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It's not that I think Western liberals need to play a massive role when it comes to the conversation about Islam.
It's just that I think the role they are playing now is counterproductive, at best. It's making progress in this religious communities more difficult and adding onto these harms that people in the Muslim world already go through.
It's different for every person, the degree with which leaving religion causes an identity crisis. You don't socialize with others in ways that are very common in the West. I can't tell if you mean that is was liberating or terrifying. I still had to do certain things and dress a certain way and fast when I had to fast and pray when I had to pray, all while holding all these doubts about the truth of the religion. I think foreign policy colors the conversations around Islam in the West.
What's your response to that, if someone says, "This is my choice, I'm empowered, and I want to be represented on the cover of or in Nike ads"? Women are empowered this way, and it's morally right." If they had a choice to adopt it, I think many of them would.I know for a fact that there are Muslim celebrities who are not Muslim, who prefer to just say they are Muslim. By the time a corporation has gotten to the point where they think they can put a hijabi model on the cover of a magazine, they have calculated that something in the broader culture has changed enough that they can profit off it, which means there is a broad sympathy for that view.From that perspective, it's kind of upsetting to see that there is this broader acceptance of practices like hijab.“Intellectually, it stopped making sense,” Haider told me in an interview. I never thought it could happen, and then it did and I was just blown away. Since then he's been talking to people his age about religion and they are kind of shifting their perspectives as well.For the first time, she started to see serious problems with Islam, a patriarchal dogma with values that seep into culture and law, and not long after she lost her faith, she lost her religion, her identity, as well. It's been a long time since I've left and we continued to have conversations about faith and religion and I think that influenced how they feel about it, which is wonderful. He's having an effect in his social circle, which is amazing.