In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris introduces the audio edition of his book with Maajid Nawaz, "Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue."
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
So today I have something different for you. I have an audio book preview. The book I did with magic now was Islam in the future of tolerance. A dialogue has just been released as an audio book and in this podcast
you'll hear about one slash two hour of the audio book and about one slash two hour of the post script that we recorded, especially for the release of the audio book. This postscript was not part of
the the hardcover and init it. We answer reader questions and talk about how the book has been received and deal with some of our critics, but you'll hear. I hope that this book was
really made to be an audio book. It is, in fact, a dialogue. Of course, you'll hear
the distinction between are reading this dialogue, rather than merely producing it extemporaneously, but
the fact that we're reading it allows us to be precise and on this topic,
more than many others. I think precision is now the key in the postscript. We just have a conversation, much more like a podcast conversation and you'll hear about a half hour of that as well. In any case, this was a hugely gratifying collaboration for me.
I'm just so happy to have connected with Majin, to have started this dialogue to have produced this audio book and the print edition and
to now be able to call him a friend. It's just. It's been a win just across the board for Maine. Now, unfortunately, I don't think the problems we discuss in this book are going away anytime. Soon, I think Marge is voice in particular is going to be increasingly relevant.
Years to come, but I'm just very happy to have started this dialogue and I look forward to collaborating with him in any way that I can in the future. That will be useful and you all can support our efforts by listening to the book or reading it
and talking about it or blogging about it and sharing it with others.
Review of the Audio Edition
Islam in the future of tolerance. A dialogue by SAM Harris, an magic now was red,
by the authors: magic. Thank you for taking the time to have this conversation. I think the work you're doing is extremely.
I'm not sure how much we agree about Islam or but the prospects of reforming the faith and will be used
uncover any areas where we diverge.
I want you to know that my primary goal is to support you that's very kind of you. I appreciate that, as you know,
We are working in a very delicate area, walking a tight rope and attempting to bring with us a lot of people who, in many instances, do not want to move forward. It is very important that we have this conversation in as responsible ways possible
agreed I'd like to begin by recalling the first time we met, because it was a moment when you seem to be walking this tightrope. It was in
in fact they rather inauspicious first meeting in October, two
and ten. I attended the intelligence squared debate, in which you were pitted against my friends Ion Hersey Ali in Douglas Murray. We met
afterward at a dinner for the organizers participants in other guests, people were offering short remarks about the debate and otherwise continuing the disco,
and one point ion said,
like to know whether SAM Harris has anything to say.
Although I was well into a vodka tonic at that moment, I remember what I said more or less verbatim. I had
Yes, my remarks directly to you, we hadn't been in.
Do so. I don't think you had any idea who I was. I said
question for you
to me that you have a nearly impossible task and yet much depend
when you're being able to accomplish it. You want to
since the world, especially the muslim world.
Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by extremists, but the problem is: Islam, isn't a religion of peace and the so called extreme
are seeking to implement what is arguably the most honest reading of the faith's actual doctrine so
maneuvers on the stage tonight, the claims
made about interpretations of scripture and historical context in which certain passages of the car
I must be understood,
in this room recognizes that you have the hardest job in the world, and everyone is grateful that you're doing it some
one has to try to reform Islam from within, and it's obviously not going to be an apostate like ion or infidels
Douglas in Maine, but the path of reform appears to be one of pretense. You seem obliged to pretend
that the doctor is something other than it is. For instance, you must pretend that she
God is just an inner spiritual struggle. Where is prime
earlier Doctrine of Holy WAR, I'd like to know
so this is in fact the situation. As you see, it is the path forward, a matter of pretty
sending that certain things are true long enough,
hard enough so as to make them true
reiterate that I was attempting to have this conversation with you in a semi public context. We weren't being recorded as far as I,
but there were still around seventy five people in the room listening to us and one,
if you remember my saying these things and whether you
call your response at the time. Yes, I do remember that,
I'm glad you reminded me of it. I hadn't made the connection with you. I'm also grateful
you mentioned that, although we were not on air, many others were present. To my mind, it was due
is important inside that room is outside of it for people to take what I was saying at face value. In fact, my
desire to impact muslim minority societies with my messages, just as strong as my desire to impact muslim majority societies.
Part of what I seek to do is build a mainstream coalition of people who are singing from the same page. That does
require that they will become muslim or non Muslim on the country. What can you know
This is a set of religion, neutral values,
focusing on the universality of human, democratic and secular in the british and american sense of this word values?
we can arrive at some common ground. It follow
the Rhodians. His need to hear this message even inside that room that full the stakes were high to lose. That audience would be to realize my fear, the polarization of this debate
so in those who insist that Islam is a religion of war and proceed to engage in war for it
and those who insist that Islam is a religion of war and process.
Need to engage in war against it. Now,
Moving to the specifics of your question, I responded in the way I did because I felt you were implying that I was engaging in pretense.
By arguing that Islam is a religion of peace. If I remember correctly, you said it's understandable in the public context, but here in this room Connie just be honest,
Yes, yes, that's exactly what I said. Yes call you just be honest with us in here implied that I hadn't been honest outlet. My only issue is that Islam is not a religion of war or of peace. It's a religion. It's sacred scripture, like those of other religions, contains passages that many people would consider extremely problematic likewise
all scriptures, contain passages that are innocuous, religion doesn't inherently speak for itself. No scripture, no book, no piece of writing has its own voice. I subscribe to the
if you, whether I'm interpreting Shakespeare or
hurting religious scripture.
So I wasn't being dishonest in saying that Islam is a religion of peace, I've,
subsequently had an opportunity to clarify at the Richmond forum. What ion on- and I discussed this again scripture exists human beings interpreted at in.
Telligent squared being under the unnatural constraints of the debate motion. I assert
this alarm is a religion of peace, simply Becaus. The vast majority of Muslims today do not subscribe to it being a religion of war.
It holds that Islam is only when its adherents interpreted to be, then it is currently a religion of peace. Part of our challenge is to galvanize and organize the silent majority gets jihadism so that it can start challenging. The narrative of violence that has been popularized by the organized minor
C, currently dominating the discourse. This is what I was really trying to argue in the intelligence squared debate, but the motion force me to take a side world peace. I chose peace,
Stand my interest in recalling that moments not to hold you accountable to your original answer to me, and it may be that
Thinking has evolved to some degree, but our conversation broke down quite starkly at that point.
I don't remember how we resolved it.
