A Group for Atheists in Pakistan

In a country where religious warfare gets all the headlines, it’s rare to see people who are not religious banding together.

But that’s what a group of people are doing in Pakistan:

The Pakistani Atheists & Agnostics have a few key goals for their group:

First of all, we’ll mend the rusted image of faithless people among Pakistanis in general. In the past, Pakistani atheists have criticized Islam more for their hatred than to helping Muslims finding the big holes in their religion. Most Pakistanis think we are immature, biased and rude. It’s time that we show them the beauty of how things work in our faithless world.

Secondly, we’ll aim at countering the unmistakable negative bias about Pakistan in the international media. We’ll tell them of things they never show about Pakistan, but which are an integral part of us. At the same time, we’ll help Pakistani Atheists, who have been caught in this international bias, fight their identity crisis and show them how Pakistan is part of their blood.

Thirdly, we’ll try to interact with the Pakistani society at large and at the same time study their behavior and thinking patterns on scientific lines.

It takes courage to come out in countries like this, but they already have a number of powerful personal stories. Read through some of them if you can.

There are also a number of ways to support them. Let’s help groups like this thrive and spread.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Are these people currently in Pakistan, or from Pakistan? Are they in serious danger, or is that one of the misconceptions that we westerners are fed?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know for sure how it is in Pakistan, but I live in the UAE, and I certainly could belong to an Atheist’s group here.  When I applied for a residency visa I had to give my religion (only acceptable answers are Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, or Jewish) and it seems that many people here think that being an atheist is something you are in addition to belonging to a religion, not instead of a religion.  Attempting to convert a Muslim would be a criminal offense, though.  As leaving Islam is a violation of Sharia law, and in the UAE, when there is no law otherwise, Sharia law is the default.

    • Hitch

      I don’t know. But the blasphemy law in Pakistan is very draconian. But it is about what you say. So if you offend the prophet or Islam you may be in trouble. But I do know there are other secular organizations too. But given that politicians get killed over attempts to change the blaphemy laws it cannot be easy. Not sure if we get an inside voice here, though I would very much welcome it.

      I am certainly very supportive of secular groups in Pakistan.

      • Hazrat NaKhuda

         Secular groups are very small have very little voice.

        If you were in Pakistan i could go to the authorities and and say Hitch committed blasphemy, he said bad things about the prophet but i can’t repeat what he said because that would be blasphemy too.  and that is enough to get you to jail and wait for your day in court which could be like in 2-3 years, if you survive that long and someone doesn’t kill you while you are in the slammer.  I do not have to give any other evidence because any evidence for blasphemy will be blasphemy itself.

    • Hasan Shahid

      Yes, most of us live in Pakistan. I’m a pretty loud atheist and still haven’t gotten anything more than mere dislike (something which is pretty common with Atheists all over I guess). I guess we’re safe for now.

      • Sanatahiro5

        what are the views  for being an atheist?  

    • Hazrat NaKhuda

      There are people both inside and outside Pakistan I head the group and i am inside Pakistan. We keep our identities secret. The picture you see of Pakistan is true but not entirely. We are not in any imminent danger right now but the situation can get real bad in Pakistan real quick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

      They’re in very serious trouble if they are in Pakistan.   I asked a Pakistani coworker if I would be killed in Pakistan and he said, “Yes”.   I asked if that would be right for them to do and he said, “Yes”.     He’s a very nice polite guy too.   Amazing what religion does.     He doesn’t see the double standard of his immigration to the US.   He expects to be have freedom of religion here.

    • PakistaniAtheistDude

      There are Atheists like me in Pakistan. They are in very serious danger, as being an atheist, or the matter of fact from any belief outside of Islam is very hated and almost everyday non Muslims are killed for this. A while back a Christian family was beaten with a bat to death for being Christian. I hate my country for this! I wish I could just beat the stupid politicians to death for supporting such actions, especally the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan!

  • http://twitter.com/alfredozaher Alfredo Flores Zaher

    LOL.. Im catholic, but I must say I like the logo. Like the Illuminati… And its good their searching for peace in this country that has suffered a lot from war. Good for you guys. God blesses you too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

      And what ‘good values’ do you suggest would be appropriate to teach?

  • SMackonTrack

    I suggest reading a great book called “In The Name of God: the evolutionary origins of religious ethics and violence” by John Teehan. 

  • SA

    I’m a Pakistani and I must say that if I lived in Pakistan, I would never have the courage to join such a group. Blasphemy is still a a crime in Pakistan! I’d also be scared of being targeted by crazies who consider it their religious duty to kill you. So this group seriously has my respect.

  • usclat

    Truly commendable! Bravo! How can we help the PAA? 

    • Hazrat NaKhuda

       Yes spread the word.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnnyrodgersmorris John Morris

    I immediately thought “they’re gonna get shot” when I read the title.  That sucks.

  • http://twitter.com/summerseale Summer Seale

    Apostasy is a crime in Pakistan, as far as I know. The rejection not only of Allah, but of the entire concept of any God itself, would probably be considered the worst form of Apostasy there is.

    I may not entirely be correct but that was based upon a few things I read in the past. Although, it may have referred to Blasphemy instead (as was mentioned above).
    Then again, saying that Allah doesn’t exist could probably be interpreted as well as the worst kind of Blasphemy, so I’m not sure it makes that much of a difference.

