DoctorE

Turtles all the way down

Indonesia’s underground atheists lay low after Facebook post that led to imprisonment

Posted by doctore0 on May 12, 2015

Yea free humanity from the imaginary/man made magic man/tyrant in the sky

OGYAKARTA, Indonesia — As the call to morning prayer rings out over Yogyakarta at sunrise, Arimbi prepares herself for a long day of classes and waitressing at a local cafe.

Wrapping herself in a bright blue hijab, the 26-year-old climbs onto her motorbike and heads to the Islamic university where she studies community development. But Arimbi has a secret she keeps from her classmates, professors and all but her family and closest confidants. She’s an atheist.

While Indonesia is often celebrated as one of the world’s few Muslim-majority democracies, non-religious people say the country’s tough anti-blasphemy laws force them to live a façade of faith, masquerading as Muslims when many spend hours a day mocking religion in private online forums

But millennial-aged atheists like Arimbi are growing bolder, trying to change national opinions on atheism by living as openly as possible while avoiding jail time. She said she wears the hijab on her college campus, Universitas Islam Negeri Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta, and when visiting her strict Muslim father, but only out of respect for her classmates and family. Arimbi said walking away from Islam in her late teens was the most liberating choice she’s ever made.

“I’m free,” she said. “That’s the first feeling I had when I became atheist. I never felt sad. My mind is open and I can finally be free.”
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