I don't remember that we did resolve it
spirit of greater optimism. That may seem warranted by our first meeting, because we have a lot to talk about
so before we dive into these issues. I think we should start with your background, which is fascinating. You're in
aluminum seems to be primarily political born of some legit
grievances, primarily racial injustice that you began to view
through the lens of Islam,
but you haven't said his members of Al Qaeda: do
that you were incensed by the sacrilege of infidel boots on the ground near Muslim Holy sites on the arabian peninsula. To what degree did religious beliefs
a desire for martyrdom, for instance,
motivate you and your fellow Islamists and have no
which ideas were operative? Can you discuss the religi?
difference between a revolutionary islamist outlook and jihadist one? Yes, of course,
There are indeed similarities and differences between Islamism and jihadism. We shouldn't be surprised by this. The same
When we look at say communism,
are on one end.
Communists on the other summer. Militant and some aren't it's the same with this Islamism
I've argued that the motivation for Islamists an jihadists is ideological dogma, fed to them by charismatic recruiters, who play
on a perceived sense of grievance and an identity crisis. In fact, I believe that
four elements exist in all forms of ideological recruitment, a grievance narrative where the real or perceived an identity crisis, a charismatic recruiter and ideological dogma. The dogmas narrative is it's propaganda,
The difference between his battalion and Al Qaeda is akin to the disk
Mute within communism as to where the change comes from direct action and conflict. If you take.
Theory of dialectical materialism in communism and whether we should step back and allow the course of history to carve its own way or intervene to affect it. Purists of that theory will argue that you don't have to do anything that the means of production will naturally shift.
On the bourgeoisie to the workers, and any intervention is futile, because that's just the way history works are
They will say we must take direct action, such
differences on a theoretical level also exist between Islamists of the political or entryist type, those of the
evolutionary type and jihadists. Of course,
jihadists believe in taking direct action. They haven't
my theory around that. I'd argue in fact that the
rise of the so called islamic state under a buckler, daddy does somewhat vindicate, or some of enlarging laden strategy and his belief that make
in the West intervention wary through war would lead to a power vacuum in the Middle EAST.
And the Westwood abandoned its support for arab despots, which would lead to the crumbling of despotic regimes
The ashes of that would rise and islamic state in Latin
said this eleven years ago, and it's uncanny how the arab uprisings have turned out.
Trying to get at is the religious distinction. I think I detect between the type of is
I missed you were having been the dinner
I'm a violent prejudice in the UK and becoming politically radicalized by Islam and someone who may or may not have similar grievances but decides to go fight for a group like the islamic state because
We genuinely believe that he's participating in a cosmic war against evil and will either spread the one true faith to the ends of the earth or get him,
self martyred in the process were you thinking about the prospects of your own modern.
Or was your Islamism more a matter of politics and ordinary grievances.
I suppose I'm trying to say that, although there's a difference in methodology, all is
miss believe they're engaged in a cosmic struggle, but this cosmic struggle,
that the only reason they're doing it.
Get my views on this topic. But let me bend
backward once more, I'm imagining
How many people insist is the case,
but some significant percentage of highly dedicated Islamists are purely Politice
in that they're, motivated by terrestrial concerns and are sim
be using Islam as the banner under which to promote their cause. Aren't there Islamists, who don't believe
even the metaphysics of martyrdom
simply call them insincere insincere people
exist in any movement and under any ideology, but if we're going
look at what is Loomis subscribe to, obviously we have to discount the minority who are machiavellian and join only because they want something else out.
But if you consider those who are sincere- and I wasn't seeing what I used to believe- you'll find that they prepared from off of them, I had to face Porch- was in Egypt, was going to die
My calls, in that sense, all sincere Islam is believe. They're engaged in a cosmic struggle for good against evil and they define good as a holy struggle, but again to emphasize. That is not the only
believe, though they do believe in. They also believe in the evils of western imperialism. Likewise, they believe that
living on the arab dictators, the grievance Barrett
in, as I said prior to the point of recruitment, but the point of recruitment
personality is fossilized by ideological dogma, which then becomes the vehicle through which they expressed themselves.
So it's not one or the other, but certainly the cause
struggle is a consistent element for another difference between jihadists,
Islamist will seek martyrdom according to their own theory, so in his battalion
told the mountain is achieved by being killed while holding a despotic rule into account all spreading the ideology. We were told that if the regime kills you, while you're attempting to recruit on the offices, you'll be a martyr, and you should embrace that, but we were also told that you're, not some. Also, if you blow yourself up in a market place because he kidding civilian
it's another Muslims now, where is his was attempting to incite by the existing army?
simply said: why do
we create our own army. Why? We bothering
these guys, who are infidels anyway for jihadis
it's to die, while fighting for their own army is martyrdom. That is the difference as long as you're dying in
accordance with the view you subscribe to your a martyr in the eyes of your group,
so you wouldn't distinguish between jihadists and other Islamists as to the degree of religious conviction. For instance,
their level of certainty about the existence of Paradise or the rear
holiday of martyrdom the difference
purely a matter of methodology, yes
Some jihadists are not pious in the sense of having firm religious convictions, they simply prefer the violence, the direct action so they're attracted to those groups. Yet some Islamists
credibly, pies and sincerely believe in the holiness of the political Coles. Surprise you, the lack of it and religious sincerity, all the lack of it fluctuates between and within and among groups. This is all fascinating and again
extremely useful to spell out, but we should clarify another point here
is the line between piety and its lack may not be detected
in the way that many of our listeners expect
tested that the nine slash eleven hijackers couldn't have been true believers because they went to strip clubs before they carried out their suicide mission.
However, to me, there's absolutely no question, but these
and believe they were bound for Paradise. I think many people are can
used about the connection between outward observance and belief. That's right!
The nine slash eleven hijackers were not suicidally depressed people who went to strip clubs and then just decided to kill themselves along with thousands of innocent strangers, whether or not they went to strip clubs or appear
Pius in any other way. These men were true believers. Yes, the Strip Club things Red herring, because, even in the traditional view
you had when you believe, you're engaged in an act of war, you allow to deceive the enemy, so, whether it
espionage are going undercover or war propaganda within traditional thinking as revived by modern jihadism, it's permissible during war.
The nine slash eleven hijackers being seen in strip clubs is, however, relevant for use in propaganda against them,
serve it if western Muslims who do not think there at war with their own countries, would find such behavior and more
but you're absolutely right to say that it's not indicative of the hijackers religious convictions or lack there off this confusion between suppose. A jihadist, religiosity and sex should be clear and off to the world as Witness Boca harm and the slimming states in slave meant
mass rape of women is not accurate to that. The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are somehow less pious than the leaders of say, state,
more violence does not necessarily equate with greater religious conviction. Each group is deeply convinced of its approach to achieving Islamism in society
and both face much danger in the pursuit of that goal, but they differ in methodology and they
very much despise each other, just as Trotsky and styling eventually did.
That didn't mean one was less a communist in the other. They had a factional dispute within their idea.
