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A generation of atheists

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What happens when our children are pushed away from their religion?

Managing editor Rana Allam

Rana Allam

“Son, it is time for Friday prayers, you will be late.”
“I am not going.”
“What? Why?”
“I am just…not going. I will pray here at home.”
And a discussion began where my friend pushed to know why her 17-year-old refused to go to mosque. After much coaxing, the boy said: “Why should I go where the imam keeps making me feel like an atheist, where my political ideology is under question and evaluated from a religious perspective, with the conclusion that I am an atheist?”
My friend stopped there. She was cornered and her son doesn’t go to the mosque anymore.
Another similar incident was with a mother of a 13-year-old, where her son refused to go pray at the mosque because the imam kept slandering unveiled women and the boy couldn’t take any more insults to his mother.
Religious education of their kids can be the biggest challenge facing middle class Egyptian women, specifically their boys because they are weekly exposed to sheikhs in mosques.
Egyptian society is probably the only one where millions of boys and men flock to mosques for Friday noon prayers regardless of how religious they are, or whether they in fact perform the rest of the week’s prayers. Egyptian men might be partying Thursday night, drinking and dancing, but they wake up on Friday to join the prayers. More often than not, these boys and men eventually lean towards stopping whatever is deemed “sinful” as they grow older. This is why it is widely believed that Egyptians are religious “by nature”.
Regardless of whether the family is conservative or not, religious or not, Friday prayers are above question for Egyptian boys; they must go. Call it tradition, hidden religiosity, or even hypocrisy if you like, but this is who we are.
We send our children to international schools which give the worst Arabic and religious education possible, so we get private tutors to teach them religion. Regardless of how irreligious we are, this is what we do. We want our children to know their religion and we want them to be as good as they should be when it comes to their relationship with God. We are a people who believe in heaven and hell, reward and punishment, sin and good deeds. We live by the saying that “good deeds erase your sins”, and we do both; we sin at night and wake up to Friday prayers, hoping for God’s mercy!
A shocking moment for me was when my 12-year-old suddenly started disrespecting sheikhs. Although I am not exactly a model of religiosity myself, it pained me to see such disdain from my boy towards those who are supposed to be holy men. And the worst part was that I could not defend the sheikhs, given that I do not want him to listen to the monstrosities these men utter. We are now all torn between the reality of our religion, and the message coming from the bearded bunch. What are we supposed to tell our kids? Listen to the sheikh, or don’t listen? Go to the mosque, or don’t go? Should we monitor every speech they hear, every imam of every mosque, and pick a suitable rhetoric? Or should we drop this religious education altogether?
Now mothers are wondering what happens when their sons stop going to mosque every week. What happens if the religious curriculum at schools is modified to fit the ultra right-wing, conservative and mostly distorted ideology of our rulers?
What happens when our children are pushed away from their religion?
Our rulers are letting those who defame and deform our religion speak in mosques and on television. They are leaving those who want to form morality police to do as they please on the streets. They turn a blind eye to those who are working to destroy the largest, most important Islamic institution in the world; Al-Azhar.
Left to themselves, our Islamist rulers will succeed in breeding an atheist generation. But will they be left to themselves? I think not, January 25 is impending

About the author

Rana Allam

Rana Allam

Rana Allam is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily News Egypt. Follow her on Twitter at @Run_Rana or email at [email protected]

  • essam

    yeah this is exactly what happened with me .. I was just secularist and my political Ideology was liberalism and still .. from january 2011 to january 2012 I fought every friday with the Imam .. because he has said : secularists are infidel, socialists are infidel, liberalists are infidel .. actually I by temperament have a strong antipathy to the dogmatic religious outlook .. I thought much and then left the religion and there are thousands like me in Egypt

  • May Taher

    I am thrilled about the little boy who boycotted the mosque to defend his unveiled mother… If Imams want to teach Islam then they should be pushing young minds forward and teaching communities how to thrive… there is no holy man … just holy beleifs and if you Sheikhs want to promote hatred then by God boycott them.. bravo young man !

    • Syada Hefni

      I think we should be grateful that we have children with brains, they can diffrentiate between what appeals to human common sense and what’s not, they don’t take sheikhs for granted thanks to the level of education they receive from their parents and the international schools you accuse of not properly teaching Arabic and religion.
      Why would religion be taught at schools in the first place? Religion is Qur’an Karim and Holy Bible, read the Holy Books and you will be religious.
      I beleive we, as parents, are strong believers of God, we pass our values and ethics to our children, and because they refuse to go to mosques will not make them atheists.
      I am completely against religious sermons, instead provide quality education based on exchange of ideas and thoughts, tolerance and otherness.

    • Clarence

      There is a statement in this article that I just must comment on.

      “We live by the saying that “good deeds erase your sins”

      Good deeds can never, ever erase your sins no matter how hard you try.

      The blood of the lord Jesus however can.

      It was shed to was away sins and all you must do is accept the forgiveness for your sins that this blood supplies by accepting Jesus as your savior in a simple acknowledging prayer.

      It really is that easy.

      You can not get to heaven by good works.

      • Darrell

        @Clarence that is a tenuous link in order for you to feebly attempt at recruitment. There is a 21st Century term for what you have just done; trolling.

  • Syada Hefni

    I think we should be grateful that we have children with brains, they can diffrentiate between what appeals to human common sense and what’s not, they don’t take sheikhs for granted thanks to the level of education they receive from their parents and the international schools you accuse of not properly teaching Arabic and religion.
    Why would religion be taught at schools in the first place? Religion is Qur’an Karim and Holy Bible, read the Holy Books and you will be religious.
    I beleive we, as parents, are strong believers of God, we pass our values and ethics to our children, and because they refuse to go to mosques will not make them atheists.
    I am completely against religious sermons, instead provide quality education based on exchange of ideas and thoughts, tolerance and otherness.

  • Monia Abou Ghali

    The issue of hateful speech and religious extremism in mosques by radical Imams has become a phenomena post-January 25 Revolution. Who decides who is fit to become Imam or Sheikh? The reason why religious leaders lost their credibility is because they preach radical ideas that are not consistent with the moderate teachings of Islam.

    • Nancy

      What do you mean post-revolution?? If people are completely unaware that this has been an issue for a very long time, then that in itself is a huge problem. The revolution did not create this…they have been there all along, for decades actually. The extremism in mosques is now more evident to many people because Egyptians have begun to evaluate extremism in their society.

  • Karim

    There is nothing to worry about. It is just that most people in Egypt can’t teach their Kids moral values without reference to religion, which is nonsense. If you did the research, there are great examples of atheists who contributed to humanity and peace on this planet more than any other religious figures.

    • Andy

      For instance?

      I think, no matter we like it or not, religious remain the power that keeps people able to avoid the wrongdoing. As far as I know the history, the atheist model, sooner or later, leads to corruption and crime. Sure, under religious rules we may find pretty same situations, nonetheless, in such cases, there is always a lack of good will and intentional (!) misunderstanding of religious principles.

  • ThisGuy

    As long as govts like these will continue to push for radical ultraconservative fundamentalism and aggressively refuse to coexist with any other religion, put women to shame, lock people up for facebook posts, and so on, they are going to smear their countries’ image to the rest of the world, presenting themselves as a primitive, backwarded society.

  • janan shihadeh

    I believe we as mothers need to teach religion to our children , what is happening with the bearded ones is not Islam ,does not represent Islam …religion is tolerance and kindness to others, regardless of what religion you were born into ….maybe it’s better your sons reject the sheiks in the mosque, who breed more bearded ones ….

