Is it Racist to Criticize Islam?
Is Ayaan Hirsi Ali a racist? She was born in Somalia, from which she escaped to avoid an arranged marriage, and she eventually became a member of Parliament in the Netherlands.
She helped produce a film with Theo Van Gogh which criticized Islam’s treatment of women. Van Gogh was shot to death by a Muslim in retaliation, and a note was pinned to his chest with a knife — a note that threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Is Wafa Sultan a racist? She was born and raised in Syria, and was trained as a psychiatrist.
On February 21, 2006, she took part in an Al Jazeera discussion program, arguing with the hosts about Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theory. A six-minute composite video of her response was widely circulated on blogs and through email. The New York Times estimated it was seen at least one million times. In the video she criticized Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently, and for not recognizing the accomplishments of Jews and other non-Muslims. The video was the most-discussed video of all time with over 260,000 comments on YouTube.
Is Ibn Warraq a racist? Warraq was born in India to Muslim parents who migrated to Pakistan after the partitioning of British Indian Empire.
Warraq founded theInstitute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society. He is a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, focusing on Quranic criticism.
Warraq is the author of seven books, including Why I Am Not a Muslim and Leaving Islam. He has spoken at the United Nations “Victims of Jihad” conference organized by the International Humanist and Ethical Union alongside speakers such as Bat Ye’or, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Simon Deng.
In an article about him, a correspondent wrote, “A life of 25 years of relentless service has strengthened the resolve of Tapan Ghosh to unite Hindu masses to fight against injustice and the oppressive attitude of the authorities in the face of ever-increasing Islamist aggression.”
Ghosh said, “As someone who has suffered enormously from the Islamist onslaught in eastern India, both after the partition of India as well as the partition of erstwhile Pakistan to form Bangladesh, Islamic terrorism has deeply affected my life and the life of millions in the Indian subcontinent. The horrific events of 1971 where nearly 3 million Bengalis, mostly Hindus were exterminated by the Pakistani military regime left an everlasting impression on me. Since then, I have worked relentlessly for the service and upliftment of people reeling under the scourge of radical Islam.”
Is Seyran Ates a racist? Born in Turkey of Kurdish parents, and now working as a lawyer in Germany, Atest is highly critical of an immigrant Muslim society that is often more orthodox than its counterpart in Turkey, and her criticisms have put her at risk.
Her book, “Islam Needs a Sexual Revolution,” was scheduled for publication in Germany in 2009. In an interview in January 2008 on National Public Radio, Ates stated that she was in hiding and would not be working on Muslim women’s behalf publicly (including in court) due to the threats against her.
Is Francis Bok a racist? Francis Piol Bol Bok, born in Sudan, was a slave for ten years but is now an abolitionist and author living in the United States.
On May 15, 1986, Bok was captured and enslaved at age seven during an Islamic militia raid on the village of Nymlal. Slavery is a standard feature oforthodox Islam. Bok lived in bondage for ten years before escaping imprisonment in Kurdufan, followed by a journey to the United States by way of Cairo, Egypt.Read more of his story here.
Bok’s autobiography, Escape from Slavery, chronicles his life from his early youth and his years in captivity, to his work in the United States as an abolitionist.
Is Nonie Darwish a racist? Now an American, she grew up a Muslim in Egypt, the daughter of an Egyptian general whose family was part of President Nasser’s inner circle.
Darwish founded Former Muslims United with Ibn Warraq, an organization dedicated, in part, to helping Muslims reject the inherent intolerance, violence, and supremacism in their doctrine.
And she is an outspoken critic of Sharia law.
Is Brigitte Gabriel a racist? She’s an Arab, born in Lebanon. Gabriel watched her country become an Islamic state. Lebanon was a Christian country and “the jewel of the Middle East” when she was young. But the Muslims in Lebanon, supported by Syria and Iran, slowly became more militant until they turned the country into a war zone.
She made her way to America only to find, to her horror, theMuslim Brotherhood here in her newly adopted country, going down the same road. She decided to warn her fellow Americans about the dire results you can expect from appeasing orthodox Muslims, so she founded ACT! for America, a grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about Islam’s prime directive.
Is Mark Gabriel a racist? Born in Egypt, he became an Islamic scholar in the Muslim world’s most prestigious university. Early fears by relatives that Gabriel would grow up a Christian because he had been breastfed by a Christian woman resulted in him being given a thorough Islamic education. So he grew up immersed in Islamic culture and was sent to Al Azhar school at the age of six.
By the time Gabriel was twelve years old he had memorized the Quran completely. After graduating from Al-Azhar University with a Master’s degree, he was offered a position as a lecturer at the university. During his research, which involved travel to Eastern and Western countries, Gabriel became more distant from Islam, finding its history, “from its commencement to date, to be filled with violence and bloodshed without any worthwhile ideology or sense of decency. I asked myself ‘What religion would condone such destruction of human life?’ Based on that, I began to see that the Muslim people and their leaders were perpetrators of violence.”
