Indian Muslim group calls for beheading of Taslima Nasreen   


Khaleej Times 

LUCKNOW, India - An Indian Muslim group has offered a 500,000 rupee (11,319 dollar) bounty for the beheading of controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.  

The president of the All India Ibtehad Council said on Friday he had declared the reward for anyone who carried out the “quatal” or ”extermination” of the “notorious woman.” “Taslima has put Muslims to shame in her writing.

She should be killed and beheaded and anyone who does this will get a reward from the council,” Taqi Raza Khan said in a statement received in the northern city of Lucknow. 

The council, based in Bareilly town also in Uttar Pradesh state, is a splinter group of the influential All India Muslim Personal Law Board. Khan said the only way the bounty would be lifted was if Nasreen ”apologises, burns her books and leaves.”  

Nasreen has incensed conservative Muslims for writing a novel ”Lajja” or “Shame” depicting the life of a Hindu family facing the ire of Muslims in Bangladesh.

The book is banned in Muslim-majority Bangladesh along with her autobiographical works on grounds of being anti-Islamic. 

The author was forced to flee her homeland in 1994 after radical Muslims decried her writings as blasphemous and demanded her execution. 

She is seeking permanent residence or citizenship in India. Khan’s bounty was not a fatwa, as he was not a senior enough cleric to issue Islamic decrees. But it drew swift condemnation from one of South Asia’s most powerful Muslim seminaries. 

Clergy of the Sunni seminary Dar-ul Uloom in Deoband in Uttar Pradesh, a state with a large Muslim population, said the call to behead Nasreen was “un-Islamic” and that clergy should not issue such “fatwas.” “Unnecessary edicts increase friction in society and people of other religions start treating Islam as a barbaric religion,” Mufti Arif, who sits on the board of the fatwa committee of Dar-ul Uloom, told AFP by telephone. 

But Arif backed Khan’s call for 45-year-old Nasreen’s expulsion from India. 

There was no immediate comment from Nasreen who has lived in self-exile in Europe and the United States, but has lately been living in India. 

Nasreen has been spending most of her time in Kolkata, state capital of the eastern state of West Bengal which shares the same language and much of the culture of Bangladesh. But she has also faced problems in India. In 2004, an Indian Muslim cleric offered a reward of 20,000 rupees to anyone who ”blackened” her face, an action considered a grave insult. 

Following the threat, Indian police have given her security. Earlier this week, the writer made an impassioned plea to her ”second home” India to grant her citizenship. 

“I have been banished from my country. India is my second home. I have been granted a six-month visa but citizenship is being repeatedly refused to me,” the author said. “If I can’t live in my own country, and if I have to stay close to home where I can speak my mother tongue, write in my own language, India is the second option.

Where else will I go?” she asked. The writer said she will soon make a fresh application for citizenship. The Indian government has not commented on her request for citizenship

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