Some people. Misunderstand such disputes within Islamism. They argue. What do you mean Islamism? There's no such thing,
The Muslim Brotherhood, hates groups like the islamic State and the islamic state would kill members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
I was remind them: that's
right saying: there's no such thing as communism, just because styling is said to have killed Trotsky, it's an absurd conclusion to reach, of course, there's a thing called communism and there's a thing called Islamism. It's an ideology. People are seeking to bring it about, but they differ.
Their approach, degrees of religious conviction, I'm not what will help us understand the differences among jihadists, revolutionary Islamists, political Islamists and non islamist Muslims. Let's take say Toyota, for example,
Good job was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and is now known as one of the founding fathers of the theory that eventually became modern jihad.
Some egyptian regime killed him for writing a book which she wrote wanting
cars, rated in the same prison that I came to be held in many years later. It takes
degree of religious conviction to die, merely for writing a book and that for the brotherhood was martyrdom
as with the members glorify the death of them members at the hands of the regime, but not the death of suicide bombers. They prepare their adherence to be killed for trying to over
regime and they tell the same stories about most of and internal bliss in Paradise. That jihadists do
only conclusion I can draw from everything you just said is that the pro
problem of ideology is far worse than most people suppose absolutely, but to repeat ideologies but one of four factors or be at the most often ignored
I would generally agree, although the sir
only seems to be many cases in which people have no intelligible grievance. Apart from a theological one and become quote radicalized
by the idea of sacrificing everything for their faith. I'm thinking of the western
we have joined groups like Al Qaeda in the islamic state.
Sometimes religious ideology appears not merely necessary but sufficient to motivate a person to do this,
you might say that an identity crisis was also involved.
But everyone has an identity crisis at some point. In fact, one could say that the whole uh
Life is one long identity crisis. The truth is that some people appear to be
almost entirely motivated by the religious beliefs, absent those beliefs, their behavior.
Make absolutely no sense with them. It becomes perfectly understandable, even rational,
The problem is that moderates of all faiths are committed to reinterpreting
or ignoring out right. The most dangerous and absurd parts of their scripture
and this commitment is precisely what makes them moderate, but it also
requires some degree of intellectual dishonesty because moderates
can take knowledge that their moderation comes from outside the faith
the doors leading out of scriptural literalism simply do not
open from the inside in the 21st
country. The moderates commitment to rationality, human rights, gender equality and every other modern value Valley
is that, as you say, or potentially, universal for human beings comes from the
one thousand years of human progress, much of which was accomplished
in spite of religion, not because of it. So in
moderates claimed to find their modern ethical commitments within scripture. It looks like
an exercise in self deception. The truth
is that most of our modern values are antithetical to the specific teachings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and where we
you find these values expressed in our holy books. They're almost
never best expressed their ma
it seem unwilling to grapple with the fact that all scriptures contain an extraordinary amount of stupidity and barb.
They can always be rediscovered and may
holy anew by fundamentalists and there's no principle.
Moderation. Internal to the faith that prevents this, these
fundamentalist readings are almost by definition, more complete and consistent and therefore more honest. The fundamentalist picks up the book and says:
ok, I'm just going to read every word of this and do my best.
Understand what God wants from me. I'll leave my pay
Little bias is completely out of it
Conversely, every moderate seems to believe that his interpretation and selective reading of scripture is more
accurate than God's literal words, presumably God could have.
The books anyway. He wanted, and if you want
then to be understood in the Spirit of 21st century secular rationality, he could have left out all those bits about stoning people to
death for adultery or witchcraft, it
really isn't hard to write a book that prohibits sexual slavery. You just put,
a few lines like don't take sex slaves
and when you fight a war and take prisoners as you inevitably will don't rape any of them, and yet God couldn't seem to manage it. This is
the approach of a group like the islamic State, holds a certain intellectual appeal which
Italy sounds strange to say, because the most straightforward reading of Scripps
suggest that ally advises jihad is to take sex slaves from among the conquered decapitate, their enemies and so forth.
Imagine that a literalist in a moderate have gone to a restaurant for lunch and the menu promises fresh lobster is the specialty of the house loving lobster.
The literal is simply places his order and waits. The moderate does likewise, but claims to be entirely come
aboard the idea that the lobster might not really be a lobster. After all, perhaps it's a goose and whatever it is, it need not be quote fresh in, and
conventional sense. For the moderate understands that the meaning of this term shifts according to the context, this would be a very slow.
Range attitude to adopt toward lunch
but it is even stranger when considering the most important questions of existence, what to live for what to die for and what to kill for
Consequently, the appeal of literalism isn't difficult to see human
things demand in almost every area of their lives. It seems to
that religious people to the Excel,
but there are certain that there scripture was written or inspired by the creator of the universe, demand
two. So when you say that no religion is intrinsically peaceful or war like and that every scripture must be interpreted, I think you run into problems, because many of these tax aren't all that elastic. They aren't susceptible to just any interpretation and they commit their adherence to specific beliefs and practices.
You can't say, for instance, that Islam recommends eating bacon and drinking alcohol, and even if you
find some way of reading the Koran that would permit those things, you can't say
that its central message is that a devout Muslim should consume as much bacon and alcohol as humanly possible.
Nor can one say that the central message of Islam is pacifism. However, one can
and say that about Jane ISM, all religions are not the same. One simply cannot say that the central message of the Quran is respect for women as the moral and political equals of men to the.
Tree. One can say that under Islam, the central message is that women are second class citizens and the property of the men in their lives. I want to be clear
When I use terms such as pretense and intellectual dishonesty, when we first met, I was
in casting judgement on you personally simply live.
I mean with the moderates. Dilemma may be the only way forward, because the alternative would be to radically edit these books. I'm now
Such an idea list is to imagine that that will happen. We can't say: listen you barbarians. These holy books of yours
filled with murderous nonsense in the interest of getting you to behave
like civilized human beings were going to redact them and give you
back something that reads like Khalil Gibran. There you go. Don't you feel bad
for now that you no longer hate homosexuals? However,
that's really what one should be able to do in any intellectual tradition in the 21st century. Again, this problem confronts religious moderates everywhere, but it's an excruciating problem for Muslims.
Yes, I'd agree with that last sentence: it's certain
an excruciating one for Muslims, because it's currently and I've said this openly, one
the biggest challenges of our time, particularly in a bridge
in european context, as witnessed by this
Madden horrendous atrocities committed against hostages in Syria,
british and european muslim terrorists, we definitely have to acknowledge that anything we say could apply to Judaism and Christianity,
strand of a politicized version of the muslim faith, is causing a disproportionate share of the problems in the world. So there are good reasons to focus on that strand. I don't dispute any of that.
Just as a side note. You say that in the 21st century we should have the right to uh
It any holy book, but of course they will
always be value in preserving texts, as they once were say one thousand year
go even as historical documents. I don't
I think the issue is the physical state of the texts were looking at. This brings me neat
so everything else. He said
the challenge lies with interpretation. The methodology is behind reform, where the reformists are in fact containing a pretty.
