The West’s Most Important Ally: Islam’s Dissidents

Gatestone Institute, by Giulio Meotti, June 12, 2016

  • Today a new Iron Curtain has been erected by Islam against the rest of the world, and the new heroes are the dissidents, the apostates, the rebels, the non-believers and the heretics.
  • This rapidly growing army of Muslim dissidents is the best liberation movement for millions of Muslims who aspire to practice their faith peacefully without submitting to the dictates of fundamentalists and fanatics.
  • They are alone against all. Against Islamism which uses Kalashnikovs and against an intellectual terrorism which submits them to media intimidation. Seen as “traitors” by their communities, they are accused by the élites in the West of “stigmatizing.”
  • We should support them — all of them. Some of the bravest defenders of freedom come from the Islamic regimes. Europe should give financial, moral and political support to these friends of Western civilization, while our disgraced intelligentsia is engaged in slandering them.

Islam, warned the best-selling Algerian novelist, Boualem Sansal, is going to split European society. In an interview with German media, this brave Arab writer painted a vision of Europe subjugated by radical Islam. According to Sansal, the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels are directed at the Western way of life: “You can not even defeat the weak Arab states, so they have brought in fifth columns to bring the West to destroy itself. If they succeed society will fall.”

Mr. Sansal, who has been threatened with death, belongs to a rapidly growing army of Muslim dissidents. They are the best liberation movement for millions of Muslims who aspire to practice their faith peacefully without submitting to the dictates of fundamentalists and fanatics. These Muslim dissidents pursue freedom of conscience, interreligious coexistence, pluralism in the public sphere, criticism of Islam, and respect for the rule of common law. For the Islamic world, their message could be devastating. That is why the Islamists are hunting them down.

It is always individuals, such as Lech Walesa, who make all the difference. The Soviet Union was defeated by only three beings: Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II — and the dissidents. When Professor Robert Havemann died in East Germany, few people noticed it. This intrepid critic of the regime was confined under house arrest in Grünheide, guarded by the Stasi. But the old professor never allowed himself to be intimidated. He continued to fight for his ideas.

A hero of Czechoslovak anti-Communism, Jan Patočka, died under grueling police interrogation. Patočka paid the highest price of silencing. His brilliant lectures were reduced to a clandestine seminar. Although unable to publish, he continued to work in a tiny underground apartment.

Hunted by the KGB, Alexander Solzhenitsyn set down the chapters of his Gulag Archipelago and hid them with different trusted friends, so no one possessed the entire manuscript. In 1973 only three copies existed. When the Soviet political police managed to extort the typist, Elizaveta Voronyanskya, to one of the hideouts, thinking the masterpiece was lost forever she hanged herself.

Today a new Iron Curtain has been erected by Islam against the rest of the world, and the new heroes are the dissidents, the apostates, the heretics, the rebels, and the non-believers. It is no coincidence that the first victim of a fatwa was Salman Rushdie, an Indian-British writer from a Muslim family.

Pascal Bruckner called them “the free thinkers of the Muslim world.” We should support them — all of them. Because if the enemies of freedom come from free societies, those who kneel before Allah’s enforcers, some of the bravest defenders of freedom come from the Islamic regimes. Europe should give financial, moral and political support to these friends of Western civilization, while our disgraced intelligentsia is engaged in slandering them.

One, an Algerian author, Kamel Daoud, who called Saudi Arabia “an Isis that had made it,” recently sparked an “Islamophobia” row for having directed his own anger at the naïve people, who he says ignore the cultural gulf separating the Arab-Muslim world from Europe.

Another, an Iranian exile, now in the Netherlands, the jurist Afshin Ellian, works at Utrecht University, where after the murder of Theo Van Gogh, he is protected by bodyguards. After the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, while Europe’s media were busy in blaming the “stupid” cartoonists, Ellian promoted an appeal: “Don’t let terrorists determine the limits of free speech.”

Another brave dissident and author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, had to flee from the Netherlands to the U.S., where she rapidly became one of most prominent public intellectuals.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a brave Muslim dissident and author, had to flee from the Netherlands to the U.S., where she rapidly became one of most prominent public intellectuals. (Image source: Gage Skidmore)

The Moroccan mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, is also guarded by police. He recently told fellow Muslims who protested against freedoms they found while living in the West to “pack your bags and f… off.” A heroic Christian defender of these freedoms in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, is now on trial accused of “discrimination.” “I am in jail,” he has said, referring to his safehouses, “and they are walking around free.”

Many of these dissidents are women. Shukria Barakzai, an Afghan politician and journalist, declared war on Islamic fundamentalists after the Taliban’s religious police beat her for daring to walk without a male escort. A suicide bomber blew himself up near her car, killing three. Kadra Yusuf, a Somali journalist, infiltrated Oslo’s mosques to denounce the imams, especially regarding female genital mutilation, not even required in the Koran or the Hadith (reports about Mohammad). In Pakistan, Sherry Rehman called for “a reform of Pakistani blasphemy’s laws.” She risks her life every day. She is branded by Islamists “fit to be killed” for being a woman, a Muslim and a secular activist. The Syrian-American author and psychiatrist, Wafa Sultan, was also branded an “infidel” deserving of death.

Le Figaro recently published a long report about Muslim French personalities threatened with “execution”. “Placed under permanent police protection, regarded as traitors by Muslim fundamentalists, they live in a hell. In the eyes of Islamists, their freedom is an act of betrayal of the ummah [community].” They are writers and journalists of Arab-Muslim culture who denounce the Islamist threat and the inherent violence of the Koran. They stand alone against Islamism which uses the physical terrorism of Kalashnikovs, and against the intellectual terrorism which submits them to media intimidation. Seen as “traitors” by their communities, they are accused by the élites in the West of “stigmatizing.”

The French journalist Zineb El Rhazoui has more bodyguards than many ministers in the government of Manuel Valls, and for security, has to change houses in Paris often in recent months. For this young scholar, born in Casablanca and who works at the French weekly, Charlie Hebdo, walking down the street in Paris has become unthinkable. A fatwa put out after January 7, 2015 reads: “Kill Zineb El Rhazoui to avenge the Prophet.”

Threats against another dissident, Nadia Remadna, do not come from Raqqa, Syria, but her own city: Sevran, in Seine-Saint-Denis. They reflect the growing influence of Islamists in the lost territories of the French Republic. What “crime” was she found guilty of? She created the “Brigade of Mothers” to combat the Islamist influence on young Muslims.

A philosophy teacher, Sofiane Zitouni, has also quit his job at a Muslim French school over “insidious Islamism.”

The French-Algerian journalist, essayist and author of several investigations into Islamist circles, Mohamed Sifaoui, is the victim of a double threat. He is a prime target for both fundamentalists and the “tolerant” grand inquisitors. Sentenced to two years in prison by the Algerian regime for “press offenses,” then harassed by Islamists, Sifaoui requested asylum in France in 1999 and has never set foot in Algeria again. Since then, Sifaoui has seen his picture and name next to the words “le mourtad,” the apostate, on Islamist websites, meaning that he is targeted for death. French police protection around him has been total since 2006, when he defended freedom of expression for the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

About fifteen witnesses made a deposition in favor of the magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Among them were the late Muslim Tunisian essayist, Abdelwahab Meddeb, who had the courage to challenge the entire French Muslim establishment which tried to stop Charlie Hebdo. Meddeb wanted to show “this is not about anyone against Islam, but enlightened Islam against obscurantist Islam.”

