Two related areas that are of concern to me are people leaving Islam and Muslims converting to Christianity.
Some prominent personalities, such as “Ibn Warraq” (a pseudonym) simply left Islam. They did not embrace another religion, nor did they leave Islam because of another religion. (Technically, this is also how I left Islam.) Other examples are Isaac Schrödinger and The Apostate (a very pretty Pakistani girl whose blog I discovered today thanks to Isaac Schrödinger’s blog).
Others, such as “Abdul Saleeb” (also a pseudonym, from the Arabic “‘abd as-saleeb”, meaning “servant of the Cross”), leave Islam because they have found the truth in another religion (usually Christianity).
The former leave Islam because they believe it be false or wrong, independent of what claims other religions may make, while the latter leave because another religion proved to be the truth if not truer. Small difference, really.
I am not concerned with the numbers. It makes perfect sense to me why more Christians (or Christians-in-name-only, as the case often may be) convert to Islam than Muslims convert to Christianity. This fact does not reflect anything on Islam’s claims to being the truth but rather exists because of sociological elements within Muslim cultures. In short, Muslims are afraid to leave Islam because of repercussions from other Muslims upon them and their loved ones while Christians face no such threat or at least not to the degree in Muslim societies.
Furthermore, there are no restrictions in Christian societies on Muslims to preach their religion while Christians are forbidden to preach Christianity in Muslim societies. Christians allow such discourse while Muslims prohibit or staunchly oppose such discourse.
The way Muslims behave, I feel like asking what they are afraid of. Such behavior seems to be signs of insecurity. Why are they insecure? Are they afraid Islam cannot endure challenges? Are Muslims so rationally or intellectually weak? And what is wrong if a Muslim, for whatever reason, leaves Islam, whether for another religion or not? How does such an act weaken Islam? Is Islam really so weak that the departure of one member threatens it or the Muslim community?
This double standard, celebrating and promoting conversion to Islam but rejecting and resisting and attempting to restrict leaving Islam, irks me.
If someone asked me: “Should people be allowed to convert to Christianity? Should they be allowed to leave Christianity?” my answer would be an emphatic “Yes!” to both. Christianity is practically all about choice: choosing God and Jesus Christ. Just as one is allowed to enter the strait gate and narrow path to salvation by accepting Jesus as the Christ, Son of the Living God, one is also free to damn oneself to God’s just wrath and punishment by rejecting Him and the free gift He offers in His Firstborn, Jesus Christ. Come or leave, it the person’s choice, and no one ought to interfere either way.
There is more work to be done to establish equality of treatment between Christians and Muslims. As Pope Benedict XVI boldly stated, Muslims need to treat Christians the way they would like Christians to treat them. Enough of demanding us to treat Muslims with kid gloves: it is time we were allowed to live freely and openly as Christians, even to the extent of proselytizing, amongst Muslims. It is only fair, no?