A prominent Bangladeshi atheist activist moves to the United States after death threats from islamist extremists.
Taslima Nasrin’s relocation comes after three well-known atheists, Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman and Ananta Bijoy Das, were murdered in Bangladesh this year in the course of three months, Religion News reports. Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent has claimed responsibility for the brutal murder of Das and has sent threatening messages to Nasrin.
Nasrin’s move was organized by the American Center for Inquiry (CFI), which promotes secularism and has been working with atheists in countries where atheism is unprotected by blasphemy laws.
Michael de Dora, CFI director of public policy and president of the United Nations NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief said that the cause for his organization’s concern was that “extremist groups have been pretty public that they want Taslima killed.”
Nasrin, 52, a gynecologist by profession, became famous when she wrote her first novel Shame in 1993. The novel describes the religious and political tensions between Muslims and Hindus in Bangladesh, and argued against religion. The Bangladeshi government banned the novel and Nasrin herself received a fatwa, which called for her death for blasphemy. Nasrin then moved to India.
She has been threatened several times before, but this time the threats were too serious for her to stay in Asia.
Gulf Times reports that Bangladesh has seen a rise in religious attacks by religious extremists in recent years. At least five atheist bloggers have been attacked since 2013 by Islamists. Bangladesh is officially a secular country, but majority of the people are Muslims.