I recently received an e-mail from a concerned Muslim brother about the content of my tweets. I have copied and pasted the e-mail below, and have responded to the issues raised.
Just a note, I refer to ‘you’ in this e-mail, but I’m mainly speaking to the general theist who might be reading this blog.
Dear ‘thinkingsmurf’ [blogger's note: I've replaced my name with my pseudonym],
I understand you no longer want to be associated with Islam and because it a ‘vile’ religion. Please kindly stop tweeting such things about Islam and our prophet (pbuh) or any religion. Cant we just respect each overs religion and beliefs.
I understand your concerns and reasons for protecting your religion, but religion, like as anything else, should not be exempt from criticism. Religion and its ideology plays a major part in shaping not just our lives, but my own life personally. I have had been a Muslim for 27 years. I, very sincerely, believed in everything that Islam had to say. I believed in the benevolence of God, the infallibility of the Quran, and the incorruptibility of His prophet. The sunnah was a way of life, and the Sahih Muslim and Al-Bukhari were a great source of inspiration. However, this faith was still blind and presupposed.
Faith, by definition, is a belief in something without evidence. Once I realised that religion should be questioned, it wasn’t long before I discovered the age of reason and skepticism. This opened my eyes and mind, and see past fakery of not just Islam, but all religions.
You’ve asked me to stop tweeting about Islam and your prophet. I would in return ask you; if you see injustice happening, lies being spread, person’s liberty and freedom being restricted, and individual rights being violated, would you not speak up and raise your concerns? Would you not try by any means in your power to raise awareness of such cruelty and atrocity being committed, and bring it to the attention of the masses? Would you not speak out against the injustice? Would you not fight for the rights of the individual who has no means to fight for his or her rights because of the society they live in?
I assure you, for as long as there is breath in my lungs, I will try to help generate an opposition to theocracy and its depredations to civilized society. I have to live every day in a society and environment that is democratic and secular in name but theocratic in nature. I respect people’s rights to practice their religion (to certain extent that doesn’t violate human rights) and to have religion, but I will not respect the ideology of religion. There is a difference. Again, I would pose the question to you; if I can give a theist respect and freedom for his religion, can I be given the equal respect and freedom from religion?
I am not a great writer, please kindly ignore my grammar. My message is simple, that most of us are decent human beings who love our religion and do not want any more hatred towards us.
I agree that majority of the Muslims and people of religion are decent human beings. My family, relatives and most of my friends are Muslims. They are also some of the most kindest people I have met and have in my life. I have no hatred towards you or people of religion. I do not need to attack you or people of religion. My quarrel is directly with the teachings and ideology of religion. I do not judge the religion from its followers; I do not need to. I get my sources directly from scripture i.e. the Quran, and the Sahih Hadiths which are considered equally canon in the Islamic theology.
I think I understand you have found a new belief and understanding of things, and you need to spread this but do you have to be so brutal. More so, because you a tweeting with 140 characters! With no backings of the reasons behind the teachings or practices.
You are under the same general misconception that atheism is a new belief system. I am merely responding to your claims as a theist, about the existence of God and the supernatural. Atheism in general is a lack of belief in God. As an atheist, I don’t believe that any of the claims about the existence of a God have met the burden of proof, sufficient enough to make me believe them.
I used to be in a position where I used to think that even questioning religion was considered an attack on it, and any criticism, no matter how subtle the language used, was considered ‘brutal’ and offensive. People of religion need to realise that religion needs to be questioned, and needs to be criticized.
By tweeting about what I consider are the dangers proposed by religion, I hope to create awareness in those moderate Muslims who have the power of reasoning and logic to raise their voices, step up, and stand against the fundamentalists that are dragging them, their religion, and society down and back to the 7th century. I’m hoping that one day, like I did by reading Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, my Muslim brothers and sisters can discover the age of reason and enlightenment.
By tweeting in 140 characters that Muhammad co-habited with a 9-year-old Aisha when he was in his 50′s, is not a claim without reason. That information has come directly from the Sahih Hadiths and the Muslim scholars. I need no backing for my tweet when stating a fact. When tweeting how many wars and raids Muhammad led on caravans, that is not a claim without reason. This information is again freely available to anyone who is willing to open up a copy of the Quran and the Sahih Hadiths and find out for themselves.
Please, as a fellow human being, stop tweeting things like that. I’m following you on twitter because I admire your photography skills and like your work.
I’m not about to unfollow you because stopped following Islam. I completely respect anyones decision to stop following any religion.
I have explained my reasons above why I can never stop tweeting about religion. I can also point you to my post Islam: The Battle with Religion which goes into more detail.
Again I’m really sorry writing this message so bad, with so many errors, but I just wanted to convey a message to you with total respect.
I hope I have not upset you in anyway,
Please forgive me if I have.
Thank you for your message and the kind words on my photography. I hope I went in some way to explaining my reasonings, and I can appreciate your sincerity.
I believe that in order for you to understand and defend your religion, you first need to understand what the arguments are against Islam and religion in general. Only then can you know how to defend Islam. I would highly recommend looking up on YouTube debates that involve Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens against religious apologetics.