Dear Professor Dawkins,
Forever Grateful is what I can at least say to you , I would have started with a thank you but thank you can be so simple (like when you say thank you for someone holding the door open for you) ,the thank you I owe to you is : thank you for giving me my life back .
This may seem as an overly emotional cheesy start but I meant every word , becoming an atheist was the best happening of my life .
I was born and raised in Iraq , a Muslim country that have few other religious minorities , being born to Muslim parents in a country that more than 90% of it's people are the the same religion(Islam) I grow up to be a Muslim , never an extremist and always a moderate.as what prevented me from going deeper into religion was the fact that I had few things that I found inhuman in Islam (slavery/woman degrading/violence) . Stupidly , I questioned only the interpretation of the verses related to these issues but not the message or the whole book (the Quran) itself .
I still remember the first time you were introduced to me (not personally for sure) , I had to leave my country and travel to a neighboring country (Jordan) fearing for my life after numerous threats to my life . As frightening this may seem , I still regard this happening to be a kind twist for the good of me . I was once sitting with a french friend I met in Jordan and she asked me about my opinion in evolution , I answered :" in my country they teach us that it is a false theory , even through medical school we never had any discussion about it as all the teacher mock it the second anyone bring the topic up, I never done a personal research about the subject yet" . She was kind then to tell me that there is a book called "The greatest show on earth " written by Richard Dawkins , and if I was interested in developing my personal view about it this book can help . I bought the book (still Muslim at the time) and started going through it and also listening to you lectures and debates . The shock to discover that evolution was a fact broke every religious barrier in my brain to logical thinking . It was then I started questioning everything I was brought up to accept , after all if passing through the best schools in Iraq and medical was not enough to give me a true idea about evolution (a strictly scientific subject) , who knows what else could be wrong .
A question lead to another and a debate ends only to start another , as my journey from Islam to Atheism went on . A journey that gave me my life back , as for the first time in my life I had piece in my mind for that everything in my life started to make sense without the delusions of god or heaven and hell . This journey was the best thing that happened to me in my life and it happened thanks to you and to my friend who later became my beloved girlfriend .
Forever Grateful , Ahmed