This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← We need to stop being such cowards about Islam

We need to stop being such cowards about Islam - Comments

Sargeist's Avatar Comment 1 by Sargeist

Absolutely and totally superb.

Thank you, Independent, perhaps you have just about stolen my allegiance from the Guardian.


It is condescending to treat Muslims like excitable children who cannot cope with the probing, mocking treatment we hand out to Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism.

This is true. But a fair number do behave that way. And children with guns and nuclear weapons are a little more scary than adults with them.

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:28:00 UTC | #217406

Dadeolus's Avatar Comment 2 by Dadeolus

I am standing up and applauding loudly. Couldn't agree more. The only way we'll deal with the ridiculousness of all religion is by the slow attrition we have used against christianity. If we are not even allowed to look at islam sideways, we'll never get rid of it!

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:31:00 UTC | #217408

TomGoodfellow's Avatar Comment 3 by TomGoodfellow

Hear hear! I've a feeling this article will be quite popular here.

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:32:00 UTC | #217409

elfinabout's Avatar Comment 4 by elfinabout

Bloody well said.

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:32:00 UTC | #217410

Logicel's Avatar Comment 5 by Logicel

Excellently written with a passionate undercurrent. Short, clear, and covers all the important points

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:44:00 UTC | #217411

SteveN's Avatar Comment 6 by SteveN

A surprisingly and refreshingly direct article for a major newspaper, I think. It may just be coincidence, but I have the impression that the conciousness-raising efforts of Richard, Sam and the Hitch (and, dare I say, Pat Condell) with regards to the public criticism of religion are starting to pay off.

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:47:00 UTC | #217413

Apemanblues's Avatar Comment 7 by Apemanblues

There's no doubt about it. The media both in Britain and America are self censoring out of fear, and as a result, so are the general population. Even a benign reference to Islam in polite company will cause people to shuffle uncomfortably.

Another thing that bugs me is when Christians say "You joke about my religion, but I bet you wouldn't say that about Islam!". What a bizarre thing to say! Even if true, am I supposed to somehow thank them and respect them because their religion has recently decided to not kill it's critics? Oh thank you very much. Thank you for not killing the heathens anymore.

Silly me for thinking that 'not killing critics' was the default ethical position of any decent human being, not a bargaining chip to be used for guilt-tripping people into self censorship.

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:54:00 UTC | #217414

clatz's Avatar Comment 8 by clatz

I live in the east end as well. Close to 100 meters from a mosque in fact.

I couldn't give two shit's if criticism of Islam is unpalatable to the followers round here, it will do them some good to hear it. It may even embolden the women to tell these clowns to pull their head's in:

Bring it on!!!

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:56:00 UTC | #217415

cyberguy's Avatar Comment 9 by cyberguy

Best article I have read in weeks!

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:57:00 UTC | #217416

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 10 by Enlightenme..

The whole notion of 'Islamophobia' is an invention of western cultural relativists, and is a gift to Muhammadans who wish to stifle criticism.

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 23:59:00 UTC | #217418

utelme's Avatar Comment 11 by utelme

Good luck England, I wish you all the best but I think it's too late for you. You've been debating this issue for how long? It's obvious you still don't know what to do. You're like the victim that's getting bashed, trying to talk the bully out of it, crying for mummy and not lifting a finger to help yourself. Take on your attackers one at a time, trying to take on Islam and at the same time his buddies Christianity and the other sycophants is a hopeless cause.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:01:00 UTC | #217420

Raiko's Avatar Comment 12 by Raiko

How did Christianity lose its ability to terrorise people with phantasms of sin and Hell? How did it stop spreading shame about natural urges - pre-marital sex, masturbation or homosexuality?

I must have missed when that happened. ...?

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:03:00 UTC | #217421

Codec's Avatar Comment 13 by Codec

What a great article, more power to you.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:12:00 UTC | #217423

Tumara Baap's Avatar Comment 14 by Tumara Baap

The Koran and hadith ought to be critiqued to bits. However, it's a stretch to point out these absurdities in the koran and then link them to deviant social behaviour. Such a link would be tenuous. Muslims, as people of most other religions, have rarely ever critically read and imbibed the contents of their holy book. Sure, they mindlessly blabber its verses. But their perspective is colored by other historical muslim figures, contemporary culture, sufi "saints", local traditions and folklore. I think it was Taner Edis, the Turkish-American physicist who pointed out that the sort of narrow Wahabi interpretation of Islam as portrayed in End of Faith (even though accurate) is just not how the vast majority of Muslims view their own faith. Caution therefore ought to be exercised before condemning all Muslims as being nourished by something sick. Reality is a little more complex. That said, there ought to be no hesitation in frankly stating historical facts. Mohammed was a ruthless, bloodthirsty, power hungry, plagiarizing, caravan raiding, sex obsessed murderer. Ibn Warraq gives one of the most sober and academically responsible accounts of this horrible human being.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:20:00 UTC | #217424

