My Speech at the Losing Your Religion Conference in Melbourne 10/02/2018

Confused
Missguided
Liar
Traitor
These are just some of the words Muslims use to describe ExMuslims because to them only a confused, misguided lying traitor would leave the most perfect religion and dare to speak about it.
I was around 3 or 4 when my mother converted to Islam because to her it made more sense that Christianity or Judaism. The day she took her shahadah she put on the hijab and she changed our names from our Western ones to Muslim ones. Besides that my childhood was quite similar to other Muslim and ExMuslim children going to the mosque for Quran and Islamic classes, wearing the hijab from seven and no mixing with the opposite gender. However, it wasn’t long until my mother fell down the rabbit hole of Islamic extremism. I was taught to admire people like Osama Bin Laden, that the multiple terror attacks were justified because the west was evil and full of kufr. Our home was raided by ASIO for my families connections to individuals who are currently serving prison sentences for plotting a terror attack on Aussie soil.
I often like to say that I escaped a Shariah in Australia.
When I hit my early teens my mother removed me from school because she did not deem the school environment as an Islamic one and it was time for me to learn how to be the perfect Muslim wife and mother. At thirteen she “encouraged” me to put on the niqab which I wore until the night I left home.
I hate the niqab. It is one of the most dehumanising and alienating pieces of clothing a woman can wear. It puts a literal barrier between her and the rest of the world. I would beg my mother to let me remove it but she would refuse saying that I was a disappointing her or be cruel and say I would look like a sharmoota or whore.
Slight rebelling from my siblings resulted in my family making the decision to move to a Muslim country because if we weren’t surrounded by corrupt western ideas we wouldn’t rebel. Prior to us moving there a doctor had been killed for asking the local mosque to lower the sound of the adhan next to a hospital. A young man was killed by his father for saying he was a Christian. My step father’s own family said that if any dared to even think about leaving Islam they would take them to the highest mountain and throw them off the top. I couldn’t understand was religion really more important than family?
When my family returned to Australia, I had begun to have serious doubts about Islam as a way of life. On one hand, I was being told that Islam gave women all these rights but on the other, I was being deprived my rights. I read through all of the Islamic texts I could get my hands on The Quran, Tafsir ibn Kathir, Bulugh Al Maram, Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, Riyadh us Saliheen. I began to study Aqeedah (Islamic Creed) and Fiqh ( Islamic Jurisprudence) to find ways around my parents’ control. But all I could find were justifications. As a daughter I had no power. I was my parent’s property until I was my husband’s.
I never had this deep connection to Islam or this fear of Allah. I just obeyed my parents and acted the good Muslimah out of fear of them and their fists. I thought my only way out of this environment was to get married.
So I was going to find the most nonpracticing Muslim guy out there. Now they do exist but none were lining up to marry the fifteen year old niqabi daughter of the local sheikh.
I had almost given up until tragedy struck my family. A terrible accident resulted in the death of my youngest sister and I remember holding her body and realising how easily life could be over. Then and there I made a promise that I was not going to give up, that I was going to be free.
Fast forward a few years and my relationship with my family had become very fractured. I still wore the niqab, prayed and did everything they wanted but I would fight them on the smallest things like going to the library or visiting friends. Finally at 19 after one particularly brutal encounter with my parents, as I lay cowering on the floor I realised I had had enough. This fight was going to be the last because I was so tired of the fighting, the struggle to constantly hide what I was thinking and feeling, who I really was. I pulled every last bit of courage I had left in me and I ran out of the door in front of them.
I had no idea where I was going, how I was going to survive or where I was going to even sleep that night but in those moments I didn’t care. I had survived everything life had thrown at me, I was going to survive this.
And I did.
Five years after I had left home I came across a news article that was about ExMuslims. I was instantly curious. I knew that people left Islam, I knew what they were called in arabic but I had no idea there was another word for what I was. I jumped online and typed ExMuslim into google and straightaway I discovered the world of ExMuslims. Reading about their experiences, I instantly felt this deep connection with people I had never met because there was one thing that united us, we were all apostates from islam.
So I created The Nullifidian where I could share my story and offer advice and support to my fellow ExMuslims. I kept myself anonymous because I feared for my life, I still do. I feared for my life in Australia. Over the years I have encountered many people I grew up with and have been abused and even cornered in doctors clinics where I have begged and cried for them to leave me alone. Muslims are funny this way. They don’t do this to Christians, They don’t do this to Jews, hindus sikhs or even the average atheist. They do this to ExMuslims because there is nothing that offends them more than an apostate.
I have been told I was taught the wrong Islam by Muslims who listened to every Khutbah my step father gave. I have been told by my own brother that I deserved to be raped and murdered. I was been told that my heart has become black and my flesh will be torn from my body in the hell fire.
When I tell my story, many moderates claim that the Islam gives everyone a choice but where was my choice?
Not a single person challenged my family and said to them let your daughter go to school, don’t force her to wear the niqab , instead praise was given for raising such a pious daughter such a pure daughter a perfect muslim daughter, offering their sons for marriage and encouraging their daughters to be just like me.
But it’s only now when I dare to speak up they say my family were wrong, that they didn’t understand the religion?
And I am not alone in this experience. Every single ExMuslim faces this whenever they speak up. A complete disregard and denial of our experiences. We are called liars and hypocrites. We are accused of wanting to eat bacon and sleep around. We are told that we were not taught the “real” islam. We are called agents of mossad or that we were never Muslim to begin with.
But I expected this.
What I didn’t expect was the complete erasure of experiences ExMuslims go through as “Not real Islamic experiences” by those that claim to advocate for minorities. Sadly many of those advocacy groups are not privy to Islamic teachings or the community are far too quick to push our experiences to the side out of fear of hurting Muslims. But what of the people Muslims are hurting?
It is incredibly important that people listen to ExMuslims because the more the world is silent, the more ExMuslims are imprisoned, the more ExMuslims are going to be tortured the more ExMuslims going to be killed. This is not something that only happens in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia or Saudi Arabia this is happening in our backyards. Daughters are being forced into marriages and sons are being sent overseas to wartorn countries because they “rebel”. And if they refuse, their parents will torture and in some cases kill their own children. Because to them religion matters more than family.
I am not saying that every single Muslim on earth wants to see me and those like me killed, I can have some respect for Muslim Reformists, but what I am saying is that average Muslim is silent. ExMuslim Experiences don’t fit into their rose-coloured, watered-down version of Lite Islam. They have been taught from birth that Islam is perfect, untaintable and that it is the people that make Islam bad, not Islam itself.
To the average Muslim I say that there is nothing wrong with living as a moderate Muslim You can worship however you want. If you want to take only the “good parts” from islam and disregard the bad parts that’s okay, I applaud you for that however it is vital you understand there are parts of your religion that other people will follow through with. They will force its rule on others, They will deprive people of their rights. They will sanction the killings of those that leave. They will condemns those of differing beliefs to an eternity of agony. Muslims need to listen to those who are pointing out the brutal and barbaric practices of Islam, they need to be acknowledged and only then can a proper discussion be had.
To nonmuslims I have only one request. Please just listen to experiences of ExMuslims.

