Five years in prison for blasphemy

Imprisoned one year ago: Abd el Rahman

A post on Facebook became his undoing. Now the 22-year-old Egyptian Abd el Rahman is in the high-security prison in Gamasa. This is among the worst prisons in Egypt.

Abd el Rahman is in his early 20s and is studying computer science at an Egyptian university. In addition to his studies, he is an avid reader and enjoys learning about other countries and cultures. Like many young people, he is also active on Facebook and posts regularly. But on November 12, 2020, he makes a post which will change his life forever:

“He never expected his post to trend like this. Just after a day he found more than 20 people from his neighborhood trying to find and attack him” says Ibrahim, a friend of Abd el Rahman.

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Hisham Nofal elected to the Board of Directors

At the 2021 general meeting, as every two years, the board of Atheist Refugee Relief (Säkulare Flüchtlingshilfe e.V.) was completely re-elected.

Hisham Nofal

Mohamed Hisham Nofal was born in 1991 in Giza, Egypt. As an ex-Muslim and LGBT activist, he was already campaigning for individual freedom and human rights there. He gained worldwide notoriety when he was invited to appear as an activist on a talk show on Egyptian TV in 2017. There he tried to explain why he was an atheist and that it was the right of every human being to leave religion. As a result, he was declared mentally ill by the former deputy sheikh of al-Azhar University, belittled by the host, and finally expelled from the studio (video). Because this destroyed his social and professional life, but he also had to fear persecution by the state, he fled to Germany in 2019.

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Life-threatening: Atheism in Iran

Guest article by Reza Ebrahimi Mehr

Reza Ebrahimi Mehr

I am 35 years old, lived in Babol, Iran and grew up in a medium religious family. As I grew older, many questions about religion came to my mind, especially about Islam, which was common in my family.

When I started my studies in Khajeh Nasirodin Toosi University (K. N. Toosi), I met many others like me who criticized Islam. As the internet and social media became more accessible, I was able to do more research on basic and critical issues about religion. That was the point when I understood that Islam is so co-constructed to control and dominate people and has no answer to basic questions. In my country, there are two types of atheists:

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Maryam – Surviving in a misogynistic society

Interview by Karrar al Asfoor

“The hijab stands for empowerment and liberation – as a symbol of feminism.” With this slogan, the veil (hijab) is celebrated in the Western world as an expression of women’s rights and in campaigns, such as the so-called World Hijab Day.”


This statement, which I first heard when I came to Europe, is radically different from the propaganda promoted where I grew up – in Iraq. There, power is attributed only to men, while women must be obedient. Gender equality is seen as a sign of social corrosion. Thus, feminist movements are suspected of seeking to destroy society.

This contrast in perception made me curious. Why does the religious symbol of the hijab represent such contradictory values in two different societies?

For this reason, I decided to do an interview with Maryam, a feminist activist living in Iraq, to learn more about the women’s rights situation in a country where the wearing of the veil is very prevalent.

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Dangerous sensitivities – Indonesia as a warning example for Europe

Guest post by Uka

Uka was born in Indonesia and currently lives in Germany. She defines herself as a secular liberal and actively promotes human rights and personal freedom.


A few months ago, France was confronted with the horrific barbaric murder of the teacher Samuel Paty. He was trying to stimulate a discussion among schoolchildren on the subject of freedom of expression on the basis of the well-known Muhammad cartoons. He paid for it with his life.

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Deutsche Postcode enables Atheist Refugee Relief to open new office

Members of Atheist Refugee Relief Germany in their new office

Atheist Refugee Relief moved into its first own office at Stadtwaldgürtel 89 in Cologne on January 1, 2021. This was made possible by funding from the Deutsche Postcode Lottery. The office serves as a contact point for refugees who are not religious. It offers the opportunity to discuss confidential matters in a safe environment. To ensure further processing, funds continued to be provided for computers and software, as well as other items such as furnishing the office.

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Asylum refused despite persecution in Iran

Guest article by Mostafa Mostafania

Mostafa Mostafania

My name is Mostafa Mostafania. I lived in Rasht, Iran, and grew up in a non-religious family.

I had many questions about Islamic teachings and why they are so different from people’s daily lives. In addition, my studies in physics and mathematics had changed my view of the religion. Since I also studied Islamic philosophy and law about 10 years ago, my view of the religion changed and I left it.

While still in Iran, I learned about the concept of atheism and found it to be exactly in line with my own thoughts. After I left the university, I criticized religion more and more and propagated atheism. I collaborated with many self-confident people and used social media to share my thoughts with the others.

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Death threats against Amed Sherwan for freedom of expression in the context of religion

Amed Sherwan, activist, blogger and author of „Kafir – Allah sei Dank bin ich Atheist“ (Kafir – Thank Allah I’m an Atheist) was blocked from Facebook and Instagram.

“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.” – Tammy Baldwin

Amed Sherwan posted this photo montage of a kiss with activist Mohamed Hisham in front of the Kaaba in Mecca on Facebook and Instagram. This was reported en masse by fundamentalist Muslims from all over the world, whereupon both profiles were blocked.

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