Peter_on_Sax's Avatar Comment 15 by Peter_on_Sax

I see that the book "The Jewel of Medina" is listed on Amazon. See:

The book is not yet available, but you can pre-order it. Perhaps a full order book will encourage publication.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:27:00 UTC | #217425

BFKate's Avatar Comment 16 by BFKate

Before we go all gooey over Hari's article remember that first and foremost he's a sweaty little self publicist. If you told this prick that paedophilia was the new in thing he'd be publicly professing his love of children. There is nothing he won't do to further develop his own media image. This has to be the only time I'd dig a fatwa.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:28:00 UTC | #217426

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 17 by Christopher Davis

Good article. I agree with most everything except this...

"The smart, questioning and instinctively moral Muslims â€" the majority â€"...."

I realize this guy is probably referring to Muslims who live in the west, but he needs to clarify that. There are entire nations where 99% of the population are none of these. Islam is to blame.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:33:00 UTC | #217428

BFKate's Avatar Comment 18 by BFKate

And Fuck you utelme. Calling people you don't know victims is a sign of a half wit. I am not

"trying to talk the bully out of it, crying for mummy and not lifting a finger to help yourself."

I'm standing up to these tossers every day. Ever been assaulted utelme? Ever been in the postion where you've had to defy the cops to their faces? Ever been Gay bashed? Bet the answer is no. Ever been called a bitch by some random bloke who doesn't like that you've stood up to his bullying?

From the sound of it you're probably one of those cowards that fucks off abroad after depressing the rest of us with your inadequate social skills and lamentations that England(sic) is doomed.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:37:00 UTC | #217429

Buddha's Avatar Comment 19 by Buddha

Can I please ask that you all go over to the comments section on the Independent site and express your support for Johann Hari. There are an awful lot of ignorant dimwits posting there at the moment.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:39:00 UTC | #217430

BFKate's Avatar Comment 20 by BFKate

Can I please ask that you all go over to the comments section on the Independent site and express your support for Johann Hari. There are an awful lot of ignorant dimwits posting there at the moment

Just remember that if you do you're playing right into Hari's little ego. I'm as Islamaphobic as the next woman but I draw the line at supporting this preening fools game.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:43:00 UTC | #217431

PJG's Avatar Comment 21 by PJG

Excellent, excellent article.


I think you do him a disservice.

To be a self-publicist is one thing. To put your head above the parapet to the extent he has by writing this article in order to publicise something (for ANY reason) is quite something else. He may well have written his own death sentence - I doubt he has done that as a publicity stunt. Even if he has, he has highlighted a massively important issue. I, for one, applaud him for that.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:49:00 UTC | #217433

BFKate's Avatar Comment 22 by BFKate

PJG You're wrong.

Hari has form on this stuff. He even managed to get Noam Chomsky calling him names. As far as putting his head over the parapet goes - please give me a break. He's another priviledged media ego sitting pretty & getting paid a wad. He's a Dick. If you spend more than 30 seconds letting him tickle your outrage gland and actually go and find out about the man you'll see that.

Edited for spelling - though I don't know why.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:55:00 UTC | #217434

AllanW's Avatar Comment 23 by AllanW

I enjoyed the article. It makes the points simply, clearly and quite pointedly. Well done Johann.

The only slight criticism I'd make is around his;

'We need to acknowledge the double-standard â€" and that it will cost Muslims in the end.'

He goes on to make sound progress in explaining that but the 'in the end' part grated on me. It may be true (no-one will know until a vast amount of time has played out) but it implies that we need NOW to just hold on and let time sort out the problem; I disagree. As the rest of the article makes plain, everyone who holds tolerance and reason dearly needs to take every opportunity to expose and ridicule examples of intolerance and unreason. Not just wait for the nebulous forces of time to sort the problem for us.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 00:57:00 UTC | #217435

BFKate's Avatar Comment 24 by BFKate

Hari is a member of the modern William Joyce club.
(A club I am now founding.)

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:02:00 UTC | #217437

PJG's Avatar Comment 25 by PJG


I have no problem with your assessment of the man - maybe he is everything you claim, but it is no reason to dismiss his article. Making ad hominem attacks is one of the things we criticise people for on this site.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:02:00 UTC | #217438

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 26 by Fanusi Khiyal

Excellent article, it needs to be said more and more.

But the question arises: why have we become such cowards? The answer lies in the fact that we have been told time and time again that the legacy of the West is purely negative, only a stain on humanity, instead of the truth - that the West is the greatest and best civilization in human history and that we need make no apologies for standing up for it and need accept no lectures for being proud of it.

