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Any other former Muslims out there? - Comments

chunkimunki's Avatar Comment 1 by chunkimunki

Hey. I'm not an ex-muslim myself, but I understand the risk you're taking, given your location. It occurred to me that you're going to need some support. Found this for you. Good luck!

http://atheistuniverse.net/group/middleeasternatheists

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 13:52:57 UTC | #936684

Jon McGill's Avatar Comment 2 by Jon McGill

I just got back from a trip to Sana'a, Yemen, where I was learning Arabic. Only one other person (i.e. other than me) who I met was an Atheist, and she was another foreigner learning Arabic. I could tell that some Arabs take all the Islamic nonsense with a grain of salt, only really going through the motions in order to put on a good show for others, but some really took all the religious bullcrap seriously, in the exact same way that fundamentalist Christians do. Fundamental difference is that in Islam, they treat defectors like the mafia treats informers, and there's no western style tolerance of cross marriage or non-Muslim proselytizing.

[Arabic removed by mods]

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 19:45:28 UTC | #936787

agoodman's Avatar Comment 3 by agoodman

I am not a former muslim but I read the blogs by:

Heina (http://skepchick.org/author/heina/) and Maryam Namazie (http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie)

both former muslim skeptics with very different approaches to secularism. I think reading through their entries may give you some guidance. I wish you well.

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 21:07:03 UTC | #936805

cynicaloptimistrealist's Avatar Comment 4 by cynicaloptimistrealist

I am not a former Muslim, I am not even a former Christian, because I never believed a word of it. So my advice is simply based on time I spent in the Middle East over the years. It is admirable that you managed to escape the grip of Islam as it is much more encompassing than something people do on a Friday, like most western Christians on a Sunday or non-orthodox Jews on a Saturday. For me, announcing my disbelief was greeted with nothing more than a shrug and an "ah well, it's your life, the coals that burn your arse won't burn mine", for some Christians and Jews it means breaking family and social connections.

However, in many Muslim countries there are real dangers to openly professing un-belief, so whereas usually I would encourage people to make contact with like minded people, in the Middle East I would advise taking extreme care. A few years ago when I had time to kill I used to host language exchange discussions on Skype, I would help people with their English or Mandarin in exchange for Arabic or advanced Mandarin lessons from native speakers. One evening during one such discussion a Persian gentleman joined in and turned the discussion towards Islam. He was scathing in his commentary on Islam, claimed to be living in Canada and wanted to reach out to fellow apostates living in Iran. Something didn't sit right, the man seemed too polished, so without going into too many details about the insecurity of Skype, I was able to open up a private channel, from there get an IP address which was located in Teheran. The man was obviously a honey trap, so I did my best to discreetly warn others of the danger.

So my advice to you (I hope it doesn't sound too paranoid) is as follows:

1: Never reveal anything about your background, location, identity or profession to anyone who makes contact with you through private channels.

2: If you are living in any of the countries which lean towards theocracy (eg.a death penalty for apostacy), then please download and learn how to use an anonymity program such as Tor.

3: Here you are surrounded by kindred "spirits", this can sometimes imbue you with confidence (as it should), but in your personal life be very careful whom you confide in. Even the most compassionate people can turn deadly when something they have held dear for their entire lives is perceived to be threatened.

Again you have my admiration because your journey was much more difficult than mine and probably continues to be so. I hope you can discreetly encourage others to reason their way out of the dark cavern called faith, but I hope you do so in a way that doesn't threaten your personal safety. We need people like you alive and resoning, not martyred, there are no gardens filled with virgins waiting for us. Who would want to have to deal with 87 virgins anywway?

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 23:18:37 UTC | #936840

I'm_not's Avatar Comment 5 by I'm_not

Posted a link to this post on the facebook page of Kacem El Ghazzali. You may want to look him up. I saw Maryam Namazie mentioned above, she's one of my heroes!

Good luck my friend, you are not alone.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 02:46:54 UTC | #936891

tasmanianDevil's Avatar Comment 6 by tasmanianDevil

Hey there,

I have began to read a lot about religion lately. I still consider my self to be a Muslim. However, I can understand your problem. you could easily join any of the atheist forums online like www.Tabee3i.com or www.el7ad.com. These forums are in Arabic and have quite good communities.

