Enlightened Muslims are ex-Muslims

These have to be among the bravest atheists anywhere: Pakistani Atheists & Agnostics. It’s easy to be an atheist in Europe, and moderately easy in the US (you just have to be able to tolerate the endless annoyances of living in a god-soaked country), but man — being openly critical of religion in Pakistan takes real courage.


  1. René says

    It’s easy to be an atheist in Europe

    Not for all of us: I know a youngster here in Holland who is extremely careful not to reveal his name on an atheist blog that both he and I contribute to. We also had a few get-togethers, and he was one of those who didn’t fancy the idea of photographs of the meeting to be published on the blog. He just cannot come out as an atheist among his old schoolfriends or his family: he would be ostracized.

    But I agree to calling these Pakistani atheists of being very brave indeed. It’s the country of Asia Bibi and Salman Taseer and all. I wish them all the best.

    I’ve bookmarked the site.

  2. It'spiningforthefyords says

    If they are who they say they are and do what it looks like they do*, I am in utter awe of their courage.

    *I imply only the slightest skepticism here, since this matches my hopes only too well, and is so obviously dangerous as to be reckless.

  3. says

    I am so very proud right now. I have been searching the intertubes for a while for a group of like minded Pakistanis. Way to go Pakistan!

  4. lordshipmayhem says

    They have my support. Considering being atheists is a death sentence in Pakistan, as in many Middle Eastern countries, they’re going to need all we can give them.

  5. says

    The only ebook in the resources section is “God’s Debris” by Scott Adams?

    So two reasons to hope they grow!

  6. HNS_Lasagna says

    They need more than courage, they probably could use body armor. Isn’t it ironic that so many religions purport to be peaceful and loving. I mean even the buddhists, it turns out, are actually messed up too… what with raping people in their temple (I don’t think thats part of the noble eight-fold path)
    Religion is NOT a solution, IT’S THE PROBLEM!

    “If you’re upset with your religion, try Pastafarianism for 30 days, if you don’t like it your old religion will most likely take you back”.

  7. says

    It’s easy to be an atheist in Europe, and moderately easy in the US (you just have to be able to tolerate the endless annoyances of living in a god-soaked country),

    Having just finished Sikivu Hutchinson’s Moral Combat, I can say that this is not true for a large number of people in the US. It’s truest for white men living in certain parts of the country. For many other people it amounts to social suicide – being cut off from social networks and material resources and often seriously discriminated against and harassed.

  8. says

    I’m currently hesitant to out myself here in Texas for fear of illegal religious job discrimination and automotive vandalism.

    To our Pakistani friends who can openly stand out in the face of far worse fates, including a strong possibility of death, I salute your courage.

  9. 'smee says

    Here in GA a darwin fish on my car was sufficient to get it keyed at the airport.

    Not the car – a blingier model of my car with a JesusFish was parked close to mine when I arrived and was still there when I left. I walked past that car to get to mine and it was fine (I saw both sides as I approached and went past). I only noticed the damage to mine when I got home.

  10. 'smee says

    Note: I do not mean that being keyed is in any way equivalent to living under a death sentence.

    Merely noting that the US is still openly hostile to atheism.

  11. says

    He just cannot come out as an atheist among his old schoolfriends or his family: he would be ostracized.

    I had a friend back in the 80s who was a (very deeply) secret homosexual, and catholic. He kept saying he could never come “out” because he’d lose his status in his church groups and all his friends. I pointed out to him that they weren’t really his friends, if he had to lie to them in order to deflect their prejudices. It’s no longer a relationship, it’s just a fabric of lies. This is one of the ways in which religion – often touted as good for families and social groups – actually destroys the integrity of families and social groups: it encourages those groups to wire explosive charges to the emotional foundations of any community it controls. Your friend has been put in a lose/lose situation – it’s difficult to think that one’s parents might prefer an imaginary god over their own child. :(

  12. Abdul says

    I am an atheist from pak land.Thanks for you suport its good to see that Dr Dawkin’s books are hitting stores in pakistan :).
    Also Pz myers thanks for dealting with that lunatic hamza :D

  13. RFW says

    The atheist movement desperately needs the help of knowledgeable psychiatrists and educators to devise effective tactics for raising doubt and sowing the seeds of disbelief among the believers. When you confront them head on, they just get their backs up in defense of their irrational beliefs. Burrowing from within and slow undermining of their flawed beliefs seems to me a more effective strategy with the non-thinkers.

    Perhaps repeated emphasis (not too strong, now!) on the money angle would be the way to go? “Gee, we were fund raising to help orphans in Botswana, and you know that Reverend Bachmann over at the First Church of Christ the Raving Loony? He has a six car garage filled with expensive cars but claimed he couldn’t afford to give anything “this year”. Or any other year, I’d bet. And he’s such a nice man, too.”

    Many of us are convinced that a lot of the shakers and movers among the believers are just grifters: they’re in it for the money, and they’re utter hypocrites. Surely there’s some way of using the facts to erode the confidence of their followers and leading them (slowly, now!) to wake up to this realization?

  14. says

    Islam must somehow be discredited everywhere, including those places in Europe where people think “tolerance” and “multiculteralism” means giving Muslims special treatment because they are in the minority. But refraining from criticising Islam is not honest and is cowardly, which is not honorable.


