White Supremacists, Islamophobes and Moronic Correlations

White supremacists
Some Morons

Once upon a time, before Twitter was even thought of, and even before the Web, there existed on the Internet a public domain service called Usenet. This consisted of a large number of threaded discussion groups on different topics – anyone could create a newsgroup, and server space was donated, usually by universities, to allow the system to work. Usenet carried groups covering every subject under the sun, from mountain biking to US politics – and of course porn.

I found US political newsgroups interesting to track. Hate groups proliferated, and even until 2005 or so (when I last accessed Usenet), the prime target for American morons was black people. Coordinated bullying campaigns against Muslims, as we see today on Twitter and the blogosphere, had yet to come into existence. This was the last gasp of organised white supremacy, a centuries-old idea, which flourished throughout US history, until the election of Barack Obama finally killed off their widely held belief that blacks could never make it to the pinnacle of society.

White supremacists were masters of finding (and misusing) correlations that supported their cause, and their favourite correlation of all was that between race and intelligence (as measured by IQ and academic achievement). Educational achievement in the US (and elsewhere) consistently showed a hierarchy: Chinese, then Indians, then whites, and blacks falling last. The statistics were undeniable, and white supremacists used them repeatedly to demonstrate white “superiority” over blacks. They were so determined to “prove” this point that they were even willing to accept the “superiority” of Asians over whites (which kind-of undermines the idea of white supremacy).

Reality of course was somewhat different. IQ (it turns out) is in large part a measure of a society’s degree of education, particularly in science-based areas. IQ scores have increased very significantly over the past 100 years. Within the US since the Civil Rights era, whites have gained in IQ but blacks have gained more – the gap is rapidly narrowing. Furthermore, the statistics on educational achievement weren’t as simple as they seemed. In the UK for example, Indians do outperform whites, but closer examination shows that when treated as a separate group, Bangladeshis (of the same broad racial group) do not. Similarly, African immigrants do much better at school than black immigrants from the Caribbean. The correlation between race and IQ turns out to be about issues of class and culture, not inherited ability.

White supremacy seems to have imploded as a coherent movement. But what happened to the white supremacists? Many of them turned their bigotry, hate and statistical tricks against the new “threat”, Muslims. Of course, not everyone who dislikes or fears Muslims was active in white supremacy. Many confused people genuinely believe in the “Islamic threat” to “the Western way of life”. But those pulling the strings, and creating the propaganda, learned their tricks from the old far-right: fascist and white supremacist groups.

This week, I found myself dealing on Twitter with dodgy “facts” about Muslims (largely from a handful of reactionary Atheists), and was struck at how the old white supremacist tricks are still alive and well (I was also struck with the poor quality of reasoning used by some Atheists, a group from which I tend to expect better).

In one example, I was sent a news link about a poll showing that some young British Asians support “honour killings”. Although the article didn’t mention religion, the person followed up with a tweet claiming that the article showed a link between honour killings and Islam. A quick look at honour killing statistics does show that the majority of cases (though far from all) relate to Muslims.

Is that enough to show a correlation between Islam and honour killings? Well, no – as with the IQ argument linking race and intelligence, the argument doesn’t stand up under scrutiny. Firstly, honour killings happen largely across an area spanning parts of the Middle East, west and south Asia including Muslim, Sikh and Hindu populations. Second, most Muslim countries fall outside this area. The practice appears to be unknown in black African Muslim countries, where women take a more dominant role in society than in many Asian societies. So the correlation between honour killing and Islam breaks down: the correlation appears to be with certain Asian societies, not with any religious group.

The correlation is, of course malicious. Those who began this rumour probably knew perfectly well it was false; but most of those who now perpetuate the myth lack the understanding to realise that they are propagating a lie. Other dishonest correlations exist too: Muslim-baiters like to correlate female genital mutilation with Islam. But this practise is a largely African one, and happens across both Christian and Muslim societies.

A number of reactionary Atheists have this week accused me of “defending Islam” by using arguments like the ones above. But I think I’m defending truth, using scientific reasoning – which is what (I thought) Atheism was based on. I have no love for any religion, and do my best to persuade the religious that their beliefs are wrong. But equally, I believe that everyone has the right to believe and worship as they want, and most importantly I despise bullying, especially of the large-scale variety inflicted on Muslims, Jews, blacks and other minority groups.

Reason is the enemy of barbarity, and the spread of reason is the only thing that can end honour killing, female circumcision, and other brutal practises. But finding such a lack of reason among Atheists has left me sad and disappointed – I suppose I see myself as part of an Atheist tribe, and discovering that members of my tribe can be as ignorant as members of any other has been a useful lesson that we are all fallible.

