Exiled Bangladeshi Writer Condemns Religious Persecution of Women
Interview with Taslima Nasrin, Bangladeshi doctor, author and feminist, conducted by Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus
More than 200 Nigerians were killed in riots in late November, when Muslims protested against a beauty pageant scheduled to be held in their country as offensive to Islam. What set off the furor was a newspaper column that had suggested that if Mohammed were still alive, he might take one of the beauty contestants for his wife. The resulting violence forced the pageant to be moved to London, amid calls for the beheading of the female columnist.
Taslima Nasrin can relate to the Nigerian journalists' dilemma. Nasrin, a Bangladeshi medical doctor and writer, was forced into exile under a death threat for criticizing Islam for its treatment of women in her own nation.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Taslima Nasrin during a recent book tour promoting the English translation of the first volume of her memoirs titled: "Meyebela: My Bengali Girlhood." In it, Nasrin describes growing up in a middle-class Muslim household in Bangladesh where she was repeatedly raped by male relatives beginning at age 6. She describes her father's philandering and her mother's desperate clinging to religion to give her miserable life meaning. Nasrin, an atheist and humanist, presents her views on the backwardness of religions and on what women who live in Bangladesh and other religiously-dominated societies need to improve the quality of their lives.
Taslima Nasrin's first volume of her autobiography, "Meyebela: My Bengali Girlhood" is available from Steerforth Press.
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