THEIST_WATCH Msg : 2 Written : 06/06/94 08:00pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : A

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THEIST_WATCH Msg : 2 Written : 06/06/94 08:00pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Feminist Arrested On Saturday, June 4 Bangladesh ordered the arrest of Taslima Nasrin, for comments against Muslim laws and traditions. Apparently she has been charged with sacrilege and insulting the Koran. If convicted, she could be imprisoned at hard labor for two years. Ms. Nasrin is known for advocating sexual reform. During early June, she told an Indian newspaper that the Koran should be "revised thoroughly." When the comments were reprinted in the Bangladesh Times, 3000 orthodox Muslims took to the streets in Dhaka on June 3 in response and demanded her hanging. Ms. Nasrin was not at her home when police arrived to arrest her. She is 31-year-old physician and writer. In another interview, she said: "No man or woman of progressive thinking should have a religion. And marriage is nothing but slavery for women." She has previously been forbidden to leave the country, and her book "Lajja" (Shame) has been banned there because it offended Muslim sentiments. In fact, last year an Islamic group offered $1250 for her death because of that book, which deals with the oppression of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh. Her works on best sellers in India. THEIST_WATCH Msg : 3 Written : 06/08/94 07:43pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Feminist On the Run As of June 8, Bangladesh police were still searching for Taslima Nasrin, who has been charged with criticising Islam and the Koran. If caught, the writer will be held without bail until after she is tried. Islamic fundamentalist groups are demanding the death sentence for Nasrin, who has been quoted as saying that "No man or woman of progressive thinking should have a religion" and that the Koran should be "revised thoroughly." Ms. Nasrin is believed to still be in Bangladesh. On June 8, police raided several homes in the northern town of Mymensingh, where her parents live. As part of a continued crackdown against religious dissent, also on June 8 police arrested Toab Khan and Borhan Ahmed, advisory editor and executive editor of a Bengali newspaper, for 'offending Muslim sentiments.' No bail will be granted to the two, who work on "The People's Voice," the second largest newspaper in Bangladesh. The official charge states that the paper hurt the religious feelings of Muslims by distorting verses of the Koran in an article recently published. The newspaper was stormed on June 3 by Muslims breaking windows and throwing home-made bombs. The paper has gotten in trouble during the past year for covering the corruption of village mullahs (religious leaders). THEIST_WATCH Msg : 4 Written : 06/10/94 06:06pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Bangladesh Update On Thursday, June 9, 5000 militant Muslims march in Dhaka, Bangladesh, demanding the death of feminist writer Taslima Nasrin, a 31-year-old physician. One protester called her "a perfect representative of Satan" who "should not be allowed any mercy or reprieve." Ms. Nasrin is currently in hiding from police seeking to arrest her for insulting the feelings of Muslim. She was quoted as stating that the Koran should be revised. In a letter to parliament released on June 9, she claimed, however, that she was misquoted and had never made any such comments. Writing to the speaker of the parliament, she commented, "Not a single word in the Koran can be changed. I know that fully well and I have never said anything about changes in the book." According to her, a non-Moslem reporter in an Indian newspaper had misunderstood her. "The female reporter of [the Indian newspaper] failed to understand the difference between the Koran and Sharia law. I asked for changes in the Sharia law to ensure equal rights for men and women." If found, Ms. Nasrim will be held without bail until her trial for blasphemy. THEIST_WATCH Msg : 12 Written : 06/15/94 06:54pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Feminist Still At Large "We are mystified, if not totally surprised, by her adamant decision not to show up or ask for legal protection despite threats to life. The woman has ignored calls for surrendering to a court and defend herself," Balngladeshi police said on June 13, 1994. Who are they talking about? Taslima Nasrin, a 31-year-old writer and physician, who has been charged with blasphemy after being quoted as saying that the Koran should be revised. If found, she will be held without bond until trial. Militant Muslims are demanding the death penalty for her. Could the police really be "mystified" that she doesn't want to surrender herself to their care? THEIST_WATCH Msg : 13 Written : 06/22/94 03:49pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Women/Religion Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin is still in hiding from fundamentalists demanding her death and police seeking to arrest her for blasphemy. But a quote from her surfaced on ABC's Foreign Correspondent programme, aired on Tuesday, June 21: "I write against the religion because if women want to live like human beings, they will have to live outside the religion and Islamic law." THEIST_WATCH Msg : 16 Written : 06/26/94 08:45pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Nasrim Asks for Asylum Feminist writer Taslima Nasrim has been in hiding for over a week since she was charged with blasphemy by Bangladesh. Thousands have rallied in