Meher Ali Khan (former Muslim)
[Letter from Meher Ali Khan to Ali Sina]
Testimony of Leaving Islam
When on the otherwise fine morning of 9/11, I switched on the TV and witnessed two planes hit the WTC with the building falling apart like a pack of cards I was amazed, stunned and delighted. A fitting response for the evil U.S foreign policy; especially towards Palestine. There was no doubt in my mind that this event must have been orchestrated by a Muslim group, most likely by Osama bin Laden - but all that played on my mind was that it was all justified; it was necessary to teach America a lesson. Yet, I was never a fan of bin Laden - I would never have wanted his ideology take hold in my own country.
As the first reaction, I jumped up, out of delight, with a loud exclamatory noise. My house mate, a Hindu guy, came out to my shouting. He had already had a glimpse of event. He naturally did not enjoy my delight and glum faced he just went back to his room to get ready for rushing to work. He probably knew it was useless to talk with me. Probably he was too depressed to talk about this appalling event. I spent the next few weeks explaining to my mates and colleagues how US has been killing the Palestinians; the U.S's bad policies towards the Islamic world, US sanctions on Iraq, US troops bases in Saudi Arabia and what not. This is what I was doing despite the fact that I was hardly a Muslim. Although born to religious parents in South Asia, I was never pressed to follow religious rituals and neither did I ever bother to engage myself in those things. My only religious devotion was intermittent praying on Friday Juma, and on the 2 yearly days of Eid. I would do fasting only on those days, I would be invited for the Iftar (fast-breaking) party by friends and relatives. Hindus have been my good friends, as exemplified my having a Hindu house mate. Yet, that's the kind of reaction I had about the 9/11 attack. I kind of celebrated the tragic event of the killing so many innocent people who had nothing to do with Palestine or U.S foreign policy.
A week after 9/11 attack, I called a childhood friend back home who could not pass 10th grade but was a pious person. I was in a goading mood while discussing the WTC attack with him. He was rather cold to my zeal. He was indeed concerned that US might start deporting the Muslims, as rumors were rife. He had depended on me for financial help from time to time. He knows that my family and a host of relatives and friends depend on me for money regularly. All he said was: "I don't care whether Palestinians die or not. Palestinians are never going to come with money for your family or for me. Neither are we going to come to help the Palestinians even if they die of hunger. Your staying in the US is important for your family, relatives and friends. Make sure, you don't get into trouble."
I was rather disappointed with his cold response to my elation of the 9/11 event. I had already called my parents the day after 9/11, and obviously had described the event with glee. They too were not so interested. They are not well-educated people. They don't keep up with the world. They hardly bother to find out what's happening in Palestine. They reminded me not to get into trouble - they depended on my staying in the US. Getting a check at the end of the month from me was the most important thing. What is happening to Palestinians hardly bore any importance to them. I was disappointed with the callous responses of my friend and my parents towards the Muslim brothers in Palestine. I called my brothers and quite surprisingly, they were as elated as I was. I felt very good talking to them. My brothers were well educated in science and well-respected people in the community; unlike my friend and my parents. I felt quite happy talking to them that my brothers at least cared for the undeserved suffering of people in Palestine. I thought they were educated so they responded to the call of their conscience. Justice mattered for them. I felt proud they had become truly educated and conscientious human beings. I didn't talk to my friend for some times after that.
As I was looking for all sorts of news on the web and I stumbled on to this website (FFI) about a month after 9/11. It was the first time I had come across such a site. It took a couple of days reading and I was extremely disappointed and angry with Dr. Ali Sina and the other writers on the site. Quickly I took a few pen names and started writing all sorts of abusive comments against FFI and its writers. Initially I would mainly write abusive comments without making any solid reference to the points raised by the Islam-bashers. But everytime, they would come back with references from the Islamic sources; the Quran and Hadiths to shut me up. I thought they were misinterpreting the Quran. I thought there was a special meaning in those verses - that the human intellect cannot comprehend; although they may sound very unsavory, Allah is beyond human comprehension. Human logic may not fit to Allah's. I was thinking these kind of things.
One thing I have to make clear that when I started writing abusive retorts to these Islam-bashers on FFI, I had never read the Quran, or the Hadiths. My knowledge of Islam was from hearsay. After doing this kind of tug of war with the Islam-bashers on FFI for about 6-7 months, I slowly started looking into the Quran and Hadiths. I found an online Quran (in multiple English translations) and the Hadiths. I slowly started cross-checking the references. Then I got a Quran in my mother tongue. All of the translations were mostly agreed and also were almost agreed on the interpretations of these Islam-bashers on FFI. I became quiet on FFI. I kept reading more and more. I started questioning if I wanted to copy-cat the Prophet Muhammad who, I believed, was the most perfect man for all time, for 40 years of my life. I started questioning if I want to be an ideal man and have 10-15 wives, a few concubines and wage numerous wars against the idolaters, Jews and Christians. Growing up amongst the Hindu majority of the subcontinent, I asked myself if I would model myself after Muhammad - I should've waged wars against the Hindus (idolaters) in my neighborhood. Instead, I found many good friends amongst the Hindus - who had been excellent friends, who had been nice and honest people. They have been hard-working people as compared to many Muslim peers. Question after question started striking my head. I was getting mad.
I started contemplating what the world would be like if every Muslim had modeled himself after the Prophet Muhammad. I wondered how much blood of my Hindu neighbors would have flown had every Muslims had acted the same way as the Prophet Muhammad and his closest of disciples (Sahabas) who are considered the finest bunch of people in Islam. I started envisioning, in my mind, all sorts of gory pictures in the neighborhood I grew up in. My idolater Hindu neighbors, hard working, honest and affluent - like the Jew and Christian tribes of Prophet Muhammad's neighborhood of Medina. I started visioning how those sweet, nice and beautiful sisters of my Hindu friends are falling at the lustful hands of my Muslims peers. One day about one year after 9/11, I called my Hindu friend to a restaurant and ordered pork. He was in a daze. Because of me, he never ever brought pork home although I always cooked beef which my Hindu friend never touched because of the prohibitions of his religion. I did not know when I had left Islam but that day I formalized and ascertained that I was not a Muslim any more.