39 thoughts on “White Supremacists, Islamophobes and Moronic Correlations”

  1. It seems to me that the root of this issue lies not in inherent maliciousness but intellectual laziness that its common in this and many, if not most, societies. Our media, and as a consequence political leaders, seek to present complex social issues in accessible formats so that the consumer can understand it. This is not driven primarily by a pernicious media, but by our reluctance to consume anything beyond the most banal. If this were not the case the FT, Guardian and Times would individually outsell the Sun.

    We want the easily consumed banner headline approach, because we’re lazy. & our laziness extends far beyond our consumption of the media and it is not confined to the barely literate.

    “Muslims, Jews, blacks and other minority groups” are identified as victim groups. Yet oddly no Christian whites are identified with these presumably because whites are never victims, they are solely oppressors. As the USA is cited above, then let’s consider the actual situation. The roots of “white supremacy” are firmly rooted in the former slave states, and we all can conjure up images of the KKK and the burning crosses. The white community oppressed the black community in a simplistic paradigm. And we all accept the traditional explanations.

    What we do not consider is the history of the poor white communities, and the consequences for them of the post-bellum ending of slavery. What may surprise many is that a very great proportion of poor whites in the South are descendants of slaves, whose ancestors were freed / discarded due to economic factors. (Before anyone disputes this, please RL Stevensons book “Kidnapped” in which at the beginning the hero is kidnapped to be sold into slavery in the Americas.)

    Ethnic Europeans were highly susceptible to sub-tropical diseases that wasted them away and plantation owners preferred slaves of African origin who lived & worked longer. The discarded whites whether they were life-long slaves or bondspersons created a social strata that was dependent upon the neo-feudal hierarchy of ante-bellum agrarian society and the exclusion of Africans from their market secured their survival, which at best was marginal. As the economic balance shifted away from the South to the industrial North, the level of insecurity increased. Before & after the civil war poor whites were manipulated by the wealthy elites into compliance with a hierarchy that exploited them and Afro-Americans. Following the war freed slaves were theoretically awarded land grants to set up farms. These grants were opposed by the landed elites and they exploited marginalised white fears of economic competition. It is in the scenario the KKK evolves as a powerful political force.

    In today’s US society there are still very large numbers of economically marginalised whites (the so-called Trailer Trash etc). Due to racially biased enterprise & employment policies they are denied access to public funds to help ameliorate the situation. In the 1990’s Pres. Clinton attempted to change this and apply a needs only based policy. Sadly the Afro-American middle class lobby, who benefit enormously from these policies, mobilised to block the changes.

    Thus the appalling socio-economic circumstances the poor white community finds themselves in is perpetuated by policies which reinforce racial advantage, and thus the poor whites are a fertile ground for white supremacist ideas. We who stand well away from this and see the Nazi salutes etc responde negatively and close our minds to the issues that exists behind this appalling symptom. We do this because we are too lazy to even bother to try to understand, and because we are lazy we simply accept the prevailing popular explanation. In this respect those who do not see these whites as equal victims in their own way as any of the “Victim” communities are as lazy as those who habitually associate Islam and any number of unacceptable practices.

    1. RS Davies – I’ve certainly never claimed white people can’t be at the receiving end of discrimination. This article is about how propaganda is used to demonise certain groups. While whites can suffer from poverty and discrimination like any other group, there is no widespread “story” that paints whites as inferior or dangerous. Sure, this does happen on a small scale (for example the Nation of Islam coined the term “white devils”) but never on the industrial scale used to demonise African Americans, Jews, Muslims etc… in fact, the Irish used to be subject to this kind of abuse in Britain… it can be used to build fear and hate of any minority.

      I object to the way poor whites are sometimes labelled – whether “trailer trash” in the US, or “chavs” in the UK. It’s a nasty form of prejudice, and often comes from “liberal” middle class people.

  2. Totally agree with you. Many people try to use statistical language by showing correlation between the X and Y variable,in order to justify their viewpoints. And make themselves look more intelligent. Having done statistics before I have realised that often many people make the assumption that there is a definite/positive relationship between X and Y. Just because the X is increasing with Y does not imply that X is responsible for increase in Y-vice-versa.

  3. FGMandISLAM- then how come 99% of women who are Muslim are not circumcised. Mate the authenticity of that hadith is still debated amongst scholars, no ruling has been given on this issue. Its not a Muslim ‘issue’, but a cultural one,women are not commanded to be circumcised.

