Sunday, August 12, 2007

Taslima Nasreen Attacked in India

Taslima Nasreen is a Bangladeshi feminist and author, who was forced to flee her native country in 1994 after radical Islamists demanded her death and the government brought criminal charges against her. Ms. Nasreen has since ended up in India, where Islamist groups periodically demand her expulsion or worse.

Unfortunately, the seriousness of the threats against Ms. Nasreen was shown on Thursday. As the BBC reports, Ms. Nasreen was attacked by an Islamist mob at a book launching:

Ms Nasreen was launching a Telugu language version of a novel at the press club in Hyderabad.

About 100 protesters, including three lawmakers, from the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party burst in, shouting that the author was "anti-Islam".

Ms Nasreen backed into a corner as objects rained down and she was threatened with a chair, witnesses said. One witness said Ms Nasreen was slapped.

She was protected by others at the meeting and was later taken to safety by police.

Officers detained the three lawmakers and a number of other protesters.

Ahmad Pasha Quadri, one of the lawmakers, said: "Our protest is against Taslima Nasreen because of her writings ridiculing Islam. We want the Indian government to send her back to Bangladesh."

(Emphasis added-DD)

According to Indian newspaper The Statesman, as quoted by Jihad Watch, the three MIM legislators are quite proud of their barbarous actions, and ready to resort to the extreme form of censorship if Ms. Nasreen dares come back to their city:

The Majlis Ittehadul Musilmeen today threatened to behead writer Ms Taslima Nasreen if she ever visited Hyderabad again. Three MIM legislators, who led the attack on Nasreen yesterday, were released on bail late last night. They were given a rousing reception by the MIM cadre in the Old City. “Muslims are proud of what our legislators and workers have done because we can never tolerate any insult to Prophet Mohammed”, MIM floor leader Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi said. “If she comes to the city again we will kill her”, MIM MLA Mr Afsar Khan said. He was one of the MLAs who led the attack. The AP Union of Working Journalists represented to the Speaker Mr KR Suresh Reddy to disqualify the three MIM legislators.

(Emphasis added-DD)

To be fair, the attack on Ms. Nasreen has been widely condemned, especially by other Muslims. Sadly, though, some of those critics coupled their condemnation with calls for Ms. Nasreen to be expelled from India:

Delhi Minorities Commission chairperson Kamal Farooqui said the incident was condemnable, specially as three MLAs were involved in it.

But, he said, the government should also ensure that Nasreen is not allowed to do or write anything which hurts the sentiments of Muslims.

"The government should immediately cancel her visa and make her go out of the country," he said, adding, "she should realise that this is not Bangladesh or Pakistan, but India where the sentiments of all communities are respected."

(Emphasis added-DD; link via Jihad Watch)

Unfortunately, Mr. Farooqui is not really that different from the MIM; he merely disagrees as to the most appropriate form of censorship. As long as the debate is about whether Taslima Nasreen should be murdered or merely deported, free expression will remain under threat.


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