Thank you for taking Interest to learn about me. I am Arab born and bred in Islam. I grew up in a family of mix sects, one parent is Sunni and one parent Shia. Both religious in their rights. I had a reasonably unremarkable childhood and in my teens I started researching Islam in more details. I grew ever so fond of the faith, even religious in my thinking and approach. For 15 years of my life I prayed and fasted Ramadan religiously. I read the Quran in Arabic many times and at least four times from cover to cover with the help of the tafseer (explanation). I had some concerns that I regularly throw to the back of my mind.
At one stage of my life explored Shia but I quickly felt disillusioned with their unhealthy obsession with Ali and his descendants. However you put it, you cannot say they are not prophets but then treat them as higher and more important than the prophets! Associating holy powers and features to Ali and his descendants are in direct contradiction of the Quran.
At another stage of my life, I was groomed to reading about Wahabisim and that was a mind field of hatred and purism that is both frightening and tempting. Probably what shocked me the most is the fact that much of the Wahhabi faith is based on the Quran and the Authentic Hadith!
As I matured, completed my PhD and started working for one of the world top universities, I had time to reexamine my faith. I went back to try to explore what appeared at the time as ‘few’ concerns about Islam. I did that by reading why people leave Islam. And it was a Pandora box that exploded in my face. I could not believe how many scientific errors are found in the Quran, how many immoral commands are there in Quran and Hadith. I read the debunks and watched videos that tried to address these concerns, but none of them came close to responding to the key issues. It was evident that much of the debunkings are twisting of meanings or attack the people who are brave enough to stand up as opposed to really addressing the issues! What shocked me the most is how successful the brainwashing has been in my culture. We live in an artificial bubble of lies, constantly reinforced with pseudoscience, fake facts, and lies. That said, a large Arabic atheist movement was growing in the Middle East – thanks in part to the anonymity of social media. While I could see several large Arabic atheist groups on social media, I could not find any equivalent English groups. What is more, many of the issues in Islam are being mistranslated to English so as they would not sound wrong. Dawah people are ‘reinventing’ Islam for none Arabs so as to make it sound better: The violence Muhammad showed to his enemies are never mentioned, translations of the Quran have [brackets] added to make them sound correct, even words that I knew the exact meaning in Arabic were translated to something different such as Nikah (translated to marriage where in fact it means sexual penetration) and Dahaha (translated ostrich egg where in fact it clearly a verb that means spreading dough).
In the early 2018, after seven years of leaving Islam, I created my first page: Arabic Translated Memes on Facebook. The purpose of it was to translate Arabic Atheist memes and make these accessible to the masses. The page grew so fast that within four months time, I had nearly 10, 000 followers. I did get several warnings from the platform for content that they deemed ‘hate speech’. I realised quickly that any mentioning of ‘Muslims’ in a negative context is deemed hate speech. That was never explained clearly in their communication. Before I knew it, I head reached three strikes and my page removed.
I took few months break and I joint another page Ex-Muslim Memes. Working with an Ex-Muslim from Pakistan and we started posting together. Now, the page grew from 2000 followers over three years to 14,000 followers in just four months. The translation of Arabic memes that exposed the shortcomings in the Islam infuriated Jihadists and their apologists. As the page got bigger, the online Jihadists were reporting anything they see. Late summer 2019, and following few random warning including ludicrous post about having wine in paradise – the page got closed by Facebook.
We got later to learn that these same Jihadists, working together as mindless drones, closed many Ex-Muslim pages, including The Atheist Republic page. Many Atheist pages got together and signed a petition – to which Facebook restored their pages. Alas, they never restored our page because we were not one of the group who complained! After the closing of that page, I took a four month break. In December 2019, I joined the social media platform with The Atheist Republic of Pakistan on Facebook and restarted my page on Instagram with name @ArabicTranslatedMemes. Again, learning from past mistakes, I made sure the content of my posts are focused on the Quran, Hadith, Muhammad’s story, and Islamic teaching. Between December 2019 till July 2020, I never had any of my posts challenged or removed. I did not get a warning or a direct contact from the platform. I was aware my page was being reported by multiple jihadist pages, which increased as my following went up over 2,300 followers. On Tuesday 30th of June 2020, and without any prior warning, I was locked out and asked to verify my identity. I completed the checks (something I am familiar with from past experience) – the message stated that they will review my appeal in 24 hours. And on the 24th hour on the dot, without any further communication – the page got deleted.
I hold no grudge against these social media platforms. They are a money business and where they get pressure be that from mass reporting or governmental bodies, they will bend backwards to maintain their business models – however, the right for Ex-Muslims to stand up and express their lack of faith has to be supported. By shutting us down, they are interfering with the evolutionary process that benefited the peaceful changes in Christianity and other faiths. It is our right to challenge the teachings of Islam and to express our lack of belief. That said, we should never stop. Every account that challenges Islam and its teachings is making the jihadists and their apologists work harder and it is making the platforms push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Remember when having a text that says Islam is violent would get your account in jail for 24 hours? Remember when having a picture of the prophet Muhammad would close your account? All this reminds me of bookshops selling ‘Satanic Verses’ by Salman Rushdie and how they would get death threats or closed. Now Amazon is awash with Ex-Muslim books that make Salman Rushdie’s book looks nothing but a kindergarten book. YouTube is full of Ex-Muslim Channels. With every post, every page, every book, every blog, and even every post – we are pushing the boundaries. So never give up! I will never give up.