Alperen (former Muslim)
My Testimony of Leaving Islam
For a long time I wanted to put my life story on paper, but somehow I didn’t do it. The testimony from Lilalayla pulled me over the line, and I, at last decided to write testimony on paper.
I was born and raised in the Netherlands. My parents are from Turkey, and they've lived here now for more than 25 years. Religion was never a discussion point in our family, but somehow it (Islam) was still there. My father and mother were never religious; they were, with a beautiful word, “cultural Muslims”.
A lot of Turkish people in here are unconscious pagans, but they never will admit it, they are just as religious as the Christians in the Netherlands; this means not so much. But Islam is far more dangerous than Christianity, just because we don’t practice it, it doesn’t mean that it’s just disappeared. The only two things that distinguish them from the non-religious people are the month of Ramadan, and the “not eating” pork meat. As for the rest they have all the qualities of pagans; they are all eating non-halal food, they’re drinking alcohol, I like this part and of course they’re all wonderful people. Despite the fact that they’re not practicing Islam, it’s still somewhere deep in there heart and it shows his ugly face in the strangest places.
When the Twin Towers were attacked by the terrorists, there was a deadly silence in the Turkish community. They knew that it was a horrible and dirty act, but nobody could say it out loud. They were caught in a web of feelings. This made me angry. I was shouting that I feel sorry for the Americans and that I hated Osama. They tried to justify it with sentences like; “the Americans did a lot of harm in those countries, so this was something that they could wait for” or “the people who did this were poor, they were desperate, this was the only way to show the world that they want attention for the situation in there countries”. This was the funniest: “It was Jews who did this horrible act, they just want to give Islam a bad name”. I thought 'yeah right'. No, I couldn’t accept this, it made me think
I’ve been working here now for 4 years in this company as a building engineer. This is also the place where I met my best friend ever, it is an Iranian man, but at that time I didn’t know this. The first day that I came to work there I met him in the elevator. He was working at the same level as I was. They put me in the same room as him. The first days it was quiet in the room. We were not speaking very much, but from one came the other and we started to speak with each other. In this time I learned that he was an Iranian man. We discussed a lot of topics - from cars to politics; from Iranian issues to girls. We were talking a lot, but when he started talking about the topic of religion, it made me feel uncomfortable and nervous. He said that he was a kafir and I couldn’t believe this. How can it be that a Iranian man can be kafir? It didn’t make sense! All Iranians are religious or not? No, I woke up, I was working with an Iranian kafir, I had never had problems with Christians, Jews or people from other religions (why should I?), but this was something different; a man from an Islamic country who was not religious. He escaped from Iran because he didn’t want to live there because of the Mullahs.
He said some things about Muhammad that I could hardly accept. I always said: “Ali (I call him in this testimony, Ali) please shut up. I don’t know the answer, don’t ask me such difficult questions, I know one thing for sure, Muhammad was a good man, for these questions you can go to an imam. Those are experts in such issues. They can explain it all to you.”. Or not. He always tried to discuss it with me: "Alperen, why do you believe that Islam is a religion from God?" I was getting more and more nervous and got angry.
One day he asked me a simple question: "Alperen, why do you believe in Islam? Because of the fact that you parents are Muslim too?" This was also the last time that he discussed Islam with me. In that time, I never heard him talk about Islam again. This question kept following me every day: "Alperen why do you believe in Islam, what is the reason?"
One day I was snuffling around on the Internet and searching for forums, I found a forum where some people were discussing a religious issue, and in the middle of that discussion somebody placed a link and just disappeared. This would be my link to a new life (FFI), but at the time I didn’t know this.
I put my mouse on that link and clicked, I came into a site what was called “Faith Freedom International”. I started to read and read. I couldn’t believe what was happening to me, I was thinking, O.K Alperen, this is a anti-Islam site. The only difference between you and the Alperen in the past is that you’re first going to read it, and then you can make a conclusion. I was reading for weeks and months; reading and reading. Everyday I was learning more and more about Islam. This was strange - these stories are much different than the imam was telling us, and what was shown on television.
I couldn’t take myself away from this site. I read almost all the articles posted on this site, especially those from Ali Sina. There were days that I was going earlier to work to open FFI, and to read more and more. I printed dozens of articles and read them at each opportunity that I could get; even on the toilet. I was astonished. All the articles that I read were the things that my Iranian friend Ali had been talking about. “Alperen, you couldn’t discus with him, pure from the fact that you didn’t know anything about your own religion! Ali knew everything about Islam, and he knew it exactly and made his conclusion. You put your head in the sand and denied everything”.
