For those of us living in (pre-)dominantly muslim societies, and have kept their lack of belief secret, for either the safety of their lives, or otherwise.
I had to go through the painful, and regrettable process of telling less than a handful of the close people in my life, when I couldn't put up with the religion non sense they spew onto me on a daily basis, and I was no longer willing to starve myself for a day, nor bend over backwards to relate.
Who would you tell, if you haven't already, and what was their reaction, or how do you expect them to react? Do you feel the need to tell those around you at all? Even to just have them stop nagging you about non issues to you, such as, not praying, fasting, or missing the mosque on Friday.
Only speaking the truth there. I know that I am very lucky to live in a democratic (well sometimes) society and one thing that breaks my heart is the oppression of young free thinkers in the Islamic world.
I am not going to sit in judgement of Islam. I am of the opinion that the majority of Muslims are peace-loving individuals and so I think it is better to live and let live. The one thing that most individuals strive for in their lives is peace. Well, peace and freedom.
It certainly isn't a sin to strive for both of those things. I would like to think that I will see this achieved in my lifetime.
It's not really a matter of survival for us. Your family and friends are unlikely to "turn you in" and even if they did, the last time anyone was punished for apostasy in Saudi Arabia was about 23 years ago and it's not clear that apostasy was the real reason behind it. I actually have a young cousin who's come out. It's more a matter of the stigma or you might not want to "shock" or upset your family.
Me, I just like to toy with people and keep them guessing while maintaining plausible deniability hehe :).
Wow, that sounds devastating. I had a similar situation happen to me once on youtube, by a guy who claimed to be a hacker, who was first going to find out what my IP address was, and eventually, my home address, then post it on a Islam fanatic forum for them to come down and haunt me.
Though, he didn't seem to be able to get past getting blocked and reported, which rendered him down to, a fundamentalist capable of reciting passages from the Qur'an about the deserved death punishment of apostates.
Coming out in a country, where, I believe, requires about four witnesses upon hearing you denounce their religion, to issue you a death sentence, and in turn, leaving assassins jobless, makes it no longer a matter of courage, but not wanting to die in the name of Allah. Like Chris said below, you're not a coward, you just rather live, than be vocal about your genuine belief.
Even if sometimes I do get the suicidal fantasy of walking around with a shirt that says ATHEIST across the chest, in the hope of not having many people recognize the word around me, but for the time being... I'll stick to Mark Twain's "Sacred Cows Make the best hamburgers", cause everyone around here is just so sure that Hinduism is bat sh*t crazy, and their crazy sh*t is the holy word of God.
Thank you for your comment, and I'll make the best effort to shorten the time gabs between my posts, and make one on a more of a regular basis. =) Cheers
Thanks for sharing my friend.
here are some tips for protecting your privacy and safety while online,
I am also an exmuslima. At first i didnt tell anyone about my disbelief because at that time i was still searching and a part of me wanted to belief that the satan had power over me and if i would pray more me faith would surely return. Now i look back it was such a sad en lonely time. Some years later i consider myself an atheist. In choose to only tell my sisters and close friends about disbelief. I know that my other familymembers cant handle the truth. They know that i dont pray, dont fast en dont wear a headscarf. But they think that i am just a modern muslima.and i will gradually become more obedient when i marry haha.
In the moroccan society we also have a strange sociale structure. You can live youre life but only if you hide it and dont go publicy. If you are a satanist in youre home they would care less. As long people dont get youre attention. It is hypocrite but the reality so that is how i life my live. I dont want to lose my family and for the sweet peace we just pretend that i am a muslima and they pretend that they belief it.
I'm personally going through the same, and have been for a few years. In a country like mine, Egypt, the fear of social stigma and being an outcast is certainly bigger than the fear of being killed or punished in any other way.
I've let a few friends know, some were in shock, some were fine with it, some stood up and left and never called back, but what the heck, its who I am. And living a lie, at least among your close friends is a terrible way to live. Definitely never thought of telling my parents, they are not overly religious, but they will definitely be shocked and might not be able to take it.
I also like to joke around a lot, make fun of religion or anything remotely religious in nature to deliver the message in a more subtle and sarcastic way. This works pretty fine, people tend to "get it" yet not be able to "hold" any substantial evidence against you, its slips slowly under their skin, specially if you are funny, and they are open minded enough. This allows me to scare away the overly religious, make sure I wont be invited to prayer or any sort of religious ritual at any point, and has also allowed me to discover that there are a lot more closeted atheists out there than you might think. Eventually the circle will grow, you will feel comfortable being who you are more and more each day.
What also helps is when you learn from a friend or so how someone's uncle or aunt is an atheist, and how they've been happy normal lives, had children, have been accepted or at least tolerated by close family members, and survived living in a predominantly religious society, helps a lot in fact.
Just don't be afraid, pick the right crowd and setting, the right things to say, soften the blows a little, and most importantly, don't use a media or form of communication that might be tracked or recorded if you are communicating with people you don't trust or don't know well, that can be and things will workout fine. There is no point in going all crazy and deciding to change your religious status to "Atheist" on facebook and announce that to your family and 600 "friends".
And In case they don't, and that you find yourself surrounded by a crowd shouting "Infidel" , denial should workout fine :)
Relationships,mmm, well thats another tough topic for another time.