List of former Muslims

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The following is a list of notable people who have been Muslims part of their lives, but left Islam for another religion or a non-religious worldview.

Converted to a different Abrahamic religion[edit]

Converted to Christianity[edit]

Albanian monarch, Skanderbeg was forcibly converted from Roman Catholicism to Islam but reverted to Roman Catholicism later in life upon his return in Albania[1]
Italian journalist Magdi Allam converted to Roman Catholicism during the Vatican's 2008 Easter vigil service presided over by Pope Benedict XVI[13]
On St George's Day, 2005 Serbian film director Emir Kusturica left Islam and was baptised into the Serb Orthodox Church[54]
Argentine president, Carlos Menem converted to Roman Catholicism due to his political aspirations[47]
Al Qaeda terrorist Ramzi Yousef claims to have embraced Christianity while in ADX Florence Supermax prison. However, the prison staff does not believe Yousef's conversion is sincere.[97][98]
Born into a Muslim Batak family, Indonesian Prime Minister Amir Sjarifuddin converted to Christianity in 1931, upon which his fervently Islamic mother committed suicide.[104]

Converted to Judaism[edit]

  • Reza Jabari – Israeli of Iranian birth who hijacked a flight between Tehran and the Iranian resort island of Kish in September, 1995 while working as a flight attendant for Iranian carrier Kish Air flight 707.[123]
  • Avraham Sinai – Lebanese former Shi'ite who converted to Judaism. He served as an informant for the Israelis while serving in Hezbollah, until his actions were uncovered. He fled to Israel and subsequently converted.[124]

Converted to the Bahá'í Faith[edit]

Mishkín-Qalam was a prominent Bahá'í and one of the nineteen Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as a famous calligrapher of 19th century Persia.[125]

These were mostly people who were followers of the Bahá'u'lláh at the time he founded the Bahá'í Faith. They were formerly Muslims.

Part of an unorganized religion or no religion[edit]

Became atheists[edit]

Former Muslim and Dutch politician Ehsan Jami was one of the two founders of the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims[129]

Became Agnostics[edit]

Became Deists[edit]

Became Non-religious[edit]

Converted to an Indian religion[edit]

Converted to Buddhism[edit]

Converted to Hinduism[edit]

Harilal Gandhi converted to Islam, adopted the name "Abdullah Gandhi", but later reverted to Hinduism.[181]

Converted to Sikhism[edit]

  • Kuldeep Manak – (born Latif Mohammed) Famous Punjabi singer who, after his conversion, released a number of Sikh devotional tracks.[201]
  • Sant Lakhbir Singh, formerly Karim Baksh – Born to devout Muslim parents, Singh converted to Sikhism in 1903.[202]


Converted to Rastafari[edit]

  • Snoop Lion – American musician (From Christianity to Islam to Rastafari)

Religious founders[edit]

Mughal emperor Akbar proclaimed that no single religion possessed the absolute truth. This inspired him to create the Dīn-i Ilāhī in 1581.[203]
American actor Wesley Snipes converted from Christianity to Islam in 1978, but he left the faith in 1988.[215]

Undetermined current belief system[edit]

  • Khalid Duran – Specialist in the history, sociology and politics of the Islamic world.[216]
  • Charles Bronson – British criminal and self-styled "most violent prisoner in Britain".[217]
  • David Hicks – Australian-born Guantanamo Bay detainee who converted to Islam[218] and was notorious in his homeland for his once support of radical Islam and for the circumstances surrounding his incarceration, is believed to have renounced Islam whilst incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.[219]
  • Wesley Snipes – American actor, film producer, and martial artist.[215]
  • Lex Hixon – Not raised religious; Conversions to Hinduism, Sufism. Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and possibly Zen.[220]
  • Linda Thompson - British folk singer who, along with her husband Richard, converted to Sufism in the 1970s. The couple have since divorced and she has left the religion.[221]

See also[edit]

Other apostasy-related lists[edit]


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  83. ^ Majumdar, Margaret (2002). Francophone Studies: The Essential Glossary. United States of America: Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0340806966. 
  84. ^ Heirs of the Prophets: An account of the clergy and Priests of Islam, Samuel Marinus Zwemer, Moody press, 1946, p. 127 – "There are some examples which could easily be multiplied. Dr. Imad-ud-Din was a leading sufi and theologian in the Punjaub. He was appointed to preach against Dr. Pfander in the royal mosque at Agra; he read the Scriptures, believed and was baptised, and with another great theologian and sufi, Safdar Ali, became a missionary to his people. Afterwards he received a doctorate from Oxford University. His baptism took place New Year's Day, 1868, together with his aged father and brother. Other distinguished converts in the Punjab, such as Imam Shah, were also from the clergy."
  85. ^ Cryer, Neville Barker (1979). Bibles Across the World. United States of America: Mowbrays. p. 94. ISBN 0264664175. 
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  111. ^ Saye Zerbo, président of the republic from 1980 to 1982 (article in French) "At once stopped, Saye Zerbo is thrown in prison. Since his imprisonment, the deposed president contemplates and reads the Qu'ran through whole nights. He also asks so that the Bible be brought to him that the archbishop of Ouagadougou, the cardinal Paul Zoungrana, had offered to him at the time of first Christmas following his takeover. At this point in time it will have the revelation which will change its life. In a mystical dash, Saye Zerbo is brought to his knees, returns thanks to God and converts to Christianity. His entire family will do the same thing thereafter."
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  134. ^ Re-drawing the line – Al Ahram Weekly, August 9, 2000.
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  152. ^ Humanistische Omroep, Link to video interview with Hafid Bouazza Quote: (Translation) "Believers live behind a fence, and non-believers live in a pasture and they know there are believers out there behind the fence." "It [religion] is a matter of conditioning, of brainwashing." "I know that when I die, it's over with me." (Dutch) "Gelovigen leven achter een hek, en ongelovigen in een weiland, waarin ze weten dat er gelovigen zijn die achter hekken wonen." "Het [religie] is een kwestie van conditionering, van hersenspoeling" "Ik weet dat het moment dat ik ter aarde word besteld, dat het afgelopen is met mij."
  153. ^ Verdonschot, Leon (May 8, 2008). ""Ik kan niet leven zonder roes." Interview met Hafid Baouzza, gepubliceerd in Dif nr.1" (in Dutch). Retrieved May 9, 2008. [dead link] Quote: (Translation) "Look, I'm an atheist. I believe God does not exist, I do not believe in an afterlife. How terrible it may be: Hitler isn't in hell getting pinched in his ass with a trident. I'm fine with the fact there are people who do believe that and get comfort from it, like my mother. I just hope the influence of religion on policy makers will diminish, because my freedom is precious to me." (Dutch) "Kijk, ik ben atheïst. Ik geloof niet dat God bestaat, ik geloof niet dat er een hiernamaals is. Hoe gruwelijk ook: Hitler wordt op dit moment niet in de hel met een drietand in zijn reet geprikt. Dat er mensen zijn dat dat wél geloven en daar troost uit putten, mensen als mijn moeder: prima. Als de invloed van religies op beleidsmakers maar steeds kleiner wordt, want mijn vrijheid is me dierbaar."
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  161. ^ "I was born in a very much conservative Muslim family wherein my parents, kith and kin are very strict followers of Islam., but later I became an atheist." Owner of Society Of Asian Freethinkers, Sharif Ahmed, Listed activist of Amnesty International's megazine.
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  165. ^ "SIS spying on mosques revealed". Sunday Star Times. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
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