Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

No One is Naturally Evil

Hello Ali Sina,
You has written some stuff about how some people are naturally evil, and that there is no hope of trying to free people with the same views as Osama bin Laden or Abu Musab az-Zarqawi from Islam, as they are evil.

Well, here you have me. As you might know, I am an ex-Muslim (I was a convert). I was a Salafi Jihadi. No, of course I wasn't a Mujahid who fought in Jihad, but I admired the Taliban, al-Qaeda and similar. I dreamed of participating in Jihad, of becoming a Mujahid. I was active on Jihadi forums.

Whenever it dropped onto my brain that the Beslan school massacre, the 9/11 attacks, the suicide bombings in Iraq, Muhammed's massacre of the Jews etc etc were wrong, I smothered these thoughts. Most of the Muslims I hanged with were Saudi Salafis, i.e they opposed al-Qaeda and supported the Saudi government. They said that the Saudi government had its faults, but that they are not Murtadun (apostates) as al-Qaeda and like-minded people say. I can almost guarantee you that had I posted on this forum when I was a Muslim, you would never have trusted me when I had later left Islam.

When I look back at my forum posts as a Muslim, whether it is about Jihad, science, politics or any other subject, I see that they in many cases are plainly stupid. And of course now I am against killing of civilians. I think that all living beings, humans as well as plants and animals, deserve respect (of course there is a limit to that, for example when an animal, human or plant threaten another living being, you know what I mean, don't you?) and that no unnecessary suffering should be inflicted on them.

Now I fully realize that the Islamic atrocities are wrong, but back then I approved of them. Keep in mind that there were even Salafi Jihadis who opposed the Beslan school massacre. Obviously there were enough of them to motivate those who approved of it to write a book explaining why the Beslan school massacre was Islamically allowed. Yet, I wasn't among those who opposed it.

So how do I fit into this good-evil people thingy? Am I naturally evil but has decided to be good, or am I naturally good but became evil to then be good again? Mind you, the reason I abandoned Islam was not because of Muhammed's evil deeds, but because there was no credible evidence of Islam being true (I struggled for months with that, back then I really wanted Islam to be true, I searched allover the Internet for credible evidence).

Best regards!


Dear Firwan,

I can only say one thing and that is I was wrong when I said some people are naturally evil. Frankly I know that people are not born naturally evil. When I made that remark I made it out of anger and did not really mean it.

Humans are not born evil. They become evil because of external influences. All children are born pure and innocent. What makes some to gravitate to evil is their upbringing and then the doctrines that they espouse.

If you study the childhood of all the great monsters of history, such as Hitler, Saddam, Stalin, Mao, Muhammad, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Joseph Kony, etc, you’ll see they all had one thing in common. They all had either loveless or too permissive childhoods. These are the main factors that make some people narcissists. Narcissism is a terrible emotional disorder. Not all narcissists become famous leaders, but all of them destroy anything that is in their way. Con artists and pathological liars are often narcissists. Unfortunately there are plenty of narcissists in the world. You certainly know a few of them or maybe you are one of them. Narcissism can be prevented, but I am not aware if it can be cured. Not all those children who have been abused grow up to become narcissists. However, all those who become narcissists have been abused in one way or another in their childhood.

Narcissists can be truly evil. They lack conscience, and when you lack conscience you are not a full human being. Narcissists seems to be doomed to suffer and make others suffer for the rest of their lives. They must hurt and destroy in order to feel alive. These words can be offensive to narcissists but they have the ability to feel great in a second. Narcissists may think of suicide or talk about it to gain sympathy but they never do it. (I must add unfortunately) They can destroy the world, but not their exalted self. Such a self is too important to be destroyed.

Are they naturally evil? No! They are victims of their faulty childhood upbringings. They were once innocent children who were humiliated, or conversely, their overly permissive parents did not discipline them and they grew up becoming boundary breakers and misfits.

So you are right and I was wrong. No one is naturally evil. People become evil through faulty upbringing and by following evil doctrines.

What will happen if you follow a narcissist and adopt his worldviews? You enter in his bubble world and become a narcissist by extension. You stop using your own conscience and let him dictate his values on you. When a large number of people follow a narcissist blindly, the result can be catastrophic. This happened in Germany when the majority of the good Germans, fell prey to the big lies of a narcissist. The result was unspeakable atrocities that they committed and 55 million deaths. Once the influence of Hitler was removed, the Germans proved to be as good people as anyone else.

What makes some Muslims terrorists and beastly is their religious indoctrination. No one is naturally evil. I believe every human being is born with the potential to become a saint. It is what happens to us along the way and the choices that we make that make us different.

At any time we can change our lives and decide to become a saint. Essentially there is no difference between a saint and a criminal. Both of them can make wrong choices and good choices in every moment of their lives and actually they do. The saint however makes more good choices, and the criminal makes more bad choices. That is the only difference. To become a saint, all you have to do is decide to do good most of the times. Everyone can do that, therefore everyone is a potential saint.

We are making choices every minute of our lives. To become a good human, all we have to do is ask ourselves, does this thing that I am going to do hurt anyone? If the answer is yes then don’t do it. It’s that simple. Once you do that, you are on your way to sainthood.

I am glad that you left your Jihadi thinking and now are working to enlighten others. You are a living testimony to the fact that love is more powerful than hate and truth is more potent than lies. Yes, we can win this war and avert a major catastrophe if we speak the truth and genuinely love the Muslims, seeing them as victims who need to be rescued rather than as enemies who have to be destroyed.

I took the liberty to publish this exchange because I want others witness also the power of truth and instead of thinking of Muslims as naturally evil, think of them as victims who need to be rescued.

Most of the Muslims who leave Islam do not announce it. It is important that they do. One of the biggest lies that keep Muslims hooked is the lie that Islam is the fastest growing religion. Muslims are procreating faster than any other population, but this does not mean that Islam is growing. The rate of exodus from Islam is far greater than the same in other religions. The truth is that Islam is the fastest dying religion.

Ali Sina is the Editor of He is has contributed in 'Beyond Jihad - Critical Voices from Inside Islam'.  His upcoming book is Understanding Islam and the Muslim Mind.

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