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Interview with Md. Sazzadul Hoque — Founder, Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh

2023-01-02

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/05/10

Md. Sazzadul Hoque is an exiled Bangladeshi secularist blogger, human rights activist, and atheist activist. His writing covers a wide range of issues, including religious superstition, critical thinking, feminism, gender equality, homosexuality, and female empowerment. He’s protested against blogger killings and past/present atrocities against Bangladeshi minorities by the dominant Muslim political establishment. He’s also written about government-sponsored abductions and the squashing of free speech; the systematic corruption in everyday life of Bangladeshis; and the denial of the pursuit of happiness.

In 2017, after receiving numerous threats, he was forced to leave Bangladesh out of safety concerns.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You founded the Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh: is this a new organization?

Md. Sazzadul Hoque: Yes, this is a new organization.

Jacobsen: How is it making its waves or impacts in the online world?

Hoque: Online is the only place where people (ex-Muslims) are able to express their views to the world, even that is under fire from Bangladesh repressive government. If it wasn’t for the internet, we (Bangladeshi) would be living in the dark ages. The word atheist probably would not exist in the conscience of Bangladeshi people. Broadband internet hasn’t reached the general masses; we suspect within ten years people will have access to smartphones and when that happens the footprint of this organization would certainly lead a tsunami of ex-Muslims in Bangladesh.

Jacobsen: How are fundamentalist Muslims in Bangladesh reacting to it?

Hoque: Reaction of fundamentalists has been always vigorous, violent organization such as this will ultimately desensitize them, though their initial reaction would be quite reactive. As of now, we have been threatened by the government entity and religious extremist that they will take legal action against our organization and its founders.

Jacobsen: How can people support the endeavor for you?

Hoque: We are not sure what kind of support people are willing to offer, but people may critique our work and engage in volunteering service, such as sharing material and research.

Jacobsen: For the Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh, who will be important leaders — besides yourself?

Hoque: There are other activist who will join the organization who are in a different part of the globe, however the majority of these people are in Bangladesh.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Sazza.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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