[CEMSG] Thank you for your willingness to talk to us and share your experience. We hope this conversation will lead us to a better understanding of our role as Ex-Muslim. So let me start by asking: What makes you come forward and be an activist particularly as Ex-Muslim Activist.
[EMA] Moral Obligations.
[CEMSG] Can you elaborate further?
[EMA] They advertise to the whole world when there’s a new convert. They want the whole world to know about it. So why can’t we do the same? You remember MMS?
[CEMSG] Yes MMS.. fond memories of that group. That’s how it got me all started. [ Note: MMS stands for Murtad from Malaysia and Singapore. A FB page created about 7-8 years ago and was very active then ]
[EMA] You know what’s the greatest challenge we face? To be visible online particularly in FB. How many times our group got shot down. We are just being critical of Islam. We tell them the truth about Islam as we see it. We received several threats in our inbox “eeh kau dah murtad tu, diam diam saje lah. Buat apa nak advertise advertise ni” [ translated : eeew you has already left the religion, why don’t you keep quiet. No need to advertise it ]
And my reply will be “eeeeh kau ni kalau orang masuk islam bukan main lagi.. announce the whole world pulak. So why can’t we do the same”
Another asked me via an analogy “you’re born up there in the castle… the beautiful castle. I’m told you can have anything you want… and it so peaceful and wonderful. I want to know why you choose to leave the castle? I need to know as I plan to go up there too…. I saw them waving at me, encouraging me to come. But before I do so, I like to know why you leave”
What should I do? Should I just keep quiet .. and let this person go ahead and experience it…or should I tell him the truth.. as to why I leave? Don’t I have the moral obligation to provide the information…so that this person will not turn around later and tell me.. “I asked.. you know and yet you never tell me”.
What would you all do?
Another said “Look man, stop it. Don’t do it. Should they find you, they will kill you. You think even if ur in public, they will not do anything. They can”
You know, our spiritualism is all about fear. We fear hell about punishment, about the wrath of Allah and all.. We are so afraid of our fears that we become so numb with fear. If we don’t do it who else would?
[CEMSG] How did you get to know this MMS group and their members. Who are they? The group still active?
[EMA] I came across them by accident actually. I never thought that there will be such “Muslims”. The term murtad, I heard it a long time during my younger days, in my many religious classes. They talk about murtad… their punishment etc. But never thought I would meet one in person. But I did. In one of my trips up to Kuala Lumpur, I was introduced to them. I heard their stories… and their fears. Listening to them makes me glad that I’m from Singapore. And when I heard of how some of them hunted down like criminals, it made me so angry. It’s not right. You cannot force people to believe.
Initially, they called themselves Apostate of Islam, Malaysia [ I think ] then to Apostate from Malaysia and Singapore. But we wanted a name that will have the punch.. an impact. We know how they hated the murtads. They called us many names and murtads one of them. Even the educated Muslim hate the name murtads. So we say.. okay since they hated that name, we will use it. We will make it so popular that the word murtad will become so common. My goal is to change this whole perception. The name murtad will be synonymous with courage and bravery.
The group admins are from Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak, plus Singapore. We all work as a team. We have one common goal.. to expose Islam as It is, as we know. In my opinion, the answer to the rise of extremisms is us the murtads. We’ve been there, we went through the process, so we know.. we understand the weakness and their strength.
The group has become huge and we decided to diversify into geographical groupings. We have the Murtads from Sabah and Sarawak, Murtads from Pantai Timur and Murtads from Singapore.
[EMA] Most of CEMSG members are from the Singapore murtad group. Like many groups, we evolve. We want to educate people… provide the information. Look like renunciation. MUIS will not tell you that there’s an avenue one can take if they want to renounce. As usual, if the nonmuslim converts, they put a front page for everybody to know, but when one wants to renunciate, they pretend don’t know. So we take it as our duty to do it.
[CEMSG] So anger made you become more active in this movement?
[EMA] I am angry yes but I do not hate. I do not hate religion nor Islam. I am angry when people are being bullied especially spiritually.
[CEMSG] Lets go back to your younger days. Are you a practicing Muslim before you join this movement?
[EMA] Yes I was. Prayed 5x a day, I fast, I attended religious classes including Quran class and I always have this little tin where I will put in each day after school the balance of my school pocket money. My vision to perform my haji’s with these savings. Would you consider that as a devoted Muslim?
You see, we don’t wake up one morning and decided to be a murtad. To throw all those things we went through… as part of our upbringing. Its a process.. a transformation that takes years. A lot of soul searching and when you see of the things that happening around you.. you got pissed off. I did not request to be born as a woman, but since I am now, it’s not right to treat me as a second class “citizen”. Do you if somebody wants to convert to Islam, need 2 witnesses and must be men only.
[EMA] Read the AMLA law particularly on accepting new converts. Then I’m told, only the men can lead the prayers.. in berjemaah. A no no for a woman. So if you have a group and all women, even if the only man is a young boy, he should lead the prayers. Are you telling me, God, only accept the leadership of men in spiritual worship and not women? Why? These are the many issues to me that make no sense.
[CEMSG] So you’re quite open to your resistance. How does your working colleagues’ reaction towards you?
[EMA] Of course my other Malay Muslim friends at work are not happy with me. They call me names. Curse and swear behind my back. But you see, I do not depend on them. My life does not revolve around them. I have many other non-Malay non-muslim friends. At work, I am a team player. I did my work and I try to help everybody, even those who curse at me because ultimately those clients are my utmost priority.
*** Do you have any other question to ask EMA, please post it here or in or in our inbox. We will pass it on to her and answer in this thread. ***