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Why I don’t keep in contact with my family.

Saying my mother went ballistic when I left home is an understatement.
Screaming, abusing, crying, manipulating, if you can think of any negative reaction she did it.
Conversations would start off with “I miss you, please come home” and quickly progress to “You are a whore, a traitor” and end on “I am so disappointed in you, what am I supposed to tell the Muslim community?”
My stepfather didn’t really react much besides telling me to seek repentance from Allah and sending me ayats and hadeeth.

A few weeks after I left home it was Eid. I went to the festival because I missed my siblings.  When I found my family, my siblings were so excited and happy to see me. The only person who didn’t want to have anything to do with me was my mother. She basically told me that I wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone in my family and I had to leave immediately.

Fast forward 6 years and the relationship between my parents and I is nonexistent. 

At one stage I did have my mother and siblings on Facebook, and I only interacted with her when I felt like it.  Anytime she mentioned Islam, put my partner down or how I lived my life, I would cut her off completely.

Recently my mother reached out to me because she and my siblings needed my help. Given that I am not a cruel person, I helped them. I even went so far as to visit them but I’ll leave that encounter for another post.

Now I have removed all family members from my social media. I was constantly battling them and the anxiety and stress of continuously seeing pro-Islamic propaganda, particularly pro-Sharia, pro-Islamic State posts pushed me to the brink.

I decided to give my mother one last chance. I sent her a very long and confronting email covering everything from the child abuse she allowed and even encouraged to forcing me into niqab and depriving me of an education. She denied all of it, saying it was all in my head. The last thing I said to her was that she has lost me as a daughter and that if she doesn’t want to die alone, she needs to change.

