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ITV’s “Ex-Muslim” Documentary – a missed opportunity

I have always keenly examined the psychology of the ‘Ex-Muslim’ phenomenon so I was intrigued to hear of ITV’s documentary on ‘Ex-Muslims’ on Thursday night. However, within minutes I soon disappointingly realised that it was a missed opportunity for a meaningful, nuanced treatment of the topic, and instead a very worrying presentation of carefully decontextualised events and slogans relieved of their subtlety and nuance.

The reason I have been keen to research so-called ‘Ex-Muslim’ iconography and rhetoric is that, at the core of it, it could be partly our failure as a community to effectively deal with a plethora of psycho-spiritual, mental health and social issues. Remarkably, I have not yet come across a single intellectual shubha (specious argument) used as a basis for anyone leaving Islām rather a whole host of extraneous factors, and I believe a deal of sympathy is required to approach this topic. Especially in the War O[f] Terror world, we have seen an entire generation of Muslims growing up absorbing stereotypes against their own identity, swallowing without question the propaganda against those ‘inferior, backwards cultures’ that ‘hate our freedoms’. Like a perfect storm, it is met with a mixture of the superficial thinking, materialistic consumerism, distraction and hegemony that characterises the cult of modernity and it is catalysed by trauma, personal loss, the stigma from some communities, mental health or ‘odd’ behaviour and tastes.

This is why I believe we have a duty to build emotionally and intellectually confident Muslims who are comfortable in their own skin, who understand white supremacy and the reach of the tentacles of hegemony beyond the physical force deep into the epistemological realm—that is, of knowledge structures and production. We need to nurture the ability to perceive terms with hidden Eurocentric historical and epistemic baggage, and protect ourselves and our children from the blight of the inferiority complex—the most insidious obstacle to genuine ‘free thinking’.

A change in one’s ‘Muslimness’ in terms of social identity in a climate of such systemic and public Islamophobia is somewhat analogous to the ‘Uncle Tom Syndrome’ in race minority literature (not to be conflated with its common pejorative usage), so it would be disingenuous to ignore the underlying feeling of embarrassment or inferiority and focus plainly on the symptoms. It is already complicated enough a social issue for most people’s liking that using it to fuel propaganda is highly annoying to put it mildly.

Make a story

Perhaps the most worrying sign of propaganda in the ITV documentary was the (arguably maliciously) decontextualised treatment of the politics of atheism in Bangladesh and other former European colonies still subject to political, cultural and epistemic domination. It is extremely easy for anyone—not constrained by academic standards—to create a narrative out of thin air and use carefully cherry-picked, decontextualised events as ‘proof’. The narrative set by the documentary was simple. ‘Islamist’ gangs (a notion obviously not defined) who hate freedom and ‘The West’ roam the earth killing bloggers who blog about science and Enlightened, superior values, because it offends their ‘extreme’ religion.

If one were to look at the political landscape and power dynamics in those countries’ recent history, it would obviously give just about enough nuance to throw a spanner in the ITV narrative. The picture they attempted to paint was one of atheist bloggers being the ‘resistance to fundamentalism’, for which they are routinely killed by angry Muslim mobs. What is studiously left out is that those Muslim majorities have been ruled for decades by viciously repressive secular regimes (installed by guess who) prone to massacring thousands of Muslim protestors, and those innocent bloggers happen to be aligned with and privileged by the repressive state power. One only need Google ‘Shabagh’ and ‘Motijheel Massacre’ for the villains to become victims and victims to become villains instantaneously.

Pre-empting the usual red herrings: no, that is not a moral justification of wanton violence. This is a condemnation of its decontextualised use to further malicious agendas. Obviously, when state repression is given a strategic vent to let off steam then a small minority will inevitably and regrettably turn to violence. That is when the cameras come out for those opportune moments of ‘proof’ of why those regimes need to repress their peoples even further to stop the ‘fundamentalist’ bogeymen from killing everyone.

Law

A subtle sub-narrative of the documentary was that just because Islamic law contains a death penalty for ridda (somewhat unfortunately translated into the Christian term ‘apostasy’ with its own baggage) it is somehow to blame for the wanton mob violence some self-identifying ‘Ex-Muslims’ experience. This is normally where Muslims might feel the urge to explain or defend the stereotypical ‘backwards Islamic laws’ they’ve been presented. There is no need. Whatever laws exist on the Muslim statue or the manuals of Islamic law is irrelevant to lawless violence, no matter how hard some try to spin it.

Firstly, the civilizational tradition that arguably gave the rest of the world the rule of law and due process should not be expected to distance itself from mob violence. If one wants to know ‘what Islām says’ about a matter, let not them look to repressed populations of colonial experiments, but to the Islamic civilisations when Islām was given its due right in society. Secondly, no one in their right mind would blame a particular law that may exist in the entire body and edifice of law, for wanton lawless mob violence, especially if the laws against wanton lawless mob violence were more prolific than the blamed law in the first place! That is the case of course if one doesn’t operate a special set of rules for Islām. No doubt, no one would blame an instance of gang violence on the many provisions within English law to use violence in particular circumstances.

The fact of the matter is every culture and peoples have a standard for the justified use of force or violence, as to my knowledge there has not been a completely pacifist polity outside of fiction that has not been wiped out by its more brutal neighbours. Invariably those that shout the loudest against the ‘barbaric muzlamic laws’ are in effect saying, Muslims—even in Muslim majority countries—cannot use their own standards (that have a proven track record for the prosperity of Muslims and non-Muslims) but must use the White Man’s standard. What makes this standard superior?

And this summarises well the epistemological aspect of hegemony that is usually mirrored in the ‘Ex-Muslim’ experience and rhetoric. All of the slogans of ‘free thinking’ and ‘challenging Islām’ are in essence a recourse to dominant, normative doctrines and standards set by hegemony. Allāh says:

But of the people is he who disputes about Allāh without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book [from Him].[1]

Those that tend to disagree with or look down upon any Islamic injunction that happens to be unpopular according to whatever state doctrines—secular liberal or otherwise—happen to dominate the day fundamentally do not have an objective basis from which to launch their attack. Essentially, they are following that which they have absorbed from the society around them, which they have then taken to be the standard by which they judge Islām.

And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has revealed,” they say, “Rather, we will follow that upon which we found our fathers.” Even if Satan was inviting them to the punishment of the Blaze?[2]

Those not yet cognisant of the power of normative societal doctrines and tastes usually benefit from the following thought experiment. The ‘Ex-Muslim’ in a modern world dominated by Eurocentric tastes and values tends to predictably dislike the same few things about Islām—gender roles, sexuality, hudūd punishments, and so on. However, imagine we observed their respective Ex-Muslim of 150 years ago—in a world dominated by the Eurocentric tastes and values of 150 years ago. It is not that difficult to imagine that they would dislike the fact that Islām calls for the equality of all races, the right of the woman to be educated, or the rule of law and due process for all—all things counter to the flavour of that day.

Arrogance blended with ignorance produces something more destructive than the sum of its parts: the superficial slogans and subtlety-free sound-bites that characterise the aggressive strand of ‘Ex-Muslim’ discourse. There is a difference between intellectual critique and infantile provocation with Islamophobic stereotypes. The statement of one ‘Ex-Muslim’ in the documentary spoke volumes, albeit inadvertently.

