THEIST_WATCH Msg : 90 Written : 08/25/94 07:09pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To :

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THEIST_WATCH Msg : 90 Written : 08/25/94 07:09pm From : ROBIN MURRAY-O'HAIR Status : To : ALL Subj : Bagladesh Writer Update Taslima Nasrin Update For two months Taslima Nasrin, a 32-year-old writer and physician, lived in hiding in her native Bangladesh as police searched for her to arrest her for offending Muslims and Islamic groups rioted, demanding her death. Though she eventually had to flee her country for her own safe, she is in no way cowed by the experience. On Thursday, August 18, she made her first public appearance since fleeing Bangladesh, holding a news conference in front of 140 journalists and cameramen. She boldly stated, "I know the fundamentalists want to silence me. But I wish to continue my fight against fundamentalism which is creating darkness in many parts of the world. Everyone must raise their voice and stand against the evil forces in society." Nasrin is an Atheist. The uproar in Bangladesh began when she was reported in an Indian newspaper as saying that the Koran, the holy book of Islam, should be revised. The government ordered her arrest on June 4, and she then went into hiding. Describing her time as a fugitive, she said, "I had to move from one place to another, from one room to another, and always under cover of darkness. I spent my time in rooms without any light or air and outside I heard the voice of mullahs shouting for me to be hanged." Nasrin finally surrendered herself to the authorities and was released on bail by the Bangladesh High Court on a charge of insulting Islamic believers. A week later the Bangladesh government granted her a tourist visa to leave the country, and the Swedish PEN club, a writers' organization, brought her to Sweden on August 10. On August 18 the organization gave her a 150,000 crown ($19,300) literary prize given to writers living in exile. Nasrin hopes to return to Bangladesh. The government has not, however, guaranteed her safety. This is not her first brush with controversy. She earlier enraged believers by calling marriage "indirect prostitution" and saying that "Most women in Bangladesh live their lives as slaves of men. A cow to some people is more useful and more respected than a woman." The Bangladesh government is under fired from Moslem fundamentalists as well. Threatening to keep up protests until Nasrin was returned to Bangladesh, Moulana Matius Rahman Nizami, deputy chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, claimed, "The government had conspired to let her go, and it's the responsibility of the government to ensure her return to face the charges against her. . . . There can be no let-up in the campaign until and unless the agent of Satan is appropriately punished." On Saturday, August 27, Bangladesh President Abdur Rahman Biswas was booed at a religious rally by over 500 Muslim militants. Shouting "How could she go? Why was she not punished," the militants prevented the president from finishing his speech. Earlier in the day, 10,000 Moslems had gather to demand that Nasrin be hanged. *********************************************************************** * * * 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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