Editor’s note

This opinion blog has been retracted because of personal safety concerns.
 — Kimberly Veklerov,
Editor in Chief & President
The Daily Californian

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  • Glen Wishard

    Retracted at the request of the author? Because of concern for the author’s personal safety?

  • Sohan Dsouza

    Anyone else see “No, Muslims are not terrorists” among the article links in the sidebar on the right?

  • David

    You can find it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/38skvp/the_article_written_days_ago_by_an_ex_muslim/crxpkec

    But I’m sure this will be taken down before long, too.

  • A3Kr0n

    If you’re not willing to put your life on the line for freedom of speech you don’t deserve it.
    Free speech wasn’t free. It was paid for in the blood of those that came before us.

    • ForeignSpectator

      Just because it was paid for in blood in the past doesn’t mean it should continue to be paid for. Free speech should be free. It is a right, not something you have to pay for. No one should have to fear for their personal safety when they express their ideas.

  • Mark Moore

    The religion of peace is at it again.

  • DevilDocNowCiv


    Comparing Jewish or Christian behavior to Islamic behavior as you have done
    makes a basic mistake, in that it compares medieval or 1AD or BC Jewish or
    Christian behavior to Islamic behavior in the 21st century. You either lack the
    education to know, or dishonestly leave out of your post a basic change that
    has taken place in Christianity and Judaism since those distant times. The vast
    majority of membership in both of these religious groupings now views such
    strict punishments as killing or threats to keep people in your religion, or to
    force conversions, as very wrong and illegal. Sadly, not so with Islam in much
    of the Islamic world.

    Islam has modernized such that many Muslims who live in the west speak as
    most Christians and Jews do about keeping people in your religion, or to force
    conversions. Sadly, in most of the Islamic world, such talk is risky and thus
    rare. It’s mostly done in English, when English isn’t the national language,
    and not in the local press. Many cases exist of an Islamic spokesperson
    speaking peacefully in English, and provocatively and harshly in the
    non-English local language. Denial of the strictness in many Islamic countries,
    that was only common in Christianity and Judaism in the far past, is so
    dishonest that it can only be caused by genuine lack of knowledge or simple

  • Omar Patel

    Wow, this is so sad. Berkeley is where I left Islam as well. This is so sad. Good luck to you and hit me up via Facebook if you want to talk (Omar Salim Patel).

  • Pfruit

    Oh Islam, you peaceful religion….

  • ForeignSpectator

    This is absurd. You’re letting the fundies win their war against free speech and inquiry!

  • ForeignSpectator

    This is absurd. You’re letting the fundies win their war against free speech and inquiry!

    • Dan Foreman

      Google it: “On leaving Islam Unveiling Islam By Shanzeh Khurram” Copies are going up on all the discussion boards. Free speech will not be defeated.

      • ForeignSpectator


  • Gaian

    Good luck to you, I was unable to see your post before it was removed. I sincerely hope that such fears are unfounded and soon blasphemy and apostasy will be put into their proper place as highly regarded rational thinking.

  • AnOski

    WTF, religious extremists. WTF.

  • Kieran Black

    Good on you for taking responsibility for your own thinking.

  • T_Rat

    Congratulations for escaping your childhood and cultural conditioning (e.i. brainwashing) and thinking for yourself. Wisdom is not contained in old books, muttered by prophets or defined by gods. Wisdom is just three things for which all humans have the capacity: empathy to realize that we all have similar essential feelings worthy of recognition, compassion to show that we all have struggles and may need each other’s help, and reason to separate fact from fiction and help guide our actions.

  • ZKhan

    If You are So called Ex- Muslims then why you are using the word Muslims?…instead you should use Atheist or Non religious..Even you should Change your name to Ex Something to be on Restructured Position..

    In details there are two types of So called Es Muslims exist at Present one who is not following any Islamic Principles (Namaz, Quran, Fasting ) but remain in its own will but not Create any Hypocrisy but on the other hand there are Ex Muslims who even not following any Islamic principle but have the excuse to discuss the stupid dogmas to Just Create an Hypocrisy….
    Doing such things Can only bring Few happiness moments for You in your life but at the end you will not achieved any results..