Also in France, Hassen Chalghoumi, the courageous imam of Drancy, preaches while wearing a bullet-proof vest. When he goes out on the street, he is accompanied by five police officers with semiautomatic weapons. This is not outside Baghdad’s Green Zone; this is in the heart of Paris. Chalghoumi backed the ban on burkas; made an unprecedented visit at Jerusalem’s Holocaust memorial; paid tribute to the victims of Charlie Hebdo and favored a dialogue with French Jews.

Naser Khader, a Muslim liberal with Danish citizenship, who called for “a Muslim reformation,” and authored “Honour and Shame,” is threatened by Islamic groups with death.

In Italy, an Egyptian-born writer, Magdi Cristiano Allam, is protected by bodyguards for having criticized political Islam. As the deputy editor of Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Mr. Allam published a book whose title alone was enough to endanger his life: “Viva Israele.

Ibn Warraq lives protected behind a pseudonym since writing a seminal book, “Why I am Not a Muslim.”

The Palestinian blogger Walid Husayin is also a rarity. Jailed for “satirizing the Koran, he recently published a book in France about his experience in the Palestinian territories, where his “atheism” nearly cost him his life.

In Tunisia there are a handful of filmmakers and intellectuals who fight for freedom of expression, especially after a secular opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, was assassinated. Also Nadia El Fani, the director of “Ni Allah ni maître” [“Neither Allah nor Master”], and Nabil Karoui, the manager of Nessma TV, are threatened with death and are being taken to court to answer charges of “blasphemy.” If Tunisia’s “Arab spring” did not turn into an Islamist winter, as elsewhere, it is largely thanks to these dissidents.

Those heroes know what happened to their predecessors in “the war on Arab intellectuals.” Writers such as Tahar Djaout were killed in 1993 by the Islamists in Algiers, as was the journalist, Farag Foda, famous for his sharp satires on Islamic fundamentalism. Prior to his murder, Foda had been accused of “blasphemy” by the great mosque of al-Azhar. A dozen Bangladeshi bloggers have also been murdered in cold blood by Islamists for the “crime” of “secularism.”

Last year, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al- Sisi called for reforming Islam and the way it is taught as did Sunni Islam’s leading cleric, Sheikh Ahmed al Tayeb, head of Cairo’s al-Azhar University, the center of Sunni Islam. And he said it in Mecca, no less. Egypt’s conservatives however did their best to tamp that down – at least for the moment.

There are, however, more and more dissidents successfully speaking out and leading bold, farsighted movements. In the U.S., M. Zuhdi Jasser, author of “A Battle for the Soul of Islam,” and a practising physician, founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Last year, more than two dozen Muslim personalities promoted an appeal “to embrace a pluralistic interpretation of Islam, rejecting all forms of oppression and abuses committed in the name of religion.”

In Canada, Raheel and Sohail Raza founded “Muslims Facing Tomorrow,” and there is the outspoken Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario, Salim Mansur.

In the U.K., Maajid Nawaz heads the influential Quilliam Foundation, and Shiraz Maher, who defected from the Islamist organization, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, now serves as a Senior Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London.

These are just a few of today’s heroes. Some had to be left out; there were too many to list.

The proud and painful resistance of these “Allah’s rebels” is one of the most beautiful testaments of our times. These “Allah’s rebels” are also the only real hope of reform for the Islamic world — and of preserving freedom for all of us.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Also see:

The very people we need are military and law enforcement. A Muslim fifth column would be nice. Just as a German fifth column or a Japanese fifth column would have been nice, but it can never become the core of our strategy to the extent that all other operations are subservient to the need to manufacture and maintain this imaginary fifth column.

Imam Who Threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali With Death For Apostasy Led Interfaith Service After Paris Attacks

Hirsi-Ali-ElBayly.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, APRIL 23, 2016

A Pennsylvania imam who was fired last year by the Bureau of Prisons for his claims that author and Harvard lecturer Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserved to be killed under Islamic law for apostatizing from Islam recently led an interfaith prayer service after the ISIS attacks in Paris last November.

Fouad ElBayly, the imam at the Islamic Center of Johnstown, led the Nov. 21 prayer event, where he invited the community saying:

The Islamic Center of Johnstown and all the Muslim communities in our region condemn the evil doing of the people who carried out that terrible attack against innocent people.

This is similar to the statements he made at a March 2002 prayer service for the 9/11 victims on United Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, PA, not far from ElBayly’s mosque:

Imam Fouad El Bayly of the Islamic Center of Johnstown and Somersetasked people to be tolerant. He said the Muslim extremists who hijacked the plane also hijacked the Islamic faith.“In the name of God, in the name of peace, in the name of brotherhood, in the name of mankind, let there be peace,” he said. “We cannot condemn a nation, a religion, for the acts of a few.”

But peace and tolerance are are apparently hard concepts for ElBayly to follow himself.

Last year he was fired as a Bureau of Prisons chaplain at the Federal Correction Institute of Cumberland, MD after it was reported he was hired under a $10,500 February 2014 federal contract despite his 2007 comments calling for the killing of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He later received another $2,400 contract to teach Islam in the same federal prison in December 2014.

In January, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to the Bureau of Prisons inquiring about the flaws in their hiring process that led to ElBayly’s employment.

After it was revealed he had been hired, Hirsi Ali penned an editorial in the Wall Street Journal expressing surprise that the imam who had threatened her with death was now employed by the Justice Department.

She also appeared on the Bill O’Reilly program discussing the controversy:

After his firing by the Bureau of Prison, ElBayly claimed his prior comments were “taken out of context.” And yet his own wife was quoted by the local media expressing the same sentiments:

“She is slandering God almighty himself, and making fools of anybody who believes in God,” said his wife, Patricia, a Somerset County native.

The issue between ElBayly and Hirsi Ali goes back to an invitation she received from the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown in April 2007 to speak at their school, an event that ElBayly and the founder of the Johnstown mosque wanted shut down.

When Hirsi Ali appeared at the event, she was flanked by security guards. At the time, ElBayly was quoted by the local media saying he was having to restrain the mosque attendees from lashing out:

Islamic leaders tried unsuccessfully to convince university officials to cancel her appearance, arguing that her attacks against Muslims are “poisonous.”Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Islamic Center of Johnstown, feared her mere presence would incite violence. He said that in the eyes of the Islamic community, Hirsi Ali’s rejection of her Muslim faith and “all of her lies” warrant a death sentence.

He worried that someone would try to carry it out.

“I’m trying to control my people here. I don’t want people to get hot and cause trouble,” said ElBayly, whose community includes an active core of about 30 families and a number of others who attend occasional services and programs.

“We have no capacity to execute a sentence, but her sentence would be death for turning on her religion to make a profit and for speaking out against it.”

Several days later, the local media followed up again on her appearance at the school, where ElBayly stated plainly that under Islamic law she deserved to be killed:

Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali’s appearance.“She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death,” said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976 […]

Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.

“If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment,” he said. “It’s a very merciful religion if you try to understand it.”

A few weeks later, representatives of the mosque claimed that ElBayly had been removed from his position at the mosque and that they were shocked and rejected his statements:

“The board and members of the Islamic Center of Johnstown were shocked and regret the comments made by Imam ElBayly regarding the visit of author Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The statements regarding the Islamic Center’s reaction to her visit were incorrect, unfounded and not the views of its members,” Dennis J. Stofko, the center’s attorney, said in a letter to the Tribune-Review.Stofko indicated that ElBayly’s views “are not shared or tolerated by the Muslims” associated with the Johnstown center.

