Today is the start of Ramadan, and so to mark the event (as a non-believer), I’m posting a few stories from ex-Muslims who explain why, despite the deployment of intimidation, isolation, threats of potential violence and death threats, they have opted to courageously leave Islam.
I’m 16. I have been an ex-muslim now for approximately 3 months. I’ve always known that Islam was not for me. As a second-generation British Pakistani it is relatively unheard of for British Pakistanis to have no religion. I was never brought up religious, but I was brought up to have faith, I never prayed as I’m not in one of those religious families. No one in my family acts muslim but I feel that someone in my family has to be open with their views, and I want that someone to be me.
I was deeply religious up until a year ago when I found out the true teachings of my faith and the true teachings of the prophet, countless killings of innocent men, women and children this I could not bare by my nature I rejected this barbaric religion and soon could not pray, coming from an Afghan background from Birmingham I’m looking to meet like minded people.
abdirhaman abdullahi, bristol
i left Islam and i am 14 but i need help because there are so many things i disagree with and i dont know how to tell my perants
Zeeshan Arshed, London
Born and raised in a Muslim family I’ve always adhered to what was expected of me but in my mind I was relentlessly questioning and eventually it all became sense that one does not need religion to be happy in life.
You can cherry-pick every aspect of every culture and religion as you see fit, to live the life you see fit.
I had a rather peaceful transition to Atheism but I know of many who have suffered immensely and because of that I’ve strived to offer my support and guidance to those who may want it. At the same time I have been relentless in my criticism of the issues within Islam and religions themselves with the aim of improving them.
Now after my university experience and a professional career ahead of me I feel I have the opportunity to offer reinforcement and the courage to help others pursue the life they want.
Shy Faro, London
I just want to say thank you for representing us. Leaving Islam changed my life dramatically for the better and a part of me will always try to dedicate my life to removing the cloud of religious fanaticism from the lives of young women (and men) like myself who find themselves trapped into a faith they cannot reconcile with reality.
Z G, London
Born in the UK, into an Asian-East African Shia household, I was taught the Quran from an early age, made to attend the Mosque on Saturdays for “education”. It was at age 15 when my views changed, it was around the time of the “graphic” cartoons of Muhammed, when I questioned my faith. For a long period of time I’d only accepted Islam, given that it was hard to believe over a billion people being wrong.
I then questioned many of my madressah school teachers, and recieved inadequate responses. Often, they accused me of disbelief – to avoid answering my questions.
In my experience, heavy anti-jewish sentiment is rife in my community; ignorant “aunts and uncles” accusing Jews of the worlds woes.
The activities of many “religious” muslims in my community further seperated me from believing in Islam. Many would have girlfriends, drink, smoke etc. I found hypocrisy common.
The hypocrisy of hearing “muslim” voices about UK foreign policy. But not wanting to hear freedom of speech when it suits them. The habit of picking and choosing aspects of Islam is idiocy.
By 16, I’d stopped praying, fasting and only attended mosque if there was a wedding or death. I find it hard to be friends with Muslims, due to my apostacy; very few are accepting. My sister has also abandonded the religon, which is interesting given we both disbeliebed in private, and have only openly done so whilst at University.
I have also faced discrimination, my current girlfriend’s mother (of Hindu-Indian heritage ), believes that I will try to convert her, and that I haven’t really left the religion – and to never trust a muslim boy. It angers me that people still associate me with a religion, any religion for that matter – and discriminate. I’d rather be discriminated for what I am ( an atheist ), than what I’m not, a muslim.
A M, birmingham
Hi.my name is ….i lived in birmingham for almost 4 years.i was a muslim.when i came to uk my thoughts start changing.i m atheist.i been married with non muslim girl..recently my younger brother he been living in uk. told my family back in pak about me nd my thought.drinking nd eating non halal food.and they didnt like it.my family is strict muslims.my dad nd my brothers threat me to deth.my dad refused me as son.i dont tell my friends or other peoples becuse most of them r muslims.