“The internet and social media has done to Islām what the printing press did to Christianity.”

Ignoring the fact that the printing press (and books in general before it) benefitted Islām greatly, social media probably does fuel the ‘Ex-Muslim’ cause because, like their epistemology, social media is also characterised by shallow, superficial slogans communicated through 140 character-or-less thinking. It is always easier and less costly to mention a few common specious and fallacious arguments, which inevitably require more time and space to fully expose and refute.

Finally, I found, as usual, that noticeably little of actual Islamic concepts and practises were mentioned in the documentary, and for good reason. Islām in its essence, without the disinformation and propaganda, without the stereotypes and distractions, reaches out to every sound intellect and resonates with every innate disposition (fitra). As a result, let us carry on presenting it but also protect our future generations from those maladies that prevent sound thinking and leave one open for epistemic oppression. They must feel comfortable and confident in their own skin.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān, 31:20

[2] Al-Qur’ān, 31:21

About Nabeel Akhtar

37 comments

  1. do not want success....just perhaps a friend or a sense of community and steps to gaining hqppiness

    @ fellow ex muslims….

    where you dudes and dudesses hang out? any groups or hang out places?

    what do you lot get up to?……is there guarenteed happiness??…do the souls feel contenment?…are you all united and help one another?

  2. no retreat no surrender

    Give me the book? …..ie your way!

    You can have my residence/land…you can have my money/resources…oh you have already!

    Ok….i do not agree…..drug me up…subdue me…insult and abuse me….torture me….kill me…if you wish…..

    In the end….true it is all a test….who is going to laugh last and best……

  3. i have not read the full article or watched it, but would like to say..
    in islaam apostacy is punishable by death. however, before this takes place they would need to be
    explained to further…their misunderstandings, gievances etc. and take it from there.
    with instances of apostacy and other unnatural ‘acts’ , for instance homosexuality, there will be a cause
    such as an injustice or ill treatment somewhere.
    as an ignorant teenager, remember being not too aware of the ruling for homosexuals in islaam.
    however a woman staring at me guiltily, before coming out with,’ i love the way you walk’, took me by surprise;never heard that before. the intensity of my bewiderment did invoke the response from her..’i have a husband, i am married..’i did not say anything but just quickly walked away.
    but my brain did do the talking. from that day i had an absolute dislike for homosexuals; taking view,theyve got to end up in hell.
    alhamdullillaah since then, i have understood that they are not meant to bekilled straight away
    and now actually feel sorry for them and make du’aa that Allaah azza wa jall guides them to the right path
    so that they do not end up in hell.
    another lady who i did not know was a homosexual first as she had a grown son..it was the injustice of being left alone, pregnant by her partner….she turned to homosexuality.

    i am not even finishing reading this article, but would like to say.
    yes, even muslims may commit injustices.dont take oiut your anger on the religion.
    islaam is perfect; many muslims may not be.
    get your priorities straight. life is a test and life is short.
    maybe a round of applause..does not compare much to eternal life in the hellfire

  4. Got it… non-Muslims are really to be blamed for all the horrible treatment atheist Muslim apostates are subjected to by Muslims.

    Just another hate-filled and bigoted Muslim unable to admit, as a matter of destructive hubris, that Islamic doctrine is problematic.

    • There’s one thing you’ll probably agree with me on: your understanding of this article really does indicate the level of your intelligence.

  5. Regarding the point about intellectual reasons for leaving Islam, there are a lot of us who left precisely for intellectual reasons. That just wasn’t the focus of this particular film. That’s not to say that we don’t exist.

    For folks who want to engage with material that provides food for thought on the intellectual argument for leaving Islam, consider The Masked Arab. Many ex-Muslims credit his work as helping them explore Islam in a rigorous, critical fashion: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL56z7XfkZRzQt6PRiLw_LwmojB_V0llTt

    My ex-Muslim friends are people who were leaders of their MSA groups, active volunteers in the Dawah movement, the people who would read Taravi prayers because know one else knew as much of the Qur’an as they did, etc.

    If we expect Christians, Jews, Hindus etc. to intellectually question their inherited faith, are we surprised when Muslims do the same? Why are we immune from critical thinking? Why should we assume we are so holy, that Allah just dropped us by birth into the right deen, and the right denomination within that deen?

    I explore this concept more, here: http://reasononfaith.org/welcome/

    • Nabeel Akhtar

      I am aware of that YouTuber and his arguments and am actually quite glad you brought it up (had I used him as an example I would have been accused of deliberately choosing weak examples or straw men). Anyone who scans through it will see the exact same emotional, subjective and outright misinformed/mistranslated stuff masquerading as “intellectual arguments” and “reason” I was referring to. Check the reply I posted last night for links of how these same arguments (and far superior to them) flourished in Islamic society and were put to bed centuries ago (cf. the 40+ volumes!), and seeing from your blog you may benefit from reading Chris Hedges’ ‘I don’t believe in atheists’ also called ‘When atheist becomes religion: America’s new fundamentalism’ to see the uncanny resemblance between right wing Christian fundamentalists and new atheists both collectively marching towards a ‘salvation’; one through Christ and the other through a very emotive tool they think is called ‘Reason’. It’s exceedingly easy to ascribe slogans like ‘reason’ and ‘intellectual’ to yourself but the proof is in the pudding. Such fallacies are nothing new they’ve been around since Babylonian times and beyond by established power to divert attention away from prophets.

    • Without the Muslim part in ‘ex-muslim’ you’re nobodies. That’s the most significant thing about you that you still need Islam. All of you lie. You can’t even spell tarawi properly and you want us to take you seriously. What a joke.

      • lol! That is your argument? Ex Muslim means former Muslim and they are just normal human beings who are looked down upon by intolerant, bigoted Muslims. Not to mention in more than 10 Muslim countries leaving Islam can be punishable with death. But you ignore that because Muslims are dishonest and like to pretend Islam is peace. Calling nobody just goes to show the intolerant bullies Muslims can be. They cannot accept critisism and hide cowardly behind the word ‘Islamaphobia’.

  6. Nabeel Akhtar

    Right, what I wrote received a barrage of comments so since I unfortunately lack the patience, fortitude and good manners to respond to them individually I’m going to try to represent the contentions in a summarised fashion and answer them together. Hopefully those genuinely curious or interested in answers will not mind; those looking for an argument or trolling will no doubt find fault with whatever I say, so here goes. Each * represents somewhat of a new contention.

    * Carl Abbott says I’m trying to act clever by using big words but I’m somehow thick or failed to do so.

    Sorry Carl that’s how I talks.

    * I won’t respond to tired clichés and stereotypes about Muslim women being wives and mothers and not being educated etc., by Nelu and others. My point was not to convince these people but to try and make them (if they happen to read something intended for Muslims primarily) a bit less dogmatically certain about the values they’ve come to hold, purely by historical accident.

    * Some (such as Hassan, Sarah, Andalusi, Rehan) have taken exception to my statement of shubuhat (specious arguments) being not genuinely intellectual.

