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US atheist group targets Muslims and Jews

US atheist group targets Muslims and Jews

CNN reports that the American Atheists organisation are targeting Muslim and Jewish communities with billboards in Arabic and Hebrew describing God as a “myth”.

“We are not trying to inflame anything,” American Atheists president Dave Silverman is quoted as saying. “We are trying to advertise our existence to atheists in those communities. The objective is not to inflame but rather to advertise the atheist movement in the Muslim and Jewish community.”

Yeah, right.

American Atheists, you may recall, is the organisation involved in the “Zombie Muhammad” case, in which one of their members claimed that he was assaulted by a Muslim during a Halloween parade. After the case was dimissed because of lack of supporting evidence, American Atheists expressed outrage that the judge had refused to take the word of a white American over that of a “Muslim immigrant”.

The American Atheists website features a long essay attacking Islam and Muslims which the authors state is “greatly dependent upon the excellent books written or compiled by Ibn Warraq”. It contains passages like these:

Mohammedans prefer to be called Muslims – a term derived from the Arabic ’aslama, meaning ‘to resign oneself [to Allah]‘. They prefer their religion to be called Islam (from Arabic ’islam, meaning ‘submission’) rather than Mohammedanism. Most western scholars have gone along with this, rather than risk the wrath of purportedly peaceful members of ‘the third great Abrahamic faith’. Nevertheless, Mohammedanism seems to be a perfectly appropriate name for a religion which currently poses so great a threat to secular civilizations throughout the world….

Despite the occasionally tolerant references in the Qur’an to “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians in addition to Muslims), the non-Muslims need to be eliminated. Convert them or kill them, or make them pay a religious ransom to continue the private practice of their religion. (Of necessity, Muslims must reject the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.) Atheists and Agnostics, who deny the reality of Allah, are also wicked blasphemers. They need to be eliminated also. It is preferable to kill them.

True, the authors go on to state that intolerance is “a natural attribute of all monotheistic religions”. However, no extended essay can be found on the American Atheists site attacking Christianity and Christians in equally vitriolic terms.

But this has become a distinguishing feature of the so-called “new atheism”. The legitimate secular objective of separating church and state has been sidelined in favour of attacking minority ethno-religious communities, and Muslims in particular, often employing language which is indistinguishable from that of the racist right.

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85 Comments »

  1. Well that’s just rude :(

  2. No one seems to understand how to mind their own fucking business.

  3. idk if that’s really islamophobia. its just anti-religion

  4. That’s not Islamophobic…

  5. Not that these billboards are too spot off…

  6. It is, but I think that this group is just more anti-religion than focusing on Muslims and Jews. I’m an atheist myself, and I don’t agree with what they are doing here. I’d like to think of most atheists as rational people with open minds, but some like to dis-prove me.

  7. As an atheist, this makes me ashamed

  8. Oh Geez

  9. The theory of an all seeing, all knowing “God” is a myth. What’s wrong with saying it? Isn’t that free speech? I see message boards in front of almost every church in town giving their side.

  10. Not a good sign.

  11. If they’re so “strong” in their belief or lack of, why do they bother others?

  12. As soon as “some people” started referring to the old-school Norse and Egyption gods as myths, it was ON!

  13. I wouldn’t call it Islamophobia if they’re targeting all religions equally and not being all like “Islam is false but Christianity is true” or something. More like a going multicultural with their message kind of thing?

  14. However, evangelical atheism is just as bad as evangelical(insert religion here).

  15. I agree, its most likely anti-religion, it is also their right.

  16. Begun, this holy war has…

  17. Actually, American Athiests did something similar with Christianity when they sponsored a billboard in New York claiming Jesus was a myth.

  18. No, it’s Islamophobia and other agenda. It’s interesting that the Western religion that damns atheists is fundamental Christianity. Modern Jews understand the Maimonidean Code, but we understand God as far reaching into the diverse imaginations of believers, even to athiests. I believe many of my Muslim cousins feel similarly.

  19. Atheists really don’t realize that they’re just as bad as the religious folk that they claim to hate. I can’t stand it.

  20. They had these billboards allover Atlanta. They don’t target anybody in particular.

  21. I am a Muslim Republican, so please refrain from being as ignorant as those speaking against us by calling the GOP the “racist right.” It’s just as tactless as the claims of the American Atheists.

  22. I refuse to believe that an atheist billboard calling religious beliefs ‘myths’ can be a good thing. I never see a christian billboard saying ‘atheists? You’re going to hell and you’re wrong.’ But if there was, atheists would be all over it.

  23. Actually Aaron… I have seen that.

  24. actually @Aaron Kriever, unfortunately there are billboards all over the bible belt of the US saying just that.

  25. I don’t hate religious folk. I do reserve the right to say they are misguided!

  26. I detest any kind of proselytizing, including by atheists.

  27. That’s not anti-islam or even anti-semitic, that’s just being a dick!

  28. Evangelism at it’s silliest! Like do they think Muslims and Jewish people don’t know that not believing is an option? If they can just let them know they will come flocking to disbelief?

  29. God bless their hearts! Wonder if they are doing this mythical Being a favor by drawing attention to His religion.

  30. Atheists have as much right to express their views as any religious group does. We have just forbidden it for so long that people get angry and discriminate against them. Do I personally feel it is in bad taste to place these billboards near mosques or in Jewish neighborhoods? Yes, absolutely, but I would argue that Christians have been placing equally obnoxious religious billboards where ever they can purchase space, and few people ever speak out against them because they fear the intimidation. This is purely a freedom of expression concern and not anything anti-semitic or islamophobic in the least.

  31. Everyone has a message they want to spread, be it religous or non-religious…they just want to spread their beliefs and dont discriminate with targeting only one religion ( Christianity)

  32. Well we know they are wrong! Eloheim/Allah/G-d is G-d!

  33. I am pretty sure more than 99% of the religious billboards I have seen in my life were Christian, so I don’t know why some people are saying the Athiests need to “mind their own business” and not “bother others.” There are two ways to gain knowledge in the world, finding it and sharing it. More often people have it shared with them (oral traditions, parenting, education, exposure) than finding it (research, exploration). So while we may be bothered by evangelicism, it is an effective method of knowledge growth, even if you don’t take it as a truth. The anoyance typically comes when we have decided that the knowledge is false, yet we are continually offered the same thing. So in that sense when it comes to this topic, you will have plenty of people annoyed with someone else. The best we can do is equalize the exposure of all the ideas.

  34. To those that say this isn’t Islamaphobia…well, it might not be but READ the article to see why it’s posted in the first place.

  35. Atheists are against closed-minded religious people who cram their beliefs down the throats of others. In response they be come closed-minded and start cramming their beliefs down the throats of others.

    Pot, meet Kettle…

  36. Atheists have as much right to express their beliefs as any religious group does. We have just forbidden it for so long that people get angry and discriminate against them. Do I personally feel it is in poor taste to place these billboards near mosques or in Jewish neighborhoods? Yes, absolutely. However, I would argue that Christians in this nation have been ignoring others by placing equally provocative religious billboards where ever they can purchase space, and few people ever speak out against them, because they fear intimidation and retribution by extremists. The bottom line is that this is purely an issue of freedom of expression and not anything that comes close to being anti-semitic or islamophobic. It is also protected speech, and just as we have freedom of religion, we also have a right to freedom from religion. It’s time to recognize that we live in a pluralistic society and while the majority may profess belief in some religion, we need to be inclusive and tolerant of those who do not profess any religious beliefs.

  37. I hate religious evangelism of any sort. If I am interested in your beliefs (or lack thereof), I will ask. Also, it really isn’t that hard for us to fathom WHY someone might not believe. I can understand why someone would be atheist, I can understand the reasons, but it doesn’t mean that understanding your beliefs makes me agree with them.

  38. “G-d is dead.” – Nietzsche
    “Nietzsche is dead.” – G-d

  39. I’m an Atheist.

  40. I am atheist, but yet I defend your rights to your beliefs. While this is in poor taste, it is not a phobic thing. I do not fear religion. I fear those who take it to the degree where it becomes violent. This can be ANY religion…and I am sure there are atheists who fit into this group too. What we all need to look at is the human aspect, and be tolerant of all..monotheists, polytheists, agnostics and atheists.

  41. As a Christian , I demand equal rites! They should insult me too!!!! ( I think some so called “christian is probably funding these people).

  42. I don’t mind this. Religion trades directly in myth.

  43. This isn’t really intolerance against Muslims or jews. Atheists hate everybody equally.

  44. This isn’t really intolerance against Muslims or jews. Atheists hate everybody equally.

  45. This is really dangerous, because everyone I know gets their religious beliefs from billboards.

  46. This is really dangerous, because everyone I know gets their religious beliefs from billboards.

  47. And they are no better than christian (and any other world religious) fundies out there. :/

  48. And they are no better than christian (and any other world religious) fundies out there. :/

  49. Unicorns are mythical, God is not.

  50. Unicorns are mythical, God is not.

  51. I’m an atheist and also against bigotry of all kinds. I think the organization doing the billboards should reconsider its methods. Religious minorities already feel attacked. It seems counterproductive to add an assault from another direction. Atheists are already hated. We should work together with those of other non-majority belief systems in opposing the imposition of Christianity into our schools and government.

  52. I’m an atheist and also against bigotry of all kinds. I think the organization doing the billboards should reconsider its methods. Religious minorities already feel attacked. It seems counterproductive to add an assault from another direction. Atheists are already hated. We should work together with those of other non-majority belief systems in opposing the imposition of Christianity into our schools and government.

  53. the targeted becomes the attacker! they need someone to convince them that atheism is a “myth”!

  54. the targeted becomes the attacker! they need someone to convince them that atheism is a “myth”!

  55. How do we truly know whether or not some outside force (be it he, she, it…) exists? We truly don’t…that’s one of life’s mysteries. Which I personally intend to leave it that way. :) . More fun that way. Lol. Besides it’s ones experience fit for ones own life. I can’t stand it when people try to cram their beliefs/non beliefs down anothers throat….all it does is just cause more problems than solves….

    I like all world religions and spiritual paths as well as having respect for agnosticism and atheism. :) . Just my 2¢ :)

  56. How do we truly know whether or not some outside force (be it he, she, it…) exists? We truly don’t…that’s one of life’s mysteries. Which I personally intend to leave it that way. :) . More fun that way. Lol. Besides it’s ones experience fit for ones own life. I can’t stand it when people try to cram their beliefs/non beliefs down anothers throat….all it does is just cause more problems than solves….

    I like all world religions and spiritual paths as well as having respect for agnosticism and atheism. :) . Just my 2¢ :)

  57. But Darkius that will cause more problems. Communication will help big time…all this screamin and getting angry that is not proper communication, that is throwing tantrums. We are supposed to be adults. I already see history starting to really repeat itself :(

  58. But Darkius that will cause more problems. Communication will help big time…all this screamin and getting angry that is not proper communication, that is throwing tantrums. We are supposed to be adults. I already see history starting to really repeat itself :(

  59. they should make it specific to islam

  60. they should make it specific to islam

  61. Rofl @ Phillip Lawson :)

  62. Rofl @ Phillip Lawson :)

  63. I can’t speak to specific claims in the American Atheists essay mentioned in the linked article, since I do not know enough about Islam. And I will say that I found some of the material dealing with the Islamic world in Sam Harris’s main book, The End of Faith, very very troubling — he has even written an essay in defense of torture! Nonetheless, as far as the billboards go (and that is the ostensible topic of the Facebook post and the article), I do not see them as in any way Islamophobic, since they are 1.) part of a wider campaign to reach out to closeted atheists in all religious communities, and 2.) saying that religion is a myth simply isn’t Islamophobic — and putting that message in Hebrew or Arabic doesn’t make it anti-Semitic or Islamophobic, any more than putting it in English reveals a belief that Christians are sub-human. Every time I drive on the highway I can see religious billboards threatening people with eternal torture — the atheist billboard, on the other hand, merely makes an epistemological claim, and threatens no one with any type of torture at all. Compared to the religious billboards I can see any day I want (not to mention the crazy religious stuff I can hear on my car radio any day of the week — yoga and Harry Potter are crypto-Satanism, etc.), these billboards are cotton candy.

  64. I can’t speak to specific claims in the American Atheists essay mentioned in the linked article, since I do not know enough about Islam. And I will say that I found some of the material dealing with the Islamic world in Sam Harris’s main book, The End of Faith, very very troubling — he has even written an essay in defense of torture! Nonetheless, as far as the billboards go (and that is the ostensible topic of the Facebook post and the article), I do not see them as in any way Islamophobic, since they are 1.) part of a wider campaign to reach out to closeted atheists in all religious communities, and 2.) saying that religion is a myth simply isn’t Islamophobic — and putting that message in Hebrew or Arabic doesn’t make it anti-Semitic or Islamophobic, any more than putting it in English reveals a belief that Christians are sub-human. Every time I drive on the highway I can see religious billboards threatening people with eternal torture — the atheist billboard, on the other hand, merely makes an epistemological claim, and threatens no one with any type of torture at all. Compared to the religious billboards I can see any day I want (not to mention the crazy religious stuff I can hear on my car radio any day of the week — yoga and Harry Potter are crypto-Satanism, etc.), these billboards are cotton candy.

  65. adult? adults don’t use these methods to convince! they want vandalism not atheism! but if they want to argue about religions and god, let them have it, there are more than 6 billion religious against 1 billion! fair enough!

  66. adult? adults don’t use these methods to convince! they want vandalism not atheism! but if they want to argue about religions and god, let them have it, there are more than 6 billion religious against 1 billion! fair enough!

  67. So what? They attack Christians, Mormons, everybody.

  68. Can’t everyone just find some business of their own and mind it?

  69. As an American, I get that these people have their own belief as to the value of god. As a Muslim, HOW DARE THEY!?! Honestly, I don’t tell people to convert or force my views on people, yet most Americans see me as a bad guy, but these people, make it their goal to be the bad people and they are protected. They look down on those of us who have faith simply because they disagree! Remember those Coexist bumper stickers, someone needs to give them out to the atheists!

  70. and the war never ends

  71. Speaking as a borderline atheist myself, that is that is totally disrespectful. I may not believe in religion, but I’ll always respect a person’s right to believe as they wish, just so long as they respect George Carlin’s Third Commandment: Thou Shalt Keep Thy Religion To Thyself.

  72. Atheists are sad bored pricks ……. End of !

  73. Not all Christians are evangelicals. Many of us believe that much harm has been done by evangelical missions that disrespect the beliefs of people they choose to minister to in the world, to people’s perceptions of our beliefs, and most importantly for some of us is the harm done to the actual work we believe Jesus asked us to do in the world.

    I think the need to argue and push for others to share your religious/anti-religious, or other views comes from insecurity, or the idea that ‘if lots of people think the same thing I think then I can be more confident that I am right’. If lots of people don’t agree then the insecure feel the need to pressure them to do so. If you are confident in what you believe you don’t need others to reinforce it by their agreement. Most of the atheist or agnostic people I have known were no more evangelical than I am.

    I disagree with some here who feel that targeting Muslim and Jewish communities with these posters is not a form of bigotry. It may be more subtle than the overt islamophobia we are experiencing in the U.S. these days, but it does suggest that Muslims (and Jewish people) need to be ‘saved’ from their beliefs. This seems odd to me since these same people tend to object to having been subjected to similar efforts to ‘save’ them. Maybe it’s a matter of doing unto others as has been done to them rather than as you would have them do unto you?

  74. Most atheist support other’s rights to belief and are not like this.

  75. One may, and should, believe whatever one wants, but, by definition, any god is a myth.

  76. I am wondering if these people profess that God is a myth, how were those people brought into life without the wisdom of God? SHAME!!!

  77. As an atheist, I find much of American Atheists’ efforts insulting and intolerant (to myself and to people who have religion). I do not see these billboards as targeting, though, because American Atheists have many billboards all over the place aimed at all different religions.

  78. Speaking as an atheist, I am sick of people using atheism as a liberal-sounding cover to attack Islam (Hitchens and Dawkins, I’m thinking of you). Yes, from an atheist perspective all reliogions are equally false and equally deserving of criticism, but when you single out minority religions in a predominantly Christian society, it is in poor taste, and just feeds into the scapegoating of those communities.

  79. This is why I stopped calling myself an Atheist. It’s fucking idiots like these that make them all look bad.

  80. I used to be an atheist like them…

    … then I realized I hated atheists as much as Christians for shoving beliefs down peoples’ throats.

    Idiots.

  81. One of the Chassidic Rabbis issued a blessing to say upon encountering an Atheist.
    “Praise G-d who has sent those who destroy false images.”
    The gods you don’t believe in I don’t believe in either.

  82. If they wish to spend their money on simply saying they do not believe in God, that is fine. I welcome that over the crazy mean stuff other people say and do. Part of religious freedom is letting others be free to believe or not believe. God will guide those who wishes. We all have free will and free choice. I wish more Christians and Jews realized how similar we all are since we are worshiping the same God. We are all brothers & sisters.

  83. Interesting…a myth does not necessarily have to be “false”: and the choice the sign points out does not have to be one of deciding the objective truth or falsity of…”it” (also not specified). Instead the choice religionists are being reminded of here can be taken as an invitation to evaluate the actions and consequences that their chosen explanatory belief system encourages and reinforces socially. However, as New Atheist Sam Harris pointed out a long time ago in an interview I watched, we don’t necessarily “choose” all our beliefs on a practical level; we function in our daily lives based on assumptions that it would be ridiculous and counterproductive to challenge or act out of concert with. In fact, these are the very “beliefs” that show supernatural phenomena/powers/beings to be an unreliable source of assumptions on which we can act. They are unworkable “myths” when taken literally.

  84. This is no surprise. Some of the atheist comedians on TV, such as Bill Maher are pretty nasty with their criticism. Although I do like George Carlin, not because he’s an atheist, but because he is very insightful when he does routines that critique modern American/western culture.

  85. This is really sad to me because I think atheists and Muslims have a lot in common, even in the way they are demonized in public discourse. In my own Muslim community, there seems to be a distinct fear of the atheist as someone who good Muslims just shouldn’t associate with. On the other side of the coin, atheists are just as frightened and bewildered by Muslims as anyone else who has watched TV in the past 10 years. As a recent convert to Islam, I’m trying to reach out to my atheist friends who don’t know what to make of Islam. Click on my name to view the blog post that is my latest attempt.

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