Who We Are
We are a group of people dedicated to supporting and helping ex-Muslims. The primary reason for our group’s existence is to build a community and provide a sense of solidarity for ‘ex-Muslims’ – people who used to follow Islam or identify as Muslim, and who no longer do so. As such, this group is only for ex-Muslims, primarily those located in or from North America.
The Apostasy Taboo and Public Advocacy
Many of our members are people who have had to remain ‘in the closet’ about our (lack of) belief in Islam. This is due to the dehumanizing effects of the apostasy taboo that much of Islamic scriptures, scholars and communities have often imposed upon those who can not make themselves believe in Islam. To preserve our members’ safety, our group’s purpose is not primarily focused on public advocacy, although we will do our best to support and assist those members who are able to publicly advocate for ex-Muslims, and work towards bridging the community of ex-Muslims with the larger communities in which we live. As our membership grows, and we make gains in terms of visibility and social and legal protections for our members, we envision the group moving towards having a greater focus on outreach and advocacy, while maintaining, as always to the best of our abilities, the safety and privacy of our most vulnerable members.
Local Support and Global Solidarity
Currently, there are several groups of ex-Muslims of various sizes self-organizing in cities all over North America, and all over the world. Our goal is to expand and eventually have a presence in every major North American city, in order to provide a local group for ex-Muslims everywhere to whom they can turn for support and solidarity. We are also dedicated to reaching out to other groups within and outside North America to foster alliances and affiliations.
No Bigotry and No Apologism
These days, there is a stark polarity that exists in media, academia and public life when it comes to discussions about Islam and Muslims. There are those who propagate racist, bigoted and xenophobic ideas against Muslims, against anyone who comes from a Muslim background, and even against people who are not Muslim at all (e.g. Sikhs). These types of people (the bigots) tend to treat all Muslims (or all those perceived to be Muslim) as a monolith, a horde without internal differences or dissent. On the other hand, there are those who react to the bigoted, xenophobic types by trying to justify the violent parts of Islam and the harsh actions of some Muslims. This second type (the apologists) often shields Islam and Muslims from any and all critique and scrutiny, even the kinds of critique and scrutiny they themselves apply to other ideologies like Christianity, Capitalism, Communism, and others.
As people who were raised Muslim, or converted to Islam of our own choice, and then left Islam because we could not believe in it anymore, we stand between this polarity, and we refuse to cater to either the bigots or the apologists. We do not wish to promote hatred of all Muslims. We ourselves were Muslim. Many of our families and friends are Muslim. We understand that Muslims come in all varieties and we do not and will not partake in erasing the diversity within the world’s Muslims.
Most of us have researched and continue to research many of the world’s religions, and we are, as a group, very well-versed in the horrors committed by other religions throughout history. We reserve the right to focus on Islam because it is the religion with which we have the most experience, it is the religion in which many of us were raised, and the religion some of us who are former converts tried to believe in with all our hearts.
While we denounce the bigotry of those who promote their racist and xenophobic ideas under the guise of criticizing Muslims, we also denounce the cultural and moral relativism of those who propagate the idea that all people of Muslim backgrounds are the same and want to follow Islam, and that Islam is somehow less capable of being scrutinized than other belief systems. We are the people who have both first-hand and well-researched knowledge about Islam and we bridge the worlds between the polarized discussions of Islam through our lives and our voices.