Bangladeshi author seeks refuge in Uppsala

SwedenTaslima Nasreen, a controversial author from Bangladesh, has been offered refuge in Uppsala, Sweden. According to reports in The Local, Nasreen has been living in Sweden since March, after having received death threats from Indian Muslims.

The 45-year-old author moved recently to Uppsala, accompanied by permanent security guards. The university town has promised to cover the author’s living expenses for the next two years and provide her with accommodation during that time.

In March Nasreen was hospitalised and received emergency medical treatment. She has been in poor health for some time.

Cecilia Wikstrom, a Liberal Party member who lives in Uppsala, say she has been in contact with Nasreen for sometime now.

“I know Taslima Nasreen as a very unique individual. Maybe that’s what happens if you have a price on your head,” Wikstrom said.

Wikstrom has been lobbying other politicians in Uppsala to make the town a safe place which welcomes and encourages writers. The arrangement with Nasreen is the first time the town has put the plan into action. In addition to the one bedroom apartment provided by the city for Nasreen, she will receive a monthly allowance of 5,000 kronor (USD 800).

In 1994, Nasreen was forced to flee Bangladesh after the publication of her novel “Lahha” or “Shame” brought her to the attention of radical Muslims who called her work a blasphemy. The book describes a Hindu family which suffered persecution in Bangladesh at the hands of Muslims.

Nasreen has been in exile ever since and lived in the United States and Europe before moving to Sweden, where she holds a passport.