Originally Posted by Outsider
Why should they focus on any religion in specific? Maybe what you are noticing is that most of the atheists you know or know of are surrounded by, wait for it... waaaaait... Christians!
He doesn't know what he's talking about anyway.
Hitchens, one of the most rabid and vocal of the Neo Atheists - as well as being one of the most rabid supporters of Bush and the Iraq war (or maybe just Bush) - often foams frothingly about Islam in a way our native troll-like friend would wholeheartedly approve of if he had any real interest in things he rants about.
I have been re-reading some Hitchens lately and have come to realize his position - apart from the Bush support - is pretty close to my own believe it or not.
What he criticizes is Islamism
and, unlike some other 'atheist thinkers' he not only makes a distinction between Islam and the fundies but he also correctly notes the great debt the west owes to islam and the tolerant society that islam once was.
The God Squad
The struggle against theocratic fascism should, therefore, be inseparable from the struggle for a truly secular state. This need not mean an atheist state; the religious impulse itself seems to be partly innate at our present stage of evolution. But it need not necessarily take the extremely backward form that it assumes in our society, nor need its recognition eventuate in the present sickly "multiculturalism," whereby all forms of religious stupidity are granted equal "respect" while challenges to, say, scientific teaching are greeted with nervous tolerance.
Little, Brown has chosen the perfect moment to publish The Ornament of the World, by Maria Rosa Menocal. It is a history of medieval "Al-Andalus," or Andalusia: a culture where there was extensive cooperation and even symbiosis among Muslims, Jews and Christians, and where civilization touched a point hardly surpassed since fifth-century Athens. Indeed, that comparison itself is not inapt. It was the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad in the ninth and tenth centuries who sponsored the translation of the whole corpus of Greek philosophy into Arabic, thus preserving it from the ban on philosophy that had been imposed by the first Christian emperors. It was the Arab-Andalusian scholar Averroës, known also as Ibn Rushd, who later, in the twelfth century, made his commentaries on Aristotle available to the Latin-speaking world, where they were yet again banned by the Church fathers before finally being recovered by Europe. So it is no exaggeration to say that what we presumptuously call "Western" culture is owed in large measure to the Andalusian enlightenment.
The migration of Arabic-speaking intellectuals to the southern Spanish cities of Córdoba and Granada, and the magnetic pull exerted on Jewish scholars, was also to have revolutionary effects on the study of medicine--with early Greek texts again revived through translation--and upon the writing of poetry. Menocal has a wonderful chapter on the love poems of the era and on Ibn Hazm's The Neck Ring of the Dove, a handbook on romance and a memoir of old Córdoba. We tend to forget that Maimonides, another great figure of this culture, wrote almost all his major works--with the exception of the Mishneh Torah--in Arabic. Nothing could be more remote from the bleak and arid doctrines of the Taliban.
However, it was not Muslim but Christian intolerance that put an end to Andalusia. By 1492 their Catholic majesties Ferdinand and Isabella had completed the reimposition of orthodoxy and begun the expulsion of the Jews and Moors. It was to the Muslim world that the Jews then looked for safety. This book partly restores to us a world we have lost, a world for which our current monotheistic leaderships do not even feel nostalgia.
So the answer of why atheists do not 'attack Islam' is twofold:
1) All reasonable and sane people, whether atheist or otherwise, oppose insane and dangerous ideas wherever they arise.
Atheists are actually constantly doing this in regard to fundies of all types - Christian, Muslim or other - as are other rational thinkers.
2) Such sane and rational thinkers draw a distinction between the irrational and the rational - as Hitchens does above. He does not castigate the whole of Islam for the insanity of the modern fundies for example.
Our questioner, being a troll, is not interested in any of these nuances, nor even a debate on the issue as the the (non) thinking behind the original post is based on the assumption that the atheists are somehow 'scared into submission' by the 'evil Islamic thugs'.
I don't personally believe they are but I am quite happy to sponsor a research trip by Mr Mojo to the most radical jihadi mosque we can find where he himself can remedy the atheist's shortcomings by informing the congregation of his own particular piquant views on their theological perspective.