Sarah Haider was born in Pakistan as a practicing Shia Muslim. She moved to Texas and, in her late teens, began reading the Qur’an critically. It wasn’t long before she became an atheist. In 2013, she co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America, where she advocates for the acceptance of religious dissent and works to create local support communities for those who have left Islam.
We spoke with Sarah about why it’s dangerous for Muslims to leave the faith even in the United States, what the New Atheists get right and wrong about Islam, and why we need to stop using the word “Islamophobic.”
At the 21:00 mark, I accidentally say an incident involving Ayaan Hirsi Ali being protested by students occurred at UCLA. It was actually Yale. Apologies for the error.
Also, if you haven’t seen it, Sarah gave an excellent speech at the 2015 American Humanist Association convention. It’s worth your time to watch it.