• Christopher Tanner

An Open Letter to Reza Aslan

Hello Reza,

I have recently heard your outburst at Bill Maher, although you are normally a nice inclusion to the show, and you sometimes have important things to say, I think you have sadly diminished any respect I once had for you by your recent lies on CNN. It seems that after being told a truth you dislike on HBO, and being subjected to other humans who actually have the ability to call bullshit on your claims – you have run to CNN to discuss your point with two people who know as much about Islam as you do about the inner workings of time travel.

When you claim Islam is peaceful, ISIS is not Islamic & people are the problem not religion,two random eye-candy anchors from CNN can do nothing but smile and try to sound interesting, how can their media study diplomas come in useful here? Whereas Bill Maher (or his research team) could actually use evidence – like the Quran, the unchanged & perfect word of your God – to prove you wrong. You gained many fans and book sales by looking rather smart on fox news, but let’s be honest, that’s like being the nicest looking 62 year old virgin in Milwaukee – its value is nil.

Maher stated this: ” if vast numbers of Muslims across the world believe, and they do, that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea or drawing a cartoon or writing a book or eloping with the wrong person, not only does the Muslim world have something in common with ISIS; it has too much in common with ISIS.”

If you deny any of this, 1) Wake up and smell the coffee 2) Stop lying  & 3) You best go out there and tell more than 112 million Muslims that they are doing it wrong (that is the conservative number of political radicalised Muslims, the ones who adhere to apostasy threats, family shame and cartoon anger are near the absolute majority.

On CNN you go on to say regarding female genital mutilation:

“I mean, the argument about the female genital mutilation being an Islamic problem is a perfect example of that. It’s not an Islamic problem. It’s an African problem …And that’s actually empirically factually incorrect … It’s a Central African problem. Eritrea has almost 90 percent female genital mutilation. It’s a Christian country. Ethiopia has 75 percent female genital mutilation. It’s a Christian country. Nowhere else in the Muslim, Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue.”

WOW, hold on, you think Eritea is a Christian country? How strange that only 50% of the country is Christian, and 48% is Islamic. You forgot to mention that, maybe you thought nobody would fact check you, my bad.

Also Ethiopia a Christian country? Of course in the 4th century it adopted Christianity as the state religion – but unless you forgot, it is not the 4th century any more, how embarrassing of a “historian” to forget – Christianity is no longer the state religion, and only has 62% Christians and 34% Muslims which is no doubt more than 50%, but if the best evidence you have is calling 50% & 62% Christian majorities, then you have a big problem. Sorry again, I guess you thought being on CNN you wouldn’t get fact checked. Let us look at the evidence against you, as the evidence you used yourself was dire and counter-productive to your own means. Is female genital mutilation an Islamic problem or not?

Somalia 98% FGM – 99.8% Muslim & less than 0.1% Christian Djibouti 93% FGM – 94% Muslim 6% Christian Eqypt 91% FGM – 94.9% Muslim & only 5.1% Christian Guinea 96% FGM – 85% Muslim & only 8% Christian Mali 89% FGM – 90% Muslim only 5% Christian Sudan 88% FGM – 98% Muslim >2% Christian Sierra Leone 88% FGM – 71% Muslim 27% Christian

Out of the 29 main countries that conduct female genital mutilation in Africa – only 8 are Christian majority countries, with the remaining 21 all being an Islamic majority, go figure! Why didn’t you mention these statistics? Because they clearly prove you wrong, that’s why.

Let’s look at your mathematics; you believe that because 21 out of 47 African countries adhere to the barbaric procedure of female genital mutilation, that it is an African problem. 21 out of 47 = 44.6%

But you don’t believe female genital mutilation is an Islamic problem, even when 21 out of the 30 countries in the world that practise FGM are Islamic? That = 70%

So 44.6% of African countries = African problem! but 70% of Islamic countries = erm … nothing to do with Islam!

Logic fail.

The fact you dared to say “Nowhere else in the Muslim, Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue.” is disgustingly untrue, tell that statement to the 98% of women in somalia who have no clitoris or labia left you lying toad; it’s so untrue it is almost wickedly offensive, the evidence above shows you are either a liar or as you said on CNN, “stupid”.

I will not question your credentials (like many others have) I will simply remind people that when we listen to you, we are not hearing a moderate non-biased unaffiliated scholar, but a very confused individual that has taken to not only one true religion, but two, and three times at that. Instead of studying the truth of the scientific & historical claims (which would almost certainly lead to non-belief) you have bounced between religions like Katie Price through husbands – this plays out like a man who just cannot get over the fact he will die, so needs to fill the void by being subservient to a none answer.

“where did the universe come from?”

“Let’s make up something that cannot be verified, tested or even proven to exist, and call it that!”

Most people who have life long faith and lose it, go from believing to noticing how wrong they were and how indoctrinating religion really is – not believing in one silly man-made ideology (which you agree is the basis of faith) to another silly man-made ideology. Your life story (born in Iran to a Muslim family, converting to Christianity, converting back to Islam) doesn’t sound like a man trying to find truth, more a man trying to find faith, it doesn’t really matter which one, as long as you don’t have to own up to the reality of entropy.

