The ex-Muslim activist trap

Ultimately, ex-Muslim hatred of non-Muslim scholars of Islam comes down to a combination of envy and fear of being eclipsed. After all, such scholars, mostly academics, are highly educated and highly read, while most ex-Muslims are stunted from their experience under Islam.

The ex-Muslim activist trap

Recently, on 19 Jun 2022, a caller on Harris Sultan’s YouTube channel, Harris Sultan,[1] asked the following question:

Given the vast variety of interpretations of the hadith and claims made about their validity and their authenticity, do you think it will become necessary at some point, or is it already necessary at this moment, for the ex-Muslim community to start and develop some sort of expertise in the field of hadiths and the Qur’an? Do you think we should–some of us should–go through that systematic and scholarly education from whichever university it may be, preferably a reputable one?

The answer is, of course, an emphatic and unequivocal ‘YES!’ What else? Knowledge is power. It is a dictum as old as the hills. But if you happen to be part of the “ex-Muslim community,” you will find the answer a bit more “nuanced,” i.e., they prefer to not give a straight answer. This is because ex-Muslims are not a community in the established English sense of the word, but rather a “community” in the corrupted, postmodern sense, in other words, a cult. Harris Sultan’s response to his caller’s insightful question confirms this point.

Solely by virtue of having been Muslim, ex-Muslim activists imagine themselves more qualified to hold court on Islam than kafir scholars for whom critique of Islam might have been their life’s work. The main motivation for this Murtadd to Human website is to bring across that when a Muslim leaves Islam, only then does he or she really begin to learn the dark truths their former religion. The fastest way to start is precisely by imbibing the vast volumes of work already done by generations of Christians, Hindus and atheists to uncover the intricate depths of this totalitarian system fronted by religion. Most of the people who did all this work are white. And that, in the eyes of racist ex-Muslim activists, disqualifies them. Also, we were once Muslim, they never were. We need to learn nothing from them. It escapes such ex-Muslims just how Muslim their attitude is.

Ex-Muslims do not have to know Islam in such detail, Sultan told his caller, because sooner or later, Islamic “scholars” will be apostatising and “we” will then have such knowledge anyway. In the meantime, he implies, we’ll just bumble along like the good activists we are. It didn’t bother him in the slightest that he is ignorant of significant aspects of Islam. His channel gets the views and the likes. He even gets emails from people who have left Islam. Of course he’s making a difference.

Sultan’s response to his caller’s question gains added poignancy in that it follows hard upon a week during which Sultan himself showed the ex-Muslim cult in all its nihilism. Before looking at the week of 14 - 21 June 2022, let us rewind to August 2021, and consider a positive and hopeful interview that Harris Sultan had with Robert Spenser on the former’s YouTube channel.[2] Sultan introduces Spencer as follows:

Robert is an author of multiple books, many best-selling books as well. I’ve just ordered a couple of his books as well. I'm really excited to hear it for the first time. I have to be honest that it would be the first time I would be actually reading him in detail, although there's a lot of people who have said a lot of things about Robert, and I'm sure we'll get to that as well.

“The first time I would be actually reading him in detail,” is clearly a face-saver. It is the first time he would read any Spencer at all, else he would have mentioned some of the “multiple books” he had previously skim-read. He would also have mentioned what books he had bought. Having the scholar who wrote such great works as The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS, Did Muhammad Exist? and The Critical Qur’an on your channel and not mentioning a single one of his titles speaks volumes, apart from its being downright discourteous. There was going to be no exploration of any of the many discoveries, insights and ideas in Spencer’s multiple books, because none of these interested Sultan. What he really wanted to get to were the “lot of things” that “a lot of people” have said about Spencer, in other words, the goss, the cheap, tabloid stuff. “Even someone like me had not read up about you enough that we could actually form a decent opinion about you.” Any one of his books would have been enough.

