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Afshan Malik, London
I have only just discovered this organisation. I am a professional woman in my 50s. I grew up in Bradford in a Muslim household but realised that I did not believe in Islam when I was 11 and reading the Quran. I live by my own values and believe you can be a good person without organised religion. I have really had to hide my own beliefs for such a long time, only from Muslims, and I am tired of so called Muslims who are really hypocrites and think that they can judge me or criticise me because I chose to live my life outside of a Muslim set up. I would like to support this organisation if I can.
Umair Evans, London, UK
I am a half Pakistani (and half English/German) American who was raised in Islam in Ohio. I stopped believing when I found the hypocrisy and inherent bigotry to be too much. So many of the tenets of the religion that people cling to are simply instruments of control. Coupling this with the friends and family I have from other religious backgrounds, I just no longer could be part of the charade.
I have had doubts about relegion for a while...despite me trying to gain more knowledge on Islam and.practice it more I fealt that the more . Knew the less I believed. I am now agnostic however not many people can understand why...they think the devil has gotten.to me lol. I only just fiscovered this group today and am so glad there are plenty of others out there that arent brain washed and have thought fr themselves
As a child growing up near London, I remember fearing Allah to some extent and praying to him in times of need (i.e. before exams!). However this demonstration of faith never fully translated into my actions. I got bored whenever my dad dragged me to the mosque, and during Ramadhan would secretly scoff a chocolate bar in the school toilets to keep me going until sunset! I think it's because, even at this young age, I questioned the logic for what I was supposed to be doing rather than blindly accepting what my parents and the rather angry man from the mosque were telling me.
My first day at university was a major turning point. The second my dad pulled out of the car park I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom to be who I wanted to be - or perhaps find out who I actually was. I'm not ashamed to say this initally led me down a somewhat hedonistic path with my newly found friends, however at no point did I feel regret or guilt because I had created my own moral framework which was not being violated. Although I had not internally processed my own position on religion at this stage, there was no turning back from here.
I'm now in my early thirties and in recent years have developed an intellectual curiosity regarding the origins of religion and related topics such as cosmology, philosphy and morality. Dawkins, Hitchens and Krauss have provided an excellent gateway to these conversations through their writings and recorded debates, but I am keen to learn more and hope that the CEMB will help me in this regard. The sharing of common experience is also something I would value highly, as there is little or no other outlet for this in my life. Particular areas of relevance to me would be sensitive handling of family members who remain devout Muslims, especially in the context of finding a partner for marriage and raising chidren in the future.
If anyone thinking of joining the CEMB community is reading this and can relate to it on any level, you have already started your journey and I would urge you to continue it. Even if it leads you back to Islam - your choice will be a more enlightened one.
I Atheist since 2008 born in muslim family in karachi . In 2003 when i started reading science my dircetion questioning my religion changed and for 4 years no ine answer them correctly and there was a moment i realise these all things are man made since then my family started hating and i lost every single person i love and now suffering from depression but still beleive i made right decsion and i am proud of it.
Irteza Rasheed, London
My story begins early in life, but is one that takes a long while in completion. I grew up in a Muslim family and, as you can imagine, was brought up in teachings of the faith. Around the age of 7, my household was one of the typical/common households you could find in the Islamic state of Pakistan in 1990's. Domestic violence was a way of living and questioning against it was not an available option to choose. Ever since I can remember, ever since I was taught to pray, I would pray with all my might, on days with tears in my eyes, sitting in my room with the door shut tight but the voices still finding their way through. I would pray for it all to stop! I would pray for it all to be better, and on days I would even pray for my dad to be punished! But never did my prayers reach their destination, or never were they answered. That is of course before I found out that 'God' had a different view on wife-beating than the one I had.
