By David Wood
Ive known for a long time that Nadir Ahmeds debate career would be coming to an end. Thus, Ive never really felt it necessary to stress his efforts to deceive Christians. Nadir believes that it is acceptable to lie to his debate opponents in a desperate attempt to gain an advantage over them. Moreover, even when his deceptions are pointed out, he lies to cover them up. When Nadirs dishonesty is combined with his despicable debate etiquette, his poor debate performances, his constant insults, his complete lack of credentials, and his total lack of standing in the Muslim community, its no wonder that few people are willing to deal with him.
Nevertheless, Nadir will continue to have occasional speaking/debate opportunities, for four reasons. First, some have agreed in the past to set up a debate with Nadir, and they feel morally obligated to honor their agreement, despite the fact that virtually no one on the planet is interested in seeing Nadir debate. This is the situation with Ministry to Muslims, an organization which hosted Nadirs humiliating defeat against Sam Shamoun. After the debate, the ministry decided to give Nadir a chance to redeem himself. Later, Nadir completely embarrassed himself and his religion in his debate with James White, and even Muslims turned their backs on him. The ministry knows that Muslims wont be interested in watching any debates with Nadir; however, they feel obligated to go through with the debate because they gave their word. Second, some people have no clue who Nadir is, so they believe him when he sends them emails claiming to be a respected Muslim debater. They may, then, arrange a debate because they are ignorant of the fact that Nadir has absolutely no credibility among Muslims or Christians. Third, some organizations want to schedule debates in which the Christian debater can achieve a landslide victory against a weak opponent. I am not a fan of this tactic; I would rather see debaters of comparable skill debate the issues. Yet it is a simple fact that some people want to see the Muslim side humiliated. Thus, instead of arranging a debate with a reputable Muslim scholar, some organizations will arrange a debate with Nadir Ahmed, giving the Christian debater an easy victory. Fourth, new Christian debaters, with little or no debate experience, wont want to jump into the ring with respected Muslim debaters such as Shabir Ally. Hence, they may want to get some debate practice by taking on weak, unknowledgeable opponents such as Nadir.
With these things in mind, I thought it might be important to share something I learned in my dealings with Nadir. Anyone who debates him must utterly refuse to exchange arguments with him, for he lacks the integrity necessary to honor such agreements. Prior to our debate, Nadir demanded that I exchange criticisms with him ahead of time. He sent me the four criticisms he would be raising against Christianity, and I sent him the four criticisms I would be raising against Islam. I then spent most of my preparation time studying for the four criticisms he had sent me. Amazingly, by the time we debated, Nadir had changed most of his criticisms! That is, the criticisms he brought against Christianity in our debate were almost completely different from the ones he had sent me. Since Nadir has repeatedly denied any guilt in this matter, I will carefully lay out the evidence.
On June 11th, 2006, Nadir said the following in an email:
All my arguments and source material will be provided to David ahead of time, so that he can be properly prepared. Thus, no material in this debate will be discussed without being submitted prior to David.
On June 12th, I told Nadir that I would rather not have him send me his arguments ahead of time, since I knew he would insist that I share my arguments as well. Im not opposed to the idea of exchanging arguments prior to a debate, but I would only be willing to exchange arguments with someone I actually trust (i.e. not Nadir). With that in mind, I said to Nadir, "Don't worry about sending me your arguments and source material. Id like to see how well I respond off the cuff."
On June 17th, Nadir rejected my attempt at avoiding the argument-exchange. He said this:
As for presenting my arguments ahead of time, I believe this is normal protocol for debates, I would insist that you take them because I want to eliminate any possibility of the speakers not knowing how to respond to a particular issue which will make it appear as if his opponent has won and soundly refuted him. When in reality, the answer to such arguments can be very easily given if only the speaker prepared ahead of time. This takes away from the quality of the debate. Please keep in mind that these subjects are vast, and no one knows all there is to know in the issues. As for seeing how you respond off the cuff, then this is not the time for such a test, perhaps you can practice before the day of the debate.
Notice that Nadir claims he is against using arguments that are meant to catch an opponent off guard. Also note that, according to Nadir, exchanging arguments is standard practice (this is a complete lie). I still didnt want to exchange arguments with him, but on June 30th, Nadir claimed that refusing to exchange arguments is unethical. He said:
I feel that trying to take advantage of someones ignorance to a particular subject does not make what you are saying true. We should find more ethical means to score points for our faiths.
Since I didnt want Nadir accusing me of being unethical, I reluctantly agreed to exchange arguments. (Notice that Nadir says that it is unethical to use arguments meant to catch an opponent off guard.)
