I used to think I was a lonely apostate amongst 1.2 billion Muslims until nine days ago when I came across this site just by typing the search word 'secular Islam'. What a blessing it was to find out there are others like you to share your 'secret' feelings! I am a 29 year old female born to a Bangladeshi Muslim family which was fortunately extremely progressive. My parents never imposed any Islamic sanctions on me but provided the essential Quranic teachings. I finished Qur’an at age 9 without ever understanding a word of it. I guess I became an apostate at around age 11 or 12, when one day in my mandatory Islamiyat (Study of Islam) class, the Huzur gave an account of heaven and hell for men and women. A Mumin(faithful) Muslim man would go straight to heaven where those proverbial ‘seventy two houries’ would be waiting to entertain him; and what would a faithful woman get ? According to my Huzur ‘the greatest reward that she could ever expect’- her same old husband !!!!!! I was just shocked and surprised, something clicked inside me and I told myself “Hell with heaven! I don’t want your Jannaat, thank you very much!” I couldn’t believe Allah could be so unjust toward women. Why should I get the same old man in ‘Jannaat-Ul-Ferdous’ and share him with seventy two houris? I have no intention to do that! And what if I make it to heaven and he doesn’t? Then what happens? Allah seemed to me like a mediaeval chauvinistic man- not God. I tried to talk to my friends how they felt about this issue of heaven and other unequal rights of women. Most of their reactions were quite sarcastic like “Just how many men would you like to nail in heaven?” or “Why your husband is not enough for you?”. I later found out in Surah-56 in Qur’an, a mention of Ghilmans (“young boys as if they are hidden pearls in the gardens of heaven”) who are also reserved for men only! Now that is sick! Why women would have ‘squat’ while men would enjoy the company of both beautiful women and men? What does that really mean? Does Allah hate women far more than He hates homosexuals or pedophiles?
However, the environment at my home was extremely secular, my father taught me not to even mention someone as a Hindu, and such were the manners in our family. My mom taught me to be a human being first then become a Muslim. When I was around 14/15 I started reading Communist literature and gradually became an Atheist. I guess I was being heavily influenced by my brother who was a Marxist and also by one of my private tutors who was actively involved with a local Communist party at that time. My becoming an atheist did surprise my parents but didn’t exactly shock them. They were more concerned about people’s reaction toward me than the possibility of me burning in hell. They warned me about the danger of having to come out as an atheist and insisted on keeping it secret. So I did, even my closest friends don't know that I have absolutely no faith in any religion especially in Islam. I remember how many times I had to lie to friends about fasting during Ramadan, it was a shame for me but I had no choice. As I grew up, I tried over and over again to ask questions about Qur’an but every time was turned off by cold looks or angry slurs from some of my relatives and friends who claim to be 'moderate' Muslims!!! Bangladesh is a liberal Muslim state on the outside but this is the place from where Taslima Nasrin was driven away just because she asked to revise the Qur’an! Thanks to the valuable educational articles of FFI and ISIS, now I have no doubt in my mind that Islam is one of the most heinous religions on earth! Although never really took much interest in Qur’an, I at least knew about Mohammad's numerous marriages, intolerance on opposing beliefs and so on. But it was only a week ago that I learned -he had sex with Ayesha when she was 9 years old? He killed 900 Jews and pagans and then slept with their wives? Why God why? I felt like crying, couldn't sleep rest of that night! Such was the guilt and shame. I've been silently a part of these despicable crimes for all these years! I knew it was bad, never knew it was this much sick. The hardest part of my story is that I still have to go along with my 'moderate' friends even here in the U.S. and never be able to come out and say "I hate your psychopathic cult!"
Let me tell you something about my local community of Bangladeshis. Most of them are well educated middleclass immigrants who have at least a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from American schools. While they are far less religious or fanatical than the Arabs or Pakistanis, they have their own ‘moderate way’ of religious practice mixed with their own brand of hypocrisy. Most of them would regularly eat at Burger King or McDonalds, but would never touch the non-halaal game-hen at grocery stores. They would love to take advantage of the freedom and democracy of America but would never practice the same in their own community when it comes to critiquing Islam. Their hearts bleed for the suffering Palestinians but never even ache for the innocent Israeli victims of suicide bombings. They scream discrimination against Arab minorities of America, but never utter a single word against the inhumane treatment on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh. Some of them are pundits in global politics and world history, who call themselves humanists, keep accurate statistics of deaths and casualties in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq and Kashmir but maintain complete ignorance about the U.S. invasions in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Vietnam, Hiroshima or Nagasaki; after all, those victims were non-Muslims, so why shed tears for them? They pride their Islamic spiritual philosophy and hate the western materialistic way of life, but don’t hesitate to brag about buying the latest SUV of BMW. At least half of them firmly believe that every act of Islamic terrorism is actually a Zionist conspiracy against Muslims. At least a quarter of them frequent the mosques, these are the most radical people who regularly arrange ‘halaka’(hours of boring Qur’an recitation and Islamic discussion sessions) and openly make fun of other religions. To them, the event of the Birth of Jesus to Virgin Mary is laughable but ‘Miraj’ of Prophet Mohammad is absolutely believable. They even have the weirdest opinion about websites like FFI. One of my hijabi friends told me that day she is absolutely convinced that, Dr Ali Sina (certainly she was cursing him with unmentionable adjectives) must be a Jew or a Hindu under the disguise of a Muslim name. It is incomprehensible to her that a Muslim could defame Islam like this. Her strong suggestion to those who posted testimonials in this page is “commit suicide; since you are not Muslims anymore you have nothing to live for; since you are doomed to suffer hellfire, it’s better to die now before committing any more sins!”
While I try to distance myself from this kind of hypocrisies and bigotry by just keeping silent, very often it makes me feel like a coward even irresponsible. I’m gathering my courage little by little and hoping one day I would be able to stand up for what I believe. Only then I’ll be truly free. Finally can I offer my deepest and sincere condolence to all Americans and other nationals who lost their loved ones on 9/11, relatives of all Israeli civilian victims of suicide bombings, and all other individuals (Muslims and non-Muslims) who have been slaughtered at the hands of the Islamists. I just can't carry this burden of guilt anymore. I have no word to condemn the atrocities committed by the Islamic butchers! Yes, the journalistic cliché is right; Islam is the fastest growing 'cancer' in the world. If civilized people just sit back in silence and let it spread- it's going to destroy the entire humanity in just a couple of decades. Hope that day never comes.
August 21, 2002
Somewhere in USA
permission from Faith