Taslima Nasrin is an acclaimed novelist in Bangladesh. In this 90% Muslim country, she publicly proclaimed herself a humanist. She stated that Islamic law should be changed to end the oppression of women. In June, on Australian tv, she charged that Islam treats women as slaves, adding, "If women want to live like human beings, they will have to live outside the religion and Islamic law." She is also the author of _Lajja_ (Shame), a best selling novel in Asia set amid the intolerance and violence of Bangladeshi Muslim fundamentalists toward Hindus and other religious minorities,
Thousands of Muslim fundis, over a period of weeks this past month, rioted through the streets of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Smashing car windows and headlights, they marched on the parliament DEMANDING that she be HANGED. It took nearly 1,500 police in riot gear to contain the mob.
Earlier, fundi Islamic clergy had put a price on her head. To placate the fundis, a Bangladesh court ordered her arrest under Article 295A of the penal code, which outlaws "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings ... by insulting religion or religious beliefs." As a result, she has been in hiding since June 4, and newspaper editors who have supported her have suffered persecution.
The above is from a letter by Fred Edwards, Executive Director, of the American Humanist Association, seeking people to petition president Clinton to speak out on Taslima Nasrin's behalf and put the USA's rhetoric on human rights into action. If you want to support the AHA in this, write them at:
7 Harwood Drive
PO Box 1188
Amherst, NY 14226-7188
In any case, this is a perfect example of the kind of persecution that can be expected if this were truly "one nation under god". Many posters on Controv or HolySmoke would be prosecuted under the new fundi equivalent of Article 295A.