“The Islamic Center of Johnstown was established to foster religious tolerance, education and the exercise of its religious beliefs,” Stofko wrote, adding that members “strongly believe in exercising religious freedom, which is the right of all citizens. The Islamic Center of Johnstown sincerely respects the rights of individuals to speak their opinions openly and freely without the fear of reprisal.”

And yet despite the widespread claims he had been asked to resign and protests that his views did not represent the mosque or its attendees, ElBayly remains the imam at the Islamic Center of Johnstown today with no apparent break in his employment there.

Video: Why I Left Islam and Now Help Others Who Are Doing the Same

why-i-left-islam-and-now-help-others-who-are-doing-the-same-1455725081Vice News, By Imtiaz Shams, February 17, 2016:

The first thing you need to know about ex-Muslims is that the best term in Arabic to describe us is basically a swear word: murtadd, meaning someone who “turns their back” on Islam. The word has a dirty, spit-on-the-ground feeling to it, with a rolling “R” and a sharp drop at the end. This is where you need to start if you want to even begin unpacking the ubiquitous, systematic discrimination we face that can pervade all aspects of our lives.

One key form of discrimination is the erasure or downplaying of our experiences through stereotypes, the most common of which is, “You probably weren’t a real Muslim.” I spent half my life growing up in Saudi Arabia, travelling to Makkah every year for Umrah, a holy pilgrimage. My first book was a gorgeous red and gold-trimmed copy of the Riyad us-Saliheen, a compilation of hadiths (transmitted sayings and actions) of the Prophet Muhammad and his Sahaaba (companions). I’ve been praying, fasting and memorizing the Quran since as long as I can remember and would devour books proving Islam’s truth through scientific miracles and its moral code.

My family moved to the UK just before 9/11, and many Muslims will understand what I mean when I say the atmosphere changed after that day. At school boys gave me the nickname “terrorist” and to this day I still own a shirt where some of them drew explosives and bombs on my last day of high school. That discrimination didn’t affect what was then a deep and abiding love for Islam — it just strengthened it.

So what happened? If everything was geared towards me spending my life as a practicing Muslim, why would I leave? One of the key tenets of orthodox Islam is its perfect nature and the infallibility of the Quran, two claims I unwaveringly held on to for two decades. But as I grew older and my critical thinking developed, the accepted truths about the morality of the Prophet’s actions and the miracles described in the Quran got harder to swallow.

Watch the VICE News documentary: Rescuing Ex-Muslims: Leaving Islam:

I stopped believing mountains were “stakes” or “pegs,” protecting the Earth from earthquakes. Ironically, mountains are actually most common where earthquakes are most plentiful: in tectonic zones.

I no longer believed that Islam had come down to slowly phase out the loathsome institution of slavery. Instead I began to feel that the institutionalization of slavery in Islamic scripture under the auspices of “prisoners of war” allowed for millions of Africans and other non-Arabs to be taken as slaves by the various Caliphates, in some places exceeding even the horrific Transatlantic slave trade.

I had thought that Islam had given women equal rights to men, and this may or may not have been true if we were talking about 1,400 years ago. However, taken literally the same scripture can be used to reduce the inheritance and legal rights of women, enforce certain ritualistic clothing and practices on women but make them either a choice or non-existent for men, ban women from marrying non-Muslims but extend that right to men… the list went on and on in my mind.

Yet through all this I could not internally accept I had left Islam because I didn’t know I could leave. The very idea that one could be a practicing Muslim but then leave Islam was completely and utterly alien to me. I was finally forced to accept I no longer believed in Islam at the beginning of 2012, but I had no identity to go to and nobody who understood what I was going to speak to. My friend Aliyah described this stage as being like an “alien in your own skin,” and I felt like a complete outcast.

Another feeling that hovered over my leaving Islam was fear. Islam had presented itself as a complete and objective blueprint for my life, in charge of dictating my role in this world and my relationship to death and an afterlife. This left me believing that without the religion, even if I lived life making a difference in this world I would no longer be abd Allah, a slave of Allah, and thus my life would be aimless. It told me that that apocalyptic Yawm al-Qiyamah(day of judgement) would come when I would be judged as an apostate, one of the worst of sins, and put into Jahannum (hell). The language around hell in Islamic scripture can be terrifying — is it any wonder many new ex-Muslims have to cope with the anxiety it creates?

This period of fear and isolation did not last very long as I quickly found others out there when I stumbled on a Reddit group called /r/exmuslim. Suddenly I had access to thousands of active ex-Muslims, their stories, advice and experiences of discrimination. Almost all of these Redditors were anonymous because of the inherent physical and social risks to leaving Islam, so I began to reach out. I came up with a vetting protocol, carefully checking people out one at a time and hosting private ex-Muslim socials of sometimes up to 60 people. Sharing your story for the first time with another ex-Muslim is exhilarating, and there were so many of us to share with! Sure we still felt like aliens, but there were a lot of us aliens and we felt more comfortable in our own skin.

Around this time, I had a chance meeting with two gay lawyers who gave me some advice: what really changed for LGBTQ people in Britain was not just that they organized into communities but that they began to come out publicly. This resonated strongly with me so I joined forces with Aliyah Saleem, a feminist ex-Muslim activist, and we started what grew to become “Faith to Faithless,” an organization that creates online and offline platforms to promote apostate voices.

The very first Faith to Faithless event was a year ago at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Although we had members of the QMUL Islamic society and some da’wah(preaching) groups leafleting our event, it was a massive success. Some of the ex-Muslims we met there have since spoken at other events. Although we received support from the wider public (including Muslims), we also received plenty of hate mail and abuse. I’ve had people spit on the ground and call me a murtadd, while insults to female Faith to Faithless speakers are always framed in disgustingly sexist terms. Even worse is that we’ve often been let down by the very people who should be helping us, including some feminist and leftist activists who have used racialized terms like “native informant” to describe us, undermining our agency as a minority within a minority.

As you would imagine, many ex-Muslims contact Faith to Faithless for advice or urgent help and have faced abuse in different forms. Some, although accepted as members of their family, are constantly told that they are going to “burn in hell” and should repent. Others are forced out into the streets with no financial support whatsoever. Some are physically abused, such as one ex-Muslim girl who was kicked in the stomach by her brother and then locked into her room by her parents.

It’s important to note that not all Muslims have treated ex-Muslims in this way. Some of the most important voices to me were my Muslim friends who privately messaged me giving me their support and love. We need to be able to stand together to fight both anti-Muslim and ex-Muslim discrimination, which can often go hand-in-hand. If you’re a young ex-Muslim who has left their faith and feels alone or isolated, get in touch. You are definitely not alone.

Follow Imtiaz Shams on Twitter: @imtishams

#ExMuslimBecause Trend Stands Up To Extremists

1317by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
December 18, 2015

Is this the real Arab Spring?
Shortly after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Maryam Namazie, director of the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain(CEMB), created the hashtag “#ExMuslimBecause” on Twitter. The result was a firestorm, through which tens of thousands of ex-Muslims across the world declared their apostasy, many gathering courage from the brave and often poignant words of others.

But just as quickly as their courage spread, the words of these former Muslims were soundly condemned by many others who remain within the faith.  Tweeted someone calling himself @hammamovic, whose avatar shows a clean-shaven young man in a black T-shirt, “I’m Muslim, I’m not a terrorist, but you, the #exmuslims who left Islam, must be killed. You make Terrorism.”

His words speak directly to the impetus behind Namazie’s movement, and behind the founding of the CEMB, which, according to its website, was formed “in order to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam.”  That taboo is as powerful as it is perverse: For Muslims, leaving the faith is punishable by death.

