In one of their pages, Answering Islam had made the following claim with the clear intention of “poisoning the well” where Muslim sites are concerned :
(emphasis are our own)
The rest of the page goes on to either debase or discredit Muslim websites for their dependency on “atheist” material and preaching about the lack of “conscience” on the part of Muslims to abandon atheist material (notwithstanding the fact that most of the links on their page are either broken or no longer exist).
Contradiction in Practice
Unfortunately, Answering Islam does not seem to practise what it preaches. Of late they have been relying on atheist material from hostile anti-Islamic websites in order to further their goal of “the presentation of the truth and genuine Christian scholarship”. Is it considered “the presentation of the truth” to rely on material from which they themselves denounce its source — known atheist websites openly hostile to Islam such as Freethought Mecca, Mukto-Mona and Faithfreedom International — to the extent that they are being used freely and widely throughout their articles ?
One of their team members — despite the so-called “official policy” of Answering Islam to never resort to atheist material — even had the audacity to state in an e‑mail dated January 21st 2004, as follows :
Sent : Wednesday, January 21, 2004 3:00 AM
To : nadirahmedassalafi@*****; sbwus@*****; email@example.com
Cc : firstname.lastname@example.org ; menj@******; usman11@*******; islm4evr1@*******; cyberapostle99@*******; noorullah48@*******
Subject : RE : PROOF : Silas & his gang are *Heretics*…Read : REFUTATION : MUHAMMAD’S SUICIDE ATTEMPTS
Ah huh, sure you will. You meant to say that you will begin your Spring Comedy Tour soon. See how Answering Islam, FreeThought Mecca and FFI expose this fraud…
So much for their touted “reliance” upon genuine Christian scholarship. The e‑mails we have bolded above belong to three prominent team members of Answering Islam : Sam Shamoun, “Silas” and Jochen Katz, respectively.
Questioning the Double Standard of Answering Islam
It is also clear that despite the (worthless) “pledge” of Answering Islam, they have used atheist literature for many years against Islam. For example, a prominent atheist author they are fond of quoting is the Marxist-influenced Iranian, Ali Dashti. Here is what Jochen Katz said five years ago when defending his use of Dashti in a newsgroup posting dated 02/07/1999 :
Hence, this begs the following question : If we Muslims are not supposed to use atheist material because they reject the concept of God, then why does it make sense for the Christian missionaries to make use of material from groups who openly reject their religious belief system, i.e. the Jews, in their attacks against Islam ? The Jews, though they do believe in God, openly reject the Prophethood of Jesus(P) in toto and their literature are riddled with the most abusive and insultive words against him and Mary(P). Yet, the Answering Islam team have an uploaded version of Geiger’s book on their website many years ago !
We at bismikaallahuma.org are firm in our stand that valid scholarship — regardless of whether its source is Muslim, Christian or otherwise — will be used to defend Islam from the missionary onslaught. As much as we disagree with the fundamental beliefs of Atheism, Judaism, etc., we shall not hesitate to quote from them if their argument is proven valid with the proper scholarship backing up a particular argument. If “Answering (Attacking-) Islam” wishes to use material from the heathen who are even against their faith, that is totally up to them. But why accuse and lambast Muslims for something which they themselves adopt and use freely ? Is this the case of a pot calling the kettle black ?
In conclusion, it is clear that the issue here is not whether Muslims are sourcing material from the “heathen” or otherwise, but that when their arguments get sharper from relying on genuine scholarship (no matter the source), the missionaries have no answer to them and therefore resort to poisoning the well. Even if Muslims do use atheist material, it simply means that they are simply adopting “Answering (Attacking-) Islam’s” methodology, and that those behind Answering Islam are proven to be hypocrites when they demand that we do not use their methodology. Furthermore, their deception are also exposed when they lie about not using atheist sources because it “contradicts” their belief system, and yet they still use works the likes of Dashti and even anti-Christian sources to attack Islam. So why is it okay for them to use such sources and not okay for Muslims in general to follow their methodology ?
Atheist Sources in Debate Revisited
Answering Islam’s justification for using atheist sources, while claiming not to adopt their presuppositions, appears contradictory. This selective engagement with atheist material, despite an earlier commitment to avoid such sources, undermines the credibility of their policy. Their argument about maintaining intellectual integrity by avoiding atheist presuppositions is, in practice, a nuanced form of cherry-picking information that suits their narrative. This approach not only reflects a lack of consistency in their methodology but also raises questions about the intellectual honesty of their discourse.
Moreover, the argument that engaging with atheist sources inherently risks accepting their anti-supernaturalist views oversimplifies the complex nature of interfaith dialogues. It fails to acknowledge that critical examination and use of diverse sources, including atheist perspectives, can enrich religious debates without necessitating the acceptance of their foundational philosophies. Answering Islam’s stance, therefore, seems to be more about convenience than about adhering to a coherent set of principles. The rationale provided by Answering Islam for their use of atheist materials in debates exhibits a selective and inconsistent application of their own stated policies. This approach not only contradicts their earlier commitments but also casts doubt on the integrity of their participation in interfaith dialogues.