Center for Inquiry helps blogger escape from Bangladesh

Center for Inquiry helps blogger escape from Bangladesh

Shammi Haque, 22, a secular writer and activist threatened by militant Islamists in Bangladesh has been granted asylum in Germany.

The US-based Center for Inquiry reported this week that they provided her with emergency assistance to help ensure her safe relocation after she received death threats.

CFI  says that Haque has built a reputation in Bangladesh as a respected, outspoken, and fearless activist on behalf of secularism and free expression. On her blog, she wrote in support of democracy and human rights, and spoke against radical Islam.

In public protests and demonstrations, she became a highly visible critic of religious extremism, a recognised symbol of secular resistance. This made her a target of those same militants who brutally murdered several writers and activists associated with secularism and criticism of radical Islam.

After receiving threats on her life and seeing her name appear on a public hit list of secular bloggers, Haque contacted the Center for Inquiry which advocates for reason, science, and secular values.

The crisis in Bangladesh had become a central focus of CFI’s efforts, and in 2015 they launched the Freethought Emergency Fund, a programme which lends assistance to those activists in places like Bangladesh who face mortal danger for exercising their right to free expression.

Said Haque:

When I was targeted, I was so afraid. Every day I thought, this may be my last day, I may not see the next day’s sunrise. Connecting with the Center for Inquiry was a big opportunity in my life, for without CFI, I couldn’t have done anything. And CFI helped me immediately. Now I have asylum here, so I can live safely. So I am very thankful to the German government for giving me asylum so quickly.”

Said Michael De Dora, CFI’s public policy director and coordinator of its efforts in Bangladesh:

Shammi is well-known for her courage and unwavering advocacy for secularism and free expression. She has shown that same courage throughout an ordeal in which she has been targeted for her unwillingness to be silent. We are delighted and relieved that we could have some hand in bringing her to safety so that she can continue to speak out and serve as an inspiration to others.

Haque said:

When I was born, my identity was ‘human being’. When I grew up, my identity was ‘woman.’ Then they added ‘Muslim woman’, and everybody forgot my first identity. I was fighting for my first identity, and I’m still doing that. I want only one identity: ‘Human being’. All of my activism and my writing is for my first identity.

CFI is also leading an international coalition of distinguished scholars, scientists, activists, artists, and other luminaries to condemn Bangladesh government officials for callously blaming the victims of Islamic extremists’ attacks for their own deaths, and urging them to focus on protecting human rights and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Signatories include Reza Aslan, Sam Harris, Lawrence Krauss, Maryam Namazie, Richard Dawkins, and dozens more.


Haque’s move to Germany coincides with the launch of a book this week about the celebrated Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi written by his wife Ensaf Haidar, above, aided by Middle East reporter Andrea C Hoffman.

Raif Badawi, the Voice of Freedom is described by the Times as:

A story not only of a dissident who falls foul of the Saudi religious authorities but also of the extraordinary circumscribing of Saudi women’s lives and the connivance of their family and menfolk in it … Its value lies in its fresh and often surprising insights into a society few Westerners ever really penetrate and which is rarely written about honestly except by those who have already fled.

Haidar’s story, the series of betrayals by those closest to her, reminds us it is not just a government, but a whole society, that colludes in repression.

28 responses to “Center for Inquiry helps blogger escape from Bangladesh”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    Shammi Haque is a brave woman and her logic regarding identity is spot on. Labels like those she cites pigoen-hole people in ways that makes it easier to control, demonise and manipulate them by removing their sense of self and diminishing their sense of self-worth. It’s a tool that those who run religions have been honing and perfecting for at least two-thousand years.

  2. barriejohn says:

    Secularists are such dangerous people that they clearly need eradicating. Tells you all you need to know about religion!

  3. haroon hussein says:

    You are only fooling yourselves . Shammi Haque is just another zionist recruit in the notorious company of nasree and harris and dawkins and ayan hirsi and haidar etc.This new recruit EMPLOYED by the luciferians does not mind selling her integrity for dollars .So now she has no integrity left . Since Islamophobia is the big money spinner ,many are climbing the bandwagon as they have seen how the other recruits have made it big in the west . They also seem to get asylum and citizenship very easily whereas legitimate seekers have to go through an arduous process . Soon Shammi Haque will have a book published and it will of course be a best seller and she will appear in Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the year and get to speak on right wing think tank platforms and right wing controlled media. Seen it all before . It seems that Bangladesh is the new hot hunting ground for money hungry recruits.
    As usual when this new recruit starts to speak on invited platforms .,you will hear the same old diatribe of irshad manji and ayan hirsi and nasreen and others like her all with a price on their useless heads and lamenting about how they are treated in Islam ad nauseaum.The thing is , when they start to speak about Islam and the life of Prophet Muhammud pbuh then they give themselves away .This is just sales talk for the gullible public who will rush to buy their books and come and hear their deceptive narratives for which they get a lot of money , Those endowed with knowledge about Islam and the life of the Prophet will know immediatly these con artists open their mouths is that they were never devout muslims if muslims at all and their knowledge on the subject matter is zero. Fortunately we have a dearth of islamic spanning 1435 years and with new technology we have many many excellent Islamic websites where all of the nonsense these con artists dish out can easily be debunked as is being done all the time . Eventually people like these get exposed and fade into obscurity with their ill gotten gains
    But wait, there will be a day of judgement where you will answer for these ill gotten gains that you digested.What will you answer then .On the approach of death when your soul is by your throat and about to leave your body, you will seethe consequences of your wrongful actions , then it is too late

