Md. Sazzadul Hoque: A Call for Help for an Inhumane Persecution

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Md. Sazzadul Hoque, a Bangladeshi blogger, human rights defender, and online activist, is in trouble. He is a member of the Humane First Movement and the founder of penman.in. Here is his current status.

For activist work and writing, Hoque has suffered on a number of levels, including receiving death threats. In 2017, he was forced to leave Bangladesh out of safety concerns. He has been living in India since May 2017 under inhumane conditions and circumstances.

Despite surviving through those death threats and now living in a relatively safe environment, Hoque faces barriers in his access to education. Hoque was expelled from college because of his activist work. Now, he lives with a stalled academic progress, uncertain about his future.

In a recent encounter, Hoques mentioned, “I don’t know what will happen to me or how long I will survive”, and then stated, “I do not know whether I could ever go back to my country. I do not know when I would be able to meet my mother again.”

Fighting for minorities and the use of freedom of expression lost Hoque paternal connection, postsecondary studies status, and death threats tied to messages of violence. Hoque is now under ‘tourist’ status in India and, fortunately, had his visa extended recently. He is in a tight situation, nonetheless.

Hoque has been on the run from place to place. The Imams or the Islamic Priests from a variety of mosques have been calling for the murder of Hoque. Why?

He is an atheist. He is a kafir. Imams interpret this, through Islamic law, to mean that the death penalty needs to be imposed to Hoque. He has a good relationship with an uncle of his, who informed Hoque of the call made to be on the hunt for him, by the mullahs. Thus, the run continues, and there is a worry that this hunt extends beyond Bangladesh.

“Realizing I could no longer stay in Bangladesh safely – I would be slaughtered like cattle if I did -, I fled the country and moved to India on May 30, 2017,” Hoque states. “On June 6, 2017″, Hoque continues, “I posted an article on Facebook explaining my situation and the post went viral.”

His Facebook account was suspended, not those inciting public violence and making calls for murder: either as individuals or as a group.

More than one thousand people reacted to the post with about 700 comments on the post. 90% were death threats. Various fundamentalist groups since 2017 continue to make the same threats. The most recent arose on September 17, 2018. What was the result?

His Facebook account was suspended, not those inciting public violence and making calls for murder: either as individuals or as a group.

Hoque continued, “One of the popular online news portals covered my situation with the headline: Blogger Md. Sazzadul Haque was thrust to death, thus he had to leave the country”

Islamism

Now, the publisher has faced death threats too. The trend is that, those with activism or writings against some Imams and mullahs, and some of the public, become justifications for declarations of violence against the activists and writers, if not outright murder demands on the parts of the followers of the Imams and mullahs themselves.

“Furthermore, now I am voluntarily involved as an administrator in Istishon, a social networking group of a community blog. I am also working as a graphic designer and programmer for the blog’s website,” Hoque said.

Now, Hoque is campaigning through Humane First. The purpose of the organization is to promote the civil liberties and rights of individuals without regard to their identity or background.

This, by implication, works in contradistinction to the efforts of the religious fundamentalist ideas through respectful and civil conversation, discourse, dialogue, and debate.

It can be found through #behumanefirst. With help from the Protecting Belief Fund and the Center for Inquiry, Hoque has been staying in a temporary shelter. His activism and writing, as per the story, left him homeless, as a freethinker.

[Hoque’s work is] in contradistinction to the efforts of the religious fundamentalist ideas through respectful and civil conversation, discourse, dialogue, and debate.

“My life is in danger due to speaking about Humanism, Secularism and LGBT Rights. In spite of having immense threats, I haven’t stopped my writing,” Hoque concluded, “I have been living in inhumane conditions since May 2017. That’s why I am becoming mentally ill… My family has disowned me due to speaking about the rights of LGBT and other activities. I have no relation with my family since 2017. They do not support me. I can be I attacked by fundamentalist terrorists at any time even in India.”

This is solely the result of Hoques’ activist work, which embodies atheism and secularism. Hoque is just one of many bloggers who has had to flee Bangladesh because of their activism. Bloggers in Bangladesh are being attacked, imprisoned, and executed, for their views.

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About Author

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Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.

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