  4. “Types of FGM:

    Type 1: Sunna mutilation in which the prepuce (the clitoral covering) is removed, along with part or all of the clitoris. This is called Clitoridectomy, Sunna, meaning removal of the clitoris in the *tradition of the Prophet Mohammed*. It is called “Sunna Kashfa” (Open Sunna) in Sudan. This is found most commonly in West African countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal.

    Type 2: Excision: The entire clitoris and prepuce are removed, along with all or part of the labia minora. This is called “Sunna Magatia” (Closed Sunna) in Sudan. It is most commonly found in Burkina Faso and *Sudan*.

    Type 3: Infibulation (a.k.a. Pharaonic or Sudanese mutilation). This involves removal of the clitoris and prepuce, followed by sewing up of the vulva. A small opening is left to allow urine and menstrual blood to pass. A second operation is done later in life to reverse some of the damage. In some cultures, the woman is cut open by her husband on their wedding night with a double edged dagger. She may be sewn up again if her husband leaves on a long trip. It is most commonly practices in Djibouti, *Egypt*, *Eritrea*, Ethiopia, *Gambia*, *Mali*, *Somalia* and *Sudan*.”

    source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm1.htm

    asterisks added

    go read up on the countries that it is most commonly practiced in, as you can see, the VAST majority of them are predominantly muslim regions or officially islamic states.

  5. so you can dance around it all you want, but victims of FGM are for the most part, from Muslim families and communities. you also ignore, that large portions of Africa have been dominated and colonized by Muslims for centuries. that’s the reality. call it cultural, say it has nothing to do with Islam, say whatever you want! but none of that changes the facts on the ground. get your head out of your anus and wake up.

  6. FGMandISLAM- LOL, your the who is dancing. The authenticity of that hadith is still disputed, people have different views, we cannot blame the religion. And those countries are not ‘Islamic states’, what ‘large portions’ of Africa, its Christianity the colonised the majority of Africa. It is cultural, as there is no religious basis for FGM. Just because it appears to be in those areas,does not mean there is a ‘correlation’ with Islam. Mate your confusing yourself, and falling for the causality trap. Lets say that there is a large population of black prisoners, it does NOT IMPLY that people of a certain race/religion are all criminals, there is no link, even correlations can be misleading. Doofus head, you can stick your own head out of your anus-I like to see you try it because if you can that means that there is a STRONG correlation between you and an ‘arsefucker’
    hahaahahaha.

  7. from the AHA Foundation’s fact-sheet on FGM:

    “in the West it is generally practiced only by Muslim communities.”

    http://theahafoundation.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/AHA-Foundation-FGM-Fact-Sheet-2012.pdf

    this is not simply causality, these are easily verifiable facts and sad realities. fgm is a institution that is most commonly perpetuated by muslim communities. i never once said ALL muslims practice or support fgm. i’m merely stating the fact that most practitioners and victims of fgm, just so happen to be, muslims.

  8. kpatman, your continual disregard for the fact that fgm is still supported by some hadiths, is mind-boggling. only recently, after much international attention has been brought to the issue, did some muslim scholars begin to openly condemn it. again, no one is saying that all muslims support it, most in the west certainly do not. but in other areas of the world, muslim communities are complicit in perpetuating the practice, either through direct engagement in it, or ‘turning a blind eye’. your apologetics are very transparent.

  9. MuslimsAndFGM- ‘only’ didn’t they say it was difficult to detect, due to secrecy, then how can we be sure that it is ‘generally’ Muslims. Although female circumcision is not mandated, one tradition of disputed authenticity permits (but does not encourage) the removal of a minuscule segment of skin from the female prepuce, provided no harm is done, this hadith is classified as very “weak”, could be true or false.
    People often confuse traditions rooted in local culture with religious requirements. Since it has neither hygienic nor religious value, there is no justification for Muslims to engage in this painful and potentially harmful practice and it would be best to avoid it completely.

  10. MuslimsAndFGM-

    FGM is not supported by the Islam, re-read what I said. There are numerous hadith which are weak, so we humans should make a judgement, since FGM is harmful, anything harmful in Islam is prohibited. The issue of interest, then, is not whether mutilation is involved but rather whether it is religiously (or morally) and/or medically desirable or contraindicated. And you are linking FGM to Islam, by providing hadith, is that not making a dangerous link. No Muslims should not carry out these practises which as they say are supported by weak hadiths, which may be inaccurate or misheard.

