Necessary criticism is not “Islamophobia”

There have been a long string of articles recently that have accused atheists, particularly the big names in atheism, of being Islamophobic:

Conversations about the practical impossibility of God’s existence and the science-based irrationality of an afterlife slid seamlessly into xenophobia over Muslim immigration or the practice of veiling. The New Atheists became the new Islamophobes, their invectives against Muslims resembling the rowdy, uneducated ramblings of backwoods racists rather than appraisals based on intellect, rationality and reason.

There are too many articles and too many angles of attack for me to read them all and respond here, however I’d point you to this post on Why Evolution is True which has rebuttals for 7 of the complaints raised in the articles. Continue reading

Violence in Burma, a lesson for all

When I revealed my blog at a journal club meeting I also made the offer to publish writings by my colleagues. I did get one response to that in the form of a email containing some horrific images of violence from Burma/Myanmar where, in June, there were violent clashes between the Buddhist Rakhine and the minority Islamic Rohingya. I’m not publishing the email here as it was just a forwarded email consisting primarily of pictures and a number of those pictures are far more graphic than I’m comfortable uploading. I did however find the topic to be worth pursuing and so below I’m posting a summary of the conflict and my take on the matter. Continue reading