Authoritarian regimes and religious institutions in the Muslim majority world see eye-to-eye on the topic of atheism. United by their fear of losing control over their populations and their desire for conformity, consecutive governments have pushed for unfair restrictions on their subjects’ beliefs since their inception. But even in society, non-belief remains a taboo. Should atheists in Muslim majority world become more vocal?
Yes, atheism in Tunisia is diverse and vibrant.
Statistics on atheism in the Middle East and North Africa are hazy, but analysts say that atheists, who have to hide their atheism, represent an increasing trend based on recent developments.
Religious people “cling” to certain beliefs in the face of evidence because those views are closely tied to their moral compasses, new studies have suggested.
Religious disbelief is viewed with alarm in most Arab countries. Two government ministries in Egypt have been ordered to produce a national plan to “confront and eliminate” atheism. In Saudi Arabia, the most recent anti-terrorism law classifies “calling for atheist thought” as a terrorist offence. This hounding of non-believers might seem especially strange at a time when concerns are high about those who kill in the name of religion, but Arab societies have a general aversion to nonconformity, and the regimes that rule them often promote an official version of Islam that suits their political needs. Thus both jihadism and…
Atheism remains one of the most extreme taboos in Saudi Arabia. It is a red line that no one can cross. Atheists in Saudi Arabia have been suffering from imprisonment, maginalisation, slander, ostracisation and even execution. Indeed, atheists in Saudi are considered terrorists. Efforts for normalisation between those who believe and those who don’t remain bleak in the kingdom.
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You can be a lapsed Catholic. You can be a cultural Jew. You can be a Buddhist who believes more in dharma than in divinity. But being an atheist Muslim isn’t so easy. In some parts of the world, it’s an admission that could cost you your life. “People tend to lose a lot. It’s not just a matter of changing your mind or saying that you think differently. And as I write in the book, in some of these societies, changing your mind can literally mean losing your head. Your government’s going to come after you. Your family comes…
Common complaints about atheism go like this: How could you think that all this is for no reason? Who are you to say that you know there is no God/plan/divine order? How much hubris are you filled with to make such a claim?