Friday, February 28, 2014

Qur'an Project - Dung beetles prove God exists (no really...)

I thought I'd run out of things to say regarding the idiocy of the miracle seekers at iERA and their acolytes. And then they go and produce something like this. Damn you fellas! How can I resist when you make it all so very tempting...?!

Under the striking (when are they ever anything but?) heading: New BBC article affirms ayat in the Quran the author explains how, once again, modern scientific discoveries are confirming the wisdom of the Qur'an. This time the lowly dung beetle takes centre-stage in a piece of wishful thinking that would make a school-girl at a wedding fair blush. 

Here's the ayat in question:
 "And  it  is  He  who  placed  for  you  the  stars  that  you  may  be  guided  by  them  through  the darknesses  of  the  land  and  sea.  We  have  detailed  the  signs  for  a  people  who  know". [al-An'am 6:97]

I know, I know..."Where are the dung beetles?" I hear you ask. Patience my children. All will be revealed. Now to those of us who find it difficult to discern Allah's signs in this sort of thing (because we're obviously a bit dense) it is clear that Muhammad, being a seasoned trader and traveler and lacking a sat-nav, knew how to navigate by the stars and believed that God had thoughtfully arranged them thus. If you want to see God's hand in the firmament, I'm not going to stop you. 

Ok - now here come the dung beetles...
Consider this ayat:
"And  there  is  no  creature  on  [or  within]  the  earth  or  bird  that  flies  with  its  wings  except [that  they  are]  communities  like  you" [al-An'am 6:38]
which is introduced with the explanatory phrase: Behavioural Patterns of Species are like Humans

Can you begin to see where this is headed? Our author is keen to suggest that in reality there is little difference between humans and dung beetles (as far as behavioural patterns are concerned) We'll speak for yourself, A.B. al-Mehri [Official/QP], but I can tell you unequivocally that my life does not consist of rolling huge balls of sh*t around. (Although as a  metaphor for what keeps the chaps at iERA busy during their working week it is too good, perhaps, to pass over...) Our author, A.B. al-Mehri [Official/QP], elucidates thus: - Here The Creator informs us  that the community structure and behavioural patterns of every single set of species in existence [as Allah [swt] does not exclude any] is similar to how we as human beings are -  some of us live as married couples, single parents, groups of small family, large tribes, etc you see this amongst the various manifestations in species on land, sea and air.
From the above it is clear that Allah intends us to surmise that given i. humans use the stars to navigate and ii. all species behave like humans THEN dung beetles must use stars to navigate. That is clear... isn't itA.B. al-Mehri [Official/QP] is certainly in no doubt. 
Here's how he introduces the BBC article: Now with these reflections from the blessed Ayat of the Qur'an - read the full article below - 

Oh sorry, almost forgot. HERE come the dung beetles...
Dung Beetles guided by Milky WayBy Jonathan Amos - 24 January 2013 -  They may be down in the dirt but it seems dung beetles also have their eyes on the stars.Scientists have shown how the insects will use the Milky Way to orientate themselves as they roll their balls of muck along the ground...

Do you know, sometimes I almost wish Allah did exist so that He could ask these chaps what they actually thought they were doing. 
I imagine the conversation going something like this...
Allah: Well, A.B. al-Mehri [Official/QP], pleased as I am that you devoted your life to studying my final revelation and all that, I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you. You've been spreading b*ll*cks in my name, and publishing drivel that a twelve year-old would be embarrassed to call his own and thus have brought My name and that of Islam into disrepute. As such I have no option but to cast you forever into the fiery pit.
A. B Mehri[Official/QP]: But Oh He that is most Merciful, can't you show me a bit of er...mercy?
Allah: No - s*d off!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Allah 2 - this time it's personal...

I have decided to have another go. Even I have to admit the last shot was a bit of a disaster.
Here's my plan:
I will create sentient beings. Just like last time, I will communicate with them via specially chosen mouthpieces whom I shall refer to as "Prophets".
These Prophets will all be male. Obviously. Because I am.
They will all come from the same, small part of the planet. Obviously. I like sand.