  • DevilDocNowCiv

    The young refugee from religion essentially notes that “Islam isn’t all bad.”
    Here’s one major flaw: the central text, the Koran (the “Muslim
    Bible”). To paraphrase a Muslim from the past: the minarets are the
    helmets of my soldiers. He referred to the militaristic elements of the Koran that
    prompted male Muslims to respect and have a desire to be holy warriors (Jihad’s).
    This was a factor of religion that Christianity developed to, in our era of “Christendom vs Islam.”

    The Christian ideal was honesty and justice, with “cheaters” being despised
    by most and most cheaters trying to hide that. In contrast, the Koran contains
    statements that lead some of the worlds’ millions of Muslims every year to lie,
    cheat, steal and murder as long as they can justify it as being done in pursuit
    of “advancing Islam.” One specific example is that Muhammad betrayed
    a treaty to win a great victory-this is one of the main foundations-as an
    example-for the idea of betrayal and dishonesty being acceptable if it advances

    Along with other military references, the Koran had-1400 years ago- a modern
    version of rules of engagement (ROE). This use of a modern concept back then,
    plus other military ideas are what gave Islam the aforementioned nickname
    “barracks religion.” It is designed to grow through warfare,
    dishonesty, and the now well known threat of execution for leaving the

    Yes, young lady, Islam has some issues.

  • aneel jahangir

    Hello everyone
    I would like to start with a quote “you can run but can not hide”. Like most of u i also struggled my way till now, i am born of a Muslim family but no body in my home is religious its a typical modern Muslim family with no compulsion of saying prayers , observe fast etc etc. My last 4 had been so painful for me when it all started and i really became confused whether there is god or not, before that i was a kind of both atheist and a believer or simply confused. I did not really liked the whole of Muslim concept like praying in mosque keeping beard, wearing trouser above ankle etc i was becoming more and more confused day by day , i used to waste most of my time thinking and researching Islam which also affected my studies to a large extend, since that time till now i have been in so much of pain as i could not concentrate on any thing and i also failed my exams because of this situation of mine. I used to offer prayers some times in secrecy and used to pray my lord and Allah that if ur there than help me . I am ready to become ur servant but at least show me some prove of ur existence to me, since those days till now i had beeing researching Islam, i also researched Christianity , Hinduism, Sikhism and many other religions on the face of each open minded just to get to the trust. As i promised my self what ever the trust is going to accept it because it would the trust and what i came across till this date is that Islam is a true religion like other religion which are mentioned in quran but islam is universal while others were for a specific people and era,you would think its a typical Muslim thinking that it is written in Quran and so i believed in it, my answer to this is no, i believed in Quran because i researched on it and found it a word of Allah , so what makes me think it is a true word of Allah so plz read a book “The bible, Quran and modern science” by Dr maurice bucaille the examiner of Pharaoh’s dead body- pharaoh of prophet Moses time. I now believe in my lord my Allah and i testify that prophet Mohammad is the last messenger send by Allah. I would like to advice all those who are in pain like i was that don’t give up seek the truth and the truth will seek you. Islam’s path is difficult but it is the truth and truth should be accepted whether one likes it or not. “”””””Do seek guidance in ur prayers from ur lord Allah””””” as there is no barrier between we and Allah in our prayers as it is that gift of Allah only given to muslims :) do remember me in your prayers. Thankyou.

  • Juan

    Thank you for sharing your experience Shanzeh! I cant imagine how hard all this process was for you and your family/friends.

    I used to be agnostic and then I accepted Islam, and there are many questions that came up in the process. I can see you tried very hard (more than many Muslims) to try to understand your own former faith and culture.

    I wanted to share two things from my short experience in Islam.

    First, many stuff related to Islam are actually more related to the culture itself of the people who is practicing and not from Islam (Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, Libia, Palestine, etc). That explained to me a lot of things that I did not agree with, and I used to think it was from Islam.