And whether this challenge is insurmountable. I think it's about approach. Let's start with this you're very clearly, speaking from an intellectual perspective, you're trying to approach this
consistently you're trying to approach this with an understanding of the challenges ahead and you're trying to be sensitive and not harm. My work. I appreciate all of that,
but you also have to recognize that you're speaking from the luxury of living in were probably born and raised in and mature secular, democratic society.
It can sometimes be very hard to make a mental leap and put yourself into the
end of the average Pakistani. I know many
looks tiny atheists who, alongside liberal Muslims, are trying to democratize their society from within Pakistan.
You and I can have this discussion without fear, but for them such
discussions can result in death. Of course, and I hear from death,
these people? I'm well aware that millions of nominally muslim freethinkers aren't hiding out of necessity. This is one of the
things I find so insufferable about the liberal backlash against critics of Islam, a special
the pernicious meme Islamophobia
by which anyone who thinks that Islam merit special concern at this moment in history is branded a bigot.
What worries me is that so many moderate Muslims believe that Islamophobia is a bigger problem than literalist Islam. Is
they seem more outraged that someone like me would equate Jihad with holy
more than that millions of their co religionists do this and commit atrocities as a result in recent
says. The islamic state has been burning prisoners alive in cages and decapitating people by the dozen and gleefully
posting videos are testing to the enormity of their sadism online, far from b
their version of the meal. I massacre these crimes
against in a sense, represent what they unabashedly stand for. In fact, these ghastly videos have become a highly successful recruiting tool in
firing jihadis from all over the world to travel to Syria and Iraq to join the cause. No doubt most Muslims are horrified by this, but the truth is that in the very weak the islamic state was taken as barbarism to new
dates. We saw a much larger outcry in the muslim world over the killing of three college students in North Carolina amid
circumstances that made it very likely to have been an ordinary, triple murder, as opposed to a hate crime
I'm indicating some wave of anti muslim bigotry in the US. This skewing of priorities produces a grotesque combination of political sensitivity and moral callousness
where in hate crimes against Muslims in the US, which are tiny,
number often property related and still dwarfed fivefold by similar offences against Jews
appear to be of greater concern than the enslavement and obliteration of countless people throughout the muslim world.
As you say, even having a conversation like this is considered a killing offense in many circles I hear from Muslims who are afraid
to tell their own parents that they have lost their faith in God for fear of being murdered by them? These people say things like if a liberal intellectual, like you can't speak about the link between specific doctrines and violence without
the famed defamed's a bigot. What hope is there for someone like me who has to work
that being killed by her own family or village for merely expn
pressing doubts about God? So, yes, I'm aware that one can't speak in Pakistan as I do here.
This raises an intellectual point and a pragmatic points. Intellectually, I don't accept that is a correct reading of scripture. In essence, now you can point to many parts,
It is in the Koran and in Hadith, and I've certainly read them, because I memorized off the ground, wanna political prisoners that you would find very problematic very concerning and on the face of it very violent. But, as I've said to
interpret any text. One must have a methodology, and in that methodology there are jurisprudential linguistic, philosophical, historical and moral perspectives
winner of the Cambridge School, wrote a Seminole essay called meaning and understanding in the history of ideas.
This essay addresses the danger in assuming that there is ever a true reading of texts. It asks the question: does any piece of writing speak for itself?
or do we impose certain values and judgments on that text. When interpreting it,
I personally do not use the term literal readings, because this imp-
why is that such readings are the correct literal meaning of the texts? I would simply call it vacuous
under the printing presses influence on the reformation increased internet access has facilitated a more patchwork, democratized, populist approach to interpreting islamic texts.
Now the key for me- and this is only the intellectual point- I'll move to the pragmatic in a minute- is it if we accept the texts are in fact a bunch of ideas thrown together and all the gravity called
book and nothing in a vacuous reading over text makes it better than other interpretations. The question is: do we accept a vacuous approach to reading
scripture, picking up passage and saying this is it
true meaning, regardless of everything else around it, or do we concede that? Perhaps there are other methods of interpretation
it comes down to our starting point, if one
where to assume that are correct,
unchanging, reading of islamic scripture never existed and that from
exception to now it is always being in
experience of its times. Then the reform approach would be the intellectually consistent one.
Indeed, we would expect it to be the majority view today. This approached
in opposition to that of the very organized, vocal and violent minority that has been shouting of one else down. If, on the other hand, we start from the prime,
Is that the vacuous reading was the original approach to scripture? Then the reform
stands little chance of success.
There may be no answer him. I don't think this quote
and have been resolved when it comes to interpreting the Us Constitution or Shakespeare, or
indeed any religious scripture. Pragmatically speaking,
if somebody in Pakistan were to raise with me the issues you have raised, they could be killed in such a
stifling atmosphere. What is the solution?
I don't want our listeners to think that all mostly majority countries are the same. For instance,
in the middle of Ramadan in two thousand and fourteen Turkey witnessed the gay pride March.
A sensible way forward would be to establish this idea that there is no correct reading of scripture. This is especially easy for sudanese, who represent eighty percent of the Muslims around the world, because they have no clergy
If a particular passage says smite their necks to conclude, despite all the passages that came before it,
everything that comes after it that this passage means smite. Their next today
is to engage in a certain method of interpretation. If we could popularize
the understanding that all conclusions from scripture are but interpretations there
more variant. Readings of book would become a of book human perspectives that would radically differing human perspectives
and undermined the claim that the Islamists are in possession of God's words
also set in arabic and islamic terminology is this is nothing but your age she had. This is nothing but your interpretation of the texts as a whole
There was a historical debate about whether or not the doors of hd hardware closed it concluded that they cannot be closed because Sunni Muslims have no clergy, anyone can interp,
scripture. If she is sufficiently learned in that scripture, which mean
that even extremists may interpret scripture the best way
to undermine extremists, insistence that truth is on their side is two arg
but there's is mainly one way of looking at things. The only truth is that there is no correct way to interpret scripture,
like that you're effectively saying there is no right on and
the absence of a right answer. Pluralism is the only option and pluralism
will lead to secularism and to democracy and human rights. We must all focus on those values without worrying about whether atheism is the most intellectually pule approach. I genuinely believe that if we focus on the pro realistic nature of interpretation and on democracy, human rights and secularism on these values, we'll get to a time of peace and stability in most the majority countries, that then allows
Conversations like this, I to mention one anecdote which
listening. I think they would find, as as another positive example of why this conversation was so important. Not just today I spoke to somebody who who's just started with with with him. In fact, the the wild will know about this through a press release we release tomorrow, but I'm telling you here today
advance the time that that there was a a group in in Britain, known as on the hot June, which was founded by almost Buckley Muhammad, who used to be the leader of my former islamist organization, has without it in the U K, and then he splits off and
founded on sound produced, none other than
anjem choudary as its current UK leader and armor Buckley is currently in prison in Lebanon, after he had his permission to remain in the UK.