    • Cameron

      Why not be a parent and actually TEACH tolerance and kindness, instead of trying to portray it through fairytales and then threatening eternal damnation if they do not follow?

      • Laura

        I totally agree with you Cameron!

      • Eman

        For you they are fairy tales for other they are beliefs! If you do not believe that is your problem, just do and you have a BIG one!

    • Taylor

      Religion actually isn’t tolerance and kindness to others. That would be their philosophical teachings. Those can be taught without the need to declare belief in a holy deity or belief in any sort of afterlife.
      Religion works to bring people together who share a similar thought, but it breeds ignorance and it doesn’t do much in the way of enlightening its subjects.

    • Sam

      I completely concur with THISGUY. The solution is easy (or not). “We are now all torn between the reality of our religion, and the message coming from the bearded bunch. What are we supposed to tell our kids? Listen to the sheikh, or don’t listen? Go to the mosque, or don’t go? Should we monitor every speech they hear, every imam of every mosque, and pick a suitable rhetoric? Or should we drop this religious education altogether?” How about teaching your kids about true Islam instead of having others do that job. That way you won’t risk crazies raising them. Teach them how the Prophet PBUH acted, and how some of these “bearded men” are extremist and don’t know what they are talking about, etc.

  • esraa

    For me it would be a matter of picking up who are the sheikhs I would encourage him to listen to and whom I will tell him not to, ie: there are lots of good imams and sheikhs in Egypt who have a moderate compassionate understanding of religion, I will send my son to one of the mosques where one of those speaks. Unfortunately, not every one who preaches is qualified for it consequently we have to be picky or else our children will learn completely different religion if we were not alert enough. May Allah help us all and support us through this

    • Nancy

      Thank you! Exactly what everyone should be doing. I don’t like that this article tends to generalize about the sheikhs in mosques…it’s actually quite ridiculous to make it such a huge issue…because we all pick and choose which mosque to go to and which ones not to go to. That’s the only logical thing to do….and most men who want to actually learn in the mosque, do that. They don’t just go to whatever mosque is closest. If you really want to go to the mosque…or you want your son/daughter to go to the mosque, then you’ll very well find one that is suitable. There are plenty.

  • abdulla edreese

    luckily enough islam preaches the most about the responsibility of the “one” ; every one is going to pay for his or her own actions at the end ; u can’t just comeback at judgement day and said a bearded man got me astray; unfortunately she is going to be held responsible in front of allah and her son will be too ; so sad u can’t blame somebody else cuz that’s islam to u & me & everybody so stop blaming somebody else and start asking yourself “i am addressing her ” how did u end up thrown in a ditch like that ?

  • Mohamed Abdel-Warith

    Firstly, speaking about Friday prayer as the symbol of religious practice of islam (although it is a very important part of Islamic Rituals); is somewhat misleading. Prayer in Islam, is happening 5 times a day. “Growing” and “giving an example by parents” to the kids starting from their early days on life; “Not at after reaching 13 yrs old” will for sure instills the bond with prayers and mosque in their deep heart.

    With this strong bond; these kids will never reach a moment where he start bargaining his response to ALLAH’s call for Friday prayer with a bad example of sheikhs and imams; that simply can be abandoned by performing the Friday prayers at a different “selective” location.

    At the end; everyone stands alone before ALLAH in the day after. Following a bad lead in life doesn’t relief us from seeking “THE RIGHT” and sticking ourselves to it.

    (166. When those who were followed, disown (declare themselves innocent of) those who followed (them), and they see the torment, then all their relations will be cut off from them.

    167. And those who followed will say: “If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life), we would disown (declare ourselves as innocent from) them as they have disowned (declared themselves as innocent from) us.” Thus Allah will show them their deeds as regrets for them. And they will never get out of the Fire. ) [ Al-Baqarah Chapter of Holy Quran]

  • Howard Thomas

    There are many millions of Atheists. The vast majority are ethical people who contribute positively towards society. The article implies that Atheism is bad, which is wrong. Where do you see Atheists burning down embassies because someone ridicules Atheism? No where.

    Abraham, who is revered by Muslims, attempted to murder his son who was innocent of any crime. Just remember that when you think about teaching ethics. Abraham should have said “no”.

    • Waleed Arafa

      Your reply is too simplistic.
      Ethics within a metaphysical world view is determined by the creator of this world.
      Prophet Abraham -Peace be upon him- like any true believer would only say YES to his Creator.

      People who burn embassies are not representitive of their religion or any other religion. Religion does not teach us to burn and kill.
      It’s too simplistic too try and attribute the acts of a followe to the thing he or she claims to follow, especially when the gap between the actions and the teachings is so obvious.

      Try again my friend, with stronger logic.

    • jtkirk

      Well of course people disagree with Atheism are going to think it’s bad! Secondly, there are far worse things done than burning down embassies! You can see with people leaving Islam, Christianity, many of them fall slaves to other ideologies that have destroyed the planet such as consumerism, capitalism, Marxism etc.

      You talk of Abraham (peace be upon him) and yet fail to acknowledge that Abraham was NEVER meant to kill his son and God does not ever command an injustice to happen.

    • Youssef Hazem

      Atheism is bad to middle eastern people, of course, because we are still hugely relied to our religion, and we have unquestionable faith in it. But there’s a point i want to make clear, We “Educated Egyptians” don’t think that Atheists are always bad, but we consider Atheism way far from our consideration, which means we don’t want our sons to become atheists cause that way we believe they are going to hell.
      But Allah said that freedom shall be given for someone ,to chose whether to be religious or atheist, after knowing the consequences of both choices.
      And in the case of Abraham , Allah said in the Quraan, that he ordered Abraham in his dream to do it, so he could test his faith.. That’s our belief in that case. So this is ethics, to us, the total faith and belief in god, is ethics.

    • Mareli

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Atheists are not the ones causing problems; religious extremists are, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist.

    • K.

      Why do you relate violence to religions? i never understand that! you want to tell me that Atheists are angles? who never commit a crime? criminals can come from any place and any belief so lets first stop relating crimes to religions; and concerning your wonder, yes for most middle easterns, Atheism is a bad thing, cause simply it denies the existence of God who created everything and who owns everything (and this is why Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son and the son was willing to take the sacrifice too, he did not run away); religions are simply guidelines written by the creator of the universe on how you should live, how to communicate with others, what to do and what not to do, even how to raise your own kids, the out put of any religion is always for the sake of mankind and for a better life, if people really apply those morals, so dont blame the theory if the person whos trying to apply it, doing it the wrong way.

      Finally, Atheism is based on individual morals and thinking, anyone can do anything as long as he can convince himself that its a good thing and for a good cause (even crimes) and eventually there will be no clear guidelines on what to do and what not to do, and everyone will be living according to his own believes and chaos is the logical result out of that.

      sorry for the long message

    • Mohamed

      I have nothing against Atheism really until they start ridiculing religions. Regardless of religions there are good people & bad people. And yes in a country like ours Atheism is not really a good thing, it is a part of our heritage and in times our triumphs … I do understand that in other cultures religion represented nothing but pain, agony, and resentment this is not the case in its entirety in Egypt specifically.