Yet apparently, that risk of death is one many are prepared to take in order to continue with life on their own terms. And the number of such courageous ex-Muslims seems to be more than anyone anticipated. “By early Friday morning,” reported Ali A. Rizvi, an #exMuslim himself who wrote about the phenomenon for the Huffington Post, “#ExMuslimBecause was the UK’s top trending hashtag. We heard from secret LGBT Saudis; women who had been forced into marriages; closeted atheists in Egypt and Pakistan tweeting under pseudonyms young women disowned by their families in the US; and more.”

Among them were “@Yas” from Canada, who wrote: “#ExMuslimBecause my own mother told me I should be killed because I didn’t believe the same things she did”; “@SamSedaei, who tweeted: “#ExMuslimBecause I was told I was a Muslim. But then I learned that religion is not a gene and being born to believers doesn’t make you one”; and Rizvi himself, who posted, “#ExMuslimBecause No REAL God should need protection from bloggers and no REAL prophet should need protection from cartoons.” Other notable posts include @LibMuslim’s “#ExMuslimBecause misogyny, homophobia, stoning ppl to death and killing apostates don’t suddenly become ‘respectable’ when put in a holy book” and Heina Dababhoy‘s “#ExMuslimBecause I got tired of suppressing my compassion twds LGBT+ people in the name of a deity claiming to be most compassionate.” For her part, Maryam Namazie, who has been busy adding to the conversation, also observed, “#ExMuslimBecause my being unveiled is NOT the cause of earthquakes or other calamities.”

But many Western Muslims who share their views have refused to take part, insisting that one can be Muslim and still support liberal ideals. “I do think that a lot of the questions that are coming out of the #ExMuslimBecause are issues that Muslims need to take on – such as gender equality and gay rights,” says Ayesha Akhtar, a Bangladeshi-American artist and activist living in New York.  The phenomenon is “complicated,” she says, but adds, “I think that this hashtag and all the tweets, posts, stories that come out of it deserve a round of applause, especially from Muslims, who want religious freedom to dress and live according to their faith – because the right to religious freedom must correspond with the right to be free from any religious affiliation. In a truly liberal, tolerant society, one cannot be one without the other.”

Ibn Warraq, a particularly outspoken Muslim apostate and the author of Why I Am Not A Muslim, agrees, though he is skeptical that one can remain Muslim and still hold such secular, humanist viewpoints. The hashtag, he says, “will help those who think along similar lines. It will give them moral support, reassure them that they are not completely depraved, mad, or evil. They are not alone.”

In other words, while it may seem like a mere Twitter trend, it’s a trend that potentially has very real political punch. True, 25 years after the Salman Rushdie affair, Warraq observed via e-mail, “it is still impossible to avow one’s atheism in public. All the atheists in the Islamic world keep their atheism online. But I think that is beginning to change.”

This is of greater importance in the Muslim world than in the West where, for people like Akhtar, it is possible to consider oneself a practicing Muslim while maintaining Western ideas.  That ability, in fact, is allowing many Western Muslims to start trying to change the narrative – one that, until now, has largely been led by conservative Islamic organizations such as the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and by Muslim fundamentalists. Earlier this month, M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy, established the Muslim Reform Movement in concert with 13 other practicing Muslims, including activist Asra Nomani and Farahnaz Ispahani, a former member of the Pakistani Parliament. The group published a nine-point “declaration,” confirming their shared belief in free speech, freedom of religion, equal rights and condemning violent jihad.

But such secular, contemporary viewpoints – let alone outright apostasy – would be impossible in an Islamic country, notes Warraq, who is also the founder of the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society (an organization that ironically bears the acronym ISIS). While it works in the West, ultimately, he says, “There is no Islam a la carte.”

Yet even for Muslims in the West, there are risks. Some are excommunicated from their families. Others are attacked by Muslims in their communities, either physically, verbally, or emotionally. When Namazie spoke at Goldsmiths, University of London on Nov. 30 at the invitation of its Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society, for instance, the school’s Islamic Society (ISOC) repeatedly disrupted. Making matters worse, Goldsmiths’ LGBT and feminist societies  defended the Islamic Society’s actions.

Never mind that the ISOC supports the wearing of burqas and other garments that many claim oppress women. Never mind that Namazie, a woman, was bullied by (mostly male) Muslims in the audience. Never mind that the Islamic Society itself has invited speakers who defend jihadists, including Zara Faris, who frequently refers to events like 9/11 as “So-called ‘Muslim’ terrorist attacks.'” Never mind its support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel. Never mind that the Society accused Namazie of depriving its members their right to free speech in their efforts to protest against her, but failed to see an assault on free speech in their own efforts to silence her.

Ironically, it is exactly Namazie’s movement, says Warraq, that puts the lie to the concept of “Islamophobia” in the first place. “The unwritten subtext of such a charge is, of course, that the person so accused is ignorant, racist, and bigoted,” he wrote in an e-mail. “But the existence of millions of Middle Easterners, and South Asians, who are now atheists refutes the claim that all those critical of Islam must be racists. Islam, in any case, is not a race. Second, the young Egyptians, Saudis, Iraqis and others who have firmly rejected Islam, have had experience of Islam from the inside; many of them have studied Islam to a very advanced level, and hence cannot be guilty of ignorance. And yes, they did read the Koran in the original Arabic.  They know the social consequences of imposing Islam on the general populace: lack of freedom, those freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and which we in the West take so much for granted. The charge of Islamophobia is an effective way of curtailing all rational discussions of Islam.”

Goldsmiths notwithstanding, the response to #ExMuslimBecause suggests that Warraq may be right. If so, this would be an important step in the fight against Islamic extremism, because only if we can talk about the subject openly and frankly, debating the issue from all angles with the freedom that Western, enlightened culture holds as its core value, can we ever defeat those who would take that freedom from us.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.


Muslim-Prayer1Philos Project, by ZUBAIR SIMONSON, July 22, 2015:

I am a Christian. Catholic, to be specific. But that has not always been the case.

While walking through Times Square in the spring of 2006, I happened to glance at the headlines streaming by on the ticker. Al-Qaeda had bombed Iraq’s Al-Askari Shrine, one of the holiest sites in Shi’a Islam.

The news made me nauseous. I had read plenty of news articles reporting sectarian violence, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks. But this particular story was the last straw: I vowed to never call myself a Muslim again.

After that day, I began to consider all religions poisonous. I saw them as just another excuse to divide humanity into “us” vs. “them.” Religion was for stupid people; it was just a means to control them. Little did I know that I would be baptized in a Christian church just one short year later.

Although I formally disavowed Islam after the Al-Askari bombing, I could hardly have called myself a practicing Muslim during the months leading up to that event. In fact, my faith had been waning for a number of years. There were many moments in which I could feel my beliefs eroding, but one in particular stands out.

The setting itself was rather mundane: I was in the passenger seat of a car. Someone very close to me, a bookish type and a Muslim, had mentioned the Banu Qurayza in passing. He went on to explain that the Banu Qurayza was a Jewish tribe in Medina that had fallen victim to a wholesale massacre under Muhammad’s direct orders. As a child, I had been indoctrinated to revere Muhammad. But in this otherwise ordinary moment, I wondered for the first time how a spiritual genius could act so ruthlessly. I tried to explain it away by considering the circumstances, but that only spawned more questions. Why would a perfect person’s actions need to be justified?

