File Photo
File Photo

Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen on Tuesday criticised cricketer Shakib Al Hasan for issuing an apology to those who accused him for "hurting religious sentiments" on attending a Kali Puja inauguration ceremony in Kolkata. The cricketer had received flak from Islamic fundamentalists after attending the Hindu ceremony in West Bengal and had later presented an apology in this regard.

Nasreen on this day said that Shakib Al Hasan "should not have apologised" for attending the Kali Puja ceremony in Kolkata, since his apology will only "strengthen the Islamists".

"His apology will strengthen the Islamists to kill Muslims whoever visit puja mandap or sympathise with Hindus," she said, "He should have said what he did was right, love should be celebrated, and hate should be rejected."

Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has battled various forces in her time, irking fundamentalists of various vintages since the '90s. In an extended Facebook post, she said that she had been fighting against jihadists for years — radical Islamists who had put a price on her head — and yet she never felt the need to apologise.

"I have even had to live in exile, risking my life at every corner, but not once did I feel the need to apologise, because I have done no wrong in criticising religious fundamentalism," she wrote in Bengali on her post.

Explaining her argument, the author said that Shakib Al Hasan is a well-regarded cricketer loved by people of all hues in Bangladesh. He also has security of his own and did not really need to go overboard in apologising for a perfectly normal act just because one man threatened him on social media.

Taslima further drew in a comparison with Avijit Roy, Bangladeshi-American atheist blogger who was hacked to death by radical Islamic militants for "blasphemy".

She said that unlike Avijit, Shakib never raised his voice against Islamic fundamentalism and nor he does he walk alone in the streets without security. "If someone threatened to hack him to death for playing cricket, would he never touch a bat again in his life? Why, then, did he feel the need to bow his head to Jihadis?"

Pointing out that even Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has attended puja ceremonies before, Taslima explained that attending pujas is not haram according to Islam. By apologising, Taslima said that Shakib may have actually ended up doing more harm than good because his fans, believers of the faith, might now accept that it's wrong to attend a puja function for a Muslim.

"The fundamentalist threats and Shakib's apology proves that Bangladesh is now a 'Darul Islam', which is unfit for living to anyone who is not a jihadi or a jihadi-supporter," she said.

Cricketers have come under the wrath of the public many a time and this time it was Bangladeshi all-rounder Shaib Al Hassan who was at the receiving end. Hasan was forced to make an apology after receiving death threats after he inaugurated a Kali Puja pandal in Kolkata over the weekend.

“I never went to inaugurate a Puja pandal. You will get proof from several media persons present there who were invited and inaugurated the pandal. It was already inaugurated by the time I had reached. I was not at a puja pandal, I was on the stage nearby and I was there for 45-50 minutes and there was no talk of religion.” Shakib Al Hasan explained in his apology.

Hasan received threat of hacking to death by a user Mohsin Talukdar on Facebook Live! The user, who is a young man from Sylhet resorted to blasphemous language while he threatened to kill Bangladesh all-rounder Hasan while brandishing a knife on the Facebook live.

Bangladeshi police took the issue of threatening to kill Shakib very seriously and arrested the Facebook user with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arresting the 25 year old accused Mohsin Talukdar.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal