How I almost lost my job for my exmuslim activism

The high price of speaking about Islam

I had mentioned in a previous post that there were threats made against me. I am not talking about your garden variety internet trolls who threaten to murder anyone that stands up for just about anything. I’m talking about individuals who are trying to harm me in real life.

To begin, over the last 3 years, I have received many internet death threats. Mostly, I did not take them seriously, because… the internet. To be more serious, I kept my personal details as private as possible. I did not share my employment details online and scrubbed the internet of my personal details. It sucks I had to do this because it hurts my career prospects, but I did it to be careful.

However, this didn’t stop them. Best I can guess, a Muslim who I trusted in real life has leaked personal information about me to others who are campaigning against me.

This is now serious. This group of people has taken it to the next level. This is no longer internet trolling. They are trying to hurt me in real life.

My employer has received phone complaints by one or more individuals that I have bigoted views against Islam and that they should fire me from my job.

I have also recently received a threat from a certain online individual, whom I will not name because the police have got involved, that I had 24 hours to comply to his demands and remove certain content I put online, or my public information would be leaked online. This means they are threatening to share a bunch of personal details about me (known as ‘doxxing’).

I did not comply with the demands. I went to the police, and I also contacted CSIS. The police took down the information I had and asked me to block this individual.

Not all Muslims agree with this. Many supported me. I had an active member of the dawah community offer to help me: He provided me details that he knew and offered to speak to police as a witness for what happened. Even though he did not agree with me or what I was saying online, he wanted me to know him and ensured me that the senior members of the community were completely against this attack on me.

I no longer know which Muslims I can trust. You think someone is your friend but their allegiance is to Allah first and they’d happily ruin you because of what you are saying against their Prophet and religion.

Trying to get me fired hurts my wife and kids who have nothing to do with this.

Posting my personal information online puts my life at some level of risk. There are nutcases in the real world who would love to take down an “enemy of Allah”. They will take one for the team even if it means they go to jail for life. What happened with Charlie Hebdo is a very real possibility. Am I scared? A bit

Will I back down?

No, I will not. We need to be brave and stand up against bullies and terrorists everywhere.

I have said nothing wrong. I have asserted my right to disbelieve. Yes, it may offend you. But we live in a civilized society where you can be offended and click “block”, or “unfriend”, or “unsubscribe”, or walk away if you are having a conversation.

It is wrong for someone to threaten violence or vilify an entire group of people assuming they all are the same. That is the path to the dark side. I am against bigots of all types who try to classify all religious people as the same “nutjobs” or try to classify all Muslims as “potential terrorists”. This is nonsense.

I believe in the right to free speech. I believe in democracy and I believe in secularism. In the right to believe or disbelieve. Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or Sikhs, be them black or white should be equal in the eyes of the law. Whether man or woman, gay or straight. Everyone deserves a right to self-determinism, to speak their mind, and to agree or disagree. To reject, to apostate, or to convert. To be themselves. And to be safe no matter how they identify.

I’m an atheist, but I support people’s freedom to worship. I will fight for the right of believers to practise their religion as long as they do not force it onto others. Their rights end where others’ rights begin.

And you know what I believe we live in one of the best times and if you are lucky like me, in one of the best societies in the world right now. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “the dignity and worth of the human person” and committed all member states to promote “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”.

Women have better rights today than ever before. Not too long ago marital rape was not even a crime. Minorities have better rights today than ever before. Children have better rights than ever before. And we need to protect these rights and continue to refine and improve them when we can.

Is that not something worth fighting for?

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Husband, dad to five, tech enthusiast. Former Conservative Muslim. www.abdullahsameer.com

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