Islam, like most religions, imposes centuries-old dogma on women and demands their submission. Their role is as silent servants first and individuals second—and their treatment in Islamic states reflects this fundamental inequality. In too many of these states, women are explicitly denied rights afforded to men—freedom of movement, freedom to work, and freedom to wear what one pleases.
More broadly, troubling patterns in Islamic scripture and custom exacerbate gender inequality. It is women who bear the guilt and shame of “modesty culture,” not men. In many countries, women cannot initiate the process of divorce and are not entitled to any of the couple’s shared possessions, nor can they seek meaningful justice if they are raped by their husbands. And in the most extreme cases, a woman who fails to remain chaste and in her place risks honor violence.
Human rights—to blaspheme, speak, and live freely—are universal and do not discriminate by sex. No woman’s freedom or agency should be impeded for the sake of a religious text, and a religious culture that perpetuates inequality should not command deference.
The plot to assassinate Alinejad
For many people, religion is a source of community and comfort. Other times, religion can come with all kinds of baggage, guilt, and roadblocks to a meaningful life. Here are some of the BEST things that came out of leaving Islam:
Leaving Islam, though a markedly long and difficult process, can often come with a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Freedom, authenticity, and a more meaningful life are all among what ex-Muslims state to be the best consequences of leaving the faith.
There’s a lot of confusion as to just why people leave religious groups–and especially what leads ex-Muslims out of the faith. It’s not, for example, abusive parents, or cultural alienation, or even “hating God.” So what are the main reasons people leave Islam?
Banning Premarital Sex: Moderate?
Iranian protests intensify
Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) strongly condemns the recent murder of Mahsa Amini while in police custody, supports the protests unfolding across Iran in response, and demands an immediate end to the compulsory hijab and other legal subjugation of women in Iran and in all Islamic states. Amini was admitted to the hospital on the 13th of September after spending roughly two hours in police custody for failure to adhere to the Islamic Republic’s mandatory hijab policy. Having lost consciousness and suffered apparent head injuries, she spent three days in a coma before being pronounced dead on the 16th. Iranian police have denied that Amini’s death was the result of physical abuse in police custody, instead alleging past health issues that led to a stroke or a heart attack — allegations which family members have denied. “The attempts of the Iranian regime to deny that Mahsa Amini is dead because of deliberate police misconduct are transparently false and already refuted by contradictions from her own family, as well as eyewitness accounts of the abuse she suffered,” said Muhammad Syed, President of EXMNA. “This only underscores the reality of what the hijab represents — the coercion and repression of women in fundamentalist Islamic societies. The theocracies that make this possible have no place in the world.” The protests that have unfolded across Iran, initially in response to the Amini murder, have expanded to cover a range of demands, including an end to the current Islamic Republic. Already, additional deaths have occurred as a result of police crackdowns, including several young women who themselves refused to wear the hijab. This comes in addition to extensive efforts of censorship, including internet blackouts. “The increasingly brutal methods of suppression employed by Iranian authorities in an attempt to quell these protests are as unacceptable as they are desperate,” continued Syed. “The people of Iran have a right to demand a more just society and future, something which the current theocratic leadership of Iran will never provide.”
Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) is proud to sponsor the 2nd annual Rights and Religions Forum (RARF), an academic conference devoted to the study of how religious freedoms and individual rights intersect in the United States, other liberal societies, and the world at large. The first RARF conference took place in October 2019, and after two years of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference is finally resuming. EXMNA co-founders Sarah Haider and Muhammad Syed will speak at the event, along with Footsteps founder Malkie Schwartz, Cultish author Amanda Montell, Faith to Faithless co-founder Imtiaz Shamz, and numerous other speakers from multiple faith backgrounds. EXMNA is proud to support the mission and awareness-raising efforts of RARF with a monetary grant. The day-long conference will take place on October 22, 2022, in Washington, D.C.