This is a very good take on the new atheists, and I think a new movement is needed that can produce a broader definition of the secular. Islam is a complicated and tricky question and contains a confusing history and interior that is both almost primitive and highly profound. And it contains the subreligion of Sufism which is very hard to assess, but which attempted to realize a gnostic alternative that was lost in Christianity and thence also in modern secularism, in most forms. And the imperialist war on Terror has hopelessly confused the question. What is the secular given the aborted modernity of the US and other ‘exemplars’? I think nonetheless the freedom to critique Islam must be kept clear and open and the right approach might be to set aside the atheism issue and advocate passing beyond Islam (and Christianity) from a larger perspective than that of theistic metaphysics: the large transition to a new epoch of modernity beyond the religions of the Axial Age. The new atheists have failed to see the covert false flag op in 9/11 and this makes their whole critique almost worthless and Islamophobic.
The modern transition is a complex and very rich epochal advance and it contains elements that can realize the net equivalent of religion in a secular form with a far greater sophistication than the legacy traditions themselves. In the nonce, Islam will modernize in its own way, and while exterior critics can and must subject a net religious monstrosity to the demand of postreligion the reality of Islam will defeat anything as simplistic as the new atheism. The irony is that traditions of spiritual psychology in sufism, although captive to reactionary legacies, are potentially the antidote to the scientism of secular humanism. It is a disservice nontheless to ignore the fatal bias of the new atheists and equally so to miss the hidden depth in the Islamic legacy.
As an atheist and as someone who believes secularism is preferential to any religion, the New Atheists have been a crushing disappointment. When given the audience of a new generation, the New Atheists instead turned into secular neocons, eager to bash Muslims at the drop of a hat and more than willing to shrug at Western abuse in the Middle East, sometimes going so far as to endorse it. The accusations they made about Islam are still said today by those who try to endorse more Western imperialism in the Arab world. It is sad to think what a positive legacy the New Atheists could have had.