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“Lately I’ve become more comfortable with another term, one which is equally unpopular on both sides of the debate: “cultural Muslim”. Muslims don’t like the term for obvious reason: asking why “Muslim” should need a qualifier or questioning the right of an atheist to use the word “Muslim” at all. For ex-Muslims it can sound too accommodating, like a prevarication about belief when a clear rejection is what is required. Certainly it’s not perfect. I would much prefer the description “secular agnostic utilitarian rationalist reductionist humanist with cultural Muslim influences”, but that won’t fit on my business card. The point I am trying to make is that merely describing yourself by your lack of belief in a particular religion does not do justice to the tapestry of different influences and experiences that go to make up a person. Nor to the fact that we are located in particular socio-cultural context. […] For me the issue is about engagement. I believe we have an opportunity to explore, reflect and engage with our common heritage in a positive fashion, rather than focusing on the dissociative stigma of the ex-Muslim tag for which I am, rather unfortunately, well known. I find believers are more amenable that way, and more importantly, it yields results. For the first time this debate can bring two important and largely ignored groups together; the self-segregated irreligious and the forsaken Muslims liberals. Together they hold the key to lasting bottom-up reform within the Ummah, just as the same groups did with the Church’s Reformation. We can each support and promote our common cause against Islamic extremism. If anything can bridge the existing impasse, negativity and inertia within the today’s Islamic World, I’m all for it.”
— What’s a ‘Cultural Muslim’? (x)
yes I’m all for this
I’m an ‘ex-muslim’ but at the same time I can’t separate myself from Islam. cultural muslims exist and anyone who has grown up in a muslim country is essentially a cultural muslim. but uniting liberal muslims and ex muslims sounds almost impossible because of the huge stigma and the fact that it’s actually illegal to be an ex muslim (in saudi at least) and liberal muslims don’t want to appear to be in the same category of murtadeen.