, bizarrely believing yourself oppressed by that restriction. And here again, is why faith deserve ridicule, and contempt; because it isn’t simply about the God you believe in. It’s about the God that you believe in, and how best I should be made to live according to its dictates, whilst not saying anything nasty about it.

    “homosexuality, there is a great deal of disparity over this issue across the cultures, so what would be the way forward? “

    – Accepting that you have no more right to oppress homosexual people, than they do to oppress you? Why have you decided that homosexuality is a subject that non-homosexual people get the privilege to decide upon? You really need to learn that you’re not superior simply by way of your faith or sexuality. That your silly little fairy tale gets no say in controlling the lives of others who want nothing to do with it. The way forward is simple; you keep to yourself, and let gay people keep to their self. If they wish to marry and you disapprove, don’t go to the wedding. Be angry, write about how Allah is shaking his bigoted fist in anger at the happiness of two individuals by all means, but do not chain those people to your faith. Your faith – and Christianity – is wholly responsible for the hideous treatment of gay people, for the fear people feel about coming out, for the bullying they face, and for the threats they receive. You should apologise for how your faith treats other people.

    “could be to come to terms to a mutual acceptable compromise to allow leveled coexistence?”

    – Absolutely. Secularism. You’re entitled to dislike homosexuality, but you’re not entitled to force gay people to live according to your religion, or be punished by it. You do not get to carve for yourself a little part of the World where you get to abuse others. You do not get that privilege. Equally, I am entitled to dislike Islam. I’m not entitled to oppress the civil rights that I myself enjoy. If I believed in a God that told me all Muslims must be executed, I wouldn’t suddenly be entitled to enforce that through law, in any part of the World. Because to do so, would be to assign to myself the lives of all Muslims, as if their lives, are mine, because my particular God says so. This is what you’re seeking to do.

    “Resultantly, its biased against, side-taking and partial; not that liberating, impartial and free as you claim.”

    – Absolutely. It doesn’t allow you to force anyone else to live by your rules. My ex-muslim friends and my gay friends are not to have their lives endangered by those who haven’t quite left the 7th century. They are as free as you and I, to enjoy their lives, fall in love, and contribute to society without religious scumbags breathing down their necks waiting to throw rocks at them. If you don’t like that, you have decided you get to decide their fate, that their lives are shackled to you. Why do you think that?

    “Rationally speaking, you cannot counter re-act to the Divine, because regardless of your beliefs, there cannot be a reciprocal linear equation between the divine and the worldly, the necessary and the possible beings.”

    – Don’t start a sentence with “rationally speaking”, before launching into a tirade about the immutable laws of magic fairy timeless sky men. It’s like listening to someone try to explain the rationality of Narnia and why its rules are to be respected. I don’t believe in your God. I absolutely can “offend” the anchoring of right and wrong to the moral musings of 7th century tribal Arabia. I’m suggesting we’ve progressed since then. I understand that you haven’t and that you still seek to hold us all hostage to your beliefs, and that whilst you seek to hold us all to your beliefs, you don’t want us to be mean about your faith, but until your faith no longer seeks power over anyone else – including ex-muslims and gay people – I will continue to insult it, because it deserves no less.

  12. Syed Tawqeer Ahemd says:

    FD you are trying to reason the unreasonable, defending the undependable, hence befallen your Waterloo. You have neither comprehended nor refuted nothing that I had brought forward, rather reverberated your indecent, standard-less & wayward reasoning inspired from a prehistoric legend. Your premise may be summarized as a futile attempt to simply shift sanctity and control from divine to mundane – from objective to subjective, nothing more than that. Let me hereby reiterate that until and unless your man-made temporal faith no longer seeks to power, oppress, demonize, distort and control over the rest – especially socio-political Islam and Muslims in general – we will continue to reprove it, Inshallah, as it deserves no less; and as for ‘Insult’, it may be your affinity, yet it defies constructive societal interaction.

  13. One long meaningless ramble of shit. If you cannot justify chaining others to the dictates of your faith, nor why we should all offer any sort of unquestioning respect to your faith, just say so.

