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Dear Readers,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Faruq. I was born and brought up in Bangladesh in ’86. Major part of my life was spent in the Muslim majority locale of Bangladesh. I was born and brought up in a religious Sunni family. My entire family is a staunch believer in Allah and practice Islam. As a part of the family, I was also brought up in the Islamic way and introduced to religion and its teachings at an early age. Major part of my education had been completed in Bangladesh. Like other athiests, I have also gradually lost faith in religion and its teachings. Being born in a strict Muslim family, I always feared to question the religion. People would often ridicule or rebuke me for having thoughts that are considered to be against Islam. I realised soon that my expressions and views had no freedom in a majority Islamic country. I recently took to blogging to explain and reach out to fellow atheists, secularists and humanists like me, who are burdened by religion and are often left voiceless, like me. My life in Bangladesh was that of fear and suffocation.

My first taste of freedom and independence, had been when I came to the U.K to continue my higher education. Sooner, I realised how open minded and liberal this society was. I was no longer tied down to religious constraints and to family scrutiny of my personal actions. Many of my actions which I did, while living with my family were, what I now understand considered anti Islamic and therefore I was imposed further restrictions by my family. Indeed what they thought of as rebellious, was my inner conflict that I had when I realised that rationality and religion do not go hand in hand!. I have lived almost 7 years of my adulthood in the U.K and continue to cherish the societal acceptance and freedom that I have. Over the years, I have lost more than I have gained in my life, that includes friends and family. However, what I gained is a new found identity to live a life on my own terms. It is indeed sad that religion silences your freedom of expression and gives you multiple negative identities like ‘murdatt’ or ‘kafir’ if you were to go against them. Yes, it was hard for me to take a life changing decision. It took me time and patience to come out of the social stigma and depression. I am thankful to the one’s whose support and love.

Feel free to pen down your personal experiences too in the comment section.

Thanks

Faruq Ahmed

Atheist, secular humanist and online activist

“The quest for truth”

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