Everybody, put your flame-throwers down. Drop your laser blasters. Power down your light sabres. And if anybody is activating a Death Star...STOPPPPPPPP!!!
This is getting out of hand. Folks let's call it a day here and start from zero.
Jonathan, you're not a racist. Ijaz, you're not dishonest or silly. Paul Williams you're not a liar. I'm not a troll and/or idiot.
Here's what we are going to do Jonathan. Yep, "we". That includes you, Ijaz and I (and whoever else wants to hold hands with us).
Clearly this is a mess. It's getting more ridiculous by the day. We can point fingers at each other until the cows come home but that does not take away from the fact we are all involved. We have to come to a better understanding of each other.
How will "we" do this?
1. We are going to start over. This is a mess. It's generating heat, not light. Too much heat. Folk are going into AandE with first degree burns.
2. We MUST open up all channels of communication. Whoever has somebody from "we" blocked on FB, Twitter, YT, Email, Tinder, Match.com, Ashley Maddison...UNBLOCK them now. Re-add them as associates.
Closing off communication is a recipe for misunderstanding each other and snow-balling ill-feeling.
3. Whenever we address each other, no insults. Snide or upfront. So Jonathan is a Christian apologist. Ijaz is a Muslim apologist. Paul Williams likewise. Think of a title that cannot be construed as a dig at the another member of "we". From here on in, nobody from "we" is going to be called racist, silly, polemicist, troll, idiot, liar, xenophobe etc..
Why? It's obvious. We all know the problems this leads to. It does not add anything to apologetics. It also does not set a good example to others and thus leads impressionable folk on both sides widening that chasm through their imitation of suchlike.
Think about it, how crass was my comment on FB? Due to the absence of points 1-3 I felt the most effective way to get Jonathan to stop his negative tone was to threaten him with a greater negative tone if he persists.
4. HEAR each other's side. TRY to understand what the other person is saying - drop them a PM to discuss things to better facilitate this understanding.
I can understand why Jonathan does not want to be called a racist...obviously. I DON'T think one can denounce him as a racist based on those comments HOWEVER that does not mean those (Paul, Ijaz and anybody else) who did INTERPRET such as racism are 'lying' or being 'dishonest' - it's their interpretation.
If we were following this action plan it would never have happened.
5. Let's ease down with pride. "We" all have pride. Apologetics is rife with pride-filled actions. Some of the stuff I've seen from non "we" members is absurd. Let's not take the "we" dingy into those murky waters.
If we make a mistake...just say it. Admit it. And if one admits to a mistake don't castigate him for it. Don't make a big deal out of it either.
6. CHALLENGE nefarious and abusive commenters who are speaking ill of the other. I did this recently, somebody on my FB page was calling Jonathan a 'Zionist' etc.. I challenged him/her publicly, telling him in no uncertain terms those comments were unacceptable.
"We" need to do this. "We" should never like those comments. Quite often, people who make those comments have scant profiles or are just being divisive characters thinking they are doing their side or buddy a good turn when in reality they are doing harm to their side. Liking comments which are abusive to another member of "we" could be seen as effectively endorsing and espousing that abuse.
I believe Islam and Christianity would EXHORT us to follow the action points highlighted above. Let's try it. "We" are not Atheists (pffft!), we have set codes of conduct.
A few clarifying points from MY perspective as to how this has come about. Jonathan, you may have heard some of this before but this is part of point 4.
Skipping over the smaller issues and some of the issues concerning the arguments being used.
The Muslim community in the West is under constant demonization and anti-Muslim rhetoric as well as threats and acts aggression. This is fuelled by the Islamophobia industry. This is not some David Icke stuff I'm blabbering. It's true.
We don't expect it from BRITISH Christians and churches, who in reality have been a long-term ally of Muslims in the UK generally speaking. Really. I strongly believe this.
So, think about it from our point of view. You pitch up. A British Christian. Free from that in-your -face, angry, American right wing stuff that we are sick of. You have a debate with Shabir. You look and appear friendly and somebody who many of us can relate to in upbringing and general life experience - most Muslim apologists in the English speaking world are young so you even had that going for you as a relatable attribute.
And then a dagger to our hearts. For me, as you may well know, it's not the no-go-zone stuff
Going back to that dagger. It was not like Kylo Ren doing Han Solo in cold blood. It was real life. You were in the north of England, in a church, in effect telling a congregation Muslims follow "3 stages of Jihad" (A David Woodism which I hope you now know to be totally fallacious and simply a tool to pander to the anti-Muslim element in David's fan base). You were effectively saying this David Woodism teaches us, MUSLIMS, to pretend to be peaceful, while we grow in number, then carry out terrorist actions and ultimately "persecute" Christians. All said in a British church.
You were effectively saying that about every Muslim minority in the West and beyond. About your Muslim colleagues. Muslim lecturers. About me. About Paul. About Ijaz. About Shabir Ally. About Yusuf Ismail.....About us all.
A dagger to the heart. I got emotional when I saw Kylo Ren (pffft.) strike down Han Solo. But that was a movie. This was real life. Somebody, who I assume grew up amongst us, went to school, college and uni with us.Not some insincere American who was cashing in on the Islamophobia industry because he/she wanted to project their anger and troubled heart on a minority. A dagger to the heart.
Somebody with pride and full of venom (anti-Muslim venom) may insist oh that's all true. Jonathan was speaking the truth (in his best Christian Prince, Pastor Joseph, Sam Shamoun, David Wood or Usama Dakdok accent). But it's patently untrue. It's demonstrably not true. Made up propaganda. Propaganda to serve a similar function as that by Goebels.
