Monday, August 13, 2007

Author may face jail for "offending Muslims".

HYDERABAD, India - The controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen will face criminal charges for her “anti-Islamic” views, which have provoked attacks against her by Muslim activists, police said on Monday.

A police official in the southern city of Hyderabad, where outraged Islamic activists flung a bouquet, a satchel and other items at Nasreen Thursday during a press event, said the author faces a charge of
hurting Muslim feelings.

“A case was booked against Taslima Nasreen that her anti-Islamic views and writings hurt Muslim sentiments,” city police official L.K. Shinde told AFP.

Under the Indian penal code, promoting “disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will” between groups on the basis of religion is punishable by up to three years in jail.

More than a third (38 percent) of Hyderabad’s 6.5 million population are Muslims.

Police said they filed the case against Nasreen, living in self-imposed exile, at the request of a leader from the regional Muslim party behind the outburst at a release of a translation of the novelist’s latest book Shodh (Getting Even).

Television footage showed activists of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen party, aligned with India’s ruling Congress party in the state, hitting Nasreen with flowers and threatening to lob chairs.

A visibly shaken Nasreen was shielded by several organisers and escaped when police arrived and bundled her into a car, witnesses said. They reported slight bruising.

Three legislators from the party were charged with rioting, Shinde said.

Senior party member Akbaruddin Owaisi registered a case against Nasreen hours after the attack, saying she had made rude remarks about Islam.

But on Saturday Owaisi was charged with “intimidation” for calling for a fatwa -- a religious ruling -- against Nasreen.

A fatwa is existing against Taslima Nasreen,” Owaisi told AFP Monday. “It is a religious responsibility of religious Muslims to abide by it.”

Owaisi appeared to be referring to radical Muslims in Bangladesh who accused her of blasphemy over her debut novel “Lajja” or “Shame” and called for her execution, prompting the author to flee her homeland in 1994 and move to India.

The book depicted the life of a Hindu family persecuted by Muslims in Bangladesh and is banned in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

In March, an Indian Muslim group from northern Uttar Pradesh state offered a 500,000 rupee (11,319 dollars) bounty for Nasreen’s execution.

Entire article here.=

The religion of peace ?

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