I do not think I even questioned the existence of God at such an early age but rather rationalised these incidents and the lack of response to my prayers. The one explanation I remember giving myself was that God is testing us and my prayers will be answered when the time is right. But these incidents did achieve in giving me the gift of critical thinking at an early age. A few years on and I realised that praying, on a general note, is not the magical antidote to all of life's problem as is so claimed by faith. It was the same, be it something as juvenile as praying for that special something on the birthdays or better grades in school, to things more selfless as praying for my dying grandma, or a sick friend. God seemed to have his own plan no matter what I prayed for, so what was the point in asking me to pray in the first place?! As its said, 'it wasn't ment to be' or 'it was God's will', then why even bother to pray when it does nothing to change the will of God. In fact, praying seemed to be the upmost waste of one's time in the name of self gratification, to get the false feeling that you are at least doing something towards the desired goal, and also, when things don't work out, be able to say later on 'we prayed all we could but..' and fill the need to avoid feeling useless for not being able to do anything to help. I was able to observe that prayers did not cure my friend of typhoid, medicine did. That my grades were not effected by the amount of time I spent praying, but on the time I spent preparing. And that it wasn't because of God's will that my grandma died despite all our prayers and the prayers held on her name by different mosques accounting up to 100's of people wishing her good health. It was her inability to survive, even with the medical support, due to the simple nature of old age. So why?! Why place so much emphasis on 'praying', when it is only wishful thinking in disguise!
But thanks to my strict upbringing, I still did not dare to doubt the absolute religion and its authenticity. Once again I rationalised by telling myself that medicine only exists because God lets it to be, science only progressed because God created the human brain with such capability otherwise it wouldn't have been possible. That life and death are indeed in God's hand and who am I to question his motives. It was only at the age of 17 that I came across a question which drastically changed my way of reasoning, "Who's God?!"
I started asking myself, is it my God that is allowing me to live and the world to be as it is? Creating shakes in the water, flooding the land of non-believers through layers of tsunami in an attempt to wake them up to their wrong doings? Or is it the God of the Jew, allowing the special people of the God to prosper and creating havoc in the world for the Muslims? Or is it indeed the Gods/Goddesses of the Hindu, who allowed something as horrific as the Holocaust to take place. Who's going to heaven and who's going to hell when each believes their God to be true. When paradise is in the mind of the murderers/terrorists in the name of Islam, paradise is the destination of their victims, who's right and who's wrong? Everything is in God's will, ok. But who decides which one's!
When you start considering the plausibility that half of the world's population is going to hell simply because they were born in a different religion, that their only sin is to have parents belonging to another faith, this alone will get you questioning the credibility of the source. At least that's what it did for me. I stopped trying to justify everything through religion, and started questioning religion and faith it's self until I came across an answer for myself, which was that religion is a man made phenomenon, there to serve it's creator the purpose it was created for. It varies from one person to the other, but for the majority it gives them a false sense of meaning in life, and rules to live by, which gives them a false sense of satisfaction when they obey them. Religion is indeed the biggest lie humans ever came up with, hence here I am..
Arif Ahmed, Cambridge
Hicham Ouallaf, Oxford
Shortly After i came to England i met lot of good people from different backgrounds and religions and i realize that those people don't deserve to go to hell simply because they don't believe in Islam and it just felt very wrong.From that point my believe in God and Islam got weaker everyday
until it gone.
I been brainwashed to believe in Islam since i was a child like all other Muslims and I'm happy that a got away from it.I told all my family and friends that I'm an atheist and they should get used to it.
Babak Bigdeli, Manchester
At the age of 18 I chose to be a Muslim following my self-found believe in God because it was almost the only available and free to choose religion in my home country, Iran. I should mention that even though I'm born in a so called Muslim family buy my family are not religious. I practiced it for 14 years doing all the rituals and services but I didn't get to where I was expecting and that was when I started to doubt it and started to seriously study the critical views and only then I understood that I was following a fake, deceitful and full of contradictions religion and finally abandoned it in 2007. I really encourage my Muslim friends to avoid the blind faith that has been inducted to them since beginning and not be afraid to break the fake holiness of it and by close surveying the critical views release themselves from the darkness of ignorance and blind faith.
Thinking Shah, Hatfield
I am from Pakistan studying in UK as an international student.
