Meridith McConnell is the president of the Sunday Assembly Boston, and you may remember her from that really fun Naked Diner podcast episode she was on. She sent me an email last night asking if I could spread the word on a GoFundMe campaign that is helping an ex-Muslim student from the Middle East come to America to attend college. The campaign is organized by my long time friend Zachary Bos, who is the State Director for American Atheists in Massachusetts.
We can’t use the student’s real name because life is crazy and if you’re a young ex-Muslim living in the Middle East crazy can mean bad bad things. For the sake of this campaign he is going by “Mo”. Mo has a scholarship that is covering 90% of his school expenses, but he needs help with travel expenses and costs like books. Best of all is that Mo has a plan that will carry him through the next four years of school without our help. He just needs this money to get him over to America and get started at school.
Here is what Mo has to say about his situation.
Atheists in Muslim countries have to keep their atheism secretive, or else face discrimination and abuse. I have been keeping a low profile for several years after I turned to atheism. No one knows about my atheism except a handful of close friends. My life looks normal from the outside, but in the inside I’m beyond miserable. I’m being tormented everyday as I need to follow the Muslims’ rules and listen to their teachings on a daily basis. I think so much of it is nonsense, but I can’t reply to anything or reveal my true beliefs as that would put me and my family in danger.
I feel like my family will eventually find out that I’m an atheist, and when that happens, terrible things will follow up. If the word gets out, there are many Muslim zealots in my city who are eager to harm or kill apostates. Even just within my family — if they knew that I’m an atheist, nothing good would happen. I won’t exaggerate and say they would hurt me physically, but the repercussions would most likely be: they would get very angry, take my laptop and phone and maybe forbid me from having normal meals with them. And of course, they would try to get me back to Islam.
Before you give anything, make sure you read everything about the College aid for an apostate atheist on GoFundMe. Zach did an excellent job explaining everything, and you would want to know that before donating, right?
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