Send it. It's now a banned organisation under Britain's terrorism legislation.
Oh my Barclays son recently, was just killed in Syria, fighting for ISIS
most of Europe's support-
for ISIS, has come from those remnants of the
Mama June and their supporters across Europe, because they then morphed into
groups known as Islam for Uk Islam for Belgium, Islam for the rest of the european countries. So this group is pretty much responsible for producing ISIS. Rancor
recruits from Europe. I'm a former leading member of that organization who left a long time ago before they were behind. He was on the documents, one of his right hand, man in in the U K just today to
William, and there was there was it's great news he's been on a journey himself, but there was a reason I meant
is. There was a final doubts in his mind that was nagging away in.
As the time is term Islamism was, was a pragmatic term that we were using,
or indeed had some substance to this point of the distinctions between you know
as I argue, that Islam is interpreted many different ways and and and into
Put it in one way up that fundamentalists in another and islamist in yet a third way, and he
wasn't sure he had this nagging doubt as to whether Islamism was indeed another in a phenomenon within the the spectrum of interpretations and and really can. I was trying to come to grips with some of these, so I gave him an advance copy of the book because we've been overseas working with him for a while to get him to the point where tomorrow it will announce to the will,
through a press release that is joined. Quilliam and this conversation just fresh that I've had today with him, and he said that he really enjoyed the book. He said.
The ten years of proselytization known as doubtless within these, the mist networks and Ashley. Even within traditional islamic suck, was preaching ten years worth of islamic preaching couldn't have achieved, and he
view what this one showed. One hundred and twenty pages book that has achieved and he's full of praise for the fact that we bought from this conversation he is and also credited the dialogue which I think he's going to put in his statement that he released his tour of Fukuyama
by his joined. He credits the dialogue itself to finally
crystallizing his notion of not just
using the term Islamism, but exactly what it is and why it's so important for us to challenge it had on so there's been
progress. Why, on a practical level with somebody like this- and I just wanted to convey that to you just to say that there is some Paul,
tivity. That is already emerging around the fact that we've had this conversation, that's great, that's great
gratifying and he's someone. I would love to talk to at some point. He he, I would imagine he would be a great guest on my podcast, app
really yeah he's been on a long long journey, so we're going to
been settled in Quilliam and then, of course, I'd love to introduce it to him, and you can pick his brains yourself as to how he found the dialogue and what he intends to how he intends to move forward with the work that he's going to be doing for Us Aquarium
nice nice well. This actually brings me rather neatly to some of the questions we've received I'll sort of combined to hear that depart right. From that point, one person asks
can you say a little bit more about how you became deradicalize and what lessons this holds for waging this war of ideas
and another wonder, is just how this d radicalization process works from the point of view of your foundation. So how do you reach out to
extremists or former extremists an is there anything problematic about that process,
so you're engaging people who may be current,
the jihadists or you have to vet, where their sympathies actually are, and is this dangerous? So can you talk about that? This process of dram
causation and just how it works, and just what what the significance of those variables are course let let's take the the process of the radicalization first and just to break it down for everyone. Let's start with the center of the concentric circles that we discussed in the dialogue. So we take a jihadist. You know we take a committed job is to spur pad to engage in acts of violence, to spread the ideology of islamist the first stage of the radicalization. For that person. I would call disengagement in this field when we meet with John is all I was in prison with many of them. It's impractical to believe that they're going to go from a state where they were willing to engage in violence to becoming liberal humanitarians overnight is simply impractical. What we have advocated is that government has no place in terms of ministers of government
state politicians have no place promoting anyone, who's even still an Islamist, let alone a jihadist, and that, in fact, the criteria for engaging will differ depending upon the position. One holds in society so, if you're a counterterrorism policemen, of course you must engage with jihadists because it's your job to make sure they don't blow something up and you need spies among the networks. You know so even online,
you going to be engaging with them to try and gain information from them, so a counterterrorism, policeman's roles and responsibilities are very different to a prime ministers which are very different to a minister of state which are very different to a member of Congress, all or all the Senate, or all that you.
A parliament which are very different to a social workers which are very different to a mosque imam. So I think that level of
once helps us understand that, of course,
imam of the mosque has a religious role and beauty, in fact, to engage with those who may be extremists to make sure that he attempts to temper some of their extremist views, but a public figure such as a politician will others must being critical. Amnesty international for that matter must be incredibly careful when defending the rights of extremists not to end up promoting their views. Let's take the what was possible evil that people imagine in popular imagination, essay Hitler. You know, I don't think Hitler should ever have
run through anything. That would resemble torture. Now, if this hypothetical Hitler was tortured, I would say: let's not torture, this hypothetical Hitler. What I wouldn't then do is if this hypothetical hit that was released from his hypothetical detention, put Hitler on an amnesty international platform to preach against the evils of torture,
that one is defending their rights. The other is promoting their views and their two very different things and
so the reason I mention this example is that of late, Amnesty International has fallen for this mistake. They fall into this trap where
where they've been defending people in Guantanamo Bay from arbitrary detention, which I agree with, I don't think anyone should be arbitrarily detained
that, when they've been released from containable day they've been organizing conferences and they've been pulling these former Gonzanama detainees on platforms without questioning any of their
hottest. Let alone islamist views now amnesty
after this late and they realize
later on that that was a mistake and they say
it all ties with the organization known as K, H in the U K, which is a jihadist lobby group for former Guantanamo detainees, but they came. I think that to that conclusion, I'd say about five years too late after one Gita Sahgal, who was the head of their gender fast,
asian internationally blew the whistle on this and they initially five years ago, they dismissed her. She lost her position and it five years later, they they realized off the cage held the public press conference praising Jihadi John, and they realize this was a serious damage to the reputation not to scrutinize those
whose rights they're defending so that distinction between defending the right
or even engaging with jihadist to deradicalize am versus. Promoting them is crucial to understand now as a
counter Extremism organization, it's actually our job to engage with nasty people
it's not it's. Not the job of a public figure such as a minister of state to engage with them is the job
fat ministering state to promote positive voices for community cohesion, not to start. You know pulling on platform, people that are going to divide commune
he's even further, but that is our drawback William. So we go out there deliberately to find
This is that we would disagree with in an attempt to change their minds, and
so when doing that coming back to the original thought of the stages of the radicalization, the first thing we would do
is an attempt to get them to disengage from violence. This was done with
Miley Samir in Egypt. When I was in prison with them. It was known, as my Bob Mould address, that walks in on which means the ceasefire initiative, that, with the jihadist, they could maintain the jihadis thinking, but as long as
a first degree that actually that's called a cease fire wall for the duration of the pair that we're talking to you. Let's agree when aka trying to attack you and that allows us to have the conversation. The second stage is what I call the after the ceasefire. It's what I call the disavowal of the theory of violence, which, in the case with the egyptian jihadists, the modest I MIA was known as moral jacked I'll see,
he'll, never him, which meant the revision and correction of the concepts. Now that second stage is for when a jihadist,
not only declares a cease fire, but actually theoretically agrees that violence isn't a correct means for change.
