Kerala has formed an organization that organizes a platform for those who are abandoning Islam, a move that has significant socio-political repercussions in the state. Even though there are rationalist movements and religious reforming movements in our country, there has not yet been an organization to represent those who want to leave a religion and remain non-religious and neutral. The group has formed ‘Ex-Muslims of Kerala’ and also declared January 9 as ‘Kerala Ex-Muslim Day’. Ex-Muslims’ movement in Kerala can be viewed as a unique historical development, considering India’s religious history.
In terms of apostasy, Islam has some unique characteristics. The death penalty is prescribed by Islam for apostates, unlike other religions. Apostates often face punishment in Islamic countries. As apostasy is not a crime in India, but such people face socio-economic boycotts and even violence from the Muslim community. Muslim clerics in India use various methods of intimidation against those who renounce religion or criticize its teachings. These tactics violate individuals’ basic human rights. Families are usually excommunicated, apostate spouses forced into seeking divorce, children are not allowed to see their parents, inheritance is not shared, marriages are obstructed, and other tactics are employed. Islam threatens social ostracism against families that refuse to follow its diktat.
To discourage apostasy and criticism of religion, false cases are framed not only in India but also abroad. If a person does not concede despite these tactics, they may face threats, physical attacks, or even elimination. People are hesitant to publicly criticize or disown Islam due to the severity of such threats. Farooq, a rationalist from Coimbatore, was killed by Islamists for criticizing Islam.
Ex-Muslims of Kerala provide social, emotional, legal, and if necessary financial aid to those renouncing Islam or being persecuted for critiquing the tenets of Islam. Many people who renounce Islam face human rights violations in Kerala, according to ex-Muslims. Among the examples cited by the group is Abdul Khader Puthiyangadi from Kerala, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Dubai for criticizing Islam. Islamists from Kerala working in Dubai framed him. He was sentenced as a result of their complaint to the Dubai authorities. His critical views on Islam are all expressed in Malayalam.
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