Attacked Ex-Bangladeshi Atheist Blogger Sharif Ahmed Speaks Out

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Ex-Bangladeshi Blogger Sharif Ahmed suffered attack, torture, religious psychological training and was eventually nearly hung to death because of his atheism. He escaped to Canada as a refuge fearing for his life. He joins Justin Trottier for an exclusive interview on Think Again! TV to discuss his story and the plight of atheists in Bangladesh.


Bangladesh has recently been at the center of a human rights crisis as authorities have detained several prominent bloggers for "hurting religious sentiments," followed by the arrest of a newspaper editor who printed quotations from the targeted bloggers, and two more young people for making "derogatory remarks" about Islam on Facebook. Tens of thousands of people have rallied in the country's capital to demand more arrests, tougher blasphemy laws, and have threatened violence if their demands are not met by April 25.



An international coalition of atheist and humanist organizations, led by the Center for Inquiry and our partners the International Humanist and Ethical Union and American Atheists, will protest the arrest and persecution of atheist bloggers and other dissenters in Bangladesh with demonstrations in New York, Washington, London, Ottawa, and other cities around the world on Thursday, April 25. 



These global demonstrations will be unprecedented for the freethought movement, as secularists around the world express their solidarity with those jailed for speaking their minds about religion. Protesters will draw the world's attention to the plight of those persecuted for exercising their rights to freedom of belief and expression, and attempt to spur the international community to take action and compel the government of Bangladesh to change course. Up-to-date information on protest events can be found at bit.ly/defenddissent.

 

Written By: ThinkAgainCFI
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  1. Sharif is obviously still traumatised from all the inhumane mistreatments that he has suffered throughout his life, not least his early mistreatment by his very own family. People like him, and as he says, there are many in similar situations, are the true modern heroes. His great humanity shines through and rises above all the suffering that he experienced. The world must support , we all must support, brave people like him or our own lives are in vain.

  2. As an ex-Muslim, I share this person’s feelings. It is dangerous to be openly an atheist in Islamic countries. Although I live in Canada, I am occasionally harassed or questioned by some of my Muslim coworkers. They usually find out that I am an atheist during the month of Ramada, because they ask me why I do not fast. My answer has always been:

    “I am an atheist. I am a bad person”

    Obviously, I am sarcastic.

    I am preached to occasionally, but I ask simple questions, which are tough for them to answer. In some most cases, they resent who I am in a subtle way.

    Cheers!

    • Another one of these things that goes over my head. How could it be a problem to ask for evidence? Isn’t atheism the defacto position. What is it with monotheism and this petulant need to conformity. What if I don’t believe in your god? There are millions of them I chose to ignore them all.

      Isn’t (n-1)/n = 1 when n->infinity? Or is my math wrong? Why does it matter if am n-1 a monotheist or n an atheist?

      In reply to #2 by NoKiddingMan:

      As an ex-Muslim, I share this person’s feelings. It is dangerous to be openly an atheist in Islamic countries. Although I live in Canada, I am occasionally harassed or questioned by some of my Muslim coworkers. They usually find out that I am an atheist during the month of Ramada, because they ask…

      • In reply to #4 by kbala:

        Another one of these things that goes over my head. How could it be a problem to ask for evidence? Isn’t ….

        They lack the courage to ask questions and/or have doubts. Well, many of them, I suspect, hide their doubts about existence of God. I used to be in this position as a teenager. But, my doubts bugged me a lot until I gave up and asked questions in my country of birth (an Islamic one). I also heard about B. Russel and his book (Why I am not a Christian). I became an angry atheist. I still am. A very upset one. I feel deep sorrow in particular for Muslim women. We must make chauvinistic Muslim men to kiss their women’s ass. I must do this.

        Some religious people are hard to approach. I try, but as soon as I realize I am talking to a wall, I stop interacting with them for sometime (I give them time to hopefully think).

        Regardless, I want to be myself and refuse to give up. I am who I am. I am an ex-Muslem (for over 38 years), and I am so proud!

        • In reply to #6 by NoKiddingMan:

          In reply to #4 by kbala:

          Another one of these things that goes over my head. How could it be a problem to ask for evidence? Isn’t ….

