We should have the right to criticise religion: Bangla writer

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New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Bangladeshi-American human rights activist and writer Rafida Bonya Ahmed, whose husband Avijit Roy was hacked to death by Islamic extremists in February 2015 while they were visiting Dhaka, has called for citizens right to critique the religion.

She was participating at an international media forum here on Saturday.

“Religion is a problem. It propagates hate and divisions. We should have the right to criticize religion. You don’t pick up machetes, you pick up the pen. I see the hunger for change,” Ahmed said at a session titled “Fighting Machetes with a Pen” during the closing day of The Media Rumble.

Unnerved by the personal tragedy and attack that she and her late husband faced, she spoke in concern of issues related to free speech and highlighted the rise of religious extremism and censorship in Bangladesh.

She said that religious fractiousness is injected very strategically in the country by those in power for purely self-driven ends.

She also mentioned that extra-judicial killings have become common, and stated that religion, politics and class issues are all related. She said such issues have to be talked about in public space.

Rafida Bonya Ahmed and her late husband, Avijit Roy, a writer, blogger and online activist, was attacked with machetes by Islamic extremists in Dhaka. Roy died and Ahmed was critically injured. She had received deep wounds in her head.

The Media Rumble, organised by Newslaundry and Teamwork Arts, touched upon a wide range of issues facing the media industry and journalists in contemporary times. The two-day event was held across several venues at India Habitat Centre.



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