Mohamed Hegazy, Bradford
I was forced and to have beliefs and practices against my will, like practicing a religion I never believed in let alone the fact of believing itself, I am also being prepared for a forced marriage in few years , my only escape was fleeing the country I lived in; convincing my parents that I am going as a student and it will just an education phase of my life; In my society back home I am the only one who knows about my atheism, none of my family and friends know as I can predict the consequences and it will basically ruin my life both emotionally and financially.
I was raised in a fairly strict Muslim family and ‘community’, but I’ve always been an independent thinker with an enquiring mind. Religion didn’t make sense to me. It took many years of mental struggle with myself, my supposed ‘beliefs’, and my background to finally break free from the shackles. Since I have limited social contact, this group gives me an opportunity to join a new community of people like me that I can relate to and not hide from.
Danny Afzal, London
I was born into a Muslim family in a Muslim commuity here in the UK. As a boy I was schooled at the mosque with the teachings of the Quran and the Sufi would beat it into us with a chair leg with a nail in the end of it. It was then as a young boy that I began to question the teachings of Islam. Needless to say, me and my two younger brothers were banned from the mosque and eventually we were not allowed to attened any mosques in our community.
As a teenager I spent two years travelling accross Pakistan and I saw Christians and Hindus persecuted by Muslims because of their religions. They had no legal rights and were abused incessantly and I was dismayed by this and I tried to help them and was admonished for doing so. I did not see religious boundries: I saw human beings.
I studied the Hadiths and the Koran further, I studied the Biblical texts, the Torah and the Bhagvad Gita and other religious texts and scholars looking for answers and for a forgiving, helpful and loving God but found only division and hatred between religious peoples.
As an history acadmic, I went back to the origins of religious belief, looking for answers in ancient Eygptian, Sumerian, Babylonian, Native American and Aborigional texts and found striking similarities and clear connections to Abrahamic religions and practices, again looking for answers to a higer power which could unite human kind as one in life and death as some of these pre-Abrahamic faiths practiced and still practice today.
Suprisingly, I actually found something I could beleive in and an un-shakable faith…IN ME! Yes, I know it sounds selfish and my ideas have caused me much pain from others but I have never lost faith in myself to be a good human being to other human beings and I do not need a book, a prophet, a building or a doctrine to tell me that.
The universe is not as big as you think and if you wanted to, and you can think it, you can travel to places you can only imagine but that doesn’t mean its not real.
Peace be with you (in the name of humanityand huwomanty).
Hi I am 30 year old Ex-Muslim.I find Islam very difficult to believe and follow in this modern age.I felt stranded by Islam.I could not fulfill my dream of being an artist due to Islam.so I finally decided to leave this religion and free my mind.There are too many contradictions in Islam too many sects its very hard to understand.I am free now and happy.
hi i was a muslim but i always think about the behaviour of islam against non muslim which always teach me to hate but when i came here and see the behaviour of non muslims then i realised that non muslims are not bad so i have left islam and now i believe in humanity that all human are equal and the only atheist have respect for all other human?
I am an 18 year old apostate of Islam. Islam was something that I was extremely passionate about and would even try and convey its message to friends and not so religious family members. Being a science lover I was particularly interested in the so called scientific miracles of the Quran which I later discovered were not as impressive as I once thought. The more I looked into Islam from a less biased viewpoint I realised it was no more special than all the other religions of the world except maybe a little more cruel than some. I began to realise that it is a religion which favours men and treats women like second class citizens. I always believed Islam was the religion that truly liberated women and that is what i used to constantly remind my non Muslim and even my less religious Muslim friends who were having doubts. However over time I realised that I would never be able to OBEY a man and isolate myself from the rest of society. I want to be able to achieve great things and I realised Islam is what is holding me back from achieving my dreams. I remember growing up I would constantly pray for my non Muslim friends as I feared they would go to hell. I could never understand why a merciful and compassionate god would create someone he knew would disobey him only to punish them for eternity.The whole concept of hell seemed cruel and unfair. Although I am still in the closet I hope one day I will have the courage to tell more people about my atheism.
