Islam and the Quran: A young woman's point of view

This discussion, from an atheist website, involves a young ex-Muslim woman (Mona) and me (Atheist Exile).

Posted by Mona:

I'm 20 and I live in Norway, Oslo. My name is Mona & I love ♥

I began my “quest” to find the truth 3 years ago! It all started with trying to become more religious, I never was a practicing Muslim and I've always asked questions I never seem to get proper answers to. But still, I could never imagine myself leaving Islam, simply because I never thought I could.

I'm sorry to say I was brainwashed. I look back at my life and feel very deceived. I agree with Dawkins when he say's that childhood indoctrination is a form of child abuse. I was afraid to think and afraid of hell. I've still not told my family. Although they know I'm not religious, they believe it's just a phase!

Many people around me are becoming more and more religious as the days go by. I'm shocked and frightened by this and I find myself crying many times because people are wasting their lives on a big fat lie.

Anyway, I'm very happy I had the guts to question my religion. Learning more about evolution through natural selection is what finally made me an atheist.

I'm not too vocal about my atheism at the moment because I still live at home and the people around me are not the most open-minded. But I hope someday in the future I'll be able to be all that I wish to be and not apologize for it.

I'm happy I found this site. It's my favorite so far.

And it’s great to find a place where I get to talk to like minded and beautiful people ♥

Peace and much love.

Reply from Atheist Exile to Mona:

Hi Mona,

Thanks for that great introduction.

You say you were never very religious . . . but were you indoctrinated into Islam? Were you taught the Quran and ahadith? Are you familiar with the mindset of religious Muslims?

I ask because I'm on my second reading of the Quran and am convinced that a devout Muslim would have a mindset that most Westerners just won't understand. This has many implications for the future: as the world gets smaller, we need more understanding . . . not more divisions. If you grew up in a Muslim culture, you might well be able to shed light on the differences between Islam and the West.

I have no idea if that's something you would want to do but it seems worth asking. If so, I have a lot of questions for you.

By the way, are you familiar with Wafa Sultan? If so, what do you think of her?

Reply from Mona to Atheist Exile:

Yes, I was very indoctrinated, in fact I was politically & religiously brainwashed. Right after 9/11, I was very passionate and went to demonstrations and all that, but I was never a religious person in practise, like praying or wearing modest clothes, the only thing was, I never eat swine and I do fast sometimes.

Yes, I'd love to shed light on Islam and I'm here to do that. I know how dangerous Islam can be and I really don't think people have a clear idea of how much brainwashing and fear is put in typical Muslim children. Its very sad and, to be honest, I still observe it everyday. I'd love to answer all questions you may have, just ask :)

Yes, I know all about Wafa Sultan. :D That woman is truly inspiring, and is the first ex-Muslim to give me the courage to go back to the Quran, and have the guts to question it without thinking that god might strike me dead or something, LOL...

Peace :)

Reply from Atheist Exile to Mona:

Hi Mona,

Great! I don't know any Muslims, here in the Philippines . . . and if I did, I wouldn't be crass enough to ask them the questions I want answered. You, on the other hand, I now feel more free to ask.

I'll just list my top 4 questions. Sorry for stating the questions with background information that you probably already know: I'm framing the context for the benefit of all readers here (who might not know much about Islam).

#1).The Torah and Old Testament encourages or condones slavery, the subjugation of women, and a warrior mentality -- just as the Quran does. Christianity, in particular, has a violent and sadistic history. However, Judaism and Christianity have enjoyed reforms over the centuries that have rendered them less powerful and much more peaceful than they used to be (I consider the Palestinian problem to be a unique, special, situation). What would it take to reform Islam, if it is reformable?

#2).The God of Abraham is a jealous God. The Torah and Old Testament advocate death for heresy -- just as the Quran does. The death penalty for heresy or apostasy is an obvious mechanism for enforcing fundamentalism. So are other laws, moral tales and parables that reward obedience or punish disobedience. But the Quran is neurotically obsessed with obedience versus disobedience; believers versus nonbelievers. It enforces fundamentalism at every turn, repeating the same warnings and threats over and over. If you removed such verses from the Quran, there wouldn't be much left. There is no wiggle-room in the Quran for liberal interpretations. Do you believe the fundamentalist doctrines and dogmas of Islam produces values that are incompatible and irreconcilable with Western values?

#3).Islam translates to "submission" (to Allah). Jihad translates to "struggle" (for Allah). Umma is the whole community of Islam. Shariah is the divine path of obedience to Allah, as defined by the Quran and ahadith. Together, these core ideas divide the world into Muslims and kafir (those who refuse to submit to Allah/Islam) -- and drives Islam to push out the kafir. The Quran mandates that kafir convert to Islam or die. Dhimmis (Jews and Christians) are allowed to live without converting but must suffer jizya (a dhimmi tax) and various legal and (im)practical restrictions. What do traditional Muslims mean when they claim that Islam is a "tolerant" religion?

#4).The House of Islam (Dar-al-Islam) must struggle against The House of War (Dar-al-harb or non-Muslims) until the House of Islam is all that's left. The ultimate goal of Islam is to prostrate the entire world, bowing toward Mecca and repeating the Shahada. Peace will finally reign on Earth. Until then, Jihad (the struggle) is inevitable. When we hear that, "Islam is a religion of peace", doesn't that mean, "as long as you uphold Islam"?

Thanks, in advance, for your reply. I look forward to your answers.

