The Atheist Muslim speaks to millions of closeted atheists and agnostics across the Muslim world unable to speak out without facing devastating consequences.
In much of the Muslim world, religion is the central foundation upon which family, community, morality, and identity are built. This deep incorporation of religion in Muslim societies—and the taboos associated with criticizing it—have forced a new generation of non-believing Muslims to face the heavy costs of abandoning their parents’ religion: being disowned by their families, marginalized from their communities, imprisoned or even sentenced to death by their governments.
Struggling to reconcile the conservative Muslim society he’s living in with his progressive values as a student of science and medicine, Ali A. Rizvi secretly loses his faith. Discovering that there are many others like him, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to take on extremism and represent the voices all too often quashed before they reach the mainstream media—the atheist Muslims.
An intimate exploration of a rarely heard voice—the Muslim who dares to proclaim his non-belief—and the challenges faced by a growing number of Muslims who have left the Islamic faith, yet still embrace the Muslim identity.
In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two mainstream narratives in a post-9/11 world: Islamic extremism on the one hand and anti-Muslim bigotry on the other. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam—as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas—without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.