Asif Mohiuddin (left) is one of Bangladesh’s most famous bloggers. As an open atheist in a mainly Islamic country, he has been attacked and thrown in jail for his beliefs. DW caught up with him after his recent move to Germany.
In addition to being an active blogger, Asif Mohiuddin co-founded the Shahbag movement in Bangladesh, which has been arguing for the strict division of state and religion in the country, as well as justice for victims of Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.
Mohiuddin recently arrived in Germany on a one-year scholarship. He says that living in Germany now means he can walk the streets safely. But still, he says, he has to keep his location secret.
DW: What did you write on your blog that was so offensive? Can you give us examples of what it might be that Islamists found so blasphemous?
Asif Mohiuddin: I wrote a blog entry about women’s rights which caused problems. In the Koran, Chapter 4, Verse 34, it says that a man can beat his wife, if she doesn’t obey her husband. I criticized that because in modern civilization there is no place for hitting anybody. Also, according to Sharia law, if someone leaves Islam, then that person has to be killed. I don’t think that is a good thing, so I criticized that. And that is why people got angry.
I also criticized leaders of Islamic political parties, and one of them even asked that my name be put on a list. He mentioned my name a few times and said that I should be killed, because I criticized his ideology. I also criticized the Bible and Hindu religious books, the parts that were not compatible with modern society…