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A report on growing apostasy in Muslim world

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( A n enlightened swan) हंस एक भारतीय साहित्य में विवेकी पक्षी माना जाता है। हंस में इतना ज्ञान /नीर-क्षीर विवेक होता है कि वह पानी मिले हुए दूध में से दूध तो पी लेता है और पानी छोड़ देता है।

A latest new survey based report, called ‘Apostate Report’ about those Muslims who left Islam has been published by EXMNA. It is a first-of-its-kind survey supported by academics based on a larger sample. A large chunk almost 52% of Ex Muslim in north America i.e. USA and Canada are immigrants from South Asia and around 34% seem to be of ethnic Arabic and north African background.

Parental data

Previous global surveys have indicated that on an average any society 5% each are diehard religionists or conservatives so also 5% atheists, on each side i.e. 15 to 20% are conservatives and same numbers of liberal from other side middle 40 to 60% are flexible centrist turn the way wind turns. So meaning there by South Asia we are supposed to find more Ex-Muslims who have not come into the open because 5% conservatives are controlling the narrative and secular liberals play along with conservative Muslims then atheist Muslims have nowhere to go and seem to remain silent due to lack of proper state security support.

Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) is a United States based orgnisation working for former Muslims who opt to leave Islam by uniting them to create a support network against discrimination they face from their own families friends and larger Muslim world.

EXMNA press release states that their “survey illuminates the lives and experiences of ex-Muslims before, during, and after apostasy. Through its findings, an image emerges of a group occupying a complex and challenging position in North American society—navigating the freedoms and obstacles of secular life while negotiating their places in their families, their communities, and their societies.”

Their brief demographics from the survey indicates that the age group of 85% was between 22 to 44 among that 37 % from within the 23 to 28 age group.

Age classification

82% of those who left Islam belonged to Sunni sect, which tallies with over all 80 :10-15 ratio of Sunni: Shia. Around 61% are men, but 68% are immigrant, since male immigrants are likely to be more same seem to be reflecting in the survey stats. Almost 82% are graduate+ meaning there by, if male-female educational opportunities to study graduate+ are equal chances of journey towards apostasy are equal. More important is education related another statistics that indicates graduates from natural sciences, social sciences, computer and engineering are 25, 24, 16, 13 % respectively.

This is consistent with previous tentative news reports that students of applied sciences i.e. engineering and medicine do not challenge conservative social narratives as much. Apostasy among computer science is little more than engineers is because there relative more exposure to internet where they have more opportunities to investigate conservative religious claims more. In applied sciences one is trained to follow given instructions as is whether in medicine or engineering, But fundamental sciences and social sciences do not train to follow available instructions as is but introduces one to more possibilities and also interdisciplinary world view.

Get your own telescope or approach any observatory, is any one likely to find any heaven or hell anywhere the nearby universe as described in any scriptures? Rather gift one one observatory to one one madarasa AMU & Jamia Millia and give prizes for finding one. A rational theory of social Karma is much reliable it focuses on one’s deeds and social impact with or without God.

Modern students of fundamental sciences, including Muslim one, having access to telescope, who explores astronomy space faces the fact that, neither heaven nor hell is any where nearby, and even if any life exist in the universe other than earth far less likely to match to descriptions given in imaginations of any ancient scripture what so ever. Even black holes do not seem to work like descriptions of hell given in the scriptures. The modern student also very well understands that no horse of what so ever kind was ever likely to fly to any heaven, hell, sun or planet by overcoming basic rules of science of gravity. A modern student of science can search google and find out what happens to humans and horses or any living being in outer space without artificial oxygen support and spacesuit.

Rather if global madrasas choose their own representative medical lung specialists and veterinary devout Muslim doctors as astronauts to space with help from NASA, ISRO or Roscosmos to learn and understand how far horses and humans and living beings can move in space without artificial oxygen support and spacesuit and know first hand facts from them may help umma rationally and educationally evolve more. If anyone wishes to believe in fairy tales from any religious scripture, in most cases, they will need to reinterpret scriptural fairy tales as metaphors.

