The Accelerating Exodus from Islam
By Bassam Michael Madany
There is no dearth of news in the print and online media regarding the Arab world. When I glanced this morning at the headlines of the Wall Street Journal, I saw this report date-lined 24 May 2018, “Iran’s Push for Influence Meets Resistance in Iraq and Syria: Efforts to limit Tehran’s sway add to the pressure facing Iran after Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.”
On 29 May, a follow-up article reported, “Rising Tensions in Syria’s Southwest Complicate Moscow’s Ties with Tehran.”
From across the Atlantic, the French Television Network, France-24, gave details on 29 May, about the negotiations going on in Paris, between factions of the Libyan leadership, and on the continuing clashes in Gaza, “Libyan factions commit to Dec. 10 elections at Paris talks.” “Gaza militants fire barrages over border, Israel replies with air strikes.”
On the other hand, there is hardly any information in the regular media about developments in Arab societies that indicate an accelerating “Exodus” from Islam, among the young generation. Perhaps Western media consider this topic is too delicate, or inappropriate to deal with!
I had watched Brother Rachid’s “A Daring Question” telecast on the Satellite TV station Al-Hayat, on the 10th of May. He dealt with “the waves of Muslims throughout the Arab world, who are leaving Islam;” adding that “it was a veritable Exodus.”
He wondered whether it was going to be a steady “Exodus,” and about the reasons impelling some Muslims to leave Islam, in such great numbers! Was it due to the impact of the new Media: The Internet, YouTube, Facebook, and Pal Talk?! Furthermore, this “Exodus” of young Arab Muslims continues unabated, despite all types of pressures, persecutions, threats, and imprisonments! Was there any way to stop this trend?
I realize that such information may surprise people whose sources of information are limited to the traditional online and print media; perhaps information about social changes in the Arab world, doesn’t carry the importance it deserves.
Brother Rachid began his program by referring to a recently published book in Morocco with the title, “Magharibat La-Deeniyoun” (“Moroccans without Religion.”) The author related stories of young Moroccans who have openly declared their unbelief, and their “liberation from 1400 years of an oppressive tradition.”
An eighteen-year old Moroccan explained the reason for his unbelief: “I’ve discovered that modern science disproves the main Islamic beliefs.” A young lady Safa, explained that what turned her off from Islam, was the doctrine of Qadr, (the Arabic for fate.) “That everything had been pre-ordained or pre-destined for our life, is illogical, I can’t accept it! Now I consider myself as an agnostic; soon I may become an atheist.”
Another youthful Moroccan explained, “now that we have more sources of knowledge, and the wall that kept these sources unavailable has been torn down by the Internet, I’m able to compare Islamic beliefs with other teachings; which led me to forsake my traditional faith.”
A sensitive young student found the Qur’anic Ayahs (texts) that set forth the punitive Shariah laws unacceptable, such as amputating the limbs of thieves, “that led me to leave Islam.”
Having introduced the show with these quotations from the book that gave testimonies of Moroccans who had left Islam, Brother Rachid asked the audience to participate in the show. Telephone calls came from various parts of the Arab world.
The following are excerpts from their phone calls.
Laila’s Story, a Moroccan living outside the Arab world.
“I used to be a believing Muslim; and had lived four years in Saudi Arabia. Somehow, I missed out on getting married. Yet I had a strong desire to be a mother. I sought to adopt a child back home. I discovered that Morocco, like other Islamic lands, forbids adoption! I was surprised to learn that, so I consulted the Qur’an (Surah al-Ahzab 33/37) and found out the reason.
“Muhamad’s desired to marry Zaynab, the wife of his adopted son, Zayd. So, a special message descended to allow him to marry Zaynab. Then, he dissolved his adoption of Zayd, so that it couldn’t be considered that he had married his daughter-in-law. Then, he decreed that adoption was haram (forbidden) in Islam!
This is the Qur’anic Ayah (quite difficult to comprehend) that forbids adoption:
Behold! Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favour: “Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.” But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldest fear Allah. Then when Zaid had dissolved (his marriage) with her, with the necessary (formality), We joined her in marriage to thee: in order that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the Believers in (the matter of) marriage with the wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have dissolved with the necessary (formality) (their marriage) with them. And Allah’s command must be fulfilled.
Quran33:37 Translation of Yusuf Ali
Laila continued, “one day, I watched a TV program where the Muslim scholar Adnan Ibrahim was giving a rebuttal to Brother Rachid’s program. Then, I heard about Daesh’s (ISIS) execution of 21 Copts in Libya. I felt ashamed of myself being a Muslima (the feminine for Muslim.) I began watching Brother Rachid’s “A Daring Question.” In program number 315, he compared the Gospel with the Quran. At first, I refused to believe him, in fact I had hoped he was wrong. Yet, when I consulted the sources, I found he was right 100%.”
