Why do people leave Islam and become ex-Muslim, what are their stories? 38

bannerlogoToday 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.

For this I have dipped into the website of the Council of Ex-Muslims, and randomly selected the following …

sammyn, Sheffield
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.

Haroon, Birmingham
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.

JMS, London
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).

Farhan, London
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.

ESMAIL, Bolton
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.

Further Information

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:

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:

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38 thoughts on “Why do people leave Islam and become ex-Muslim, what are their stories?

  • Imran

    There are two reasons why a previous muslim would leave Islam. It is because they are not fully uneducated in Islam or they leave due to emotional factors. It is best to talk about your concerns by going to some one who is educated and get your answers based on facts and not what the media dictates to you. Good luck and see you on judgement day.

    • Eradicate Islam

      Your statement makes no sense whatsoever. Do you know why I left Islam? By studying it too closely. The Quran and hadith are full of limitations on women and what they should wear and how they should talk and act and stay at home, but men can apparently have sex with their female slaves. Does that seem fair? Men are allowed to have 4 wives in Islam, but Muhammad was somehow the exception and had 13. Muhammad was no different than the Islamic extremists who you claim use Islam for their own benefit. Also, how can you be so sure that Muhammad was a prophet, because he said so? There are more Christians in the world than thrre are Muslims, so how come every muslim is 100% sure that Islam is correct?

    • Ajay Kashyap

      Bro people don’t leave Islam because they don’t know it,people leave Islam because they know Islam’s teaching,they have started thinking rationally,they leave Islam because it teaches them hate against non-muslims

  • LEt's TAlk POlitics

    heres my experience in islam so far in my life; i have cousins that are atheists whilst their fathers have been to hajj and are muslims. im from kurdistn living in the united kingdom. im muslim myself. in islam men and women are allowed to leave islam and come back. every time i have thought myself better i have felt paranoid, depressed, hopeless and goaless. whilst practicing islam i have found a purpose and thats to go home. home being heaven closest to god. I want to tell people yes sharia law and rules in an islamic state are strict but those strict laws are to stop people from saying your a muslim one and the next evening to be leaving it. islam is not clothes or a product off the market shelve.
    so yes being islamic is very hard however i think being a non muslim is more difficut as you have no idea whats to come

    • Enlightened Soul

      One derivation after reading comments from Muslims is that they shoot in dark have no facts and evidence. Believe whats written in Quran is final and should not be questioned. Please speak with facts and proofs not whats written but whats proven and is evident.


    It’s sad to see a such negative experiences of islam. Most of these comments seem to come from people who have had negative experiences from weak / uneducated muslims. I am also one of those who have had similar negative experiences. But it doesn’t take much o challenge those who have the wrong idea of religion. One such example is a sheikh who once said “Muslims and Christians should not be friends!”. I stood up and asked “If muslim men are allowed to marry christian women…..then how are they suppose to love them?”…this was followed by a long awkward silence. I realised that most of the time, people hijack a religion. Your spirituality should have nothing to do with anyone except god, as the day of judgment you will only be asked about your own actions – no one else’s. I am a strong muslim and I never give up. There is something much great than us, beyond our understanding. We are nothing but a tiny spec in a solar system, among many solar systems in the galaxy among trillions of galaxies all working together in an organised matter – by god!!!

  • Shazboy

    God guides who he wills. Most of you don’t fully understand, and so are easily brainwashed by media, that you not even sure who you are any more and want to fit in and be accepted. See you’soon in the hear after

      • Inran

        If you spent some time being less negative and said OK prove it to me by reflecting and looking at the signs from the quran then your heart will open. 20,000 American revert to Islam each year listen to their stories and reflect. Islam does not need us we need Islam.

        • Dave Post author

          The claim that 20,000 US citizens convert to Islam each year sounds fascinating … can you point me at some evidence that verifies that this is factually true please?

  • A.

    i’m a 16 year-old teenage girl who is considering leaving islam.i still believe in god ,but just not in islam.the reason im considering leaving is because of discrimination against other religions (saying muslims are better than non-muslims,why can’t we all be treated equally? Like human beings.) sexism and hatred against woman in islam,where a woman’s only purpose is to get married,satisfy and obey her husband and have kids ,where muhammed says that “a nation ruled by a woman is cursed by allah” ,where women are considered weak and incomplete, where a males share in inheritance equals the share of two females,where men are allowed to beat their wives, where a man can control his wive’s clothing and ordering her to stay at home and obey him only, where a man can marry 4 women at the same time but a woman can’t even divorce her husband, where its okay for men to marry wonen from other religions but women have to marry a muslim man only.where its a woman’s duty to cover herself and lower her head when she sees a male, where a woman is like “dirt” so when a man for example shakes her hand or makes any contact with her he must purify himself.where muhammed says that the majority of hell is women,where “the prophet” says that “if a man asks for his wife in bed and she says no the angels shall keep cursing her till dawn” ,where he married a 9 year old girl, where he also says that “if a woman dies and her satisfied with her she enters heaven” oh so now its up to a man to decide my destiny?
    These are only a few ~of the many terrible disgusting~ things of the so called “religion of peace”
    I personally get called a slut on the daily just cause i dont wear hijab ,i believe that as a woman ,I can wear whatever she wants,afterall it is my body my choice.
    You cant even talk to anyone about how you disagree with the quran without them yelling at you,calling you names,saying you’re crazy and the famous “may allah burn you in hell.”
    I hate living in here (north africa,not specifying which country for personal reasons) i feel like i dont belong,people here are such hypocrites,racists,sexists,homophobics.. If you are exactly like them,they’d still talk about you behind your back,but if you’re different even the slightest bit,you’re a kaferr who is going to hell and they’d probably even throw stones at you.
    My mother always agrees with me but if i tell her that i’m considering leaving islam she’d probably kick me out of the house.

  • whoever

    As a malaysian malay muslim, I have to admit that Islam is a false religion that based on muhammad’s lies, greed and hunger for power, sex n wealth. After studying hadith n quran over n over again, I am convinced to leave this psychotic religion made by pyschotic muhammad for his own benefits.

    I left Islam because it makes no senses, disallow critical thinking n reasoning n most of all degrading women by telling them “u hv the equal rights”.

    I have a list of reasons, the reasons that those who read quran n hadith page to page completely agree.

    Too many lies and contradictions. Yes, quran proves these.

    Want to kill me, muslims? Go ahead. I’m not afraid to die for the truth in fact I rather die than to be a blind follower, being forced to believe in lies.

  • areeb khalid

    All my dear brothers and sisters here are misguided. and only reason for their misguidance is their surrounding because I observed that majority ex-muslims were from UK…they say god does not exist if so ..its a question of value how humans and animals are formed how did this universe form how is earth at perfect accordance and distant with sun ……….science cannot explain these systems but quran can..u can refer to quran for any of above questions………………….it is my humble request that please consider your decision again if necessary please refer to islamic books and you will find islam promotes peace rather then violence…………

    • Taylor

      No they dont say they dont believe in God. They say they dont believe in Islam…. Get your facts straight. Take a look at Islam without being biased and you may just see the truth. Nothing to do with their surroundings either. Its just people have more freedom in the Uk. Islam is full of hate and intolerance towards other human beings.

      • Imran

        Taulor I suppose yiu consider yourself educated in the field of Islam to make such statements. Hatred is one thing but to bull shit is another. If you are ignorant that’s your chosen path.

  • Rathead96

    I’m w 19 year old asian ex Muslim born,raised and still in Southeast Asia Malaysia. Strong atheist. Is it hard to people like me to travel to Western country and stay there? I have no criminal records though. Been an atheist since 7 years old due to exposure of science by my dad who is more of an agnostic. My mom is muslim and dad convert to Islam to marry her but dad don’t really care and he bought me books I want like about astronomy and evolution. I speak openly about my atheism when I was in school at the age 11 but I was naive and it caused me my school life. I was bullied for years for being a “Murtad” or apostate. But I never gave up and I took the beatings and run from the death threats. I really want to live in the West. I’d rather die in the streets of New York starving than get caught and die on the hands of sick barbaric cult members (islam). I’m not even joking, I seriously would leave my country and everything just because of the threats and oppression I get.

    Facebook : Khair Owen Sullivan (it’s says I live in California because I can’t use my real location for protection)
    Twitter : Rathead96

    • priplanningyahoocom

      Rathead96, you’re not the only one in Malaysia having this very difficult problem. Over ten years ago, 500,000 muslims in Malaysia wanted to leave Islam (you can search for this news I believe, its a fact. Can also check with the older people) and delete their Islamic status from their IDs. The Islamic association JAKIM and UMNO came down hard and slammed shut the doors. Even now there is simmering disgust at the government stopping people from leaving this bogus religion. It is ridiculous and the people MUST FIGHT BACK to regain their freedom. Religion is free, religion is personal. Islam is not.

      • Areeb

        Islam is fastest growing religion in the world ..although accused of many terrorisom threats. still we muslims love everyone bcz thats what we r taught

        • priplanningyahoocom

          Islam is growing because of re-production. Infants are converted as soon as they are born. Try doing what the other religions are doing. Let them grow UP first then ask them if they want to convert! Chances are you won’t be getting any. Adults can think. Infants cannot. So being the fastest growing ‘religion’ in this way is NOTHING to be proud of.

        • Ajay Kashyap

          Bro Islam is fastest growing religion due to higher birthrate and islam is growing Fastly in Europe due to migration.

  • Hussam Mostafa

    All Praises Due To Allah subhana wa ta3ala and may His blessings be upon the Seal of the Prophets, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. For those real individuals that left Islam, only God can make you go back to the oneness, beauty and religion of God, Islam, if he has foresaken you….. it is by His Will.

    • Dave Post author

      Hussam writes …

      // only God can make you go back //

      Since God does not exist then they will not only not be going back, but many other Muslims will be joining them and quitting Islam.

  • Unknown

    The reason I have left differs quite a lot from the other aforementioned explanations. I have left because of the theological differences within Islam, and those theological differences made me do some things which I will regret for the rest of my life. They made me say things that violated the honor of certain people, including myself. To do such, was not my intention- at all. My intention, as a confused 18-year old, was to seek truth and serenity. Instead, well deserved karma, made me leave myself astray.
    So by leaving and denying Islam all together, I won’t have to be stuck in regret and remorse of my unforgivable past.

    • Anonymous

      I was born as a Muslim, but my father changed faith when I was 5 years old. He divorced my mom, and married my stepmother – and then I began going to church. I stopped believing in Christianity and other religions at the age of 21. I can’t see why people kill, judge, or dislike someone who has a different faith.

      Especially when you cannot scientifically prove that God exists. If you place a Christian and a Hindu in the same room, how can each prove that their religion is the correct method to so called “Heaven?” Instead, look at all the religions as a whole – they are each apiece to a giant puzzle. Whenever I am asked which religion I practice, I say “nothing.” LOL. It throws people off, but I assure them that I love life, and I want to help mother Earth.

      Wealth inequality and the fact that 2.5 billion people defecate without proper sanitation systems are serious problems. Not only to mention underdeveloped global supply chains, especially in the healthcare sector. I am a graduate student with dreams of helping this planet and humans with these problems – maybe not so much with wealth inequality, I feel like that exists for a reason like in that movie Snowpiercer.

      Do not judge a book by its cover. I have an Islamic name, but by no way do I support terrorists or clandestine political agendas. I am an American law-biding citizen.

      • areeb khalid

        dear brother.assalamualaikum…in your comment you said that it is scientifically not proven that god exists but in that case………can you and your science explain how solar system was formed how orbits were formed and planets revolve around or can science interpret and explain why we see dreams I Think science cannot answer these questions correctly but my brother ISLAM can explain these things perfectly(YOU can refer to surah yaseen for some of above questions for your convineance ) please brother read texts about islam and you will find truth…….this is the time because if you dont pay heed to my words now then you will perish after death because in HELL there wont be any chance of forgiveness and you can only repent for your deeds in hell. you are my real brother in fact everyone in this world is.and its my duty to guide you please read books about ISLAM.. i will pray for you ….

        • Dave Post author

          // can you and your science explain how solar system was formed //
          Yes, astronomy does quite well at that.

          // how orbits were formed and planets revolve around //
          This is where physics chips in with gravitation.

          // or can science interpret and explain why we see dreams //

          // I Think science cannot answer these questions correctly //
          How would you ever have any way of actually knowing that?

          // ISLAM can explain these things perfectly //
          Please do pick the best clearest exactly of exactly this and cite an example? (It has been my experience that when you ask, nobody apparently has any good examples, why is that?)

          // if you dont pay heed to my words now then you will perish after death because in HELL… //
          This is an attempt at emotional manipulation, If anything you said was actually true and could be verified, then such blatant manipulation would not be required. Water is wet, you don’t need to threaten people for them to grasp that, they can verify it themselves.

          // you are my real brother in fact everyone in this world is. //
          True, in the sense that we all are indeed related.

