Waleed Al-Husseini founded the Council of Ex-Muslims of France. He escaped the Palestinian Authority after torture and imprisonment in Palestine to Jordan and then France. He is an ex-Muslim and atheist. Here is an educational series on ex-Muslims in France, just for you, part 1.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How did they torture you in Palestine?
Waleed Al-Husseini: It was many ways. They were left me standing most of the day and only slept 2 hours with only one meal of food in the afternoon. Some standing on one leg while I’m up on my hands. Sometimes, they left me to stand on small bottles! After it, they made me run to not have marks cos of that. And some beating with electric things, this was 4-month from 10 months I spent in jail!
Jacobsen: What was the purported crime?
Al-Husseini: Insulting the feeling of Muslims, insulting the gods of religion, and making trouble in the society. It was a military court.
Jacobsen: What did you write about? Why were you such a threat with mere words?
Al-Husseini: I had my blog in Arabic, which was, in the beginning, questioning Islam and discussing the issues in the Quran, then I start crisis Islam and Quran and Mohammed’s life and showing that Mohammed was just a man who lived his life in the 7th century like everyone, and showing that the Quran has nothing special in it. Quran is a product its time and era.
I explained my atheism, and why I’m atheist and why I left Islam.
Jacobsen: With the foundation of the Council of Ex-Muslims of France, what is the main value for the members there? How do you build ties with the international ex-Muslim community?
Al-Husseini: Our values are based on humanity, universalism, and the laïcité values. We are fighting for the right of non-believers and leaving Islam. We fight for women rights; we fight for the civil rights!
How we build ties in the conference, such as the one in London, through this, we make people feel not alone. We give them the power to contact us. For me, I am sure there is at least one ex-Muslim in every family!
But they can’t speak in public because of the danger involved in it. I got arrested. Another got killed. Others still live hidden because someone will kill them. Others are waiting for one of these options.
Jacobsen: Is the problem inherent in the doctrine and principles, figures, and ideals of Islam, or in the surrounding culture, or something else, predominantly?
Al-Husseini: The problem is Islam, even most values in the culture come from Islam. I don’t mean political Islam, Wahhabism or whatever you wish to call it. I mean Islam itself, from the Quran and Mohammed’s life.
Jacobsen: What do those that have not been in the situations you and countless others have been in not get? Why is it crucial for them to understand this?
Al-Husseini: These people only who live in Europe or America. Often, they have never been Muslims. That is why they will never understand it. Even the situation of ex-Muslims, if you told them about this person was killed and another was arrested, they will answer it’s not Islam instead it’s the government. They will assert it is a special case!
These people have little knowledge about Islam and what it is. They just know about Islam and what they hear from their close friends!
Some of them are blind!
Jacobsen: Thank you for taking the time once more, Waleed, always a pleasure, my friend.
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