      Abraham’s story promotes having faith … which is something I can see you strongly have by the way seeing that there is no concrete proof that God doesn’t exist … you chose to take that by faith I guess ? :)

      Atheism might have worked for you because may be Christianity was tampered with in a way beyond repair … as for us here I think Islam still stand a chance .. again I take that by faith :)

      Cheers man .. :)

    • MH

      According to Muslim belief, being an atheist is not a good thing. These are different points of views, Howard. Just like you imply that being a Muslim or a believer in God is ”bad”, according to your point of view.

    • Peter louis

      Hello Howard,
      I am not a Muslim but a Christian, i respect your atheist point of view but have something to add about abraham. He was an extremely religious man he had an extreme closeness and love towards God that he truly trusted Him. Abraham attempted the kill to be true and faithful to His God. God wasnt cruel He only wanted to test the pureness of Abraham’s heart towards Him, right before he did it He asked him to stop and provided a lamb. The story of Abraham is more awe inspiring than horrific as you portray it. If i was in his shoes i probably wouldve said no but that would be out of my own weak and rebellious heart towards trusting in the one who created me, knows me and loves me.

      • Hash

        And may I add that according to Islam Abraham was torn and hesitant when asked to kill his son (he may have done so anyway) , but his son ismail convinced his father that this was gods will… Ultimately both passed the test (god is closer than family)

        while I respect your point of view Howard I think the problem with atheism lies in the fact that atheists try to confirm the non existence of God in any way possible… Maybe as an attempt to satisfy their own doubt… Often using misinformation such as this… Much of the information on the Internet by other atheists is misinformed, half truth or biased… And theirs always a sense of condescension, as if your minds have evolved beyond the myth of religion and anyone who still believes is somehow less intelligent… You may argue that it is the other way around, but as a believer I think atheists are misinformed and misguided… But in no way less intelligent…

        Ultimately u need to keep an open mind and try not to treat information gathered with any bias..

    • Passant El.Agroudy

      Being religious or atheist is a human choice .. none of them implies a bad person perse .. and in between there are a lot of shades of different faith levels.. but the problem that the article is trying to shed light on is being PUSHED towards one of the choices (which is against what you used to believe in) because any of the 2 sides is always repeating they and only they have the truth and anything in between just represents the other side .. its a problem related to tolerance and not just islam perse .. and the same problem i heard Christians complaining from the church in Egypt. However it is further highlighted in the islamic side due to being the majority and due to having a government that calls itself “islamic” !

  • Abdogmy

    More important than choosing the shaikhs he listen to is to encourage him to think independently to investigate what he listened and to follow the truth where it leads even if it will take him away of your bath don’t be concerned about what to teach what you have been taught but to teach him how to think and form his own mind without your censorship or sheiks’ …that what we should do not to give him private religious lessons to be like us not like them no ,, teach him how to think then we will not creating a generation of atheists but a generation of free thinkers believers or not …. Actually in your article you induces sense of guilt only nothing more

  • Lina Ashour

    I love the perspectives being presented in this article but it’s a bit of a stretch to equate a generation rebelling against Sheikhs to atheists. The examples given were clearly opposed to the religious figures but there was no mention of them not believing in God or even Islam for that matter. So great content aside, the title and concluding remarks are completely irrelevant.

    • Huda

      Agreed.

      In fact, I’d argue that the new generation is far more respectful and committed to Islam. Their anger and disgust is usually directed at those who they see as misrepresenting the religion – scholars as well as society. Youth are failing to relate to the antiquated ‘Islam’ of the older generation and see it as a culturally constructed nuisance more than anything else.

      This is a global Muslim issue, not only Egyptian. Same goes for the men-of-all-shades coming to Friday prayer – happens absolutely everywhere.

    • Huda

      Agreed.

      In fact, I’d argue that the new generation is far more respectful and committed to Islam. Their anger and disgust is usually directed at those who they see as misrepresenting the religion – scholars as well as society. Youth are failing to relate to the antiquated ‘Islam’ of the older generation and see it as a culturally constructed nuisance more than anything.

      This is a global Muslim issue, not only Egyptian. Same goes for the men-of-all-shades coming to Friday prayer – happens absolutely everywhere.

    • jeanne middelstaedt-rizkallah

      @ Lina Ashur-I totally agree: perhaps the word agnostics fit better – believing in the Divine, but not in the teaching of canon laws or shariyas of the divine religions.

  • Yasmin Elahi

    This is indeed an issue which we should seriously ponder on! Keeping away our young generation from mosques (or allowing them to do so) is certainly not an answer to the problem. There should be a check and some lines drawn for the topics of the Friday sermons. Instead of criticizing people whom clerics consider less religious than themselves, good values which should be the base of a Muslim person should be emphasized on. Honesty, truthfulness, compassion and love for humanity are some of the traits our religion teaches, but our clerics are too busy deciding on who will go to Heaven or Hell to emphasize on these qualities! What a pity!

  • Dina Sarhan

    Say no to religious hypocrisy ….good article Rana !!

  • Rami A. Azim

    I have had this issue on my mind for some time… I think it is a bit overstated due to the “special” place religion has within us, or maybe because parents are too lazy to react appropriately. Anyhow, I believe the solution is for each family to monitor their own kids’ religious POVs and tendencies. Also, to encourage them to keep looking for mosques with an Imam who is true to his beliefs instead of those loyal to authority.

    This is just like teaching and encouraging kids to love others and make friends by default, yet red flag the bad company, and bad minds in society. The solution is always to counter-act not to hide away.

  • Ashraf Bayoumi

    المفروض الخطاب الاسلامي يتحسن و يبقي وسطي و غير تكفيري دي حاجه مش عايزه كلام
    و امتناع الاطفال عن الجوامع جريمه في حق الطفل نفسه و هيتحاسب عليه اهله
    اسهل حل هو العثور علي جامع بخطاب وسطي
    مع العلم ان مفيش جامع و لا متشدد و لا متوسط و لا حتي متساهل جدا مش هينصح الستات بالحجاب،
    الام لازم تشرح لأبنها ان خطوه الحجاب صحيحه و انها لسه مش قادره تاخد القرار، ده حل وسطي و عقلاني ، ليس فيه انكار لفرضيه الحجاب

    • Ali Al Shaarawy

      well said !! :)

    • Azab

      Yes, Well said :)

  • belkais

    you are so right. it has been ongoing even before that. but now it is very obvious because those so called “sheikhs” can now speak louder, so ahtiests will be more. not just not believing in religion, but hating it!!
    it hapenned to me in high school, i searched allover and found a way back to Islam thanks to God. Many of my friends have not been as blessed.
    as an individual and a counseller i wish to immigrate now to be able to live a balanced life with my moderate islamic belilefs without the nuissance of being pestered by extremist marxists nor salafists nor anyone along the spectrum between those!

  • Phil Whitfield

    Rana is irrefutably right.
    Her piece is unbiased reportage. Italy, Poland and most unlikely of all Ireland saw through the sanctimonious bigotry.
    Their once-crowded worship centres are empty mausoleums.
    It took a while, say 10 years before the Internet.
    If the hocus pocus is exposed, Egypt’s revolution might take less than a year or so.
    Put two and two together. Family disharmony over religion and the huge queues of people pleading for exit visas to Canada, Australia, the USA and America.
    The MB has got it wrong.
    [email protected]

  • fadfadation.blogpsot.com

    I recently discussed this with some friends and i totally agree. The ultra-right wing in our country will eventually push kids away from religion… shy2 mo2sef.

