Dear Prof Dawkins,
I am a practising surgeon in the UK who was raised a muslim in south asia but was always sceptical of the inane, fatuous, restrictive teachings of islam. Asking questions about islamic tenets was prohibited. The reply from my religious family would always be on the lines of ‘allah knows best’ or, in the case of origins of the cosmos and life, ‘human thought cannot reach that far, so one should not question such matters’.
I remember the day when, in one of our pre-medical school biology classes in my country of origin, the teacher – in response to a question from a witty classmate of mine about the disparity between Darwin’s theory of evolution and what the quran says about the creation of the universe (such enquiries are not normally made in a muslim country) – harshly remarked, “you should remember evolution only for the exam, but you should really believe in what religion says!”
Being a natural questioner myself, I had my own doubts about religion and god but stuck with islam due to first the muslim society I was raised in and then, after coming to the UK, expectations from family and friends here. It was through watching your television documentaries over the past couple of years or so that I gradually started becoming more bold and honest with myself and sliding away from islam. Following your beautifully eloquent and brilliantly thoughtful speeches on the internet over the past few months made me finally realise, and accept, fully the beauty of reality and the fatuousness of religion. I now consider myself a complete atheist and a humanist. Having been a student of science all my life, this to me makes much more sense than being a blind follower of the stupidity of religion. In my view, all religious faiths are preposterous, anachronistic fairy tales but islam is all that plus outright viciousness.
Your amazing ability to explain answers to difficult questions in light of what mankind has discovered so far through honest enquiry and empirical observation, rather than baseless religious beliefs, has made me a true convert. I haven’t revealed all this to my family or friends yet as the repercussions, even in a liberal country like the UK, would be unpleasant. I do, however, intend to slowly work on those closest to me!
I applaud your intellect and your efforts and will help RDFRS in any way I can.