    Some have cited that Muslims have been refuting these shubuhat in apologetic website etc. etc. which you should put two and two together with and realize it would be literally impossible to give such doubts a detailed discussion here, in a midnight rant about a propaganda film bordering fiction. There’s an encyclopedic compendium exceeding 40-something volues of ‘shubuhat’ for those capable or interested in reading (http://waqfeya.com/book.php?bid=7813). I assure you I do not make that statement likely – literally for years every single ‘doubt’ I’ve come across has been either an after-the-fact justification for something caused by some kind of trauma or family problem, or carefully crafted logical fallacies that have existed since day 1 – just have a look at the volume headings of the ‘doubts’ against Islam in the link I just pasted – it is comprehensive, we have nothing to hide or run away from.

    I don’t blame you for presuming Islam to be ‘one of the religions’ if you grew up in a world dominated by western epistemology and culture, something you ‘feel’ or have ‘faith’ in rather than a simple yet rigorously intellectual and unambiguous set of warranted propositions for those who manage to separate facts from values and feelings and have some acquaintance with the study of epistemology.

    Just look at the caliber of people accepting Islam vs those leaving Islam
    – centuries of scholars and leaders of other religious and philosophical traditions on one hand, and clearly cultural ‘moselems’ who grew up as ‘the other’ with islam as their secondary worldview and epistemological frame on the other—clearly with less familiarity with the intellectual foundations of Islam.

    “you don’t want to entertain there being sound arguments against Islam, because you fear you won’t be able to counter them”
    – Hussan, Andalusi, Rehan,
    Refer to the encyclopedic project I mentioned above. Again, they all boil down to either a childish straw man or stereotypes/tropes, or a genuine mental health issue/trauma.

    Similar contention: “Their objectivity and critical thinking faculties is stifled by a pro-Islamic bias – rooted in their presupposition ‘Islam is perfect’.”

    Ask yourself this – how would the world look different if these oft-recited tropes against Islam were false and indeed there was a general guidance sent by the creator of the universe that in its essence was visible to all who approached it with a sound intellect free of conflicting desires/values? I think you’ll find the world would look exactly the same as it does today; but you or whoever else WANTS not to accept its propositions will BY DEFINITION find ways of smearing those who do accept its propositions and follow its guidance. My aim was not to convince people like you; my aim was in fact to try to shake your conviction (which I add again, is a product of pure historical accident).

    * So-called “Apostasy” laws (again, a word I do not like using).

    carl abbott seems to have been told by someone that “The gigantic elephant in the room is that the Koran directly states what the punishment for apostasy should be.” The only thing gigantic here should be his embarrassment since it does not. Of course it does not need to be to be included theoretically within Islamic legal corpus, just thought I’d tip my hat to him for giving me a chuckle.

    “Apostasy laws are to stop criticism of islam
    – again a stereotype only *believed* by those determined to view Islam as wrong by definition or to suit their cultural cringes.
    – Firstly I never use ‘apostasy’ due to its belonging in a western Christian philosophy, bringing with it baggage that does not carry over (which can explain why some people have such an obsession with it)
    – Secondly if Islam were afraid of criticism it would have taken a page out of the Christendom book and required forced conversion, rather than show an exemplary model (some of which we enjoy now in modernity – credit where due) of coexistence and plurality—which is partly why for centuries Muslims were a minority of the areas they ‘conquered’ (another loaded term along with which the uncritical will absorb inappropriate baggage).
    – So it is just another false talking point circulated by those hell-bent on painting Islam to be somehow similar to some other systems, philosophies and worldviews.
    – However, I would add as a disclaimer that that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people with GENUINE questions and curiosity about how Islam’s position vis-à-vis ridda/irtidād can be reconciled with today’s world, where one’s political/war/peace allegiances are not represented by their stated values/religious affiliation. That is an interesting conversation that needs to occur (and is occurring) on a genuine, academic and juristic level, not some hegemonic discourse or childish straw-men as we have seen recently. (I recommend Prof Jonathan AC Brown’s books, this lecture might provide food for thought for the non-dogmatic commenters: https://youtu.be/zCjeQ15CelE)

    * “The pathology of the ex-Muslim”-Sarah

    I actually do refer to it as a pathology, and I think those who are reacting negatively are displaying precisely the thing I think we should avoid – to stigmatise some kind of mental health problem and think of it as belittling. It is a serious pathology especially in the war o[f] terror generation, with ever-soaring rates of islamophobia.

    * Jumping on the decoloniality bandwagon

    With all do respect, decoloniality is not owned by a particular group and nor should it be restricted by their experience. There are various types of decoloniality and they do not all have to happily get along and sing kum ba yah.

    “Islam is a colonizing force”…
    – for this statement to be true it would effectively have to stretch so wide as to render meaningless the meaning of ‘colonising’. Yes, Islam was a civilsational tradition rather than some personal esoteric spiritual tradition, however looking at the orthodox/early Islamic civilsation (since we are allegedly “Salafis”) shows a disingenuity in comparing a legally pluralistic poly-national model with a mono-national, legally monistic and authoritarian imperial model. Your other arguments about naughty Muslims historically doing x, y or z I can neither confirm nor deny but it again, they have to answer for their sins and we for ours.
    – To dispel the other stereotypes and myths about pyramid power structures with Muslims on top – read Wael al-Hallaq to get an idea of which way around the pyramid was in the Islamicate – and no he’s not a Muslim (much less a “Salafi”) so hopefully you can believe him. Also check AC Brown’s lecture mentioned above.

    * Now I spent like half an hour writing all that, so I hope those who wrote contentions actually appreciate it! My aim is not to convince you but to get you to realise that our differences are not black and white. The only thing I haven’t addressed is the important contention that what have been referred to (inaccurately) as ‘apostasy’ laws in the manuals of law and legal precedents somehow are blameworthy for wanton vigilante violence. From what I remember unless it was edited out I did mention initially in the article why this is unfair. However it should suffice to reiterate that since wanton/vigilante violence is more profusely prohibited by the nusūs it is by definition Muslims doing something they’re not supposed to do – and I agree in condemning their actions. However to blame the actual law is unfair, especially since the legal mechanisms in dealing with implementing laws (especially punishments) are far more sophisticated than you are presenting — such as judges being ordered to avoid actually implementing the punishments by any excuse. Take for example an act existing in English law permitting police to shoot on site anyone walking around in the street. Just because it exists—with various important conditions and a legal methodology for implementation (i.e. in a state of emergency, or in a state of war), then no sane person would blame that law for someone in a gang using it to wipe out rivals. My point was to give all legal traditions—brown or white—the same charity and nuance required to actually understand them.

    • @Nabeel
      السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
      Make this your last comment brother, the useless trolls on this site, just want to bog you down. Sad people with no life. It is always the same on this site. You have addressed their remarks more than adequately.
      And as for the so called “Muslims” and some the remarks made, you really need to learn your religion, and stop taking ayats out of context the sura kafiroon comment, pathetic really….
      And for all you wanna be intellects, Muslim names or not, try using any intellect you may or may not have, in the right place.
      I found your article very informative and JazakAllah’Khair

    • Thank you for taking the time to reply. It is a long post so I just wanted to respond to the parts pertaining to my own points. (Although I will say the comment about people holding certain values purely by historical accident does cut both ways!).

