Welcome to our articles section. The articles below either have been written specifically for ButterfliesandWheels or are appearing here having been published elsewhere previously.

If you’re interested in writing an article for ButterfliesandWheels, please click here for our information for contributors page.

The Sound of Mullahs

Feb 15th, 2008 | By El Omar Rodgers and Ibn Yusuf Hammerstein

Sung by a chorus of dancing mullahs:


She’s by a tree with young Ali

Her husband is away.

We see here there

And grab her hair, she knows she’s going to pay–

And poor Ali he had to flee his parents couldn’t bear

To see him stoned for doing what is natural…..

She doesn’t seem repentant,

So we choose the largest stones;

The Prophet calls it mercy

(plus they’re good for breaking bones)

And young Ali has joined us

As a witness on his own;

We’re going to make her pay for what seems natural….

—I’d like to say a word before we throw….

Then say it Mullah Ibrihim

–Sharia says ‘Aim low.’


O, How do you solve … Read the rest

Organisation for Women’s Liberation Conference

Feb 14th, 2008 | By Azar Majedi

In commemoration of the 8 March centennial, OWL is organising a conference against religious and traditional misogynist practices. Violence against women justified by defence of family honour, forced marriages and imposition of the veil on underage girls are only a few brutal examples of such practices. In light of the Islamist movement’s offensive on women’s rights and lives, not only in counties under the rule of Islam but also in the west, and a global campaign to promote Shalria law, OWL feels the urgent need to mobilize a global force to counter political Islam and promote secularism in order to safeguard women’s rights and safety. Secularism is an important pillar of a society free of misogyny. This conference is a … Read the rest

What would Becket Do?

Feb 7th, 2008 | By R Joseph Hoffmann

Rowan Williams is not a bad man. He is certainly not a stupid man. He is an Oxford scholar and one in a long train of academic bishops who are as comfortable at High Table in Balliol or in lecture halls on the High Street as they are intoning the tropes of Elizabethan liturgy in clouds of incense at Canterbury.

Why then has the good bishop failed to be fitted for a new mitre, since the one he is wearing has clearly cut off circulation to his brain?

In an address from Lambeth Palace on February 7th, Williams delivered a lecture entitled “Islam in English Law: Civil and Religious Law in England.” I cannot imagine that anybody confronted with the … Read the rest

Current Islamic Guidance on FGC: Do Not Cut Too Deeply

Feb 5th, 2008 | By Colin Brewer

‘Islamophobia’ may be a very fashionable disorder these days but I’m pretty sure that I don’t suffer from it. Islamorejection and even Islamohilarity I will cheerfully admit to but only as part of a simple rationalist dismissal of all supernatural religions. Our bible-waving enemies – and Islam, in particular treats atheists as extremely dangerous heretics – are not exactly extinct but most of them have been in retreat or confusion ever since superstition and biblical literalism started to acknowledge science, however grudgingly. The main exceptions have been those religions that didn’t have much contact with science and the modern world until quite recently – like much of Islam, after its promising mediaeval start. That’s why, at one level, … Read the rest

The Cosmopolitan Possibility

Jan 15th, 2008 | By Paul Sikander, introduction by Gina Khan

Gina Khan would like to introduce Paul Sikander, the author of this article. A lawyer who grew up in London and the West Midlands, he has also observed the rise of Islamism in Birmingham at close quarters over the last twenty years.

As British Muslim women, we struggle from within to raise our voices and to be heard, we are looking through bullet-proof glass windows as we watch the MCB and other bodies manipulate the media or the government; we never get consulted. It is encouraging to find another voice who breaks his silence today on Islamists and the hypocrisy, control and Islamism that Muslim women and children can be subjected to in Britain. I hope every governing body in … Read the rest

Matchless Prose?

Jan 2nd, 2008 | By Adrian Reddy

1. Introduction

Muslims claim that the text of the Quran is of such a quality that no human can match it, and that this property provides proof that the author was the Biblical God (see e.g. [1]). This essay reviews this claim and the evidence cited to support it. If it cannot be supported, then Islam is founded on nothing more than the assumption that the voices and visions experienced by Muhammad were not the products of his imagination. It is a flimsy basis for such a demanding system of belief.

The Quran is referred to by committed Muslims as ‘glorious’, ‘sublime’, ‘perfect’, possessing ‘superb clarity’ and ‘perfect order’. Indeed, when one reads Islamic descriptions of the Quran, one gets … Read the rest

Lessons of Atheist Dictatorships

Dec 31st, 2007 | By Christopher Orlet

One of my favorite moments in the current series of atheist versus Christian debates occurs when the defender of the faith – confronted with contradictions and crimes in Holy Writ – drops the Christian identity and begins championing a vague form of Deism (much like the Rev. Al Sharpton in the Sharpton-Christopher Hitchens Debate). Suddenly all talk of the resurrection and the miraculous vanishes, supplanted by faith in a celestial watchmaker who created this complicated but cockeyed timepiece of a universe, wound it up and then went about His business for the next 13 billion years.

