In the comments, Anushirvan leaves the following to an earlier article I posted on the situation:
Too many atheists try to desist from criticizing Islam in the 21st century.
As Thomas Cothran notes on //www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2012/08/against-faith-in-faith
“It has become a strange and unfortunate commonplace that one must have faith in faith—faith, that is, in the ability to commit oneself to truths that transcend rational justification—not only out of respect for faith’s intrinsic (if futile) beauty, but also as a means to the truth. Confronted with inadequate evidence for the deeper truths of life, one must conjure up a commitment to ideas for which the subjective act of faith can be the only ground, and one must believe not only in the content of faith but in the faith-act itself.
This, at least, is the picture of faith one finds in the writings of Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris, and it has an embarrassing currency among Christian believers.”
But not only among Christians, it has to be noted. Indeed, the aforementioned writers have often enough described a tendency not only among Christians but also among atheists, that religion in their minds seems to bear a sacred and untouchable character that elevates itself above all potential criticism, whereby having faith itself seems to be enough of a qualifier to treat all religions with “equal respect”. Among atheists it seems that those “having faith in faith” covet a certain type of deference to the authority of all religions, which is ironically a crypto-religious standpoint in itself.
Basically, having faith in faith can explain, to some extent, why some atheists simply do not bother with criticizing any religion during their lifetime, but with regards to Tom Chivers’ piece, something more ominous takes place. In this case, having faith in faith morphs into the standard rhetoric of the “progressive” Leftwing PC/MC atheist, bending backwards to distance himself from Richard Dawkins’ logic that no religious doctrine should ever be exempted from criticism. The main anxiety of Tom Chivers and the likes is to try and show deference to Islam in particular, (rather than to any other religion) exempting this doctrine from all criticism and keeping in mind the horrendous consequences sustained criticism of it will have in the long run.
A classic case of progressive-liberal Stockholm Syndrome, that permeates not only some echelons within Christian communities of various sub-denominations or liberal Jews, but also a large portion of atheists around the world. Which turns into a whole array of feeble attempts by pseudo-intellectuals to find “moderate” Islam or “moderate” Muslims with a proverbial electron microscope.