As I was only 16 or 17 at the time, I kept my questions to myself. After all, I could get in trouble for doubting Muhammad’s integrity. But the deed had been done. Those unsettling seeds of doubt had been planted.

Only in retrospect did I realize that I had been surrounded by the legacy of the Banu Qurayza Massacre throughout my entire childhood. The mosque my family attended in North Carolina was heavily influenced by the Salafi Movement (an extremist undertaking that passes for official doctrine in Saudi Arabia), as are countless mosques across the United States. My own family was moderate, but there were very few alternative places of worship for Muslims in Raleigh. Khutbas (the equivalent of a sermon or homily) during the Friday prayer service were often obsessed with politics. The tone was typically anti-American – even venomously so. In 2005, during the last khutba I ever attended at that Raleigh mosque, the speaker publicly criticized the American government for preventing young Muslims from serving jihad in Iraq.

But there was one country that we hated above all: Israel. The Jews were the penultimate “them.”

As a child, I was taught that Israel’s founding could be summarized as the Jews’ migrating en masse after the Second World War, expelling the Palestinians from their homes and wreaking havoc on every neighboring nation. I frequently heard calls for justice against Israel. Many in the Muslim community, especially those in leadership, were migrants who probably never met a Jew before they moved to America. But that did not deter them from painting an ugly picture for us, the Muslim youth, of sadistic Israeli soldiers in the West Bank; of Baruch Goldstein; of the Israel Defense Forces viciously attacking neighboring nations without warrant or regard for collateral damage.

We were often told about how the Jewish-controlled media lied to the public and of how Jewish lobbyists bribed and manipulated our government. Our family friends often shared wild conspiracy theories. One of my favorites was that the Jews (which make up approximately 15 million people worldwide) were in the planning stages of genocide against Muslims (a billion and a half people). One Pakistani man actually told me that he admired Adolf Hitler for having killed so many Jews.

We impressionable young people heard these sentiments everywhere: from our Sunday school teachers to our family friends; at the mosque and in our close friends’ homes. They were ubiquitous, and we believed them.

Bigoted statements from the mouths of fellow Muslims were just as commonplace in Michigan, where I went to college, as they were back home. I myself even once joked, “Come on. Don’t be a Jew!” to a fellow Muslim student when he left a rather miniscule tip at a restaurant (my jab worked: he ended up leaving a much better tip). My prejudice resonated with him.

I believe that what saved me was the fact that I always felt more affinity for my country than for my family’s faith. When I was 6, I cried and cried when my mother broke the news to me that the Russians had beaten the United States in the race to outer space. The demonizing of our country during Sunday school and the Friday khutbas – with the thinly veiled message that I could not be both patriotic and pious – went a long way toward the undoing of my faith. My country – the United States of America – made it clear that I could practice any faith, but my faith demanded that I hate my country. In the end, it was an easy choice.

It was not until I was in my early 20s that I bothered to learn the other side of the story: that Jews had been migrating to Israel for several decades (without much controversy) prior to Israel’s founding (and raising the standard of living for everyone in the region). About the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan that Israel accepted and that Arab states rejected. About how many of Israel’s Arab neighbors had exacerbated the Palestinian issue during their failed 1948 invasion. That the Six-Day War was a legitimate, preemptive strike. About the wild contrast between citizens’ rights under the Israeli government and in the PLO-administered regions. About the very generous concessions the Israeli government had been willing to make in exchange for recognition. That Israel had served as a haven for Jews across the world, particularly the Soviet-controlled states. About how Yasser Arafat and the PLO had repeatedly stalled the peace process. About the great lengths the IDF went to protect the Christian community in Lebanon. That some Muslims actually served in the IDF.

The fact that Israel was a stable democracy surrounded on all sides by tyrants bent on its destruction made me begin to feel something very foreign for this tiny state that did everything it could to survive: sympathy.

It is difficult to gauge how far such intolerant attitudes against Israel and the United States permeate the Muslim community, both here and abroad. After all, who in Islam will honestly answer a survey on anti-Semitic attitudes? I am certain that such venomous attitudes are alarmingly high, and may very well be in the majority among Muslims.

For that reason, my support for Israel relies more heavily on subjectivity than objectivity. It took me years to realize what all of the “demands for justice” really were: hatred parading itself as justice. It is very important to respect other people’s faith – but never their hatred.

Only one nation in the entire Middle East provides its citizens with a true democratic government. Although anti-Semitism is very much alive today, only one nation welcomes all of those who suffer because of it.

The very existence of Israel raises important questions: Are we willing to stand up for the beliefs in basic human dignity that we hold dear? Do we truly seek to transcend one of the most ancient, and most virulent, historical prejudices of our collective history? And if the answer to these questions is “yes,” our support for Israel is paramount.



Ex-Muslim: Leaving Islam – BBC News

leaving IslamThe Muslim Issue, July 6, 2015:

Ex-Muslims are being harassed, ostracized, threatened and played brain games on when they try to leave Islam.

The report description says:

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the UK, with the number of Muslims almost doubling in the last few years from 1.5 million in 2001 to 2.71 million in the latest census, 2011. A small but increasing number of people are also choosing to leave the religion and many say doing so has led them to be rejected by their family and friends and – in some cases – threatened with violence. Benjamin Zand spoke to ex-Muslims.

Islam has an enormous exodus of millions of people but because of the dangers of it, it’s not officially mentioned. Some reports from Arab Christian channels even claim over 300 million Muslims are secretly Christian converts.

PS: Pay attention to the footage taken from ENGLAND, not Rawalpindi or the Middle East. Look at the demographics! How can anyone imagine England will survive this volume of Muslim immigration? Should anyone imagine they can survive this infiltration it would be the only country in the world to survive Islamism in history.

Also see:

CAIR Florida’s Hassan Shibly: A Fitnaphobe Who Supports Islamic Apostasy Laws

Hassan Shibley

Fitnaphobia, by Tom Trento, June 29, 2015:

Hassan Shibly, Director of CAIR Tampa since 2011, is a Fitnaphobe. His roles both as a follower of Mohammed and the Director of CAIR in Tampa is to stop any resistance to Islam and shariah laws (Fitna). Shibly believes that any resistance to Islam and shariah law must be slaughtered.

Islamic slaughter” takes many forms.

CAIR and Shibly currently use non-violent means to slaughter those who resist. He and CAIR designate select individuals as Islamophobic, they teach Muslims how not to cooperate with local law enforcement and the FBI, and promote policies that stop the Fitna, primarily via law suits, known as lawfare.

Hassan Shibly is an Islamic apologist and influential Fitnaphobic in Florida.

According to The Investigative Project on Terrorism:

Hassan Shibly has a track record of defending terrorist groups and acting as an apologist for radical Islam. Following the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War, Shibly granted legitimacy to Hizballah by characterizing it as a “resistance movement” that provides valued social services to the Lebanese people. “They’re absolutely not a terrorist organization,” Shibly said, and “any war against them is illegitimate.”

As a testament to his support for Hizballah’s cause, Shibly even expressed a desire to travel to Lebanon to aid the group’s war effort.

When asked to explicitly condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, Shibly wouldn’t. “Of course we condemn every single act of violence directed against—by Hamas and by Hizballah—directed against civilians,” Shibly said in a Feb. 28 lecture at a church in Youngstown, N.Y. “But the trick we fall into is when we want to condemn them as a whole we completely cut off any chances for having a peace process.”

This video by The United West exposes the duplicity (Fitnaphobia) of Hassan Shibly and most importantly the true insidious nature of Islamic apostasy laws:

Hassan Shibly after hearing the gut wrenching story of how a young Dr. Masood was nearly killed by his parents and neighbors for converting to Christianity was handed a softball question by Mr. Kornman.

Hassan Shibly had the opportunity to condemn the Islamic apostasy laws that have brought much pain and suffering to millions over the last 1400 years. Instead Mr. Shibly chose to imply that Dr. Masood was a liar and confirmed this by running away from Dr. Masood rather than engaging him in honest dialogue for the world to see.

I have heard Hassan Shibly and many other followers of Islam tell Western audiences that Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace because the Qur’an says there is no compulsion in religion.

Former Muslims around the world will tell real life stories much like Dr. Masood’s making people like Hassan Shibly and Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi uncomfortable to the core of their beings.

In an Egyptian TV interview Yusuf al-Qaradawi and one of the most respected leaders in Sunni Islam said, ” If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today. Islam would have ended since the death of the prophet, peace be upon him. Opposing apostasy is what kept Islam to this day.”

Throughout the Islamic world and also here in America for a Muslim to leave Islam for another faith or no faith at all is a serious crime against Islam in both the religious and political sense.

It is these very same Islamic apostasy laws that hold Islam together through fear. For a Muslim to leave Islam has grave consequences for the apostate.

If the apostate is not killed for his apostasy it is likely his/her family will disown them severing every familial and business lifeline the individual has ever known inside their community.

The fear of death for apostasy is a very strong motivator to keep the Ummah in line to this day.

Ex-Muslim Mona Walter Left Islam After Reading the Quran

Mona Walter

Ex-Muslim: Koran Revealed a Religion I Did Not Like

CBN, by Dale Hurd, April 28, 2015:

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Mona Walter is on a mission. Her mission is for more Muslims to know what is in the Koran. She says if more Muslims knew what was in the Koran, more would leave Islam.

Walter came to Sweden from Somalia as a war refugee when she was 19. She says she was excited about joining a modern European nation with equal rights for women. But as a young Muslim woman, that was not the Sweden she encountered.

A Real Introduction to Islam

It was in Sweden that she first experienced radical Islam on a daily basis.

“I discovered Islam first in Sweden. In Somalia, you’re just a Muslim, without knowing the Koran. But then you come to Sweden and you go to mosque and there is the Koran, so you have to cover yourself and you have to be a good Muslim.”

Walter says she grew up in Somalia never having read the Koran.

“I didn’t know what I was a part of. I didn’t know who Mohammed was. I didn’t know who Allah was. So, when I found out, I was upset. I was sad and I was disappointed,” she recalled.

And it was in Sweden that Walters says she discovered Allah is a god who hates, and that Islam is not a religion of peace.

“It’s about hating and killing those who disagree with Islam. It’s about conquering. Mohammed, he was immoral. He was a bloodthirsty man. He was terrible man, and Muslims can read that in his biography — what he did to Jews, how he raped women, how he killed people. I mean, he killed everyone who didn’t agree with him,” she explained.

Discouraged, Walter left Islam and became an atheist, until one day a family member encouraged her to read the Bible. She still remembers the first time she read Matthew 5:44, where Jesus said to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Christianity, a New Perspective

“It was very strange for me to ‘love your enemy,’ because in Islam it is ‘kill your enemy.’ ‘Kill your enemy and anyone who refuses Islam.’ But Jesus Christ was all about love and peace and forgiveness and tolerance, and for some reason, I needed that,” she said.

She went to see Pastor Fouad Rasho of Angered Alliance Church, a Syrian immigrant who ministers to former Muslims in Sweden.

“She started to believe and she came to me. And that was the beginning of her trusting,” he said.

When she accepted Christ, Walter said she felt “so happy” and “filled with joy.”

Walter says the Lord gave her a burden for Muslims who still do not know the truth about Islam.  And she began to study the Koran, and began copying verses from the Koran and handing them out on the street to Muslim women.

Rescuing Muslims with Truth

“Sometimes they listen and sometimes they become very upset, and I tell them, ‘You know your husband has a right to beat you if you don’t obey him?’ And they say ‘No, It does not say that.’ ‘Yes, it does say that.’  I thought if I tell them about Muhammed and about the Koran and about this god of Islam who hates, who kills, who discriminates against women, maybe they will have a choice and leave,” she explained.

But in politically correct Sweden, Walter has come under attack for simply repeating what is in the Koran.

“I’ve been called an ‘Islamophobe,’ and yeah [they tell me], ‘You’ve been bought,’ ‘You’re a house nigger,’ and stuff like that, terrible things, ” she said.

She has also been called a racist. Walter warns that Islamic radicalism is a serious threat in Sweden, and says Swedish society should care more about women trapped in Islam.

“[Swedes] will think, ‘Oh, we’re in Sweden; we have freedom of religion,’ but Muslim women don’t have freedom of religion. They live under the law of Allah, not under Swedish law. So they will suppose everyone has freedom of religion. We don’t have freedom of religion. It’s not for Muslim women. It’s for everyone else,” Walter argued.

Walter lives under death threats and sometimes travels with police protection.  She wanted to show us Muslim areas around Gothenburg, but had to first dress as a Muslim. She believes if she were to show her face, she would be attacked.

“I can never go to those areas just being me, flesh and blood Mona. I would never get out of there alive,” she said.

“I mean, Muslims are normally good people like everyone else,” she continued. “But then when they read the Koran, then they become a killing machine.”

“This so-called ISIS or el Shabab or Boko Haram, they’re not like extremists. They’re not fanatical. They’re just good Muslims, good Muslims who follow the teachings of Islam. The prophet Mohammed, he did that. They’re doing what he did,” she explained.

Walter now uses videos and speaking appearances to spread her message. And she says she won’t stop, even though her life is in danger.

Leaving Islam? There are support groups for you

Council of Ex-Muslims of BritainCouncil of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB)

Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA)




Most Arab states share Isis’s ideology. They’re trying to have it both ways

'Most Arab states – including several members of the military coalition against it – share Isis’s approach to compulsion in religion.' Photograph: Adam Butler/AP

‘Most Arab states – including several members of the military coalition against it – share Isis’s approach to compulsion in religion.’ Photograph: Adam Butler/AP

By Brian Whitaker:

Compulsion in religion is the ideological foundation stone of Isis and Islamist movements in general. Believing they have superior knowledge of God’s wishes for mankind, such groups feel entitled – even required – to act on his behalf and punish those who fail to comply with the divine will. In doing so, of course, they do not claim to be seeking power for themselves but merely trying to make the world more holy.

Bombing Isis and banning Islamist movements may suppress such movements for a while but it does nothing to address the ideological problem. Unless the question of compulsion in religion is tackled head-on, and in a serious way, they will resurface later or similar groups will emerge to replace them.

Although freedom of belief is a widely accepted principle internationally, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is still far from becoming established in the Arab countries. This is true of both governments and society.

As far as many of the Arab public are concerned, discriminating against members of the “wrong” faith, or those who hold unorthodox views, is not only acceptable, but the right thing to do. For Arab governments, enforcing religious rules and allying themselves with God helps to make up for their lack of electoral legitimacy.

This causes a particular problem in combating the ideology of groups such as Isis because most Arab states – including several members of the military coalition against it – share Isis’s approach to compulsion in religion. Isis may be more brutal in practice but, basically, they are on the same ground – asserting the superiority of Islam and the legitimacy of religious discrimination.