  14. Syed Tawqeer Ahmed says:

    Who is chaining who – I have already demonstrated that a novel critique is acceptable, however insult of any ideology or religion is not. Its secular liberalism that is not only super-imposing its values and dictum over the rest yet asking others for unconditional compliance & unquestionable respect for those, as well; otherwise be damned, demonized, oppressed, sanctioned and what not. If anything is blameworthy of being controlling, undoubtedly, its secular liberalism that has repressively chained the rest of the world.

  15. Another babble of meaningless nonsense. It’s like you’re having a tantrum because you’re not allowed to throw other human beings into your cage.

    “Who is chaining who”

    – You are. You haven’t demonstrated why I should not be free to “insult” any ideology I find to be so reprehensible. I do not like your religion. I do not like how its demands, I do not like its dehumanising of non-believers, gay people. It does not deserve my respect, and so I wont be respecting it. What do you believe should be my punishment for not respecting your religion? If you need to punish people for insulting your ideology, your ideology is neither secure, nor respectable.

    You don’t get to tell me what is “acceptable” and what is not acceptable, with how I voice my opposition to your ideology. You don’t have that control over me, my little theocratic friend. Especially when I find your ideology and your reading of your religion to be an offensive insult to all of us who value basic human decency and civil rights. You do not get the privilege to define what it is that is to be considered an “insult”, because it seems only to apply to your religion. If we apply it universally, then I want your book banned, and you banned from quoting it. Deal?

    “Its secular liberalism that is not only super-imposing its values and dictum over the rest yet asking others for unconditional compliance & unquestionable respect for those”

    – Nope. I don’t ask you to respect secular liberalism. You are free to mock it, to criticise it, to demean the ideas, to point and laugh at it. You’re entitled to throw your constant stream of tantrums all you want. I’m perfectly fine with that. I don’t wish to ban you from that. Anyone who does seek to ban you from that, is not a secular liberal and is in fact, very similar to you. I know that’s a concept you’re struggling to deal with.

    You have every right to want to chain others to your silly little supernatural beliefs. That’s your right. You do not however have a right to actually chain others to your silly little supernatural beliefs. You have a right to believe you do. If you believe you’re being “controlled” and “oppressed” for not being allowed to chain other people to your religion, again, I’m fine with that.

    “If anything is blameworthy of being controlling, undoubtedly, its secular liberalism that has repressively chained the rest of the world.”

    – Yes! Damn secular liberals, providing civil protection for all regardless of belief (including apostates, who tend to end up abused and scared in nations controlled by your damn faith), ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, and securing liberty for those that you’d to punish simply for saying things you don’t like, or falling in love with someone with the same set of genitals. We’re just so terrible. 🙂

    Secular liberalism is the only protection for minorities who do not fit your religious standards – such as the LGBT community, and as you’ve demonstrated; those of us who do not wish our mouths to be sewn up by ideologies we do not like – against grotesque religious thugs who have an incredibly bizarre delusion of privilege. That’s you, by the way.

  16. […] liberal democracy on several occasions pertaining to the specifics – the veil, or sexuality, free expression, or the building of mosques – I thought I’d use this article to explain my fundamental […]

  17. Free Speech! says:

    We should create a political campaign to ask Europe to preserve freedom of speech like the americans do.

    Something like Free Speech Now.
    Together we can do it and we can fix this problem we have in Europe


  18. All Religion is guttural and anti-human. These supposed books do nothing but teach the stupid how to not trust their senses. I would NEVER allow your shitstain of a religion, whatever religion that is, to tell me what to say or not say. Religion BEGS for ridicule. It is beyond stupidity to believe in a religion, with no evidence of the gawd and then force others to do likewise. I say bring it on motherfuggers. NEVER will I bow to religion. I would rather nuke the fucking planet than bow to any religion.

    Religion is the stupid man’s way out of arguing. Oh gawd did it. How totally moronic. Just like the cretins who invented religion and the moronic followers who are too stupid to not question it. Just look at the bullshit that is moronism, er I mean Mormonism. The friggin guy was a serial rapist of children. Oh great let’s follow this asshole. And from what I am hearing about Mohammed, he too was into children and had no problem screwing his sister in laws and neighbors, almost anyone else. At least that is what the sick shit that passes for islam says.

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