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Nov 08 2011

I have chosen to speak up

Here are some testimonies from atheist ex-Muslims:

I left Islam at 16. I am at university now, but I am still “in the closet” about my atheism, worried about the reaction it would get from religious family members and friends. I still have to pretend to pray and wear the hijab. This has been frustrating, especially since I live in a mainly Muslim area of London. But through websites like this, knowing that there are people who have had similar experiences has been a great source of comfort. (SJ, London)

 

As a person who has always believed in freedom of speech, equality for all, and a staunch feminist from a very young age.. it was a matter of time before I took the last step and left islam, a religion which stands against all the principles I hold dear. My battle did not end the day I left islam, it started on that day. Since then I’ve had threats sent online, going as far as posting the link to my Facebook profile on militant islamic facebook groups, encouraging their members to report me and send threats. Others have been mild in their criticism, but in all cases I have been reminded that I will burn in hell etc.. This has only made me more determined to speak out more about my decision and the reasons behind it. It’s a personal choice to remain silent or speak up about one’s experience, and I have chosen to speak up. (Media Jaf)

 

After 20 yrs of Islam, I finally gave up the prison for my freedom. My main issue with Islam is the awful injustice against women and as a woman myself I could not stand for a religion which belittles me. It has been a long and painful journey, with many more obstacles ahead, but I am confident that things can only get better for the long-term. Also, well done CEMB for creating this unified voice for ex-Muslims! (Pariah)

 

To read the testimonies of more ex-Muslims visit the membership section of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Christopher Fink

    continue to stay strong! i grew up in 2 very real, non-denominational christian cults, out in the middle of nowhere, each also with rules on traditional dress for women, approval for nearly everything needed from elders, leaders on pedestals, special rights for those leaders & their kids, etc. i am also now an atheist, though i have announced it to my family. i don’t have the ability to understand the tough position you find yourself in now, but i believe i can relate to your upbringing. i lived in the cult situations from age 2, to age 19. you will make it through this, to real personal freedom. you CAN do it! again, stay strong!

    1. 1.1
      Maryam Namazie

      I actually wasn’t raised in a strict religious household so I feel for you. You’ve been in a much tougher position than I ever was. I have a very loving and understanding family even if they don’t agree with most everything I say and do… And even if my father thinks my grandfather (an Islamic scholar) is turning in his grave with every move I make… I don’t know what I would do if they hated me or wanted to kill me as is the case for some ex-Muslims. I think it’s easier when the threats and hatred are from a far-Right political group or an Islamic state. That is definitely easier to handle in my books!

      1. Christopher Fink

        well, my family is great & loving like yours, tho they refuse to accept my choice & tell me they are sure i’ll eventually “come back to god, cuz he has a calling on my life”. my mom/dad/sisters, grandparents/aunt still live in the 2nd cult i grew up in. i’m very glad you have that family support. i’ve heard/read many stories regarding the extreme/hardcore reactions to one turning their back on Islam, similar to what you mentioned. what we do have in common, is the promise from our respective religions, that we will burn in hell for abandoning it. oh well. we live as good people, pursue our goals, take care of family, live out our lives, and they can do the same. :)

        1. Maryam Namazie

          Good I’m glad to hear that they were loving. That really helps I think. I met a young woman recently who we have to put in a refuge because she would be killed if her father knew she was an atheist. She had to leave her family, her siblings, leave university, and even leave all her friends behind. She tested out her friends by joking about it before she left home and found that they too would hate her if they knew so she couldn’t be in touch with them anymore either. What’s worse is because she was veiled and kept segregated, she has no one she could talk to from her previous life.

  2. 2
    Monado, FCD

    When you are living on your own and earning your own money, it will be easier to express your true thoughts. In the meantime, I hope you can find friends on the Internet.

  3. 3
    Layla

    How does Islam belittle women? I never understood why people make this point. By my understanding and what I am taught, in Islam a woman has more rights than man and he should please her in any way possible.