Getting to, “the elephant in the room,” as Sultan put it, he expressed his motivation for inviting Spencer, which is revealing on several levels:

A lot of ex-Muslims have usually stayed away from people like you—and by ‘people like you’ I mean people who criticise Islam who did not have an Islamic background, in the sense that they were not Muslims. I noticed that within our ex-muslim community [there is] this bit of hypocrisy in the sense that we sometimes go really far in criticising Islam and of course …it’s quite true that we criticise Islam and we’re not racist or bigoted towards Muslims. But somehow we also believe that since our family members are Muslims, that’s why, you know, it’s kind of like a black person criticising his own community, then that’s fine, but the moment a white person, an outsider criticises it, he becomes a racist or a bigot.

Now you obviously have been accused of this so many times–that you are a bigot–and I must admit, I don’t—I’m not going to speak for others—but I’m sure the other people would have a very similar view as well. Someone like me, I never read up. I never read any of your books. I didn’t even follow you on Twitter for a very long time and I just had this view that, okay, well, this guy might be a bigot and I’m just going to stay away from him. But then I realised this, I think when I watched you—you had a little argument with Abdullah Sameer, maybe a month or two months ago, and then I read the exchange, and then I thought, you know, I kind of agree with you more than Abdullah Sameer on that case.

And that’s when I thought that, okay, maybe I should look up, and then are we being hypocrites, because that’s the same problem we’ve had with people like David Wood, or yourself, or even Tommy Robinson, which is more of a political movement as well. But when we look into these people, we don’t find anything that we can say, okay that is a bigoted statement. How do you defend this chide? I mean—and please be frank if you have been disappointed by our ex-Muslim community as well—why we have not actually approached you enough, because obviously, you bring a lot of wealth of your own knowledge with that you, I mean, there’s so much that we can use from you in terms of your academic powers and all the information that you’ve gained for us.

"The elephant in the room"? Really? There is something that Robert Spencer has to answer for? How many times can you offend a great scholar in three minutes and twelve seconds and not even know that you’re doing it? Does Sultan subject black people to his bigot test? Do Muslims get to sit the bigot test, or ex-Muslims, for that matter? Why Robert Spencer? Why David Wood? Why Tommy Robinson? Would that be because they’re white and have never been Muslim? Critique of Islam is reserved for ex-Muslims and whites who have never been Muslim are trespassing. “There’s so much that we can use from you in terms of your academic powers and all the information that you’ve gained for us.”

The conceit! Theodor Nöldeke, Ignaz Goldziher, Patricia Crone, Robert Spencer, Raymond Ibrahim, Lloyd de Jongh, all these people have busted and are busting their guts so that every two-bit YouTube outfit can be provided with material that they won't even bother to read? They must be subjected to the ex-Muslim bigot test that, even if they pass, will secure only a probation? The test is run permanently. Should they, at any point in the future, say anything that could be remotely construed as bigotry, they will be burnt at the stake. Spencer's subtle rebuke of his host’s al-wala’ wa’l-bara’ goes right over the latter’s head:

It seemed to me to be obvious to any fair-minded person that an ideology that teaches the virtues of violence, aggression, oppression and supremacism is something that everybody should oppose. Muslim and non-muslim, ex-muslim, never muslim, anyone; that anybody who believes in the worth of the human person, the dignity of every human being, ought to be against that, just like everybody ought to be against nazism and no, I don’t shy away from the comparison, because you have a system that institutionalises the destruction of the freedom of speech, the inequality of women, hatred toward jews, hatred toward others, violence toward these people. How can anybody support this?

I understand the exigencies. I understand the fact that people are born into it. They don’t necessarily subscribe to those things: the Qur’an is recited in Arabic and most Muslims don’t speak Arabic as native speakers. They might not even be aware that these things are in there. I’m fully aware of that. Every individual has to be judged on their own actions and perspectives and the particular beliefs of that individual, but that doesn’t change what the contents of the Qur’an and Sunnah are. So that’s one thing.

