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Sam Harris’ Taqiyya

By Jonas Spooner & JB Stubbings

George Orwell, introduced The Ministry of Truth’s colloquially named ‘memory hole’ in the work 1984. His novel described the process where hidden from view the Ministry would destroy records of past realities so as to better reflect the propaganda of the day. Today, two decades post Orwell’s dystopian future, the new atheist ideologue Sam Harris has developed his own memory hole for the digital age; he secretly edits his own published works.

The most recent known case of this unethical practice is the transcript of a discussion Harris had in 2014 with author Andrew Sullivan which was published on Harris’ site. Harris made the following claim in the original:  “In fact, there is a doctrine of deception within Islam called Taqiyya, wherein lying to infidels has been decreed a perfectly ethical way of achieving one’s goals”. The current doctored version has been secretly altered. Harris gives no indication to his readers of the transcript’s post hoc edit. His asinine “Taqiyya” slur against Muslims at-large has gone down the memory hole.

This questionable practice is known as “scrubbing” and runs contrary to all universally accepted journalistic codes of conducts. For example, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Conduct states that:

“Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public…Journalists should…Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly”

While Harris’s description conjures up images of swarthy and villainous Arab Muslims guided by their religion to cheat the Jews through Taqiyya, the reality is rather different.  Taqiyya is interpreted differently by the various Islamic sects, loonwatch has written several articles on the topic you can read here and here. Its essence is akin to the Jewish George Soros surviving the holocaust through passing himself off as a Christian. The Islamic Dictionary defines it thusly:

“Dissimulation – to conceal, partially conceal or disguise one’s true feelings, beliefs or information when there is threat of death or serious harm and when there is a threat of great evil.

Harris appears to draw on anti-Muslim extremist Robert Spencer’s erroneous taqiyya definition wherein dastardly Muslims are mandated by their evil religion to deceive the infidel. This would be unsurprising as Harris believes that the man banned from Britain has a unique role to play in this war of ideasand Spencer is just one of the many right-wing kooks and bigots that have littered the pages of Breivik’s manifesto that Harris considers fellow-travellers.

Canadian Spencer-a-like Ezra Levant was successfully sued for libel for falsely conflating taqiyya with lying in a series of attacks he made on a Muslim student.

This now uncorrected but (unethically) scrubbed error of the dishonest Muslim stereotype is shamelessly used as the basis for Harris towing the Israeli-Right’s line of “no genuine partner for peace” amongst the Palestinians. The reality, even according to pro-Israel American diplomats involved in the negotiations, is that the Palestinians were bending-over-backwards with concessions while the Israelis acted in bad faith throughout and continued to expand their illegal settlements.

Harris’ adoption of the Israeli-Right’s narrative is predictable. Ironically, given his obsession with the lack of honesty in the Muslim world, Harris sanctifies the outed Neocon war propagandist Christopher Hitchens and is a donor to the Israeli-Intelligence linked MEMRI who amongst their other transgressions doctored a Norman Finkelstein interview to portray him as a Holocaust denier.

The Taqiyya incident wasn’t Harris’ first venture into the unethical world of scrubbing. He had previously secretly deleted his demand that American Muslims be “ethnically-profiled”:

  • May 25 2011: Sam Harris launches a diatribe against Muslims entitled “Bombing Our Illusions” in which he openly calls for the “ethnic profiling” of Muslims. It is published in The Huffington Post.  He calls for no compromise on not only Muslims being ethnically profiled by the State but insists Muslims must also profile their fellow Muslims within their communities.
  • 2011-2015: Harris repeatedly speaks out of both sides of his mouth on the issue of racial/ethnic profiling, often contradicting himself. (“Ethnic” profiling is “racial” profiling ). March 12, 2015: Arthur Chu of Salon denigrates Harris for his advancement of “Islamophobic racism”. He attacks Harris for his “racial profiling” advocacy.
  • Between March 8th and March 20, 2015: The Web Archive shows that  Sam Harris secretly edited his website to remove his call to “ethnically profile” Muslims. No notification is given to his audience of this amendment occurring four years after Bombing Our Illusions was first published.
  • March 16, 2016: Harris’ secret editing is spotted by a Twitter user.
  • April 2016: Caught red-handed, Harris excuses himself for his lack of transparency. He publishes “his editorial policy

As a cult-figurehead Sam Harris has profited handsomely from his projection of self as quasi-infallible to his dogmatic and mouth-foaming herd. Harris’ memory hole functions for the same purpose as The Party’s memory hole in Oceania – To preserve the all-knowing status and associated power. His ignorant followers, ill-equipped to see through sophistry, need to be informed by Harris himself if he has mistakenly been spreading anti-Muslim tropes and advocating racist policies.

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  • We have in the past. Personally I don’t think the concept requires much in the way of refutation.

    Islam discourage lying, but in extreme circumstances, such as when one’s life is threatened, an exception is granted. What further explanation is required?

    In any case, we have posted some articles on the topic:

    Taqiyya: The Ultimate Intellectual Cop-out by Danios

    Silencing Spencer: Taqiyya and Kitman are part of Judeo-Christian Belief by Danios

    And this cross post: Arabic for right-wingers

  • Khizer

    Also, Sam Harris the super hero.

  • Khizer

    “The path to truth… to not tell the truth.”

    – Guru Paul ‘Sweden is rape capital’ Watson

  • Hey, I see what you’re doing….trying to discredit those fine alt-right patriots with your logic jujitsu! No fair!