  11. Those muslims who practise such rituals, need to learn how to pray first. Using weak hadiths, which are accounts of what they heard/see the prophet said/do. A person could have misunderstood the message, God Knows Best. FIY if you really cared about FGM you would not talk about it using hadiths, if you don’t know what the hadith implies, don’t make assumption or ‘correlation’ statistician. And at least analyse the source of your information, by comparing it with other hadiths. That hadith that your so proud of, is only mentioned once or twice, if Islam prohibits harming oneself, then how then this be allowed? Secondly, you have not quoted the full hadith, it does mention this act should not be carried OUT IF HARM IS CAUSED, SINCE HARM IS CAUSED THEN WHY SAY THAT THAT HADITH SUPPORTS fgm. Trying to use hadith to prove your bullshit correlation theorem is not working. Re-read the blog, that Mr.Watch posted, you did not get the message I see.

  12. People should read the hadith and other sources, then come to their own conclusions. Why are you so scared of people learning about islamic texts?

  13. Here is what the Hadith have to say on Female Genital Mutilation:

    “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (PBUH) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
    – Dawud 41:5251

    “When anyone sits amidst four parts of the woman, and the circumcised parts touch each other, a bath becomes obligatory.”
    – Sahih Muslim 3:684

    Here are what some other Islamic sources have to say about Female Genital Mutilation:

    “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.”
    -Reliance of The Traveler, A Classical Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri

    “It is clear that female circumcision is prescribed in Islam, and that it is one of the Sunnahs of the fitrah and it has a good effect of moderating the individual’s behaviour. As for the opinions of doctors who say that female circumcision is harmful, these are individual opinions which are not derived from any agreed scientific basis, and they do not form an established scientific opinion. They acknowledge that the rates of cancer among circumcised men are lower than among those who are not circumcised, and some of these doctors clearly recommend that circumcision should be done by doctors and not these ignorant women, so that the operation will be safe and there will be no negative consequences. However, medical theories about disease and the way to treat it are not fixed, rather they change with time and with ongoing research. So it is not correct to rely on them when criticizing circumcision which the Wise and All-Knowing Lawgiver has decreed in His wisdom for mankind. Experience has taught us that the wisdom behind some rulings and Sunnahs may be hidden from us. May Allaah help us all to follow the right path.”
    – Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah

    “Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed.”
    – Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid (mainstream Islamic scholar)

    “In this matter, it is wise to follow the interests of the female: if the clitoris is large, then part of it should be removed, otherwise it should be left alone. This size of the clitoris will vary from woman to woman, and there may be differences between those from hot climates and those from cold climates.”
    – Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid

    The More You Know!

  14. Moronwatch, the assertion that “white” prejudice produced a ideas of racial superiority that in terms of belief & application that uniquely exceed the similar prejudices of other communities is unsupportable in my opinion. The racial / cultural ideas of superiority that are prevalent in China among the Han Chinese are not fundamentally different. Neither are the competing prejudices regarding tribe / national superiority amongst Africans substantially different. This list can go on & on.
    Sectarian ideas of superiority, and the divinely assigned right to oppress and kill non-believers, are far from unknown across various communities without regard to ethnicity.

    Our awareness and condemnation of the White Supremacists in our midst reflect our prevailing national values, and the freedom of the press to report it. It comes from our willingness to examine our own history and through honesty seek to learn from it.

    Isn’t it a pity that for instance the Egyptian government and the Egyptians do not condemn sectarian violence and the promotion of sectarian hatred? Isn’t is a pity that the Iranian government does nothing to stop the institutional discrimination against ethnic Arabs? Or that Malaysia does give all peoples the same rights in law? Or that China currently operates a settlement programme with the object of overwhelming non-Han communities, in manner that has been consistently more brutal than anything the Zionists have done to the Palestinians?

    1. RD Davies – you’re arguing against something I didn’t say. If you’ve read other blog posts, you know that I argue that non-whites can be every bit as racist as whites. In particular I’ve clearly pointed out that black-against-white racism is just as wrong as white-against-black. White supremacy is just America’s local version of a global phenomenon. This post is about white supremacy. It’s not a denial of other forms of racism in other parts of the world. You seem to be assuming I’m some PC type, when I hate PC and I often attack it. I can’t cover every type of bigotry in one blog post for “fairness”. That would be PC wouldn’t it?

  15. As per usual, rs davies reveals the moronic nature of ‘moronwatch’. Criticising the entire western world, while consistently letting off all islamic hate, bigotry, misogyny and oppression. Kudos to rs davies, for always providing a strong logical counterpart to the ill-informed bias and apologist vitriol that is ‘moronwatch’.

  16. And a shout out to The More You know, for demonstrating some very clear connections between islamic tradition and female circumcision. Thanks you two!