Heaven and hell exist or not. Whether one is a theist or atheist Hindu theory of Karma of good deeds enhances social collaboration and good effect, negative Karma will affect social collaboration and progress negatively. And every one is part of the society so every one’s Karma affects in good or bad ways to everyone else is a common minimum thing rational humanity would accept and if strives for reducing negative Karma and strives for more and more positive Karma, theory shall remain more reliable and stable and helpful one.

Coming back to the apostasy survey of Ex-Muslims of North America, apostasy seems to help them to progress towards progressive views. Many conservative Muslims seem to reply Ex-Muslims either they were not Muslims in real sense or did not study scriptures well but this new survey once more seem to confirm that most of those who are leaving Islam are well educated, study their own religion again vis a vis their doubts, cross check claims of earlier ExMuslims and after extensive study and struggle in their own mind, only then they decide to say good bye to their earst while religion.

The survey report states, responses about comparative devoutness before leaving Islam were remarkably balanced. Nearly 30% fell in the middle, placing their former devoutness at similar levels as their family’s; about 20% each said they had been somewhat less and somewhat more devout; and about 15% each said they had been much less or much more devout. Over two-thirds (72%) of respondents had formerly attended religion-based social events; over half (53%) had attended mosque on “a regular basis”; 44% had participated in the activities of Muslim organizations.

Data about their faith

Report says responses indicated that their apostasy was generally a lengthy process. The most (63%) said it was a matter of years from when they first began to question the faith before they ultimately left. Thirty percent (30%) said it took months, and only 7% said it was just a matter of days. If one takes into account claims of years of study plus age of youth what it indicates is unanswered or unsatisfactorily answered doubts in childhood and adolescent age tend to resurface in age of youth, they re explore the Islam to convince themselves, but when they fail to convince themselves even after studying enough they tend to say good bye.

According to the survey, conflicts between Islam and human rights, Islam and science, logical and scriptural contradictions and conception of god in Islam seem to be main reasons of their apostasy. People of other religions are usually not that aware of fear of hell and guilt surrounding that notion among Musilms due to constant religious fear mongering since childhood. And not having that guilt of hell and fear attached and ability and freedom to think for oneself is the best satisfaction an Ex-Muslim derives after leaving Islam as per the survey.

As per surveys, including this one, When people of other religion criticize Muslims as a community they usually tend to cling more to the religion as matter of group loyalty, in case of only few open mindedly investigate charges from people of other religions, but in most cases misbehaviour or misplaced criticism by people of other religion tend to be counter productive. Where as bigotry of Muslim fundamentalist against non Muslims make rational Muslims to re-examine their religion. Simple questions like why does their Islam talk of punishment to good non Muslims also, with eternal hell fire? works wonders. Or suggesting them to study literature and videos of other Ex-Muslims should suffice. This is but a natural thing since most commoners of other religion won’t know Islam properly then their charges might be ill formed, and when well informed one questions existing beliefs first response is to doubt their claims too like doubting claims of any other commoner of other religion. Just simple appeal to reexamine their beliefs and claims related to Islam seem to work wonders, the rest remembering their own doubts, researching and restudying they do on their own though it is a long time engagement with their own studies and thoughts before they make their mind to leave Islam.

Of course at this stage a non-Muslim will have a legitimate question in their mind that it almost takes nothing more than utterance of single a sentence of Shahada to get converted to Islam, then why does it take so long to leave Islam? It is both like any good parent and teacher most parents and teachers educate them since their childhood on positive side of their religion without informing about limitations, so when first they get confirmed with limitations still they can’t believe in the facts easily, the second most important factor is fear! fear of the eternal hell fire told at very young impressionable age!! Instead if one gives them a telescope and phone number of an astronomer to find out the planets of heaven and hell they will automatically understand what is the truth what is the fact.

