Much to my complete surprise, the BBC has taken a rather strange stance that involves criticising ex-Muslims for daring to tweet under #exMuslimBecause their reasons for becoming an ex-muslim – this is rather bizarre. It came to their attention because it was trending hence @BBCtrending discussed it.
Maryam tells the story on her blog …
I was interviewed by Anne-Marie Tomchak for thirty minutes for BBC Trending on 26 November. Despite my also having referred 4 ex-Muslims, including those who maintained anonymity whilst Tweeting for #ExMuslimBecause due to fears for their safety, the programme spoke to Mobeen Azhar and Rashid Dar, two men who identified themselves as Muslims, about my segment which was highly edited for BBC World Service on 28 November.
The presenter Tomchak and the two Muslim men framed the entire discussion about apostasy and the basic human right to leave and criticise Islam without fear into one that was “hateful,” “bigoted,” “an attack on Muslims,” “Islamophobic,” “opportunistic,” “quite offensive”…
It was of course also liberating for those involved, and was a good exercise of freedom of both thought and freedom of speech which are both very basic human rights.
If you are not sure about the concept behind #exMuslimBecause then try this
If somebody started a twitter feed that explained why they had left one of the following, then would anybody be offended, label it hate, or even care at all?
- The Catholic Church
- A political party
- A specific football team
- The UK or US
So why exactly is Islam different, why is a twitter trend involving people tweeting about why they quit a specific belief deemed to be “hateful,” “bigoted,” “an attack on Muslims,” “Islamophobic,” “opportunistic,” “quite offensive”, in other words, WTF is wrong with these people, and why exactly does a publicly funded (with my money) broadcaster feel it appropriate to take this stance.
To place all of this in a bit more context, we need to remember the following facts …
- There are 13 Muslim majority nations on earth today that right now have laws where apostasy (becoming an ex-Muslim) is punishable by death
- In Saudi Arabia non-believers are officially classed as terrorists by law
To gain a better understanding, it is well worth reading the Wikipedia page on Apostasy in Islam. The entire concept is one that basically incarnates gross intolerance and is in direct opposition to the universal human right of freedom of thought.
Do all Muslims hold such a view?
No of course not, but sadly rather too many do, and that in itself warrants some wholly appropriate criticism of this rather absurd idea.
Grasp all this with Understanding
Criticism of ideas is wholly appropriate, and that includes criticising beliefs, be they political or religious. People announcing that they have quit Islam and explaining why is not “hateful,” “bigoted,”, “an attack on Muslims”, “Islamophobic,”, or even “bad timing”. The folks at the BBC seriously were suggesting that simply announcing on twitter that you had quit Islam was “bad timing” due to events in Paris, but given that we live in a world where such atrocities are an almost daily event around the planet, when exactly is it a “good time”, and since when does a terrorist atrocity become justification for trumping basic human rights.
So thinking a bit more about all this, attacking people for simply being Muslim, or in this case ex-Muslim, is not at all appropriate because that is “hateful,” “bigoted,” “an attack on Ex-Muslims”, or “ExMuslimPhobic,”, and this is because that would not be attacking an idea, but would instead be attacking people for daring to openly criticise and reject an idea.
We should be living in a nation where we defend the rights of people to believe whatever they wish without any fear of intimidation, but instead we find that the national broadcaster is suggesting that people are “hateful,” “bigoted,”, or “Islamophobic,” for attempting to exercise that universal human right.
I should also add …
Some of the tweets on the #ExMuslimBecuase feed were quite vile, and I do not mean the tweets from ex-Mulims, but rather tweets such as the following from Muslims threatening them with death …
So why oh why are those that walk away from stuff like this “hateful” and “bigoted” when it is those who deploy stuff such as the above that are the real problem here
To be quite frank, the BBC really got this wrong, so let’s let an ex-Muslim have the last word here …
the BBC should really be ashamed of for further silencing us by promoting the idea that somehow, SIMPLY STATING we are Ex Muslim and why is tantamount to Islamophobia, and for overwhelmingly interviewing Muslims on a show about Ex Muslims. Imagine the outrage if a show on Islam and the challenges Muslims face was dominated by Ex Muslims. Or Christians. Or Jews. Or non Muslims in general.
Let’s get one thing clear: Simply openly stating you are an Ex Muslim and why is NOT hateful.