#AnApostatesExperience: Why Do They Always Forget to Ask Ex-Muslims?

Something that we at EXMNA have been hard at work trying to rectify is our relative invisibility. People on all sides of the issue of apostasy in Islam have a tendency to forget that we exist. Numerous podcasts, articles, features, books, and so on mention us, sometimes even use us as props in arguments, without any of us actually being consulted on the matter. That it often stems from ignorance of our existence rather than malice makes it no less insulting and dehumanizing.

How bad is it? When I try to bring awareness of the issue, I’m told that ex-Muslims face too many dangers to be out, so there is no way to contact “them.” I’ve had anti-feminists tell me that if I really cared about women’s rights, I’d know and care about the plight of “those” ex-Muslim women. I’d laugh if it weren’t such a painful reminder that my mere existence isn’t worth consideration in so many people’s minds.

Thankfully, there are some who remember us. Yet those who do know we exist sometimes still rely on second- and third-hand voices to speak for us, even on matters that are explicitly by, for, and about us.

This erasure must be stopped.

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#AnApostatesExperience: Why Do They Always Forget to Ask Ex-Muslims?

#AnApostatesExperience: An Informed Critics’ Reading of Reza Aslan

Here is part of what Vlad Chituc over at NonProphet Status had to say about #AnApostatesExperience:

To quote fellow Patheos blogger Dan Arel, #AnApostatesExperience was meant to show “what real threatening and venomous attacks look like,” as if that erased the threats that Aslan received. It’s hard for me to see how this is any different than “Dear Muslima,” except this time it’s a Muslim as the target. [Aslan] never suggested that his experiences are worse than the experiences of any ex-Muslims, so what do they have to do with the threats he’s received? The struggle of ex-Muslims is an important issue to highlight, but not as a way of one-upping the victims of threats and harassment.

To answer the title, i.e. “Why is it so hard for critics to read Reza Aslan charitably?”: It’s because Aslan is far too charitable when it comes to the oppression that Muslims perpetuate within their own communities. Further, I find the characterization of #AnApostatesExperience in the post to be not only uncharitable, but also poorly-informed as to the real issues with Reza Aslan and with ex-Muslims.

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#AnApostatesExperience: An Informed Critics’ Reading of Reza Aslan