  17. Let us have it for the record that neither honour killings nor female genital mutilation are creations of Islam. Both predate the emergence of Islam. However both occur in a number of societies that are predominantly Muslim, but not exclusively so. Islam like all other religions before & after absorbed prevailing beliefs and cultures. (i.e. Pauline Christianity absorbed an element of Tarsus Baalism in the concept of Jesus, the actual son of God, dying for the sins of Man, a concept wholly alien to the Judaism of Jesus and the disciples)

    In our modern Western perception of history we assume that the practice of requiring religious minorities (primarily Jews) to wear distinctive clothing or symbols is a Christian creation. But in fact European Christian society copied this from Muslim practices in the Hejaz in the early Middle Ages, together with what we now call the “Ghetto”.
    The development of religions is also profoundly determined by their relation with power elites.

    Judaism is rooted in the experience of a vague group of peoples who fled slavery in Egypt to create an independent agrarian society, and subsequently struggled with the desire for grass-roots determination and the need to clear national leadership, and the corrupting influences of power.

    Christianity emerged out of Jewish fundamentalism and nationalism, into Mediterranean and Levantine societies of the dispossessed who were already sympathetic to core Jewish concepts. It was only as disputes between the old believers and the new believers arose over observance of various Jewish practices, that the Pauline Covenant created a separate faith which in turn led to it becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. But due to Christianities roots among the poor, it did not develop at its core a divine right to dominate others.

    Islam, quite distinct from either Judaism or Christianity, emerged in a completed form far faster and Mohammed, its prophet, lived to see it established. Due to its rapid and violent emergence it developed with 2 generations the concept that it possessed a divine right to require the subordination and humiliation of other faiths. It also legitimised the killing of people who resisted Islamic hegemony, and the establishment of what today we would regard as “apartheid” societies. (In fact apartheid South African white society adopted the term Kaffir from Islam to denote subordinate individuals) Neither Judaism nor Christianity have any equivalent of the Arab Conquest. the experience of which shaped the perspectives of the various stakeholders, the consequence of which is felt today.

    In our pursuit of the creation of a community wherein the welfare of all people’s are catered for we are hampered by inadequate understanding of issues and a reliance of stereotypical depictions of sub-groups, largely determined by political and socio-economic considerations. Distinctly in the West the elites have lost certainty in the very core values that created it as an intellectual and economic powerhouse, and have descended into appalling relativism and policy creation determined by emotion.

  18. Dear Moronwatch: to dismiss racism among non-whites as being small scale in comparison the “industrial scale” racism of white denies the realities. In the USA racial prejudice among Afro-Americans is as wide spread and pernicious as it is among whites, and others. Some of that spreads to other English speaking nations through various media.
    If you look at the expressions of hatred of the anti-Jewish riots in New York in 1991, and the racist statements made by high-profile Afro-American leaders – it is evident that there are deeply troubling ideas abounding in that community. The people expounding these views certainly weren’t NoI members.
    In our liberal and predominantly “white” society we find it easy to condemn white extremists and their ideas of racial superiority. In the prevailing arrogance among liberal whites and it condescension towards non-whites, our society chooses to ignore the racism amongst non-white communities. That these liberals choose to do this is actually an extension of the same belief of racial superiority. But more dangerously the lack of serious challenge to ideas of racial and sectarian superiority, and the manufacture of myths to assuage certain groups profound sense of inadequacy, has created an environment in which the violent prey upon others.
    My own mixed race children’s experience has been that they are more likely to be subjected to racial abuse and assault by ethnic & sectarian minorities, than the majority white community regardless of class. As a parent it is evident to me that societies elites have little insight into these sub-cultures and are reluctant to challenge them even when irrefutable evidence is presented to them.
    At the end of the day this will only end when community leaders take a stand against racism and sectarianism within their own communities. Unfortunately with a few exceptions, minority community leaders have shown themselves unwilling to challenge such ideas and to provide exemplary leadership that espouses the values of equality and respect.
    It matters not if it is you or me, or anyone, we have to walk this very fine line between all the communities and demand that everyone adheres to and promotes common values if we are indeed to be the coherent society we aspire to be.

    1. RS Davies – you’re misunderstanding and misquoting me. Go back and read this post and some of my others where I’ve blogged on this subject, and stop disagreeing with things I didn’t say!

  19. The More you Know-you posted this “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (PBUH) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
    Now lets analyse it.
    Before the advent of Islam, circumcision was practised by some of the Arabs, part of their culture. IT IS NOT OBLIGATORY. It is also an African practice. Not an Islamic tradition, but more of a pre-Islamic tradition.
    If harm is caused then how can this be permitted in Islam?
    Just by quoting hadiths, your point is not proven, explain to me the hadith, analyse it for me, and then make comparisons. FGM is practised in some parts of Africa as they believe that FGM prevents women having excessive desires. FGM is not a religious practice required by the Islamic faith. It is not obligatory.
    FGM has also been practiced in the West, and that “the practice of clitoridectomy was actually promoted in the United States and Britain during the 19th and early 20th centuries as a cure for lesbian practices or suspected inclinations, masturbation, hysteria, epilepsy, and nervousness.” For the Western society to blame the problem on Islam is hypocritical. BTW Don’t post hadiths- it doesn’t make you look like some scholarly cleric.

