Many have asked us “What do you all do in the group. Do you have meetups and such?”
Yes, we do. We try to meet up as often as possible after all we are a support group. Occasionally we organize talk for our group members. We had just recently for the public. In May 2019 , we had a sharing session entitled “Sharing of Experience in raising children as Ex-Muslim”
This is when ex Muslim parents come together and share their challenges in raising their children. I will post gradually some of the stories shared by these parents and how they overcome these challenges.
Parent 1: Malay [ Atheist ] married to an Indian practising Hindu.
I exposed my daughter to all the different religions. I brought her several times to Novena Church, Buddhists, and the Chinese temple. We sat there quietly and observed how they did their worshipping and later at home talked about it.
When my brother got married, had his Akad nikah in the mosque, we went there too. Both of us were so excited, as we put on our “baju kurung” and our “tudung”, and made our way into the mosque. For me, it’s like walking into the past, reminiscing of how I once used to attend religious classes and the talks in the mosque. I would always try to sit right in front because I do not want to miss anything. That was many years ago. Do I miss it?.
No, to me it belonged in the past and that is where it will remain, but for my daughter, it’s something new. With our tudung, we sat together with our relatives & friends observing the Akad Nikah. I could see my daughter looking around. She was fascinated with a small group of people praying at a little corner and the simplicity of the mosque inner surrounding as compared to the Hindu temple she’s so familiar with. That night we talked about the whole experience.
She asked a lot of questions and I tried to answer her as much as I know.
Then she asked “why do you move away from the religion?” and I told her. Even though I’ve moved away from the religion of my birth, I still maintain contact with my siblings. I will visit my relatives during Hari Raya together with them and my daughter will join in too in these visits. I used that moment to meet up with my cousins and relatives.
I never try to influence my daughter’s spiritual upbringing. Heaven and hell do not exist in our conversation especially when we talk about doing good to another person. I told her, you should always try to help another who is in trouble, because its the right thing to do. It’s about seeing another as yourself.
If you do not want others to treat you badly, then don’t do it to another.
She came back one day, looking very confused after hanging out with her cousin [ who is a Muslim ].
She asked me “what is halal?” And I explained to her. Apparently, they went out for lunch and she’s having a hard time understanding why her cousin cannot eat the Chinese chicken rice. Her cousin keeps on saying that it’s not halal.
My way of approach is to expose her to all and talk about it. I encouraged her to ask questions no matter how sensitive it may be.
Over the years we talked about sex, about LBGT, about same-sex marriage, about religion and theories on the origin of life.
I asked my husband once “what happens if our daughter falls in love with a Muslim guy and she wants to convert. How will you react?”
Such a question is too much to ask of him now. He doesn’t even want to think about it. But for me, I am open. My daughter must know what she is into. I will not stop her. That is why I told her what she needs to know. Why I left the faith. But if she came back to us and say “I’ve made a mistake, and I want to renounce Islam”.
She should be able to do so. I will make sure of that. Even if I am not alive, somebody will be there to help her out.
When its time for her to collect her IC, the lady at the counter asked “Your religion?”. She looked at me, and I told her “it’s your choice”. She put it on the paper “Free Thinker”.
I was so proud of her.
Parent 2: Conversation with Ebramshah H. D. [ EB ]
[EB] Well I always emphasize to my kids to always help people in any way they can daily…. be kind to animals, & never judge others…..Eat everything that u like & do not care about other opinions …. just do you… n let them do them… I enforce this on a daily basis until its second nature
[CEMSG] Spiritual aspect?
[EB] There is no spiritual stuff in my household
[CEMSG ] Religious?
[CEMSG ] How about relatives or friends.. they do not pressure ur children? kenapa tak sembahyang.. tak puasa?
[EB] We don’t do that. Will be my kids’ answers. Before they scared to answer (years ago). But now very berani to be very blunt. My kids bring bacon sandwiches and tell the Malay students sorry can’t share with u. It’s pork
[CEMSG ] they must be so shocked?
[EB] I train them hard, and it’s paying off. Took years For them to very confidently. If only all ex Muslim atheists do this. We will have non-Muslim Malays more open out thereBut ramai takut kena bilis. If like that sampai kiamat pun tak kan maju. So I just do my part for the ex Muslim atheist
[CEMSG ] How do they react?
[EB ] Technically in my kids’ school All the Malays know that my kids are pork eating people …. And their reason “my parents don’t practice Islam”They are non-believers. Then the rest is how they react
[CEMSG] I can imagine
[EB] Sometimes I do have feedback from my kids Especially ….
[CEMSG] and what are the feedback
[EB] During ramadhan. My daughter will counter “Mana tudung? Dah sembahyang?”
[EB] Kenapa tak go study madrasah if u cant wear tudung in government school This is my daughter’s rebuttal wen Malay students ask stupid questions. It will shut then off. Now, all Don’t dare disturb my kids. My 2 daughters are sec 3 n sec 4 already. So they now can handle themselves with all these hypocrites.I always ask them at dinner time. How their day at school isand what they say? Nowadays nothing lah. During early sec days yes Kids heran why they are “different” That’s when I start packing pork sandwiches for them.
[CEMSG] I can imagine
[EB] Usually bacon n ham. So they can send a message. Now its a norm. Once they are used to it, it becomes a norm. Until the Malays can ask them if they can share tak? Hoping it’s halal. Then my daughter will answer sometimes “ok today can cornbeef” but not sure halal or not. My first daughter favourite quote now is turkey bacon aint bacon.
Parent 3: IZ
[IZ] I am not expecting this…My 12 years old daughter just came to me and say ‘Dad, I need to talk to you about religion’ I was shocked initially.. But I remained composed.. I ask her what is it? She says she doesn’t believe in religion although she still believes there’s a creator, She is expecting me to bash her and scold her for reading and believing what she read on the internet…
My answer to her, I am accepting you no matter what your belief is (I did not disclose my stand on Islam) but please for the moment keep it to yourself first…I don’t know how my wife will react …Then she talks about science to me, telling me there is no science in the Quran, all the things in the Quran had been explained by the scientist with proven facts and theories..but not the Quran…
She got pissed off during one of her Madrasah lessons when she asks her ustazah that all the while the Muslims are following the religion without even asking whether the rituals really came from God or the prophet invented it.
The Ustazah could not answer her… That’s why she came to me…I think I need to start to teach her the correct thing…She’s having PSLE this year. I am telling her to concentrate on her studies and will discuss this matter in depth after the exams.Her reply:— I can’t wait for 5th October (last day of PSLE – I think….) I will come back to you dad!!!
OMG…my daughter (youngest) is only 12years old. I will teach her how to argue with her Ustazah, I will be proud of the Madrasah kicks her out..at least nobody going to blame me for taking her out…I’ve got no issue with this, I believe everybody had the freedom of choice and that includes my family.I am surrounded by Muslims all the while..and managed to “take care of them*…for me in order to be critical of the religion…you must learn what the religion is teaching… And its the onus on my part to prove the teaching is wrong.
[CEMSG] How is she handling it?
[IZ] And I should say she is thinking more of a non-muslim. I am advising my daughter just to remain normal. During fasting month…she did not fast. I told my wife…just respect her decision as long as she is obedient to the family.