by Achal Adhuli
I think books taught me to think and judge things rationally, to escape from the world of prejudice and irrational beliefs. Books were my true liberator, it's the best companion I ever had. But, it wasn't always fun. My family didn't take it lightly as they were noticing some change in me and also my teachers at school. In fact it was the teachers who gave me all sorts of trouble.
.I read the Quran over and over again and couldn't believe what I was reading. I started to mark the questionable verses and wrote comments beside them. I wondered, are these versus full of hate being spread and preached everyday in all corners of my town? I was completely dumbstruck. Initially, I thought it was the translation that was to be blamed. But I collected many different translations of the Quran and very reputed Islamic scholars translated some of them. You can say I was really shocked and I spent almost two years of my year 9 and 10 searching for answers.
I started to question a lot to spread my message. I learned it from the life of Socrates, that's what he used to do, and it can be very effective sometimes. I started to question Islamic beliefs and traditions in a lot in my writing and that put me in trouble.
They physically attacked me one night- I was very lucky to escape only with some sharp cuts and bruises. An Islamist organization published a book and declared me a Nastik-Murtad or "Apostate-Infidel". So, I didn't really have to declare leaving Islam publicly, they did the honor for me.
After that I decided to leave the country
and in 2003 I came to Australia as a student. As to whether I am
still in danger today, I can say that I never underestimate their
reach. Itís not just me, anyone who is non-Muslim, or a born-Muslim who
doesnít care about Islam much -- anyone who is different from them is in
danger today and itís the sad reality.