    Consistency and logic are not a thing anymore, Khizer. It’s 2016, okay? 🙂

    I’ll have to wait until my food is settled and then check out Watson’s Wisdom on the matter of Syria.

  • Khizer

    I find them funny.

    Trump reduces combat rules in Somalia, which were meant o protect Somalian civilians, hence putting innocent men, women and children in danger.

    “Meh….” -The alt-right

    Trump launches missles at one of Assad’s airbases in Syria, leading to the risk of angering ASSad.

    “WHOAH!!! Stop Trump! You’ll piss off daddy Assad!!! I’m not going to support you anymore!” -The alt-right

    The reaction from Paul ‘Muslims are rapists’ Watson was especially humorous.

    Also I kinda thought they would have loved bombing Muslims (you know, ‘TO SAVE DA WIMMINZ!!!’) since they HATE Muslim refugees.

  • I saw that. I predicted their “Glorious Leader” would disappoint them, but I didn’t think it would be this early in his presidency.

    No matter who we elect, it’s always the same. The president serves the elite at the expense of the people, protects corporate profits instead of the people, and goes on ceaseless military adventures. It doesn’t matter if we choose Coke or Pepsi.

    What did surprise me a little was how quick and harsh was their reversal. Fulsome praise turned to vicious insults in just one move. Fickle, these Nazis.

  • Khizer

    Illisha, Trump has attacked Syria, and the funny thing is……his alt-right supporters have stopped supporting him after this.

    What do you think?

  • No one is denying it’s there. The question is why is it a problem?

    Taqiyya is not an unlimited license to lie. It’s a pardon under extreme, special circumstances. In my view, this aligns well with common sense.

    I find it interesting that some people carry on and on about how Islam is harsh, but then when the doctrine proves softer and more practical than it is portrayed, that’s a problem too. Heads we win, tails you lose.

  • Igor

    Harris did redact two words “called taqiyya”, but the accusation that there’s such a doctrine in Islam is still there.

  • Joey Sanders

    Harris has a different standard when it comes to Jews and Israel. Here is an excerpt from his podcast, “Why I don’t criticize Israel.”

    Spooner and Stubbings have done some great work in exposing the likes of Maajid Nawaz and his ties to Israel. I have a feeling the same would apply to Sam Harris. Keep up the good work.

  • Khizer


  • Vigilant Skeptic

    My understanding of Taqiyah is that it is simply a defence used in times of absolute persecution when revealing religious identity would result in death to you or your family etc? And in my mind, that is really a common sense rule of survival in any situation. If someone bust down the door and said angrily with a half-lobotomised look on his face “are there any people who enjoy chocolate here?” and I KNEW deep down I loved chocolate and I havea famly to feed, I’d probably say “no, I don’t like chocolate” as dying over chocolate in that context does not achieve anything.

    But as far as I know, lying without fear of persecution is a one way trip to hell yes?

    Is that interpretation wrong?

  • JD
  • JD

    new atheism is a “religion ” with its
    Holy Books- God Delusion, The End of Faith
    Preachers and evangelists- Harris , Dawkins, Hitchens that charge you for speeches and events
    even TV shows- Atheist experience
    Love it They have become everything they hate

  • JD

    new atheism is a “religion ” with its
    Holy Books- new atheism God Delusion, The End of Faith
    Preachers and evangelists- Harris , Dawkins, Hitchens that charge you for speeches and events
    even TV shows- Atheist experience
    Love it They have become everything they hate

  • JD


    “Jews are permitted to lie without moral or religious compunction” **
    “Jewish law enjoins or permits Jews to murder non-Jews whenever feasible” **

    “Judaism condones the sexual molestation of young girls” **

    “there was no way to tell the true nature of Jews as they presented a false face. **

    — Jews were uniquely violent and untrustworthy compared to all the other peoples of the world. **

    — anti-Semitism was a reasonable response to a clear and present danger. **

    — there was a “Jewish problem” and that measures against the Jews were reasonable and defensive. **
    7 out of 7 anti Muslim talking points just replace jews with Muslims

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    The initial energy of new atheism as a force and movement seems spent at this point with a lot of disillusioned casualties among its fanatical followers.

  • Khizer

    When you scour the depths of reddit, you find a lot of people to make fun of.

    Also I was recently reading this subreddit by religious and non-religious people making fun of these E U P H O R I C new athiest twats. Here it is,

  • cmyfe .

    So you’re implying he is masturbating while thinking of a stinky drunkard?
    Such filthy thoughts you have!

  • Khizer





    Oh, and please don’t criticise Israel 🙂

    The last bastion of HUMAN RIGHTS and DEMOCRACY int the Middle East. Even if it means undermining democracy and development of the Middle East……:)

  • cmyfe .

    Heh, actually he looks like he is just about to release.

  • Khizer

    That is the face of pure…..


  • cmyfe .

    Great article.
    Just look at Sam’s face. He clearly looks like someone who lies and deceives all the time.

  • AJ

    A very well-researched article this is.

  • Khizer

    A true and HONEST getlesir, he would never be not honest with his E U P H O R I C fanbase. Take down this blasphemo…..I mean slanderous article or face the wrath of his purely ENLIGHTENED followers!!!

    Mountain Dew and Doritos will rain upon ye, and when that’s not enough to take down you cucks and regressive LIEberals, we will send our giant living effigy of Christopher Hitchens, made out of of Mountain Dew and Doritos dust and powered by le science, to DESTROY your writing careers!!!

    And if that doesn’t work, prepare for DEATH THREATS in your EEEMMMAILLLSSSS!!!!


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