“All my Islamic views of God began to change. Allah appears as a mighty deity, haughty, and uncaring for mankind. I began to read the Injil (the New Testament) but couldn’t make out its teachings.
“Living in Europe, I sought the help of a minister who enabled me to understand the Christian faith. In 2017, I was baptized and chose the name of Hannah, Samuel’s mother. I hadn’t experienced dreams or revelations; I was changed inwardly, and experienced peace of mind. Now I feel close to God, I pray that many in the Muslim world would discover that Christianity is a heavenly message. My testimony to those watching the program is: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4: 12 (ESV)
Ahmad is from Iraq, born a Shi’ite . Towards the end of 2016, as Daesh entered Mosul and began its destructive and hateful activities, Ahmad was shocked. “I began my research in the Medinan Surahs of the Quran (622 to 632) and found out that the radicals were applying those teachings literally. For example, Surah al-Tawba (Repentance) 9:5, commands Muslims to fight unbelievers:
“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Same Surah, Ayah 111 states:
“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah. then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”
“I needed no further research, as these verses encouraged warfare and embellish it, as if it were a ‘bargain!’ So, I began to watch Christian TV channels such as “A Daring Question” and Father Zakaria’s program. They showed me how wrong Islam has been. As I began contacting Christian believers in Algeria and in Britain, I discovered that waves of Muslims are exiting Islam.”
The story of Elizabeth from Tunis.
Elizabeth gave this account of her journey to the Christian faith.
“I believe that God has called me from my earliest days to the Christian faith. I was very impressed by the Christians’ walk; their life was so different from ours! Why do Muslims call them “Kuffar” (Infidels)? When I considered what was going on in the Muslim world, all the killings and the civil wars, I became alarmed! I suffered greatly from nightmares! Thanks to Christian TV channels, I came to know Jesus Christ, I believed in Him as the Crucified and Risen Savior. What a joy to get rid of those iron chains that had kept me in Islam!”
Maryam’s story from Morocco
“From my earliest days, I felt attracted to the Christian Faith. Living in Casablanca, I saw foreign Christians go to church. Sometimes, I would slip into a church to learn about what Christians believed. Once I listened to a speaker on a TV channel who was criticizing an apostate called Brother Rachid; the speaker did his utmost to show how Brother Rachid was wrong in criticizing the Quranic teachings. When I did research on the subject, I found out that Brother Rachid was right. That led me to look for an alternative to Islam, and thus came to believe in the Messiah.”
Near the end of the show, Brother Rachid listed several websites that had been created by ex-Muslims, all indicating the extent of the wave of Muslims “exiting” Islam. He singled out Iran, as the country that has witnessed high numbers of young people turning to Christ, by referring to a book published in 2014, TOO MANY TO JAIL
In addition to Brother Rachid’s information about the “Exodus,” I discovered another source that illustrated the rebellion that’s going on among the Arab young generation. On Monday, 28 May 2018, the French online channel France 24, published a report about a group of young Tunisians who demonstrated in the heart of Tunis, for the freedom to eat and drink (water) publicly during Ramadan! One banner carried these two words, Bila Sayf, (without the sword,) pleading with the government to refrain from enforcing a law forbidding eating or drinking water in public, between dawn and sunset, during the month of fasting.
This event was a repetition of what happened in Ramadan 2017! In fact, this time one demonstrator was drinking from a water bottle, another young unveiled woman, was eating a sandwich!
Perhaps we may be reading too much into these events; yet such manifestations of a rebellion against the Islamic faith, are taking place openly! Prior to the advent of the Internet, Muslims had been living in a “box,” as the Egyptian-German scholar and activist Hamed Abdel-Samad, puts it. Now, many are exiting from the “Box!” As Brother Rachid mentioned, “the Internet is the worst thing that has happened to Islam, since its founding 1400 years ago!” The new media are accomplishing changes that no one had ever dreamt of since the 7th century A.D.!
1 Author Mark Bradley documents the remarkable rise of the Iranian church, despite fierce persecution, as Iranians grow disillusioned with Islam. In 1979, there were fewer than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. Today there are at least 100,000 new believers. Church leaders believe that millions can be added to the church in the next few years–such is the spiritual hunger that exists. The religious violence that accompanied the reign of President Ahmadinejad drained its perpetrators of political and religious legitimacy and has opened the door to other faiths.