An Ex-Muslim Writes About What Must Change in the Middle East

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about “Marwa,” an ex-Muslim woman from Lebanon, who moved to the United States a year ago. She had written a beautiful post about what the transition to America was like.

It turns out a lot of people read Marwa’s post. She has responded by writing about what she’s up against and why she’s not giving up anytime soon:

I am unnerved because I now know that the responsibility I face is not one of mere intellectual integrity — as if that were not a hefty enough responsibility to carry. The responsibility I face is one of justice to other people and the hope and thought they give me.

I have a fear, because not all of the responses, emails, and testimonials I received were of empathy and mercy. Because some of them were reactionary, lashings-out of pain and affront because my experience, on the face of it, delegitimatizes other experiences, different experiences, experiences of vibrancy, hope, life, and joy as proud Muslims, as citizens of Muslim-majority countries. Experiences, too, of those who are hated and misunderstood despite all that. Because they have good lives, and they try to spread this good. Because they are tired, too, of their value as human beings being discounted because of the name ‘Muslim’.

I will continue to tell these stories, because they are powerful.

Because it is true that many Muslim families are progressive and non-restrictive, and it is true that they are able to find self-actualization even under oppressive laws through support and mutual understanding. But it is true, deep, important, grave, that women, men, and children are denied basic rights, are pressured and socialized in oppressive ways, are discriminated against unjustly, harshly, reactively, and suffer beyond imagining.

Just as before, you’ll want to read the full post because it’s just that amazing.

(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.

  • L.Long

    The image in the post has help me understand why islame men (who have no self control and find it impossible to be a real man) require the burqa to have an eye veil. They claim it is because the sexy eyes will send them into uncontrollable urges of rape. Those eyes are definitely enticing.
    Which is why their whole women-in-tent thing is so stupid.

    Your body is too sexy-I need to rape you!!!
    so cover the body with hadjeb(?).
    You shape is too sexy-I need to rape you!!!
    Cover her with a tent!
    Your eyes are too sexy-I need to rape you!!!!
    cover the eye hole!!!
    What next? Your tent sways too sexy-I …..

    Yes there are many things that need to change in islame.
    Good luck on her change in life.

  • Lynn

    I am an American woman, who has been terrorized, by a man who is a muslim. This man has been stalking and terrorizing my life for over ten years. I am on the streets as I write this post. It is the greatest nightmare and insanity you could imagine. I hate islam, I hate all religions. They make women second class citizens.

    I have contacted 100′s and 100′s of organizations, no help. I am close to taking the law into my own hands, because this is crazy living. Insanity at it’s finest.

    • Octoberfurst

      Taking the law into your own hands will just get you imprisoned. Have you gotten restraining orders against this man? There are also stalking laws that could be applied.

      • Lynn

        I have experienced exactly what Marwa has in the United States of America. A rich and famous muslim man is entitled in this country to terrorize my life. The world loves this man and he gets to destroy women. Freedom, freedom I know what it is like in America to not have freedom.

        This world can stone me to death for the story I have to tell about what muslims do to women in America. Not just in the middle east. Right in your own backyard. These men get away with violent abuse.

      • Lynn

        Nothing applies to a rich and famous muslim the world loves. Nothing, this man is above the law and the world loves him.

        This is my life and my life has been adversely affected by muslims. No man, no matter who he is, gets to destroy my life, for any reason, no man.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        Wow! Offer good advice and get accused of being a rapist. I bet you feel special.

        BTW, I have flagged her post so I’m hoping Hemant will remove them.

        • Lynn

          You and this world can stone me to death, for wanting my life. You can be the one to throw the first stone. I guess you have not been terrorized by a muslim?

        • Lynn

          Kevin of Bangor do you have the balls, to throw the first stone, at an American woman, who lost her life to a muslim terrorist?

        • Octoberfurst

          Thanks Kevin. After reading her postings I have come to the conclusion that Lynn is more than a little paranoid. We have all tried to help her and offer her advice and she immediately turns around and accuses us of being in league with her Muslim oppresser. (Or oppressors–I can’t keep track.) The fact that she says she is constantly being stalked and that her computer is “controlled” by this abusive man/men and that she has contacted “hundreds and hundreds” of organizations seeking help with no response makes me believe that she needs mental health intervention. None of what she says rings true. I am sure she will accuse me of being one of her oppressers AGAIN but such is life.

  • Octoberfurst

    “Marwa” is a brilliant writer and I really enjoy her postings. Thanks for putting her writings on this site.

    • nietzschesbreeches

      You should read my fiction ;)

      • Octoberfurst

        I’d love to.

  • Lynn

    If you want a story, about an American woman, born in California, whose life has been utterly terrorized by a man of islam, I would love to tell this world, the utter hell, I have been through. I am a POW of islam. You better believe I know what it is like to be sabotaged and violently abused by men of islam. Right here in America.