    The other thing is that I really encourage you to go and share your experience in Islamic forums/seminars at Berkeley, it is such a good experience. I encourage you and any other person (religion or not) to go to the talks and seminars offer by religion and not religion communities. Berkeley is a great source of knowledge and we all need people from different opinions and background to go and share their questions and doubts. It would be great that you share with the Muslim community your concerns,because I feel the community is evolving and needs a lot of improvement. :)

  • ForeignSpectator

    Shanzeh, you should join us in the Berkeley Atheists and Skeptics Society! :D

  • ForeignSpectator

    Shanzeh, you should join us in the Berkeley Atheists and Skeptics Society! :D

  • garyfouse

    Interesting piece, but it seems that so much is left hanging unsaid. I’m not exactly sure of why you made the break. Also left unsaid are the repercussions from family and other Muslims. Apostasy is punished by death especially if the apostate speaks out against Islam.That is considered treason.

  • garyfouse

    Interesting piece, but it seems that so much is left hanging unsaid. I’m not exactly sure of why you made the break. Also left unsaid are the repercussions from family and other Muslims. Apostasy is punished by death especially if the apostate speaks out against Islam.That is considered treason.

    • Juan

      I encourage you to read a wikipedia article about Apostasy penalty in Islam, so you can known the actual situation (depending on the country) before given an opinion :)

      • garyfouse

        OK, Juan. I’ve read the wikipedia article (as if that’s definitive). What is your point? That Muslims scholars disagree or that it is enforced differently in different countries?

        I have listened to several Islamic leaders in the US tell me personally that there is no death penalty for apostasy in Islam (Maher Hathout, Salaam al Marayati and Muzammil Siddiqi.) I have posed the question to them personally in So Cal. over the past two-three years. Hathout and Marayati denied it to my face. Siddiqi told me that there is disagreement and that personally he doesn’t care if someone leaves Islam. Then I asked him about apostates like Nonie Darwish, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan, who in addition to leaving Islam, publicly criticize it. “Ah ha” he answered. “That is treason just like the Muslims who fought for the Russians in Afghanistan” and walked away.

        Incidentally, the occasion for these exchanges was when i presented each of them with their copies of the “Freedom Pledge” a letter from Former Muslims United asking them to sign a simple statement that American Muslim apostates should not be harmed. In 2009 that letter was sent to them and 100 leading Islamic leaders in the US and again to 200 of them in 2012. To date, only two have signed and none of the above.

        Apostasy is included under the section of sharia called Hudud sharia (Crimes Against God). It is affirmed by the leading schools of Islamic thought.

      • Iranian77

        Wikipedia’s Islam related articles are written by Muslims, any Muslim, scholar or not. They are not of any value whatsoever. Wikipedia itself has no credibility, it can be edited by anyone and has a long history of bias.

        • AnOski

          “I rely on Wikipedia, except when my half-informed opinion disagrees with what is written.”

  • Omar Patel

    Damn, I wish I knew you during my time at Cal. It felt so weird leaving Islam on my own. Good on you.

  • Annie

    Muhammeds first wife, ran a trading company and had men working for her.

    Women could already own property and Work. Persian women, also served in their armed forces and were treated equally.

    Sorry, but Islam did not give women rights, it took them away.

    • Jammy

      Thank you. That is according to Islamic historians a fact.

    • Ilpalazzo

      Exactly, and the ‘perfect’ Mohammed didn’t like one of his wives because in his ‘perfection’ he missed that she had ailments, and thusly cast her out into a life of selling camel manure for the rest of her days. Swell, guy. Why didn’t he get the Islamic Cheerleader version of Jesus to lend a healing hand’s beyond me.

    • Iranian77

      Well said Annie. It’s sad that even though this woman has left Islam she has “feelings” for it and looks at it from her own POV, which is the wrong view.

      There are no different interpretations of Islam, Islam is Islam. It instructs murder, theft and rape. The different versions of Islam are all based on Islam. What is the meaning of different versions of it? None. If you change an idea then it is no longer that idea, so if you think the love that exists in Sufism originates from Islam then you need to keep reading and researching. The good parts of Sufism is from Persian culture. It tried to survive in a world ruled by Islam, in a world that apostasy would and will get you executed.

  • Ilpalazzo

    “If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Islam, it’s that my former religion, just like any other ideology, has its flaws.”

    Unfortunately, that reduces Islam to dust since it is built on the entire concept of it being explicitly from Allah and perfect in every way. I am glad that you’ve moved on to a wider, much more creative and interesting world of possibilities.

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