Are there any atheists in predominately Islamic cultures that are open about it?

Just wondered what the tolerance of atheism is in mainly Islamic countries. Not to say they don’t exist, but I’ve never heard of an atheist (or even an agnostic) from a predominately Islamic culture. Just curious if such people are acknowledged to exist in Islamic cultures and how they are regarded or treated.

I have a friend who was born in Iran, and he says that atheists “don’t exist” there. Really. If you were an atheist, you wouldn’t dare admit it. There is also no such thing as a “former Muslim”. I’m not sure what would happen if you were open about your beliefs, but I’m sure it’s not good.

In the United States, however, he is quite open about his non-belief.

I think that there have been some other threads about this in the past, if you care to search.

If you started out as a Muslim, then became an athiest, it’s not something you would probably want to brag about, at least outside of certain more liberal social circles. Apostasy is a very big no-no in Islam.

On the other hand life-long or former-non-Muslim atheists would be less at risk, though they may not be regarded with much respect ( and “proselytizing” would probably get you into trouble in at least some countries ).

  • Tamerlane

I have a few athiest muslim friends, so they are out there. How are they treated? Just like everyone else, normally, except that wrt to Islam their views wouldnt be taken as seriously. I think they would be viewed as apostates by the practising muslims, some ppl preach to them, some argue with them, others just ignore them. They dont seem to mind though.

My experience is completely opposite to this one. All of my relatives are agnostic and all were Muslim. The only relative I have that believes and prays (of the ones who live in Iran) is about 85 years old.

What I’m saying is that not one of the at least hundred extended relatives I have who live in Iran practice Islam faithfully. They may not eat ham sandwiches at the park, but it’s more societal pressure and fear of retribution from the mullah’s henchman than their own beliefs.

They also have kickass parties with Turkish beer, Russian Vodka and French champagne. There is dancing at these parties. None of the women wear chadors. If you didn’t know it was in Iran, you would think it was a party in any major European city.

What I’m saying is as an outsider, you’d never be invited into people’s homes to see that they do or do not practice their faith.

As an athiest myself, who is working in a very religious institution, I do not pronouce my beliefs (or lack thereof) because it’s inappropriate socially, not because I daren’t admit it.