However, there still an Islamist. They still believe that Islam must be enforced over society.
Yep you're not going to get a geotest to abandon both
silence, an Islamism in one clean sweep. So these are processes and steps you have to take them through so
that that's the second one they disavow that the theory of uh
and send that violence can ever produce meaningful change, which, actually
social know, social, socially, scientifics and studies demonstrate this in a sociological research that demonstrates that actually, those revolutions that involve violence end up becoming absolute,
and that change will. That revolution, which happens through non violent means, ends up being a lot
sustainable. We can. We can prove this through studies, so the third stage after the disavowal of the theory of violence is
get them to begin questioning, Islamism, the ideology itself get them to Qua,
and the premise of the notion that Islam needs to be enforced on Soc purple in any way whatsoever if they get through that search. Third,
stage. There still conservative Muslims, that's the
concentric circle. We mentioned in our dialogue of the vast sort of bulk of Muslims
armed Islamists, but are still conservative, in fact, ultraconservative by western liberal standards in many of their social
I'm into they end up there after they dis about Islamism, Angie out of them and declare a ceasefire violence
now, that's where most of them will stay and if they stay there,
contact the mom simply because, as as again as we discussed, Quilliam doesn't stop there. William goes beyond that and starts talking about reforming some of that social conservativism as well. However, if they do stay that
We do believe that they are no longer part of the problem. Even if they're not part of the solution, they are no longer part of the problem, so we don't need to attack
in that sense, unless we're discussing things like arranged marriage wrote all forced marriage
this way discussing those sorts of social ills which actually most religious conservatives would share. Like you know, gay marriage equality, then that
comes a different debate. It becomes a social liberalism debate, rather
when an islamist extremism debate. Of course, there's
stage beyond that, which is that getting them to become from the
in socially ultraconservative to becoming reforming voices that are willing to speak out and the beauty of what's happened with Adam Dean is the name of the champ. I just mention
is that he's gone beyond that stage? Where he's now willing to to join Quilliam and and speak out now, that, unfortunately, is
minority of Muslims generally in
specially a minority of those who are former Islamists and it's why it's so it's so precious when we managed to get somebody
next stage and is there any secure
concern on your end in terms of how this process of dialogue gets initiated with Islamist and jihadists?
Obviously you have security concerns as I do, but
in the there are there any concerns that are special to this task of actually reaching out to it.
So have you had someone try to infiltrate Quilliam, for instance, or is that something that you you need to guard against, that there are plenty of concern
and we've actually developed a model now whereby we we work through networks. So therefore Mcwilliams stuff, who save five six years ago, left William and went on to do what the prices are just described. That would be cold again with an off field. It would be called an intervention on a micro level in
visual level. It's an intervention. There are people who left Quilliam and became full time, intervention providers working,
specifically with these individuals that my friends, the people that used to work at Quilliam and who are now you know basically doing that I made contact, so I will make the primary contact right. I'm not sure he is not productive for me to make
primary contact the by the time the person gets to the they've declared a ceasefire. They renounced the theory of violence and they
reconsidering their commitment to Islamism, while still remaining a committed, devout Muslims. I can just about coming at that stage
but my retweeting or, for example, the cartoon, even makes that slightly difficult. But I can come in at that stage. Ike
certainly give them guidance if they were to move beyond that to the reform stage, so
We do is we work, as I said earlier, like a member of parliament's role would be different or counterterrorism, policeman's role, which would be different to a probation officer or prison officers, roll
likewise with counter radicalizing Muslims. There are different roles at each one. Would
so there are friends of ours who do those interventions and who aren't public? Who don't have to take positions on things like gay marriage, equality or
or freedom of speech in cartoons who are able to
have those one on one conversations, but they are our friends so when they, when they find someone,
you think, has moved beyond a few of those
stages. They then make those introductions, and much of the filtering process happens in those early conversations right right well
obviously have a unique role to play here. This brings me to our next question, which comes from someone is obviously not a muslim and not connected to this process
a direct way and she's wondering what non Muslims moderates. Liberals secularists and any other faith can do to fight against Islamism and she's wondering what is your because she's, like
things like Fgm, an and honor killings and ISIS, and the kind of obscurantism about these issues that we discussed in the book,
what can a non Muslim do here? Do you have any thoughts on that yeah I mean, will launch
is briefly but I'd like to put that question to you for somebody in that position. I think everyone has a role and like with the racism debating with the homophobia debate. We don't have to be gay to defend those rights that gay people do
and and and challenge homophobia. We don't have to be a minority background to challenge racism, and the beauty of democratic societies is that is that they do eventually maybe some years too late, but they do eventually respond to public ip.
An impression, and I think that just as was done, anyone ask this question. I asked them to imagine the old civil rights movement and that debate to imagine through our lifetime lifetimes the gay equality debate,
and picture everything. That's been done in that debate. The way in which friends or friend,
I've had a role. Writing speaking, calling out big
tree when we see it simply
accepting people all of
in those debates and see the change.
Society in the way that changes as tangibly impacted politics, as we know it within our lives
So we now have an african american president of the United States and
in the UK and Ireland and in America we have gay marriage, equality, laws being passed and that's be cause of the way in which norms and taboos of shifted within one generate,
and I draw an analogy to say that the same thing can happen with Islamism. There has to be a
all of society or a full spectrum approach, and part of it is
this where normals limbs can be in particularly can be particularly helpful is in challenging those that we've come to term. The regressive left are
making sure that those who are the fellow travelers and the apologists for Islamism are called out on their tolerance of bigotry
and our explained to instances where it could be productive and where it, where can really lead to positive change,
to why that's an unhelpful approach so there's a whole society debate this needed around. But what do you think? So? Why
fully agree with that? I'm often asked whether I'm optimistic or pessimistic about this process and
I'm really. Neither. I don't actually think about my views in those
terms. I thought I see, I see what seems to me the quite obvious fact that things can get much worse or much better, very quickly and in surprising ways in ways that that even very smart people who are paying attention can't always anticipate so that the kinds of changes you just
discuss that have been very much to the good, the degree to which we've overcome racism in the west in the United States, and particularly the fact that we are coming
the end of the second term of our first black president. That is huge,
gain and when you look back in a seventy,
I have one hundred years and read newspaper editorials that even the New York Times the LOS Angeles times they read like KKK pamphlets mean there. Just the level of racism is just
John Dropping, and so we, while the progress we've made on racism, has all
he seemed deplorably slow and there
certainly more progress to make. I'm not saying racism isn't
big and there's a lot more to do yeah. But we still, we have made huge gains and even I think, even more startling, as you mentioned,
the very sudden gains we've made on gay rights. Where are you know all gay marriage was more or less unthinkable in the? U S and then all of a sudden, it's the law of the land and you which is blank, then that that happened and I think we may be may
in some more progress on on the war on drugs at your drug policy in the US. So it's no things can change very quickly, but of course they can also indoor for centuries to the maceration of of million.
