All entries by this author

Oh comrades come rally

Apr 27th, 2008 11:48 am | By

I know it’s old news that Seumas Milne is a buffoon – but all the same…

These are good times to be in the “moderate Muslim” business. If you press the right buttons on integration and “radicalisation” and hold your tongue on western foreign policy, there are rich pickings to be had…Latest in the ring is the “counter-extremism thinktank”, the Quilliam Foundation…The foundation – named after a 19th century British Muslim – is the creature of Husain and a couple of other one-time members of the radical, non-violent Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. All three are straight out of the cold war defectors’ mould described in Saturday’s Guardian by the playwright David Edgar, trading heavily on their former associations and travelling

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Maajid Nawaz Replies to Ziauddin Sardar *

Apr 26th, 2008 | Filed by

Sardar’s attack on the Quilliam Foundation was ill-informed in a number of ways.… Read the rest

Sue Blackmore on Papal Social Calls *

Apr 26th, 2008 | Filed by

Sorry, we’ll be out that day.… Read the rest

Seumas Milne is Slightly Confused *

Apr 26th, 2008 | Filed by

He seems to think misogynist homophobic theocrats are right-on and their opponents are wicked.… Read the rest

A Mild Critique of Leon Wieseltier *

Apr 26th, 2008 | Filed by

‘Wieseltier has a meandering, conceptually confused, pointless essay in The New Republic…’… Read the rest

Hitchens on Ratzinger *

Apr 25th, 2008 | Filed by

Reporters who can get off their knees might ask the pope if he is conducting his own foreign policy and, if so, in consultation with whom?… Read the rest

Court Rules Doctors Can Transfuse Infants *

Apr 25th, 2008 | Filed by

The parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses and refused to give their consent. … Read the rest

British Muslims for Secular Democracy *

Apr 25th, 2008 | Filed by

Alibhai-Brown: ‘this excessive culture of obedience is stunting the development of Islamic communities.’… Read the rest

Egyptian Woman Calls for Strike via Facebook *

Apr 25th, 2008 | Filed by

It was a great success. Israa Abdel Fattah was arrested. New Facebook group ‘Release Israa’ has 3000 members.… Read the rest

Zawahiri Accuses Iran of 9/11 Lie *

Apr 25th, 2008 | Filed by

Al-Qaeda did too so carry out the attacks! Iran’s just jealous of Osama! It’s so unfair!… Read the rest


Apr 25th, 2008 11:10 am | By

More on that Moyers-Nussbaum interview. As always when Nussbaum talks about religion, there are squashy places. The interview is like a pear with a lot of bruised spots.

[W]hat I love are [Roger Williams’s] metaphors for the way that freedom is taken away. I mean, there are two metaphors. One is the imprisonment of the soul. And the other, even deeper, is the rape of the soul. And he keeps saying it’s soul rape when people try to get people to believe something that they don’t really believe. So the only way we can avoid doing that kind of violence to conscience is to give it lots of space to unfold itself. Not just [not] persecuting people, but really

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Why Ex-extremists Rather Than Never-extremists? *

Apr 24th, 2008 | Filed by

It’s troubling that former extremists are seen as the only people who know how to deal with extremism.… Read the rest

Mormon Fashion Statements *

Apr 24th, 2008 | Filed by

The dresses are meant to show modesty and conformity.… Read the rest

Saudi: Male Guardianship Policies Harm Women *

Apr 24th, 2008 | Filed by

‘The Saudi government sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women.’… Read the rest

Perpetual Minors *

Apr 24th, 2008 | Filed by

HRW draws on interviews with Saudi women to document the effects of these discriminatory policies.… Read the rest

Saudi Women Appeal for Legal Freedoms *

Apr 24th, 2008 | Filed by

Women forced to live as children, denied basic rights and confined to a suffocating dependency on men.… Read the rest

Thanks, but no

Apr 23rd, 2008 4:23 pm | By

Do atheists crave a replacement for church?

Atheism’s great awakening is in need of a doctrine. “People perceive us as only rejecting things,” says Ken Bronstein, the president of a local group called New York City Atheists. “Everybody wants to know, ‘Okay, you’re an atheist, now what?'”

Nah, thanks – I’m not in need of a doctrine. In fact the very idea is kind of…how shall I say…idiotic? Part of the point of being an atheist is not having to sign up to a ‘doctrine.’ It’s not a matter of thinking those other doctrines are no fun but our doctrine is just the ticket. It’s a matter of not liking doctrines in the first place.

The most successful movements

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Trying to Herd Atheists *

Apr 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

In the larger war against supernaturalism, it doesn’t help to fraternize with the enemy.… Read the rest

Religion a Threat to Rationality and Science? *

Apr 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Imperviousness to reason is the property that we should most fear in religion.… Read the rest

Mary Warnock on The Politics of Religion *

Apr 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

It is essential to hold on to the fact that in this country we are not a theocracy, but a democracy.… Read the rest