On July 21st, Nadir sent me his arguments. He began his email with the following:
Here are the questions which I would like to ask you in our discussion. I think it is a good idea to submit them to you ahead of time, so you can have time to think about them and prepare for us. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Nadir then gave me the four arguments he would supposedly be bringing against Christianity. First, he said that he would be using passages such as, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" He said that he would be doing this to show that Christianity really teaches polytheism, and that the only difference between a Trinitarian and a pagan is that the Christian claims there is only one God.
Second, he said that he would be raising issues such as man-worship and the "resurrection" of Osiris, which somehow shows that Christians stole their views from other people.
Third, he said he would be questioning me about Jesus infancy, and how it is possible to view Him as God.
Finally, he said that he would ask me about Melchizedek in Hebrews 7:3-5. According to Nadir, Melchizedek has the attributes of God, and this is a problem for Christianity.
I was happy with this list, since it meant that Nadir didnt want to exchange all our arguments. Instead, he only wanted to exchange criticisms. A few days later, Nadir asked for my objections against Islam [bold mine]:
Would it be possible to send over your objections against Islam in today or tomorrow? As you know, the debate is less than 2 weeks away, and I would like to enough time to look over the material.
As for the material I sent you, that will cover all my comments or objections which I will raise against Christianity, meaning that I will mention nothing in my presentation which I have not already submitted to you prior. Therefore, that will give you adequate preparation to respond.
Later the same day, I told Nadir that my objection to Islam is that every time Ive gone to Islam looking for evidence, Ive come up empty-handed. I also explained that I have problems with the reliability of Muhammad, so that I dont trust anything he says about God. Nadir responded by requesting that I limit myself to five criticisms, and that I send them to him ahead of time:
I would request David to please document the 5 objections he would like to raise in the debate and send it to me as soon as possible so I can prepare.
I have already sent David my objections, all of them related to the concept of God in Christianity. As I mentioned, I will not be raising any other issues. I ask that David will do the same. [Bold mine.]
I was even more generous than Nadir requested: I limited my objections to four (instead of five), and I sent them to him ahead of time.
Many other things were said in our exchanges, but this is enough to prove that my initial apprehension at exchanging arguments with Nadir was entirely correct. Anyone who reads our exchange and then listens to the debate will immediately notice something. While I criticized Islam using the arguments that I submitted to Nadir ahead of time, Nadir only used his second argument! What happened to the "My God, My God" passage? What happened to the issue about Jesus being a baby? What happened to Melchizedek? Nadir simply didnt use the objections he said he would use. Indeed, he replaced these criticisms with other objections to Christianity. He attacked the New Testament for lacking scientific evidence, archaeological evidence, and prophetic evidence. He also attacked Christianity for allowing people to drink alcohol, which, he argued, causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in infants. All of this was, of course, completely unexpected.
This helped Nadir in two ways. First, whereas he knew my criticisms ahead of time, I didnt know his. This meant that he was able to prepare his responses to my criticisms, while I was responding off the top of my head. Second, by sending me arguments that he never used, Nadir was able to make most of my preparation meaningless. I studied the book of Hebrews almost every day while preparing for the debate. Why? Because Nadir said that he would be asking me about a passage in Hebrews 7. But Nadir never brought up this passage in the debate. Nor did he bring up most of the arguments he sent me. Thus, much of my preparation time was wasted, for I ended up preparing for the wrong criticisms.
This was a brilliant series of deceptions on Nadirs part (keep in mind the fact that his beliefs teach him that its okay to lie). He pressured a Christian into exchanging criticisms ahead of time, and he used the Christians reluctant trust to gain an unfair advantage. But Nadirs deceptions didnt stop there. He went on to deny any wrongdoing on his part!
FURTHER DECEPTIONS (TO COVER UP HIS ORIGINAL DECEPTION)
Nadir offered four main justifications for the fact that he had changed the criticisms he had sent me.
First, he said that he was only doing what I had requested. After the debate, my friend Nabeel asked Nadir why he had changed his criticisms. Nadir responded, "Because David said that he wanted to see how he would respond off the cuff." (Note that Nadir admitted here that he had deliberately changed his criticisms in an effort to catch me off guard.) This response just didnt work, however. While I had initially said that I would rather respond off the cuff (because I didnt want to exchange arguments with Nadir), I later agreed that I would exchange criticisms. As the excerpts above show, Nadir promised that he would bring up four issues, and no others. This was a lie, and his pathetic excuse only added to his deception.
Second, when I confronted Nadir about his deception, he changed his response. He said that I had claimed in my emails that the Holy Spirit would give me all of the answers I needed and that Nadir was free to change all of his criticisms. I told Nadir that he was a liar and I challenged him to produce the email where I had said this. He couldnt produce the email, because I had never said it. (Notice again that Nadir admitted that he had deliberately changed his criticisms.) Hence, this further deception fails as well.