        • Taylor

          How do you know they will perish in Hell? Because you read it in the Koran? I have read many many books on Islam, Tafsirs etc.. It is full of contradictions and hate. Do you really promote a religion that agrees with stoning, lashing etc, Divorcing a woman verbally? I think you should look at Islam critically and not with your rose coloured glasses on. It has not scientifically been proven that God exists either. Pls provide me with proof.. Have you met God? Not that I dont believe that someone/thing created this world I just do not believe Islam is the correct path at all. It is full of hate and intolerance and not peace as you say.

  • Max

    I am glad this community is here for those that are leaving the religion in the name of rational thinking and behaviour…and true tolerance. I don’t know enough about Islam to break it down nor do I want to, it’s not my job. It’s the job of those who were raise with this religion and know it inside out. Back to my initial sentence, I am very happy this site exists for those people who are leaving the blood ties behind even when they don’t want to lose their families. Families are the core of our networks and truly vital for us to feel secure as we explore the world. I can imagine how hard it is to know that deep down you fundamentally disagree with your parents and perhaps your siblings…your extended families and friends in the same culture & religion. I think you guys are very brave and leaders in the making. To lead, one must have visionary thinking that is outside of the prescribed “facts” raining down since birth, and I commend you for all taking that step forward. If you would permit some long ramblings, I’d like to share my story below.

    To give some perspective, I am ethnically Chinese and raised in Canada. My family weren’t very religions (more like superstitious, rather harmless). If anything, there was an inclination towards Buddhism and vegetarianism (practiced when we went to visit beautiful temples – the monks kitchen can really cook up amazing veggie dishes). So without any religion to really guide me, I was free to think (at least in my own head) about morality. I have to credit my grandparents for imparting values and morals that I still adhere to till this day. Principles on basic human decency and respect. Later, my own diverse readings expanded on these subjects greatly which I think really developed my capacity to think on these subjects and to retain the questioning mind (I question everything relentlessly…even my own conclusions). While I didn’t have the burden of having the constraints of religion placed on me, I had other constraints inherent in my culture and and the way my parents raised me…they imparted their own brand of reality that did not match my own. Needless to say, I have always felt oppressed in those areas and moving away from it, at times felt like cutting the ties to my family whom I still love very much. At the same time their rejection of my need to hold true to myself and what I believe also hurts. I believe these issues exist for the teens that are moving away from Islam. So with that in mind, having support and finding like-minded people is one of the most important and vital components to develop your own network of friends, and critical people to help you through the tough parts of life. Keep your heart open because love (as corny as it sounds), can stir even the most deafened souls.

    When I was younger (7 or 8) I was contemplating the idea of adopting christianity as my religion – courtesy of Western Hollywood media with the multiple references to God or Jesus and of course my favourite Holiday of the year Christmas. I love Christmas for the warmth that exude from people, the idea of giving to those you love, the expected time together being cozy with friends and family. Plus, something about this Holiday with its Santa Claus mythology makes it just even more digestible for a kid my age. So with that in mind, I started reading the bible (kiddie version). I read the second testament which made me feel so warm and fuzzy…like God is an all knowing father figure (and mine was lacking so it made me even more comfortable with the idea). Then I read the first testament (also kiddie version)…and bam, I was struck by a God that did not seem superhuman, eternal and all-knowing. A jealous God? A God incapable of realizing how systems create the kind of people that he may hate and he is responsible for creating in the first place? It made no sense. A God that killed in revenge? I also looked up the history of Christianity and was shocked by the hypocritical way that Christians (supposedly enlightened by faith, and had wisdom from God) waged wars, killed and pillaged their way across continents. Given the current climate of Islamophobia from Western societies due to oppressive regimes in the Middle East and terrorism…I don’t see it as much different from the Christianity of the past. I think Islam just needs to grow up and catch up…and the only way for it to happen is if enough descendants of Islam background start to critique the religion itself such that the number reaches critical mass…and oppressive country leaders stop using Islam as a way to control and oppress their own people – then we may see the kind of revolution happen with Islam as with Christianity. In this context, once again, I applaud the young generation of Muslims having this insight and seeing clearly that their own humanity is not to be constrained by teachings that are hypocritical and at times oppressive. [I must admit, I have not read the Quran so I am basing this previous statement on the fact many other stated paradoxical sentences in this book).
    Anyhow, my conclusion at that age was that, the Bible were writings of men who had to write from their perspectives, in their time periods, under the kind of context that no longer makes sense in modern society (prior to science, technology, human rights and common human decency). Such a book cannot really be the “words of god” but I supposed that kind people wanting something to believe in can cherry-pick the good and sensible notions out of the Bible and use it to preach to people. So at that age my conclusion was pretty black and white – that God didn’t exist.

