#AnApostatesExperience: Why I Declared My Apostasy

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The other day, we at EXMNA made #AnApostatesExperience happen in response to Reza Aslan — who utterly missed the point.

He wasn’t the only Muslim responding. I got one Muslim who told me that I would’ve been better off taking off my headscarf rather than full-on coming out to my family as an atheist. This person is hardly alone. More than one Muslim has asked me why I didn’t tell my parents that I wanted to de-veil and stop practicing Islam rather than to declare to them that I had deconverted.

Given that I went from being a devout Muslim to being an atheist without detection but am a terrible liar, pussyfooting around my atheism would have been a pointless strategy. Continue reading “#AnApostatesExperience: Why I Declared My Apostasy”

#AnApostatesExperience: Why I Declared My Apostasy

#AnApostatesExperience: A Plea to Reconsider Your Love for Reza Aslan

Remember when Sam Harris said a misogynistic thing and doubled-down on it by talking about how he has a wife, a mother, and a female editor whose contributions to his work he highly values? Most white liberal atheists saw that for what it was and mocked him. It’s the “I have a black friend” argument.

Reza Aslan did a version of that yesterday regarding #AnApostatesExperience, the hashtag we at EXMNA started.

Continue reading “#AnApostatesExperience: A Plea to Reconsider Your Love for Reza Aslan”

#AnApostatesExperience: A Plea to Reconsider Your Love for Reza Aslan

A More Reasonable Rage: Why I Don’t Seem Angry at Islam

Follow-up to A More Reasonable Rage: What Made Me Angry at Islam

After I first left Islam, I was subjected to some rather poor treatment. As a result, I let my self-imposed standards for my own behavior slip. It was only after I had extricated myself from the worst of it that I was able to look in the mirror and realize that I was peering at the image before me without recognition. I decided to reevaluate my approach.

It took me time to leave Islam, more time to get to a place where those around me accepted that I’d left Islam, and even more time to figure out my place in the world as an ex-Muslim. How and why I decided on my particular approach is ultimately a matter of practicality and the specificity that practicality requires.

Continue reading “A More Reasonable Rage: Why I Don’t Seem Angry at Islam”

A More Reasonable Rage: Why I Don’t Seem Angry at Islam

A More Reasonable Rage: What Made Me Angry at Islam

This weekend, I received a message on Facebook:

Read your article on being an ex-Muslim and why you hold that identity. I braced myself for a torrent of talking about how Islam is the worst ideology in the world and how evil the teachings are. But hey, you kept it from being polemical, which makes me want to ask you a question: As an ex-Muslim, why do you avoid polemics against Islam? You’re probably one of the least angry ex-Muslims I’ve read about.

My feelings upon reading it were mixed.  Gratitude faded into annoyance, which mellowed into a slight defensiveness (I loathe anything even slightly resembling the idea that I’m “one of the good ones“).

It’s not as if I never was angry about Islam, or don’t continue to be angry about aspects of it.

Continue reading “A More Reasonable Rage: What Made Me Angry at Islam”

A More Reasonable Rage: What Made Me Angry at Islam

Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Care About Ex-Muslims

Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about those of us in less-privileged populations and doesn’t want us to use Facebook in the way that’s safest for us.

Via Michael Zimmer come some choice quotes from the social media magnate himself.

“You have one identity,” he emphasized three times in a single interview with David Kirkpatrick in his book, “The Facebook Effect.” “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”

I suppose that Mark Zuckerberg thinks that being an ex-Muslim causes someone to “lack integrity” and therefore doesn’t belong on his social media site.

Continue reading “Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Care About Ex-Muslims”

Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Care About Ex-Muslims

Why I Call Myself an Ex-Muslim

I was asked today, by a Muslim, why I self-identify as an ex-Muslim and not just an atheist. I’ve had the same question posited by fellow atheists as well. Setting aside my impulse to retort with a knee-jerk anthropologists’ argument of “I can call myself whatever I want”, I can see something of a good question hidden in the label-policing.

The simple answer? In the past, Islam was my life, and continues to affect my life, and will never stop affecting who I am. Continue reading “Why I Call Myself an Ex-Muslim”

Why I Call Myself an Ex-Muslim

#TwitterTheocracy: How Anti-Blasphemy Laws Are Tools of Oppression

Recently, the case of Meriam Ibrahim made international headlines. The story was that she, a pregnant Christian woman married to a Christian, was being accused of apostasy and sentenced to death for it. Some but not all of the articles about it mentioned the most troubling fact about the case: she is not even a apostate in that she was a Muslim and then defected from Islam. Instead, her absentee father was a Muslim and, by Sudanese law, this automatically makes her a Muslim, despite being raised a Christian by her Christian mother.