In all my enthusiasm, I mailed all the articles that I had read, to Ali. I said: "Ali can you believe this, did you know this, did you read this, this is Islam too, can you believe it? Etc. etc.” This was all old news for Ali, he knew this all long before me and tried to tell it to me, but I kept my eyes closed. He was happy that I found the truth. We began to discuss again, but this time it was much different; this time there were two enlightened people discussing instead of one. Later, he said to me that he would never discuss with me anymore, because of the fact that I still wasn’t ready for the truth. He believed that I would find it on my own. From that day on, I was much happier; I was for the first time in my life, really happy and relieved. I wasn’t afraid anymore
Back to the situation in our family. In our family, you can taste Islam two times a year: First on Ramadan, and the second with Eid al Adha. I think they call it that in Arabic. It's the feast in which Muslims must slaughter a sheep, cow or camel. For the rest of the time, there is no Islam in our house. Like I said, it looks like it isn’t there; it’s just hiding itself, but we don’t know it. Since I was young, I was afraid - I was afraid of Hell. I was afraid of God, but at the same time, I admired the stories in the books that were told about Mohammed. In these stories he was a kind and loving man, just like Jesus, but was this the real Mohammed?
I read stories about the companions of Muhammad; those were beautiful stories, but for me they were a little bit hard to believe. There was a red line in these stories; it was always about an Islamic scholar who devoted himself to the teachings of Islam. There was a story that I still remember. It was about a holy man; he was praying at every step that he took on his way to Mecca to please God or another story about a holy woman, her name was Rabia, this was about a woman who didn’t marry because of the fact that she couldn’t love anyone else than God. When she was going to Mecca, she became tired. God saw this and decided to move Mecca in front of her feet so that she could make her pilgrimage. They were beautiful stories, but I couldn’t believe it, it didn’t make sense to me at all. Another story about a holy man who was praying year in year out, every day the whole night, another story was about a holy man who could speak with fish, etc. etc. etc.
All these person were still doubting and crying for mercy from God, this made me think: they sacrificed themselves so much and are still afraid, so who am I to try to please God? I can’t pray whole nights, I can’t cry every day because I’m afraid of God - it’s looks like it is almost impossible to please God.
In those times I wanted to pray because I got scared from the stories that I read about hellfire, I was afraid of God. I first told to my mother that I wanted to start with praying. She was astonished, but agreed; so I started when I was 18 years old. It lasted two days and I stopped. I felt ridiculous. I was thinking: “Alperen, what are you doing? This is not you, man!" The first day that I started praying, my brothers came to look to my idiotic behavior. It really made them laugh. My brothers were never busy with religion; they even don’t know anything at all about Islam. This is because of the fact that they are not thinkers. For them only fun is important in this life, and of course they are right in this. For them, Islam is: "Fuck it man, it’s too difficult."
I think this is a disadvantage if you’re a thinker; you always want answers. I’m happy for my brothers that they were not interested in Islam. They don’t have to search for the truth behind it. From early on, I was a fan of Jesus. I liked that guy very much, and he was so kind so lovely. Why wasn’t our prophet like him? I never heard something bad about Jesus. He never married, he never raided caravans, he was never involved in a war, but Muhammad - yes he did all these things
Why was Muhammad the same like Jesus on television and in the mosque, but in documents from past and ahadith books, he is a tyrant? Do all these books lie about him? Why are the beautiful Christmas days a feast for the pagans? And why is the bloody feast Eid al Adha a beautiful and happy feast? It’s not, it's disgusting. My lovely father never ever killed an animal in his life - he couldn’t. Instead of that, he sent money to poor people so that they can buy a sheep, sacrifice and eat it. "No my best friend, no Alperen, don't try to find excuses to make this religion a beautiful one, because it's not"
Christmas, New Year, Pasha, I celebrate everything now with more pleasure and more fun, I love the people I love this life. I'm not worrying about Hell and Heaven anymore. I don’t worry anymore about how I must to run around the Ka'ba in the heat of Arabia with millions of people, because it’s not going to happen.
For 2 years I’ve considered myself as a humanist and not a Muslim, because I’m not; and I'm very happy about that. I learned a lot in these last few years. For the first time I can really converse with people and I accept all sort of ideas. I removed my eye flaps. I’m not a believer anymore, I’m a thinker
Thank you mom for the non-religious upbringing that you gave to us, you’re always saying that we must always love all the humans in this world
Thank you FFI, Thank you Ali Sina