Atheist bloggers flee Bangladesh
Despite the fact that the country’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech, these writers fear that they too will be the next targets for Islamists. Four bloggers have been murdered so far this year.
The number of atheists living in Bangladesh is not known. There has never been an attempt to ascertain the number of people who reject religion. Bloggers claim that more than one hundred thousand people are atheists in Bangladesh, a country with a population of 160 million people. More than 90 percent are Muslims.
Ever since the independence of the country back in 1971, atheism has remained as a taboo in the country. Atheist journalist Daud Haider was forced to leave the country in 1974 for writing a poem criticizing religion. Another atheist writer, Taslima Nasreen, fled Bangladesh in 1994 following massive protests by Islamists demanding her death after she made some critical comments about Islam.
Until 2013, these two people were the only writers to be singled out by religious fundamentalists. However, after the 2013 Shahbag protests, a movement that came out against the continuing influence of Islamists who opposed the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, bloggers called upon the government to guarantee the secular nature of society. A few of their number were atheists. This is turn led to Islamist fundamentalists targeting 'some new enemies' of Islam.
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