The Ex-Muslims of North America have just launched their first billboards in Atlanta, Chicago, and Houston with signs aimed at like-minded people: Those who were raised Muslim, and no longer believe its theology, but who may be hesitant to say so out loud for a variety of reasons.
The signs are part of the group’s #AwesomeWithoutAllah campaign.
The signs say “Nearly one in four Muslims raised in the US have left Islam” with the tagline “Godless. Fearless. Ex-Muslim.”
Why is this type of campaign so important? Because even if there’s no legal penalty for leaving the religion, there are large social and cultural ones. For some, the threat of violence looms large.
“In a dozen Muslim-majority countries, ex-Muslims are condemned to the death penalty”, said Muhammad Syed, President of Ex-Muslims of North America. “In the West, our existence is not a crime, but we still face isolation, threats, and abuse by our own families and former faith community. Unsurprisingly, many former Muslims choose to hide their lack of belief. But the first step to gain acceptance is coming out openly, without shame or fear.”
“We want closeted ex-Muslims to know they are not alone”, said Sarah Haider, Executive Director of Ex-Muslims of North America. “We also want them to know that while the prospect of coming out as nonreligious is frightening, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can make it to the other side, you can rebuild your life and find joy in the freedom from religion.”
According to EXMNA, the signs faced “several rounds of rejections, changes, and even one contract termination from companies afraid of offending religious sensibilities,” but they were ultimately approved in the three cities.
Details about the costs and length of the campaign weren’t available at the time of publication.