By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
Dear Muhammad Yunus and Ghulam Mohiyuddin Saheban,
You both are terribly concerned about the agenda of ex-Muslims or near ex-Muslims or would-be-ex-Muslims who talk on this “unmoderated” site about why they have left Islam and why we too should leave Islam. But I do not have a clear guidance from either of you what the site should do to become “moderated.”
Obviously, I must start censoring. But what, who, how much, which particular sentences. One hint I got was from one of Mohiyuddin Saheb’s comment. He wrote, quoting a certain “Rationalist,” not “Rational Younus”: "Internet will hasten the fall of Islam." While he (Rationalist) has the right to hold that view, the only websites which would publish such a comment are the bitterly anti-Muslim apostate hate websites.”
Personally I have no problem with the sentence quoted here. This is some one’s wishful thinking, irrational belief or maybe intuition: how can I know. He should have the right to express his view or even wishful thinking. I believe that it is internet that will save Islam from the depredations of Saudi, Salafi Islam. Now my view too could be just wishful thinking, irrational belief or intuition. This is neither here nor there. I just don’t see why I should be worried about someone wishing or believing in the fall of Islam. I also did not find any problem with this person finding Islam and even Quran problematic. This is again his view. My faith in my understanding of my religion is far too deep and strong to be shaken by such remarks.
However, the sentences preceding that were indeed just a part of standard hate speech that we have routinely deleted and have now been deleted. The deleted portion carries a remark: “Hate Speech deleted – Editor,” as is our norm in such cases. (I don’t understand how Yunus Saheb could repeat that in his own comment, instead of simply pointing that out to me when he noticed that and getting it deleted. I will have to see what to do with this portion of his own comment or the entire comment.)
This kind of hate speech used to be posted by one “Lee Jay Walker” at one time and got routinely deleted. Since then it had never occurred and so perhaps our monitors got sloppy in recent days. For some reason, our readers, even troubled readers, never report such things, despite a links provided for precisely this purpose. The link for reporting abuse of comments has been provided as mistakes can always happen. Scores of comments are posted every hour or two and we are perennially short of competent editorial staff.
However, I can see that you are not just concerned about this one particular hate speech against the prophet that stayed on the site for so many days, but because of the many comments posted by MY2 who is now Rational Younus and other people with similar views.
I would be grateful for guidance on this score. Should we stop posting comments by people I do not agree with? I think I will probably be left with just you two. And then you two will also stop. I know this because this has happened to the site before in a similar situation we faced in 2009.
Another way would be that we stop debates and discussions altogether with no facility for comment and just post articles from our perspective as do hundreds or thousands of other Islamic websites.
Personally, I find the discussions on our site quite educative and informative, despite the sometimes repetitive nature of some of the points raised by some people. I can absolutely see and sympathise with the quandary this puts you into, having to repeat the same things in different language and sometimes merely copy-paste old comments and links. This is all the more so, as you are convinced about some such people having ulterior motives.
The reason I find it useful is that New Age Islam alone has our ex-Muslims, near ex-Muslims, would-be ex-Muslims, confused Muslims, motivated Islam-haters from within and outside our community, etc. engaging with Islamists of various hues, moderate as well as not-so-moderate, thinking as well as non-thinking Muslims.
Under the onslaught of Saudi Salafi Islam, millions of thinking, honest, humane Muslims, engaged in what can only be called good deeds in various walks of life, have left Islam silently. They retain their Muslim names, occasionally go to Eid and even Friday prayers, if required by the society they live in, and have become confirmed hypocrites in their own mind. They have no qualms about it and are not in the least troubled by this. But they remain completely silent about it in public and only exchange their views with close friends. Their only fault is that they have convinced themselves that Saudi, Salafi Islam is the real Islam and so cannot be a good religion worth bothering about.
It is the vocal ex-Muslim, vocal near-ex-Muslim, in which I see a ray of hope. I feel these people who so loudly proclaim their objections to everything about Islam, are people who love Islam deeply and are having problem leaving Islam or even thinking that they have left Islam. Those who have left are silent about it and have no qualms about their disaffection and are not worried about it. Who cries in a divorce? The person who continues to love his or her partner most. Who abuses and even sometimes attempts to kill his or her partner? The person who deeply loves or loved his or her partner and is finding the idea of divorce unbearable. I think such a person deserves sympathy and empathy and is not a completely lost soul even though he may himself think so. [The idea of ulterior motivations cannot be completely ruled out, but I prefer to stay out of looking for conspiracies everywhere as much as possible.]
In any case if we have any hope of bringing back to the fold or retaining within the fold those who have gone out or those on the way out, we must listen to them carefully and seek to understand from them where things are going wrong. We can only engage with people who voice their objections. I know a few from the silent ex-Muslim group in several countries. No amount of coaxing brings them come out with their problems. They simply say: “Shahin Bhai, Islam is the one Saudis say Islam is, after all it is basically their religion. I am sure you know that you are peddling a fake version of Islam. But let us leave it at that. I admire your courage in taking on these horrible people and I wish you all success. But I am out. I have nothing to do with Islam. Let us talk of our real concerns.” Now I know that I am not peddling a fake version of Islam. I know that I have the genuine commodity. But there is no way of reaching them with this idea. If someone is so fully convinced of and confirmed in his divorce from his religion that he decides to not even talk about it, how can we reach this person?
Anyway, my question still remains: how do you think we should cope with the critics of Islam on New Age Islam, motivated or interested, from within the fold or out of it, ex-Muslim or soon-to-be-ex-Muslim?
Absolutely right Mr Ghulam Moyinuddin!
I too joined this site as well as several others not to battle the mere critics of Islam,but against sadistic/sarcastic elements who have fun in mocking,scorning,insluting & trying every bit in foolishly attempting to demolish Islam,which Allah & his beloved prophet Mohammad(PBUH) has established.
I think it is quite a high time to tell the non Muslim world that Muslims too have got feelings & toleration limits & it must not be surpassed beyond a level.
Dear Hasan Abbas Saheb, I am glad I have been able to
accommodate your request despite a lot of misgivings in our editorial team.
Look forward to your participation in the discussion on the comments on that
Generally I like to listen to what the
"khalq-e-Khuda" is saying about us. Some people say, it is akin to God's Voice. It may help us introspect and
reform. I prefer to find fault with and criticise myself, sometimes within
myself, often publicly, before others start pointing fingers.
Even if we failed
to do, partly because we did not realise our own mistakes, we should not have any
problem admitting mistakes. Humans are prone to errors and should have no
problem accepting that and then changing, reforming.
Thanks for the suggestion.
Your comment has been shortened, as there was no need for the article there,
now that it will be on the main page. Regards
Dear Sultan Shahin Sahib, Sir, I wonder if you could publish the following article.PAKISTAN TODAYWednesday, 17 Oct 2012 9:17 pmDon’t blame the Taliban: Let’s call a spade a spade insteadKunwar Khuldune Shahid Friday, 12 Oct 2012