Muslim and Atheist?

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Part of the reforming influence within the house of Islam is the growing number of younger people from Muslim backgrounds who are identifying as atheists. They are abandoning the Islamic tradition, which – some feel – is being taken over by backward-looking medieval teachers or else maniacal egotists, bent on repressive world domination. What’s going on and is the Islamic hierarchy aware of it? 

Who uses the word ‘Muslim’ and ‘atheist’ in the same sentence – at least not to refer to the same person? But we now have to as a growing number of ‘Muslims’ are declaring “no faith”, partly in response to the behaviour of the jihadi Islam.

Have you noticed that if someone from a Jewish family changes their faith-allegiance to follow Jesus, they remain ethnically Jewish and we call them a “Messianic Jew”. But if someone from a Muslim family changes allegiance to follow Jesus, they cease to be a Muslim but remain ethnically Pakistani, Somali etc. and we call them a “Believer from Muslim Background”. I notice we don’t call these “Messianic Muslims” – the reason for that is the stuff of a future blog.

This point here is that Jewishness is both an ethnicity and a religion, while Islam is only a religion and not an ethnicity. So when our religiously illiterate media refers to a Pakistani person as a “Muslim” they are merging Islam (as a religion) with Pakistani (as a race) – something that is not done with any other racial group.

An Iraqi friend of mine, from a Muslim family background, is in training for Christian ministry. He gets irritated when people call him an “MBB” (Muslim background believer) because he insists:    ‘Before following Jesus, I was an atheist – not a Muslim’.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

So if we insist on using the generic term “Muslim”, we must also be clear that a tsunami of individual defections from the Muslim identity is going on across the world as an unprecedented number of, so called, “Muslims” are openly identifying as atheists or followers of Jesus. I see this as part of – what is for some Muslims – the painful reformation process that is underway in the house of Islam. One reason for this is the legacy of men such as Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Osama Bin Laden of Al-Qaeda and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi of ISIS, who have been responsible for more Muslims abandoning Islam than any other people in history.

Sadly a growing number of so called “Muslims” are choosing no faith and becoming atheist. This is becoming noticed as Cairo’s leading cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Shawqi Ibrahim Abdel-Kareem issued an “atheism warning”. He ordered the shut-down of an internet café in Cairo that was suspected of being a meeting place for atheists. The Egyptian government also acknowledges a ‘worrying rise’ in atheism. Egypt is thought to have the highest number of atheists in the Arab world, with Morocco and Tunisia heading in the same direction.

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