After Nearly Being Killed for His Atheism, Bangladeshi Blogger Still Faces Blasphemy Charges

Earlier this year, I posted about Asif Mohiuddin, a 29-year-old Bangladeshi man who was attacked for blogging about his atheism.

Asif Mohiuddin

Of course, this being Bangladesh, Asif was sent to prison… for “hurting religious beliefs.” (That’s not a typo. It really makes no sense.)

He may be leaving jail soon, but the International Humanist and Ethical Union point out that he’s far from being truly free:

[Mohiuddin] is now set to be released on bail in a matter of days. However, his health has deteriorated in jail, he will be in [severe] danger upon release, and he still faces formal charges, a trial and potentially more severe sentencing later in the year.

Reporters Without Borders said today, “It is regrettable that the judicial authorities took so long to release Mohiuddin despite knowing that his state of health needed special medical attention that was denied him all the time he was held.

In his honor, the IHEU is reprinting (in English) one of Asif’s final blog posts before going to prison in which he talks about the murder attempt on his life (link includes some graphic images):

My entire body and the spot where the attack took place were completely drenched in blood. I was bleeding badly; still, I was trying my best not to collapse. I realized I must live. This sheer will to live out-shadowed my sensation of pain and injury. After a minute or two a couple of men came by from a nearby shop. I requested one of them to find my spectacles which I lost midst the attack. After getting my glasses back I asked one of them where is the nearest hospital. Luckily there was a small clinic just next to the main road, very nearby. Enforced with the aforesaid ‘sheer will to live’ I ran to that clinic.

I do not know whether I am going to be attacked again. So far all the alleged hit-lists published by Islamists contain my name, it is very possible that I am going to be attacked again. Humayun Azad once said — “Speak, for the cup of hemlock is not yet on your leaps”. Therefore, I will keep speaking, I will be writing as long as I am alive, as long as the cup of hemlock is not pushed to my lips.

Damn, that’s one brave guy.

Asif, I look up to you and I hope you stay safe. Keep fighting the good fight.

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.

  • C Peterson

    You’re right, “hurting religious beliefs” makes no sense. You can’t hurt a belief. Of course, you might be able to persuade somebody to change their beliefs, but so what? The scariest people that exist are those who are afraid of allowing people to decide for themselves what to believe, and using their positions of power to keep that from happening, even if it means imprisoning or killing.

    We really need to recognize these countries and their leaders for what they are: criminals against humanity, and cut them off from most interactions. No trade, no commerce, limited diplomatic recognition.

  • onamission5

    Heartbreaking.
    I cannot fathom the bravery of Asif and others like him; what magnitude of internal resources it takes to face down death and refuse to be silenced.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    Hurting religious beliefs?! As if!

  • TheG

    Penn Gillette this week on his podcast answered why he had an episode on the Bible and regularly ridiculed Christians on his show Bullshit! but never went after Islam. He admitted it was because he was afraid for his life and his family’s lives. There is just too large (even though a small percentage) a population of Muslims that would try to kill him. He even lets everyone know that makes him a coward, but he doesn’t care.

  • Trickster Goddess

    Some good news on the blasphemy front: Rimsha Masih, the young Pakistani girl who was falsely accused of burning pages of the Qu’ran has recently arrived in Canada along with her family.

    They are now living in an undisclosed location in Toronto, “citing worries that she could still be a target for extremists.”

    • DavidMHart

      I’m not sure if ‘forced into exile and still having to live in hiding’ really counts, on balance, as good news, but I guess it’s better than some of the alternatives.

  • sk3ptik0n

    A few points:

    1) Can we get to read these atheists blog? Even if translated by Google. They at least deserve a larger audience. It may even help them in the long run.
    If anyone is interested, it would be very easy to setup a wordpress site and have a small group of editors repost their blogs.

    2) Can we get our blogs, such a this one and others, to be posted concurrently under their TLD. In that way they would come up more frequently in their searches.

    3) The last part of his blog was very emotional for me. I was transplanted almost 10 years ago. My donor was a skydiver from Vancouver BC that, according to the papers gave permission himself. Before dying. Reading his words hit very close to home. To know that he would be more than willing to donate his heart to anyone, including to the son of his enemies, makes him a true hero. As if the rest of what he has been doing didn’t make him one as well.

  • Cattleya1

    Just another case of religious fanatics striving to extinguish the light of reason. How fragile their belief system must be to need this kind of reaction to what can only be called a thought crime. While I am sure there is an active and robust secret police in that country, I’ll bet their goal is to find him and get some mob of zealots to kill him. Bangladesh can do nothing but remain a third-world cesspool as long as their people are inculcated with this madness.

  • ry

    While I commend this guy for speaking out, there is a point at which staying in the country becomes foolhardy and it sounds like he is way past that point. Why the f— not try to get out? I’m sure some country would give him asylum to help him escape persecution.


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