The True Story of My Resignation from AAI and the Future of the Atheist Movement: Responding to Hemant Mehta

The True Story of My Resignation from AAI and the Future of the Atheist Movement: Responding to Hemant Mehta

I first encountered Hemant Mehta in my role as Executive Director of Atheist Alliance international when he publicly attempted to sink a vital fundraiser I launched on behalf AAI to save the life of a 32-year-old Algerian ex-Muslim mother of two who was being physically abused by family and she was in serious danger due to the fact she was outspoken about her apostasy from Islam, and she sent the ASN team a video she had made burning the Quran. AAI’s ASN team, despite the attempts by Hemant, K.C. Gleeson and others to sink this fundraiser, managed to pay for her hospital fees and the latest report from her reveals that she is now safe and has very positive plans for her family’s future. After several attempts to harpoon this vital fundraiser, I responded to K.C. Gleeson’s trolling of an unrelated tweet by calling her a cunt. I took it upon my self to apologize, but in truth, my description was both accurate and warranted. I mean, how could this privileged white woman find the audacity to impede attempts to save the life of a Nigerian man languishing in horrid conditions on death row in Nigeria? The issue became about the use of my use of the word ‘retarded’ and me calling this white American woman a cunt, but there is a much deeper, unseen issue at play here, one that will more than likely be exposed by AAI in the very near future, and it concerns the breakaway organization called IAA (International Association of Atheists), who have been openly supported by Hemant and other notable figures in the atheist community, but I will leave this in the hands of the board of AAI.

Last year was not actually the first time I had personally encountered Hemant. The first time was 7 years ago when I was scrolling through atheist videos on YouTube and saw a video entitled, ‘8 Parenting Tips for God’, which sounded awfully like my earlier piece, ‘7 Parenting Tips for God’, which I later expounded upon and turned into a book, which was published by Atheist Republic. I began watching the video and to my surprise, I was listening the very words I had penned coming out of Hemant’s mouth. I contacted him and politely asked to be credited for my work, and he obliged days later by putting me somewhere down in the description as an “inspiration” to the video. Inspiration? It was my entire concept and in large part made up of my exact words. This was plagiarism, plain and simple, and receipts for the timeline can be provided upon request. It is an odd coincidence that some years back I had been unfairly smeared by another woke atheist, C.J. Werleman, the former Chief Editor of Dangerous Little Books, the very man who had personally given me a publishing contract for a book he later attacked in his book, ‘The New Atheist Threat’. Werleman erroneously and dangerously accused me, along with Sam Harris, of being an inspirational source to the Chapel Hill murders, a smear that resulted in death threats being made against my two children, and a false charge later amplified by American rapper Talib Kweli. I say this is a coincidence because in both cases, my criticisms of Islam were a factor, distorted facts and dishonestly manufactured narratives were utilized to smear me, and, in both cases, these woke atheists had a proven proclivity to plagiarize the works of others. This lack of integrity and complete absence of personal accountability for acting in such an irresponsible and unethical manner is probably a good place to begin my deconstruction of Hemant’s latest piece attacking me, David Silverman, and AAI.

AAI’s Special Consultative Status with the UN Human Rights Council

Hemant begins his whinny little woke blog post with the following words:

‘A quick recap: AAI is one of the larger atheist organizations in the world, with nearly 200,000 fans on Facebook and “Special Consultative status” with the United Nations (something they won’t stop talking about even though the status isn’t all that special).’

Hemant’s keen journalistic instincts and remarkable research skills led him to say, with nothing more than a quick, one-click Google search, that having special consultative status with the UN “isn’t all that special”. Really, Hemant? Firstly, if it is not all that special, why don’t other atheist organizations have this status? Where is IAA’s “easy-to-get” and “not so special” UN consultative status? Where is American Atheist’s UN consultative status? Yahaya’s case came to the UN’s attention because AAI proactively took it on and published it, and the Executive Director’s email inbox can prove this, because I personally received an email confirming this directly from the office of a high-ranking officer of the UNHRC. If it isn’t so special, why has AAI been able to directly deliver its Right to Be Secular campaign once a year in Geneva? Further, AAI is currently developing a strategy to further exploit this special status, and I know this because it is the strategy I personally came up with and was in the process of developing for AAI, and it will be another way in which AAI’s consultative status will be employed for the good of at-risk and persecuted atheists around the world.

Hemant’s Libel Against David Silverman

This is the part of Hemant’s piece that pissed me off the most. Hemant, having committed gross libel against David in the past, continues in true cutting edge journalistic fashion by fanning the flames of the life-destroying lies against David Silverman, referring to him as an “alleged sexual predator”. The fact Hemant is using this irresponsible libel against David to make his case against AAI should give you an insight into not only the moral abyss that hosts his integrity, but also into the intellectual vacuum that is his woke readership, who have all had the opportunity to review both the evidence against David and his sound and thorough refutations, but have still stuck with the initial narrative propagated by the scorned ex-husband and board member of American Atheists, Matt Dillahunty, whose true gripe against David probably really rests in the fact that his now ex-wife threw herself at David at a conference and that she and David ended up having very passionate and weird (value judgment alert!) sex in a hotel room. The second erroneous allegation against David, which was manufactured against him whilst in his role as Executive Director of AAI, was the reason he resigned from that role, but he did so of his own selfless volition, knowing full well that the mindless American wokeists led by the likes of Hemant, Dillahunty, and a literal Walking Dead army of brainless “Believe Women” woke atheists would all use this to distract from AAI’s mission. It is crucial to note that recently the key witness involved in that allegation publicly admitted that the allegation was deliberately made up to bring Silverman down. So, this was not a hiring problem on AAI’s part, as Hemant alleges, but a wokeism problem on the part of the ridiculous American left – a problem which has not only infected the US atheist movement and derailed it from its core goals, but has also bled across oceans and poisoned atheist organizations in other nations with its McPolitics. David was the right man for the job, but you crazy woke fruitcakes cancelled him. It is worth noting here, AAI did not join in the brigade of the irrational woke atheist collectives in condemning David without solid evidence against him, and it was their thorough screening and intensive evidence-based approach to assessing situations which caused them to find in his favour and so they did not seek to fire him. Let us also take a moment to applaud David for making a noble sacrifice he really should not have had to make. We should also pause to consider the gravity of David’s dilemma. Just imagine having your entire career and much of your social circle ruthlessly stripped from you based on false allegations propagated by bloggers like Hemant. Now imagine getting back up on your feet after all this trauma only to have the same exact injustice committed against you a second time. Add to this the outrageous scenario of having tribalistic narcissists like Hemant constantly selling what is now a debunked narrative aimed at libeling and hurting you for no other reason that to virtue signal to their woke tribe. I mean, can it get any more pathologically narcissistic than this? But here we are, this is the atheist movement of 2021 in the hands of American wokeists.

AAI Resignation Statement

This is where Hemant’s attempt at journalism echoes some of the Pulitzer Prize winners of past and present. He quotes AAI’s resignation statement which ends as follows:

‘He championed the formation of our Advisory Council and worked to grow the influence of our affiliates and Regional Directors. We are sorry to see him go.’

Hemant smells a rat. There is more to this story and I will let this superlative investigative journalist leave you in heart pounding awe as you witness his finely tuned journalistic skills, acquired from years of laborious post-graduate studies at Berkeley’s School of Journalism and twice that amount of time writing for such major media outlets as CNN, WSJ, Time Magazine, which all crescendoed with his dream job at The Friendly Atheist Blog:

‘That certainly makes it sound like Sherlock stepped down on his own, and AAI would’ve preferred he stayed there. On its own, there’s nothing unusual about a resignation like that. It’s like a politician claiming he wants to spend more time with his family. Maybe he does, but there’s probably more to it.

So what more is there?