With my siblings, it is a bit of a mixed bag. One sister is what I would call a Denialist Muslim. She says all the bads things about Islam are people just twisting it to suit their desires. When I pointed out that I would be killed for being an apostate as is justified in the Quran, she shrugged and said don’t go to a Muslim country.  My other sister is so deeply brainwashed that she sincerely believes that she doesn’t need to go to school and that she will just get married and have her husband provide for her.

My brothers are also differing on their opinions of me. The eldest of them treats me with cold disregard. I think it may have to do with the fact that I managed to ‘escape’ whilst he couldn’t. He is now married and has two children that I have never met. My second brother told me that I am a whore that deserved to be raped and murdered because I am a traitor. He said this to me when he was just fourteen. He believes that women are to serve men and believes in Jihad as a righteous cause.  He lords over my mother calling himself the Amir of the house and controls all my sisters with a tight leash. I have often remarked that if I hear of him dying in a suicide bombing I would not be surprised.

I have not cut my family off. They still have my number and can call me at any time, but I did choose to remove them from my social media and do not actively seek them out as they do not bring any positivity to my life.

Does it suck not having a mother I can call for advice? Yes.
Is it hard seeing other people having healthy relationships with their family? Yes.

But I have learnt that I can build my own family and I have done that. I am surrounded by amazing and positive people constantly and I love each and every one of them more than I thought I could be capable of.

My Response to “You need to Remember Allah.”

When I used to speak to my mother, she would often tell me to be in remembrance of Allah as my life would be so much better. One day I snapped at her.

When I was “in remembrance of Allah”, my life was still destructive, or don’t you recall the many times you dragged me across the floor by my hair and punched me in the face for sleeping in? Do you forget the times when I was a child when you would pack all my clothes and drive me to the middle of nowhere, kick me out of the car and leave me stranded for hours at a time?

You are destroying the lives of all your children in the name of Allah. Why? So you can get some brownie points? Is that what is important to you?
My sisters want to make something of themselves, yet you are stopping them. Why? To control them? To make them reliant upon you?

You are a disgrace as a mother and you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a toxic, vile hypocrite who uses fear and manipulation to bully those you say that you love.

You needn’t have to fear your god. Fear your children.
Because the way you are going, you are going to die a lonely miserable death.

Her response was that it was all in my head and that I was bullying her. 

Islam liberated women 1437 years ago?

As you can tell by the title I am going to talk about how the greatest religion on earth liberated women 1437 years ago.

I am sorry. How can anyone say that with a straight face?

But no seriously, how many times has that phrase or the like been tossed around. “Islam gave women rights before anyone else did.” or as is stated in the title “Islam liberated women 1437 years ago.”

First, let me correct that statement.

Islam allowed the liberation of free women.

Women were regarded as nothing more than property that was exchanged between men and baby girls were often buried alive in the desert by their fathers. So when a new religion popped up saying hey guys maybe women aren’t property, of course, that was liberating.
Well here is the kicker, it was only Free women that were declared not property, slave women were still regarded on the same level of pots and pans.

The hijab was used as a means to distinguish between slaves and free women. Before any Muslims lovingly tells me Islam treats everyone as equal and that I’ve made this up, here is a little Hadeeth from Anas ibn Malik who is regarded as being trustworthy and one of the major narrators of Hadeeth.

He reported that: ‘Umar once saw a slave-girl that belonged to us (to Anas) wearing a scarf, so Umar hit her and told her: ‘Don’t assume the manners of a free woman.’

Go Women’s Rights?

Another proclamation by Muslims is that wearing the hijab is liberating because it means that they will not be sexualized by men.

Mate, sorry to break it to you, but there is such thing as a hijabi fetish. Lovely Mia has made a career out of it.

Women in Islam say that they choose to wear the hijab, but I can tell you right now that most of them don’t even know why they are wearing it.
They know that Allah tells them to because that’s what their parents told them which is what the imams told them, but can they name the ayats and surahs? No.
For reference, it is Al-Nur Ayat 31.
Now if the hijab was really a choice why do many Muslim women commonly refer to non-covering women as a candy that doesn’t have a wrapper on it, and then state who wants to eat an unwrapped candy?

These same women also refuse to acknowledge that there are women who have been forced to wear the hijab, they say things like “Oh but that isn’t the real Islam”.

Does that mean in the “real” Islam women don’t need to wear the hijab? But if that’s the case, why do some Muslim women degrade other women who don’t cover?

But what would happen to these women, who so religiously (Ha PUN) defend the hijab, removed it? Most say that they wouldn’t but I am curious. Is it the fear of Allah stopping them or fear of their father’s fists?

