None is allowed to sell books at the fair that can hurt religious sentiments

In Dhaka today, a publisher’s stall at a book fair was shut down for displaying a biography of Mohammed.

Bangla Academy has shut down the Rodela Prokashani stall on the allegation of publishing and selling a translated book on Prophet Muhammad’s biography, which “hurts religious sentiment of people.”

Dr Jalal Ahmed, member secretary of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair, said: “The stall of Rodela Prokashani was shut down on Monday for publishing and selling a book [translated], Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, which allegedly hurts people’s religious sentiments.”

“According to article 13.13 of Fair Regulations 2015, none is allowed to sell books at the fair that can hurt religious sentiments. The publication house breached the guidelines of the fair and it was banned accordingly.”

How can a book fair even exist under those rules? You can’t really call it a book fair if it has no books. Or I suppose you can call it that, but it’s damn silly.

The regulation is (if the reporting and translation are accurate) “none is allowed to sell books at the fair that can hurt religious sentiments.” That can hurt religious sentiments. That’s all books. Any book can hurt religious sentiments, especially when religious people have been so zealously coached to have their sentiments hurt on the slightest pretext.

The book, penned by the well-known Iranian writer Ali Dashti, hit the world market in 1985.

In the book, Dashti chooses reason over blind faith. He strongly denied the miracles ascribed to Muhammad by the Islamic tradition and rejected the Muslim view that the Quran is the word of God himself.

Instead, he favours thorough [analysis?] of all orthodox belief systems and argues that the Quran contains “nothing new in the sense of ideas not already expressed by others.”

Like thousands of other books.

Later, while talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Rodela Prokashani staff said that “Rodela is a progressive, free thought, and creative publication.”

“Rodela invites those writers who basically search for progressive, thoughtful, and research-based knowledge for its readers.”

Islamist political group Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh also protested against the publication and further demanded confiscation and banning of the book in the country.

“This book contains false, fabricated and misleading information about Islam, its prophet Hazrat Muhammad, and the Quran,” they said in a statement made by secretary general Junaid Babunagari of Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh.

Well there you go. It’s not really about not hurting religious sentiments, it’s about trying to appease fascist theocracy.

H/t Tasneem Khalil


  1. Blanche Quizno says

    What about the books promoting religion that offend my atheist and secular sensibilities? Am *I* not allowed to be offended??

  2. iknklast says

    But, Blanche, religious sentiments only apply to the religious! OK, our sentiments are religious sentiments, in that we don’t believe in religion, but that’s just…well, you know what they say. Freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion!

  3. Blanche Quizno says

    But the religious like to say we’re just as religious as THEY are, that atheism is actually a religion, that we base our lives on faith just as much as THEY do. But despite all that, we can’t be offended. It’s not permitted us. In the end, I guess there ARE differences O_O

  4. Silentbob says

    @ 8 karmacat

    You mean that book that “contains false, fabricated and misleading information about Islam”?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *