Five Common Accusations I Received Since My Arrival To America.

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Since my arrival to the States on March 12th 2013, I have been very active on a local and national level, giving speeches here and there, from Berkeley, CA to Houston, TX where I reside at the moment. I have received some accusations from some of the attendees and people who watched some of my videos on YouTube or any other platform, so I would like to address some of these accusations so I will not be misunderstood in the future.

Being misunderstood is what I think any writer or activist fears most. I am trying my best to get the message across and that’s what I care most about. I do not care about personal attacks but rather that my words are being listened to and understood so I can spark a debate or a discussion.

So to put it simply, what I care about most is the impact and I work as hard as possible to make it as positive as I can.

So here are some of the common accusations I have received, which I think are worth addressing.

1.   I am Racist because I criticize Islam.

My response: I have never thought of Islam or any religion or an ideology as a race. People who are familiar with my writing and speeches know that I am critical of many ideologies, whether they are political, economic or religious, and my criticism of these ideologies comes as a result of disagreement with the ideology itself not “hating” the people who adhere to this ideology.
For example, I have been very critical of Communism since a very young age. At the same time, the majority of those who call themselves communists are Chinese or Soviets (before the fall of the Soviet Union). That does not mean I hate the Chinese or Soviets because of their race.

 

So to suggest that I am racist is not only stupid, but also extremely absurd.

2.   I wasn’t really born or lived in Iraq and I am an American and under cover CIA agent.

I got these accusations when I gave a speech and the audience was seemingly filled with conspiracy theorists. I was carrying my ID with me during that speech and I showed it to the person who made this claim. The ID is written in English and it shows my place of birth. The man said it is “fake” and he didn’t believe any evidence I had to show him. I don’t think I can provide any evidence to someone who believes everything is a conspiracy.

3.   I never received any death threat in Iraq or any part of the Middle East and whenever I mention that in my speeches or writings, I am just making it up to gain “sympathy”?

Actually, one of the main reasons I hadn’t talked about receiving death threats in Iraq while I was there or when I went to Lebanon and South East Asia is because after I shared with one of my close “friends” that my activism and writings were putting me in danger and his response was, “You deserve it. You brought it on yourself.” I started getting these threats after my eldest brother was killed, so I didn’t share it with family either because they were so fearful and paranoid of losing another one, so I had to handle everything myself.

 

My focus since then has been to find a way to escape Iraq other than sharing it with anyone, so I kept it to myself all this time and I took my security as my own responsibility, mainly because of fear of betrayal from the people I trust. Anyway, I am very glad that my security plan has worked and allowed me to arrive in the United States safely.

 

When I mention some of my personal story in some of my speeches, I am just stating what I have been through. Hopefully, what I say can help those who are now living through a similar situation so that they will learn that they are not alone and how they can keep themselves safe and active at the same time. What I say has nothing to do with gaining sympathy, since the region where I needed sympathy and help the most was in the Middle East. I am safe here and I live in a nation of law and order by comparison to the place or the region I was born into.

I think those who know me the most know how much I dislike to play the victim card, cause I was not the only one who lived in that situation. There are people getting killed on daily basis in Iraq. Death threats look trivial in comparison to what’s going on there, so I know that my past is not as extreme as many other people who are suffering everyday whether it is in Iraq, Syria or any other fragile or dangerous part of the world.

4.   I have lived a very short time of my life under Saddam Hussein and, therefore, I should have no opinion about his regime.

I think that is true if someone has not lived the effects of that regime. I was born in 1991 and Saddam’s regime was gone when I was 12 years old and I am only 22 at the moment.
When I talk about living under Saddam’s dictatorship in the beginning of some of my speeches, I always mention that I am thankful that I haven’t lived under the regime any longer. I always present evidence that can be found everywhere in Iraq, like the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in northern Iraq and the mass genocide in the South of Iraq. The reason why I speak about the topic is to raise awareness on these issues, so I got this accusation from the same person who thinks I am trying to gain sympathy, while in reality I want to make people sympathize with the families who lost their loved ones, their sons and daughters during that barbaric period of history.

 

5.I hate God and the reason I am a Secular Humanist is because “God disappointed me.”

 

I don’t really know how to respond to that. While the person who made this accusation knows I do not believe in God, he kept mentioning that I have some sort of “grudge” or “hatred” against God or religion because of what I have been through from losing many close people and living through a dictatorship and two major wars.

My case against God & religion has to do with evidence. Despite the fact I studied philosophy, I don’t consider the “problem of evil” to be a proof of the nonexistence of God even though it may question his omnipotence.

But for me, the question of the existence of God is a scientific question, not a philosophical one. My favorite book to address this issue is Stephen Hawkings’ The Grand Design, which deals with this question.

And the book is purely scientific, so I don’t hate something that does not exist because I cannot. That’s called Logic 101.

  • Non – idiot American

    Welcome home and we’re glad to have you.

  • Keep up the good work.

