OpeningMr. Auditor, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the invite.
Now I've got a lot to get through. I've got a complex argument to make. So just bear with me, I might leave off on the questions.
Before 9/11I just want to explain why I'm interested in Islam at all. Because I had very little interest, like a lot of my generation, in Islam before 9/11. I was from a Christian background. I read the counter-arguments to Christianity. I became an atheist. I think all gods are fictional, including all of your gods, every god that everyone believes in in this room, I believe are fictional. But before 9/11, Christianity was the target. Christianity was the religion to criticise. The Bible was the book that we picked holes in.
I knew Islam was no more rational than Christianity. I knew it oppressed people in Iran or Afghanistan, but it was all very far away. It was about as interesting as Hinduism or Buddhism, that is, not interesting at all. Now, 9/11 changed everything. [Nervous laughter at previous point] Live and let live, but I don't have to be interested in your hobbies.
9/11 changed everything. Like millions of Westerners, my real introduction to Islam was through a spectacular act of Islamic violence. Now millions of people got interested in Islam since 9/11. Many of them drew different conclusions. I began to read, and there were a lot more Islamic terror attacks, as we know, in the last 15 years. And somehow in the last 15 years, Islam became part of our lives. It's always in the news. We're always talking about it. And nobody predicted this.
Why are we talking about Islam?I grew up during the Cold War. It was all Communism then. We talked about the Soviet Union and Communism. Nobody would believe that 30 years later, we would all be here talking about Islam. Any more than if I told you in 30 years time we'll all be having debates about Hinduism. You'd just be incredulous. And people in the Cold War would have been incredulous that we were talking about Islam 30 years later.
So why are we talking about Islam? I'm afraid the answer is very simple, it's Islamic violence. Without Islamic violence, we would not be here. This debate would not happen. Westerners would pay very little attention to Islam at all. It would just be ignored as one of the curious religions followed by strange foreigners, some immigrants, of interest to anthropologists, but how many people get really fascinated by Hinduism and Buddhism?
Motion is obviously trueSo the motion, unfortunately, I think, is obviously true. Islamic violence is why we are here.
Now I could try to summarise the incredible amount of Islamic violence in the last 1,400 years, but in fact if you Google "Killings for Islam" you will find my page. And I do have a nice, easy to read, summary. Yes, I do have a page called "Killings for Christianity". That's very popular as well.
I'll just give you three statistics from the page:
Are all Muslims implicated in this violence?Let me deal with some arguments.
Are all Muslims, including the good people here tonight, implicated in that? Of course not. Only a fool would say that.
There are Muslims with philosophical objections to violence for their religion. There are branches that have well-defined theological ... the Ahmadis come to mind, the Ahmadis have never carried out a terrorist attack in all of history, because they have a theological objection to it. There are then millions of Muslims like, I hope, most of you, who just want to get on with life and have a job and a house and a car, and don't want to kill for your ideas. And good for you, and you've the right to practice whatever religion you want.
So is it a tiny minority?But is it a tiny minority, as the speaker said a minute ago?
Unfortunately, the opinion surveys say no. They say it's actually quite enormous. So I'll give you an example.
Now there's a graphic I have from Saif Rahman. And he's put numbers on it. 1.62 [billion] Muslims in the world. And these surveys actually ask Muslims difficult questions such as "Do you believe in death for leaving Islam" like the hadith says. The hadith says that if you leave Islam you should be killed. I'm sure you've some "explanation" for that coming up later.
But the point is that not everyone agrees with that explanation. Of the 1.62 billion Muslims in the world, 584 million, according to the numbers, the opinion surveys, 584 million Muslims in the world believe you should be killed for leaving Islam. So for merely becoming an atheist like I did, from Christianity. Upset my family, they got over it, now we're friends. That's what Christians do. Some Muslim families do that, and good for them.
So here's my thing. Anybody who says it's 1.62 billion Muslims [that] are extremists is wrong, and they are slandering a whole load of very good people. But anybody who says it's an absolute tiny minority of 1 percent is unfortunately wrong. The bad news is: 584 million.
Who is Saif Rahman who did this? He's an ex-Muslim. These are the kind of people I hang out with. Atheist ex-Muslims, they're very interesting. And they keep us atheists non-racist. [Unfriendly laughter from some] Well, how can Saif .. maybe Saif is a "racist" against his own people, because he's an atheist now.
