Islam Was Not for Me
My breach with Islam started as far back as I could discern things. More to the point, I never embraced Islam in the first place, although I was born and raised in a Muslim family.
For one thing, I had a very difficult time following a so-called religion whose founder and followers had butchered my ancestors, raped and sold our women, burned our libraries, and destroyed our magnificent culture. Islam was forced down the throats of Iranians with the sword of Allah. In my heart, I never considered myself a Muslim. However, I didn't reveal this until later in life for fear of retribution by radical Muslims.
Sharia law stipulates that any Muslim who turns his back on Islam should be given a chance to revert to the faith. For an unrepentant male apostate, death is the proscribed punishment and life imprisonment for the female apostate.
"Kill whoever changes his religion." Sahih al-Bukhari 9:84:57
Islam considers an apostate as a person who unilaterally breaks the covenant he has made with the faith. An apostate is condemned as guilty of turning his back on Allah's immutable eternal religion.
I came to the realization that the root cause of my peoples' degradation and suffering was Islam. It was a creed imposed on an enlightened, tolerant and free people at the point of the sword by savages hailing from the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century with promises of booty and women in this world and glorious eternal sensual rewards in the promised paradise of Allah in the next. With each passing day, I rejoice more and more in my good fortune; in my ability to avoid the yoke of Islamic slavery and its blinders that imprisons a billion and half people by walls of superstition, hatred of others, and a celebration of death.
Things Islamic not only did not resonate with me, they often clashed head on with what I valued and loved. What appealed to me and even enchanted me were more often than not, taboo in Islam or anathema to the creed. I loved life, beauty in all its forms, poetry, ancient Iranian culture and traditions. I loved laughter, celebrations of joy such as birthdays; our yearly festivities of Nowruz, my favorite, lasts for thirteen days. Nowruz, this ancient festival, has been celebrated for thousands of years by my people; it ushers in the spring, welcomes renewal of life, and expresses optimism for the year ahead to bless us with good health, abundant food, family, and friends in the land of a civilized and free people.
I have always believed one cannot possibly be a Persian and hold to the lofty tenets of the ancient Iranian Zoroastrian triad of good thoughts, good words, good deeds, and remain a Muslim. In the same fashion, one cannot cherish American values, the Bill of Rights and the rest of the United States Constitution and be a true Muslim. They are comprehensively incompatible with Sharia Law.
Iranian Muslims are victims of the Islamic invasion that has destroyed in them their traditional respect for diversity. It is the Iranian ancient fundamental belief in the validity and value of diversity that is enshrined in the Cyrus the Great Cylinder, the unconditional respect for the complete rights of all the people of the world (an anathema to the Islamists' credo) that has held the nation together over the millennia. Although Islam was imposed on Iran some 1,400 years ago, Iranians deeply value their own ancient non-Arab identity and have never fully surrendered to the Arab culture.
Currently, a large number of Iranians are completely fed up with Islam and they want to leave this dogma of hate and violence. In fact, many already have, but they simply aren't able to come forward and announce it, for obvious reasons.
Such duplicity exists within the Iranian culture. Originally, Iranians were forced to accept Islam to save their lives from Arab invaders, but deep within the heart of every single Iranian alive today, exists a burning resentment of the Arab-Islamic invasion of their homeland and culture. It is ironic that many Iranians may actually confess to being Muslims; yet, an overwhelming number of Iranians have never read the Quran or understand its language. The events in history have toughened present day Iranians. They have become great pretenders. But the totality of 1400 years of Islamic barbarity and savagery must end. We no longer need to pretend that we are practicing Muslims; when in fact, we are not.
Realistically speaking, there is perhaps 10-15 percent of the population that continues to support the clerical system in varying degrees. Many in this group are government employees, Mullahs, and hired thugs such as the Basiji. Also, the regime has some backers among the poor, the less educated, and the deeply religious. Yet, the alienation from the regime and Islam spans the entire spectrum of the Iranian society with the intelligentsia and the university students leading the determined opposition to end Islamic rule.
Masses of Iranians are irreparably alienated from a corrupt and oppressive Islamic rule. The rule of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) is crumbling. The previously solid edifice, or at least the appurtenances of it, is finally showing many cracks that continue to grow. There are just too many fault lines to list here.
My fellow secularist Iranians and I have indeed done, and continue to do, what we can to help our compatriots in Iran, who are on the front line fighting Islam and the Islamic Regime.
The 2009 protests were just as much against the Islamic Republic as they were about Shi'a Islam. In fact, much of it was against Islam itself. People have experienced what a primitive and defective system of belief Islam is and aim to abandon it for good. Many will still hang on to it to some extent for some time. Yet, a great many would simply leave Islam and even actively oppose it.
There are still those who claim that Muhammad was a messenger from God and the Quran is a divinely revealed book. My suggestion is that they use their intellect and read the Quran fully for themselves without the assumption that the book is the literal word of God and that Muhammad was their messenger. Without this assumption as their starting point, they will find better than 90% of the book is about violence, threats of hell, exclusion of people, and the like. What kind of God would dictate things like what you find in the Quran? It took Muhammad 20 years to reveal this hodge-podge.
I bemoan the plight of my native land and the people who have suffered and continue to suffer under Islam. Without Islam there wouldn't be any Muslims to hoist the banner of hate and violence against non-Muslims. A few claim that Islam has done some good in the past. Well, that's debatable. There are those who are equally convinced that Islam has inflicted a great deal of suffering on others from its inception to the present. What we all must agree on is that Islam and its sharia laws, at the very least, do not fit in today's world.
Islam is a creed of a desert people in a primitive and barbaric age. It is fixated in time and place; it harbors the ambition of taking the 21st century world back 14 centuries and ruling it by its dogma of violence, intolerance, injustice and death. Yet, Islam is not only an obsolete vestige of a defunct era, but itself is an infinitely fractured belief that can hardly put its own home in order. The numerous Islamic sects are at each other's throats; sub-sects and schools despise one another as much as they hate non-Muslims. Hatred, not love, drives Islam.
Although many prefer to tackle the militant version of Islam "Islamism," for all intents and purposes, there is no sharp demarcation between, Islamists, Jihadists and Islamism. One and all are progeny of Islam itself. Any differences among the three are of degree and not kind. When one addresses Islamism and jihadism, their source is also addressed.
Regrettably, Islam cannot be reformed. Keep in mind that Islam claims it is the perfect eternal faith for mankind. Splits have occurred and will continue to occur in Islam. Yet, reformation has not happened in nearly 1400 years and is not going to happen. Islam is carved in granite, just the way it is. No change. Allah's book is sealed.
In the monumental task of dealing with Islam and its variations, every individual, group and government must combine their resources and energies to prevail. We must urge all people to resist Islam's encroachment and not be deceived by its sanitized version presented in non-Islamic lands. The destiny of civilized life hangs in the balance. Shirking of this responsibility would be an unpardonable act of every enlightened human being and organization that values human liberty and dignity.
Amil Imani is the author of the new book Operation Persian Gulf.