Reza’s Just Wrong

Here’s the clip:


Reza attempts to defend Islam by attacking the negative portrayal of Muslim nations as painting with a broad brush, stereotyping, and simply being empirically incorrect.

The problem is that Reza is empirically incorrect. He’s right that female circumcision, also called female genital mutiliation (FGM/C) is practiced in a couple Christian nations in middle-Africa. If his point is that FGM is not 100% caused by Islam then he is correct, but that is not his point.

We know this because he claims it is a central African problem. By his own standard, an absurd standard, that’s empirically incorrect. Take a look at the UNICEF map below, which shows some of the countries in which FGM/C is a problem:

As you can see, FGM/C is a problem in Iraq, Egypt, and Yemen. These are not Central African countries but they are Muslim countries. Moreover, this number of examples is larger than the number of examples of Christian nations having FGM/C problems. He could only name 2.

Now let’s quit being stupid and get to the real point: Islam does not 100% cause FGM/C, it does not 100% cause violence, poverty, or the maltreatment of women. It contributes to all of these things. You might say it even causes them in some sense, but it is not a sufficient cause.

When we realize this we also realize that the standard we should be looking for is not “Do all Muslim countries engage in X?” Rather, we should seek to find, “Is there a correlation between Muslims, Muslim countries, and X?” The answer? There is a strong statistical correlation between % Muslim population and poverty, FGM/C, violence, maltreatment of women, and so on.

Reza calls people who think in this sophisticated manner, “Stupid.” He says he uses the term, “seriously.” Unfortunately it seems Reza lacks knowledge of basic sociology because he thinks that people’s violence is developed independently of their religious views. He says that Islam is neither violent nor peaceful, and in this way it is equal to all other religions. Religions are not peaceful or violent, the all-studied Reza says, people are. If you are already violent and you also happen to be a Muslim, you will turn out to be a violent Muslim.

The problem is that characteristics of personality, such as violent propensity, are not formed independent of a person’s belief system or worldview. Personality is strongly related to beliefs and worldview. Now, this relation is obviously not 100%, but sophisticated researchers and academics don’t need a 100% relation to establish a contributing or even outright causal relation.

Religion does not entirely compromise a person’s worldview, but it is a very strong component.


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