    But as parents (being one myself), i think we should educate ourselves first (not religious education as much as imam choosing educating).
    In other words, we need to start (while kids are still young) trying to find a moderate imam to listen to. same thing about choosing which mosque to go to. We (parents) have to scan around till we find one both us and the kids can go to.
    We also must read a lot, since to answer some of the non-sense we are hearing from the “bearded bunch” as you call them.
    I know this seems as an odd solution, but for me it is the most pragmatic and do-able one.

    Nice article by the way :)

  • Ana Shadia

    Insightful article but I do have a few points. Though it is tradition, I am against religious indoctrination, aka “education.” I was religiously educated and lived many years brainwashed until I traveled. In my opinion children should at least be 13 before they are religiously educated so they may truly chose for themselves. I am not against going to a mosque and letting the child know what you believe, but religious education is a tradition I really believe we need to let go in order for progress. Morality comes from within. I live in a society where I am not allowed to say that I am not a believer, for fear of ridicule or worse still, death. Yet they are moral? I could never even imagine hurting someone physically let alone kill them. I really enjoyed this article but I think using atheist in a negative way is not helping us much.

  • Abu Fatimah

    well even in britain we have 100,000 converts to islam (including myself) and atheism has caused a very dysfunctional society here with chavs listening to dubstep on their iphones and stabbing each other, suicidal goths, drugs, depression, teen pregnancies, absent fathers, atheism hasnt contributed much in britain. britain was powerful and developed long before the people were atheist. britain has only had large numbers of atheists for the last 20 or so years and in that time we arent quite the empire we once were, we’re barely hanging on now.

    egypt will hold onto islam if it has sense. i am an engineer, well educated, a convert to islam and inshallah my plan is to move to egypt to develop your country because i believe in muslim brotherhood, not david cameron and barak obama

  • Tamer

    Great article!

    ” if the religious curriculum at schools is modified to fit the ultra right-wing, conservative and mostly distorted ideology of our rulers”

    Breeding a generation of atheists could be one obvious result..

    But imagine: the generation influenced by teachings of the ultra right wing “modified curriculum”; could the new generation of children become like the generation of children described in the book 1984 by George Orwell, children that snitch on their parents if they do not follow the new ideology?

  • A western Sister

    In our western world it’s well known than people in their droves are turning against the priest who preach about hatred and segregation.

    I may not be religious but I know right from wrong and how to love, respect and accept another person regardless of sex, colour or religion. Too much hatred is preached in the name of religion and the result of this ongoing fanatical fanfare is going to be ongoing hatred and wars, not only with others of different race and religion but within our own cultures and segregation of sex within that culture. We are all equal, no matter what defines us.

    At what point do we stop the preaching of hate towards others differences, no matter how small they may be and start teaching to learn to love each other, no matter who or what we may define ourselves as. We all have one commonality, we are human, we may not share the same sex, country, race, colour or religion but all over the world we all have our blood types whether it be A, B or O. Fundamentally when it come to the core of who we are we are all the same.

    The fact that your sons are in turmoil about their religious teachings goes to show that you, their mothers, are teaching them the common decency that no matter male or female or whatever the difference, tolerance, acceptance and peace is the only way forward.

  • Kawaii Gardiner

    ” What are we supposed to tell our kids? Listen to the sheikh, or don’t listen? Go to the mosque, or don’t go? Should we monitor every speech they hear, every imam of every mosque, and pick a suitable rhetoric? Or should we drop this religious education altogether?”

    When you base your practice on Islam on the institutions, clerics, mullahs, muftis then, to quote the well used meme, “going to have a bad time”. You can continue to practice Islam – just ignore the rabble and focus your attention on God and trying to live a good life.

  • Elise Hayden-Ferdman

    Rana, I believe that these boys should be fully supported. The imams and sheiks are insane, violent-minded misogynists. The boys and young men are rejecting this psychopathy, not Islam. They can become a force force for the rebirth of Islam upon an egalitarian, life-affirming path. I am very proud of these boys for standing up to hate and misogyny. May their families have the strength and support to guide their rebellion in positive ways.

  • Hazem

    To cut to the chase, these “monstrosities” are actions of a mere few of so-called Sheikhs. Generalizing and rendering the ideology of our rulers as “mostly distorted” is utterly inaccurate and ignorant, to say the least, as well as mentioning conservatism as if it is a retarded mentality. Conservatism is probably the only thing that links Egypt to being thought of as Religious, and it is the thing that secures against what the writer of this article fears; an atheist generation.

    She asks: “Should we monitor every speech they hear, every imam of every mosque…?” Of course. Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all our lives? Isn’t that the purpose of having different beliefs, religions, faiths and so forth? The diversity, liberalism and open-minded culture, that I am assuming she seeks, will only increase the need to monitor and filter what we hear. God is merciful, and he won’t lead a generation astray if it sincerely seeks the truth.

  • Mona Abdel Halim

    I believe u should explain to them the difference between real Islam and those sheikhs who r misrepresenting Islam, u should pay great effort in finding moderate Islamists and let ur kids mix with them, it is crucial u say about those shiekhs u mean: They do not represent true Islam.

    • Mohamed

      I am sorry mona, dont want to be an asshole here but you remind me of my mom, she kept on telling me that and i kept on proving her wrong.. That is true islam, the true islam is the one in which you go kill some people and taking their women as slaves..
      Read the quran.. “not a very good book”

      sorry if i sound really rude.. i guess i should have added some smilies :)

  • Guirgis Nessim

    I’m sorry, the article present the issue as if it were a huge danger! I see no problem in people becoming atheists. Although I’m a religious guy, I encountered horrible acts from religious people as opposed to the atheist guys.

    • MH

      But that’s the whole point of the article. Religious speech is sometimes not in any way related to the essence of that religion, hence the hateful figures of ”religious people”.

  • Mamur Khan

    According to Qur’an and Hadith, and according to the four imams and consensus of the former day scholars, to leave the prayer is to leave Islam – before anyone starts accusing Imams of the incorrect approach of harshness in their speeches, (when they are only trying to do amr bil ma’roof wan nahyu anil munkar), I think they need to accept Islam first and shun the evil of Thawaagheet, the false idols and disbelief in Allah, the reason for every evil act perpetrated on the planet,

  • Mohamed Moheeb

    Islam is’n like another religions that know Priesthood who decide what’s right or wrong so, we should separate between Islam and Muslimans that they do and say things sometimes right or wrong. on the other we should learn our children this fact that enable him to face these people.

  • Rashid

    Why is it a problem if people (or sons) ask for the right to decide, the right to choose, or even in this days just for the right not to listen stupid things or even hate speech every friday? Religion is not about attending friday prayers. And thinking independently about religion and beliefs is praiseworthy. While the country gets religionized, the article warns of the few with independent minds. crazy egypt.

  • Sumyia

    TEACH your kid what you think is true about religion! Educate yourself first, and then YOU can have a choice and HE/SHE can have a choice! Instead of letting them be hypocrites and be proud it in your article, tell them to be honest, search and decide! If they Do know their religion, they can say which sheikhs are corrupt and which sheikhs are delivering the truth?! And you won’t worry monitoring every speech?! Our president, government or the king of the world won’t continue fixing EVERYTHING for us?! You are responsible! Period!

    • Huda

      Yes exactly. This is exactly why a successful family MUST necessarily have an educated and enlightened mother first and foremost. If she knows her stuff, she can easily convey it to her children and thereby arm them with knowledge which society would not. Its only ignorance that breeds this kind of vulnerability and thoughts of ‘monitoring’ every tiny detail of everything. Providing straightforward but firm direction is all children need; yet that seems to be what’s most lacking in our community.