Have you ever wondered why older Muslim women don’t need to cover? I mean if the hijab is a religious and liberating thing, don’t you think that women would be wearing it till the day they die. Why are they given this option?

I’ll tell you.

Women who can no longer bear children do not have to wear the Hijab. Because they are no longer worth anything. They won’t be creating the next generation of little Muslims and so their value goes down. They are no longer regarded as desirable, so why would you need to cover up something that is not desired? She is no longer a precious little candy.

Sexuality and sex as an ExMuslim

Sex.
It’s pretty fun, right?
It is also a pretty taboo topic in Muslim households.
I never received any form of sex ed or had The Talk with my parents.
I didn’t know what contraception was.
I didn’t know what an orgasm was.
I didn’t know what masturbation was.

Growing up in a Muslim household, girls don’t really learn much about sex until they are getting married.  Why should they? Sex is not for the pleasure of women, but instead for the pleasure of man and to procreate.  Perhaps they think that if a girl was to know the joys of sex, they may behave wantonly and jump on every penis that walks by?

I hit puberty in the early 00s, a time before we could easily whip our phones out and look up porn or other erotic material but I definitely had what I like to call urges. The strange feeling of pressure down below and this need to find release, but I couldn’t understand where they were coming from or why and I didn’t dare ask my mother.

I was in my mid-teens when I discovered erotic literature. I had often been going to the library as a means of escaping my family and I stumbled across the romance section. I had ignored that area of the library as I didn’t believe in love (to me it was just a fairytale) and I didn’t want to know of something I couldn’t have but the cover of a book intrigued me so I pulled it off the shelf and when I got home I hid it under my bed.

That night I devoured the book and those strange feelings I had had previously intensified as I read through the various sex scenes. I took my cues from the book but the intensity that was building was so foreign to me that I stopped. Obviously looking back I know that I was building to an orgasm but as a young teen who had no idea what one was, my racing heart and choppy breath both scared and confused me.  I returned the book and pushed all those strange thoughts and urges to the side.

What also confused me was my sexuality. I was not only turned on by boys but by girls as well. That made me feel “wrong”. I had been taught that I should only be with a man so having these urges towards girls made me feel dirty and uncomfortable. I knew I wasn’t a lesbian but I knew it wasn’t just boys I liked.

Fast forward a few years and I had embraced the fact that I was destined for a life of sexual servitude to a man. I would hear the advice older women would give to young brides such as  “Just lie there”, “It doesn’t take long” or “The pain goes away quickly” and I believed that sex was not fun perhaps even painful for the woman. I couldn’t understand why people would cheat on their partner for sex, why “western” women would say it was great and enjoyable. Was everything I had been taught a lie? Was I missing out on some big secret? Were Muslim men and women just really bad in bed?

I encountered a few Never Muslims and I was curious about their remarks regarding sex. They told me that sex could be good if your partner knew what they were doing. They said sex could be fun, exciting and exhilarating.  I was intrigued.

By the time I hit my late teens, my parents had begun pushing me to get married. I didn’t want to experience the staid, boring and possibly painful sexual experience that would be my first time, so I contacted my now-partner and asked him to have sex with me. If I could, I would ensure that my first time would be with someone who knew that sex could be enjoyable for both participants.  I was so awkward and had no idea what I was doing, but I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted my first time to be on my own terms, not my parents or potential husband.

Embracing my sexual side has been a journey.  I had terrible body image and found it very hard to express my desires. I have definitely learnt to be more adventurous and I don’t shy away from different things relating to sex and sexuality.

My advice to other ExMuslims is to not push yourself to have sex and only do it when you feel ready. Do not let anyone pressure you into sex. There is nothing wrong with waiting. There is no shame in masturbation or orgasming. You are not dirty, shameful or wrong for doing any of those things. It is completely natural and feels freaking amazing.

Halaly-Walaly rules for sex.

Now we all know that sex outside of marriage is a big no no in Islam, but did you know that there are rules to having sex once it is all halaly-waly?

So let’s start with when sexy fun time is flat out forbidden:
Shark Week – I mean hey, I totally understand that one. I don’t want my boyfriend anywhere near me or my lady bits when I am bleeding from my uterus.
During the daytime in Ramadhan – Well, you are pretty dehydrated from not being able to drink, so reasonable I guess

Then we have Makruh which means a disliked or offensive act (literally “detestable” or “abominable”):
During frightful natural occurrences, e.g. hurricane, earthquake. – Because I totally want to get it on when my roof is caving in on me. But hey… there are fetishes for all.
From sunset till Maghrib and from dawn till sunrise
The last three nights of lunar months
Eve of the 15th of every lunar month
Eve of 10th Zil-hijjah
This lot is just plain silly. How on earth am I supposed to keep track of the moon when I can’t keep track of socks?

