A hashtag about “Atheist Rights” ignites a debate on Arabic Twitter

Published September 4th, 2016 - 01:50 GMT
A mosque at night. (Pixabay)
A mosque at night. (Pixabay)

The hashtag #Athiest_Rights (#حقوق_الملحدين) started trending on Twitter last week, and it remained popular on social media over the weekend as irreligious Arabs took to social media to air their grievances.

"[We want to] live a dignified life! Is that too much?"


But in addition to the atheists were plenty of Arabic language accounts who were vocally in opposition to atheism.

"An atheist once asked Sheikh Ahmad Deidat “How would you feel if you died and learned that your religious wasn’t true?” So he replied, “Not as bad as you’ll feel when you die and find out it is true!”"

"Whoever doesn’t recognize the existence of God, we don’t recognize his rights or his existence." 

"Maybe animal rights are best for you guys considering most of you believe you came from a monkey!"


The most violent or threatening of comments were often removed, as noted by one hashtag user.


"My atheist friends:
This tag is an chance for you to report any Muslims threatening you with violence and get their account locked. If the laws in your country don’t do you justice, Twitter will."

Laws in much of the Muslim world are lacking when it comes to protection of their secularists. In Islam, leaving one’s religion is punishable by death, according to the Quran. While not all Muslims support this view, Arabs courageous enough to be public about their lack of faith face extreme consequences, which can include isolation from family and community, imprisonment, or even death.

For this reason, many users were critical of the mutual respect that their Muslims counterpart asked for.

“Respect my religion which orders me to kill you”

"Respect my religion and let me kill you...

And I’m supposed to respect your religion and your rights."

"Hey Muslim, if you believe that it’s within your rights to oppress and force your beliefs on others you need to stop crying and moaning about what’s happening to Muslims in Burma."

"A human chain of atheists and infidels in Sweden, protecting a mosque from being demolished. And on the other hand there’s a chain of knives and swords directed at Arab atheists!"

This isn’t the first time that atheism has made an appearance on Arabic Twitter. This past May, the hashtag “Death to Atheists” trended on social media in the Middle East, only for another tag - “Tits Out for Islam” - to hit back a few hours later.

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