Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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Attack On Salman Rushdie Manifests Barbarism In The Name Of Religion: Taslima Nasrin

For universal human rights to prevail, religion has to be kept out of public life

Anger on the streets: Protest against Rushdie in Pakistan Photo: Getty Images

Salman Rushdie did not stay in Iran, the country that declared a price on his head. I have liv­ed in Bangladesh and India, two countries where price on my head has been set repeatedly. It is these two countries whe­re I have faced death threats, been physica­lly attacked, had processions taken out against me, had my books banned and my TV serials taken off air. If Rushdie is not safe under police protection in the West­ern world, there’s little left to be imagined abo­ut my personal safety. But I am not in favour of trading for a safe and placid life in fear of diatr­ibe and personal security. I choose to express my views in spite of the threat to my life, even if none subscribe to my views. I stand for my vie­ws against religious brutality, for humanism, rationalism, and equal rights for women.

The same Iran that had issued a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989 has sentenced Jafar Panahi, the world-famous filmmaker, to six years imprisonment for criticising the government just a few weeks ago. There is no trace of human rights in Iran after the Islamic revolution. Anyone who has dared to voice uncomfortable truths—critic­i­sed the government, sought an end to fundam­en­talism, demanded equal rights for women—­has been tortured mercilessly, jailed and executed. Minority communities, homosexuals, transgenders and socially-conscious people of the arts and sciences are routinely tortured.

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