Monthly Archives: February 2011

Ex Muslim Blogs

It seems there are many now defunct and abandoned blogs of people who have left Islam.  Blogs like Here in Glitnir, or The Pakistani Heretical Girl, or Abooali’s blog, or Not Muslim Anymore. I suppose, eventually, people work through their issues with religion and move on.

Many of the current blogs by ex-Muslims–those dealing with the subject of apostacy–I enjoy very much and echo many of the sentiments found within. I personally think the new wave of ex Muslim bloggers, although few, are intelligent and fair. I might be biased, however.

 Here are some ex Muslim blogs I read regularly:

Tazaqqa  One of my favorite bloggers out there. Always thought provoking and enlightening.

Eve Bites the Apple She’s the new kid on the block and I love her style.

Diminuitive Diva  I always enjoy her insights.

So, Brother A ran off with a stripper, and…. OK, how could you not read a blog with that name?

Some others I know about:

Baloney Thinking

Ex Niqabi Muslimah Ex Muslimah coming back to her Christian faith. I don’t get it, but that’s her experience.

Maryam Namazie One of the founders of the Council Ex Muslims of Britain

Please, if you know of any others, I will add them to the list. Our voices, opinions and stories deserve an equal space. We will be heard, if only for others in similar positions.

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Filed under apostasy, ex muslim, ex muslim blogs

A Loose Thread Unravels it All

About a year ago, I stumbled upon a book of fiction. It was an interesting and engaging read. While reading this book, I recall feeling unsettled by the obvious parallels with my own belief system, its birth and early years, juxtaposed with the beginnings of the belief system described in the book. This was perhaps the first time in memory that I remember allowing my doubts to form and take shape in my consciousness. I began to question the nature and authenticity of religious movements and men claiming to be messengers of God.

The book was called “The 19th Wife” by David Ebershoff. It is part historical fiction interwoven with a modern-day suspense story. The book examines, in great detail, the early formation of the Mormon Church. It follows the life of Brigham Young’s rebellious wife, Ann Eliza,  who fled the community and publicly renounced the church. Her story is interwoven with a modern-day murder mystery and the lives of several youth who were on the run from the treacherous and criminal cult leader of an LDS offshoot.

The Church of the Latter Day Saints began with the revelation given by an angel to Joseph Smith. Smith retired into the woods one day and asked God to give him a sign. This set into motion a series of visits and the subsequent bequeathment of a set of golden tablets which were written in a strange language that only Smith could understand. This was the Book of Mormon, given to Smith by the angel Moroni. This book was the account of ancient indigenous Americans and the visions of Jesus Christ they received. Smith managed to convert a small band of followers and as established a small community in Illinois. Smith was murdered or “martyred” while in prison and Brigham Young became his successor.

Brigham Young, like Smith was thought to be a prophet and his followers believed that he was guided directly by God. As the community began to grow in numbers, so did outside persecution and the early Mormons were forced to make an exodus to Utah. There, they set up a tight knit  community, “brothers and sisters” in faith, shunning the outside world and it’s disbelievers, confident their way of life was superior and sanctioned by God.

Polygamy, as practiced by the early Mormons, was thought to be sanctioned by the Old Testament and was believed to be a duty of the faithful. The act  was rewarded in the afterlife with greater bounty given in proportion to the more multitudinous perpetrators.  Smith himself was married to at least 33 wives and Young had as many as 55.

I can’t help but draw parallels between the early accounts of the prophets, the book and the struggles of the early Mormons, to the those of Islam. To an ousider, the account sounds nothing short of ridiculous and yet followers of the faith view it as sacred. I was compelled to ask myself, how was my faith, it’s book and it’s Prophet any different? We have a man of no particular importance suddenly visited by an angel and receiving revelation. These revelations often conveniently changed or formed by events happening at the current time. Followers were persecuted and made hijrah. The same followers were sure their religion and way of life was the only way as commanded by God. After the death of the original prophet, men continued to be rightly guided by God and lay the foundation for the religion to survive the ages. Despite early obstacles, the faith and it’s book  continues to live today. It’s adherents still view the book as holy and sacred and the early  people of the religion as infallible and worthy of emulation.

