Born on 25th August 1962, Taslima Nasrin is a Bengali Bangladeshi writer and activist. Fleeing Bangladesh in 1994, she lived in exile in New Delhi until, in 2015, death threats from Islamic fundamentalists forced her to flee to the US. Speaking after several secular bloggers were murdered, she tweeted “Was threatened by Islamists who killed atheist bloggers in B’desh. Worried”.
Her rise to global fame was through her activism, her feminist novels and her criticism of religion. A strong, relevant, much-needed female voice, Taslima continues to campaign for amongst others, human rights and equality for women.
Her best-known novel, Lajja (Shame) (1993), depicts the rape of a Hindu woman by a Muslim man and caused controversy in Bangladesh, eventually being banned and in 1994, Nasreen’s Bangladeshi passport was revoked. She was even refused entry to her home country when her parents were dying. Because of her work, she has faced fatwas and death threats but continues to campaign, even appearing at the Reason Rally in Washington DC on March 24 2012. The rally was for secularism and religious scepticism and was nicknamed ‘Woodstock for atheists and sceptics’.
A polarising writer amongst her peers maybe, but a true inspiration, Nasreen continues to campaign and has received many awards for her work.
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