The Bangladeshi humanist blogger Asif Mohiuddin has won a special Free Expression Award on the floor of the World Humanist Congress in Oxford.
In early 2013, Mohiuddin was attacked and brutally stabbed in the back, shoulder, and chest by a group of radical religious fundamentalists affiliated to Al-Qaeda, after he publicly criticised Islam and Sharia law on the internet. A month later the Bangladeshi government banned his blog on the basis that it was hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims in the country, before arresting him after a million madrassa students mobilised in condemnation of his comments.
Mohiuddin, who had just finished speaking in a session on extreme threats to freedom of expression, collected the award on behalf of fellow atheist bloggers, including Rasel Parvez, Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Avijit Roy, and Mashiur Rahman Biplob. The award will be shared posthumously with the late Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death on the streets of Dhaka for supposed blasphemy last year.
Making the award, Alom Shaha, a trustee of the British Humanist Association and author of The Young Atheist’s Handbook, commented ‘This award is for al those bloggers who would not retreat; it is for those who were arrested and detained on grossly unfair charges’.
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“Speak, for the cup of hemlock is not yet on your lips” by jailed atheist blogger Asif Mohiuddin
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