08 January 2017

The danger of admitting you're an atheist Muslim

You can be a lapsed Catholic. You can be a cultural Jew. You can be a Buddhist who believes more in dharma than in divinity.

But being an atheist Muslim isn't so easy. In some parts of the world, it's an admission that could cost you your life.

"People tend to lose a lot. It's not just a matter of changing your mind or saying that you think differently. And as I write in the book, in some of these societies, changing your mind can literally mean losing your head. Your government's going to come after you. Your family comes after you. Society comes after you. And that's apart from just your own internal fragmentation of what you thought your identity was."

Ali Rizvi was raised in a Shi'a Muslim family, but for him, religion always raised more questions than answers.

.... He still holds fast to some Islamic traditions, like celebrating Eid or singing nohas (mourning songs) to his baby daughter, but the concept of a "cultural Muslim" isn't actually recognized within Islam – in fact, apostasy is considered a major sin.

In his new book, The Atheist Muslim, Rizvi recounts his journey growing up in a Muslim family in Pakistan and the Middle East, moving to Canada and eventually becoming an outspoken critic of his religion. [CBC/Radio-Canada] Read more