Hello all ? I have been lurking on this forum for months. I found your site via an article about Maryam Namazie, and from there on to the CEMB and Hassan?s videos which gave me a real sense of relief. Here was someone ? like many of you here it seems ? who had had the courage to back out of the umma with all the hardships that involves but without taking on a violently islamaphobic stance. So thanks Hassan and all the others who have created this unhateful space for dialogue.
I?m here because Islam has been part of my daily life for many years now as my partner is a believing Muslim, though I doubt that the hardliners would agree, as it?s a very personal form of practice that does not include praying or mosque-going, fasting is on and off. When we first met he was an ex-Muslim, much to the dismay of his family, but as time has passed he has gone back to believing in his own idiosyncratic way, probably deep down because he is so disillusioned with what he found in Europe. He arrived here expecting to find a lot of the ideals he cherishes put into practice ? but little by little he has been disappointed. For the most part his private beliefs are no obstacle for us. I was brought up in a very agnostic Protestant setting and opted out of Sunday school when I was nine as the whole religion thing just didn?t seem to wash, went through a Buddhist period in my teens then married a Jewish guy who converted to Catholicism just before our marriage. We later divorced but not because of religion. All through these multifaith experiences I suppose I have remained a kind of ?spiritual? atheist, though don?t really know what that means at heart. What is most important to me is that the people dear to me have values that seem to transcend all these religions ? at the core they are people who are seeking for a better world with less pain and suffering and inequality. And they don?t try to impose their beliefs on others!!
What pushed me to join this forum is the worry that Islam nonetheless seems to support some attitudes I cannot reconcile with. Evolution, women, apostates, homosexuality - yes, these are classic subjects on which other religions are also intolerant, but Islam seems way behind in moving forward and I feel the brunt of this. I often conclude that culture is largely responsible for a lot of these attitudes, but what irks me is that Islam seems to reinforce them. In all the years I have been mixing with Muslims ? I must say I have met many tolerant ones who manage to get over the fact that I and my partner are not married and that I haven?t converted (although I may be a thorn in the side of some) and attempts to convince me to move over onto right path are now becoming fewer and far between. I have also met loads of so-called Muslims who in private are either non-believers, agnostics or who just couldn?t care less ? the main thing seems to be that they want to avoid breaking with their family, causing pain, being rejected by their community. What I do appreciate here on the forum is your courage and, as I said at the start, the lack of hatred (unlike some other forums I?ve visited). So looking forward to sharing thoughts and sense of humour with you although unfortunately I don?t have a lot of free time at present.
By the way love you Smileys - maybe that's basically why I joined