Third, several months later, Nadir came up with a further justification. He said that my friend Nabeel had claimed that we didnt need to exchange arguments. Since Nabeel said that we didnt need to exchange arguments, Nadir argued that he was free to say whatever he wanted to say. (Notice that Nadir again admitted that he had changed his criticisms.) This justification was similar to the first. When I was giving my reasons for not wanting to exchange arguments with Nadir, my friend Nabeel sent several emails to him defending my point of view. But when Nadir suggested that I was trying to score cheap points for my religion, I finally agreed to exchange criticisms. My agreement with Nadir took place after Nabeel objected to the exchange. So lets look at the progression here. (1) Nadir says we should exchange arguments. (2) I say that I dont want to. (3) Nadir demands that we exchange arguments. (4) Nabeel says that we dont need to exchange arguments. (5) Nadir says that were trying to score cheap debate points. (6) I finally agree to exchange arguments. (7) Nadir sends me his criticisms. (8) I send Nadir my criticisms. (9) During the debate, Nadir uses different criticisms in order to score cheap debate points. (10) I confront Nadir about the way he deceptively changed his criticisms. (11) Nadir, after his other excuses fail, claims that, since Nabeel said we didnt need to exchange arguments, he was free to change his criticisms! Nadirs reasoning is simply amazing. There seems to be no end to his lies.
Finally, once Nadir realized that his third excuse had failed miserably, he came up with a fourth excuse (which was probably his best). He said that, since I had claimed in my opening statement that there is evidence for the reliability of the Bible, he was free to attack the Bible with whatever criticisms he wanted to bring, and he was under no obligation to stick to the criticisms he had sent me ahead of time. Now lets think about this. Nadir knew ahead of time that I would be appealing to the reliability of the New Testament, and he sent me a list of all the criticisms he would be using. Yet he came with different criticisms, and justified the switch by claiming that I had opened the door by appealing to the reliability of the Bible!
I must say here that I partially agree with Nadirs reasoning. If I bring up a specific argument in a debate, Nadir would be free to respond, whether or not he had sent me his objection ahead of time. But thats not what Nadir did. Indeed, he answered practically nothing I said in my opening statement. The criticisms that he gave me ahead of time would have been far more relevant to my case. And yet he changed his criticisms anyway.
But it gets worse, for I have proof that Nadir was planning this all along. Prior to our debate, he emailed me and asked whether I agree that the Bible allows people to drink in moderation. I agreed that this is the position of the Bible. I then said, "Why are you asking me about this?" but he wouldnt tell me. It wasnt until the debate that I found out the purpose of his question. Nadirs main argument against Christianity was that it ultimately leads to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Hence, Nadir was planning to use this criticism all along, even though he promised that he would only use the criticisms he had sent me.
Nadirs fourth justification, then, is further deception. It also makes no sense. According to Nadir, if two parties agree to exchange criticisms, and one party claims that theres evidence for his position, the other party is free to bring up any and all criticisms and to abandon the criticisms they had previously agreed to. But if this is the case, then its pointless to exchange criticisms! In a debate, both sides are going to claim that there is evidence for their positions, and so, according to Nadir, both sides will be free to change all of their criticisms! Why, then, make an agreement in the first place? Taqiyya, my friends. Taqiyya.
The point of this article is not to show that Nadir Ahmed is dishonest. No one is going to dispute that. Nor is the point to complain that Nadir tricked me, for I learned a great deal from this ordeal. When Nadir and I debated, I knew next to nothing about taqiyya (lying for Islam), but now I know that I must be very careful about trusting Muslims, many of whom will not hesitate to deceive non-Muslims (see here and here for additional examples). It was better that I learn this early on (in my first debate) than much later with a more experienced Muslim opponent. I also learned that many Muslims share Nadirs view of deceiving non-Muslims. Several Muslims have read about what Nadir did, and all of them have so far defended Nadir. They just dont see a problem with his actions. (For the record, if a Christian were to do what Nadir has done, Christians would be completely appalled.) But again, none of this is my reason for writing this article.
The purpose of this article is simply to stress to Christian debaters that they must be wary of trusting their Muslim opponents, especially when that opponent is Nadir Ahmed. As I said earlier, Nadir will certainly have some debate opportunities in the future, despite the fact that his career ended several months ago. When Nadir contacts his opponents, claiming that he wants to exchange arguments so that no one is caught off guard, opponents beware! Nadir has absolutely no personal integrity, and he will gladly tell a million lies to further his religion.
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