Notable Former Muslims

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This page lists notable former Muslims, including movie stars, rappers, scholars and terrorists, and links to further information about them.

Became Atheists or Agnostics

  • Ibn Warraq - Secularist author, founder of the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society (ISIS), and a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry.
  • Turan Dursun - Turkish Islamic scholar and ex-mufti who was murdered in 1990.
  • Sheikh Imam - An ex-shaykh, ex-dervish who left Islam, entered in Marxism-Leninism, and became a well-known singer, who endured prison and mistreatment from the government of Egypt.
  • Parvin Darabi - Activist, writer and internationally recognized defender of women’s rights.
  • Taslima Nasrin - Bangladeshi exile, ex-doctor, and author.
  • Ali Sina - Author, debater, and founder of Faith Freedom International.
  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Dutch feminist and politician.
  • Anwar Sheikh
  • Zak Gariba
  • Wafa Sultan - Arab American psychiatrist.
  • Sir Salman Rushdie - Indian-Born British Writer.
  • Dr. Younus Shaikh - Pakistani Medical Doctor and Rationalist.
  • Sarmad - 17th century mystical poet and Sufi saint, left Judaism, converted to Islam and then Hinduism. Later became atheist.[1][2]
  • KimDonesia - Converted to Islam aged 16 and propagated Islam on her popular Youtube channel. She appeared on Turkish radio, Middle Eastern television during Ramadan, and participated in several interviews for Islamic magazines.
  • Farhan Qureshi - Debater who was involved in think tanks, advocacy groups, da’wah (invitation or propagation) initiatives and academic apologetics as a Muslim. Now a writer at Faith Freedom International.
  • Oscar Jackson, Jr. - Better known by his stage name "Paris", he is an influential American rapper. Now an agnostic.
  • Hazrat NaKhuda - One of the founding members of the Pakistani Atheists and Agnostics (PAA).

Converted to Buddhism

Converted to Christianity

Preachers, Clerics, Scholars and Missionaries

Other Prominent Converts to Christianity

Converted to Hinduism

  • Nargis Dutt (Fatima Rashid) - Famous Bollywood actress.
  • Aasish Khan - Son of sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
  • Khusro Khan - Medieval Indian military leader, and ruler of Delhi as Sultan Nasir-ud-din.
  • Nafisa Ali - Former Miss India and leading social activist.
  • Haridas Thakura - Prominent Vaishnavite saint born in 1450, instrumental in the early appearance and spread of Hare Krishna movement. His Muslim name remains unknown to this day.[8]
  • Khushboo Sundar (born Khushboo Khan) - Tamil movie actress.[9]
  • Annapurna Devi (born Roshanara Khan) - Surbahar (bass sitar) player and music teacher in the North Indian classical tradition.[10]
  • Asha Gawli (born Ayesha) - Wife of Arun Gawli, notorious gangster (dada) turned politician from Mumbai, India.[11]
  • Aashish Khan (born Ustad Aashish Khan Debsharma) - Indian musician.[12]
  • Revathi Masoosai - Muslim born Malaysian convert known for being forced to spend six months in an Islamic rehabilitation center
  • Ifa Sudewi - Chief judge for the 2002 Bali bombing trials in Indonesia.[13]
  • Harilal Mohandas Gandhi - He was the son of Mahatma Gandhi (father of India) and converted to Islam. He was in Islam for a few months, before reverting back to Hinduism.[14][15][16]
  • Hassan Palakkode - Muslim scholar.
  • Bukka I - King of Vijayanagara empire who converted to Islam, then reconverted. The early life of Bukka as well as his brother Hakka (also known as Harihara I) are relatively unknown and most accounts of their early life are based on theories.[17][18]
  • Harihara I - King of Vijayanagara empire who converted to Islam, then reconverted.[18]
  • Netaji Palkar - Maratha noble and commander-in-chief of the army of Shivaji, 19 June 1676.[19]
  • Anwar Shaikh - British author.[20]
  • Zubeida - Hindi film actress, on whose life story the film Zubeidaa was based.[21]
  • Nalini Patel (born Nayyara Mirza) - Miss India finalist of 1967, was the first Muslim to participate in the pageant. She converted to Hinduism after marriage. She is settled in the USA.[22]
  • Shanti Devi (born Ashgari) - Mother of yesteryear Bollywood Actress Tabassum. She was daughter of a Maulvi but converted to Hinduism after marriage and even underwent Hindu religious education.[23]
  • Nadira Babbar (born Nadira Zaheer) - Wife of actor turned politician Raj Babbar. She converted to Hinduism upon marriage. She was the daughter of communist leader Syed Sajjad Zaheer and Urdu writer Razia Sajjad Zaheer.
  • Sonam (born Bakhtawar Murad) - Bollywood actress and Wife of Bollywood director Rajiv Rai. She converted to Hinduism upon marriage. She is the niece of character actor Raza Murad and granddaughter of veteran character actor Murad. She is the cousin of actress Sanober Kabir.

