Bangladesh arrest warrant over 'blasphemous' book

AFP, Tuesday 5 Jun 2012

Judge orders arrest of novelist Salam Azad for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed in his 2003 book 'Broken Temple'

A Bangladeshi court has issued an arrest warrant for the writer of a 2003 novel that allegedly contains insulting remarks against the Prophet Mohammed, a lawyer said Tuesday.

The court in Dhaka issued an arrest warrant in response to a petition from a Muslim activist accusing author Salam Azad of hurting religious sentiment in his banned book "Bhanga Math" ("Broken Temple") published in 2003.

"We told the court that the book contained slanderous remarks against the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. The judge accepted the petition and issued a warrant of arrest," the petitioner's lawyer Ekhlas Uddin told AFP.

Dhaka police confirmed the warrant.

Azad told AFP the case was part of a smear campaign against him launched by a senior official from the ruling Awami League party.
"I became his target after I protested his grabbing of Hindu property. He has already filed a case against me," he said.

Azad, 48, said the book, published in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, was banned for blasphemy by the Bangladeshi government in 2004.

The book is alleged to contain insulting remarks about the Prophet Mohammed and the Koran.

In May Bangladesh banned a novel by popular writer Humayun Ahmed for allegedly distorting how the nation's first president and his family were murdered in 1975.

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