So it's it's, I think, and they can get worse. So I I'm neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I just see no alternative but to keep putting our shoulder to the to this particular wheel, which is have an honest conversation about the consequences of specific ideas, really the intolerable double standard we see in a religious context for bigotry and demagoguery and coercion and yeah. Well, I think we need to apply to people to speak honestly about this, because all we have this conversation, we have, we have a choice between conversation and violence and we have to find the piece of student might find people who who
can be spoken with and persuaded and do do that work in a sustained away, as as we can and that one of the things I'm hoping that comes from this is that you know I keep saying this. I I've drawn this knowledge of that the battle lines have been redraw
on an. I hope. Our conversation really cements. That idea.
I mentioned this when we did the joint interview on ABC Lateline in Australia, and that is that actually the
alliance here, I'm a strong advocate of this point here- that the alliance globally is
didn't along the lines of theists versus atheists,
it's actually along the lines of universalist liberals on the one end and regressive left on the other, who are allied with Islamists, because both camps contain believers, an atheists
Of course, the Islamists are believers, and you know they have some of the world's most famous regressive left atheists in their camp and likewise on,
aside, those who subscribe to the n universality of liberal human rights values and what I mean by that is in in that those values apply not just for most in minority communities but upon them too, in an equal.
They are treating this as equal human beings without any racism of low expectation, as we discuss at length in the book at that camp also contains theists. Atheists believe as a whole souls so,
but I'm hopeful for is that our conversation, if he can, even if it can even result in one tangible shift in the way this conversation can go forward? It's that realization that, for me,
Of course, it still is a relevant and pertinent question to scrutinize and to interrogate ones metaphysical beliefs, but for
purpose of defeating Islamism and and the challenge that we are attempting to engage with. I believe that's a second order, question to these. Your first stop Lish,
as I try and put forward in our dialogue,
secularism, democratic values, universal human rights and getting those questions are pretty much that the battle for those ideas, one
in a society as we seem to be winning the battle against racism and homophobia right right. That brings me to a question about the far right, and this is a several questions here- all I'll consolidate them. One questioner points out that the popularity-
the far right is rising dangerously in Europe. There's fascism of all types
coming into view there, and much of this has to do
an anti Muslim, anti immigrant sentiment- and this is all I can imagine- there's only been exacerbated by the recent diaspora out of
the syrian civil war into Europe. So they want us to comment on the danger here that the the for the fact that the far right is gaining so much support and how we can preserve liberalism, not only in the face of of the regressive laughed which spoken about, but in the face of the far more
dangerous fascist right, though I'll speak from somebody. Who's grown up facing NEO Nazi attacks, violent attacks and having to stand those down and having to survive without being stabbed or hit on the head with hammers by people that would pretty much identify with this new phenomenon. Again, that's right.
In Europe that the question refers to, and I think it's for us. I think the first thing I thought I'd ask all this news here to consider: is the n b e, both you and I it's impossible? It's absolute
The impossible in are engaging with this dialogue for us ever to sympathize in anyway,
let there be no doubt that those on the far right are our enemies. We could never sympathize with the and uh
system and the reason is simple, currently the those who,
yeah the brunt of the NEO Nazi Revival in Europe happen to be Muslims but SAM. You know historically as well
it's it. It used to be Jews and it comes back to choose. It always does right, so it's simply impossible
you alright to sit here and have any truck with that phenomenon. Of course, we can get that what we want to do to try and challenge that
but our listeners should be absolutely clear, left in absolutely no doubt that we are anathema to their preaching in the first place. They don't
air for whether there's a moderate Muslim, reforming muslim and liberal muslim agamas limb Muslim.
You know what they are interested in is making sure that there are no Muslims and that's on the extreme extreme violent end of NEO Nazism, which is you know exactly how Hitler wanted to get rid of any jewish presence in Europe, and so
there's no way we can never ever ever countenance that thought both whether it's for muscle,
is in Europe, Jews in Europe or any other minority community yeah. But let me just spell this out a little more from my side, because I'm someone who's often attacked as someone who gives comfort to fascists and bigots and other muslim hater
in how I speak about these issues and there actually another question right on this point asking just what are the responsibilities of the so called new atheists to be careful in their rhetoric to avoid unintentionally giving aid and comfort to the extreme right and
How? How is a jewish should we be in in distinguishing ourselves from both the the regressive laughed and from the the fascist or or nativist right, and I I think,
some care is certainly warranted. There. I think it's, I think, the confusion between my criticism of Islam and the kind of discussion you and I have started and true intolerance and bigotry
That confusion has been engineered rather deliberately by our critic, is on the left and it you'd be in a very cynical and conscious way
we're trying to defame people me, especially in this conversation as big. It's so as to make criticism of these views very difficult and reputation
costly, and so it's it's a very cynical and conscious effort to engineer, confusion and blur this boundary, but the boundary is quite clear: there's absolutely
clear difference between criticizing ideas and advocating the freedom to criticize ideas and hatred and intolerance against people, and so just to
the Florida a few flags here where everyone can see them yeah? You know, I have often said that and and when we spell out in our book that my criticism of specific doctrines within Islam take as their their first object of concerned. Muslims living in under intolerable conditions of theocracy,
women and apostates and aspiring freethinker is an aspiring scientists and gay.
Is in all of the mine or
is within minorities that you you talk about. I am very conscious of
expressing my solidarity with these people and I hear from these people all the time and I think there
there are no more important people in the world to empower and support than the victims of theocracy in islamic context and the kinds of reformers such as yourself who are trying to turn the tide.
Against these forces. So so the idea that bigotry is somehow involved here doesn't make any sense, and there are many different ways to see this and I've spelled them out another context, but I agree: we have to be very clear that there is
They quite radical distinction between criticizing ideas and advocating freedom of speech and free thought and expressing a racial or xenophobic or jingoistic Animae stored groups of people.
