Keeping It Real?

When I left Islam in the fall of 2010, transitioning back socially was not a major challenge for me. When I converted I made it a point to hold on to my support system and friends that were in my life prior to my conversion. We remained close and still spent a lot of time together. So when I left Islam I didn’t go through the coldness and isolation that some apostates experience. Honestly, even if I had, I doubted that I would have cared.

However a friend of mine was not as fortunate. When she decided to leave, she was subjected to ridiculous and petty harassment. Her so-called sisters in Islam began calling her incessantly, calling her a whore and a fake(so much for loving for the sake of Allah)! People began to pile on her and attack her on her FB profile. When she asked them why they were bothering her so much, one posted a response along the lines of :”well in Islam doubt and apostasy are taken very seriously so we must discuss it”. Now when I saw that comment, I just lost it. I thought of how badly my friend had been treated by other Muslim females even before she left. I thought of all the blatant racism I saw among Muslims.  Doubt and apostasy are to be taken seriously. Allah forbid that you start to think the religion isn’t perfect. But misogyny and violence against women, cultural imperialism and racism are tolerable? I could not let this sisters’ comment slide, nor could I let them continue to attack my friend. So I entered the conversation. In the end nothing was resolved. The muslimahs posting did not respond to any of my points and their message can be summed up as:

  • Islam is PERFECT
  • Muslims who act bad are not “real” Muslims

However one aspect of that conversation remains with me to this day. It chills me to my bones when I think of it. During this exchange, I brought up the death penalty for apostates and how immoral it was. A fellow convert justified it. This woman is an American, highly educated, progressive-minded and politically liberal type. Yet due to her belief that Islam was perfect, even she could not bring herself to say that the murder of apostates is wrong. That scares me. For if even some progressive-minded Muslims will defend such barbarity, what of the more conservative-minded ones?

For this very reason, I do not share all of my views on Islam on this blog and there are certain topics I will not touch. The knowledge that there are regular folks-living in my own city, walking the same streets that I do-who believe people like me should be murdered is very disturbing.

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A native Seattleite and recent East Coast transplant, I have been interested in politics, religion, and race from the day I saw “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” on the bookshelf belonging to my BFF’s mom back in 1991. While my zealotry has thankfully diminished with maturity, I remain the deep thinking, passionate, and humble woman I have always been. I reside in the suburbs of NYC with my husband, daughter, and our two feisty but deeply loved cats.

5 thoughts on “Keeping It Real?

  1. yes, it’s scary isn’t it. Like you I have been active on the internet, mainly in Holland where I try to discuss on islamic websites. The people over there are claiming that I am lying, that I was never a muslim in the first place. To prove that I was, I should reveal my identity but for the reasons you mentioned above (harassing and even threats) I have chosen to keep silent about certain things. I find it very very scary that people, modern and educated people, converts, who have been raised in freedom and respect, can justify death penalty for apostates. You usually find people trying to change the subject but some of them just defend it! If your friend ever needs some (online) help feel free to say so, I am more than willing to help defend her! These people just make me so mad.

  2. Indeed Petals, it makes me somewhat pessimistic. On one hand I feel that it’s all the more reason for apostates to make their voices heard. At the same time I realize that we can only go so far before our safety and lives are threatened. It’s such a Catch-22!

  3. On a lighter note: it’s funny how they can believe at once that no real muslim can ever leave Islam and whoever leaves Islam should be killed.

    By the way, technically the death penalty is for men only.

    Anyway, you have mentioned the most important reason why there are so few apostates who are out in public.

    I also never brag about it in public and keep my identity hidden on the Internet in order to be free to say whatever I want about the cult.

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