I confess myself slightly ashamed, gentle readers, that I have known about this subject for well over a month and have not yet made a statement regarding it. Those who have heard about the heart-breaking treatment of atheist bloggers in Bangladesh know that the innate right of humans to express their minds is not only being violently excoriated, it's being outright condemned.
Free-thinkers in the South Asian country have been thrown in jail in order to appease the demands of a riotous theist mob. The crime? "Hurting religious sentiments", which violates a law that has been in effect in Bangladesh since 1860 (three years before an American President insinuated that the proposition that all men are created equal is not only worth erecting entire governments upon, but dying for). Let me be one of the many to say, my friends, that if "hurting religious sentiments", in particular Islamic religious sentiments, is a damnable offense, then atheists have the smaller rap sheets in comparison to their theist brothers.
Koran (4:95-101) “The believers who stay at home—apart
from those that suffer from a grave impediment—are not the
equal of those who fight for the cause of God with their goods
and their persons. God has given those that fight with their
goods and their persons a higher rank than those who stay at
home. God has promised all a good reward; but far richer is the
recompense of those who fight for Him . . . He that leaves his
dwelling to fight for God and His apostle and is then overtaken
by death, shall be rewarded by God . . . The unbelievers are
your inveterate enemies.”
Koran (9:73) “Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the
hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their
home: an evil fate.”
Koran (9:123) “Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell
around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the
Keep in mind that an "unbeliever" to a Muslim mind is paramount to a "different believer". Anyone who does not accept the final revelation of a drooling desert schizophrenic (I mean, Muhammad) is as good (or, rather, as bad) as an atheist. There is little room for comparison. I will submit the question to the audience, then, and ask whether or not these sentiments, coupled with the bounty placed on the head of Salman Rushdie; the bounty placed on cartoonists working for the Jyllens-Posten in 2006; the flouting of Danish diplomatic immunity combined with the torching of their embassies and the murder of their citizens abroad in the same year; the attack on the Italian editor, Norwegian publisher, and the murder of the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses; the murder of Theo Van Gogh, etc. -- are these not actually the hurtful sentiments expressed not only by radical Muslims but the dictates of Islam itself? It stands for discussion.
This aside, it is important to strike the message home: the blog you are now reading, were I a citizen of Bangladesh, would be my ticket not only to prison, but likely torture or murder in the streets. Apart from my unbelief, my outright insult to the abhorrent ideology of Islam and its frothy-mouthed icon would be grounds for an outcome on my health better left pictured than elucidated. I would be hand-in-hand with unfortunates like Daniel Pearl, and the removal of my head would likely be available for viewing in darker corners of the internet, complete with Arabic subtitles.
Let us never forget our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and the sub-continent who have less than a voice, they lack the right to use it for fear of their lives. While the civil liberty of free speech is being arrogantly flouted by peoples of faith all around the world, and while the parties of god think themselves holy arbiters of divine law, both judge and executioner, we have a duty to be outraged, appalled, and driven to mourning. It is in our nature and our responsibilities as free-thinkers, skeptics, friends, and siblings of the human condition to combat this subjective tyranny and prove that the feelings of the many do not outweigh the feelings of the few, or that this utilitarian delusion does not grant the right to murder those who do not see the same mirages as you do in the desert.
One would say it is the work of Providence that I was not born in Bangladesh. If this were the case, I submit that the Invisible Sky Wizard made one holy fuck-up. I would happily be jailed, tortured, and even die alongside those who have the incredible courage to oppose this fascism with strong hearts, and consider it the greatest privilege of my life to be given the opportunity.
To those still suffering, I remain eternally yours.