      1.”Literally for years every single ‘doubt’ I’ve come across has been either an after-the-fact justification for something caused by some kind of trauma or family problem…”

      This is part of the problem, there is a complete lack of imagination, of being able to see the world from another point of view. Many people also accept Islam due to trauma, family problems, so on. Much more so than on a purely logical basis I would say. Does that make their faith any less meaningful to them or you? If you refuse to accept that people reject Islam for many reasons, which include the intellectual, without pathologising them or their motives, and if you cannot see how patronising it is (as patronising as Richard Dawkins declaring believers to be stupid, or child abusers etc) then it simply can’t be explained to you I suppose. Either one can or can’t.

      “I don’t blame you for presuming Islam to be ‘one of the religions’ if you grew up in a world dominated by western epistemology and culture…”

      Again, you are not really answering the charge there, merely reiterating it, namely those that leave are complicit in the sustaining of Western hegemony.

      “Just look at the caliber of people accepting Islam vs those leaving Islam”

      I am sorry, but that is just your opinion based on your own particular biases. Daesh is also calling themselves Muslims these days. So are good people. Bad people will also leave Islam and accept Islam, as with any other religion. As I said before: myriad, complex, intersecting reasons. Your point is unconscious cherry-picking where you can reinforce your own beliefs so as not to have to deal with the cognitive dissonance that results from the thought that people leave Islam for intellectually sound reasons and go on to live moral lives. In fact we can turn your statement on its head: just look at all the atheists in the world, and their calibre! Most of the top scientists, writers, artists, historians and humanitarians. It literally doesn’t mean a thing. Does it make atheism more palatable to you?

      2. The pathology of the ex-Muslim: “I actually do refer to it as a pathology, and I think those who are reacting negatively are displaying precisely the thing I think we should avoid – to stigmatise some kind of mental health problem and think of it as belittling. It is a serious pathology especially in the war o[f] terror generation, with ever-soaring rates of islamophobia.”

      No, just because one disagrees with your assessment of the nature of religious doubt does not mean one is trying to avoid a mental health label because of social stigma! You are conflating two different things here. I believe it is patronising for you to apply an un-asked for mental health label onto a heterogeneous group of people who are able to tell you their stories themselves. They do not need you to diagnose them, that’s unwarranted and patrician. Just because I think what you are doing is patronising doesn’t mean I am trying to avoid social stigma.

      The war of terror generation is a valid point, as is the point about Islamaphobia, which is rampant and must be stopped where ever it is encountered. It is also possible that these doubts which are simmering in many people’s minds for a long time suddenly found a receptive audience who gave these people a safe space to voice their thoughts and then exploit them. Who can blame them after seeing what the reaction is from amongst their own communities?

      3. Jumping on the decoloniality bandwagon

      “With all do respect, decoloniality is not owned by a particular group and nor should it be restricted by their experience. There are various types of decoloniality and they do not all have to happily get along and sing kum ba yah.”

      No they do not, but what I feel it is important to note that 1. The use of other people’s safe space to push your own hegemonic agenda is dishonorable. This is what I am starting to see happen, and it starts with the use of the language you have used, without clarifying that you yourself are pushing for a particular hegemonic agenda. Who knows, in 100 years people may be fighting to be free from Islamic hegemony and return to the pagan gods of their ancestors!

      ““Islam is a colonizing force”…
      – for this statement to be true it would effectively have to stretch so wide as to render meaningless the meaning of ‘colonising’. Yes, Islam was a civilsational tradition rather than some personal esoteric spiritual tradition, however looking at the orthodox/early Islamic civilsation (since we are allegedly “Salafis”) shows a disingenuity in comparing a legally pluralistic poly-national model with a mono-national, legally monistic and authoritarian imperial model. Your other arguments about naughty Muslims historically doing x, y or z I can neither confirm nor deny but it again, they have to answer for their sins and we for ours.””

      Firstly these were not ‘naughty Muslims’ – women have been part of the war booty since the inception of Islam. Slavery, while greatly modified, was slavery nevertheless and paved the way for African slavery under Muslim rule. It was never banned outright or phased out as alcohol was.

      The argument about Islamic colonisation being different (therefore better?) to Western colonisation again cuts both ways. The British Empire was vast with many outposts over a long period of time. It fundamentally ran as very different cogs within the same machine. I also find it interesting that you see the Islamic empire as ‘civilisational’, an eerie echoing of the word that the West is constantly shoving down others’ throats as it continues its conquests of Muslim majority lands. Do you not find that hypocritical – that your chosen belief system has the right of rule over people unrelated to it? Military success (i.e. wars that killed human beings) was an integral factor (although not the only one) in the spread of Islam, much like the British Empire. What makes your Empire worthy of ascendency, other than your personal attachment to it?

      “To dispel the other stereotypes and myths about pyramid power structures with Muslims on top – read Wael al-Hallaq to get an idea of which way around the pyramid was in the Islamicate – and no he’s not a Muslim (much less a “Salafi”) so hopefully you can believe him. Also check AC Brown’s lecture mentioned above.”

      Unfortunately I will be unable to do that because of time contraints. If you feel they have arguments that have any bearing on what we are discussing then please refer to them in the main body of your argument. Otherwise it just seems like you are avoiding the issue, and for me this was the main issue: that now very orthodox Muslims are able to quote Chomsky and Fanon and move in decolonial circles without clearly articulating what it is they are aiming for, i.e. a supreme Islamic state that has built in power structures that place Muslims at the top of the heap compared to others.

      • Well I suppose we have reached a limit in some sense of this medium, since we seem to be misunderstanding each other and going round in circles. I give you the benefit of the doubt, since the words I have been using are I suppose open to be interpreted through a different lens with different baggage unintended by me. I would hope that you also give me the benefit of the doubt, since ultimately if I’m telling you what I intend then your personal interpretation (and associated presumptions and implications) of what I say should ideally take a back seat.

        You have motivated me however to focus on each shubha (“doubt”) that you have alluded to in some form of series, since if you are mentioning them in passing like this there are probably many others who may be thinking about them too. (“women”, “doubts”, “empire”, “war”, “slavery” and other buzz words) I do intend to show—at least from within the tradition—that these are in fact shubuhat (specious arguments) with an inevitable vestige of the western discursive view of Islam (rather than an internal story from within Islam) — one day if you have time then I suggest Jonathan Lyons’ thesis-turned-book ‘Islam Through Western Eyes’ (please don’t get defensive when I suggest you are operating on the presumption of the western view of issues such as women, violence, empire, slavery, religion, hegemony etc.—just because we operate with the elements from the western discursive tradition of Islam it doesn’t mean I’m saying we’re subjects to hegemony in the sense you have been accusing me of using it).

        You see, all these words and arguments you are mentioning are storied enterprises, which are framed from the perspective of a meaning and story from outside of Islam, looking at Islam and the Islamic as though it were in a petri dish. In doing so not only are you glossing over important nuance but you are contributing to the removal of Islam’s and the Islamic’s own ‘voice’ and ‘story’ to define its own terms through its own epistemic frame. For example, your constant use of the word ‘religion’ (rather than a set of true/false propositions as I have been talking about), your unfortunate reference to ‘slavery’ and ‘war’ as though there is any way in the world a learned person could blur the western tradition and Islamicate tradition on these. I’m sorry but at least on a website run by Muslims, you will not get to choose what these words mean and where they go, at least not without someone pointing it out to you. I really do recommend you take time to read those authors I mentioned before if you want to continue because without a historical foundation you will be doomed to reiterate the same contentions again and again. I promise the reward will be well worth the effort (God willing).

