Obaid is a free speech advocate and Ex-Muslim. He was born in India and grew up in Canada. His love for science eventually lead to his abandoning Islam. Obaid can be reached via Twitter @obaidomer.
Islam is a religion of peace; this has nothing to do with Islam, not all Muslims, we keep being told these tired old tropes by our politicians and pundits. It’s time for our politicians and media to start speaking the truth. It is also well past time that when our policy makers seek advice, they start looking for new sources. So far the people we hear from are apologists that tell us the same thing.
There is a group of people that need to be heard and sought after for advice when it concerns Islam, Ex-Muslims. Before you say what do Ex-Muslims have to say about Islam listen to their stories. People who left Islam, for the most part, know the religion better than those who practice it. We have left the faith because we looked at our religion and tried to find reasons to stay but could not and were appalled by what we saw.
Ex-Muslims are affected by policies that are made about Islam, take for examples the travel ban that Trump had instituted. There are Ex-Muslims that come from countries on the ban, and they might lose amnesty or not be able to leave. We also face bigotry from those that are truly bigoted they will not care to ask if we are former Muslims or if we still practice. We also face threats from within the Muslim community including for quite a few their families. Lastly, we face accusations of bigot from people who wish to protect minorities. This last thing is especially hard; we are a minority within a minority when we are in the West. In Muslim countries we are minorities and in most case, deeply hidden out fear of imprisonment, torture, and death.
Ex-Muslims have a huge stake in this discussion, and we are being left out. Take a look at those that are advising our leaders and what they say. You have been given the same narrative for far too long, and it is not working. Islamic terror attacks have become so part of our lives that we have come to expect them. Some then blame our governments our policies and look for those who will tell us what they want to hear.
The problem of fundamentalist Islam is far too important a topic to not have a multiplicity of voices and we the Ex-Muslims are the best friends you can have in this battle of ideas. Ex-Muslims do not want policies that will hurt our families and friends who are still Muslim. Shutting us down in the West has a huge effect in Muslim countries. Ex-Muslims are killed in Muslim countries sometimes by the population who have formed a mob; this happened to Mashal Khan in Pakistan at his university when his fellow students and faculty shot then beat him to death for questioning Islam. In the West we are called bigoted and are being shut out of social media. Facebook just recently shut down Ex-Muslim and atheist groups due to complaints from Islamic groups. The EU is demanding harsher penalties for people who speak out against Islam. Muslim countries have asked for identities of users who blaspheme. Pakistan also called for shutting down pages it found blasphemous. Saudi Arabia has declared that atheists are terrorists.
There are very few people who are talking about the problems with Islam honestly. I am asking that you start listening to more voices and ask our leaders to do the same. Ex-Muslims need to be heard just listen to us.