I shall insist that these creatures accept it was me who created them. I want some recognition, dammit!

I shall also insist that they worship me. I said, I want some recognition. Is that too much to ask?

Once more I shall test these little critters in various ways. (For example, I shall create substances that make them feel good and then ban them from tasting it, or even being around those who fall prey to its temptations. And I shall give some of them desires that, although overwhelming and natural, I shall deem to be perverse and which I shall ban them from acting upon.) If they fail these tests I shall use this to judge whether to send them to a place where I shall inflict unspeakable tortures on them for ever. If they pass these tests, however, and spend their entire lives worshiping me, I shall send them to a place where they can indulge their most base sexual fantasies..for ever (if they're male and heterosexual...of course).

I'm also going to have another shot at leaving some confusingly convincing signs that I didn't actually create them. I loved the evolution one last time, my those fossils were a blast! And as for the junk DNA, what a stroke of genius that was!

I'll also endow some of them with intelligence and curiosity again. (That's always good for a laugh!) When these ones start to question the inherent contradictions and injustices in my laws and stories, I'll torture them for an eternity as well.

And I'm going to demand that my creatures refer to me as The most merciful of all who are merciful. Because the irony of that one never ceases to crease me up, and I need some entertainment in between all the torturing.

Oh, and one last thing...I'll jot down all my thoughts and ramblings in a book which I'll have dictated to one of my Prophets. Then I'll shut up and let them get on with it. For over a thousand years. I won't say a word.

What can possibly go wrong?

(Actually, come to think of it, it's going to be much like the last time...)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Top 10 reasons to convert to Islam in 2014

Revert to Islam in 2014 if...

1. ... you dislike questioning authority and are happier taking things on trust. Islam is for you in 2014 because Allah makes a point of telling his followers not to ask questions (the answers to which could cause distress and might lead them to leave Islam). (5:101-102) In fact He even recounts how some followers did ask awkward questions and promptly lost their faith. So relax in 2014 and leave those niggling theological doubts to others to worry about. But before you convert, ask yourself what sort of question might destroy faith and, more pertinently perhaps, what sort of faith can be destroyed by asking a question.

2. love the romance and excitement of foreign languages and fashion. Yes, the attraction of the different and the exotic... the feeling of belonging and superiority that using jargon others don't understand confers on you! If all that appeals then Islam is for you in 2014. No wonder so many Brits are (apparently) converting. To convert you'll need to say the shahada (there's that exoticism again) in Arabic (God doesn't like English, you see) and when you pray it'll be in Arabic as well (such a romantic and exciting language!) Try it now and tell me it doesn't send a shiver down your spine...lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh. But before you convert, ask yourself why God would demand you address him in a language you don't understand. 

3. secretly admire and long for the regimentation of those with OCD. You'll feel right at home in Islam in 2014. The instructions on how to wash, sorry- perform wudu- before you pray, for example can be up to 20 lines long* (and you thought washing your hands three times before making a sandwich made you a cert for OCD...) But before you convert, ask yourself if it's healthy to encourage obsessive behaviour such that the occurrence of OCD in Islamic countries is considered a major problem even by Muslim psychologists . Ironically, the prevalence of such obsessive thoughts has led to a theological explanation which lends a special (exotic...) term to them: wasaawis, wherein shaytan (Satan) is blamed for the problem (that's really going to help the poor sufferers gain a handle on the problem...)

4. believe in fairies. You're going to feel right at home believing in desert sprites made of smokeless fire, then. These desert sprites are called jinn and you'll love believing in these little critters who are invisible (although they can see you) and who delight in teasing humans (although if you recite the last surah in the Qur'an constantly then they can't touch you - obsessive compulsive? nah...) To find out more about jinn see here. But before you convert, ask yourself if you really want to subscribe to a religion which requires a belief in supernatural beings originating with the pagan Arabs (jinni) and so obviously a by-product of trying to find an explanation for the frightening natural phenomena found in the desert such as mini twisters and moaning sand dunes (terrifying when you don't understand the cause!)

