Bangladesh Atheist Bloggers Are Getting Censored and Threatened

It’s not easy being an atheist blogger in Bangladesh. Last month, we heard that riots occurred there over things written on the Internet (where, apparently, you can only say things in support of Muhammad).

The bloggers were subject to calls for their execution for having blasphemed online. One blogger was, in fact, brutally killed for what he wrote.

And now the government is finally taking action.

By siding with the Muslim extremists…

The telecommunications regulator ordered two leading Internet sites to remove hundreds of posts by seven bloggers whose writings it said offended Muslims, according to its assistant director Rahman Khan.

“These writings have defamed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). The two sites have removed most of the posts,” Khan told AFP.

The government has blocked about a dozen websites and blogs to stem the anti-blasphemy violence that left eight people dead. It also set up a panel, which included intelligence chiefs, to snoop for blasphemy in the social media.

Throughout these stories, you hear the bloggers described as “militant” atheists. Meanwhile, the killers, murderers, terrorists, and freedom-of-speech-haters avoid that label.

The government really is more afraid of the pen than the sword.

There’s no real way I know of to help the bloggers except to show my support from afar. So… a la the Out Campaign, here’s a Zapfino B:

Spread it far and wide. Or blaspheme in honor of our fellow bloggers. Or do whatever you can to show your support.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • baal

    Hunger? Murder? Child Abuse? No, these aren’t the worst things, that’d be atheists….

    This is why the dominionists scare the bejebus out of me. But for a few political victories (or 1 more SCOTUS appointments from Bush the Lesser or would be pres. Rombot) we’d not need to look overseas for similar examples.

  • baal

    Hunger? Murder? Child Abuse? No, these aren’t the worst things, that’d be atheists….

    This is why the dominionists scare the bejebus out of me. But for a few political victories (or 1 more SCOTUS appointments from Bush the Lesser or would be pres. Rombot) we’d not need to look overseas for similar examples.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    Explain to me again why Allah doesn’t look after these blasphemers himself. Since He has taken no action Himself, could it be that Allah’s will is that the blasphemers should be left alone? Doesn’t seem like ‘Submission’ when you set your will above His.

    • tamimisledus

      Here is the muslim response: allah is all powerful, and therefore has total control over the actions of every human being on earth. So if he wants to kill a blasphemer, he just directs the combined actions of one or more of his muslims towards killing blasphemers. This means that these muslims are not only not setting themselves against allah (sorry for the double negative), but are carrying out his will. Of course to a non-muslim there are several flaws in this argument – perhaps you would like to think about them – but the muslim has found an “argument” in his favour so he will ignore any flaws

      • JohnnieCanuck

        One big flaw is that he just argued against Sharia Law or indeed any strictures in the Qur’an or the Hadiths. Anything he or any human decides they want to do is okay because they couldn’t have done it unless Allah willed it. And, as you phrased it that would include the actions of infidels and blasphemers against Allah and His prophet (pbuh).

        Christians try to work around the problems of claiming that their god is triple O by invoking free will. I see that as being in conflict with the micromanager idea. I wonder what most imams do with the issue.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    the Koran is one boring read, i’ll say that much. so much smiting and killing. allah sure is insecure.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Is the big red “B” for Blasphemous Bloggers in Bangladesh?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Bingo.

  • http://www.catchpennycodes.com/ Coupon codes

    Pretty weak in their faith if they are afraid that someone’s words can
    destroy it. Pretty low opinion of their god if they think he can not
    take criticism. Poorly evolved ethics to choose violence to combat
    words.

  • http://twitter.com/ThyGoddess Michelle

    Excuse me, I just feel like requoting John Baird, Canadian minister of foreign relations.
    “We don’t see agnosticism or atheism as being in need of defense in the same way persecuted religious minorities are.”

    Can we shove that story back in his face please?

    • meekinheritance

      double plus good

  • arKas

    The demands of the organization fighting atheists in Bangladesh:

    http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/hefajats-demands/

    —-

    1. Reinstate the phrase “Absolute trust and faith in the Almighty
    Allah” in the constitution as one of the fundamental principles of state
    policy

    2. Pass a law providing for capital punishment for maligning Allah,
    Islam and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and smear campaigns against Muslims

    3. Stop all propaganda and “derogatory comments” about Prophet
    Muhammad (pbuh) by the “atheist leaders” of the Shahbagh movement,
    bloggers and other anti-Islamists; arrest them and ensure stern
    punishment to them

    4. Stop attacking, shooting, killing and persecuting the
    Prophet-loving Islamic scholars, madrasa students and people united by
    belief in Allah

    5. Release all the arrested Islamic scholars and madrasa students

    6. Lift restrictions on mosques and remove obstacles to holding religious programmes

    7. Declare “Qadianis” non-Muslim and stop their publicity and conspiracies

    8. Stop foreign cultural intrusions including free-mixing of men and
    women and candlelit vigils, and put an end to adultery, injustice,
    shamelessness, etc in the name of freedom of expression and individual

    9. Stop turning Dhaka, the city of mosques, into a city of idols, and
    stop setting up sculptures at intersections, colleges and universities

    10. Scrap anti-Islam women policy and education policy and make
    Islamic education mandatory from primary to higher secondary levels

    11. Stop threatening and intimidating teachers and students of Qawmi madrasas, Islamic scholars, imams and khatibs

    12. Stop creating hatred among young generations against the Muslims by misrepresentation of Islamic culture in the media

    13. Stop anti-Islam activities by NGOs, evil attempts by Qadianis and
    conversion by Christian missionaries at Chittagong Hill Tracts and
    elsewhere in the country

  • Warwick Woman

    I commend the bravery of the bloggers in Bangladesh.
    I cannot understand why the government has sided with the radical Islamists against the bloggers. It is never healthy for a country to stifle free speech and it certainly a backward step to persecute those bloggers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynden.shields Lynden Alan Shields

    Any links to the posts in question?


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