  20. Kpat, if it’s not considered obligatory, how do you explain all the opinions quoted that say it is absolutely obligatory?

    “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.” -Reliance of The Traveler, A Classical Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri

    “It is clear that female circumcision is prescribed in Islam, and that it is one of the Sunnahs of the fitrah and it has a good effect of moderating the individual’s behaviour. As for the opinions of doctors who say that female circumcision is harmful, these are individual opinions which are not derived from any agreed scientific basis, and they do not form an established scientific opinion. They acknowledge that the rates of cancer among circumcised men are lower than among those who are not circumcised, and some of these doctors clearly recommend that circumcision should be done by doctors and not these ignorant women, so that the operation will be safe and there will be no negative consequences. However, medical theories about disease and the way to treat it are not fixed, rather they change with time and with ongoing research. So it is not correct to rely on them when criticizing circumcision which the Wise and All-Knowing Lawgiver has decreed in His wisdom for mankind. Experience has taught us that the wisdom behind some rulings and Sunnahs may be hidden from us. May Allaah help us all to follow the right path.” – Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah

    “Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed.” – Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid (mainstream Islamic scholar)

    “In this matter, it is wise to follow the interests of the female: if the clitoris is large, then part of it should be removed, otherwise it should be left alone. This size of the clitoris will vary from woman to woman, and there may be differences between those from hot climates and those from cold climates.” – Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid

  21. And there’s a bunch more where those came from. 2 of those sources are considered authoritative by many sunnis and the other source, is a scholar who speaks throughout the arab-muslim world and has a syndicated television show where he openly states opinions that not only encourage female circumcision, but a host of other horribly oppressive practices which go contrary to all logic and ethical behaviour. He’s not the only cleric to express views like this, there are many others.

  22. It’s just pretty damn clear that saying islam has NO connection is a disingenuous blanket statement. There are clear demonstrable links and it is a practice that has been practiced by other communities, but currently, it is mainly perpetuated by animist african communities AND muslim ones. The connections are there, both scripturally and in a practical sense, on the ground in the real world, happening every day.

  23. Everyone has the right to see the Hadiths! You claim to believe “we humans should make a judgement” when it comes to confusing scripture, so why do you seem to have such a vested interest in people not seeing the Hadiths? Just because you told me not to, I’m going to post them again:

    “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (PBUH) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
    – Dawud 41:5251

    “When anyone sits amidst four parts of the woman, and the circumcised parts touch each other, a bath becomes obligatory.”
    – Sahih Muslim 3:684

    Everyone has a right to know the truth. Everyone has a right to make up their own minds. No knowledge is off limits.

  24. …unless they are clearly supported by a variety of sources within islamic tradition, scripture and exegesis. Which, as demonstrated above, numerous times, is certainly the case with FGM.

  25. Your post is well written and seems well researched, although I do not agree with all your corollaries.

    One thing that I think you need to watch out for though is the way that you associate all people who show a fear of the spread of islamism with white supremacists or racists. I think you are really missing the point (or deliberately poisoning the well)- but I know you think you are not.

    Just one other point: atheism has nothing (necessarily) to do with rationalism. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a theistic god, and it says nothing about how that conclusion is reached. Many atheists happen to be rationalists but that is not a necessary qualification.

