Magazine article The Humanist

Taslima Nasrin in Europe

Magazine article The Humanist

Taslima Nasrin in Europe

Article excerpt

After leaving Bangladesh following the death sentence issued against her by Muslim leaders for her criticisms of Islamic law, novelist Taslima Nasrin continues to speak out. Her travels have taken her to Prague and Paris. In Strasbourg, France, she received the Sakharov Prize. This past December, she networked with humanist, anti-fundamentalist, human rights, and women's organizations in the United Kingdom.

Appearing at "Blood and Letters," a conference in London organized by the women's theater company, The Spinx, in conjunction with the National Theatre's education department, she shared the platform with dissident Ukrainian poet Irina Ratushinskaya and Amrit Wilson, a writer and activist on black women's and anti racist issues. According to Vera Lustig, Nasrin, who is a gynecologist, "spoke of women weeping after they had given birth to girls; of women with ruptured wombs from bearing child after child in an attempt to produce a son to please their husbands; of women beaten, murdered even, for set tiny up their own cooperatives; of malnutrition because `the men get all the best food.'"

At a meeting organized by the Norwegian Humanist and Ethical Association in Oslo, Norway, Nasrin said (as reported by Barbro Sveen):

Both my parents are religious,

and I respect them and their

attitude to life. People who live

according to their religious belief

should be respected. But I have

also seen the other side of

religion--the one that results in

violence, rapes, persecution, and

death. I have seen groups of

people professing the same

religion fight each other bitterly. I

have also witnessed how millions

of Hindus have been obliged to

leave their country just because

they are Hindus and not

Muslims. I asked myself: is this

religion?

Later I discovered other

things. Not a single religion

affords equality to women. They

are always treated as number two

and often even as slaves. …

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