London, Aug 4 (ANI): Controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, the only female writer with a fatwa on her head, has refused to apologise for infuriating fundamentalists ahead of a secret visit to beg Indian authorities to let her return.
Taslima, who is exiled from Bangladesh, had a fatwa issued against her in 1993 because one of her books, Shame, criticised Islamic texts that are used to oppress women.
She spoke out ahead of a visit to India later this month to plead with the authorities to allow her to stay. Taslima has briefly returned three times to India after she was thrown out on March 8, 2008, but has always been denied permission to live there beyond a stipulated number of days.
She said that Salman Rushdie, to whom she is often compared, had apologised for his comments made in The Satanic Verses, but she was not prepared to budge.
"He had even compromised to the extent of writing that he was willing to be a born-again Muslim," Scotsman quoted her, as saying.
"I stand by every word that I have said against fundamentalists. The question of an apology does not arise even if it is a quid pro quo of my getting a chance to live in either India or Bangladesh," Taslima said.
"Rushdie stays in the West because he is a westerner. I am not. Rushdie has been in England since he was nothing but a child. He writes in one of the western languages.
"For me, it is a different case altogether. I cannot relate to the West. I write in my mother tongue, Bengali, and I wish to return to my motherland or India, whichever choice is given to me. But I am being forcefully kept out of India and Bangladesh. Rushdie has never been forced to leave his country," she added.
Taslima says that she is unfairly discriminated against by both Delhi and Dhaka. Delhi had earlier given her a permanent residency permit, but is fighting shy of allowing her to stay anywhere after huge riots broke out in November 2007 in Kolkata.
She said: "I know the fatwas are still hovering over me. But if only I can go and live in Bangladesh or India with government permission, I shall fight every injustice against me. I am willing to risk that." (ANI)