The Internet is undermining Islamic Fundamentalism: Is there an Enlightenment developing within Islam?

The Internet is undermining Islamic Fundamentalism: Is there an Enlightenment developing within Islam?

The Pakistani-Canadian writer Ali Rizvi is a fierce critic of Islam, the religion in which he grew up. But unlike many other critics who maintain that Islam is inherently incapable of modernization, and that the Muslim world is sliding ever further into backwardness and fundamentalism, Rizvi is refreshingly optimistic about the future. The seed of a new Enlightenment has been planted in the Arabic world, he told me in Antwerp, and there’s no way to eradicate it.

In his book The Atheist Muslim, Rizvi speaks directly to the many closeted atheists, agnostics, and secularists in the Muslim world. These people are obliged by the societies in which they live to present themselves outwardly as Muslims, but in private, they harbor different ideas.  …

In the Muslim world, there are countless such freethinkers, atheists, and agnostics, who are going around presenting themselves as Muslims, because there are very serious consequences for openly saying what they are. You know all the reasons. It ranges from being rejected by their families, disowned and ostracized by their communities, to being persecuted, jailed, or even hacked to death, as with the Bangladeshi secular bloggers. These people are atheist in thought, but Muslim in appearance. …

There’s this whole idea that being a Muslim makes you a modest girl with good moral character. So when you leave Islam, other men will look at you and assume that you must be a whore. And then there’s the physical threat. It doesn’t come from the government like in Saudi Arabia, but it still exists. …

The western left teams up with Islam to reject Islamic apostates:

Now, on top of all of that, if some Muslim goes ahead and dares to criticize her religion, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you also see a lot of liberals turn against her. I have my political differences with Ayaan, but really, if someone is rejecting Islam because she likes liberal Enlightenment values, because she believes in gender equality and human rights and freedom of speech, then you’d like your Western counterparts to support her. But often they don’t. When Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses, which was his right to do, many liberals just shunned him. …

Many freethinkers and disbelievers in the Muslim community who saw what happened to Salman Rushdie, even in the West, will think twice before coming out. Liberals are not supporting the people that they should be supporting, and they have compromised on their own values. That’s how terrorism works. …

The underlying narrative is that the only good Muslim is a conservative Muslim. This is bizarre. If an ex-Catholic has been persecuted by her religion, and she comes out and says that religion is bullshit, she’s hailed as a hero. …

Look, Europeans challenged their own religion during the Enlightenment, and we’re all benefiting from their efforts today. But when non-Europeans want to do the same, it’s ‘Islamophobia’? That is the real bigotry. …

It’s growing:

We’ve come a long way already. When Rushdie published his book, he had to go into hiding for ten years, but now there are literally thousands of Muslims speaking out. There are conferences, books, podcasts, interviews. Ex-Muslims are showing up on TV in Egypt and Kuwait. This is something that is happening on a scale that was unimaginable in the Rushdie days. And that was just under 30 years ago. …

Someone was asking me the other day how I could be so optimistic about a Muslim Enlightenment, when we’re seeing this rise in jihadism and fundamentalism. Saudi Arabia is even labelling atheism as a form of ‘terrorism’ now. My answer to that is: why is Saudi Arabia labelling atheists as terrorists? …

Muslim youth globally are being more exposed to secular influences. They’re seeing Hollywood movies that are now uncensored, and they are thinking about these things, comparing them to their own life. And yes, the conservatives are very worried about this. …

Reading the Quran as it is, is an excellent antidote to faith. And the apologists know this. What’s the one thing the apologists keep telling you? Don’t take it literally! …This is the infallible, unquestionable, immutable word of the Creator of the Universe, but please don’t use it the way he wants you to. Put the word of God down, and please read my human interpretation and commentary.

Interesting. Both western leftists and Islamic fundamentalists need censorship of the Internet, because their position of power is so easily undermined by information and facts.