Friday, October 31, 2014

A Response to the Responses to my Letter to Ben Affleck :P

On this Halloween, I am sorry to have to share the scary news that it seems even most progressive muslims are not ready to start a conversation about certain issues within the faith.

My letter to Ben Affleck has stirred up quite a reaction. Most importantly though, sadly, it has given reason for people within my community to send hateful messages, attack me as a 'race-betrayer' and as a self-loathing 'racist'. I have been tagged in several conversations where people expect me to listen quietly to such abuse, engage and/or apologize for writing so openly about what I consider to be issues within the religion I was raised in.

In several thousand interactions on the internet over the past week (most of them very kind, supportive and encouraging), I have heard from about 3 practising muslims, tops (and they are the people I have my hopes riding on). Who have acknowledged that my experience is real and my concerns are valid. To others, I am a liar, an exaggerator and publicity seeker.

I am sorry that the threats I receive about drawing get in the way of your denying that there are any issues. I apologize that I'm not silently enduring this stuff for the purposes of face-saving. But who are we kidding here, intolerance in Islam is not a very well hidden secret at all.

You can tell me over and over again that women and men are 100% equal in Islam, or that there is no punishment for blasphemy or apostasy, but you are not convincing me - or anyone else with a rational mind. We can go back and forth for hours, I can quote you stuff from the texts, you can come up with your usual excuses... this is never going anywhere.

I wrote what I thought was a very gentle letter, a very soft critique. But if even such a small nudge towards discussion leads to online bullying, hateful attacks by so-called 'progressives', then you my dear muslim brothers and sisters are only helping to prove my point.

You may not agree with my perspective, and that is fine. But to deny that my experience is real? To tell *me* who actually receives threats and is called an enemy of god...that this doesn't happen in Islam?

I have a term for that,  #Musplained .

To those upset that I am speaking to 'white men' - I have tried speaking to you, plenty of times my dearest muslim brother and sisters. I have received nothing but hatred and threats in return. You are shutting me down by telling me my experiences aren't real and that I am a racist. How then, can I speak to you? I have tried for years. I am still open to it, lets start by you acknowledging that my experience is real?

My apologies that you now have to hear critique.
Some fundamental flaws can be seen from outer space,
u do not need to know the hadith and Quran in order to identify them.
And you don't need to be of a certain race to see these flaws, FYI

I am so very sorry that my "oppressed voice" has inconvenienced you. I really am.
 I will try to be less oppressed from now on so that you don't have to hear any inconvenient truths.
I heard from one Muslimah who said it was unfair of me to say that there are no muslims outraged about apostasy punishments in Islam. She said *she* was outraged.

Wonderful, I thought. And then I asked her something along the lines of "Would you take a public stand by tweeting with the hashtag #Muslims4Apostates" (I have since deleted that conversation because I don't want people hate-tweeting her)

Suddenly she remembered she was really busy and had to go.

So yeah. This is the level of 'outrage'.

Progressive Muslims, you have surprised and saddened me the most. I didn't expect hateful messages to come from you. But I guess we are in this deeper than I imagined. If you were open to seeing some very real flaws, we could have been on the same side of this and navigated towards a more modern Islam. But without accepting the problem, we won't be able to move forward.

Crazies and actual muslim haters, I am not on your side. So please stop hijacking my words and posting them as if we have the same stance.

Also, my letter was not meant to be taken so literally - for the record, I do leave the house without my brother/father/husband. ;)

Much love to everyone,


  1. I don't think you are a racist or a race traitor or any claptrap like that. I just think your letter was a non-sequitur - If Afflect shut down a legitimate conversation about the subject, I would agree. Sam Harris and Bill Maher are entirely uninterested in having a respectful dialogue about this topic. They are interested in spreading vile gibberish about anyone who doesn't meet their standards of being an "enlightened Western thinker".

    1. No, they are attempting to criticize a set of ideas they find wanting. You can disagree with them - that is the very point of open debate - but when you reduce their viewpoint to "spreading vile gibberish" rather than engaging them point by point, you lose your place at the adults' table .

    2. "when you reduce their viewpoint to "spreading vile gibberish" rather than engaging them point by point, you lose your place at the adults' table . " - Completely agree!!

  2. As with most arguments that see little progress, this can be boiled down to this one sentence: "But without accepting the problem, we won't be able to move forward. "

  3. I have often wondered why we don't hear more Canadian Muslims speak up against practices that are controversial, to put it lightly. Is there pressure within the community to present a united front? When Sharia law was being considered by the previous Premier, I understand it was Muslim women who worked against that, but have heard very little from them since.

  4. ASAK, Came here looking for any Fatwa on touching mangos--are you aware of any. You may be aware that there is a fatwa on touching banana.

  5. You just can't reason with hysterical, irrational people whose hearts are filled with hate. You are right in all the things you say...

  6. Just keep telling your story, from your point of view, with pure honesty (as it seems you already have been) and you'll be fine :) forgive those that hate....take away the only lesson all religions agree on: to love all

  7. I read your letter and the above post, and I am really impressed. For it's own good the Muslim world needs much more people like you.

  8. Good gawd, you are courageous and articulate. Thank you for what you are doing. It gives me more courage and compels me to action. There is much to be done in the world to stand up to abuses and work to overcome oppression. To see you take a bit bite into the task over and over is tremendously encouraging. What you are doing is a service to the world.

  9. I do not really care what anyone else but well said on most points. Nobody talks about us, most people do not even think we exist - Oh you are an atheist ? but you are from Pakistan, that is what I personally mostly get from the general public. I think before anyone thinks of defending any particular religion they need to revisit the ground realities of being forced and coerced to be trapped as part of it. And it is not just Islam it is all of them, religion and this concept of a fictional diety is counter productive for further evolution of human society - that is first and foremost and than there is nothing else to it when you think about it. A poison might have few benefits of clearing few harmful bacteria out but it is poison at the end of the day and people need to realize that.
    Anyway thank you for putting this out there, it just shows clearly no one is there to help we need to dig ourselves of this societal mess - everyone is just so willing to deny us our existence.