A new report shows that atheists living in 13 countries have the risk being condemned to death for their beliefs (or non-beliefs).
According to the International Humanist and Ethical Union, “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe and sometimes brutal treatment by the state in adherence of the official religion.
The countries that impose the harshest penalties on atheists are Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The study, Freedom of Thought Report 2015, also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations, while treating atheists as outsiders.
“Our results show that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers,” the study says.
Some countries have laws preventing atheists from marrying, attending public schools, holding public office, and participating in other activities as a citizen. The report also cites a Gallup study, estimating about 13 percent of the world’s population are atheists and 23 percent identify as “not religious.”
Surprisingly, the United States earned a “mostly satisfactory” rating for its strong constitutional free speech protections and lack of an official state religion.
“While there is some legal remedy for clear religious discrimination by the government, it can often go unchallenged in situations where it is difficult, or personally disadvantageous or hazardous, to take a stand against authority, for example in prisons, the military, and even some administrative contexts,” the authors state.
An interactive map was also released IHEU showing the summary of the 2015 data: