I’m statistically a Muslim, but I believe in a less naïve version of god

<This week’s participant requested to remain anonymous. When I asked them what picture they would like to accompany their story, the answer was: ‘The Hagia Sophia. It should be a church again’>

I believe in a less naïve version of god. It could be a Cartesian view, it could be a Kantian view. A Cartesian view equates god with natural law; a Kantian view advances a moral argument for god in the face of the absence of proof for god. Very simple [laughing].

I was influenced by many people in my life, my siblings, among others. I was raised neither religiously, nor overtly secular, because there were some cultural rites of passage which I went through, otherwise it would be odd, you know, in the society I lived in. But certainly not religious in the conventional way.  You know, packed off to mosques and stuff like that, no shit like that. [Laughing:] I choose my words carefully.

I’m very tolerant, but I identify with the less orthodox views of Islam; the more orthodox views absolutely repel me. But I still say I’m a Muslim – ‘statistiek Muslim’. If you know your Dutch colonies, you know that a lot of people were minimalist. It’s called ‘statistiek’ spelt in the Dutch way. So, I’m statistically a Muslim, which means, by birth. I’m not Indonesian though.

There is a case for even concealing that [the Muslim identity] nowadays. In many parts of the Western world and the non-Western world. It elicits prejudice. Of course, you can’t make out what I am, my behavior doesn’t show. I don’t believe in denying it, but I also don’t believe in rubbing it in. Co-religionists of mine who make such an exhibition of difference, they frankly annoy me.

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