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Becoming an Ex-Muslim and Living with Death Threats


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/10/28

A moderately old story in an article (in reference); however, it is still of note in the news cycle and bears repeating ad infinitum, because the context for ex-Muslims over the globe remains desperate in too many circumstances rather than peaceful in terms of leaving or joining, or staying, in the faith — or a faith for that matter based on the rights to freedom of belief and freedom to religion.

A slightly more intriguing presentation of the information in the reference news article. Nonetheless, the content directs attention to a continual issue for the men and the women in the world who wish to leave a faith in which they lack — ahem — faith.

As many Caucasian males between the ages of 18–35 in North America and Western Europe with a Christian familial and societal heritage, it is natural for those individuals to be the ones to react positively to the New Atheist movement (with the emphases on Abrahamic religions, but also spilling over into radicalism, terrorism, fundamentalism, and irrationality in general) and New Mythologist movement (with the emphases on the mythological import of Christ, informal apologetics and theology for Abrahamic religions, and general association of most mythologies with those Christian elements in the center of the discussion).

These individuals have representatives and increasingly prominent voices. Those popularizers who voice their concerns with Abrahamic religion while harkening to some of the core messages and allegorical-philosophical truths of those traditions.

The unfortunate circumstance for many ex-Muslims, questioning Muslims, and other liberalizing Muslims is the concern over death threats — so health, wellbeing, and livelihood — family and community reactions to their being ex-Muslims or questioning Muslims, or simply thinking more independently on the literal interpretations of both the family and the community.

The questions for them probably begin to orient about who they can look to as a beacon of dissent. The organizations they can see who may help them in their times of need and desperation. The formal and informal mechanisms for them to be able to escape literal family imprisonment and restriction on freedom of movement, which may be truer for the women than for the men.

As noted in the Australian think piece with the newer presentation of the information, there are groups, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, openly calling for and working towards the killing of apostates. That is, those who accepted or were forced into Islam and then leave should be killed, murdered.

Then you can read the heartbreaking stories of enforced religious practice, of attempting suicide four times, and so on; all acts of desperation by people who wanted a way out but do not know if there is one, or even if there is one known to them are fearful of the consequences.

Here is simply one quote from Rashti in the article: “Domestic violence, honour killings, sexual assault. I’ve been physically abused by my parents.” It really is a series of broken hearts and people on the backs of literalist and enforced versions of a religion. One woman’s greatest fear is that someone will find out that she is an ex-Muslim. Think about that.

Those are not uncommon stories. The questions are how can people find solidarity with others when they are fearful of even going out to look for the help in the terror of being caught by loved ones, family members.

Then when they do go out into the public in social media, the culture and the social world threatens death and hurls invectives, epithets, and blame the victim attacks against the people in stunning cases of overt, and covert possibly too, cyberbullying.

We can do better than this.


Abboud, P. (2017, September 30). The secret group of ex-Muslims and those who want them dead. Retrieved from


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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