Support Bangladeshi Free-thinkers and Atheist Bloggers!

We are freelance writers from Bangladesh. Most of us have started our writings through blogging in 2006 and 2007 when a Bengali blog, called, ‘somewhereinblog’, was first founded. Somewhereinblog has appeared as a wonderful opportunity to express and share our experiences, daily diaries, our happiness and sorrows in our own language/terms. Initially we have used the space to read blogs, while some of us were sharing personal diaries, literary works i.e. poetry, short stories, travel blogs etc. At some point we have noticed random posts on Islamic thoughts and inserts from Quran & Hadith, translated by apparently preaching articles from so called Islamic scholars abroad. These were not one off incidents, rather those were regular posts by religious and Islamist writers. In reading those articles, we wondered if religious writers or Islamic authors are able to share their religious speeches, why shouldn’t we? We believed that even if non-believers we should have the right to talk about our thoughts and reasons for unbelieving when the believers and religious authors have the right to preach through social media. Hence we started to express our thoughts and views through blogs. As atheists our blogs contained the non-traditional thoughts, the logic of being skeptical, and the story behind unbelieving. This simultaneously appeared as counter-logic to the believers. Many of us have started to argue that about some Islamic articles which were posted by the blind-believers. Both logic and counter-logic went on in the section for comments. We were soon thrilled by e-meeting and discovering so many supporters, friends, free-thinkers, atheists, non-believers, and agnostics around us. It was totally unexpected yet amazing to come across these many non-believers with us at that time. We could have hardly imagined that so many atheists and free thinkers had existed in the country as ours, from where writers like Taslima Nasrin and Daud Haider were exiled!
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While we remember the dead, let us also remember those fighting to live

bangladeshibloggersToday 25 April has been declared a day of mourning in Bangladesh for the victims of the nation’s worst factory disaster. The death toll of the collapsed garment factory has risen to 160; more than a 1000 have been injured. Rescuers continue to hunt for survivors.

Those who died in the building collapse did not need to die. Workers saw cracks in the building the day before but were ignored.

Today is also the International Day to Defend Bangladesh’s Bloggers, four of whom are imprisoned, and more than 80 others who face death threats by Islamists. Here too their safety and lives have been ignored by the Government.

In both these cases, the Government has failed to defend fundamental rights. Unfortunately, it is too late for the many garment factory workers. But there is still time to save Bangladesh’s bloggers. The Government must act before it is too late.

On 25 April, whist we remember the dead, we must also remember those who are fighting to live.

Upload your actions and protests on social media sites. Join the day’s Facebook Page. Contact the Bangladeshi embassy in your country of residence and sign the petition now.  Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers and more.

You can also join protest actions taking place in the following places:

UK

  • London:  Trafalgar Square. 2-3pm.

USA

  • Washington, DC: Embassy of Bangladesh, 3510 International Drive NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. 4:30 pm ET. Details here.
  • New York City: Office of the Consulate General of Bangladesh, 211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017. 4:30 pm ET
    Will begin at Grand Central Station, move to the consulate, and then the United Nations building. Details here.
  • Columbia, MO: Speakers’ Circle, Columbia, MO. 12 pm CT. Hosted by MU SASHA (Skeptics, Atheist, Secular Humanist, and Agnostics). Details here.

Defend Bangladeshi Bloggers, Events, Ex-Muslims in Morocco and More

bangladeshibloggersHello

We are writing to give you an update on some important actions and events.

25 APRIL: INTERNATIONAL DAY TO DEFEND BANGLADESHI BLOGGERS

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and others have called for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists. Please spread the word, sign this petition today, and stand with and for Bangladeshi freethinkers.

As you may know, in January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”. Rather than prosecute the Islamists, the government has arrested some bloggers and shut down blogs and sites.

We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.

On 25 April, we urge groups and individuals to rally at Bangladeshi embassies, contact members of parliament in their countries of residence, highlight the situation, write protest letters, carry out acts of solidarity, Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers and more.

You can find more information here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Please don’t forget about our upcoming events and join us:

On 15 June, we will celebrate the CEMB’s sixth anniversary at a luncheon with keynote speaker Kenan Malik. Other speakers/acts include comedian Kate Smurthwaite and CEMB Spokesperson Maryam Namazie. The luncheon starts at 12pm for 1230pm start at a central London location.

Book your tickets today. [Read more…]

On 25 April 2013 we stand with Bangladeshi bloggers and activists!

bangladesh_bloggers_arrested_apr2013_demotix_468In January, 29 year old blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed. In February, 35 year old atheist blogger involved in the Shahbag protests, Ahmed Rajib, was brutally killed. Islamists continue to threaten prominent bloggers and have called for the “execution of 84 atheist bloggers for insulting religion”.

Rather than defend freedom of expression and protect freethinkers, the Bangladeshi government has arrested several bloggers, promised to pursue others, and shut down websites and blogs.

We, the undersigned, call for 25 April to be an international day to defend Bangladesh’s bloggers and activists. On this day, we urge groups and individuals to rally at Bangladeshi embassies, contact members of parliament in their countries of residence, highlight the situation, write protest letters, carry out acts of solidarity, Tweet #Bangladesh #Bloggers, and sign this petition.

We unequivocally condemn the attacks on and threats against atheist, secularist and freethinking bloggers and call on the Bangladeshi government to guarantee their safety, respect free expression and prosecute Islamists who threaten, attack and harm critics.

Freedom of expression, including to criticise Islam and Islamism as well as to blaspheme, is a basic right.

Signed (organisations mentioned also endorse the day of action): [Read more…]

Stop threats and murder of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh

The threats, intimidation and murder of atheists in Bangladesh continue, and now Islamists are demanding the state give them a hand with the killing.

Islamists are calling for the death penalty for atheist bloggers for supposedly blasphemous blogs or else face the prospect of Islamist groups descending on the capital, Dhaka. The state’s response? A shut down of blogs, the ordered deletion of posts and the establishment of an intelligence panel looking to censor future material deemed to have “defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed”. Meanwhile “progressives” defend the accused, not by demanding their freedom of conscience and expression, but by pretending they are not atheists at all.

Shame on the Bangladeshi government for siding with the far-right Islamists and shame on the “progressives” who apologise for the free thought of others.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain stands in solidarity with atheists and rationalists who stand for reason, universal human rights and secularism and calls on the public to defend their freedom of expression and rights to life and security.

Hands off atheist bloggers now!

***

Here’s a piece Taslima Nasrin did on the matter in February.

Here a piece I did about killing of atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib.