FREE LECTURE: Public Lecture by Hanifa Deen: Taslima Nasreen, the Female Rushdie: Freedom of Speech and Islamophobia
|Public Lecture by Hanifa Deen: Taslima Nasreen, the Female Rushdie: Freedom of Speech and Islamophobia : CMSS presents: A Public Lecture by Hanifa Deen
Hanifa Deen explores the domestic and international responses to dissident Bangladeshi writer-in-exile, Taslima Nasreen. Following a newspaper interview the author gave in neighbouring India, violent demonstrations broke out in 1994 and she was accused of blasphemy. This led to an international campaign by human rights organisations such as: Amnesty International, International PEN and Reporters San Frontiers to ‘Save Taslima’. Labelled ‘the female Salman Rushdie’, which eventually proved her undoing, Nasreen ‘escaped’ to the West where she became an overnight celebrity, a much-lauded feminist and free speech icon adopted by European freedom of expression organisations and USA feminists. Her Western supporters never asked why Bangladeshi feminists, secularists and human rights activists never ‘adopted’ her. Nasreen’s brand of feminism and Indian backing alienated her from what should have been her domestic support base. Eventually Nasreen toppled from her literary pedestal in the West, a victim of everyone’s expectations, political manoeuvring and her own sense of entitlement. Nasreen writes in Bengali, her mother tongue, and wants to live permanently in West Bengal, India. This presents difficulties for the government as her presence leads to violent demonstrations by Muslim extremists. She is also famous for her acrimonious fallings out with her male mentors in Bangladesh, Western Europe and now in India. Hirsi Ali, another critic of Islam, has in some respects relegated Nasreen to the sidelines.
Hanifa Deen is an award-winning West Australian-born author who writes narrative non-fiction and now lives in Melbourne. Her books include: Caravanserai: A Journey Among Australian Muslims, for which she won a NSW Premier’s Literary Award; Broken Bangles, short listed for a WA Premier’s Award, The Jihad Seminar (UWA Press) short listed for the Australian Human Rights Commission, Literature Non-Fiction Award; Ali Abdul vs. The King, (UWA Publishers, 2011). Her latest book On the Trail of Taslima was released in June 2013.
Deen has also served as a Hearing Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of Australia, and also on the Board of Directors, Special Broadcasting Services (SBS). She was the Director of Community Education at the Victorian Ethnic Affairs Commission as well as the Deputy Commissioner at the Multicultural Affairs Commission WA.
Currently she is Chair of the Institute of Cultural Diversity and is also the Editor of Sultana’s Dream, an online magazine written and produced by Australian Muslim women which she founded in 2011.
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