By Maajid Nawaz
Fifty-one percent of Americans say they wouldn’t vote for a Muslim president. To be clear, that’s 51 percent too many. My fellow Muslims are naturally disturbed by the implications of this sentiment for everyday life, we rightly protest anti-Muslim remarks such as those made by presidential candidate Ben Carson, and we understandably expect solidarity from other communities in challenging such bigotry. But as 53 percent of Americans say that they wouldn’t vote for an atheist president, it must be accepted that no communities—not even my fellow Muslims—are as unpopular in America today as atheists.
Now imagine if you can, that you are a brown, ex-Muslim atheist with a Muslim name. This is perhaps the most persecuted minority-within-a-minority in the world today.
In 2013, atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed in the streets of Bangladesh by jihadist extremists. A month later, rather than his attackers, he was detained for making “derogatory remarks” about religion. His blog was banned. That same year, matters escalated as atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was hacked to death near his home in Dhaka. This year alone U.S.-Bangladeshi atheist blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death in February, secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed in May, while Niloy Neel met his death at the hands of these fanatics in August.
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