It is not known but ex-Muslims, the apostates of Islam, live in fear. Apostasy is punishable by death. To criticise Islamic doctrines has become synonymous with Islamophobia and the widespread anti-Muslim discrimination as advocated by Donald Trump. I condemn Trump thoroughly. While I am an advocate of being able to freely criticise ideologies and religions, I do not permit or encourage abuse and prejudice towards Muslims or people of faith. Hence, I write this piece to bring to light the struggles and torment ex-Muslims go through and the impact they are having on social media, but also the way you can support them from behind a screen! Solidarity with ex-Muslims is so important, you will give them a voice that has been denied for centuries.
Ex-Muslims receive death threats and rape threats on a daily basis. There are organisations like Ex-Muslims of North America, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and the Atheist Republic, to name a few, that support marginalised ex-Muslims who feel they do not have a voice in contemporary society. They are closeted for fear of abandonment, honour killings, threats, persecution.
Online voices, on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, allow for closeted ex-Muslims to feel united. Solitude is a primary concern as it may drive isolated ex-Muslims to suicide. Forums encourage debate around topics that could not be challenged and social media allows for networking and connecting with fellow ex-Muslims from across the globe. However, with such great interconnectedness comes horrible abuse. Online rape threats and death threats via instant messaging are psychologically damaging.
In my curiosity, I used the Council of Ex-Muslims’ hashtag: #exmuslimbecause on Instagram. I came across detailed accounts and stories of how people left Islam and why, justifying logical and moral reasons.
I came across one ex-Muslim’s account and it gripped me. I couldn’t leave it. I engaged and connected to the words on the page like it was extracted from a mental diary! How could one person write with such powerful relatable emotion? How did they know that this is how I felt too?
Ravan Kiani is one of many ex-Muslims on Instagram who uploads posts critical of Islam. They publish poetry on the topic of religion, Islam, feminism and mental health. While the comment sections are writhed with theological debates and challenges of morality, the posts allow for a deep detailed insight into the lives of former Muslims, their internal struggles and the cathartic situations they confronted. I will link Ravan Kiani’s Instagram and Twitter at the bottom. It is a must-see account! Go stand in solidarity with ex-Muslims!
As a public account, Ravan Kiani encourages people of multifaith and non-faith to explore the intricacies of what it means to lose everything when you reject god. Having attracted more than 400 followers, the account requires much more support in its message of inclusivity, love, human rights and civil liberty. They are a voice to address the violations of Islamic societies and Western societies. I highly recommend them to anyone who is open-minded and loves raw, uncensored wordplay.
But why poetry? I contacted Kiani regarding their love of poetry. They stated in a long paragraph; “poetry gives me a chance to pour out every single emotion, leaving it chaotic and turbulent. I take on post-modernist literature as a source of inspiration; it’s stream of thought, for example. I can rhyme and hook the reader in or leave it blunt to make it bleak and put the reader on edge. But this is a reality for ex-Muslims. Life is unnerving, conflicting, agonising. You lead multiple lives trying to please your family as well as fulfilling the bursting truth inside you that you’ve denied for so long. Poetry is my escape.”
It’s true and it’s bitter.
Ex-Muslims on Youtube has increased, with each one debating and analysing Islam, putting their personal stories forward and providing viewers with hope and information. Abdullah Sameer, Secular Brownie, IntrovertedSmiles, The Masked Arab, are a few in a long list. Topics include contemporary terrorism, the veil and hijab, the rise of Muslim Feminists like Linda Sarsour and the emotional adjustment of leaving Islam. I genuinely recommend them to anyone who wants to learn more about Islam, the thoughts of ex-Muslims and the anguish of the lack of allies we receive. The isolation and neglect have left ex-Muslims ostracised, but it is obvious that this is because we are also unrecognised by society and by many so-called moderate Muslims.
Please support them, click on their names and it will direct you to their work. But, most of all, check of Ravan Kiani‘s work on Instagram and tell them I sent you!
Ravan Kiani’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/ravankiani
Ravan Kiani’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ravankiani/