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The Blasphemer: The Price I Paid for Rejecting Islam

waleed alhusseini

Review: Simon Nielson

Walled al-Husseini "The Blasphemer: The Price I Paid for Rejecting Islam " 


Waleed al-Husseini is something as relatively rare as a 27-year-old politically active atheist with a Muslim background. In the public debate one can further mention Ayaan Hirsi Ali. As well as the emerged voice of Naser Khader in Denmark that has spoken up in the more recent years and who wrote the foreword to this book.

In this context it is interesting how Ayaan Hirsi Ali's latest book goes under the main title "Heretic" in which this book's French original main title is "Blasphémateur!." alHusseini goes into a precarious topic at full throttle in his showdown against religion. Religion has set his life in upheaval, it involves not only a spiritual existential crisis but also an actual danger to his own physical life. Although he is presently living as a political refugee in France today, he still has to look over his shoulder when it comes to any activism that involves CEMF (Council of Ex- Muslims of France).

The story of Waleed al-Husseini is the story of a young intelligent man, that can not lie to himself or secretly allow what he concludes as being religion’s very negative influence on his outside world. An influence on the society and on the authorities of the Palestinian West Bank.

alHusseini describes in a touching way how his curiosity was awoken because of his studies; a secret curiosity that develops a skepticism towards Islam’s influence on all aspects of his life. Not only does he run into other outlooks on life through the internet such as atheism, he gets to the bottom of his own background. He reads Islam’s history and the many different directions and internal disputes that with out a doubt sets forth a lot of questions. Questions that he experiences as facts. Facts that the common Muslim is not aware of and therefor can not make a decision about. He describes how ignorance and fanaticism easily thrives in the environment of Palestine. As well as how it (in such a disturbing degree) contributes to the internal corruption in society that has more then enough of external problems. This totalitarian and unreflective world view describes Hussein as a movement that is deeply credible and perceives itself in contrast to the Western world’s secular freedom. Later, it is a horrifying for him to experience that these attitudes and structures are also exported to the heart of Paris and are thriving the exact place where he has sought refuge.

After an excellent account of his religious considerations, he tells the story of how he during numerous aliases creates diverse critical blogs. Including one by a 17-year-old going by the name “The voice of Reason.” He is in no way modest when he says - his blogs get a lot of attention in all of the Middle East. He can see how his speech is read throughout the Arab World by aliases from different Internet cafes. He is, in others words, far from alone. Unfortunately, the authorities are also following this.


alHusseini describes how dangerous it is for him to speak out, even amongst friends. After a festive evening, it appeared that his openness had noticeable consequences. He is marked on the university and in the community to a degree, so he must consider his positions may have consequences. Not just for himself, but for the few friends he still sees - and especially his family. Things escalate, and he is discovered and arrested by the authorities. One evening he is picked up by one of the Palestinian intelligence services for interrogation. It ends up being a ten-month long imprisonment with both physical and psychological torture. You get a glimpse of a corrupt and undemocratic system that puts some religious values in front of the Constitution, it in itself, is even officially based on. After his parole, he discovers that he can not even feel safe in their communities. Resentment against him is noticeable, not least because rumors and lies are spread about him and his activities. Hussein describes in detail, how he laments and is trying to avoid the consequence he ends up having to take.

All this culminates in his escape that ends in a political asylum in France, and in the writer's unrestrained showdown with what he sees as a religious totalitarian ideology that is violating all basic human rights. Thus, he created his association, restored its blogs and wrote this book. In my eyes, it is not for personal gain, but on the contrary, as a mature and courageous consequence of his own realization. A realization that has great sacrifices that follow.

Some might argue that alHusseini is a young show off that is a little too dramatic and romantic in his approach and in his criticism. Among Naser Khader who - in his otherwise very interesting regulation - despite its agreement and sympathy with the author states that he does not go quite that far in his own criticism of Islam. All the more, it becomes apparent that Khader is living under police protection today ...

This points directly into an inflamed public debate that is constantly hijacked by equally crazy opportunist forces. Such as the Islamist forces here that are under attack. This book is a reminder that a persistent and unprejudiced critical view of certain parts of Islam belong to a current and relevant part of the religion criticism right now. 

This book is important. This book is an eye opener. It describes a testimony of how the current version of Islam is being exported to certain parallel societies in the West and is a real threat to the democratic and humanist values we base our society on. Waleed al-Husseini's voice - and others like it - come from within the Muslim community. Therefore, it deserves particular attention. There are very serious issues that it raises. It needs to be listened to and considered. Not only does it come at great personal cost from the brave few who dare to come forward. It cannot be ignored or neglected by any means.
the book on amazon
The Blasphemer: The Price I Paid for Rejecting Islam

1 comment:

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