A few weeks ago, when atheist blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was brutally killed in Bangladesh, fellow activist Taslima Nasrin (below) mourned the loss and lamented how Bangladesh seemed to be worse than Pakistan (which was known for this sort of faith-based carnage).
Someone responded to her on Twitter with this not-so-veiled threat:
That person was referring to a list of Islamic critics targeted by radical Muslims:
The list was submitted to Bangladesh’s interior ministry in 2013 by a group of radical Islamists asking for the writers to be punished for making derogatory statements about Islam and the prophet Muhammad. At the time, few bloggers believed they were seriously in danger. But on 12 May, science writer Ananta Bijoy Das became the third person named on that list to be murdered in the street this year.
So Nasrin’s name on that list means her life is in danger, even if she was in India and not Bangladesh.
I’m happy to say, though, that’s she now in the United States, courtesy of the Center For Inquiry:
Nasrin was recently named as one of the next targets for murder by Al Qaeda-linked extremists, prompting CFI to assist in transporting her safely to the U.S., alleviating the immediate threat to her life. Her safety is only temporary if she cannot remain in the U.S., however, which is why CFI has established an emergency fund to help with food, housing, and the means for her to be safely settled…
“Taslima is a truly international role model, as her work and her courage inspire people of all ages to question tradition, challenge dogma, and fight for human rights,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “We could not stand by while her life was in danger, nor will we turn our backs on the other brave freethinkers in fear for their lives. I know our community will make a strong show of solidarity and give generously to this emergency fund.”
The more funding CFI raises to this end, the more writers/activists they can get the hell out of Bangladesh. If you’d like to donate to this cause, you can do so here.
Ed Brayton has more details on how all of this came together and points out that CFI is already in contact with two other bloggers about helping them out in a similar way.
I have to say: As much as I love CFI for doing this, it shouldn’t be their responsibility to offer protection for these writers. The local governments overseas, and even our own, should be doing more to protect people whose are targets of religious extremists. It’s their inaction forcing CFI to throw so many resources at this problem. I’m thrilled CFI is doing it; I just wish they didn’t have to.