Jonathan, you were a victim of it rather than the initial perpetrator of it. However, the real victims are always those who the propaganda is designed against, us in this case. The Muslims. British Muslims. YOUR friends, neighbours and colleagues. YOUR wife's friends, neighbours and colleagues. YOUR fellow humans.
There was no apology or retraction. Another dagger to the heart.
These are questions for your heart and conscience
Not dwelling on all that Ijaz and Paul were concerned about (note, I don't think it's correct to interpret what you said as racist nor to label you a xenophobe -you can discuss and squash this with folk involved), there's a couple of other points I'd like to make so you can understand us better. Our pain. I assume I'm speaking on behalf of Muslims in general in the English speaking world.
Jonathan, what are you doing associating yourself with people who make up their own translation to insist Muslims can have sex with animals (Sam Shamoun)?
People whose tongues need to be washed by soap and water. Nay, bleach and water. People who put porn on their FB pages (unknowingly) to attack Muslims - apparently there was a video about a Muslim actress involved in this sordid industry. Rather than seeing her as a victim of this industry, this guy put it up on his FB page. To attack us. To use it against us in his polemics battle. I turned out it actually contained porn - something he later apologised for as he claimed he did not know it contained porn, not exactly the brightest thing as one would be concerned that any cameras following somebody who has become an 'entertainer' in that industry may well contain some offensive language and images. It did. (Sam Shamoun)
What are you doing associating with folk who, whenever there's a rape crime committed by a Muslim, misuse the misery and suffering of the rape victim to have a dig at Muslims and manufacture absurd and insincere links between the faith and the crime? It's cold. It's sick. It's callous. It's Wood.
Folk who peddle hoaxes such as necrophilia (well they already tried to smear us with a bestiality lie so are you really surprised?). That's David Wood with the necrophilia lie. What do you call that? Graceless, classless, brainless and heartless.
A"Christian" who, through his own misunderstanding of Arabic, dives into his wife's undies and mockingly throws a cross-dressing claim at Muslims. A sadistic attempt to hurt Muslim sentiment. Unforgettable mockery.Unbridled malice. Oh, there's nothing fanciful about this. It's Wood. It's all there on record.
They don't speak about the one that saw some light and moved away from their anti-Muslim negativity in those corridors. A young lady called Negeen, who was impressionable. She ended up in that group. She soon left that group.
Her contributions and her name may have been expunged but her words remain as a deterrent for all those who have a desire for fairness and respect:
I honestly to this day have never viewed that video that David posted. I don't need to, he is wearing a womans spaghetti strap and posted it on his website that is associated with his ministry that seeks to win Muslims to Christ. This degree of outlandishness displays a lack of sheer respect towards the muslim community and that video should not have been posted. Over time I have come to seriously doubt the wisdom behind certain things that David does. Self radicalization can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, I think David has self radicalized himself into having a perspective of Islam that is heavily influenced by evil actions committed by bad people. If I wanted to spend all day reading articles about evil actions committed by Afghanis I would begin to hate all Afghans, but because I have a broader understanding of the Afghan community, because I have been around Afghans who love, laugh, and give generously I understand that not all Afghans are terrorists who hate women. I really wish David would spend less time self radicalizing himself and spend more time amongst the homes of normal muslims who love the good things in this world
Jonathan, you know when I first set this blog up, I would get folk from and/or associated with the AM blog mocking my little blog. It's now got over 1 million views although it's been largely run by a one-man-band as and when I have free time
All I'm saying you don't need to sit on somebody else's blog/site. Certainly not one with such an anti-Muslim history. Such a divisive and negative reputation. Remember these folk don't have jobs, studies or careers. This is them making a living. Making a living out of the Islamophobia industry. One of their donors chats to me via PM and email on a regular basis. He proudly describes himself as an 'Islamophobe' and has distrubing views on dealing with Muslims.
You have the tools to be a huge thorn in the side of the giant that is the New Atheist movement for the next few decades. Where art thou? [Edit: Jonathan has informed me has done a lot more work arguing against Atheist positions than against Islam]
I can see one or two of our Muslim apologists made that move and stopped with the Christianity stuff and began talking about secularism and Atheism. There's a reason, they had the foresight to see that this is perhaps a more pressing matter and what they are saying in the Muslim-Christian Apologetics zone has already been said by them or others are saying it and/or capable of saying it.
I too am being questioned. What are you doing with the Christians? What about such and such Atheist? Where are my vids and blog posts on them and their ideology?
Just to show you how damaging the anti-Muslim negativity from the online Christian camp is. Consider my personal story. I have began a project to visit church services on Sundays. I have only been once thus far, I have my unpublished notes. One of the reasons I have started doing this is because the vast bulk of Christians I've met online have left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Their negativity towards Muslims is a huge turn off. Thus, I believe through this project I will reconnect with a more positive feeling about Christians - akin to that I had during my childhood (raised near a vicarage and attending schools with a Christian bent). In fact, I believe it's through this experience seeds of a love and fascination for Jesus p were planted.
Jonathan, take your time to skim through all the older posts in these two sections to get a feel for some of the issues of negativity around these two "Christians" and why association with them is such stumbling block, expect a bit of rough and tumble:
As of now, 83 posts on Sam Shamoun
As of now, 61 posts on David Wood
Let's see "we" work together more and treat each other in a way we would like others treat us. Let's try to follow the points outlined above - and any others which are agreed upon in subsequent discussions. .
PS Jonathan, Ijaz wants reconciliation too. I have had a brief discussion with him prior to writing this piece - although we did not collude on this piece .
"We" can do this!
Russell Brand Exposes Muslim Terrorism Percentage