Previously, I shared the beginning of my conversation with a young Pakistani ex-extremist, now an atheist ex-Muslim. Do check it out if you haven't already...his story is an important one.
He once wanted to join Hamas and die for Allah, and he now fears for his own life at the hands of people who think like he used to.
We shared an enlightening conversation, we spoke about Harry Potter, Breaking Bad, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, sexuality, burqas and much more. Most ex-Muslims are hesitant to speak out because the Islamic punishment for apostasy (leaving the faith) is death. Despite these fears he has been brave enough to share details of his life with me, ones that truly paint a picture of what that life is like, was like.
Being an apostate is lonely, especially in a Muslim majority country. You cannot be open about your non-belief, for fear of shunning - or much worse. You lose friends and family or you live in fear of being found out. It's incredibly important that we start speaking about these issues, so they are...at the very least, acknowledged. Even within many progressive Muslim circles, this reality is denied or excused away. A good first step would be for people to accept that attitudes towards apostasy are a problem in Islam.
The interview below is only meant to express this person's view. It is not meant to depict *all* Muslims as terrorists or extremists. I am well aware that majority of Muslims interpret Islam in a peaceful, less literalist way. But that doesn't change the fact that the raw material to justify such extreme, intolerant and violent thoughts can be extracted directly from scripture.
Here is our conversation:
How old are you?