Enlightened – now what?

Having realised that Islam is not for you any more, you would be sensible to tread very carefully and possibly fear for your life. NZ Muslims are generally a little more open to differences of opinion than others around the world – but you cant take that for granted, so take care who you say what to.

Even mosques in the UK (eg Luton Islamic Centre) and Australia have issued statements calling for apostates to be killed.

Around the world, Muslim states that implement the Sharia law punish apostasy (rejection of Islam) with the death penalty. These include Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Additionally there are a number of other countries that impose lengthy prison sentences for Apostasy: Egypt, Jordan(?), Malaysia, Morocco, Oman and United Arab Emirates. Refer to the list of countries on the Wikipedia Apostasy page.

Clearly this is against the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Many Muslim countries disagreed with UDHR Article 18 shown below, despite having signed up to the UDHR in 1948 or thereafter. In 1990 some of these drafted and signed the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) which was signed by 45 Islamic countries. The CDHRI has some significant differences to the UDHR, some of which are discussed in an article by Dania Akkad at the London School of Economics.

UDHR – Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.


Article 24 of the declaration states: “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia.” Article 19 also says: “There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia.”

The CDHRI has been criticised for failing to guarantee freedom of religion, in particular the right of each and every individual to change their religion, as a “fundamental and nonderogable right”.

Next Steps

Having serious doubts about Islam or having rejected it entirely can leave you feeling isolated, as friends and family are probably not of the same view. Everyone needs someone they can trust and be open with, so we suggest that youcontact us at CEMNZ, use the online forum at www.councilofexmuslims.com and/or join a local Humanist or Skeptics group.