Posts Tagged ‘ Liberal ’

Help Wanted: Ex-Muslim Seeking White Liberal Allies

Hi, are you liberal?

Do you stand by the minorities?

Are you a friend of the underdog, an ally of the marginalized?

There is a minority of the minority in town that just won’t trend on Twitter.

Hello, I’m a brown, gay, bi-gender, ex-Muslim atheist. Please notice me.

Like a lot of things, ‘privilege’ is a spectrum. Muslims are a marginalized community in Europe and America, often subjected to dangerous stereotypes. I supported Tahira Ahmed, the Muslim woman refused an unopened can of diet coke aboard a flight for “security reasons”. I yelled at Richard Dawkins – a person who I usually admire – on Twitter, for his paranoid rants against a Muslim child arrested for making a clock.

I stand up for Muslims wherever they face persecution, but they don’t stand up for me. Oh, and if you object to my use of the word “they”, notice that I’m making use of the same language you’d use for white people. You must recognize the context in which I speak.

In my part of the world – the Islamic Republic of Pakistan – Muslims are not an oppressed minority. They are the ruling class. If they find out who I am, I would be legally executed, if not lynched – not even because I’ve said anything blasphemous, but because I’m an ex-Muslim, an “apostate”.

Islam here is not a counter-cultural phenomenon. It is the writ of the establishment. It is the bane of the minorities, dissidents, freethinkers and liberals such as yourself who refuse to abide by the “official” customs. Things like hijab, niqab, dupatta or any form of pardah are not an “identity” here; they are garments either imposed by law, or enforced by sanctioning the social harassment of women who refuse to wear them.

People like myself, dear friends of mine, have fled to countries like UK, Canada and the United States. These ‘blasphemers’ and ‘apostates’ of the East, the first-hand witnesses of the effects of unmitigated Islamic power, often become ‘Islamophobes’ in the West. Why wouldn’t they be fearful of a religion that has been used to justify all forms of cruelty against them?

‘Good’ Atheists like CJ Werlerman, wouldn’t know the difference. We have often been accused of being “native informants”. We are guilty of not putting the full weight of our support behind a community that treats us with derision, not just in Pakistan, but abroad as well.  It is more than just ‘possible’ for a group to be oppressed in some way, and be an oppressor in another.

Who’s defending us? Werlerman? Lean? Greenwald? Ben Affleck?

Many of my people are locked in accidental alliances with the neo-cons, the anti-Muslim bigots – the likes of Pamela Gellar and Pat Condell – both of whom I intensely dislike. Again, what choice do we have? You defend, and even celebrate Islam as a courtesy to its marginalized adherents in your countries, but that ideology is poison to us; and our only consolation is that not all Muslims follow it uniformly.

Why would you ask us to make peace with a scripture that refers to my kind as the “worst of all beasts”? Why would you want me to get along with a religion that throws Sodom and Gomorrah in my face when I try to speak up for LGBTQ rights? Why would you expect me, as a feminist, to not condemn a book that justifies domestic abuse of women, denial of their equal inheritance rights, and the practice of having a woman’s testimony being valued as only half that of a man’s.

Would you like us, the “native informants”, to pretend that there is no culture of shunning and mistreating ex-Muslims in the Muslim community, so not to intensify anti-Muslim prejudice that is abundant in Europe and America? Do you want us all to go down quietly, because the needs of the many (Muslims) outweigh the needs of the few (ex-Muslims)?

What about my friend, Irtaza, who committed suicide because his Muslim family and community wouldn’t accept him as an atheist?

You expect us to join you in the fight against anti-Muslim bigotry, and I want to. I get you. But in the struggle against anti ex-Muslim bigotry, we stand alone. We remain unacknowledged.

People deserve advocacy. People deserve not to be reduced to their religious, racial or gender identities. But bad ideas and cultures deserve no sympathy. Neither must the baby be thrown out with the bathwater, nor should the bathwater be rescued along with the baby.

