EXCLUSIVE: I’m an ex-Muslim blogger from Bangladesh. Muslims are trying to kill me for leaving Islam.
I am Md. Sazzadul Hoque. I am a persecuted writer/blogger, atheist activist and Human Rights Defender from Bangladesh. My writings cover a wide area of human life. I write on the issue of secularism and atheism, feminism, gender equity, sexual rights as well as human rights. I protested against the blogger killings in Bangladesh, write about the atrocity that have been taking place on the innocent minority of Bangladesh, where property and women are constantly violated by the Muslim majority.
In my writings, I protest the abduction of bloggers and obstruction of free speech in Bangladesh. I write about the ever-present systematic political corruption in Bangladesh, for what the innocent people are constantly deprived of basic services and the right to everyday life. Obviously, I write about religious superstition and how such superstition obstructs reasonable and critical thinking of the mass people of Bangladesh.
I am sure these writings have had influence, in terms of increasing social awareness, especially among the young generations. For writings on these topics, various Islamic fundamentalist and militant groups have become furious at me and have been threatening continuously to kill me at any cost. Initially I didn’t pay attention to such threats. But with the passage of time, it has become a serious issue for me. They are assassinating bloggers and online activists with some interval.
On May 25, 2017 I was in Dhaka at my hostel. I posted an article on Facebook where I wrote, “I wish to live like a human, not as a Muslim – things I was taught and made to believe are wrong”. The post went viral. My Facebook account got suspended. The news of my leaving Islam spread very fast. Then started to come the barrage of phone calls at my home, relative’s phone. Hundreds of people from my village came to meet my maternal uncle and my mother. The shower of threats began and continued for several months. I got expelled from my college and hostel. Some of my fundamentalist teachers tried to let me arrested by the police. Realizing the situation, I left Dhaka for my village. But, I couldn’t stay in the village once the locals knew I was there. I started to get phone calls and verbal threats to kill me wherever they found me. From my home, I moved to my maternal aunt’s house. When they found my whereabouts, I got thousands of phone calls again contained threats to burn my aunt’s house if they gave shelter me, so I left them as well.
While on the running from one place to another, I was told that Imams (Islamic Priest) of different Mosques were giving speech against me after every prayer shouting my killing as I became an atheist and Kafir which is subjected to death according to Islamic law. My maternal uncle with whom I had a good and close relation informed me that they (the mullahs) are on the lookout to kill me. Realizing I could no longer stay in Bangladesh safely (I would be slaughtered like cattle if I did), I fled the country and moved in India on May 30, 2017.
On June 6, 2017, I posted the same article on Facebook again and the post went viral similarly. About 1.3k people reacted to the post and there were up to 700 comments posted. 90% of the comments were contained threats to kill me.
One of the popular online news portals covered my situation. Head Line: Blogger Md. Sazzadul Haque was thrusted to death, thus he had to leave the country (Translated). But after publishing this news, the publisher faced many threats and was forced to delete the news.
I have been staying in India from May 30, 2017 as a tourist. My tourist visa expired on May 3, 2018 and got extended after applying again. But it is not possible to stay in India more than 180 days continuously for visa policy. After extension of a new visa, it already passed more than hundred days. It seems, I have the permission to stay in India only for two months more.
I am homeless for my writing, activism, and for speaking for free thinkers. My life is in danger due to speaking about Humanism, Secularism and LGBT Rights. In spite of having immense threats, I haven’t stopped my writing. I have been living an inhuman life since May 2017. Some of my well wishers help me some time. I don’t eat most of the time. That’s why I am becoming mentally ill. As a Human Right Activist and blogger, I have faced a lot of trouble (including threats of death) to continue my writing and activism. I was expelled from my college for my activism, my academic studies are closed now. I don’t know what will happen to me or how long will I survive. I do not know whether I could ever go back to my country. I do not know when I would be able to meet my mother again. My family has disowned me due to speaking about the rights of LGBT and other activities. I have no relation with my family since 2017. They do not support me.
Fundamental groups will kill me when I go to Bangladesh. If I stop my writings, Even so, they will kill me. Because anyone who has left Islam must kill him. This is the teaching of Islam.
Every day I am getting threats from fundamentalists and simultaneously the government. Because I criticized the government in my blog. I know the government has a good relationship with the fundamentalist group for a vote. The government can try to kill me to pleased the fundamentalists, it is very easy. I often see the same people around me. Perhaps they follow me. Also, I am receiving threat from Indian fundamentalist. I will be attacked by fundamentalist terrorist at any time, even in India.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act was first introduced on October 8, 2006. This is Bangladeshi Blasphemy law. Then it was amended by the Awami League government for their benefit. So far I know, left-wing progressive political parties are against this law. Atheist, Bloggers, journalists, writers, online activists, human rights activists, and gay rights activists most damaged by this law. They are also against this law.
There is no freedom of expression in Bangladesh. If anyone criticized the government and religion, he was arrested. If I told the government that I criticized religion, then the extremists wanted to kill me. Then the government itself would arrest me because I criticized religion.The media is silent about the government and extremists. Because they have no freedom. They’re afraid. Artist Shahidul Alam had criticized the government a few months ago. Because of that, the government arrested him. Some more recent teachers, writers and activists have been arrested.