Recently, one of my readers brought something to my attention that brightened the charm to Reza Aslan’s image as an apologist for Muslim extremism. The reader had presented to me a rather intriguing quote from Aslan’s book, titled “Beyond Fundamentalism”. Now don’t get me wrong – the last few pages I did read were rather mundane, reeking with tribalism and painfully exhausting to even bother with but I took the initiative to confirm the authenticity of the quote – and to my amusement, it was. In the chapter titled “The Middle Ground”, page 175, paragraph 3, Aslan stated “As we have seen, religious nationalism—whether Zionist, Christianist, or Islamist—is unavoidable in a globalized and an increasingly borderless world. But that may not be such a bad thing. Between the extremes of secular authoritarianism and Jihadist fanaticism (often the only two options in this challenging and dangerous region), Islamism may be the preferable middle ground. It may in fact be the antidote to Jihadism.” Aslan’s deceitful conclusion that romanticizes Islamism [a state of ideological colonialism] as an antidote to the very fanaticism it captivates perfectly highlights how deeply he’s affected by the cognitive dissonance suffered by a majority of theists, regardless of their faith and geography. Since the birth of Islam in 7th century AD, Islamism has been instrumental in maintaining anti-secular/atheist and non-Muslim sentiments. The expansion of Islamic colonialism that crept into and beyond the borders of Eastern/Southern Europe, Central/Southern Asia and Central/Northern Africa had left a permanent mark of civil unrest that persists even today in the 21st century. On April 2, 2015, in the early morning hours in north-eastern Kenya, 4 Muslim extremists from the al-Shabaab [Islamist] organization stormed the Gadrissa University, hunting Christians and massacring anyone who failed to quote the Quran to confirm their faith. While Muslims were freed, unharmed, 147 non-Muslims were slaughtered. Now, let’s consider the number of Islamists vs. the number of victims. It took a mere 4 Muslim extremists who felt the need to display how engrossed they were with Islamism – by slaughtering 147 innocent people before detonating their suicide vests. It was reported that the mastermind behind the suicide attack was Mohamed Kuno, a high-ranking al-Shabaab member who was also a headmaster at a Garissa Islamic school until he resigned in 2007. Muslim extremists have repeatedly targeted educational institutions. From the ‘Peshawar Attack’ by the Taliban to the countless number of attacks on Nigerian schools by Boko Haram to now the Gadrissa University – Islamists target the most vulnerable of places with the most innocent of people to send one message – and that is, literally, a bloody oath of Islamism. Avijit Roy and Washiqur Rahman were both hacked to death in Dhaka, Bangladesh, just 5 weeks apart – Roy was murdered [his wife left critically injured] on February 26, 2015 and Rahman was also murdered in the same nature on March 30, 2015. What was their “crime”? They were vocal secular humanists who encouraged secularism on the internet – that was all. Even those who were first shocked at their murders recanted their sympathy because Roy and Rahman were critical of Islam – and such cretinous attitude is a product of Islamism. On January 7, 2015 – Cherif and Said Kouachi murdered 11 people over Charlie Hebdo’s caricature in Paris, France. They spared the women, ordering them to convert to Islam and wear the hijab.  Although the Kouachi brothers’ lives may have been traumatic due to domestic violence and personal family losses as many millions of children have experienced worldwide, when Islamists recruited and radicalized them – the Islamization of the brothers, who were French-born and embraced French culture beforehand, completely renounced their French identity to adopt armed Jihadism – that is Islamism. When the Iraq war erupted in 2003, ISIS/ISIL who declared their new identity as the Islamic State since 2014, had left a trail of blood, limbs, rape, slavery and genocide across the Middle East – and the tragedy of the Middle East, is the fact that since the birth of Islam, the region has been engulfed in ideological [sectarian] violence. Islamism, as I had mentioned many times before, is the Achilles’ heel of the Middle East. There is a reason why the Middle East continues to struggle and remain in a state of war, poverty and gender-apartheid even though the land itself is rich in resource and culture. Majority of Middle Eastern Muslims actually want Sharia to dictate both politics and the social life which greatly undermines societal progress thus the age of Islamism relentlessly pursues Islamic totalitarianism. Even if the Islamic State is eliminated today – another group will ascend to its place. As long as the sentiment for Islamism exists – so will the explosively violent nature of armed Jihadism. In 1947, Pakistan was born – India was severed to create a land for Muslims. During British colonization of India, Hinduism was seemingly more influential in politics which threatened the Islamic co-identity of India which triggered movements of Islamism and the inevitable demand for a Muslim state. Although “Pakistan” has a multicultural/racial reference embedded in the name – just as the Arab Islamic nations, it soon became immersed in implementing Islamic authoritarianism that persecuted Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities. The vision called the “Land of the Pure” became consumed in one tragedy after the next. During