5. believe all the whacky tales in the Old Testament word-for-word. You think Noah really did build an Ark to save the animals from the flood (43 references in 27 chapters in the Qur'an) . You  believe Jonah really was swallowed by a whale and lived inside it reciting prayers (37:139-144). In that case, Islam is for you. But before you convert, ask yourself why God should demand you dismiss all common sense and scientific rationalism (the common sense and scientific laws that He gave us supposedly) before you can believe in Him.

6. think belief in God is more important than leading a good life helping others and you are happy to believe in and worship a deity who regards belief in Him as the be-all-and-end-all, His raison d'etre, the sine qua non... to the extent that a murderer who repents and accepts Islam in his dying moments has more chance of entering paradise, according to Islam, than a doctor working selflessly in Africa dedicating his life to others but who rejects the idea of religion.

7. think men excel over women (4:34), are more reliable witnesses then women, that women are more likely to go to hell than men (Bukhari hadith), that men should be allowed to sleep with their (sex) slaves (4:24), that women are deficient in intellect (2:282), that women who disobey their husbands should be beaten (4:34), that men should be allowed more than one wife (4:3)...then 2014 is the year for you to become a Muslim. But before you convert, ask yourself why God should be so misogynistic when He (!) created all of us...apparently. (Or is it just perhaps that the Abrahamic religions were conceived by MEN...)

8. believe the dawahists who tell you God planted evidence for his omnipotence in the scientific knowledge we can find in the Qur'an. Such knowledge, they say, is miraculous because no-one who lived in the 7th century in Arabia and was illiterate could have known such things. But before you convert, ask yourself why God should have chosen to describe the evidence in such opaque and ambiguous terms so that they are open to numerous interpretations (embryology, cosmology etc.), and have chosen facts that were already known and described by previous ancient civilisations (embryology, honey, etc.).

9. are happy to accept that God creates some of us with appalling disabilities or disease as a test whereas others have tests such as living long, healthy lives in loving families and comfortable surroundings. You are happy also to accept the argument that those who bear their afflictions will be rewarded by an eternity in Paradise and that this life is but nothing compared to that. But before you convert, ask yourself where is the justice even in this skewed view of the world where to accept such a premise logically leads each and every one of us to regret not being tested with an awful, painful, short life so as to gain a quick ticket to Paradise.

10. are a homophobe.

Wash your hands. Use your left hand to wash your right hand. Do this three times. After that, use your right hand to wash your left hand three times. Make sure to wash in between your fingers and all the way up to your wrists Take water into your mouth. Use your right hand to cup water into your mouth three times. Swish it around in your cheeks and the back of your throat. Do this thoroughly to get all the remaining food in your mouth out. Inhale water into your nose. Use your right hand to cup water and inhale it into your nose three times. You can use your left hand to close one nostril and blow out if you need to. Snort sharply and abruptly without taking too much water into your nose and choking yourself.Wash your face. Wash your face three times by spreading your hands from your right ear to the left, and from the edge of the hair to the chin.Wash your lower arms from wrists to elbows, leaving no part dry. From your wrist to your elbow, wash your right arm with your left hand three times and then wash your left arm with your right hand three times.Clean your head. Using your wet hands, gently wipe your forehead from the eyebrow to the hairline. Also wipe down your hair, the back of your neck, and your temples. Do this one time.Wipe your ears inside and out. With the same water, use your finger to clean all the crevices of your ear. Use your thumb to clean behind your ears from the bottom upward. This is also done one time.Wash each of your feet. Clean up to the the ankles and be sure water goes between the toes. Use your pinky finger and go through each toe to eliminate anything between. Start with your right foot and scrub each foot three times. While pointing the right index finger to the sky, recite a brief prayer of witness. Generally, the prayer is as follows: "Ash-hadu anlaa ilaaha illALLAHu wahdahuu laa shariikalahu, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan 'abduhuu wa rasuuluhu."