  26. asperusual and the more you know-

    Firstly, your comment on ‘if it’s not considered obligatory, how do you explain all the opinions quoted that say it is absolutely obligatory?’
    I will explain it like this, these are ‘opinions’ as you have clearly mentioned, just because one Muslim sees it as obligatory does not mean I should follow what they say.
    We clearly know that in the Quran, there is no reference to circumcision, however male circumcision in Islam is seen as a ‘sunnah’ act, according to the Abrahamic tradition, it is very clear that this is seen as a fulfilment of the covenant with God, and there are some health reasons for Male Circm.
    There is no direct command for female circm, not in the Qur’an or the hadith. As you mentioned ‘why do you seem to have such a vested interest in people not seeing the hadiths’ I have no problem with people seeing any hadiths, but I do have a problem with people posting hadiths without explaining what the hadith implies in detail. Also I have a problem with people who post the opinions of certain scholars to make it seem as if it is exactly what Islam says. I can disagree with certain interpretation of hadiths by others who may think it is obligatory to do female cirmc.
    “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina [Madîna]. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.’–Sunan Abu Dawûd, Book 41, #5251”
    No mention of female circumcision is to be found in the Qur’an either directly or indirectly. There is no known Hadith which makes female circumcision compulsory. Some argued, however, that this Hadith, while not requiring female circumcision, appears to accept it: “Circumcision is a commendable act for men and is an honourable thing for women.”
    There are two observations on this Hadith:
    a) A distinction is made between male circumcision which is described in a stronger religious term or commendable while another weaker description is given to female circumcision which implies no religious obligation.
    b) This Hadith is of weak authenticity (dha’eef) according to Hadith scholars.
    In the hadith about circumcision, the Prophet (PBUH) did not forbid it, BUT he did not recommend it either!
    In fact he Limited the woman from how much she should get cut off. Things which aren’t recommended by the prophet (PBUH) should not be done especially if they have no health benefits.
    If any female out of her own will, wishes to practise this, it’s their choice, but to use Islam as an excuse for carrying out this practice by saying its compulsory is crazy. One does not want to make too much of this tradition, as it is classified as “weak” by Abu Dawud (the compiler) himself. This hadith forbids female circumcision carried out severely to the point where harm is caused to the women. The prophet did not give any orders for people to carry out this practice; he did say that if any one does this, there are extreme restrictions against severity. If Islamic law does not mandate fgm, but TOLERATES mild form of circm, then why do people insist that savage acts which exceed limits are required by Islamic law?
    Secondly, you said ‘it is mainly perpetuated by animist african communities AND Muslim ones’ but this does not imply that religion is the cause-the reason for such practices. As it happens, WHO have said that fgm has been found in ‘Muslim’ community, this does not mean that Islam is the reason for this. Yes women in those communities believe that it will remove excess sexual desires, but Islam does not permit or even command any women to do this, just mentions that if any does do this, they must not go over limits. To make any correlation between the two is dangerous. To say that religion is the reason as to why this practice is found in A FEW ‘Muslim’ communities is ridiculous.
    It has a long tradition that goes back way before the time of Islam. In Egypt the practice dates back even to the time of the Pharaohs and it is sadly performed by people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds. And yes to make a correlation between the numbers of Muslim women circumcised and use Islam as the reason, is truly moronic.

  27. white-washing if i’ve ever seen it. many opinions in islam support female circumcision, yet you say ‘Islam does not permit or even command any women to do this’, when it has been shown that this is simply not true. many muslim communities practice female circumcision, yet you say it is just a ‘few’. fact is, for both the muslims and the animists who practice FGM, it has everything to do with religion.
    there is scriptural support for FGM in the Hadith and mountains of extra-scriptural Islamic tradition that strongly encourages FGM and even states it as obligatory. the majority of the countries where FGM is practice are EITHER official islam states or sport a muslim majority population. currently, the victims of FGM are predominantly muslim and it is a practice carried out, mainly in muslim communities. sorry, those are the facts you will just have to deal with it.

    and again:

    “Circumcision of girls by excision of the clitoris is mandatory.” -Umdat al-Salik

    “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.”
    -Reliance of The Traveler, A Classical Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri

    “It is clear that female circumcision is prescribed in Islam, and that it is one of the Sunnahs of the fitrah and it has a good effect of moderating the individual’s behaviour. As for the opinions of doctors who say that female circumcision is harmful, these are individual opinions which are not derived from any agreed scientific basis, and they do not form an established scientific opinion. They acknowledge that the rates of cancer among circumcised men are lower than among those who are not circumcised, and some of these doctors clearly recommend that circumcision should be done by doctors and not these ignorant women, so that the operation will be safe and there will be no negative consequences. However, medical theories about disease and the way to treat it are not fixed, rather they change with time and with ongoing research. So it is not correct to rely on them when criticizing circumcision which the Wise and All-Knowing Lawgiver has decreed in His wisdom for mankind. Experience has taught us that the wisdom behind some rulings and Sunnahs may be hidden from us. May Allaah help us all to follow the right path.”
    -Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah

    “Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed.”
    -Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid (mainstream Islamic scholar)

    “In this matter, it is wise to follow the interests of the female: if the clitoris is large, then part of it should be removed, otherwise it should be left alone. This size of the clitoris will vary from woman to woman, and there may be differences between those from hot climates and those from cold climates.”
    -Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid

    “If I get asked about the religious ruling on FGM I must keep my silence and not dare to open my mouth. I must request to avoid this subject. As soon as I utter that FGM is good then they can arrest me.”
    -Mullah Ismael Sosaae

    and of-course:

    “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (PBUH) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
    -Dawud 41:5251 (this Hadith was declared completely valid by Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani)

    “When anyone sits amidst four parts of the woman, and the circumcised parts touch each other, a bath becomes obligatory.”
    -Sahih Muslim 3:684

    it is a blatantly misleading lie for anyone to say that islam plainly condemns or does not support FGM.

