Recent Spats

Just a few quick words about this iteration of Brownpundits and some recent spats here:

1. I have added a large number of authors and ALL those authors have the right to delete comments on their OWN posts. No one should be deleting comments on anyone else’s posts.
2. As far as possible, please try not to launch into personal attacks against other authors on the blog. Reasoned arguments are fine.
3. There is NO commitment on this blog that all posts will be in line with any particular ideology. Some authors love Pakistan, some don’t. Some are Islamophobic, some are very Islamophilic. Stick to reasoned argument as far as possible, and don’t lose your mind over perceived violations of this or that ideological purity test. No one is going to like every opinion. But all the authors have a right to their opinion. Feel free to argue with them, but there is NO policy of deleting posts unless they contain personal attacks or appeals to violence. As I said above, authors CAN censor comments on their own posts. In general, that is the only censorship on this site. VERY rare exceptions may occur, but none of the administrators have signed on to any general policy of censorship.

Try not to be too sensitive.

Published by

Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

39 thoughts on “Recent Spats”

  1. Thanks for the clarification, Omar.

    To frogwell and others thinking of leaving BP:

    Please stick around. Folks can decide to avoid commenting on / responding to certain posters here to avoid unproductive conversations.
    There are plenty of posters here from both sides of the national and religious divide that are open to a civil exchange of ideas (or even barbs) that with the above mentioned caution we can have good conversations here. There is a much larger group of silent readers like me who appreciate thoughts from well read, thoughtful and articulate folks like you (also Razib, Bharata, rohit, rahul, anan, sbarkumm, omar ali, ikram, girmit, Slapstik, Zach etc…- not meant to be a comprehensive list-)..
    Also Omar’s post makes it clear on what is acceptable vs not..

  2. No one needs to “love” Pakistan or even “love” Islam. But a minimum amount of respect for the feelings of Pakistanis or Muslims is not too much to ask no? Rasul-e-Kareem (peace be upon him) has been referred to as a child molester on this forum before. I’m sorry, but that crosses so many lines I cannot even tell you.

    People are free to not engage with anyone if they don’t want to. But gratuitous nastiness about someone’s god or someone’s country of origin comes under hate speech. One’s only choice then is to withdraw from the forum entirely.

    1. Kabir, I have no idea what “hate speech” means. If “hate speech” is restricted then there can be no freedom of art, speech, thought, intuition and feeling. This is incompatible with enlightenment classical liberal values (including those of Voltaire) and eastern culture/civilization.

      If someone accuses Mohammed pbuh of child molestation then directly address the question. The twelvers, sixers, fivers don’t have this problem since my understanding is that they believe that Aisha was older at consummation. The Sufis quietly in whispers do not have an issue with Shia perspectives but are too afraid to directly publicly contradict Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. This is one of the central issues at the heart of the Islamic civil war that muslim historians estimate has killed over 100 million muslim minorities and liberal muslims since 632 AD.

      Unless this issue is openly discussed, how can muslims have freedom of art, thought, intuition and feeling? How can there be intra-muslim dialogue? How can the Islamic civil war end.

      According to the Hadiths and Sira; Imam Ali critiqued Aisha Hazrat and suggested that Mohammed pbuh divorce her. Muslims privately discuss this all the time. Unless muslims are free to publicly discuss this, how can the Islamic civil war end?

      1. The issue is not the “Islamic Civil War”. The issue is that there is never an excuse to call the Prophet of God (peace be upon him) a child molester. This is done just to hurt the sentiments of Muslims, whether Shia or Sunni, practicing or non-practicing.

        There are laws on “hate speech” all over the world. In Germany, it is a crime to deny the Holocaust. Attacking someone’s God comes under “hate speech”.

        Academic criticism by scholars in a particular field with all sources properly footnoted is of course a different matter. That does not come under what I call “hate speech”.

        1. Mohammed pbuh was not affected by or offended by false accusations and criticism. I believe that Mohammed pbuh should be our example. We should not be effected or offended either.