Sonia Wahab, UK
This is Sonia Wahab. The current statement is my testimony that I am now an atheist and an apostate of Islam. I am from Pakistan which claims to be an Islamic republic state but really struggling hard to fit the frame of democracy in Islam. I have seen horrors of religion from a closer eye because Jihad is the main spirit behind suicide bombing which takes tolls on life of thousands every year. Islam is a religion of submission and those who do not submit against the power are subject to killing. I testify here that Islam has damaged the core of my being and have taken away some real opportunities to experience the life in free and secure environment. Wherever Islam is there is fear and deadly silence. Although I have left Islam but I think Islam will never leave me. My fight against Islam will never end.I appreciate networking through social media and share my experiences of leaving Islam with other Ex-Muslims, otherwise, it is impossible for me to be my real self in a sick and decayed Islamic system. Islam is a monster of 21st Century and we all have to resist its violence under any fear or threat.
I would love to know more about people who are thinking to leave islam or already have left it. I am 26 now in an arranged marriage and have a son who is 3 years old. I have always been around people from my islamic community and I know of some people who have left the community and people (even close family) talk soo bad about them. That they will die in hell and that they are rubbish and so on and on. I know if I leave my religion my family will hate me. However I cannot wait to leave it. I want my feeedom, for which I have been dreaming alll my life. My husband is very controlling in regards to religious stuff and about what I wear and where I go and what I do. I am sickkkk of it. I hate him for that. I want to leave my religion with my son. But I am just sooooo scared of being isolated, specially because I need to consider my son too.
I’ve barely scratched the surface there, because the above is simply a random sampling from the first couple of many many pages of similar stories, and that is just from those that live in the UK. You can also be certain that for each and every story from somebody who had the courage to reach out, there will be many many more who opted to remain hidden and instead embrace their disbelief in secret.
There is much pain and sorrow that in the past would have remained hidden and buried and left many of these people isolated and alone. That is no longer the case because the internet now breaks down such barriers and enables like-minded people to reach out and find each other.
Councils of Ex-Muslims
If you are a Muslim that is having serious doubts, don’t know who to turn to for help, and are afraid of what might happen if you expressed your doubts, then be assured that there are ex-Muslims that you can reach out to for help:
- Council of ex-Muslims of Britain: http://ex-muslim.org.uk/
- Council of ex-Muslims of Germany: http://www.ex-muslime.de/indexAktuell.html
- Council of ex-Muslims of France: https://www.facebook.com/Exmuslims.of.France
- Council of ex-Muslims of North America: http://www.exmna.org/
- Council of ex-Muslims of Morocco: http://www.facebook.com/Exmuslims.ma
On the UK site you will find the following resources that may be of help:
- Covering your Internet Tracks
- Apostasy and Asylum in the UK
- Guidelines for Ex-Muslims and UK Practitioners
WikiIslam – Online criticism of Islam
The primary goal of WikiIslam is to collect facts relating to the criticism of Islam from valid Islamic sources.
WikiIslam is not an Islamophobic, racist or a hate site, many of the site’s administrators and editors are from a Muslim background and/or are skeptics from Muslim majority nations.
Recommended Reading – The Islamist Delusion by Saif Rahman
“The Islamist Delusion – From Islamist to Cultural Muslim Humanist” is a well-researched and highly recommended book by Saif Rahman who is the Founder of HMCA (Humanist & Cultural Muslim & Assoc).
It was written by Mr Rahman over the course of 8 years and details his reasons for leaving Islam & becoming an agnostic humanist, and is a comprehensive and objective study for Muslims seeking a fair & balanced analysis of traditionalist Islam; and for non-Muslims interested in gaining rarely found insights.
Available from the Amazon UK Kindle store here:
Available from the Amazon US Kindle store here: