I (aka Decent Atheist) was born in Iran in 1990 in a Shia muslim family. My real name is Maziar, named after a freedom fighter in Iran who fought the spread of Islam in Persia (modern Iran) in the 9th century. Although, I am a seyyed too, which makes me a descendant of Muhammad’s grandsons. Irony!
Growing up with the juxtaposition of my name, I believed and practiced Islam, until my teenage years that I started to become more skeptical. When I entered university I would have identified as an agnostic, however, I couldn’t do it publicly.
During my third year of university, where I was studying English translation, I was arrested under the accusation of anti-regime activities, spreading propaganda, and acts against national security. All I did was showing up in a peaceful demonstration. I was detained for 28 days in a secret detention centre in Kerman, Iran, including 10 days of solitary where I was locked in a cell with a Quran. Not having anything else to do, I read the translation of the Quran twice and I lost my religion (literally).
Fortunately, I was pardoned of all the charges in a silly trial which took 2 minutes a few months after my release. I finished my BA in Iran, although because of prior events I wasn’t sure if I could continue my education in Iran. So I decided to continue my education overseas, so I moved to Australia.