  • Mahmoud Eissa

    I totally agree with every word written. What Egypt is witnessing nowadays is alarming. Yes! We are religious by nature, and yes we know we’re not complete and know we can do better. But those so called Sheikhs are going way beyond reason. For the first time in decades they have authority. A religious man should stay away from politics. You whether be a politician or a religious man. What I see is that most of them have failed to be politicians and at the same time lost their religion. They show more ignorance than knowledge, more hatred than love and more desdain than truly gathering people around them. Is it because they were deprived for so long and now is their chance to prevail? Is it because they feel disappointed of not being able to control people and find the time ready for revenge? Whatever the reason is, one thing remains true. It is that those people don’t practice what they preach.

  • Amena Sharaf

    God tells us if we can’t stop sinning, we should make enough deeds to repent, sheikhs say it’s one mistake and you’re out, bound to an eternity of hell. They’re mistaken, no question there, but is it not out fault that we don’t look into religion from a scholar’s perspective? Let’s face it we’ve grown to take religion as a given, just do whatever the jurists tell you is right and don’t do whatever that jurists tell you is wrong, but jurists are merely humans, isn’t it only fair to look into religion the way it is, sent to everyone for studying and questioning on their own, without “tutors”. I think just blaming sheikhs and imams without pointing a finger to ourselves is wrong, granted they’ve done a terrible job representing religion, they might have even told us that their opinion is the only right opinion, but that is not good enough reason for us not to look into it ourselves and decide on our own.

  • ahmed zakaria

    Rana, I want to thank you a lot for raising this issue. it is really important and critical at this phase and i have a lot to say about it.
    Not only the rising generation who is feeling like this, it is also about my generation the 20s who are in between being religious and atheist.
    for me i feel like it is a big challenge to be this guy who is honest and genuine when he practices and also be moderate and balanced.
    the political and religious speeches are pushing us to a dark way !!

  • Nour

    If I may oppose to your point of view, I completely disagree with your article and your generalized judgment. Islam is much wider than moslems. It’s a matter of question whether you as a parent abide by Islamic teachings or not. if you believe in Islam. Then muslim parents should bring up their children based on rationalizing issues & believing in Allah & Prophet Mohamed. Everyone regardless of the age ought to use his mind & listen to their hearts instead of putting the blame on problems that u’d never be able to solve more or less you state a false estimation that “our Islamist rulers will succeed in breeding an atheist generation!” which is by the way comes from uncertainty.
    I’m a strong believer, I love my religion and I’m a human not a perfectionist, so as everyone. We all have minds to think not to judge. Teach your children how to rationalize matters and raise their eman. It’s not the sheikh’s obligation each Friday to influence your child to be a good muslim as you clearly wrote that most of them are not trust worthy. However, it’s your job as a parent to advice & show them inspiration through Islamic teachings then your child would attend Friday prayers upon his own will and if not. fy Allah beya7seb. NO ONE on this earth could take away your eman. Only you decide either to keep it or not. otherwise we would have believed in all the misconceptions of islam and how the western media advocates terrorism and labels muslims as terrorists!

    الإسلام اوسع من المسلمين

  • mohamed refaey

    فعلا انا بقالى من بعد الثورة وجام الى بصلى فية الجمعة بقى توكيل سلفيين
    عشان كدة بقيت اروح على الصلاه فقط اى عند الاقامة بس
    ووالدى الى كان بيقولى مش نافعلك صلاة بسبب اهمية الخطبة من صلاة الجمعة
    هو كمان قرف من الخطب والسلفيين الى بيخطبو كل يوم
    وبيروح على الصلاة فقط
    بسبب ان كل خطبة كانت موجه سياسيا
    منها ان العاالمانيين هما السبب فى عدم تبرير الدستور
    مع العلم ان لجنة وضع الدستور كلها مشايخ…….كذب وتضليل من هذا القبيل
    والواحد بيتجنب الخناق مع اى شيخ اثناء الخطبة
    كما فعل احد المصلين وقاطع احد المشايخ واتهمه بالكذب والتضليل……وكان جزاءة ان الشيخ شتمو على المنبر وكفرة واتباعة رموه برا الجامع
    كل دا بسبب الكلام بس فى السياسة………فما بال الكلام فى الدين

    نسبة كبيرة بين الشباب اتجهت الى الالحاد
    ودا بسبب الخطاب الدينى……………وغياب الازهر

  • Dr.Mohamed

    the Writer say (We are now all torn between the reality of our religion, and the message coming from the bearded bunch)

    Why the writer thinks she knows the (reality) while the Emam in the mosque is not saying the (reality) about religion ???

    Why suddenly those (bearded bunch) in the mosque are driving people to stop believing in God just now, when they are the same (bunch) from before the revolution ???

    The thing is that the writer is known to be politically agonist our rulers in a very extreme way , and putting some incidence like the one she puts in her article, which can happen for many other reasons before the revolution, is only for political gain nothing more, not for the sake of the poor generation !! and sure not for the (reality) of religion that she claim to know.

  • amina

    If children are taught right from wrong and true tolerance, kindness and generosity at home by their parents & family they themselves will refuse to go where these “sheikhs”(who are often not sheikhs like i.e Safwat Hegazy who’s a graduate of Agriculture etc) but you should also help them find a mosque where a true Imam is. But truly the home is where children truly learn everything, which is why in countries where women are educated the whole family becomes educated & the whole country which benefits all the people.

  • Marwen

    Do you have problem with atheists? Reading your article, I have the feeling that for you, the worst thing that could happen to your children is to become atheist, not to blow themselves up in a bus or in a church or smth.
    We arab atheists never killed anybody, never put bombs, we have been always been devoted to our nation. So stop depicting us as if we were the evil. the evil comes out from your mosques, not from us.
    thank you,
    and peace, a Tunisian Arab Atheist

  • Mohamed Zahra

    Not because of anyone, you would leave what you believe in. Teach your son (and ISA mine) that these are people who may be right and do right or be wrong and do wrong. Teach him just to listen to the Quran verses and the Hadiths narrated by them. Teach him that Islam is a religion of mercy, of Hard work, and of decency. Tell him just to be good and defend his religion from sheikhs, tell him to learn more about the religion so that he can face the sheikhs.
    I do not like it when religion is let go easily because of some little incidents, because one day someone would regret when regret is not beneficial.

  • Monia Abou Ghali

    It is rather becoming increasingly critical for us Egyptians to separate between politics and religion; and for us to distinguish between Sheikhs and religious leaders, and politicians. Perhaps the most dangerous scenario is witnessed when religious leaders manipulate politics.

  • Far3on

    Dear Rana, this is a very appropriate article. Not only are these so called “holy men” turning off a lot of people in droves but they are also corrupting the minds and thoughts of a lot of young Egyptian men who might find their way into extremist behavior and “terrorist” activity. The losers will be women, Christians and our beloved Egypt as a whole.
    I am a Copt (infidel as some refer to us) and in Church, our priests always teach us and preach of love as the most important teaching of God – Love towards each other Christian & muslims alike.
    I pray that the peace of God touches the hearts of ALL Egyptians and His blessings come upon our beloved Egypt.
    Far3on (the infidel)

  • Mohammed Moiduddin

    In america, we hold on to Islam as being very dear. In the middle east you take it for granted. The boy should tell his mother, Why don’t you cover if Islam makes you do so. He is feeling bad because he thinks he is a munafiq. If you don’t tawheed no amount of prayer helps. Fix your iman first.