Well. Consider that this is what Sherlock posted several hours before that statement by AAI went up online:’

Why would this be worthy of consideration? Hemant seems to believe, and certainly at the very least implies with an italicised ‘before’, that this post of mine had something to do with my resignation, hence the honour Hemant bestows upon himself for no real reason. Hemant also fails to consider that a resignation communicated internally may take at least few hours to put together as a public statement. I guess he must have missed a few basic classes at Berkeley’s School of Journalism. What Hemant didn’t know is that I posted this tweet within half an hour or so of sending in my resignation. Resignation is something I have been quietly contemplating over the last month due to the work-life imbalance I had brought on myself by taking on such a huge undertaking whilst being a father of two and working in a high-pressure fulltime career. So no, Hemant, my post tagging you was not the reason I resigned, it was merely a fruit of my final decision to resign. I was finally able to freely describe you publicly with a word best befitting your character. I mean, who attacks a fundraiser to save an Algerian ex-Muslim mother of two and her family, and for no other reason than to virtue signal to your privileged tribe? Only a cunt would do that, Hemant – only a cunt.

My “Islamophobic” Facebook Post and Panayote’s Islamophilia

Here is where Hemant really shows off that true woke narrative adjusting to smear the impure and unrighteous atheist he has had a hard-on for since mid-last year:

‘One commenter responded to that statement by saying Islam wasn’t the problem so much as Muslim extremists, and there are “millions of other Muslims” out there — peaceful, positive, kind — who show that the religion can’t be described using a one-size-fits-all label. That same commenter admitted, “Islamic fundamentalism is indeed a greater threat than other religious fundamentalisms.” Still, his point was that a religion with over a billion adherents should not be defined by its worst members.’

Firstly, Panayote, the commentator, did not say “Islam wasn’t the problem so much as Muslim extremists”, Panayote said:

“Islam poses no threat. Muslims who misinterpret it do…and millions of Muslims are a proof to the opposite, and probably feel offended with calling their religion a threat”.

I have spent the best part of a decade fighting for the human rights of people, predominantly ex-Muslims, affected by Islam, and such poor arguments defending Islam have already been roundly refuted by Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ali Rizvi, Armin Navabi, Harris Sultan, Yasmine Mohammed, me, and the list goes on and on. Most, if not all, cases on AAI’s Atheist Support Network desk involve victims of Islam. These arguments put forth by Panayote and endorsed by Hemant are akin to the creationist’s “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”, because despite being riddled with logical fallacies and other errors, they persist and are given legitimacy by nothing more than willful ignorance. Islam IS the problem. I know that the woke are incapable of understanding the difference between addressing dangerous ideologies and blanket-blaming innocent people, but again, for the 1000th time, Islam is not a human being with human rights, Muslims, ex-Muslims and members of minorities in Islamic countries are, and the ideology causing these human beings such inhumane suffering is Islam. I have studied Islam in a post-graduate capacity and was given a high distinction for my research paper on Blasphemy in the Muslim World by my supervising professor, and although this by itself presents as somewhat of an argument from authority, it is simply me stating that I have studied the textual traditions, historical context and development of the religion of Islam to a degree that I am able to see past the well-meaning yet regressive sentiments of woke warriors and white knights out to save the “poor little brown people”, and I see that the core of the problem is the core of the religion of Islam. Does this mean I see Muslims as inherently bad, or that they all follow the same version of Islam? No. It means that I know enough to know that at the core of the religion of Islam sits a psychologically and socially corrosive toxin (Medinan Surah, Sirah and Sunnah of Muhammad, Islamic history and various traditions noted in the hadith) that attracts and manifests violence and misogyny through the device of piety and purity, which forms a major part of religio-cultural traditions throughout the Islamic world.

Hemant continues:

‘It was a perfectly reasonable statement to make. In the U.S., for example, Christian extremism is a far greater threat to our society than radical Islam. Muslims in America are often victims of religious bigotry, not the causes of it. But even after the Capitol siege, it would be foolish to suggest all of Christianity is the problem.’

