"Consider how we as atheists are constrained to talk about Islam. And Christians often complain that atheists balance - and the secular media, generally - balance every discussion of Islam with a discussion of extremist Christianity. The usual mode is to say, 'Well, they have their jihadists, but we have people who kill abortion doctors.' I think our Christian neighbors, even the craziest of them, are right to be outraged by this pretense of evenhandedness. The truth is that Islam is quite a bit scarier and more culpable for needless human misery at this moment than Christianity has been for a very, very long time. And we have to point this out.
"You might remember that Thomas Friedman recently wrote an op-ed from Iraq noticing that some Sunni militias were fighting alongside American troops against al-Qaeda, and he asked a Sunni militant why he was doing this. And the militant said that he had recently seen an al-Qaeda member decapitate an eight-year-old girl, and this convinced him that the American crusader forces were the lesser of two evils. Okay, great, so even Muslims, even Sunni militants, can discern the line between ordinary crazy Islam and the utterly crazy, once it is drawn in the spilled blood of little girls. This is a basis for hope of sorts.
"We have to be clear, unremittingly clear, about what is on the other side of that line. This is what we and the rest of the civilized world, and the semi-civilized world, are facing: Utter religious lunacy and barbarism in the name of Islam, with, I'm unhappy to say, some mainstream theology to back it up.
"To be evenhanded, as we are constrained to be as atheists, when discussing the problem of Islam, is to misconstrue the problem. The refrain that all religions have their extremists is bullshit - all religions don't have these extremists. Some religions have never had these extremists.
"A recent poll in the UK showed that a third of young British Muslims say they want to live under sharia law and think that anyone who wants to leave the faith should be put to death for apostasy. This is a third of British Muslims. 68% of British Muslims think that their neighbors who insult Islam should be arrested and prosecuted. 78% think that the Danish cartoonists should be brought to justice. These people do not have a clue about what constitutes a civil society.
"It seems to me that reports like this coming out of Muslim communities living in the West should concern us before anything else about religion concerns us."
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Sam Harris on Islam
The following is a partial transcript of a speech given in 2007 by philosopher Sam Harris regarding the mainstream muzzling of those who speak out about the very serious threat of Islam. We are extremely fortunate to have someone as eloquent, measured and persistent as Sam Harris to talk sense to the world at large during this very dangerous crossroads of human civilization. Harris could not be more correct in his assessments. We ignore his words at our own peril.