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← The rise of atheism in Pakistan

The rise of atheism in Pakistan - Comments

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 1 by Ignorant Amos

These folk are the ones at the frontline, the coal face, in the trenches fighting the war on religion. I salute all these people who risk so much in their search for the truth.

I was an Islam Apologist. The thing that got me started was the idea that the reason I was a Muslim was simply because I was born into a Muslim Family.

The nerve to claim one specific religion and one specific God out of hundreds as the real God, and rejecting all others merely because ones parents asserted so, seemed too presumptuous.

That is when I started rejecting and accepting ideas based on arguments rather than scripture. Once you start doing that, it is only a matter of time.

It is recognising that idea in the first place and then having the gumption to take it further is important. Fair play to ya and very well done.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 18:32:00 UTC | #906693

Dave H's Avatar Comment 2 by Dave H

"We missed our millennium goals to eradicate polio because we couldn’t run the refrigerators that housed the vaccine, but we spent a fortune on the ‘Islamic bomb’."

That's only half correct. This is at least the second time the goals have been missed. The program to eradicate polio was nearing completion a few years ago, but the Muslim authorities in northern Nigeria branded it as an anti-Muslim plot by the United States, and take-up of the vaccine was then severely curtailed by fatwa. As a result, polio bacame common again in Nigeria and started spreading again to areas where it had previously been eradicated. So the program of containment and vaccination had to start all over again, thanks to the Muslim authorities. Similar problems, fueled by die-hard Muslims, happened in Calcutta.

And thanks, Hitch, for indexing your book so I could quickly find the info again.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 18:43:11 UTC | #906695

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 3 by rod-the-farmer

Indexing books ? Link please.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 19:02:26 UTC | #906700

PERSON's Avatar Comment 4 by PERSON

Comment 1 by Ignorant Amos

What he said. A home-grown movement seems far more likely to work than something from outside, though we can try to provide support where we can. I hope they can grow their influence beyond the highly educated upper and middle classes, though things will really heat up if that happens.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 19:03:22 UTC | #906701

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 5 by TeraBrat

Oddly enough Muslim countries used to be the cultural centers of the world. In those days they tolerated other belief systems while European countries did not and were going through the Dark Ages. Anyone else see the connection between intolerance and backwardness?

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 19:24:55 UTC | #906704

Layla's Avatar Comment 6 by Layla

Comment 1 by Ignorant Amos :

These folk are the ones at the frontline, the coal face, in the trenches fighting the war on religion. I salute all these people who risk so much in their search for the truth.

I'd like to echo that.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 19:43:19 UTC | #906709

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 7 by phil rimmer

Bravo, Hazrat. With 78% of your neighbours after your blood, the bravery of your stance is palpable. Your goals are admirable and the good done now will only multiply up.

The big splodginess of this MAP really does explain it all, as you suggest.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 20:03:08 UTC | #906713

helena!'s Avatar Comment 8 by helena!

This really is Step 1 for anyone who is brought up from birth in a religion - to first be given the option of not believing. I see some common themes - like young and educated and access to the internet. Curiousity or wanting to defend certainly is the starting point also. I'd sure like to see a group like this form in Haiti but I don't see it happening if they don't have education or the internet. It's tragic billions poured into Pakistan and Haiti in foreign aid and you don't see any results for the betterment of the people.

Hazrat is very courageous and very smart for doing this and being anonymous. He is literally risking his life in a country oppressed by religious lunatics. I applaud him in his sincere efforts and wish him the best of luck.

HN: Right now most Pakistanis aren’t even aware that there is an option to not believe in God; they don’t question the existence of God and generally don’t believe that Atheists exist. What is more, according to a Gallup poll, 78 percent of Pakistanis believe that a person who leaves Islam should be killed. And finally, Pakistan has very strict blasphemy laws. If I get to change these three things in my life time, I would die a happy man.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 20:29:00 UTC | #906720

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 9 by Mrkimbo

What an incredibly inspiring and hopeful story - the best thing I've heard about Pakistan for years. As Ignorant Amos has said, this is the coalface - these brave people run risks that Westerners can't imagine. I never meet or read about ex-Muslim atheists without feeling extremely humble. Best wishes to you!

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 20:54:30 UTC | #906725

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 10 by Steven Mading

Anyone in these regions who is honest enough with themselves to admit to being atheists despite the massive risk doing so entails desire praise for their bravery.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 21:45:32 UTC | #906738

Harps's Avatar Comment 11 by Harps

Brave person, and to think, just across their southern border, godlessness is on the whole not nearly as big a deal.

