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Living as an atheist in a Muslim community was a daunting prospect when I first left my faith. However, by joining an organisation like the CEMB, I hope to communicate with like-minded individuals who are still obligated to live in an asphyxiating religious atmosphere.
I am a 16 year old Pakistani male, and only definitively left my faith half a year ago, at the age of 15. That being said, I struggled to reconcile my faith with my personal morals for many years prior to this moment.
I was brought up in an averagely religious family. My mother is quite devout, and rarely misses her namaz. My father is less concerned with the afterlife, and (thankfully) focuses most of his efforts into obtaining a fulfilling life here on earth. That being said, he still has faith in God, and never appeared to carry even the slightest doubt of Islam. I have much admiration for my mother and father. Despite the fact that they sent me to mosque from a young age, the importance of my secular education was something that was emphasized more prominently than my religious one. Both my parents held well respected careers, and they pushed me to become equally, if not more successful than them. This emphasis on education, especially of science and mathematics, undoubtedly contributed to my subsequently deteriorating faith. After being shown the wonders of science, I was enthralled from a young age. When I was 6, I proclaimed that I would one day become a scientist; a dream which I am still pursuing.
Coming from a liberal background, I was permitted to learn a musical instrument, make friends with girls, and do just about everything my non-muslim classmates did. Due to this, I rarely felt excluded due to my faith during my early childhood. I attended a predominantly white/Christian primary school, and my best friends were all of different faiths to mine. I never felt that my religion had placed any restrictions on my, it was something of a redundant element of my identity. I took pride in the fact that I was a Muslim, but only because it set me apart from most of my peers. This lead me to become somewhat indifferent when it came to the actual substance of my faith. The only things I cared about were Eid and Ramadan; a month where I could boast to my friends of my incredible ability to go for almost a day without food. Islam only started mattering to me in my teens.
As I grew, I began to take more notice of the content of my religion. What I found was somewhat disconcerting. Elements of my personal philosophy that were held in high regard such as the equal rights that woman should receive and the importance of science appeared to be undermined by my faith. I began to take in incredibly liberal approach to the way I interpreted to Q'uran and my religious teachers. This was a desperate attempt to reconcile my obnoxious faith with my perfectly sane morals. I was left dumbfounded when people questioned my on the violent nature of Islam, or the factual inaccuracies that plagued the Q'uran. My only rebuttal was "it must be interpreted metaphorically" or "it has a subliminal meaning". Both of these arguments were futile and foolish, I now concede. I had made many friends who did not share my faith. My teacher at mosque had told me that polytheists were destined to an eternity in hell. Was my Hindu friends destined to suffer an eternity of suffering simply because they were born into a Hindu family? This person was, helpful, funny and incredibly pleasant to be around. I could not remember a time when anyone had convicted this person of fault. What had they done wrong to deserve this punishment? After a while, the only reason I was still clinging on to the last threads of my flimsy faith were due to the fear of hell and a belief in Allah that had been ruthlessly indoctrinated into me.
I often gazed into the night sky, marveling at the universe (that I still convinced myself was the product of Allah's brilliance). But after pondering for a long time one night, I reached an unsettling yet liberating conclusion. The universe is incomprehensibly vast, and full of mystery and wonder. I loved to contemplate the environments on other planets, the swathes of area that man would never be able to venture. So why on earth would a deity plant some bipedal organisms on an arbitrarily important planet and command them to a subscribe to a farcical dogma that revolves around worshiping this deity and believing in a collection of "divine" statements and stories that can only be described as asinine. I felt great when I finally came to realise that Muhammad was just some pretty ordinary bloke who happened to be really good at coercing people to believe in absolute bulls**t.
My family may be liberal, but they are still deeply entrenched in their religious ways. I am afraid of publicly renouncing Islam, since the first images that fall into my mind are ones of my mother crying and my life being irreversibly altered to a horrendous degree. So I still go to mosque on a Friday with the male members of my family, pretending to pray Jummah Salaah. I still sit down to read the Quran with my family on my mother's request. I still put my hands together in prayer on Eid day when I am supposedly thanking God for this wonderful life I have been given. It is frustrating being an atheist whilst not being financially independent, but I will tolerate it for a few more years to come. Until I can finally venture out on my own (hopefully having secured a career in scientific research) But I'm a patient person, so as things stand, I'm pretty happy just talking about my new-found disbelief with like-minded individuals on the internet!