that country demanding her death, and the police have been baffled that she has not turned herself in for 'protection' -- 'protection' which would be being held without bail until her trial. The news now is that Nasrin has requested that the women's committe of PEN, an international writers' group, to lobby the U.S. government for asylum. The Bangladesh newspaper "New Nation" reports that she told PEN that "I am in great danger. Anytime the fundamentalists will kill me. The government is against me. So I have no scope to escape from this dangerous situation." The uproar in her country is a result of her fight for women's rights, birth control, and comments that Islamic law is harmful to women. A U.S. embassy spokesman only said that "The procedure is that the person himself or herself shall have to apply for asylum. And under U.S. law you can only apply for political asylum if you are actually in the U.S." In other words, tough luck. THEIST_WATCH Msg : 20 Written : 06/30/94 05:00pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Bangladesh Bangladesh is apparently a nation completely out of hand. Amid various religious riots, most frequently the result of Islamic militants, there is a planned "general strike" set for June 30. The strike has been called to protest the restoration of Bangladeshi citizenship to Golam Azam, the leader of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami Party. In the United States the unions would not even call a general strike over the National Health Care issue much less the restoration of citizenship to any one person. Over 6,000 Islamic militants marked in Dhaka on June 26 to show their anger at the Awami League which is anti- fundamentalist. The ultra-right Islamic Morcha (backed by the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party and other orthodox Islamic groups) has also called a half-day strike for June 30. Mixed up with it all is the desire to punish the feminist writer Taslima Nasrin under the state's blasphemy laws. A prize of 100,000 taka ($2,500) is on her head -- a reward for her death. However, she is anxiously trying to obtain religious asylum in the United States. For an Atheist from _anywhere_ to try to get into the United States for refuge is the biggest joke of the century. She would have a harder time here than she is having in Bangladesh. To jolly up the festivities, students are proclaiming that they will "take over all streets in the city on June 30 and destroy the snakes (by which they mean the Islamic fanatics)." Watch the news. June 30 is going to be a fun day. THEIST_WATCH Msg : 26 Written : 07/03/94 07:32pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : The Latest on Nasrim BLASPHEMING WRITER CAUSE OF ONGOING TURMOIL Uproar continues in Bangladesh as Moslems demand the death of writer Taslima Nasrim, who was quoted as saying the Koran should be revised. On Thursday, June 30, Muslim fundamentalists attacked her supporters, killing a teenage boy. At least 150 other persons were injured during the demonstration by the Muslim crowd, which was armed with homemade bombs, guns, and clubs. They were spurred on by Muslim clerics and groups which have put up $5000 as a reward for the death of the feminist. The total number of anti-Nasrim demonstrators on Thursday across Bangladesh was estimated at 50,000. In one part of the country, the burned down part of a hospital; in another, they attacked police trying to control the crowds. Apparently the hospital was attacked because it is run by a foreign-aided non-government organization (NGO). Fundamentalists have attacked several NGOs in past weeks because "they not only convert poor Moslems into Christianity, but try to drive others out of Islamic faith. Nasrim went into hiding after the government issued a warrant for her arrest for blasphemy. The charge filed against her on June 4 accused her of "hurting religious feelings of Muslims." On Sunday, July 3, reports surfaced that she might have sought refuge in the embassy of a Western country. Accordingly, Bandladeshi police tightened security around diplomatic missions to protect them from radical Muslims. THEIST_WATCH Msg : 55 Written : 08/02/94 03:45pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Gusty Secular Statement Gutsy "Secular Students" We doubt that you will ever find that much courage in the United States. Bangladesh is a country of 120 million persons, where 90 percent of the population is Muslim. And, a general strike was called there on July 30 by Awami League party and _secular student groups_ to protest the killing of six people by activists of the Muslim extremists (from the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party). That party, on the other hand, was demanding stricter blasphemy laws and a death by hanging sentence for physician-turned-writer Taslima Nasrin, the female author of a statement critical of Muslim. The United States is 90 percent Judeo-Christian and no "secular student groups" would ever show their faces in protest against the control of the nation by that religion. In the end, everything comes to principle and whether or not a finger will be lifted to sustain rational thinking. The Bangladesh students show amazing courage. During the demonstrations on July 30, fifty-five persons were injured and sixteen were arrested, with both bomb-throwing, and clashes between the students and the fundamentalists in the southern port city of Chittagong. American Atheists commend the students. *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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