"Hazrat Nakhuda" directly translated means "for sure no god"

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 21:47:57 UTC | #906739

Tanweer's Avatar Comment 12 by Tanweer

Almost every Muslim-majority country is under-developed economically or socially. I believe that when a religion is adopted by a state it stifles progress. Pakistanis are running 40,000 Madrasas but 30 percent of the children under the age of 5 are malnourished.

We missed our millennium goals to eradicate polio because we couldn’t run the refrigerators that housed the vaccine, but we spent a fortune on the ‘Islamic bomb’.

This country would praise Mumtaz Qadri (the murderer of Salman Taseer), and yet marginalize the only Nobel laureate of the country because he was from minority sect.

If you want to see how much a hindrance religion can be in the progress of a nation, look at Pakistan.

You know what, actually, I couldn't agree more.

I honour your courage and respect your position.

Recently, I have had a complete change of heart regarding Pakistan. Despite its persecution of my community (of whom the Nobel laureate being referred to was a member), I once had a very heated discussion with my uncle (who is somewhat of a secular renegade) regarding the very existence of Pakistan.

He vehemently argued that the creation of Pakistan was a disaster and that it would've been much better for all parties (including our community) if India had remained intact. At the time I ferociously debated the point, but in hindsight I have to admit that he was absolutely right.

A united, secular, progressive India, home to a 65/35 Hindu/Muslim split would've prevented both Hindu nationalism and Muslim fundamentalism getting a foothold in the subcontinent as well as giving the world the largest and most diverse democratic state in human history.

It would have also completely redefined global geopolitics, with either a completely independent/neutral global superpower and market or one which tipped the balance of power in the world away from the current (and in my humble opinion, disastrous) hegemony of the belligerent USA and NATO.

Gandhi was right all along. Bless his spinning wheel!

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 21:50:52 UTC | #906742

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 13 by SomersetJohn

An atheist in Pakistan, a true hero to respect. I could but wish I had one tenth Hazrat's courage; I very much doubt I can claim even that much.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 21:55:26 UTC | #906743

MarkOnTheRiver's Avatar Comment 14 by MarkOnTheRiver

Comment 13 by SomersetJohn :

An atheist in Pakistan, a true hero to respect.

+1

I could but wish I had one tenth Hazrat's courage; I very much doubt I can claim even that much.

Also +1 (regrettably)

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 22:10:33 UTC | #906745

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 15 by Tyler Durden

Comment 12 by Tanweer :

You know what, actually, I couldn't agree more.

I honour your courage and respect your position.

Recently, I have had a complete change of heart regarding... Pakistan.

Ah jeez Tanweer, ya had me going there, albeit for a brief moment :)

Well played ‘Hazrat Nakhuda’, brave, brave person. I hope the future brings good things.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 22:17:31 UTC | #906747

Dave H's Avatar Comment 16 by Dave H

Comment 3 by rod-the-farmer :

Indexing books ? Link please.

Sorry, I don't know how to make a link yet, but I should at least have said which book. God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, the first three pages of chapter 4 - "A Note on Health, to Which Religion Can Be Hazardous".

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 22:33:05 UTC | #906750

papa lazaru's Avatar Comment 17 by papa lazaru

Big balls.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 22:35:43 UTC | #906751

Bipedal Primate's Avatar Comment 18 by Bipedal Primate

Llike Ignorant Amos said: I salute all these people who risk so much in their search for the truth.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 23:02:40 UTC | #906755

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 19 by KRKBAB

Recently I bought a black hooded sweatshirt that reads Militant Atheist on it with the "M" containing two rifles (bought online from Zazzle) - I've yet to engage a person to tell them that the phrase Militant Atheist is tongue in cheek which is entirely the point of the sweatshirt. It makes me sick to have our adversaries bandy around the word "militant" when real religious militants actually kill and torture people and threaten to kill people as easy as they breathe. The relevance is that I'm sure atheist groups in Muslim majority countries, such as Hazrat Nakhuda really know the true definition of "militant". People need to know when they refer to Atheists as "militant" just because we're vocal, really trivializes all the people who have been tortured or killed by militants of all kinds.

Mon, 09 Jan 2012 23:26:18 UTC | #906759

Lauren127's Avatar Comment 20 by Lauren127

I just had a crazy thought... could Atheism finally unite the world? Is it beginning? What a thought. What a brave man Hazrat is. The Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Era come to mind. True courage in the face of overwhelming hate and fear.

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 00:54:19 UTC | #906777

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 21 by Vicktor

Not a word about the insanity of the unequivocally compulsory daily prayers in Islam. I guess it's a topic even atheist Pakistanis dare not touch. Before I wonder if a god exists, I would wonder why he demands what he demands. If that doesn't make sense, then I'd move on to the question of his existence.

