Leaving Islam




Are Persians Ready to Leave Islam?

Sep 30, 2002  

Dear Dr. Sina,

I am a 21 year old persian girl who rejected Islam from the time I was very little. I did not need to read the Koran to know that there is nothing but violence and hate in it. But this is only because I had enlightened parents who informed me about the true face of Islam. But sadly even they believe in the same scary and vengeful god that is mentioned in the Koran.

I agree with your position that some people like you and I are mature enough to only need their own sense of morality and right and wrong to guide them through life. We live by the golden rule. But for a lot of people, including my own parents, the need to believe in a god is rooted in their need to believe that there is someone out there to look out for them, someone to make wrongs right. It terrifies them to think that they are alone in this world.

Dr. Sina, I agree with your position that some people need to believe in god and others don't. But you seem to be under the impression that humans as a group are ready to reject all superstition, and I have seen on a number of occasions you say that the people of Iran will be the first nation to reject religion and become enlightened secularists. You seem to think that persians are undergoing a renaissance. I do agree with you that many persians are turned off by Islam; but because they are terrified to having no faith at all, most of them will remain muslem unless a good alternative comes up.

I also believe that having a secular society is dangerous because it leaves a gap in our society so that 100 or 200 years from now Islam or some other cult can raise its ugly head once again and we will be in the same mess that we are in right now. If our Zoroastian ancesstor had been more "fanatic" about their religon and were not willing to give up Ahura Mazda, figuring all gods are the same, maybe our nation wouldn't be were it is now. Let us remember that people have founght against Islam and won. I mean Look at India, look at Spain. I am saying that if were as religous as the Europeans or the Hindus, we wouldn't be known as terrorist in the world right now, and we wouldn't be photographed and finger printed and treated like potential suspects at airports all around the world.

I would like to say that I appriciate your courage to speak out against the violence and the hatred that you have seen in Islam. I do believe that we are witnessing a drastic change in the attitude of Iranians toward Islam, but I don't think Iran will turn secular anytime soon. I think more and more Iranians are thinking about who they were before Islam came along. They think about King Cyrus who wrote the World's first human's rights declaration, how slavery was totally abolished from our country 2500 years ago, about how Women rule our nation, about how unlike the Pyramids and the Wall of China and many other monuments, Perspolis was built by paid workers and not by slaves (They have archaeological proof of this). They also think about how their country is known as the world's leading sponser of terrorism and part of the "axis of evil". They think about were they were and were they are now. I do not think persians are going to turn atheist or agnostic. But I think that they will replace the cult of Islam with a more humanistic religion. There are many obsticles however. The majority of persians do not speak Avesta, and they may find current Zoroatrism faith to be very archaic and even a little superstitous. Many believe that Zoroatrians do not accept converts (not true). Many believe that Zoroastrian worship two gods, some even believe they worship fire (also not true). The few that have read Avesta (in English) have said that the message in very philosophical and thought provoking. The impression that they got was that it was a lot like Buddhism and other Eastrern philosophies. There are many organizations right now that are attempting to modernize Zoroaterism and they do accept converts. Many people are beggining to celebrate the forgotten holidays of their ancestor. Happy Mehrgan by the way!

Once again I want to thank you for having the courage to put up this site. Well knowing how busy you probably are I'll stop rambling on now. Let me know what you think about all of this. Let's hope for better times for our country. Oh by the way, did you live under the Islamic Repulic regime of Iran? Were you pretty religous before you found out what Islam truly stood for? I mean you read the Koran in its entirety in Arabic, now many persians can do that. Well let me know. Bye for now.

Payande Iran


Dear Anahita   

Anytime I receive a message like yours from a young Iranian and smell the fragrance of love of Iran from it, my heart is rejoiced because I know that this tempest will be over soon and the new generation of Iranians will rebuild my beloved country.

I feel proud when I see Iranian kids who have never seen Iran are so much attached to her and value her rich culture. Yes indeed we have to be very proud of our heritage for it was full of humanism. But the darkness of this long night that lasted for 1400 years is close to the end. I see in our new generation the morning stars and I know that our sun of Mitra is dawning again very soon. The days of happiness are ahead of us. We will be a free people again. “Free at last!… Free at last!” 