Reply from Mona to Atheist Exile:

#1). “What would it take to reform Islam, if it is reformable?

Like Wafa Sultan once said, I don’t believe the Quran can be reformed!

I’ve thought about this a lot and asked other Muslims but I always get the same response, “No! The Quran is the word of Allah”

The problem is, Muslims are taught that every word in the Quran is the exact words that the prophet heard from the angel Gabrielle. It’s punishable to change a single word in the Quran.

The reason Muslims believe that Islam is the truth and the sole religion after the other Abrahamic religions, is that Allah said, “Jews and Christians failed, because they changed the holy books”. So the Quran came as the last revelation and it’s illegal to ever change the Quran.

I think the only way to make Islam, as a whole, a more moderate religion, will be to remove the hadiths and sharia law and only leave the Quran for people to live by. But even that would not make Islam much more moderate, because the Quran contains many violent and oppressive verses.

If moderate Muslims ever want to make this happen, it would have to be in a different day when there are fewer religious Muslims to oppose their ideas. As we all know, Muslims will use violence and I don’t think that any one has the courage to stand up to them.

Sadly, that’s how I see it :(

#2). “Do you believe the fundamentalist doctrines and dogmas of Islam produces values that are incompatible and irreconcilable with Western values?

Yes, there really is no wiggle room here either. Islam opposes so much of what humanity and human rights stand for, in my opinion. Sure, a few verses might sound lovely and good but Islam and the Quran are incompatible and irreconcilable with Western values!

#3). “What do traditional Muslims mean when they claim that Islam is a "tolerant" religion?

Lol funny heheh…

They see themselves as ”good people”, so they favor the good verses from the Quran. It’s the pick and choose thing religious people love to do. Here’s the verses…

4:29 “and kill not one another”
5:32 “that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind”
109:2 “I worship not that which ye worship; nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.”

They use them to justify that Islam is tolerant… and most of them haven’t even read the whole Quran. Yet they act like the violent verses don’t exist. They don’t know enough about their religion.

Islam is not tolerant period!

#4). "When we hear that, 'Islam is a religion of peace', doesn't that mean, 'as long as you uphold Islam.'"?

Yes it does. You know a lot about Islam. It’s great to read your questions. That’s exactly it…the world will not be peaceful until Islam rules the world. It’s not a religion of peace. There’s no discussing it! They must be confusing the word Salam with Islam, I guess. That’s the only peaceful explanation I can come up with hehe.

The problem is that they will only keep demanding more and more. Sure, now it’s all about the politics and the wars and Israel but, in the end, they will demand more and more of us. The free world will have to live as dhimmis. We need to prevent that from happening and, for starters, we should not be so gullible and accepting of everything that peaceful Muslims say.

I’m not saying that every single one of them are liars. Sure, they might believe what they say themselves but they are the classic examples of gullible people who accept everything their parents say without questioning it. I know, because I used to defend Islam like that myself.

Thanks for the questions, I hope you’re satisfied with the answers and I’d love to answer more if you have any :)

Reply from Atheist Exile to Mona:

Thanks for your reply, Mona,

I appreciate your thoughtful answers. Over the last day, I've been debating an interesting woman, on Facebook, about Islam and the West. I've seen people like her before: they repeat what they've been told but actually don't know anything from their own independent investigations. She's never read the Quran but pretends this doesn't matter.

So many people in the west are like I used to be. I thought that Islam, as the second-largest religion in the world, was a great religion that provides a spiritual road map to life. There's a LOT of wisdom in smaller religions . . . who would have believed that the second-largest religion is so devoid of spirituality and wisdom?

Reading the Quran really opened my eyes. I saw how the terrorists are actually following Muhammad's example. I understood why Islamic expansion into the world is always accompanied by violence. I understood why it's the regions with harsh environments or harsh economies that Islam thrives in . . . because Islam is a harsh religion. Take a look at the world. Where does Islam thrive? It thrives in the poorest of places: the Middle East, Africa, Asia.

Does Islam improve conditions for its adherents? Not unless there's oil in abundance. Why is that? In one phrase: the subjugation of women. How does any country prosper when half its population is minimized? What kind of men are produced in countries where the women are pathetically powerless and kept under thumb? Courtship, sex and family are important to mental health. Yet Muslim men face a cultural reality of women valued less than their children and not much more than slaves. The women themselves, with gut-wrenching sincerity, will defend the system: so inured are they to their lot in life.

Is it any wonder there's no shortage of suicide bombers? Muslim countries will never prosper as long as they subjugate their women. Their sexually frustrated men will fill the ranks of Jihadis and peace will remain anathema to these male-dominated cultures.

Reply from Mona to Atheist Exile:

I agree. Thank you for these wise words. I love to see the insight non-Muslims have into Islam.

The older I get, the more I appreciate this planet, love and peace. That’s the reason Islam has been making me feel so bad. That's why I can't believe in it. It goes against the three things I appreciate the most: humanity, love and our planet.

It’s so clearly a false religion. WHY THE HELL have we turned the world upside down for it? It blows my mind. It makes me cry. My tears are streaming down as I write this and I’m afraid we will never see the day when these barbaric religions will be exposed for what they are. It’s just tragic and sad.....:(

Reply from Atheist Exile to Mona:

I’m crying with you, Mona. I wish the whole world could know what you know.

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Comment by Marshall on October 29, 2009 at 8:39pm
Excellent conversation. Thank you for bring it to our attention!

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