  28. The more you know-
    LMFAO right now, you clearly said ‘opinions’ they are not facts are they?
    How is this practised in many Muslim communities, re-read the blog and the comments I have posted, then you will definitely know more :). As a Muslim, and a female I am very aware about what my religion preaches, if this was obligatory in our religion, then how come I am not circumcised moron!
    These practices are cultural, not religious, before the advent of Islam, the prophet (pbuh) was circumcised, as it was a tradition, some women were as well. I never said ‘plainly condemns’ did I?
    I clearly said that it is not supported.

  29. and kpatman, you’re officially a moron. sorry.

    ‘if this was obligatory in our religion, then how come i am not circumcised!’

    are you serious?

    every jew obviously doesn’t eat pork.
    every christian takes communion.
    every zoroastrian prays at a dar-e mehr.

    yeah, right.

    obvious apologist is obvious. YOU clearly said it is not supported, but have offered no scriptural evidence to support that, while i have offered not only scripture, but commentary from both antiquity and the present day. keep on bricking yourself in. you’re making excuses and anyone capable of independent thought can see that you are quite obviously not.

    a lot of islamic texts support fgm.
    a lot of muslim clergy supports fgm.
    fgm in-turn, happens to a lot of muslims women.

    “Circumcision of girls by excision of the clitoris is mandatory.” -Umdat al-Salik

    “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.”
    -Reliance of The Traveler, A Classical Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri

    “It is clear that female circumcision is prescribed in Islam, and that it is one of the Sunnahs of the fitrah and it has a good effect of moderating the individual’s behaviour. As for the opinions of doctors who say that female circumcision is harmful, these are individual opinions which are not derived from any agreed scientific basis, and they do not form an established scientific opinion. They acknowledge that the rates of cancer among circumcised men are lower than among those who are not circumcised, and some of these doctors clearly recommend that circumcision should be done by doctors and not these ignorant women, so that the operation will be safe and there will be no negative consequences. However, medical theories about disease and the way to treat it are not fixed, rather they change with time and with ongoing research. So it is not correct to rely on them when criticizing circumcision which the Wise and All-Knowing Lawgiver has decreed in His wisdom for mankind. Experience has taught us that the wisdom behind some rulings and Sunnahs may be hidden from us. May Allaah help us all to follow the right path.”
    -Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah

    “Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed.”
    -Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid (mainstream Islamic scholar)

    “In this matter, it is wise to follow the interests of the female: if the clitoris is large, then part of it should be removed, otherwise it should be left alone. This size of the clitoris will vary from woman to woman, and there may be differences between those from hot climates and those from cold climates.”
    -Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajjid

    “If I get asked about the religious ruling on FGM I must keep my silence and not dare to open my mouth. I must request to avoid this subject. As soon as I utter that FGM is good then they can arrest me.”
    -Mullah Ismael Sosaae

    and of-course:

    “A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (PBUH) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
    -Dawud 41:5251 (this Hadith was declared completely valid by Muhammad Nasiruddin al-Albani)

    “When anyone sits amidst four parts of the woman, and the circumcised parts touch each other, a bath becomes obligatory.”
    -Sahih Muslim 3:684

  30. What this fascinating dialogue illustrates is that there is considerable diversity of interpretation and observance in Islam, and that Muslims may consider the arguments prior to acceptance of any directive. It also illustrates how we often believe that our interpretation is correct to the exclusion of others.

    From the little I am aware of FGM, it primarily occurs in NorthEast & SubSaharan Africa, with some in the Hejaz peninsula. The practice is not widespread in the Maghreb west of Egypt, East & North of Saudi Arabia. Given that most Muslims live beyond this African sphere, I think it is safe to assume that in practice it is alien to most Muslims. That in itself does not determine that Islamic texts do not in parts promote FGM but it does show that most Muslims elect not to follow such injunctions, or regard them as aberrant or redundant.

    Just because a writer in the past asserts that a perception is correct from his or her religious perspective it does not mean that believers have to accord with that for perpetuity. I would remind all Christians that the Catholic & Orthodox churches held that the world is flat and the universe rotates around the earth. I doubt there are many Christians who still believe this.

  31. “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women.”
    What a blatant LIE! It is performed on hapless CHILDREN, NOT “men and women” by barbarian savages who justify their mutilation of child victims by religious insanity.

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