Harris Sultan Calls on Pakistanis to Stop Forcing Islam on Children

Harris Sultan, a Pakistani-born Australian author and self-proclaimed atheist, has called on Pakistanis to stop forcing Islam on their children. In a Twitter post, he urged parents to stop making their children pray and fast and to allow them to speak out against religious customs.

Sultan made the comments in response to rising Islamophobia in Pakistan, sparked in part by a TV show in which religious leaders called for the arrest of blasphemers. Sultan warned that the suppression of dissent was leading to a rise in apostasy.

Pakistan has some of the strictest blasphemy laws in the world, and on 17 January 2023, the National Assembly of Pakistan voted overwhelmingly to strengthen the country’s blasphemy laws, including the death sentence for insulting the Prophet Muhammad. The new legislation has been criticized by human rights activists, who warn that it could be used to target Shiite Muslims critical of early Muslim leaders.