Islamic colonialism of Europe, led by the Ottomans, the then-known Constantinople [present-day Istanbul], was a flourishing Christian city founded some time after 320 AD. But after Mehmed II invaded Constantinople in 1453, the city was annihilated and left in ruins. The Ottomans, however, did re-establish and populate the city within 200 years after laying it to waste. One of the greatest architectural wonders built in Constantinople around 537 AD, was the famous Hagia Sophia, a Greek Orthodox Church that did survive a couple of ideological conversions prior to it being hijacked by the Ottoman invaders [in 1453] and transformed into a mosque. But luckily, the secular revolution of Turkey in 1931 had made the wonder a secular space – a national museum. During the early Ottoman rule of Constantinople, in order to regrow the city – the Ottoman Empire did permit a multi-religious tolerance but only under conformity to intolerable policies. Aside from the well-known tax on non-Muslims called the Jizya, Christian families had to give up their eldest male child to be converted into Muslims to fight for the Ottoman military and the women and girls were selected to be the Sultan’s concubines who were restricted to small living spaces and were forbidden from leaving the assigned space which imprisoned them in solitude and misery. And all this was a part of ancient Islamism which Turkey did eventually overcome but, in the 21st century today, its secular revolution has been squandered with the rise of Islamism once more.             Islamism also grooms young girls to be sexual objects of the heterosexual male and submit to the dehumanization by enforcing religious scriptures through Sharia that constantly define females’ worth as half that of a male and claims that they are property of their husband. Islamism breeds a terrifying volume of gender-apartheid that threaten the rights of women and girls, a fact that can be substantiated by the scarce number of rights sanctioned for women and girls under Sharia. Essentially, Islamism grooms all Muslims to venerate religious scriptures no matter how foul and inhumane it may be – but not all Muslims succumb to such suggestions of barbarity and do denounce the atrocities invoked by it, alas, these are also liberal Muslims of the East who are persecuted and ostracized by Muslim nations. But Reza Aslan is a goose that lays golden eggs – he can sell his narrative of ideological bigotry to a beguiled audience – his words are just too golden to deny – so, many would actually believe Islamism is a good thing – and this is where the bomb starts ticking. If we are to scroll through Aslan’s Twitter feed – you will find one form of consistency – he will be very vocal about non-Muslims’ violence against Muslims, but will, at most, make a retweet of someone else’s tweet regarding Islamist violence that left hundreds/thousands of non-Muslims and Muslims dead, and will be suspiciously muted in personal outrage except in shrieking about how Islamists have nothing to do with Islam.   Aslan implies Islamism is the propriety to a peaceful Islam – yet he wonders why there’s a global backlash against Islam. Of course there are Muslims who do not believe in such fascist ideas and sadly, they are struggling to survive from the persecution resulting from being critical of Islamism. If there is an alternate world where Islamism is the “middle ground” to counter Jihadism – I would like to live there – but first, it’s pivotal for me to adorn a tin foil hat to better accept the ultimate truth that gushes from Reza Aslan’s intellectual dishonesty. On page 164, paragraph 3, Aslan refers to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [a rebel group consisting of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and ex-Sinhalese military] a “Hindu/Marxist” group to conflate them as ideological terrorists as the Islamists. As a Tamil Sri Lankan who survived the civil war, I had a good laugh at this scholar’s blatant display of ignorance. Not only did he demonize Tamils who faced actual ethnic-cleansing by the genocidal Sinhalese Buddhist supremacists, but he also took a defensive tone for the genocidal Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, etc. 40,000 Tamils were slaughtered under 5 months by Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa regime in 2009 yet I don’t think Aslan outraged over that. Centuries of apartheid before the final moments of the civil war in May 2009, all contributed to the rise of the LTTE who organized the insurgency for the sole purpose of a Tamil state [which is what “Eelam” represents] as a last resort to end the apartheid. LTTE are not free of blame though – I have heavily criticized them over the years and condemned them for their atrocities, which made my Tamil brethren question my “loyalty”. Aslan, however, is so anally tribal, that he conflated a secular/Marxist rebellion to Islamists who want to secure a global Islamic totalitarianism just to point out how unfairly Muslim extremists are treated by the world which they are constantly threatening with Islamism.    Ultimately, this unicorn’s legacy has earned him a television show on CNN to fuel more anti-secular/atheist/non-Muslim sentiments because the world needs more Avijit Roys and Charlie Hebdo-like victims, right? Islamism is the antidote, after all – said the unicorn! If being dubious earns you a career – I guess pseudo liberalism is giving children and young adults the most politically correct encouragement to success. And I shall only tune in to his show if the credit screams “I’m a scholar!”