    • soul.rbl

      You say “iman” when you really should have said “imam”.
      PS. Religion is not another majority-winners game where the religious interpretations of some (many/few/loudest – regardless) dictate how one must lead their life. By so blatantly expecting society to conform to the interpretations you most ascribe to, you yourself are in fact being a ‘munafiq’ through your disregard of many of the ‘set in stone’ principles of Islam. Think about it… really.

  • Aref

    This is her own point of view only. As they said” She is riding the wave”. Anti Islam groups that fill the media nowadays.

  • May Abdel Asim

    This article is not about atheism at all. It is about the fact that we are pushed away from Islam through the politically motivated hate speech towards secularism, women and much more. The idea is that the generation of 30somethings, like Rana explains, regardless of anything never missed the Friday prayer by tradition or belief and fact is that teens now and twenty somethings will not do that anymore as they are different, thank God to that. They will not be the ones who go to a street march against sexual harassment in solidarity with women AND quietly listen to an Imam speak bad about unveiled women, for instance. That generation will not put up with this hypocritical crap that we put up with. As for atheism, it is not judged or in any form a real part of this article, for me it is more of an extreme figure of speech, using the extreme words of the so-called scholars. Well said Rana!

  • AymanH.

    And if your boy “apparently” goes to prayer , are u sure he went to pray ..
    I, myself just go wondering around , have an ice-cream or whatever .
    The thing is , I was raised in a Catholic school and I have as many christian friends as muslims ..but the sheikh insisted for several Jumaa’s to spread hateful messages -needless to say that the speakers are loud enough-and insults upon them . That is the day left the mosque.
    Not to mention , linking politics to religion and the related insults .
    The mosque has become -unfortunately- a place of unrest and discomfort.

  • Magdy

    Well Rana, your article is ringing a very dangerous bell in our country, and let me tell you something: atheism is spreading, not on in Egypt and middle-east, but also all over the world. The reasons are vary; may be because this age nature (materialism and capitalism), social isolation, the destruction of morals and value system, media and its “pornographic” (if I can say that), and the reason you talked about; the religious figures (Shiekhs).
    The point is we can’t just focus on a point and forget or underweight the other factors.
    If we really want to cure this we have to move towards Islam, Islam which has been sent to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and let’s face it now: we are away from this now (you, me, and lot of Egyptians), you hinted this when you talked about the conflicts we have in our religious behaviors. So, which model should we follow?, which Shiekh should we push our “kids” to?, who should I listen to? all of these questions may have no answer, we have to take the responsibility ourselves and break the victim mentality if we really want to fix this and not only blaming others.
    Again, if we really believe in Islam so we should take this responsibility and start this journey because we, adults, lake this knowledge and so we can’t just guide our kids in this matter.
    I hope that my point is clear.

  • Magdy

    Well Rana, your article is ringing a very dangerous bell in our country, and let me tell you something: atheism is spreading, not on in Egypt and middle-east, but also all over the world. The reasons are vary; may be because this age nature (materialism and capitalism), social isolation, the destruction of morals and value system, media and its “pornographic” (if I can say that), and the reason you talked about; the religious figures (Shiekhs).
    The point is we can’t just focus on a point and forget or underweight the other factors.
    (to be continued …)

  • Magdy

    (continued with a previous comment …)
    If we really want to cure this we have to move towards Islam, Islam which has been sent to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and let’s face it now: we are away from this now (you, me, and lot of Egyptians), you hinted this when you talked about the conflicts we have in our religious behaviors. So, which model should we follow?, which Shiekh should we push our “kids” to?, who should I listen to? all of these questions may have no answer, we have to take the responsibility ourselves and break the victim mentality if we really want to fix this and not only blaming others.
    Again, if we really believe in Islam so we should take this responsibility and start this journey because we, adults, lake this knowledge and so we can’t just guide our kids in this matter.
    I hope that my point is clear.

  • pepi katona

    religions and beleaving in gods are expressions of different societies (as are expressions of societies also arts, music, moral issues and so on). each society (each social shape) expresses a different way of conceiving gods. society is changing and, so, also in young people religious sense is changing. we can’t stop evolution of society. world will not be the same.

  • haya

    sheikhs and preachers are political power hiding behind religion and they work on a pre-planned action for them to prevent people from knowing the extent of corruption and the beneficiaries of corruption and then fight them

  • Abd al rahman

    كلام واقعى جدا… المشكلة ان توجد شيوخ كثيرة لا تعرف فن الدعوة و هو فن ككل الفنون يجب تعلمه فهم يصدون عن السبيل و نياتهم حسنه …. لكن حضرتك جاوبتى فى أخر المقالة يوجد الازهر و شيوخ الازهر أكثرهم وسطيين جدا… و نسبة إلى موضوع الحجاب فهذا كان يحتاج النظر الى حال المرأة التى لم تتحجبب مع ربنا سبحانه و تعالى و تدريجيا حتى يزيد الإيمان فى قلبها و تسمع فوائد العفه و تزيد محبة الله عز و جل المنعم الودود الرحيم فى قلبها هى من تلقاء نفسها سوف تعشق الحجاب… فهى مشكلة إيمان حتى مع الأولاد نحن لم نتربي على الصلاة و لا القرأن لكننا ذهبنا إلى مدارس دولية و تعلمنا الإنجليزى و الفرنسية و كانت الاغة العربية هى المادة الثانوية و حصة الدين كانت فسحة او يتم إستبدالها بأى مادة عشان نخلص المنهج!!! فنحن تربينا على إن الدين دا شئ عادى و إلى يتعلم عربى ده مسخ او حاجة مقرفة إلا ما رحم ربي… والله كل الراحة و السعادة لقيتها لما عرفت ربنا ( إصدقوا يصدقم الله) و (إن الله لا يغير ما بقوم حتى يغيروا ما بانفسهم) والله ربنا كريم أوي و بيعطى كل واحد مسألته ربنا يصلح حالنا كلنا إن شاء الله :) )

  • Abd el rahman

    كلام واقعى جدا…انا مش هطول عليكوا الحقيقة المشكلة إن فى شيوخ على الساحة متعامتش فن الدعوة و ده فن واجب على كل شيخ او واحد بيدعوا الناس يتعلمه… طيب بالنسبة للمراة التى لم تتحجب يجب التدريج و معرفة فوائد العفه ثم معرفة الله المنعم الرحيم الودود فهى من تلقاء نفسها سوف تذهب إلى الحجاب

  • Amir

    Well this started long before the revolution!!
    I remember hearing hate speech against christians, jews, Shiats all at once call it a “hate combo speech” if you’d like, that’s the day I abandoned the mosque.
    Now however I’m tempted to go back and bring down any “Imam” that lobbies for any political party or talks against minorities.

  • Hussein

    well… I suppose I am one of this generation and was subjected to much milder rhetoric in my time. They will all probably end up as atheists, like me.

  • Mohamed Hindi

    Good article all is true , I’m 42 years old and stopped going to the Friday prayer 4 weeks ago for the same reason , last time I was about to have a fight wi the Imam ,
    We are heading an unknown zone for all sides no one can predict what is going to happen.

  • Ahmed

    Islam is a relgion of peace not hate! This problem is not just in egypt however in most arab coutnries!! Its a real shame to see such influncal people so called immams are miss leading our kids and diffusing them away !!

