Sam Harris is a famous atheist author and neuroscientist. He is also rounding his third day of crucifixion over at the uber-liberal Salon for daring to insult Internet hero Malala Yousafzai.
Before we get to the main drag of the story, a little bit of background information might be helpful. Though Harris is an extremely persuasive writer and thinker on the topics of religion, science and morality, he has never really risen quite as high as he probably could due to a perceived strain of Islamophobia in his anti-religious philosophies.
Though he has little regard for Judeo-Christian religions and denominations, he has been especially critical of Islam due to the wide-spread, world-over violence performed by Muslim extremists. Indeed, Harris has taken a firm stand against Islam on many topical issues, regards the religion as “uniquely dangerous” to civilization, and has even branded attempts by other liberal atheists to defend Islam as “cowardice.”
Fast-forward to the now. Harris wrote a highly complimentary missive about Malala on his blog, calling her “the best thing to come out of the Muslim world in a thousand years.”
“She is an extraordinarily brave and eloquent girl who is doing what millions of Muslim men and women are too terrified to do—stand up to the misogyny of traditional Islam.”
For Salon, Murtaza Hussain was especially critical of Harris’ comments on Malala, accusing him of disregarding her actual beliefs to justify his own atheistic world view.
“This week, atheist philosopher Sam Harris leapt forward to claim Malala Yousafzai as another trophy in his one-man jihad against Muslims and the weak-kneed ‘Muslim-apologists’ he perceives on the left,” Hussain wrote.
“That Harris has been denounced as a crude, pseudo-intellectual bigot for his various tirades about the monolithic evil of Muslims didn’t do much to deter him; but what was most interesting about his latest missive was its complete disregard for Malala’s actual words and opinions. Either he didn’t listen to her words at all before plastering her face on his website or he was too contemptuous of her to think it necessary.”
He goes on to point out that, in Malala’s own words, she is a practicing Muslim and adherent to Pashtun culture. She has said that her fight is against the Taliban, a group she has criticized for violating Muslim faith with extreme and oppressive behaviors and tactics.
Hussain’s article goes on for days, and some of Salon‘s commenters aren’t especially impressed with Harris, either.
“Well, this Sam Harris character certainly was successful at getting the attention he craves. I never would have read his crap if it wasn’t posted on Salon,” writes user JamesBrains.
Still, there are plenty of commenters who have stepped up to defend Harris, and even join him in his criticisms of Islam.
“Show me one thing Harris said that is factually wrong. Traditional Islam IS hostile to women. In traditional Islamic cultures women can’t drive, can’t go out without being accompanied by a male family member, can be stoned to death by her family for being raped,” wrote Randy Burbach.
Do you think that Sam Harris co-opted Malala Yousafzai for his own agenda?