[Arabic removed by mods]

there you go :D

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 13:15:04 UTC | #936991

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

YURIICIDE,

Obviously to keep in mind is the various Islamic laws against apostasy. Since this puts your life at risk, I would advise you be extremely careful with who you share your thoughts and feelings with, even when online.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 13:23:06 UTC | #936992

Moderator's Avatar Comment 8 by Moderator

Moderators' message

May we ask contributors to post only in English, please, as we have no way of knowing what is being conveyed in Arabic. Thank you!

The mods

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 13:40:42 UTC | #936994

yuriicide's Avatar Comment 9 by yuriicide

I appreciate all the replies, comments and advice. Thank you all. I know a few people who do not take this religion to the extreme but as most of you have stated, I cannot openly express my sentiments, especially on public. Where I live is pretty moderate by Islamic standards, but nevertheless, it would result in expulsion and possibly jail time if I, or any others let go of their faith. I'm happy that I can atleast communicate with people on here about how I really see it. Thanks again.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 15:17:31 UTC | #937012

yuriicide's Avatar Comment 10 by yuriicide

That's excellent! Thank you.

Comment 1 by chunkimunki :

Hey. I'm not an ex-muslim myself, but I understand the risk you're taking, given your location. It occurred to me that you're going to need some support. Found this for you. Good luck!

http://atheistuniverse.net/group/middleeasternatheists

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 15:20:32 UTC | #937013

Neil5150's Avatar Comment 11 by Neil5150

          [Comment 8]
[Arabic removed by moderators - English only please]

In any case, I'm glad you're one of the Muslims and you have a brave enough to challenge the apostasy? I wish you long life and successful. If it were more like you, you would not find al-Qaeda

= In any case I am happy that you are one of the Muslims encouraged Kevin to break this Qnon Alhaddu ... Otman you a long and successful life! If more people like you, did not have problems such as the commander in the Middle Alawst.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 15:23:35 UTC | #937015

I'm_not's Avatar Comment 12 by I'm_not

Comment 10 by yuriicide :

That's excellent! Thank you.

Comment 1 by chunkimunki :

Hey. I'm not an ex-muslim myself, but I understand the risk you're taking, given your location. It occurred to me that you're going to need some support. Found this for you. Good luck!

http://atheistuniverse.net/group/middleeasternatheists

I think we should be thanking you. Welcome, your contribution will be most welcome.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 15:54:57 UTC | #937022

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 13 by Bipedal Primate

I've never been a Muslim, so I can't help much except ask you to heed AtheistEgbert's advice, but I have a bit of an opposite problem, sort of. Since I am an inhabitant of a little something called Eurabia I will have to become a muslim in perhaps a couple of decades or three. Any advice for atheists in my situation?

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 03:55:18 UTC | #937124

hhobbit's Avatar Comment 14 by hhobbit

@moderators instant expertise(!) courtesy google:

[Removed by moderator - English only, please]

In any case, I'm glad you're one of the Muslims and you have a brave enough to challenge the apostasy? I wish you long life and successful. If it were more like you, you would not find al-Qaeda

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 19:17:10 UTC | #937299

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 15 by xmaseveeve

I'm slightly uneasy about this thread. There was a guy on here once, asking for people's real names. (He seemed okay, although he believed in Muslim pseudo-science!)

Yuri, what does your tag mean?

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 02:25:56 UTC | #937605

vortex's Avatar Comment 16 by vortex

Hi,

I'm an ex-muslim too (atheist now) from the Middle East, and I understand completely what you're going through. You'll find many ex-muslims in the (Arab Atheists Forum) which is, arguably, the largest gathering of ex-muslims on the web.

WWW(dot)IL7AD(dot)COM

Why don't you join us there.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 12:41:15 UTC | #937686

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 17 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 16:16:09 UTC | #937764

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 18 by xmaseveeve

Please be careful, everyone. Safer to fear too far than to trust too far.

Fri, 27 Apr 2012 19:27:30 UTC | #937799

Non-evangelist's Avatar Comment 19 by Non-evangelist

Yuriicide, 

I wish there was a secular equivalent to "God bless you." Proclaiming all of the earnestness in offering my best wishes simply doesn't suffice, but I will offer it to you anyhow.