Rabia sha, London
I want to join ex-muslim to meet and support others like me who left Islam.i was born and raised up in muslim pakistani family. as woman it was not easy, i have become faithless not after reading religious book but through my own personal experiences.
there is no GOD, if there is then why all religion divided into so many groups. i am very happy being faithless. life very peaceful now. The penalty for apostasy in Islam is death and they say in Islam that God has created a very specific hell for people who leave Islam. So the fear of not believing keeps a lot of people in check.
believe in humanity first not God
I had a confrontation with family members, as i come from a Bangladeshi background, which is a culture where families are very important, i felt disappointing that after my confrontation when they found out that i was a non-believer they decided to conspire behind my back. i over heard my aunts and uncles telling the children (my cousin brothers and sisters who love dearly) to stay away from the 'Devil' (me). The next morning i realized my mother is talking to me as sparingly as possible. I have two people in my family that are tolerant to my position, my sister and cousin brother, that's it, so you can forgive me if i feel a bit isolated in the world at the moment. it doesn't bode well for my families wishes of me returning to islam, because these are the feeling i will always remember if i ever wanted to return to islam, a feeling of utter rejection from those who you thought loved you.
It's one thing to be an atheist but another to be an ex-muslim atheist. People fail to see the difference between the two. The struggles faced when trying to leaving Islam (in my opinion) are far more complex than leaving any other religion. And that is why I want to join CEMB. Your organising is the closest thing I've found to understanding my issues.
I live in London, my parents are both from Sudan and are still very much engulfed in their culture and religion. The problem is that their religion has become their culture, and this just makes it worse; as religion is not only a RELIGION but a matter of fact about the way we just do things... because God. This works the other way around too as cultural customs are treated as religious fact. So I hope you can see why this is frustrating.
I would tell you the moment I became atheist but I think I always have been. Even at a young age, even around my nagging religious family and even around their over-bearing control I still didn't truly believe, I constantly questioned everything. But then when I started reading about the problems with Islam, every other religion and started learning more about science, I finally gave myself the resources to confirm my pre-held ideas. Now to me religion seems like such a burden to society, not allowing it to move or progress but instead a mechanism that has done nothing but to oppress the masses without any sort of real proof whatsoever. Besides the world is more alive and wonderful without religion.
I know what I believe and I know what I want in life, but my parents don't. I can't even comprehend what my parents would do if they found out that I have become an atheist. There is no way I can tell them because I know me being an atheist is probably the worst thing imaginable to them. I know the rest of societies solution is to move out, but they don't realise that a muslim woman moving out before getting married (to a muslim of course) is a big BIG deal. At least to my family it definitely is. So now I feel trapped. I'm just acting to my parents and awaiting a life I don't want. It sounds like such a teen situation that it feels depressing saying this at my age.
Anyway so I want to join to be in a community of like minded individuals who will be able to help one another.
I'm not a Muslim...or "ex - Muslim". In fact I wasn't raised religious at all. My parents didn't promote atheism nor did they promote any religion to me. They just didn't mention religion... it wasn't encouraged or discouraged. When I became old enough to understand history, economics, society, psychology and of course science I simply made my own mind up as to how these aspects of humanity have and still continue to play a fundamental part in organised religion and the system of power over the masses for thousands of years.
I decided to search Apostates on the Internet and found this site. And it intrigued me...So here I am. I'd like to learn more about the experiences of people who have left an organised religion; especially one, that to me at least, seems quite totalitarian (no offence meant to anyone). I'd also like to know about how you "ex - Muslims", with your newly found enlightened minds, see the world and your futures within it. Also about how you view people like me... someone who some of you might have thought were in league with the "Dajjal".
I want to join CEMB to meet and support others like me who left Islam.
I'm a 22 year old Bengali girl born and raised London. I started questioning Islam when I was about 14 years old.
I've always wondered why people continue to believe in and be scared of this non-existent entity. Why they continue to restrict themselves from life's pleasures like listening to music or going out with the opposite/same sex or falling in love. Why they continue to follow these rules and regulation written in a language that they won't bother understanding or questioning.
I'm very sure if they did understand the Quran, almost all of them will become agnostic or even atheist. I became an atheist because of the treatment of women. Being a women myself, I found it so offensive that men consider women's mind and bodies shameful, inferior, that are just objects for pleasure. Women are human beings too. We have a body and a skeleton inside of us just like these men do but no, they only choose to differentiate us by what is between our legs and on our chests.
Growing up I've never prayed or wore the hijab but in my early teens I did start reading the Quran because my parents hired an Islamic teacher. And let me tell you, it was so tedious. It was a complete waste of time and energy. All the teacher did was count his money and scare me and my siblings with the idea of hell fire. He told us that if we want to go to heaven and avoid hell fire, we have to be obedient, wear hijab all the time, pray 5 times a day, not make friends with non-muslims, not watch western TV shows or cartoons and not to listen to music. By the time he told us all this it was too late. I hated wearing the hijab, I don't want to pray, I already had non-muslim friends (some who are even boys), I love watching TV shows and cartoons and I especially love listening to and making music.
And the most stupid thing was I actually started believing I'd go to hell. I was so scared of death that it started affecting my health and making me depressed. It made me feel like life wasn't worth living and I couldn't commit suicide because "that's a sin too". I started doubting religion more and more the older I got, and eventually accepted that it's alright to leave religion. That religion is a man-made concept to control the masses, to scam people of their lives and money. There were other muslims like me who turned atheist or agnostic.
So by the time I was 20 I became an atheist. I told my siblings about this because they are open-minded and I know they will accept my decision and not tell anyone. I tried to convince them to leave Islam but they are uncertain but I hope in the future that will change. Also during this time I applied for university and got in but one day my uncle (mum's brother) decided to come for a visit and bring up marrying me off to a guy from Bangladesh. I told him that I don't want to get married and I start uni in a month. He said I should because I'm young and muslim guys preferences are "young girls" and if my future husband allows it, I can study at uni. I said no to the marriage and luckily he just left it. The idea of being arranged/forced married to someone I don't know scares me. I feel like my freedom to enjoy life will be taken away. For all I know, these guys that they're trying to arrange me with could be close-minded and won't allow me to live my life the way I want. I would rather date and get to know someone and fall in love with them before I get married. I think falling in love is a natural thing we all experience and important in life but religion suppresses it.
I feel very isolated being the only atheist in my community and life feels very limiting not being able to 'come out' to my parents and other relatives. I know for sure they would disapprove of my decision and disown me. I also know there are others out there going through the same thing, and would like to say that you guys give me hope. The more there are of us, the better!
I will patiently wait for the day when religion completely dies out because all it has caused us is nothing but misery but that won't be anytime soon maybe 2-4 generations down... maybe.
Saleem Aslam, England
Agnostic at the moment, not really sure what to think right now.
I was born into and subsequently raised in a Muslim family and had remained a Muslim for at least 17 years of my life.
My family's culture is awash with religion and although my mother and father were not the most strict of parents, I was still required to attend mosque from an early age to read the quran at least once in my lifetime all the way through to the end.
During my years as a child when I should have been playing football after school with my friends I was in the mosque after school reciting the quran and being disciplined by mullahs for laughing and being a kid in the mosque.
I grew a subconscious dislike for the establishment because of this but the indoctrination was so powerful that I grew to love and appreciate the brotherhood that arises within that establishment. Although, i wasn't at school playing with my friends, I was in the mosque making, new friends.
After the age of 14 my affiliation with Islam became moderate at best as I would claim the Islamic faith when asked what my religion was, but never followed suit on all the strict requirements. And it remained this way until I turned 17. Then religion took a sideline to all the other experiences in my life but I remained a moderate.