          One of the criticisms of Islam by nonmuslims is that muslims don’t have the maturity to accept honest dialogue and criticism in the way adherents to other religions accept criticism. Accepting criticism is a sign of strength.

          [PS. I point out examples of great muslims who welcomed criticism to nonmuslims.]

          1. Criticism is not hate speech. There is a line (fine at times). As I said, academic criticism from those with credentials in their field is fine.

            “Hate speech is speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.[1][2] The law of some countries describes hate speech as speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display that incites violence or prejudicial action against a protected group or individual on the basis of their membership of the group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected group, or individual on the basis of their membership of the group. The law may identify a protected group by certain characteristics.[3][4][5] In some countries, hate speech is not a legal term[6] and in some it is constitutionally protected.[7]

            In some countries, a victim of hate speech may seek redress under civil law, criminal law, or both. A website that contains hate speech may be called a hate site. Many of these sites contain Internet forums and news briefs that emphasize a particular viewpoint.

            There has been debate over freedom of speech, hate speech and hate speech legislation.[8]”


    2. The East has historically allowed gratuitous nastiness about their God or Gods. This is part of the greatness of the East. God doesn’t care about “gratuitous nastiness” directed toward God. Neither should we.

      If we love our countries and respect our countries enough we will welcome constructive feedback [or gratuitous nastiness] about our country.

  3. Omar, was my comment rejected? Didn’t think there was anything provoctaive I it, and it was on topic for this post. Any explanation?

  4. religions themselves can be considered to be gratuitously nasty. It amazes me that religious people are less offended by extremes of religion than those who are gratuitously nasty with words.

    I mean when I became an atheist, I actually was very depressed by horrors of my religion, they vexed me endlessly, I go through these doubts once in a while. ask my self, “perhaps its time to leave again”.

    If I was of a religion where the extremists did what isis did, then for next few years, I would be very troubled by that than what others said.

    This is how I think.

    1. “If I was of a religion where the extremists did what isis did, then for next few years, I would be very troubled by that than what others said.”
      Bharata Bharatavanshi, very good. This is exactly how many muslims feel inside and why so many muslims are so saddened and depressed. Understanding others and experiencing the universe through them is a good thing. Now that you understand this; you can better work with muslims and help them as muslims struggle to reform their faith.

      Bharata Bharatavanshi, eastern philosophy is built on questions and questioning . . . seeking the truth alone. Your questioning is your strength! Most of the Upanishads and spiritual texts of the east (including Buddhist) are conversations with questions and answers.

      This is why many of the greatest texts in the east are often called atheist. Atheism is a wonderful and great path to the truth.

      “religions themselves can be considered to be gratuitously nasty. It amazes me that religious people are less offended by extremes of religion than those who are gratuitously nasty with words.” I am equally offended by both. For me religion, spirituality, secularism, philosophy, art, humanities are all the same thing. The idea that there might be a difference between them is very recent and flows out of anti-theism as opposed to atheism (which I revere).

      Anti-theism flows through modernism, marxism, structuralism, post modernism, subaltern studies.

    2. ISIL doesn’t represent me or my Islam. I am not responsible for every terrorist group that claims to act in Allah’s name. I suspect that you and I do not disagree on ISIL. I do not think that ISIL represents some intrinsic feature of “Islam”.

      Religion is not just about belief as such but also about cultural identity. This is why I brought up the concept of “cultural Muslim” earlier.

      President Trump doesn’t care whether I am the furthest thing from ISIL (a bhajan-singing Music major). All he cares about is that I am nominally “Muslim” and come from a “shithole country”. So Islamophobia is very much real. And when it is practiced by those in positions of power (such as the “leader of the free world”) it can have terrible consequences.

      Random anonymous bloggers can be ignored. I can delete your comments on my posts or choose not to otherwise engage. Islamophobia in real life, however, often cannot be ignored.

