An Egyptian singer angered fans in her home country after a photograph emerged in the press showing her bare back decorated with a tattoo that suggests she may be atheist.
Donia Masoud, a young entertainer, was photographed with a tattoo that read, “My heart’s feud is with God.”
The body ink immediately raised hackles in Egypt, whose society is deeply traditional and atheism is outlawed.
Earlier this year, a 21-year-old student who declared his atheism on Facebook was arrested by Egyptian authorities. The student, Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Amid a global decline in religious belief, some governments are stepping up efforts to portray atheists and secularists as a danger to society and even as terrorists, according to a report issued last year.
The study, by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), pointed to “hate campaigns” launched by public figures against those who renounce the dominant or state religion in Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Egypt.
It said “the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers” as set out in UN treaties, adding that 13 states, all of them Muslim, had made apostasy or blasphemy against religion a capital offense