Interview with Nik J. Gray – Co-Founder, Society of ExMuslims Australia

by | April 8, 2019

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Nik J. Gray is the Co-Founder of the Society of ExMuslims Australia. Here we talk about her life, views, and work.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was early life like for you, e.g., geography, culture, language, religion or lack thereof, education, and family structure and dynamics?

Nik J Gray, Co-Founder of SEMA: My family is a bit different from most Muslims as I am the child of a convert. My family are very religious Islamically and I grew up along the eastern coast of Australia as well as temporarily living in Somalia.

I didn’t have much of an education growing up as my family didn’t believe that an Australian/Western Education was acceptable instead was homeschooled from a religious perspective. I do not have much to do with my family as they can not accept my apostasy.

Jacobsen: What levels of formal education have been part of life for you? How have you informally self-educated?

Nik J Gray: I was not able to obtain my high school graduate until after I left home. I tried to study at university but due to the lack of support from government agencies, I was unable to continue to study and work.

After a few years, I obtained a few certificates in Business Management. Informally, I read anything and everything I can get my hands on.

Jacobsen: What are the central issues facing ex-Muslims in Australia?

Nik J Gray: A distinct lack of understanding and support from not just general population but government agencies. I left home in 2011 and many ExMuslims are still facing the same issues that affected me. We are constantly silenced when we try to speak up on any issue that may affect us as being islamophobic or racist.

Jacobsen: Are there some issues ex-Muslim women face that ex-Muslim men do not, and vice versa? What are they?

Nik J Gray: As an ExMuslim woman I definitely had issues adjusting to a world where men and women mixed. I was timid, shy and didn’t know how to do anything such as catch a bus, find a job or pay bills.

I think this is an issue that can affect perhaps ExMuslims of both genders however perhaps more women as we are often kept more isolated from the outside world versus our male counterparts.

As a woman I can not say much regarding the issues that exMuslim men face but they do have their own hurdles they must jump.

Jacobsen: What are important allies in the efforts to protect, provide asylum for, and give community to ex-Muslims in Australia?

Nik J Gray: Currently the only support ExMuslims in Australia seem to be recieving is from the Secular Party of Australia and Progressive Atheists. Beyond that most organisations seem to be silent, but that can also be a lack of awareness due to how secretive the ExMuslim community is in Australia.

Jacobsen: What writers and thinkers most accurately articulate the concerns of the ex-Muslim community?

Nik J Gray: I think that most ExMuslim activists on Twitter such as Yasmine Mohammed, Armin Navabi, and Ali Rizvi are all doing great work when it comes to the concerns of exMuslims.

Jacobsen: Moving into 2019, what the targeted objectives of “Society For ExMuslims Australia”?

Nik J Gray: Right now we are just aiming to be a face of ExMuslims in Australia with the hopes to be able to provide a network of support groups for ExMuslim Australia wide in the coming future.

Jacobsen: What are some of the heartwarming as well as tragic stories that you’ve encountered with ex-Muslims?

Nik J Gray: Every ExMuslim story I hear breaks my heart a little bit. It is a terrible thing that in the 21st century we have people fearing for their lives not just in Muslim countries.

For myself personally, the heartwarming stories I encounter are when people tell me that they finally feel free. Every ExMuslim story is a tragic tale that sometimes ends in joy, and sometimes in misery.

Jacobsen: How can people become involved through the donation of time, the addition of membership, links to professional and personal networks, giving monetarily, exposure in interviews or writing articles, and so on?

Nik J Gray: Society of ExMuslims Australia is still in its grassroots stage. We are all volunteers who are taking time out of lives to dedicate to the void that is missing in the ExMuslim community in Australia.

I have always said when asked what can other people do to support exMuslims and I respond with; Listen and Share our stories through whatever means you can.

Jacobsen: Any final feelings or thoughts based on the conversation today?

Nik J Gray: I just hope that one day an organisation like SEMA won’t have to exist because people can leave Islam without fearing losing their family or even their lives.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time.

Nik J Gray: Thank you.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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Other Resources: Recovering From Religion.

Photo by David Kiriakidis on Unsplash

One thought on “Interview with Nik J. Gray – Co-Founder, Society of ExMuslims Australia

  1. fatimah kamal sheikh-omar

    okay( younger sister of Nick speaking), you did know how to use a bus. u used to take me to the library in the Plaza like every Sunday through public transport, remember. and as for being timid and shy and not knowing how to act around men, I remember my older sister asking one of her guy friends to drive us home from your uni when you didn’t have the money for the bus fare(very sweet guy btw). I mean I remember cuz I had to sit on top of the new papers where one of his friends had puked from a little too much of the nighttime alcohol :), lol.i love you always have always will(regardless of you lying on the nullifidian post saying I was brainwashed to not believe in education and waiting for a man to marry and control me, it’s not your fault you cut contact with me and didn’t know jack shit about me (12 at the time) even though I tried for years to contact you and the moment u wrote back (when I was 14ish) you made that post which cut me deep.) and just so you know, I’m going to uni and I’m going to finish it. (also not to trigger you put i graduated high school, yay me?!). and we were raised in the same house and guys don’t make me timid or shy, I’ve had many convos that were normal ( mostly talking about school or there dating lives, oh and the memes, gotta love memes) so maybe that’s just a you thing. also, we were all very educated on periods and coitus like I would run outta the room cuz mum would just go on and I was like TMI(embarrassing times). and I would like to make a note to repeat I tried to contact you through Facebook for years but you got a new account or something so I couldn’t. and I don’t care that u left Islam, ur my sister I love u even if u weren’t the nicest sister, with all the stuff u did to me, I couldn’t ever stop loving u. Honestly Nicky, I just wish you would have gotten to know me to GET TO KNOW ME instead of having a brief convo than getting your own interpretation (like I don’t value education) and using it for a post on the internet even though I’ve never said that and I love education studying is one of my passions.
    on the point of people leaving Islam, I agree it’s sad that people are scared to leave a religion, no one should feel that way ( i hope you help a lot of people outta bad situations nick). anyway, I am about to start UNI life and I just wanted there to be no confusion I love you, support you, miss you, and hope that maybe in the future we could have a relationship where I’m not scared you’re analyzing everything I say to make me look oppressed online I’m not, I’m a happy , confident women in control of my own life making my own decisions ( the way i was raised.


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