          They lack the courage to ask questions and/or have doubts. Well, many of them, I suspect, hide their doubts about existence of God. I used to be in this position a…

          Yep, it’s the fear factor – once religion has got hold of you, it can be frightening to have doubts – just in case you are wrong and the punishments from your god of choice in the next life turn out to be real. So people play it safe and play along…

          As for your own de-programming – genuine congratulations, you quite rightly should be proud of staying clean for over 38 years… Here’s to the next 38! :-)

        • You should be proud! It takes real guts to go against religious obstinate mindset anywhere but to renounce Islam is the bravest of all. By the way, I thought religion was all about personal salvation and yet Muslims take it upon themselves to punish apostates, homosexuals, schoolgirls – anyone, really who in their eyes does not conform, or ‘insults’ the Prophet or Islam. Surely, if it is about me going to Heaven or Hell, why should they care? They should really be only concerned about their own salvation, not anyone else’s, or is it their moronic (sorry – Koranic) duty? I have read the Koran and know that it calls for death in many, many, too many instances, but killing, surely, is not one of the Five Pillars. Somebody somewhere is surely getting it wrong!

          In reply to #6 by NoKiddingMan:

          ….

          They lack the courage to ask questions and/or have doubts. Well, many of them, I suspect, hide their doubts about existence of God. I used to be in this position a…

          • In reply to #8 by HenMie:

            You should be proud! It takes real guts to go against religious ……

            Islam is in similar position Christianity was some centuries ago. As you know, rational morality / secularims has changed Christianity, based on which people used to get stoned etc.

            The tragedy about relatively young Islam is that these savageries occur in 21st century, in the era of atomic bombs and fire arms, as well as in the era of Quantum Mechanics, Darwin etc. Who knows what is going to happen by the time Islam changes. I think this is one of major preoccupations of Professor Dawkins.

            Obviously, a true Christian, Islamist, Jew etc should follow their bronze age books word by word instead of cherry picking. But, they do not realize they are fooling themselves no matter what.

            I do not consider myself a courageous person, but my becoming an atheist was inevitable.

          • Thanks for your reply, NKM. Your explanation clarifies some of the Islamic dilemma for me from your personal standpoint, although I realise that there are other problems that have to be taken into account such as the wish of Islam to spread into a global Caliphate, for example, hence its wish to eliminate the opposition, hence so much obsession with what others are doing, hence so much killing and cruelty.
            I just hope that this ‘relatively young’ Islamic evil , thanks to social media and ‘rational morality/ secularism’ grows up pretty soon, much faster than Christianity did – hopefully with the speed of Moore’s Law.
            I guess I’m impatient; I can’t wait for the day when I open a newspaper and not have to see tragedies such as those of the bloggers or Malala or poisoned schoolgirls etc. It all seems so pointless, and in the face of it one feels so helpless. Anyway, never say never – after all, we have a champion in Richard, the foremost thinker of the age on our side! Thanks again.

            *In reply to [#10](#comment-box-10') by NoKiddingMan:*
            

            In reply to #8 by HenMie:

            You should be proud! It takes real guts to go against religious ……

            Islam is in similar position Christianity was some centuries ago. As you know, rational morality / secularims has changed Christianity, based on which people used to get stoned etc.

            The tragedy a…

          • In reply to #13 by HenMie:

            Thanks for your reply, NKM. Your explanation clarifies some …

            Sure.

            I had to mention that most of Muslims are not violent. Islamists who rule Islamic countries or many of those who are religious leaders and their followers are the ones who can be responsible for the religious savageries.

            My comments were about a couple of many people I have interacted with. These are basically nice people. They consider me a good person, thus they are good and confused people. At the same time, reasoning with them is very difficult. However, as Hitchens said once: “Religion can make kind people do unkind things. It also can make intelligent people say stupid things” (paraphrasing).

            I have experienced more violent reactions too. I do not have anything to talk about with the violent ones (verbal or physical). Most of the violent reactions were verbal with potential physical attack.

        • In reply to #6 by NoKiddingMan:

          In reply to #4 by kbala:

          Another one of these things that goes over my head. How could it be a problem to ask for evidence? Isn’t ….

          They lack the courage to ask questions and/or have doubts. Well, many of them, I suspect, hide their doubts about existence of God. I used to be in this position a…

          Noshit, man- you done good!! If only more muslims had your courage and desire for truth…

  3. Thank you Justin and CFI. It is hard to see how the Canadian Government can maintain the position expressed by John Baird. I have written to my MP on Vancouver Island suggesting they need to re-evaluate that position based on the evidence that you have compiled on video. I urge others to do the same. I am still awaiting a response although I was promised one last week.

