It might sound strange, but Atheism really does exist in Pakistan. In fact, Hazrat Nakhuda is the founder of the ‘Pakistani Atheists and Agnostics‘ Facebook group.
So given the hostility there to non-belief, or for that matter simply the wrong belief, I can only salute those that dare to be open about this and join. Hopefully they will be wise enough to use a fake name and thus hide their real identity.
For rather obvious reasons, they take great care over who they permit to join and so it is a closed group. The admins need to confirm that anybody who wants to join is both an atheist and also Pakistani.
Counter-extremism expert, Ghaffar Hussain, recently conducted an interview with Hazrat Nakhuda and asked him all about his group, but first explained …
An increasing number of young Pakistani’s are adopting Atheism and openly questioning the existence of a God. Many analysts have attributed this trend to the rise of Islamist militancy in Pakistan as well as access to social media and other technological tools that allow people to share and explore new ideas.
Well yes, that’s a great point, he is right, the best case for non-belief is being made by the violent religious lunatics who are no better than a gang of thugs, and the Internet has indeed opened up a vast flow of information that was previously not accessible inside the islamic bubble.
Anyway, here are a few key soundbites that I’ve mined from the interview …
- the battle for reason, rationality and freethinking doesn’t need to be fought (with urgency) in England, Holland or Canada. It is here, in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia where we need to fight the battle for reason. It is here where the battle will be the most hard-hitting, it is here where reason needs to triumph, and it is here where we can’t afford to lose.
- We [Pakistan] 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
- I was an Islam Apologist … I started rejecting and accepting ideas based on arguments rather than scripture. Once you start doing that, it is only a matter of time.
- There is a huge amount of closet atheists in Pakistan. For every member of the organization I get an email from five others telling me that they want to join but can’t.
- The majority of the members are young, between the ages of 16 and 32. Most of them are urban Middle class and Educated
It is worth reading it all – the link is here.
As for their FB page, well that is a safe place where they can freely comment on insane stuff like this …
So how can you possibly cope when faced with insane rhetoric like that, rant and rage perhaps?
Nope, just mock the silliness of it; as one commenter sarcastically put it “Won’t you like to be killed by a hot religious chick?”