        Other things I will pass over without comment, such as your interpreting of my word ‘civilisational’ as ‘civilising’ and then wasting a few hundred words refuting (your created image of) me for; your continuing the straw man on ‘islamic hegemony’ and ‘pyramids’ (which you can’t overcome without reading Hallaq) or the various errors carried forward for which I hope the above may be useful.

        • @ Nadeem
          This has become a useless table tennis of opinions, back and forth…
          Ibn Battah said:
          “So fear Allaah, O Muslims! The good opinion you have of yourself and the knowledge you have that you are on the correct way, should not lead you to risk your Deen by sitting down with some of these people of desires, thinking, ‘I will intrude upon them in order to debate with them or to expose their ideas.’ However, they are more severe form of Fitnah than the dajjal, and their speech clings to a person more strongly than a severe itch, and can burn the hearts more than a blazing flame can. And I have seen a group of people who used to curse and revile the People of Desires. Then they went and sat with them in order to contest with them and refute them. Then the cheerful, open attitude, the hidden deception and the subtle disbelief continued until they became inclined towards them.”
          [Al-Ibaanah (2/470)]

          Also comes this narration. Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn al-Qaasim related to us, saying: Ahmad ibn al-Hasan narrated to us saying: Sulaymaan ibn al-Ash’ath narrated to us, saying: ‘Abdullaah ibn Chubbi al-Anteeq narrated to us, saying: Yaws ibn Asbaat narrated to us, saying: I heard Muhammad ibn an-Nadr al-Haarithee say: Whoever listens to a person of innovation – and knows that he is a person of innovation – then protection is taken away from him, and he is left to himself. [al-Imaam al-Haafiz Abul-Qaasim Habatullaah ibn al-Hasan ibn Mansoor at-Tabaree al-Laalikaa’ ee (d.418 A.H.) reports in his “Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahlis-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah” – Volume 1 Pages 135-136 No. 252]

      • Trolls at it again

        • @Abu Mustafa

          Oh yeah defo, at the risk of being hideously repetitive I have to say, again, seems to me the moderators are abnormally lenient generally across the site and this site needs some serious moderating! It’s spoiling it for us genuine types who come here. I have a website (not Islamic) and I’ve never had to bin a comment, but if the need arose, I would. The trolls here need showing the door. Unless of course the brothers who run this site, have another agenda….??

  7. Interesting article, it reminds me of a chess game I played a few years ago. My opponent was the perfection itself- very, polite, very friendly, respecting exactly all the rules of the game. More over, he moved the pieces somehow with a grace I had never met before, and put his piece exactly in the middle of the square he wanted to put it. On short, everything was perfect to him, except the game itself. Here he was a ” catastrophe”. In less than 20 moves I captured from him : queen, two bishops, a knife and a rook, and finally I mated him onthe move 24. An analogy between this article and that game can be made in the sense that the author of this article wrote a ” perfect ” article if vocabulary, rhetoric and writing skills are to be taken into consideration. However, what the article is missing is the essence, critical reasoning based on facts and not on assumptions or on what the author thinks to be irrefutable truths standing for facts. Let’s take a few examples. ” Whatever laws exist on the Muslim statue or the manuals of Islamic law is irrelevant to lawless violence, no matter how hard some try to spin it,” claims the author when referring to ” death penalty for apostates. Well….. that is not true. First off, the fact that such a law exists is relevant because it is inspirational – violent mobs take the law into their own hands and apply it. Thus, denying the connection between mob violence and law is both wrong and unfair. Then, if such a law creates violence and confusion- goes against the modern assumed trend that Islam is peaceful – why then is it not abrogated first and first most? The position of the author is very nebulous here. ” ….. 150 years ago… It is not that difficult to imagine that they would dislike the fact that Islām calls for the equality of all races, the right of the woman to be educated, or the rule of law and due process for all—all things counter to the flavour of that day”, ha, ha, ha, this claim of the author is from 1001Nights, 110%. As a person originanting from a country that 150 years ago was colonized by Ottomans (Muslims) I tell eveyone, up and clearly, that “equality” between Muslims and non-Muslims has never worked into Muslim dominated country. What about, “the right of the woman to be educated,” most probably here the author refers to the right of women to be educated to become wives and mothers, but nothing more. The author probably thinks that such an education means real education. In conclusion, the author does tell us, even if indirectly, that everything is ‘Ok’ for those who take ‘ light ‘ from “an enlightening Book ” forgeting to tell us that what was “elightening” 1400 years ago is no more that elightening now, or at least, people need now a broader source of enlighting to fit in with the much more complex times they live in right now. If the author wanted to be credible in his attempt of asserting the humanitarian and moral character of Islam, then he should have called for the abrogation of the the Islamic law that demands the death penalty for those leaving Islam. But he didn’t, unfortunately. And that is more than telling about who is him – an educated Muslim who loves so much his own religion that he doesn’t want to apply any critical reasoning when it comes down to analyzing the real challenges his religion faces nowadays, preferring instead to go for an empty rhetoric nicely wrapped to be served to those who usually don’t see the forest for the threes. Nice attempt anyway, but…. it could not persuade anyone, except maybe those who are already persuaded.

    • Nabeel Akhtar

      I have tried to respond to any genuine-seeming contentions included in your comment and others’. If you are interested have a look at the enormous comment I just posted, if you were just trolling or already thinking of a reply to the reply to the reply then don’t waste your time have a nice day!

  8. Likewise, as Khalid said, we also don’t have a TV so I haven’t seen the programme but no doubt it was the usual, biased anti Islamic theme. Same old, same old. # Yawn.

    As the author rightly stated, as Muslims we should have pride and be very comfortable in our skin. Being blessed with Islam is the biggest blessing and honour a person could have from Allah Ta’ala. Why should we feel inferior? We should never seek honour from anything contrary to Islam.
    As Umar RA said to Abu Ubaida in the very well know narration if we seek honour from anything other than Allah and Islam we will be disgraced.
    نَا اللَّهُ بِالْإِسْلَامِ فَمَهْمَا نَطْلُبُ الْعِزَّةَ بِغَيْرِ مَا أَعَزَّنَا اللَّهُ بِهِ أَذَلَّنَا اللَّهُ

    Yes life has become more difficult for us in the West but that shouldn’t weaken our resolve, I get abuse nowadays for wearing the niqab, but I don’t remove it and neither does it weaken my eaman or my pride in being a Muslim. I don’t need anyone’s acceptance or approval. Seeking Allah’s Pleasure that should be our goal.
    وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْرِي نَفْسَهُ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ رَءُوفٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

    The ONLY way that you will be accepted here in the West is if you abandon your religion and follow their secular principles = Ex Muslims…. How pitiful is that? It really is a tragedy.

    Everyday we should make the following dua’a from Sura Al Imran and be very grateful that Allah Ta’ala has guided us to the right path

    رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

    Nearest meaning: Our Lord, do not let our hearts deviate after You have guided us. Grant us Your mercy: You are the Ever Giving.

