An Ex-Muslim’s Tale of Discovering Her Freedom

Marwa,” an ex-Muslim woman from Lebanon, moved to the United States a year ago. On her website, she’s written an incredible and emotional account of what that transition has been like:

I have keys to my own front door and I can open this front door and walk down the street whenever I want to.

I can walk down the street without being watched through the windows and without anyone calling my parents and telling them I am roaming loose on the street.

I can walk down the street, sit down on a bench under a tree, and eat an iced cream cone. Then I can stand up and walk back home.

There will be nobody waiting for me at my house to ask me where I have been, refuse to let me in, call me a liar, and use my walk as renewed incentive to rifle through all of my possessions for proof that I am doing something wrong.

Because the simple desire to take a walk cannot but hide something deviant.

Because there is no good reason why a woman should want to walk down the street just to walk, and expose herself to the questioning and predatory eyes of the neighbors and strange men.

Read the whole thing. It’s powerful stuff.

(image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Guest

    I’m very glad for this woman, because she appreciates her freedom much more keenly than any of us. Good for her.

  • cryofly

    Thanks for posting that. It takes one to go out and see the world, to realize the folly of the norm that they were living. To make it worse, the norm is to not go out and see the world. Hope she stays ‘free’ forever!

    PS: Her note is not just telling us of the hopelessness elsewhere, but also of how much hope we can have and what we have attained.

  • mikespeir

    Wow! I’ll never really understand, and thank goodness for that!

  • Dekker Van Wyk

    This girl is a fantastic writer. As I read her words, I felt/understood the same desperation and fear she felt as well as the massive relief she must now feel.

  • M. Elaine

    “I am afraid that once I have freedom, I will no longer understand what freedom is worth and why it is important.

    This is my reminder.”

  • pagansister

    Makes one realize that in this country, USA, women have the freedom that all women deserve to have. The author was excellent in expressing her joy in being in this country.

  • Robster

    It’s rare, but occasionally we read of women becoming muslims voluntarily! Why on earth a woman would sign up for muslimness is beyond reasonable comprehension. It’s bad enough for the blokes, no shaving, praying endlessly, believng really silly stuff, but the girls..wearing a sack and viewing life through a small slit, rampant agressive sexism and the rest of the islamic fun makes the whole sordid offer really unattractive. It’s bad for the christ afflicted with the dead bloke on a stick stuff and the cannibal ritual, but muzzie women have got it the worst, who would want it?

  • Anne Wilson

    I know a 14 year old boy whose mother is an evangelical Christian and he cannot do any of these things. Religion allows parents too many rights when it comes to controlling their children.

  • Ezme Green

    I so love this. Its a sad fact that the underdogs in a society attack each other and not their oppressors. Thus, these women keep each other down and help men stay in control. When women take their power fairly and without a victim mentality, their men support them, as has been proven in various places, and when seen in the context of time and history,it happens very quickly. However, women need to be able to see that they are lacking power first, and the culture that surrounds faiths like islam prevents this.I hope to live to see all women claiming their rightful places in this world.

  • Ezme Green

    Because they know they can turn their backs on it and return to their freedom anytime they want, and frequently do. They dont have a clue as to what its like for muslim women who grow up in muslim society. I think many of them convert so they can cover their hair, bodies and sometimes faces and wear the hijab, niqab or burka, thinking it makes them look exotic and thus avoiding bad hair/face/body days (Im so cynical about any woman I perceive as that lacking in insight)