While it took me longer to dismiss the prophethood of Muhammad, long after I rejected the divinity of the Quran, The 19th Wife planted an unmistakable seed in my mind. It was the first time I allowed myself to question. My eyes were opened. The thread was exposed and it all began to unravel.

The true story of the 19th wife as told by Ann Eliza Young can be found here.

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Filed under apostasy, books, ex muslim, Islam, LDS, Quran, religion

What’s on Your Ipod?

No playlist on my Ipod would be complete without my beloved Ani Difranco. Wikipedia calls her a “feminist icon”. I don’t know about that. I just know she kicks ass. 

This next one isn’t much of a video but the harmonies are excrutiatingly beautiful. And her voice. There must be a God. This just makes me swoon. If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I recently heard about this duo on NPR and I’m in love. A Leonard Cohen cover:

For a complete 180…Old skool hip hop yo…

My all time favorite Tribe jam:

Hell yeah.

I like Kate Nash. Cute, funny, bitchy and all with a charming English accent. Anyone ever involved in a dysfunctional relationship (or any realtionship for that matter) will get this song.

I’ve been listening to Death Cab for Cutie alot lately. I couldn’t decide which of these two songs to post, so I decided both.

Sweet, dark and nihilistic. Just how I like my love songs.

“Love is watching someone die”

I often see people die at my job. It’s one of the most devastating and beautiful things one can witness. I dread when I have to stand witness to the death of someone I love deeply.

So, pray tell, what’s on your ipod, or in the cd player, or tape deck, or on the record player, or in the 8 track?

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In the Beginning

In the beginning there was a single point in which the entire universe was compressed down into pure, hot energy.  At that first instant, everything sprung out of this singularity. All of the forces were one and as the point began to expand, the forces fell apart from one another and then there was gravity and electromagnetism. Then atoms began to form and as the universe continued to expand and cool, protons and neutrons came into existence. These atoms,  contained within clouds of hot gas, began to fuse and release energy. As a result stars were formed and clusters of these stars formed galaxies.

 One such star was formed around five billion years ago on the edge of a spiral galaxy. As it formed, heavier elements in the cloud of gas formed dust and over time and under the force of gravity rocks formed, and then planets. One such planet was covered in lava, toxic rain and noxious gas. Comets and asteroids continuously bombarded the planet. Despite this hostile environment, amino acids began to form chains. These chains began replicating themselves within protective membranes. These early and primitive life forms began to become more complex and adapted to the changing environment. Over millions of years, these early one celled organisms evolved into millions of different species. One such species, in particular, evolved with a highly differentiated and particularly intelligent brain. This species was, of course, homo sapien sapien.

Some people will read this account and believe it to be complete rubbish, instead preferring the creation myth given in an ancient book. Some people will note the lack of god in this theory and conclude he doesn’t exist. Others will see this account as the best option and not know or care if it all began with a creator. Some people will see and accept the science while still seeing plenty of room for a deity as a creative synthesis.

Either way and no matter how you fall, I think it’s a beautiful creation.  I still see room for the old myths, if not simply for their literary and historical value. I do only wish humans would continue to evolve to see them as simply myths, not belonging to the same realm of  conclusive and authentic facts.

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Filed under apostasy, religion, science

All Eyes on Egypt

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been watching the news on Egypt with quickened breath, sometimes with tears in my eyes.

I’m not an expert in Middle East politics by any means but from my perspective it seemed to come out of nowhere. Enboldened by the Tunisian revolution, Egyptians just exploded in protest. Everything was okay. Until it wasn’t.

All my thoughts and prayers are with the Egyptians now. People who are willing to starve, to sacrifice safety, even to die, in order to taste freedom and democracy.

And shame on you America. Shame on you for being, as usual, the hypocrites. Espousing democracy in the Middle East but ONLY when it suits you and your allies aka Israel. I’ve watched with bitter amusement as Obama, Clinton and others have tried to walk the tightrope of words, supporting their old friend and dictator, all for “strategic” reasons. How about standing up for the principles we’re supposed to represent?

 

Godspeed Egypt. May all your dreams come true.

Cairo

  

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