Hemant’s attempt at an argument here is plagued with logical fallacies. In the US, there are far more Christians than there are Muslims and Muslims are a predominantly powerless minority, hence the potential room is granted to disingenuously yet accurately argue that Christian fundamentalism is a greater threat in the US, and I will leave aside the Islamic terrorist attacks that have taken place on US soil and against US citizens both within the US and abroad and just highlight the crude way in which he compares a uniquely American political problem (Capitol Siege) with a global religious one that has become a far deadlier one, and on a far greater scale than the localized and comparatively restrained threat of American Christian extremism. The key factor omitted in such obfuscating arguments defending Islam by using Christian extremism as a red herring rests in the reality that Christian extremism, unlike Islamic extremism, has been largely contained and restrained by rational secularism. The two forms of religious extremism may well be ideologically comparable but they are certainly not comparable in terms of their ability to impact human rights, which is where a key fallacy creeps into arguments like the ones championed by wokeists. And can we just take a moment here to applaud Hemant’s tireless nationalistic narcissism? Everything must go back to the US. All roads must lead to the US. These proud boys of the atheist American Left can turn anything, and I mean anything, into a US-centric issue, and they seem incapable of viewing the world through any other lens. It is next level ethnocentrism, and it is, in fact, one of the main problems with the global atheist movement. Anyway, I digress.

Hemant then jumps to my final post about Panayote’s silly arguments protecting Islam in which I use strong language and name-calling to describe this biased and misguided Islamophile. What Hemant leaves out is the whole center of the sandwich. Hemant’s narrative is as follows:

1. I post about Islam being the most dangerous in this age.

2. Panayote politely objects.

3. I respond forcefully with strong language and name-calling.

Hemant dishonestly frames it this way to create a narrative that has me painted as someone who cannot handle criticism. I love criticism! I love to argue and debate and be challenged. I do not view myself as being somehow endowed with intellectual or moral omniscience, because I am neither religious nor religiously woke.

Here is the actual timeline presented in screenshots:

It is at this point, I believe, where Panayote, incensed over having been challenged as someone with “30+ years of human rights work” under his belt, writes a formal email to my board to have me sanctioned for “Islamophobia”.

Before learning of his email to my board, I responded:

I then learn that he is trying to have me fired. I discuss this with key board members of AAI and they rightly agree that my statements were not “Islamophobic” and they agree that I have done nothing wrong.

This situation converged with another major activist-related threat made toward my children that I took into serious consideration before offering my resignation, and I am unable to disclose the source of the threat because it could have a negative impact on the safety of someone presently at risk. It was this confidential issue plus my fatigue that led to me make the final decision to resign. Once I had made that decision, I then, with my newly acquired freedom to express myself, launched a few choicely worded messages to Panayote and subsequently publicly expressed my opinion regarding Hemant.

Name Calling, Insults, and Cunts

I did not insult K.C. Gleeson, Hemant, or Panayote, I merely described them. It just so happens that the most accurate description of such characters is a word that many people find offensive. It is a perfect word. Cunt. It is, to some, a “gendered slur”, but only the woke would fall prey to such a genetic fallacy. When I say, “What a beautiful sunrise”, do I subscribe to the outdated notion that the sun actually rises? No. It is a word that has morphed beyond its original meaning. Like sunrise, cunt has outgrown its gendered implications and become a non-binary pejorative and even a term of endearment in some cultures. In Australia, for example, there are “funny cunts”, “smart cunts”, “friendly cunts”, and then there are just cunts, like Hemant, Panayote and K.C. Gleeson, for example. People who, as evinced above, place their own narcissism above the welfare of other human beings. Here is where it might be worth a quick discussion on the puritanical nature of the woke Left in the atheist movement. Policing purity and promoting conservative language used to be the purview of the conservative Right, but, ironically, today we see that people are branded as blasphemers by proponents of this exclusively Leftist social and political phenomenon. Vulgar language is policed vigilantly by these puritans and pedants. What is vulgar language? Vulgar comes from the Latin, vulgus, meaning ‘common people’, or poor people, if you like. So, we have people on the Left who are otherwise champions for the rights of people from lower-socioeconomic classes infringing on the forms of speech that are most commonly employed by members of these poorer, less educated classes. They are effectively seeking to eradicate lower-class linguistics from any important social discourse, thereby attempting to erase lower-class culture from such important social platforms. What an irony! One common argument against the use of “vulgar” language posits that only people with poor vocabularies use such language because they cannot find the “right words” to express their points, but a study conducted by psychologists at Marist College in 2015 actually found the opposite to be true, and that ‘fluency is fluency regardless of subject matter—that there is no reason to propose a difference in lexicon size and ease of access for taboo as opposed to emotionally-neutral words.’ The study found that swearing was actually a sign of higher intelligence, not lower, which has turned the old folk wisdom assumption on its head. It may also present as an interesting historical study to examine the origin of the “curse word”, having had supernatural implications and having been largely associated with lower-class linguistic frameworks, but that is beyond the scope of this rebuttal. Getting back to Hemant accusing me of name-calling. This is a man who accused Ayaan Hirsi Ali of having a “broken brain” and being “in need of help”, which is just a nice way of calling her retarded, for merely expressing her point of view, a point of view with which Hemant does not share. And Ayaan has not been the only target of Hemant’s name-calling outbursts. Just scroll through his Twitter feed and you will see numerous examples of him calling people “morons” and “stupid”, etc. Perhaps even take a look at the piece I am addressing in which he calls me an “edgelord”. The blind hypocrisy here is palpable.

