Male Gaze: Within religious and progressive contexts.

By Jason Afinsen Our Islamic studies teacher at school would tell us, “Women must always cover their chest, and men must always lower their gaze.” I believe that instruction for men was merely my teacher’s way of making the rules of modesty look equal for both men and women (when they really aren’t). In any case, the whole thing seemed ridiculous to me, it seemed like a very rigid and conservative view of sexuality and sexual... Read more

The traces of religion that always stay with you.

Attribution: I believed in heaven and hell even after I had stopped believing in god and religion. It wasn’t this strong, righteous, assertive belief but in some small subconscious way, I continued to believe in heaven and hell. I believed in hell much more so than heaven. Or perhaps, you could say that the fear of hell was not a thing I could quite completely shake. Hell had been my worst nightmare for about 18... Read more

4 Literary Genres Bible Is (Are Not Fairy-tales)

Dr. Benjamin L. Corey has written one of the standard posts that progressive religious people love to write, one of the million posts that ultimately boil down to “I’m a Christian and I meet the minimum standard of a decent human being, so please reward me by not ridiculing my ridiculous ideas and showing them the respect they haven’t earned”. But one particular part of that was so contentious that he wrote a follow-up to it. That particular request is... Read more

Ex-Muslim Rites Of Passage: Eating That Bacon

Original pic: I had bacon for the first time ever, more than three years ago. It was a crisp Summer day. It was with my then-boyfriend. At Milestones. In a burger. And was that burger fucking delicious or what. It wasn’t planned, just so you know. It wasn’t like I told my ex to take me to Milestones so I could have bacon for the first time. But when we got there and the waitress... Read more

My interview with Trav Mamone: On Leaving Islam

Hello there, people! I hope you all are doing well. I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Trav Mamone on their Bi Any Means podcast. It was actually my first interview so I was kind of shy and nervous. I apologize for the weird audio quality on my end, but you can still make out most of what I am saying. I actually had fun doing this interview. I talked about my de-conversion, growing up in Pakistan,... Read more

The Iranian Godfather: Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1934-2017)

There’s one thing you can say about Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who passed away yesterday at the age of 82: he was the most influential and important Iranian of the recent history. This is something I believe that his many enemies and many allies can all agree on. But other than that he was an elusive figure, and his weight on our history and our lives is so vast and so contradictory that I have no idea how words can do it... Read more

To Fight Trump, Weaponize Social Media

Today, Arash Sadeghi, a political prisoner, ended a hunger strike that had lasted more than 71 days. That is because the Iranian regime bent to his will and released his wife, also a political prisoner, from prison on bail. And that happened because Iranians were genuinely worried that he might die, so they took to social media to voice their concern. It became a top trending hashtag on Twitter, and the day after, some people had gathered in front of... Read more

Martin Hughes’s Worse Reason for Not Being an Anti-Theist

I had a very intense fight with a very dear friend. I felt that I was wronged, and it hit the rawest and the most vulnerable emotional sensitive spot of mine. In the worst episodes of my anger that day, I had some pretty toxic thoughts about her. Those thoughts were incredibly unfair to her as a person, and more importantly, they were sexist. At that moment, they comforted me in my anger, giving me a space to exhaust my... Read more

Martin Hughes’s Bad Reasons for Leaving Anti-Theism

Imagine a theist coming up to you and making this argument: “I’m not anti-atheist. I know that God exists and that your belief is false, but I also know that you need atheism, because without it, you wouldn’t have a purpose or something to rebel against, so I’m just going to just accept your atheism.” Wouldn’t you feel insulted by that? Then why is it that we feel it makes sense to make the exact same argument when it comes... Read more

When marriage is a legal sex license.

Image credit: S.M. Samee, via In South Asian Muslim communities, marriage is what ultimately makes a couple’s love legitimate in the eyes of society. And I mean this in the most literal sense possible. No one will question you, no one will label you a “whore” for having sex in a relationship that has NOT been religiously sanctioned. You’re the worthy and good woman if you’re fucking within marriage! You will be so highly praised... Read more