No, I just want to side here that you've been generous in some of your feedback since our publication of on dialogue in making it clear that you felt that the sum of your positions have been influenced by speaking to me. So I want to just take this opportunity to also perhaps to a point where I have my own thinking is developed and has been in
spinal conversation and by people who subscribe to your way of thinking, and that is that, though, I use the phrase, the maxim in our dialogue, that no idea is above scrutiny and no people up beneath dignity. That's the wording of the maxim that I've you know put in the in the in the dark, but the actual substance behind that maxim is something that I've gained through our dialogue and has developed, in my own mind in my own thinking last crystallized to a far better extent over the course of the last couple of years. Speaking to not just you,
but people like a on her see in others, so that that's become clear in my mind, because of course there is initially coming from the background that I came from and my own journey through Islamism. That scene is there
or also there are always emotional residues that can sometimes be left over, which the human being
even realize- are there until one is forced to confront them, and so,
in my case, I'd like to attribute that particular clarity. I have around,
particular notion to what you just said, which I've I've developed as a result of our dialogue, so that that it also, I think, should be further proof
in fact that, because when somebody is clear on a particular concept, as you are in the disk
function between ideas and people, that
charity does end up rubbing off and other people, if it wasn't clear in your mind, it wouldn't have rubbed off on me either, and so I
think, that's important. It's important to mention- and we say it in our dialogue as well, but you're right. It is important to to re emphasize, because
there is a rise of the far right across Europe, and it is our responsibility
to continuously make sure that a we're not confused for them. Even though, of course, there's absolutely no way. We could be that they, they will also define us both as their enemy, but be out that we got that. We continue to challenge that as well as challenging their aggressive left and also with the truth, is really it's the it's. The regressive laughter form fascism in the phone runs or for
fascism, so they're both really forms of fascism, yeah yeah thing. That worries me most about the left. Honestly, I spent
more time, worrying about the left, because it's much easier to be confused about. What's going on on the left, the true fascist
on the rights to stand in plain view. You get them talking on any of these topics and they immediately announce their intolerance and their frank, moral stupidity, but the left in paying lip service to tolerance and self criticism and a a dis
inclination to engage in violence of any kind with it that they they seem like the the nine and pacific face of the moral conscience of the west. And yet, when you, when you dig into the detail
bills, you see that they are apologizing
or an enabling really in conscionable forms of suffering. Many people do this
without really understanding their complicity here, but many do it in a way that is quite callous. And so it's
the thing that I worry about is that, because the left has more or less abdicated
the moral high ground here, uh specifically on the topic of political Islam and
they brand any critic of Islamism as a bigot or a xenophobic we
would be wandering into a condition where only the people on the right will have thick enough skins or enough energy to do the job, and this is something I've been commenting on-
for years. That is always alarming for me to find, in the context of any specific conversation.
That the only person who's willing to talk about the connection between specific ideas within Islam and
it forms of intolerance and violence, may have
to be. In that context,
very unsavory person who's got direct links to anti semite '
'cause, I'm a NEO Nazism and someone who's just has a
and utterly checkered past, politically and yet
on any given show or in any given debate this, maybe
the only voice of an
stay on this particular topic, and that, I think, is truly dangerous. 'cause I you know we have to anticipate what our political landscape could look like and would look like
if we were ever to suffer a terrorist attack larger than
then nine hundred and eleven say I mean just in order of magnitude larger, not three thousand people, but thirty thousand people
and if you imagine how destabilizing that could be- and I'm speaking in particular in the context of the United States, where we have an ambient level of christian demagoguery. That is also worth worrying. About
and I could easily see that sane, secular, rational, even even committed atheists could be led to build,
leave that in that kind of context, the only people they could trust
our own christian demagogues, because they're the only one calling a spade a spade,
we have a left that has just
run into the arms of delusion, and so that's something that I'm very consciously trying to,
prevent. I, I want enough saying secular people to talk honestly about the problem of jihadism
so that we never are in a position of making a choice between a christian theocratic and a truly confused and
therefore unreliable liberal, to defend civilization from its what I consider them the most pressing threat at the moment, which is global jihadism yeah if you're, a Christian cross or an Islamist they're, quite ready and the aggressive lefty, would be defending the Islamists there correct the choice. Is there a stock? If we don't speak out those who hold the secular ground to be that's a sacred, the e o you're right? If we don't speak about this subject with candor and I've witnessed, this happened to muslim communities across Europe, and I've witnessed it happened to non Muslim. Grassroots communities like wise, and that is that the debate becomes polarized because there is no secular universal human rights based voice in the middle, and so what happens is, as you
said correctly. Those on the far right are the only ones challenging in their minds. Islam and Islamism. Together. All is one thing Muslims and their attracting people around them because they are challenging. What is a perceived it's a real and present problem that people perceive, but, of course,
in this. Diagnosing it base misdiagnosing it in many instances and then likewise in response, the Islamists raible
say, look at all these racists and NEO Nazis and fascists, who are critter
advising you just for being Muslim, see we told you, you can't live with them, where, where your defenders common rally behind us and of course-
corolla. Rhee of that is that the only society in which you are safe from these NEO Nazis is
society run by Muslims for Muslims and therefore the caliphate is the answer, and just as these people want you expelled, we want to create a califate that will protect you just for Muslims and expel them
now it's not hard to see how I, for those two extremes are having that conversation and nobody from the secular center ground is attacking both how respectively they leach attract people around them, because the half truth, the sad half truth in this narrative is that there are problems on the NEO Nazi right. There are people who hate most.
Simply for being Muslims and, of course, to hate everyone, but so
more problems on both sides, but it takes an honest
voice to accept. There are real problems on both sides,
not not aligned with either of those voices and then start recruiting and building
alliances and networks around that sensible center ground and you you you've, got a spot on the right. I agree. If, if that doesn't happen, then the way in which that debate debate gets polarized, we've seen that happen far right groups of gaining
popularity across Europe as islamist extremism, because up until now,
that voice has been polarized and the tribes are winning because they haven't been. There hasn't been a concerted, an organized effort to organize.
Against those tribal divisions, ok well
a sample of our audio book, along with its postscript Ann,
It is available now on audible, which you can access through the audible website directly or through Amazon. I suppose there other routes into,
audible, universe and beyond that you can help Majin. I spread this conversation by blogging about it talking about it, sharing it with your friends, responding to crazy comments,
and social media and various comment threads
It really matters that you do this and less. You join the dialogue. Our efforts are wasted, so please do what you can to speak honestly and clearly and respectfully on this particular poll,
Verizon issue and thank you for listening. If you find this podcast
viable. There are many ways you can support it. You can review it
Itunes or Stitcher or wherever you happen to listen to it, you can share it on social media with your friends, you can blog about it or discuss it on your own podcast or you can support it directly and you can do this by subscribing through my website at SAM Harris, DOT, org and there you'll find subscriber only content which includes my ask me anything episodes you also get access to advance tickets to my live events as well as streaming video of some of these events.
And you also get to hear the bonus questions from any of the
Transcript generated on 2019-10-05.