In 2013 Muslim extremists in Bangladesh published a deathlist with 84 atheist bloggers. Since then they killed five atheist bloggers, four in 2015 alone, as well as a secular publisher. Others have been attacked but survived. Dozens of bloggers have been forced into hiding or exile, part of them fled the country. Nastiker Dharmakatha is one of them. He made Razor’s Edge, a film about what happened to him and other bloggers and to his country, in terms of rising terror by Islamist Extremists.
What is happening to your country?
Bangladesh is a small country in South Asia. Though 90% of her population of 160 million people is Muslim, it has a long tradition of secularism and communal harmony. After a bloody war with Islamist Pakistan Bangladesh emerged in 1971 as an independent secular country. But secularism was removed from the constitution in 1979, Islam was made the state religion in 1988 and in 2011 we got a peculiar mixture of “secularism” and “state religion Islam” in! All these developments had dire consequences for our country. A small but growing number of people consider themselves non-believers or atheists. Among them are activists, writers and bloggers, like me, who write about free thought, secularism, human rights and pluralism. Now that islamist extremism is gaining power, oppressing free thought, we sometimes criticize political- Islamism and the governments’ failure to counter that. Since 2013 atheists have been attacked and murdered by extremists, while the government leaves them unprotected, or even arrests them for "hurting religious sentiments".
What is the film about?
The film shows Muslim leaders preaching violence against atheists, and interviews with persecuted humanist bloggers. All of them are on the deathlist and have been threatened or attacked by extremists. I decided to publish a short (18 minutes) anonymized version, for public use. Showing the whole film- 65 minutes- online, with many more interviews, would be too dangerous for the people in it, who are still target for the killers. So I hid their faces with anonymous’ masks and don’t disclose any names.