Many of those who want to leave Islam refrain from doing so because of family and social pressure and lack of independence, worst of the pressure is taking away one’s children if they leave religion.

Satyam Shivam Sundaram

For Hindus there is not much new in Nastik Darshanas Non believing philosophies; Focus of India originating religions is on good Karma, that is good deeds. Bhakti (devotion) just compliments ones good deeds. Modern time sadgurus like Jagadish (Jaggi) Vasudev rather suggests philosophically Hindus are more of seekers (seekers of knowledge, truth, good and God) than believers. Where one finds alleged blind faith among Hindus that is generally maximalist positivist attitude towards one’s own Ishta Devata i.e. one’s own ideal heroes. If some one known to you comes & tells he no longer believes in God, even most devout Hindu will think he/ she has not received God’s invitation due to lack of devotion or good Karma. But that is it. Hindu thought and community has evolved to tolerate good atheists among themselves. If one observes closely Hindu philosophy has evolved to be scalable where most thoughts interplay with each other in some way and people can find their own space and we move on. Hindu mahavakyas like Aham Brahmasmi, Satyam Shivam Sundaram to prayers in daily life like Karagre Vasate laxmi… Or Shubham karoti Kalyanam… as much they sound theism working towards self realisation, give a nuanced agnostic look at them they would sound as much as interplay with atheism seeking simple positive attitude towards life. Hopefully that explains our ease with atheist Hindus living among us.

But the same is not true for Abraham religions, still in modern times among them with renaissance Christianity too evolved to tolerate atheism. But Islam and Muslim world is still struggling to come with terms with heretics and atheist among themselves. Not only at the social level but even at close family level relations, forget expression of atheism expressing any simple doubt is frowned upon and severely reprimanded and even punished. Over the centuries, continued to our contemporary modern times we have been all hearing about anti blasphemy violence in Muslim World less said the better.

Every family, every community would have it’s own share of non-believers, compulsion in faith does not make good believers. One needs to respect others right to conscience, human right with humanism.

Whether an adolescent or a grown up family member expresses doubt in God or religion, an average Indian Hindu woman will be empathetic and abandonment of relationship with brothers, children or husband for they being heretic or atheist is least likely to happen. When we go through the atheist reports of Ex-Muslims, one wonders what happens to even supposedly softer female gender among Muslims? Unfortunately some of those reports are too difficult to understand and believe why would basic humanism even among (Muslim) women would go for toss if any of their sons, daughters, brother sister or husband, father or mother questions or says goodbye to their religion. (Read again) Why would women of any religion behave against their own humble nature, unless a huge amount of fear and insecurity has been imbibed in her. (*Ref) And it is for Muslim world to find out, study and address internal reasons and internal sources of fear mongering subjecting them to unreal, imaginary points of fear and insecurities without unnecessarily blaming other religions or people of other beliefs and faiths and least to their own atheist brothers and sisters.

Whether one is well informed or not, the fact is hearsay and violent repercussions to it were existent in Muslim world from right in the beginning. In the modern world one needs to respect human rights and freedom of expression with better tolerance. Like any other religion every Muslim is also very much expected to respect and accept knowledge and truth coming there way. In modern times it is for Muslim World to evolve, mature and create space for heretics and atheist among themselves including their in-house criticism. And the best way to live and let live is addressing internal fear mongering and live a satisfied life like an Ex-Muslim without fear of unknown with the help just good Karma and humanism. No doubt Ex-Muslims too need to mature more and avoid unnecessary copycat denigration, hatred and phobia of nature and idol worshipers.

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( A n enlightened swan) हंस एक भारतीय साहित्य में विवेकी पक्षी माना जाता है। हंस में इतना ज्ञान /नीर-क्षीर विवेक होता है कि वह पानी मिले हुए दूध में से दूध तो पी लेता है और पानी छोड़ देता है।
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