Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen offered safe haven in Sweden

June 2nd, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Taslima Nasreen
Stockholm, June 2 (DPA) Exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has arrived in Sweden where she has been offered a safe haven, the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper reported Monday. The city council of the university city of Uppsala, north of Stockholm will pay Nasreen a monthly stipend of 5,000 kronor ($833) and pay for her accommodation during a two-year period, the report said.

It is the second time Nasreen will live in Sweden. In 1994 she was forced to leave Bangladesh after Islamic fundamentalist groups in her native country issued a fatwa and placed a bounty on her head over the content in her writings including the novel Lajja (Shame).

Nasreen, who is also a trained doctor, lived for more than a decade in Europe and the United States.

She later lived in Kolkata in eastern India but last year was forced to leave West Bengal’s state capital after violent protests by Muslim fundamentalist groups who said her writings were offensive to Islam.

The 45-year-old Nasreen was reported to be in poor health, and suffering from a heart problem.

Cecilia Wikstrom, member of parliament for the Liberal Party who urged politicians in her home town of Uppsala to fund the stipend, said Nasreen was “a real fighter. You really have to admire her.”

In 1994, the Swedish section of the writers’ organisation PEN that works to defend freedom of expression and against censorship awarded her its Tucholsky Scholarship worth 150,000 kronor, and she lived for a while in Sweden.

The scholarship was named after exiled German writer Kurt Tucholsky, who fled to Sweden from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. He committed suicide in 1935.

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