Those are the words of Alom Shaha, cover star of our May/June issue (which is out today), and author of the forthcoming book The Young Atheist's Handbook (Biteback). In his book Alom tells the story of his journey from Islam to atheism, and in the process he delivers a powerful message, arguing that young people, in particular young people from Muslim backgrounds, should not be afraid to speak out and be open about their atheism.
Of course, things aren't so simple, and there can be many reasons why young people do not want to admit to their loss of faith, not least the fear of angering or disappointing their parents and close friends and family. In Alom's view, this obstacle would be perhaps be easier for some to overcome if the atheist, humanist community was more inclusive, and made more of an effort to demonstrate that "atheism is not the preserve of an intellectual elite":
"[I hope] that my work will go some way to encouraging atheist and humanist movements to recognise that they need to do more for people from backgrounds like mine. To be a true 'community', atheism needs to move away from its white, male image and encourage black and Asian people to join."Also in the new issue: I take a look at the war on British secularism; James Gray explores Britain's growing religious sects; Sarah Ditum asks what can be done to prevent the horrific child abuse caused by belief in witchcraft in the UK; Ralph Steadman celebrates man's best enemy – the domestic cat; Philip Ball traces a curious history; Marcus Chown watches the sun set on Mars; Martin Robbins explains how he became a poster-boy for polygamy; Chris Mooney asks whether a brain can be right-wing; Sally Feldman explores Joan of Arc's hold over French politics; and much, much more.
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