Please read the response Robert Spencer and I wrote to a well-intended but wrongheaded oped piece that missed the mark on the Hudson NY website, Shireen Qudosi's article of June 21. Wrong on its face, Qudosi's article implies that we fail Muslims who are seeking help. And while it may be true that we omitted UK resources that she suggests (it is an American campaign, after all), we did deliberately connect with former Muslims like Nonie Darwish's Former Muslims United, Ali Sina of Faith Freedom International, et al. We know we have not experienced the long difficult journey of leaving Islam but we work with those that have.
Further, we have networked with safe houses that specialize in this specific problem -- safe houses for apostates. So Shireen's criticism is inaccurate and unfounded.
As for the UK resources she suggests, when we run our bus ads in the UK, I will be sure to include them. It confounds me when those fighting the jihad take issue with an ad campaign designed to help Muslims in trouble. And there are far more than you know. It's as if we are being forced to live under this soft dhimmitude. You can say some things, but not too much -- let's not upset the unbalanced. I find that attitude condescending: the soft bigotry of low expectations.
SIOA is building a new paradigm, a new structure, a new national organization here. A place for freedom lovers of all stripes to come if they need shelter from the storm. Why not stop hurling stones, and start building fortresses?
Our bus ad campaign draws fire from Muslims (and the uninformed)
by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer
As we run ads on buses around the country offering help to Muslims threatened by other Muslims for leaving Islam, the reaction from Muslim spokesmen has been telling. While most Americans would assume that Muslims in America support religious liberty and thus would have no problem with our efforts, even ostensibly moderate Muslim individuals and groups have reacted with fury.
Muhammed Malik, director of the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), charged of our religious liberty bus ad campaign that "freedom and liberty are buzzwords they use as a smoke screen for their hatred." Daisy Khan, wife of the imam of the supposedly moderate mega-mosque slated to be built at Ground Zero, claimed counterfactually that it was "ridiculous" to think that any Muslim who wanted to leave Islam was under threat in the U.S. Khan would apparently prefer that you didn't know about the many threats the now-famous apostate teenager Rifqa Bary has received on Facebook and elsewhere.
And now, writing in Hudson NY, Sufi Muslim Shireen Qudosi calls our religious liberty bus ad campaign "inadvisable" – but seems confused as to exactly why.
Qudosi, of course, is not in the same class as CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas jihad terror funding case that has seen several of its officials convicted of various terror-related offenses. Nor is she comparable to Khan, whose "moderate" credentials have become increasingly tarnished by a steady stream of revelations demonstrating the dishonesty of her husband, Ground Zero mega-mosque organizer Feisal Abdul Rauf. (In the latest blow to his "moderate" street cred, Rauf refused to condemn Hamas as a terrorist group on a New York radio program.) However, Qudosi identifies herself as "a consultant on Muslim American Relations," which raises the same red flags as does the name "Council on American-Islamic Relations" – as if both Qudosi and CAIR assume that "Muslim" and "American" are two separate entities that cannot mix.
Qudosi clearly dislikes the religious liberty bus ad campaign, characterizing it as a manifestation of "America's brilliance" – not in its concern for Muslims under the threat of death for leaving Islam, but because "one of the liberating facets of American society includes a cultivated freedom of speech: no matter how frustrating or infuriating to anyone."
Why does Qudosi find the bus ad campaign "frustrating or infuriating"? Not because she denies that Islam mandates death for apostates. Unlike Daisy Khan, she admits that Islamic law mandates death for apostates: "external doubt of your faith can lead to a very miserable existence; and in more extreme families, it can lead to death." So why does she object to an initiative to protect such people? Because, she says, she doesn't think we "have thought of the long-term consequences of such an ad campaign." She quotes a passage from our website, RefugeFromIslam.com, that lists three email addresses, including our own, and concludes: "For serious apostates of Islam, or for those questioning their faith, a dialogue with two non-Muslims who ultimately do not understand the cultural position of this marginal Muslim community, does nothing to offer them a serious answer or recourse."
How Shireen Qudosi, whom neither of us have met, knows that we "do not understand the cultural position" of apostates from Islam is unclear. Frankly, having studied the subject matter for years, we are confident that ex-Muslims we regularly consult, including Nonie Darwish, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ali Sina, Amil Imani and others understand that "cultural position" well enough. Who better has charted that terrain?