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 Topic: Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?

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  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     OP - December 13, 2012, 07:47 PM




    A question that comes up with some regularity is: “Why do you identify yourselves as Ex-Muslims?”


    It is a good question, because the answer explains so much about the need for the voice of Ex-Muslims to be heard.

    To begin with, the simple fact is that Ex-Muslims face issues that few dissenters from other religions face. The immensity of the taboo against leaving and critiquing Islam means that Ex-Muslims are bullied, intimidated, threatened, ostracised and persecuted for their conscience.

    Whilst in many Muslim countries this is enforced by laws, even in secular western countries Ex-Muslims face real fear when they leave Islam. For speaking out, Ex-Muslims are subject to violent threats including, not infrequently, death threats.

    Harassment, marginalisation, bullying and guilt shaming are other common practices. Ex-Muslims want to show other doubters and rejecters of Islam that it is possible to leave the religion: that despite the pressures and coercions of family and community, and despite the demonisation and intimidation of apostates by orthodox Islam, leaving Islam is achievable and morally and ethically positive.

    So, Ex-Muslims need a common space to discuss issues they face. But why does Islam judge those who leave it so harshly?

    Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered by many to be the leading Sunni scholar and a senior voice of al-Azhar seminary in Cairo, categorises Apostasy from Islam in two ways - minor and major.

    Minor apostasy is leaving Islam but not doing anything to criticise Islam. An apostate like this should be allowed to repent.

    Major apostasy is leaving Islam, and drawing attention to your apostasy by criticising Islam and freely discussing your free conscience. For this, the apostate deserves to be killed.

    It is true that some Muslim theologians dissent from this interpretation, but it is also true that the benchmark of this ruling sets a tone. That makes leaving Islam, and speaking freely on the reasons why, an act of unspeakable heresy with frightening social and personal consequences. That this benchmark hangs in the air is,  in its own right, enough to stifle dissent.

    Even many supposed moderate Muslims observe this demarcation between minor and major apostasy. Tariq Ramadan has said:

    “My point of view, a minority point of view in historical terms but justified in religious terms...is to recognise the right, but to ask of those who change their religion what one asks of all human beings: ‘Change your soul and your conscience, but do not insult or cause prejudice to those whom you leave behind. Wherever you go, whoever it is you forsake, leave them in a noble and dignified manner.”

    In other words, you can leave Islam without talking about it (minor apostasy), but don’t freely express your conscience regarding why you left Islam (major apostasy).

    Instead of threatening death, Tariq Ramadan couches this apostasy taboo in the language of contemporary multiculturalism and anti-racism, suggesting that to leave Islam and discuss the reasons for doing so is akin ‘causing prejudice’ to Muslims.

    Here comes the most striking reason why the Ex-Muslim voice needs to be heard. Whilst many Muslims believe that leaving and criticising Islam is the breaking of an omerta code so outrageous that it warrants bullying, persecution, threat and a morally justifiable death taboo, others express the Ex-Muslim free conscience as constituting an offence against Muslims through the criticism of Islamic ideas and beliefs.

    However, Islam is a proselytising religion that seeks to expand through evangelism. Every other religion that is liberal enough to allow for free conscience is ripe to be targeted for converts to Islam - but Islam considers that leaving Islam itself is a mortal sin.

    At the heart of this is a central hypocrisy – the notion that Muslims must be free to criticise all other belief systems and religions and seek to convert others to Islam, whilst stifling and snuffing out the free conscience of those who would leave Islam and express their free conscience openly.

    This is not acceptable in contemporary liberal and secular societies. It is a double standard that is menacing in its hypocrisy.

    So ultimately, Ex-Muslims self identify as such because of the unique issues that they face in expressing their free conscience. They also identify this way because breaking the taboo against criticising Islam, in the face of Islamic hypocrisy and double standards on this matter, is much needed.

    Under these circumstances, asking the question "Why don’t you be quiet and just leave Islam?" can be seen for what it is – an attempt to de-legitimise the voice of ex-Muslims ( “You’re obsessed” “You need to see a psychologist” ) through belittling their experiences and conscience, emanating from the same impulse that deems leaving and criticising Islam to be the great, unspeakable, mortal sin of ‘major’ apostasy.

    Big oaks grow from little acorns. Even if the experiences of Ex-Muslims are marginalised today, that can change only if apostates speak out. Most importantly, future generations will be able to see a path out of Islam that has been cleared by the articulated experiences and sympathy of those who, around the world, have walked this path.

    That is why ‘Ex-Muslim’ is just one of the many multiple identities that apostates from Islam use to freely express themselves: because free conscience should never be snuffed out by religious taboos against heresy.

    Because bullying should never be allowed to prevail.




