Pakistan`s youth giving up Islam?

Last Updated: Sunday, September 5, 2010 - 15:35

Islamabad: A handful of Pakistani Muslim
youths are beginning to question the existence of God and in
the process giving up Islam to become atheists.

Still a small number, the trend seems to be telling of
pressures that the image of militant Islam has had on them.
A Facebook group has been floated for Pakistan`s
agnostics and atheists by Hazrat NaKhuda, a former Pakistani
Muslim.

At last count, the group had over a 100 members.
In a thread started on the discussion board on "How did
you become an atheist", Hazrat writes, "I used to be a
practicing Muslim. I used to live in Saudi Arabia. I have done
two Hajs and countless Umrahs. Used to pray five times a day.

When I turned 17-18, I realized that the only reason I was a
Muslim was because my parents were Muslims".

Hazrat is a young computer programmer from Lahore.

Ahmed Zaidi (name changed), another member, posted on the
discussion board: "I`m an agnostic simply because I see little
or no evidence for the existence of God.

Some time ago I decided that I`d never believe anything
unless it has a firm basis in reason and as far as I know (and
I admit I know very little and that there`s much to be
learnt), there`s little or no evidence for the existence of
God."

The group, which is open strictly to members, has young
Pakistani students studying in New York University to Oxford
University to the prestigious Lahore University of Management
Sciences as members.

Saeed Ahmad (name changed), who used to be a "practicing
Ahmedi Muslim", started questioning his beliefs at the age of
17.

"I don`t think there is any more detail to be added," he
posted on the Facebook community for Pakistan`s atheists and
agnostics.

Nawab Zia (name changed) wrote that the moot question is
not "how did you become an atheist" but "how did you become a
believer".

He wrote: "I was a born atheist like every human being
until my parents corrupted me with faith.

Every child is born free and pure" Ali Rana (name
changed), who loved Islamic preacher Zakir Nair and hated
author Salman Rushdie, has had a change of heart too.

He now thinks Nair is an "idiot" and Rushdie a genius.
There are other threads on how the members "wasted" their
years as theists.

More serious issues, like whether there should a column
marked "no religion" while applying for passports, have also
been discussed.

"Last time I went to get my passport renewed, I found
that there is no option called "no religion". Next time I go
to make my passport I don`t want to put in Islam as my
religion," said one member.

What connects members, who range from O-level students to
computer professionals to architects, is their urgent need to
question religion.

"I vacillate between atheism and agnosticism. I`m
currently an atheist but I feel like it is more reasonable for
one to be agnostic after all there is no definitive way to
disprove the existence of a God.

I don`t mean God in the religious sense because one can
say with certainty that science has ruled that out, but a
Cartesian God, the non-interventionist creator of the world,"
wrote a member.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, September 5, 2010 - 15:35

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