Yes I do believe that Iran is going through a metamorphosis. Remember that over 70% of Iranians are youths. This generation has seen the evil of Islam and is the one that wants change. They cannot be fooled by the Jumbo Mumbo of religious dogma especially that of Islam. Christianity and other religions have some spirituality and therefore some appeal with the youth. What does Islam have for the young generation? 

In order for Islam to flourish and even survive it needs someone to hate. That is why Islam is still going strong in Palestine, Pakistan, and most of Arab countries. They have Jews, Hindus, and Americans to hate. But Iranians do not hate anyone anymore. We passed that phase in the 70s and 80s. At that time we hated the Shah and we hated America and that was why Islam was so strong. Today the new generations of Iranians hate only their oppressors who happen to be those who impose Islam on them. Islam has become synonymous with deceit, with betrayal with torture, with imprisonments, with flogging, with stoning, with plucking the eyes and with executions. Even the parents of these kids who made the revolution now are repentant and regret for trusting the Mullahs and are realizing that Islam was nothing but a hoax, an instrument of subjugation and deceit. 

The Mullahs desperately are launching anti America/Anti Israel slogans in the hope to revive the hate and rekindle the dying flames of Islam. But their efforts are aborted by Iranians. The people poured in the streets by thousands, lit candles to express their solidarity with the victims of 9/11, wept and shouted “death to terrorist”. When Iranians celebrate the 4th of July, what message do you think they are trying to send? 

When you visit any Iranian forum online you can see that Islam’s attraction for Iranians is over. After the fall of this brutal regime, no matter what constitution or polity Iran may choose, it will allow the freedom to criticize Islam. The forces of opposition oppose Islam too. Islam can only survive through lies, censorship and violence. When that is taken away, it will crumble in few short years. Many Islamic countries are not ready for that to happen yet. But Iran is ready. However once Iran falls, Islam falls. Iran has been rightly called the lynchpin of the Middle East and indeed the whole Islamic world. Even the present rise of Islamism that has infested the world, has its roots in Iran. Since the begging Iran has been the undisputed trendsetter in the Middle East. Every Islamic philosophical thought is generated from Iran. 

Today we have a powerful tool in our hands and that is the Internet. Internet may have changed the way people do business in the West, but its impact in Islamic countries, where thoughts have traditionally been censored, is more than revolutionary. 

Of course Internet is just a vehicle. It requires dedicated people, especially coming from within Muslims to take advantage of this vehicle and make that revolution happen. Those people are coming forth and this revolution is taking momentum. 

You spoke about a replacement to Islam. That is not up to me to suggest. Each person will have to choose his or her own spiritual path according to his or her own maturity and needs. Zoroastrianism for Iranians has some lure. It reminds us of our past glory but it must be revised and modernized. Christianity is another option, although it certainly is not a religion of choice for most intellectuals. Bahai Faith is also a modern religion with many excellent social and spiritual teachings. But Iranians do not favor it. They blame it for trying to perpetuate the lie about Islam being a legitimate religion. Also the administrative order of the Bahai Faith is so rigidly structured that its spirituality has been lost. I think many would be inclined towards oriental philosophies such as Buddhism that as Albert Einstein said, is the only religion compatible with science. However my hunch is that the majority of Iranians would choose humanism, with or without the belief in a god. 

What is certain is that Islam will lose its monopoly in Iran and after the fall of the Islamic regime a pluralistic society will emerge. Islam will be rapidly weakened while other religions and philosophies will gain ground.  Pluralism is better than uniformity. Imposition of any religion or doctrine including atheism is a huge mistake. Humanity will eventually find its way but its freedom of choice mush be guaranteed. I am not advocating secularism as a substitute to religion. 

I am advocating secular governments. Let people choose the religion that they like, but state should be free of religion. And to assure that neither Islam nor any other religion may one day become the dominant religion of the majority and of the state, freedom of speech must be guaranteed and the right to criticize any religion or doctrine be enshrined in our constitution. With that, religions will eventually die out and reason will prevail. 

Thank you for writing to me. My heart is filled with joy to see Iran is alive in the hearts of young Iranians.  

Payandeh Iran

Ali Sina






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