      1. Kabir, President Trump is not anti muslim. He does “BIG Business” with muslims all over the world. US relations with many muslim majority countries has improved since Trump became President. Trump is more popular than Obama in Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey. For example Trump doesn’t lecture down to muslims about LBGTQ the way Obama use to–which massively offended muslims around the world.

        Trump has got a lot of issues. That is true. Vote against him in 2020 if you want.

        1. I will disagree with you. The “Muslim ban” is by definition Islamophobic.

          As for relations with Turkey, Turkey and the US are nearly at war about the control of the Kurdish areas in Northern Syria along the Turkish borders. Last I heard, US citizens weren’t getting visas to visit Turkey.

          I always vote Democrat, don’t worry about that.

        2. He’s not going to last until 2020. West Wing staffers have said he is close to a psychic break.

      2. islamophobia in societies that are secular, which already have law and order that does far far far far better than victims of islam in many muslim majority countries is but a propaganda that seeks to shut down all criticism of Islam. The act of a group belonging to a minority religion in England, that country that colonized Indian sub continent, to prey on non muslim girls for nearly 4 decades, is due to this islamophilia and apologia by the left. There are victims of islamophilia/apologia in the world too.

        It seems in your opinion, there are no legitimate victims of Islam at all, if ever such a thing happens or mentioned, a) it isnt true islam and b), anyone who mentions it is bigot,racist, islamophobe.

        After all, what can possibly constitute as legitimate criticism of Islam? . This is a question for which the left has no answers.

        1. There is no “true” Islam, just as there is no true Hinduism, or true Christianity. All we have are various interpretations of Scripture. One of the first things any social science undergrad learns is that Essentialism is foolish. That you don’t understand that all identities are socially constructed reflects your lack of a liberal arts education.

          Your insults of “the left” are quite ridiculous. I am left of center certainly, but not some kind of leftist fanatic. From your remarks on this blog you seem to be a supporter of the extreme right, not particularly attractive in a self-proclaimed scientist.

          There is definitely legitimate criticism of “Islam”. It is conducted by academics with degrees in History and in Islamic Studies. Feel free to cite some sources (if you can do it without being obnoxious–which you so far haven’t demonstrated).

          What exactly are your credentials? My real name and place of work are listed in my profile along with my degrees. You would have much more credibility if we at least knew which university you went to. Was it in Bharat or are you foreign-qualified? (I’m guessing it was in Bharat).

          1. And you have once again refused to demonstrate to show what constitutes true criticism of Islam,especially if there is no essential islam. Academic credentials and appeals to authority mean nothing.And critics of Islam should be concerned about their safety unlike you. And you have once again been evasive, which is what you have demonstrated again and again. Even on ISIL which is never short on quoting Islamic sources. Or to why one religious community which infact is a minority has been found to engage in crimes of sexual predation in the very country that had and has a history of colonialism and racism. This is most bizzare, but all these incidents just bounces of you. “You have nothing to do with it as it is not your islam”. This is what I would consider as evasion of responsibility. As for my place in this site is concerned, That very much is between me and mr omar. And that alone should suffice. If the best one can expect is evasion of responsibility, then there is nothing more to say. Thankfully, civilized world takes responsibility for the horrors that come from their faith or race.

            Bernard lewis isnt good enough for you, I suspect no one ever shall be either.

          2. “ISIL” can quote whatever they like, that doesn’t mean that what they are doing represents Islam. Saffron Terror groups don’t represent Hinduism.

            As for evasion of responsibility, I am responsible only for my own actions. Not for a terrorist group based in Iraq and Syria, two countries that I never been to and have no intention of ever going to.

            I have nothing to do with your place on this site. But “Academic Credentials” do mean something. Have you been educated from Harvard? That would make you much more credible than if yours is a technical degree from Patna or some such backwater.

            When you start calling my “race” and my “faith” “uncivilized” is when I lose all further interest in you. Bye Felicia!

  5. @kabir, thank you. You have proved my point. attacking me as opposed to my arguments shows everything there is to know. I wish I could take you everywhere, your evasive measures are all one needs to show why even moderate muslims are a problem.

    consider how this would play out in front of any audience

    ” Are there any legitimate victims of Islam?, name one author/book which would constitute as legitimate criticism of Islam.
    answer: you are from patna, your english is bad”

    You have spectacularly failed to quote even a single author or a Single book. This was the simplest test I could administer, I had the trepidation that you might indeed quote someone, however I was confident you wouldnt. you could have made me look like a total fool by just quoting one person, one book. You didnt. To do so would mean, you would be pinned down atleast by that one author and his/her arguments atleast. And some of those arguments would be arguments commonly made and that would mean you would be forced to admit many others who also make those arguments as well. So, you just took another evasive measure instead and refused to do even that.

    This is a moral failure on part of those who do not recognize the suffering of victims of Islam. And as a consequence also do not recognize the body of ideas that inspire those vile acts either.And that means, those ideas are never confronted in society either by muslims themselves. You have proved my another argument here on BP where i used a very simple analogy of f(x) to account for all muslims. It was called simple minded, it wasnt, but here is another piece of evidence, for in that simple f(x) now include a whole host of people who are evasive in their responsibility in confronting bad ideas that lead to growth of extremists.

    And also, a technical graduate from patna can build things that are of enduring value to his customers, a university professor from harvard on the other hand can spout meaningless nonsense and still make a career out of it. I would happily be that person from patna than of harvard, one would be a profession of integrity, other would be that of a charlatan. I now know why some attach so much value to people’s background. Because some people cant stand out on the basis of the content of their arguments alone.

    As for civilization is concerned. You, I and many today are beneficiaries of the western civilization . One doesnt have to thank them for it, but I do think the ideas that helped them atleast deserve our praise. One of them being criticism of religion.

    1. “You have proved my another argument”– That sentence should have read : “You have proved another one of my arguments”. I am sorry, but are you literally translating from Hindi? This is pathetic. You can’t even write English at the undergrad level. I deal with undergrads for a living. This kind of crap would not be acceptable coming from them. Don’t try to impress me with your f(x) crap. I have already said that I have a Liberal Arts education, not one in Mathematics.

      Victims of “Islam”–there can be victims of Muslims (I have written this already on the other thread). Not of “Islam”. Speaking in this fashion is really stupid. Otherwise, let’s talk about victims of “Hinduism”. I can come up with a long list. Let’s start with those Muslims who arrived dead in Lahore on trains.

      And Harvard is Harvard for a reason. I’m done with people like you who clearly lack any sort of a decent education. Life is short. No time for stupidity.

  6. I am thankful for the grammar lessons though. And you and I have different measures for stupidity. I would look to content than for grammar to decide that. And no, I am not interested in impressing you. I am however hopeful of impressing others of my arguments. And you have been a wonderful exhibit for this exercise. Thank you.

    still couldnt find an author or a book that would constitute as legitimate criticism of Islam. unchallenged ideas lead to harm,ex- nazi ideology.

    1. Took a smart guy like you a bit longer than I had expected to recognize the pattern. Or may be you were being overly optimistic. Regardless, better late than never. There are many honest and intelligent interlocutors here – your most recent subject didn’t exhibit either of those attributes.

      1. I am optimistic because I am pessimistic and see that to avoid something worse, we should want to deal with this now. In many places where free speech is not allowed, everything becomes tribal. everything becomes about numbers and demographic. Everyone eventually takes sides because they cant see another way. Only by bursting the bubble of religion with criticism, satire can one offer a different path. I see this potential danger and I must try, no?.
        India has no free speech. This directly affects everything I care for in this world that is personal to me. I see Indian politicians as being dum dums and India being outrightly idiotic in how it refuses to allow this gift of reason for its own citizens. The consequences are potentially frightful. I am also a bit worried about the west that is also being coerced through empathyjacking (hijacking people’s empathy) into abandoning free speech.

