A tiny light in Islam’s mental night 142

According to this report, a few Muslims, acquiring higher education in the West or in Western disciplines, are daring to declare openly that they reject Islam – and not just Islam but all religious belief.

A handful of Pakistani Muslim youths are beginning to question the existence of God and in the process giving up Islam to become atheists.

Still a small number, the trend seems to be telling of pressures that the image of militant Islam has had on them. A Facebook group has been floated for Pakistan’s agnostics and atheists by Hazrat NaKhuda, a former Pakistani Muslim.

At last count, the group had over a 100 members. In a thread started on the discussion board on “How did you become an atheist”, Hazrat writes, “I used to be a practicing Muslim. I used to live in Saudi Arabia. I have done two Hajs and countless Umrahs. Used to pray five times a day. When I turned 17-18, I realized that the only reason I was a Muslim was because my parents were Muslims”.

Hazrat is a young computer programmer from Lahore. Another member, posted on the discussion board: “I’m an agnostic simply because I see little or no evidence for the existence of God. Some time ago I decided that I’d never believe anything unless it has a firm basis in reason and as far as I know … there’s little or no evidence for the existence of God.”

The group, open strictly to members, has young Pakistani students studying in New York University to Oxford University to the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences as members.

One of them wrote that the moot question is not “how did you become an atheist” but “how did you become a believer”. …

What will happen to these free thinkers at the hands of their erstwhile co-religionists?

Islam punishes apostates with death, but these intrepid young men are prepared to make their apostasy known directly to the Pakistani authorities:

More serious issues, like whether there should a column marked “no religion” while applying for passports, have also been discussed. “Last time I went to get my passport renewed, I found there is no option called “no religion”. Next time I go to make my passport I don’t want to put in Islam as my religion,” said one member.

From small beginnings great movements grow. A hundred or so down, only a billion and a half to go!

Posted under Atheism, Islam, Pakistan by Jillian Becker on Monday, September 6, 2010

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