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 03:58:04 UTC | #906797

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 22 by Functional Atheist

His casual aside about some people feeling he should be beheaded was impressively nonchalant. Polling that indicates 78% support for the death penalty for apostasy is a quantitative expression of just how widespread such bloodthirsty views remain in large portions of the Muslim world.

Another objective expression of this notion is in those Muslim regimes who reject the UN declaration on human rights precisely because they reject the notion of freedom of conscience. Many if not most Muslims believe that a person who is born to Muslim parents must remain a Muslim for life, or risk execution.

The many cultural relativists on this site who insist that there are no substantive differences among the monotheistic religions apparently have no ability to comprehend how frightening and stifling it would be to face a LEGITIMATE threat of execution for nothing but renouncing the faith of one's parents.

I have rejected my parents' faith, and the notion that I'd be subject to execution for that if I'd been born in Lahore to Muslims is absolutely horrifying to me. It strikes a similar nerve as the first thoughts that eventually led me to atheism--I was repulsed at the notion that kids who had the misfortune to have Hindu parents were facing certain hellfire and damnation, unless they converted (my old church taught that belief in Christ and baptism were required for salvation). Why should a kid who has the misfortune to be born to Muslim parents have any less right than me to decide that all religions are bullshit?

It really bothers my sense of justice, that many Muslims are legally denied such a fundamental right as the right to draw their own conclusions about the nature of universe. It 'bugs' me in a way that pedophile priests do not--those are criminal individuals breaking the rules of their church and their society, which is not the case with the Muslims who are eager to behead the atheists among them.

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 04:21:48 UTC | #906798

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 23 by Vicktor

Comment 22 by Functional Atheist

Don't forget that most Muslims in the Islamic world are also forced to worship endlessly or face the consequences of that. "Liberal" Muslims, like atheists, are often not tolerated because one implies the other. Not by their families, friends or society. Your ass had better not be seen outside a mosque on Friday afternoons! You had better not be seen eating or drinking from dusk until dawn during the month of Ramadhan! When someone gives you an Islamic greeting, you had better be heard responding appropriately!

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 05:21:45 UTC | #906801

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 24 by Vicktor

Comment 23 by Vicktor

That's dawn until dusk. :P

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 05:39:06 UTC | #906803

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 25 by Mee Peestevone

I can attest to that; witnessing the religious police enforcing religious rules on Gulf Air flights during Ramadhan and the plane wasn't even in Emirates air space.

Comment 23 by Vicktor :

Comment 22 by Functional Atheist

Don't forget that most Muslims in the Islamic world are also forced to worship endlessly or face the consequences of that. "Liberal" Muslims, like atheists, are often not tolerated because one implies the other. Not by their families, friends or society. Your ass had better not be seen outside a mosque on Friday afternoons! You had better not be seen eating or drinking from dusk until dawn during the month of Ramadhan! When someone gives you an Islamic greeting, you had better be heard responding appropriately!

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 06:42:03 UTC | #906806

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 26 by Vorlund

This is a rare and courageous man indeed, less than 13% of people are psychologically equipped to dissent in the face of authority and he is standing up in the face of certain violent reprisal if his identity becomes known.

I hope more like him join the movement, he is quite correct to assert that the fight needs to be fought in fundamentalist countries and particularly those where 21st century technology is waved about by 7th century minds.

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 07:43:41 UTC | #906812

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 27 by Stafford Gordon

I hope this is true.

If it is, it's been brought about by the bawling nincompoop village idiots of Islam.

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 08:35:32 UTC | #906815

carlmosconi's Avatar Comment 28 by carlmosconi

It's only a matter of time.

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 09:22:54 UTC | #906818

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 29 by mjwemdee

G: What kind of response have you had from Pakistani Muslims?
HN: So far it is encouraging. But there is the odd individual who expresses his desire to behead me.

This guy sure has cahones.

As for atheism being the hope of the future, I put this point to an evangelical Christian, pointing out that because so many of the major religions of the world appear to be unable to coexist peaceably, and will never manage to accept each other's beliefs as the true correct belief, atheists (as long as they have no agenda to convert the religious) may eventually find themselves the only ones equipped to be the ‘synovial fluid’ between the joints of clashing religions that may never be able to resolve their differences.

The Christian's response was predictably depressing:

‘Do not think I come to bring peace, but a sword.’ It is not foretold that we will co-exist. Eternity matters more than temporary peace. ‘When all Nations surround Jerusalem crying “Peace, peace” but there is no peace…’ We are expecting the return of Jesus as the signs He told us to look for are increasing annually. (Though it could be centuries or decades.)

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 09:40:05 UTC | #906822

michaelleigh's Avatar Comment 30 by michaelleigh

Cant help feeling if only we were all that brave the world would be a much better place but than I remember, most of us can only stand on the shoulders of giants.

Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:59:25 UTC | #906885