Freethought Group Forms in Pakistan, a Country Where Blasphemy is Still a Crime August 31, 2015

Freethought Group Forms in Pakistan, a Country Where Blasphemy is Still a Crime

With all the atheists who have been murdered in nearby India and Bangladesh recently, it’s quite the act of courage to publicly announce that you’re setting up a freethought center in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a country where blasphemy is still a crime. But that’s what some brave atheists have done:

In Pakistan, blasphemy is a crime, and a charge regularly invoked to persecute atheists, secularists, and political and religious dissidents. It is a deeply religious country, with extremist forms of Islam holding enormous sway over the public and the government. At the same time, pseudoscientific medical practices are common, as is belief in things like witchcraft and anti-vaccination conspiracies. It is a country that badly needs an infusion of reason, science, and humanist values.

We are delighted to announce the formation of CFI-Pakistan, a new international branch of the Center for Inquiry-Transnational. Its founder, Emanuel Enoch (a pseudonym) has already established an online presence, and will begin to carry the mission of CFI to his country. It is a courageous step, and we are delighted to have him in the CFI family.

Let’s hope he stays safe. In a country where Veena Malik and Asia Bibi have received severe punishments for not showing enough deference to Islam, any opponents of Muslim thought must tread lightly.

For now, there’s no building. There’s just an online presence. If they can make any headway, it’d make a huge difference in a country where rational thinking is at a premium.

Kudos to the Center For Inquiry for making this a reality.

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