To disbelieve in the existence of God in the Arab world is no easy thing. In countries where atheism is outlawed — it’s punishable by death in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia — many must keep their skepticism secret not just from family but also from society. Yet more and more of us are coming out of the closet.
The Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines are known to be party spots during the summer months, with resorts and rentals catering to all budgets. The familiar sight of tipsy, heavily sun-kissed Russians and northern Europeans still prevails, but the halal-conscious travelers are becoming more numerous along these shores, although they won’t often be seen.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Newlines, Mustafa Akyol discusses what happened when he was arrested by the religious police in Malaysia; early Muslim reformers and the making of the first Muslim state; the coercive power of modern Islamic states and why he believes it is holding back the full flourishing of the Muslim world.
I stood in solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo journalists in 2015 from a Syrian rebel stronghold, where the battle for free inquiry met with a war of extermination. The real crisis is clear to me.
In the world of Islam, some philosophers went against religion. The secularist ideas that European scholars found in these thinkers’ writings shook both Muslim and Christian theologians.