Isis’s readiness to execute people for their beliefs has parallels in six Arab countries – Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the UAE and Yemen – where apostasy is a crime and in theory the death penalty can apply. Curiously, though, they seem reluctant to enforce it. No recent executions for apostasy have been reported in any of them and in Saudi Arabia there have been none for well over 20 years, according to the US state department.

On the rare occasions when an execution for apostasy becomes a possibility, these countries usually resort to avoidance mechanisms.

In 1996, for example, the authorities in Kuwait were confronted with their first apostasy case since independence when Hussein Ali Qambar, a Shia Muslim, converted to evangelical Christianity and adopted “Robert” as his first name. Qambar had separated from his wife and his conversion came to light during a court case about custody of their children. In accordance with Islamic custom, efforts were made to persuade him to recant – but to no avail. Islamists then began agitating and filing lawsuits seeking to have him condemned for apostasy.

Read more at The Guardian

Apostates Leaving Islam

leavingislamCitizen Warrior:

Apostasy means “renouncing the faith.” If someone is a Jew or a Hindu or whatever and they decide they don’t want to be one anymore, that is apostasy.

The Koran says apostasy from Islam is a crime punishable by death. In many Islamic states, this is enforced by law. You cannot convert out of Islam. Once you’re in, you’re in for good.

It takes a great deal of courage to leave Islam, and the book, Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out is a collection of first-hand accounts of what happens when a person renounces their belief in Islam. It’ll give you an inside view of what it’s like to be a Muslim. It makes for some surprising, eye-opening reading.

You can find out, in Leaving Islam, the many different ways Muslims around the world deal with the difficult decision to renounce the religion.

Probably the only way we’re going to get a straight story about what Islam is like is by listening to apostates. They have been Muslims and know all about it, and yet they are not apologists for it. They aren’t trying to sell you on it. And all the apostates have a very consistent point of view on Islam.

Of course, they are all against the religion’s intolerance of apostates, but many of them do not hate Islam itself. But they can still be honest about what it’s like to be a Muslim. It’s fascinating reading and will give you lots of interesting stories to tell your friends, but Leaving Islam is also a great reference book. Appendix A is a large list of quotes showing the violence, hatred, and intolerance commanded by the Koran. These are what the orthodox Muslims believe in and these are the main reasons the apostates left the religion.

Appendix B is a list of web sites, organizations, and email addresses of groups who are trying to help create a secularization of Islamic societies and groups that promote freedom of thought and freedom of religion in general. Appendix D is a list of web sites critical of Islam. Appendix E is a bibliography of books critical of Islam.

This is a resource you can use.

Below is excerpted from the introduction to Leaving Islam:

There are very useful analogies to be drawn between communism and Islam…As Arthur Koestler said, “You hate our Cassandra cries and resent us as allies, but when all is said, we ex-Communists are the only people on your side who know what it’s all about.”

Communism has been defeated, at least for the moment; Islamism has not, and unless a reformed, tolerant, liberal kind of Islam emerges soon, perhaps the final battle will be between Islam and Western democracy. And these former Muslims, to echo Koestler’s words, on the side of Western democracy are the only ones who know what it’s all about, and we would do well to listen to their Cassandra cries.

Below is the description on the hardcover:

In the West, those who abandon their religion (apostates) find it to be a difficult, emotional decision that sometimes carries with it social repercussions, such as physical and psychological isolation from family, friends, and colleagues. However, in culturally diverse societies with a mixture of ethnic groups and various philosophies of life, most people look upon such intellectual shifts of allegiance as a matter of personal choice and the right of the individual. In stark contrast, the socially restricted Muslim world still views apostasy as an unthinkable act, and orthodox Muslims would consider it a crime punishable by death. Renowned scholar of Islamic Studies Bernard Lewis has described the seriousness of leaving the Islamic faith in dire terms: “Apostasy was a crime as well as a sin, and the apostate was damned both in this world and the next. His crime was treason — desertion and betrayal of the community to which he belonged, and to which he owed loyalty; his life and property were forfeit. He was a dead limb to be excised.”

Defying the death penalty that all apostates potentially face in the Islamic world, the ex-Muslims represented here feel it is their duty to speak up against their former faith, to tell the truth about the fastest-growing religion in the world.

These former Muslims — some born into the faith; others, Western converts — from all parts of the Islamic world recount how they slowly came to realize that their religion was in many respects unbelievable and sometimes even dangerous.

These memoirs and journals of personal journeys to enlightenment and intellectual freedom make for moving reading and are a courageous signal to other ex-Muslims to openly express their views.

Sudan Detains Christian Woman Trying to Reach America


Another blow: Meriam poses hours after her release with her husband, Daniel (left) and her children, Martin (on Daniel's knee) and baby Maya and all those who bravely fought for her freedom in Sudan. Now she has been re-arrested with her husband and children (Daily Mail)

Another blow: Meriam poses hours after her release with her husband, Daniel (left) and her children, Martin (on Daniel’s knee) and baby Maya and all those who bravely fought for her freedom in Sudan. Now she has been re-arrested with her husband and children
(Daily Mail)

IPT News, June 24, 2014:

Dozens of Sudanese security agents reportedly stopped a Christian woman and her family from trying to leave the country Tuesday, a day after she was granted a reprieve from a death sentence for apostasy.

Meriam Ibrahim’s case garnered international attention in May when she was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian man. She was pregnant at the time the sentence was issued. She also faced 100 lashes for adultery, after the court found her marriage was not valid.

An appeals court overturned those rulings. Her husband, Daniel Wani, is an American citizen. Ibrahim said she was raised as a Christian.

She was released from prison Monday after six months. Then, in a scene out of a bad movie, 40 National Intelligence and Security Service agents detained her at the airport Tuesday as she and her family tried to leave Sudan. “The authorities are saying she has been freed from prison but is not free to leave Sudan at this stage,” an official told reporters.”

Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in prison, reportedly was released a few hours later, and officials claimed the hold-up was about her paperwork.

A State Department spokeswoman said the United States is working to arrange the family’s safe passage out of Sudan.

“The [Sudanese] government has assured us of their safety,” said spokeswoman Marie Harf. “The Embassy has been and will remain highly involved in working with the family and the government. We are engaging directly with Sudanese officials to secure their safe and swift departure from Sudan.”

Also see:


Meriam Ibrahim and Daniel Wani - wedding photoBreitbart, by :

Earlier today, an appeal court in Sudan overturned Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag’s death penalty and released her from jail.

Ibrahim is the woman who had never embraced her absent father’s Muslim faith and whose mother brought her up as a God-fearing Christian. Shariah law demands that such a woman is an apostate and demands either execution or “reversion” to Islam. That, Meriam refused to do. She was willing to die for her faith.

This was her only crime—a refusal to convert or revert to Islam. This exceptionally beautiful woman was arrested and brutalized in a medieval fashion: Chained up in a dark dungeon and forced to give birth on the filthy floor of that very dungeon in chains. The fact that her husband is an American citizen and that her two children, including the daughter born while she was imprisoned, are also American citizens did not sway the Sudanese authorities.

What has? It is hard to say. International human rights groups and Christian groupslaunched campaigns on her behalf. An internet campaign which I quickly joined seems to have gathered some momentum, but internet campaigns do not open cell doors. Many articles were published, including mine at Breitbart, but that, too, does not usually open cell doors.

On May 24, 2014, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted that “Meriam Yahya Ibrahim’s death sentence is abhorrent.” On June 12, 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement about freedom of religion and noted that the Sudanese government has violated international law and human rights. He wrote: “The United States remains deeply concerned about the conviction and continued imprisonment of Ms. Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag.”

