Human rights activists and religious scholars in Indonesia are demanding the release of a man who wrote on Facebook that he did not believe in God. Alexander An, a 31-year-old civil servant, is facing five years in prison after being charged with defamation of religion. He says he started to question the existence of God when he was a child. Although the country is officially secular, every Indonesian has to have a religion and register himself according to one of the official five religions. Al Jazeera‘s Step Vaessen reports from Dharmasraya in West Sumatra (Febuary 2012).
Here is the YouTuber Martin Willett offering us a view of what it must be like to be a ‘Muslim Atheist’.
There are quite a few interesting comments on YouTube. For instance, here is geniusjas87 writing: “I’m an ex-muslim atheist and I live in the middle east. I’m not an arab but I’m surrounded by them. I can’t share my situation with anyone.. I don’t think anyone would understand. Most of my friends are Muslims and all of them are theists. I fear if I share the truth, I may not only lose my friends and family, people may try even to kill me. I can’t even try to find out if anyone else is in the same situation I am. There are very few ex-muslims even on the internet”. And then there is this message posted by TheLafemmenoir: “I am am ex-muslimah (female muslim). I came to re[a]lize that most muslims I met and the ones that I was surrounded by, were 2 faced liars. Being a naturally quiet person, I was able to sit back and observe and listen to many private conversations and I have to say, I was “troubled” by what I was hearing from my fellow countrymen, no less. Islam has a way of making everything “us against them”. It takes sane, rational people and turns them into hate-spewing creatures. Freedom from religions is . . .”.
In addition, I would to reproduce a clip uploaded by user bilal3700 on8 May 2010: “Why I left Islam to become an Atheist”.