Atheists Nacer Amari and Abderrahmane M’hiri feared for their lives in Tunisia, and seek a way out.
Two Tunisian Atheists are seeking asylum in Denmark.
Nacer Amari, 41, and Abderrahmane M’hiri, 30, fled Tunisia fearing their lives.
Amari was a member of the Tunisian Freethinkers Association when he lived there.
Amari fled in 2011 after the Arab Spring and Tunisian Revolution broke out, and he started receiving threats from neighbors, people on social media, and even family members.
Amari lived in Romania until March 28th, when he left. He started seeking asylum in Denmark on April 1st.
Amari said that Romanian police had been harassing him. He said,
“The Romanian police has been harassing me in many occasions for the interest of the Muslim community where I live as I am known ex Muslim there and they don’t like my atheism and human rights activities.
They call me from time to time and they order me to stop talking about atheism in social media and investigate about why I am participating in events and if someone is helping me or even financing me.
They threatened me about if I told anyone that they were harassing me, even my wife. This caused many problems which lead to a divorce.
They threatened to destroy my life and send me back to Tunisia. And I had no idea what could happen if I didn’t meet with them.”
Amari said that these interactions with the police have caused him to have panic attacks.
Amari won the international award “Atheist of the Year” in 2017 and 2019.
M’hiri, a leader of the Tunisian Freethinker’s Association, experienced aggression in Tunisia in June 2017 after he organized protests against Islamic-based laws such as the penalization of homosexuality, and mandatory fasting during Ramadan.
One instance of physical aggression resulted in him breaking his arm. He also said that police harassed him, and arrested him a few times “for absolutely no reason.”
M’hiri left Tunisia on March 27th, and has been seeking asylum in Denmark since April 1st.
Tara is a journalist and campaigner based in San Francisco, US