    • Hazrat NaKhuda

      According to the law Blasphemy is a crime and apostasy is not. But vigilante Islamists do not look at the law.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

        I understand 78% of Pakistanis support making apostasy a capital crime.  So it’s not just the “Islamists”.     I also understand the in 2006 an attempt was made to pass an Apostasy law.   So it’s not for a lack of trying to “look to the law”.   

         Besides it’s blasphemy laws that apply in this case and it carries the death penalty also.    Saying Allah doesn’t exist is quite the insult.

        Actually,  blasphemy laws seem worse because it only requires someone else to rat you out, true or not.    Half the people  charged are Muslim anyway.   At least with apostasy it only applies to Muslims and only if they make a point of converting, and even then they get to recant.   Once you are accused of blasphemy there is no recanting option.

        • Hazrat NaKhuda

           In 06 there was an attempt to make an Apostasy Law, yes correct 78% Pakistanis beleive that an Apostate should be put to death. Do you know what was my reaction when i heard that stat for the very first time. I was like wow 22% don’t. because I imagined it to be above 90%.

          I didn’t say the an overwhelming majority in Pakistan would not want to see me dead. I said Islamists because they are the ones who are actually going to do it. They won’t consider the law because they are willing to take action no matter what. They would prefer that there is a law and  the state does it for them but they would definitely be ok doing it on their own.

  • Anonymous

    Kudos to these brave people, you are an inspiration. i’m happy to spread the word about your group; i have had the good fortune to meet many Pakistanis and i agree that the image of that nation in the western press is warped and often false. american skeptics should remember how good we have it here. 

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Your courage is astonishing. I wish you all the best. I’ll spread the word. Whether you are open or discreet about your atheism, your very existence is an impressive response to the lie that “there are no atheists in foxholes.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

    “Pakistani atheists have criticized Islam more for their hatred than to helping Muslims finding the big holes in their religion.”

    Big holes in Islam?   BLASPHEME!!! Stone them now!

  • Aaron Scoggin

    This group deserves respect. After all, look at where they are. Make no mistake : They ARE risking their lives. 

  • Rasmin

    I respect your courage in risking your life to express your opinions. Even the educated idiots curse atheists in a country like India. It must be a heroic act to be an atheist in Pakistan.

  • PakistaniAtheistDude

    Hello, I am also a Pakistani. I am also Atheist. I’m so pissed I can’t show my true belief in my own country, without getting threatened. I have nothing against Muslims or any one else. They are my brothers and sisters, too bad they don’t consider me the same. I will always have love for my home country no matter what happens. Pakistan is very corrupt nation due to some of it’s people and government. I wish this will be eradicated in the near future. Pakistan Zindabad!

    • Hazrat NaKhuda

      Hey how are you. I am Hazrat NaKhuda. i head that group. Add me on Facebook and we can chat. http://www.facebook.com/hazraa…

    • Hazrat NaKhuda

      Hey how are you. I am Hazrat NaKhuda. i head that group. Add me on Facebook and we can chat. http://www.facebook.com/hazraa…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kahn-Arshad/1451898318 Kahn Arshad

    Atheists everywhere, esp in Muslim countries are not safe and a danger to their kins who might be or unlike them. But one thing I can say is that, they are courageous.

    • Kakh Arshad

      Absolutely right.

  • Sszaidi36

    I am a Pakistani & I am very much worried about you people as to why you have choosed to say good bye to your religious believes. I have debated with several Atheists about the existance of God, Atheists have no scientific or historical evidance that there is no creator. All they do is to just revolve around spontaneous generation theory or abiogenesis, Theory of evolution & big bang theory. 

    Atheists accepts the fact that they dont have any evidance that God does not exist & debate that If believers have any scientific proof of the existance of God, show to them. Believers do have scientific prooves that God exist, I am a shia muslim and I am open to debate with any atheist on the existance of God. 

    Since Atheism have no scientific or historical evidance that God doesn’t exist, therefore you should stop propogating your claims that there is no God and dont involve in misguiding the il-literate people of Pakistan.

    Most literate Atheist, who have complete command on his ideology can contact me for detailed debate either by email or in personal meeting @sszaidi36@gmail.com

    • mila_casillas

      “Atheists have no scientific or historical evidance that there is no creator.”

      You pretend to be interested in scientific discussion but aren’t. Not really. No scientist would ask about lack of proof of non-existance and pretend it denotes proof of existance. The philosophical burden of proof falls upon you making the scientificaly unfalsifiable claim, not us. I ask you today to prove to me the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not exist, or that Russell’s teapot is not orbiting the Sun between Earth and Mars.

      • Agnostic

        The burden of proof should also fall on the scientific community if they claim that their theories are no longer just theories but the truth. How about proving that
        1)mutation is true and so evolution must be true without having fossils to show for it
        2) because similar embryos develop into unsimilar living things, evolution must be true
        3) the big bang banged itself
        4)there is no invisible hand in laws of the universe
        5) dark matter and dark energy is roughly evenly distributed in the universe and does not affect observations
        6)the Higgs is indivisible….

        I would think that it takes leaps of faith to believe one way or the other. It just depends your choice. Atheists have made their choice as did the religious. I don’t see it necessary.

        • thorny264

          First of all learn the difference between theory in general and what a scientific theory is and as the guy above me said, you can’t prove a negative so the burden of proof would fall on you.

          I would go through your list one by one maybe write a paragraph for each and why that particular point is stupid and how that reflects badly on you however it’s 4 in the morning and no matter the answer I give to you, you would not accept it because the magical sky fairy didn’t say you could.


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