He had a conscience, so he forsook Islam—i.e., he was a “conscientious objector to Islam”—a term that should be in widespread usage, instead of “Muslim apostate.”
The pious Al-Azhar cleric (and Fatwa Committee member) he “debated,” on the other hand, regurgitating mainstream Islam’s conspiratorial Jew-hatred (see here, and here), including that of Al-Azhar’s previous and current Grand Imams, claimed Islamic State “caliph” al-Baghdadi was a Jew (“of Israeli origin”), acting out a Jewish (“Mossad”) conspiracy.
“Egyptian Human Rights Activist Ahmad Harqan: ISIS Is Doing what the Prophet Muhammad Did” The Middle East Media Research Institute, October 21, 2014; Clip No. 4649
In an October 21 TV interview, Egyptian human rights activist Ahmad Harqan explained why he had become an atheist and said that Islam is a “harsh religion,” which was being implemented by ISIS and Boko Haram. They are doing “what the Prophet Muhammad and his companions did,” said Harqan. According to media reports, Harqan and his pregnant wife survived an assassination attempt on October 25, and when they went to the police to complain, were arrested for disrespect to Islam.
Following are excerpts from the program, which aired on Al-Kahera Wal-Nas TV:
Atheist Ahmad Harqan: I do not believe in the existence of God. Being non-religious and leaving Islam is not something that I wanted, but having lived 27 years of my life in this religion, I decided that I could not go on [believing] in it. All people could reach the same conclusion, if they were allowed to think freely about this. But the reality is that people are denied the opportunity to reach this decision. They are not allowed to think critically about religion. Islam is a very harsh religion, and what ISIS is now doing is, perhaps, a physical manifestation of this religion. […] The Quranic texts are crystal clear. When the Quran says “strike their necks,” [Koran 47:4] it is very clear. When it says “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day, and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful, and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – until they give the jizya willingly while they are humbled” [Koran 9:29] it is very clear, and ISIS understands and implements it in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. Boko Haram are also implementing this when they capture women. This is what the Prophet Muhammad and his companions did.[…]
Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee member Sheik Sayyed Zaid: I respect you as a person, Ahmad, but what you have just said is not worthy of respect, even though I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of belief. “Whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve.” Egypt embraces, Bahais, Ahmadis, Communists, Marxists, Satan worshippers, homosexuals… Egypt embraces them all because it is the mother of all cultures and religions, even if some people renounce this.[…] When you say that “ISIS is like Muhammad,” and that Islam is “a criminal faith”…
Ahmad Harqan: I do say that it is a criminal faith, and that the Quran is full of teachings that incite to hatred and murder.
Sheik Sayyed Zaid: First of all, who says that ISIAS is an Islamic group? About a week ago, the American media declared that the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi – who has nothing to do with Islam – is of Israeli origin. This is a Mossad ploy. America said this, not me.
Ahmad Harqan: I know that this is not true because people who used to be my friends joined ISIS.