“When I left, my mother thought I had been possessed by the devil, who put evil desires in me. She believed I was doubting the faith because I wanted to live a sinful life, that I wanted to party and drink and have sex. It was so demeaning… despite everything, she could not believe that the decision I made was an intellectual one.” – Samah, 26

It is difficult for many believers to accept the decisions made by disbelievers around them.

According to the Quran, the message of Allah is perfect. Therefore, when some Muslims choose to leave Islam, alternative theories about who we are and why we leave are fabricated to preserve the faith from scrutiny. The most tame paint us as sad, confused, or lost people – influenced by malevolent forces within our environment or reacting to some past abuse or trauma which we wrongly blame on the religion. Others are content to dismiss us as immoral in one fashion or another – liars, attention-seekers, and hedonists.

These stereotypes allow the believers to feel comfortable with the way they treat us. The more effective our demonization, the more justified cruelty against us becomes.

We at Ex-Muslims of North America want to shatter these stereotypes. We want ex-Muslims to know that leaving faith is natural, normal, and a journey undertaken by a variety of people from a diverse array of backgrounds.

 

This is why we have produced the Life Beyond Faith video series. It is a celebration of ex-Muslim freethinkers – an exploration into their lives, struggles, and triumphs.

Since their production, the videos have inspired many ex-Muslims to be open about their lack of belief and provoked dialog within Muslim communities about the treatment of apostates.

Watch the full series here.