1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out

Guide Rating - rating

Compare Prices

For most people in the West, leaving one’s religion (apostasy) is simply not an issue of great concern. Some may be disappointed when such an event occurs, but today changing religions is so common that it just doesn’t arouse much antagonism or anger — even the world “apostate” is hardly used anymore. That, however, is not the case in Islam where apostasy continues to be a crime punishable by death: those who are apostates must fear for their lives and even the lives of their families.

Summary

Title: Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out
Author: edited by Ibn Warraq
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1591020689

Pro:
•  Reveals the difficulties that face someone who wants to leave Islam
•  Shows how little religious tolerance and freedom exists for most Muslims
•  Explains the fear many feel for speaking out against Islam

Con:
•  None

Description:
•  History and nature of apostasy in Islam explained
•  Numerous personal testimonies of people who have left Islam and why they did it
•  Exploration of how little religious tolerance and freedom exists in Muslim nations

 

Book Review

We don’t generally hear about these people’s stories — they do, after all, try to keep quiet. But even when they aren’t quiet, little is said about them in the West because their experiences help demonstrate that too many of the Muslims in the world simply do not share the West’s values of religious tolerance and freedom. When a person’s life is in danger simply for leaving their religion, religious freedom is little more than a pretense.

That is why Ibn Warraq’s recent book Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out is so important for anyone wishing to better understand the state of Islam today. Whether they ultimately move to Christianity, Hinduism, or even atheism, whether they were born Muslims or converted to Islam as adults and then later left again, all of those who contributed to the book have a story to tell about intolerance, hatred, and fear.

Many of those whose writings appear in the collection are identified under pseudonyms, and that includes the books editor Ibn Warraq:

    All the testimonies here are witnesses to the authors’ courage, for a free discussion of Islam remains rare and dangerous, certainly in the Islamic world and even in our politically correct times in the West.

    A surprising number of the apostates decided to write under their real names, a triumphant gesture of defiance and freedom. Many, on the other hand have chosen to write pseudonymously, and since this is a fact that seems to irritate many in the secular West, I shall briefly indicate the reasons why. Apostasy is still punishable by long prison sentences and even death in many Islamic countries such as Pakistan and Iran, and as many of our authors have relatives in those countries, whom they regularly visit, it is common sense and simple prudence not to use their real names.

Who are these people that they are willing to speak out, even if only anonymously?

    No quick portrait of the typical apostate is likely to appear — some are young (students in their teens), some are middle-aged with children; some are scientists, while others are economists, businesspeople, or journalists; some are from Bangladesh, others from Pakistan, India, Morocco, Egypt, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, or Iran. Our witnesses, nonetheless, do have certain moral and intellectual qualities in common: for instance, they are all comparatively well educated, computer literate with access to the Internet, and rational, with the ability to think for themselves.

    Leaving Islam
    Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out
    However, what is most striking is the fearlessness, their moral courage, and their moral commitment to telling the truth. They all face social ostracism, the loss of friends and family, a deep inner spiritual anguish and loneliness — and occasionally the death penalty if discovered. Their decisions are not frivolously taken, but the ineluctable result of rational thinking.

On account of his writings about Islam, Ibn Warraq has had more than one fatwa issued against him, causing him to be genuinely concerned for his safety. It’s bad enough that people in predominantly Muslim countries must fear for their lives when they speak out, but for Islamic radicals to impose their will on dissenters abroad by threatening them goes to show not only how intolerant they are, but also how fearful.

Yes, there must be a great deal of fear in their hearts — if there weren’t, they would have little cause to try to silence an author living thousands of miles away. This wasn’t always the case, however. Included with the many testimonies and an analysis of the theological basis for Islam’s teachings about apostasy is a historical review of how apostates have been treated in different times and places under Muslim rule.

Continue... »

Compare Prices

Important product disclaimer information about this About site.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.