Atheist Refugees Doubly Vulnerable


Photo Credits: News Deeply

The refugees in Germany can be atheists, apart from the image of Muslims and other non-Christian religions coming into the country. These are atheist asylum seekers fleeing persecution; sometimes, simply for their lack of belief in the dominant mythology of the culture in which they were born.

As reported by DW, “Mahmudul Haque Munshi's name was on a hit list in Bangladesh. After five of his friends and associates were murdered, the authorities warned the blogger: ‘There's nothing more we can do for you.’ Munshi had to leave the country in 2015.”
Oftentimes, these refugees or asylum seekers will have to travel through several nations simply to find some destination of safety. Some have seen what is labeled a “Global Hit List” of some listing, formal or informal, of the nonbelievers or those who left their faith that need to be killed.

Some names include people of Bengali descent and who are refugees.  Many refugees fear being killed not by a God but simply by other refugees or others who feel personal resentment and need for retribution for individuals who leave religion, often common within the Islamic faith.
If someone leaves the faith, or publicly speaks out against some of the theocratic intents of some of the faiths, this becomes the basis for the reactionary violence against people simply for not adhering to the dominant faiths of the culture.

One refugee organization is devoted to the plight of the non-religious and is titled the Atheist Refugee Relief organization. It has helped 37 nonreligious refugees since November 2017 and continues to do important work for them.

Dittmar Steiner of Atheist Refugee Relief stated, “Conservative Muslims criticize women who go around without headscarves… We are actually dealing with assaults, exclusion, threats and violence.”

A 31-one-year-old, Worood Zuhair, stated this as a common experience for herself, who is a biologist from Karbala, Iraq. She is under police protection and continues to receive death threats because of the lack of personal religious belief.
These prices are often paid with lost time in life or in blood for the nonbelievers or the non-religious around the world.  The refugees among them will be far more vulnerable to the attacks against them that are not beholden to others within the community.
As reported, “The physical and mental abuse has left Zuhair deeply traumatized. “When your own father gives your soul to Azrael, the angel of death, that is enormously painful,” she told DW. “He did it so often. I couldn't take it anymore.”

Now, Zuhair speaks about the multitude of abuses against women refugees, including those who need assylum because of their religious criticism and work for the rights of women where she “supports the (OWFI) Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.”
For too many women refugees and women atheists, this poor treatment and abuse is common. Islamists are one such group who wish to punish individuals who criticize or leave the faith.

But it can go even deeper than this, as noted about Munshi, “Munshi attracted the wrath of Islamists when he founded the Shahbag movement in his home country in 2013. The movement called for the punishment of those responsible for war crimes committed when Bangladesh fought for its independence against Pakistan in 1971. Roughly three million people died during that war.”

In this, we can see moral acts of courage being socially punished with the threat of retribution permitted by culture. With a prominent blog and network, Munshi garnered about half of a million followers. There were mass protests in the streets with subsequent death threats.
The main struggle for these atheist refugees is for freedom from religion. The ability to live apart from the enforcers of religion and the cultural enforcement of religion on them. But these refugees live a life on the run while fleeing in a manner of speaking.

Atheists aren’t the majority of refugees and are not the vast majority of the world’s population, but atheists are a struggling group within the global and refugee population based on fear and stigma by the religious and motivated by ignorance and hatred to create problems for them around the world.

The report states, “According to a statement by the country's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), origin from a particular country or a particular reason for fleeing, such as religious affiliation or atheism, does not automatically lead to a protection status.’”
Thus, atheism can become a specified indication of a person’s need on their sprint in life. Steiner stated, “The number of people affected is increasing… A year ago it was two to three requests a week — now it is between seven and nine a day.”

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