Religion

Update on My Guide to Islam

I’m funded for my initial goal! Thanks to everyone who gave me a shout-out, especially our friends at Freethought Blogs (they’re currently the top referrer for donors for me): Pharyngula, Almost Diamonds, The Uncredible Hallq, r/exmuslim, and Queereka. Update: Add The Friendly Atheist to that list.

If you’d like to hear me talk about Islam and being a former Muslim, there is both old-fashioned radio and newfangled inter-tubing available for your pleasure.

Later today, you can hear me talking about A Skeptic’s Guide to Islam on the Word of Mouth segment on NHPR at noon and 9pm EST. The segment can be heard here.

Right now, you can watch me being interviewed by the amazing Ashley Paramore of Secular Students Alliance, who is incredibly good at putting people at ease. I talked mostly about my personal story in leaving Islam.

Main image via.

Heina Dadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy [hee-na dad-uh-boy] spent her childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in her right mind would have believed that she would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist, or, in other words, a Skepchick. She has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007. She is currently writing A Skeptic's Guide to Islam. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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6 Comments

  1. Your criticism of Islam RE puberty seems a bit strange. Don’t all girls in the western world get sexualized at puberty if not earlier (Hello Toddlers & Tiaras) anyways? I don’t see how Islam is particularly egregious. In fact, I’d say Islam is better because implicit in the idea of hijab is the notion that you are worth more than just your physical attributes. The dehumanization of women is a worldwide phenomenon, it’s not limited to Islam. Being secular doesn’t mean you’re immune to it either. Famous atheist youtuber TheAmazingAtheist is an extreme misogynist who tells rape victims that he’d love to rape them. I’m glad that here at skepchick (and freethoughblogs) you have distanced yourselves from him, but let’s not pretend that him and his followers don’t also attend secular/atheist meetups and conventions too. They’re a sizable community.

    You mentioned Saint Augustine. I really don’t see how you drew the conclusion that he makes the same arguments as Muslims. Can you clarify what part of his writings you’re talking about? I know a little about Saint Augustine, but from what I’ve read of his works, he uses explicitly Christian doctrines in his theology, drawing inspiration from Genesis (Original Sin, Baptism, etc.):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Augustine#Theology

    You can also read which states this:

    Augustine elevated the contempt of women and sex to a level unsurpassed before. To him, women’s inferiority to men was so obvious [9] that he felt that he had to ask the question: “Why was woman created at all”.[6] He concluded that woman was created purely for procreation and for nothing else.[10] The expulsion of Adam and Eve from paradise, according to him, was purely the fault of Eve.[11]

    I’ll admit that I haven’t scoured all the tens of thousands of Hadith, but I’m wondering if you can find equivalently misogynist writings? I don’t mean merely gender roles/essentialism, but explicit anti-woman dehumanization as described here. Only one I can think of is the one that says women shouldn’t be leaders.

    Ultimately, however, I place the blame on Aristotle. I feel that his notion of “women are not even human” has lead to the proliferation of misogyny throughout much of the world, as he has influenced so many philosophers both western and eastern who simply accepted this without question. Even to modern times, it seems.

    Also, have you looked at ? It’s not mentioned there, but existentialism’s roots in Christianity are more readily apparent . It seems bizarre for you to talk about Saint Augustine in a negative light, when he definitely has existential themes in his writings, as detailed .

    Just please don’t turn into the token brown person telling a bunch of white people all about how evil Islam is, because that meme has been overdone and it’s counter-productive. You’re free to criticize Islam. You’re not free to demonize it (because people like me will denounce you, much like you and others at Skepchick denounced TAA). Know the difference.

    -Jason

    1. I believe that you might be unfamiliar with my posting history here on Skepchick. I have covered misogyny in skepticism and atheism multiple times. Recently, I went on the record against veil bans. Most importantly, my posts on Islam are intended to educate and inform more than anything else, and the Guide is along the same lines.

      I feel that the “token”/demonization accusation, then, is based on ignorance of what I’ve been writing here and doing in the atheist/skeptical movement as a whole, rather than on any accurate perception based on real evidence as to what my words and actions would reflect about my views and aims.

      As for existentialism and Augustine, I think you might be conflating separate things that I said. Learning that the same basic deistic arguments underlie Christianity, through my study of Augustine’s writings, was what caused my faith to truly fracture. As for existentialism, learning that we construct our own meanings and that, functionally, very little is truly universal, was important to me. I hope this clarifies.

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