Several countries, most of them with a predominately Muslim population, operate under the principles and policies of Sharia Law. This type of government is linked directly to the religion of Islam. In at least 13 of these countries, any expression of atheism or rejection of Islam is a crime that can be punishable by death, due to Islam being the official state religion and governing force.
A new study entitled “The Freethought Report 2013” and released by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) documents the mistreatment of nonbelievers throughout the world. According to the Hindustan Times, the report was released to coincide with the United Nations’ Human Rights Day, as it claims that atheists and non-religious individuals are mistreated similarly to other minority groups in certain countries throughout the globe.
“This report shows that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers although they have signed UN agreements to treat all citizens equally,” IHEU President Sonja Eggerickx said.
The thirteen countries that threaten execution for rejection of Islam include Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, according to the report.
The report also mentions other states around the world that discriminate against nonreligious individuals even if they do not punish those individuals by death. Those states include several EU nations such as Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Austria.
The report does not necessarily cite specific data regarding its argument that atheists are mistreated, but it does explain the general situation of religion from country to country. In that aspect, it cannot fully be taken as fact, but it does emphasize the strong role religion continues to play in governments throughout the globe.