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mandela, dawah and Hell

So Mandela is dead. The man who in the last few hours and days has been variously described as: "the nearest thing this world had to a saint";"one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth" and "the nearest thing we have to proof of God", has gone to meet his maker - or, as some Muslims have to believe, is quite possibly now starting an eternity of having the skin burned off his back by a merciful god.
"What?!", I hear you splutter in indignation and incredulity. "Old Spinoza's really lost it this time!".  
But think again. For if you are a Muslim then, like my convert friend, you must believe that if Mandela "received the message of Islam in its correct form and rejected it, then things don’t look good for him." 
Even allowing for the hyperbole of politicians falling over themselves to jump on the hagiography bandwagon, there is no denying that Mandela was a man who changed the world for the better and, if countless anecdotes are to be believed, a humble, generous and selfless figure to boot. 
But that is not enough to escape eternal torture if you fail to believe in the God of Islam, apparently.
We can only hope for his sake that he wasn't visited by some Muslim keen to gain extra luxury or more houris in paradise by giving dawah to him and converting the "nearest thing this world has to a saint". Can you imagine (I'm sure some Muslims did..) the extras you'd accumulate if you had managed to convert a living saint. Remember, Muslims believe they benefit from the good works of those they convert by receiving rewards in paradise. 
"Convert a living saint and see your stock go through the roof, brothers and sisters!"
Which in turn has got me to thinking about the inherent evil of dawah. Bear with me...
My convert friend has spent many a patient hour explaining how I will only go to hell as a non-believer if I have "received the message of Islam in its correct form and then reject it". Which then surely begs the question why would selfless and good Muslims risk putting the immortal souls of those to whom they give dawah  in danger of eternal damnation by giving them the correct message of Islam?
Leave non-believers alone and there is a chance they can escape being tortured for an eternity by God, is there not? Tell them all about Islam and if they then reject it, having examined the "evidence", you've just condemned them for eternity. 
Isn't giving dawah then the ultimate selfish action? You're willing to risk condemning the man or woman to whom you're talking to Hell because you want the rewards that a putative convert's good actions will earn for you. Sheesh!
So let us all hope that poor old Nelson didn't get a knock on the door from some zealous dawahist. 
For as my convert friend says: It doesn't look good for him if he did... 
(Still, chin up everybody. Remember, Allah is the most merciful of all who are merciful...)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Qur'an, maths and the hadith - a conundrum...

Many apparently devout Muslims have taken me to task in these pages for drawing attention to the seemingly bizarre and illogical stories in the world of the sunnah as related in the hadith* (the sayings and actions of the Prophet reported by reliable witnesses). They believe strongly that Islam has nothing to do with the hadith: "Yes, Islam IS limited to the Quran, where's your evidence that says otherwise?" one recently asked.
So be it. But if, in your keenness to distance yourselves from the shocking  (Muhammad torturing the camel thieves)  the obtuse (advice to dip a fly's wing into your drink to prevent it being contaminated by the whole fly) the insulting (women, dogs and donkeys negate prayers) the comic (monkeys stoning adulterous monkeys to death) or the simply incredible (giant hairless virgins with transparent legs waiting in Paradise), you dismiss the sunnah, then you must be prepared, surely, to defend the Qur'an as a text that can stand on its own without the need for the interpretation or explanation that the experts tell us is to be found therein.

For despite the protestations of many readers, the sunnah is officially part of the religion of Islam since, it is claimed, it explains and fleshes out the sometimes confusing and often esoteric Qur'anic passsages. This is how the necessity to read the Qur'an in conjunction with the reported sayings and actions of the Prophet is explained on one Islamic site:
Islamic law is based upon two references, the Qur'an (sayings of God) and the Sunnah (sayings and actions of the prophet). [..] All of this information is vital to the interpretation of a given Islamic law and none of it can be taken in a vacuum of the rest, based upon personal whims. At times the Qur'an contains a given law, at others the law is found in the Hadeeth, and in still other cases the broad outlines of a given law are presented in the Qur'an and the details are explained in the Hadeeth. For example, the Qur'an only commands Muslims to "pray." The details of how to pray are found in the Hadeeths of the prophet (pbuh) and described by the companions who saw him teach it and were themselves taught by him directly.
Now let us turn to one of the more problematical collection of passages of the Qur'an - one which those who choose to disbelieve the claim that it is the perfect word of God quote as proof of its fallible human source: the laws of inheritance. (Straight away let me say that I am happy to accept that the inheritance laws contained in the Qur'an represented an improvement on those existing at the time, and might very well be a sensible and fair system. This is irrelevant to my argument.)

