Last week, the Daily Californian, an independent student-run newspaper serving the UC Berkeley campus, published a really terrific op-ed by a former Muslim:
Until I was 14, I simply accepted everything I’d been told about Islam. I was taught that being born into a Muslim family is a blessing and is the greatest gift that Allah can bestow upon someone. I initially thought the Sunni path I followed was the one true path, just like my Shia, Bori and Ismaili friends adhered to the teachings of the sects their families followed. I noticed how everyone around me claimed to have a monopoly on the truth, which made me question who was actually right. I started to view Islam — and religion in general — as something dogmatic, irrational, unscientific and, most of all, completely sexist.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Islam, it’s that my former religion, just like any other ideology, has its flaws. Religion should not be immune to criticism. It’s important to have an honest dialogue about religion and identify what can be improved — and that’s exactly what I plan to do.
It’s a very personal piece that, in many ways, defends Islam. Even though the author may not subscribe to it anymore, she believes the faith has been marred by misinterpretations and stereotypes and says she’ll work to fix that.
But it won’t happen with that article.
This opinion blog has been retracted because of personal safety concerns.
Personal safety concerns. Because she had the audacity to say she’s no longer Muslim. She argued that the stereotypes were often unfair… yet someone is now perpetuating them.
I’ve asked the newspaper’s editor-in-chief if she can explain more about what happened — whether there was a nasty comment or a personal threat, or if the author simply had second thoughts after the piece was published. I’ll post an update if/when I hear back.
In the meantime, while I don’t want to share the author’s name on this site (or link to an archived version of the article), her piece can still be read in its entirety here.
(Image via Shutterstock)