While these may be controversial & provocative, Muslims have no right to be offended by it. What’s offensive is that atheism is punishable with the death penalty in Saudi Arabia & many other Muslim-majority countries both in the middle east & outside of it. Not all Muslim-majority countries have the death penalty, but there are other punishments like prison, lashes, annulment of marriage, loss of child custody & family inheritance, seizure of property, loss of employment, & others.
Even if these laws didn’t exist, atheists still experience oppression from society. Most will not come out to their families for fear of being disowned, kicked out, or even worse, killed. If the apartheid laws weren’t bad enough, you still have to worry about how your family, friends, & neighbours will react to your lack of faith. So these pictures aren’t offensive, they’re resistance against oppression & apartheid. When you oppress a group of people so much & take away their right to live, expect the frustration to be released one way or another, even if it pisses off your oppressors.
While one can try to argue that the death penalty has nothing to do with Islam, the politicians & clerics who advocate the law use Sharia, verses from the Quran, & hadiths to support it. Only a tiny minority of clerics & fiqh experts oppose it, & they are constantly being accused of apostasy themselves.
Thirteen countries punish atheism with the death penalty. These are Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Qatar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, & Sudan. All are Muslim-majority & use Sharia to varying degrees, except for Nigeria but the death penalty only applies in certain Muslim-majority states in the north.
Until these laws no longer exist & atheists can finally live, Muslims have no right to be offended by legitimate resistance & our response to oppression.
Testimonies from Saudi atheists I personally know:
“It’s hell. Religion is always pushed down our throats. We’ve worked so hard to get rid of the brainwash we’ve been receiving all our lives just to put on a mask every fucking day in front of people. A socially acceptable mask. It’s like we’re in a zombie apocalypse & we’re disguising as zombies to not have our brains eaten. You MUST agree with them. You MUST wear that mask every fucking day of your life. You start to get less & less chances in life of taking that mask off & relaxing for a bit & the more you wear that mask the more painful it gets because that fucking mask is poisonous. But you wear it anyway because the alternative is getting killed.”
“The first thing I’d start with is how hard it is to live a double life. Religion & the place I’m living in are some of the reasons why I’m suffering from severe depression. Religion haunts me. I’m always having nightmares that I’ve been caught & will face beheading. My life is in danger 24/7.”
“In Saudi Arabia, god is your judge, jury, & executioner. God is not in the sky but on the ground in the form of long bearded men with evil in their eyes. God wanted me dead but now god can’t reach me (thanks to getting asylum). How godly of him.”
“Being an atheist single mother is terrifying. I’m always paranoid someone will find out & take my son away from me because I’m an “unfit mother”. It breaks my heart that I have to lie to him about god & religion because he’s too young to realize how dangerous speaking the truth is.”
“I can’t think of anything that would describe it better than hell. It’s way too risky to say anything.”
“I seriously don’t want to think about this shitty place we live in becuse I’m already depressed as fuck.”
“NO I DIDN’T!!! I’M AN ATHEIST YOU DUMB PIECE OF SHIT!!! YOU RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE SO DAMN ANNOYING, SHOVING YOUR FUCKIN’ RELIGION DOWN OUR THROATS EVERY CHANCE YOU GET!!! GO ROT IN THE HELL THAT DOESN’T EXIST, YOU THEIST GARBAGE!!!!!1!!1!!1!!”
Turkey is often called the ‘role model’ or the ‘example’ for Muslim countries. It’s supposed to be “westernised” (whatever that means) & secular. But there is a deep rooted hate & intolerance for atheists. When people in what is supposed to be the most liberal & most secular Islamic country call for atheists to be killed, then you can only imagine what atheists go through in more conservative countries in the middle east.
“But the greater willingness to privately admit to being atheist reflects a general disillusionment with religion & what one Saudi called “a growing notion” that religion is being misused by authorities to control the population. This disillusionment is seen in a number of ways, ranging from ignoring clerical pronouncements to challenging & even mocking religious leaders on social media.
“Because people are becoming more disillusioned with the government, they started looking at the government & its support groups as being in bed together & conspiring together against the good of the people,” said Bassim Alim, a lawyer in Jeddah.
“When they see the ulema [religious scholars] appeasing the government,” he added, “people become dismayed because they thought they were pious & straightforward & just. “
“I believe people started being fed up with how religion is really controlling their life & how only one interpretation of religion should be followed,” said activist Fahad Al-Fahad.”