#020: Zerin Firoze, Ex-Muslim Atheist and Asylum Seeker | A Leap of Doubt



On this episode, I speak with Zerin Firoze, a courageous young woman and ex-Muslim from Bangladesh, a country where many atheist and agnostic bloggers have been murdered by fundamentalist Muslims in recent years. She is currently living in the US as an asylum-seeker and describes herself as an atheist, feminist, NASA geek, and aspiring doctor.

Zerin has talked and written about her transition from Muslim to atheist feminist in other places. From a young age, she started questioning the Islamic faith of her community and school. When she first learned in school about the Battle of Badr, fought by Muhammad in 624 CE against the Pagan tribes of Mecca, she started to think about how morally backwards it is to praise the exploits of a religious warrior spreading his religious dogma by the sword. As an apostate in Bangladesh, boldly and openly taking the “leap of doubt” after being exposed to information on the Internet critical of Islam, she faced death threats from the same people who murdered atheist bloggers in that country who made themselves even more visible.

In our discussion on this episode, Zerin talks about her day-to-day life in the US as an asylum seeker and full-time nursing student, how she has managed the transition from one culture to another, and how that process has shaped who she is today and her love of science, medicine, and progressive humanist values.

Zerin M. Firoze, “Journey of a Bangladeshi Woman from Islam to Atheism,” Faithless Feminist, https://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/journey-bangladeshi-woman-islam-atheism/

Zerin M. Firoze, “Journey of an Ex-Muslim Atheist from Bangladesh to the USA,” Faithless Feminist, https://faithlessfeminist.com/blog-posts/journey-ex-muslim-atheist-bangladesh-usa/

Zerin Firoze at the American Atheists 2017 National Convention: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93h0fO78Gcw

This week’s shout-out: Guy P. Harrison, author of the new book “At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life” (https://tinyurl.com/y7qgmfys).

Check out the interview I did with Guy last year on the Trolling with Logic podcast: http://www.trollingwithlogic.com/055-race-even-real-guy-p-harrison/

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Thanks to Jeff Prebeg, Jeanne Ikerd, Torsten Pihl, Chris Watson, and Kim Bojkovsky for being my patrons!

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The opening clip is an excerpt from the audiobook “God is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, courtesy of Hachette Audio. Text Copyright 2007 by Christopher Hitchens. Audio production copyright 2007, Hachette Audio. Used with permission.
The opening and ending music is “Jade” by Esther Nicholson and is used under license. The editing was done by Rich Lyons of the “Living After Faith” podcast.

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Author Details
I am a freelance writer and podcaster. I attended Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, where I majored in Journalism. My interests are many and diverse; they include investigative reporting, science, philosophy, history, and pop culture analysis. My motivation in writing and podcasting is to contribute what I can to the promotion of critical thinking among the public. My goal is to use my journalism training to be active in the secular humanist movement, helping more people come to an appreciation of philosophy and history, and analyzing dubious but popularly-believed claims involving the supernatural, the paranormal and religion.
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