After getting a Harvard degree in philosophy and contributing to academia with such papers as Explaining the Islamic Prohibition of Same-Sex Acts to a Western Audience, Houston-born Muslim Daniel Haqiqatjou went to work to reclaim the word skeptic.
To him, it doesn’t signify a critical way of assessing supernatural claims. Quite the opposite. This is how Haqiqatjou, who is either a full-blown fundamentalist or for all practical purposes indistinguishable from one, interprets what it means to be skeptical:
No one is immune from the influence of the powerful dogmas of modernity, dogmas which threaten the faith of Muslims around the world. These dogmas — e.g., secularism, liberalism, feminism, materialism, capitalism, etc. — require utmost skepticism and critique from Muslims.
The modus operandi of the Western skeptic is to question and then object to anything that does not accord with his understanding. This is because he erroneously believes that his own mind can serve as the absolute criterion of Truth.
The Muslim skeptic, however, questions himself and objects to anything within himself that does not accord with Islam. This is because he correctly believes that his own mind is finite and that only Islam can serve as the absolute criterion of Truth.
With that in mind, Haqiqatjou has started two websites. One is the evangelizing Muslim Skeptic, cleverly named to catch traffic from doubting Muslims googling for information about the truthfulness of their holy texts. The other is the online Alasna Institute, which, as far as I can tell, is a sort of Prager U dedicated to teaching Islamic theology through paid, faux-academic video courses.
But it’s Haqiqatjou’s presence on Twitter that could well be the more toxic of his web-based exploits. Here’s what he tweeted the other day:
Oh man, I missed the International Day Against Homophobia. The best way to celebrate such a beautiful, momentous, important day is the Muslim way: Recreational Base Jumping! pic.twitter.com/4ovLxnvVil
— Daniel Haqiqatjou (@Haqiqatjou) May 19, 2020
Oh man, I missed the International Day Against Homophobia. The best way to celebrate such a beautiful, momentous, important day is the Muslim way: Recreational Base Jumping!
That text appeared over a picture of two people, who seem to be wearing wingsuits, plunging into a cityscape from a platform that suggests a very tall skyscraper.
It’s a reference to fundie Muslims executing LGBT people by pushing them off the roof of a tall building.
But Haqiqatjou had built deniability right into his tweet. He professed in a subsequent comment:
Nothing shows solidarity for LGBT like extreme sports!
And when he got pushback, he turned up the trolling to 11:
Wow, some people are associating my love for recreational base jumping with something entirely different JUST BECAUSE I AM MUSLIM. That is ISLAMOPHOBIA. What century is this, bigots?
This is a man who has the ear of swaths of the English-speaking ummah, and seeks to educate them about what Allah really commands of his followers. That includes, it seems, murdering LGBT people who’ve never harmed a hair on any Muslim’s head (and who often want to be Muslims’ allies).
Ponder for a moment that Haqiqatjou doesn’t live in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia or Iran, but right here in the United States, under the protection of the First Amendment which allows him to say anything violent and inciting as long as he phrases it cleverly enough.
One commenter on Twitter opined that
… The best time to delete this post was immediately after posting it. The second best time is now.
But I disagree. I hope Haqiqatjou never deletes it (I’ve screenshotted and saved it for future reference, if needed). We should keep reminding ourselves that these spreaders of hatred of destruction are out there, demanding respect — and claiming respectability — by alternately donning the mantles of religion and victimhood.