Even in free countries like USA, Canada and other western nations, it takes courage to leave Islam to another religion or to declare openly apostasy. It is dangerous, involves risk and puts their life - itself - in risk. Farhan Qureshi - psychologist by profession and he is a preacher too - is known for defending Islam and its doctrines since ling time; he even has a website for that. So, his decision to leave Islam and declare it openly must be a shocker to many Muslims. Considering that Muslims boast about Islam as the fastest growing religion and parades new converts to Islam, will they respect his right to freedom of religion, choice and conscience?
Mr Qureshi could not have done this in any Islamic country - there are few Egyptians who converted to Christianity and suffered at the hands of establishment - and there is a chance that there are many more like him in Islamic countries who wanted to leave Islam but continue to stay in it for fear of reprisals.
Mr Ali Sina is right in observing that the only way to defeat Islam is through intellectual fight. But this not going to be easy as many Muslims have shut themselves down even to reading. But trust me, those who read even a bit of authentic biography of Prophet Mohammad will find it very hard to continue in their faith if they have conscience.
Mr Qureshi - in his testimony - writes:
"My apostasy has not been based on disliking Islam or its requirements rather it was based on a realization that Islam is in direct contradiction with contemporary knowledge involving and including science, philosophy, ethics, anthropology, and the field which I am most interested in, educated in and practice as my line of work, namely, psychology: the science and study of human behavior."Islamic ethics are in direct confrontation with values we respect and stand for in present day world. What else really disturbed Mr Qureshi? For this, one has to read his testimony presented below (or one can read from here):
After years of having been involved in think tanks, advocacy groups, da’wah (invitation or propagation) initiatives and academic apologetics as a Muslim, I have I decided to evolve my perspective of reality and existence as knowledge has reached me and renounce my faith in Islam (readers may find more on Farhan Qureshi's apologetic work at his website Defending Islam). This was a thought out decision that took months of prayer, consideration, evaluation and knowledge-seeking on my part. Every bit as it has been a search for meaning and truth is has been a grieving process for me to realize that what I have been attached to all of these years is in fact not the ultimate reality behind our existence. Nevertheless it is simultaneously liberation and continued enlightenment that brings about serenity and peace of mind for me as well.
My apostasy has not been based on disliking Islam or its requirements rather it was based on a realization that Islam is in direct contradiction with contemporary knowledge involving and including science, philosophy, ethics, anthropology, and the field which I am most interested in, educated in and practice as my line of work, namely, psychology: the science and study of human behavior.
In the coming months I plan to contribute articles to FFI which explore the behavior and psyche of the different types of Muslims out there: the western Muslim, the mystic (Sufi), the purist (Salafi), and the politically driven (Hizb/Ikhwan) are among the many colors of the Ummah, each having its own set of advocates with unique behaviors and mentality. I have spent time and energy studying and experiencing the different denominations and sub-cultures within the Ummah. Having experienced their spirituality and religiosity first hand, having studied with their scholars and preachers, and having read books, articles and arguments from them, I believe that I have a grasp of where they stand psychologically and I plan to explore this more in-depth in the near future as I publish articles.
I realized that 1400 years worth of consistent Islamiyya theology is not what I believed was the ultimate truth, rather I realized that it was a primitive attempt at understanding and implementing social, spiritual, religious and ethical standards. These seventh century standards might give slight insight into how humanity, and in this case, Arab civilization was evolving and progressing from its previous ‘jahiliyya’ or ignorance, and yet effectively became stagnant with its own set of conservative traditionalism that would not allow Arab civilization to move forward. The only attempts at progression were the rationalist Mu’tazilites of the eight century which gave rise to what many observe as the Golden Age of Islam. Yet these rationalists were viewed as heretics and apostates themselves and would become extinct by the thirteenth century. Instead dogmatic traditionalism or Sunnah would thrive in the Muslim world and the European Renaissance with its progressive attitude would pick up where the all but extinct Middle Eastern rationalists left off.
Perhaps the most important realization I have come to is that I would receive the death penalty under Shariah law for simply coming to these conclusions or realizations. This disturbs me to the core and demonstrates how the Ummah uses fear tactics under its Shariah system in order to preserve and strengthen their theological and political agenda. What I am grateful for however is the opportunity to witness the evolution of humanity where we no longer are restricted by primitive forms of theology and law and yet we continue to strive for integrity, honesty, humility, character development, and moral stability. There is a promising future for our species and not a dark one as theologians are attempting to brainwash their adherents with.
As a Muslim apologist I remember debating at numerous types of venues including Mosques, Churches, Universities, Convention Halls and Libraries. Having engaged with notable Christian apologists such as Dr. James White, Dr. Tony Costa and Professor David Wood, I learned that the purpose of apologetics was not confrontation rather to come to an understanding of truth even if it meant evolving one’s own perspective. The idea of receiving an apparent truth is to embrace it, not fight it. The moment we try to fight an apparent truth or reality we begin to dwell in hypocrisy: understanding that something is apparently true and yet denying it for selfish reasons or attachment to preconceived notions. I want to thank Ali Sina for giving me the platform to explore Islam and to expose its primitive nature as incompatible with contemporary reality unless and until Muslims choose to reform it.
My full respects to this courageous man and my prayers to his safety.