The sad case of a failed philosopher

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.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh dear. A sad article full of backbiting, bitchiness and gross slander. What is even worse is the author’s hiding behind an anonymous name. Truly a cowardly think to do. The article is a disgrace.

  2. 'Uthmān says:

    Can you please elaborate on what makes you believe that he was jealous of Hamza Tzortzis and iERA’s prominence?

    Also, two factual errors:

    – It’s ‘The Deen Institute’ not ‘The Deen Foundation’.

    – They have held two major events: ‘Have Muslims misunderstood evolution?’ and ‘Can Muslims escape misogyny?’

  3. Adil says:

    Utterly pathetic article filled with incomprehensible bitchyness and vile slander, not to mention cowardly implicit takfir. To compare Adam Deen, to Maajid Nawaaz is disgraceful. Adam Deen (along with his wife) have debated and taken to task many Islamophobes and argued successfully for Islam on many occasions. Maajid Nawaaz is an Islamophobe who is in bed with Sam Harris and Douglas Murray (who are almost genocidal when it comes to Muslims) and constantly promotes things which are overtly anti Islam, whilst even criticising well meaning non Muslims who defend Muslims! The comparison is idiotic. You will never hear Maajid say anything positive about Islam (and rarely about Muslims, unless they are gay, ultra secular or decide to leave Islam altogether perhaps)

    Most of this article is ignorant and unprovable heresay; where is the evidence that Adam is ‘jealous’ of iera et al? ‘Adam never struck me as intelligent or articulate?’ What bitchy and unhelpful rhetoric.

    1. Well said Adil. ‘What bitchy and unhelpful rhetoric’ – indeed. Islamically he has committed several serious sins. He should repent and then ask for Adam’s forgiveness for his slander.

      1. Interesting comment Paul – it self-refutes 🙂

      2. Have you ever heard of the Tu quoque fallacy?

    2. So the comparison to Maajid Nawaaz was prescient rather than disgraceful…
      My only question is what this means for Adam’s wife Francois, who seems far more responsible than him.

    3. Ash says:

      Adam Deen joins the ranks of Quilliam Foundation an organisation ex-muslims who still pretend to be muslim so they can benefit from the Islamaphobia industry.

    4. Ghulam Esposito Haydar says:


      I wonder what you have to say now that Adam has joined the Quilliam Foundation?

  4. WhiteDove says:

    Adam Deen was a member of the Al-Muhajiroun back in its hay days. Maybe someone should quiz him about his past!

    Surprising to see him on the opposite end of spectrum, as a so called ‘moderate’ Muslim. I guess some people love living in extremes, and can never find the middle path.

  5. Adam Deen’s trajectory of hate filled vitriol against the vast majority of Muslims and traditional jurisprudence is little more than breathtaking. Someone needed to speak up.

  6. neither Adam Deens mate now or before says:

    Most of this factual even if we ignore the personal account, which we shouldn’t in such cases where people need to be warned of someone posing to be something he woefully isn’t.

    1. Adam is not posing as something he isn’t. Try dealing with his arguments rather than personal attacks.

      1. Salam says:

        As always Bilal. Spot on.

      2. Not a Char-a-lie (Share-a-lie) says:

        Ask most people even those with no religious beliefs or any confessed spiritual inclinations if they believe in ‘karma’ and the answer will be ‘yes’. People inherently believe that there is some law in motion that rewards and punishes behaviour. Because there is. If you walk off a cliff, you will fall. Regardless of your beliefs, race, deeds etc. The law is impartial and absolute.

        The problem arises when moral relativists like Adam Deen try to call some of those laws ‘unethical’ simply because it is not to their taste. Moral relativists struggle with the idea that if they perceive something to be right then there is no absolute truth to say it is wrong. They simply don’t believe in absolute truths. It is no surprise that The Quran becomes difficult for them to comprehend and is treated as allegorical.

        Natural Laws run in perfect harmony with morality. If morality decreases, choas increases. And you cannot judge yourself to be a moral person based on your own moral relativism. There are laws that govern behaviour and as Muslims we believe in the Sharia Law. We believe in absolute truths. *The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a classical example of moral decline bringing forth punishment.

        Adam Deen in no philosopher. He is a moral relativist with a solipsistic mindset. Nothing exists beyond what he cannot intellectually conceptualise. Therefore he accuses people of ‘intellectual apostasy’ when in reality it is pure solipsism on his behalf.

  7. Saiqa Bibi says:

    Adam should stick to debating christians/atheists and leave Islam and Muslims alone, we don’t need his reforms.

    1. Adam is an excellent Islamic apologist. His intellectual inferiors (such as yourself) should listen and learn.

      1. 'Uthmān says:

        Apologetics is precisely what the commenter above is saying Adam Deen should stick to. Existence of God, divine origin of the Qur’an. That sort of thing.

  8. To: ‘Not a Char-a-lie (Share-a-lie)’

    In short.

    Doesn’t understand the difference between absolute and objective morality.

    Doesn’t understand relativism.

    Also, allegorical readings don’t necessarily presuppose relativism.

    Lastly, Adam Deen is not a relativist.

    1. Not a Char-a-lie (Share-a-lie) says:

      Absolute morality: when your actions are in complete harmony with the external Law that governs you.

      Objective morality: if the actions are not in harmony with the external Law that governs you that is neither objective nor moral. Perhaps amoral. Amoral subjectivity.

      Relativism or moral relativism: Example, when a prostitute says she believes prostitution is not wrong because she is not harming anyone that is moral relativism. It is when the human being decides to become the sole arbitrator to decide what is right or wrong inaccordance to their own moral standards. Whether high or low. Even a low of someone might be a high for someone else.

      Allegorical readings don’t necessarily presuppose relativism: Agreed. When it comes to Law it however does become moral relativism.

      Adam Deen is not a relativist: Refer to point above + I also think he is solipsistic.

  9. Tariq says:

    This article has so much more weight to it now that Adam has joined The Quilliume Foundation (*shakes head*).

    Im surprised how right you were about Adam, although you were completely wrong here:
    “you won’t even manage to secure any funding from Sam Harris or likeminded American neo-cons”.

    I’ve also got annoyed with his continued “Puritanical” labeling also, which he is yet to adequately define for us.

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