At the World Humanist Congress this weekend, I urged Humanists to stop self-flagellating and called on them to focus on the fascists of our era – the Islamists – rather than looking inwards to the so-called “aggressive atheists”. It’s during a question and answer period with Richard Dawkins where I also mention his contribution to those coming out as ex-Muslims.

I then rip the ISIS flag.

You can watch it here.

ISIS (and Islamism) is our dark ages and we must fight it to the end.

Most amusing is the woman who thinks I am calling Muslims fascists. Pretty sad that there are so many people that can still not distinguish between a Muslim and a fascist. Islamists are the fascists not Muslims. Try focusing on the fascists for a change and stop being so racist as to think that all Muslims are far-Right Islamists!

I invite her and the others at the Congress – like Alom Shaha – who think that criticising Islam and Islamism are bigotry to come to our October conference and learn the differences by people – Muslim and none – who are on the frontlines…

You can still buy tickets for the Secular Conference and some of you need to buy it more than others!



  1. Maryam – I enjoyed your theatre with the flag, I can understand why you want to publicise your “Secular Conference”, and I agree with you that Islamism – especially as we’re seeing it practiced by ISIS – has all the characteristics of fascism. We must fight against it.

    But I think you’re being extremely unfair to Alom Shaha who said nothing at all to support your accusation that “criticising Islam and Islamism are bigotry”. A key point made by Maajid Nawaz and Kenan Malik was to differentiate between Islamism (defined by Maajid as “the desire to impose a particular interpretation of Islam on a society”) and the varieties of Islam, which as, it seems, are almost as numerous as Muslims themselves. as from undifferentiated, and therefore bigoted, attacks on all Islam and Muslims as a group.

    Of course we should criticise the harmful features of any religion or belief – including Islam, Christianity, fascism and communism. But we’re seeing every day the result of verbal and sometimes physical attacks by ignorant bigots on Muslims, Jews, Christians and atheists – that is, on people, not just on ideas. Sadly, the poorly-informed views and lazy thinking that underpin bigotry about British Muslims can, as Alom reported, sometimes can be found even among fellow humanists/atheists.

    Challenging that by creating a more informed understanding about the realities of Muslims in Britain – good and bad – which is what I believe Alom advocated, is surely to make a positive contribution to harmony in our plural society. I applaud him for that. It is in no way the same as defending the Islamist fascists or – to use Maajid’s term – the global jihadist insurgency which is seeking to undermine almost every value underpinning liberal society and, so far, has caused fellow Muslims more death and suffering than anyone else.

  2. Maryam, I enjoyed your contribution to WHC 2014. The flag moment was a great piece of theatre and you made an eloquent, reasoned, and impassioned attack against the fascism of ISIS/IS in the session ‘Is there something about Islam’.

    That said I don’t recognise your criticism of Alom Shaha. Alom, who was also speaking in that session, spoke about how he often ends up defending ordinary muslims to white middle class atheists. He spoke about issues of race and identity in multi-cultural Britain and the assumptions made of those people and their views. At no point do I recall (either at WHC 2014 or in past engagements) has Alom said that criticising Islam and Islamism is bigotry. Have you read his book? There is plenty of criticism of Islam there from a very personal perspective. I can also guarantee that neither he, nor any intelligent individual, could see criticism of Islamism as anything other than justified.

    In your own segment in the panel session you started by stating that Islam and Islamism are two different things. Of course religion influences the fascist ideology of Islamism, but not all muslims are Islamists. I feel that you are seeking enemies among your friends. There is plenty about the evils of Islamism that we can all get behind without setting up straw men to knock down.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. I second the sentiment here. All too many leftists (Glenn Greenwald I’m looking at you) seem to give Islamofascists a pass because they are so absorbed in beating up on Israel.

    However, there are some hopeful signs in places like Iraq. It appears that Maliki has been given the heave ho and even Iran has apparently thrown him under the bus. The intervention of American air power appears to be having a salutary effect on the situation in Northern Iraq with the Peshmerga, which had been in retreat for a while, able to reverse course and retake several towns that the ISIL captured a week or two ago. In addition, it appears that the Iraqi military is now supporting the Peshmerga with arms shipments and some air attacks of their own (apparently, the problem with the Iraqi military is that they don’t have much of an airforce). IMHO, if the Peshmerga is supplied with heavy arms and given continued US air support, they are quite capable of defeating the ISIL forces.

    Keep the good work and Illegitimi non carborundum.

    1. Well said too. Spot on. Definitely more power to you as #1.J Simon Fink said.

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