If I never hear the names Reza Aslan and Bill Maher again, that would be just fine with me, but nonetheless, this ongoing controversy is highly illuminating in numerous ways. One thing it exposes is how absolutely one-sided the mainstream media is: after Maher left the reservation, mainstream media publications vied with one another to condemn him, putting out an avalanche of articles about how he was wrong about Islam. Nary a single article appeared in any mainstream outlet saying yes, Maher is right, there is a problem with Islam. Nary a one. We ostensibly have a free press, and yet again and again on this issue and others it marches in absolute unbroken lockstep. The media storm over our latest AFDI bus ads was the same way: there was a blizzard of articles all over the world about our ads, and not a single one in any mainstream publication was favorable.
For whatever reason, we do not have a free press. On the issue of Islam and jihad the mainstream press is a one-party state, with a few dissenting voices allowed now and again on Fox. Another aspect of this is that what the mainstream does present about Islam is very often flatly false, as here. Aslan claims that “the very first thing that Muhammad did was outlaw slavery.” Let’s look at the record:
The Qur’an has Allah telling Muhammad that he has given him girls as sex slaves: “Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave girls whom God has given you as booty.” (Qur’an 33:50)
Muhammad bought slaves: “Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported: There came a slave and pledged allegiance to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) on migration; he (the Holy Prophet) did not know that he was a slave. Then there came his master and demanded him back, whereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Sell him to me. And he bought him for two black slaves, and he did not afterwards take allegiance from anyone until he had asked him whether he was a slave (or a free man).” (Muslim 3901)
Muhammad took female Infidel captives as slaves: “Narrated Anas: The Prophet offered the Fajr Prayer near Khaibar when it was still dark and then said, ‘Allahu-Akbar! Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.’ Then the inhabitants of Khaibar came out running on the roads. The Prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives. Safiya was amongst the captives. She first came in the share of Dahya Alkali but later on she belonged to the Prophet. The Prophet made her manumission as her ‘Mahr.'” (Bukhari 5.59.512) Mahr is bride price: Muhammad freed her and married her. But he didn’t do this to all his slaves:
Muhammad owned slaves: “Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle was on a journey and he had a black slave called Anjasha, and he was driving the camels (very fast, and there were women riding on those camels). Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Waihaka (May Allah be merciful to you), O Anjasha! Drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels (women)!'” (Bukhari 8.73.182) There is no mention of Muhammad’s freeing Anjasha.
But these facts don’t fit what the mainstream media wants you to think about Islam, so you will never see them on HuffPost Live.
“Reza Aslan: If ISIS Says It’s Muslim, Then It’s Muslim,” by Antonia Blumberg, Huffington Post, October 15, 2014 (thanks to Pedro):
…Aslan joined HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill to discuss the rise of the Islamic State and the media’s complicated response to it on Wednesday. In a previous interview with CNN, Aslan criticized comedian Bill Maher for making sweeping statements about Islam, a theme he returned to on HuffPost Live.
“There’s a difference between criticizing a person’s belief and condemning that person themselves, and loathing them or dismissing them, or even suggesting that those people should be harmed because of their beliefs,” Aslan said.
Aslan also warned against saying that the Islamic State isn’t Muslim, which may be true in some regards but misleading in others.
“ISIS’ notion of reestablishing slavery as part of Islam — I mean, if you know anything about Islamic history the very first thing that Muhammad did was outlaw slavery,” Aslan said. “Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a Muslim pope, there is no such thing as a Muslim Vatican. No one gets to tell you who is and who is not a Muslim.”