    For the sake of argument, I define “orthodox” in Islam as including the beliefs common to both the Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, though the Sunnis themselves say only they are orthodox (much like orthodox Christians may be defined as including much more than the denominations called “Orthodox”, including Catholics and most Protestants).

    There are several issues in Islam I find contradictory and thus I would never become a Muslim, even if I were to ever believe in a god again.

    Islam is said to be a world religion, appropriate for all peoples of the world to follow. This is absurd because Islam also makes Mecca the city that all Muslims must pray to five times a day and to make a pilgrimage to at least once in their lives. Islam also makes Arabic the default language for the Quran and for Muslim prayers and calls to prayer. Even Roman Catholicism no longer makes Latin the default language for Mass around the world. A truly worldly religion would have NO default language, no one city as the center of prayer and pilgrimage, and would see holiness in all places. We Unitarian Universalists might regard Boston as a place of historical significance to us, but we don’t pray to it!
    Islam is said to be the final religion, the Quran is Allah’s final revelation and Muhammad the last of the Prophets. This contradicts the idea of Allah as an all-knowing, all-powerful, and thus totally sovereign deity. If Allah wills another revelation by a new Prophet, as Baha’is have claimed, it is not for anyone to deny this. The argument that past revelations have been corrupted is pointless, since Islam is still divided into various sects. A truly pure and uncorrupted revelation from Allah would never have allowed this.
    Islam condemns idolatry. Really? Then Muslims should stop regarding the Quran as the Word of Allah. Even official histories of Islam admit that it wasn’t put together until some years after Muhammad’s death. Why didn’t Muhammad himself do this? Also, walking seven times around the Kaaba in Mecca during pilgrimage looks too much like idolatry to me! It’s just a building! Also, see point 1 above.
    Islam teaches that men can have no more than four wives at a time. Then why did Muhammad have nine or ten wives at the time of his death? Muslims should make up their minds; you cannot hold Muhammad as a supreme example of Muslims to follow and then ignore that he himself broke a basic rule of marriage!

  15. Khurram says

    Thank you guys for your support!
    Yes it is not easy being an atheist in Pakistan but we are determined to persist!
    though many of the atheists here are still in the closet for good reason but there are a few people who acknowledge their lack of faith in public no matter what!

  16. raven says

    Here in GA a darwin fish on my car was sufficient to get it keyed at the airport.

    Same thing here on the west coast.

    I don’t have a Darwin fish on my car. They tend to get stolen and usually they aren’t too careful and scratch the paint as much as possible.

    The police catch them once in a while. They are always wacko fundie xians mumbling about satan and demons.

    It’s just low level fundie xian terrorism that demonstrates the complete intellectual and moral bankruptcy of their cults.

    If their god existed, they wouldn’t have to vandalize cars and steal Darwin fishes.

  17. Ing says


    Be aware that the alternative to multiculturalism would of course be monoculturalism.

  18. says

    In a country like Pakistan, u would rarely find a moron or dull atheist/agnostic. The sort of centrifugal force that is required to break loose the shackles of traditional religion is too much for people of low IQ. Other factors may also play their role but one big factor is intelligence and imagination to cut through the bonds of inherited faith.

    thanks for acknowledging the courage of these people!

  19. says

    “These have to be among the bravest atheists anywhere: Pakistani Atheists & Agnostics. It’s easy to be an atheist in Europe,…

    I guess I understand what You actually wanted to say. And I agree fully that stating that you are an atheist in Pakistan is risky.

    Unfortunately You spoiled it with the second sentence.
    Being an Ex-Muslim in Europe is anything but “easy”, especially as you are never “alone”. Neither are you always in Europe.
    I have a lot of “friends” here and “at home” that I do not actually want to have and they have expressed their interest to “greet” me whenever they see a chance.

    Since my last encounter with a knife i do not accept any further “invitations for dialogue”.

  20. M Groesbeck says

    @ Ing —

    Well, the alternative to either multiculturalism or monoculturalism is polyculturalism, which might be described as “like multiculturalism, but without the assumption that white patriarchal Eurocentric North American culture is the central point of view to which everything else just adds a little bit of flavor”. Of course, adopting that approach would imply recognizing Dale’s insistence that he gets to define what the various (and varied) people who describe themselves as Muslim mean by that description is, frankly, B.S. — and we can’t be questioning the right of Dale, Bill Maher, etc. to define what other people “really” mean by their group affiliations!

  21. nemo the derv says

    I admire those in Pakistan and the near east who are taking a stand, so please understand that what I say next is from heartfelt concern.

    Atheism is not worth dying for.
    Speak out, you are in the right, but always keep your own safety as a priority.

  22. Patrick Annette says

    I got on the site and was very pleased with what I saw. I am no longer able to access it today. Forbidden… I just hope the people involved are safe. This site could in, some minds, have been considered blasphemous, and I believe Pakistan enforces laws against blasphemy.

  23. says

    Abdul, Meranaam & Khurram:
    The word “brave” just doesn’t seem enough to describe you guys! “Awesome” has been overused lately and has lost its punch… I’ll just say you folks are incredible! No, wait, that could mean “not credible”… Fantastic! Oh, darn. That has fantasy in it & that’s what we avoid…
    Anyway, I salute you! You’re great!

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  25. RLtS says

    I have checked the website a number of times and have noticed next to no comments. I encourage all of you to come to the website and contribute. It would be great to have a variety of voices in the blog!