I’m free at last. It’s been two weeeks since I escaped the asylum.
I had come to call the free channels on Disqus “the asylum” because they seem to attract so many unstable, broken people. Which is how I’d describe myself when I arrived there.
Though I spent only about a year there as “Lenna,” I’ve been debating loons on a daily basis for 7 years. It was time to move on.
It’s late September and I really should be back at school…I have that old Rod Stewart song stuck in my head. 🙂
Anyway, this is both a post-mortem and a final farewell.
Ilisha of Loonwatch
In the fall of 2011, I started out as a contributor and moderator on the Loonwatch blog. It was a niche blog devoted to defending Muslim civil rights.
Loonwatch was a “big tent” social project meant to bring together people of all faiths (and no faith). From all across the political spectrum.
For a few years, we countered the “counter jihadists” who’d been springing up like mushrooms in the wake of 9/11. We took them on, it seemed, almost single-handedly.
And they did not appreciate it. We got death threats and so forth.
Once a fairly well-known neocon threatened us. And put a virus payload under a link, which I foolishly clicked.
I can’t say for certain he was who he said he was. But I do believe it was him.
To me, that just meant we were giving them a good run. We called them “loons” and their network of hate sites “the looniverse.”
All across the looniverse, the loons were raging at Loonwatch. 🙂
Harry’s Place aka the Zionist Hyena Den
Speaking of neocons, at some point, Sarah Brown from Harry’s Place befriended me. I liked Sarah.
We used to talk a lot, on Loonwatch and Twitter and in private email. The first time I ventured over to the site where she contributes, Harry’s Place, I was ambushed.
Some people say Sarah is a honeypot. The sweet one who lures people over to her Zionist hyena den to be mauled and devoured.
Unsuspecting, I plunged right in. And in the heat of an unexpected battle, used the “B” word.
As in something like, “you’re fierce when you come after us, but when we strike back, you cry like a little b….” That’s not an exact quote, but you get the idea. 🙂
That’s the one and only time I ever swore on Disqus (other than perhaps quoting someone else). People made a big, big deal out of it too.
Which seems like a good thing. For people not to expect any vulgarity like that coming from me.
My Favorite Place to Take a Beating
After some recovery time, I went back to Harry’s Place. I wanted to see how well I did against them on their own home field.
They are Eustion Zionist Neocons of the most thuggish variety. Lots of them anyway.
Since I was ready for them the next time, I did alright. And then I went back. Again and again.
Until I got bored and moved on. Back then I was a staunch secularist, and what Sarah called a “free speech militant.”
I was at the time using their own framework against them. Because their muscular version of liberalism contradicts the classical variety.
It all started in late 2012 and that series did not end until someone literally tried to kill me in 2017, a couple of months before I arrived on the channels as “Lenna.” To some degree, the horror show continues to this day.
I literally saw the world through different eyes. Up until then, the Khilafah was a joke for us on Loonwatch.
We were making fun of the loons who said there was a diabolical “Leftist-Islamist Alliance” afoot, spreading Shariah by stealth. What happens when the joke is no longer a joke?
When you start longing for the Khilafah for real.
Snapping into Place
Ah, that satisfying snap.
Sometimes it’s an object you’re struggling to put together. Then the pieces finally give you the gift of that reassuring snap.
Other times it’s all in your head. Some concept that remains a bit fuzzy. Until it all snaps together. Just like that.
That’s what happened to me. Sometime in 2013.
Lots of ideas in Islam that had seemed so nebulous and murky snapped into focus. And I’ve never been the same since.
The Gaza Slaughter of 2014
After that quick snap, details fell into place over time. You can always deepen and broaden knowledge, so it was about the framework where it all goes.
I know it had gelled by 2014. Because during Ramadan of that year, the evil Zionists went on another of their bloodletting rampages in Gaza.
It really struck me. Sarah was a Zionist, and there was another Zionist from Loonwatch I was also emailing almost daily.
I cut them both loose. I purged them because I couldn’t make compromises with people who support that evil anymore.
Not Really Taqiyya
I still went to Harry’s Place to debate for a little while. They immediately caught on to the shift and started calling me an “Islamist.” As if I care. 🙂
What always amazed me is how much more attuned they were to me than the most of the visitors at Loonwatch. Back then I wasn’t to disclose that I was a Muslim.