Time magazine wrote “Aslan came to the conclusion that the claims of the Bible didn’t hold up.” I’m glad you used rationality, now can we sit down and place the same scrutiny on Islam? Because if you can use logic to dismiss Christianity, there is no chance you will fail at doing the same to Islam – they both make massive claims for themselves and they both fail miserably. You go on to say:

As a scientifically minded person, if you asked me is it likely that a man rose from the dead? I would say, no.

I am salivating at this, if you actually believe you can dismiss the validity of Jesus’ miracles using science (as we can) then you have either refused to investigate Mohammed and Allah, or you have done so and completely ignored the scientific findings, so which is it – are you lying or ignorant?

I have the honesty as an ex-Christian to see atrocities in the name of Christianity and accept that they are absolutely tied together – When I see Christian women being killed in Africa for speaking down to a man, or even turning her face from a man – I don’t lie, I don’t make excuses, I don’t run away from the responsibility I have gave myself by having knowledge of the situation. I simply quote the passages from the bible that directly mandate these killings and say “This is why religion has no place in our society, and this is why most Christians gave up on a literal bible many moons ago.” When I remember Hitler’s use of the treatment of Jesus by Jews to justify the final solution, or the African slave trade using the bible as justification, with passages explicitly explaining how one should beat his slave, I don’t pretend those passages don’t exist, I don’t lie about them, I don’t say vapid statements like “Don’t paint all Christians like this minority” or “They are extremists” I am a grown up, I admit the bible does mandate these actions, and use this as evidence as to why I do not follow the Bible. Slave owners, much like ISIS, are not extremists, they are what I like to call ‘literalists’ as they take to a literal translation of the Bible – as all “followers” should do. How can they be marginalised by others who don’t hold to the true word of their holy books? How dare an ex-Christian like me who attended church only for funerals say that a slave owner who recited the passage below was not a Christian?:

“You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

This is the word of God – that last sentence almost makes it sound like a Jew had probably written it…

So why do you not have the same ability as I? Are you too biased to be honest to your audience? Why are you not truthful enough to tell people that ISIS are not only Islamic but take their faith more serious than any other so called Muslims? You can still stand by your fellow Muslims yet agree the only way to succeed in this century is to adapt and evolve into a more modern faith – this is why Christianity is most powerful – but to do that you must first own up and then subsequently disown the basic premise your old beliefs.

How can you, with a straight face denounce the work of ISIS yet know full well everything they do is a carbon copy of the will of Mohammed – Did the prophet attempt a peaceful caliphate? Or did he bring war? Does Islam give the freedom of leaving the faith, or does it hold a penalty of death? You know the answer to these questions, you know that ISIS have taken the Quran literally, as you should, if you truly are a Muslim, but you won’t admit it – because the current publicity campaign by Islam of using western PC sensibilities to gain popularity from moderates is working perfectly. Nevermore so in history has Islam been this favourable in the eyes of moderate Christians than in 2014. Quite ingenious of Islam I have to say; imagine if for the 500 years that Christianity spilled blood, murdered Muslims and Jews, burned converts at the stake and tortured apostates, that there had been a large Muslim community saying “Don’t be Christianophobic! Stop painting all Christians with the same brush!”

The mere thought is ridiculous.

You know you are being disingenuous, you know you are lying, your audience of low information voters and fans who line up in agreement, but won’t dare research to see what they are agreeing to don’t know any better, but you do. You have a responsibility to inform them of the truth.

You have said:

I’m a person of faith, and the language that I use to define my faith, the symbols and metaphors that I rely upon to express my faith, are those provided by Islam because they make the most sense to me. The Buddha once said, “If you want to draw water, you don’t dig six 1-ft. wells, you dig one 6-ft. well.” Islam is my 6-ft. well. But I recognize that I am drawing the same water that everyone around me is.

This last sentence is very poignant; I base every decision on scientific scrutiny, not just the ones that suit me like you do, therefore I can’t follow you down the path of believing nonsense. You are a wishy washy Muslim, you probably don’t believe a word of the Quran, but find that it is the faith of your people, and in turn align yourself as such. This is not a problem for me, although I find it sad and useless. What is a problem is you stand as a moderate, barely Muslim by any stretch of the imagination and then dare criticise the men and woman in the middle east who actually give a damn about their faith, the people who live by every word of the Quran and truly follow Islam. How dare such a diluted Muslim born in Iran no less take snipes at real Muslims in Iran who are fighting in a holy war, specifically mandated by them from their God and Holy book (the same holy book you have seemingly studied and chosen to ignore). You’re practically the same as a cultural Jew, who holds to none of the Dogma and believes none of the Holy Book, but just likes to keep some of the traditions because they feel guilt or it reminds them of their childhood. Again, this is your prerogative, but just as they cannot deny an orthodox Jew, you cannot deny a literal Muslim.

So in closing, please stop lying on CNN, because although you have mindless fans who will clap along, you also have informed debaters and fervent non-believers who actually fact check, like me – We, the informed: with our google, our evidence, our love of statistics, our willingness to open a Holy Book and our attitude towards learning as many true things and discarding as many false things as possible, will be on you like a fly on shit. You will be held accountable. Your claims can and will be verified independently and it will affect your reputation as a “scholar”.

Yours fai… truly,

Jordan Smith


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