DoctorE

Turtles all the way down

The ex-Muslim Britons who are persecuted for being atheists

Posted by doctore0 on September 28, 2015


Many people take for granted the right to choose to leave the religion of their childhood. But not everybody has that choice, writes Samira Ahmed.

It sounds like a crime from a medieval history book. Apostasy is the decision to renounce a faith and/or convert to another religion.

It’s not recorded in the Census, but the 2011 figures show the number of people in England and Wales who say they have no religion nearly doubled in the 10 years since 2001 to a quarter of the population.

In the same time the number of Muslims in England and Wales grew by 80% to 2.7 million.

And among some of Britain’s urban Muslims – nearly half of whom were born in the UK and are under 24 – there’s a belief that leaving Islam is a sin and can even be punished by death.

An investigation for the BBC has found evidence of young people suffering threats, intimidation, being ostracised by their communities and, in some cases, encountering serious physical abuse when they told their families they were no longer Muslims.

There are also local councils that seem to have little awareness of the issue or any policy on how to protect these vulnerable young people.
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