A Pakistani man has had his application for asylum in Britain turned down after failing to identify ancient Greek philosophers.

Hamza bin Walayat, who has lived in the UK since 2011, renounced his Muslim faith to become a humanist. He claimed asylum in July 2017 after overstaying his visa student and said that he now followed the philosophy of humanism.

But the Home Office claimed that his failure to identify Plato and Aristotle as early humanist philosophers showed his knowledge of humanism was "rudimentary at best".

According to the Guardian, in a letter addressed to Walayat the Home Office stated that he had "been unable to provide a consistent or credible account with regards the main aspect of your claim, namely that you are a humanist".

While he was able to give a basic definition of humanism, he could not identify "any famous Greek philosophers" who were humanists.

"When you were informed by the interviewing officer that he was referring to Plato and Aristotle, you replied: 'Yeah, the thing is, because my medication is strong I just forget stuff sometimes'," the letter stated.

"Your knowledge of humanism is rudimentary at best and not of a level that would be expected of a genuine follower of humanism."

Walayat had claimed to have received death threats from the community and even members of his own family for embracing secular British life and refusing to follow the guidelines of conservative Islam.

The Home Office dismissed his fears as unfounded.

In March last year, a Pakistani student who professed being a humanist on Facebook was killed at his university. Apostates are routinely subject to persecution and discrimination in the country.

Walayat said that the Home Office decision had come as a shock.

"I've told the truth and instead of believing me they are trying to find excuses to kick me out of the country," he said.

Andrew Copson of Humanists UK said the move "set a dangerous precedent for non-religious people fleeing persecution".

"The Home Office is simply incorrect to claim that non-religious people seeking asylum don't get the same protection in law as religious people do," he added.