Friday, February 28, 2014

Week 4

This week, a member who moved alone to the United States from a Middle Eastern Muslim country described to us just how liberating a small thing like taking a run in shorts and a tank for the first time and feeling the wind on your legs and arms felt. She could never even have imagined doing that in her country or even here if her family was here. She described how she took a walk at 10PM alone and felt so guilty as if she were doing something wrong, because at home or amongst family, something as simple as stepping out of the house is a big deal. The site and group provides the members so much support and when people share their small but significant milestones, it makes others come up and share their stories as well, bringing everyone closer to together. After her post, many people, especially the female members came forward and shared similar stories of liberation after they abandoned their faith, the veil, etc. Many came forward to say that Muslims will insist that they CHOOSE the veil and the hijab, but they felt that they were forced and it wasn't a choice. The group is such a great platform to relieve so many people of their stresses and guilt they have about doing something as innocent as talking an evening walk. The members all came forward and supported the original poster and let her know that there is absolutely nothing to be guilty of. I think this is such an important platform for us because we can support each other overcome hurdles, big and small.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Post 3

This week, a member is tired of living in the closet and is asking for advice on how to "come out" to her family about her ex-Muslim atheist status. She is concerned about her family's reaction (she asked what to do if they come out with "hangers and stuff to hit me or something") and is nervous to tell them, but  is getting increasing frustrated living in this way (she lives with her family) and having to be silent about who she really is. Basically, this girl doesn't have the right to be herself in her own home. She doesn't have the right to dress how she wants and say what she wants. She is nearly completely stripped of her civil right to express and be herself. 

What's buzzing:
A funny fatwa (a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority) has been passed by some Gulf imams (Islamic scholars/priests/authorities) and the EXMNA members are having a bit of a laugh about it. They have ruled that it is un-Islamic for Muslims to go to Mars! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 2

EXMNA gathers members usually by word of mouth. You have to be a trusted friend or acquaintance of a member in order to become a part of this group, because if we have an impostor it can be very dangerous for the other members. If you find EXMNA through their website, and want to join the organisation, you must have multiple interviews over phone and Skype with a member of the administration, and possibly an in-person interview after that by a correspondent in a nearby city. EXMNA takes safety very seriously because in Islam, apostates are "liable to be killed". I know this sounds absurd in this day and age and in a country like the USA, but there is still danger to members from their communities and families. Honour killings are not unheard of, and of course shipping off to the home country is also more common than we would like. It is especially dangerous for female members to be exposed because females have less power in Muslim societies and families.
I think EXMNA does a great job of keeping their members safe.

What's buzzing this week:
Hot Snakes Media, which is a production company which created the show "Breaking Amish" has been contacting some of the EXMNA members because they are interested in creating a show about ex-Muslims. This is discerning for the group because they aren't exactly sure how Hot Snakes Media is finding us. We are not interested in starring in a show that fetishizes our ex-Muslim statues and makes a "reality show" out of it that people watch for entertainment, because it's not a light matter.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

First Post

One big job that EXMNA fulfills is being an outlet for the community members. Ex-Muslims cannot express themselves openly around their family and Muslim friends, because the fear of excommunication is very high. The members come online and if they have to vent, or talk about something personal, they do it on the group. A recent meetup took place in Waterloo, Canada and members had a great time meeting people in similar situations as them.
EXMNA was also buzzing this week about the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate about whether or not creationism holds up in our contemporary, modern, scientific world.
Link to the debate: