The Innocence of Muslims: Freedom & Foreign Policy: Sean Faircloth


Faircloth describes what the US government, and you, must do to protect human rights violated by religion in remarks delivered before the Tri-City Freethinkers in Kennewick, WA Sept 16, 2012. Faircloth helps organize the secular movement as Dir. of Strategy & Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science US.

Sean Faircloth is author of Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All & What We Can Do About It.…

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  1. “That filthy woman claims our holy prophet married a 12 year old! That is outrageous. She was nine! Muhammed (peace be upon him) would not have polluted his spirit with a 12 year old woman! Blasphemy!”

  2. Anyone knows what happened to that Indian skeptic  who was basically run out of India because he exposed a plumbing problem? Is he still hiding?

  3. Do the majority of Muslim clerics worldwide really think apostates need to die? Or are these mostly clerics in fundamentalist countries like Saudi Arabia? 

  4. It appears Sanal Edamaruku was staying with friends in Finland, and is currently keeping busy touring Europe and giving lectures.  No updates on the case are available but, as far as I know, the warrants for his arrest haven’t been revoked.

    Ref: Rationalist International

  5. If you ask an iman in the West if he believes apostasy should result in death, they usually hem and haw and won’t really answer the question. If you push them for an answer, you might get “The Quran says it is so, I believe in the quran”. So my gut, based solely on anecdotal evidence, would be that most do support death for apostasy. 

    How did we get into this situation?   How could telling the truth have to give way to lies, corruption and stupidity?

    How does a false piece of information evolve to become the metric by which we are forced to measure the worth of human experience or the illusion with which we are instructed to replace reality?

  7. Apparently, unlike many freethinkers, most people don’t realize that religions were designed for mind control.

  8. Since no one knows anything about God anyway, I think a lot of life, time and resources would be saved in the world if God was democratically elected. The entire world population would vote for a God to lead the humanity for a term of say four years. Or, alternatively, the European Parliament system of rotation could be adopted. The term would be divided equally between the Christian, the Muslim, the Buddhist and the Hindu gods, while the leaders of smaller religions would be nominated for Vice Gods.

  9. What needs to be looked at is the reason why people have these “sacred” beliefs in the first place. And the reason is simple: it’s because they’ve been indoctrinated (nearly always from young childhood) to believe certain “truths” and never to question them. In many societies this social indoctrination is reinforced by law and threats of a death penalty!

    This indoctrination and bullying is immoral and disgusting.

    So we are most certainly not morally obliged to help perpetuate this indoctrination by playing the same game and automatically respecting these beliefs. On the contrary, we are morally obliged to help break this cycle.

  10. Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, discovered that a plumbing problem was the cause that an image of Jesus looked like as if he was weeping, and therefore there was no miracle. He was sued by the Indian Roman Catholic Church and charged with hurting religious feelings; he’s on the run ever since. What does Pope Razi B-16 think about this matter? The last I heard of him is that he accused Atheism of being a totalitarian ideology, so, as he’s so liberal, he should ask the Indian RCC to drop charges against Mr Edamaruku, unless he intends to let Indian Catholics  believe, falsely, that the image weeps. Rationalists associations all over the world should pressure the Pope to stop harassing Mr Edamaruku. I refer to this case, and not to the others, because the RCC is an association centralized in one person and therefore should be easier to solve this unpleasant chapter.

  11.  It is both fundamentalists, clerics and most probably some Muslims living in the west.  In the west, at least in my work environment, no one dares say that s/he wants apostates to die as Muhammad killed them in his time.  I have been an apostates from a Muslim country since my teenage years, and would legally fight those who even think this  kind of savagery.  

  12. Consider that even in 1790 the minmum age for marriage in the USA was 7.  Child marriage was the norm back then.  Mohammed did nothing out of the ordinary.

  13. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.
    ~ Barack Obama (born: 1961-08-04 age: 51)

    ∇ Obama is thinking of the video Innocence of Muslims whose whole point was to rile Muslims to violence, but it does not take a scurrilous attack on religion to generate insane and violent responses. Christians and Muslims all over the world have recently jailed and killed people for saying simply “I don’t believe in any religion.” Obama goes too far in his request for restraint. If he wants us to avoid anyone taking offence, literally he is asking us:
    Not to report priests molesting children.
    Not to poke fun at the goofy claims of Scientologists and Mormons.
    Not to debunk phony miracles.
    Not to report the financial scams and hypocrisy of the TV evangelists.
    Not to interfere with female circumcision.
    Not to stop herpes-infected rabbis from killing infants with unsanitary circumcisions.

  14. Maybe he did not-he was a man of his time; pity his followers still would like to be doing it today…

  15.  There are scientists who obtain  research grants to study paedophilia.  Generally, and adult’s sexual desire toward kids who are  14 years old  or younger is definitely pathological.

    When this happens or happened in the past makes no difference.

    Now, even reaction to children’s images and changes in brain are used to study paedophilia. 

    Paedophilia is harmful to kids regardless when it happened or will happen.

    Faith is no excuse for inflicting harm to other human beings.  Faith has always been source of savagery.

  16.  My impression has been that Obama is limited by political circumstances.  He seems, for instance, to be open to freedom of atheists in the US society.  However, I agree with you: Too much politeness may lead to stagnant political situation.

  17. Meanwhile, it seems that Brazil is taking steps to protect freedom of religion,
    Nine MSN Reports:
    Alt: Courier Mail Reports:

    Brazilian court bans anti-Islam filmA judge in Brazil has ordered YouTube to remove clips of the movie that has touched off deadly protests across the Muslim world, the court says in a statement.

    Judge Gilson Delgado Miranda gave the video-sharing site ten days to remove videos of the film, Innocence of Muslims. After that, YouTube’s parent company, Google, will face fines of $US5000 ($A4800) a day for every day the clips remain accessible in Brazil, according to the statement posted on the court’s website.
    The lawsuit was filed by a group representing Brazil’s Muslim community, the National Union of Islamic Entities, which claims the film violates Brazil’s constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all faiths.

  18. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) only married the 9-year old Ayesha to strengthen of ties with Abu Bakr (RA) with divine consent. After the married she continued to play with her toys, and that Muhammad (PBUH) entered into the spirit of these games. Marriage does not mean that all marital relationships were started on the day of marriage.

  19. This is one of the best, and most honest, policy
    speeches I have heard from a secularist. Sean & Co are a great
    asset to freethinkers everywhere, and need support from all of us,

    I am now going to make another donation to RDFRS, to add
    to my little bit for Humanity. I’m proud to be an RDFRS member, and
    cannot think of a better group to represent my outlook.

    you to all who fight, in the most humane and professional way, for
    truth and rationality. The struggle for equality, freedom of thought
    & speech, and for representation, is greater than ever. With
    everyone pulling in this direction, we can impact well above our
    numbers, for sanity’s sake.

    Oh, if we could please have brave
    people of this quality and intelligence leading our governments.
    Here in Canada, in my UK homeland, everywhere, we are all under
    attack by the Theocrats. We cannot afford to fail in this mission on
    behalf of all humanity, and we can make it happen.

    Clan Campbell of Cawdor. Freethinker. Homo sapiens sapiens.

  20. The problem is not what cultural attitudes and laws were 200 years ago.  The problem is what they are now and in the future.

    A recent newspaper report shows that in one of the more fashionable/sophisticated parts of London, muslim girls as young as 9 years old are being married off.  The police, and the politicians are mute.  The report was based on information from a Kurdish muslim women’s organisation in London.  And still no-one pays any attention.… followers now are emulating his behaviour (it is sunnah).  THAT is a problem.  Even in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood wants to have girls married off at 9.… muslims think that the closer their behaviour is to that of Mohammed in the 7th century, the better they are.  Young girls are married off in Saudi Arabia (no age of consent), Yemen, Malaysia, Iran, etc.The idea that these marriages remain “unconsummated” is horrific.  Young girls die from being raped in these marriages, or from giving birth as a consequence of them.… feel so angry that our media are ignoring these things, especially when they are happening on our own doorstep.  There are plenty of famous actors, writers, academics who live in fashionable parts of London where these things go on.  But they all ignore these things.  

  21. I don’t know, the divine consent bit is not very inspiring.  I mean, here’s a guy capable of taking advantage of the element of surprise given by holy day celebrations to slaughter his rivals, but is incapable of letting his actions be judged objectively as either good for his people and just, or even good for them to hell with justice.  Instead we get some nonsense
    about “god said I could”.  

    Well, la dee da, that’s what everyone says.

  22. >The problem is not what cultural attitudes and laws were 200 years ago. The problem is what they are now and in the future.

    Well said!  If you dig around in newsgroups or websites you will see hear a hundred criticisms of Islam for Mohammed’s child marriage for every one you hear about present day child marriages. It is the old gagging on a gnat and swallowing a camel problem.

    I told a story a while ago about two two year olds in India being married, but not allowed to move in together until they were 18.  You have to be careful to distinguish between arranged marriages and marriages where prepubescent girls are pushed into sex. They can look the same.

  23. I strongly believe that if you are put between the choice throwing jokes at a person with a gun robbing your local bank, you probably should not. The problem does not originally lie in the joke itself that may offend the man with the gun, but the very fact that there is such a man among us.

    However, and until such persons are eliminated from society, it is best advised to keep silent and avoid sounding provoking so not to cause harm to oneself or others, which would not be caused by you directly, but rather undirectly. Only a mad man would resort to mocking the robber in an attempt to “save” the bank and the people in it. A sane man would approach the probelm logically and attempt to resolve such issues through rehabilitation centres, police work or criminal correction programs.

  24. The Quran does not directly demand the killing of apostates. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

  25. @black-maze
    To mock the oppressive is courageous. Not everyone is in a position to do it, but it is ‘mad’ only if self-preservation is your primary goal.

  26. @s.shumail
    “After the married she continued to play with her toys, and that Muhammad (PBUH) entered into the spirit of these games. Marriage does not mean that all marital relationships were started on the day of marriage.”

    You want to believe this. After all, the alternative would not be very nice, would it?

    But until recently most Muslims would have assumed otherwise – that Mohammed took his marital rights as any other man would in those days. 

    So what changed? Answer: secular morality. Mohammed and Jesus were both children of their times, whose mores derived from local custom.

  27. @black-maze

    “The Quran does not directly demand the killing of apostates. It’s a bit more complicated than that.”

    Even if  you are right, this is irrelevant. The problem for the rest of the world is not one of how the Quran should be interpreted, it’s how the Quran is interpreted. Exactly the same applies to Christianity.

    There are plenty of believers who directly demand the killing/jailing/ostracism of apostates but precious few with the courage to stand up and say apostates should be left in peace, allowed their own beliefs and treated with same respect they want to see reserved for religions.

    Do you have the courage?

  28. Well,  it’s got something in common with boiling frogs.  If you want to boil a frog,  you take a big pan full of cold water and put the frog in.   The very very slowly you turn up the heat,  to begin the frog swims around quite happily,  as the temp rises,  the frog becomes drowsy,  then unconcious and then boiled.   If you throw a frog into boiling water,  chances are it will jump straight out, scalded.

  29. There is a piece by a German pastor,  but I cannot remember his name,  shame on me.

    But it goes like this
    First they came for the Jews and I said nothing,
    Then they came for the disabled and I did nothing
    Then they came for the trades unionists and I said nothing
    When they came for me,  there was no one left to speak up.

    It’s a dog rough version of the more eloquent original but you get the drift.

  30. Sean Faircloth stands on stage and makes his pitch – we hide behind sock puppets.   Why is that?  Many of us live in the safest and most secure nations on earth.

  31. [quote]However, and until such persons are eliminated from society, it is best
    advised to keep silent and avoid sounding provoking so not to cause harm
    to oneself or others, which would not be caused by you directly, but
    rather undirectly. Only a mad man would resort to mocking the robber in
    an attempt to “save” the bank and the people in it. A sane man would
    approach the probelm logically and attempt to resolve such issues
    through rehabilitation centres, police work or criminal correction

    When your life is directly threatened, I don’t expect anyone to speak up. Not throwing your life away to make a point is understandable. However, we cannot just keep quiet and expect the oppressors to go away, we cannot remain silent until it is perfectly safe and uncontroversial. What we must do, when we can without taking big risks, is to speak up, criticize, blaspheme and provoke. We must all do this, again and again. If we all speak up, the robber cannot shoot us all. Most likely, he won’t shoot anyone. If every newspaper printed mohammed cartoons, if we all stood together as one, there would be no one to single out. They can attack us all or not at all. When we do this, it becomes normal, and people are forced to accept it. Eventually they get used to it. It is no longer controversial, and we have won. This is how we must fight for the freedom of speech, not by avoiding provocations and hoping for others to change, but to provoke at every opportunity, standing united, and forcing a change.

