Islam is not a religion of peace – my speech at UCD

by Michael Nugent on February 11, 2016

I debated that Islam is not a religion of peace at a debate organised by the Literary and Historical Society in University College Dublin yesterday. Here is my contribution. The full debate will be online later.

Is Islam a religion of peace? That’s like asking is a rainbow yellow? Parts of it are, but the rainbow itself is not. Like most religions, Islam is a religion of contradictions. But I want to start by making an important distinction between Muslims and Islam.

I’m sure we will hear the word Islamophobia a lot here tonight. I reject and challenge the use of the word ‘Islamophobia’. It conflates two different concepts (bigotry towards Muslims, which is unjust, and criticism of Islam, which is just) and it uses language that suggests that those who criticise Islam have a mental illness.

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The peaceful protest against the planned Pegida rally in Dublin on Saturday was a positive demonstration of how citizens should respond when they believe that a political movement is threatening our democracy. The street thuggery that happened beside it does not reflect the aims or methods of the peaceful protesters, and it undermines the campaign against Pegida. Violence, and incitement to violence, cross a dangerous line for human rights and democracy.

A group called Anti Fascist Action Ireland has admitted responsibility for the thuggery, claiming it was organised by the AFA, Irish republicans, anarchists, socialists and football casuals. Football casuals are better known as football hooligans, not primarily known for their political or human rights expertise. But, while the pseudo military terminology of the AFA statement may seem comical, it is describing organised criminal assaults on the streets of Dublin.

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Minorities Public Meeting

There is a free Public Meeting in Wynn’s Hotel Dublin at 7:30pm this Thursday 11 February. With the General Election just weeks away, three minority groups with different worldviews explain how we are all discriminated against by lack of separation of church and state in Ireland.

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AI Info Table Feb 16I had the following brief conversation with a man who approached the Atheist Ireland information table in Dublin today. It’s not verbatim, but it captures the gist of the conversation.

Him: Do you condemn Islamophobia?

Me: I don’t use the word Islamophobia. I oppose bigotry against Muslims as people. I think criticism of Islam as an ideology is good.

Him: Which Islam? There’s more than one Islam.

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My interviews with Gad Saad and Freethought Friday

February 6, 2016

I did two podcast interviews this week – with Gad Saad on the Saad Truth, and with Ciaron O Floinn and Ashling O’Brien on Freethought Friday.

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New UN report issued today vindicates Atheist Ireland schools policy

February 4, 2016

Atheist Ireland welcomes the conclusions today from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that Ireland should significantly increase the availability of non-denominational or multi-denominational schools, eliminate discrimination in school admissions including by amending the Equal Status Act, and ensure accessible options for children to opt-out of religious classes. Atheist Ireland was in […]

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NECSS should reconsider Dawkins decision, made in haste without full information

February 1, 2016

Why did the New York City Skeptics and New England Skeptical Society withdraw their invitation to Richard Dawkins to speak at their NorthEast Conference on Science and Skepticism? Steven Novella says the reason “was ultimately about the character of NECSS and the statement we wish to make (or not make) to our community.” But as […]

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Hate speech is bad. Offensive satire of bad ideas is good. Richard Dawkins was right.

January 29, 2016

Richard Dawkins recently, and reasonably, retweeted a funny animated video of a song called ‘Feminists Love Islamists’ by YouTube satirist Sye Ten Atheist, about using ideology to silence criticism. In response, the New York City Skeptics and the New England Skeptical Society effectively proved the underlying point that Richard was highlighting, by publicly withdrawing their […]

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The increasingly delusional smears of PZ Myers

January 24, 2016

After the Richard Dawkins Foundation and the Center For Inquiry announced their merger, PZ Myers published Rebecca Watson’s claim that atheist organisations “will continue polishing Richard Dawkins’ knob until he dies.” PZ also claimed that Christopher Hitchens “had no problem with killing Muslims and American Indians,” and he misrepresented Godless Spellchecker Stephen Knight’s exposure of […]

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Is theism reasonable? My TCD debate with Peter Hitchens, Ivana Bacik and Patrick Masterson

January 19, 2016

Is theism a reasonable philosophical position? I debated this yesterday in Trinity College Dublin Metaphysical Society with Peter Hitchens, Ivana Bacik and Patrick Masterson. Part 1 – Patrick Masterson and Ivana Bacik Part 2 – Peter Hitchens and Michael Nugent

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