    A POW and I have people that want to spit on me, because I used the word rapist. Those people have not walked in the shoes, I have for over ten years. You better believe I know what it is like, to be violently and vicious abused, by men of islam.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    You accused Octoberfurst of being your stalker and a rapist. That is not cool and hence I flagged your comments and now you are accusing me of being a friend of your so called stalker.

    I will not reply to any further post you make. I will simply flag them and let Hemant deal with it if he chooses.

    Good whatever.

    • Lynn

      Are you really an atheist? You flagged all my comments? If you were really concerned about what islam is bringing to America and what it has done to my life, you would not react, like you did.

      Why do you take what I said personally? Because just maybe you are the stalker or one of the gang stalkers, of the muslim stalker in my life. And that man gets angry, when I right about his violent abuse. I have that right in America, to tell people I am being abused by muslims.

      People that matter, don’t mind. People that mind, don’t matter.

      • gimpi1

        Do you really think only Muslim men stalk, abuse, rape and murder women? Yours appears to be a story of abuse of power. That abuse has many faces. They are not all muslim. They are not all religious. They are not all male. The first step in regaining your freedom is to clearly see what holds you back. That information holds the key to your escape.

        There is also help available. To seek it effectively, you have to understand what it is, and what it can do. People here are offering you good suggestions, only to be attacked. If you are really seeking to escape from your situation, consider why you lash out at those seeking to help.

        Becoming paranoid (they’re everywhere!) won’t do you any good. Blaming one aspect of those who oppresses you for their oppression (the Muslims!) will help them hold you down. Because of the way you are reacting, and the way you keep inserting buzz-words into your dialog, I think people on this site are becoming suspicious of the story you tell.

        I know I am.

        • Lynn

          You can throw the second stone at me.

          • gimpi1

            And right there, you prove my point. Anyone questions you. wonders at your reactions, you claim martyrdom.

            People here are trying to help you! You appear not to want to get out of the situation, to get protection, to empower yourself. Why?

  • Mario Strada

    I am starting to think that you need help, but not so much in the way you are thinking. If you are really being persecuted, there are many places where you can ask for help. If you are on the streets because of this, there are shelters that will not turn you down regardless of the religion of your stalker.

    However, your answer to other posters here that only tried to help and tried to advise you is not exactly confidence building. If you are going to these places acting like you have on this blog so far, I am really not surprised that you are being turned down.

    You have just accused a couple of atheists of being muslims rapists. Do you understand that it is a lie? Accusing a stranger on the internet to be your stalker is also not a good sign.

    I know that you will call me a rapist, a muslim and who knows what else as a response. But rest assured you would be wrong. Not only I am an atheist like the other people here, but also my wife and I are the kind of people that would come and pick you up and give you shelter in our own home if we knew where you were and that you need our help.

    Obviously, after this small show you did on this blog I would really think twice about it.

    My last suggestion is this: find a shelter. Get your head screwed in properly then move to another town.
    Act a bit more sane and you will find a lot more help will be available to you.

    Or continue the way you are going and suffer the consequences. I am betting that it’s not working out too well for you right now, so a big attitude adjustment is probably what you need the most right now.

    • Lynn

      Unless you have been gang stalked like I have, you have no idea what it is like. You have no idea what I have been through and how many 100′s and 100′s of organizations I have called. I am telling you in America, women are violently abused by muslim men and mine is a wealthy one that terrorizes you behind your back like a coward.

      I am telling you a true story and you want to negate that story. Sustained outrage will continue in my life until the muslim man, who told me “he and his wife were coming after me and lets see who can fuck with who.” You better believe this man can utterly terrorize you. This man is above the law in the US. He was born in Iran, I was born in California.

      This man blatantly lied to me about being married. Do you know right where I am living there is a Saudi princess who has been charged with human trafficking? She is one of five wives of a Saudi prince. My life has been stolen and is owned by a violently abusive muslim man.

      All I do is want my life without being terrorized and stalked by a muslim, is that asking to much? Maybe all women should have to go through what I have, do you know if that happened this would be a very ugly ugly world.

      You have no idea, none of what a man and 1000′s of gang stalkers have done to my life. No idea.

    • Lynn

      One last thing. I tried to post on Marwa’s blog and was not able to. If you think my stalker cannot terrorize and stalk my computer, you are wrong. If you think my muslim stalker does not read everything I write on websites and blogs, you are wrong.

      I am a white American woman, who know’s more than Marwa, what it is like to be terrorized, sabotaged, chained, watched, abused by men, of the religion of islam. Right here in the United States of America.

      I use to be very religious, and now I am the greatest atheist, because what I have been, proves without a doubt, there is NO god, but very abusive and violent religious people in this world. An atheist lawyer I know told me, “you are a most noble person, who through no fault of your own, has been beaten down, by religious inspired male oppression.

