In today's episode, I talk to Heina Dadabhoy about growing up Muslim, the many misconceptions of Islam, and the difference between racism and criticizing Islamic dogma. Transcription: Trav: Welcome to the Bi Any means podcast, the place where social justice and humanism meet. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Bi Any Means podcast, the podcast companion to bianymeans.com. I am Trav Mamone and my guest today is Heina Dadabhoy. They are a former contributor to Skepchick, and they are currently blogging at Heinous Dealings at Free Thought Blogs. Heina, thanks for joining me today.Heina: My pleasure.Trav: Now for those who don’t know I previously did an email interview with Heina a few months ago on Bi Any Means but with the podcast my audience is starting to grow. For those who missed our previous conversation, can you tell us about growing up Muslim and what eventually led you to atheism? Heina: Well, I grew up as a Muslim in sunny southern California. I was very religious. In fact, more religious than my family at points, and that also meant I read a lot of religious texts. I knew a lot of things about the religion that everyone around me claimed to believe in and follow but that they didn’t know, things that led me to doubts but never too strong. When 9/11 happened I was actually in high school. It was my second day of high school but while it didn’t make me immediately di-convert it did make me further examine my beliefs especially since so many people around me were asking me questions, and asking me to justify my beliefs and my religion. Then that led to several years of doubt in high school. I started reading things outside of religious texts, picked up a few autobiographies of people who were free thinkers, people who were queer, things like that. Eventually I got to college when I was 17 and I started taking different classes, and I took a philosophy class that was on the philosophy behind what’s the theology of the Catholic Church. Essentially the writings of Augustine, and I realized that a lot of what Augustine was saying was the exact same thing my family had been saying to me for years and years, and what my religious teachers had been saying to me for years and years to justify Islam. Yet Augustine ended up founding the Catholic Church in its modern form in a lot of ways. I realized that it was in congress that you could start with the same premises, and end up with a different conclusion. I scaled back from very religious Muslim to sort of secular deist, Muslim flavored but eventually realized through various readings of biology, and more philosophy that I didn’t really believe in a creator deity either, and I joke that I fell into a black hole for six months because I’ve always been an avid writer. I always kept personal journals of my thoughts that I was so afraid of my thoughts I’d stopped journaling for six months, and at the end of that I came out an atheist. Trav: Okay. What inspired you to start blogging about Islam atheism and feminism?Heina: I actually started blogging about being an ex-Muslim
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