  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #1 - December 13, 2012, 08:04 PM

    Excellent, really well put Afro

    "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl

    'Life is just the extreme expression of complex chemistry' - Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #2 - December 14, 2012, 01:43 AM

    Great article  Afro
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #3 - December 14, 2012, 02:10 AM

    Quote

    Huh!.. how is that excellent article? Excellent article to who?    that article is  doing  nothing but a declaration of war against Islam. Such articles were never allowed to Publish in any nation since the times of Caliph to all the way to today  where Islam is a dominant religion. You are writing such article because you are on the internet and also by " Anonymous" .

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #4 - December 14, 2012, 05:56 AM

    You're one weird cookie Yeez Tongue
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #5 - December 15, 2012, 11:59 AM

    Wow, good stuff.

    Too fucking busy, and vice versa.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #6 - December 16, 2012, 02:51 PM

    Nice post.

    “My point of view, a minority point of view in historical terms but justified in religious terms...is to recognise the right, but to ask of those who change their religion what one asks of all human beings: ‘Change your soul and your conscience, but do not insult or cause prejudice to those whom you leave behind. Wherever you go, whoever it is you forsake, leave them in a noble and dignified manner.”

    How magnanimous of Ramadan to recognize the right of Muslims to leave Islam! And what great advice: yes, I permit you to leave, but shut the fuck up about it. This gets it all wrong. The issue isn’t that apostates cause offence and upset – of course they do, much like leaving a marital partner causes upset and hurt. The issue, rather, is about narrow-minded conservative attitudes toward apostasy, and the ritual degradation of apostates, often carried out by those closest to them, making it all the more painful. Instead of talking about this, Ramadan wants to change the subject. Ex-Muslims for the most part do try to leave in ‘a noble and dignified manner', and at great cost to their sanity. This does little or nothing to stop their co-religionists thinking ill of them and making their lives miserable, often (tragically) with the best of intentions.

    The public-political discourse on apostasy is fucked. It needs to be more open and honest and realistic.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #7 - December 16, 2012, 02:58 PM

    There’s another voice in my head, demanding to be heard. And it’s saying, ‘even if I do leave gracelessly, dishonorably, ignobly or whatever, that’s my fucking right. Respect it. Deal with it.’ Capisce.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #8 - December 16, 2012, 03:03 PM

    Nice post.

    “My point of view, a minority point of view in historical terms but justified in religious terms...is to recognise the right, but to ask of those who change their religion what one asks of all human beings: ‘Change your soul and your conscience, but do not insult or cause prejudice to those whom you leave behind. Wherever you go, whoever it is you forsake, leave them in a noble and dignified manner.”

    How magnanimous of Ramadan to recognize the right of Muslims to leave Islam! And what great advice: yes, I permit you to leave, but shut the fuck up about it. This gets it all wrong. The issue isn’t that apostates cause offence and upset – of course they do, much like leaving a marital partner causes upset and hurt. The issue, rather, is about narrow-minded conservative attitudes toward apostasy, and the ritual degradation of apostates, often carried out by those closest to them, making it all the more painful. Instead of talking about this, Ramadan wants to change the subject. Ex-Muslims for the most part do try to leave in ‘a noble and dignified manner', and at great cost to their sanity. This does little or nothing to stop their co-religionists thinking ill of them and making their lives miserable, often (tragically) with the best of intentions.

    The public-political discourse on apostasy is fucked. It needs to be more open and honest and realistic.

    So does every other topic spoken about religion! Good luck wishing for that to happen Mate.

  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #9 - December 16, 2012, 03:30 PM

    The discourse certainly won’t change if everyone refuses to recognize the possibility that it can change.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #10 - December 16, 2012, 03:33 PM


    You making too much sense Simon!  040 040 040
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #11 - December 20, 2012, 12:07 AM

    I have asked this question myself in the past. My reason for asking it was not to silence the voice of an ex-Muslim. The point I struggle to understand is why one would identify as a 'negative' or 'inverse' identity. Why would one identify as an EX-Muslim? Wouldn't you rather be a PRO-whateveritisyoumovedonto ?
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #12 - December 20, 2012, 12:09 AM


    Leaving Islam is the most positive thing you can do. It means you are pro liberty, pro freedom of conscience, pro freedom of expression, pro individual rights.

    If you read the article all of this is explained. Especially in the part about when practising Muslims want you to back away from criticising Islam - another attempt to implore silence.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #13 - December 20, 2012, 12:12 AM

    Wouldn't you rather be a PRO-whateveritisyoumovedonto ?

    Ex-Muslims come from all walks of life. There is nothing else that we necessarily have in common other than being former Muslims.

    Too fucking busy, and vice versa.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #14 - December 20, 2012, 12:26 AM

    That is exactly my point. Ex-Muslims come from all walks of life. If I met any of the ex-Muslims on this thread on the street I don't imagine I would walk away with my lasting memory being "that was an ex-Muslim". Certain people are identified as ex-sportspersons etc, simply because they are identified by their past achievements. I don't imagine an ex-Muslim sees themself in that light.

    People who are currently or previously Muslim can still be pro-liberty, pro-freedom etc. It is not an exclusive trait. Hence I don't see why the chosen label here is EX-MUSLIM. One can be a pro-justice janitor, pro-freedom woman, pro-human rights Russian. I label myself 'Muslim' because it is what I occupy my life with. Would I be correct to conclude that the reverse applies to members here?
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #15 - December 20, 2012, 12:30 AM

    Hence I don't see why the chosen label here is EX-MUSLIM.

    Because we are Ex-Muslims.

    Too fucking busy, and vice versa.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #16 - December 20, 2012, 12:32 AM

    .............. Muslim can still be pro-liberty, pro-freedom etc.............



    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #17 - December 20, 2012, 12:35 AM

    The reason we're Ex-Muslim and identify as such in this community we've created is because it's necessary due to the unique difficulties faced by the the fact we came from a Muslim background...Our commonality is that we left the religion, so it makes sense to use the label 'ex-muslim'. No?

    "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl

    'Life is just the extreme expression of complex chemistry' - Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #18 - December 20, 2012, 12:38 AM

    Well.. we were Muslim once.. we believed in Islam. We believed Muhammed was its prophet and the last prophet. We prayed 5 times a day (or tried our best to). We fasted in Ramadan. We wanted to go to Hajj, some of us did. We read the Quran in Arabic like Muslims are supposed to. We identified as Muslim.

    Then we left Islam.

    We stopped believing in it.

    We stopped following it.

    But all that we experienced as Muslims didn't go away. We knew that we were not going to be accepted by our own families and communities.

    This is what unites us and makes us Ex-Muslim.

    Because we were Muslims. And are no longer Muslim.

    We also identify as other things in other aspects of life. Many other things.

    But we are also Ex-Muslim. And we won't stop calling ourselves that because it shows that we overcame the obstacles Islam and Muslims put in the paths of people who want to question its traditions and practices.

    We won't stop calling ourselves Ex-Muslim because the people who most want us to stop calling ourselves that are the people who wish they could just get rid of us.

    And we're not going anywhere.

    "Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused."

    Help keep this forum going! Donate to the Council of ExMuslims here: ex-muslim.org.uk/donate
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #19 - December 20, 2012, 12:45 AM

    We label ourselves ex-Muslims because we are ex-Muslims. We're not all necessarily pro-anything, our only common identity is our ex-Muslilmness. How hard is that to understand? I don't get why this peeves Muslims so much. We exist, deal with it.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #20 - December 20, 2012, 12:47 AM

    But we are also Ex-Muslim. And we won't stop calling ourselves that because it shows that we overcame the obstacles Islam and Muslims put in the paths of people who want to question its traditions and practices.

    We won't stop calling ourselves Ex-Muslim because the people who most want us to stop calling ourselves that are the people who wish they could just get rid of us.

    And we're not going anywhere.

     
    Damn straight!
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #21 - December 20, 2012, 01:38 AM


    This just smells of another believing Muslim who even if in good faith, wants to denigrate and belittle our experience. As if the semantics and sophistry will alter the reality of the grassroots - that its not us that should be lectured on these matters, but the Muslims out there who act in really intolerant ways.

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #22 - December 20, 2012, 03:26 AM

    I love the article - wonder who is behind it? (Major apostate Hassan, I suppose).

    I myself am against all kinds of self-identifications besides one: simply "human" as I view them as primitive, tribal, monkey-like instinct that we all have to fight. Despite that I always (anonymously, online only, of course) self-identify as ex-muslim. I think islamic bullying mentioned in the article has a lot to do with it.

    "That it is indeed the speech of an illustrious messenger" (The Koran 69:40)
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #23 - December 20, 2012, 04:17 AM

    Actually Billy is the main culprit for this article. Wink

    Devious, treacherous, murderous, neanderthal, sub-human of the West. bunny
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #24 - December 20, 2012, 04:29 AM

    Being Muslim stops you from having basic human empathy. It starts with others:

    You first wonder "how can I believe this lovely non-Muslim lady burn in hell for eternity?"

    Then it's "how can I expect to be treated as part of this community if I can't accept gay people's rights?

    Why does my community want objective criticism of my religion shut down when other religions go through that all the time?

    Why do we not speak up against the discrimination of people choosing paths different to ours?

    How do people accept a holy verse that talks about hitting women, considering the statistics of violence against women?

    Then when one day you realise you want to start asking questions, and you get ostracised, things start seeming fishy.

    You've always considered yourself a good believing person, and have been accepted for being so. Why do people suddenly act weary and defensive around you? You haven't even said anything offensive, but merely asked a few question. Then you learn to keep quiet about such questions because it upsets others.

    Being an ex-Muslim (closeted or not) is like saying you used to believe in the above but have reached a humanistic, fair and principal approach. Rather than making excuses for the verse that states hitting women is permissible, you can disagree with it altogether. No more apologetic behaviour because of fear or peer pressure or expectation.

    You can't really say the same for an ex-Christian or atheist. We used to believe in a set of beliefs unique to Islam. That is our baggage and we connect to other ex-Muslims because of it.

    That's how I see it. I felt alien on other atheist forums. No one there had my strict religious upbringing experience. No one would understand cultural implication without resorting to stereotypes. I feel at home and connected on the Council of ex-Muslims.






    Quote from: ZooBear 

    • Surah Al-Fil: In an epic game of Angry Birds, Allah uses birds (that drop pebbles) to destroy an army riding elephants whose intentions were to destroy the Kaaba. No one has beaten the high score.

  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #25 - December 20, 2012, 04:35 AM

    Quote
    Instead of threatening death, Tariq Ramadan couches this apostasy taboo in the language of contemporary multiculturalism and anti-racism, suggesting that to leave Islam and discuss the reasons for doing so is akin ‘causing prejudice’ to Muslims.

    '

    Biggest bully ever   wacko

    Quote from: ZooBear 

    • Surah Al-Fil: In an epic game of Angry Birds, Allah uses birds (that drop pebbles) to destroy an army riding elephants whose intentions were to destroy the Kaaba. No one has beaten the high score.

  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #26 - December 20, 2012, 06:17 AM

    Near perfect - thanks. Will most likely send it to my family one day.

    Only thing I think could have been added is emphasizing the distinction between criticizing Islam, the religion, versus Muslims.
    Not that that would be any better in some Muslims' eyes, but I still believe it's worth stating.

    Rather be forgotten than remembered for giving in.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #27 - December 20, 2012, 09:09 AM

    KShah_KE - I think this is a good point and for many people it has real weight. But I wonder why defining yourself in the negative has gotten such a bad rap? You can define yourself as an 'anti-racist' or 'anti-fascist', for example. Saying, instead, that you’re ‘pro-humanity’ sounds a bit bollocks, doesn’t it? And it misses something specific about people who are, say, anti-fascist. I think it’s perfectly fine to define bits of yourself in the negative.

    ‘Do you want this chocolate biscuit?’ ‘Oh, fuck, I shouldn’t say I don’t like chocolate biscuits….No thanks, I only embrace ginger-nut biscuits!’

    Saying ‘no’, defining yourself in the negative: there’s nothing odd or wrong with that. It only seems wrong in a culture which mindlessly privileges ‘positivity’.
    On the specific issue of the ‘ex-Muslim’ identity, there may be a principled-political motive for using it and there may be a very practical-pragmatic reason for using it. In respect to the former, when people deny your existence it becomes politically important to remind them of it; it is also psychically important for doubting Muslims to know that others have negotiated that same path and that they’re not crazy or weird.
    Regarding practical-pragmatic reasons, ex-Muslims are subject to a barrage of assumptions on the basis of their cultural and ethnic background (from both insiders and outsiders). In some circumstances, it’s necessary to counter these assumptions – not for political or principled reasons, but for pragmatic one’s. ‘No, give me that fuckin hotdog already’, ‘yes, I said ‘gin’, not Jane’ etc. Often an account will then be offered: ‘I’m no longer, I’m not, I once was, I used…’ These are all negative formulations, but perfectly necessary and defensible.
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #28 - December 20, 2012, 11:58 AM

    Don't know what your issue is with (anti)negativity, Simon, but I am sure that ex-muslim is one of the most positive attributes out there Wink

    Actually Billy is the main culprit for this article. Wink


    Yeah, well then I take back everything nice I said about it.

    "That it is indeed the speech of an illustrious messenger" (The Koran 69:40)
  • Why Do You Self Identity As Ex-Muslim?
     Reply #29 - December 20, 2012, 12:10 PM

    I have asked this question myself in the past. My reason for asking it was not to silence the voice of an ex-Muslim. The point I struggle to understand is why one would identify as a 'negative' or 'inverse' identity. Why would one identify as an EX-Muslim? Wouldn't you rather be a PRO-whateveritisyoumovedonto ?


    Yeah, that works only when you have a clean break, then you can just "move on" to something and forget about your stupid ex. Occasionally though your ex is a psycho that finds ways to stay in your life and you can't completely ignore them. (For slow people: the psycho-ex I am talking about here is Al-Islam)

    "That it is indeed the speech of an illustrious messenger" (The Koran 69:40)
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