Harry’s Place knew I was from the minute I arrived there. Just as they knew when I went from a “regressive liberal” secularist to an “Islamist.” (their parlance).
Your enemies can sometimes see you more clearly than your friends. They later said they stopped engaging me when they realized what I’d been hiding.
But I wasn’t hiding anything. When I was there as a liberal secularist, I was a true believer.
And when I suddenly changed, I was also a true believer. Sometimes a cheetah really does change her spots. 🙂
Sometime in 2016, I meandered over to the free Disqus channels.
Loonwatch was always leery of me running wild under their auspices. Perhaps saying things that were not aligned with their secular “big tent” mission.
I had already killed Ilisha and started over as Lenna on Twitter. I had started this blog as Lenna in 2014 as well.
I kept the Ilisha Disqus profile exclusively for the Loonwatch space. I created a new Disqus profile under the nickname “Lenna,” and returned to the channels in the fall of 2017.
Whenever I reincarnate, someone always recognizes me. Usually pretty quickly.
On Twitter, it was literally instant. On Disqus, it took a week or two.
The Far-Reaching Argument
The most enticing draw to the channels for me was The Far-Reaching Argument. An Islamic channel where I found some intriguing friends.
The owner at the time had immediately made me a mod when I showed up as Ilisha. And made me a mod again when I showed up as Lenna, even though he didn’t (at first) know I was one and the same.
To keep a very long story reasonably short, let me just say the channel is now dead as a doornail. Some people say that’s my fault, though I disagree.
But at some point, months ago, the owner did transfer the channel to me. He came to regret that decision later.
A huge argument broke out, originally over the matter of takfir. I think that all started in March, and now, over six months later, it rages on.
Or maybe I should say whimpers on? Most of the original combatants are gone or at least a lot quieter.
The Golden Rule
I adopted a channel of my own. Which was already named The Golden Rule (TGR).
It was a pretty good name and already had about 4,000 followers. So that was a great start.
When I adopted that channel in October of 2017, I didn’t realize I was going to get The FRA the next month.
By November, I had two channels. The FRA was strictly Islamic and TGR was for everything else.
I never set a clear mission for TGR. Some thought that was a bad idea, but I could never settle on a theme.
The Falling Out
I don’t know how much I want to say about the battle we had. I don’t want to stir things up all over again.
If I thought it would have done any good, I’d have stayed and debated with our opponents on the channels. But it wasn’t a debate anymore.
It had devolved and by the end, was more like someone coming around every day, spraying mud all over you. You can stay and hose yourself down all the time.
But at some point, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. And one day, I found the answer was “no.”
So I left.
Sweet, Methodical Escape
I didn’t delete myself from Disqus in haste, with hot tears streaking down my face. If anyone had been paying close attention, they’d have seen it coming.
I had already deleted my original Ilisha account. Loonwatch is no longer active anyway.
I decoupled my blog from the Disqus commenting system. And added a souped-up version of WordPress comments in its place.
Then I went to the Golden Rule and asked Yusuf to go private. We both went private and plotted my departure.
Thank You, Yusuf
Yusuf and I were on the same side in the battle. There were four main players on the other side.
Though they had a lot more of the spectators on their side. The cool thing about this battle (among a lot of really bad things) is that it put a promise of mine to the test.
I had said (several times) that I would stand by Yusuf no matter what. Even if we were the last two people left, just talking to one another.
Who would have thought it might really happen?
We were not literally the last two. But among our (false) friends, we were.
Which was okay with me. Yusuf and I agree on some fundamental things, so it was never even a question. If forced to take a side, I was going to take his.
Closing the FRA
I asked Yusuf to close The FRA. So much evil had centered around that channel.
The former owner said he wanted to restore his original mission, which was to teach people about Islam. Instead he weaponized the place.
He used a promise I made (and fulfilled three times over) as a bludgeon. And used the channel itself as a launchpad to attack Yusuf and me.
I guess we could call it poetic justice. A month after I left, the Wolfpack he led wrecked the channel.
It was a total meltdown. Which they tried to blame on me (despite my absence).
