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Prominent Bangladeshi Writer Flees India for the U.S. After Death Threats

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Famed Bangladeshi writer and activist Taslima Nasreen, already in exile from her home country, fled even further away from it after reportedly receiving death threats from Islamic fundamentalist groups.

Nasreen, who had been living in India since 2004 after leaving Bangladesh a decade earlier, arrived in the U.S. last week, according to a statement from a nonprofit organization that helped bring her into the country. Nasreen was “specifically named as an imminent target” by fundamentalist groups associated with al-Qaeda, the Center for Inquiry said.

Such groups in Bangladesh have already murdered three of the country’s secular bloggers this year, in what is turning into a growing trend of intolerance against freedom of speech.

Nasreen, an award-winning poet and author known for speaking out against extremist Islam, had left Bangladesh in 1994 after being targeted by fundamentalist groups. After the recent killings, followed by more threats against her life, Nasreen tweeted that she didn’t feel safe in Bangladesh’s western neighbor either.

“Was threatened by Islamists who killed atheist bloggers in B’desh. Worried,” she said, according to the BBC. “Wanted to meet GOI (Government of India) but no appointment. Left. Will be back when feel safe.”

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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com