There is genuine, well-founded concern for the safety of persons in your position. Sadly, there is even a very good reason to be suspicious of the plea, "Any other former Muslims out there?" As noted in other posts, that question might easily be made be made by one who is on a mission to do harm to people like yourself. I am sure you understand this, and I understand how this only compounds the difficulty of your situation.

Justice, Compassion, Benevolence and Wisdom are said to be four primary values extolled in the Quran. Benevolence and compassion are the easiest of these to identify in practice.  However, evil and foolishness can easily masquerade as "justice" and "wisdom." That grotesque masquerade seems to be more visible in "Muslim countries." Where you can find Muslims whose basis for justice and wise interactions are actually Benevolence and Compassion, you are most likely to find others who — at the very least — will be fair to you. Of course, be careful for yourself, but also be careful for others who may believe (or not believe) as you do.

Granting that I am not in your position, you must decide if there is value in my advice.

My best wishes for genuine Justice, Compassion and Benevolence in your pursuit of Wisdom.

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 13:53:35 UTC | #937973

Ryou Concord's Avatar Comment 20 by Ryou Concord

Yeah man, use anonymizers if you're in a country that puts atheists behind bars.
...fuck, this is so messed up. I can't believe I even have to say this. cynicaloptimistrealist suggested using Tor to prevent anyone from getting your IP address. I've used Tor in the past, and it does work, but it's incredibly slow for web browsing. So when you're browsing the various atheist forums, you might find it useful to do so using Tor. You can find it here: https://www.torproject.org/

Sat, 28 Apr 2012 22:10:00 UTC | #938048

Roedy's Avatar Comment 21 by Roedy

In a technical sense I am an ex-Muslim. I decided to study the faith well enough to pass as Muslim so that I could function in the Sudan.

As part of this exercise I read the Qu'ran cover to cover, and tried praying five times a day (until my back gave out). I attended mosque and hung out with people from the middle east and Serbia.

I had nightmares for months. The endless stories and threats of the Qur'an must have got to my unconscious. During the day, I felt "stoned" and confused. I think anxiety below the surface of my conscious thought was throwing me off balance. On one level I feared that this stuff might be true. On another I feared the Muslim community would discover I was a fraud.

Islam's pitch is basically, "You will be very very very very sorry if you reject this crap." They use a pitch that says, now you have seen the Qu'ran, you are in ten times as much do-do as you were before you saw it if you reject it. These are improper sales tactics. Imagine cars sold that way. The Qu'ran is extremely repetitive. It think it has a hypnotic effect that bypasses the rational mind.

The Qur'an is harder to reject than the bible since it is more poetic, abstract, and less in conflict with science. It does not say tons of idiotically wrong things. It is not nearly as obviously wrong.

The bible depicts Jehovah as a grumpy senile sadistic despotic grandfather. The Qur'an depicts Allah with considerable grandeur and ineffability. That part impressed me.

Both have considerable clannish fellowship. In my experience the Muslim was stronger. Giving that up would be a major problem, especially in a Muslim country when there is no one else.

The history of Spain had a golden Muslim age. I found this highly appealing.

How is Islam making people behave? It makes them intolerant, rigid, backward. It freezes society in time 1000 years ago. It was radically liberal when it was invented. But it did not change. Now it is reactionary. It deliberately cut off any means for it to evolve. That is its fatal flaw as a religion.

Things that drove me away:

  1. I was required to pretend I believed in djinn. That was just too silly.

  2. I was required to pretend I believed in the literal story of the horse flying up to heaven

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 22:05:55 UTC | #938232

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 22 by debonnesnouvelles

No I am not, but I can't resist writing you a little reply nevertheless. The web really makes amazing things possible. To have an exchange with someone from a completely different part of the world about a topic like this is amazing to me. So I am very glad that you posted your topic and that people from all over the world can answer. But how unspeakably sad it is that you have to be clandestine whilst I live a totally free life with my opinions. It is shocking to me that we are living in the same time and on the same planet, yet our human rights conditions are so different. If you have had the chance to see the recent documentary about Richard on "Beautiful Minds", there is a bit at the end where he says that wanting to share scientific knowledge with other people is like wanting to tell the whole world when you're in love. I can imagine you might feel a similar way. You understand something about human existence that is so important, and yet everyone around you seems blind to the truth. That little bit of freedom that you can call your own on the net is worth using and protecting. This forum seems relatively safe to me. If you hang out for a while, you will get to know the regular posters and catch from the occasional comment they make whether they are in a similar situation to yours. That way you can get an exchange in a more indirect way. If you stick to a few rules for yourself, e.g. not revealing personal data, you should be fine. Also, if you ever did post a comment that you get worried about later from a safety point of view, you could always write to the moderators and ask them to remove it. Of course, us comfy non believers in homelands of free expression, we fear greatly for someone like you. Stories of people who get arrested for just a small comment on facebook or the like are heartbreaking. My grandparents lived in a situation where they had to be very afraid of the authorities for political reasons. Their ground rule was never to say anything in front of their own children which could get them into trouble. Because a child is likely to, in the most inappropriate moment, repeat something that they have heard their parents say. Which basically resulted in the grandparents never ever speaking their mind. Not my idea of fun, but maybe good advice in your situation? In any case, I wish you good luck for your future life as an atheist. And that you may enjoy your time on this planet as best as possible and find ways to develop your potential within or maybe even beyond the boundaries of your society. many greetings from deb.

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 23:14:01 UTC | #938239

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 23 by Bipedal Primate

@ comment 21 by Roedy

That was a very interesting read, thanks for sharing. Do you live in Sudan now, as an under cover Muslim?

(Under cover Muslim? That sounded weird, considering how some Muslims cover themselves to show how Muslim they are, instead of the other way around.)

Mon, 30 Apr 2012 01:02:10 UTC | #938253

Pessoptimist's Avatar Comment 24 by Pessoptimist

Hello all,

Im an x-muslim from the middle east and has been an atheist for a long time and I know many people who are atheists or agnostics or even deists ... they wont announce it to just any one, but they let people figure it out for them selves while they keep their distance from strongly showing it ...

Tue, 01 May 2012 09:00:53 UTC | #938600

nawal's Avatar Comment 25 by nawal

Hey,

I am not really an ex-muslim, but I grew up in a muslim household and community. I was blessed by the Noodly Master with parents that value education, and had the opportunity to watch science documentaries and read popular science books for kids at an early age.

At age 12, I started giggling when people made reference to statements from islamic cosmogony as if they were demonstrated facts. One maths teacher would end the weekly maths tuitions with a "religious study" session, where he told us how on Judgement Day, the Sun would get very large and hot, and would get so close to Earth it would be right above our head. I sniggered, and said, well in that case, we'd be vapourised before we had a chance to even worry about that being painful. That didn't go terribly well. I did not believe in the mythological stories, but for a while I was brainwashed into thinking religion was a useful thing to have whether or not you believe in the big guy himself.

At 14, I started watching the Stargate SG-1, and realised the parallel between the false gods in the story and the so-called gods of real life. SG-1 also sparked an interest in mythology, which in particular led me to Norse mythology. I realised that the Norse idea of hell is a very cold place, and the middle-eastern idea of hell is a very hot place. It was quite interesting that their respective versions of hell would be "that which we know can hurt us badly".

Today I am a born-again evangelical atheist w.r.t. the personal god, and a curious agnostic w.r.t. the god of the gaps.

Wed, 02 May 2012 20:40:17 UTC | #939135

chunkimunki's Avatar Comment 26 by chunkimunki

The gaps are getting narrower all the time, dude... You might have to dump that one.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17936302

Thu, 03 May 2012 14:47:13 UTC | #939371

bubbub's Avatar Comment 27 by bubbub

Yuri, you might also like to check out the Council of Ex-Muslims forum

http://councilofexmuslims.com/index.php?action=forum;theme=

Fri, 04 May 2012 19:53:10 UTC | #939736

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 28 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Sat, 05 May 2012 22:53:32 UTC | #939995

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 29 by Tyler Durden

Comment 28 by salma :

Islam is perfect as it belongs to God Almighty.

What's the punishment for apostasy?

Sat, 05 May 2012 23:02:14 UTC | #939997

The Berzerker's Avatar Comment 30 by The Berzerker

Comment 29 by Tyler Durden :

Comment 28 by salma :

Islam is perfect as it belongs to God Almighty.

What's the punishment for apostasy?

"The quran is quite clear, the punishment for apostasy is death"

"Thankyou"

LOL

Mon, 07 May 2012 01:14:57 UTC | #940231