    How is this injustice towards women? I, as a muslim woman, am insulted you should suggest this. I don’t care whether or not you left the religion, but don’t talk about it like it’s some sort of cult. It was your choice, don’t start feeding stereotypes of the religion to other people, please.

    1. 3.1
      allat

      Layla:
      “How does Islam belittle women?”

      Please come and discuss this at the forum’s area for Women and Islam: http://www.councilofexmuslims.com/index.php?board=28.0 – you will find lots of people ready to discuss this, if you are open to actually examining this question, and not just keeping your mind closed.

      “I never understood why people make this point.”

      Then engage with people who make this point. Read, research their and your own arguments, and try to really understand what they are saying.

      “By my understanding and what I am taught, in Islam a woman has more rights than man and he should please her in any way possible.”

      No. Islam is a patriarchal religion, and as such, women are treated as “pearls” and “flowers” that men have to “guard” and take care of. Women’s testimony is considered half of men’s, women are blamed for men’s inability to control their sexuality, women are seen as little more than vessels to bear children (Islam is patriarchy, and this is common to other patriarchal ideologies). Men can “discipline” women, including with physical beating. Men can divorce women easily – women have to go through a lengthy process to “ask for” a divorce. Men can marry multiple women, and have sex with female slaves and prisoners of war. What do women get in Islamic heaven?

      Open your eyes and try and think critically, not just swallowing whatever you’ve been told by Islam.

      “How is this injustice towards women? I, as a muslim woman, am insulted you should suggest this.”

      I, as an ex-muslim woman, am insulted that women like you refuse to see how Islam and other patriarchal religions belittle our sex and gender.

      “I don’t care whether or not you left the religion, but don’t talk about it like it’s some sort of cult.”

      All religions are cults. The only difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of followers and how old it is. All religions started off being “cults” and to those of us who see all the problems in them, they are and always will be, cults.

      “It was your choice, don’t start feeding stereotypes of the religion to other people, please.”

      Yes it is our choice. In Islamic Shariah-based cultures, our choice would bring us the death penalty according to the religion you claim to follow. These are not stereotypes. This is what Islamic scriptures and scholars say. Do your research

    2. 3.2
      Maryam Namazie

      yes you are right. women do have more ‘rights’ – Islamic ones – the right to be veiled, the right to be beaten, the right to not be seen and heard, the right to…

  4. 4
    Ahmed

    Take care Maryam =).. I know what you are going through. My situation is even worse, I live in Egypt, no tolerance whatsoever.

    1. 4.1
      Maryam Namazie

      Thanks for your message Ahmed. Take care.

  5. 5
    Turkish Proud Atheist

    Maryam,

    As atheists living with the Muslim-scum, we mustn’t give up our fight to speak out. I used to keep my belief to myself, and would never say I am an atheist. But no more. I keep thinking to myself now, what does a muslim do when he meets a Christian, does he try to convert, does he/she harass the person with the bullshit of his/her religion, no, he can’t. Why is that different when he meets an Atheist? It is not different.

    So. we must act strong. We must tell them: “I am not a muslim, I am an atheist (why aren’t you?)”

  6. 6
    Great American Satan

    Great! A much more interesting counterpart to Pharyngula’s “Why I’m an Atheist” threads. I should go check out the CEMB site again.

    I should say “much more interesting to me” because the lack of interest in American stories stems from familiarity. One of my supervisors at work is a grown woman who believes UFOs are demons. This country is a mess I’m tired of.

    I’m ready to read about someone else’s struggle.
    -

  7. 7
    Nesrin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCa6JwMoM6A

  8. 8
    Azdaha ExMuslim

    Ex Muslim and atheist in closet …living in Pakistan , you can read my testimony here

    https://e-paa.org/testimonials/disbelief-doesnt-justify-getting-tortured-eternal-hell

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