There are numerous illustrations on the web of the mathematical inconsistencies contained within the laws of inheritance. I won't therefore labour the point but will simply quote one by Ali Sina. It is worth reading the whole article if you are in any doubt as to the mathematical problems presented by inheritance laws in the Qur'an...
According to the [...] verses, if a man dies leaving behind a wife, three daughters and his two parents,
His wife’s share of his inheritance is 1/8. (In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth)  His daughters would receive 2/3 (if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance;)  and his parents each will get 1/6 of his inheritance. (For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children;)When you add all these fractions the sum is more than the total of inheritance.
Wife1/8=  3/24
Daughters 2/3=16/24
Father 1/6=  4/24
Mother1/6=  4/24
Total =
Because the arithmetic is indisputable, Muslims apologists are forced to explain that the complete explanation of the inheritance laws are contained in the sunnah, since obviously the Qur'an can't be expected to cater for every eventuality.
Indeed, so many and varied are the occasions when the inheritance laws in the Qur'an leave an impossible mathematical conundrum that a whole discipline has evolved, known, inter alia, as the Laws of Awl, for when the soi-disant perfect Qur'anic laws fall short. This is how Answering Christianity explains it: "This particular example falls under the laws of "Awl" which regulate the cases when the inheritor's shares exceed or "overshoot" the sum of the total inheritance, and in which case the inheritance is recalculated according to the laws of Awl and redistributed."
So even Muslim apologists have to concede that the perfect Qur'an's laws allow for situations when the inheritance "overshoots" or "exceeds" the total.
However, the laws in the Qur'an don't just result in the occasional "overshoot". There are also cases where it is possible to arrive at a situation where the poor relatives are left with an embarrassing extra load of dosh if they follow the rules. But worry not - for (you've guessed it) there is a set of laws arrived at by studying the sunnah for such circumstances as well: "There are yet other cases when the number of inheritors and their shares do not sum to a whole 100%, in which case the laws of "Usbah" come into play in order to distribute the unclaimed shares which have no corresponding people to receive them." 

Remember, these complex rules have been created by Islamic scholars purely because the laws as found in the Qur'an (quite literally) don't add up. The very existence of these complex rules is a tacit acceptance that the Qur'an is incomplete without them. 

Long papers have been written by impressively qualified Islamic experts on the subject of Faraid (Islamic Inheritance Law). One, written by Professor Mohd Ridzuan Awang, has this to say on the subject of using the hadith to clarify the laws: "Other than evidence (nas) from al-Qur'an, there are also the Prophet's (peace and blessings be upon him) hadiths which explain and detail out the meaning from al-Qur'an with regards to the beneficiaries and their shares. Among them is the Prophet's (peace and blessings be upon him) saying meaning: One half is for the daughter and one sixth for the son's daughter ie both shares make two thirds of the total property; and the rest is for the female sibling (Hadith by al-Bukhari) and Give the shares to those who are entitled to them and what remains over goes to the nearest beneficiary (Hadith by Muslim)"
Note the professor's choice of words: the Qur'an needs to be "explained and detailed out" using the hadith. That's the hadith from the same collections (Bukhari and Muslim) which contain those wise words about donkeys, flies, torture, monkeys and hairless giants.

So if you pride yourself on being one of those modern rational Muslims who regard the hadith as being at best an irrelevant adjunct to your faith and at worst an embarrassing anachronism, then you might wish to consider this: your perfect holy text contains laws which even Muslim scholars concede need the further explanation found in the sayings and actions of Muhammad for them to make sense. (And even then the explanations seem to be contradictory at best... see Note)

To summarise: The laws pertaining to inheritance found in the Qur'an are incomplete without the further explanation found in the hadith. This is the view of Islamic experts, since they have found it necessary to invent additional laws to overcome the many inconsistencies.  However, the Laws of Awl and Usbah rely upon commentary found in the hadith. To accept the Laws of Awl and Usbah one must, by extension, therefore accept that Muhammad tortured, believed flies wings were an effective germicide, thought monkeys capable of stoning each other for adultery and that women, dogs and donkeys somehow negated prayers.

To quote the poor confused Muslim from the Sunni Forum below: It could be possible that I'm missing something important here. So if there is any Muslim out there who'd like to explain how you can dismiss the hadith whilst still claiming the Qur'an is perfectly understandable and clear, then I'd like to hear from you.

Note: there are many honest and humble Muslims who are genuinely concerned about this issue and find little solace in the official responses. A quick trawl of the Sunni Forums reveals the following:
Ok…Rules of ‘Awl’ and ‘Usbah’ can be used to clear the problem. But those rules are the fruits of human intelligence, isn't it? And in 4:176 it is clearly claimed that, “Thus doth Allah make clear to you (His law), lest ye err. And Allah hath knowledge of all things.”…. But Sura Nisa(4 no sura)?? Do you think it’s clear? To me it’s everything else but clear.
I tried to solve it using some of the Muslim scholars writing. But I think each of them just invented different solutions to prove that Quran is correct. Their solutions are not identical, and they contradict with each other. It seems that there is no UNIQUE solution based on only Quranic Ayats. [...] It could be possible that I am missing something important here. If someone has been able to find the actual solution (which is authentic enough according to the Quran), then it would be a great help if he shares it with me. Remember that we can solve it in many ways if we ignore some part of the Quranic verse mentioned above. But I am looking for a solution that will prove Quran is logically 100% correct and we don’t need any human intervention/tricks/patch to make it work.
Seeking for an informative reply from you guys....I hope someone has the answer! 

* all hadith stories referred to are contained in the Sahih hadith of Bukhari and Muslim - those collections regarded as the epitome of reliability. If you discount these two, you cannot logically believe any of the hadith (and must ask yourself, for example, why you are praying five times a day and prostrating yourself)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Muslim women - know your limits!

iERA has recently launched a new initiative: secrets of a Muslim Woman.

All very modern, professional and reassuring. Well done iERA. Except that it's not really how women are regarded in Islam by those whose job it is to interpret the Qur'an, is it...?

So let's be honest, iERA. Let's read what Islamic experts really think of women. Here's a question sent into - an entirely reputable and mainstream Islamic site visited by hundreds of thousands of Muslims everyday - about a verse (2:282) in the Qur'an which states that women's testimony is worth only half that of men:
Why is the witness of two women considered to be equal to the testimony of one man?
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid obviously knows his onions and answers thus:
Allaah has commanded the testimony of two women so as to be sure that they remember, because the mind and memory of two women takes the place of the mind and memory of one man. (See I’laam al-Muwaqqa’een, part 1, p. 75).
This does not mean that a woman does not understand or that she cannot remember things, but she is weaker than man in these aspects – usually. Scientific and specialized studies have shown that men’s minds are more perfect than those of women, and reality and experience bear witness to that. The books of knowledge are the best witness to that; the knowledge which has been transmitted by men and the ahaadeeth which have been memorized by men far outnumber those which have come via women. 
Here might be an appropriate moment for a short interlude in the form of an educational film:

 Now let us return to the Sheik's words of wisdom:
This has to do with gender, i.e., the gender of men is more perfect than the gender of women.[...]
Nevertheless, there are some women who are far superior to men in their reason and insight, but they are few, and the ruling is based on the majority and the usual cases.
A woman may compensate for her weaknesses by striving hard, and surpass men when they are negligent. Hence we find that in some colleges, female students surpass male students because of their greater efforts and their keenness to succeed when many of the male students are negligent and are not eager to learn.[...]
So let everyone work in his or her field of specialization. Men should not interfere in pregnancy and breastfeeding, and women should not be involved in jihad, fighting the enemy, or holding the positions of khaleefah or ruler. 
I'll just remind you that this is 2013 (in case you thought you'd dreamed the last 60 years) and that western women are flocking to join a religion whose experts are happy to acknowledge believes that men's minds as more perfect than women's.