After becoming junub (impure). So basically, I would be able to have sex once, then I would have to go bathe before I could have sex again. What a mood killer. Boners don’t hang around for long. They are time sensitive.

Did you know in Islam they also have recommended times for sexy fun times?
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Nights – Tuesday is a no no apparently. I HAVE NO CLUE WHY.
Thursday at noon.

And finally, there is only one time where it is obligatory to have sex.
ONCE every FOUR months – apparently this is one of the rights of a married woman in Islam. A guy can have sex whenever he wants and his wife must oblige him. If she doesn’t, she has committed a major sin. However, if she wants sex, her husband is only obliged once every four months.

No thanks. I like sex anytime, anywhere without any stupid rules.

 “There is no compulsion in religion”- Tafsir Al Murtad

“There is no compulsion in religion.”

Muslims loooovveee using that little line don’t they?

LaIkrahafideen

To keep it nice and simple, I am going to break down the verse.
It starts off with “There is no compulsion in religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong” – Awwww isn’t that nice? No one is going to be forced to abide by Islam (let’s not be coy, religion = Islam).
It has been reported by Anas ibn Malik that “The Messenger of Allah said to a man, “Embrace Islam.” The man said, “I find that I dislike it.” The Prophet said, “Even if you dislike it.” [Ahmad]. Umm, correct me if I am wrong but isn’t that compulsion? Mo, you’ve just contradicted yourself. 

The verse continues with “So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it.”

Taghut in the Quranic/Islamic sense means anything or anyone worshipped apart from Allah. Anyone who believes in Taghut is regarded as a disbeliever.

However, all is good if you believe in Allah as he’s got your back.

As with many verses in the Quran, this one ends with letting everybody know Allah can hear and know stuff.

I am often told by Muslims that I cherry pick the Quran, or I take the Quran out of context so as the good little ExMuslim that I am, I am going to examine the verse that follows.

allahuwaleeyu

It begins with Allah saying that he got his homeboys back so long as they remain believers. They are taken from the “darkness into the light”. 
The disbelievers are the homeboys of the Taghut and they are taken “out of the light into darkness.”
Allah doesn’t like the homeboys of the Taghut so he has damned the disbelievers to the Fire with a capital F, and not even for just a short time.

The verse states that “they will abide eternally therein” – Seriously? Allah is so upset that his “creation” doesn’t care/believe in him so he is going to eternally send them to the naughty corner?

Muslims often hear the line “Allah guides whom he wills and Allah misguides whom he wills.” Now if Allah is the one who ‘misguides’ people why is he punishing people for doing what he has supposedly guided them to do? How illogical does this sound?

Where is the freedom to choose here?

The first time I bumped into a Muslim I knew from before.

The first time I bumped into a Muslim girl I knew after I left was a terrible experience.

I had severely injured myself and was waiting at the doctor’s clinic when I recognized the name of one of the patients called. It didn’t bother me too much however just as she was leaving my doctor called my name and she just stopped and stared at me. I hobbled my way into my doctor’s office and spent about 15 minutes hoping that she would have left by the time I was done.

I was wrong.

As I was walking out she called after me. I tried to ignore her which just infuriated her. She grabbed my arm and said, “I know it’s you stop ignoring me”. I was cornered and she just went off at me.
“How can you do this?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“You’ve destroyed your family.”
“How can you live with yourself?”
“Don’t you feel ashamed?”
I begged her to leave me alone. But she wouldn’t stop and I couldn’t get help because of where she had cornered me.
She demanded that I give her my number and address, that I should go with her to the masjid. I just kept saying No NO NO.
I told her that I wasn’t going to give her any information because I don’t trust nor like her.. Man oh man that set her off.
“Look how living like a kafir has changed you!”
“Your heart has become very dark.”
“Jahanam is calling for your soul.”

Finally, I snapped at her and told her to have some fucking decency, that I honestly do not give a fuck about what she has to say and if she would be kind enough to just fuck off.

And she did leave all huffing and puffing.

Throughout this entire ordeal, I was standing there on crutches with partially ruptured muscle in my leg, holding back tears because of the amount of pain I was in. This girl had absolutely no care as she believed she was justified in abusing me for my life choices.