I noted here that non-Muslims often do not fare well in debates with Muslims. Fortunately, liberated Muslims do much better. At this link is a recent debate on the subject "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" with participants Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Douglas Murray, Zeba Khan, and Maajid Nawaz. I invite you to watch the entire debate, and then to my comments as follows:
1. One of the problems with debating Muslims about Muhammad and Islam is that they insist on talking about anything except Muhammad and Islam. Ask a Muslimah about the high rate of female illiteracy in the Muslim world (a subject that I discussed here and here). She will quote a Hadith about "seeking knowledge even if you have to go to China" and tell you how her parents came to America (to escape the craziness of living in the Muslim world) and sacrificed so she could go to Harvard. She won't tell you that the Middle East pays little attention to the education of women for the simple reason that Muhammad paid no attention to the education of women.
Ask her about Islam's relationship to the Jews. She will tell you a story about Muhammad's concern for the Jewish neighbor who threw garbage in his yard and inform you, as Zeba does, that her parents sent her to Hebrew school for nine years. She won't tell you (if she even knows) that Medina was a Jewish city when Muhammad first went there with Jewish tribes who had lived there in peace and prosperity for hundreds of years. Ten years later, they were all exiled or beheaded simply for refusing to accept him as a Prophet of God. Nine hunded males, including boys as young as 10 years old, were beheaded in one day. She won't tell you about the vicious murder of Asma bint Marwan, the Jewish mother of five, at the Prophet's command for writing poetry he found threatening. She certainly won't tell you about the rape of the Jewess Sofiyah bint Huyayy the night after Muhammad tortured and beheaded her husband for refusing to reveal the location of his treasure. Sofiyah was 17 and Muhammad was 62.
She will tell you that the Quran states "there is no compulsion in religion". She probably doesn't know that according to the Quran's greatest expositor, Ibn Kathir, that verse was a response to the Muslim women of Medina who gave their sons to Jewish women to raise (since the Jews followed the dietary and hygenic laws of the Torah, their infant mortality rate was much lower). When Muhammad expelled the Jews from Medina, some of the Muslim mothers wanted their sons back. The Prophet's response? "They cannot come back, because there is no compulsion in religion."
Ask her about Jihad, and she will quote a Hadith about the greatest Jihad being spiritual self-improvement. She won't inform you that Jihad is mentioned well over 100 times in the Quran and that 97% of those references are to its primary meaning, the spread and domination of Islam.
Ask her about terrorism. She will inform you, as Zeba did, that only a small minority of Muslims espouse violence. She probably won't tell you about the first victim of Muhammad's terror, a caravaneer named Amr bin al-Hadrami who was carrying foodstuffs back to Mecca when Muhammad's warriors attacked. I'm not sure if the terror he felt when they descended upon him shouting Allahu Akbar is any different than that experienced by those who leapt to their deaths from the Twin Towers on 9/11.
2. Muslim debaters love to erect straw figures they can demolish, rather than discuss the main subject of the debate. Maajid Nawaz was quick to respond when his opponents referred to Usama bin Ladin as an Islamic scholar. "He's an engineer," scoffed Maajid, "He's only an engineer. How can you describe him as an Islamic scholar?"
I doubt if Maajid has carefully read The Al Qaeda Reader, or Al Qaeda In Its Own Words. Both books document the hundreds of references to the Quran, Hadith, Sira, and Tafsir in bin Ladin's speeches. A full fifty percent of Ayman Zawahiri's voluminous writings are expositions of the same texts. Maajid chose not to go there, preferring to simply mock Ayaan Hirsi Ali for not stating that by training UBL was originally an engineer.
As I noted at the beginning of this post, non-Muslims often perform poorly in debates with Muslims. Ex-Muslims who are well familiar with the modus operendi of their former co-religionists do much better. At the beginning of this debate in front of a New York City audience, only 25 percent of the audience believed that Islam was not a religion of peace. By the end of the debate, that number had risen to 55 percent. In the end, truth trumps fantasy every time.