The Way Forward for the Atheist Movement

It is not merely purity in terms of linguistics that is policed by the woke atheist Left, but also purity of ideology. Those reading this are probably familiar with the recent de-platforming of Dawkins for no other reason than his criticisms of Islam. And there are a plethora of examples of atheists and others who have been the victims of woke cancel culture, an issue that seriously needs addressing in the atheist movement if it is going to achieve its core goals and mission. Outspoken atheists are already such a tiny minority, and they cannot afford to keep eating each other over irrelevant political differences. Atheists must rediscover and re-emphasize that common ground. Atheist organizations should not become feminist organizations, or LGBTQ-rights organizations, or Black Lives Matter organizations, or any other peripheral civil or human rights cause that may at times intersect with an atheist organization’s temporary campaigning goals. To lose focus in such a manner is to derail the movement entirely. “Big tent atheism with a narrow focus” is how David Silverman phrases it. See, Hemant? That is how you credit someone for words that are not yours. It’s called integrity. Anyway, the only way forward for the atheist movement is to get behind organizations that have this big tent, narrow focus methodology, and the top three organizations that are leading the way in this space at the moment are Atheist Alliance International, being the most valuable due to its special consultative status with the UNHRC, participatory rights with the Council of Europe, and its broad international reach, Atheists for Liberty in the US, due to their proactive approach when it comes to championing free speech and Enlightenment values, and Atheist Republic, because founder Armin Navabi, CEO Susanna McIntyre and the crew at Atheist Republic have created the largest global safe space for all atheists, regardless of irrelevant politics. These three key atheist organizations must be supported if the movement wants to achieve its vital goals of promoting rational secularism and education, normalizing atheism, and protecting atheists who are at risk in dangerously religious, predominantly Islamic, countries.  

Before I wrap this up, I will make a brief, respectful yet dissenting comment on AAI’s apology to Panayote. It was not stress or fatigue that inspired me to accurately describe Panayote, it was the fact that I am a stickler for using the most accurate words to describe people and things, and having made my decision to resign, which was a difficult one to make, I knew there was no longer a reason to gag myself.

Join Atheist Alliance International

I will finish this piece by strongly encouraging everyone who can afford it to donate to AAI to help its hard working volunteers help at-risk atheists, and become a member! I have no personal stake in AAI so I have no reason to lie or persuade for personal gain when I say that Atheist Alliance International is THE atheist organization that can bring about real change across the world for atheists in hiding and those still on the run from religion, and it was an honour to have served such an amazing organization. I personally know all the board members and volunteers and I can say from personal experience, this group of wonderful human beings work around the clock to make the world a safer place for atheists and those severely impacted by the noxious weed that is religion.

Okay, I’m off to the beach.

Peace!

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