The Mendacious Inquisition of “New Atheism” – Part 3

In the previous entries to this series, I highlighted C.J. Werleman, Reza Aslan, and their slanderous conduct. This brings us to the third member of this organization of intellectual treachery – Glenn Greenwald.

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Glenn Greenwald

For those of you unfamiliar with him, he is the “journalist” who rose to national prominence when Edward Snowden chose him to be the recipient of his now infamous NSA information dump. He entered the Inquisition of “New Atheism”, and Sam Harris specifically, when he decided to throw his support behind Murtaza Hussain’s duplicitous targeting of “New Atheism” for Al-Jazeera. Just a reminder – Hussain is the guy who recently called Maajid Nawaz a “porch monkey”, which I mentioned in part one of this series, and who is now working for Greenwald’s The Intercept.

Back in September of 2006, Sam Harris published a blog post titled, “The End of Liberalism?“, in which he talked about the disturbing trend of how self-described “liberals” were unwilling to criticize the vile treatment of women, homosexuals, and other minorities in Muslim dominated countries. He also discussed how the only ones who did seem to be willing to do so were either other religious fundamentalists or those who turned out to have right-wing fascist ideologies, which he said was a problem. Almost a decade later, it turns out that Harris was being almost prophetic in his blog post, as we have now witnessed the full scale rise of an entire segment of pseudoliberals who have decided to adopt a platform of appeasement for the most barbaric practices of Islam by maliciously going after anyone who criticizes these atrocious behaviors and the antiquated scriptures that inspire them. They have even invented a word they use to label those of use who do so, in hopes of poisoning the well against us – “Islamaphobia”.

Fast forward to April of 2013, when Hussain writes his Al-Jazeera hitpiece, in which he intentionally conflates criticism of Islamic scripture with racism and hate speech towards Muslims, as people, by engaging in quote-mining, logical fallacies, and flat out lying. Greenwald retweeted this article when it was published. Presuming that there had to be some sort of a misunderstanding due to their previous contacts, which had always been cordial according to Harris, he attempted to discuss the issue within an email exchange with Greenwald on the same day. What he would find out was that Greenwald’s support of Hussain’s vile fabrication was not only intentional but also a forecast of things to come. Harris ended up publishing this exchange on his blog.

According to Greenwald, Harris was just “embarrassed” because his racism and hatred of Muslims was finally being publicized. The next day, Greenwald would write his own article for The Guardian, where he simply regurgitates all of Hussain’s bullshit from the day before which, in turn, seems to be an echoing of an article written in March of that year by Nathan Lean, who has now made a career out of the “Islamaphobia Industry” and, as I mentioned in part one of this series, who referred to Maajid Nawaz – a Muslim who agrees that Islam needs a reformation – as a “lapdog”. Each and every one of them wants to put forth the same narrative – that anyone who chides the religion of Islam are only doing so because they are racist towards black and brown skinned people. This becomes even more comical when you consider the fact that one of the most prominent and respected voices among “New Atheists” is Ayaan Hirsi Ali – a former Muslim who knows first hand what it’s like to be a woman living in an Islamist society from her time growing up in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya.  Oh, and she also happens to be black.

Shortly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Greenwald wrote an article decrying the stance that many people took – that not only should supporters of free speech be outraged over the fact that Jihadists had just murdered people over cartoons but also over what appeared to be the capitulation to their demands of censorship by the various media outlets who prohibited any republishing of those cartoons – based on what he apparently perceives to be a monumental lack of support for anti-Semitism in Western media. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it is certainly no secret that Glenn Greenwald is vehemently opposed to Israel.

In this article, Greenwald first demonstrated his complete ignorance regarding both Charlie Hebdo and the art of satire, in general. He displays the following cover, which has often been used by their non-French critics as an “example” of how blatantly racist Charlie Hebdo can be:

October 2014 cover of Charlie Hebdo. (Translation: "Boko Haram's sex slaves are angry." The women are shouting, "Don't touch our welfare!")
October 2014 cover of Charlie Hebdo. (Translation: “Boko Haram’s sex slaves are angry.” The women are shouting, “Don’t touch our welfare!”)

According to Greenwald, the intent behind this cover was “mocking the African sex slaves of Boko Haram as welfare queens“. It is quite typical among “social justice warriors”, like Greenwald, to be willfully unaware of any context or nuances that may undermine their ability to ferment outrage among their ilk. What Greenwald doesn’t know, probably because he never bothered to do any research, was that Charlie Hebdo was actually satirizing the right-wing of French politics. The whole point of satire is to highlight the absurdity of something by using sarcasm or irony in such an over the top way. In his article for Vox, Max Fisher discusses the actual meaning of the cover:

French satire, as Vox’s Libby Nelson explained, is not so straightforward as it would seem; jokes usually play on two layers. In this cover, the second layer has to do with French domestic politics: Charlie Hebdo is a leftist magazine that supports welfare programs, but the French political right tends to oppose welfare for immigrants, whom they characterize as greedy welfare queens cheating the system.

What this cover actually says, then, is that the French political right is so monstrous when it comes to welfare for immigrants, that they want you believe that even Nigerian migrants escaping Boko Haram sexual slavery are just here to steal welfare. Charlie Hebdo is actually lampooning the idea that Boko Haram sex slaves are welfare queens, not endorsing it.

That’s what’s tricky about two-layer satire like Charlie Hebdo’s: the joke only works if you see both layers, which often requires conversant knowledge of French politics or culture. If you don’t see that layer, then the covers can seem to say something very different and very racist.

Greenwald also invoked what has become the modus operandi of these Inquisitors – to conflate religion with race. He attempts to discredit free speech advocates by publishing several anti-Semitic cartoons that he is convinced will inevitably lead to massive outrage and calls for censorship, which will expose the hypocrisy he is convinced that these proponents of free speech have. In doing so, he illustrates his inability to differentiate between religious Jews (followers of Judaism) and ethnic Jews (genetic descendants from Judea). It could be that this intellectual handicap of his is what helps establish his asinine view that Islam is somehow a race.

They will try to convince anyone who will listen that “New Atheism” exists only to go after Muslims. In order to believe this, you must either be completely uninformed about the subject matter or you must be willing to completely ignore all of the times that we have openly criticized Christianity, Judaism, and virtually every single religion on this planet. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is really the only prominent “New Atheist” who focuses primarily on Islam, and for obvious reasons. Sam Harris’ second book, “A Letter to a Christian Nation“, focused exclusively on Christianity and the Christian reaction to his first book, ‘The End of Faith” – which was critical of religion, in general. In his book, “The God Delusion“, Richard Dawkins saved his most eviscerating criticism for the Judeo-Christian God featured in the Old Testament, spurring responses from likes of Alister McGrath, Keith Ward, and David Bentley Hart – all of whom are Christian theologians. The late Christopher Hitchens spent a large amount of time debating well known Christian apologists like William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, and Dinesh D’Souza. In fact, if you go to YouTube and search for Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, or any of the well known”New Atheists”, you will see that the overwhelming majority of the results will be of them going after Christianity, with the except of Ali, as mentioned.

Additionally, Greenwald also attempts to do damage control for Jihadists by playing the “other religions do it too” card in order to dismiss their attacks as nothing unusual. The problem with this, however, is the obvious – the frequency and scope of the attacks carried out by Jihadists. What Greenwald, and other Islamism apologists, do is they will point to an abortion clinic bombing from 25 years ago or they’ll bring up distant historical events like the Crusades or Salem Witch Trials,  or Greenwald’s personal favorite – the “45 year-long violent occupation of Palestine” by Israel. On that last note, Greenwald will also mention the U.S. has being an active participant in that “occupation” or he’ll mention the war casualties in Iraq and Afghanisan and, in typical SJW fashion, will then hint that this excludes all Americans from having any right to condemn or criticize religious violence.

I once debated someone of Greenwald’s mentality. They, too, wanted to assert that “other religions do it too”, so I asked her if she wanted to demonstrate the validity of her claim. She agreed and then asked my how I suggested she do so. I said that she should compile a list of attacks carried out by non-Muslims and, in turn, I would compile a list of attacks carried out by Jihadists. I suggested that, due to the nature of the disagreement, we should follow a criteria of only including attacks in which the attackers proclaimed that their religious ideology was a motivating factor for carrying out the attacks and that we should include the total number of casualties – both injured and dead – in those attacks. I also originally suggested that the time frame should start in 2000 (this was in 2013) but she quickly accused me of trying to rig the results. In reality, I was simply trying to cut the time frame down to a reasonable size. So, instead, she suggested going back to 1980 (33 years), which I had no problem with. Another peculiar stipulation as that she insisted that I not be allowed to included the September 11, 2001 attacks in my tally. She was convinced that I wouldn’t be able to show a disproportionate amount of violence committed by Jihadists without it. I also agreed to this, as well.

Once the details were hashed out, we both agreed to meet back on the message board in exactly 1 week’s time. In the end, she was only able to come up with about a dozen or so attacks (mostly things like attacks against abortion providers) which gave her a total of something like less than 150 injured (the 1996 bombing injured 111 people alone) and less than 30 people killed. Meanwhile, I had been able to compile a list over a hundred attacks in which hundreds of thousands were injured and tens of thousands were killed. What’s more is that I had stuck with my original time from of only going back 13 years. She had attempted to pad her stats by including several attacks by white supremacists but these were dismissed, not just by me but by spectators, as being motivated by racism and not religion. Rather than admit she had been mistaken, she accused me of rigging the debate, even though she had agreed to all of the rules – a good portion of which she had come up with – and proceeded with the name calling and so forth.

This is what makes the Inquisiton even worse. Whenever someone underscores why their accusations of racism or “Islamaphobia” are intellectually bankrupt and disingenuous, the Inquisitors become even more vicious. And you certainly don’t have to be a “New Atheist” to be on the receiving end of this. As I discussed in the first part of this series, Maajid Nawaz has been subjected to racist insults from C.J. Werleman, Murtaza Hussain, and Nathan Lean all because he agrees that Islam does have a problem surrounding the disproportionate amount of massive violence being committed by its fanatics and also the acts of oppression targeting minorities that live in the parts of the world where it is the dominate religion.

Even confronting them face to face is not enough to deter them from their malicious distortions, as you’ll see in the final part of this series.