Islamophobes believe Muslims to hold to a doctrine called taqiyya, which allows them to lie to unbelievers with a clear conscience. I find this concept interesting on a lot of levels. First, it reminds me of what I once called the “atheist two-step”:My sticking point in this argument is at the beginning:
 Someone points out that the particular religious belief disproven by the doctrinaire atheist is not really held by anyone as stated.
 The doctrinaire atheist then says that religion is so obviously stupid and pernicious that one can’t be held accountable for detailed knowledge of it.
The Little Professor then replied that this is a long-standing technique of denouncing religious enemies, having a long history in anti-Catholic polemic, for example:
 Someone points out that the particular Roman Catholic belief disproven by the doctrinaire evangelical Protestant is not really held by any Catholic as stated.
 The doctrinaire evangelical Protestant then says that Catholicism is not just obviously stupid and pernicious, but also deceitful at base–so it’s not even possible to have detailed knowledge of the religion. (Ergo, don’t bother.)
Obviously this notion of “taqiyya” is closer to the anti-Catholic position, since it claims that Catholics are actively hiding their true beliefs. One can see a similar pattern in anti-Semitism — Jews who appear to be harmless and friendly just reinforce the deceptive abilities of Jews.
Someone points out that the particular religious belief disproven by the doctrinaire atheist is not really held by anyone as stated.It seems to me unlikely, given the prodigious variety of human belief, that any given religious view, even one intended to caricature and defame 'religion' is 'not held by anyone.' It seems to me more likely that it will be held by some people. It may be a small number of people, but some people is not no people. That produces a problem. Because the implicitly reasonable religious 'somebody' in the 'someone points out' above then has to discount those 'some people' from the argument: perhaps by saying 'well perhaps some stupid people believe that, but "proper" religious people don't', which rather concedes the atheist's point (then it just becomes a question of determining the proportions of "proper" and "crazy" religious people). More to the point, the exclusion must presumably be proposed on the implicit basis of a unified quantity called 'true religion' from which the people who hold the contentious view in question are considered dissenters. I'd be surprised to find the bloggers at AUFS proposing anything so essentialist as (for instance) 'True Islam'.
To give a non-taqiyya example. A dedicated atheist might say 'American Christians believe the Earth was made in 7-days and Darwin was sent by the devil'. The point of making such a claim might be to suggest that Christians believe stupid things, or a little less offensively that believing the impossibilia of the catechism renders the mind more liable to believe stupid things. A Christian might tell me: 'I'm a Christian and I don't believe anything so foolish.' But that response wouldn't send me to the 'so obviously stupid and pernicious that one can’t be held accountable for detailed knowledge of it' rhetorical move. On the contrary, it would surely send me in the opposite direction, to the demographics of religious belief. Lots of American Christian's do believe that; many millions, certainly. What proportion of the sample would have to believe the stupid thing in question for the reasonable religious 'somebody' to concede that his/her 'not really part of the religion' doesn't apply?