        1. The reason India doesn’t have enough free speech are:
          1) post modernism–the worst part of the colonization of the Indian mind by English imperialism
          2) a deal that Gandhi and Nehru made to protect semi Islamist sensitivities

          Sadly over time nonmuslims have started demanding some of the special “rights” muslims are accorded but not to the same degree. This is a terrible mistake. My hope is that PM Modi pushes back against Islamism, Shariah, post modernism intersectionality, and dumb nonmuslims who also want to be protected from harsh criticism because muslims are. He appears to be the most willing to do this since the independence of India. This makes me optimistic.

    2. I’m not particularly interested in “criticism of Islam”. My fields are English Literature and Music. So I am not super-familiar with who has been writing proper academic criticism of “Islam”.

      Here’s a book (should satisfy you): “Islamism: Contested Perspectives on Political Islam” Edited by Richard C. Martin and Abbas Barzegar.

      “Richard C. Martin is Professor of Religion at Emory University. He co-authored Defenders of Reason In Islam: Mu’tazilism and Rational Theology from Medieval School to Modern Symbol (1997) and is editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (2004). Abbas Barzegar is a Ph.D. candidate at Emory University.”

      These are the kinds of people I would take seriously. On the face of it, I’m sure this is a scholarly book and I would not call it Islamophobic. Happy now?

      Grammar is important. Clear communication in English is the minimum one expects from the educated. But then, those who lack an education in the Humanities wouldn’t know that. Instead you throw out crap like f(x) which gives me nightmares of high school Algebra.

  7. hate speech is not banned in the USA. this domain is owned by me and i live in the states. hate speech is a nonstarter as an argument.

    i honestly don’t give a shit about your religious feelings or those of muslims (or hindus or christians).

    that being said, forums which don’t impose a modicum of civility can often degenerate. though i have passed on day to day management/oversight to omar, so he can set the tone.

    1. 1000% agreed. The US Supreme Court has ruled against “hate speech” restrictions every single time. And Inshallah it will always rule against “hate speech” restrictions in the future.

      My preference would be that no country have “hate speech” laws.

    2. I am an American citizen and I spent my entire life in the US. I know that “hate speech” is a thing. It may not be technically illegal but there are huge debates about the line between “free speech” and “hate speech”.

      If the types of things that were said about Islam on this site were said about Hinduism, the Hindutvadis here would be baying for blood. There is never an excuse to call the Prophet of God (peace be upon him) a child molester. Never.

      I was invited by Zach. I don’t report to anyone else. Thank you.

      1. . It may not be technically illegal but there are huge debates about the line between “free speech” and “hate speech”.

        no, there isn’t a huge debate here. you can have an opinion, but none of the administrators agree with you on hate speech. people should know that there’s never going to be a debate on hate speech on this weblog fundamentally. you can offer your opinions but outside of your own posts, people are free to do as they wish.

        If the types of things that were said about Islam on this site were said about Hinduism, the Hindutvadis here would be baying for blood. There is never an excuse to call the Prophet of God (peace be upon him) a child molester. Never.

        i have posted drawings on this weblog of muhammad being raped by a camel, and vishua being raped by an elephant. i also posted some photos of jesus and buddha being violated. some people thought it was in bad taste, but they were civilized in their response.

        as for muhammed, you are welcome to your opinion. and people here are welcome to insult him on threads that are not on your posts. though i’d probably discourage it since i don’t see the point of these sorts of food fights on public forums (i moderate my posts pretty tightly).

        honestly i don’t read most of the posts here but drop in to approve comments when omar and zach are busy.

        1. First of all, I am not your employee and I do not report to you. Feel free to kick me off “your” weblog if you are so inclined.

          Second of all, insulting the Prophet of God (peace be upon him) is a red line. If you want to bully me off your forum, go ahead. It’s your loss. It’s not like there is a lack of places on the internet to get one’s writings published.

          I deal with Zach and only with Zach. If this is no longer Zach’s forum, than please let me know. I will delete all my posts and be on my merry way. I have no time for stupidity or bigotry.

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