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You’re a trend-chaser, not an LGBT “ally”

All Patricia Arquette said, was that we need gender equality, and that all people – black people, gay people, male people – must help women in their political and social battles, just as feminists have helped theirs.

In other words, intersectionality that runs both ways.

On social media, she’s under attack for “implying” that gay people and racial minorities are no longer struggling, and that women are the last group left in the leper-pit of the underprivileged.

Here’s what you should know. Online, I’ve fought for gay rights, racial minorities’ rights, and religious minorities’ rights’; but almost nothing spurs more controversy than when I proudly declare myself a feminist. And that’s while I still have my male privilege working for me!

Arquette is not the one with an intersectionality problem. YOU are, if you’re a hater. All she’s doing, is asking for her empathy towards other marginalized groups to be reciprocated. She’s not calling for women’s rights activism to take place at the expense of sociopolitical justice for gay and black people.

Let me break down to you, what you probably already know and feel.

Gay is *in*. Waving a rainbow flag in people’s face no longer carries the social or political risks it once did, and it’s officially “cool” to do so. Racism, while also far from over, is still widely recognized as a very real problem.

Sexism, is considered far less of an issue, and declaring oneself a feminist is a sure-fire way of getting trolled. ‘Atheismophobia’ isn’t even a thing yet, despite the fact that many countries still execute people for being atheists, just like they do to gay people.

Now note that I say the following as a man who puts the ‘B’ in the LGBT.

Fuck the trend-chasing liberals. Fuck all of you who conveniently crawl out of your foxholes after the battlefield has sufficiently cooled down; when it’s finally become safe and fashionable to stand by the oppressed. I can manage without your “alliance”, which is nothing but a bloody revolution’s open-bar after-party.

Don’t cherry-pick liberal agendas depending on what fetches you the most Facebook likes and retweets. Stand up for the feminists who get rape threats for airing their honest opinions! Stand up for the atheists who get glared at for being “immoral” and leading “purposeless” lives! Stand up for obese people who get fat-shamed everyday to the point that their personhood itself becomes questionable! Take risks standing up for the marginalized communities that aren’t “in” yet, and whose ardent advocates get mercilessly laughed at for being hypersensitive whiners.

I can name one or two things wrong in this world besides homophobia and racism, and ALL of them deserve your tears and attention.

No Country For Sane Men

Kohsar market seems to be flickering back to life, but an unmistakable aura of dread and apprehension persists. This was the site of the tragic assassination that took place on the 4th of January. I visited the market yesterday, and it is no longer the place I recall. According to an employee at the Gloria Jeans cafe, the shop has lost much of its business since the attack. Many important customers (including Shereen Rehman, or so he claimed) haven’t returned since.

The moderate voices are being drowned by the cacophony of religious hate-mongers. It seems that the mullahpocalypse is finally upon us, and it’s a threat possibly greater than anything we’ve ever faced…and this is coming from a nation that has recently had three-fifths of its surface inundated by floods. We’re heading for a point where Qadris of this country are going to start shooting teenagers for playing loud music in public, and the Pakistani masses, being the Einsteins that they are, will applaud the killings because the teenagers had been “openly defying Allah’s law”. They will not use their brains to figure out whether the punishment fits the crime..or if a punishment is even prescribed! They’ll just nod mindlessly.

The support for the killer remains strong. And I’m not talking about a small group of ignoramuses, but a clear majority of the Pakistani public that is treating the killer as a hero. Ghazi, is what they’re calling him. This shows that Qadri was only the tip of the iceberg. The dagger of Islamism has penetrated way deeper into this country’s bosom.

On the 12th of January, a Christian woman and her mother were brutally beaten by an aashiq-e-rasool mob that broke into their home, on charges of blasphemy. And what evidence did they possess to prove such an allegation? The word of a Muslim wench who had had a dispute with the Christian woman earlier that day.

Verily, when it comes to religion, all logic and all sense of right and wrong quickly fly out of the window. This incident proves what neo-Atheists have been harping about all along: it’s not the fault of people, but the ideology that corrupts these people to the core.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We recognize cigarette smoking as hazardous to health not because of its ability to induce lung cancer in all of its users, but by raising the incidence of cancer to a level much higher than what is normal. That’s religion in a nutshell. The more educated and good-hearted people shall continue to resist the poison being injected into their veins by the holy writ, but the rest will keep succumbing to the hate that it propagates under the guise of virtue.

That’s precisely the picture we see today: a nation of blind Quran-thumpers who fail to see anything wrong with the death of a man who was merely questioning a certain law of the land. They fail to recognize that this country is home not only to them and their kin, but also to non-Muslims who deserve to have their say. They have a right to question the law they’re supposed to live under.

So Islamists, you’re free to keep punishing people for blasphemy and apostasy and adultery and motor-boating (or whatever it is that you people feel the need to shed blood over), but then fully expect your ideology to be treated by the civilized world as a religion of barbarians and hooligans. Those who readily kill their fellow men over religion, yet raise a ruckus over burning paper deserve no respect.

It’s time for the liberals of this land to prepare for a mass exodus to a country, any country, where the worth of a man is not measured by the length of his beard, but by his ability to think differently; to a world where diversity of opinion is admired and not discouraged; where the sanity of its inhabitants has not been completely eclipsed by an ancient constitution written in blood…

..and leave this sinking ship at the mercy of social Darwinism.

Atheism: The Other Extreme?

Theist apologists frequently attempt to defend faith by claiming that extremism is not the wholly-owned subsidiary of religion. It exists in all forms, both outside and within religion…and that we may vanquish religious beliefs from the society, but shall never vanquish extremism itself.

Except, for the problem that all forms of extremism are not equally detrimental to humanity.

The way I see it, the effort to portray “militant Atheism” as the other, equally harmful end of extremism, is a pitiful one. It is meant to establish symmetry merely for the sake of symmetry, without realizing that a so-called militant Atheist isn’t half as dangerous as a soldier of God.

Religious Extremist: “Hands up! Or I’m gonna set this bomb off right here!”

Liberal Extremist: “Hands up! Or I’m gonna draw a funny picture of your Prophet! Don’t test me, dammit, I’ll do it!”

To suggest that religious and liberal extremism are equally devastating, is like saying that the Tobacco companies directly responsible for millions of deaths each year are just as bad as the pesky, anti-smoking campaigners. Even though they’re both annoying at times, they’re not evenly destructive….not even close!

Liberalism, by definition, is about providing choice to people, instead of dictating them what they must do/not do with their own lives. To what “extreme” can one linger in such an area? Theists sometimes quote Stalin as an example of “Atheist extremism”, which is absurd on so many levels that I’m unsure of where to begin..

Firstly, do they not seem to realize how ludicrous it is to say, “We may have had our crusades and our inquisitions and our witch-burnings and our jihads and our Osamas and our abortion-clinic arsonists and our homophobes and our Churches that single-handedly threw science a hundred years back, but you Atheists had Stalin, so it all balances out!”. It’s a hapless tu quoque or “you too” reminiscent of a smoke bomb thrown by a ninja in movies when it’s time to escape from an unwinnable battle.

Also, there’s a difference between doing something due to a certain stance, and doing something while having a certain stance. Stalin did not go around committing genocides in the name of Charles Darwin. He did it to satisfy his personal lust for wealth and political power.

Likewise, if a Muslim robs a bank to get rich, he cannot be termed an “Islamic extremist”. However, if he commits the same crime in the name of Allah or His Prophet, then it’d be apt to call him such and perfectly valid to question the Islamic teachings that are spawning such terrorists.

So, no. There’s really no such thing as liberal extremism. To argue that a passionate whistle-blower is as bad as the perpetrator, is utterly and absolutely illogical.