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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Taslima Nasrin

Taslima Nasrin, the world famous secular humanist writer and feminist is a senior editor of Free Inquiry. In 1994, Islamic fundamentalists issued a fatwa against her, demanding her execution for criticising Islam. Taslima Nasrin won the 2004 UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence. She also received the European Parliaments' Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the Kurt Tucholsky Award from Swedish PEN.

Her autobiography Nei, Kichu Nei ( Nothing is there) was published in 2010.

So one day I had to take up my pen and start writing against the various misdeeds committed by religion, against all the injustice, unreason, and prejudice sanctioned by religious institutions. I began to try to expose the crimes of religion, particularly the injustice and oppression against women."
"t does not often teach people to love one another. On the contrary, it often teaches them to hate people of a different faith. Religion also leads people to depend on fate and thus lose self-confidence. It unnecessarily glorifies poverty and sacrifice and thus serves the vested interests of the wealthy few."

"In all countries and through all ages, conscientious people have exposed these unethical aspects of religion and educated people to see religion with the eyes of reason and logic."

"I don't agree with those who think that the conflict is simply between two religions, namely Christianity and Islam. Nor do I think that this is a conflict between East and West. To me, the key conflict is between irrational blind faith and rational, logical minds. Or between modernity and anti-modernity. While some people want to go forward, others are trying to go backward. It is a conflict between the future and the past, between innovation and tradition, between those who value freedom and those who do not.