    Moving onward – fast forward about 10 years, and I was faced with figuring out which Independent Unit topic I should do for an English class and I decided to study the philosophy of Zen. One of my friends from another school recommended the topic after doing it himself and he gave me a book of koans to read. (note: Koans or parables are paradoxes or question that one ruminates on to gain insight into some concept. example: What is the sound of one hand clapping?)
    After reading this book of koans I moved on to other books that went over the essence of zen which is also the main foundation principles for Buddhism. Just more clear and pure (less a religion but more a philosophy and way of life). It made sense to me and much of it was rational. For me, this was the start of my spiritual journey. And today, I’ve recently concluded that spirituality is something that is a key aspect of humanity and one of the most visible and perhaps easiest ways for most to utilise is the vehicle of religion. I believe that the spiritual peace and wisdom one can get through religion does feel divine and connected to something greater than oneself…hence many feel the presence of God with religion. But I think that people forget that spirituality can be attained without religion, which I have now categorized as something man-made, like all dogma. I came across this way of thinking initially at the age of 16, at a turbulent teenage time when my mind can operate rationally but it is also searching for an identity. We all want something to believe in. That drive comes from our desire to know ourselves, others and the world around us in order to find our roles in this life, and having a method for spirituality certainly aids the process. I think that’s why religion has stayed around for so long…for many, they need it.

    Some of the ideas of hate sprouting from religious leaders resemble the kind of hate that I used to hear from Chinese elders regarding Japan and its people. If you are aware of WWII history, you know the bloody horrendous things carried out by the Japanese on the Chinese. When I grew up…with these sayings in my ears it was not difficult to believe that the hate is justified. That they are all scums of the earth and their descendants should be made to pay…forever…but let’s put on the logic centres for a minute. A generation of people may have been complicit in the war crimes but it is dangerous to label as we all know. I actually love Japanese people, admire many of their qualities, noted some of their flaws and all in all, I have no ill will towards any Japanese for the crimes of some battalions on the past. To carry hate for the past is to burden oneself needlessly.

    All in all, I just want to say, I can understand for even though I did not have the same religious upbringing, I went through phases of exploration and we all carry parts imparted by our society and previous generation that we should let go. I hope truly that we can move on and focus on the next stage of human evolution where we can think ourselves out of the deep hole we’ve dug by mismanaging the planet’s resources and focus our war efforts to building infrastructure that would educate our future generations to think critically and rationally – create a society that has the kind of emotional and spiritual support that people need so they don’t fall through the cracks.

    Friend of Your Tribe

  • Robert

    If you are a Muslim or ex-Muslim living in the Birmingham area and would like to consider sharing your thoughts with a dedicated Christian and perhaps begin a personal study course in basic Christianity I would love to hear from you.

    • priplanningyahoocom

      ISLAM has to be a FALSE RELIGION. We can tackle this from many fronts. Scripturally, it tries to latch onto Biblical Scripture for legitimacy unfortunately, the Bible declares Islam to be a fraud in Luke 16:16 – The Law and the Prophets were until John. Plus, it identifies the Antichrist which fits Islam to a ‘T’ in 1 John 2:22 – Such is the Antichrist (Liar), he denies the Father (God) and the Son (Jesus).

      Historically, Islam’s allah was already worshipped by idol worshippers BEFORE Muhammad. Even his father (Abdul-allah) and uncle (Obred-allah) who worshipped the chief idol at the Ka’aba literally had their names on their foreheads. And Archaelogists have proven conclusively that allah was and is the Babylonian moon idol of Hubal.

      On the logical front, islam falls flat on its face. By claiming God had failed to protect His own Holy Scriptures (Bible), by claiming God to have reneged on His eternal promise and joined the enemy camp (arabs), by claiming God spent thousands of years, prophets and miracles only to dump them all later for a man who had nothing to his name except his own unilateral claim of prophethood, muslims make God a failure, a traitor and a shortsighted creep. That’s effectively killing OFF God so as to establish another false one in His name.

      And BTW, God’s only name is YHWH as openly declared in Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: YHWH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My NAME forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.