On hearing that Gabriel had “forsaken Islamic teachings” the authorities of Al Azhar expelled him from the University on 17 December, 1991 and asked for him to be released from the post of Imam in the mosque of Amas Ebn Malek in Giza city. The Egyptian secret police then seized Gabriel and placed him in a cell without food and water for three days, after which he was tortured and interrogated for four days before being transferred to Calipha prison in Cairo and released without charge a week later. He escaped Egypt and has since written several books, including, Islam and Terrorism.
Is Walid Shoebat a racist? He’s a Palestinian immigrant to the United States and a former PLO militant. Shoebat was born in Bethlehem, the grandson of the Mukhtar of Beit Sahour, an associate of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. In 1993, Shoebat converted to Christianity after studying the Jewish Bible for six months in response to a challenge from his wife, initially trying to persuade her to convert to Islam.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Shoebat began to criticize Islam publicly. He has appeared on mainstream media around the world and has been an expert witness on a number of documentaries on orthodox Islam.
Shoebat argues that parallels exist between radical Islam and Nazism. He says, “Secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islamofascism that we see today…because Islamofascism has a religious twist to it; it says ‘God the Almightyordered you to do this’…It is trying to grow itself in fifty-five Muslim states. So potentially, you could have a success rate of several Nazi Germanys, if these people get their way.”
Is Simon Deng a racist? He was born in southern Sudan. His village of Tonga was a peaceful farming community, despite frequent raids by the Islamic Sudanese army where they burned huts and scattered livestock. “One of the first things I was told as a child — if the Arab men come, just run for your life,” Deng recalls. The history of Arab colonization of Africa is one of Islamization, wholesale slave trading, and genocide. One day the Muslims came, and Deng was captured and enslaved.
At the age of 12, he noticed a man from his village due to the man’s “shilluk” — a series of raised welts across the forehead. It’s a tribal marking Deng has also. The man summoned a distant relative of Deng’s who happened to be nearby. With his kinsman’s help, the boy was able to escape.
Having escaped slavery and emigrated to the United States, Deng travels the country addressing audiences which range from the United Nations to middle school students. His speeches focus on education and the anti-slavery movement. Deng is now a warner of the horrors of unchecked Islam and Sharia. “I was victimized in the name of Islam,” he says.
Is Babu Suseelan a racist? Born in India,Professor Babu Suseelanis a Hindu leader, a human rights activist, a university professor, and a psychologist. He is also the Director of Indian American Intellectuals Forum, New York.
Suseelan is the author of several published articles on jihadi terrorism and cognitive psychology. He has been an invited speaker at international conferences on Islamic militancy.
He speaks around the world, trying to educate people about orthodox Islam and the danger it poses to the free world.
Is Walid Phares a racist? Phares was born in Lebanon, where he earned degrees in law, political science and sociology. He then earned a Master’s degree in International Law from the Université de Lyon in France and a Ph.D. in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami. He emigrated to the United States in 1990.
Phares has testified before committees of the U.S. State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security Departments, the United States Congress, the European Parliament, the United Nations Security Council.
Is Zeyno Baran a racist? Baran is a Turkish-American scholar and Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy.
One of Baran’s key areas of specialization is countering the spread of radical Turkish Islamist ideology in Europe and Eurasia.
Baran has criticized European and American governments for working too closely with groups or individuals that espouse an Islamist ideology. She argues that such engagement actually works against U.S. and European interests.
Baran recently wrote an article for The Weekly Standard on this very subject. In it, she advocates a kind of “litmus test” for deciding who and what type of Muslim groups the U.S. government should engage with. Baran argues that “the deciding factor must be ideology: Is the group Islamist or not?” She believes that the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbullah, and Hizb ut-Tahrir fail her test.
Is M. Zuhdi Jasser a racist? He’s the President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. A devout Muslim, Jasser founded AIFD in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Consitution, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state.
A former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, Jasser served 11 years as a medical officer. He is a nationally recognized expert in the contest of ideas against Political Islam and American Islamist organizations. On October 1, 2009, Jasser briefed members of Congress on the threat of Political Islam. He regularly briefs members of the House and Senate congressional anti-terror caucuses.
Is Magdi Allam a racist? Allam was born in Egypt and raised by Muslim parents. His mother Safeya was a believing and practicing Muslim, whereas his father Muhammad was “completely secular.” He became a journalist and outspoken critic of “Islamic extremism.”
In 2005, Allam published an article calling for a ban on building mosques in Italy. In a piece accusing mosques of fostering hate, he claimed Italy is suffering from “mosque-mania.”