So go ahead. Join up, dear. But please don't come running to me with your head in a spin when some chap explains what you've actually signed up to.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Islam, science and Evolution

One of the many reasons why I find my friend's conversion to Islam so disturbing (apart from his refusal to condemn FGM, or to accept that homosexuality is a perfectly natural part of life or that the Qur'an doesn't, in fact, contain a host of scientific name but a few) is his belief that Man was created in his present form by God and human evolution is wicked falsehood spread by ignorant scientists. That such beliefs are commonly held by uneducated Muslims is depressing enough, but that an educated, highly intelligent man, who considered studying medicine for a while, and who was fascinated by science before his conversion, should now hold such beliefs makes me despair. For he is not alone.
A 2007 study  found that only 8% of Egyptians, 11% of Malaysians, 14% of Pakistanis, 16% of Indonesians, and 22% of Turks agree that Darwin's theory is probably or most certainly true. 

Now, from the outset I should make it clear that this is not, of course, a problem unique to Islam. Fundamentalist Christians are infamous in their belief in Creationism or its bastard offspring, Intelligent Design. According to the most recent Gallup poll, 46% of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form. 
But what is clear is that it is adherence to a religion that so poisons people's minds that they choose to ignore the overwhelming evidence for human evolution. For as Jerry A. Coyne wrote in the introduction to his famous treatise, Why Evolution is True
You can find religions without creationism, but you never find creationism without religion
For to deny that evolution is a true account of how Man arrived at his present form is to believe that just about every scientist in the world today is either stupid, or that they are involved in a coordinated conspiracy to both invent the indisputable evidence FOR evolution and to systematically cover up the evidence AGAINST it.

And whilst it is overwhelmingly the case that it is the under-educated who dismiss Darwin's theory in the West (twice as high a percentage of Americans with a high school education or less believe in creationism as do post-grads) and the better educated can and do carry on with their lives regardless, in Muslim majority countries it is the academics who have to tread carefully when discussing the origins of man lest they invoke the ire of the religious authorities.
Such an atmosphere is hardly conducive to free inquiry, intellectual rigour or scientific progress. But it is not just in those countries which are nominally Muslim where belief in evolution is becoming dangerous.
Usama Hasan, Imam at the Masjid-al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton and senior lecturer in business-formation systems at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society had to resign from his mosque recently following death threats because he dared to teach about evolution (and women's rights). I'll say that again: he received death threats because he taught Britain.

Anyone who maintains that Islam is a force for progress in the world might want to spend some time reflecting on the above and consider the following.
Taner Edis, the author of “An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam,” grew up in a Muslim household but is under no illusions about Islam's contribution to modern science:
Right now, if all Muslim scientists working in basic science vanished from the face of the earth, the rest of the scientific community would barely notice. There’s very little contribution coming from Muslim lands.
Objective data backs up Edis' view. In a study by the World Bank and Unesco of 20 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference it was found that these countries spent 0.34 percent of their gross domestic product on scientific research from 1996 to 2003, which was just one-seventh of the global average. Perhaps these countries are fearful that if they spent any more they might discover something that contradicted the "science" in the Qur'an. It certainly stops them producing much science. In 2005 another OIC study found that these countries produced 14, 500 scientific papers - that's 2,000 fewer than Harvard University managed on its own.
Of course Muslim countries have very specific problems to contend with - not all a product of Islam - but it is Islam that produces the biggest hurdle: the wedding of religion and state. Scientists who offend clerics have no state support to fall back on because in all likelihood, the state answers to the clerics as well. Science in Muslim countries must be seen to confirm the statements in the Qur'an or it is not welcome. This has led to a skewing of scientific research and the dismally tragic failure of Islamic states to contribute to Man's progress in the last hundred years.

Thus when people ask why I don't leave Muslims alone to believe what they want - my answer is that I'd be more then happy to, if they extended the same courtesy to those who don't share their beliefs. It's bad enough that poor Muslims are taught to deny scientific fact. That such outrageous ignorance is now being spread in this country and elsewhere in Europe is beyond the pale.