Young British muslims who don’t have faith in their religion either opt to be agnostic or atheist.
In Britain, much focus has been given to the increasing radicalization of the youth especially after the 9/11 events. This has been explained as a consequence of a number of things majorly, the feeling that their faith was under attack by outsiders. However, what has not been given major publicity is the opposite end of the fundamental Islamists; the ones who are not only shunning the radicalization but Islam as a religion completely becoming atheists or as they are termed, apostates and ex-Muslims. The number is growing, but amid threats and shunning, this is a group that does not grab headlines.
To this group of ex-Muslims, there is no eureka moment or some sort of epiphany when they realize that the faith does not offer them satisfaction. It is usually a gradual series of doubts and as much as they attempt to suppress them as evil thoughts their efforts leads them to a search, a search for truth and investigating their religion that ultimately leads to them renouncing their religion and becoming either agnostic or atheist. This step and journey to renouncing their faith differs from individual to the other, while the 9/11 saw an increase in the numbers of radical Muslims, others experienced the aftermath differently. They could not agree with the actions of the terrorists and the fact that they supported their actions based on Islam, instead of following the radicalization path, they started their questioning.
For others, interacting with Christians, atheist and other religions showed them a different side to what they were taught while for others it was the increasingly cultic activities that some Islam schools adopt that was the starting point. These are but some of the triggers of what lead the ex-Muslims on their path. However, theirs is a treacherous journey. They face the real risk of violence as the death of Bangladesh blogger illustrates. There are numerous death threats and some have gone on to get as many as 100 and more. However, the real challenge is the loneliness and shunning they face from society.
In their society such an act is apostasy and according to sharia law it faces capital punishment. In a secular country lie Britain, these are ostracized and shunned or disowned by their families. It is only recently that there are groups that have come up to provide a voice for this minority group that is misunderstood even by the public outside the Muslim community. Some do not even get to tell their families of their decisions and women face the bigger challenges especially with the wearing of hijab and their position within the religion. This shunning has led to cases of depression and in worse circumstances death. It is only by more publicity that this group can be heard, understood and find their place in the society.