  4. haroon hussein says:

    Raif Badawi :the voice of freedom by ensaf haider, well well well , hypocrisy at its height . What a stupid comment that the entire society is colluding . Is that for dramatic effect . Perhaps you should look at the history of the Saudi Monarchy and who brought them to power ,,,yes ,thats right , its was the West. Who is in cahoots with the U S A and Israel and has american military base , yes thats right ,Saudia Arabia. But wait a minute ,your target is actually Islam and Saudi society is just a ploy .
    Are you trying to imply that secularists and so called freethinkers and the like do not have in their midst charlatans,liars,deceivers,murderers,thieves,warmongers,cheaters,etc really ,are you absolute puritans. i dont think so . Ignorance of islam is what you thrive on to deceive the public and money making is your game
    Badawi is no martyr and he and his wife know exactly what game he is playing , the money game . I dont think that he would endanger himself and his wife and children if he wasnt given the assurance that he would be protected and handsomely rewarded. Look how quickly his wife got asylum in Canada. After all Saudi Arabia and the West and Israel are big buddies . Just look at the name of the country .SAUDI ARABIA .Does the country where Prophet Muhammud was born, walked ,taught belong sto the Saudia family . Show me another country named after a family Like the Quran says ,”they have respite for a while , soon will they know what their hands have brought forth”

  5. haroon hussein says:

    JUst a final comment,, You should really change your name from Freethinker to Hatemonger because judging by your articles and the kind of hate response and repugnant remarks from your ilk that name is more apt and so too should other sites similar to yours because you all pedal the same rubbish . YOU ARE COWARDS WHO HIDE BEHIND THIS MISNOMER CALLED FREE SPEECH WHICH YOU USE AS A COVER FOR YOUR REAL AGENDA .

  6. Dionigi says:

    Free speech allows haroon hussein to comment on this site.

  7. Trevor Blake says:

    Radical Islam, militants, religious extremism… no matter how many times I see those words, I never forget for a moment that what these words mean is ‘Islam as it has been practiced from the root to every branch by nearly every Muslim for over one thousand four hundred years.’ It’s not a distortion of Islam, it’s Islam itself that is the problem.

    Atheism is one answer. The most peaceful, the cheapest and the easiest answer. The world seems hell-bent on more war-like, more expensive and more difficult answers.

  8. Michael Glass says:

    Haroon Hussein,

    You have stated, ” irshad manji and ayan hirsi and nasreen and others like her all with a price on their useless heads…”

    So you approve of killing people.

    These words condemn you. That’s why good people, whatever their beliefs, oppose you.

    By spouting hatred you blacken the name of Islam and help make the religion that you follow a byword for cruelty and murder.

  9. 1859 says:

    O dear someone does have their islamic knickers in a right twist.I wonder if mr. hussein can explain – without descending into an ignorant, irrelevant diatribe – just how free speech is dangerous? Could it possibly be that free speech and free thought might just help people to question the nonsense and overall veracity of the korran? That such freedoms might allow people to question who this fucking mohammed (sbup – shit be upon him) really was? A fifteenth century paedophile? A bloodthirsty lunatic? Or could it be that a freedom to think might help to open minds instead of closing them with fascist islamic dogma? Mr. hussein, you not only blacken your religion you only confirm what the rest of the world knows – islam is the religion that sanctions murder, that orders murder, that performs murder, that revels in murder, that exports murder wherever it spreads. Your so-called religion is nothing more than religious totalitarianism – the worst image of fascism the world has ever seen.

  10. Great Satan says:

    Haroon – go and do one ! – people don’t hate islam because they think they will get money out of doing so (yeah, like its really worth being attacked or harassed ) – they do it because islam is a loathsome pack of fascist lies !

  11. Jumpy says:

    haroon hussein must realise that IF civilised people assassinated people that offended us then he would probaly be hacked to bits already. But we don’t murder people. We hear them, and allow them to make a complete mockery of the dogma the represent.

    Actually I think haroon macaroon hussein is a sham at best and maybe a rather deranged mentally ill halfwit with nothing better to do than spew out an unlettered stream of disjointed hateful bile.

    And as a gentle hint from me …. JUST FUCK OFF.

  12. Bonker says:

    Harpoon … Just in case you did not know islam is the shitty skid mark in the underpants of the world.

  13. barriejohn says:

    I just couldn’t be arsed to wade through that entire comment, as I have better things to do, but I’m sure that if I had a price on my “useless head” I’d be pretty pissed off as well!

  14. Harry says:

    Dear Halfloon Insane I hope you get your balls bitten off by a rabid dog today. Meanwhile instead of clattering your keyboard why not get back to to drooling over Internet porn and tossing yourself into mental oblivion.

    The data shows that muslim men(?) spend 15.7 times more time watching internet porn than secular people. Why is that? Is it because you are repulsive to women or because you are so sexually repressed you are too scared to talk with women? And there are no virgins waiting for you when you die so make the most of the Internet porn. That’s the only sexual thrill you are ever likely to get.

  15. Broga says:

    haroon hussein : I started reading this drivel and then decided I couldn’t be bothered. What chance would one of us have in putting our views if we were in thrall to his sick religion? We know the answer.

    He needs psychiatric help.

  16. barriejohn says:

    Broga: He must be a “plant”. I reckon he’s a fanatical Zionist/Christian sympathizer who has made those comments to blacken the name of Islam, as we all know that no true Muslim and follower of the world’s most peaceful religion could possibly come out with statements like that!

  17. Laura Roberts says:

    It’s the all-caps part of his argument I find so compelling.

    Off now to make a donation to CFI…

  18. Halfloon Insane says:

    Raif Badawi :the voice. Are you absolute puritans. I dont think, I only do what imam shouts at me. Is that for dramatic effect. Perhaps you should look at the TV and DR Who brought them to power. Yes ,thats right , it was the West. Who is cahoots and born in the U S A and the public and money making base. Of freedom by ensafment and height . What a stupid and the is your game american military like do not have in their midst Israel. And has deceived charlatans,liars,deceivers of islam on the history of the Saudi Monkey well well well , hypocrisy at its society is just a ploy .
    Are you trying to imply that so called banana eatering apes are murderers,thieves,warmongers,cheaters. allar and muhamit are so big in the brains they cant get their socks on? Ignoranamuses of islam is what we get.
    Taught at the name of the country SAUDI ARABIA.Does the fartyr and he and his wife know exactly what game he is playing , the money game . I dont think that he would go to tesco endanger himself and his wife and children if he wasnt given the assurance that he bacon is smoked and delicious. Prince Charles would be protected and handsomely rewarded. Look how quickly his wife got asylum in Canada. Comment that the entire socieyes thats right. Saudia Arabia,very hot and sandy, and Israel are big buddies . But wait a minute,your target is actually all Saudi Arabia which is not the West. Just look at Muhammud de Saudat and freethinkers like him are born. In the country where Prophet belong to the idiot family . Show me another country as horrid as saudi. Like the kuran says “eat bacon and dead dog kebab. Yummy delicious like the fried testicles of intolah komeni. Soon will they know what their hands are scratching. I have fleas up my burkah.

  19. David Anderson says:

    Hmmm, “…EMPLOYED by luciferians…”. I might just come out of retirement. Where do I apply?

  20. Brian Jordan says:

    @haroon huusein
    “Shammi Haque is just another zionist recruit in the notorious company of nasree and harris and dawkins and ayan hirsi and haidar etc.This new recruit EMPLOYED by the luciferians does not mind selling her integrity for dollars .”
    I thought that was quite a good start by one of our regulars taking the piss, and quite liked “luciferians”.
    Then it started to ramble and I realised that it wasn’t wit, just a nitwit.

  21. barriejohn says:

    Maybe it’s a spoof after all:

    Haroon Hussein = Oh, insane hours!

    (Probably Barry, having a bit of fun.)

  22. barriejohn says:

    PS I would never follow Lucifer, as he wouldn’t be matchless, would he? (Boom! Boom!)

  23. Club Secretary says:

    @barriejohn says:
    Fri 20 May at 10:56 am
    PS I would never follow Lucifer, as he wouldn’t be matchless, would he? (Boom! Boom!)

    I checked out the link and Luciferianism looks OK to me.

    I wonder if they have a branch in Essex?

  24. H3r3tic says:

    @Haroon – There is a rather delicious irony in the fact that a considered, thoughtful reading of your posts will do more to persuade people that secularism is the best way to advance the human condition than anything that we secularists could post. I an happy that my many friends and acquaintances are aware of my atheism and have many friends of various religions and none. The blinkered, thoughtless and narrow-minded views you espouse could only come from someone who simply refuses to consider that they may well be wrong. On the other hand, you may simply be a complete cockwomble.

  25. Broga says:

    @Harry: “And there are no virgins waiting for you when you die .” One translation says virgins is a mistranslation for raisons. And that’s the one I am staying with.

    These these slavering, repressed, bonkers suicides turn up expecting 72 virgins and are handed a small pack of raisins. Savour the thought. There is an Allah after all.

  26. barriejohn says:

    Club Secretary:

    I wonder if they have a branch in Essex?

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

    (PS Used to love you on the Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club!)

  27. AgentCormac says:

    @ Halfloon Insane
    Good effort. Very funny indeed!

  28. 1859 says:

    @ Halfloon Insane:
    I laughed all the way through! Thank you! A great spoof – you should enter for the Booker Prize.