I was born in 1993 in Tripoli, Lebanon to a Palestinian family that was moderately conservative. My first awareness of religion was when I was playing with my cousin, she said to me many times "Don't do this or Allah will hang you and burn you in Hell", later I ran to my mother and asked her "who is Allah?!" and she explained with the typical Abrahamic beliefs, that he is our creator, all-powerful and all-knowing. My family was not as poor as the typical Palestinian family was in Lebanon because my parents worked in Gulf-countries. During my early childhood, my father and mother taught me about a merciful loving God that watch over us and makes sure that he punished all those who harm others and rewards those who have done good. My father was the Pan-Arabist Nationalist type of man, who respected both Christians and Muslims and believed that they should work together to improve the Arab world and fight Israel, he didn't have much knowledge of the Islamic texts and the same was my mother's case, a simple working woman who took Islam as an identity from her parents, so both had no knowledge of Shariah. That was actually an age when Palestinians were at the end of the revolutionist age and Abdul-Naser era that was somehow more communist, revolutionist and nationalist than Islamic.
Unfortunately or fortunately, my father decided to give me education in a mostly Muslim Palestinian school. Every week or so, we had a religion class, in the first few years it was interesting and inspiring, they taught us prophet stories, that symbolized the triumph of Justice and belief. As a child, my interest in such stories grew more and more. I also liked the Koran, as I thought it looked beautiful and artistic, and read it ritually, without really understanding much since the Arabic it had is quite old and different from our spoken language. I have noticed however, that my interest in Muhammad's story was minimal compared to the others since his position was not that of a weak commoner such as that of Jesus. My father used to believe, because of the Arabist propaganda at that time, that Islam is a tolerant religion allowing anyone to practice free-thought and the religion they believe in or even no religion and that Islamic conquests were nothing but self-defense against nations that attacked Arabs (As most Pan-Arabist, he mistakenly thinks that Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt etc.. were Arabic-speaking before Islam) such as the Persian and Byzantine empires and that people flocked to Islam and converted because of its "great" morals and way of life.
Once, in a religion class, my teacher was teaching about charity, she said that it is a great thing to give a Sadaqa or Zakat to the poor Muslim people and suddenly one student asked "If you are in a Western country, how do you give Zakat or Sadaqa?" and she said "There are many Muslims in those countries as well as groups that work in such areas. Also it is possible to give money to people in your home-country because of the ability to send it in our modernly connected world" I was amazed of what she was saying and I asked her "Can't you just give it to the poor Christian people in that country?", She said "NO! because such people will not know how to use it properly, they will simply use it for things that Allah forbids such as drinking or smoking", I said "Isn't this the case with many Muslims too?", she said "No, because Muslims have the morals not to indulge in such activities". I was amazed at what she said, and that was the first time I sensed some hatred in Islam.
Class after class and year after year I have got too many Islamic ideas that are worth criticizing and were quite not moral. For example I have noticed the undermining of females where the prophet surprisingly says it literally "They have half-brains", I truely objected it and my teachers tried to explain that he meant that they are sensitive so they lack logic. And I thought to myself that men are more likely to go physically offensive so women have more sanity on that side. Also, if the prophet was smart enough he would have simply said "They are sensitive so in some situations they would lack logic" which would sound more like what they said ,although not precisely true, instead of saying it in such an offensive way. Many other things made me question Islam including:
- Extreme punishments for adultery, theft etc.. such as cutting hands, lashing, and the worst, stoning to death!!
- Apostates' punishment which is execution, clearly reflected how Islam is not supportive of free thought.
- The rule of men over women, showed how much Islam is not supporting general respect to people who are weaker or thought to be so (even hitting her!!).
- Jihad, which I thought was only self-defense, ask Muslims to attack other countries, which shows Islam is not that convincing to spread its word peacefully.
- Jizya or tax paid by Jews and Christians.
- Quranic errors, where Jews say Ezra (Uzayr) is the son of God, or Zoroastrians worshiping fire which clearly reflects that the author(s) of the Quran where not that knowledgeable.
- Local knowledge of the Quran. The book seems to have limited knowledge of the world, mainly desert, Arabia based as well as things copied from the bible.
- Muhammad's 10 wives (and two war captives I found later), one of which was 9. Who cannot marry after Muhammad's death.
- Hatred towards art, music, drawing, love, etc...
- Only Muslims go to heaven!!
- Homosexuals should be executed in Islam.
- Hatred toward all non-Muslims and their culture.
- Men can hit their wives.
- Women should cover up as if they are only offspring machines.
- Claiming that Islam is the only monotheistic religion, which is not the case.
But the final thing that lead me to totally abandon Islam was when our teacher said that right hand possessions mean female captives who were captured at war and men are allowed to rape them and even exchange them as gifts (I thought Muslims don't harm innocents or theft them), at that point the typical sexual and moral claims of Islam broke all together down in my brain. And I stumbled surprised at my teacher who spoke it confidently and clearly and later looked at my female classmates who had the faces of faithful obedience. At that point Islam lost its credibility and I went on a long journey to find a new religion. I began researching, from Buddhism to Baha'i faith to New Age Spiritualism to Neo-paganism to New Age religion... and finally to Agnosticism.
Later, I investigated the history of how Islam was spread. Destroying other cultures, nations, languages, civilizations etc.. and I found out that the so called Islamic golden age was not really Islamic, its scientists were simply Middle Eastern Persian or Arabic creative people who some of were Atheists (like Farabi etc..) while others had secular-like lives (Ibn Sina (Abisinai) etc..). I found that Islam is uncivilized and anti-artistic, that's why most Muslim countries have largely illiterate populations, and are always flocking to non-Muslim countries to do what Islam prevents them from doing.
As a Palestinian, I also adopted a new vision for my people. A vision based on creating a secular, highly educated Palestinian society in Israel, Palestinian territories and in the diaspora. To present our cause in a humanitarian way, rather than Islamic. By diplomacy and presenting facts instead of throwing rockets blindly into the skies. To get our rights by educating people about our history, by understanding the other side, by asking for recognition to our exodus, by opposing violence, by empowering the surviving Palestinian communities, by accepting the two-state solution, by empowering the Palestinians remaining in Israel, by asking for compensations, and finally by adopting a firm national and cultural identity that prevents extremists from using us and our cause.
I now realize that Islam is not a loving or peaceful religion at all, and I realized why too many people hate it. I am strongly opposing any Islamic interference in government and people's lives and sometimes I go with the offensive actions if needed. I am also currently trying to spread awareness between my friends who some of them already adopting my thought.