Less amusing is the part where the Christian proponent attempts to blame the worst 20th century atrocities on atheism, which, to my mind, shows … Read the rest

Benazir, Daughter of destiny

Dec 28th, 2007 | By Gina Khan

Thirty years ago I watched my mum cry when Zulfiqar Bhutto was executed, today I cried for the daughter of Pakistan’s destiny.

Benazir Bhutto was a more than a beacon of light for mobilising Pakistanis against Islamism and instilling Pakistan’s democracy. She had the same fire, passion, commitment that her father had for his country, and for the tenets of democracy. In 1986 after years in jails and then exile, she left the safety of England to return to Pakistan and took on dictatorship, she bravely ignored death threats and achieved her ambitions to become Pakistan’s first woman Prime Minister.

In her autobiography Daughter of Destiny in 1988, she was the first to identify the ‘Islamization’ of Pakistan and the … Read the rest

Never forget Aqsa Parvez

Dec 13th, 2007 | By Homa Arjomand

Aqsa Parvez is another victim of honor killing, She, too has been tried and sentenced to death by her family’s belief, for not honoring the backward culture and traditions which are promoted and guarded by religious movements in particular the Islamist movement globally. Amongst all other girls and women who have been victims of honor killing, Aqsa Parvez, a sixteen-year-old, studying in grade 11 at a high school in Mississauga, Ontario – as well as Heshu from England, Fadima from Sweden and Hutun from Germany – were murdered in so called Islamic communities in Western countries, for not honoring the inhuman tradition. These victims had the desire to live in a modern society, and all wished to determine their own … Read the rest

Pyrrho and Mitt

Dec 10th, 2007 | By R Joseph Hoffmann

Pyrrho: Mr. Romney, thank you for speaking to us today. Some are saying that this is the most important political speech since John Kennedy’s “Separation Speech” in the 1960 election.

Romney: “There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adam’s words: ‘We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human … Read the rest

Center for Inquiry Experts Comment on Texas Science Education Standards

Dec 3rd, 2007 | By Nathan Bupp

Amherst, N.Y.-Experts at the Center for Inquiry (CFI), America’s largest think tank defending reason, science, and freedom of inquiry, were dismayed to learn that Texas has forced a distinguished educator out of her job because she spoke favorably of evolution and forwarded messages about lectures on evolution. Christine Castillo Comer, with more than three decades of experience as an educator, was forced out of her position recently after she forwarded an e-mail message about a talk to be given at CFI-Austin by Dr. Barbara Forrest, a critic of intelligent design. Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, is a fellow at the Center for Inquiry. A copy of the forwarded e-mail that cost Comer her position is available upon … Read the rest

A new charade by the Islamists

Dec 2nd, 2007 | By Azar Majedi

Islamists have become good at their own kind of PR. Every once in a while they find something to raise hell over and threaten the world. The charade over cartoons of Mohammad is still lingering on in the Media, and now they have started another bizarre show of offended feelings and indignant masses over a teddy bear called Mohammad in a class room of 7-8 year old kids in Sudan. The timing of this teddy bear show puzzles me greatly. Is the concurrent teddy bear saga and Annapolis conference merely a coincidence or does the timing tell us something?

It is irrelevant whether the English teacher has done this deliberately or it is just “an innocent mistake.” Whatever the reason, … Read the rest

‘1.5 Million Muslims Know Who I Am’

Dec 2nd, 2007 | By Max Dunbar

Greg Palast is a radical campaigning journalist and author. He broke the British ‘Lobbygate’ scandal of 1999, which revealed that the Labour government was twisting policy to fit the needs of its financial backers. He revealed how George Bush stole the presidency in 2000 and continues to make the case that Bush stole the presidency in 2004. He is one of the most vocal opponents of the Iraq war.

He encountered British MP George Galloway in 2003 and initially defended him:

I sought additional material from Galloway and other sources to bolster that defense and to my surprise, found more that damned him than supported him. As a journalist, I could not bury the findings.

Throughout his career, Galloway has … Read the rest

“Skepticism” and Ignorance

Nov 27th, 2007 | By George M. Felis

Imagine you found a pretty crystal while on a hike at a park. Suppose that a few hundred meters further on the hike, you ran into another hiker and struck up conversation. In that conversation, you show them your pretty crystal: “Hey, look at this neat-o quartz I found!”

Suppose your new hiker acquaintance responds by saying, “Actually, that’s not quartz at all, it’s feldspar. When I’m not a nature hiker, I’m a geology professor and a licensed gemologist.”

Naturally, your reaction (assuming you are not yourself a geologist or something) would be to say, “I don’t think so. I still say it’s a quartz. It looks all… quartz-y!”

What? That wouldn’t be your reaction?

No, of course not. Such … Read the rest

Einstein’s Wife: PBS continues to fail the test of integrity

Nov 12th, 2007 | By Allen Esterson

The story so far: In 2003 the US Public Broadcasting Service first broadcast the documentary “Einstein’s Wife” (co-sponsored by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), which purports to present evidence that Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Marić, was a brilliant mathematician and scientist who co-authored his epoch-making 1905 papers, and whose major contributions to his work had been carefully concealed throughout the twentieth century. In fact, as Alberto A. Martínez has demonstrated,[1] the film is a travesty of the historical record. I belatedly came across the film and accompanying PBS website in late 2005, and, following a close examination of the historical evidence, in March 2006 I submitted a complaint to the PBS Ombudsman, providing documentation of the falsehoods, misconceptions and tendentious misrepresentations … Read the rest

The Turning

Nov 11th, 2007 | By R. Joseph Hoffmann

Roy Vagaries. I’m pleased to be here today with former world heavyweight atheist, Professor Antony Bird. Professor Bird stunned the world a few months ago in an article where he claimed to have experienced a religious conversion. Professor Bird, can you describe the experience for us?

Professor. Experience. Yes, very important. Believe nothing if you haven’t had one.

Roy Vagaries. Professor Bird, you are the author of several essays in which you claim that atheism is the only reasonable position. And you have changed your mind?

Professor. Mind – very important. Indeed. Believe nothing if you don’t have one.

Vagaries. So you have changed your mind?

Professor. Not so much changed as rotated. Literally … Read the rest

Interview With Azar Majedi

Nov 10th, 2007 | By Rosa Valentini

Would you say that the British have become aware of the danger of multiculturalists’ policies since the London terrorist attacks?

Azar Majedi: It is difficult to judge the British public opinion, as it is usually the media that makes and shapes the public opinion. As far as the British political arena is concerned, I must say no, it has not changed. The British government continues the policy of appeasement of the so-called “Muslim leaders,” who, to my opinion, are self appointed. Consulting with these religious men, in order to “win the hearts of the Muslim community”, is the British government’s key policy.

Unfortunately, an atmosphere of mistrust has developed between the so-called Muslim community and the general public. The Muslim … Read the rest

Gina Khan on Breaking the Silence

Nov 9th, 2007 | By Ophelia Benson

Last February an article by Mary Ann Sieghart in the Times (London) introduced us to Gina Khan: ‘a very brave woman. Born in Birmingham 38 years ago to Pakistani parents, she has run away from an arranged marriage, dressed herself in jeans and dared to speak out against the increasing radicalisation of her community.’ Here she tells us more and brings us up to date on her campaign.

What prompted you to start speaking out?

I had been doing my own research for a few years. After all, being a British Asian woman from a Pakistani ethnic background, a Muslim, the atrocities commited in the name of Islam effected me profoundly. Being a Pakistani had its own stigmas – being … Read the rest

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial

Nov 8th, 2007 | By Barbara Forrest

NOVA Documentary: “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial”

When: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Louisiana Public Broadcasting, 7-9 p.m.

WYES, New Orleans, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

View online on Wednesday, November 14, 2007.

The story of the first legal case involving intelligent design creationism, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District (2005), will be told in a two-hour documentary, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial,” that will air on PBS’s NOVA on Tuesday, November 13. Barbara Forrest, Professor of Philosophy in the Dept. of History and Political Science at Southeastern Louisiana University, served as one of the expert witnesses for the plaintiffs and will be featured in the documentary along with other participants in the case.

In December 2004, eleven parents of … Read the rest

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Nov 3rd, 2007 | By Tim Goot-Brennan

At universities today, the most popular potential US presidential candidate is smart, young, black, good-looking, likeable. His events draw frenzied crowds (a bad sign); pundits say he’s a rock-star (another bad sign).

Why is Senator Barack Obama so popular? His healthcare plan is pedestrian; his foreign policy outlook is interchangeable with Hillary Clinton’s, or Mitt Romney’s for that matter. It’s partly to do with his image as a young charmer and partly because he opposed the Iraq War “from the beginning”, as he likes to remind people. But his position on Iraq is not as hardline as Bill Richardson’s, for example. And laying claim to being the most charismatic Congressmen is really only like claiming to be the most open-minded … Read the rest