Jaipur Literature Festival: Tasleema Nasreen wants Uniform Civil Law, calls it need of the hour for Islamic women

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Updated: January 23, 2017 5:59:37 PM

Tasleema Nasreen said, "When I or anyone else criticise Hinduism, Buddhism or other religions nothing happens. But the moment you criticise Islam, people come running after your life.”

Tasleema Nasreen was speaking at the Writers-in-Prison Committee of PEN International session based on her new book Exile on Monday. (IE)Tasleema Nasreen was speaking at the Writers-in-Prison Committee of PEN International session based on her new book Exile on Monday. (IE)

The Bangladeshi author, Tasleema Nasreenwho had to live in exile since 1994 for her controversial book Lajja spoke at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday and urged India to adopt the Uniform Civil Law. She retorted to Islamic fundamentalists saying “only criticism of Islam can establish secularism in Islamic countries.” She added, “Without serious criticism of Islam, you will not be able to make Islamic countries secular. The women will continue to suffer and be oppressed,” she said.

She was speaking at the Writers-in-Prison Committee of PEN International session based on her new book Exile. She said that Muslim women are oppressed and uniform civil law is the need of the hour to protect their rights. “If you have a set of laws for Hindus, if Hindu women can divorce their husbands and have a say in their property, and we have seen how progressive that has been, then why are Islamic fundamentalists against a uniform civil law? Is not having a uniform civil law democratic,” she added.

“Why shouldn’t Muslim women have the same rights? Is it democracy? Encouraging fundamentalists and misogynists from any side is neither democratic nor secular. I am against all kinds of fundamentalists,”she exclaimed.

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Nasreen asked fundamentalists to question themselves as to why they cannot take criticism. “What do you mean by secularism, does it require you to encourage Muslim fundamentalists? For Muslim votes, you throw a writer out of the country and continue to patronise misogynists,” IANS reported.

She also said, “When I or anyone else criticise Hinduism, Buddhism or other religions nothing happens. But the moment you criticise Islam, people come running after your life.”

She contended this kind of view and said that why should one issue fatwas if they don’t agree with you. They should also write and share their views. “They can have conversations rather than fatwas,” said the freedom of speech advocate.

Nasreen is presently a Swedish citizen and currently lives in New Delhi. She had to move to Sweden in 1994 after she was threatened for the safety of her life by fundamentalists who opposed to her views in the book, Lajja.

 

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