Is Allah more than an imagination

Apostate from faith - Threats and Torture: When Muslims No Longer Believe in Allah

Amed Sherwan sits in a friend's apartment in Berlin-Neukölln and rolls a cigarette. The evening before, he celebrated his 19th birthday in a pub with German friends and several rounds of vodka.

Later the Kurd wants to take the bus back to Flensburg from Northern Iraq, where he lives as a recognized refugee. He points to his T-shirt on which he had the sentence “Thank Allah, I am an atheist” - “Thank you Allah, that I am an atheist” - printed.

He posted a photo of himself in the T-shirt on his Facebook page - and got a shit storm: “Germans in particular wrote that I should stop. That is a provocation. "

She calls herself a renegade

"Freedom of religion doesn't just mean that I am free to practice a religion," says a woman in her late 40s in a café in Hamburg, with a peaked cap on her short hair. “It also means that I have the right to free myself from a religion. Many do not understand that. "

Born in Algeria, she has lived in Germany for 20 years. On Youtube, the link opens in a new window and Facebook is called Nariman - Nariman Al Moulhida. Nariman, the renegade. Islam, Islamism and political Islam are the same for them.

Judges sometimes impose God's punishment

For people like her, the Koran provides for hellfire. In Sura 16 it says: «Whoever no longer believes in God after he has believed, God's wrath comes on him. And expect a severe punishment. "

In Iran, 21-year-old Sina Dehghan is currently waiting to be executed for calling himself an atheist on Facebook. Such a punishment in this world cannot be derived from the Koran.

In fact, deviants have been tolerated for centuries, says Islam expert Reinhard Schulze. "In contrast to this, there is now a 'culture of unambiguity': according to this, all who turn away from Islam betray the Muslim community to the unbelieving West."

Reported to the police

Yet more and more people who were born Muslim are turning their backs on Islam. According to Nariman, it should already be millions. “My family has never been very religious,” she says. "That's why I had the chance to read the Koran critically."

Amed Sherwan, on the other hand, went to the mosque every day as a child with his father and uncle. «Early in the morning, late at night. I was a real Muslim. " Until he came across an Islam-critical Facebook page at the age of 14. What he read convinced him.

When he revealed to his father that he could no longer believe in Allah, he responded with beatings instead of understanding. Finally he reported his son to the police.

Electric shocks and death threats

Amed, now 18 years old, wrote about the electric shocks he received in the Iraqi prison in March 2017 in the migrant magazine “Moin Flensburg”.

At the time, he had been living in the small town in northern Germany for three years and worked as a volunteer interpreter for refugee aid. "Atheism as a reason to flee" is what he calls his article.

When he went back to the refugee aid afterwards, an Arab employee insulted him as an "unbeliever". And threatened: "I'll cut off your head and take it with me to Yemen!"

Most Muslims are not organized

Mina Ahadi, the chairwoman of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, Link opens in a new window, knows many similar stories. Former Muslims who no longer belonged to Islam are increasingly being attacked by devout Muslims in Germany: "And the German government is promoting radicalization through its policy."

The native Iranian has in particular the Central Council of Muslims in view. Its member association “Islamic Community in Germany” is considered by the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution to be an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And the Turkish Islamic Association DITIB, the largest association in Germany with 900 mosque communities, spied on people of Turkish origin on behalf of the Erdogan government.

Nevertheless, these associations sat at the same table with ministers of the federal government at the German Islam Conference 2017 - as representatives of the officially four million Muslims in the country. A study, on the other hand, says that 85 to 90 percent of Muslims in Germany are neither organized nor go to mosques.

Hope for change

In November the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany celebrated its tenth anniversary. There are now more than a dozen offshoots worldwide, including in France, Morocco, the USA and Sri Lanka.

If you enter the search term “Ex-Muslim” on Google, you will come across almost three million hits. "The Internet is to Islam what print media was to Christianity," says Maryam Namazie, founder of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Great Britain.

The Islam expert Reinhard Schulze also considers Islamic law to be changeable: “The conflict with the Western legal conception did not arise until the 19th century. One can also interpret Islamic law in such a way that it is no longer state law - and no longer has any sovereignty in criminal law. "

Go consciously on the offensive

Then ex-Muslims would no longer have to fear an official death penalty. This would not protect them from attacks by individuals. Most ex-Muslims therefore want to remain anonymous. Or, like Nariman, only speak up using a pseudonym.

Amed Sherwan deliberately goes on the offensive. He reported the employee of the Flensburg Refugee Aid to the police because of a death threat. But the surveillance video that the young Kurd referred to has no sound. The prosecution closed the investigation again.

Since then, Amed has not only come out as an atheist on Facebook. He also appears as a speaker at events critical of Islam. His hope: "One day it just has to be completely normal for someone to call themselves an ex-Muslim."

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