Maybe it is just me and I live a sheltered lifestyle, but all of a sudden, there seem to be articles about people leaving Islam and their "courage" that are doing the rounds in mainstream media.
A lot of Muslims will rather ignore this issue, but if it blows up in our face, we will all suffer.
The Guardian has had its piece and so has BBC News. There have been a few others too and when I have pointed them out to other Muslims, they have generally not wanted to read them or not considered apostasy a major issue for the Muslim community.
These articles suggest that there is an often hidden group of individuals who's parents and family background is one of Islam and Muslims, but they themselves have chosen to leave Islam, either publicly or in secret.
If these articles are only exposing something that exists to a greater extent, it is worrying.
We all know that Islam is a gift and if we do not cherish it, it can be taken away, given to other individuals and communities instead of us, but do we take this knowledge seriously or just see it as another bogeyman?
I may be naive, but I doubt many people that leave Islam will leave because they no longer believe. Often there will be social or cultural reasons.
Does the Muslim community do a good enough job of explaining Islam to Muslims, let alone non Muslims?
From these articles it also seems that youngish girls are the most likely to leave Islam. Is that just me reading too much into it, are these articles "marketing" aimed at such confused souls or is it the reality that we ignore?
The BBC News article was about a 17 year old who had eventually ran away from home. The article in teh Guardian featured a woman in her twenties who had secretly left Islam. Both of these cases involved relationships (and often this can go two ways - it can bring another person to islam too).
Islam does not demand celibacy - the Muslim community version with late marriages expects it and that can cause a strain.
Another part will be of feeling outcast - Not everyone can deal with issues thrown at them, especially if instead of feeling that Islam gives them strength and dignity, they feel it holds them back and makes them embarrassed about their origins.
Many people sin - most people will sin, but leaving Islam altogether seems like a rather drastic step. I don't think it's just about sin - I get the impression that a lot of these people are angry at something too.
Question is what can be done about this and what should be done about this.
If you have a friend that has left Islam, how should you react? What about a family member?
As always prevention is better than cure, so what can be done to prevent people being put in a position where they want to leave Islam?
May Allah (swt) guide us all on to and then keep us on the true path.