  9. “…I have not yet come across a single intellectual shubha (specious argument) used as a basis for anyone leaving Islām rather a whole host of extraneous factors, and I believe a deal of sympathy is required to approach this topic…”

    That’s because you’re not looking for any doubt but instead only to confirm your bias for Islam. If you were honest you would have found a million intellectual arguments against Islam anywhere from the illogical math of Allah, to the issue of predestination and freewill, to the lack of proof for Allah, creationism/Adam and Eve, jinns, angels, fitrah, derivative nature of aspects of Islam, other blemishes in Islamic scripture and the discouraging of intellectual thinking about islam by the quran itself. Such issues are even cited amongst the stories of apostasy, easily accessible online. You must have your head in the sand, as other Muslims have certainly noticed such arguments and are producing counter material via their apologetics on articles, blogs and YouTube. But hey, you don’t want to entertain there being sound arguments against Islam, because you fear you won’t be able to counter them. Rather you focus on what you can challenge issues of mental health – “they’re probably possessed by jinns or the devil” – might possibly be your assessment or that of many Muslims.

    • Nabeel Akhtar

      I have tried to respond to any genuine-seeming contentions included in your comment and others’. If you are interested have a look at the enormous comment I just posted, if you were just trolling or already thinking of a reply to the reply to the reply then don’t waste your time have a nice day!

  10. l cannot be bothered to respond to all of it in a comment post, but just a few thoughts…

    *”The reason I have been keen to research so-called ‘Ex-Muslim’ iconography and rhetoric is that, at the core of it, it could be partly our failure as a community to effectively deal with a plethora of psycho-spiritual, mental health and social issues. Remarkably, I have not yet come across a single intellectual shubha (specious argument) used as a basis for anyone leaving Islām rather a whole host of extraneous factors, and I believe a deal of sympathy is required to approach this topic…”*

    It’s of course been said numerous times. The reluctance of Muslims to accept there being ‘valid’ reasons for apostasy, is understandable. Their objectivity and critical thinking faculties is stifled by a pro-Islamic bias – rooted in their presupposition ‘Islam is perfect’. Thus aside from Muslim apologists belittling apostates, they often erroneously and disproportionately focus on other factors, not pertaining to (often cited by apostates) – the unsubstantiated nature of Islam, to understand apostasy. Often resorting to the fallacious and tiring old Ex-Muslim cliches – “You left to do haram (i.e. premarital sex, drugs, alcohol, to party), family problems, disbelieve due to arrogance and pride” etc.

    (Whatever helps a Muslim apologist sleep at night, anything to keep their delusions alive).

    https://thesecularbrownie.com/2016/03/31/shit-muslims-say-to-ex-muslims-complete-list/

    *”…If one wants to know ‘what Islām says’ about a matter, let not them look to repressed populations of colonial experiments, but to the Islamic civilisations…”*

    Oh I think many look to at what Islam says, arising from its scriptures and the common perception amongst Muslims both today and historically and low and behold, Islam has largely been seen by its adherents to permit the persecution of apostates, blasphemers and critics/those opposed to Islam.

    The apostasy/blasphemy punishment (often defended by Muslims, to hinder Muslims leaving Islam), seems to instead now backfire, serving as a factor contributing to doubts and disbelief. As apostates/critics perceive Islam – to be an unsound philosophy that aside with childhood indoctrination, also seeming to require coercion via threats of harm to be accepted as truth (i.e. hell and the various punishments associated with apostasy, blasphemy and opposition).

    https://youtu.be/CZVg_OHjS70

    *”…Those that tend to disagree with or look down upon any Islamic injunction that happens to be unpopular according to whatever state doctrines—secular liberal or otherwise—happen to dominate the day fundamentally do not have an objective basis from which to launch their attack…”*

    Neither do Muslims have an objective basis, to launch their attacks either, as the Euthyphro dilemma demonstrates (and no the appeal to the deity’s nature doesn’t work either). Too often various religionists masquerade their subjective rulings and morality (developed by peoples of a bygone era and then set in stone) as ‘objective’ and even then rival sects and religionists differ on what this ‘objective’ ruling/morality is and appear to modify it as time passes and new problematic issues arise.

    *”…Essentially, they are following that which they have absorbed from the society around them, which they have then taken to be the standard by which they judge Islām.”*

    Putting aside moral judgments, I think the above is a very accurate statement pertaining to most Muslims – “following a religion, (that which they have absorbed from their Muslim society, community and parents around them), which they have then taken to be the standard by which they judge”.

    *”…Islām in its essence, without the disinformation and propaganda, without the stereotypes and distractions…”*

    Presumably the ‘disinformation and propaganda…stereotypes and distractions’, is referring to that of which authored by disingenuous apologists and dawahgandists?

    *”…reaches out to every sound intellect and resonates with every innate disposition (fitra).”*

    You mean it largely reaches and coerces those who’s reasoning faculties have been stifled by childhood indoctrination. Of course as with most Islamic claims, there is no proof for this “Fitrah”, (likely due to its non existence) not to forget it’s an appeal to the naturalistic fallacy.

    *”…As a result, let us carry on presenting it but also protect our future generations from those maladies that prevent sound thinking and leave one open for epistemic oppression. They must feel comfortable and confident in their own skin.”*

    So no more childhood indoctrination or coercion via threats of harm? You’re going to have to do some protecting of your future generations – I do recall this article by ‘Islam21c’, worried about ‘Apostasy: a time ticking bomb’ (for Islam). To the future 🙂

    http://www.islam21c.com/theology/apostasy-a-ticking-time-bomb/

    • Nabeel Akhtar

      I have tried to respond to any genuine-seeming contentions included in your comment and others’. If you are interested have a look at the enormous comment I just posted, if you were just trolling or already thinking of a reply to the reply to the reply then don’t waste your time have a nice day!

  11. “I have not yet come across a single intellectual shubha (specious argument) used as a basis for anyone leaving Islām rather a whole host of extraneous factors, and I believe a deal of sympathy is required to approach this topic.”

    That’s because you’re not looking for any doubt but instead only to confirm your bias for Islam. If you were honest you would have found a million intellectual arguments against Islam anywhere from the illogical math of Allah, to the issue of predestination and freewill, to the lack of proof for Allah, creationism/Adam and Eve, jinns, angels, fitrah, derivative nature of aspects of Islam, other blemishes in Islamic scripture and the discouraging of intellectual thinking about islam by the quran itself. Such issues are even cited amongst the stories of apostasy, easily accessible online. You must have your head in the sand, as other Muslims have certainly noticed such arguments and are producing counter material via their apologetics on articles, blogs and YouTube. But hey, you don’t want to entertain there being sound arguments against Islam, because you fear you won’t be able to counter them. Rather you focus on what you can challenge issues of mental health – they’re probably possessed by jinns or the devil.

    • Nabeel Akhtar

      I have tried to respond to any genuine-seeming contentions included in your comment and others’. If you are interested have a look at the enormous comment I just posted, if you were just trolling or already thinking of a reply to the reply to the reply then don’t waste your time have a nice day!

  12. Moved to comment on this article. Not because I have seen the documentary, which I’m sure will be about 40% true and 60% sensationalist trash, but to pick on on a couple of things the author said.

    Firstly, it seems it is very common for Muslims to be almost unconsciously patronising towards Muslims who decide to leave Islam. To be “fascinated with the psychology” of people who choose to leave Islam is as patronising as being “fascinated with the psychology of Muslims” – it pathologises the decision, as if the only people that can make it must have something inherently wrong with them. This attitude is scattered throughout the article, for example, when the author says that leaving Islam is the same as being an ‘Uncle Tom’! People leave (and join) Islam for myriad, complex, intersecting reasons.