  • Mohamed abozaid

    the best advice that should be given to teens who are going to mosques , you are going to pray for god ,if the imam speaks in something that’s not within religion like political or so it’s his own burden and sin and god will question and even punish him one day for what he did in forfeiting his main role in giving us the knowledge and right preaching of Islam .

    go to pray in Fridays , go to pray in any day , it’s god’s place not people’s place , if they speak bad if they speak nonsense just don’t forget you are going to pray for the lord not for the imam .

  • Ali

    You are saying “Our rulers are letting those who defame and deform our religion speak in mosques and on television.” As if that is something wrong , it’s called free speech Miss , and banning any speech if it was from so called religious deformers or whatsoever is plain and simple Fascism

  • Yousef Hani

    Honestly, this is by far, the most ridiculous argument I’ve ever heard in my whole life!

    The funny thing is; if we used the same poor argument with the other side we’ll hear the famous sentence… “This is freedom of speech”!

    And I wonder how weak a person could be to turn into an atheist because he doesn’t like what the sheikh is saying!

    I swear to God, this is one of the most naive things I’ve ever read!

    • Omar

      No it is not naive really, you are thinking about it from a more fundamental point of view, first of all someone who would turn into an atheist because he doesn’t like what the sheikh is saying is an expected consequence of the Imam’s preaching. If an Imam who is supposed to be a religious scholar preach these messages of hate, for many kids that would mean that islam DOES carry these messages of hate and because many kids are educated nowadays, they would not want to believe in such messages. So if they are muslims with many christian friends and their imam says befriending them is haram, congratulating them is haram, working with them is haram, hosting them in your house is haram…..why would they want to be muslims??? I in no way condone atheism, im a muslim from a semi conservative family and proud of my faith, but the problem is that the public is not creating a boundary between what a radical bearded imam says and what islam truly promote.

  • A.I. Jacob

    We are in a global spiritual war, yet the enemy is not Islam vs Judaism vs Christianity vs Atheism – it is an all out assault on humanity from the greatest deceiver of all. I encourage you to read Artifice – Humanities Deception from Time Immemorial. http://www.aijacob.com

  • nagi

    Perhaps it is getting worse but the reality since long time that the imam of mosques are talking about everything except the real problems of the society probably to avoid problems with the government.

    The parents should do their role in educating children about every aspect of life not only religion, to be patient and to keep the dialogue.

    I think the main player that could address this problem as well as the strange “Fatwas” all over the media, is Al-Azhar

  • Mohamed

    As an atheist for a long time, i never saw such an explosion of de-converts in Egypt like nowadays thanks to the sheikhs.

    Trust me the best thing that can happen to this country is a generation of Atheists, we are the ones who can create the balance and later implement social justice, equality and quality of life.

    In my humble opinion as there is no proof of a god(s) existence drop religious education all together and save us time.

    We go out put our lives on the line, then they call us apostates who must die. We stand in circles protecting Muslims while they pray in the square and they say oh how cute look at those Christians.

    Peace and love to all regardless you are believer or not

  • Ali El Gohary

    Very nice article, since I was in school I did pray all my prayers at the mosque (not only Friday), until one day,one of the dawn prayers was going on for 45 minutes, in addition to the hatred Friday speeches I have boycott all prayers at the mosque up till today….!!! I get down on the time of the prayers start and I never listen to all this bullshit said by the so called religious people…!! I support this young man for this brave decission, and believe me in the end no prayers or mosques get you closer to god (this is what they are trying to promote), since the more people go to mosques, the more number of people they control by feeding thier minds and heads of whatever they want (in god’s name)….!!!

  • Amir

    This article makes being Atheist sound like a bad thing.

  • Mostafa

    Sorry to say that , but it’s just ” Bar Salt ”
    The story didn’t have any logic at all , and just wanna connect the atheism with what is going on in egypt in a poor sarcastic way , no one ever ( even those who talk about politics in Jumaa Speech ) say that who follow this or that is an atheist , maybe say he is secular , liberal ( which both sure are against what been told in Quran about applying islamic rules in our life and death , our waking and sleep , eating , drinking , prayer and all worship activities ) …. Stop this Scarecrow Dogmatism and open ur mind and set it free from this materialistic way of thinking and connect ur heart and urself at all with the one who create you and gives u ur life .

  • Hossam Targam

    You could do your part by giving support to Al-Azhar. Their views are the ones we believe in and for that they need more backing.

    Create a fund and support them financially by collecting donations, help them advertise their initiatives. Simply be on the same page with them to make sure the extremists receiving external backing are neutralized.

  • Essam

    الأمر استفحل واصبح خطير جداـ ويلقي بالعبأ والمسولية على الأزهر وعلماء الدين “الحقيقيون” والتصدي للصد عن سبيل الله مما يفعله المتدينون والعلماء والمزيفون المغشوشون في كل مكان الآن! (هذا يجب أن يأخذ الأولية الأولى للأزهر ربما أهم من السياسة وما يجري في البلد) … وفي المقابل على أولياء الامور الحفاظ على أولادهم بإبعادهم عن هؤلاء المزيفون وتقريبهم من الأزهر وعلماءه الحقيقيين الأصليين!

  • Alaa

    I don’t agree with you in the point that what happens may push us to leave mosques, mosques couldn’t be left, i think the parent responsibilty to recorrect thier sons thoughts about our religion.. to build thier true religioous culture by choosing the good shiekhs to listen to , why not! if we waited for everything nothing would happen …Come on this can be used in a positive way iit can build our sons opened minded and understanding if it treated well …

    • noha

      thank you!

  • Alaa

    I disagree with you in the point that what happens may push us to leave mosques, mosques couldn’t be left, i think the parent responsibilty to recorrect thier sons thoughts about our religion.. to build thier true religioous culture by choosing the good shiekhs to listen to , why not! if we waited for everything nothing would happen …Come on this can be used in a positive way iit can build our sons opened minded and understanding if it treated well …

  • pale blue

    “Religion poisons everything” — Christopher Hitchens.

    “To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world?” — Christopher Hitchens.

    “Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.” — Christopher Hitchens.

    “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”– Christopher Hitchens.

  • SG

    Why should one continue a person’s idealogy (died long ago)…be it Jesus or Whoever it is…Dont we have brains…Cannt we decide what is good 4 us

  • Ex Muslim

    Hi, I just want to say that the religious speech is not the problem, it’s just a part of it. the real problem is the religion itself that even make me hate my real name “Mohamed” I know a lot about Islam and attended so many lectures about Sharia laws. I got it. the religion is the problem not the Imam.

  • wafik amin

    Dear, YES, the Friday’s Speech deviates now from its main goal. As the Friday Prayer is a very good MUST and ordered by Allah in Quran, I advise to chose a Masjed where the Imam is wise and give a speech that fulfills the main goa of this weekly speech, to remind people with the good morals, to do good deeds and to follow the Islamic trends of forgiveness, mercifulness and cooperation .

    I think it is temporary solution until our Imams have better knowledge of the new needs of people and realize the major changes that have been happening in our world. It is not the problem of Islam, it is the result of ignorance.

    PLEASE DO NOT STOP GOING TO THE MASJED BECAUSE OF THE CORRUPTED SPEECH. IT IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR YOU IN THE LAST DAY.

  • Ahmed H

    Current Sheikhs me my self i do not respect them and i even insult most of them simply because they are not reflecting religion at all..when i start hearing insults about liberals or secular people as gays and infidels ! who are they to say who is the infidel and who is the believer?! only Allah is the one and only gonna judge us..and all those who call themselves sheikhs they are just taking the religion a mask for their own benefits of taking places in political positions nothing more!

