My answers to questions concerning 'leaving Islam' from a postgraduate student from Finland, who is doing a thesis on the subject.
On Thursday, 30 July 2009, I recieved the following email from student in Finland:
I got your e-mail address from www.apostatesofislam.com. I’m working on my Master’s Thesis at the University of Helsinki and my thesis is about leaving Islam. In particular, I’m interested in how the social pressure affects the process of leaving Islam and what the actual consequences for apostates are in today’s world.
As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to find interviewees on this subject. I have interviewed some people in Finland, but I’d definitely like to hear from more. The testimonials on websites are also an important source, but they don’t always answer my particular questions. Therefore, I’m hoping that you could take the time to answer these questions with as few or many sentences as you like. Absolute anonymity is of course guaranteed.
The Thesis Writer
Hello Thesis Writer,
Thank you for your e-mail. Below is my response to your questions. I hope you do well in your thesis. I shall be interested in reading the synopsis of your thesis.
I would like to post my answers in web sites. Please let me know.
If I do not receive any reply from you within the next 24 hours, I shall assume you have no objection.
Questions and answers:
A: Sixty years.
Q: Home country:
Q: Current country, if not same as home country:
Q: To what extent were you aware of the possible consequences of leaving Islam before you left Islam?
I was fully aware that apostasy in Islam is punishable by death.
Q: Were you aware of the debates concerning leaving Islam?
Q: Were you aware of trials and sentences for apostates? If yes, where did you get this information (for example, newspapers, websites)?
Yes, I was aware of the process of trial and the sentence that is meted out to an apostate as per the Islamic law. I read the Qur’an and ahadith and learned about the laws on apostasy in Islam. Web sites did help me, but my main sources of information were books and articles on Islam.
Q: What attitude in general did your family and friends seem to have about leaving Islam? How did this come out?
Most of my family members are not aware of my apostasy. Only a handful of them know that I have left Islam. They are very considerate, do not bother me too much, and I would say they are very supportive. Only a handful of my friends know about my apostasy. They are also apostates or have serious doubts about Islam.
Q: Did you share your doubts with any religious authorities?
No. Why must I endanger my life by approaching such blood-thirsty Mullahs?
Q: If you did, what kind of guidance or advice did you receive? If you didn’t, why?
I thought it is useless to approach the authority about my apostasy. Authorities are supportive only of the much publicised apostates such as ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali… and such personalities. I do not think authorities will really protect me when it comes to the crunch.
Q: Have you told your family and/or friends about your decision to leave Islam? What were your reasons for telling/not telling?
Please read the previous answer.
Q: If you have told your family and/or friends, what have their reactions been?
Please read the previous answer.
Q: If you have moved from your hometown/country to another place, was this move relevant to your leaving Islam?
This question does not apply to me, as I left my country of origin long before my apostasy.
Q: Did you have thoughts about leaving Islam or had you made your decision before your move?
Since my childhood, I had doubts about Islam. During that period I had asked my religious teacher and my parents many questions about Islam, without receiving any pertinent answers. In many instances I was even physically punished for asking such audacious questions. My religious teacher told me never to question anything in the Qur’an or about Islam. Even under such Islamic tyranny and bigotry, I did not think of leaving Islam. Only after I studied thoroughly the Qur’an and other canonical books of Islam, I found Islam to be barbaric, false, and imperialistic. That was when I made up my mind to abandon Islam. This happened after my migration to Australia.
Q: If you feel the move was relevant, what circumstances in your new surroundings made it possible for you to leave Islam?
The atmosphere of freedom of expression, democracy, equal rights for all religious belief and a fair justice system in Australia favoured my decision to leave Islam. These elements of human rights are absent in Islamic societies.
Q: What circumstances prevented this in your hometown/country?
In Bangladesh, though apostasy is not punishable by death, apostates are isolated from the society, stigmatised and live under constant threat of being murdered by the Islamists. That is why most apostates of Islam in Bangladesh prefer to remain silent. These apostates leave Islam silently, never disclosing to anyone except for the trusting friends and relatives. These apostates simply stop practicing Islam in their lives. That is how a Muslim may leave Islam quietly, without any publicity.
Q: What consequences has there been for you for leaving Islam? I’m interested in any legal, social and emotional consequences you might have experienced.
My leaving Islam was not a simple decision. It had taken me many years of constant study, analyses, understanding and pondering before I was convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that Islam is false, barbaric and imperialistic. I have studied Islam for around thirty years, though the last ten years had been truly vigorous and contemplative. I discovered Islam is fearful, sadistic, and murderous. Islam is the root cause of current terrorism around the globe; we may call this Islamic Terrorism. When we note that today’s Islamic terrorists are simply following what the Qur’an and Sunna propel them to do, we cannot hide the truth that the sources of all Islamic Terrorism is in the Qur’an and other founts of Islam, such as Sunna (Muhammad’s traditions), Sharia (Islamic laws) and Sira (Muhammad’s biography). There is no joy in Islam; there is no happiness in Islam; there is no pleasure in Islam. Anything joyous, pleasurable, enjoyable and comfortable is prohibited in Islam.
I must tell the truth that having left Islam, I feel so relieved. I feel that a huge chunk of boulder has been removed from my chest. Although I have to live a double-life, I feel so free and happy: that I have no hindrance to my thoughts and actions. It is like being freed from a prison after a long sentence, or being relieved after a death sentence has been quashed on appeal.
Leaving Islam is like being re-born as a human being—truly free, happy and loving to every creature on earth.
Reply from the student:
and thank you so much for your quick reply and your thorough answers. I'd be more than happy to send you the synopsis of my thesis once it's done and I wouldn't mind at all if you post your answers on your website.