  • Dessa

    You are awesome 🙂

  • catbat

    Thanks for coming here..you are a voice of reason in the sea of propaganda.

  • stu

    this just means you are doing your job!

  • Heinrich Myersen

    I’m right with you! I’m glad your in America!! No matter what, we can all be a small force for change!

  • Humanist Mommy

    You rock, Faisal. Keep up the awesome work that you are doing for humanity. 🙂

  • Mike

    but you do continue to spell god with a capital indicating some residual theistic programming

    • aef

      Even though he’s fictitious, isn’t “God” a proper name? The true wackiness is capitalizing “he” & “him”.

      • Paul Sullivan

        I guess if Robin Hood and Santa Clause are properly capitalized then so should God be. 🙂

    • Anne

      You can be respectful of terms used by religious people without harboring any “residual theistic programming”.

    • BilbySA

      ‘God’ is a proper noun, and thus requires capitalisation of the first letter. Batman does not exist; neither does Bugs Bunny, yet they are still (rightly) capitalised.

  • Andrew MacDonald

    Errr, ‘Soviets’ aren’t a race.

    • Human

      True, but all Soviets do have a specific race, don’t they? Give the guy a little latitude to get his point across. Everything doesn’t have to be so literal. I knew what he meant, and I’m pretty sure most everyone else reading this post did too.

  • Kieran Black

    Lol that conspiracy theorist would have been hilarious.

  • Kitty

    you seem to be handling these accusations with dignity and calm rationality. If you can’t change the mind of your accuser, your actions at least make others watching how you handle it respect you. We have far too much mud slinging and name calling. You could rant and rave, and instead you offer your response and don’t attack the accuser personally, only their argument. It must be hard when your older brother was killed to not feel hurt when people claim you are not in danger. Thank you for being a humanist that inspires.

  • Mick Driver

    I hope you get more chances to get your message accross. People who argue against what you are saying are just trying to protect their faulty world views. Cognitive dissonance is a terrible thing. Good luck.

    Also, can someone tell me how to work the star rating thing? Every time I click it, it goes more negative, which is not what I’m trying to do.

  • George William Duncan Reidy

    You are my age, yet so much further in life, so different in development.

    Much respect, a friend from the West.

  • Tom Sanderson

    At least you made your point but does that mean all attendees will now believe youj?

  • abhishek

    You are doin a great service to humanity.. expand your horizons Faisal…come to India Once..

  • Nirodha

    Whoa … You’re only 22? Your maturity and wisdom shame most people who are twice your age, especially the bigoted and hyper-religious ones. Hats off to you.

    • Nirav Patel

      yes… life do that to you… 🙂

  • Patrick Dering

    Conspiracy theorists are about as stubborn in their reasoning as the religious. If there was a hell there would be a special place reserved for people who accuse those who criticize Islam (including ex-Muslims) of being racist. Not only does it cause the term racism to lose all meaning and worth it’s also patently false since there are Dutch, Chinese, Arab and Indonesian Muslims. An early example of this was when leftists gave their tacit support to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

  • Carey

    Hope America is good to you. You came to America at a time we haven’t seen any good coming from the government in a long time. Beware of Republicans (they only think about money), they do not support the poor or middle class. If you are rich, then you are much better off.
    Best of luck to you!

    • JNWesner

      Carey, you say (rightly) beware of Republicans. Then you say no good has come from the government in a long time. Are you aware of Obamacare and the benefits it is bringing to Americans?

  • Rosemary

    Almost anywhere you go, you will experience things like this. But that is line of thought that we are all working against, and one day, hopefully it won’t be this way.

  • Amber Lynn

    Faisal, I know you personally and you have been through so much at such a young age! The haters are just people who like to “stir the pot’. Ignore them! Move on, they are narrcasistic asses. I’m glad you go the post up and I will talk to you soon. Good job, and your english is coming along well! Thank you for assimilating and respecting your new country.

  • Vernon J.

    Logic, Logic, Logic…..If it isn’t logical, then it probably is not so. The thing about logic, it does not disagree with new evidence to prove or disprove it’s conclusions. What is logical today, may not be so tomorrow. But I never will cease to consider that logical conclusions are usually correct in the long run, and for today I will consider them to be the correct conclusion about things.

  • sean

    Beautifully put your an inspiration

  • Pyxxel

    You 22yo continue to be an inspiration for this 51yo. Well played!

  • Tom Youngjohn

    Well, I think you should read THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE
    by Jared Diamond and THE SWERVE: HOW THE WORLD BECAME MODERN by Stephen
    Greenblatt before you can even begin to consider yourself an American. That’s
    what I think. (You should learn to love the 2nd Amendment too. This is best done by playing, hmmm. ALAN WAKE, BIOSHOCK 1, 2, & 3, BORDERLANDS 1, CRYSIS 2 & 3, MAX PAYNE (most recent one), FEAR 2, SHELL SHOCK 2, all the CALL OF DUTY series, oh why did I even start. I’ve played them all. But don’t play alone! Play late at night with a bottle of Canadian whiskey next to you. I won’t play these scary games unless I’ve been drinking. But I won’t drink enough to give myself a hangover, and I won’t drink if I’m going to need to drive anywhere.