  4. It just shows how desperately weak their faith is, if they feel the need to torture anyone who disagrees with them…

    They cannot see the irony in carrying out acts of violence on defenceless individuals in the name of a supposedly omnipotent god who could surely strike down the blasphemer any time he/she/it wanted to…

    Ignorance is what drives people into religion and fear is what keeps them within its grasp…

    And it’s that fear that causes them to strike out at anyone who holds a contradictory point of view…

    Let’s just hope that the trickle of ex-Muslims soon becomes a torrent and we see these backward excuses for countries finally join the 20th century, let alone the 21st…

    • In reply to #5 by Dr Bob:

      It just shows how desperately weak their faith is, if they feel the need to torture anyone who disagrees with them…

      They cannot see the irony in carrying out acts of violence on defenceless individuals in the name of a supposedly omnipotent god who could surely strike down the blasphemer any time…

      Muslims have 14 centuries of blind belief in the most idiotic of religions to overcome. It’s a hard ask…

      • In reply to #15 by Nodhimmi:

        Muslims have 14 centuries of blind belief in the most idiotic of religions to overcome. It’s a hard ask…

        Indeed it is – but the Ancient Greek religion lasted longer and is (almost) extinct today… there is hope…

    • In reply to #11 by rod-the-farmer:

      To NoKiddingMan

      “Simple questions”…..I think we would all like to hear them…..if you would be so kind.

      Actual Simple Questions I asked:

      • I asked: Does not believing in God make me a bad person. She replied: Just being good is not enough. You must also believe in God. I asked why? According to you, I am a good person anyway, why should God send me to Hell? She did not reply.

      • She said: God created us because he wants to see whether we behave according to his commands. I asked: Are we God’s guinea pigs? She did not reply.

      • I asked a typical question most atheists ask: If you were born in a Christian country or into a Christian family you would be a Christian. Would you not? She did not reply.

      Another Muslim colleague was looking for a job. She told me she was praying that she could find one. I said: you should try your best to increase the likelihood of success. And, if you do not succeed despite your efforts, do not be depressed, because there are other variables/factors that affect our lives (other people, other events, our intellectual limitations etc). We cannot always control those variables/factors. Just continue to try hard and celebrate every inch you manage to push forward. She became angry and replied: I believe all you do, all I do is because of God’s will. I asked: how about our freedom to choose? How about what we can do to affect other peoples’ lives. She did not reply and turned her back to me in anger.

      etc etc etc…

    • In reply to #17 by Aztek:

      I can feel nothing else but compassion for this man and others in his position. Makes you feel lucky to live in a country which is secular and where religions have no real power in society….

      Religious Canadians are in general much easier to approach, because it is not very likely that I get punched in my face by most of them while discussing their religion. However, if I lived in an Islamic country, just admitting that I am not a believer would endanger my life (as you know). The minimum danger is getting beaten up and/or stabbed. The worst is to get hanged like a criminal. Well, I do not need to remind any of you guys this stuff. This video says it all. Islamists in Canada (not necessarily Muslims) are potentially dangerous. I am a “devil” to them, because I am an ex-Muslim / an apostate. Muhammad used to kill non-believers, and Islamists are following that monster’s steps.

      I live every single day of my precious life as an atheist. A person who needs to be in touch with reality, and no one can destroy this relationship. If I were a Muslim now, I would be wasting my time believing that God (or Allah or shit..) is following me, watching me, even when I have sex! Well, I am getting upset as I type, but I am sure you guys understand. I am just a normal full blown atheist.

      It is great that we can communicate so efficiently thanks to technology, whose existence has nothing to do with any religious/supernatural belief. I occasionally visit this great site, but I tweet more often.

      Cheers!

  5. I admire ThinkAgain TV for bringing this into the open. What happens if the Canadian foreign minister’s sentiments prevail and Sharif is sent back? How did the demonstrations on the 25th go? I have not seen anything yet.

  6. It’s things like this that make me an outspoken atheist. I feel so much sympathy for the things he has been through. People should not be attacked because of what they really think is reality. Canada, and the US are perfect places for him to go, and seek protection. I’m so glad he made it there. Malaysia wasn’t the best place lol. What is going on in Bangladesh needs more attention from the world, and it needs to be addressed.

  7. Islam demands such an incredible amount of time, energy and money from its followers that its governments have no choice but to come down hard on atheists and agnostics. Any suggestion that Islam may be false would have such an incredible (and undesirable) effect on these societies the governments just can’t risk it. It’s like a nation full of Richard Dawkins’ coming to the realization that all of science is actually false and useless; and that we actually live in a supernatural universe. And subtract the culture and education he has to handle news like that.

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