I don’t see how it’s remotely bigoted or hateful to report accurately about the contents of the Qur’an and Sunnah and to show, as I do in my work, how those teachings influence the actions of the Muslims who are active Islamic jihadis, which of course is by no means all of them. Now when it comes to ex-Muslims, there’s a split and I’m sure you're well—probably much more aware of this than I am—there are some ex-Muslims who are very happy to work with me and I’m very happy to work with them.

Spencer goes on to name some of the “ex-Muslims who are very happy to work with me”: Noni Darwish, Waffa Sultan, Ibn Warraq… What immediately stands out about these ex-Muslims is that they are all a generation ahead of Harris Sultan. This is highly significant, because in their day, and mine, the culture of competing cults, euphemistically called “communities,” had not yet displaced the free world of freely-associating individuals making common cause for a common good. The idea that opposing Islam is something owned by ex-Muslims and that others may qualify as “allies” supporting them is the prism through which Harris Sultan apprehends the world. Spencer’s words would have made little sense to him.

In reaching out to Abdullah Sameer, who had accused him of anti-Muslim bigotry, Spencer apparently offered him, “copies of my books for free.” He sent Sameer a pdf of The History of Jihad, and reports Sameer as saying that, “He didn't see anything wrong with it or anything that he disagreed with.” This is tosh. It is unlikely that Sameer even read it. His preference for such hefty tomes as Everything Is F*cked, by Marwan Books. Who is Abdullah Sameer, a silly lightweight, to pass judgement on the serious work of a renowned scholar when he’d hardly make it past the first page?

Sameer’s opportunity to raise his Islamic apologetics credentials was Spencer reporting, on Jihad Watch, the story of a Muslim who killed one of his wives in the Netherlands and then going on to Germany, where he killed another of his wives. Spencer’s crime, apparently, was to draw a connection to the effects of the culture of violence, especially towards wives, nurtured by Qur’anic teachings such as 4:34 and various Hadiths. Spencer recalls, “Abdullah went after this saying, ‘Are you saying that Islamic law allows for the killing of one’s wife?’ and of course I wasn’t and I hadn’t.” Spencer might not have said that Islamic law allows for the killing of one’s wife, but I wish he had, because it does. Where a husband finds his wife in bed with another man, “…it is allowed to the husband to slay that man; and if the woman were consenting to his act, it is allowed to her husband to slay her also.”[3]

Abdullah Sameer even denies that Muslim rape gangs exist, seizing also upon Spencer’s raising the Muslim rape epidemic in Britain as an opportunity to show the latter’s “anti-Muslim bigotry.” Does Sameer feel entitled to abuse Spencer because the latter is white and that is how you keep in with the Left, or does our “friendly neighbourhood ex-Muslim” know more about Islam than Spencer does?

Tellingly, while Spencer’s ex-Muslim associates are Noni Darwish, Waffa Sultan and Ibn Warraq, the big guns that Harris Sultan brings out are Ali Rizvi, Maryam Namazie and Abdullah Sameer, all of whom share one overriding yearning: to earn the validation of the Left. Elsewhere, Harris Sultan says of Spencer, “He would never be respected amongst well-meaning left-leaning liberal people.” I very much doubt Spencer would lose sleep over the Left withholding its blessings from him. Namazie goes through apoplexy that the Left has “betrayed” her. Of course, the Left ever accepting ex-Muslims is impossible, since simply by virtue of being ex-Muslims, they have turned their backs on the Left’s principle protégé, Muslims. The only way open to them is to cling to the illusion that if they never criticise Muslims, the Left might one day look favourably upon them.

