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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out

"Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out," edited by Susan Crimp and Joel Richardson, addresses an important topic with gut-churning, first-person accounts of Muslims who left Islam. It is a flawed book in that it is not very well edited, but, given the importance of the topic, it is worth the read.

"Why We Left Islam" compiles twenty first-person accounts. Speakers come from Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, England, Germany, Morocco, Israel, Egypt, Bangladesh, and the United States. There is an overwhelming depiction of thoroughgoing misogyny. Yagmur Dursun, a Turk, describes watching her sister being stoned to death by a mob that included her father. A Saudi man who has watched, helplessly, as his father destroys his sisters' lives, refers to Saudi Arabia as a prison for women.

Parvin Darabi, an Iranian woman, salutes her sister, pediatrician Homa Darabi. Iranian parents would beg Homa to classify their daughters as mentally ill so that the daughters would not be whipped by the Islamic police – 150 lashes for wearing make-up. Eventually Dr. Darabi was refused the right to work because she would not wear a chador. A month after a 16-year-old girl was shot to death in Tehran for wearing lipstick, Homa Darabi set herself on fire to protest oppression of women. Parvin despairs at a religion that recommends that, ideally, a man marry a girl before she even has her first menstrual period. She recalls with "shivers down her spine" the marriage of an eleven-year-old girl to a man who had sons older than his new bride.

Parvin's faith in Islam cracked slowly. She remembers being told that Allah spoke only Arabic, not her own language, Farsi. She had to wonder about a God that spoke only Arabic. Parvin was horrified by "sigeh," temporary marriage, which allows men to have sex with whomever they choose, as long as they are "temporarily" married to the woman. She describes the "mohalel," a man paid to have sex with a divorced woman in order that she may return to her husband. Only after she has had sex with another man may a woman do so. Mullahs demand that Iranian police systematically rape young females sentenced to death, in order to ensure that they will go to hell. Had they been virgins at death, they would have gone to heaven.

Again and again, former Muslims emphasize that many Muslims have never read the Koran, and, given that the Koran must not be translated, many non-Arabic Muslims have no idea what the Koran says. The former Muslims in this book report shock when they finally did read the Koran. They had no idea of its relative incoherence, and its emphasis on violence, hate, torture, and punishment of non-believers. Parvin reports that when she finally read the Koran, she was "appalled." "My mind just exploded. How could so many people follow a womanizer and a child molester?"

Egyptian Ahmed Awny Shalakamy offers a shameless account of his putrid activities for a Muslim group in Egypt that practices Jihad by ensnaring Coptic, Christian girls. One of his tactics: drugging an Egyptian Christian girl and video-recording her as he stripped her naked in her drugged, defenseless state, and using the video to blackmail her to convert to Islam.

Khaled Waleed, a Saudi, reports that the sermons he heard in mosques were exactly the kind of sermons that would inspire a man to become a 9-11 style mass murderer. "Most of our people support and love Osama bin Laden dearly. He is an ideal Muslim. He is simply following his religion to the letter."

Khaled began to doubt when he read in the Koran of Zu-Alqarnain reaching the place where the sun sets. The earth is not flat, and a walker cannot reach sunset, Khaled realized. Khaled questioned further: the Koran calls Allah "merciful," but Allah repeats over and over that Muslims are to hate and torture Christians and Jews, "grandsons of monkeys and pigs." Finally, Khaled realized that freedom and prosperity were to be found, for the most part, in non-Muslim countries.

The single richest account in the book is also the longest. Ali Sina, an Iranian internet activist, tells a vivid tale of his own divorce from Islam. Again, he reports, few of his Iranian Muslim friends had actually read the Koran. Thus, they were able to fantasize that Islam was about peace and equality, and that the more devout were wrong to insist on a violent, intolerant faith.

Visiting Italy, Ali was troubled – Italians were generous and hospitable, but the Koran told him not to take "Jews and Christians" as friends. The Koran "teaches hate," he reports. "There are many verses that call believers to hate non-believers, fight them, call them unclean, subdue and humiliate them, chop off their heads and limbs, crucify them, and kill them." Ali questioned Koran 8:12, which admonishes believers to chop off the fingers of non-believers. What kind of a God would want his followers to chop off other people's fingers?

Further, Koran 47:4 recommends, after a "wide slaughter, carefully tie up the remaining captives." These didn't strike Ali as divine words. Koran 22:9 describes the tortures of hell. "Sadistic," Ali concludes. "There was no misunderstanding. The Koran was overwhelmingly inhumane." Ali offers a profound, brilliant argument as to why he left Islam. It begins, "I do not want to be killed … then why did [Mohammed] kill so many innocents? Why did he rape the women he captured in war? Why did he enslave so many?" In his fearless search to the answers for these and other questions, Ali found his escape from Islam.

These former Muslims chastise Western apologists for Islam. The Muslim world is rife with human rights abuses. Western Islam apologists use their freedom, not to speak out against these human rights abuses, but to make excuses for Islam. They thus support oppression, and help it to continue.

1 comment:

  1. It is extremely disappointing that this kind of religion is still the second largest religion in the can people accept Him as their God who only teaches hate, tortures and violence....