By Martin Accad

Many today are angry at religion, or at least disappointed with it. Rightly so perhaps, since so much violence is carried out in God’s name. In the MENA part of the world, anger and disappointment were manifest in the so-called “Arab Spring” protests that began near the end of 2010, making their way like a storm of new hope through Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. Though the early demonstrations did not carry obvious antireligious undertones, they were predominantly anti-authoritarian and anti-establishment. As the wave of popular anger raged on, researchers and experts began to uncover a growing and emboldened movement of atheism making its way through the ranks of Arab youths. Authoritarian regimes had coopted religion, and the religious establishment – both Muslim and Christian – had coopted political dictators so flagrantly throughout history that this diabolic marriage was bound to come to a head sooner or later.