    But, what am I saying? You have more important things to do than to develop a love for the 2nd Amendment, (America’s Amendment), like giving public talks and things.

    Keep up the good work anyway.

  • Samuel Tank Taylor

    People fail to understand that we are an animal. Our “design” is merely the latest one, in a sequence that has been going on for 6,000 years according to some, but according to others, it’s been going on for billions of years.

    Billions.

    Our brain isn’t something made all in one magical moment by some Old (insert your race here) Dude with Magical Powers, nor is the Earth supported by giant invisible trees… It is the end result of evolution. The “human” structures that allow us to form opinions, decode scribbles into philosophy, stuff like that, very very complicated things.

    But that is only the latest “growth” upon a more ancient design. Our emotions, our fears, our anxieties. We share this design with all mammals, with a decreasing degree of complexity, as one descends down the family tree.

    All animals experience emotion. Not all animals experience a contiguous, life-long narrative as complicated as humans, some possibly moreso than us.

    Our human structures are like the Father. Our core mammal brain structures are the Son.

    And the reptilian core of our brain, that is the Holy Spirit. We cannot comprehend its ways or methods, reptilian “thoughts” are alien to mammals, we are so different. But rest assured there is a “reptilian core” in your brain, and it doesn’t sleep like you do. It’s directly in charge of the brain structures that squirt out the juices that cause emotion.

    When you say there is no God, to someone who holds God as a cornerstone of their Universe. They don’t “flame you” and the arguments that pass between these people are merely the result of allowing two apes, access to an advanced word making machine, and they start flinging poo at one another. If a sufficient level of aggravation is accumulated, if a sufficient level of cortisol is produced, the reptilian core will become aroused, and physical violence becomes a danger.

    All of you must read about Cognitive Dissonance to understand why people get insane stupid over their political and religious beliefs.

    If you do not understand what Cognitive Dissonance is, and set up a habit of identifying when it is happening to you, you will forever be at the mercy of a life filled with volatile, negative emotion.

    When you recognize that someone is in a dissonant state, it’s best to exit the discussion in a way that is respectful to their belief systems, and apologetic for rising their ire. Any other method of handling a person in that state of mind will leave them more convinced they are right, and forever mar their perception of you as a person who does not respect them, and is worthy of less respect than people who haven’t done this to you.

    If humans habituate this lessening of the value of other human’s because of the effects of Cognitive Dissonance, they will eventually be OK with burying you up to the waist in the sand and pelting you with stones until you are dead. After all, you’re lower than shit to them, and nothing more than an animal…

    Plato said ” ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.’

    I believe he felt this way because he understood Cognitive Dissonance, and had learned to identify it, and trained himself to avoid being used by his primitive systems. Anyone who understands this concept is immediately fighting an easier battle, because you realize your greatest adversary is within.

    I highly recommend opening this page and visiting it once or twice until you are comfortable with the concepts:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

  • Rab Simpson

    Regarding 5, just tell them that ‘god’ would have to actually do something in order to reach that position for that reason, this would also allow for testing of ‘his’ existence and completely remove the requirement of faith in order to believe that ‘he’ exists in the first place.

    They won’t know how to respond to that and will invariably fall back on ad hominem.

  • JNWesner

    I am amazed at how often we Humanists are accused of hating God. How could I hate a being that I’m fairly certain doesn’t exist? I don’t hate Voldemort; he’s a made-up character. Oh, and we could hardly worship Satan if we don’t believe in supernatural beings.

  • Jess Rice

    I am new to your work but everything you say here sounds reasonable to me. I wish you all the best.

  • Timothy Hedrick

    Hang in there! There are a lot of Americans who often choose to ignore logic or resort to conspiracy theories because the truth is either inconvenient to them or they don’t care to (or cannot) make the effort to refute it with debate or with a genuinely rational argument. Get used to it… We’ve been dealing with it all our lives…

  • Sleeper_6

    keep fighting the good fight, reason and logic will win out eventually.

  • JNWesner

    Welcome to the land of the semi-free and the home of the crazy. Your credentials probably bring out to your speeches the worst of the lot. Conspiracy theories are everywhere.

  • Kitty Mervine

    I’m so glad you addressed this without resorting to name calling and the FU responses of too many US skeptics. Teach us and inspire us please!

  • Glen

    I hope you will visit Vancouver, Canada sometime. We would welcome you.

  • Samrat Patil

    I’d tip my hat to you, only if I had one! Respect and Greetings from India.

  • Nirav Patel

    keep up the good work! would love you meet you some day..

  • CanadianReader

    I’m simply astounded that someone born in your situation and environment, ended up becoming who you currently are. If we ever meet up, I’ll buy you a beer.

  • DeWolfe Miller

    Don’t worry too much, I hate santa and its that time of year! That said I always liked seeing the christmas decorations in Cairo.