Even in the West, many Ex-Muslims remain closeted about their lack of faith for fear of retribution from family or their communities. “There is a lot to lose when declaring your lack of belief as a Muslim”, says Muhammad Syed, the President of Ex-Muslims of North America.
Given this cost, many choose to suppress their feelings or hide them from others, so that accurate assessments of the Ex-Muslim population is virtually impossible. Many are afraid of social isolation, some are afraid of physical retribution. Despite the obstacles many believe that it is far past time to speak out.
“I believe that there is an enormous benefit to highlighting these voices. I intend to do whatever I can to showcase the growth of this movement – we are many, we are growing, and we are no longer afraid.” continued Syed.
Ex-Muslims of North America has established and nurtured local communities of Ex-Muslims in over 18 chapters across the United States and Canada. These communities provide strength and encouragement to this small and vulnerable population. Now, some of them are ready to speak out and EXMNA intends to amplify their voices.
The videos will be released periodically throughout the next year.
Video 1 – Obaid: Life Beyond Faith
Born in India and raised in Canada, Obaid began questioning faith at a young age – early-on his sense of wonder was kindled by Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and science classes. Moved by the rationality and logic of evidence-based thinking and a scientific worldview, he stopped believing entirely by the time he was 16 years old.
Video 2 – Stephanie: Life Beyond Faith
A Canadian woman who converted to Islam in her late-teens, Stephanie married a Libyan Muslim man, and gave birth to two daughters.
After a few years of living as a faithful Muslim, Stephanie began to have doubts. Recognizing the immorality and irrationality of Islam, Stephanie grew detached from the faith and concerned about her children being raised in such a context.
In 2011, Stephanie left their residence in Libya for a short trip to see her father in Canada.
When safely out of Libya en route to an airport in a neighboring country, her husband unveiled his plan for her: he would never allow her to even visit her daughters again unless she gave up her Canadian custody of the kids. Knowing that retention of custody of her daughters gives them a small chance of gaining their freedom, she refused his offer.
Today, Stephanie lives in Canada, coping with the loss of her dearest loved ones and hopes to one day be reunited with her girls again.
Video 3 – Sarra: Life Beyond Faith
Born in Tunisia, Sarra witnessed radical changes in the practice of Islam in her homeland, transitioning from a more peaceful religion infused with Tunisian folk-culture to a stricter, more literal version.
A few thoughts
Freedom of thought is a basic human right. If adhered to, it grants people the right to practise any belief and to also, as part of that belief, dress as they wish … in a Hijab for example.
That freedom is a door that open both ways. It also grants people the right to reject a previously held belief and to boldly say “No”.
Within many Muslim majority nations, Islam tends to impose itself by force. There is a rising tide of individuals who renounce Islam, dare to strike out in a different direction, and refuse the mental slavery of Islam. This new video series grants you an insight into the lives of some of these brave independent thinkers.
A very important principle to remember is that people have rights … beliefs don’t. In other words, it is fine to criticise beliefs, but also rather important to do so without demonising those who exercise their right to practise that belief or to reject that belief.
In this instance we applaud and support these courageous individuals who opt to no longer practise a previously held belief, and are now demonised for exercising this basic human right to openly stop believing.