A case of a born and raised Christian being accused of apostasy from Islam and sentenced to death for it shows that anti-apostasy laws are a brutal tool that can be used to enforce tyranny on anyone, whether they are an apostate, a theist of another religion, or a non-apostate atheist.

Continue reading “#TwitterTheocracy: How Anti-Blasphemy Laws Are Tools of Oppression”

#TwitterTheocracy: How Anti-Blasphemy Laws Are Tools of Oppression

Unveiled: A Look Back on the Hijab

I, along with two other former Muslim women (Marwa Berro of Between a Veil and a Dark Place and Reem Abdel-Razek), recently spoke with Valerie Tarico about our experiences with the hijab. This is a cross-post of my interview with her.

Tarico: How long did you wear hijab, and what did it mean to you at the time?

Dadabhoy: I wore hijab for a decade (ages 8 to 18). I started wearing it because I was always a people-pleaser; it seemed like the right thing to do to please my parents, many of my older relatives, my teachers at my religious school (a headscarf was part of the uniform for the Islamic girls’ school I attended in London for a year), and, of course, Allah. I was also a very literal and devout child. I wanted to make sure that I obeyed Allah as much as possible.

Continue reading “Unveiled: A Look Back on the Hijab”

Unveiled: A Look Back on the Hijab

Ex-Muslims of North America: A Dream Come True

Call me biased — I happily accept all charges of subjectivity in this matter. I am going to unabashedly revel in how amazing this is and nothing can stop me. This was so desperately needed and it finally exists.

I’m talking about Ex-Muslims of North America.

When I first became an apostate in 2006, the world of the ex-Muslim was far more narrow than it is today. The only apostates I’d heard of were international figures who had to live under armed guard, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali; anonymous folks mostly found online, like the now-defunct Towelians; or those who somewhat qualify as both, like Ibn Warraq. The idea of run-of-the-mill folks simply being apostates of Islam in their hearts, let alone out under their true names, seemed impossible. The overall message for ex-Muslims seemed unequivocal: your family will disown and shun you at best, Jihadis will put a mark on you, and the world aside from the extreme right-wing will reject you.


I didn’t want to be an out apostate if it meant being hurt or killed, or losing my family, or automatically joining up with Daniel Pipes.

I did it anyway.

Though I knew it would end up doing so, I didn’t do it to cause trouble. Though I knew the act would be perceived that way, I didn’t do so to rebel, either. I didn’t even do it to make a point — at least not primarily.

I did it because I wanted to be loved and accepted for who I was. All I wanted was to be myself, consistently, everywhere, with everyone. It was how I behaved when I was a devout Muslim and it was how I wanted to continue to behave as a former Muslim.

My actions did end up making a point. As far as I know, there is no fatwa against me declaring that I should be killed. My family, though in deep disagreement with me, still loves me. The only association I’ve ever had with Daniel Pipes was attending a free event of his where I asked him a pointed question about his racism at which he rather waffled and, of course, contradicted himself. My existence alone, as I am, makes more than a few points.


Obviously, such is not the case for all ex-Muslims, including but not limited to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Take Marwa Berro, the brilliant young woman behind Between a Veil & a Dark Place, for example. Plenty of other ex-Muslims hide their identities and/or are only out on a limited basis to keep themselves safe from harm. On the flip side, I’ve heard of ex-Muslims whose families don’t care too much about the fact that they’ve left Islam, something I never thought possible. That’s the point: what an ex-Muslim experiences as a result of their apostasy depends a great deal on that person’s family, background, country of origin, nationality, and so on. There are a lot of different experiences out there, and the variety of voices and approaches showcased on Ex-Muslim Blogs is a testament to that. It’s essential that we hear from more than just a few of them.

I am so pleased and honored to be living in a time when ex-Muslims have reached critical mass and are starting to come out more and more as well as to organize. Between the Ex-Muslims Councils that have formed in Europe, the active “ex-Moose” sub-Reddit, Muslimish, and EXMNA, I feel incredibly hopeful. The multiple facets and varieties of the ex-Muslim experience are worth discussing and knowing. Ex-Muslims of North America is one more step in deconstructing the myth of the monolith about those who hail from Muslim backgrounds. More importantly, groups like EXMNA make the world a better and safer place for those who leave Islam, one vocal and/or out apostate at a time.

Ex-Muslims of North America: A Dream Come True