A society of Kenyan atheists has called on the government to create a public holiday for non-believers on 17 February, called Atheist Day.
The Atheists in Kenya (AIK) said “Kenyans who do not believe in god or gods deserve a public holiday too” in a statement issued on Sunday, days after the government declared 21 August a public holiday to mark the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha.
The statement adds:
We will use the occasion to show our lack of faith in Gods, by holding godless parades in various counties and also to increase awareness about atheism in Kenya.”
They settled on the date of 17 February because it was the day when AIK was registered as a society, a move which faced complaints from the country’s clergy.
“We believe that this will promote freedom of religion as a human right in Kenya,” AIK said in the statement. The society estimates that 5% of the population is atheist.
AIK’s President Harrison Mumia told the BBC that the society has 500 registered members and the number would be much bigger if not for “the stigma of atheism in Kenya.”
“Many Kenyans do not want their parents or family to know that they are atheists,” he said.