However, I have been told that the American Embassy in Khartoum would not get involved—at least, not publicly and not visibly.

On June 19, 2013, thirty eight Congressmen signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. This effort was spear-headed by two Republican Congressmen: Trent Franks and Frank Wolf. Thirty one Republicans and only seven Democrats signed this letter. Shame on the Democratic Party! Here is an African woman who is exercising her freedom of religion—a value that we in the West, particularly in America, hold dear.

Senator Ted Cruz called on President Obama to directly engage Sudan and call for her release.

And now, five days later, on June 23rd, a Sudanese Court has freed her and declared her innocent of all charges.

Really, what has opened her cell door? At this point, I cannot say. But one thing is clear: This is an international victory against Shariah law–and as Shariah law is imposed in a Muslim country. This is no small thing. The stand taken by Christian and human rights groups, coupled with the Republican-led coalition demanding that she be freed, helped.

Other questions abound as to what occurred behind closed doors. Did money change hands? if so, whose money? Have we traded away terrorists for Meriam’s freedom? Will we ever know? More importantly, will she now be protected from death threats? Will the American Embassy give her shelter? How will she get out of the country? Who will sponsor her for political asylum here? How many other Meriams will we have to rescue, campaign by campaign?

Meriam’s journey is not yet over, though she is free of the charges leveled against her. Laurie Jalbert, founder of the Christian group A Passion for Jesus who launched a petition to save Meriam, says now is the time for the White House to act to get Meriam and her children to America safely. “There are now death threats against Meriam and her lawyers,” she explained to Breitbart News, “Please continue to remember Meriam and her children as they still need to safely leave Sudan. Also, remember her lawyers who were courageous enough to represent her.”

Human rights groups call for release of condemned Sudanese Christian Meriam Ibrahim

2827160726Center for Security Policy:

On Thursday 12 June, the Institute on Religion and Democracy along with dozens of co-sponsors led a protest at the White House calling for the release of Sudanese “apostate” Meriam Ibrahim. Ibrahim, the mother of two young children and wife of a U.S. citizen, has been sentenced to death by hanging by the government of Sudan.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)


Faith McDonnell, Institute on Religion and Democracy


Magdi Khalil, Coptic Solidarity


Tony Perkins, Family Research Council


Jimmy Mulla, Voices for Sudan


Penny Young Nance, Concerned Women for America



Sharia Rights or Human Rights: The Case of Meriam Ibrahim

hj-450x253Front Page, by Amani Gayed:

The Sudanese Criminal Court’s death sentence upon a 27-year-old pregnant woman, Meriam Ibrahim, who was found guilty of leaving Islam, has gained very wide publicity. Her plight has attracted the strongest condemnation from the world’s top politicians, and hundreds of thousands of people around the world have signed petitions for her release.

It is striking that those condemning Meriam Ibrahim’s death sentence are demanding her release, but they are not demanding the abolition of the legal code that found her guilty of apostasy and adultery in the first place.

The Sudanese Government – not unlike many Western governments, who are permitting Sharia principles and Sharia courts to become entrenched within their legal systems – is simultaneously endorsing two approaches to human rights, the one contradicting the other: Islamic Sharia Law and the Universal Declaration of Human rights.

The Sudanese Government – like other Islamic governments, Islamic communities in the West, and many Islamic non-governmental organizations – have been given a free pass to move freely between the two opposing sets of rights, according to whatever suits them best.

Who’s confused?

Sudan is an Islamic State, which has embedded Islamic Sharia Laws in its legal framework. At the same time, Sudan is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These two sets of rights are fundamentally opposed to each other in the way they view and understand rights and freedoms.

In response to the overwhelming media coverage of Meriam’s case, a Sudanese official at the Sudanese embassy in London reassured the BBC that Sudan is committed and will comply with its commitment to protect freedom of religion. Of course he was referring to principals of human rights as understood and accepted in the West.

Back in Sudan it was another story. Meriam was sentenced to death by a Sudanese Criminal Court which found her guilty of apostasy from Islam under article 126 of the 1991 Sudanese Criminal Law Act. This reads:

126 (1) Every Muslim who advocates the renunciation of the creed of     Islam, or who publicly declares his renouncement thereof by an express   statement or conclusive act, shall be deemed to commit the offense of     apostasy.

‪(2) Whoever commits apostasy shall be given a chance to repent     during a period to be determined by the court; if he persists in his     apostasy, and is not a recent convert to Islam, he shall be punished     with death.

‪(3) The penalty provided for apostasy shall be remitted whenever the apostate recants apostasy before execution.

According to Sharia law, and contrary to the principles of the UDHR, Meriam has no choice but to be a Muslim, because Sharia law mandates that every child born to a Muslim parent is a Muslim. A child must follow Islam if one of his/her parents is a Muslim or converts to Islam, because, according to Sharia Law, Islam is the superior religion over all other religions. In Meriam’s case she was born to a Muslim father, so, according to Sudanese Islamic Law, she cannot choose to become a Christian, despite what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says.

The same court, using the same Act, also found Meriam guilty of the offence of adultery under article 145b, and sentenced her to a flogging under article 146b, which states:

Article (145): Adultery

1. There shall be deemed to commit the offence of adultery:

(a) Every man who has intercourse with a woman without a legitimate marriage;

(b) Every woman who allows a man to have intercourse with her without a legitimate marriage.

2. Intercourse is deemed to be completed when the whole head of the penis, or its equivalent, enters inside the vagina.

3. A marriage is not legitimate when its legitimacy is not determined and settled [by Islamic jurists].

Article (146)

1. Whoever commits the offence of adultery shall be sentenced to:

(a) Death by stoning when legitimately married;

(b) 100 lashes when not legitimately married.

The Sudanese official in the Sudanese embassy in London would have been fully aware of Sudanese Criminal Law, under which Meriam was found guilty of apostasy and adultery, but he chose to play the Universal Declaration of Human Rights card in an attempt to reduce tensions with the West.

“Moderate” Sharia Laws?

The Western governments that allow Sharia principles (Islamic finance, Islamic schools, halal certified food, Islam-compliant inheritance, Islam-compliant marriage) are displaying harmful ignorance. Sharia Law is a single legal code which determines crimes, offences, punishments, finance, halal and haram, and so on. The fundamental principles which determine the value and the rights of women in Sharia Law in matters of inheritance, marriage, finance, and education are the same principles which determine her rights in respect of apostasy and adultery.

The London Sudanese embassy official thought to cause confusion by referring to Western understandings of human rights. Western leaders have themselves embraced and partnered with such confusion by condemning the death and flogging of an adulterer apostate in Sudan, while at the same time accepting principles of sharia law into their countries’ legal systems. They should have known better, for whether the issue is Islamic finance, halal food, inheritance issues, apostasy, or adultery, Islamic schools in the UK, USA, Australia, France, or Germany can only teach the same fundamental principles which brought a 27-year-old mother of two to death row and earned her a flogging, for the ‘crimes’ of leaving Islam and marrying a Christian man.

Islamic Sharia law follows a set of values which do not change. The Sharia legal texts that the Sudanese criminal court judge consulted are sold in Islamic bookstores all over the Western world. The same principles that brought Meriam to death row are taught to Western Muslim children in Islamic schools all over the Western world.

To the Western leaders I say this: Millions of Muslims came to the West seeking refuge in genuine principles of human rights. They were seeking freedom and justice. Please do not hand them back to the oppression of the Islamic Sharia!

Amani Gayed practiced law in Sudan, and is now based in Sydney, Australia.