Irreligion in Afghanistan

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According to a study by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Afghanistan is one of the seven countries in the world (the other six being Iran, the Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan) where being an atheist or a convert can lead to a death sentence.[1] According to the 2012 WIN-Gallup Global Index of Religion and Atheism report, Afghanistan ranks among the countries where people are least likely to admit to being an atheist.[2]

Apostasy in Afghanistan[edit]

Apostasy is a crime under the sharia of Afghanistan. Although Hindus and Sikhs have been living peacefully for centuries, apostates are not seen kindly. Apostates, including atheists, are considered safe if they were brought up as Muslim and do not make their beliefs public. Apostates are usually disowned by their families. Apostasy and conversion to atheism carry death sentences in Afghanistan's Islamic legal system. Mob lynchings have also been known to happen.[3]


In January 2014, an Afghan man living in the UK since 2007 was granted asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention. The man's legal team argued that he may face a death sentence if he returned. He had come to the UK with his family when he was 16, and had become an atheist while living there.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Atheists around world suffer persecution, discrimination: report". Reuters. 9 December 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Global Index Of Religion And Atheism" (PDF). WIN-Gallup. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Dawood Azami (14 January 2014). "Controversy of apostasy in Afghanistan". BBC News. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Atheist Afghan granted religious asylum in UK". BBC News. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.