Not that any of it matters anymore. After Yusuf agreed, I removed all of the other mods and added him.
He wrote a farewell post, and that was that.
The Fate of TGR
Yusuf is really good at running channels, masha’Allah. He was already running TGR, and I was really just supporting him.
He agreed to take care of that channel too. I suggested possibly closing it, but on his own schedule.
It could be open for 10 more days or 10 more years. At this point, it’s up to him and it really doesn’t matter to me.
I put up a new banner so the place looked better than ever. Which is a good thing, because the banner is set permanently now.
The Nuclear Option
My id was the “creator” or owner of both channels. Disqus stopped allowing people to add or transfer channels.
There are only a few things a creator can do that the other mods can’t.
They can modify elements of the channel design, like the banner. They can add and remove mods. That’s about it.
Once a creator id is deleted, that’s it. No more creator to change those things anymore.
There are just whatever mods were in place, frozen in time. Welcome to the Hotel California. 🙂
The mods can check out anytime (delete their ids) but otherwise, they can never leave.
This is how Disqus has left things, which is frustrating. If all the ids are deleted, the channel is orphaned.
Orphans and Graveyards
Channel Islam is sort of like that. Though it has two mods, only one is mildly active.
CI is now a popular graveyard. Where a lot of our battles took place.
It’s kind of funny for a channel to do so well when no one is running it. Sort of like a dead guy winning an election. 🙂
Anyway, once Yusuf was all set up, I deleted my ids. My newer one that was only a mod on TGR, and the master id that owned the channels.
That was the nuclear option, and once it was done, it was permanent. I have no regrets.
Though I felt slightly reluctant to hand that albatross to Yusuf. He generously (though reluctantly) agreed to do this for me, and I’m grateful.
If he decides someday to delete his id, Disqus will have two more orphaned channels. Two more graveyards where loons and wolves can play their wicked games.
At one point, that prospect might have upset me. Now I don’t care, though I do think Disqus should allow people to close channels.
Their combination of neglect and incompetence has caused a lot of needless upheavals. But anyway…
Thank you, Yusuf. For your role in setting me free. I still support you in spirit. 🙂
Takfir Like Spring Rain
There are still a couple of sock puppets carrying on about takfir. With post after post after post.
Can I get one last message through to the asylum?
No one cares anymore. Okay?
Not that I really care at this point.
For a long time, I considered my greatest enemies online to be the loons. They are a hateful lot.
Outrage peddlers who deliberately spread fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims. Most of them don’t mind lying if it serves their agenda.
But the loons were never all that bothersome. They were enemies, so you knew you where you stood.
I also had a stalker. He was very persistent but I was used to him.
And he’d was less in my face toward the end. Maybe even stalking gets boring and monotonous after the novelty wears off?
I don’t know, but I had stopped engaging both the loons and my stalker. For the most part.
This evil war the Wolfpack waged on Yusuf and me delighted the loons. There is nothing they love more than to see the Muslims do their work for them.
Not that the wolves ever cared. An abstract disagreement trumped all else.
False friends are worse than open enemies. By far.
I would be lying if I said the betrayal didn’t bother me. The Muslims turning on Yusuf and me the way they did.
I don’t want to rehash all that now. But in short, I found their behavior shocking. Endlessly shocking!
The lynch mob mentality. The childish taunting and ridiculing. The lying, exaggerating, and threatening.
Worse Than Stalkers and Loons (Oh my!)
The efforts to get Yusuf and me banned from channels. And even kicked off of the entire platform.
I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it all with my own eyes. We called them the “wolfpack” and that still seems fitting.
It is true that in the end, they succeeded where the combined efforts of the loons, HP goons, and my stalker had failed. They chased me off of Disqus.
Though if I’d really wanted to withstand the relentless, daily mud storm, I could have. So it’s more accurate to say they gave me the final push I needed to make my exit.
A Final Wave Goodbye
Things are so much better now, alhamdulilah. I’m getting back to the real world.
Thank you, everyone, on the channels who supported me. And for all the great discussions we had along the way.
I really liked a few of you. I think you know who you are so I won’t bother naming names.
Goodbye everyone, friend and foe. It’s been a good run, but now I’m off to what’s next. 🙂