I was at one point in time, fairly well acquainted with Adam Deen. I won’t exaggerate and say we were close friends but at the same time we were certainly more than passing acquaintances.
During the period I knew him personally he was touting himself as a speaker in the field of Islamic apologetics with a special emphasis on Muslim-Christian polemics. He was known to associate with personalities such as Abdullah Andalusi, Adnan Rashid and Hamza Tzortzis (all are still active speakers on issues relating to Islam).
Adam never struck me as particularly articulate or intelligent. While his efforts against relatively unknown and unschooled Christian evangelists were satisfactory it was abundantly clear to me that his ambition far outweighed his talent. His understanding of subjects such as philosophy, patristics, textual criticism, usul ul-fiqh, critical thinking was uniformly jejune and often embarrassingly so. Instead of recognising that he didn’t have the critical faculties required in an intellectual luminary he instead became fixated on doing whatever it might take to gain such recognition.
As the fame and reputation of his erstwhile friend, Hamza grew he became increasingly jealous of his success and that of his organisation, iERA. Desperately seeking recognition he ultimately managed to establish his own organisation, “The Deen Institute”. Who funds this organisation, I’m not aware of, nor whether he is in receipt of any funds allocated to the government’s PREVENT strategy. Perhaps he might volunteer this information so as to clarify the matter of who pays his bills?
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your viewpoint) the organisation he established hasn’t been much of a success. To my knowledge they have held only one “major” event and struggled to sell all the available tickets for it. For the past year or so, Adam has been vigorously pitching the line that he is on a crusade against “puritanical Islam”. He decries attempts to cast him as a “modernist” demanding a clear definition of the term from his detractors yet when pushed for a lucid, unambiguous definition of “puritanical” his responses are desultory and periphrastic. After constant pressing I once (Jan 1 2014) managed to elicit a ‘definition’ of “literalist” from him which he then tacitly acknowledged wasn’t really much of a definition going on to concede it represented ‘work in progress’. Well it’s been a year since then so I wonder if he’s got something better to offer now? Unfortunately I can’t ask him as he decided to block me on Twitter at some point (which I then reciprocated) but for those of you he still converses with feel free to pose the question.
His performance on BBC Panorama was classic Adam Deen: a vainglorious attempt to exude an air of erudition, constantly searching for grandiloquent phrases so as to mimic the diction of a savant augmented by the uttering of vacuities supposing them profundities. He represents another in a line of recent Muslim arrivistes propelled onto the public stage purely for their opposition to Islamic orthodoxy. His desperation to be a “somebody” has lead him to sell what remaining dignity he had for the cheap reward of endorsement by John Ware and the Islam-hating cabal (and perhaps also a few pennies from the PREVENT pot?).
My advice to you, Adam is that you will never be anyone of repute. Maajid Nawaz has already taken the role of “chief advisor (craven lickspittle) to HMG on Islamic radicalisation”, I’m afraid. Additionally, as you have neither his charisma nor élan, you won’t even manage to secure any funding from Sam Harris or likeminded American neo-cons. The CEMB (ex-Muslims) forum saw you for what you were a long time ago – a clown. A hapless cipher. Unfortunately while your clownery was previously a source of mild amusement it has now assumed a far more pernicious character. Your smearing of classical Islamic juridical opinions as “puritanical”, “toxic” and “cancerous” will be used to form, in part, the justification for a raft of oppressive measures aimed at hundreds of thousands of peaceful, law-abiding Muslims. Recently we witnessed the reporting of a Muslim revert woman to the authorities for the “crime” of asking a school to exempt her child from music lessons resulting in custody of her children being withdrawn from her. Ask yourself, Adam, do you really want such incidents on your conscience? Your rhetoric is enabling those who advocate such repressive measures and even worse.
Adam, while I disagree with many (probably most) of your wife’s opinions pertaining to Islam, I nevertheless applaud her for respecting and furthermore defending, the rights of those Muslims who wish to abide by normative opinions of classical Islamic jurisprudence – so-called “puritanical Islam”. Although, as befits a typical chauvinist “puritanical”, I have never favoured a woman’s primacy, in your case I strongly suggest you follow her lead and so spare yourself the abject debasement you seem intent on embracing. May Allah (swt) guide you before it’s too late!
May the peace and blessings of Allah (swt) be upon our master, Muhammad. Ameen.
UPDATE (09/02/2015): Adam Deen has over the weekend, in the manner of petulant schoolchild, bombarded Hamza Tzortzis with requests for a debate. Hamza’s polite refusal to engage in Adam’s juvenile game resulted in his throwing a full-scale tantrum. Readers are free to peruse the tweets for themselves and form their own judgements. It seems there is no end to this man’s clownery.