Advice for the Newly-Apostized (or My Past Self)

A version of this post originally appeared as a comment in a certain secret apostate group on Facebook.

I left Islam publicly and officially in late summer of 2006. While I don’t regret the move, I wish I had known at least some of what I know now. I currently benefit from hindsight enough to comfort, maybe even actually advise, my younger self or others in a similar position.

Here is a very specific list of Things I Did, divided into Helped and Didn’t Help.

Warning: If you’re anything like me, the first thing that did help is going to annoy you. Continue reading “Advice for the Newly-Apostized (or My Past Self)”

Advice for the Newly-Apostized (or My Past Self)
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It’s Cruel for an Atheist to Pray with Their Dying Mother

Unsurprisingly given its content, a specific Postsecret entry has been addressed by several of my atheist colleagues over at Patheos.

PostSecret card of a hospital bed reading: "I don't believe in god / when I was 19 my mom was on her death bed and asked me to pray for her / I told her I couldn't because I would by [sic] lying / now she's gone forever, and I feel like I failed her as a daughter"

Hemant started the conversation, saying that he felt for the postcard’s creator and saw no way by which he could gain from refusing to pray. Matthew agreed, adding that he sees prayer as a supportive act. Galen contributed some very nuanced thoughts. The people with whom I find myself agreeing not only most but actually entirely wholeheartedly are Kaveh and Cassidy, although I might amend Kaveh’s answer from “Fuck no and fuck you” to “Fuck no and fuck this question” for reasons that are not dissimilar to those of Cassidy.

It is downright cruel for an out atheist to pray with a theist relative on their deathbed: Cruel to the relative, cruel to the atheist, cruel to anyone even marginally involved, and cruel to the non-religious in general. Continue reading “It’s Cruel for an Atheist to Pray with Their Dying Mother”

It’s Cruel for an Atheist to Pray with Their Dying Mother

Support Abu, a Film About a Gay Son & His Fundamentalist Muslim Father

A lot of never-Muslims will ask me what they can do to help out with the suffering of LGBTQ folks in Muslim-dominated countries, cultures, and communities. If you’re in that boat, here’s your change.

There are only 8 days left for the IndieGOGO campaign for Abu, a film about a gay son reconciling with his Muslim father. As I am a supporter of LGBTQ Muslim and ex-Muslim representation and am doubly queer myself, as well as someone who unapologetically values their relationship with their family, a project like this is triply close to my heart.

Throw in a few Canadian bucks to help make this film a reality, if you can. If you can’t (or even if you can), share on social media. Every link tweeted or Facebook shared means more visibility and exposure to more eyes.

Continue reading “Support Abu, a Film About a Gay Son & His Fundamentalist Muslim Father”

Support Abu, a Film About a Gay Son & His Fundamentalist Muslim Father

Ajar Thread: Getting Away With It (Plus an Update)

Apologies for the lack of post on Friday and the brevity of today’s post. I’ve been planning for, attending, and recovering from Creating Change 2015. Lots of awesome is afoot, I promise.

As a teenager (and beyond), I was quite annoyed with one my relative’s proclivity of thunderously proclaiming very, very intensely judgmental statements about people he hardly knew anything about, let alone to the extent to which such a reaction was warranted. Annoyance became horror when he would call Allah’s curse on people he disliked, which struck me as courting all kinds of bad things.

Once, when he was declaring that Allah’s curse be upon Yasser Arafat (as he often did when it came to Muslim leaders he thought fell short of his ideals), I blurted out, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” As I was the scholar of the family, he seemed to think I was quoting the Quran or Hadith and he stopped his rant.

I had actually been quoting The Bible


by way of Viviane from The Mists of Avalon, but it worked. For all I know, to this very day, he thinks that’s a verse in the Quran or a saying of Muhammad.

What is the best and/or funniest that you got away with by the power of sheer audacity?

Ajar Thread: Getting Away With It (Plus an Update)

#‎WhoIsMuhammad‬? A Human Being

Muslims all over the world are using #WhoIsMuhammad to express their feelings about the man who founded their religion. The hashtag arose partially in reaction to the horrifying events in France last week and mostly because Muslims and Islam are generally not exactly very positively perceived.

I understand what Muslims are trying to do with the hashtag. Really, I do. I remember what it was like to be a Muslim in a hostile environment, especially in the direct wake of terrorist acts committed by Islamist types.

However, if the various traces of him that we have left are to be accepted, Muhammad was not a peacenik hippie who wanted everyone to love each other forever. There was much more to him than that. Continue reading “#‎WhoIsMuhammad‬? A Human Being”

#‎WhoIsMuhammad‬? A Human Being

An Ex-Muslim’s Quest for Pigs (Hold the Sexism)

I’ll mince no words here: the premise contained in the title of Sam Harris’s response to #EstrogenVibe (you can easily find his piece if you want to read it) doesn’t offend me — it disgusts me to my core. As it’s on his personal site, the title can’t be blamed on a clickbait-hungry editor or website, either. He defensively chose to claim that atheist feminists like me are constantly and eagerly looking for a sexist pig to chide.

Speaking personally, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Continue reading “An Ex-Muslim’s Quest for Pigs (Hold the Sexism)”

An Ex-Muslim’s Quest for Pigs (Hold the Sexism)

“Positive Thinking” Was #WhyIStayed: How Self-Help & Religion Enabled My Abuse

The genesis for this piece was Twitter. The hashtag is heartbreaking but worth a read.

An unholy marriage of Islam’s teachings on gratitude and the late 90’s/early aughts obsession with “positive thinking” made my childhood and adolescence utterly miserable.

I was born a very obedient, literal child. There’s something about a sincere, thoughtful little fat girl that bring the worst out in bullies. My adult male relatives bullied me in the name of “toughening me up” & “teasing” me. Male and female relatives of all ages taught me through their behavior and words that because I was not pretty, I was utterly contemptible, worthy of either no or negative attention.

Continue reading ““Positive Thinking” Was #WhyIStayed: How Self-Help & Religion Enabled My Abuse”

“Positive Thinking” Was #WhyIStayed: How Self-Help & Religion Enabled My Abuse

Ajar Thread: A Hijab Fashion Trend I Hated But Did Anyway

A version of this was originally posted on my fashion Tumblr, where you can see how much I care (obsess?) over my presentation.

There are many types of headscarves that Muslim women wear; this guide is hardly exhaustive, but it covers the types I used to wear.

Continue reading “Ajar Thread: A Hijab Fashion Trend I Hated But Did Anyway”

Ajar Thread: A Hijab Fashion Trend I Hated But Did Anyway

Did Luis Suarez’s Biting Break His Fast?: A World Cup / Ramadan Update

It’s a World Cup Ramadan, the first one since the 1980s. It’s like a White Christmas? Kind of? Except Ramadan is more like Lent than Christmas.

Never mind.

Today marks the third day of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. This weekend, concerns over the Muslim World Cup players made their way across the internets. I happened across posts of the Vox and Mashable links and observed much speculation and questioning regarding the rules of fasting during Ramadan, as well as talk of exemptions to fasting.

Continue reading “Did Luis Suarez’s Biting Break His Fast?: A World Cup / Ramadan Update”

Did Luis Suarez’s Biting Break His Fast?: A World Cup / Ramadan Update

#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