      I know the utter destruction of religion and especially what islam is bringing to America. It is very very scary. Young women beware and be careful that is all I have to say.

    • Lynn

      No man gets to terrorize my life, no matter who he is. NO man!

      • Mario Strada

        Well, according to your own words there is at least one Muslim man that is terrorizing you. I am not sure if you were including Kevin_of_bangor and me in that classification, but if you were then it is proof you are pathological and that this mysterious “muslim Man” may not even exist or may be some innocuous shopkeeper that your psycosys turned into a criminal mastermind because one day he run out of turnips.

        Again, you need to seek help. If you are in the streets (as you claimed) go to a shelter. Or a hospital.

        • Lynn

          Atheists are just as immature and inhumane as the religious. I won’t be back and I would never appreciate your advice.

    • Lynn

      How long have you been posting on this website? Was this your first time?

      • Mario Strada

        3 years but I have never seen you before. Believe me, I would have noticed.

        • Lynn

          Never said I was here before. This was my first time. It will be my last, have better things to do, than argue with people that I don’t respect.

  • mcrotk

    How sure are we that this is legit? It reads a little too much like exactly what we would want to hear, and doesn’t seem consistent with the writing of someone who’s relatively new here. I hope I’m wrong of course, but I got the same feeling when I read that first post from that supposed Syrian lesbian a few years ago, and unfortunately ended up being right about that one.

    • nietzschesbreeches

      Hi. Marwa here. There is no way I can prove to you that I am who I say I am without revealing my identity. But I can say that unlike the false Gay Girl in Damascus blog, my work is not incumbent upon an individual identity, and my commentary extends to general modes of existence and references independently verifiable facts and events. That being said, I acknowledge that personal anecdote plays a large rhetorical and humanistic role in my blog and if my role as apostate woman intellectual was removed then my testimonials would no longer be honest or compelling. To this I can only say that I am open to answering questions about myself and circumstances so long as I do not reveal my identity. Hopefully my consistency and the plausibility of my answers will be some indication of goodwill. In my post in support of Reem Razek’s campaign I make an argument as to why being born and raised in the west and in western expat communities is a near necessary condition for us to speak and be heard as apostates. That our English is impeccable should be more expected than suspicious because the prerequisites of our intellectual resistance are education, safety, and human rights. Given the contingencies of our world, this makes a strong connection to the west very likely. I also happen to, in my public identity, be a writer by vocation. I teach creative writing in one of the country’s top writing schools. Words are my passion and medium. Logic and political philosophy were also the focus of my previous graduate work. I taught introductory logic and ethics back home. That might help explain how I come to be writing my project. I hope someday to be able to come out with my true identity, and then all of this will be verifiable just by googling my real name. The truth always comes out. Thank you

      • MarkTemporis

        I so totally love your use of language that I am rendered speechless.

        • nietzschesbreeches

          Thank you <3

  • Lynn

    Thank you Hemant, for allowing me to express myself. It has been a very abusive, challenging and heart breaking life. My story is truth. My story should be a concern, for people and especially women, in America. I lost at least ten good years of my life, to an insane situation, that continues today. I want my life, my life, not what a man thinks, my father, brothers, or any other person in this world thinks. This is MY life. My choices. All religions, especially islam, make women second class citizens.

    I am college educated, owned a business, was winning speech contests with the group toastmasters, when my life started to unravel after I met a muslim man, who lied to me about being married. If people really and truly want to know, what it is like to be owned, stalked, terrorized and sabotaged by a muslim, I have that story and it is a true and violently abusive story. It is being in prison, in the middle of the world. Just like Marwa writes about.

    My story is true and it is happening in America, to American born women. Beware!
    Thanks again, from the bottom of my heart, what is left of it.

  • Lynn

    I have to laugh at the few comments from atheists on this post. I thought the religious were crazy. Telling me how I am a satanist and my life is a mess for not believing in a fake god.

    But I came here with conviction and beaten down, by religious people, raped of my life for over ten years and you all do the same. No wonder our world is such a mess. The abusers have more rights in this country, than the abused. The foreigners have more rights, in this country than those born here.

  • thebigJ_A

    Those are among the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. Maybe we’ve got the Muslims wrong. They aren’t horrible misogynists! They’re eyeball-fetishists!

  • billwald

    When Americans learn that most Muslims came here to become Americans and not Muslim-Americans. When Americans learn that Muslims are no threat and want to be “real” Americans, then no one will care about your religion and you will do just fine same as every other people with other religions has. If you want to live here as hyphenated – Americans then you will have the same problems as other hyphenated-Americans.

    In other words, teach us about your good foods, feasts, parties, dances . . . and forget the old country hatreds. BE Americans. Hint: We have always mistrusted people who hide their faces. Our “super heros” like the Lone Ranger are the exception to the rule.


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