Twitter thread from a Muslim doing a PhD on Ex-Muslims.https://mobile.twitter.com/IcramSerroukh/status/1183321265525968896
Some key insights I’ve gained from my doctoral research on Ex-Muslims and converts to Islam. Below is a thread in relation to how I’ve witnessed *some* Muslims engage with, and speak about Ex-Muslims in particular:
First and foremost, just like Muslims are not a homogenous monolith, neither are Ex-Muslims. This is often disregarded and as such, the individuality of experiences is lost in the blanket grouping of Ex-Muslims - as if their motivations and journeys are always the same...
They’re not. In failing to recognise this, there exists the danger of holding narrow misconceptions and reinforcing them, further stigmatising a group that is already stigmatised to some level within their own families/communities.
In this regard, the following insights are not representative of ALL Ex-Muslims, and should not be understood in this way. Rather, they are just some of the findings that emerged from the group of women that I engaged with.
One key finding from my research was how relational the experience of leaving Islam is, and the significant role Muslims play in this regard. Whilst some Ex-Muslims may have held doubts about their belief in, and practice of Islam, often it was other Muslims who...
Perpetuated this further - this list is not exhaustive, but:
• Either by calling them out for not being “a good enough Muslim” due to engaging in certain behaviours/actions that are haram and therefore such people should not call themselves Muslims (thus, they decided not to)
DISCLAIMER for previous tweet: I’m not saying that this was the SOLE AND DEFINITIVE reason for leaving, just that sometimes other Muslims can have a certain level of impact on those who are not strong in terms of their belief, and this really should be noted
Then why should anyone subscribe to such a religion - it clearly doesn’t work as well as it’s meant to.
This isn’t to say that ALL Muslims are a bad reflection of Islam, or that the value of a religion lies only in the example of those that follow it, but highlights how this notion transcends in terms of LIVED EXPERIENCE.
As a Muslim researcher looking into this topic, I’ve had to be highly reflexive in terms of positionality and minimising bias. Thus, I try to refrain from sharing my own personal views on the topic.
This said however, I will mention that the Ex-Muslim women that I met were really lovely, and not *terrible people* as some people may have you believe. Of course, there are extremes in every community and it is dangerous to associate certain traits to people based on religion...
Or lack thereof. Some people may be nice and Muslim, and some may be horrible and Muslim. Likewise, this may be the case for Ex-Muslims too.
I will end on a final note by saying that I believe people should have the ability to make their OWN choices to believe/practice a religion. As humans, it’s not our place to judge anyone for this decision, and that challenging certain views/providing Islamic arguments in response
Can and SHOULD be done in a respectful manner that will likely be better received, and will also have more of a positive impact than throwing insults and dismissing people based on a decision that you, or someone you know, may potentially end up making in the future.
On a human level, some of the things the Ex-Muslims experienced were really sad, in particular the way the family relationships suffered.
If you really want to UNDERSTAND Ex-Muslims, then first see them as humans who’ve decided to make a decision that may be in opposition to your own personal religious beliefs, and that is a good starting point.
I will also say that within the group of women I researched, there was so much variance in many aspects, including religious belief/practice prior to leaving. There was a spectrum and so the misconception of decreased religiosity = increased likelihood of leaving is inaccurate.
As a Muslim, I will include a reminder that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) didn’t call people to Islam through insults, and certainly didn’t treat people from other religions in a bad way simply because of that fact. Perhaps some people need to hear this.
Addressing Muslims specifically: insulting Ex-Muslims is not helpful on any level, and responding to rudeness or disrespectful exchanges in the same way does not reflect how a Muslim should conduct themselves, so please be conscious of this...
And if you believe that Allah (SWT) guides whom he wills, then understand that you telling someone they’ve made a mistake leaving Islam, or that it is the right religion and the only one that should be followed is not going to have an impact unless Allah (SWT) wills it to...
Leave the judging to God.
MAJOR DISCLAIMER: my research is not a theological study, but it is a sociological study. I do not claim to be a theologian, and on a personal level, I am not coming from an Islamically educated stance - I’m simply expressing my own thoughts from my own knowledge base.