Leaving Islam is a hard thing to do. The subject of this interview once had a conversation with Sarah – who recently wrote about her experience of leaving Christianity – about why she’d chosen to stop practicing the faith she’d grown up with in Morocco. The two were surprised to find many parallels in their experiences, however the consequences of rejecting faith are greater for our interviewee, so they’ve chosen to remain anonymous as they discuss why they’re no longer Muslim.
State-led violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya population has received increasing attention in the Western media over the last few months, however the oppression of the Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority country is a long-term injustice. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have already been forced to leave their homes in Rakhine State as a result of ethnic discrimination, and the latest round of attacks by the country’s military has seen a further 600,000 flee, mostly for neighbouring Bangladesh – now facing a humanitarian crisis of its own as a result of the exodus.
State counsellor and (once) iconic Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is being stripped of her various other international accolades at a fast pace, is fielding much criticism for failing to denounce, and act to end the violence – which has been described as nothing short of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Sarah spoke to a New Zealand-based Rohingya woman* who moved to Aotearoa from Myanmar, or Burma as it used to be called, in 2006 with her family. Hers is a moving personal insight into a conflict with no clear end in sight.