"A tsunami of apostasy", "an avalanche of apostasy", "apostasy spreading like wildfire", exclamations of this kind abound where the phenomenon of Muslims abandoning Islam is broached. Beyond simply stating the fact, further analysis tends to go no further than inquiring whether the new ex-Muslim adopts another religion or leaves religion altogether. It is, apparently, a matter of grave concern to enough Christians to have spawned an entire catch-them-for-Jesus industry on social media. Beyond that, not much to see here.
A week ago today, 9 July 2022, Jalal Tagreeb, a former Muslim from the Levant, published his cathartic In his cage by Eid essay on this website. Acknowledgement of his forthrightness and humility are still flooding in from far and wide. All of this Jalal rightly deserves. By way of my own comment, I would like to add what I see in Jalal's "complete downfall". The reader familiar with the events surrounding Jalal's apostasy may well wonder why, if he had been so roundly defeated in his attempts to defend Islam already at the end of 2021, and he accepted his defeat at the time, he should only announce his complete downfall more than six months later. In his own words:
At the end of 2021, Secularists and Christians succeeded in defeating me as a Muslim apologist ...I will explain in detail how they won all arguments in a logical and rigorous way in a series of articles that will be published this year. However, although I admitted my defeat and surrendered, there was a consensus that my case should not be presented as normal convert from Islam. Because this will paint a false picture of who I was, since I was not neutral and seeking the truth by doing my research. Rather, I was a hard-headed apologist who intentionally attacked Secularists and Christians through debates, vowed and took an oath to win. (My emphasis).
It seemed to me that Jalal's wish to do penance for what he had intended to do to secularists and Christians once he had defeated them in debate – humiliate them in the worst way he could think of – his defeat was punishment in itself and he never did get to carry out his intended humiliation of secularists and Christians.
Jalal was impressed with this website, and especially with the diagram above, depicting the murtadd's transformation from Muslim to fully human. I had failed to appreciate that Jalal's journey from murtadd to human would necessarily be different to that of someone whose departure from Islam can be traced as the culmination of a series of development over a more or less extended period.
In his cage by Eid, as I see it, was closure on Jalal's exit from Islam. The "0" between "Muslim" and "murtadd" is not an instant, not just a point in time; it has substance, and it requires engagement. For Jalal, a Muslim who crashed out of Islam, that substance would be great and the engagement thorough.
Tying his apostasy and the manner of its occurrence back to the defeat and humiliation of Sultan Beyazid I was inspired; making this connection public on Eid al-Adha, the holiest day of the holy month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the very month in which the Sultan was brought low for his arrogance and aggression, was pure genius. To Muslims, this timing truly announces Jalal's ultimate defeat.
I would like to return to Jalal's account of the dramatic events at the end of 2021. In the quotation above, I drew attention to "this will paint a false picture of who I was," and "since I was not neutral and seeking the truth by doing my research." Here I see also Jalal's message to ex-Muslims, even if he did not intend it. Jalal does not harp on about his being an ex-Muslim. That would indeed paint a false picture of who he is. There is a great deal more to this man than the way the English language happens to describe one's relationship to one's past: "I am a past-tense person." Fine, you are an ex-Muslim, but what are you now? That Jalal draws directly on history to derive insights about himself is a life lesson that many a Western former Muslim would benefit from. It is also unwanted.
So many ex-Muslims are "not neutral and seeking the truth." They do do research, but only to reinforce their prejudices, especially towards white critics of Islam, and more especially if the latter have never been Muslim. They display all the arrogance of Beyazid I in their dealings with such critics. They are far from neutral, and quite unashamed about dismissing out of hand any new information that appears, on the face of it, to contradict any sacred belief they happen to hold, such as the insistence that no one leaves Islam because of Muslims. To admit something like this would be to admit that Muslims must be criticised. This they can never do, for it would betray the Left, the very people whose validation they crave. Jalal's criticism of Beyazid is out of bounds for them, as it would mean criticising a Muslim.
Some would object that they do criticise Muslims, especially their more laughable antics and utterances, but when they do, the objects of their ridicule are not identified as "Muslims", but as "imams", "mulvis", "ayatollahs", "sheikhs", "mufti" and the like. The office is set up as a shield behind which to insulate and protect Muslims from criticism. This malaise afflicts particularly Western ex-Muslims, who are, for the most part, steeped in identity politics. Ex-Muslims are a "community", a "minority within a minority", a "movement", as if leaving Islam began with them and is led by them. Some make this claim explicitly, others imply it by their actions and choices of words.
Here is an ex-Muslim from the Levant providing one of the finest examples of what an ex-Muslim's attitude towards himself or herself could be: start painting a true picture of who you are, and be neutral in seeking the truth by doing your research, rather than conforming to what "activists" are supposed to say, think and believe.