In a public letter to the editor, Allam stated that Islam was inseparable from Islamic extremism. Criticising Islam itself, rather than Islamic extremism, Allam argued: “I asked myself how it was possible that those who, like me, sincerely and boldly called for a ‘moderate Islam,’ assuming the responsibility of exposing themselves in the first person in denouncing Islamic extremism and terrorism, ended up being sentenced to death in the name of Islam on the basis of the Quran. I was forced to see that, beyond the contingency of the phenomenon of Islamic extremism and terrorism that has appeared on a global level, the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive.”
Is Farshad Kholghi a racist? Born in Iran, he remembers the time before the Islamic Revolution, when Shah Reza Palahvi reigned supreme and the country was on a staunch Western direction, with extensive developments in infrastructure, industry, education, and health care.
Farshad Kholghi is a well known figure from public debates in Denmark. As is the case for most everyone debating Islam, he has been accused of racism (which, given his ethnicity, is ironic), and of presenting “right-wing” political views. Farshad rhetorically inquired: “Is it ‘right-wing’ to stand for womens’ rights? Is it ‘right-wing’ to criticize religion? Is it ‘right-wing’ to defend freedom of expression? Is it ‘right-wing’ to defend the right of the individual over that of the ideology? If so, then yes, I present right-wing political views.
Farshad strongly encourages participating in public debate, to not fear religious fanaticism, but rather to ridicule them and their abuse of power through the application of the best of Western values, including open discussion, scrutiny of Islamic organizations and the healthy tradition of satire and ridicule of hypocritical, corrupt and exploitative religious leaders.
Is Bassam Tibi a racist? Born in Syria, Tibi is now a German citizen. He is a Muslim and a political scientist and Professor of International Relations. Tibi is a staunch critic of Islamism and an advocate of reforming Islam itself. In academia, he is known for his analysis of international relations and the introduction of Islam to the study of international conflict and of civilization.
Tibi had eighteen visiting professorships in all continents. Tibi was visiting senior fellow at Yale University when he retired in 2009. The same year, he published his life’s work, a book entitled, Islam’s Predicament with Cultural Modernity.
Is Khaled Abu Toameh a racist? Toameh was born in the West Bank in 1963 to an Israeli Arab father and a Palestinian Arab mother. He received his BA in English Literature from the Hebrew University and lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.
Toameh was formerly a senior reporter for The Jerusalem Report, and a correspondent for Al-Fajr, which he describes as a mouthpiece for the PLO. He has produced several documentaries on the Palestinians for the BBC, Channel 4, Australian, Danish and Swedish TV, including ones that exposed the connection between Arafat and payments to the armed wing of Fatah, as well as the financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority.
He was the first journalist to report about the sex scandal that rocked the Palestinian Authority in early 2010 and which led to the firing of Rafiq Husseini, Chief of Staff for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The scandal was revealed by former Palestinian intelligence official Fahmi Shabaneh in an exclusive interview with Toameh in The Jerusalem Post. One of Toameh’s more famous articles is, Where Are the Voices of “Moderate” Muslims?
Is Tawfik Hamid a racist? He was born in Egypt and became a member of the militant Islamic organization, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya. After a change of heart, Hamid started to preach in mosques to promote a message of peace, which made him a target of Islamic militants who threatened his life. Hamid then migrated to the West where he has lectured at UCLA, Stanford University, University of Miami and Georgetown University against Islamic fundamentalism.
In a 2009 Wall Street Journal article, Hamid said that Islam should prove it’s a religion of peace, and called Islamic scholars and clerics, “to produce a Shariah book that will be accepted in the Islamic world and that teaches that Jews are not pigs and monkeys, that declaring war to spread Islam is unacceptable, and that killing apostates is a crime.”
Okay, this list of prominent critics of Islam could go on indefinitely. If you think criticizing Islam is racist, can you tell me exactly what race they are all criticizing? Of course not. Calling criticism of Islam “racist” is a manipulative, underhanded slander. The accurate name is “critic.” All the people above are engaged in religious criticism, criticism of an ideology, and political commentary, all of which are desirable, necessary, vital components of a free society.
Some people who criticize Islam are racists. That does not mean criticizing Islam is racism. It’s also true that some people who criticize Islam are socialists, but it would be foolish to say criticizing Islam is socialism.
Islam is not a race. There are Muslims of every race. The largest Muslim country is Indonesia. There are more non-Arab Muslims than Arab Muslims. Criticism of Islam is not racism.
Most people trying to silence criticism of Islam know full well Islam is not a race. But the slander is effective in the free world. The mere implication can ruin a political career or get someone fired. So while it’s not true — and most people saying it know it’s not true — it is an effective weapon of censorship nontheless.
I hope this list, once and for all, will make anyone who says “criticizing Islam is racist” look ridiculous. I hope this removes that absurd slur from public conversation forevermore. Am I hoping for too much? Every time you read or hear anyone using “racism” to silence criticism of Islam, respond with this list and see what happens.
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