An endangered species if the West continues to refuse to address Islam 101.
Read the entire piece, this is what apostates from Islam have to endure in the West, in a society that should be well known for tolerating people leaving faith for another or no faith at all. Think of communist dissidents in the USSR living in fear for their lives, from their own family members, family friends and neighbors who would threaten them with bodily harm if they knew that they had given up on Communist Socialism.
NOTE: But the real evil is that it takes place within the West, where these people should be able to find support, refuge and solace.
H/T: The ever vigilant Andrew Bostom
I will not be able to convince them that being an ex-Muslim I can still be a good person and a good daughter. If I stood up, people would be ashamed to know my family. All would put pressure on my father. The mosque, family and neighbors, and if my father did not respond, it would be up to others to ‘act’. Such is the thinking. In their world it should be an example that shows others that what I have done is not okay.
I shall always be ready with a lie
25-year-old Haifa lives two lives. One as a Muslim and the other as an atheist. She no longer believe in God, but dares not leave Islam. Therefore, she lives a double life, where she is lying about what she is and who she’s with. I hope that one day it stops being taboo to leave Islam, she tells her story here
I was born in Denmark, but neither went to a nursery nor a kindergarten, so I started in elementary school without knowing a word of Danish. My classmates were all immigrants – maybe there were one or two Danes in my class. When I later switched to Arabic free school, I had only Arab classmates and most of the teachers were Muslims. Twice a week I got Koranic teaching in the local mosque, where I had to learn the Koran by heart, and every time I learned a new verse, my parents gave me a gift. In the Free School teachers said that it was imposed on them to teach us about evolution and the Big Bang, but we should remember that it was only a theory, and that God obviously had created the earth. I remember that I went home from school and told my mother everything I had learned about the beginning of the world and that man, was in fact a developed ape. She was furious. “We do not believe in such things,” she said and made me promise that I never mentioned Darwin and monkeys again. I did not, but I began to read books that dealt with science.
Both my parents are extremely conservative and extremely religious. They come from a small town that is heavily Sunni and moved because of my father’s political engagement. The fact that they practice their religion here in Denmark and have maintained their connection to the Middle East. The more they dedicate their lives to the faith, the closer they feel to their home country, they say. When my mom and dad assess themselves as parents, they look at how good a Muslim, I have become. A good Muslim does not believe in evolution and do not question his faith. A good Muslim ponders his life for Islam and the concepts of honor, which the Danes could never understand. I felt distant from everything that I came from when I started to believe in science and asked questions about the Qur’an: Semen is truly formed in the spine? Why is a man’s testimony worth twice as much as a woman? Why women should not participate at funerals, and why does the Koran allow men to keep slaves?
All the girls in the class began wearing the scarf when they were 12-13 years. I waited until I was 14. I did not want to wear a headscarf, but thought I would have more in common with the girls in class, if I took it on. Everyone was so proud of me and said I looked so beautiful covered. I also stopped going in tight pants. Outwardly I looked like someone who was confident in the faith, but inside doubts continued. I told a friend about all the things I did not understand in Islam, and she gave me a book on the Qur’an’s scientific miracles. It’s such a thing you give to doubters. I needed to believe what was written in it, for apostate Muslims are, where I come from, not worth anything. The fear of hell was sown in me from the time I was quite small – it is there, the renegade ends – and every time I was wondering about something, rummaging Satan in my head. When I left home and started an education that was in another city, I gave the doubt space. I re-read the Koran with new, critical eyes and for the first time in my life I stopped identifying myself as a Muslim.
The secret girlfriend
Rumors spread quickly. People I’ve never heard of, called my dad and asked why he let me leave home without a man, and why he allowed for me to no longer wear the scarf. The last he really had difficulty with. For several weeks, he didn’t speak to me, but I defended it, saying that it is not anywhere in the Koran that says women must wear head scarves. I said that I still believed in God, but the reality was that I had started a long and lonely process. Leaving Islam was not a concept that I knew. No one I knew had done it before me. I no longer believed in God.
I got a boyfriend who moved in with me, but it was very secret, and no one could know anything. He had a Muslim background like me and did not believe in God any more. We started life as atheists. We ate bacon to prove that we were no longer Muslims, and I drank alcohol and acquired gay friends. My boyfriend’s family was not as religious as mine, so he chose to tell that he was an atheist, while I initiated a double life. In many ways he was a support, in other ways we didn’t go through the same at all. I would and will never be able to tell my parents that I have left Islam while he could live a free life as an atheist. I was very careful how I presented myself on Facebook, for all my family are my ‘friends’ and keeping an eye on what I’m doing. My family never comes unannounced on visits, but if one day they do, I know that I have two minutes from the ring the doorbell, the stands inside my apartment. In two minutes, I can manage to save things they should not see, and send people they should not meet, out onto the balcony. I am always on alert, yet it was a day to go wrong:
I never lend my computer out and are usually very careful to erase my digital tracks. But one day, when an old acquaintance was visiting, and she wanted to show me something on the Internet, started the computer up on an English article on Muslim apostates. I closed the page down and said that I had not read the story, but just clicked on it, because it was in my Facebook feed. She said nothing, but subsequently went to my parents and asked if I had left Islam? They dismissed it as pure nonsense. Why would their daughter be an ex-Muslim? Why would anyone leave Islam? In the local environment the rumors continued , and the men demanded that my father ‘act’. This could either mean that he must beat me with his hand or put me in my place with violence. I have seen my father being violent and know what he is capable of. So I said that the rumors were false, and that I was still a good Muslim. My father breathed a sigh of relief. Someone was obviously envious of his skillful, clever daughter, he said.
Life is greater outside of Islam
Last year I was hospitalized for anxiety and depression. I could not accommodate living two different lives and got a panic attack. My family was traveling, so they did not know that I had been for several months admitted to a psychiatric ward. I wanted someone to sit and hold my hand and say that I was a good person. Twice I tried to take my own life with pills. I know it’s a stupid way to leave life, and I also know that you do not necessarily die, but it just smashes the liver. But for me it was a way to get a break from all that was on my mind. I would just lie in bed and think only of getting better. It was simple. Outside it was complicated. There I was a minority within a minority. An immigrant without religion.
In Denmark, there is no forum for an ex-Muslim, so I spend much time in a British online community for people who have left Islam. Recently I discovered another Dane there, who wrote that he had had enough of life. In a private message, I wrote that he could call me, and he did. We met a few days later. He told that he was affiliated with a Muslim congregation in London, who eat, sleep and live the life under the same roof. Until recently, he was deeply religious, had a long beard and didn’t listen to music or talked with girls. Like me, he stopped reading the verses of the Koran, which he found hard to believe. Today, he lives in Denmark and no longer see his family. They will not see him and think their son is going to burn in hell. He has repeatedly considered saying that he has become religious again, so he may be allowed to see his family. Had we known each other a little before, it might not have been all so difficult. We could have confirmed with each other that life is bigger than Islam. Letting go of the foundation of one’s whole life is an extreme feeling, and I still, when I am alone, I’m doubting and thinking: Have I made the right decision?
A hard life
I am condemned to this double life. I do not believe in any religion, but can not say it to my family. When I’m alone, I confess myself to atheism, but it will always be expected that I act outwardly as a good Muslim. I can live without God, but I can not live without my family, and although I do not think the words of the Qur’an, I recognize the important role the concept that honor has to play for my parents. I will not be able to convince them that being an ex-Muslim I can still be a good person and a good daughter. If I stood up, people would be ashamed to know my family. All would put pressure on my father. The mosque, family and neighbors, and if my father did not respond, it would be up to others to ‘act’. Such is the thinking. In their world it should be an example that shows others that what I have done is not okay.
I dream often about moving far away. This life is too hard. It’s hard to be the only thing that stands out, but if there are more of us, it may be that in the future it will no longer be dangerous to break with Islam. Until then, I always look over my shoulder and lie about everything. Where I am, what I’m doing and who I’m with. My father tried to call me the last two days, but I have not picked up the phone. I have not had a good lie ready.
Haifa is an invented name. Her real name is known by the editors