    Secondly, and this is the more serious charge – ever since anti-neoliberal, decolonial groups have come to the forefront of a lot of public debate thanks to social media and their grassroots movements/struggles, it is really interesting to see the more Orthodox Muslim groups jumping in on these discussions, warning against Western hegemony and railing against their former colonial opressors. That is all well and good. But there is no thought given to the idea of Islam and the Islamic peoples as a colonising force in itself, one that was complicit in African slavery, in the trade of women as part of war booty, and yes, as one that latterly promoted the death penalty for apostates and homosexuals, attitudes that many Muslims still have today.

    In fact, it is almost amusing to see words like “dominant hegemonic discourse”, and “epistemic oppression” being used by Salafi (let’s just come out and use that word) Muslims. Since when did Salafis become au fait with this kind of terminology?! When I see this I feel it is important to interject, as what is happening here is not true activism against noxious Western hegemony or true decoloniality, but instead a desire to replace Western hegemony with another kind, namely Islamic hegemony – “let’s rebuild the pyramid of power with MUSLIMS at the top” is what they want it seems to me. When the author himself asserts there was a time when “Islām was given its due right in society” this implies that Islam has certain rights in and over a society and it is not receiving that today; this is what the author wishes to restore, under the cloak of freedom from oppression from Western Imperialism. This sort of entryism into decolonial spaces is not honorable and transparent, two things I would hope are associated with Muslims.

    Thirdly, when the author says “All of the slogans of ‘free thinking’ and ‘challenging Islām’ are in essence a recourse to dominant, normative doctrines and standards set by hegemony.” It is already setting up anyone who dares to challenge his dearly held beliefs to be an instrument of Western oppression! It creates a nice little coccoon for him, sure, but what about those who do have critiques of Islamic Empire (just as he has, rightly, critiques of Western colonialism)?

    And when the author mentions at the end that Islam appeals “to every sound intellect and resonates with every innate disposition (fitra)” this is just more pathologisation, circular reasoning and coccooning of himself in his beliefs, it once again implies that those who choose to leave Islam are somehow corrupt, have deviated from the ‘natural’, and are unsound of intellect. This gives him the chance to pretend that those who leave are actually not worth talking to or taking seriously at all. Do you not think that these kind of attitudes feed into the mob violence and visceral hatred that many ex-Muslims face?

    • Nabeel Akhtar

      Hello I have tried to respond to any genuine-seeming contentions included in your comment and others’. If you are interested have a look at the enormous comment I just posted, if you were just trolling or already thinking of a reply to the reply to the reply then don’t waste your time have a nice day!

    • @Sarah

      “In fact, it is almost amusing to see words like “dominant hegemonic discourse”, and “epistemic oppression” being used by Salafi (let’s just come out and use that word) Muslims. Since when did Salafis become au fait with this kind of terminology?!”

      And what exactly would you be? What are you, a Jew, atheist, confused Muslim, what are you? Apart from pathetic that is?

      • My concerns are genuine. It is not pathetic to be critically engaged in an issue, nor to critique an argument, just as the author does in his article. We must be able to engage and critique in a mature and reflective manner.

        Again, I note your pejorative use of the phrase ‘confused Muslim’. It’s very endemic amongst Muslim communities to be so off-handedly dismissive with people who disagree with them.

  13. mumin billah like us all

    salaam alaikom,

    @br. khaled,……….there was an american lady!(if i can recall correctly) who was involved in americas education system..and just to confirm what you were saying…that the system is designed not to make us think but consume and follow-phewww or is follow and consume…just a hinter at the vicious cycle we are all trapped in,ie in the cage

    unfortunately i missed the opportunity to watch the exposure episode myself. did itv also take part of the fireman swiss army man dilema..etc?…..

    @ Sukran…..could the summary of what you were saying..and i mean no offence dear brother…that basically Allah’s ie the God’s laws He gave us, are given / revealed to us so that we can live like dignified human beings and make the world a better place…etc….as you mentioned everybody free to choose what they believe in…alhamdullah to/for that……as surat al kafiroon states….but then again…an example being what sister j/ameela mentioned/commented/responded in the playboy hijab article, about freedom of speech…etc, and the talk about freedom to insult…etc.

    apologies if this goes into along one…may i mention two things first…….firstly there is no need to go into how much insulting does to peoples psyche and what kind of atmosphere it breeds…etc….hostility, gossiping=envy=…on and on…..but deep down it is because satan or those he controls who are in control of the media/industry….keep us busy with such things…….and what or things they come from to subdue the masses intelligence and dumb it down with idle chatter…etc. and make them believe that is where happiness lies….where as we know only makes it the opposite and sorry for stating the obvious…etc

    …..secondly though, as in continuation to the hijab issue…etc….and in terms of the taboo subject and islamic/natural/shariah laws…that you mentioned……..(apologies firstly…as it may seem out of context)….but saying also…even though im not learned enough to discuss…those laws…but as to the topic of ex-muslims…….i remember seeing a picture saying ”those who left islam -never understood islam”……………as back to the laws…..””yes…i wish to see a world where islam rules…and that includes shariah law””…..we do know that if lets say the penalities of rape or theft for an example or murder…etc…were implemented JUSTLY…….QUESTION: would those crimes go up or down???ie if they were justly dealt with what islam tells us how to cure the problem with (directed at free thinking open minded visitors to the site)……i think like that argument and others were discussed in ‘why the west is coming to islam’..by Br. dr. Naik.

    obviously, our fellow non muslims hear and think…and then turn away……etc.” sounds not too civilized”……….unfortunately we live in times, where the average folk of the masses, bear the consequences of the law that serve a few………despite that we know that the final prophet to mankind (p.b.u.h) said that he would have implemented a law on his own very beloved daughter!!….truly the Quran a book for all times and all places which is truly justly unbiased..and most definetly humanitys only solution….subhan Allah.

    As to our own flock of muslims and to the topic at hand…….has anybody been in contact with the hijab sister, to see how she is feeling…etc?

    may Allah protect and save us all from disbelief and may He strengthen our iman.

    apologies for over writing.

    salaam alaikom

  14. For all the attempt to couch the argument in the language of a would be sociologist the basis of the arguments made are nonsensical. No doubt Peter Sutcliffe had an unhappy childhood. But, there is no need to explain this before saying that his crimes are despicable. The gigantic elephant in the room is that the Koran directly states what the punishment for apostasy should be. This is the one and only issue here. If you support this, then you should be prepared to clearly state it – as many of the scholars in the video were. However there is a marked reluctance for Islamic public figures in the U.K. To say that they don’t support it. By refusing to do so they are complicit in the suffering of thousands of people that live in fear for their beliefs.

  15. Nabeel. It is clear that you wish to look intelligent by your use of many long words. you have failed badly. A hint for writing clearly is to focus on brevity and clarity. Here to help.

  16. I also watched the program and deeply saddened, not because how ITV put the issue in such a bias and ignorant manner but also with the behaviour of people who call themselves Muslims that has nothing to do with Islam in reality.