Optimism - Something enormous is happening in IslamSo, I want to end on optimism. You may not regard it as optimism but wait till you hear what I say.
Will Islamic violence ever stop? I say it's getting worse. I believe it may, because something absolutely enormous is happening in Islam that never happened before in the entire 1,400 year history of Islam. It is having to face criticism that it cannot control.
This has never happened before, except in little pockets here and there where some caliph tolerated a little bit of criticism. But, for 1,400 years, critics were killed, apostates were exiled and executed, books were burned or couldn't be published. Today, there is no "Atheist Society of Mecca" holding little debates like we're holding here. There's nobody getting up and giving out about the Hadith and saying they don't believe in Muhammed or Allah or any of it. In the past, this never happened, for 1,400 years.
Westerners criticised Islam. Some curious Westerners who were intellectuals. David Hume, for example, the great philosopher, wrote about the Quran in 1760. He didn't think much of it, you probably won't be surprised to hear. But his main target was Christianity, and he came up with devastating arguments against Christianity and indeed all religion, which is the problem of miracles, or the argument about miracles. Go read Hume's argument.
His ideas had a massive influence in the Christian world, made deism intellectually respectable, and then, eventually, atheism. They had almost no influence in the Islamic world. His books weren't translated into Arabic. None of the books of the sceptics of the 18th century were.
Optimism - The InternetBut the Internet changes everything. These ideas are now spreading to the Islamic world. You try bringing up your kids today, anywhere in the world, and stop them finding the sceptical sites about Islam. There are learned books online. There are personal accounts by Saif Rahman and ex-Muslims. There are endless YouTube videos from academic to comedy. There's a great site called "The Skeptic's Annotated Quran" which I recommend for anybody who wants to perhaps challenge their faith.
Now are you going to tell me that at any time in the last 200 years, in any Islamic country, you could walk into a bookshop and buy "The Skeptic's Annotated Quran" or any book like that. Of course you couldn't. But now it's online. It can't be stopped.
OK, this is all new. Brand new. Really only in the last 20 years. And it's going to have a huge impact on Islam. The dam is going to break. Apostates are going to come out. Atheists, ex-Muslims, they're already coming out, all over the Internet. And the rest of the Muslim world will become a bit less confident about their faith. And the theology of the rest of the world, and those 500 million who believe in death for atheism, will shift, I believe, eventually, towards a less confident view and towards a more non-violent view.
So it may happen. This is the long-term. It may take a century. But I believe there is hope.
In the short term, ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid I have no hope to bring you. I think Islamic violence is going to escalate in the short term. Sorry about that, but thank you for listening.
The hadith saying atheists must be killed.
This is in the Hadith by Bukhari, Book 88, Hadith 5.
Yes, there were many devout Muslims and SJWs in the crowd. But there were many other people too. Not everyone was applauding.
The level of debate you get with Umar Al-Qadri:
Here he makes his usual ludicrous point that critics of Islam are like ISIS.
He said this in the UCD debate, but I regarded it as too stupid to reply to.
Just to make it clear, he says that criticism of Islam "lays down foundation for future killings".
The only way to not have future killings is to not criticise Islam.
Brilliant. Islam wins again!
Bloke sums up the logical problem with Al Qadri's argument.
Palestinian stone throwing is not "peaceful protest".
Israeli children are injured and killed by Palestinian stone throwers.
Popular lefty blogger "Bock the Robber" contributes his own detailed counter-argument.
Um, that's it.
It is no surprise to discover that Eoin O'Mahony is a supporter of the Workers Party, a revolting communist outfit that supported the Soviet Union and North Korea.
The level of debate you get from Eoin O'Mahony.
The Workers Party in 2005 admits links to North Korea, a country that actually runs concentration camps.
"The Workers' Party has never denied, or attempted to make secret, its links with North Korea and its work to promote political, social and cultural links to Ireland."
An Indian ex-Muslim promotes my talk (especially the end bit), unaware of Eoin O'Mahony's insight that I am actually a simple racist.
The day after the debate:
An Islamic terror attack in the West.
Islamic radical attacks diners in an Israeli-owned restaurant in Ohio.
This is the 93rd Islamic terror attack in the West in the Obama era.
Two days after the debate:
Jihad attack kills 30 in Nigeria.
And so on, forever.
"Rescuing Ex-Muslims: Leaving Islam".
On the hardships encountered by Muslims who want to leave Islam and live free.
If you have lost your faith, and are under threat, see List of ex-Muslim organisations for help.