chrisstedman.religionnews.com: Qasim Rashid is a Muslim who frequently advocates for atheists—surprising some theists and atheists alike.
Rashid, whose new book Extremist will be released next month, is on a mission to promote global religious freedom for all—including atheists. The author of The Wrong Kind of Muslim: An Untold Story of Persecution & Perseverance, he is also a practicing attorney and national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.
I spoke with Rashid about The Wrong Kind of Muslim, the importance of religious freedom, and how atheists, agnostics, and the nonreligious have responded to his work.
Chris Stedman: Why do you think atheist, agnostic, and nonreligious readers would be interested in The Wrong Kind of Muslim?
Qasim Rashid: When it comes to freedom of conscience I see little, if any, middle ground. Either we champion it universally or we become oppressors ourselves in some capacity or another. My book’s driving argument is that despite our differences in belief, every human being has the fundamental human right to believe or not believe without compulsion of any sort. This right extends to Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, and certainly agnostics and atheists.
The Wrong Kind of Muslim demonstrates the devastation that results when a people compromise on religious freedom—my case example is Pakistan and the persecution of its belief minorities. My book speaks up for millions who are unable to speak for themselves in countries such as Pakistan—including atheists—but also brings awareness to the fact that over five billion people suffer under oppression of conscience worldwide. Furthermore, I dispute the notion that oppression of conscience is a “Muslim” issue or a “Christian” issue or a religious issue or a nonreligious issue—it is a human issue.