On Leaving Islam

Posted on Mon 06/19/2017 by

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By Andrew Bolt ~

The Australian ABC presenter Sami Shah has written The Islamic Republic of Australia , explaining why he and his wife, psychologist Ishma Alvi, has left Islam.

Their story may finally alert Shah’s colleagues to some fundamental problems with Islam, and the sheer inanity of (now-ex) ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel Magied calling Islam “the most feminist religion”.

Sami Shah:

My name is SamiShah, and I’m not a Muslim. I was born a Muslim, I grew up a Muslim, but at a point in my life I stopped being a Muslim. You can do that, but it’s not encouraged. No religion gets excited when an adherent tries to leave and Islam tends to frown on apostasy: it’s illegal in most Muslim countries, ­punishable by death in some. This is what the Quran says about apostates: … if they turn their backs, take them and slay them, wherever you find them. [Quran 4:89]. Now, I would really like that not to happen to me…

What stood out for me wasn’t just the mass murder and carnage initiated by the extremists but also their religious justification for it. The religion I had been told my entire life was a religion of peace – an argument I myself had propagated when ­confronted with Islam’s critics while studying in America – was ­comfortably being used as a ­religion of war…

I found the Quran to be maddening as a text – dense and convoluted. I found the Old and New Testaments equally incapable of ­having relevance to modern life.

I came to believe that the rest of Islam, derived from the life and times of the Prophet himself, was worse, containing phrases and quotes so contradictory that you can use them to justify almost anything you feel like doing. On the positive side, many Muslims lead lives of sharing, caring and empathic humanity because of just how vague those pronouncements are. However, if religion really is that Rorschach blot that I found it to be, then it’s no wonder psychopaths and mass murderers can also find within it whatever they seek.

Ishma Alvi:

I am an ex-Muslim. I was born into Islam, so a relationship with it was unavoidable. But by the time I was 17, I realised that Islam did not like me – not me personally, but women in general. I started seeing Islam as swinging between benevolent sexism (if there is such a thing) and venomous misogyny…

I was tired of struggling to fit myself into what Islam wanted; tired of trying to make myself smaller, to hide my woman-ness just so I could be safe; tired of trying not to question things that were blatantly against me as a woman; tired of forcing my dissonance to resolve itself by citing faith, by citing context of the Quran. So Islam and I broke up for good. It wasn’t an impulsive decision: it took thought and reflection, and I homed in on the key issues that I couldn’t simply dismiss any longer.

For one thing, the issue of domestic abuse, where the Quran states: “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. [Quran 4:34]”

The obvious and the implied, in this single verse, summarise the entire attitude towards women in Islam. It does not matter to me – as a woman, a ­psychologist or a human being – whether “strike” is with a feather or a rod: abuse is not only about physical pain but also psychological pain and fear. And why would a man have to discipline his wife, anyway? Another area that I couldn’t just accept on faith alone was to do with a woman being valued as half a man: … And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her… [Quran 2:282]

The Quran here is quite clearly stating that a woman is half a man: in judgment, in comprehension, in the ability to be objective and just. It can, and has, been generalised to an overarching ­perception of a woman’s ability to use her brain.

It’s also saying that women are ultimately to be obedient and submissive to men…

Muslims in general, especially the ­moderate kind, twist themselves into convoluted knots trying to explain away the blatant misogyny ground into the fibre of the religion. They cite ­context: context of the verses, context of the times, context of the politico-social environment. But context serves no purpose except to excuse and justify….

In the end, I believe Islam is not a religion for women, nor a religion for our times, or for any time – because, at its very heart, it does not like women. And since I’m a woman, I don’t like it back.

Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.

Read more excellent articles from Andrew Bolt’s Blog . http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/

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