Islam-watch: Igniting the Flame of Enlightenment
01 Jan, 2009
Dr Ali Sina (of FF), one of the mentors to my enlightenment, to my way out of Islam, emphatically claims that Islam will experience its demise once and for all in our lifetime. I hear many people say the same. Today one of our esteemed contributors sent me a New Year greeting, adding:
For some reasons, I feel that time is on our side. We will overcome (this struggle) and thanks for people like you.
Having dedicated myself to this site for over three years now, about two years of it full-time besides working on a book, I have maintained a more guarded optimism, sometimes have wondered if we would at all achieve anything in the end.
I occasionally get emails from readers, who have left Islam quietly, to inform me how they are convincing their friends, family members to leave Islam: some have convinced one or two acquaintances, others even ten or more. However, such testimonies are few and far between. We also have no way of knowing how many Muslims are truly being quietly impacted by our project and how many of them are coming back to tell us about it. However, the numbers are miniscule if considered that our effort is to enlighten some 1.4 billion Muslims of the world.
However, I feel more and more confident that a project like this is changing lives. It's turning the whole philosophy—which some people have lived with for 20, 30, 50 years of their lives—upside down. It's making some people realize that almost everything—that they thought right, proper, decent, noble for their life of 20, 30, 40 years—could all be not really right. It could even be contrary to what is right, noble.
Having gone through this experience myself, I know well how difficult it is for Muslims to come out of the closet of their life, to think differently from what they grow up learning, being brainwashed with. The uncertainty that I often used to slide back into—that Muslims can at all be convinced out of Islam through a civilized debate, discussion, discourse—has undoubtedly withered away from my mind. Now the uncertainty that remains—and will remain for a while, probably for my whole life—in my mind, is: whether we will create an effective impact; i.e., whether we will enlighten a substantial quantum of Muslim minds to effect a qualitative, visible change in Islamic societies. However, the outcome of this project will not be determined just by how many Muslim minds we enlighten; there will be a cumulative effect of multiple factors, which I will not go into in this post.
However, changing the minds of Muslims is our motto; we will focus on estimating our success primarily on that count. I believe that it is the "ripple-effect" that emanate from Islam-watch, and how successfully, how fast, it propagates will determine the ultimate impact of our mission. We already have convincing evidence that the "ripple-effect" of Islam-watch is in action: people enlightened here are propagating our message, pushing our mission, forward. It will keep multiplying, keep rippling on.
Here is a story of Mohamed, a devout Arab Muslim, whose introduction to our website was of bitter animosity, hatred of us. He eventually became enlightened by Islam-watch (also FFI), became our supporter, and moved on to set up his own blog in Arabic to enlighten his audience: the "ripple-effect" of Islam-watch keeps flowing on. People like Mohamed will be critical in determining the success of our mission here; they will deserve no less credit.
Below is Mohamed's letter:
Hello MA Khan, Abul Kasem et al.,
Hope you are all very fine. I am a long time follower of your website. I am actually an ex-Muslim myself. It is funny how my view towards your website changed from hatred and animosity (when I was a devoted Muslim) to more understanding and admiration (now). Leaving your religion is never an easy choice, especially in the case of Islam. Islam-Watch made the transition a lot less painful, since it is always great to find others who share the same views.
I have started a blog, Fel Mish Mish, that discusses lots of aspects of what is wrong with Islam. Although our missions are the same, my website is focused more on logic and showing contradiction within the religion itself. My blog is now starting to gain more popularity, even though it is quite new, with hundreds of comments and thousands of visitors from all over the world.
I do love your website because of the very calm language and the avoidance of any attempts to provoke others, which is the exactly what I am trying to do too.
In all cases, I would like to keep in touch with you folks. Finding exMuslims is a tough task in this world. Finding calm, logical ones, that are not bitter, is even harder, and it definitely would be my pleasure to know you.
My blog, btw, is at http://www.felmishmish.com. In case you don't know Arabic, Felmishmish means when apricots bloom, and it is an expression we are used to saying to mean "dream on!" or "when pigs fly" something like, I wish I could go to the highest paradise!
We encourage our Arabic readers to visit Mohamed's blog, contribute there, in whatsoever way practicable. The Arab world would undoubtedly be the hardest front of Islam to bring down. Blogs like Mohamed's carry hopes.