CECI n'est pas EXECUTE Houssame Bentabet

Houssame Bentabet

PhD Student
Institutional affiliation(s): EHESS

Professional contact information


Dissertation director: Michel Boivin

PhD program: EHESS - Sociology

Initial registration: 2014


Abandoning Islam. From Irreligiosity to Rejection of Faith among Muslims in France. (Forms and Reasons)


What I mean by “irreligiosity” is the distance that a Muslim begins to establish in relation to his or her religion; it can manifest itself as a violation of religious rules and prescriptions. This phase generally precedes a total rejection of faith.

After my “legal” research on the subject of apostasy in classical and contemporary Muslim law, completed as part of the Master’s program in Islamic Studies, Islamic Law and Society in Strasbourg, I have chosen a psycho-sociological phenomenon for my current research. The idea will be to pursue reflection on the future of the role of Islam in the lives of Muslims.

After September 11th 2001, with the rise of religious extremism and fundamentalism, a certain form of distance in relation to religion in general and Islam in particular has been progressively established among young Muslims around the world. Today, many have gone public with regard to their break with Islam.

Before reaching this point, Muslims generally go through a process that can last many years, which begins with irreligiosity and ends with some form of departure from Islam. During this process, the personality of the future “ex-Muslim” is constructed.

My first concern will be to analyze the different types of irreligiosity, then to define the forms of departure from Islam, which can sometimes be violent and take on an anti-Muslim militant aspect. Then I will analyze the different psycho-sociological reasons for abandoning Islam. These reasons include a whole sphere of influence which will make it possible to understand the true motivations behind the break with Islam.

The analysis of the individual path of the ex-Muslim will constitute the core of this work. I have chosen to study the case of Muslims in France, which does not mean that the same phenomenon has not spread elsewhere as well. However, in countries where there is a Muslim majority, these individuals do not dare publicize the freedoms they take with religion; they are often persecuted, imprisoned or condemned as apostates. In France, as in other European countries, these individuals are more or less visible, and free to gather together in associations called: Ex-Muslims.


Last update: 30 November 2015


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