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Ex-Muslims afraid to speak out

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Young men and women from Muslim backgrounds who have left Islam claim that they are a minority within a minority in Britain.

These ex-Muslims are under no illusions about the way certain members of their former community would treat them if they discovered their apostasy. A thirty-something computer engineer, Sulaiman Vali, said: “If someone found out where I lived, they could burn my house down.” 


He went on to say that his own mother “thought her God would be angry with her if she treated me kindly.”

Others have been disowned by their families, or have simply avoided telling them that they have lost their Muslim faith. Sometimes, these ex-Muslims can feel exiled both from the Muslim community they have left and society at large.

In 2013, a 22-year-old Muslim named Irtaza Hussain was so distraught over the alienation he felt that he hanged himself.

A woman who spoke under the name Nasreen talked about the struggle to break free of patterns of thought which had been ingrained in her as she grew up.

“The thing is, Islam teaches you to grow up with low self-esteem and lack of self-identity. Without the collective, you’re lost,” she said. “You’ve been taught to feel guilty and people-pleasing as a woman, and you do that from a very young age… [When I changed my lifestyle] I lost my friends. You’re very lonely and you’re ostracised.”

Many ex-Muslims blame the present cultural climate in the UK. People are so afraid of appearing ‘Islamophobic’ that they don’t speak out about this crisis of faith within the Muslim community, and the hostility apostate Muslims meet with from their own.

Imtiaz Shams, a YouTube personality who advocates for ex-Muslims, comments: “People don’t want to touch anything to do with leaving Islam. Especially in universities, where the politics are insane.”

What can we do?

Safe Haven is an initiative that has been developed by Christians with a heart for “connecting victims with those who can provide a safe place to stay: a secure and loving home away from the hostility.”

If you know someone who wants to leave their Muslim faith and needs help getting away from a harmful environment, please contact Safe Haven.

Andrea Williams commented: “God sent His Son Jesus Christ so that the world might know the Truth, and that the Truth might set them free. Our desire is to see men and women free to choose to seek the truth, not repressed and fearful for their well-being or the well-being of their loved ones.” 

Related Links:
Christian Concern launches 'Safe Haven' initiative to help those leaving Islam  
Safe Haven

Related Coverage:
Losing their religion: the hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims (Guardian)