“Coming Out” or “Staying in the Closet”– Deconversion Narratives of Muslim Apostates in Jordan
This article describes a pilot study conducted between 22.03.2013 and 22.05.2013 among deconverts from Islam in Jordan. Due to the religious and cultural taboo surrounding apostasy, those who left Islam are notoriously difficult to access in a systematic way and constitute what is known in social research as a ‘hidden’ or ‘hard-to-reach’ population. Consequently, the non-probability sampling methods, namely an online survey, were used to recruit participants to the study. The objective of this research was threefold: (a) exploring the community of apostates from Islam in Jordan, (b) understanding the rationale behind decision to disaffiliate from Islam, and (c) analysing their narratives of deconversion. In addition, this paper examines the changes that occurred in respondents’ lives as a result of their apostasy and the degree of secrecy about their decision.
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