  • Heba

    In this article u have exposed all our worries & fears. However I do believe that we have to befriend our kids, talk to them as much as we can to be able to read their minds & give them the advice they need at the right time, and most important of all be good models. As from my own experience with my 4 kids (3 of them are more than 22 years old) they have high logic & believe in integrity & reason. So, we have to watch our behavior very carefully & b very very consistent in order not to lose our credibility.

  • Adam

    I loved the article. We need more confrontation of our hypocrisy as a society. Religion does clearly not necessarily correlate with morality and people should be more free to develop their own moral compass free from religious authorities who are themselves, often morally dubious individuals.

  • Sam

    Quote: “Or should we drop this religious education altogether?”

    Bingo. There’s your answer lady.

    • Nadia Rashad

      The sad thing is that although there are ceartain rules about who should be a leader and speaker at the Mosk ( من يؤم في الجامع ) they are not being followed. Any Mohammed, Hassan or Abdullah is alawd as it gives them points by which they can enter heaven.
      Where in fact we are told to follow only those we respect and even those we respect have to have very particulate characteristics. Of which age, knowledge, family, extensive travil, the knwlage of warfairare etc… They are all specified and in detail… NO ONE IS FOLLOWING THEM. They have been forgotten as so many principals have been . Sad, sad, sad. .

  • Ex Muslim

    I have 100 reason to hate Islam.. Mohamed

  • Mohammed Shaaban

    Intriguing article…

    A) I disliked the parts where you over-generalize cases of men drinking and partying thursday night then going to friday prayers like it’s a genetic ritual, some other over-generalization may have summed up a lot of words to be said about a topic in one slim example.

    B) Your overall point came at the right time and thank goodness someone finally shed some light on it. The fact is, we..have..no..living..model..of..how..our..faith..should..be..lived
    We’re torn between believing the 3aqeeda and living the Fiqh on a daily basis, it’s like we need an alternative for mosques because we’re so terrified of counter-parting what those Imams do with our holy places.

    C) I always believed Islam had an advantage of not summarizing its Holiness in a cross or a hands-pulled-together prayer type, leaving a place for mystery in it forces you to come up with your own way of connecting to Allah through the +100 ritual and over a thousand supplication and the various types of prayers. Thanks to those bastards now Islam is being summarized in their Uniform for how a muslim/muslima should look like and just hating what these people are becoming or doing or saying is now indirectly a hit to the faith itself…we need to renew our faith and it bleeds my brains dry that no one is taking action towards that…

    Accept my deepest respect

  • Rei

    I suggest you asks your son to change mosque for every Friday prayer until he find the one most suited for him, my friends did it too as there were no standardized khateeb in my country. As they grow, they will know which one is better, and becoming wiser.

    Indonesia is a democratic country, but religion study have been taught in elementary school through senior high school (it’s depend on their religion though) even in international schools.

  • Tarek Sedky

    Stop shoving religious BS up your children butts , and let them think and search and choose whatever they think is right

  • Tarek Sedky

    Stop shoving religious BS up your children butts , and let them think and search and choose whatever they think is right !

  • noha

    This sense of bewilderment those moms are in is somewhat exaggerated. In the same way that they teach their kids to read books & critique them, choose the TV shows they should watch, and generally have an informed opinion about issues…in that same way they should teach them that if they don’t like a certain “sheikh” they should search for another whom they enjoy listening to. If they feel a certain man is disrespectful, that doesn’t mean Islam is. Not liking a certain sermon (and rightly so) doesn’t mean boycotting mosques! Search for a good one, there are plenty! :)

  • Qays Arthur

    The sentiments expressed in this article are understandable and many concerns are valid but the author has made the all too common mistake of identifying extremism as only one trend while failing to even acknowledge its opposite. Too much to put in a comment so I responded here:

    http://www.qaysarthur.net/true-religion-and-a-generation-of-atheists/

    Peace.

  • See You

    Why must people fear an atheist nation? A religious framework is not the only way to teach children right from wrong.

  • mahmoud

    let all the boys and girls go to mosques and hear whatever the imam says in order to gain the max profit of jamaa prayer. BUT ALSO LET THEM KNOW THE REAL PURE RELIGION FROM RESPECTED SHAIKHS SUCH AS ” OMAR ABDEL KAFY” , ” TARIK AL SOWAIDAN” THEY BOTH HAVE GREAT SERIES OF ISLAMIC SUBJECTS THAT WILL REPAIR WHATEVER NONSENSE THAT THEY MAY HEAR FROM ANY ” KOLLESHEN KAN” SHAIKH. AND REMEMBER, MOST OF THE SHAIKHS IN OUR MOSQUES ARE NOT AZHARIES OR ARE GETTING THERE ISLAMIC KNOWLEDGE FROM MIXED SOURCES. HOPE I GET MY IDEA CLEAR, WISHING EVERYBODY HEDAYA AND FORGIVENESS.

  • Nedda

    I always find it insulting when people equate religion with morality and atheism with immorality. The author of this article seems to believe that “children being pushed away from religion” is a big national crisis that warrants another revolution. Here’s a newsflash for her: people can be perfectly honest, ethical and kind without religion. Some of the most charitable and most inspiring individuals in history were atheists (e.g. Warren Buffet, Helen Keller, etc). While she makes some good points, her attitude is ultimately typical of a narrow-minded, prejudiced and dogmatic culture.

  • Mr. Atheist

    The problem with this mindset is that it ignores that the actual problem is the religion itself. This is not only ignoring the elephant in the room, this is, to paraphrase Greta Christina, ignoring the massive, steaming pile of elephant shit in the room as well. The author is looking at this massive pile of elephant dung (right wing, ultra religious hatred toward women) and blaming it’s presence on everything but the actual elephant. (islam) If your children want to become atheists, let them. problem solved. I think you’ll find, Rana, that if you give them a chance, and stop attaching so much importance to your religion, that they can be perfectly good, moral people without it.

  • theraginghottruth

    Try looking at this from the perspective of someone that has no religious
    faith. Watching what’s happening in christianity and islam is like
    watching two children shouting at eachother over which is real: santa
    claus, or the easter bunny? Both are completely convinced that one is
    right, and the other is dead wrong. At some point, someone has to
    step in and tell both of them that there isn’t any actual evidence
    for either of them, before they start throwing punches.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.c.stephenson.79 Michael C Stephenson

    It would be nice if Islam inspired fewer murders throughout the world. And stonings. And amputations. And forced marriages. And genital mutilation. And honor killings.

  • John

    The Arab people are going to become a productive and happy people the day they hang their last sheikh/imam with the intestines of their last military man/dictator…

  • Ahmed Samir

    As a religiously observant Muslim, I surprisingly agree with most of the comments here, “The religion itself is the problem”…

    The son of the writer’s friend felt a struggle between hearing the imam slandering non-veiled women and the fact his mother is non-veiled…

    The truth is that the mother wants a tailored imam to tell her son that veil is not required in Islam, instead of telling her son that its her fault (99% of certified Islamic Scholars agree that the veil is a strict requirement, especially those of Al-Azhar)…

    Ok I agree some preachers in mosques are unqualified, some times even uneducated (which’s a disaster), but that is not the only issue here.

    People should stop trying to customize Islam, when your personal beliefs contradict general consensus in well-known religious issues, go look for your favourite alternative spiritual life.


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