It’s no longer a secret now that I’m an official Murtad (apostate), with papers but what perplexes many people is why I’m so loud about my apostasy and dedication about smashing the taboo of apostasy in Singapore. The short answer is, Islamism is on the rise here, it might not be as extreme as the cases we’ve seen in Europe but there is a visible push for a more Islamic Malay community here whereby the Malay identity is interchangeable with the word Muslim. Soon enough, people like myself will be without an ethnicity due to the constitution and it’s vague description on what a “Malay” is. We are seeing the death of the Malay culture in favour of a more Islamic one.
To give a recent example on why this is a concern to me, I recently sent my mother off the airport for her holiday trip, of all her friends that came to see her off, only 1 and my auntie reciprocated my offer to Salam (shake hands), this is odd to me because being raised Malay I was taught that salam is a sign of respect but apparently now because everyone wants to be so Islamic, shaking hands with unrelated male individuals is not permissible. Sure all of them wore the tudung but I never saw this as a problem as older Malay women tend to pick up this habit, mainly because of hair issues.
But then during Hari Raya celebrations, most of my female cousins around 20 – 35, were wearing their tudungs as well, again a trend that I found odd. The Baju Raya for Malay women has always been something that is modest looking and growing up the tudung was not a big part of this costume with the younger generation until now.
There are so many other examples of how the Malay culture and traditions are being replaced by Islamic ones, another one is in the language. I’m sure by now you’ve noticed me using Tudung instead of Hijab and Hari Raya instead of Eid, other Malay words being replaced by their Arabic counterpart, Sembayang (Pray) – Soalat and Buka Puasa (break fast) – Iftar.
I’ve also been told many times that the word “Murtad” and “Ex-Muslim” is uncomfortable for Muslims and many a times told to keep this fact to myself and not let it out to preserve family honour. Which to be honest, actually makes me want to be more in your face about my apostasy. My existence (and the existence of other ex-Muslims) supersedes your feelings, why? Because it’s not healthy for us to continue living in the closet and leading a double life. This is the kind of thing that slowly but surely destroys a person psychologically especially when they cannot be honest with those they love.
For example, I lost my father before I could come out in the open with my apostasy and to this day it still tears me up inside because I will never know if he can accept me for who I am.
Back to the original question, why am I so loud about my advocacy for Ex-Muslim apostates in Singapore and so vehement against the Islamisation of the Malay community? To summarize, it’s because I want those of us who have left the faith to be able to still remain with and have good relations with our families, this is simply not possible if the Malay community continues to turn it’s back on it’s cultures and traditions to adopt an idealized arabized version of Islam which treats apostates like we’re outcasts and dangerous people to the Ummah who will lead your faithful children away from the path of Islam, and even if we do talk about the difficult topic that makes your children question the path you’ve laid out for them, is it no their choice to make for themselves?
This is why at Council of Ex-Muslims of Singapore, our primary goal is to preserve the family unit by smashing the taboo of apostasy, so apostates no longer have to lead double lives worried that their families will find out and disown them and Muslims here need to stop fetishizing this whimsical arabic gold standard of Islam and put their families first and show support to their family members who have chosen to leave the faith from the negative attitudes that is sure to follow from this revelation.
CEMSG – Contributor