BFKate I must say that I find your comments distasteful in the extreme. I do not notice any articles that you have written fighting against this, I don't notice you doing much yourself except whine. I really don't notice any evidence cited by you to support your condemnation of Hari.

Also, what the hell is this about 'supporting a fatwa'? So you support the murder of those whose writings you find distasteful?

I'm filing this under part of the problem.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:05:00 UTC | #217441

BFKate's Avatar Comment 27 by BFKate

It's not ad hominem. Ad hominem would be me calling him names for no reason. My arguement is that his position as an egoist makes his opinion untrustworthy.

From his wikipedia page.

Hari seems to be a pugilist who enjoys political arguments. His website has stated:

"Johann has been called 'Maoist' by Nick Cohen, "Stalinist" by Noam Chomsky, 'Horrible Hari' by Niall Ferguson, "an uppity little queer" by Bruce Anderson, 'a drug addict' by George Galloway, "fat" by the Dalai Lama and "a cunt" by [the boyband] Busted.[22]

[edit] With George Galloway

Hari has engaged in a long disagreement with his Member of Parliament, George Galloway who he accused of "supporting a string of dictators" and being a remnant of the part of the left that supported Stalinism.[23] Galloway contested this.[24]

[edit] With Niall Ferguson

In 2006, Hari engaged in a public debate with the historians Niall Ferguson and Lawrence James in The Sunday Times, Daily Mail and The Independent about the overall effect of the British Empire in India. Ferguson viewed British colonialism as a positive thing for India, whilst Hari argued that the British Empire was a form of totalitarianism comparable with Stalinism.[25][26][27][28]

[edit] With the Chapman Brothers

In 2007, Hari criticised the Chapman Brothers for adopting an anti-Enlightenment philosophy, and for Jake Chapman saying that the boys who murdered Liverpool toddler Jamie Bulger performed "a good social service"[29]. Jake Chapman responded by calling Hari "fat-faced ugly [and] four-eyed" and "a fascist", and claimed the Bulger quote and others had been "stripped from the serious debate in which they belong"[30].

[edit] With Mark Steyn

Hari has frequently disagreed with Canadian writer Mark Steyn, describing him as "vile" [18] and an 'uneducated former disc jockey'. [19]

Defending the use of the word 'Islamofascism' in some contexts, Hari wrote: "It has been picked up by some people, like the vile Mark Steyn, who seem to think that all Islam is evil. I dislike all religions and would happily see the whittling away of every last church and mosque, but to imply that all Islam is on a par with al-Qa'eda is grotesque." [20] In reply, Steyn wrote in The Spectator: "Johann Hari casually reveals that he'd like to see the end of 'every last church and mosque'. Surely Islamophobia isn't any more politically correct for being subsumed within theophobia, is it? The assumption of virtue by radical secularists comes so easily you wonder whether they ever stop to think it through." [21]

Steyn later wrote "his characterization of me as an extremist Islamophobic wingnut war-drunk loon is uncannily accurate. I think he has the hots for me." [22].

In a review of Steyn's book 'America Alone', Hari condemned passages he argued showed Steyn to be celebrating that more "white babies" are born in the US, and his prediction that there will be "evacuations" of white people from France by 2015. [23].

However, when complaints were submitted regarding Steyn's writings to the Human Rights Commissions in Canada, Hari defended his right to free speech. [24] He wrote: "The free speech of a man I loathe is being threatened. ....We can get into a puerile game where we all shriek to silence the people we disagree with. Or we can grow up, and have an argument."

[edit] With Nick Cohen

In 2007 Hari reviewed Nick Cohen's book What's Left in the American Dissent magazine, where he called for Cohen and others (like Hari himself) who supported the Iraq war from a left-wing perspective to admit they had been wrong and had profoundly misunderstood neoconservatism.[31]. Cohen argued that Hari's review was "Maoist" and "deceitful".[32]. Hari responded by offering quotes from Cohen's writing which he argues backed up his claims and accusing Cohen of "a baffling denial of his own words".[33] Soon after they were both nominated for the Orwell prize, which Hari won.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:06:00 UTC | #217442

suffolkthinker's Avatar Comment 28 by suffolkthinker

Just remember that if you do you're playing right into Hari's little ego. I'm as Islamaphobic as the next woman but I draw the line at supporting this preening fools game. Quite frankly I don't care what you think about the author from other sources, I completely agree with this article and support what is says wholeheartedly.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:07:00 UTC | #217443

PJG's Avatar Comment 29 by PJG


from Wiki

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

I haven't seen you make a single attack on the argument (article), only the man.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:08:00 UTC | #217444

BFKate's Avatar Comment 30 by BFKate


Quite frankly I don't care what you think about the author from other sources, I completely agree with this article and support what is says wholeheartedly.

Quite Frankly I don't understand why if you don't care what I think you felt moved enough to defend it.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 01:10:00 UTC | #217445