Freethinkers step up campaign against Islamophobic propaganda by ‘neo-atheists’

Freethinkers step up campaign against Islamophobic propaganda by ‘neo-atheists’

People listening to the lectures during a freethinkers’ meet at the Kozhikode Town Hall on Sunday.

People listening to the lectures during a freethinkers’ meet at the Kozhikode Town Hall on Sunday.
| Photo Credit: K. Ragesh 

A group of freethinkers are intensifying their campaign to counter what they term as attempts by certain ‘neo-atheists’ to propagate Islamophobia in the guise of religious criticism.

Neo-atheists are the members of groups which came to limelight in the early 2000s by vocally criticising religions. Activists of the Yukthivadi Sangham, the freethinkers’ group, claim that the activities of neo-atheists were only authenticating the efforts of those who create mistrust and fear about Muslims in people’s minds.

‘Anti-Muslim feelings and freethinkers’ was the theme of a lecture delivered by C. Viswanathan, an orthopaedic surgeon by profession, at Fanos 2023, an event organised by the Sangham in Kozhikode on Sunday.

Dr. Viswanathan pointed out that the works of neo-atheists could be compared with what Adolf Hitler did in Germany in the post-World War I years. Hitler had tried to create fear about Jews in the minds of the German population, saying things such as the former would snatch away the properties of others. In the same way, the neo-atheists had been trying to create a fear about Muslims in India, Dr. Viswanathan said. For the purpose, they were found to be using fake tweets and unauthorised texts on the Internet.

He pointed out that even unverified comments by certain people were being highlighted as authentic information to tarnish Muslims. The Sangham functionaries said that such a propaganda was being unleashed at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party in India, do not have any elected members in Parliament or in State Assemblies from the Muslim community, which constitutes around 20% of the country’s population.

They alleged that the neo-atheists were often found to be presenting dry facts without any context or social commitment.

Some of the other topics discussed at the meeting included ‘The origin of Koran’, ‘Science and the feelings of caste and religion’, ‘Psychology behind superstitions’, and ‘Unknown dimensions of identity politics’.

People from north Kerala districts attended the event.

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