In Arab countries, openly declaring disbelief in God is a shocking and sometimes dangerous thing to do. Many have been imprisoned for it, some have been forced into exile and others threatened with execution. And yet, in a region where the influence of religion is almost inescapable, growing numbers of Arabs are claiming a right to believe – or disbelieve – as they see fit.

Brian Whitaker, journalist and author of the ground-breaking book Arabs Without God, discusses the development of atheism in the Middle East, the factors that lead some Arabs to abandon religion, and the challenges that non-believers pose for governments and societies that claim to be organised according to the will of God.

Khalid Albaih
is a Sudanese artist and political cartoonist, born in 1980 in Bucharest, Romania. He publishes his cartoons on social media as “Khartoon!”, a word play on ‘cartoon’ and ‘Khartoum’ (the capital of Sudan). Albaih has published his cartoons widely in international publications.