1. What is an “ex-Muslim”?
Ex-Muslims are those who were born or converted into the Islamic faith, but have since chosen to renounce it.
2. Why do you need to distinguish yourselves as “ex-Muslims”? Why choose such an antagonistic label?
We do not believe that our chosen label is in any way antagonistic. Rather, it is an accurate description of who we are today, and the religious context from which we have come. Many Muslims do not like to be reminded that there are those who have willfully and thoughtfully renounced the faith, and wish us to hide behind more general terms like “non-believer” or “agnostic/atheist”. However, we feel that it is necessary to retain the label of Ex-Muslims in order to draw a distinction between the struggles that we face in leaving the faith and those that are faced by the average Atheist. The oft-quoted Quranic verse, “there is no compulsion in religion” [2:256] does not apply to us, it seems. Atheism of those who were never Muslim to begin with is viewed as a lesser crime than the apostasy we commit, a uniquely despicable action in Islam with uniquely severe punishments.This reaction is sadly not too surprising; rejection by those who know not what they reject is easier to accept than the one by those who know the faith only too-well. Nothing provokes a reassessment of deeply-instilled beliefs than the outspoken rejection from within the ranks, a worrying concept for demagogues and religious leaders alike.Those that call our chosen label antagonistic are often those who view our mere existence as antagonistic.
About the Organization:
3. This sounds like an Atheist Church. How are you guys different?
We are in no way a church-like group. Our organization resembles a church only in that we strive to form community and grow bonds among like-minded people. Muslim atheist/agnostics are often the black sheep of their families and social circles, and many choose to stay “in the closet” due to fear of losing or harming their social bonds. We hope that through this organization, Ex-Muslims can make contacts and relations with other black sheep for much-needed understanding and support through rough times.
4. Is the group open to ex-Muslims that have adopted another faith?
No. The EXMNA organization caters specifically to those who adopt no positive belief whatsoever. That is to say, those on the deist-agnostic-atheist spectrum. There are many forums for engaging in debates among believers and nonbelievers over the existence of one god or another. We wish to provide an oasis in which the members can move past those tiring and circular arguments.
5. I’m a questioning Muslim, can I join?
No. In the future, we hope to cater events specifically for questioning Muslims who may wish to meet Ex-Muslims, but our organization is first and foremost a place for Ex-Muslims to be Ex-Muslim, free from judgement and harassment from believers.
6. I’m not an ex-Muslim, but a fellow atheist/agnostic friend. How can I join/help?
7. How do I start my own local group?
Please contact Ex-Muslims of North America at [email protected], to get information and resources on how to build and grow your own thriving community of disbelievers! It is largely the enthusiasm and effort of local organizers that determines the success of local groups.
8. There isn’t a group near me and I don’t want to start my own group, can I still join EXMNA?
Of course! Local group membership is not necessary to be a part of EXMNA. We highly encourage organizing at the local level to maximize in-person meetups and events, but we understand that not everyone will have enough Ex-Muslims close-by to start or join a local group, and they are welcome to be a part of the larger community.
9. How can my group become an affiliate with ex-Muslims?
Please contact us at [email protected] for further information and details about your organization.
10. Does my group have to be atheist/agnostic to become an affiliate?
No, it does not. We welcome the support of all groups that share common cause with us.
11. How can I reach the ex-Muslims for media purposes?
We can be reached at [email protected]