The Atheist Refugee Assistance Program is an initiative launched by Ateizm Dernegi (AD), a small NGO based in Turkey. As an organization with around 500 members, AD aims to provide crucial support and assistance to non-believing refugees who have sought refuge in Turkey due to religious persecution and the need for a fresh start. The program was established in August 2020, following the inspiration of the "Atheist Support Network" by Atheist Alliance International and the "Secular Rescue Program" by the Center for Inquiry.
In Turkey, a country that shelters a significant number of refugees globally, language barriers and societal norms present challenges for non-believers seeking suitable accommodation, roommates, and employment opportunities in a predominantly Muslim society. Openly identifying as a free-thinking, secular individual often poses risks, including the potential loss of housing or employment. Recognising the difficulties faced by non-believing refugees, Ateizm Dernegi saw the need to create a network to address these issues and offer support.
In collaboration with Atheist Alliance International (AAI), the Center for Inquiry (CFI), and Ex-Muslims of North America(EXMNA), a fund was established to provide essential legal aid and assistance to atheist asylum seekers and refugees currently residing in Turkey. This fund supports the salaries of two ARAP Case Managers, who cater to the common needs of refugees, including legal assistance, finding suitable accommodations, and securing employment opportunities. ARAP case managers are fluent in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and English.