The writer, Taslima Nasrin, has been fighting for women rights in Bangladesh and India for years, but last week there were violent protests by mobs that drove her to flee from the city of Koikata. She noted that “India is my home and I would like to keep living in this country until I die, but the All India Minorities Forum, a Muslim group, demanded she be deported. At the center of hatred against her is the charge that she allegedly told an Indian newspaper years ago there was need for alterations in the Koran in order to provide women with more rights. A court also accused her of “deliberately and maliciously: hurting the feelings of Muslims because her novel, “Laija”(Shame) focused on riots between Muslims and Hindus.
Nasrin has denied making comments about changing the Koran, but she has refused to back down on her fight for women rights. “Women are oppressed in the East, in the West, in the South, in the North. Women are oppressed inside, outside home. Whether a woman is a believer or a non-believer, she is oppressed. Beautiful or ugly, oppressed. Crippled or not, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, oppressed. Covered or naked, she is oppressed. Dumb or not, cowardly or courageous, she is always oppressed.”
Any religion which attacks individuals for expressing opinions about religious documents violates the religious and secular rights of the person. Neither mobs nor religious leaders can decide what a human being thinks or feels. Ms. Nasrin has every right to comment about the Koran, the Bible or any other religious piece of writing, she is talking, not taking action against another human. If people don’t like what she says, they can refute her comments in the press or write books attacking her, but violence has no place for those who believe in the Koran or the Bible.