Since my childhood I was thinking and used to raise questions on religion regarding whatever I thought was wrong. Being religious and belonging to a religious family, I used to feel very bad about it because off-course as a Muslim you are not supposed to raise question and object on the Word of God, or the Islamic Sharia Laws.
I went on doing research and asking scholars but their apologetic justifications couldn't stop me from thinking and raising questions, gradually I accumulated the courage to declare myself an Agnostic.
My name is Sami, I am from Yemen, my father was victim to the Islamic Sharia law against apostates and this needs to stop.
Borna Karimi, london
I was born in Iran as a Muslim. As a child I did not many options and I had to follow what I was told.
As time passed I began to think about it. I realised that Islam is not for me, actually religion is not for me. The experience of living in a country with a religion government and studying evolution theory were the starting points.
Now I see myself not limited to Quran, but free to live better, help others and wonder more with no gilt
I have always had my doubts about Islam, I never saw the relation between being a good person and being a religious person. Religion always posed me with more questions than answers. I have never understood why an infinite, powerful, all knowing and unlimited being such as good would limit himself within 2 covers of a book.
As I read the Quran there was a lot of inflicting fear, "do not believe I will send you to hell", "doomed are those who do not believe", "I will poison your hearts" etc etc. It appears the religion is using fear and ignorance to get people to believe and fear and ignorance are a manipulators tool.
I converted to Islam from Catholicism as a way to find a path through the muddle that was my life. I found it, but only for a short while. I soon realised how ridiculous it all was, not that Catholicism was any better.
Islam, like all religions, is outdated nonsense. I am convinced there are huge numbers of British 'Muslims' that think the same, but fear retribution in some shape or form. If I have one message to them it is this: walk away from Islam and be free; free to speak what you like, eat what you like when you like, express yourself as you like - free to life your life as you like, not how others say you should, just because they were told how they should. Stop bolstering the hypocrisy that is rife in Islamic communities and be truthful to yourself and you will find you are in the majority.
There is no god but science, and religion is for profit.
a postate, Gt. Manchester
I enjoy many aspects of Islam, the community script, the brotherhood. Its a great antidote to the Individualism to the capitalist preached in the UK
However I am miserable because there are so many aspects of my life are lived in so called guilt. I would hate to be ostracised by my parents because I want to leave the religion, so I keep quiet.
I am not decided if I'm an atheist yet, but maybe communicating with people here may let me decide either way.
The more I have read and studied about Islam the stronger I have come to the conclusion (a) that God doesnt even exist and (b) that Islam has some major problems. I want a community of like minded people to identify with against the pressures to conform.
Syed Shahriar Ahsan, Uk
I used to be a good Muslim until I grew up and searched for the truth. I learnt a lot about Islam as I'm in the most populated Islamic country. When I came in touch with the sites faithfreedom.org, islamwatch.org, wikiislam.net, mukto-mona.com, I started to think differently. These sites helped me to find the gaps of all religion including Islam. I found that Islam is full of fallacies and leads to insane and satanic behaviour, really inhumane and crazy. Then I started thinking and decided that everyone is born as an atheist. I do hope that god exists but I can't deny that god is not, well, at least I don't have the proof so else millions like me. So I will just keep my eyes of mind open to think and live my life free from burden dogmas.
همکاری با سازمان
Usman Mahmood Bukhari, Birmingham, UK
I was once being trained for being an Alim (scholar) of Islam but having read a variety of philosophical texts I slowly if not painfully at times lost my faith, particularly Kierkegaard's Fear & Trembling struck the final blow to me. Though now looking upon Islam I find it a very deeply disillusioned faith, though I hold the same views with most faiths. For me Islam and that of most faith is a form social indoctrination that can used to hold an individual down socially and politically. It does allow people to express themselves fully or even explore themes let alone actually experience it. For me it Islam has it moments of delights but they are rare and even then do not hold illuminating revelations that a philosophical, scientific or even a well thought literature can hold. Islam to me is a mechanism for social cohesion, not the means to produce free thinking society.