Converted to Miscellaneous Beliefs

  • RZA - Rapper and actor from the legendary rap group, Wu Tang Clan. His spiritual beliefs incorporate aspects of Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism.
  • Mehmet Scholl - German football player without religious confession, but is a follower of Buddhist principles.

Current Beliefs Unknown

  • Wesley Snipes - Major Hollywood star who left Islam in 1988.[24]
  • Seány O'Kane - Big Brother 2007 UK housemate, converted to Islam in 2003,[25] and practised the religion for a short time, but stopped after believing it to be in conflict with his homosexuality.[26]
  • Qais Ali - Muslim internet debater behind the now defunct "Answering Christianity" site.[27][28]
  • Muhammad Sven Kalisch - Former Muslim convert and Germany's first professor of Islamic theology. In 2008 after extensive research he came to the conclusion that “Muhammad probably never existed”,[29] and apostatized in 2010.[30]

Disputed Conversions

  • Barack Obama - Current President of the USA. Although President Obama (who is a Christian) has stated that he was never a Muslim, some have suggested otherwise.[31] This issue has also been discussed within the Muslim world,[32] and a Sudanese scholar has even called for his execution on the grounds that he is an apostate[33]
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See Also

External Links


  1. Mesrovb Jacob Seth - Armenians in India (pp 167-77 ; pp 179-81 & p 194) - Calcutta, 1937
  2. Asif Naqshbandi - Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed: The Naked Sufi Martyr - CHOWK, July 13, 2005
  3. S. Saeed Akhtar Rizvi - The Life of Muhammad The Prophet/Marriages of the Holy Prophet - Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project,
  4. Suzan Fraser - Pope John Paul Gunman Wants To Convert to Christianity – The Huffington Post, May 13, 2009
  5. Deen Mahomed (1759–1851): soldier, writer, businessman - The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  6. St. Alodia – Catholic Online
  7. Frederick George Holweck - A Biographical Dictionary of the Saints - St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1924, pg. 84.
  8. Haridasa Thakura - Stephen Knapp
  9. Southern siren Namitha has a temple - NDTV, July 10, 2008
  10. Jaya Ramanathan - Unveiling the mystique of a reclusive artiste - The Hindu, June 28, 2006
  11. Daddy in jail, Mummy seeks votes for both - Indian express
  12. Indian musician goes back to roots - OneIndia, August 23, 2006
  13. Cindy Wockner - Five bombers were prepared to die in Bali - The Sunday Telegraph, Australia, May 25, 2003
  15. Watching 'Gandhi my Father' was painful: Tushar
  16. Watching 'Gandhi my Father' was painful: Tushar
  18. 18.0 18.1 Chopra, P.N. T.K. Ravindran and N. Subrahmaniam - "History of South India" - S. Chand, 2003. ISBN 8121901537
  20. Dr. Anwar Shaikh : A Great Soul, A Great Fighter for Truth - International Opinion
  21. Prakash Bhandari and Indranil Basu - Zubeidaa’s secret - The Times of India, July 11, 2003
  22. 1964-1970 - Femina Miss India
  23. [1]
  24. Laura B. Randolph - Wesley Snipes, Hollywood's hottest new star talks about: his divorce, his days on the streets and why he doesn't have 'jungle fever' - Ebony Magazine, September, 1991
  25. Seany Before Big Bro - Sky Showbiz, June 11, 2007
  26. The day Lesley walked out of the Big Brother house - Throng TV, June 11, 07
  27. Comments on Qais Ali's site "Answering Christianity" - Answering Islam
  28. Jochen Katz - Osama Abdallah's claims about Exposed Lies of Answering Islam ?? - Answering Islam
  29. Andrew Higgins - Professor Hired for Outreach to Muslims Delivers a Jolt - Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2008
  30. Muslim professor who questioned Big Mo’s existence has ditched Islam - The Freethinker, April 21, 2010
  31. Daniel Pipes - Barack Obama's Muslim Childhood - FrontPageMagazine, April 29, 2008
  32. Mu'ammar Ahmad 'Abd-al-Latif Rajeh - Is President Obama a Muslim or an Apostate? - Watan Voice, January 30, 2010 (English translation)
  33. Sudanese Islamic Scholar Sheikh 'Atiyya Muhammad Sa'id: 'Apostate' Obama 'Must Be Executed'; 'The Path of Osama Bin Laden Is Our Path' - MEMRI, Dispatch No. 3826, May 9, 2011