By the power invested in me, I now pronounce Sam Harris and Tarek Fatah husband and husband. After all, the public display of affection exchanged between Harris and Fatah over Twitter transgresses the limits of modest conduct for a Muslim. Given that Tarek Fatah has taken his relationship beyond what’s deemed Islamically appropriate, he must now tie the knot with Harris. Many might object to this union citing that Harris is an atheist and such a union is impermissible in Islam unless he converts to Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. However, there’s a loophole. Harris’ mother is Jewish, so we can make a case for him being a Jew and turn a blind eye to his atheism. He’ll just have to dial down his Islamophobia until the Harris-Fatah wedding proceedings are completed. As for them being a same-sex couple, no need to worry. Fatah is a secular Muslim and I’m sure he has a way of twisting Islam to make their union religiously acceptable.
In his never-ending quest to demonize Islam and Muslims, Sam Harris continues to promote anything he sees that will make his Islamophobic diatribes look as if they have some truth to them. He proclaims himself to be a rationalist atheist, but behaves like a right-wing Christian zealot. The only difference is that he’s more articulate and educated. So like a smooth-talking greasy salesman, Harris will get you to buy his glued-together lemon, make a killing off of you, and it will be too late when you realize your breaks don’t work while on the highway.
It’s very peculiar how Harris will always ignore history, politics, and the human element in modern warfare and conflicts, and makes the all-too-easy and intellectually quite shallow attack on Islam. His analysis of geopolitics and current events calls into question his critical thinking capacities and from my perspective bring his whole neuro”scientific” research into question. If we’re to use his methodology of addressing theological and political topics as a guide, we should be weary of his neuroscience as well.
Out of all the documentaries out there that one could watch, and the podcasts that one could listen to, and books and articles one could read about Islam, Harris picked a documentary by Robb Leech titled “My Brother the Islamist” that was aired on BBC Three in 2011. According to Harris, if you have only a single hour this whole year to “spare on Islam”, this is the documentary he’d recommend you watch, because it’s “brilliant.”
It’s not a surprise that Harris would think this documentary is brilliant. It’s about the filmmaker’s step-brother Richard Dart who for some reason was attracted to and converted to Islam through none other than Harris’ favourite Muslim, Anjem Choudary. The whole hour is about Leech trying to figure out why Dart went off the deep-end. He wanted to understand what goes on in the minds of that maverick group of Muslims who even Dart in the documentary acknowledged were not anything like most other Muslims. Leech was clear about trying to figure out the person, while Harris used that as an opportunity to attack the religion. Of course, Harris is not one to acknowledge anyone else’s analysis of geopolitics except his own and those who blindly agree with him. So he took this as an opportunity to take a jab at Glenn Greenwald and lined him up with Choudary:
This cheap shot at Greenwald is probably some remnant ill feelings Harris has ever since Greenwald’s article targeting him and his minions. That article was in response to Harris having cried foul at Greenwald for tweeting Murtaza Hussein’s article in Al Jazeera English that exposed Harris for the Islamophobe that he is. It’s rather unfortunate that the likes of Harris are the ones who happen to be the mouthpieces for atheism. Along with 4 other notable atheists (Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and S.E. Cupp), Harris is noted by Ian Murphy to be one of “The 5 Most Awful Atheists“. As a Muslim I can relate to the sick feeling many atheists get in their stomachs when fundamentalist extremists get the spotlight. It makes the whole group look bad, and in Murphy’s words, “the crap always rises to the top.” (for those interested on an atheist’s take on Harris, you might want to read this article and this one as well. Also here is a very thorough critique of Harris that I think is a must-read)
It goes without saying that anyone who will spend an academically honest hour examining Harris’ claims against religion, and Islam in particular, will come to a conclusion that either Harris is deliberately hiding what he doesn’t like in order to further his demented cause, or there’s actually something off with his thinking. A little further analysis will reveal that Harris’ dismissive attitude for anything that doesn’t fit neatly into his already pre-conceived notions about what’s wrong with the world is indicative of his fundamentalist mind. Harris, who has been described by Noam Chomsky as a “religious fanatic“, had Chris Hedges say this about him:
“Any form of knowledge that claims to be absolute ceases to be knowledge. It becomes a form of faith. Harris mistakes a tiny subset of criminals and terrorists for one billion Muslims. He justifies the unjustifiable in the name of civilization. The passions of atheists like Harris, hidden under the jargon of reason and science, are as bankrupt as the passions of Christian and Islamic fundamentalists who sanctify slaughter in the name of their utopias. Religious fundamentalists pervert and distort religion to serve their own fears and aggrandize themselves. Atheists such as Harris do the same with science and reason.” – Chris Hedges, I Don’t Believe in Atheists
When Tarek Fatah jumped at the opportunity to garner some attention with his recent article about the London terrorist knife attack, Harris jumped at this unique opportunity of “See everyone? Even Muslims agree with what I’ve been saying all along about Islam.” He loved it so much that he had to lay it on thick:
Harris then followed it up with another tweet about Fatah:
To which Fatah commemorated and probably printed, framed, and hung on his (or dare I say their) bedroom wall:
The Arabs have a saying about how “there’s nothing like a good drummer for a belly-dancer”. In this weird twist of relationships, Harris is a master drummer, and Fatah would probably drive a restaurant full of Islamophobes broke with this recent wonderful show that he’s putting on. I’m sure both will live happily ever after, that is after they sort out things with their wives and children. But for the future, instead of Twitter, may be these two should get a room!
p.s. I thought this might interest some. Americans have a 1 in 514,147 chance of being killed by a “firearms discharge” and a 1 in 20 million chance of dying in a terrorist attack. In other words, Sam Harris is more likely to kill Americans due to his personal gun collection than a terrorist is! (Stats sources are here and here)