The Mechanics of Reddit
A few minutes later, my comment was deleted. At least, it no longer showed up in context for me, logged in as me. I am including my various comments on that post, here. The mods of r/islam have suggested it is my low karma count, nothing nefarious. Why the comments showed up for me in context at first, and then didn’t, seems a bit odd to me. I later realized it was because Muslims had down voted my comments so much, that they became invisible. I had issued the mods an apology for the claim that they shadow banned me, taking them at their word that it’s a Reddit karma issue. The Muslim audience in /r/islam, with their downvoting of polite disagreement, is what has hidden my comments.
I believe we’re seeing both a rise in people leaving Islam, and more visibility of people leaving because of the Internet (i.e. ex-Muslims sharing critiques of Islam and them organizing). People do leave for different reasons, just like people join Islam for different reasons.
I myself left Islam after being excited and enthused about dawah. I had focused on the things that looked great about Islam. That favorable impression was created by reading books and going to lectures from Muslim sources. Of course, that material will make Islam look good. Pro-Muslim material tends to cherry pick the great stuff and downplay or skip over the contentious topics.
When do we ever teach our Muslim children to evaluate Islam objectively by reading material critical of Islam from other sources, to put their inherited faith to the test? Sure, I read books from Muslims rebutting allegations against Islam, but I wasn’t ever encouraged to read those allegations unabridged and in their full context.
Nonetheless, in my desire to spread love and peace (which I saw Islam as, at that time), I decided to delve into the difficult topics many Muslims would get tripped up on in defending the Qur’an.
I figured, I’ll understand these contentious issues, and then with sincere speech, I will be able to convey to non-Muslims why the Qur’an is misunderstood. As a child of the West, I saw my elders trying to do dawah with broken English and hard to understand accents. I realized that sometimes, this was getting in the way. I thought: I should use the gifts Allah gave me (clean spoken English) to further His message.
So I started looking at the contentious issues in the Qur’an. Instead of consoling me, they troubled me. I made a promise to myself: I wouldn’t gloss over problematic passages. I would make sure I felt comfortable with them as if I was an outside observer, looking in. I spent five years talking with Imams and learned elders. Ultimately they conceded that they did NOT have answers for me. I was given the answer, “Just pray and have faith”.
Decades later, I have still not touched alcohol or pork. I admire Islam’s emphasis on family values. I take care of and respect my elders–more than many Muslims do. You can for example, read my views on the ‘spiritual but not religious’ concept here.
If you want to understand why ex-Muslims have left, you can continue to think it’s about drugs, sex and alcohol. You can continue to think it’s about laziness or some abusive household. And in some cases, it may very well be a factor. But that’s a minority. I say this given my experience with ex-Muslim organizations and seeing people’s stories and background first hand.
Dear Muslim friends: you will lose the war of ideas if you lull yourselves into this appeasing narrative that it is some deficiency or weakness of the individual or their circumstances that caused people to leave.
People like myself who were once happy to live a life of dawah are studying the religion and finding it morally objectionable on multiple fronts. We are finding it an affront to human rights, equality and human dignity. Much of it gets down to what Muhammad did or did not do. Contentious historical narratives is what a lot of it hangs upon.
That is why most of us are leaving.
Do you want to really understand us? Then read our blog posts. Watch our critiques of Islamic scripture. Read our books. And then provide cogent responses to those. Win the war of ideas, if you can. And if you cannot, then I humbly invite you to question your own religion with an honest, open heart.
With peaceful dialog, love and understanding, we will better understand each others’ positions. Let us not threaten our children with excommunication with their families because they choose to believe differently. For that is to pay lip service to, “There is no compulsion in religion”.
Other Invisible Comments
There are other comments in other sub-threads of that post which were deleted (or not visible due to enough karma credits).
Regarding the cherry picking Muslims feel that Muslims don’t do:
Regarding those who apparently get answers to their queries:
Regarding people who leave and then come back to Islam:
Responding to the assumption that people leave Islam to do haram things:
Regarding the mistaken belief that to be an ex-Muslim is some kind of ‘hate’:
Regarding the allegedly “awful reasons” for leaving Islam:
Incidentally, if you want to know what that analysis of chapter 18 of the Qur’an is, here’s the post featuring the brilliant videos from The Masked Arab, which most Muslims continue to dodge in dialog with me.
New Post on r/Islam
Another user on the r/Islam subreddit was kind enough to create a new reddit post featuring this very blog post of mine. There are some good comments there. Of course, my comments are still filtered because of my low “karma count” in that subreddit. Originally, I presumed that I was shadow banned (as other more experienced Redditors had suggested).
I have added some shorter comments, but I posted this message of compassion and love for the Muslims on the subreddit to see. Sadly, they will not, unless they come here (or I can accumulate more ‘karma credit’s on this subreddit).
To close, I leave you with some words I posted earlier this year. It is for my fellow ex-Muslims, as well as those ex-Muslims coming from an Ahmadi Muslim background, as I did.