Atheists in Saudi Arabia find their voice – Rachael Levy

Atheist in Mecca

Beheading in Saudi Arabia: End of the atheist!Saudi Arabia is not the go-to country when you think of atheism, being one of the world’s most repressive Islamic societies. Turns out we may have them pegged all wrong. A 2012 Gallup poll revealed that there is a similar proportion of atheists in Saudi Arabia as in the United States and parts of Europe, and what’s more, those atheists are being increasingly vocal, despite the threat of violence against them.

Atheists in Saudi Arabia tend to keep a low profile (because of beheadings), and because Islamic law is the law of the land, they often maintain a semblance of religious observance in public. Not so online, where they’re skirting danger and expressing their atheism via anonymous accounts. The dual existence makes for some incongruous posting—like the user above, defiantly declaring atheism from Mecca, with the holy Kaaba stone in the background.

Twitter profiles dedicated to atheism in Arabic have large followings—the Twitter handle @Atheistguide has more than 30,000 followers, primarily from the Middle East. In the last month alone, the hashtag #Atheist in Arabic was tweeted more than 70,000 times.

When Saudi Arabia issued a decree criminalizing the practice of atheism this month, it sparked a blasphemous campaign in response. The hashtag #CampaigntoTearTheQuraninSaudiArabia was tweeted more than 7,800 times in the span of a week, circulating images of protest.

A 23-year-old woman who goes by the name of Hafsa is one of the most active users of the hashtag. She has posted particularly provocative images.

In a tweet, Hafsa commits a double taboo by stomping on a shredded Quran with red high-heeled shoes. She mockingly asks: “Will Allah react or not? Will he cause an earthquake under my feet even though I live next to his house [in Mecca]?”

Atheists in Saudi Arabia face twenty years in prison.Afraid of societal and legal repercussions, other social network users who published images of torn up Quran did so under false names and identities. One Twitter user by the name of Blasphemer posted an image of a torn-up Quran, saying that he hides his identify because of the society he lives in.

When asked whether his friends and family knew of his blasphemous deeds, he replied: “No, and in our tribal society they can’t know. If they had known, they would have treated me as if I am possessed with demons, and I would be isolated, therefore I keep it to myself completely.”

Another tweeter who goes by Mighty Feynman used a picture of Richard Feynman as his avatar. Feynman is an American theoretical physicist and avowed atheist. The Twitter user also posted a picture of a torn-up Quran, claiming to have spit on the holy book before tearing it to shreds.

Desecration of the Quran is one of the most extreme acts of blasphemy that a Muslim can perpetrate and has been a trigger for violent reactions around the world. Several days ago, an angry mob burned a Hindu temple in Pakistan to the ground after rumors circulated that a Quran had been desecrated by one of its members.

Some atheists have tried to distance themselves from the offensive campaign, claiming that it’s a false flag operation perpetrated by Islamists or the Saudi security authorities designed to incite anger against atheists and smoke them out into the open. A counter campaign using the hashtag #BlocktheAccountofHafsatheAtheistFromMecca was also tweeted about 8,130 times in just six hours. On March 20, an Islamic hacker group that advocates for the implementation of Sharia law claimed to have penetrated the accounts of those who started the tearing up Qurans campaign, allegedly discovering that they were foreign agents.

Terry JonesPrevious desecration of the Quran and defamation of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed have sparked worldwide protests. In July 2010, Terry Jones, the pastor of the Christian Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, announced he would burn 200 Qurans to commemorate the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The threat sparked protests in the Middle East and Asia in which at least 20 people were killed. And in September 2012, The Innocence of Muslims, a 14-minute YouTube movie, led to protests in 63 countries and resulted in hundreds of injuries and more than 50 deaths, as well as a spate of attacks on diplomatic missions around the world. Vocativ (click link for images), 24 May 2014

See also
In a particularly odious development, Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws defining atheism as terrorism. The laws feature lengthy prison sentences for anyone “calling for atheist thought” or “calling into question the fundamentals of Islam,” according to a report issued by Human Rights Watch

One Response

  1. For these people inside Saudi Arabia described above, like the woman ‘anonymously’ posting an image of her feet in high-heeled red shoes stomping on a torn Qur’an …

    How nice, if instead of being ‘atheists’, these people would instead turn back to the Hinduistic religion of their long-ago Arabian ancestors … back to the rites for the 3 desert goddesses whom Arabs loved with great devotion, before Islam extinguished the practice of honouring them.

    But these Saudi Arabian ‘atheists’ need to realise they are totally risking their lives, because there is no ‘anonymity’ using these CIA-tied US-based internet tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Google blogs etc.

    While temporarily the US regime may not turn over the information … the USA will sell out these poor people in a heartbeat, and turn over to the Saudis all the data points … such as ‘geo-tracking’ of Twitter posts … leaving these poor Saudis to face a tortured death under 1000 lashes of flogging.

    All these American internet tools like Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia, give all their data to the US government, which can quickly give the data to Saudi police.

    EU police and prosecutors and the EU Commission, are dealing right now with how Google and Wikipedia are CIA sites, Wikimedia a Trojan Horse for inserting CIA lies on targeted topics, and the lies benefiting from being amid honest material supplied by people laughed at by the USA as ‘useful idiots’

    Here is the EU police file in English, describing how Google Inc and Wikipedia are CIA companies, and the ’20 Major Techniques of Wikipedia deception’, are being used to harm European citizens and companies:

    CIA Wikipedia Google fraud EU police report
    http://homment.com/FB3PjBQ2DF

    The very striking photo of the feet of the Saudi woman in high heels, stomping her red high-heeled shoes on a torn Qur’an (Koran), is here … a very compelling image:

    May the gods protect the brave people in Saudi Arabia, risking their lives to be dissidents against their cruel barbaric regime.

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