Astarte (former Muslim)
 Testimony of Leaving Islam
Greetings and peace This is my first post, and something I've been wanting to speak about for quite some time. I could go so much deeper into many things, but I'll keep this as short as I can.
I converted to Islam last year. I'm very young, I should note, so my conversion seemed all the more miraculous to my Muslim friends (I converted about a week after I even first met a Muslim, though the idea had been in my head for a while). They thought my knowledge was passion, and I was rushed into it, partially of my own accord (after all, I thought I had discovered how G-d wants us to live our lives, and since I could die tomorrow, why wait?), and partially because they were so happy for me, I didn't want to express any doubts that I had. The only ones that couldn't be refuted by them were the same doubts that led me to leave the religion.
I had never felt as if I belonged somewhere as much as I did when I was Muslim - people who I had met only once at someone's house would call to see how I was doing, and invite me over to spend time with them. Up until this point in my life, I was very much an outcast - few friends, and those that I did have, I never spent time with. Also, my family is not at all close, so having other people's parents genuinely wanting to take care of me was incredibly heartwarming and sweet. I began wearing the hijab only about a month before I left (which was about one month ago). I'm not quite sure why I started. I didn't feel respected, devoted to G-d, or any more "protected" from the gaze of men because of it. Contrariwise, I felt silly, and like an impersonator. This feeling was not new, however. I noticed that I was beginning to feel like a liar when I prayed. I did not fear G-d, I didn't jump for joy to praise Him when my alarm clock went off before dawn, and I didn't start over if I accidentally left out some Arabic (I also couldn't see the innate importance of Arabic as the only acceptable language). I thought I was being tested, and my friends agreed. I strengthened up a bit and tried, hoping there would be a reward if I overcame the dwindling of my faith, and it worked for a while
And then one day, I began researching apostasy in Islam. The gruesome images of death and punishment didn't shock me at all, but the websites such as this one did. I read a lot, discovering not only many of Islam's atrocities, but its logical fallacies, as well. So many things that I had previously thought about - how Mohammad didn't behave as though I thought a prophet should, and his marriage to Aisha, for example. I did not want to discuss any of this to my friends, so I still prayed when around them, and claimed that I just wasn't ready to keep wearing the hijab. Eventually it happened though, I wrote out a letter, as respectfully as I could, claiming that I had relapsed to atheism (a lie, but I felt it was better than downplaying their religion). Much confusion and disappointment resulted, but my friends, being genuinely wonderful people, still remained friends with me. Until I found out that all they wanted was for me to return to Islam, and no conversation could be complete without religious lectures. We fell apart.
I almost wish I had been born into a Muslim family - the love, togetherness, life, and dedication they displayed is all I ever wanted. Not to mention the really, really awesome food. That's what I miss most about being Muslim, every time I left someone's house, I was sent out with about 5 pounds of the best food I'd ever eaten. I guess if good food and friends are the only positive things I associate with a religion, it's for the best that I left it. I do have an immense respect for Muslims now. That, and I discovered that I'm secretly theologically Jewish. I probably would have killed myself.
Not exactly a good story to tell at parties, but that is that. All the best to everyone.