Up until I Turned 23 and I truly began to question not Islam, but the whole concept of religion, I took Islam out of context and tried to look at religion as a whole and what it represents. I studied all the other world's religions and began sensing something was not right.
I watched Islamic scholars debate with atheists and agnostics. I discovered Christopher Hitchens. I read a few of his books amongst other outspoken atheists of our time (Dawkins, Harris).
It was a very difficult decision to make to myself that I was agnostic because the brainwashing in Islam is very proficient at doing its job. The penalty for apostasy in Islam is death and they say in Islam that God has created a very specific hell for people who leave Islam. So the fear of not believing keeps a lot of people in check.
Mehran Torkzadehtabrizi, London
I was born in an intellectual and well-educated family. As I can remember my mother always fasting and tries to pray on-time three times a day, but my father was an architect. My Father was somehow more spiritual. Therefore, it gives me this opportunity to be a free thinker in first hand. But I have to say that some of my relatives are still very religious, despite the fact that all my uncles, aunts and cousins have university degrees. One of my uncles has stopped talking to me, because I said I do not believe in God and I have abandoned Islam.
It has been so exciting for me to join council of ex-muslim. I have found many intellectual friends in the council. It is so great to be part of a group of atheists who publicly have bravely abandoned their religion particularly Islam.
To: Salima Akhtar
My dear unknown friend, i'm joining this site to be able to answer you. Your story reminded me of the struggle I was going through some years ago. I was brought up a Catholic Christian and I lived in a deeply Catholic social circle. Ever since I remember I had that question in my mind: How do I know our religion is the true one? I was praying to God to give me an answer and like you, I kept asking and searching, I read the whole Bible... and although it took some years an answer was given to me :) Today I have a great peace of heart. Today I believe that there is God but he/she/it is greater than our pitiful primitive and full of superstition religions. Religions are for the fearful people who are afraid of themselves so they need to be told what to think. All those people: the Prophet Muhammad, Jesus Christ, Buddha - they were great enlightened people, very spiritually developed, they were also extremely courageous and not afraid of causing controversy in their times, they were free thinkers, they were not afraid to rebel against traditions of their societes risking their security and lives for what they believed was true. In what way their "followers" are similar to them? They are anything but like the ones who they claim to be following. The Bible and the Quran are great books and there is a lot of wisdom in them but they are BOOKS, they are just an attempt to describe the One Who is Above Description; also they were written long time ago and many of their themes although important and valid back then, have expired since. In my search I found there is no wiser bible and no holier place than my own silent heart, it has never deceived me. All the best in your search, may you find your answer and your peace.
Naveed Ahmed, london
I am a 19 year old atheist ex-muslim who has been living in the UK for the last 5 years. I was originally born to two British born and bred Pakistani Muslims who decided in the mid to early 90s to move to the Middle East for job prospects and to raise me and my four siblings as Muslims. I went to numerous British Muslim schools there where i felt the full brunt of Muslim authoritarianism and indoctrination. Those 14 years of my life were riddled with abusive scholars (when i questioned their rationality), racist and homophobic Muslims, ludicrous and totalitarian laws and religious brainwashing.
Although it wasn't till around the age of 17 when i openly accepted to myself that i was part of a fanatic and illogical creed, deep down I don't think i ever really believed in Islam. And I suspect that most Muslims born in to the religion don't either, when they give it enough though. I would spend prayer times listening to the filth the Imams preached and wondering whether i was crazy for failing to see the "beauty" and "wisdom" in it. Still i persisted in my state of forced ignorance.
I was overjoyed when i left the Middle East, but at the time i couldn't understand why i felt that way. Now i can fully appreciate and accept why. Moving here was a great relief from the School system in particular. However, as i was living in a very Muslim part of London and still attached to the same devout family i was still unable to escape it completely. I got good enough grades to get into a decent enough university outside of London so my parents would allow me to live out. And the last year has been wonderful, and the freedom I feel is immense (although i am back home for summer). I don't intend on revealing the truth to my family mainly as i am sure it would break their hearts and obviously the more extreme repercussions that most Muslim apostates face, that i fear my family would not hesitate to apply. Still, I am happy i found Reason despite my despondency for the implications.
Syed Tabish, London
I would like CEMB to contact me with my fellow member as we both really need CEMB to come and help us out.... Thanks
All i gonna say i fucked all religion because its just waste of time and divide human being from others and all man made......... so why should i believe in those stories which sounds like fairy tales...... BULL SHIT come guys open your eyes cuz there is no such GOD things and there is no GOD and dont waste your time and power in those things....... GOD DONT EXIST..............
I fucking hate Islam. I'm sick and tired of having to stop what I am doing to pray the 'five daily prayers'. How they treat women is disgusting as well. I was also forced to learn the koran at an early age. Although I never actually finished it, I feel as if I have wasted an enormous amount of time memorizing false literature. We are now in the month of ramadan, the so called 'blessed month'. I pretend I fast because of fear of either being disowned, killed and much more ruthless things islam brings. I try to sneakily eat food when I'm alone and it's working so far. I come from a strict muslim somali family. I am the oldest child, 15 years old. Just two weeks ago two muslim twin girls aged 16 fled to syria to become martys. I just don't understand how they can throw their life away like that. I have never met any ex muslims before so I'm hoping I will with CEMB
shantanu adib, barking, Essex
I would like to support ex-muslims around the world.
hi, my name is tabish and i was born and raise in a very strict muslim family. my though about life and religion change when i came to uk and see the freedom of speech and start exploring things which is always in my mind when i was young then i realize that religion is for only dividing human for no reason and taking peace from human life and keep them in stress and tensed life for this world and the world after..... all im asking is if there is any god then why human being is surffering from things like nowadays around us? if the holy books are real then why it sounds like a fairy tale or more like a story books? these all things are fabricated and made to keep all human busy fighting for nothing...... life is like an ice cream enjoy it before it melt down, respect human and they will respect you back cuz every good intentions have same and equal reaction or may be more then you expect, this world made cuz of big bang not cuz of god so stop wasting time in religious things which is full of bull shit
The freethinker, Southeast
Being born in a country where the majority of the population are Muslim, I have witnessed some of the worst human nastiness which were committed in the name of religion and the criminals were branded Heroes in the name of religion. Religion tells stories which had never happened and ask the followers not to question but obey. All religions are unscientific and based on stories, produced and publicised by the manipulative men and consumed by the hypnotized masses.
It is a great discovery to actually see a platform like CEMB where the non-believers and ex-believers and freethinkers can share their life stories and personal observations.
Thank you for being a mouthpiece against religious oppression.
Ferris Bueller, North of England
I was brought up in a devoutly religious Iraqi family where prayer, Quran recitations and overall religiousness was drilled into every child since birth. I myself was very religious (or tried to be), up until the beginning of last June.
However I always used to struggle with doing my prayers on time, and my mother used to scream and shout at me whenever I did it late. I eventually realised that I wasn't praying for myself, I was praying because my mother wanted me to!
The relationship I had with my parents was almost non-existent, because in their eyes I was always sinning- not praying on time, not reading enough Quran, wearing jeans instead of long, baggy, hijab-approved clothing. The house was (and is) full of constant shouting, arguing, and even violence, because of this brainwashing religion my parents have.
I stopped praying altogether, then decided to do my own research into Islam and its teachings. I found a lot of it so illogical, and realised the only reason I followed it in the first place was because my parents brainwashed me. I did it for their approval, more than anything else.
I am now agnostic, and at least on spiritual matters, i am finally beginning to find inner peace after years of emotional and psychological abuse.
It comforts me to find that I am not alone, with the discovery of CEMB.
I became a convert when I was 16 or 17 I believe. My Muslim friends had made it seem so peaceful. I felt like this was the religion of peace and that was concurrent with science. I was given a lot of convincing material. I wore the veil, prayed salad and fasted during Ramadan. However, I started to doubt Islam when I came across violent Hadiths. I looked for contradictions in the Hadith and in the Quran - I found far too many. The sexual violence horrified me but I could not accept the lies rooted within the religion. Islam is incompatible with science: physics and biology, and most of all: human decency.