I remember saying to my mum, ‘I don’t think I believe in God any more,’ And her saying, ‘You can’t tell anybody else because they’ll kill you, we are obliged to kill ex-Muslims,’ and that it would put me at extreme risk if anybody else was to find out, so that conversation ended there.” – Sadia, a former Muslim
Getting out of religion is extremely difficult and dangerous for those born in Muslim families. This is true not only in Muslim majority countries but also in most places in the world. Now, perhaps for the first time, a documentary film titled “Islam’s Non-Believers” depicting the difficult path followed by those who left Islam has been produced. The one hour documentary will be premiered in ITV in United Kingdom at 10 40 PM local time on 13th of October, 2016.
This new documentary in the Exposure current affairs strand investigates the lives of ex-Muslims, who face extreme discrimination, ostracism, psychological abuse and violence as a result of leaving Islam.
Featuring contributions from British and Bangladeshi ex-Muslims, Islam’s Non-Believers paints a vivid picture of the dangers facing those who renounce their faith. Some are at risk of suicide, or self-harm, or have been physically and psychologically abused by their closest family members. Most are terrified of being shunned by their own family and friends if their true beliefs become known.
Made by award-winning film-maker Deeyah Khan, who also directed the acclaimed Jihad – A British Story and Banaz: An Honour Killing for ITV, the programme finds that many young British ex-Muslims live in the shadows hiding their true beliefs, running huge risks if they ‘come out’ as atheists within their religious communities. Some of those who speak in the programme have asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.
The film follows the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, a volunteer support group led by Iranian-born activist Maryam Namazie which supports ex-Muslims, often referred to as apostates or unbelievers, both in the UK and abroad. Maryam says: “They see us as people who are troublemakers, deviants, apostates and blasphemers… There is nothing, nothing more intolerant than religion.”
This documentary sees how ex-Muslims continue to struggle to be heard and to express themselves, with radical Islamist protesters often trying to shut down their talks and events. Deeyah identifies these as a part of a growing international movement which is confronting radical Islam both in the UK and the Islamic world.
Maryam says they remain defiant:
“The internet and social media is doing to Islam what the printing press did in the past to Christianity, because it’s one way in which masses of people can connect with each other, can hear ideas that are taboo and forbidden.”