Reflecting on the past two months, I see how easy it was for me to leave Islam. Due to all of the annoying behavior I saw early on among Muslims, I tended to keep to myself and never rolled with a ‘clique’. I didn’t put myself in a position of relying or needing anything from the community. So when I decided to walk away I faced little backlash. I deleted my Facebook profile to preempt any drama that could have come from removing my hijab. My family and friends didn’t question or harass me about it. I pretty much picked up my life right where I left off.
An acquaintance of mine had a somewhat different experience. Her Muslim ‘friends’ immediately began harassing her online when she took off her hijab. She deleted and blocked them, but that wasn’t enough. They simply started calling and texting her phone instead, insulting and threatening her. She now has to get her number changed in order to cut all contact with them. The behavior of these people is quite disgusting to me and I am sad that my friend has to go through all this.
However, with that said, I realize how fortunate she and I both are. We didn’t have to worry about our families disowning us for leaving Islam. We didn’t have to worry about losing any of our rights. We didn’t have to worry about facing discrimination in our society. I didn’t have to fear losing custody of my child. As Americans born into non-Muslim families, we are both free to believe or disbelieve as we choose. And this freedom comes from the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the “Great Satan”. It makes me realize how much I’ve taken my country for granted.