  32.  Unless one subscribes to the mistaken belief that “paedophile” means “child molestor”, paedophilia does no harm to children or anyone else. The person concerned is harmful only if he  ACTS on his urges. I fancy grown women, but that doesn’t mean I go round molesting them.
    I am a bibliophile, but I don’t steal books.

  33. I do not claim that you are wrong  or right as far as paedophilia is concerned.  However, I need to see well studied (proper study design) published in a well known scientific paper with replication of results, which should also be published.  As long as I do not see such evidence, I cannot say you are wrong or right.  At the same time, I cannot accept your claim as a fact till then.

  34.  Sorry, but I don’t follow you. There is no need for any scientific study to judge what I said. It’s just obvious logic, and don’t forget, logical thought IS science!
    Whatever someone’s unacceptable impulses, as long as he resists them nobody is hurt (though he may himself be frustrated and unhappy). What’s your problem with that statement?
    One thing I can deduce scientifically about you by the way: you aren’t American.

  35. “….back then” – they didn’t know what schizophrenia was, or any of the other mental disorders that we are familiar with today. Hell, can you imagine how an illusionist with the skills of David Copperfield would have been treated! No, he didn’t do anything out of the ordinary then, if that was considered “normal”!! However, we definitely DO NOT consider that normal today, and any religion/state  that does not disprove of this practice should be treated with the disgust it deserves. 
    It was recently reported that a Parliamentarian in Iran wanted to introduce legislation permitting the legal age for marriage to be reduced to 9 years – that’s for girls of course…..

  36. Wonderful being a female in some of these seriously partriarchal societies. Deluded males constantly making life long decisions on your behalf……

  37. Sure, why is it then that so many individuals are so easily persuaded to commit the worst atrocities in the name of this religion? Like flying aircraft into buildings, regardless of who may be in the building – people of a similar faith etc.

  38. It’s called “don’t rock the boat to much…it  might just draw too much attention to you, which in some cases could be a life changing experience…!’
    In my circle of friends and family, the general consensus seems to indicate a feeling of apathy regarding the silliness of religion. There appear to be many folk who agree (privately) but never in public… Also, a great deal of ignorance on the subject.

  39.  Scientific research is being done on Paedophilia.  The impulses under observation by psychologists in an unbiased way and review of the observations is necessary.  Scientists study human bvehaviours.  Humans can be healthy kids or adults, as well as people with neurological defects (smaller brain white matter in pedophiles).

    Science has nothing to do with me being American or not.  I am an Atheist, and evidence based acceptance of phenomena (including human behaviour) is my way.

  40.  Agree.

    But, the omniscient God new about schizophrenia and did nothing about it.  He did not return to our planet to inform his then worshippers.  So, he watched the psychiatric patients be killed/tortured/harassed.  He just gave the perpetrators  “free will” so that they decide for themselves and pass the test required to enter  paradise made by him.  He loves his guinea pigs.  We are so cute to him when we suffer.  It is obviously normal to him watching  kids be sodomized by his priest worshippers too.  And, when we burn in Hell made by him, it is normal to him to smell barbecued flesh.

    “Religion poisons everything”.   I miss Hitchens so much!

  41. May we ask users to remain on the topic of the OP and not to derail the thread with a discussion of paedophilia, please.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  42. It’s not complicated at all. The Qur’an DOES NOT demand the killing of apostates. Apostasy is not a temporally punishable crime in the Qur’an. Neither is blasphemy, in fact.

  43. Muhammad used to kill apostates.  This does not come from the script, but from the prophet’s actions, which are taken as God’s will.

  44. With all due respect (to you that is, not your religion), it doesn’t matter if YOU say the fictional scriptures don’t (or do) demand death for apostates.
    Many Muslims would either disagree with you, or be appropriately vague.

    Nevertheless, it doesn’t concern me at all what any religious or spiritual writings say. What does greatly concern me is what people DO in the name of a religion or spirituality.
      And I don’t think anything is gained by arguing who is a true or false member of this or that religion- again, it sidesteps the issue which is what people actually do.

    And the issue at hand is ALL ideas should be allowed to be ridiculed and denigrated. If someones holds an idea as precious (a religion, political system, spiritual philosophy…) and is insulted by a criticism of it- and then commit or call for violence, or even legislature (or even an apology) it is THEY who are wrong. And THEY need to mentally grow up.

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