Here's a book I would love to read if my "to be read" pile every dwindled down. When someone decides to change faiths I always wonder what the deciding factor is. What is it about his current faith that he felt he could no longer relate to or accept?
I found myself faced with the same decision a decade ago and it wasn't the easiest choice I had to make...especially considering that I had practiced my faith for 30 years. Looking back on it now, I know I made the right choice; but back then I felt very uncertain.
Why We Left Islam Synopsis:
The penalty for renouncing Islam is death, which makes the stories in Why We Left Islam -- and the lives behind them -- all the more remarkable.
Contained in these brutally honest personal accounts written by former Muslims is an urgent truth that the mainstream media and cowed politicians won't admit -- that far from being "a religion of peace," Islam is instead barbaric and repressive, a nightmare for those living under it and those seeking to confront it.
Here are some of the voices from Why We Left Islam...
"I still remember my sister's black eyes; she stared at the sky while she was dug into the ground. She was wrapped in white sheets and her hands were tied to her body. She was buried up to her waist. The rabid mob circled her with stones in their hands and started throwing them at her while the roars of 'Allah-u-Akbar' added to their frenzy..." -- Yagmur
"As a Muslim man, the fact that my mother had only given birth to three girls made him really angry. He beat my mother very badly and the doctors were forced to remove her womb...When she awoke, my father was kind enough to tell her that he was divorcing her now that she could no longer have children, and being a man he needed a son." -- Shara
"The Koran is full of verses that teach the killing of unbelievers and how Allah would torture them after they die. There are no lessons on morality, justice, honesty or love..." -- Ali
These shocking, real-life stories from those who have escaped the Muslim yoke make Why We Left Islam: Former Muslims Speak Out a powerful communique -- and a warning -- to the West.
Read the excerpt!
My sister, Dr. Homa Darabi, was born in Tehran, Iran, in January 1940, two months premature, to Eshrat Dastyar, a child bride who at age thirteen had married Esmaeil Darabi. Homa was my older sister, my protector, and my role model. Homa had a life full of hope and promise that a tyrannical and fundamentalist Islamic system destroyed.
Indeed, my sister could never have imagined what lay ahead for her as she completed her elementary and high school education in Tehran. She then immediately entered the University of Tehran’s School of Medicine after passing the university’s entrance exam in 1959. It was a marvelous accomplishment and one that made our family proud. Homa was in the first 150 out of thousands of students who took the examination and became one of the three hundred who were accepted (the medical school’s capacity).
A feisty and spirited young woman, my sister became quite active in politics and hoped to bring human rights and equal status for women in Iran. Her dream was most evident during her days in high school and in her freshman year at the university. Yet her quest would not be easy. In 1960, as a result of her efforts, she was arrested and imprisoned for a while, during the students’ protests against the oppressive regime of the Shah. The regime was especially hostile towards students and youth who were beginning to demand more freedom of expression, assembly, and speech.
In 1963, my sister married her classmate, Manoochehr Keyhani, presently a prominent hematologist. Together they brought into this world two intelligent daughters.
Following the completion of her studies at the University of Tehran, Dr. Darabi practiced for two years in Bahmanier, a village in northern Iran, while her husband completed his military obligation as a physician in the Iranian health corps. In 1968, she and her husband passed the Education Council Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) examination and came to the United States to further their education. She took her residency in pediatrics and later specialized in psychiatry and then in child psychiatry and was licensed to practice medicine in the states of New Jersey, New York, and California. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in the mid-1970s.
Due to pressures from her husband and family and her desire to give back to her native country, she returned to Iran in 1976 and was immediately accepted as a professor at the University of Tehran School of Medicine.
She was the first Iranian ever to pass the board in child psychiatry in the U.S. and was the driving force behind the establishment of the Psychiatric Clinic of Shahid Sahami in Tehran.
Although she was a strong supporter of the revolution, my sister opposed the establishment of an Islamic republic. Furthermore, when her party leader took advantage of the new Islamic guidelines and took a second wife, Homa was devastated and totally broke away from all politics. My sister then devoted her time to her profession as a medical doctor.
In 1990, due to her non-compliance with wearing the hijab (covering up of women), she was fired from her position as a professor at the School of Medicine.
Later, my sister was harassed in her practice for the same reason until finally, when life was made too difficult for her, she closed down her practice and became a full-time housewife for the first time in her life.
During her professional life my sister was under pressure from some parents of her younger patients to give the label of “mentally incapacitated” to many perfectly intelligent young girls so that they could be saved from the tortures of the zealots (150 strokes of a whip for things such as wearing makeup or lipstick). Having to label these young women truly broke my sister’s heart.
When a sixteen-year-old girl was shot to death in northern Tehran for wearing lipstick, my sister could no longer handle the guilt she felt about her former involvement in the Iranian Revolution. My sister felt Iran had been hijacked by the religious factions, and the way women were treated in Iran was unforgivable.… She wanted the world to know what was happening. She finally decided to protest the oppression of women by setting herself on fire in a crowded square in northern Tehran on February 21, 1994. Her last cries were:
Death to tyranny!
Long live liberty!
Long live Iran!
Susan Crimp is a respected journalist and author specializing in Middle East affairs and Joel Richardson is an expert in Jewish and Islamic theology.
The WHY WE LEFT ISLAM VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on May 1, 2008 and will continue all month. If you would like to follow Susan and Joel's tour in progress, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in May. Leave a comment at any of their blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of her tour! One lucky winner will be announced on this tour page on May 31!
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