Sticking your neck out by inviting marked “anti-Muslim bigot” Robert Spencer onto your channel is likely to earn you a serious dressing down within the cult. “Anti-Muslim bigotry” is the ex-Muslim cult’s term for “Islamophobia.” Fast forward ten months to the week of 14-21 June 2022, and like Abdullah Sameer, Harris Sultan at last saw his chance for redemption. In his interview ten months earlier, he said to Spencer, “Even someone like me had not read up about you enough that we could actually form a decent opinion about you.” In other words, what one reads of a scholar’s work forms the basis of one’s opinion about that scholar.

So when, on 14 June, Sultan called Robert Spencer a bigot,[4] one wonders what books of Spencer he might have read that lead him to such a strong opinion. It turned out, over the course of the following week, that Spencer’s writing had nothing whatsoever to do with it. It was the ex-Muslim cult’s relentless slandering of Spencer as a bigot, and Sultan seeing in Spencer and ex-Muslim Yasmin Mohammed “ally[ing] themselves with Hindu nationalists,” an opportunity for finally coming clean with the cult.

In other words, it wasn’t Spencer’s books, but ex-Muslim gutter talk about him, that gave Sultan the pretext to launch his open season on Robert Spencer. Sultan, speaking directly to camera, accused Spencer of being a bigot. Finally, he could try to expiate his sin of talking to Spencer relatively respectfully ten months earlier. He had a good crack at coming across as an obnoxious thug. It was ugly, but he has his credibility with the cult to restore.

When a caller, on 21 June, had the temerity to ask Sultan why he calls Robert Spencer a bigot,[5] Sultan launched into an incoherent babble in the Quixotic certainty that he can vanquish a major scholar without having read any of his books, and insulting and belittling his caller for good measure. Bad as it looked, Sultan has some way to go to reach the conformity-enforcing skills of Amin Navabi, the ex-Muslim cult’s rising Lavrentiy Beria, or, as it might turn out, Ernst Röhm.

What is the difference between the ex-Muslims whom Spencer says are “very happy to work with me and I’m very happy to work with them,” and the ex-Muslims making sure that Harris Sultan tows the line, and never ever makes the mistake of speaking to a ‘former person’ again? The answer to this question is more complex than I have space for here. Suffice it to say that Spencer’s ex-Muslim colleagues are not a “community,” they have no rules about whom they may speak to, what they may think and what they may say. They were not “activists.” They are simply people who sought freedom, and having gained it, value it too much to give it up for a Party line. They've had enough of that under Islam. I should like to count myself amongst them. Any scholar who has studied as much and written as much as Robert Spencer, I would happily associate with any day. What about other critics of Islam who are white and have never been Muslim? Oft-lampooned Douglas Murray has read Gustave Le Bon. Show me the ex-Muslim who’s even heard of Le Bon, let alone read him. They would learn something about themselves if they did. I am not a racist, and I make no apology for that. The works of white men, dead or alive, are just fine.

Two years before Sultan’s interview with Robert Spencer, in August 2019, Konstantin Kisin interviewed Maryam Namazie on his YouTube channel, Triggernometry.[6] The questioning eventually got around to Britain’s Muslim rape gangs, setting off an unsightly Namazie panic. She had to kill the subject immediately and at any cost. The communist ex-Muslim feminist had looked the other way while tens of thousands of working class girls were imprisoned, drugged, tortured and raped by entire town networks of Muslim men. We must never ever criticise Muslims, says Namazie, never. In her desperation to get out of this tight spot, whom did she blame for the rape gangs? Wait for it… Tommy Robinson! Tommy Robinson, the man who visited these girls in their homes, listened to their stories, had tea with them in their humble kitchens and cried with them. The man who went to jail for standing up for them, him she tagged. This is “the mother of the ex-Muslim movement,” according to Harris Sultan. I say, no thank you.

How do ex-Muslims avoid the ex-Muslim trap? Thinking for yourself would be a good start. Contemplating the wisdom of Al-Kindi would be an excellent second step:

We ought not to be embarrassed of appreciating the truth and of obtaining it wherever it comes from, even if it comes from races distant and nations different from us. Nothing should be dearer to the seeker of truth than the truth itself, and there is no deterioration of the truth, nor belittling either of one who speaks it or conveys it.

