Hello to one and all ...
OP - November 28, 2008, 02:35 PM
This title would come as no surprise to those who know me well. The most common reaction from those closest to me is either to split their sides laughing or look at me in horror! Now, I would not want you to get a bad impression of me from day one, I am probably not as fruitcakey as I am making out, but I do have my moments, even I concede to that. It would be best for all concerned if I mapped out a sort of biography, which will include me (obviously), why I am here (obviously) and the hidden details about me (not so obviously).
I am 56 years old, Anglo-Saxon, male and now separated from my lovely Moroccan wife. I have two children from my first marriage, which was more like being married to a volcano, to be honest. Hafida came as a complete blessing as a second wife as she was so sweet and lovely. I have two children with her, Nassim and Imran, and they are just wicked!I have never married under false pretences and (I did say that there would be some not-so-obvious bits) each of my wives has known before the event that I am bisexual. That's me and that's how I was kitted out from the day I first realised what made the body tick! However, before I met Hafida I had renounced Christianity and converted to Islam, on a beach (plage 29km actually) north of Agadir. (Have I still got your attention?) So when I explained to Hafida that I was a bisexual it was with the happy codicil that as a devout Muslim, which I was (really, I know it is difficult to believe, but believe) at that time, I had turned my back on being a zaml! Two children, a separation and a renunciation of Islam later, I am now beginning to think that a male/male relationship might be better for me.
I am a teacher of languages and I am currently reading for a postgraduate degree in Media-Assisted Language Teaching. I already have my dip. and grad. in ESL. I speak some Spanish, more French, some Moroccan Arabic and far too much English for my own good. I have thee children living with me, so I am a single-parent, at the moment anyway. I taught in language schools in Agadir and in England and I worked for a UAE military school here in the UK as an ESOL teacher.
Why did I renounce Islam? That is a complex question. If you had seen me in 1996/7 in Agadir I was always, and I mean always in a djellabah. I prayed at the Mohammed V mosque in Talborjt and I owned more Qu'urans than I care to think about. I was widely-known in Agadir as a devout, practising Muslim and I tried really hard to keep my faith. I suppose the real breaking point was, if I am honest, 9/11. Not the act itself (although it was horrific and callous) but the reaction of the people in Agadir at that time. My son Nassim was born in July 2001 and, to help family and cultural bonding, Hafida went to Morocco in August when Nassim was 4 weeks old. The atrocities came 2 weeks later and, naturally, I was extremely concerned and anxious about my wife and child. I telephoned her and asked her how she and Nassim were coping and she said, after a silence (this still makes me cry when I remember it), "we are fine, there's a huge celebration here at the moment because of what has happened in New York . People are out in the streets giving out sweets to children." I was sick, physically and literally sick on hearing that. That one detail made me refocus everything I had ever learnt, not just Islam, but 'god' (I now always de-capitalise the word and put it in single quotation marks - evident signs that I no longer accept the concept) and the hereafter. I am not going to go into this too deeply now because it would fill pages, but within six months I was an atheist. I couldn't stand the hypocrisy of Muslim adherents who would not accept Islam being questioned. I thought about nothing but reasoning through the whole 'god' belief structure and it suddenly became nothing more than nonsense. It was as if a light had been turned on somewhere that had never been turned on before. It lit corners of my mind that made me cry with relief. I came to the realisation that I am what I am, and nothing more. Just as I am so thankful that that light was turned on, I will, I know, be thankful when it is turned off at the end, because it will have served its purpose.
I was so happy to hear about the CEMB last year and I joined straight away. I am now an ardent atheist and just knowing that the CEMB is there has helped me to confront the demons that any Muslim would have (though this must be far greater for some of you) on waving Islam goodbye (well, mine was a two-fingered wave!). Sorry, I almost forgot to tell you, I am also a vegetarian of 40 years standing (some Muslims hated me not eating meat) and I will never be anything else but vegetarian for the rest of my life. The same goes for my atheist beliefs, I am now a non-theist.
"If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it" From a letter Einstein wrote in English, dated 24 March 1954.