In this episode, Bo Bennett speaks with Muhammad Syed and Sarah Haider on the issue of criticizing Islam and analyzing some of the recent comments made by people such as Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Reza Aslan, and Ben Affleck. The Real Time segment that sparked this controversy can be found here.
Muhammad Syed is a resident of the Washington, DC metro area. Due to the desire to better understand his faith, he embarked on a long period of research and study culminating in the inevitable conclusion that Islam, like other religions, is nothing more than bronze-age mythology. He decided to be public about his apostasy in 2007 in a desire to engage in open dialogue and break the apostasy taboo, encouraging other like-minded individuals to follow suit. In 2012, following the lead of the groups in London and Toronto, he started organizing an Ex-Muslim Community in the Washington, DC area.
Sarah Haider, a recent transplant to DC, was born in Pakistan and raised in the US. She grew up on a diet of debating and reading which, as a surprise to no-one, led to her atheism. Muhammad and Sarah had a long-standing friendship based on their similar background and she was involved in launching the DC-area Ex-Muslim Community. Her tireless efforts were instrumental in creating Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) and she has been involved in public relations with EXMNA from the start. Sarah has been active in atheist and secular circles. Inspired by FreeThoughtBlogs, she conceived the idea of ExMuslim Blogs.