Special report: As Nigerian Muslims commence Ramadan fast, concern on growing population of atheists rears its ugly head


By Ismail Auwal

It’s an interesting coincidence that discussions and concern of growing number of Muslim demographic in northern Nigeria leaving the religion for atheism are dominating social media.

There’s palpable concern that individuals particularly young people are opening fake social media accounts to aggressively propagate their newfound ideas and belief. Most worrying is their modus of evangelism which is based on attackig their former faith.

Some of these ex-Muslims who spoke in an exclusive interview with SAHELIAN TIMES claimed that atheism has turned into a significant force with “the potential of effect the society and even government.”

Hashim Danbahause, who detailed his journey to atheism, stated that he has influenced over ten young other people of both the male and female genders to leave Islam for atheism and that he was in the process of converting a lady in their department at the university where he is currently studying.

“These ten people are those I meet in person, people I relate to every day, not to mention those I influence via the internet.”

According to Danbahause his journey started with doubts as in his early years he began to question many things that are protected by cultural and religious authorities.

“At the time, I was very focused on studying Islam and becoming a religious scholar, but my heart was full of doubt, and I question things like destiny and many other things,” he explained.

Danbahaushe stated that he left his previous religion in 2016, when he was in SS1, after traveling through every known religious sect in his state of origin in search of answers.

“My parents were ardent Tijjaniya followers, but my last exist to atheism is Salafism after I followed the Shiite,” he added.

“When I started reading sciences in Senior Secondary School 1, I noticed that my curiosity and doubts intensified.

“And then, in my endeavors, I came across Dr. Zakir Naik, and he is one of the biggest influences that made me renounce Islam,” he claimed.

According to the ex-Muslim, he found answers to most of his questions after reading the Qur’an and modern science.

“Then I discovered one Muhammad, in our neighboring committee who embraced atheism much earlier than I did”.

Dabahaushe said that in those days, he would sometimes lock himself away in a room and cried; and he would pray to God to remove his doubts, but the doubts persisted.

He stated that he left Islam on the 28th day of the Ramadan lunar month because he felt unable to continue upholding what he believes to be a delusion.

SAHELIAN TIMES gathered that atheists in northern Nigeria have groups and hold a series of meetings both physically and via WhatsApp.

“We hardly meet two or three times without seeing a new face that is free from the delusion of religion,” said a university lecturer who describes himself as a leading figure in northern Nigeria’s atheist society.

The lecturer, who chose to remain anonymous due out of fear for his safety said that atheism is becoming more prevalent even in the “homes of the acclaimed most learned Islamic scholars.”

The ex-Muslim, who repeatedly used “In sha Allah” (the Muslim way of saying God’s willing) during the interview, said that they, like Muslims and Christians, preach to save the region from the “bondage” of religion.

In response to a question about which sects are more likely to convert to atheism, both the lecturer and Danbahause, who were interviewed separately and months apart, agreed that Salafi followers and secular Muslims dominated their community.

Responding to the claim that their activities are being funded by anti-Islam groups all over the world, five ex-Muslims, including a lady who spoke to our reporter, denied accepting monetary support before and after they renounced Islam.

Dan Bahaushe even vowed that he would openly identify with his new ideology once he attains financial independence from his parents.

However, the lecturer and another ex-Muslims who prefers to be addressed as Danlami revealed that the community is becoming increasingly divided, with different groups believing in different philosophies and methodologies.

“It may be true for another group, but it is not true for us,” they said.

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