    The most hurting part in this matter is the behaviour of the people on behalf of Islam. Islam is the rules and regulations of the Creator for the people who live in this three-dimensional existence updated time-to-time sending new revelations. There is only One Creator and His creations; one of them is human being that prophets send to them as the role models.

    Human being has combination of matter, spirit, soul, which make him, be alive in this dimension. His being as a whole is automated like the rest of the creations. He only has conscious freedom to choice to choose his way of life. Every single one choose a deity to set his life order according to its values whether it be authentic or not. What human being has to do, is to choose his own deity.

    Therefore, the freedom of choosing a deity is Lord given right to every individuals. Who claim that he choose the wright, authentic deity has to be aware of this first. It is vitally important as we see and know that some people are being killed for using Lord given freedom of choice. Is not right for the Lord to ask them about their choice that they made, as He is the giver of the right? How can one human being, who has equal position in front of the Creator can punish the other? Will that destroy the total freedom, equality and justice of the Creator set among the human beings?

    It is very sad to say that people who call themselves Muslims today do not know Islam clearly. Surely this is in general, I have nothing to say who obey His Deity purely. But, most of them are totally confused, therefore, instead of following the rules and regulations of the authentic (Ilah) deity, the Creator alone, following their own desires, emotions, cultures, nationalities and so on.

    Therefore, before blaming anything else, people who call themselves Muslims need to know the meaning of ‘La Ilahe İlla Allah, Muhammed is abd and Resul Allah’ purely and clearly, and live according to it. In fact, never blame the young generation who demand the total freedom, equality and justice of the Creator to choose their own way of life. They are most probably searching the truth that so called Muslim societies in general missing today and outcasted for their search of action. Instead of asking ourselves where did we wrong, found out and correct it, you throw your precious belongings away just for justify your own self-rules and regulations in ignorance, then do not blame the the other opportunists for taken them and using them against you for satisfy their own desires.

    So, where do we do wrong?

    • A rare, well considered and articulate response. I commend you. It is the kind of thoughtfulness and reflection that I’d hope to find on a site entitled 21st Century Islam. Unfortunately it is all too rare.

  17. Thanks for setting the record straight. I stopped watching ITV many years back. It’s just full of nonsense from beginning to end. The ITV news channel had to be taken off air as it didn’t have enough viewers. Godless systems are prone to getting hold of some gossip and innuendo and going off at a tangent. A lack of objectivity and morality is all part of the godless package. I thought the idea behind schools was to produce educated/ objective people. What a waste of tax payers money. The UK tax payers may want redress on the matter. I guess its a case of objectivity, morality being sacrificed at the alter of dirty money. The regular meetings held at the ITV offices are all about ratings and the like. The programs are not driven by noble drivers. Just get the viewers in. Output whatever rubbish you care to. Sad bunch of people, that pat each other on the back and like to delude themselves that they are offering a ‘service’…. I noted that during the Afghan invasion by Big Bruver mafia that the journalists got ’embedded’ and pretended to be reporting objective news. What a joke. Nowadays I suspect they report the war in Syria from miles away in the next country…. I stopped watching ITV and BBC and CNN a long time ago. All the useful stories get reported on Al-Jazeera English, including all significant stories about UK. I would encourage all British people drawing on the wisdom of Islam/ scripture as well as drawing from current best practice to not waste their time with the likes of ITV Propaganda tacky tabloid nonsense channed and move to Al-Jazeera English. It’s got lots more professional people/ coverage – people who actually make an effort to get to the facts, and know something about the world. ITV fly in get some vestige of a story and fly bakc out again. Do they have any real presence on the ground. Al-Jazeera English has a lot more class, professionalism, education and insight. You can’t go wrong really. Watch Al-Jazeera English, follow Islam21C and read the Quran. That’s all you need to understand todays world. Leave the gutter tabloid lot in the gutter. Let them wallow in the gutter filth (gossip & innuendo nonsense) as they like…. Congratulations to Al-Jazeera on their 10th Birthday. While other news outlets are struggling (as evidenced by the dross they put out), Al-Jazeera English continues to go from strength to strength. Best Regards to the team at Islam 21 Century. May God reward you for putting out quality production on a shoe string budget. That’s a true achievement.

    • A friend of mine – who is not Muslim – used to work for ITV. He first started working for TVS Television in the late 1980s, moving over to Meridian in 1993, then eventually into ITV.

      In 2006 he raised the point that there was no proof and evidence that the four alleged 7/7 bombers were even on the underground trains or the bus at the time the explosions took place. No CCTV footage, no reliable eye witness reports, and no other evidence that would stand up in a court of law. Next, he pointed out numerous errors and factual inaccuracies in the Report of the Official Account of the Bombings in London on 7th July 2005, published by the Home Office that year, using the findings of independent researchers. The Home Office couldn’t even get the train time right as the report stated that the four alleged bombers took the 7:40 train to London when in fact it had been cancelled that day. This had been public domain knowledge since August 2005 following an enquiry with Thameslink Rail. The Home Office report still serves as the official narrative of 7/7 to this day and is religiously followed by politicians, the mainstream media, and the police, despite it being over ten years old, and riddled with errors and factual inaccuracies.

      ITV would have none of it. He was put under extra surveillance by the management for a period of several months as well as being told to stay out of such conspiracy theories. His relationship with work colleagues became frosty.

      In 2008 CCTV footage of 7/7 was released by the Metropolitan Police. Whilst viewing it he noticed a Jaguar appear at the far end of the car park at Luton station a few minutes before the car carrying three of the alleged bombers arrived from Leeds. Just when the car arrived the Jaguar started up then turned around and started heading off. The video cut out for over a minute and when it resumed the Jaguar had vanished. It is impossible to determine whether the Jaguar had left the car park or parked elsewhere. An identical looking Jaguar was parked in exactly the same place according to the released CCTV footage from the 28th June when three of the alleged bombers visited London travelling from Luton station – the so called dry run.

      The presence of the Jaguar at the same location in the car park on both dates looked suspicious, and doubly suspicious the way in which its arrival and departure from the car park on the 7th July appeared to have been deliberately cut out of the CCTV footage. Whoever was driving it was undeniably an eye witness of the alleged bombers even if they had no other connection with them. No mention was made of the Jaguar in the Home Office report and it had not been covered by the mainstream media. He raised the issue of the Jaguar with ITV staff who were involved in news and current affairs in the hope that they would produce a feature about it. They were initially impressed with his finding, and they even agreed that it looked suspicious. Sadly, his only reward was a disciplinary resulting in him being asked to leave ITV after more than 20 years of service. Despite the televisual nature of the Jaguar it has never been shown in any ITV programme or news report. This illustrates how uninterested ITV is in asking serious questions about 7/7.

      After leaving he concluded that ITV really is a media company that is hostile towards Muslims or their interests. ITV has been transformed beyond recognition from the years of TVS Television into what is now little more than a mass entertainment channel showing bludgeoned programmes cut down to a low common denominator in order to attract a wide audience. TVS Television used to produce a diverse selection of niche, highbrow entertainment, local interest, current affairs, and children’s programmes that have now almost completely vanished from ITV. In their place is sensationalist dross and shallow propaganda designed to appeal to less well educated culturally people from the C2, D, and E socioeconomic groups. The middle classes, professional and managerial people, educated people, people with cultural tastes, older people, and people of foreign origin are offered less by ITV today than in the past.

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