Last month, I posted an interview with Arnab Goswami, an atheist blogger who didn’t want to stay in Bangladesh and play a lifelong game of hide-and-seek with terrorists. He fled to Germany with the help of the Center For Inquiry’s Secular Rescue program, and his wife and son reunited with him a few months after his own arrival.
German publication Deutsche Welle just published a lengthier story about Goswami, and it includes more details about why he left, what he went through to get to Germany, and how his living arrangements aren’t permanent just yet.
What’s incredible is how he and his wife are willing to talk about their situation so openly. They even allowed a photographer into their home. By exposing themselves, they’re letting readers fully understand the perils of being a critic of religion in a country like Bangladesh.
Atheism has long been seen as a crime in Bangladesh’s conservative Islamic society. Self-proclaimed atheist bloggers like Goswami thus became a target of attacks by radicals.
At first, Goswami didn’t take the threats seriously. But when Avijit Roy, a famous Bangladeshi-American blogger, was hacked to death in February 2015, Goswami began to worry. Shortly after Roy’s murder, Goswami noticed a surge in web traffic to his blog posts. Petrified, he pulled down his blog from the internet. Yet, he got a message on Facebook: “You may think that we might have forgotten you just because you took your website off the internet. But no, we will remember you and your time will come.”
Goswami’s wife Juthi backs her husband. “I support my husband’s scripts. Sometimes he discusses a topic with me before writing on it as a blog. Nothing is perfect in our life. No religion is perfect. No society is perfect. Some problems are there. And It’s important to write about those problems,” she stressed.
The internet is right. Not all heroes wear capes.
Hopefully, Germany will accept his family’s application for asylum, because there’s no way they can return to Bangladesh without fearing for their lives. Their story is the consequence of religious dogma being taken to an extreme. They all deserve the chance to move on, but that will only happen if the German government gives them that opportunity.
(Image via Shutterstock)