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"Avoiding and censoring criticism of Islam solely because populists and demagogues make similar critiques is the greatest failure of today's liberals and freethinkers."
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Unfortunately, the absence of a clearly identified clergy in the Muslim world (particularly in the Sunni world) does not favour a reform of Islam. To reform this religion, the various representatives of Islam all around the world should cooperate, coordinate their action to find common ground on major issues.
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We need to understand the difference between being separate and being moderate. There is also a need to understand that most Muslim women who don't wear these emblems are still followers of Islam. The conclusion of this debate should be that wearing a particular item of dress should be a person's choice. Showing yourself -- your identity -- should be a choice made by society.
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Ali A. Rizvi recently wrote an open letter to "moderate Muslims." I'm not sure if Rizvi's letter was directed toward me, as I don't measure my faith in chicken wing flavours, but I'm going to respond anyway. Rizvi's good will doesn't last long as he immediately begins to lecture Muslims about our "increasingly waning credibility" in the West.
Islamic law did not seek to regulate feelings, emotions and urges, but only its translation into action that authorities had declared unlawful. Indeed, many scholars -- including prominent 11th century jurist Abu Muhammad Ali Ibn Hazm -- even argued that homosexual tendencies themselves were not haram but had to be suppressed for the public good.
What is happening in Toronto four years later is the same game that was played out in New York City in 2010. Its part of the soft-jihad waged by Islamists and their left-wing allies, one that uses Islam and multiculturalism to whip up an anti-West sentiment among Muslim youth and create symbols that can be seen as a middle finger to the "Great Satan."
Most atheists have read much more of the holy books than theists think. They are surprised when an atheist is able to quote a passage from holy scripture. So, atheists thank them very much for their concern, already know about the gods, but just don't share their faith in those gods. Can atheists have a dialogue with theists, then? Yes, if theists can agree to remove two hurdles.