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An Interview with Md. Sazzadul Hoque on Personal Journey


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2019/06/08


Md. Sazzadul Hoque is the Founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh. He discusses: early life; tenets and beliefs of Islam; reaction of family to non-belief; story now; media coverage; founding the Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh; overarching purpose; planned developmental stages of the council; councils; general public support; expected difficulties and risks; prominent ex-Muslims; and learning more.

Keywords: Bangladesh, blogger, Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh, human rights, Md. Sazzadul Hoque.

An Interview with Md. Sazzadul Hoque on Personal Journey[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

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.

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was early life like for you?

Md. Sazzadul Hoque: I grew up in a conservative religious inclined family and also the place where we used to live is one of the centers of Bangladesh fundamentalism historically. Growing up, I had an insatiable quest for knowledge always asked, why this or why that. When I was in 8th grade I was lucky to have a teacher, with whom I argued a lot about theology and the existence of God, it was He who triggered the fire in my head. Since then I could not simply keep my little mouth shut. I have been talking and running from being decapitation by the Islamist.

2. Jacobsen: How did you come to question the tenets and beliefs of Islam?

Hoque: Primarily when I was able to empathize with the minority of Bangladesh. That’s how these people are treated by a fellow human being just because they simply believe something else.

3. Jacobsen: What was the reaction of family to this non-belief?

Hoque: Violent rejection, for which I had to flee my home country. Now I do not have any communication with my immediate and distant family member or my friends.

4. Jacobsen: What has been the story on the run now? What countries have you been to now?

Hoque: To run has been bittersweet adventure, an uphill learning curve, I travel to India and Nepal so far.

5. Jacobsen: Who else has interviewed you? What publications have documented the story of yours?

Hoque: I was interviewed by

  1. Times of India
  2. The Washington Times
  3. Business Standard
  4. New Humanist
  5. Conatus News

6. Jacobsen: What triggered the need to found the Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh?

Hoque: There is no unified platform for ex-Muslim in Bangladesh.

7. Jacobsen: What is the overarching purpose of Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh?

Hoque: To reach the undeveloped mind who needs a little nourishment like I have received in the past.

8. Jacobsen: What will be the planned developmental stages of Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh?

Hoque: Create information that is easily accessible to the people of Bangladesh in their own native language. And to create a support system and network of people who is willing to lend their hand when one is in dire need.

9. Jacobsen: How can other councils help it?

Hoque: Recognition, and help with material which they already have posted can be translated into Bangla and technical knowledge transfer so we can effectively work to propagate information we with people to see.

10. Jacobsen: How can the general public support Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh?

Hoque: Unless social, political view changes general public will never openly support such council, but their support would be silent, they would be reading, they will be watching, the intent of this council is to trigger General people mind to ask questions. It is that question that would lead them to enlightenment.

11. Jacobsen: What will be the expected difficulties and risks of it?

Hoque: The difficulties are to stay alive on Facebook, the way Islamist is organizing their attack on organization for digital association is unprecedented, the difficulties are to reach the general masses, the difficulties become time tested,

12. Jacobsen: Who are prominent ex-Muslims to read and listen to now?

Hoque: There are many out there, Taslima Nasrin, Asif Mohiuddin, Susupto Pathok.

13. Jacobsen: How can others learn more about the story of you?

Hoque: Not sure how but I think it depends on my writing. If I can continue to write and write well that measure up to the test of the readers, then perhaps they will tell their friends and that is how it may reach to others.

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

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Council of Ex-Muslims of Bangladesh.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 8, 2019:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019:


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


© 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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