These, at the very least, are preconditions for, “the ex-Muslim community to start and develop some sort of expertise in the field of hadiths and the Qur’an,” let alone the far deeper, far more complex and far more frightening Shari’a behind the Qur’an and hadiths, the stuff reserved for Yasir Qadhi’s “advanced, advanced students of knowledge” and forbidden to lay Muslims. It would be “unwise,” says Yasir Qadhi, to induct lay Muslims into the deen behind the religion. He need not worry; ex-Muslims like Harris Sultan, Abdullah Sameer and Maryam Namazie have no intention of ever going there.

Yet whose responsibility is it, if not ex-Muslims', free from the mind-control of the “scholars,” to break down the religious front behind which lurks the terrifying totalitarian sociopolitical system with its barbaric Shari’a? What kind of freedom is it when we take extra-special care whom we talk to and whom we endorse, when we watch our ps and qs lest we be jumped on by our community political commissar and screamed and sworn at to fall back in line? When we left Islam, we left only the religion, for that was all we knew as lay Muslims, unaware of the horror behind the ever-so-sacred five pillars of the nice Muslims “who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Sultan’s caller is onto something, but “go[ing] through …systematic and scholarly education,” does not get you views, likes and subscribers. Hard work at the mine face cannot feed your narcissism the way a YouTube channel does. Let’s get our priorities straight here. Sultan’s dismissing the caller’s inconvenient question raises another question: like Abdullah Sameer and Maryam Namazie, does Harris Sultan’s preferred ignorance of Shari’a enable him to better defend Islam against “bigots”? So long as the caller remains outside the ex-Muslim cult, he will stay on the right track, and will eventually find his answer, no thanks to the ex-Muslim “community,” who will continue to run away from it.

Ultimately, ex-Muslim hatred of non-Muslim scholars of Islam comes down to a combination of envy and fear of being eclipsed. After all, such scholars, mostly academics, are highly educated and highly read, while most ex-Muslims are stunted from their experience under Islam. Studying the Muslim sources was never forbidden to non-Muslims. Cognitive training, i.e., philosophy, was never forbidden to them. Critical questioning was never forbidden to them. All three are forbidden to lay Muslims. Many ex-Muslims, especially the current crop of postmodernist disciples, don't have a hope of sitting at the same table with people such as Robert Spencer. To recover from what Islam has done to them and to catch up on what has been uncovered about Islam while they were still Muslim, requires ex-Muslims to embrace exactly the people against whom their puniness and ignorance will show. Doing so would not help their cultivated profile as hard-as-nails ex-Muslim activists defying death threats. So they prefer social media adulation to substance, and will vilify and block the likes of Robert Spencer. Don Quixote has a YouTube channel. Who would have thought.


  1. Should Ex-Muslims become Islamic scholars? Harris Sultan, YouTube, 19 Jun 2022
  2. A chat with Robert Spencer, Harris Sultan, YouTube, 5 Aug 2020
  3. The Hedaya, A Commentary on the Musselman Laws, tr. Charles Hamilton, Vol II, London, 1791, p77.
  4. Robert Spencer and Yasmin Muhammad aligning with Radical Hindus, Harris Sultan, YouTube, 14 Jun 2022
  5. Why do I think Robert Spencer is a bigot? Harris Sultan, YouTube, 21 Jun 2022 It stands to the credit of Nuriyah Khan, Sultan’s channel partner, that she immediately got out of the way of the train-wreck she clearly saw coming, declaring her respect for Spencer and the work he does. Sultan managed to insult her, too.
  6. Maryam Namazie on Islam, Tommy Robinson and Grooming Gangs, Triggernometry, YouTube, 11 Aug 2019 I go into much more detail on the mentality of ex-Muslims, including Maryam Namazie, in my forthcoming book, Islam Destroys Muslims.